Jan 30, 2013

Video Game Reviews @ The Temple

Arkham City – This game is awesome, but it is exactly the game you imagine it to be. It has everything Arkham Asylum had, and more. Better fighting, better voice talent, better graphics, better environment, better everything. And I ate it up, I couldn’t get enough while playing it. Upon reflection, I’m not left with a lot. It’s a bit of an empty experience, because it just wasn’t as amazingly different as the first one was, compared to other action games. But I still had a blast playing it.

Uncharted 3 – The story here is actually much like Batman. The game is beautiful. There is not a thing wrong with it (well, melee combat is pretty awful, especially coming off Arkham City). The story telling, the acting, the animation, it’s all fantastic. But, Uncharted 2 was pretty damn fantastic. Is this better? Probably. There’s a couple scenes in here that are really stand out cinematic coolness. But Uncharted 2 was a huge step forward. This is a minor step from there. So I’m again left with “that was a lot of fun, but didn’t blow my mind”

Red Dead Revolution – Yeah, I’m that far behind. In my defense, I was halfway through this game a year and a half ago when I got my new computer. I kind of never made it back to the PS3 until the first two games dragged me in. So I finally put in the time to finish this. It is an awesome game. Again, kind of like the first two, it is a bit of a slight evolution. Really, it’s just GTA in the old west. But GTA is awesome and I haven’t played it for a few years, and the old west is awesome, and I’ve never played a really stand out western game. So this was awesome. Acting and story is all great. Combat is as lame as GTA games always are on analog sticks, but the slow mo mode makes it bearable. The other reason I hadn’t gotten back to this is because On The Media, those assholes, ruined the ending for me like a year ago. Kind of made it hard to get invested. But still a great game.

Heavy Rain – This game was great. I beat it in 3 sittings, the last one being an epic (for me) 6 hour session. I got it as a gift, but then went and bought a Move just to play with it. I’m not sure that was a super economical decision, but it was fun. Just using the minority report heads up display briefly with the FBI agent was worth it. Some of the icons are damn confusing, but I got used to it eventually. It’s still not nearly as natural as the controller I’ve been using for 10 years, but fun. Doing things like opening drawers and picking things up mimics the natural motion in really cool ways. It’s extraordinarily mundane sometimes (brushing teeth, cooking eggs), but it’s cool. Then again, it’s sometimes hard to tell what a given action is supposed to do. Does flip left mean I open the door, or grab the seatbelt? Well, fuck me I picked the wrong one and now I’m outside the car again. More than once I did the wrong thing because there was n0 information that told me which thing was which. The game is essentially a really good serial killer movie, except you get to act out all the parts. It’s like the Killing, except not super boring. There are quite a few problems, technical problems. There’s lots of overlapping models (people in walls), once a guy got frozen falling backward in the air, matrix style. Though the individual acting was good, it was plain that they didn’t record the lines together, the flow of a lot of conversations is off. That’s probably because the conversations can go so many ways depending on what you’ve done, but it’s still very stilted. I wanted to do the whole game without reloading. I think it’s structured that you can “lose” and that’s just how the story plays out, which is very cool. Twice in the middle I reloaded because the game was being crap. Once because I had no way to know that flip this way meant run away and leave the girl to die instead of save her. And once because the wand wasn’t responding. But that corrupted me, and I reloaded in the very end to beat the bad guy instead of getting beaten. That makes me feel kind of lame, but I wanted a halfway decent ending! I had already screwed up twice throughout and let bad things happen to two major characters. Overall, I had a blast with this, I’m actually considering running through it again just to see a different ending. The fact that so many things can happen so many ways. The way the story can do that is just awesome. But, I’m lazy, and it won’t happen. But just the fact that I considered it is saying something!

Resistance 3 – This is a pretty good, if fundamentally average, shooter. The guns are fun, a lot of fun. Old school game where you can carry 50 guns at once, that’s fun too. Playing a shooter on a controller is not fun, of course. The story is just whatever. There are some decent set pieces, but nothing super memorable. It’s got a nice variety of enemies, big, small, varied attacks, that’s all good. It seems like a completely acceptable shooter if you are into scifi shooters.

Hotline Miami – Pretty cool game. It’s a retro 80s thing. Pixel sprites, cool ass 8 bit music with an 80s flair. It’s a top down…. beatemup/shooter. You run around a small level, punching, slashing, or shooting bad guys until they are all dead. The plot is thin as thin can be, you are getting anonymous calls to go to some place for some mundane reason (deliver a package, meet a date), but you just kill everyone there. The controls are kind of annoying, it might actually be more suited for a controller. You move with WASD, and aim with the mouse. But you move so quick (and the enemies move even quicker) its often impossible to track with the mouse. So you do a lot of corner shooting so that you get the guy before he gets you. It’s pretty fun though. Massively bloody, though in a kind of cartoony pixelated way. But you are ripping heads off left and right. It’s short, I went through it in two sessions, but it was fun. That music was so cool too.

Dragon Age: Origins – Here I am way behind again. I have #2 too, but it’ll take me a while to get to that, I need a break. I actually didn’t think this was as good as everyone else in the world, I enjoyed it, but I got bored, a lot. I stopped playing it to play and beat every other game on this list. It’s just so freaking long, and not that captivating. It could be that I’ve changed, I used to love this classic RPG stuff. I loved KOTOR (and kind of KOTOR 2). I loved All first 4 elder scrolls (still haven’t played skyrim). I obviously loved the JRPGs growing up. So… why don’t I love this? I like it, the characters are pretty well developed, the fighting is done well, the world has an okay (kind of limited) amount of space and variety. The ability to make some different choices with people that can affect who is in your party is pretty cool. It just didn’t drag me in, for whatever reason, but it’s still very good. I had a lady character, which is basically unheard of for me, I figured I’d give it a shot. A lady elf mage, which was cool. Of course, then I made her romantic with another lady, for some reason I’m not quite modern enough to romance a dude as a lady, kind of silly. In the end, and I guess this is spoilers if you actually waited as long as me to play this game, I chose to be the one to kill the archdemon. Seemed more in character to me, for some reason. All the stuff in the epilogue based on what you did in the game is cool.Sadly, that means I can’t play as my character in the DLC, which I’ve just started. I tried starting a dwarf warrior character, but that was not fun. I think you really need a mage, two actually, in your group. Two fighters was a nightmare of poultice use and dying. The fighter abilities aren’t as fun to use either. So I booted that and created…. another lady human mage! But this one is blonde, so… totally different. The DLC was kind of bad, mostly due to bugs. Awakenings have a good extension of a story, but was ridiculously buggy: broken quests, crashes left and right, really annoying. It was good enough though. Then there’s a DLC for: playing as the darkspawn during the last battle, leilana’s history, a golem thing, and hunting down morrigan. The last battle one was cool. Leilana’s was boring. The last battle in the golem one is too hard, and I don’t have enough time to prepare in the hour long campaign, or patience to try enough tactics to win. And I didn’t even play the morrigan one because I didn’t let morrigan do her bad thing in Origins, so it’s silly to hunt her down, plus I’m super bored with this game.

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