Saturday, January 3, 2009

Some Game Reviews

Here's my thoughts on some recent games I've been playing.

Red Alert 3: 3/5 stars

Ok, so I obtained this... it's ok. Not the sort of amazing experience like Company of Heroes or Sins of a Solar Empire. It feels just as wacky as the other Red Alerts, the movie cinematics are definitely the strongest selling point for this game. I couldn't help but feel very cramped and claustrophobic with the camera, I kept trying to scroll my mouse so it would zoom out, but no dice. That's kinda a personal preference though, so you guys might not mind.

The other thing that I noticed is that this game seems to have very hard counters. For example, you might be used to say, Company of Heroes where you can use a tank and pretty much throw it at the enemy without much worry. However in RA3, if you use the wrong unit against an enemy unit, you're gonna get your ass waxed very quickly. Something that's compounded by the fact that there isn't much real estate to work with on the maps. I found the units very big and hard to manuever around all the buildings sometimes. This only compounded the feeling of being cramped.

The co-op feature in single player isn't very interesting, you just get an AI teammate that has his own base and units following you around and helping a little. Nothing ground breaking.

For me, it's an average RTS. RA fans will like it, but the gameplay really isn't as fun as the cinematics, they're the best part of the game.

Far Cry 2: 4/5 stars

No prone option, seems pretty weird. Crysis had a prone position, and that game had you as an elite Delta Force guy in an uber nanosuit with a magical armor shield, as opposed to being a malaria patient wearing a hawaiian shirt.

This game runs fucking awesome. I have to turn everything to Low to make Crysis playable, whereas here I can run pretty much everything on medium with 2x AA with silky smooth framerates. Definitely impressed, and while it doesn't quite look as amazing as Crysis, it's still pretty good. Think COD4 quality, or a notch above. Of course, COD4 didn't portray 50 square miles of terrain.

I was kinda disappointed by the weapon selection, just judging by the upgrade menu. Hopefully more guns'll get added to the list throughout the campaign, otherwise the selection isn't very impressive at all.

Another thing I noticed is that to use the weapon sights, you have to hold down the right mouse button, it doesn't work as a toggle like in other games. A little miffed by that at first, but you do get used to it. Not a gamebreaker.

Does anyone else feel the mouse sensitivity for the game menus is way too low? Just a minor nitpick of mine.

So far, it seems pretty easy, and I'm playing it on Hardcore. Maybe this is why they didn't feel a prone position was necessary? A bullet will take from 10-15% of my health. Hardly a Tom Clancy feel, so don't expect that. Infamous is another notch above, so you'll maybe want to try that for a bigger challenge. *shrug*

I've already talked about the weapon selection, but here's a bit more detail. There's 4 weapon slots, one for your machete, one for a primary weapon, one for a secondary weapon, and one for a special weapon. A primary weapon counts as shotguns, rifles, sniper rifles, and a grenade launcher. A secondary weapon counts as pistols, or machine pistols. A special weapon would be a machine gun, rocket launcher, or flame thrower. This seems alright, but is actually quite problematic with its restrictions. Because of the slots, no sane player will ever use a shotgun, since it counts as a primary and thus would take over the slot for rifles or sniper rifles, which are far more useful on the wide open African savannah. This is in contrast with Crysis, in which the best combo was often a sniper rifle coupled with a shotgun. In FC2, this combo is impossible, and thus the grenade launcher and shotguns must be neglected, which is a shame. Speaking of the lack of variety compared to a Rainbow Six game, there're only 3 shotguns, 3 assault rifles, a submachine gun, a grenade launcher, and 3 sniper rifles to choose from for the primary slot.

Another annoyance is the fact that throughout the landscape are various checkpoints manned by enemies. Clearing these checkpoints are pretty easy, but the problem is that they are quickly remanned as soon as you leave the area. With all the various traveling you must do in the game, it quickly becomes tedious reclearing the same checkpoints over and over again.

So far, I've been having fun sniping everything in sight. Though many tempting sniping spots are unfortunately out of reach due to the terrain being too steep to climb.

Oh yea... I did notice something really cool while playing earlier today. I'd sniped some guy in the chest but it wasn't a fatal shot so he staggered and fell down. A little later he got up to a crouch and a second enemy ran over and gave him a piggyback ride. No, I'm not kidding. Just thought that was pretty damn awesome.

Sins of a Solar Empire: 5/5 stars

This game kicks ass. It's pretty much a combination of Homeworld 2 and any regular 4X space empire game. You could also see it as a space version of Supreme Commander, it's goddamn epic. Like, battles with fleets of over 200 ships.

Plus, there's absolutely no DRM, if you know what I mean.

While I describe it as Supreme Commander in Space, Sins has a much better UI. Supreme Commander wasn't all that great IMO because the pacing was slow as hell and you had to individually upgrade all the tiny little resource poiints which really got annoying. You also do a lot of teching in Sins but it's all very easy and intuitive, without feeling like a chore.

The only thing this game lacks is a singleplayer campaign with a storyline, but the open sandbox levels do an adequate job.

Crysis Warhead: 4/5 stars

It's really fun, but pretty short. Overall, this game is more of an expansion pack then a sequel so don't expect too much.

My favorite loadout was the gauss rifle/shotgun. Perfect for sniping at long range and then ambushing from cloak mode with the shottie. But when I didn't have the ammo, I'd use the precision rifle/FY-17.

The minigun APC is insanely fun, as long as you stay at long range and shower your targets with the minigun. It's really inaccurate but so damn powerful it doesn't matter.

My only complaint is that the normal Korean soldiers can take insane amounts of damage. I mean, the elite nanosuit guys are durable, that's fine... but even the regular cannon fodder guys need multiple shots for some reason.

Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare: 3/5 stars

This game actually blows ass. I tried it on the hardest difficulty setting and it wasn't bad, until I got to the TV station. WTF? Infinite respawning enemies, who spam grenades at you every 5 seconds. Why should I try and play it realistically when you give me no cover system and infinite enemies magically coming out of a door. Fuck you Infinity Ward and the half-track you rode in on.

I changed it to normal difficulty and now I can play it without getting the urge to punch my monitor.

And for a game that's supposed to be about modern warfare, there's no rate of fire selector or any ability to customize your weapon accessories. Crysis had those, and that's a game with fucking giant robot squids.

So yea, I'm not sure why everyone called it the best game ever. The presentation looks nice at first, but there's a lot that's fucking retarded, and you'd think they'd have fixed their shit since this is the FOURTH fucking game in the series.

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