A Field of Death
- Feb 12, 2013 12:56 pm GMT
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Turns out I was completely wrong at the end of my last blog. Didn't enjoy Battlefield 3 at all! Thankfully the game was only 6 or so hours long as I meant I could blitz through it extremely quickly. The story was dull and almost non-existent so I just let the cut scenes play out and then got back to the action. This was the kind of story I expect from a military shooter. MW3 just excelled in the story department, especially compared to this.
As is now expected from a Battlefield game the graphics are amazing. Along with Rage this is up there with the very best the 360 has to offer. In some respects the game was overly realistic. I can't really put my finger on what I mean by that but I think I prefer my games a tad rougher round the edges. Sounds stupid I guess but I prefer more colourful games and at times it was hard to distinguish where the enemies were. It does spell out how good looking games on console can be and can only assume they'll get even better for next gen. From what I've read and heard it's way better on PC and I'd quite like to check that out if I had a PC capable of maxing it out!
I was pretty impressed with the locations in the game which beat out MW3 hands down so it's a shame I mostly didn't enjoy what I was doing in them. There were a couple of decent levels where it was an enjoyable experience such as the pool house/villa towards the end but mostly it just felt really generic. The vehicle missions were even worse than normal as they dragged for at least twice as long as I'd have liked. The jet fighter mission was one of the dullest missions I've ever played in a game.
For an online shooter game I wasn't all that impressed with the shooting mechanics. A few times it felt a bit hit and miss if you hit the target or not. Maybe I just didn't spend enough time honing my skills but it didn't feel anywhere near as good as on MW3. There's a decent array of weapons on offer but the default mission weapons weren't really worth switching out for anything else.
I can imagine the multiplayer is a great experience but as ever I skipped over the multiplayer. The way the scenery can be destroyed must make for some great games as cover is gone in seconds if fired upon. Not sure how it plays but I assume it's a slightly slower, more tactical game than COD is which I think I'd prefer.
I ended up with an average Gamerscore for this type of game with around half being online/co-op achievements. I decided on a rather generous 7.5 for this game. The graphics bumped it up a bit but having not tried it online, it definitely didn't deserve anything higher. I really enjoyed the previous game so felt a bit let down by its sequel.
Left 4 Dead 2 was next up and after a positive first game I thought I was in for a treat. The game was released very soon after the original so I expected more of the same which was no bad thing. I played them a couple of years apart so was a bit fresher for me when I came to play it.
I quickly came to realise how aimed towards co-op it is with the single player being a bit of a disappointment. The locations were amazing and although they don't stray far from the norm for this type of game I never get bored of them. I wasn't keen on the swamp level but I always love a carnival level in a horror/survival game so that more than made up for it. The campaigns were all pretty short though and were easily possible to sprint from one end to the other on anything but the hardest difficulty setting. I completed the last couple in about 45 minutes each and I didn't feel I was rushing. If I had other people to play with I think there'd be more excitement in exploration but when you're playing on your own I didn't feel it was worth it.
The gameplay is very strange to get used to as you expect zombies to be slow which is completely reversed in this game. I suppose they aren't technically zombies but infected humans (I think anyway!) so you just have to think of them like that. I would've preferred more adventuring to 'find' zombies rather than just standing in one place whilst you get hit by wave after wave. The one good thing you can say about the AI is that they are actually very useful at dispatching enemies. You never really have to worry that you're playing on your own as they more than make up for it. The flipside of this is that they can often be too helpful and you never actually get to do anything. Unless you run ahead they can often clear an area of enemies before you even have time to react. That was my own downside is that you often feel like a passenger your own game and you don't really get to do anything.
The weapons are very run of the mill with nothing that really provides any real thrills. I generally prefer standard weaponry so I was happy enough with this but a lot of the weapons felt the same and didn't provide enough variety. The melee weapons are brilliant though and match anything I used in Dead Rising for thrills. I do think I prefer Dead Rising as a game but this has its benefits. It's also one of the few games I've played lately where it doesn't have regenerative health. It seems strange to say that it was actually quite refreshing to play this way. Having health regenerate by staying out of the action isn't overly exciting. This way you have to manage your health and you actively have to hold back or push on ahead of team-mates depending on how much health you have and how much they do.
I really wish I'd given it a go online as I think you'd get a totally different experience to what I've had offline. Some games are just made for multiplayer which I think is great. I can imagine having 3 friends to play this with would be an amazing experience. Cranking it up to expert and putting realism on and then taking it to the enemies is an experience you probably can't match in many games.
I've given the game an 8.0 as I don't think it's an awful game by any stretch of the imagination and with the multiple games modes and co-op on offer I think it's a great package all round.
Next up for me are The Darkness II and then Dead Space 2 so am pretty hopeful about both of them. The Darkness was a surprise hit when I first played it and Dead Space is still one of my favourite games of this generation, I'm not sure what else has been better apart from maybe Bioshock.
Fire Emblem: Awakening progress
- Feb 9, 2013 8:10 am GMT
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Found a copy at my local Wallyworld, which was no small matter, as the game is out of stock on pretty much every online site and most retailers. I just finished Chapter 6 this morning -- had to play as soon as I woke up. It's one of those games -- you know, the kind that keep you up at night thinking about it; the kind you wake up thinking about how you want to build your characters up when you start playing again.
That's Donnel up there. He's a villager you meet early on in the game. I hear he gets pretty beefy as you level him up, so I'm throwing him into the fray as often as possible.
The game is really great so far...and hard as hell, at least in terms of keeping everyone alive. I'm playing on Hard difficulty in Classic mode, so if a unit dies, they stay dead like they would in previous FE games.
And I have to say, the criticisms regarding grinding for levels and re-classing for endless stat boosts have been grossly exaggerated. Perhaps in Normal mode things are much easier, but you don't get free access to Second Seals (to re-class) 'til much later in the game, and it's hard to grind even the "easiest" sidequests, as the enemies can still send your units to the hereafter. Gameplay-wise, Fire Emblem is still very much intact. It just has a ton more to offer now.
Unfortunately, the story is very..."Tales of." Don't get me wrong, Tales of Symphonia is one of my all-time favorite games, but that series generally has a lot of silliness and plot devices that are a complete departure from realistic social situations. Awakening has a lot of that too. However, the actual plot is quite compelling. Chapter 6 was a good set-up to get you wanting more, in spite of the ridiculous premise.
But the game does have a good sense of humor, I'll give it that. This is a Support scene. When you battle together, you raise the bond of relationship between characters. I'm trying to hook up Sumia and Chrom so they'll marry and have a kid. Sumia is really into Chrom, so it seems like a natural pairing.
The game has a lot of other, really cool features. The WiFi stuff comes with a boatload of downloadable fan service. The DLC maps should really satisfy anyone who's been into the series for a while. It's like a "greatest hits" of Fire Emblem. Great stuff.
Haven't really played on my 3DS or touched it much at all for months -- pretty much since Resident Evil Revelations -- so it's nice to have another really good reason to pick the system up.
Somtimes it's best to just move on...
- Feb 6, 2013 2:03 pm GMT
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Omg next E3 is gonna have Versus info, I can sense it!!
Can you imagine waiting 10 years for something to come, only for it to never come? Well can you?
I sure can't. But you know, it sounds to me like that's what a certain special brand of Final Fantasy fans have been doing. Yeah you know who you are. The ones who constantly like to remind us that "The last great Final Fantasy was ten!" Or they might say that the last great one was nine. Others say that no Final fantasy will ever surpass seven. They're the ones that follow Square Enix religiously despite the fact that they've been disappointed time and time again. They're the ones who endlessly trash all the newer final fantasies in favor of the older ones. The ones who tell anyone who dared to enjoy any final fantasy after nine or ten (it depends) that they are what is wrong with the gaming industry. The ones who say there is no need for new final fantasies, only HD remakes of the old ones. The ones that think that JRPGs are all dead and that good ones dont even exist, because Final fantasy is the be all end all of JRPGs. And if Final Fantasy sucks then that must mean all JRPGs suck right!? And my reaction is something like this:
The so called last great Final Fantasy came out at the end of 2001. It is now February 2013. Have you honestly been waiting 11, almost 12 years, for some godly game that you think will magically renew your undying love for Square Enix? I could understand having this mindset back in 2003 or even as late as 2005. But 11 years!? 12 years if you think the last great Final Fantasy was 9. 13 years if you thought the last great one was 8. A whopping 15 years if you thought the last great one was 7. Lord, do you know how long ago that is? Could you remember what was going on in the world 15 years ago? 15 years ago, Bill Clinton was president of the United States!
Now I know some people are going to stop reading in order to scroll down and bash the hell out of me in the comment section. But before you do that please hear me out. Has there really been some people waiting over a decade for ONE video game company to get their act together and impress them? Don't you think that maybe, just maybe its time to move on?
I've read several accounts of fans getting hyped for a new Final Fantasy, hoping that it's going to be the next seven, or eight, or whatever their favorite was. And lo and behold, it's not! You know why? Because times change thats why! So does the staff at Square Enix. Also, Final Fantasy is a series that historically changes with every installment. I can't count how many times I heard people say "The last great FF was X, but I'm going to buy this new game anyway, in the hopes that Square will get their act together!" Or " ____ (insert final fantasy that has yet to come out) is going to save Square, and itll be way better than that piece of crap _______ (insert final fantasy that already came out here)."
You guys know that old saying? Fool me once (FF XI) shame on you, fool me twice (FF XII) shame on me, fool me three times (compilation of FF VII) what am I doing, fool me four times (FF XIII) no seriously what the hell am I doing, fool me five, six, seven, eight times (Versus, no Type 0 localization, FF all the bravest, shift to mobile gaming) why am even still here? Ok yeah that's not how the saying goes but you get my point right? It baffles me as to why someone who has been disappointed with a company's decisions over the course of a decade would even bother with them anymore.
Now to clarify, I don't think there is anything wrong with preferring the old final fantasies over the new ones. But it is getting tiring seeing over and over on every topic having to do with FF and SE:
"FF 7 REMAKE!" or " Square is crap now. This next game they're putting out better be good though because I'm buying it anyway, its totally going to be the next ff 7!" or "Anybody who enjoys the new FF games has horrible taste!" or "Square Enix sucks now so all gaming and JRPGs must suck too!"
Why cant you just move on? Serious question, why? Does Atlus not exist in your world where JRPGs all suck? Or Monolith Soft? Level 5, Mistwalker, Nippon Ichi Software, or Namco Bandai? Anyone?
And I'll admit, I was once waiting and waiting on SE for Versus and other great games akin to the Final Fantasies that I loved. I waited and waited, missing out on many other JRPGs. Then one day I just said "Forget them." I just didn't see any point to waiting on them anymore. When I picked up other great JRPGs by other companies, this only reinforced my belief. And hey, I still make passing, backhanded comments about how Square can't get anything done in a reasonable amount of time. I'm human too. But I just don't see any point in sticking with them after Ive been disappointed for way too long over their bizarre business decisions. Thats just masochistic. The games I want may possibly never come from SE anymore, so I've accepted it and moved on to other games and gaming companies.
I'll also admit that quality JRPGs are nowhere near as abundant as they were in the PS2 and PS1 era. But they are out there, hidden in the mist. And you sure aren't going to find them by getting hung up on one company and/or one series. And that goes for any genre of gaming. What I just said about Square Enix could go for any company. Series can change or end abruptly. Companies will sell out. The head honchos and leaders leave, which can be good or bad. No matter what, things are going to change over time. Whether you choose to accept it or sit there and suffer through these unwanted changes is up to you.
Not only that, but when I game, I always keep an amusing little adage in mind. Its called Sturgeon's Law, otherwise known as "90% of everything is crap!" Well, it'd be a stretch to say 90% of games are complete trash. It'd be more accurate to say 90% of games are average to crap. Always. And that goes for any form of entertainment.
You'll always have those money hungry corporations looking to nickel and dime their customers. Youll always have guys who have the artistic integrity of a potato and will just copy what the next guy is doing. Great companies will be bought out by bigger companies who will force them to churn out uninspired, dumbed down, rehashed sequels. Great companies may go out of business as well. Some companies will give the finger to their long standing fanbases in favor of a market that will make them more money.
That's just how things are sometimes. The only thing we as gamers can really do is vote with our wallet. We can only sort amongst the steaming piles of human excrement in hopes that we'll find a jewel hidden in there somewhere. Also something else: I think some people get so hung up on review scores, hype, critics, controversies, and what's past, that they forget to have fun. Not every game is going to be a 10/10. Not every game is going to make you shed manly gamer tears of joy and scream "BRAVO!" at the end. That doesn't mean you can't still have fun with them.
I've played several "crappy" games and enjoyed them. I put crappy in quotes because they weren't deemed crappy by me and other fans of the game, but by critics and naysayers. It doesn't matter to me, because I'm still having fun with the game. I don't get hung up on review scores. Sure I'll read them. But I'll be damned if Im going to let a few bad scores stop me from getting a game I think I'll enjoy. And even if I pick up a bad game, or a series ends, or a company begins to suck, I know there's always something else out there. One door closes, but another opens, provided that I open that door and don't just sit there crying.
Gaming is supposed to be fun, first and foremost. And if gaming really causes you enough rage to curse out random teenagers on a net forum, type in all caps about how much you hate it nowadays, or maliciously attack gaming companies, games, or reviewers from behind the comfort of your computer screen, then you've got three options.
You can rejoice over the fact that digital downloading now allows us to download classics from the previous eras of gaming and enjoy them on our modern systems. You can also forget all about the sucky companies that wronged you and go on a hunt for different genres, games, and companies to support. Or you can go find another hobby that doesnt cause you so much pain. Because honestly, I can't help but shake my head when I see people get REALLY mad about gaming. Its good to have passion, sure. But I think some people get a little too heated over pieces of plastic and discs.
In conclusion, there is always something else out there. There's an entire ocean of games out there. But how can you enjoy the ocean if you're standing on the beach, arms crossed, cheeks poked out, complaining about how there's sand in your shorts and the beach is just too darn hot?
I'd encourage anyone who's going through a gaming rut to keep trying! Gaming is a great hobby, and I know sometimes we all go through times where we think "You know, it's just not doing it for me anymore." But don't give up! Gaming has so much variety, and there will always be new uncharted seas out there!
Short Games and Why I Like Them
- Feb 5, 2013 3:15 pm GMT
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I've recently had an epiphany: I like short games. Let me clarify that a bit: I enjoy shorter games. That's not to say I'm an advocate of developers releasing four hour single-player campaigns, but more to say that if a game fails to clock in at 20+ hours, I'm OK with that.
Now obviously game length is a sort of "hot" topic when it comes to gamers with some saying how today's games are "way too short." But I believe it all depends on the genre. Certainly there is a level of expectation when it comes to specific genres; RPGs traditionally have much longer campaigns than FPS games do.
So when I hear gamers complain about how "X game was too short" and "Y game wasn't long enough," it makes me wonder exactly how much longer they would want those games to last. For easy math sake, let's say the "average" length of a FPS is six hours. At $60, you spent $10 per hour to play that game. Considering how much DLC costs upwards of $15 for maybe a couple of hours of content, $10 per hour is not bad.
But there's the other consideration: How much longer do you really want to play a single-player campaign? I think six to ten hours is a decent time sink if we're talking about the FPS genre. It also depends on player skill level since it may take some gamers longer to play a shorter game and more skilled gamers less time. So where's the happy medium?
As I get older and free time is more of a luxury less than it is a certainty, I find that I don't have the time I used to when I was younger to just sit around all day and play games. Which is why I appreciate those games that I can spend some time with but not have them overstay their welcome so I can move on to the next one.
The Best Game Ever Made Is On My Phone
- Feb 4, 2013 3:32 am GMT
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I bet you've heard this one. A gamer who argues that a good game simply can't be made on a phone containing only one button. For a "hardcore" game you need a controller with a dozen buttons, or for the PC crowd, a keyboard with dozens. Few would argue that I could make a deeper, more strategic, tactical, and overall better game using only one button than I could using ten or more. But the fact is such a game already exists and it has for centuries. Go is a board game that is played with one hand. The best way to play Go electronically is on a touchscreen. Simply touch where you want to place your piece and you have mastered every single mechanic in Go. In fact the game only contains four or five rules. Essentially, in Go two players take turns placing either white or black stones on a 19x19 grid with the goal of surrounding more areas of the board than your opponent. The only move you can make is to place a stone on the board. There is only one type of stone. There is only one type of square. The only rule is that you can't place a stone that would revert the game back to the way it was the turn before. It's a game so simple a five year old could learn it. It is also the most difficult game to master in the world. It requires more tactics and strategy than can be learned in a lifetime. It is perfectly balanced in almost every way. There is no luck involved. The more skilled player will always win. Don't believe me when I say how deep the game is? What if I told you there are more end game possibilities than atoms in the known universe? Or that there are more variations to a single game than there are named numbers in human science? There are in fact so many variables in play at any moment in Go that it would take the most powerful computer in the world longer than the remaining lifespan of the universe to calculate a single move. Even taking into account only four turns ahead would take such a computer almost a year and there are hundreds of turns in a game of Go. The 360 would not be able to calculate even a single turn in advance if they had started the day it came out and ended the day the next Xbox comes out.
So in essence you have a game that can be played by a five year old with one finger that makes all our so called hardcore games look like children's toys. A game so complex that a computer can't play it. A game so complex that no one has ever truly mastered it. In fact if you ask the top Go players in the world what their strategies are, they say they don't have any. They enter the "zone" in a way most people can only dream of, where they play entirely by feel. They can't tell you why they made a move because they are not consciously making decisions. They are so at one with the game that they have every sense tuned to the board. They see patterns everywhere and from decades of experience they recognize these patterns and simply know what to play. Because of that it literally takes a lifetime to become a master at Go. It requires you to dedicate decades worth of time to become one with the game so much so that your body and the board are one and the same.
Go is the best game ever made. It is incredibly easy to learn, but takes a lifetime to master. It is almost perfectly balanced and does not feature any aspect of luck. It is the most pure game ever to exist. And it doesn't require 20 buttons and hundreds of moves to do it. Point is, games don't need to be complex to be deep. The best games are those that anyone can pick up and play but only a select few will ever master. That really is the only requirement and that can be done with one button or 20 buttons or with your bare hands on a board. Never mistake complex mechanics for deep gameplay. Complex mechanics are not a good thing. A game should be easy to learn. The depth should come from the way those simple rules and mechanics can be combined to create numerous variations that are all fair for every player and fun to achieve.
Now before you ask, I have said several times that Go is almost perfectly balanced. And yes, that means that even the best game in the world isn't perfect. There is one minor flaw in the game, and of course that flaw is that black goes first meaning the black player always has the advantage. This advantage is miniscule and for two even players it should not make any difference, but generally if a more skilled player goes first the other player will be given a small handicap to make up for it. So, no, there is no such thing as a perfect game.
What say you guys? If Go can be so complex than what stops some iPhone designer from making a game that puts console and PC games to shame? A game of such incredible depth that no one will ever truly master it? We don't need massive controllers to do that. All it takes is one mechanic, one rule, and infinite possibilities.
What I Would Like to See in a Sequel to XCOM
- Jan 30, 2013 10:10 pm GMT
- 0 Comments
So I just picked up XCOM last week and I'm fully aware that I am addicted to it. The gameplay is tight and balanced (the A.I. cheats, dammit!), the progression is addictive, and the atmosphere is wonderfully tense. I love the game and it deserved its 8.5 as well as its multiple GOTY nominations (did it win any awards? If you know, please comment!).
However, there are some qualms I have about the game, and there are a few ways that I think could greatly expand on its replayability. Luckily, Firaxis has strongly hinted through several post-release interviews that they are working on a sequel (HOORAY!) and are looking to improve upon the first game. These are my suggestions.
1) More Maps
One of the things that makes XCOM so great is the tense atmosphere that the game creates while slowly moving through a fog of war shrouded battlefield. The map design in this game is top-notch, but a huge problem I have with it is that they like to repeat. A lot.
I'm in my first playthrough and I have played on the same map on three different occasions (actually, on two of those occasions it was the same mission, too. Just with different enemy spawns). I plan to play the game at least 2 more times (one on Classic and one on Impossible difficulty), and the game loses some of its tension when you know the map before walking into it.
But...how...? I shot this UFO down last night! It's back!
Another reason why I want more maps is because...well, they're so damn good. I would not mind waiting an extra month or three for the game if it meant I would (truly) not see the same map twice in two playthroughs. That would be awesome. It would be even better if we could get a random map generator that creates these great maps when a mission starts, but it seems that the crafting of the maps must be done by humans. And that's fine; I just want more so that I can keep the feeling of suspense on my second and third playthroughs.
2) More Enemy Types
OK, this one is also aimed at the vein of replayability (excuse me, but this game just screams at you to play it more than twice). To be clear; the amount of variations in the enemies here is great, but there's potential to make it better for subsequent playthroughs if, say...we didn't see them all.
I'll give an example. The very first alien you come in contact with in XCOM: Enemy Unknown is the Sectoid. For those of you who don't know, here's a picture:
Him? He comes in one piece, but then I turn him into pieces.
This little guy is the grunt of the game, and quickly becomes the least of your worries as you encounter enemies such as Chryssalids and the terrifying Ethereals.
Okay, so let's say that, in the sequel, on my first playthrough this "grunt" creature is a Sectoid. Good. But what if that only happened by chance? What if there were, say, 3 different "grunt" creatures I could have been given for my playthrough, and I only got to fight the Sectoids by chance? You would get the Sectoids for the entirety of the playthrough for continuity's sake, but let's say you play again. This time, instead of Sectoids you find a creature called a Lurker in your mission, and then Lurkers are the "grunt" creatures for your playthrough?
I feel that adding and then randomizing enemy types would be greatly beneficial to the replay factor of the game, possibly with a feature to start a game where you can select which creatures that you have already discovered that you want to show up in your campaign. I would want to play again and again just to see what else Firaxis created for me to kill (or be brutally murdered by, for that matter).
3) Flexible Weapon Upgrades
One of the most satisfying moments of the game is when you finally research a new gun to fire at the aliens. The only issue with that feeling is that, once you create the gun, you're done. There's no more for you to do with it. Sure, you can upgrade ammo capacity and such in the Foundry, but there's no way to modify each gun's stats for individual soldiers.
I feel like it's a missed opportunity. My favorite example of this element is in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance where you could craft a custom weapon for one of your soldiers to equip. You could customize its stats and colors, and could even give it a cool name (or a stupid one). Of course, in that game you could just pay for the best stats on any given weapon type, so XCOM would have to do it differently for game balance, but I feel like it could be done.
4) A Story...Maybe?
This suggestion is out there, I know. XCOM isn't a game that's particularly built for a story: aliens are coming to do something bad to humans, and we have to stop them before said bad things happen. The skeleton of a narrative works for the game's structure. But what including a campaign that focuses on the experiences of a squad of soldiers? Their families, their past, their weaknesses and vices, etc. There's potential for a good character-driven narrative here, especially when you throw in that they could still be permanently killed. You'll care about them on the battlefield more, not just because they have really high hit-percentages and psionic abilities, but because you know their story and want to see it end.
I know it's a lot I'm asking for, but with the first game out and the formula created, I feel like a good sequel to the series would try to significantly expand upon the first. This all being said, I'm on board with whatever Firaxis wants to do with the next (unnanounced-but-it's-so-happening) title.
What do you think? Am I completely off my rocker here, or do you agree with anything I said? What do YOU want in a sequel to XCOM?
War Is Hell
- Jan 30, 2013 11:45 am GMT
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Over the past couple of weeks I was able to finally finish the Gears of War trilogy with Gears of War 3. I wasn't a big fan of the first game as I think I came to it too late. When it first came out it was pretty original but I think by the time I got round to it I'd played a few imitations that meant it didn't seem as imaginative as it should have. The second game was much better for me and I think will be my favourite in the series. It expanded greatly on the original and offered so much more, along with a cracking story from what I remember. The one thing I've always loved about the game is that it's a game that seems tailored to exactly what gamers want. If I made a game it would probably be something very similar to this.
I've never had much love for the characters apart from Cole as they all seem pretty generic and not exactly a character you can relate to or find much love for. I was really pleased to be able to control Cole for a section of the game and I think that was definitely my favourite Act. The rest of the game was good but this was a standout for me.
I'm not a fan of big set pieces as I don't always feel I'm completely in control of what's happening so the game play is not to my liking. Every time you clear an area you move along until you come to the next carefully constructed area for another battle. While the scenery is great it's a bit jarring to then come across an area set out with barriers and boxes that look totally out of place and are purely for cover in a fight. This removes any element of surprise of what's coming next. Luckily the enemies come in their droves and aren't totally incompetent. I don't feel as satisfied shooting aliens as I do soldiers in warfare games. Sounds strange to write that and I find it's true unless you get a head shot there's not much reaction from the Locust/Lambent until they die.
The story did a good job of finishing off the trilogy and it was pretty epic in parts. Breaking a game up into different acts allows for multiple big finishes which were brilliant. This game was a lot more colourful than the previous two and although I cannot remember specifics, I'd say this has as much variation with the locations as the previous game.
It took me a bit longer to complete than I expected but it was enjoyable throughout. I couldn't decide whether to give it .5 less but when I thought about it thought that although it didn't move the series along as much as Gears of War 2, it was equally as good so deserved a 9.0.
I also finished Dante's Inferno during which I spent most of my time deciding whether or not I hated or like the game. I started off finding it a bit too monotonous and not very engaging. Although there are some combo moves (if you can call them that) it just felt a bit too much like button mashing. Punishing/absolving enemies was also pretty dull as the smaller enemies mean you have to do them one at a time which added a fair bit of time to a battle compared to just blazing through it. As the game progressed though it definitely improved, with the middle third being a particular highlight for me.
The game play, whilst simplistic ended up being a lot more satisfying that I first though. Combat was definitely action packed and plentiful and to begin with there was a decent array of enemies to get stuck into. The different enemy types dwindled off towards the end but having introduced enough to begin with I didn't feel that was too much of an issue. The game play between the action was fairly traditional platforming but towards the end it did feel like they'd run out of ideas and then were just reusing past sequences with a different colour scheme. There were a couple of sections that made me swear more than the average man should more because of the sheer stupidity of the game mechanics not letting me do what I wanted to. For most of the game they were fine but in just those couple of situations I was properly annoyed.
I have never liked boss battles and don't think I ever will but I definitely tolerated the ones in this one more than I would usually. None of them were particularly rage inducing once you got the hang of what you needed to do. For a change they added a nice change of pace rather than slowing down the game which is what I usually find.
The story was actually really good and I like the differing areas that represented the nine circles of hell. The cutscenes were all worthwhile and the comic book style ones really impressed me. I don't like the fact it ended with to be continued as that just feels like it was half a game and I doubt it will get a sequel. Still, it ended pretty well and wrapped up this game as much as it could so suppose I can't negatively score it because of that.
Overall I think the game achieved what it needed to and was a decent God of War imitator. Having never fully played those games I can't comment on how much originality there is in Dante's Inferno but it kept me happy enough for the duration. My only annoyance is missing out of the silver coins and missing out on the achievement for it. Didn't think it would matter as I was sure I'd miss others down the line but that wasn't the case! I couldn't decide on a score for this game but looking my scores for other games I felt it ranked similarly to the games I'd given a 7.5 so that's what I settled on in the end.
Next up is Battlefield 3. Having only just finished MW3 I'll be able to compare the single player pretty clearly and I have a feeling B3 will come out on top for me.
What about Darksiders?
- Jan 29, 2013 8:31 pm GMT
- 0 Comments
For the video game industry, 2013 hasn't been off to a particularly great start thus far. The issue of video game violence is once again being examined and scrutinized after the horrendous events of Sandy Hook last year, and a recognizable name in the industry, THQ (Toy Head Quarters for anyone who wondered what it stood for) has been dissolved. Nearly all of its intellectual properties have been sold off to other third-party publishers in an effort to help consolidate THQ's bankruptcy. Whatever your opinions may be of THQ, it is generally agreed that they did possess a number of promising franchises. Among them Saint's Row, the WWE games, Metro and Homefront. As of this writing, many of THQ's backlog have established new homes within the likes of Electronic Arts, Sega, Ubisoft, and Take-Two (to name a few). Yet, as of now, only one franchise failed to find a home. And it's one that I have a deep fondness of; a little known apocalyptic adventure known as Darksiders.
When I first bought Darksiders on my 360, I was drawn to how it indirectly references the Zelda games. Such a claim has been stated on numerous occasions and, when you play the game for yourself, you'll come to understand why. Puzzle solving, exploration, complex dungeons that require specific tools and items to navigate and intense combat round out the package. I wouldn't go so far as call it a Zelda-clone because while it shares many similarities, it possesses a identity all its own in a blood-soaked, apocalyptic, extraordinarily-violent atmosphere. Following up on Darksiders, Darksiders 2 expanded on the original with a bigger world, a protagonist that swelled of pure awesomeness on every level, an addictive loot system, side questing and more depth. It also took an interesting story approach by taking place during the original game when War was going through his struggles -- through the perspective of Death and how he fought to clear his brother's name. Yes, the story was quite outlandish, but damned if it doesn't make for a good excuse to kick some serious ass.
Darksiders was one of those games that did things a little differently with a formula that has already been done (more or less), and showed a great deal of promise in becoming its own successful franchise for THQ. Unfortunately, as THQ teetered on the brink of collapse, the future of Vigil Games and the Darksiders series fell into uncertainty. When THQ was finally dissolved earlier this month, no other third-party publisher expressed enough interest in giving it a new home, snapping up Saint's Row and the WWE franchise as they were proven money makers. Darksiders enjoyed moderate success, but it ultimately did not convince potential takers. As a result, Vigil Games was disbanded---many of its team going on to other development houses (like Crytek). This is truly a shame, because the Vigil team possessed more than enough potential to be a valuable asset for any company outside of THQ, and it wouldn't have mattered if they made a Darksiders game or not.
Interestingly enough, there is some hope on the horizon for Darksiders, and it's from a surprising source. Platinum Games, developers of Bayonetta, Metal Gear Rising and the upcoming Wonderful 101, has gone on record inquiring about obtaining the IP and using their own development team to possibly craft a third project. Whether or not Darksiders under a Japanese development team would be as good as its Vigil-produced forebearers would depend solely on how much they really care about and respect the source material to please long-time fans and possibly draw in newcomers. Of course, God forbid if they consider rebooting it.
Although nothing's been confirmed yet, at least there may be a second chance----a second coming if you will---of a franchise that, for the time being and like the dilemma War faced with Earth in the original Darksiders, has died way before its time.
Game Buying: CE or Regular Edition? Do I get what I pay for?
- Jan 29, 2013 10:21 am GMT
- 0 Comments
Last week, Gamespot posted an article about the Last of Us, the latest entry from the creators of Uncharted, Naughty Dog. In the article, the game is receiving yet more LE versions, these are now character specific. I have blogged about this before, it would seem, but I found myself frustrated this past Saturday when I adventured into my favourite Gamestop and found that it, and all other locations nearby, had sold out of the Post-Pandemic version, the $160 version of the game.
- 12 inch premium statue by Project Triforce
- Steelbook edition of the game
- The Last of Us - American Dreams #1 Comic (Variant Cover)
- Survival DLC Pack (Voucher Download):
- Multiplayer bonuses:
- Bonus XP
- Melee Booster
- In game currency
- Customizable Character items
- Bonus Joel and Ellie skins available once play through of single player game is completed
- Sights and Sounds DLC pack (Voucher Download):
- Official Game Soundtrack
- PS3 Dynamic Theme
- PSN Avatars: Winter Joel and Ellie
- Naughty Dog Sticker sheet
On our way home, I was out with my cousin who was visiting from FL, she checked site after site on her phone, Amazon, Best Buy, Newegg, Toys R Us, the list goes on and the only version available was the Survivial version, had the same stuff, just no statue. So why, pray tell, did I go on Gamestop's website today, see the Post-Pandemic version and pre-order it? I know the easy answer is that I have a problem, and to be fair, I haven't bought a new game since Hitman, but still, the question remains. I, like many others, are lulled into picking up the more expensive version of a game, enthralled by the limited nature of the package, no doubt.
Truthfully, I think the trouble, for me, started a long time ago, when I realised I enjoyed collecting things. At an early age, I had baseball/football card collections, then as I got older, comic books and entertainment trading cards. Is collecting versions of a game really any different? I fully admit I have more CE versions than I can count, not one of which is being displayed in my room. Like all my Sideshow Collectibles statues, these too are safely stowed in a closet with my impressive baseball/basketball/hockey bobble head sets. There is nothing wrong with collecting, I think, as long as you know how to stop.
The larger question for me, comes back to the original point of this belaboured topic, why do the gaming companies produce these collectables, is it just another way to pull money from foolish gamers, such as myself?
In the above edition, the gamer gets tangible and intangible items, a statue, a steel book as well as a wealth of DLC. To Naughty Dog, this is worth $160, but will it be worth that to me in May? In November I picked up my AC3 LE and while the game itself was lacklustre, the extras from paying more were decent. Though I may have hated Connor, the statue was quite well made, the belt buckle impressive. The PS3 version came with DLC, as did the pre-order. Unfortunately for me, I never did figure out how to get the saw-tooth sword to be equipped, and at some point during the game play I just didnt care anymore. In advance of release, I think, collectors editions are perfect for the impulse shopper in all of us. In retrospect, I think I need a professional buyer to tell me 'no' when I even dare to pick one up. By that same token, if this is one of my only vices, then it isn't all that bad. At the end of the day, perhaps these will be worth something, even if they aren't mint in box. Games should be enjoyed when played, I know, but the statues and display pieces perfect for bookshelves are hard to ignore. Most statues of the calibre I see with game sets are actually quite pricey, averaging at least upwards of $100 apiece. But does that mean I should get it? I mean, I bought the CE of Ninja Gaiden 3, and I still have egg on my face, as they saying goes.
I know Ive asked this question of my faithful readers, but at what point do you stop yourself, realising that you're spending bad money after good? I think I might need an intervention.
On Playing the Ingress Beta
- Jan 29, 2013 10:20 am GMT
- 0 Comments
Augmented Reality is an interesting thing. The potential for amazing things is almost unchecked, offering a world where every day life can be seen in a whole new way, allowing access to data you didn't even know you needed, and of course, a brand new way to play games.
Ingress is one such game, using AR to present a fairly unique experience. I have to say the interface does look very cool, NianticLabs@Google presenting a way to make a GPS interface look slick and futuristic, while also adhering to the world and fiction they have created. Said fiction, is that Higgs-Boson research has created a strange side effect, a substance called Xotic Matter that is both energy and matter. This is seeping into our world via portals, and two factions are vieing for control of those portals, so that they may have control over the minds of people.
Ok, so its a bit hoaky, but it works in the context of the game. The interface presents a GPS view of your current position, and a blue circle surrounds your arrow. Floating dots are scattered around you, and any thay enter this circle are sucked to your arrow. This is XM, and powers a lot of your abilities in game. You must then find 'Portals' that can be hacked, attacked and linked to gain items and other goodies.
To find these portals, you must walk. A lot. In a noble effort, however, portals are generally located on either art projects or post offices scattered around various towns and cities around you. This is all well and good, but at present, at least in the UK, there simply isn't enough of them. I don't live in out in the sticks, my town, Birstall, is pretty central to no less than 3 large cities, all in easy communting distance, but I can only collect XP locally. There is a large statue of Joesph Priestly in Birstall (he discovered oxygen), but that doesnt count as a portal. Neither does the post office or anything in a 3 mile radius.
I understand that the point is get you to seek out art in your local area, but first starting out with the game can be confusing and with little do if you don't live in a major city the game becomes boring. This is a shame, because despite some GPS lag that means your arrow never, ever, appears to be on a road, the game is very cool.
All of these things can be addressed as the beta progresses, and I personally think the look of the game is awesome and so doesn't really need much improvement. The problem is the lack of things to do if you don't live in major metropolitain areas, and Ingress unfortunatly falls down here, with even the cities I do go to not having enough to do within the game to warrent the battery drain.
I you live in a major city, give the beta a go, its free and can be fun. If you live anywhere else though, give it a miss, you just won't make any real progress at present, try it again later in the year.
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