#Reviews

Carmageddon on Android/Amazon Fire

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To my surprise i found this game on Android not just for free, but better from my perspective than the ps4 version I bought or the Steam version I prebought to encourage development. I’m surprised how much I played it as I normally only play on ps4 in recent years, and also don’t get it how it can be completely free and of such high quality. Also amazed how today a cheap cellphone can be more powerful than my old homebase big Pentium 200Mhz + video card, and in fact it’s even a bit too powerful at times as the game actually felt too crisp at times (except the wheels which are still not round enough for such a foreground element). I’m still impressed with how many years ahead of it’s time this game was in terms of level and game design, with pretty much huge open world game, encouraging exploration, the “race” itself being <30% of huge and interesting maps I just want to explore even again and the points and generosity of maps gives a freedom of choice that’s uncommon even in 2017 in terms of where you want to play (for example i generally prefer the sunny/beach maps). Also great balance in that the race is just long/short enough that you have a reasonable chance of enjoying the chaos of tha AI drivers and have a chance of getting them. Tried it on different sized phone/tablets, thinking i’d prefer a bigger one, or at least the intermediary sized Fire one (I was surprised it was on that shop too, not free there, but still), but in the end enjoying it on my phone-turned-tablet 5″ size (i think). I particularly admire how well they translated keyboard input into touchscreen input. As in the old day the physics continues to be a lot of fun. Oh, and did I mention the level design is fun-tastic? So much variety and invitation to explore, you almost feel happy when an opponent crashes you off the street into an unexplored area.

Impressed overall, I hope to finish it.

 

PS: loving the music! It’s very old school, I felt vibes of Prodigy back in the “Fat of the Land” 1997 age with a metal tendency. Some really surprising and enjoyably energetic sound moods.

Artsygamer top 5 games of 2016

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A little late, but thought I’d post my top 5 games of 2016. It was a tough fight but the winners to me are:

1) Dying Light: The Following

2) Dishonored 2

3) Far Cry Primal

4) Dark Souls 3

5) Witcher 3 tied with Hitman

Obviously the choices are subjective though as to my reasons their respective reviews/impressions hopefully explain at least partly my choices. As an honourable mention I’d put in Layers of Fear, a game on a much lower budget but that still managed to impress.

Please leave your top 5 in the comments and I’ll edit-it in here in the post. (games of 2016 as in when you played them, even if they’re older)

————————— Firefish

1) Dark Souls 3
2) Dishonored 2 tie with Dying Light: The Following
3) Far Cry Primal
4) Uncharted 4
5) Hitman

————————— Jaco

1) Uncharted 4
2) Dark Souls 3
3) The Witcher 3
4) Ori and the blind forest
5) Inside

————————— P3tty

1) ARK Survival Evolved
2) Broforce
3) Firewatch
4) Sniper Elite V2
5) Dishonored

————————— Michi

1) Sherlock Holmes – The Devil’s Daughter
2) Uncharted 4
3) Shadows of Mordor
4) Dishonored
5) Tales of Monkey Island

————————— 47crows

1) Halo 2 for PC
2) Life is Strange
3) Hitman – Blood Money
4) Terraria
5) Brutal DOOM

————————— Bossti

1) DOOM
2) The Last Guardian
3) Mafia 3
4) Overwatch
5) Inside

————————— Player347

1) Teeworlds – timeless online 2D shooter, highly addictive
2) The Last Guardian
3) Waking Mars
4) FOTONICA – 1 button game, loads of fun
5) Shelter 2 – open world animal survival, mother lynx hunts and feeds baby lynxes

Dying Light: The following – quick impressions

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This review has been slow in coming not because the game is bad, but because the game is faaaantastic. So much so that after finishing it I felt i wasn’t done with it. And then played portions of it again, and then again some more. And i’ll probably go back to this world because it’s so good. In fact it’s my choice for game of the year 2016 among heavy competition, so looking at it back now there’s now way I’ll do it justice but here’s some random memories:

+, +, +, +, +, + aaaamazing environmental storytelling through props and locations. Finding a set of otherwise ordinary items in a remote location that was totally optional but everything arranged in a way that told a story, that gave me the feeling that somebody had thought about what happened there, about the story of the place before you arrive there… just blew me away so many times. A mattress and a laptop and some headphones in some locked up place suggesting how the poor person was stuck there in the last moments without electricity and tried to get some comfrot from the music, many many such locations made the whole world alive, everything working together to tell a bigger story, a story not of people but of a world. I was very impressed

+, +, -,  + amazingly big world. I was expecting not to like it as much as the original because i hate it when first person games introduce cars and I was sceptical that they could still make a dense enough world on such a scale yet it surprised me. Sure, I missed a bit all the tight environments that didn’t need a car from the original, but still it was pretty interesting and at each place I arrived to I got the feeling of all the glory of the original

+, + still great soundtrack. Just discovered it’s on amazon prime too, yeaayy!

+, + interesting characters and stories with variety

+, + lots of interesting things to do, interesting character progression

+, +, + a lot of fantastic optional stuff

+, +, +, +, + some really amazing visuals, be it beautiful high cliffs in the sun or wet caves with underwater entrances, many many times my jaw just dropped

+ interesting original user content coupled in

Overall I found the game fantastic, played it multiple times and I’m sure I’ll get back into the world in years to come, bought the game again just for that. Definitely my game of the year 2016, and that despite strong contenders and the fact that it launched in january-february, a period where most games are afraid to launch as nobody remembers them for the nominations of november/december… but yes, I think this is a huge gem of a game. Every time I see a game of they year list where it isn’t at least nominated I’m saddened for all the people who didn’t experience this fantastic gem. Warmly warmly recommending it. I’d give it 4,2 on a -5 to 5 scale, making it fantastic.

Hitman – Season 1 – quick impressions

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+, +, +, + Great variety of locations, with a couple being really great but a few mediocre and one and a bit actually frustrating <cough> Colorado <cough>

+,+, –  felt like a return to old form, particularly in the direction Hitman: Blood Money, which I liked, however the mechanics and number of options did not feel like they got enough improvements for the many years passed

+ the story was pretty interesting with implications, though not a lot of it

+, +, +, + a huge amount of dialogues and events making it feel like quite alive places

+, +, + the general writing of the ingame stories was very good

– the menus were somewhat confusing, a mixture of the unit structure of each episode maybe? For a long time i couldn’t figure out where to load when starting up

-, -, -, – i really disliked their push for “online”, i suspect that’s also what makes the loading/saving so slow and the menus so unresponsive, in general I resented the tendency to take freedom from the customer and give themselves more power through this.

– sometimes too hard due to crowds. This revealing problems in lacking skills for creating diversions and other quirks (is it so hard to carry extra coins?)

Each episode had it’s own little particularities so here’s some separate thoughts for them:

– 1) Intro : mediocre, interesting idea with the test but boring location

+, +, +, + 2) Sapienza great surprisingly living little town, great variety of locations, probably my favorite. If you’re gonna get just one episode I’d recommend this one

+, + 3) Marrakesh Interesting political insights and interesting location.

+, + 4) Bangkok Beautiful location, too bad it felt so constrained and small and some of the most beautiful places like that beach couldn’t be visited

-, – 5) Colorado, to me mostly uninteresting visually, inviting to fighting in a game not suited for it, involved a lot of frustrating save&loading which discourages experimentation

+, –  6) Hokkaido  the idea is interesting but the many locked doors create a narrow corridor constrained feeling.

Overall I’d give it a 2 on a -5 to 5 scale. I enjoyed it and look forward to the next one, but because the locations and experiences were so uneven I’d only get the next episodes when the whole season is out/on a sale because as much as I liked some locations others were not so great and would leave a bad taste for me to wait another couple of months to was hit.

Dishonored 2 – impressions

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Quick thoughts on credits:

+, +, +, +, +, + amazing environmental attention to detail, from the way old objects clutter to witches having a cup of tea and discussing among themselves on a chandelier until/unless they notice you

+, +, +, + again that amazing level design full of amazing secrets, wasn’t easy to find all the runes but it was worth it. Granted for one of them after trying a bunch of things had to look online. Otherwise however I have to say I loved their subtlety and logic, I like they d again like in Dishonored that they had a physicality to them, making sense somehow and not resorting to cheap tricks

+, +, + nicely deeply thought out universe with rich background and in-character storytelling

+, + great artwork, like it’s predecessors

-, +, + it felt very much like the original Dishonored. For the time passed it felt like there weren’t enough leaps either in technology or quantity of artwork. I mean it was better, but I was sorta expecting more. That being said the artwork was very good.

+, + this the game on the ps4 came with the original Dishonored + the expansions, which made me veeery happy. Although I’ve played them (shockingly) multiple times I look forward to replaying the brilliant expansions once more and their generosity of including it with the ps4 version brings me great joy and to somebody who hasn’t played them could potentially bring value in my opinion almost equal to the game itself despite the passage of time

– on the ps4 pro there were a lot of weird bright edge jaggies, where tiles in the walls met, not a big deal, and most of the time they weren’t there (maybe they even disappeared at some point)

+, +, +, + the infested houses were just aaaamazing, that mixture of luxury furniture and musical instruments with nature invading and the stories in there, told both by environments, and bits of journals… aaamazing

+, +, + some amazing sculptures!

+, + they took in artwork and style as well as original ideas from the 2 brilliant expansions to Dishonored, which were IMHO even better than the original game

– with the art style in the menus i felt it was a little step back from the excellent artists’ work shown in the original game, I also felt less impressed by the faces/expressions of the main characters, they got imo a bit too plasticy instead of that stylized cut look they used to have

+, – you can play it with two characters. This may introduce some extra replayability for some people, for me though, playing Corvo, this probably was the cause why it felt very much the same, with abilities being too similar.

+, +, + a lot of replayability coming from the amazingly interesting locations and events, also many interesting dialogues

+, +, + delightfully many paths through the environments

– At times it felt a bit difficult, or at least strangely balanced difficulty, with first escape mission being really tough while some later missions being almost silly easy

+, +, + path breaking approach with that time-travel map, that’s like 2 maps in one! easy to not appreciate that wonder enough. If they make a whole future game like that it’ll be truly a leap forward, and i consider this a very successful prototype.

Overall I think it’s an excellent game. I’d consider it above the original Dishonored but not quite the level of excellence of the 2 expansions. I wasn’t suuuper impressed simply because the bar was set so high and while the new game met it it didn’t (i felt) rise it in the same way as the original did. So overall I’d give it a 4 on a -5 to 5 scale, making it an incredible amazing game that I very warmly recommend!

Hitman Season 1

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I was impressed with the passion of this review. I’ve avoided it so far because of the online and challenge components getting me skeptical… but after this review it’s totally on my radar.

Mad Max – impressions

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No, not the movie, the game, confusingly carrying the same title though being quite different.

+, +, + amazing visuals through a beautiful graphics engine, beautiful artistic sunsets and the dunes, looking at times spectacular

-, – infantile often downright stupid story with not credible world, and adolescent namings. I wanted to believe in the world, and I could’ve totally seen made it at least half credible in a Fallout kind of sense but it seems just down right silly

+, +, +, + amazing level design, by that I mean many camps and locations which although reusing assets are each lovingly designed in a way that invites exploration and discovery, each having it’s own specific character.

+, – passable but “meh” music

-, – the occasional frustrating “boss fight” locking you in and not allowing for open world solutions or alternatives

+ decent progression and leveling

+, + some genuinely interesting and memorable locations

Overall I’d simply say the world looks great and the level layout with a beautiful engine but destroyed by a worse than mediocre story. I’d give it a 1 on a -5 to 5 scale: worth playing for the world and discovery but showing many other problems. Still i think it’s a game worth mentioning because i suspect behind the unidimensional almost caricatural world is a team of people who put a lot of love into the game and it shows.

 

Farcry Primal – impressions

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It’s amazing it took me like 8 months to finish this game despite loving it so very much from the launch date. Here’s my quick thoughts:

+, +, +, +, + Aaaaaaaaaaaaaamazing world, so very very big and open and fascinating to explore and beeeeeeeeautiful!!!

-, – too bad it didn’t had voice over. I mean in a way the primitive old language is charismatic, but on the other hand it breaks the immersion a bit not to understand it and it makes it feel a bit like a more “indie” budget title, which it totally doesn’t feel otherwise

+, +, +, + deep and complex story with a lot of moral grays. Many times I was surprised how they dared to be so “politically incorrect” with the kinds of things they said in the game, and the story. I’m used to seeing stories in which the hero is camouflaged for modern tastes and values yet in this game the story and the world is much more unapologetically tribe-vs-tribe, and even in this the game manages to surprise with complex tensions and interests, and even the major villain being presented in a way that made me go “WOOOW”, humanized through his child and brain illness, and even in the mutual deadly hate there is a place formed for mutual respect

+, +, + a nice variety of approaches, locations, from stealth to using animals and to full on spectacular action

– after the initial 20h of great discovery my interest plateaued for a while because of same world, yet what a world

+, +, +, + beautiful graphical engine, beautiful day-night cycle

+, +, +, + spectacularly realized vegetation, in looks, in color spectrum, in variety, in organic distribution

+, + an interesting approach of handling cold weather resulted in wonderfully dynamic experiences and emergent gameplay situations. I remember this one time when I was trying to silently take a village in the snow, yet I was freezing, so i would try to sneak past bonfires

+, +, +, + great variety in the terrain and locations

+, +, + a masterpiece in handling the animals, they are beautiful

+, + I was very surprised how many interesting and unique places to discover they’ve managed to create, with unique looks and atmosphere, world events, caves, ritual sites, villages…

+, + gripping level-up system with a lot of skills and objects to acquire while learning the land

Overall I’d say this is an underrated masterpiece of which i hear way too little of. I’d give it an amazing 4.5 on a -5 to 5 scale. I wish it had had dialogues but otherwise this is a one of a kind experience that totally took me by surprise, I really reeeeeeeally hope they’ll make a Primal 2 or even better further experiment with translating the formula through history.

Layers of Fear – impressions

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Finished it. It was a just one day experience, but it definitely was a memorable surreal one. We got the game not knowing what to expect, possibly nothing special, but after 1h of play I was so impressed with the quality of the historical elements in the environment that I went and got the addon on the spot (haven’t played it yet). Here’s quick thoughts while the credits are rolling:

+, +, + , +, + some amazing surreal moments of dream and paradox that I think would’ve had both Escher and Dali impressed. And some changes are so subtly and beautifully integrated that it’s amazing, like one moment you’ll be looking around a room and the next seeing it’s got an endless ceiling, but wonder if it was like that before, or turning around a room to find doors where you remembered walls… or things floating, just amazing moments.

+, + interesting mystery atmosphere, told through small things, placements of things, indirect letters, that kind of stuff

– there were also moments however when it felt like it had too many “booo!” scares… though I got quickly immune. The suspense stuff was better though.

+, +, + at times amazing soundtrack

– Though some story was there I wish there was more story and a bit less of the ‘gore’… just a bit, it mostly worked but it could’ve used IMO more monologue or something

+, +, + loved the historical household objects

+, – the classical paintings in the game were a perfect disturbing fit and wonderful in their ways. The only problem was there was too few of them and they repeated breaking a bit the great immersion.

+, + at times it looked technically very impressive, both as engine and at times even in terms of environment asset quality, there were moments I felt I was playing Bioshock, which is an amazing achievement for what I assume is a team/budget that’s much smaller

Overall I’d give this game a grandiose 3.5 on a -5 to 5 scale: a truly unique and extraordinary experience. Had it’s moments when it was harder to push on but overall it surprised and delighted in a way in which games rarely do and tends to be more the domain of movies: a constant journey of change, change in subtle ways, story always advancing almost without failure and failures turning into development and surprise. This game has greatly surprised me.

PS: though lacking that amazing tech this game is I think a worthy inheritor of the title of what P.T. might have been had it actually been developed into a (good) game. I definitely felt Silent Hill echoes in the game and a ton of ton of H.P. Lovecraft influences. What an impressive pedigree!

Battlefield 4 – impressions

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As usual, my thoughts are just for the singleplayer as I don’t care much for the multiplayer (might try it out at some point for 30 minutes, but not what I bought it for). So, here’s my thoughts:

+ decent music

+, -, – Really big open spaces. This is beautiful at times, but most of the times it feels “a little empty”.

– sometimes it lacks direction, easy to get lost in what you’re supposed to do next. At one point I spent many minutes (even in high story tension) trying to figure out what arbitrary thing I’m supposed to do next.

+, +, + some quite fantastic setpiece moments

+, +, +, + great variety of environments

– otherwise feeling a bit generic

+ a bit of a between soldier story

-, -, – I already mentioned how the world feels pretty empty and uninteresting (or rather overstretched), this is reinforced by lots of time spent in lock counter fire, easy to die, you’re forced to advance very slowly.

+ I guess with the right frame of mind (but I only managed to get it sometimes) you can enjoy the realism of slowly advancing

Overall I found it a generic AAA war fps, goes through the expected steps, in a kind of formula, with art assets that are passable but not incredibly memorable Still, decent enough to play and finish it which says something, so I’d give it a 1 on a -5 to 5 scale. The artwork may not be great/incredibly original but it’s consistently good and with some setpiece moments and great engine it sometimes even made me go “wow”, and the other times it was interesting to see all the military equipment which I’m assuming was research based on the real world.

 

Uncharted 4 – impressions

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Got it like 5 days ago… dooone :D

+, +, +, + quite a decent length for such a linear story. Played every day/evening quite intensively + extended weekend. I was expecting it to finish in half the time, given how we were  constantly advancing, running through the story.

-, + very linear. Occasionally it’s okay/nice to have a game like this (presuming I didn’t pay as much for it as an Oblivion), but this is made okay by the fact that there’s ALWAYS something happening. It’s even hard to talk during this game (unusual), as there’s always some commentary or dialogue happening. I find this is great and relatively new/cutting edge for games which tend to be a lot of repetition.

-, +, + normally i dislike vehicle sections, but in this game they were the most open of the whole game, and that was great, to see this level of polish and a bit more open. I fondly remember for example the big riverside muddy terrain, that looked faaantastic

+, +, + the best photography system I’ve yet seen in a game. It has filters and options, but most importantly it allows blending out of all characters to take photos of the environment, loved that. I only wish I could move my camera a bit more

+, +, +, – the world looks a couple of times faaaaaaaantastic. It particularly exploits the wonderful formula of ruins + overgrown vegetation + great sunlight/shadow spots. This looks at times fantastic. My complaint is something harder to put my finger on, … all the plants and many stones felt… I don’t know… plastic/mass produced/somehow cheap. But the formula is still fantastic

+, +, + a bunch of really reeally fantastic interiors, old furniture and many interesting props

– there’s no choices or any meaningful stuff to explore, anything to leave a personal mark on the experience, it’s just a better than movie experience

+ manages to tell a decent pirate story

+, +, + the soundtrack had a couple of quite fantastic moments

+, +, + the story writing is quite good, with nice personal moments (as well as the facial capture) and a nice variety of events, from different moments in time, childhood, adulthood, even… Nice jumping back and forth, even a surprisingly well done prison break

+, + the game was so long and with so many settings and moments it feels like multiple games.

+, +, +, + there’s that one moment… with the pirate village… maaan, that looked goooood.

 

Overall: I’d give this game a 3.5 on a -5 to 5 scale, making it a great, even excellent game with great overall polish and lots of varied content. It manages to bring to life some amazing places and moments. The reason I wouldn’t go higher is the linearity of the story and the lack of meaningful personal memories. Still, I would say this is for this generation something at least as good as Indiana Jones was for the previous one, so a milestone in entertainment.

Lords of the Fallen – impressions

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Well, finally finished it, but only like 1-2 years after starting it, with a big pause due to its difficulty spike(s). Here’s my brief thoughts:

 

+, +, -They take a lot of the tried and proven mechanics of the Souls games, this gives it some boosts up but also some of its worst sides

+, +, + quite interesting visual art style. Overly ornate and often a bit generic in that, still sometimes beautifully decorative and showing sometimes beautiful vistas, lighting and colour

+, – the ornate decorations of the armours and weapons make them visually memorable and striking but also rather implausible and impractical looking

– , -, – , -, – horrible difficulty spikes, like really horrible. I hated the game many times, and though i was curious to continue it the unreasonableness of some bosses was just too much. I ended up after a lot of trials and frustration in actually selling the game and abandoning it (a very hard thing for me, especially due to curiosity and appreciating some art content) and only recently continued it as it was given ‘free’ on PS+. I think this kind of difficulty is a huge betrayal of the customer, not giving him the choice of having his experience and in fact cheating him out of his money because he never gets to experience the full content. For example by the end of the game i saw by achievements that like 4-7% of people had gotten to the last enemies, meaning all the others never got their money’s worth, and as an artist I’m sad that they missed out on content that was actually pretty good in terms of visual and even some story. As such I judge the developers strongly and find this behaviour inexcusable. Of course people who want to experience a high level of challenge should be given this opportunity, but not at the cost of the others (hmm, how libertarian an idea!).

+, + overall decent music. Maybe not incredibly fantastic top of the line, however always original and in big quantity! Respect

-, – ,- ,- The level design i found to be by far worse than the souls games. Among the problems were also rethreading of old grounds, pretty much absent directions to next objectives, and that kind of self-mutilating “feature” of an open world where respawning enemies combined with lacking directions lead to the openness of the world just leading to a ton of wasted time and cursing in confusion at the waste. This is made particularly bad by their level designs lacking what the Souls games one do: a unique and memorableness to them: they thus feel often like mazes and are hard to remember in clear terms. I think good design should have places that you can easily describe verbally like “and then i went over the bridge and up the castle”, instead of “and then you take a left and then another and the rune that’s similar to the other rune is …. “. Such clear and well thought out level design I think becomes necessary in a game that insists to being so difficult and involve backtracking. The lack of this turns complexity that should occasion joy of discovery into complexity that just makes things unnecessarily difficult.

 

Overall I’d give it a -1 on a -5 to 5 scale. They took a very risky path of actually believing the short-line descriptions of why people like dark souls/bloodborne “because they’re hard” and missed the subtlety that people are only willing to put up with the difficulty if the quality of your product is truly amazingly unique and fantastic, thereby they lifted their standards to be judged on to impossible measures. Though I liked the artwork the pain I had to go through to enjoy it was too much for me to recommend this game to anybody else to actually buy it.

Little Big Planet Vita – impressions

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Well, it only took me like 3-4 years, but i finished it.

–  took so long because after the initial enjoyment it did what many games do which is have an unreasonable difficulty spike at the end so i just dropped it

+, + Great art assets, always with great character

+, +  nice music with a variety as big as the visual themes

+, +, + a great and surprising variety in gameplay designs. Didn’t expect so much variety and inovation

+, – decent story. Might not have loved it but at least it had character

Overall: i’d give it a 2 on a -5 to 5 scale, very high production values, great entertainment and variety, even for somebody like me with a natural avoidance of everything that has childish themes, yet i still enjoyed it quite a lot due to it’s great and and abundant content in every corner.

Medal of Honor: Warfighter – impressions

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This one has been a long time in the playing but finally finished it, so with the credits rolling, here’s my thoughts and memories on the artwork in it:

+, +, +, + Amazing variety of environments. All of them handled and lit with amazing care and love. They tend to be of the uncreative real-world type, but for that they’re interesting and varied real-world places all alternating at a beautifully quick pace. Many a times i was going to play just a bit/a mission and then i was like “i just wanna see the new place”, and then the new place was so interesting I was almost tempted to pull till the next one…

– , -,  + it’s a very linear experience. Sometimes it’s understandable and of course it makes sense fo the story it’s trying to tell of the people and the relationships between them, but sometimes the leash felt particularly short as the game was showing fascinating places just a few steps more forward yet if you went there too soon instant death (though well masked, maybe even simulated) awaited. Still, on the plus side for accepting this leash you get a steady pace of high quality scripted events and storytelling so it’s easy to endure for shorter bursts

+, + quite good glorious music

– the checkpoints sometimes were enough but even on the easiest difficulty more than once i experienced frustrating repetitions of the same sequences forcing me to take it even slower and re-see/do the same things. A couple of times this was so frustrating to almost put the game down for a few weeks/months.

+, +, + great cinematic storytelling, interesting story

– , + now those who know me or have been following my impressions on games know i really dislike it when a FPS puts in a driving sequence, but this game did it sooo well, i almost accepted it. That may be also due to the fact that they were also highly scripted events just like the FPS sections. I was amazed not just that they managed to create a half decent driving simulation (i was expecting a very low budget on rails fake feeling one) but what really blew me away were some scripted driving sequences, in particular the one in a middle eastern market+city where I was shocked and delighted to see great attention payed to little details from market stalls to bikes on the road and side and all sorts of neat touches

+, + cohesive overall mood and tone of story. The gameplay, the cinematics, the dialogues, all merged to forme a cohesive emotional picture of the game’s message. Even if the message may be a american pro war propaganda, the game managed to do it well, beautifully presenting one point of view, with everything from story to character motivations, and culminating with the heroism admiration moods and “worthy cause” feeling. I may be more skeptical about the point of view, in that even if they were truly honest in their story the game omits to mention why maybe the other side was doing it’s own stuff, but in fact even in this aspect the game felt excellent as if you looked between the lines you could see even the hints of that, perspectives from the other side or simply ended up questioning why the soldiers were in places so far from home killing people and doing their own objectives… still, all that is part of the richness of the game’s spectrum as every hero becomes stronger the better you portray it’s villain’s strengths and so this game manages to do a decent job surprisingly even at that while remaining consistent (and sometimes enigmatic!) at it’s reverent heroic tone.

Overall I found the game to be quite fantastic and to be honest i find it totally unfair that it gets a horrible 55 metacritic  rating as I found it pretty much as good as the very praised in the 90s Modern Warfare series of games to which in my mind it is so similar both in content and quality of production that i had to multiple times focus very hard to remember it’s not a “Modern Warfare 2-3” game :P Similarly having had recently played Halo 3 which was spectacularly reviewed by everybody i can’t but find this game shines fantastically at the quality of it’s presentation and the beauty and love of the memorable locations and fights it created. So I’d give it a quite good 2.5 on a -5 to 5 scale, I find it to be a very solid AAA high budget FPS and I’m super thankful to Sony for making it a free PS+ game, totally an underrated gem IMHO … if you’re willing to put up with american soldierish … but even in that field i found it was much more a story of comradery an sacrifice with friends than one of barking orders so I was able to tolerate it better than others.

Halo 3 – quick impressions

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Rating: 2.0/5 (2 votes cast)

Well, just finished it, credits are rolling… here’s some quick thoughts on the artwork in this game:

(my considerations are just for the singleplayer as I won’t even start the multiplayer, also since i’m playing it almost 9 years after launch I probably see it with different eyes than others did)

-, -, –  the atmosphere felt far less scifi and discovery and much more boring army military training. Maybe I remember wrong but Halo 1 & 2 felt much more main character hero oriented, this felt like a series of war battles, and not that well set up either. Maybe my expectations of a half decent story were set up by all the Microsoft praise, all the E3s of anticipation and of mentioning it as a great story, all the advertising campaign of finishing the story… all of that lead me to believe it would be a much more story oriented/better story, which i didn’t feel in the game

+ it was pretty long, with some turns and twists

-, -, -, – the content felt way stretched for what it was, a lot of big empty spaces. I love walking around in big places if there’s something to explore, but these were just big empty spaces to driver around aimlessly, not searching for something or exploring but just mindlessly hoping to accidentally trigger the next checkpoint

+, + there were a couple of pretty well done locations, i remember the first sight of a desert planet, the beautiful lighting on some alien spaceship infestation…

– but all of that came only after many hours/levels or very mundane and generic looking terran places

-, – the whole scifi design felt very generic, I mean like reeeally generic and unrecognisable. And sometimes not consistent feeling. So many walls were made of fusion of metalic plates, they all looked like they could open, or non did, but sometimes some opened, sometimes some didn’t

+, + the musical theme and soundtrack was pretty good

– the overall sounds of the games were pretty embarassing (for a AAA title). I mean some people thought the new star wars movie was destroyed by a Jar Jar Binks who destroyed the serious tone of the story, well, this game had hundreds and hundreds of them. All those little silly monkey-kid-aliens with the “funny” lines and the chipmunk voices. And even the bigger oners, which looked like orcs who by the things they said seemed like they were also meant to be funny/silly, found it just lame. Sometimes I think i could rate the quality of a game (from my point of view of course) simply by what my neighbours hear when I put the volume too high, and this game i was quite embarrassed by what they heard. It was either a looney toons show for kids or the rest of the time scifi sounds intermixed with all sorts of groaning and moaning of the b-rated movie type.

-, – undesired forced vehicle sections and even third person actions in a first person shooter. Why oh why do they always think they can make a fps better by making it 3rd person despite the fact that i bought the game for being a fps?!?

+, +, – there were a couple of cinematics which were pretty decent. Not enough to make a good scifi story, but at least some more less generic. At least in contrast to the many showing some soldiers or equipment or soldiers and equipment they felt a bit more interesting

– some vehicle sections felt as if they were taken out of a low budget indie game… particularly towards the end of the game there’s a section on a breaking apart surface which made no intuitive sense as to why it would be there and felt so random. A lot of the game’s environments felt like there was absolutely no thinking behind them as to what they would normally do when they don’t serve as a corridor for you to go through

 

All in all I felt rather disappointed by the whole experience. If this hadn’t have been such a big and advertised title I would’ve probably not have taken the time to play it/put up with the many generic and frustrating sections. I played and finished it mostly because i knew there was a big fanbase around it… in the end that was good in the sense that it did indeed prove to have more content than it initially showed. As a scifi and as a fantasy lover I felt generally quite disappointed by the quality of the story/world as it failed on both aspects, maybe it succeeded as a military novel, for all i know it might be, but it’s not a genre I appreciate or know of. So all in all, i’d give it a 1 on a -5 to 5 scale. I’d have given it a -1 except that it was longer and had more content and sometimes there was a hint of a promise.

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