A Firefight Not Worth Fighting For

So I'm playing Halo 3: ODST, and mind you I am not a fan of the Halo series by any means. In fact, I have tried to get into these games but something about the controls, level design and the way the story is told really bug the crap out of me. However I digress, I found the campaign of ODST to be no better than what I experienced in the previous Halo games. It was short, the action was decent, the level design was mediocre at best, and in this case I never felt compelled to use a lot of the new functions like the map.

The multiplayer in this game which is called "FireFight" consists of you holding your ground while an infinite wave of covenant come at you trying to bring you down until you either succumb or quit out of boredom. Finding out about this makes me seriously wonder what Bungie considers 'good game design' because there is absolutely no sense of accomplishment in fighting an endless wave of enemies to the point where you seriously consider quitting. I personally think it would have been great game design if Bungie set a limit to Firefight mode in order to give players a sense of accomplishment and good replay value. As it stands now, I do not see myself wasting another absurd amount of hours on Firefight only to get bored and quit, or simply die. Now, I could go ahead and increase the difficulty to say Legendary in which case, even playing four player co-op in that mode would prove to be a quick endeavor. Nevertheless, the sense of accomplishment is still not nearly as satisfying as if you knew that there were five sets of enemies and you managed to survive all five sets. That sounds more fun, and would give me a much better incentive to keep playing.

In conclusion, I've come to terms with the idea that I will never really like the Halo franchise, which is fine. However, Bungie's way of designing these games have turned me off in more ways than one and I can truly say that I am not excited for any other Halo game that will come out in the future.

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Super Street Fighter 4 Confirmed!

Yesterday Capcom announced Super Street Fighter 4, an announcement that has fans of the series asking numerous questions. Well, for starters, this new installment is going to be a brand new title and not a piece of downloadable content that can be downloaded from Xbox Live or Playstation Network. Apparently, there are enough changes to this new installment that warrant it being its own game instead of an update. The first big thing introduced is an additional 8 characters tacked onto the original roster. Characters T.Hawk and Dee Jay who were MIA in SF4 are making their appearances in SSF4. Secondly, all of the characters are going to be re-tweaked and re-balanced in order to even up the matches as closely as possible. Characters will be given more super and ultra attacks in addition to the ones they already have, in order to give more options in battle and to add some variety. Also, the online multiplayer is going to be drastically improved.

Other than that, not much else is going to change. There will be some additional stages and I assume some new tracks. What will win some fans over on this deal is that you will not have to dish out another $60 to get your hands on this newest installment. There will also be some sort of secret bonus for SF4 owners when you purchase SSF4 as an incentive to keep your copy of SF4.

Personally, I was originally set against this being a brand new game, and part of me still is. However, if the price of this new game is reasonable enough then I may be able to look past it; and from the sounds of it, SSF4 is definitely going to be a refined experience.

We can expect to play Super Street Fighter 4 in Spring of 2010. Till then, check out the link below for more details:
 
http://tgs.gamespot.com/story/6230625/super-street-fighter-iv-impressions-first-look?tag=topslot;thumb;1

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Movie-Game Adaptations Equal Easy Achievements

Movie to game adaptations are usually not well received among gamers. You could put the blame on the developers not having as much time to put the game together. You could also blame them for thinking that a movie to game adaptation of any kind was a good idea in the first place. Nevertheless, these games are still coming out. Now, while I believe a very good portion of us gamers already know ahead of time that these games are expected to produce mediocre results at best, might there be an incentive to actually picking up one these games? For me, achievement points is all the motivation I need before going to my local Blockbuster to pick up XMEN Origins: Wolverine, and TMNT.  The trend that I have seen in these games is that they are short in the experience and heavy in achievements providing all you need to do is to beat the game once. They even throw in the added incentive of 'replay value' by giving you an achievement for beating the game on its hardest difficulty. Now for XMEN Origins: Wolverine, that might not be so bad considering this game was actually a fun and enjoyable experience; a diamond in the rough. However, for games like TMNT and Terminator Salvation I am going to have to politely decline, as one play-through felt like one long sharp pain in my side.
 
After saying that, maybe that discredits me as the so-called achievement whore that I claim to be. That I am not willing to get every single achievement for a game no matter how painful and arduous it may be. That's fine with me. 820/1000 on Terminator Salvation for one play-through satisfied my hunger for more achievements. Getting that last achievement however by beating it on Hard would be like inviting a sadist to torture me for another three to five hours.
 
If achievements make you happy, then these movie to game adaptations will serve you well, provided that you are willing to put up with some bad game design along the way.
 
Below is a list of games based off their movie counterparts that have a lot to give in the achievements department:
 
Avatar: The Last Airbender -- The Burning Earth
King Kong
Terminator Salvation
TMNT
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
XMEN Origins: Wolverine

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Sacred 2: Fallen Angel Impressions

I've been a die-hard dungeon crawler fan for as long as I can remember. My games back in the day were Ultima and Diablo over at a friend's place till the wee hours in the morning killing baddies, grabbing loot and selling it off for better stuff. Those were the games I would play on the PC until consoles took over my life starting with Sega. To this day though, I have been looking for good dungeon crawlers. On PS2 I played Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance and Dark Alliance 2 on Xbox. Then I got into Champions of Norrath and Return to Arms. All of these games have quenched my thirst for dungeon crawling on a console. However I had been playing these games well into the current generation and it seemed like there was a neglection of good dungeon crawlers.
Now we have Sacred 2: Fallen Angel, which has answered my prayers on almost every front while also leaving something to be desired. Sacred 2: Fallen Angel is a good looking game in terms of the landscapes. Otherwise, it still looks fine as long as the camera is not too close up. The learning curve for the game is easily one of the steepest I have ever endured. I have never had to look up the instruction booklet on any game as much as I have had to in this game or look online just to get more details about what certain things in the game do or even mean. Tutorials would have been a godsend for this game. There are also a lot of bugs in this game. TONS of pop in, lots of loading when you are in town. Sometimes if you teleport when you are on your mount, the game freezes. Things like that.
Regardless of the bugs and steep learning curve, the heart of the dungeon crawler is still there and delivers on all fronts. With nearly 600 quests, character specific mounts, the ability to teleport to any previously visited towns (as long as you have activated the teleport in that town), and character specific quests, this is definitely a successful port from PC to X360. There is plenty to do in this game and grinding to the level of 200 may be the most difficult to accomplish. However, that's not going to stop me from trying.
If you are a fan of dungeon crawlers at all, this is definitely a game to experience on the X360. The bugs in the game are not so bad that it hampers the gameplay fortunately, and I would venture to say that this is the closest that console gamers will get to a World of Warcraft contender.

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