Saturday, December 11, 2010

There are recent games that I actually like?!

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After I published my negative review of Lords of shadow far better games were released in November the problem is too many good games are released into short timeframe. Because of this, (and to being a little lazy), I never got to write a full review or what I've played in the past month. So instead of simply writing nothing hear are a bunch of small reviews. It's better late and slothful than never!


Vanquish is a third person shooter that fixes everything stupid about third person shooters. Its story is stupid on purpose. think of it as Starship Troopers meets Gundam with added mockery of the “America versus the bad guys” theme Prevalent in Hollywood since the 80s (and a hilariously stupid plot twist) all served completely straight faced. Vanquish is also much faster than other shooters, you won't be camping behind cover because: A.) the AI is usually good at flushing you out and B.) you can move to new cover very quickly. You can also activate what most would call bullet time almost whatever you want. It seems also wonderfully well paced it's always building up to a big action set piece. In fact it's so well paced throughout that I can only compare it to Half-Life 2 and yet Vanquish was made in only nine months. (It runs on the same technology as Bayonta which was made by the same developer and was released in Japan December last year.)

No Heroes Allowed

No Heroes Allowed is exactly the kind of game I expected to find on the iPhone (and didn't). You dig, what I can best describe as an ant form of evil, to protect the overlord of the evil “BadMan” from heroes to seek to kidnap him. It's very simple to control (you dig and creatures come out of the dirt) and it has enough substance to be worthy of my time (you're really managing a simple ecosystem if one creature over populates they were inevitably starve to death). There is also a charming sense of humor that holds back to Japanese role-playing games of the 80s early 90s. From subtle animation details, silly creature names and funny dialogue No Heroes Allowed puts other games attempted s at humor to shame. This also the most accessible gaming series (the name's been changed because as a new publisher in America) with a new “evolution” mechanic; creatures can “evolve” to adapt to something that keeps killing them (starvation, predators, heroes etc.) becoming more shorter AND better adapted to what has been threatening them with extinction. That and a new easy difficulty also helps (humorously calld “noob”).

Rock Band 3

While it didn't quite teach me to play music as advertised this game leaves me wanting to take music lessons very badly. The closer I get to expert the more fun the new pro mode becomes. My only major problems with the game, besides the lack of music to play to keep new keyboard, is that learning assault can be very frustrating things to overly simplistic notation and the inability to practice a song slower than 70% speed.

Gran Turismo 5

More than a racing game Gran Turismo 5 is a celebration of cars. You not only drive the latest sports cars but also popular consumer cars, famous race cars, older sports cars and classics so old they're more like museum pieces. My favorite thing in the game right now is my 1971 Ford Mustang which, after some tuning and upgrading, I have turned into a high-performance monster. It has over three times the stock horsepower and outperforms modern sports cars! And if that's not enough if they have freaking go karts! A great and sometimes silly looking way to get accustomed to Gran Turismo's more realistic approach to driving. Worth it for any car lover.

Civilization V

While some people are down on it I absolutely love Civilization V even in its current and broken state. Everything I disliked from Civilization IV (religion, espionage, happiness/unhappiness) has been either removed or redesigned into a more manageable state. The new interface is both gorgeous and much easier to use than before. You can quickly bring up any information you need and hide when you don't need to know at the moment. V also feels far more epic than IV. At the start of every game there is a narration about how great your nation was (or is) and how awesome you are (by “you I mean Washington, Napoleon etc.) and always ending with the series tagline “can you build a civilization to stand the test of time?” It feels epic every time. There are some problems however for example the AI will sometimes stay in character to a fault (Napoleon sticking to a military or cultural victory when he clearly can't win that way). While I love the new social policy system there is no way to reassign them if my current strategy isn't working For example; if a cultural victory isn't working I might want to switch policies favoring science. However unlike Starcraft 2 none of Civilization V's problems are caused by its core systems or unit design and I am confident that Firaxis Games will fix them.

I am also in the final month of persona 3, It is truly a under-appreciated classic.

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