I’ve been flat out playing the last knockings of the Q4 games releases and nutting out reviews for the last few weeks, leaving no time to write any sort of missives on this here website.
I held back on my SimCity review for a while, as I didn’t want to give the game a bad review score only for EA to suddenly pull their finger out and sort the bloody thing out. Well I waited, and I waited. You can read the review on Shanethegamer.com here.
Basically the new SimCity works and is fun to play, but it still isn’t up to speed; which is a bit of a worry, as the thing has been out some time now. Makes me wonder exactly what EA are going to do with the game. The imminent release of the 2.0 patch shows promise, but at the moment I’d still prefer to play the decade-old SimCity 4.
EA’s Crysis 3 was, thankfully, a much better experience; the last thing I wanted to do was continue to shit over beloved franchises. To be honest, Crysis 3 is the first game in the series that I’ve actually bothered to finish. My PC shat itself with the first one and I’ve been nibbling at the second one for an eternity. I loved the fantastic-looking overgrown NYC setting. I also really got into the stealthy hunting thing with the bow; which is unusual for me as I’ve not usually a fan of creeping about in games. You can read the review over at Techday.com, here.
Activision’s The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, based on the hit TV show, could have been good but unfortunately it wasn’t. Unlike the superb Telltale game based on the comic-book version of The Walking Dead, I found this first-person shooter lacking. Sure there were some scares to be had and I liked the game’s stealth elements, but not even using the TV actors to voice Darryl and Merle could hide that rushed feel of the game. You can check out my full review over at Shanethegamer.com, here.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2, on the other hand, is good game, if a little short. The suspiciously early DLC, Siberian Strike, offers up some of the more meaty game-play that was missing in the retail release and really should have been included on the disc. Played on hard (without the wind/distance assists) is an absolute must if the game is to be any sort of challenge. A head-shot from 700m when manually adjusting your aim for wind and bullet-drop is very satisfying, especially when the game treats you to a slo-mo bullet-cam finish! You can read all about it here on shanethegamer.com.
Then there was Bioshock Infinite. A stunning game in every way, and one that is destined to be a classic. My only disappointment was just how much better the PC version was compared to the (still fantastic-looking) Xbox 360 version of the game. It was just so sad to see just how far ahead PC graphics are from their console counterparts. You can read my reviews of the game over at techday.com, here, and at shanethegamer.com, here.
The other week I had a hands-on with Resident Evil: Revelations, the 3DS game that know had a made-over for PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U and PC. It doesn’t look at all bad and I loved the TV show-style episodic format, complete with a ‘previously on…’. I can’t get enough of that sort of shit. I love it Alan Wake and I love it in Resident Evil: Revelations. You can find out what I had to say about the hands-on at koru-cottage.com, here.
I’m still putting together reviews of EA’s Army of Two: The Devils Cartel, Tiger Woods 14, the gaming half of the Syfy TV network’s trans-media, Defiance, and the Mortal Kombat inspired DC Comics beat ’em up, Injustice: Gods Among Us.
Even thought I’ve not quite finished with my reviewing, I did manage to get some time to myself and play a bit of Final Fantasy XIII. I’ve just picked up FF XIII-2 for $15 at JB Hi-Fi and what with Lightening Returns and the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD release coming up, I thought it time to get up to speed with everyone’s favorite JRPG franchise.
My personal experience with the Final Fantasy series is a bit chequred, with Final Fantasy VII still up there as one of the greatest games I’ve ever played; the series, in my opinion going down from there. It’s like director Yoshinori Kitase trapped lightening in a bottle for that particular Final Fantasy outing.
I found Final Fantasy VIII didn’t quite live up to it’s predecessor; the game’s protagonist, Squall Leonhart, lacking the charm of Cloud Strife. An unfortunate issue with a knock-off PlayStation memory card (which ended up bouncing off my wall), meant I lost hours of saved game-play, and thus the will to finish the game. I missed out on Final Fantasy IX altogether at release, only picking it up from the PSN store recently.
Final Fantasy X took the series in a whole new westernised direction which didn’t sit well with me. This first bit of Final Fantasy on a PlayStation 2 was still a good game, but again I found the game’s protagonist unlikeable. I don’t know why the Japanese believe that arrogant bad boy arse-holes are cool, perhaps its the Japanise devs, who in interviews often like to come across as arrogant bad boy arse-holes, mistakenly think that they are cool. I am pretty disappointed that I never finished Final Fantasy X and never even tried Final Fantasy X-2.
I had a dabble with Final Fantasy XI Online. The game intrigued, mainly because of my fascination with MMORGs at the time. I found the graphics shockingly poor and some of the game’s mechanics a bit too complex for a new user. In the end (as I do with most MMOs) I deemed the amount of enjoyment that I was going to get out of the game to be not worth the cost of admission.
Coming in the twilight of the PlayStation 2 years, I completely missed Final Fantasy XII. Hopefully they’ll HD that game next. Even though I’ll always hold a candle for Final Fantasy VII, there aren’t many game franchises out there that guarantee the the level of entertainment and longevity that the Final Fantasy games deliver every time. May the fantasy never, truly, be final.
As I mentioned before I’m playing Defiance; a first-person shooter massively multiplayer online game from the guys that made Rift.
I like a dalliance with an MMO every once (like FFX, above) in a while, but they do always tend to feel like a complete and utter waste of time, and too much like work. Developers would never get away with the grinding nature of MMO game-play in a single-player game. Every single MMO that I’ve played has given me violent flashbacks to my days hitting rats, bats and snakes just outside Freeport in the original Everquest.
Trion’s Defiance is no different.
The game walks the fine line between enjoyable and repetitive production-line style monotony, like a master of the genre. The game hooked me right in chasing the proverbial dragon with tantalising plot reveals and the promise of loot. However, as someone in their forties, whose path through real-life pretty much consists of tantalising plot reveals and the promise of loot, it’s going to take more than a post-apocalyptic sci-fi setting to set Defiance apart from all those other MMOs out there (including Sony’s ever-so-more polished FPS MMO Planetside 2).
Maybe The Syfy Network’s tie-in TV show will give Defiance the edge it needs over the competition; but not in New Zealand…because they aren’t showing it over there.