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The past couple of weeks I've played a couple of really short games so it doesn't seem 5 minutes since I did my last blog.
Hot off the back of F.E.A.R. 2 I went straight into F.E.A.R. 3 which was more of the same with a less interesting storyline. Having not played the original I felt like I'd missed out on part of the story which I didn't get with the second game. The story of this instalment didn't really kick into any sort of gear until the final third of the game. The first few missions seemed to be there for the sake of being there.
Most of the things I said about F.E.A.R. 2 in my last blog are still relevant here as nothing much has changed. The graphics are pretty average but serve their purpose. Everything does seem a bit blocky but there aren't any obvious glitches. Everything in the game is just solid and dependable which is fine although won't ever win a game of the year award.
The shooting again is pretty good with the weapons feeling different from each other and satisfying to use. Bullets hit with decent impact and explosions are ok but not overly impressive. Again though the weapons are pretty generic and serve their purpose but it's not the kind of game where you're excited to see a new weapon as none are overly exciting to use.
The one great thing I noticed whilst playing is the way the enemies move and flank you. Even on the easier difficulty settings they never stay in the same place long and you can soon feel surrounded before you realise. It makes you react quickly to a new fire fight to make sure you keep on top of the enemies. They also talk to each other pretty realistically. They are audibly scared and let each other know the current status of their squad. If nothing else that's the one thing I'll take away from the game.
I didn't really experiment with playing the game as Fettel. It looks like it's a different way to play but I didn't fancy playing through it again. Once was more than enough! Although the game was no worse than the last one, I did mark it down from F.E.A.R. 2 just because it doesn't build on it. A sequel that's not visibly and technically better than its predecessor isn't good enough in my eyes. It's a steady enough game though so it still gets a 7.0.
After F.E.A.R. 3 I decided that I needed a slight break from shooters so I went for something completely different and played Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse.
Although being completely different as hoped, it still turned out to be a shooter at heart. I'd expected it to be more of a platformer but that wasn't to be. Thankfully the shooting was surprisingly satisfying. Head shots with Brian's pistol were really enjoyable and the way the enemies died from them really felt good! The weapons whilst being pretty varied were nothing out of the ordinary for the most part. Stewie's weapons were just sci-fi versions of normal weapons and apart from using him to get the achievement for 500 kills I used Brian for most of the game. There are a lot of weapons to choose from but I found a lot of them to be inefficient at taking down enemies so I resorted to just using the shotgun for the majority of the levels. The power ups ranged from funny to practical but for the most part they weren't necessary more like interesting distractions. Seeing the giant chicken do his thing was ace!
The game isn't very long and I think I completed it in less than 5 hours. I'm not a big fan of collectables but that would've added a couple of additional hours to its length. I probably should've made the effort to collect them as I don't think it would've been a difficult task. Nothing in the game is very hard apart from one or two annoying sections. I didn't die very often and if I did it was mostly my own fault due to a mistimed jumped or not being very tactical and just running out of cover to take down an overwhelming number of enemies. The game deals with death like it's no biggie as each area of a level isn't very big so you don't have to redo very much. Enemy health stays as it was before you died and all you lose is a bit of cash. After I'd bought all the attribute upgrades I didn't really have a need for cash so death was inconsequential after that.
The graphics were almost spot on in matching the TV show as it is now. It's bright and colourful and the range of environments provided a good mix of level types to keeps the game from getting stale. The story was exactly what the game needed to keep things interesting and it was actually pretty funny. Not since The Simpsons have I played something that's attempted to be funny and achieved its aim. Some games are unintentionally funny and some games fall flat so I'm glad Family Guy managed it. Like most games of this type that throw out one liners during game play they were often reused so you'd hear the same things multiple times over the course of a level. It's not a major problem but does make you remember you're playing a game. The levels aren't that long so I'd have thought they could've put a couple of other one liners in there to stop them recycling some of them. Luckily there are many times when other familiar characters make an appearance and mix up the humour.
Family Guy has been a nice detour from the onslaught on 'normal' shooters I've played recently and was genuinely funny so for that I'm glad I played it. I've only given it a 7.0 as it's not long enough and the gameplay isn't strong enough to warrant anything more. For achievement hunters I'd definitely recommend it as it's an easy 1000G. I got 695G for no effort whatsoever. I'd also say fans of the show should give it a go as it's a pretty true game adaptation of the series.
I'm going to get round to some better games I think for the next few games. Next up is Dishonored and then either Dead Space 3 or Batman Arkham City. I've also got Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer which has super easy achievements which I'll fit it when I want something simple.
I didn't think I'd be writing a lot about Crysis 2 as after a couple of hours I was so bored of it I was ready to give up on it. It was really boring and seemed like another generic warfare shooter which I've now played a million times over. I went and read a couple of reviews and they seemed to suggest the game got better a few hours in. I decided to stick with it and it definitely rewarded me for my patience. By the time I hit the last third of the game I couldn't wait to play the next level and then the one after that.
The main difference between the early part of the game and later on is the introduction of the aliens as an enemy. Too much of the early game is spent shooting soldiers which are incredibly dull and very similar to COD which I'm also bored playing. Luckily once the aliens make an appearance and require different tactics to dispatch them the game takes a turn for the better. By this point I'd gotten used to the shooting mechanics and it was getting easier to kill enemies and a lot more satisfying. The aliens also died a lot more interestingly and seeing them fall was a lot more rewarding than the soldiers.
The guns in the game had some variety although as with all army type shooters there are only so many conventional weapon types to play with. There are a couple of alternatives to the mainstream weapons which I didn't have much hands on time with but they offered a decent break from the norm. Whilst the game did a good job of chaperoning your weapon choices, it left you to your own devices to take on enemies however you pleased.
The story started like the rest of the game by not drawing me in but over time I learned what the story was trying to portray and what the game was leading towards and I took a liking to it. I did think that early on there were a few cut-scenes that went on way too long without telling you any interesting but I just kept myself busy during those moments.
The graphics, whilst impressive, have definitely been outdone in the years since this game came out. I understand it's a beast of a game on PC but has clearly been pared down for console. Whilst looking great it didn't particularly blow me away like Rage did. I'd be interested to see how Crysis 3 looks on console but I haven't had the chance to check it out yet.
The last thing worth mentioning is the main break away feature that sets it apart from other military shooters and that the nano suit powers. I'll admit it wasn't until late in the game that I realised the true potential that the powers had to offer. I definitely prefer a sprint ability where I can visibly see how much I have 'left' as I often get annoyed that I run out of sprint in say the middle of a battlefield. The armour ability was my least used feature but it definitely came in handy when I was low on health. It came in very handy for staying alive in the heat of battle! Last and definitely not the least is the cloak ability which got me through the end of the game very nicely. The sheer amount of enemies pacing around would've taken a long time to get through all of them!
I would've given the first few hours of the game a 6.5 but the second half saved it so much I gave it an 8.0. Thankfully it ended on a high rather than a negative otherwise I might've forgotten how good the game was at its peak.
My other game since my last blog was F.E.A.R 2 which was in no way as scary as I was expecting it to be. It's scary how incredibly generic a shooter it is and I think it could win an award for being the most average shooter on 360. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it though. The one thing that saved this game was pretty decent shooting mechanics. Shots felt fairly satisfying and it took the right amount of bullets to take down an enemy which some games always seem to get wrong.
From what I understand from what I've read and comments other people have made, the original F.E.A.R was far superior to this sequel. The Alma story didn't really seem to be that interesting and it was the type of game where I just enjoyed it for the actual gameplay. Cut scenes were pretty much non-existent which was a saving grace as I was just able to blitz through it.
The graphics are very under par for even a game made 4 years ago. I'm not overly fussed about cutting edge graphics so this didn't bother me. Enemies were easy to make out which is all you really need for a shooter. I think that the game did a good job of mixing up the environments although none were particularly inventive and have all been done better in other games.
There's not a lot else to say about this game. It didn't blow me away but served a purpose and not once was I frustrated by the gameplay or annoyed about getting stuck. For me that's more of a benefit to a game than looking good or having an interesting story. I often play great games that I get so angry with for getting stuck for no apparent reason so I'd definitely recommend this for anyone looking for a shooter to play with ease. It's like the gaming equivalent of watching a soap or sitcom in that they don't require any taxing brain activities but they can easily get you hooked and enjoying for hours. I gave the game a 7.5 which is an average score for an average game.
I couldn't decide what to play next so I took the easy option and opted for F.E.A.R 3.
After two disappointing games in my last blog this one should be much more positive! Having enjoyed both of the original games I'd got high hopes for both of the following games and they've entertained me no end.
First up - The Darkness II. The original game was one that took my by complete surprise with its excellent mix of gunplay and close quarter combat with the demon arms. The sequel follows on indirectly from the first game but with a major graphical shift to a completely different look. I was a tad dubious about this but after playing the game for 10 minutes all my fears were put aside as the new look is brilliant. I haven't played many games with this graphic style so it was a much needed change for me after the previous few games I've played. The game is generally pretty colourful and apart from the odd 'brown/grey' indoor scene, the colours are pretty bold and make for a lively game world.
I decided to play the Hitlist and Vendetta missions before the main campaign. I'd had a look at the achievements and these are contained to 250 fairly easy points so thought I'd get my head round the game doing this before getting into the main game with more varied achievements. I think this was my first mistake on this game. The Hitlist missions are not very good and are really just made up of the 'clear this area of bad guys' type which were pretty dull. As a first impression of the game I got bored quickly. Luckily there aren't that many of them so was able to move onto the Vendettas campaign fairly quickly. The four characters have wildly differing abilities and that's where I made my second and last mistake. I picked the guy with the sword and about halfway through the game just got a bit too hard to continue with this character. I decided to take the plunge and restart with Shoshanna and her insanely powerful shotgun that made light work of most enemies. Whilst the story was inconsequential in this mode, there was plenty of enjoyment to be had.
I'd already spent more time on the game than I'd thought I would. I was expecting a 6-7 hour campaign so was surprised there are almost two games in one. By this point I was really hoping the main campaign would impress me even more and I wasn't let down by it. It even starts great with the cut scene explaining what happened on the previous game which was scripted and acted really well. It's been a few years since I played the original so didn't go in with any major expectations which I think made it better to be surprised all over again by its quality.
It took me a while to get into the story but by the end I was totally engrossed in it. I actually questioned a number of times which is the actual reality - Jackie as a psych patient or Jackie with the darkness powers. Although the game is obviously leading you down the darkness route, it really doesn't let on which is the truth. It's not even a particularly new story mechanic but it was just done so well that it's now one of my favourite game storylines from recent memory.
The gameplay itself played second fiddle to the story which for me is a complete turnaround from most games. The guns are pretty standard fare and don't offer anything new you can't find elsewhere. They are useful for the entire game so I'm pleased you get the option to play using just guns if you want, or you can turn to the darkness in an hour of need. The one thing of note for me regarding the demon arms is the way it offers a different take on health. I'm pretty tired of the regenerative health format we see in almost all games now. It doesn't add much of a sense of urgency to dispatch enemies and gone is the desperate struggle to get to the next health pack. This game offers a happy medium in that it your health regenerates to a degree but you need to harvest the hearts of downed enemies to gain health more quickly. This is a great change to the current gaming standard and means that hiding behind a wall no longer resets you back to full health which has never made much sense to me. Games these days actively want you to slow the pace down by taking the time out to regain health whereas The Darkness keeps up a fairly frantic pace throughout.
I've given the game an 8.5 which is a happy medium for me as it's pretty linear but just how I like it. In hindsight I think I could even bump it up to a 9.0 but for the few moments of annoying with the secondary missions I think an 8.5 is about right.
After The Darkness I knew I was in for another great gaming experience with Dead Space 2. It had a lot to live up to with the original being one of, if not my favourite game of the 360 era.
It's been a good few years since I played the original but I still remember it fondly so I was able to come into this one fairly freshly. The sequel seemed to be pretty similar to the original but for me that's not a bad thing. Everything about the game was brilliant and I can't fault it in the slightest. I actually think I've been a bit harsh only giving it 9.0 but that feels about right.
Starting with the game play, it picked up pretty much where the original did similar enemies, similar weapons, and a similar albeit it a more progressed storyline. The story in this was pretty good with the visions Isaac kept having and also with woman he comes across in the 'real' world. It didn't detract from the gameplay but I never wanted to skip a cut scene (not that you could?) which is always a good sign.
The visuals were pretty standard for a second generation game in a series and although nothing was outstanding, the dismembering has always been done well, both visually and mechanically. The locations weren't anything out of the ordinary but the space sections were done well. Getting to fly around in the suit was a welcome break from the gloomy corridors and generally dark interiors. The darkness was fine for most of the game but at some points it just got so dark I couldn't really see what was going on.
The range of enemies from memory didn't evolve much from the first game. I don't remember the weird bomb babies but they were definitely creepy! Was one short on the achievement for them so that was a tad annoying. The range of weapons seemed pretty similar as well but as I love the plasma cutter so much I didn't need any other guns. The plasma cutter was all I used on the original to get the achievement and I barely strayed from it this time.
The puzzles were few and far between and consisted mostly of moving this item from here to there, or simple panel puzzles to find the right coloured light to open a door but they were the only times in the game where I wasn't frantically awaiting an enemy! I did find the little vent quite funny as they just didn't fit the game. Doing one of the puzzles and going between vents really reminded me of The Crystal Maze which always made me smile when I went through one.
I do hope Dead Space 3 isn't as bad as I've heard. It got a fairly decent review on Gamespot so am not expecting a bad game but it doesn't look to have the atmosphere and sense of constant danger/fear that the first two had.
Next up for me are Crysis 2 and F.E.A.R. 2 which are both middle of the road games I'm expecting. I haven't played either of the originals so have nothing to compare them to but am hoping to be pleasantly surprised!
My Recent Reviews
May 12, 2013 4:08 pm GMTdanbambridge added BioShock Infinite to their now playing list
May 12, 2013 4:07 pm GMTdanbambridge gave Dishonored a score of 9.0
Apr 21, 2013 10:41 am GMTdanbambridge posted a new blog entry entitled Roadhouse
Apr 20, 2013 9:30 am GMTdanbambridge added Dishonored to their now playing list
Apr 20, 2013 9:30 am GMTdanbambridge gave Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse a score of 7.0
Apr 16, 2013 8:28 pm GMTdanbambridge gave F.E.A.R. 3 a score of 7.0
Apr 16, 2013 8:18 pm GMTdanbambridge added Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse to their now playing list
Apr 16, 2013 8:16 pm GMTdanbambridge added Crysis 3 to their wish list
Apr 9, 2013 8:51 pm GMTdanbambridge posted a new blog entry entitled Cry-ing For Help
Apr 9, 2013 7:25 pm GMTdanbambridge added F.E.A.R. 3 to their now playing list