Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Games I Play

Back in April, I finally bought one of them new-fangled next-gen video game consoles that are all the rage among the kids these days, specifically, a PlayStation 3. After I found out that the cheaper 40GB $400 version of the PS3, which replaced the $600, 60GB version, had the backwards compatibility feature removed, I also purchased a PS2. I guess they were bitter that people weren't buying enough of their overpriced hardware, so they decided to make the newer cheaper one suck a little more, just as a giant "screw you!" to their market.

Anyway, the games I've played so far:

Assassin's Creed: If you buy a PS3, know that it has the most advanced visual capabilities than any other of it's cousins. Therefore, you'll need one Eye Candy game to showcase that feature. This is that game.

Large cities with hundreds of little virtual people walking about, some rabble rousing, some beg for coins intrusively, some are mentally ill and belligerent, some pimping their wares at storefronts, and others are soldiers that will attack you if you engage in activities that are anti-social. Like killing people. They frown on that.

The buildings are large and beautifully rendered, and serve as monkey bars for you to climb on. The attention to detail in how your character climbs seamlessly up cathedrals and castles is incredible, especially when you finish off a climb with the incredible Leap of Faith. Watching Altair jump off a building from hundreds of feet into a hay filled cart just doesn't get old, at least not for a while.

The visuals are important because you'll need something pretty to look at in order to distract you from how shallow the actual game play is. Ben "Yahtzee" Crosshaw summed the whole thing nicely in one of the few reviews of his that I wholeheartedly agree with (warning: Yahtzee works Blue!), but in summation, game play is repetitive, the fighting is oversimplified, in the first half of the game, and for a game that has "Assassin" in the title, there's woefully few actual Assassinations. It's worth playing through once, but it has zero replay value.

The Orange Box: Let me tells you, I love me some Half-Life. I think it's because the Protagonist, Gordon Freeman, is what all nerds secretly want to be. He's an Uber-Nerd with a PhD in Hypothetical Physics, who accidentally opened a portal to another dimension through which hostile alien life forms immediately poured through, at which point he begins hacking and shooting through all of them, as well as the military task force sent to destroy the aliens and silence all of Gordon's colleagues.

What part of that description does not sound awesome?

Also in the Orange Box is Team Fortress 2, which, until it's release, was the only game in production that could compare with the Vaporware status of Duke Nukem Forever (Still waiting for that one!) It's typical capture the flag gameplay with nine unique feeling, and yet balanced classes. As for the tone of the game, just watch the "Meet the _____" movies here. Amusing.

And last but not least, Portal. There's nothing I can do to praise this game more than the rest of the Internet has, so for those few who still haven't heard of this game (probably limited to my parents) here's the trailer that dropped my jaw the first time I saw it.

Devil May Cry 4: This series is notorious for being incredibly difficult, but I think they got the difficulty curve adjusted just right this time. Combat is entertaining, especially when you see how many times you can slash/stab/shoot/slam an enemy in the air before you touch the ground. The story is... well, who cares. Swordplay, Magic Demon Arm of Justice, and general badassery abound. It just feels satisfying.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma: What is the most deadly enemy an Ninja can face? Dragons? Samurai? Pirates? No, the most deadly enemy a Ninja can battle, at least in this game, is Bad Camera Angles. Nothing is more fatal to the protagonist than a viewpoint that simply refuses to show the person that is jamming a katana up your behind. Devil May Cry's Camera issues were sightly annoying, at worst, and they ironed most of them out after the first game. This game just refuses to cooperate at all. I stopped playing it at the end of the second level. It's just not worth my time.

That's all for now. next time, PS2 games!

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