Archive for June, 2012

Gears of War 3

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2012 by caseystorton

-I bought this several months ago when it first came out, and I actually played it for a while before I got side-tracked and left it unfinished on my shelf until today. I’d felt like I had enjoyed my time with it at first, but it’s about time that I gave this game a full review.

-We start off with a flashback of Marcus and Dom trying to save Marcus’s dad way back when. Cut to n0w where we see that most of what remains of the COG is living at sea on a giant boat in order to try waiting out the war with the Locust and the Lambent. Before we continue, quick recap of the first two games. In Gears 1, a bunch of weird creatures called the Locust Horde come up from underground on a planet called Sera. A military organization known as the COG detonates some sort of bomb in their underground home that seems to kills most if not all of the Locust. In Gears 2, we see that the bomb didn’t kill all of the Locusts and that a new threat has risen in the form of some sort of infection known as Imulsion is beginning to spread among the Locusts. We then proceed to kill pretty much all of the Locust again. Now in Gears 3, we are somehow still losing this war despite the humans’ vastly superior performance on the battlefield. Also, we get a message from Marcus’s dad who he thought was dead, who tells the Gears that he has a convenient machine type thing that can kill off all of the Locust and Lambent everywhere on Sera and that for some reason that either wasn’t explained, I forgot several months ago, or both, he needs the Gears to come there before he can deploy it. At the risk of sounding like an idiot, this story blows. Seriously, it’s a bunch of stupid contrivances that make for a nonsensical story-line that works perfectly well as long as you don’t read into it AT ALL.

-Basically, the gameplay has stayed the same from the first two games in the series, with the emphasis on effectively taking cover to avoid taking too much damage from enemies. There are a few new guns and a new grenade type to go with the new enemy Lambent, but there really isn’t much to affect gameplay except for a couple of Lambent enemy types that die quickly but attack in swarms, making the game feel a bit reminiscent of Left 4 Dead.

-A very random thought came to me as I was playing through the last few chapters of Gears 3 earlier today, this game totally follows the “trilogy rules” that were established in Scream 3. The final boss is pretty crazy, and needed to be blown up. We find out something new about an event from the first game, i.e. that Marcus’s dad knew the locust queen before the invasion  and that the Lambent are actually what forced the Locust out of their hole. I have to interupt myself and give a bit of warning. I’m spoiling some stuff. I don’t like spoilers anywhere, but I don’t think it matters much in this case. Anyone that gave a shit about this game beat it seven months ago, and anyone that hasn’t yet never will. So yeah, the other trilogy rule is that any character can die. In this case, the partner from the beginning, Dom, has a very contrived “honorable sacrifice” death around halfway through the campaign, and Marcus’s dad died as a result of him testing the machine thing on himself, which made it kill him because all of his cells were Lambent, but he wasn’t all infected looking… because? Oh, I don’t care.

-I have to admit that Gears of War 3 was still pretty fun, but maybe I was just trying too hard to like it. The more I think about it, the more I find problems. The biggest problem that I came up with today was the lack of color. This may sound like nitpicking, as I’ve said that I only talk about bad visuals when they interfere with gameplay, but some parts are so dark that I had to turn the brightness WAY up on my TV just to be able to see anything. And even after that the graphics are such a murky mess that enemies became hard to see until they were either right up in your face or shooting at you continuously. This isn’t just a problem with Epic Games, either, Bulletstorm had some beautifully detailed and colorful environments with very distinct scenery and enemies that were easy to see. There’s even a part in Gears 3 where you’re outside in the sunshine and the game still looks like a murky cluster-fuck of walls and debris.

-Anyway, on to multiplayer. There are plenty of different modes, such as deathmatch, capture the flag, ect. My biggest problem with competitive multiplayer is the lack of choice that you have as a player. Sure, the game has plenty of weapons for you to pick from, but good luck killing anyone with anything other than the shotgun. Still, I appreciate a modern multiplayer game that doesn’t feel like it needs kill streaks, classes, ect. to be fun. There’s Horde mode, returning from Gears 2 as the game’s biggest form of staying power, this time with the addition of earning points to buy guns, ammo, turrets, barricades, ect. to help you out as the waves get tougher and tougher. It’s a fun little diversion, but you really need some friends to stand much of a chance at it. Finally, there’s Beast Mode, a sort-of anit-horde mode where you take control of the Locust and attack some AI controlled human characters. It’s a neat idea, but the first few characters that you get suck ass, requiring you to grind the first few waves for a while to get points and buy better characters, which is something that I absolutely will not stand for.

-Overall, Gears of War 3 sucks. Yeah, I said it. The gameplay is alright, I guess, but the weak story, pointless extras, and lazy execution earn this one my personal dissaproval. Hardcore fans may forgive its issues, but there’s no denying the stupidity of the game as a whole. 4/10

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X-men Legends

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2012 by caseystorton

-I first played this one a few years ago when my younger brother got it as a birthday present for the Gamecube. I really liked it at the time, and my lack of access to disposable income meant that I ended up replaying it several times over. I did eventually tire of it and trade it in. That was probably about four years ago. I managed to stumble upon a copy for the PS2 not long ago and decided that it was time for another trip down memory lane for the sake of a review.
-We begin with a newscast telling us that a teenage girl named Alison has been identified as a mutant and that the Genetic Research and Security Organization, or G.R.S.O. for short, has responded. Before long, however, Mystique and Blob show up to kidnap the girl. Wolverine tries to stop them. Alison gets mad and fires shoots out everywhere. Wolverine gets up and gives chase. As the game progresses we encounter more villains, interesting new locations, and unlock new characters to play as, which keeps the game from getting too repetitive.

-The gameplay is what I’d loosely call an isometric action game, although the camera is occasionally under your control. The focus is on using the various different characters and their specific abilities to build the best possible team with the right tools for anything that the game can throw at you. Each character has an energy bar that goes below their health bar and dictates how many special moves that they can do. Special moves are all quite different from character to character, with plenty of ranged attacks, heavy punches, hypnosis moves, telekinesis, and many others to suit any play style.

-There are always four X-men in your party at any given time, with drop in/drop out co-op for up to four players. The game is best played co-op, as when playing alone, the A.I. is very fixated on you, without giving too much attention to your allies, which generally means that your character will gain the most experience, and take the most damage. On the subject of experience, the game has a nice R.P.G. element wherein you get experience and level up from killing enemies and completing mission objectives. Level ups reward you with one point to spend upgrading special abilities and one point to spend upgrading physical attributes like melee damage, health, defense, and agility. The mutant power upgrades vary pretty well from character to character, and give a good sense of progression to the gameplay. While there are a couple of characters that aren’t quite as powerful as others, such as Jubilee for example, there are still plenty of characters with plenty of strengths and weaknesses to allow you to create a perfectly balanced team where every character has something to do. Side note, if you want to win, always, always, always have Wolverine with you. As we all know, his mutant power is his ability to rapidly heal himself. This makes him the only character in the whole game with regenerating health, whereas all other characters have to rely on heath packs for their healing needs. Going further into the strengths and weaknesses, different enemies have resistances to different kinds of attacks, including Physical, Energy, and Mental resistances.

-Not everything is perfect here, though. Since four characters have to be on screen at all times, the camera occasionally screws up and doesn’t let you fix it. The difficulty curve fluctuates much more than I would have liked, and sometimes progressing in a level is a bit more cryptic than it should be. On the whole, though, it’s hard not to have a great time with X-men Legends. 8/10

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