By angularbanjo 3 Comments
Game 1: TimeShift
BEFORE: I tried the demo on XBL, and it felt like a good shooter, mechanically. I'm hoping that the section they chose to show in the demo isn't representative of the whole game. Time control seems like a neat idea for a shooter.
AFTER: It's a little hard to figure out what's going on here. It's raining pretty heavily in what feels a little bit like City 17, replete with benign-sounding sinister overlord on PA speakers, but the story is hard to get a hold of, at least from the first half hour. The shooter mechanics are pretty solid as expected, and the time powers add some puzzle solving and strategy to the mix. In some ways, it reminds me of Resistance. The graphics are firmly rooted in last gen, although some polish has been applied to soften the edges. If this had come out in spring/summer 2006, things might have looked different for Sierra. First achievement at 17 minutes for completing the first level. Interesting game, might finish it.
Game 2: The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
BEFORE: Playing The Darkness last week made me want to check out Starbreeze's other games. I've heard a lot of good things about the Butcher Bay game, not so much about Dark Athena. I will be trying Butcher Bay first, if at all possible.
AFTER: I really like the menus. Also, the game's not bad. The melee combat is satisfying, and the thick atmosphere really sells me on the prison setting. In some ways, I can tell how old this game is, which serves only to impress me more about how ahead of its time this game must have been. 38 mintutes, Rust is dead. Will play more.
Game 3: Too Human
BEFORE: I'm trying really hard not to have too many preconceptions about this, but it's hard not to remember the controversy surrounding Too Human's release. All I know is, I like loot. Worth a try.
AFTER: Showing off the world's most disturbing cleavage in the opening sequence is not going to win you any friends. The art is not pretty, the graphics are technically underwhelming, and the concept of cyber-vikings is just baffling to someone who grew up with tales of Norse mythology. I can see myself getting into the loot aspect of this, but surely there are more well-rounded ways of getting your action RPG fix. Got my first achievement for some random combat occurrence within the first thirty seconds of controlling a character, but before that happened, I sat through about 13 minutes of rough-around-the-edges in-engine cutscenes. Not sure I'll be playing more of this one.
Game 4: Stranglehold
BEFORE: Face/Off may be the only John Woo movie I can remember really liking, and I'm not a huge fan of the Hong Kong action movie style. Stranglehold was the talk of the games press for about three weeks back in '07, then suddenly the lines went dead. Is there something here, or is this one of those games that lend themselves to a great E3 showing and then underwhelm upon release? Expecting Max Payne with added Hong Kong cinematic flair.
AFTER: Pretty much as expected. The camera's a little wonky. The combat is gimmicky but fun, and I liked the standoff mechanic, which gave me the first achievement after 12 minutes. Looks pretty good for a 2007 game.
Game 5: Ninja Blade
BEFORE: Varying opinions in the press on this one. Jeff Gerstmann felt it was too repetitive, and Kevin VanOrd at Gamespot found it to be light-hearted over-the-top fun. My tastes align with Gerstmann's more often, but I'll give this a try.
AFTER: Awesome late title card! The first mission took 47 minutes to get through, and I got 115G in the process. The first achievement took only 7 minutes to get, and I got another one immediately after. To be honest, I'm having a hard time putting this down. Even the QTEs seem satisfying and somehow actiony. Of course, I haven't played it long enough for it to get repetitive, but I'm intrigued by the story and entertained by the combat enough to make me continue playing. Awesome bargain bin find so far.