2011 – A year in games – Part 2

Continuing on from the previous post. Here’s the next set of games I played last year:

Fallout: New Vegas

After the shooty-shooty Bulletstorm, I returned to the Fallout universe to follow on from my fun in Fallout3. Starting back at scratch was a challenge since I could only use weedy guns and couldn’t roam too wildly since I’d end up getting killed by some of the nastier enemies. However, being given a new environment to explore and lots of new plots made it very difficult to put down. And this was all really good fun until quite a way into the game when I had completed all of the missions I’d been given.

At that point, it’s time to revisit all of the quest givers to find out which of them needs to progress the plot. This is where I discovered my biggest problem with this game – the allegiance mechanism or possibly better called the “why do you hate me?” system. Trying to catch up with the leaders of each faction lead to some of them kicking off a personal war with me just because I’d helped their enemies and I’m just a helpful guy trying to do lots of missions. To balance this out, the companions I’d picked up while roaming seemed a lot more violent than Fallout3 and really helped out in some of the larger fights which helped early on. However, later on my companions decided to bring their own prejudices into the game while we were wondering around, killing people they personally didn’t like, resulting in some additional allegiance problems.

After revisiting everyone and finding no new missions, I broke out the guides. I’d already wasted a lot of time backtracking and then I found the epically large Hoover dam (a god damn to borrow from Beavis and Butthead). I think getting lost in the dam (since I had arrived before I had any related missions) was the final straw before going to gamefaqs. After looking at the guides and having a higher level idea of what was required from each of the different factions, it finally lead me to the major mission that takes place at the dam. After that, it was all downhill to the grand finale – a bit of a pain in a game with such crappy shooting dynamics – and the outro. I really liked the outro because it lets you know how much of the game you missed or possibly skated over and brings together a lot of the different plot points to remind you of what you’ve done. As with all good games, the outro also leaves you feeling a little sad since it’s all over at that point.

I’m definitely going to revisit this when the game of the year edition comes out.

Killzone 3

When it comes to the Killzone trilogy, I wasn’t a fan of the first due to the heavy inertia in the controls. KZ1 felt like I was always running round in a heavy overcoat to match the image of the enemies in the game. The second game really didn’t grab me either – I found the same inertia issues when I started but I did get quite a bit further through. I also remember complaints about the controls and at the time I was thinking that the configuration options were rather limited (as mentioned when discussing my requirements for hardcore games that I want to play). I always thought I’d go back to it but didn’t.

So Killzone 3 was the first in the series I gave a proper go. Immediately I felt it had better control balance than the second – there’s still the feeling of inertia in the character, but it’s been better balanced to be more understandable due to his build and it doesn’t feel as bad as the first in the series. The concept of inertia also applies to the bad guys and the strength of their armour, where killing most of the enemies requires emptying an entire clip into them and even that might not be successful if the gun drifted while firing.

Technically, Killzone 3 is a masterpiece, carrying on with the deferred rendering on PS3 that started with Killzone 2 (related slides here – as part of the Guerrilla Games publications site). There’s several sections where the image is a bit muddied with a lack of variety in the environment, such as the junkyard and snow levels, but then there’s other parts which look vibrant such as the Helghast base. Most of the cutscenes look spectacular, skirting the edge of the uncanny valley and sometimes falling in, but mostly just looking over the edge.

I can’t comment too much on the content of the game since I only played it once through to the end, on a sixaxis controller rather than move controller and I can’t say I tried the multiplayer either. There were sections of intense difficulty which made me realize I’d scraped through and would hate to retry on a harder difficulty – I can’t control the flying harnesses for toffee. Overall I’d recommend you give Killzone 3 a go, especially if you like emptying your gun into enemies.

Dragon Age: Origins

I can’t really say much about Dragon Age: Origins since I didn’t get far before putting it back in the box. Having not tried the previous one, I didn’t know the form that the gameplay took – I assumed I’d be hammering the weapon buttons and killing bad types. I was actually hammering the buttons for quite a while before I realized that the characters were looking after themselves and I just needed to direct them to a target.

Reading some reviews, it seemed like a lot of the focus was based on getting involved with the stats management and instructing the members of the team, sometimes romantically. At the time I thought to myself, surely something that needs a lot of interaction like the user interface, would be a lot less laggy and much more fluid. I also wasn’t heavily impressed by the graphics – the day-to-day stuff wasn’t great and the cutscenes could have been much better too. Like other Bioware titles I know a lot of the value lies in the script and acting, but the cutscene quality was much more distracting. This was the PS3 game I played for the shortest period in 2011.

To be continued…


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2 responses to “2011 – A year in games – Part 2

  1. Pingback: 2011 – A year in games – Part 3 | dickyjim

  2. Pingback: 2012 – A Year In Games – In Haiku form | dickyjim

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