By Sweep 5 Comments
Bionic Commando Re-Armed never really did anything for me.
I felt like I was walking through a museum of somebody else's childhood, without a tour guide. Nostalgia fell upon deaf ears. But after playing a few hours with Bionic Commando for the 360, I think I'm beginning to understand what Bionic Commando is all about.
Spiderman is Bionic Commando's bitch.
The swing mechanic is unbelievably rewarding and fun to use. Jumping off a building only to latch onto the lip and abseil around into a lethal "Death From Above" drop not only looks incredible but is also easy and fluent to perform. Having spent about 30 minutes getting to grips with the controls I was walking away with plenty of wins, on average killing about 15 people per game. The guns are pretty cool, the shooting seems solid. Clicking the right bumper takes you to a closer over-the-shoulder aim which is much more accurate but slows walking speed. The only real problem I had with the game was that I frequently got killed by an opponent half a second after I had already killed him and received points for doing so. This is weird and laggy and hopefully wont be a real issue in the finished game.
A slight issue I had, but which is by no means a technical fault, was that I found mostly players who were playing the game as though it were Gears Of War. Bionic arms were being used to zip towards an enemy but once within range most players were content to simply run around in circles shooting each other halo style up close. I'm sure once players have spent more time with the game the playing style will shift - as is the case with online games players will choose the most efficient means of killing and then perfect it flawlessly. I hope that in the case of Bionic Commando this involves aerial combat - the design of the combat really should be emphasising this as it is what sets it apart from all other shooting games and makes it infinitely more interesting. Another irritating design decision was the choice to make the only available level in the demo a night-time level, which means the darkness severely restricts the view distance. It was just a little frustrating as I would love to see how awesome the game looks in full daylight.
Since playing the demo Bionic Commando has been added to my pre-order list, which surprised me as I had previously dismissed it. I'm even tempted to go give re-armed another chance. I guess that shows how strong the impression was this game gave me...
BattleStations PacificThe previous title, Battlestations Midway, was a game that I really wanted to love, but for all its merits there was always an overwhelming sense of convoluted failure. Fortunately the latest instalment not only looks twice as fantastic, it expands and refines the faults with the first game. The core principle of taking control of either a few squadrons or an entire army still exists. The tactical map can still be used to startling efficiency - although of course a human player will always triumph where the AI fails - in its understanding of the scale in which the battle takes place. The planes are a little slow, but now have been granted a Nos like boost which is fairly awesome. It's also one of the few games where the cockpit view feels comfortable to use. The flight controls are still no Ace Combat 6, but they are definitely more solid the they used to be, and far superior to those in Blazing Angels.
The water effects looks beautiful, the childish saturation of the original has been watered down to a darker more realistic tone. The attention to detail on the ships is also to be commended, the animation as they bounce across the waves is spectacular to watch. Filling a screen with fighter planes and ships is not only great entertainment to watch, but to partake in as well. Flak fires convincingly into the sky, planes duck and weave in dogfights, kamikaze's hurtle downward - it's fairly impressive. Add to that 8 human players (hypothetically) and a consistent framerate (again, hypothetically. Didn't have any issues in the demo) and Battlestations Pacific is shaping up to be a nice little strategy/action game. I'm tempted to pick this one up as well, it would provide a nice change of pace from Gears 2.
So yeah, two great games. I also spent a happy drunken evening playing some Schizoid with some friends. Drunken seems to be the only way at this point.
I'm trying to sort out some bombing runs as well for when my schedule has cleared out a bit, maybe for next weekend.
Take it easy kids, thanks for reading.