By Alaska_Gamer 1 Comments
I gotta come up with better introductions to these things. Whatever, it's Saturday, and that means it's time for another entry of [insert title]. Also, this is hopefully the last time that I put off writing these things ahead of time because other stuff was distracting me (so if everything feels very short, that's the reason why).
Life has been pretty busy this week. I had a few finals to take for the first quarter, and then on Thursday was my birthday. 18 years old. Thursday was a pretty good day, I got Batman Arkham City from Gamefly and I was on a podcast that day. Maybe when the episode is finished being edited and goes up I'll post it here.
Not a whole lot else to say. Kinda crazy, considering my birthday was this week, but I don't usually make a huge deal out of it. If something good happens on that day, I ended up a little bit more happy than usual.
I mentioned a while ago that I bought this game for $2 on Steam. At that price, how can you really refuse? So I bought it along with Aliens vs. Predator (already wrote about that one) and Breath of Death VII & Cthulhu Saves the World (expect stuff on those next week). Alpha Protocol is quite an interesting game, and at the same time, it is totally an Obsidian game. It is great for the story and characters but you have to wade through crap gameplay in order to see the best of it.
On my first playthrough I chose Recruit as my starting profession or class, the reason being I wanted to use the "Recruit" option in conversation whenever possible. And then after the first mission in Saudi Arabia, you pick your specialization and I went the custom route instead of the stock specializations they had available. Between that time my efforts to be sneaky and not start a big firefight were not very clean. There were somethings I corrected when I started my (current) second playthrough, such as buying every single piece of intel, and re-specing my skill points before starting the game. So my second playthrough has been a lot more fun because I know how things already play out and I can better anticipate situations and how to sneak past them.
It really does help to be as stealthy as possible, because the shooting is so awful. I was already aware that the game had bad dice roll shooting, but man, it sure is BAD. Mass Effect 1 used the same system as this game except that was better. It's always frustrating when a precision shot doesn't take out a guy immediately even after you waited long enough for the shot to focus. Really not fun.
The conversation system is very interesting, but it runs into problems that, again like I said earlier, disappear during your second playthrough because you know what will happen. You got three different stances or attitudes you can take during a conversation, and your choices are timed in order to keep the conversation flowing. I like that system, because it's frustrating to get hung up on a dialog choice in Mass Effect and completely stop the flow. The problem here is that the different dialog choices are super vague that it doesn't always give you a clear idea of how Michael Thorton will act. Actually, not just how he will act, but what he will say. Sometimes I would pick a choice that made Thorton say something that I didn't want and I lose a respect point with Mina. In Mass Effect, that system of conversation is better because you get a summary of what Shepard will say if you pick that choice. Here, there's always uncertainty with what you want Thorton to say or act.
Despite my issues with the conversation system, the story and characters are really great. Taipei was always my favorite area in the game, because of working with Scarlet Lake and Stephen Heck (who is absolutely brilliant). The way the story switches between interrogation and playing the events prior to said interrogation works really well. All that stuff is great, and it is unfortunate that stuff is hampered by really bad action. The mechanics they have in place here would probably have been acceptable in an Infinity Engine game or something like that. A third-person shooter with RPG elements like this game has just doesn't really fit. Quite unfortunate.
So I got this game Thursday, which had me a little bit worried as far as if I would be able to get enough time into this game before writing about it. Thankfully I got through the main story by Friday afternoon and spent a little time checking out the different side missions so I think I've seen enough for now. Anyway, Batman Arkham City. It's not really surprising of me to say that the game is really fantastic. Arkham Asylum was amazing, and it's great to see this sequel be just as great.
The beginning of the game is pretty crazy. I'm not going to say anything on the off chance people reading this haven't played the game yet. Here's what I will say though. You know how in Arkham Asylum the first several minutes are a slow build up to Joker's trap? Well, this game throws Batman into some serious stuff immediately. After the first several minutes in this game, everything will start to remind you of Arkham Asylum. The combat system is still there and is fantastic, Batman's glide has been expanded as a method of getting around the city quickly, and all kinds of little details. The main story has some really high stakes going on, and I chose to go through the main story and ignore all the side stuff. Not just because I had to write about this game for today, but because I wanted to find out what happened next. Everything ramps up to huge levels of craziness and the ending had me stunned.
Now, all though Arkham City has a much larger world than the first game, it doesn't make it an open world game in the traditional sense. However, the abundance of side stuff to do potentially makes it fall into the same pitfall of disrupting the main story, especially in this game because of the constant sense of urgency. Batman's gotta stop Hugo Strange from doing some nasty stuff, but first he needs to search a block for some Riddler trophies. Again, I saved doing that stuff until after I finished the story, but that situation I describe is one I'm sure other people would agree with me.
So yeah, I mentioned the Riddler trophies, but how is the rest of the side mission material? Well, there are augmented reality training missions, and completing the first four missions gives you the grapnel boost, which lets you launch yourself past the point that you grappled to and keep gliding. In hindsight, I should've thought about doing those missions way earlier because I was trying to do that but I didn't have the upgrade. Silly me. There are other missions, like rescuing "political prisoners" from getting beat up by thugs, and there's Zsasz's side missions where you answer a phone and then you need to find another phone and answer it or else Zsasz will kill someone. Basically it's a race from one point to another kind of mission. There are some one-off missions that involve some other Batman villains that are pretty well done.
Unfortunately I was not able to play as Catwoman because I rented the game from Gamefly, which as far as publishers care is not buying the game new and that makes me the same as a person who pirates stuff. This is the first game I've played where an online pass or any penalty for not buying the game at 60 dollars has had me upset, especially with how they decided to announce it just days before release. I won't go into any more of it, but you can already tell that I am rather pissed. Whatever, I'll just buy the game sometime after it comes out on Steam. Maybe during the Christmas sale.
I haven't attempted to get close to one hundred percent completion on this. In fact, I don't really have the time to do it since I need to send the game back to Gamefly soon if I want to get Uncharted 3. Not much else for me to say, the game is fantastic. I should never try to write these things up on the day that I have to post them. Stupid of me.
Replay Challenge: Round 2
You know what? I'm not really feeling up to writing every detail I can think of on the what parts I've played from Paper Mario and Jet Force Gemini from this past week. This is why I always write these things ahead of time as I'm playing the games. I'll just say that in Paper Mario I have beat the boss of Flower Fields, Huff 'n Puff, who was extremely tough. That rhyme was unintentional, by the way. Also, in Jet Force Gemini, I have reached the halfway point in the game, where everyone gets jet packs and now I have to go back through every world as every character looking for every tribal and ship part. I'm not quite sure if I'm about to regret picking that game for this segment or not.
That's the end of a very brief entry of [insert title]. Sorry for making it as short and unpolished as it is, it's totally my fault. Next week's entry I'll make sure to be on track and write these things ahead of time like always. Breath of Death VII and Cthulhu Saves the World will be the new games for next week, so look forward to that.