Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Gaming Season 2010

Almost too many...
For once in 2010, there are so many games out now or will be coming out soon that I don't have enough time to actually give them all a fair amount of play at once. It's frustrating not being able to play a newly acquired stack of games, but at the same time, it's glorious. I've spent so much money but it's damn-well gonna last me awhile. And these aren't just games to breeze through either. My to-do list includes:

  • Borderlands GOTY Edition
  • Fallout: New Vegas
  • Fable III
  • Kinect as of Nov. 4th. (tinkering with what it can do and so on)
In all honesty, with the exception of the Kinect (which I can mess with casually while drinking), none of the above are quick games. I'll be spending LOTS of hours playing them. There's even more games to add to that list coming out after January. Gaming season really has hit - and it's freakin awesome!

Do and Don't
DO play the game Enslaved. It was most certainly worth your time. Great story and possibly the best voice acting that a game has had in a LONG time. My only issue was that it was too easy - the platforming setup held your hand most of the way. If you're a stickler for good stories but don't care so much about technicalities, give Enslaved: Odyssey to the West a run. Please.

DON'T even bother looking at Quantum Theory. It's an incomprehensible, garbled mess of a third person shooter. It tries so hard to be a Gears clone but it comes nowhere close. The story and characters are crappy and uninteresting. The controls and combat are so broken and clunky, I was struggling to even finish the game. There's a multiplayer, but it's non-existent. I waited 30 minutes in a lobby for a match and not a single living soul was online, even after trying to just search for quick matches. Such a shame, since half of the game's achievements are based on multiplayer. The other majority of achievements are all "beat the game on the hardest difficulty", which is bullshit because even Normal mode was difficult, though it might be due in-part to the games clunky-as-shit controls. 170 points for a Normal playthrough to the end for a terrible game not even worth a rent. I wouldn't give Quantum Theory to anyone - even as a joke.

/* Q hates to quit games in the middle of a playthrough, even if it's absolute garbage */

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

More on the matter...

What great timing. I wrote my so-called review of Halo: Reach yesterday, and today Yahtzee reviews it himself in a much better (and more negative way) than I. Visual comedy.

And on a different topic, so much for anticipating Two Worlds II... looks like I'll be waiting til January.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Halo and Stuff

I was driving home from class today and on KMNR (college radio that I'm a part of) I heard a fellow DJ playing the textbook Halo theme on-air. This reminded me that I promised myself and maybe a few others who couldn't care less about my opinion that I'd write somewhat of a review of Halo: Reach, the newest title in the Halo series and last one ever handled by Bungie before their breakaway from Microsoft. So, yes... I played it. Brace for long discussion.

These guys have cooler armor than the fanboy fave Master Chief
A little bit of background first. Before playing Reach, I had only played the first 2 Halo games. I didn't touch 3 , ODST, or Halo: Wars. This was mainly because I felt like after a while they were just milking the Halo name for all that it was worth while fanboys proclaimed Halo to be the greatest game in existence ever. I didn't buy that shit and felt that Halo was only popular because it was the first semi-decent FPS on a console. PC shooters had it beat with titles like Unreal Tournament and Quake III Arena. Halo was beta-trash gameplay wise in my eyes. So I went into this playthrough of Halo: Reach not expecting much different. It was Halo with updated graphics and different characters. So let me start off on a good note...

Reach was, out of any Halo game I'd played, the best one. Was it absolutely jaw-dropping and balls-to-the-wall amazing? Nah. Was it fun to play through casually? Yeah, I'd say so. It *almost* made me do a double take and play through Halo 3 and ODST to see what I'd missed as far as the culture goes, but I didn't, and won't do so. Reach kind of gave me a little glimmer of hope for Bungie. They actually managed to make their last game good and go out with a bang - sortof.

I started this post off with a mention of the music - Halo's main theme - the one you've all played on Guitar Hero or Cock Band, or whatever. In my opinion, that's where Halo shines. It's music is catchy and elevating, and gets you into the game. Even the main title screen (although it was a different theme) was good. Music score +1. We need more games with music like Halo.  However, there were some parts in the game that music could have been utilized better, or more often, because I often found myself just trotting around as Noble 6 without even so much as background noise - filler music - nothing. It was either all on or dead quiet sometimes. I like background music, even if it's just ambient piano or something.

The gameplay mechanics haven't changed much for Halo. You run around, you jump ridiculously high, you unload at aliens, the works. I won't tell you how the cookie cutter FPS formula works. You can customize your armor, which is nice if you really want to make your Spartan look like a black wall of death with a gun, or a pansy with pink unicorn armor, but the armor you can unlock by earning credits through both single and online play don't really do anything for you other than change how you look. Why not? If I unlocked SuperBadassHelmetOfSex, I'd want it to automatically headbutt anyone who wasn't wearing said helmet's skulls into gewey mush. Or at least a shield upgrade... whatever. And why do I get to wear all this badass looking armor, while the supposed hero of the Halo series, Master Chief, has just relatively plain looking (in comparision) green armor?

The story was much more interesting than the other games I'd played, where instead of "Chief, go here, do this, save world", it was more of a team focus. Bungie tried to give you a team to communicate with and relate to, which is nice, but they don't really make me feel so attached, since you know how the game ends right when you start. Reach is a lost planet - Noble team loses. The simple fact of knowing you lost before it even begins is kind of cool. However, I think Bungie kind of broke the story, or at least bent their own rules by the end of the game, pretty much ruining the whole "Master Chief is the last surviving Spartan" thing that they'd been running with since the original game. No, you don't live (after-credits playable scene was cool), but they allude that someone else does. Someone not the chief. When I finished the campaign, I was glad I gave it a chance, but not completely awestruck. I wasn't disappointed - I had fun. And that's what games are for.

I have to bitch about the graphics. They don't seem to have come too far since the original Halo. The environments and everything in the distance looks nice, but for some reason the character models and anything in your immediate view still look dated and clay-ish. Also, I really could not stand the forced motion blur every time something in my field of view moved - at least give me the option to turn off motion blur rather than making me get used to it (which I did, but still... ).

Oh, the multiplayer? Yeah, I played a little bit of it in my brief rental of the game. It was Halo, complete with screaming 12-year-olds and teabagging and really only interested me when I was drunk. I liked the firefight mode though. I still don't understand why people think the multi-player on Halo is so orgasmically great compared to any other FPS.

I'm not gonna give this a score. But do I think it deserves the 9.5/10 or 10's that it's been getting overall? No, I don't think it's that close to perfection. But it was enough fun that I'll probably buy it when it's on the used rack for like $30 or somethin, since it was better than the other Halo titles... Take that as you will.