Vic B’Stard’s week in review Assassin’s Creed 3, Need for Speed Most Wanted, Halo 4, Hitman Absolution and F1 Race Stars

Vic B'Stard
The furious and the fast

Last week I finally put my reviews for Medal of Honor Warfighter and Assassin’s Creed III to bed. As I mentioned last time, both games got a bit of a roasting by the media, with Assassin’s Creed III coming away only slightly singed and Medal of Honor Warfighter getting burnt to a crisp.

It was a shame really. I awarded Medal of Honor Warfighter a decent 75% in my review on Shane the Gamer. The game was good, if uninspired, modern warfare first person shooter. The game’s comparison in other reviews to the iffy Medal of Honor Airborne were total bollocks. Even I couldn’t bring myself to finish Airborne.

Assassin’s Creed III on the other hand, I’ve awarded a rather high review score (my review of which you can find on the Game Console pages of here). I’m still shocked that the game managed to charm me enough to give it such a high review even though it is chock full of bugs. For such an otherwise excellent game to have so many issues is pretty damn inexcusable. I’d have loved to skinned the game alive. In fact, my early notes on the game did just that. But, as I played through the game, the overall experience was so good that I was able to dismiss any niggles that I had with it. In my review I only make a passing comment on Assassin’s Creed III’s problems, and that is very unlike me.

In for the kill
Bringing the tomahawk down!

Since finishing up my take on the game I’ve had a look at what others have said about Assassin’s Creed III. Interestingly, whilst the games has garnered some good review scores, reporting of the game’s issues varies from reviewer to reviewer. It seems that it is the early reviewers that obsessed about all the games problems. I’d say that these were the reviews that powered through the game (or, dare I say it, didn’t actually complete the game). Same goes for Medal of Honor Warfighter.

Whilst I’m guilty of posting a review without finishing a game, at least I’m practical about it. A game like, say, Need for Speed Most Wanted (next on my review list), doesn’t need me to finish every event for every car and get every achievement to obtain enough material for a review.

Life on the Frontier
AC3: nice but not without its faults

But game like Assassin’s Creed III with such an important narrative running through it (a concluding narrative that has been building up over five games) needs to be finished and evaluated after the post credit sequence. But it isn’t just the main story that needs to be assessed, there a variety of the side quests that also need to be sampled (I say sampled because there are hundreds of them) and then there’s the multiplayer. I’d say my whole game time was about 40 hours. Some of those reviews out there hit the net too soon for my liking.  And I think those were the reviewers that had the greatest issue with the bugs; Assassin’s Creed III takes a while to soak in.

On this very site I’ve posted another review of Assassin’s Creed III, this time by State of Play newcomer, Grant Cheetham.  Not only was this the first review that he’s written for State of Play, it was also his first go on an Assassin’s Creed game. Grant wrote a great review which provided an interesting take on the game from the eyes of a player unfamiliar with the franchise. You can read the review on this website, here and also on pages of Shane the Gamer, here.

I have a need…

After Warfighter‘s body count and Assassin’s Creed III‘s heady pseudo mythology is was nice to pop a copy of Need for Speed Most Wanted into the Xbox 360 and go for a drive. I like racing games, but I have the same problem with them that I have with MMO’s. The modern racer is so open-ended and unstructured that they don’t offer me the same incentive as plot driven game to keep on going. For me racers tend to be something that I play in between the game that I’m currently fighting through. So as I said, Need for Speed Most Wanted is proving to be the perfect bit of R&R. It is also frighteningly addictive; it has been a long time since I’ve had such a bad case of “one last go”. Damn that little Caterham 7.

I should have a Need for Speed review out in the next few days. In the meantime, you can check out my write-up about Need for Speed Most Wanted‘s multiplayer mode from the EA preview event a couple of months ago on Games Console here.

Then there’s Halo 4.

master chief
Halo 4: More of the same?

Whilst I’ve played all the Halo games and consider myself a fan, I wasn’t really looking forward to the continuation of Master Chief’s adventures. Whilst I love the sci-fi story, the problem that I have with the Halo games is that they are all, basically, the same. There I said it. . Even in this latest release The Covenant troops still act the same; the skittish grunts, those shield-welding guys that sneak about, the sideways walking fellows and, in the distance somewhere, a sniper. Even though I do still have love for it, I’ve got to say that the smartest thing about the Halo franchise is how they’ve been serving up an identical game to us for over decade (basically a Quake clone) and we’ve been lapping it up.

Still, what do I know; the game is a critical and commercial success. I’ll give you my take on Halo 4 when I’m done.

Square Enix has sent me a couple of their new games to take a look at.

f1 drivers
Formula One drivers with big heads

First up there’s F1 Race Stars which garnered a whopping great WTF when I opened the package. I calmed down a bit when I realised that it wasn’t a Kinect game. Codemasters have abused their Formula One licence and produced what amounts to an F1 version of Mario Kart. The game features all the teams and drivers from the 2012 F1 season all rendered in a suitably cutesy-cartoon style. The game proved to difficult to resist writing a review for. Watch this space.

Long shot
Long shot

The second game from Square is IO Interactive’s Hitman Absolution. The original assassin, as they say in their blurb. Whilst that may be so, the stealth genre (of which Hitman was the only member back in the day) is rather populated these days, the likes of the Assassin’s Creeds, the Splinter Cells and new boy Dishonored now standing on Agent 47’s toes. I’m still playing through it, but Absolution comes across very similar to that which has gone before. The game flicks between frustrating and rewarding in equal enough measures to keep you going. The campaign provides a tale of woe that gives a reason for killing loads of folks. Hitman Contracts, a create your own sandbox challenge mode, is worth the price of admission alone and more than makes up for the otherwise slightly retro gameplay. Watch out for a review soon!

That’ll do for now. Back to the games. Loads to do and it’s Far Cry 3 at the end of the month!

Vic Out.