Monday, August 13, 2012

Some Games I've Played Recently

I normally don't like to review a videogame until I've actually beaten it, but I've come to the conclusion that I'll probably never beat another videogame again. The days are too short, I have too much to do, and games just keep getting longer and more complicated. Anyway, here are my brief opinions on some games I've played recently (and by "recently" I mean sometime within 2012):

If this game was fun, it'd probably be the best game ever. As it is, Skyrim is playable, interesting, and kind of addicting, but I dunno if I ever really experienced what I would call "fun" while I was playing it. To begin with, the controls and point of view are just wonky and never felt right. It's a first person RPG, but the field of view was so limited that I kept losing sight of the enemies, and the depth perception was weird so blocking and swinging with my weapon felt random. Most battles just turned into button-mashing-madness. There's also a third person perspective, but it's even worse and makes the game completely unplayable.

The graphics are wonderful, but honestly the environments all tended to look alike. One snow-covered castle in the mountains looked like every other snow-covered castle in the mountains. There were a few exceptions, however, where the game's locations were absolutely stunning. The characters and enemies also looked great and were animated well, but, again, they all kind of looked alike. But all complaints aside, this is a huge, epic, gorgeous game that looks pretty fantastic.

About the story I can't say much, not only because I don't want to spoil any of it, but because it's incomprehensible. I got pretty far and I do intend to finish this one, but I still have no idea what is going on, what the main plot is, or why I should really care. And just to be clear, I love fantasy novels and films and have read countless entries in the genre. This story just wasn't all that well written, so most of the dialogue sequences were boring and hard to follow, and I was never really able to understand the main conflicts going on in the game world.

But... it's a neat game and worth checking out if only because there's so much to do and so many things to see. And you get to fight lots of dragons. I say... rent it from Redbox.

First person shooter by id, the company who basically invented the genre, for whatever that's worth. This was another game that wasn't really embraced by the critics or gamers, but I thought it was pretty cool. It has probably the best graphics I've ever seen (no joke) and the gameplay (mostly shooting and driving) is solid and a lot of fun.

I don't have much to say about this one, other than that it's a pretty fun first person shooter. Check out the demo, or just buy it. I bet you can find it for ten bucks like I did. 

Blood Stone: 007
I actually beat this game!

This game took a beating from the critics, but I don't know why because it's actually pretty awesome. I think I remember them saying it's too short and too derivative of similar games like Splinter Cell: Conviction, and I can't really argue with those claims, even if what they consider faults I consider pluses. I like games that other people consider "too short" because those are the only ones I have a chance of beating. And Splinter Cell: Conviction is one of my all time favorite 360 games, so a rip-off of that game with James Bond instead of Sam Fisher is ok with me.

Anyway, this is a third person action game (with the occasional driving stage) set in an original James Bond story, complete with its own theme song, villain, and incomprehensible story. If you like James Bond and action games, give this one a try. I like it a lot, and I still log into the multiplayer every now and again, even though I'm awful.

The action is great, the story is clever, and the voice acting by Daniel Craig is fantastic. I even liked the driving stages, which a lot of critics complained about for some reason. 

The Witcher 2

Solid, fun RPG with great graphics, great gameplay, and very cool story. This is way more fun and interesting than Skyrim, but it is more linear and straight forward. There's very little exploration or crafting or the like, but the fighting is better and the story is way better written.

Check it out if you like action RPGs.
Mass Effect 3
I loved the original Mass Effect and thought it was one of the coolest games I've ever played (you can read my review here), but I merely tolerated Mass Effect 2 (you can read my review of that here). The first game was an awesome action game with a brilliant sci-fi storyline, while the second was just a rehash with slightly better control. I figured I'd skip the third game, but then I played through the demo and it was amazing. So I caved in and bought it. And Mass Effect 3 is pretty amazing too.

Sure, it's just like the first two games, but while the second game's story was lackluster and boring, this one is pretty epic and the gameplay is a lot of fun. The graphics are better, the controls finally feel right and live up to the promise of the first game's premise, and the story is awesome. I've heard a lot of people complaining about the ending, but I can't comment on that because I haven't beaten it, and at the rate I'm going, maybe I never will. But I'd like to.

Oh, and don't even think about playing this game unless you have already played the first game. Feel free ti skip the second, however, since it served no purpose and added very little to the overall storyline all things considered.

Great game.

L.A. Noire
Here's the concept for this game: What if you played a game just like Grand Theft Auto only you were a cop instead of a crook? And what if instead of it being really fun and exciting, it was instead incredibly tedious and boring?

All things considered, a police procedural game set during the L.A. of the 1950s is a pretty interesting premise full of possibilities, and searching the crime scene for clues, questioning witnesses, and interrogating suspects is actually a lot of fun. This game fails as a game, however, because there's just no variety, the gameplay is severely limited by the rules you have to follow as a police officer, and the whole story is so poorly written and conceived. Seriously, this game has one of the most profoundly stupid stories I've ever seen in a videogame, and once you make it toward the end you'll give up like I did because you just won't even care anymore.

However... it is fun for the first half or so, and the graphics and concept are really fantastic. Pick it up if you find it for under ten bucks maybe.


mugato said...

That LA Noire is such a good idea, I'm dissapointed that it stinks.

Here's an idea for a game ... The Odd Couple. That's all i got.

Donald said...

Mario and Wario sharing an apartment together?

Donald said...

"EEsa' not a goomba, Wario. Eesa'koopa!"

"And now eesa' Garbage!"

ZPenn said...

Well, I really really really liked Skyrim, but I can see why it's definitely not for everyone. It's one of those games that you will love if you are into that kind of thing, and hate if you are anybody else. I haven't played most of the other games on your list though, so I couldn't say how I feel about them.

Justin Garrett Blum said...

I'm like you--I'm at a point in my life where I've got time for about one game. I guess that's why I like MMORPGs--because you don't ever beat them, really, so you don't have to worry about whether or not you're going to get to the end and justify your purchase. You can just clock in a couple of hours every few days, make a little progress, and be satisfied.

These games all sound pretty neat, though. I really would like to play those Mass Effect games some day, because I've heard almost nothing but good things about them.

Also, as Mugato said, L.A. Noire sounds like it should be awesome, but I can believe it sucks. Too bad.

Donald said...

The problem with L.A. Noire is that they had this great concept but they ruined it by thinking they had to tie to all together in one, main storyline, so just about every crime you investigate over the course of your career turns out to be perpetrated by the same arch villain. It's just dumb.

And it also doesn't help that the gameplay gets repetitive real fast. But it's worth playing.