hastapura's forum posts

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#1 Edited by hastapura (17 posts) -

I was being a little facetious with the simile there, and let's not forget that Max Payne 2 opens with the line "The past was a gaping hole." But then Max asserts that the only thing to do is turn and face it. Not to mention the last line: "I had a dream of my wife. She was dead, but it was alright."

The writing in the first two games played with the hard-boiled style even as it offered up some legitimately poetic lines of its own. The writing in Max Payne 3 goes for a serious imitation of that style without any irony, and falls flat. The blunt, repetitive nature of Max's monologues wears thin really fast, and the character established at the end of the second game is nowhere to be found. It's not a terrible game but Max's journey into the night has taken a drastic turn for the mundane.

#2 Posted by hastapura (17 posts) -

Justified. Also, Homeland.

#3 Posted by hastapura (17 posts) -

I don't know how to feel about this game. Playing it is generally fun: the gunplay has heft and Max carries himself with a believable weight. However, I'm playing on Hard and the checkpointing is absolutely abysmal. Multi-tier fights often restart at the very beginning and when combined with the iffy Last Man Standing mechanic can lead to tremendous frustration. On the flip side, when you nail a sequence it can be thrilling.

The real problems lie in the writing. The first two games struck a balance between outright camp and winking homage, but transposing the ridiculously hard-boiled narration into Rockstar's newly po-faced Payne makes things ridiculous. Max is more wordy than ever before, but most of his voiceover is directed at his own apparent incompetence with a little left over for the "rich fools" he's surrounded with. The dissonance here comes when Max chastises himself after a lengthy shootout, during which he has pulled off incredible feats such as flying through the air while shooting six guys in the head, or sliding down a roof to pop a hostage-taker in the skull. Or, you know, slowing down time. It doesn't make sense, and with trademark Rockstar subtlety the game bombards you with scenes of Max chasing pills with whiskey or calling himself a moron with a bad shirt. The past couple Rockstar titles haven't appeared to grasp the connection between what happens in cutscenes and what happens in gameplay - they want to tell you their amazing story, and what you do with your play time is up to you. Just don't expect it to interrupt the narrative unless there's a big flashing "CHOICE" across the screen.

If writer Dan Houser - also the architect of the spectacularly noncommittal John Marston - had gone with a more spare, terse Dashiell Hammett style to fit with the harsh world the game creates, things might be different. Throwing in some addled, associative White Jazz-era James Ellroy prose, or even tightening up the Chandleresque similies the game stuffs Max's mouth with would do wonders. There's a whole world of brutal crime fiction out there to work with, and while Rockstar pay due diligence to Tony Scott and Michael Mann, the game suffers from cheap, imitation-noir writing: dialogue that runs on and on like a man spending his whole life trying to escape his dead wife and child.

PS: I still play and love Red Dead Redemption, and I do like this game. There are just some really clear issues with the execution and it's frustrating that they were passed over.

#4 Posted by hastapura (17 posts) -

Dude welcome to life as a minority

#5 Posted by hastapura (17 posts) -

I like teasers (Prometheus looks incredible) but full-length trailers are usually loaded with spoilers and almost never cast the film in a flattering light. As for games...I do Quick Looks and written features. Gives a better picture of the actual game.

#6 Posted by hastapura (17 posts) -

Machinarium is great - "charming" is a fitting word - but I'm gonna stump for The Void. Really beautiful and atmospheric; the art direction is superb. The design can be frustrating, and the mechanics obtuse, but it's worth dipping into at least a little more. The pace definitely quickens, to the point where it's almost stressful...doesn't get any less weird, though.

#7 Posted by hastapura (17 posts) -

Thank you! And I know the game's middling but I got a GC for Christmas and I'm trying to find stuff to play on it. My twelve-year old self would be so jealous of this score.

Thanks everyone - the final verdict is Gamecube! You may all breathe easy now.

#8 Posted by hastapura (17 posts) -

So if I were to purchase this game, would I be better served on GC or PS2? Just, you know...if. Are there any real differences?

Really just want to play as Batgirl.

#9 Edited by hastapura (17 posts) -

Yeah this game seems pretty busted (played the demo), and I fucking love survival horror. The DNA stuff is tedious as all hell, and the combat/camera are terrible. I don't know. I don't mind the escort stuff in theory but Amy gets lost, left behind, and mauled while you're trying to make out exactly what it is you're supposed to be scanning. Reminded me of Haunting Ground if Hewie was a psychic (?) little kid with a befuddled expression and savant-level hacking skills. Also, if he couldn't fight for shit. I feel bad about saying this, but give it a wide, generous miss. It's definitely more old-school than RE5 or Homecoming, but it's not content with the old survival horror niggles; it adds plenty of its own annoyances.

Ugh - I really don't want to come off as too harsh on it because it had a GLIMMER, at least, of potential and I think the core ideas are sound. It's more an issue of iffy execution, but I figure it'd be a niche title no matter how it played so if it interests you, at least try it!

#10 Posted by hastapura (17 posts) -

I really liked Arkham City; it's a testament to Rocksteady that the game is able to both expand and refine Asylum's gameplay. I was afraid that feature creep was gonna kick in, but the controls are straightforward and I felt like I had a good grasp on my gadgets and tactics at all times (still haven't gotten the hang of that goddamn Knife Dodge Takedown, though). The Freeflow combat stuff is fundamentally the same as Asylum, but there are now dual and environmental takedowns, better gadget integration, and assorted new upgrades. The world is suitably big and filled with men to pound into unconsciousness, trophies to nab, and...rings to fly through? It can get pretty 'gamey,' yeah, but my real issue is the well-documented silliness of Batman taking a break from saving Gotham to work on his gliding skills; hell if I don't want to do all of it, though. Also, I found Catwoman (bought the game new) to be a joy to play because she felt so different to Batman - agile where he's deliberate. Using her whip to hop around is a fun diversion and crawling on ceilings is pretty cool. I'm easy to please.

Mechanically, then, the game is sound. The story is where things get dicey. There's an insatiable "more, more, more" mentality to the story: Catwoman, Two-Face, Penguin, Joker, Ra's and Talia al Ghul, Clayface, Harley Quinn, Quincy Sharp, Hugo Strange, and Mr. Freeze all figure heavily into the various twists and turns of the plot, and hanging around on the periphery are even more characters - Riddler, Robin, Alfred, Vicki Vale, Deadshot, Hush, Azrael, Oracle, Zsasz, Calendar Man, Bane, Solomon Grundy...you get the idea. As a lifelong Bat-freak I can't say I'm disappointed that they included a billion characters, but the story does feel rather perfunctory as a result. Go here to fetch this; learn that it's going to take several detours to fetch that. Repeat. Luckily, the very end of the game manages to be impressively bittersweet in handling an end (?) to the eternally symbiotic Joker-Bats relationship.

GENDERED INSULTS, BITCH: there are a lot. I think it'd be easier to take if Catwoman wasn't so obviously written by someone who's never actually heard a real-life woman speak - then again, crazy sexism and unconvincing female characters are basically the New 52's remit, so the game's right on point. A good summary of the situation is Joss Whedon's response to the query, "So why do you write these strong female characters:" "Because you're still asking me that question."

Arkham City has its issues, yes, but between the improvements to the combat and traversal and the veritable feast of Batman lore, it's a must-play.

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