Obscured View

A few chosen words on the world of video games

Archive for December, 2009

Recent Playlist

I’ve been derelict in my self-appointed duty to talk about games I’ve been playing lately.  This is a good thing however, as there’s a lot of exciting stuff going on at Jet Set, leaving me little time to write about games.

Of course, I’m still playing games.  Here’s a rundown of the recently finished games and a brief thought on each.

Ghostbusters

A fun game that nicely captures the spirit of the first two films and manages to tie a lot of the lore together in an interesting way.  I wish they’d stayed more mundane with some of the environments, as that was always the fun of Ghostbusters — the real mundane world mixed with the supernatural.  Once the game shifts into almost completely supernatural territory, it loses something (i.e. part of the charm).  Getting the original cast and music back went a long way towards making this a fun ride.

Dragon Age: Origins

DA is kinda fun in spite of itself.  I posted that on Facebook and got some good responses.  Here’s the best one from a friend of mine:

I really enjoyed some of the story telling, as simple as it was, it got to me a few times. The combat mechanics, pacing, itemization, etc. (anything that has anything to do with “game”) was a pretty big fail for me.

That’s dead-on.

I’ll only add that the being covered in blood from head to toe while having a nice polite chat with a king is fairly hilarious.  No one ever says “OH MY GOD YOU’RE COVERED IN BLOOD!” or even skips a beat.  People in fantasy times were just so polite.  Maybe they assume I just cut myself shaving?

Modern Warfare 2

Fun in parts, frustrating in others.  Great visuals with a story that just gets more and more out there as the game goes on.  Some interesting set pieces, and other not interesting ones.  The terrorist sequence was pointless by the end, especially when you think of the absurdity of events that happen because of it.

Without “clown-car spawning” that IW used to rely on, their design falters on some of the levels, making them throw cheap-shot enemies at you instead.  As far as solo-player goes, MW1 is a much better experience from beginning to end.

Fable 2

A “game” that gives you lots of choice that doesn’t impact the game’s story at all, except for one at the very end which kills the game if you make the wrong choice.  Hint: Choose Love.  Since Populous, Peter’s games have always been more of a simulation than an actual game, and this one leans in that direction.  There’s aspects of this game that are fun, but they never go past the level of moderate into full-blown epic.  There’s no bosses to fight, 8 enemy types total, a horribly implemented co-op mode, and a spell casting system that leaves a lot to be desired.

And if you happened to make the wrong choice at the end like I did, you can pay an additional $10 via DLC to remedy the problem.  Not.  Having the only real moral choice in the game be one that breaks any further play without paying more money is a horrible design decision.

Dead Space : Extraction

A great little shooter that’s good for about 5 to 6 hours of co-op play.  Puts you right back in the Dead Space universe without missing a beat.  Strong voice acting helps a lot.  The secondary weapon modes are useless except for a few puzzle sequences.  I wonder why they included them at all, really.

House of the Dead : Overkill

Remember when GTAIII came out, and suddenly there was this push of “extreme” games that were raunchy, foul-mouthed, and just downright bad?  Overkill goes back to that well… but it doesn’t drink so deeply that the game is bad.  Actually for a shooter on rails, it’s rather fun.  The team nailed the grindhouse atmosphere.  The story makes sense in a funky grindhouse kinda way, and gets more and more outrageous as it goes on.  Once you realize what the final boss is doing to spawn its minions, your jaw kinda drops.  No, really.

The director mode, which makes the levels longer by adding new sequences and tripling the number of enemies is the way to play.  IMO, this mode should have been the default.  The game is only about 4 hours long in non-director mode, and you’ll likely get through the entire thing without ever dying.  Director mode is much more challenging.

Zombie Island of Dr. Ned (Borderlands DLC)

Enjoyable, especially at mid-high levels when the creatures are tougher than you are.  I’m mixed on the next DLC release, so I’ll wait for reviews before picking that one up.  For the $10 Ned was a worthy purchase for a few nights of co-op with the wife.  Man, that sounds dirty.

Undead T.K. rules!

Upcoming

Currently on my gamefly queue, it’s Assassin’s Creed II, Saboteur, and Army of Two (for co-op!).  Gamefly tends to send you completely random games, ignoring your queue order, so I’m curious if I get any of those or something that’s like #18 on my list.

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