So, this week my blog reviews return for some fairy tale lovin' and the PS3's latest killer app! This review covers Prince of Persia and Killzone 2. Enjoy.
Prince of Persia
The only PoP game I had ever played before the current-gen title was Warrior Within back on the Xbox. And, while I liked it, I wasnít blown away by it. Luckily Prince of Persia totally blew it out of the water in terms of story, art design, pretty much everything about the latest PoP screams quality. It easily stands as one of the most memorable titles of the last year or two.
From the moment I started the game up I knew I was in for a treat. The graphics are what I consider magical. They sucked me into the game world and never let me go. I often called to my ex-girlfriend (we were dating at the time I played through it) and told her to come watch because I felt like I was playing a fairy tale. The fact the engine held up the entire game without a hitch of slowdown was a testament to Ubisoft. To me, the game world was as enchanting, if not more so, than my favorite atmospheric game of all time, Shadow of the Colossus, and thatís saying A LOT.
Truly fantastic character design right here, folks.
The one thing I didnít like quite as much as the gameplay itself. No matter how you look at it the whole game is really just one giant series of QTEs with some fights thrown in to mix it up, which themselves quickly devolve into a smaller series of more frustrating QTEs after your enemies start blocking with more frequency. Sure, you look awesome as you do everything, but there was never a point outside a fight that allows you to truly do anything you want (and as stated before, fights quickly become a series of more QTEs anyway). If you want to go somewhere, you have to do exactly what the game wants you to exactly when it wants you to. The fact you never die just goes to cement the fact that, to me, you donít ďplayĒ PoP, it leads you down a corridor and holds your hand the entire time, making sure you see everything it wants you to with little free will on behalf of the player. Itís worse than BioShock, in my opinion. At least in BioShock they used that tactic as a plot twist. Everything you see is gorgeous and everything, it just canít be mistaken for a non-linear game. You choose where to go, but everything else is in the hands of the game. I still liked it, but it has to be noted.
The inclusion of Elika (aka the ďYĒ buttonÖ fitting) was a mixed bag for me. Sure she was attractive for a female videogame character and some of the banter between her and the Prince is legitimately heartfelt and at times funny, but it often annoyed me when I wanted to go somewhere and Iíd have to wait for her to catch up. The chick can fly and whip you around levels by the end and shoots magic out her hands but she never learned how to cling to vines. Odd design choice.
I'd press his Y, if ya know what I mean.
The story itself was somewhat forgettable, but the manner in which it was presented was certainly enjoyable (the ďendingĒ sequence was fantastic). The main enemies were amazing designs and often sad to have to kill, but they posed an interesting threat and the game made me want to learn more about them before their falls from grace. Iím more excited to see how Ubisoft can flesh out the story for the next game in the series than anything else (and maybe give us a few more places where we can do whatever we want, to boot).
Quick ass review score: 8/10
Killzone 2 is what the PS3 was made for. This is the game that made my system earn its spot on my entertainment center (forgive me, for I havenít played Uncharted yet, haha). Up until KZ2 my PS3 has mainly been a Bluray player. Not anymore. Now it is a legit piece of gaming hardware that deserves all the accolades it garners. Good job, Guerilla.
All simultaneously playable next time, maybe, please?
Having never played the first KZ title, I was a bit worried going into KZ2 that Iíd miss something. The only thing I ended up missing were hours in my day because Iíd play for such long lengths of time. The story in KZ2 is pretty basic realistic/futuristic science fiction, but the way itís presented is truly commendable. The levels are fast-paced, offer a decent amount of variety, and do a better job of hiding enemy spawning than even CoD4 did, something that constantly annoyed the shit out of me in that title. It offered a decent challenge, fantastic weapons, and nice diversionary sequences with tanks and a kickass mech. Good stuff. The only complaint I have is that the check points were somewhat misbalanced at times. Sometimes coming every 3 minutes, other times requiring 10-15 minutes worth of progress to be lost.
The controls in KZ2 have gotten a lot of flack, but I can honestly say I have grown accustomed to them. I think people jumped on the ďhate the controlsĒ bandwagon before giving themselves time to get used to them, much like what happened with GTAIV. All it takes is a few hours online, though, and everything becomes second nature. I mean, I can now hop online and slay bitches with the best of Ďem and boy do I enjoy slaying bitches. The multiplayer is absolutely fantastic. The ranking system rewards quality play and the manner in which objective game types switch on the fly is ingenious. It forces you to stay on your toes if you want to win and keeps things fresh throughout your play time. It even throws in some interesting twists on objective/class-based play with cool little touches like special ability swapping, squads, and squad spawning, all things I have never seen in an online game (maybe Iím just behind the times). Guerilla should also be commended for keeping the graphical fidelity in multiplayer on par with the single player and the net code smooth. Iíve rarely experienced slowdown during play, which is more than can be said for the vast majority of other online shooters out there. If there is anything I find unfair itís that Helghast players tend to stand out more due to their giant red glowing eyes than the ISA players. Iíve sniped quite a few people from across the map solely because I could hone in on their heads more easily. Oh well. They should have been ISA, haha.
Truly iconic. Good work.
In the end, Guerilla games have created the current killer app for Sonyís big black box of Bluray. Itís a must-purchase for every PS3 owner out there and is a tremendous value. I must admit I canít wait to play KZ3 seeing how fantastic Guerilla has handled KZ2, if only for the fact I want a co-op campaign. Whatís here is downright amazing, though, and should not be missed.
Quick ass review score: 10/10
Thanks for reading!
Next up will be de Blob and Condemned 2: Bloodshot.
**All images provided by/found via Google Image Search.**