Posts tagged: games
I’ve just stopped playing Assassin’s Creed 2. Not because I finished it, not because I was stuck, but because I was thrown out of the deep, believable, immersive game environment like a drunk teenager being chucked out of the Madison.
AC2 began slowly. The tutorial missions went on, and on, and on, despite the fact that the controls were intuitive and often displayed on the screen anyway. The plot ambled along, revealing secrets and exposition at a glacial pace. However, this was made tolerable by the beautiful graphics, the convincing renaissance setting and the surprisingly good voice acting.
Once the training is over (maybe 2 hours later), you put your new found skills to good use, killing a high ranking politician in cold revenge, and then skipping to your uncle Mario’s house (“It’s a me! Mario!” Yeah, he really does say that. It’s brilliant.) eventually leading to adventures in new towns reached on horseback.
It’s then back to Florence, where the game began. Now a fully trained and notorious assassin, pickpocket and free-runner, you continue to seek revenge on those that murdered your father. To assist, you are told to enlist the services of the legendary ‘Fox’, or Volpe as his mam calls him. You speak, at length, with The Fox, who agrees to help but only for financial gain on his behalf.
And then the game spits you back into your bedroom.
“If you want me to help, you must beat me in a race.” he says, in his Dolmio advert Italian. What, really? A race? I’m offering you money, but you’ll only accept the money to do the job if I can spring across some rooftops quicker than you?
“Yes, and you have one minute exactly. Starting now!”
This ruined it for me. Was the business system of selling services really preceded by rooftop sprints in renaissance times? How did anybody get rich?
It completely spoiled the game for me. It’s sad that the designer’s couldn’t see this, and just remove the mission entirely. It makes an already long game 2 minutes longer. The mission immediately following it is an acrobatic sneak through some catacombs, but this horrible hat-tilt to GTA has ruined it.
I had high hopes, and was enjoying this against all expectation, but that’s it. No more Assassin’s Creed for me.
I bought Mass Effect 2 the other day. This is partly the reason the daily diary thing has ceased to be (the other partly being the lack of interesting things in my life). So it’s back to ‘I like this, but not that’ again.
And I like Mass Effect 2 (ME2). The original ME was a potentially stunning achievement, ruined by sloppy AI and a horrific comabt system. Luckily, Bioware must have taken heed of my review and sorted all of this out, and more.
ME2 comes roaring back with everything improved. The graphics, while eye-blisteringly sexy in ME, are back with an extra level of polish; some of the textures used on the alien races have to be seen to be believed. I played this on the big telly at the weekend in full pelt 1080p HD and it was sensational. The wife walked in and asked why I wasn’t playing the game any more. Literally incredible.
The story is much of the same from ME, with political intrigue, a huge universe and a set of believable characters to populate it. Gone though is the horrible Mako exploration vehicle from the first game, with players now being dumped straight in the thick of things. This improves upon the first game a lot. You’d find yourself wandering aimlessly round a barren alien world looking for a fight for anything up to 10 minutes. This is not fun.
The new missions (up to now, I’m about 6 hours in) have been about recruiting squad members. This entails busting them from prisons or stopping assassination teams from getting there first. Above all the missions are fun, and feel like they have a natural purpose about them. You genuinely feel like you want to do as the game is asking, for the sake of the game’s continuity and not just because it fills the game out a bit. It’s all killer and no filler (again, up to now).
The combat is a revelation. The original game’s cover and squad command systems have been overhauled to give a much more natural feel. Yeah, you still get the odd time a character gets stuck behind a door or whatever (very rarely) but you can tell them to move ahead, tell them to blow stuff up, or just send them to their certain deaths if the mood takes you.
It’s incredible. The almost perfect ME has been polished and polished until a perfect game remained. It’s like Gears Of War meets Final Fantasy VII in space. A must buy, as far as I’m concerned.
I know I’m late. That’s why I’m avoiding the multiplayer like the plague. I’ll start off with a shitty pop gun, and everyone else has tanks and drones and such. Well, I suppose I had no real intention of playing the multiplayer, I didn’t like it that much in COD4 anyway.
It’s the single player I’m interested in, unlike most. Can it really repeat the thrill ride of COD4? OK, it was only six hours or so, but what a six hours. I’m about halfway through the new one (I think) and I can only really remember 2 truly classic set pieces - going to Plan B in the snow level, and the breathtaking run and gun through the gulag (that’s where I’m up to). The now infamous ‘No Russian’ bit may have shocked on release day but there was no way that was being kept quiet. It just felt like a snail paced bit of plot elaboration to me.
And it commits some cardinal sins. The missions with Roach (your character) seem to include a moment where you are compromised, without fail. Be it falling rocks, ill timed helicopters or falling rubble it all stinks of artificial level lengthening. As does the horrific “I think I saw a stinger on the roof - go fetch it” bits during the Burger Time defence; why not pick the fucker up then?
Another gripe is the way enemies are set, it seems that they are just sat round waiting for you to set off an invisible trip wire, and then spring into action. I assume this is a response to the infinite spawning of enemies in COD4, but it feels far more forced, removing you from the experience.
It’s beautiful though, expertly produced with a filmic touch. The breathless bits are just that, but they fall too far apart though to create a genuinely astonishing experience. All of the presentation is faultless, voice acting, graphics, it’s such a shame that it maybe hasn’t been thought out as well as it could have been.
I keep thinking about the original Wolfenstein game when I play this. It’s just that, times a million, but not a great deal better for it. It’s just running and shooting from place to place until you find the right place to stand to finish that stage.
No doubt I’ll finish this to see what happens (I assume it sets up a now inevitable third game) but it feels like a grind already. When a six hour game is a chore, then there’s something wrong, right?
If you’re going to brake, you might as well brake late. That’s me in the Gulf R8.
I bought Forza 3 the day it came out. My reason for this was being destroyed online in Forza 2 by people who had tuned the life out of their cars, and I wanted to be in there early. And I was.
The single player game has lost my interest already. A dull procession through races that are too long (and I’m apparently only 5.6% in), hopefully the imminent arrival of the race cars will lift the tedium.
Online though, it’s a different matter entirely. It’s like an online version of the Fast and the Furious, people tuning, painting, racing their hearts out. And, despite a few bumps and tears from a 13 year old this afternoon, it’s been good clean fun. For now anyway. The main reason for this competitive, good natured approach is that Forza 3 isn’t out in the US yet. That means there’s nobody hogging the corners with a Camaro and no photorealistic Eminem cars. Thank fuck.
At the moment, after some small races with Mikey and his mate from work, I decided last night to unleash the Gulf R8 on the world at large. I finished 3rd, 3rd, 2nd and 1st in the 4 races last night. Today I scored a 3rd, and in the tightest finish yet (a mere 0.05 of a second) a 2nd. Video of my incredible dive for the first corner at Catalunya coming soon. All of the races have been competitive, and most of the shunts have been through lack of concentration (I think).
It’s a stunning game. The way it makes you concentrate on getting that extra half a second out of a lap is amazing, and it’s simulated such that you get the impression of feeling the ‘edge’, if you catch my drift (a-ha-ha-ha!).
So, if you’re interested, I’m PeteTong79, and the Gulf R8 is yet to finish outside the podium positions. Bring it on.
A car I bought on the Xbox, for invisible money, purely for the purpose of winding Mikey up. Forza is a sensational piece of software.
Of course, in the end, it was a toss up between GH 5 and Beatles Rock Band. I kind of knew that Mike would want to ‘be’ Ringo, so decided that I would rather ‘be’ Jon Bon fucking Jovi. I was not to be disappointed.
GH5 is massive. OK, so you’ll only actually like maybe 20 of the 85 songs, but while they last those 20 are stunningly executed, giving the feeling of a real guitar like no other. You genuinely fell connected with the music, very rarely does it dump you outside of it’s atmosphere, revealing itself to be a videogame.
The problem is that GH5 appeals to maybe too broad an audience. I can’t imagine that people who like Blur/Kaiser Chiefs/Arctic Monkeys would like death metal, prog rock acts such as Rush or the grand funk of, er, Grand Funk Railroad. You seem to stick to a few tracks, where the Beatles title can obviously be more focused (if you like the Beatles then you like all the songs).
While they last though, the few songs you love are sensational. Surprise contender for best effort is Bon fucking Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name”, which even includes a pause to allow you to clap above your head, as they do on screen.
I love it, I really do, but I can already see the short lifespan. Hopefully, the DLC will allow the game to be filled out more specifically with songs you like. Some classic Oasis or White Stripes would go down a treat with me. Definitely a recommended purchase.