By spilledmilkfactory 2 Comments
Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Weekend Bender! This is my new weekly blog, where I'll cover every game released over the last week in short, digestible blurbs. Don't like short? Don't like digesting? I'll include links to full reviews of each of the games I deem worthy under their description. So won't you join me, dear reader, as I watch my precious sanity trickle through my fingers like so much sand in an hourglass, furiously attempting to bash my head through every game, on every platform, every week?
This week is one of the most peaceful yet, with most publishers avoiding the massive Modern Warfare 3 and Skyrim like the plague. Both games are huge, and I've been absorbed in them all week long. So without further ado, let's get to the main course.
Modern Warfare 3
As evidenced by my 5-Star review, I quite enjoyed Modern Warfare 3 while it lasted. The campaign was short in length as is typical of a CoD game, but what it lacks in duration it makes up for in variety and spectacle, both of which are in strong supply here. It may not be the most revolutionary CoD campaign, but it was certainly the one I had the most fun playing due in no small part to the enormous number of setpiece events. Seriously, I was picking my jaw up off the floor after just about every level, and I'd gladly go replay them all again because of that. The scripting, a fatal blow to Battlefield 3's campaign, also works wonderfully here. It's obvious that Activision had tons of people focus testing this thing before it ever got to our hands, because the scripted events are timed just about perfectly and, for me at least, all went off without a hitch. It doesn't hurt that the story provides what little closure such a slapdash plot could ever hope to achieve, with an ending that is at once bombastic and satisfying.Co-op and multiplayer are basically the expected fare, but that doesn't make them bad. Spec Ops has returned, and it's still pretty entertaining with a buddy. The real highlight of that mode for me was the Survival mode though, which plays a lot like Horde but with that unique CoD twist. It's a lot of fun. Competitive multiplayer for better and worse remains basically the same, although the addition of some new modes and some changes to the killstreak system serve to keep things interesting enough. All in all, if you've ever enjoyed any aspect of a Call of Duty game, you should find something to dig into in Modern Warfare 3. It's far from the most creative game on the market, but mechanically it's near unmatched.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
I'm not afraid to admit that I harbored low expectations for Skyrim. The last Elder Scrolls game, Oblivion, did little to capture my attention thanks to obtrusive UI, boring and redundant dungeon design, lousy melee combat, and an auto-leveling system for the enemies that failed to deliver a strong sense of progress. Still, I trudged out to the midnight release of Skyrim, mostly for the free hot dogs they were offering at Gamestop, and came home with a copy of the game. Immediately I knew things were different. Aside from looking far, far better than Oblivion did, the UI immediately jumped out as having been hugely improved. It flows much more naturally into the game's world now, and the act of looking to the stars to improve your skills is pretty neat looking, even the twentieth time it happens. Combat is also markedly improved, with each swing now feeling more powerful than they did before. It's sort of like swinging melee weapons in Condemned. Dungeons have seen similar improvement. They now have the great variety that they lacked before, encouraging me to delve into each one instead of skipping over potential loot out of boredom. This is helped by the AI's difficulty level, which no longer automatically adapts to the player's level. This gives a great sense of progress to the world; it's really satisfying to get your ass handed to you by some magical creature, only to return later and slay it quickly.
Basically, every problem I could've had with Oblivion has been fixed in Skyrim, leaving the stunning open world and fantastic array of quests to speak for themselves. And speak they do. This is one of the most expansive, interesting, liberating, and overall satisfying games I've played all year.