23 February 2013

Deus Ex Halo 3 vs Predator

Crysis 3 came out yesterday, and I've already completed it.  Not to say that's a bad thing, it's to say that I haven't got much of a life.

I had the Xbox loaded up out in the loungeroom to enjoy the beautiful Vista's of the game.  That was a bad idea, because I'm a little jaded since those few times I went to the Imax to watch awesome movies from the third row on the idea that "if your vision is not filled to more than 120 degrees, you're not experiencing the full movie."

So watching the 48" LCD TV from about 2-3 metres away doesn't give that effect.  My 21" LCD monitor however from about 2 feet away makes all the difference.  If only I could get it through the DVI with Sound, then I'd be cooking with Lard.

But I threw myself into the game, and for a little indulgence I started with the Tutorial and my first thought was "I'm in the new Tron."  That wasn't really the case, but it was a pretty cool simulation run, showing all the basics of what you can and can't do.

Then the game really began, showing the cinematic of a small group of insurgents sneaking onto a dock and releasing Prophet, the main character and your role in Crysis 3.  You begin running between containers, sneaking and waiting for someone to come around a corner and start shooting at you, but they've well prepared you for that with your old buddy, Psycho, who leads you to your first bit of retraining, where you sneak around and practice how far you can spin someone's head around.

Around this time, particularly after walking through a couple of vents, my thought was "I'm playing Deus Ex."  I had a pistol with a Laser Sight and a Silencer, I'm sneaking around behind people and either Stealth Killing them or popping them in the head.  It felt a LOT like Deus Ex. The only difference is that hugging walls isn't the same and you don't get a small cinematic as you execute them.  And there's definitely no non-lethal option.

Moving on, you move on to you next part of training: Archery.

The Predator Bow is specifically designed for your Steath Hunters, because you get limited ammo including specialised ammo such as the Electro Arrow, the Super-Thermite Arrow, and the Airburst Fragmentation Arrow, all on top of your standard Carbon Impact Arrow.  They're all limited, 3 each of the specialised and 9 of the Impact arrows, but you can reclaim your Impact arrows from dead corpses and walls you've hit.
Sidenote: I was playing for a bit the other day, and I was using as many of the Specialised Arrows as possible.  Got a really good spot with five or six guys gathered together.  Got one guy in the arm with a Super Thermite arrow, and while it was counting down all you could hear was "OHGODGETITOFFGETITOFFGETITO-" Boom.  Had to pause the game to laugh.

Then you get three choices of Draw Weights, the Light Draw which is quick but won't guarantee a kill (Though I never had a problem with it against Cell goons), your mid range, and your Heavy Draw, which can pin people to walls.  You can even get an Achievement for retrieving your arrow 10 times from a pinned goon.

Eventually after going through a few waves of enemies, and a helicoptor, you reach inside the Dome of New York 2.0, the mainstay location of many various end of the world scenarios.  In this edition, the entire city of New York has turned into a Biodome, where the ruins of homes and businesses are overgrown and rusted away from time.  Water flows, creatures prace, and Cell maintains a strong guard around their main complexes.

And these levels are fucking GORGEOUS.  And when I was running through the fields of high grass, it gave me a throwback to when I was a kid wandering through empty overgrown lots and fields, all abandoned and unkempt.  It was great.

Then I was thrown back into the situation where I had to avoid the Line of Sight of a defence tower that had the gall to point me out and make sure I had my dose of High Velocity Rockets for the day.  That or having to deal with Ceph Stalkers, who LOVE the tall grass and love running around before coming up to you and giving you a loving hug from a fan of Edward Scissorhands.

Eventually Psycho and Prophet caught up with the Rebel HQ, only to start layering on the subject of being Inhuman due to Technology, because Prophet has gone from being dead due to shooting himself in the head in the previous game, to being the proud protagonist of this current game.  But the subject begins to layer on like a vegemite enthusiest, and keeps going throughout the game.

Then we lead into the Demonstration level of the game.  Probably the prettiest and most comprehensive level of the whole game.  It's a Dam, set right in the middle of the city, and it's powering the complex down the road that is providing a large section of the world with Power, and giving Cell their dominance against the world, because they first provided it for Free, eliminating competition, and then start jacking up the prices to con people into becoming their slaves by making it too expensive for them.

And this level is probably the most gorgeous level in the game.  It's large, it makes you think about where you're going and what you're doing.  It almost seems a shame to see it get destroyed.  Because that's what protagonists do, they destroy shit.

The rest of the game has it's highs and it's lows.  While it's fun to be like Predator, what with going invisible and turning on Nanovision (very similar to thermal imaging) and trying my best to kill them without anybody picking up on it, it does get a tad tedious.  Especially when the levels begin to lose a bit of imagination which I found in the last few levels.  Sure, it may be considered a well designed level, what with well placed cover for both you and your opponents, but if I wanted to go through a paintball arena, I can go to Skirmish out at Samford.

On top of that, the story was so obvious that the directions it was going could be spotted by a teenager.  I could hear the plot twists straining against the potential of something actually awesome.  Instead, the game felt like it lost traction, dropping the scenic vista's that it began with to focus on scenarios that weren't difficult and were designed to layer on more of this morality of digitizing the human condition, then leading on to an inevitable boss fight that lacked threat, let alone imagination.

But that's what you get when you walk into a new game expecting something different.  Instead I got Deus Ex crossed with Halo, set in abandoned and unkempt train stations.  Cos, lets face it, I'll probably play those levels again.  I've already finished it twice now just to make sure.  And my statement still stands.

12 February 2013

Next Gen Consoles

I sit here drinking a Roy Rogers from the limited edition Batman Cup that I got from the Dark Knight Disappoints, and I think about the next generation of Consoles. Because it pisses me off.

Now mostly it’s rumours going around. Only a few days from now will there be an announcement/presentation on the Playstation 4 and will eliminate any misconceptions for it, so that we know what the hell we’re getting out of it.

The biggest pain I still find is that reporters who are cogitating on the upcoming systems seem rather obligated to state immediately that there likely won’t be any backwards compatibility. That still pisses me off. I’ve said to myself again and again “Why is it not standard practice?”

“It’s not a selling point” has been stated before. Sure, that’s true. I wouldn’t base my purchase on whether my library of games from previous generations of consoles would be usable on a new console. It wouldn’t have been a thought at all.

But now it’s one thing I have to ask when I look at a new console. Because I have a collection of games for my PS3 and my Xbox360, all games that I have gone over again and again, that I would like to have not go to waste. But I would rather not continue to have more and more consoles connected to my TV because I have no reason to simply replace my old consoles.

That’s another thing I’m worried about with this DRM feature that’s been heavily rumoured and speculated. The DRM Restriction is like buying a game from Steam. Once you buy it, you own that copy of it for as long as that account exists. The Rumour is that Consoles will be going along a similar line. Once you’ve played a game on a particular account or console, you can’t trade in that game or loan it out. It is restricted to that account.

The reasoning behind it is that it will potentially eliminate the Used Game market, which is apparently making a significant impact on the developer market. How big an impact, I have no idea. I know through a friend that as a technical writer, he has a massive worry about it since there are many who require his books and a large portion of that market are simply finding the torrents and downloading them for free.

So I’ve got mixed feelings about it. While I would like to buy a game and then trade it in to get a discount on a new game (especially if I don’t like the game I’m trading in), it’s unfair to the developers because they’re not getting anything out of that game being resold. But then the brick and mortar shops are losing a rather large market because they are getting all profit from those games.

These two things tie in largely, and that worries me. I have games on my Playstation and Xbox accounts, all of which I can re-download if I have to replace my consoles.

So what about these future consoles?  Digital Distribution is becoming a household feature, so assuming using the same account, but if the console isn’t backwards compatible, what about those games in your Library from your PS3/360 days? Will there be any point in downloading those games again? Because without backwards compatibility, you have games on your account that you can download just to use up the space on your Console.

Or you could do what is expected of you and make room for a new console and keep your old console sitting there to collect dust?  Cos fuck that for a PC that can still download and play COMMANDER FUCKING KEEN.