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Monday
May052008

The Bourne Conspiracy Impressions


I really thought that the Bourne Conspiracy would be a movie-licensed game worth trying, but from what I've played they need to do a lot of work before the June release. Pretty much every game mechanic ranges from "ok" to bad and I don't expect these fundamental aspects to change much for the official release.

Before I discuss what I didn't like, let me first say that the game doesn't look too bad graphically and the fighting system can be fun in small doses, but that's all the positive critique I'll give this game. Fighting seems to be a big part of the game and though it may be fun at times, there isn't really that much depth and soon it starts getting very repetitive. Sprinting is also big part of the game and actually feels a lot like the way The Club played (only worse). I am actually a huge fan of The Club, but that style of play isn't really suited here and doesn't even work that well. I find the shooting to be uncomfortable and just not enjoyable.

There are also a lot of quicktime events and I have never been a fan of that specific game mechanic. So I must believe that these developers have it in for me because there are quicktime events absolutely everywhere (fighting, running, driving!?). I can understand having such events in small doses at significant moments, but this game takes it to an extreme I can't say I have ever seen before in a game. They aren't even challenging, but just extremely annoying and add nothing to the game whatsoever. The last part of the demo featured a driving level, but it's obvious that these levels are their last priority. Basically these levels control like a driving level you would find in a 007 game (just worse).

I never thought that this game would be great, but I also never thought it would be this bad. I can't find any redeeming quality in this game and now it becomes nothing more than another movie-licensed game that I don't care about. At least I can appreciate a pre-release demo so that I didn't have to wait until June to find out this game blows. The Bourne title does suit this game though; I mean, this game was born to suck my sausage!

Saturday
Apr192008

Battlefield: Bad Company (360) Impressions

*Remember that these impressions are from a beta and in no way reflect the final game, or what it will be like when it's shipped.*

I must say that the Battlefield: Bad Company beta has to be the most issue-packed beta I've ever be a part of, and I've been in quite a few. The game is filled with problems, both cosmetic and gameplay-wise. I recently starting playing some more to see how (and if) the game changed at all. The game has seemed to change in a negative way sadly.

I'll start off with the cosmetic issues I have with the game. The first is something so pathetic, something so obviously wrong that I can't believe it will ever find it's way into the final game. There is no ladder animation at all (think Shadowrun); you basically just fly up the ladder with one leg/arm raised on one side, "Up, up and away!". It may seem like a little grudge, but it is extremely distracting every time you see it happen, are we all superman here? The destruction system is impressive, but if you pay attention you'll notice that every house blows up in the same way. While much of the world is destructable, you'll soon see that most explosions are pretty much the same. The game does look rather nice, but I did experience some screen-tearing at times.

The rest of the problems are mostly tech-based, or just bad design choices. One issue I find ridiculous is the fact that you can't open a door. I know that the game is about destruction and they want to show it off, but honestly why would I blow a hole in a building when I can just as easily open a door. They may think that's cool, but I personally think it's an absolute horrible design choice. The destruction aspects of the game are a bit inconsistent as well. A grenade launcher can blow a huge hole in a wall, but a thrown grenade doesn't do a thing. I did experience one situation where a thrown grenade blew up an entire fence and house which shocked the hell out of me (though this only happened once and never again). I don't find it hard to believe that a grenade being propelled through a nade-laucher would be more powerful than a thrown grenade, but the level of difference seems to be a bit much.

I have to say that when the beta initially went up it ran smooth and I rarely ever experienced lag, but now the beta seems to be full of lag half of the time (especially with a full room). I doubt this will be much of a problem when the game ships because Modern Combat ran really smooth. Speaking of the last game; Bad Company has one of the worst issues from the previous game; no voice chat. I sometimes see a mic pop-up on screen that says someone is talking, but I never hear a thing. I even played with Major Nelson at times and either voice chat doesn't work, or he is one quiet guy. I also found that the hit-detection isn't always perfect, but is in no means horrible (just a little tweaking and it should be good).

For the most part every gripe I have with the game is definitely fixable and I don't think that EA will ship the game with all of these issues. You do have to remember that this is still a Battlefield game. So many game-play issues that plagued previous games still plague Bad Company like spawn camping and the lack of respawn invulnerability. I've always been a fan of the Battlefield series (even the console version), but if the issues aren't fixed then I will have no desire to play the retail version. I'm hopeful that these issues will get fixed, but right now I can't help but be worried.

Friday
Apr182008

Iron Man (360) Demo

For those of you who don't know, the Iron Man demo is up on XBL for your playing pleasure (note: sarcasm). I honestly never had high hopes for this game, but from what I've played in the demo... it is one janky mess.

If I had to give a brief description I would say that it plays like a prettier version of Superman Returns while actually controlling worse. The games looks alright, but it wouldn't stand out in a crowd (even a crowd of movie-liscensed games). The real issue with the game is how horrible it controls. I managed just fine due to the fact that your projectiles just automatically hit an enemy if fired in their general direction, but I can't say it's much fun. There's no enjoyment in flying around (absolutely no sense of speed) and it just gets worse on land. I really found no redeeming qualities in the demo, except the fact that it was just a demo and therefore I didn't spend any money on it.

I know a few weeks back there was an article saying that the GTAIV release may hurt ticket sales for the Iron Man movie, but I think this game will have the problem; not because of GTAIV, but because this game sucks hard from what I've played and I doubt it will be getting any better in under a month. So once again we get a crappy movie-licensed game...what a surprise!

Sunday
Mar232008

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (PS3) First Impressions


I know I'm pretty late to the party on this one, but you know...it's only on the PS3. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself, but back to business. I was really looking forward to this game; it was actually one of my most wanted games of 2007. From what I've played I have to say that the game is a mixed bag. The visuals are obviously gorgeous, but the perfect puff of smoke that follows every explosion gets a bit distracting for me. Nathan is an interesting (and human) character and his story is what keeps me coming back for more because the combat sure isn't doing it for me.

For a game that is about treasure hunting and exploration; there sure is a lot of shooting. Every time I find myself immersed in the story (or platforming), I suddenly find myself in a shootout that would feel at home in a game like Gears of War, but not in this game. I enter an area and a shootout begins; I kill a few enemies and then more magically arrive to keep the fire fight going. These scenarios don't belong in this game. I wouldn't have a problem if these fights were with a small group of men and were more tactical in nature. Instead you just find yourself shooting up countless generic enemies who are capable of taking way too much damage, not to mention that the hit detection is a bit off. If the story wasn't interesting to me I wouldn't see a reason to keep coming back because the shooting isn't doing anything for me (besides pissing me off).

It's way too early for me to truly judge this game, but from what I've heard the shooting only gets worse. As long as the story keeps me involved I will still really enjoy the game, but I can't help thinking about how amazing this game could be with a little less shooting and a little more exploration.

Friday
Mar072008

Bully: Scholarship Edition (360) First Impressions


From what I have played of Bully: Scholarship Edition for the 360, I must say that the game is still as fun and enjoyable as it was when it originally released for the PS2. I don’t have much experience with new content yet, but what I have played has been enjoyable. So out of all the new content I’ve only actually played two of the new classes and tried out the multiplayer component. The multiplayer is offline only and is simply puts you against one friend while you compete in the different class mini games. Some of them work better than others, but the lack of online play will likely mean that not many people will even try it. The new classes I got to mess around with were Biology and Music. From what I’ve played the music class is pretty simple and not really anything special, but the Biology class (which involved dissecting different species – not the human kind) is actually pretty fun and can be a bit challenging.

The other aspect I’ll talk about is how the game looks on the 360. The game does look better, specifically the lighting, but there are a few issues here and there. Some textures may not be up to par with the rest of game and there are some frame-rate issues, but nothing too drastic that I’ve experienced personally. Also I know that many people have reported the game crashing and freezing, but I have not experienced any freezing at all (though I am only about 3 hours into the game). One last note on the graphics; with better graphics comes an uglier Jimmy.

For those who have already played Bully on the PS2, I don’t really feel there is enough to warrant another purchase (unless you are an achievement whore). Though anyone who never got a chance to play Bully when it originally came out; I highly recommend you pick Bully: SE up. It has a wonderful story with great writing and fantastic voice work. The game holds up 100% and even though I’ve already played through it multiple times before, I am still having blast hanging out at Bullworth Academy.

[Insert cheesy pun here]
Bully: SE is definitely worth the enrollment!
[Thank You]

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