Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bitch stole ma skull

Look, it's not dead! I've just been very busy, as usual. It turns out working in America for months really gets in the way of writing stupid things about videogames.

Anyway, I have found some time to play a few things, so here are some short reviews.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a fairly decent hack n slash that could really have done with more variation in environments and enemies. And fewer puzzles. Who buys a Wolverine game for puzzles about teleporters and power cells? And why does the futuristic weapon X facility only have enough power cells to power half of the things in it at once?

I started off thinking that Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena was as good as I remembered, but then quickly realised it wasn't. If you were a fan of Butcher Bay a few years back, I don't recommend picking this up unless you want Vin Diesel to stomp on your rose tinted glasses.

The level design is patchy, the action sections are trudging and monotonous (with some horrible repeating sound effects), and the generic badass dialogue and delivery gets annoying after about 5 minutes. The Dark Athena bit is not nearly as well put together as Butcher Bay, either.

Prototype is pretty much the definition of a 7/10 game for me. It's sort of pretty, with sort of good presentation, sort of fun combat, and sort of fun movement.

But the more I play it, the more it annoys me: every mission seems to go on long past the point where it is fun, and generally seem to end up with repeating the same action over and over, waiting for a bar to fill up or an arbitrary number of enemies to die; the protagonist is a complete emo arse; the enemy AI is stupid to the point of making a nonsense of the stealth mechanics; there are some very odd control mappings; selecting which of your powers to use doesn't pause or slow down the game, so you really need to have chosen which power to use before an encounter starts; the "hold one button to traverse anything" system felt nice at first, but then I realised it had removed any sense of achievement for scaling a tall building, or getting across the city; and the map is often quite useless, with targets being shown somewhere inside a block, but with no alleyways being visible, so you can't tell where the way in is.

I like the web of intrigue and the upgrade progression though.

50 Cent: Blood on the Sand surprised me by genuinely being a very good arcade shooter. Okay, so you have to either a) look past the gangsta rubbish, b) enjoy it in a tongue in cheek fashion, or c) enjoy it in a genuine "they know how we roll, but still they frontin' on us" way.

It doesn't do anything terribly original, but every feature that is in there (and there are quite a lot of elements to the game) is well implemented and nothing feels horribly out of place or useless.

It's surprisingly long as well - I thought I'd reached the end (I reached a boss fight with a helicopter, after about 6 hours of play and killing everyone who had been involved in the stealing of ma(sic) skull), but looking on the internet it turns out that I'm only half way through, and more skull stealers are about to come out of the wood work in their helicopters (every boss fight in this game involves a helicopter, oddly).

Probably the game I have enjoyed most out of the four in this post (I am halfway between b and c, if you were wondering).

Obviously the question on everyone's minds right now, though, is whether I will remember to update my blog again in the future. Tune in next week to find out the answer (most probably no).

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