hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts


Fury-Genesis's blog

6:09 PM on 04.16.2011

Poorly Thought Through Review: Killzone 2

I play games, quite a lot of games. And sometimes I wonder, what did other people think of this game? If I wonder this, surely others do as well.

In PTTR I review games as I complete them, completely subjectively. Iíll write as much or as little as I damn well please, depending on if, or how much, the game stirred any thoughts or emotions up in me. If I feel like rambling on about some random detail that annoyed me, thatís what Iíll do.

So if you ever wondered what some guy thought of the game youíre playing, Iíve got you covered.

I review games on a true 10 point scale. No 7-10 scale bullshit like IGN does, where you can only get less than 7 if you didnít send some ad money their way.

This means that 1 = Shit. 2.5 = Poor. 5 = Average. 7 = Good. 10 = The Shit.


Poorly Thought Through Review: Killzone 2

Killzone 2 launched as the long awaited flagship game for the Playstation 3. The early videos of the game looked so amazing that they sparked massive debates of whether it was pre-rendered or in-game footage. PS3 fanboys gathered around Killzone 2, anointing it their saviour, while Xbox fanboys dismissed it as exaggerated hype. Surely Killzone was nothing in the face of the mighty Halo!

Personally, I never played it until now. Killzone 2 never really stirred any interest in me for whatever reason. I think I may just not be that much of an FPS fan. I still havenít played Call of Duty: Black Ops for example. I also never played the original Killzone, which in my mind means I couldnít possibly play the sequel without first going back and playing the original. Which I didnít feel like doing.

I was also massively turned off by the name, Killzone. I mean, seriously. How can anyone say that with a straight face? The pretentious games-as-art fag in me cringes at this game. I facepalm every time I see it. Itís even dumber than Bulletstorm, and that game is meant to be intentionally stupid and to poke fun of these types of games.

Anyway, I found it for cheap and decided now was the time to get over my doubts and take my Killzone virginity. So I dusted off the old fatty PS3 (literally, it was covered in a thick layer of dust. I havenít used it since I re-played the Uncharted games in October 2010. Also, I need to dust more often.) and fired up this amazing source of video game holy wars.

First thing I noticed was that the menus appeared to be flickering. I eventually realized they twist and contort as a response to how I hold the PS3 controller. That might have seemed like a good idea to some designer somewhere, but man was that annoying. Wasnít off to a good start.

Starting the game, I immediately found the pre-rendered versus in-game debate to be thoroughly settled. Itís a good looking game, but itís not that good looking. It has some really nice lighting effects, and some of the larger set piece give a nice sense of scale to the environment. However the models and textures, while good, are not superior to what you see in most AAA titles.

There was much whining among players about the weighty feel of the game, that it was slow and sluggish. I understand there was a patch at some point that made some minor tweaks, however, I really did not feel like the game was sluggish at all. I guess if you are used to PC shooters, where you kind of hover around at fast speeds and can twitch aim 180 degrees if you want, itís going to feel slow (hate those types of games btw). But compared to most console FPS games, Killzone seems pretty par for the course to me. I enjoyed the feel of the game anyway.

The sound is really good. The music consists mostly of your standard sweeping orchestral score, well made, but predictable. The weapons all sound good, with plenty of punch to them. The dialogue is predictably bad, and the voice acting is competent, but comes off as typical action movie fare. Brian Cox as Scholar Visari does a very good job though. Too bad we donít see him more in the course of the story.

The story itself is very basic and remains firmly in the background throughout. Most of the time I barely even registered why I was blowing away Helghast. Thereís an awesome opening sequence that sets up how the ISA is invading Helghan. And there was a briefing about escorting a convoy on itís way to take Visariís palace, and thatís about it, you kill a bunch of dudes, blow some shit up, and complete your objective. Fair enough. Itís not going to win any awards, and Iím probably not going to remember what the game was about a week from now, but it works well enough to facilitate the blowing up of said shit.

The story also ends with major sequel bait. Thereís barely any sense of resolution at all. It kind makes the game feel like just an episode in a series, as opposed to a game capable of standing on itís own.

I had read quite a bit about how annoying the character of Rico was, but I honestly didnít find him to be that grating up until the final two levels. Heís profane as fuck, thatís for sure, but Iím cool with that. If youíve ever been around any military men, you know that it doesnít feel right if they donít cuss like their lives depended on it.

The campaign is really short. I finished it in about 5 and a half hours. That really isnít good enough I think. Itís not a tight, heavily scripted campaign like in Modern Warfare either, where the intensity is turned up to 11 and every single bit of every level shows a high level of polish. As a gamer that doesnít care that much for multiplayer in these games, I donít get much out of a 5 and a half hour game. Definitely disappointing.

The game is paced quite well though. It keeps you moving through the game at a brisk pace, and levels rarely wear out their welcome.

I ran into a few glitches along the way as well. I got stuck on the environment a few times and had to kill myself to get out. There was also a bit where I was driving a tank and it suddenly went airborne for no apparent reason, landed on top of a friendly tank, and got stuck. Kind of entertaining I guess, but dudeÖ 5 and a half hours. At least make it 5 and a half bug free hours.

Rating: 8 Ė A very good first person shooter, it plays well, looks good, sounds great and is quite a good time. But itís much too short, doesnít quite live up to the hype, and in many ways feels a little bit generic in terms of setting, story and gameplay, even though it does the majority of those things better than most.   read

5:19 PM on 04.04.2011

Poorly Thought Through Review: Beyond Good and Evil HD

I play games, quite a lot of games. And sometimes I wonder, what did other people think of this game? If I wonder this, surely others do as well.

In PTTR I review games as I complete them, completely subjectively. I'll write as much or as little as I damn well please, depending on if, or how much, the game stirred any thoughts or emotions up in me. If I feel like rambling on about some random detail that annoyed me, that's what I'll do.

So if you ever wondered what some guy thought of the game you're playing, I've got you covered.

I review games on a true 10 point scale. No 7-10 scale bullshit like IGN does, where you can only get less than 7 if you didn't send some ad money their way.

This means that 1 = Shit. 2.5 = Poor. 5 = Average. 7 = Good. 10 = The Shit.


Poorly Thought Through Review: Beyond Good and Evil HD

Beyond Good and Evil came out for all consoles last generation. It received some critical praise, but sold poorly. However through word of mouth, it slowly built quite the cult following. By now it has reached the point where you can't be a douchy hipster gamer without claiming to have played Beyond Good and Evil several times, regardless of if you did or not. This is a pretty rare club, off the top of my head I can only think of Ico and Shadow of Colossus as games talked about the same way.

But now Ubisoft has been kind enough to release Beyond Good and Evil HD for Xbox Live Arcade, a faithful port of the original game with higher resolution textures. Now gamers have no excuse for not having played this classic game.

Is the game as good as advertised? Has it held up well over the years?

I played Beyond Good and Evil on the Gamecube, and remembered it as an interesting, weird, and sometimes frustrating game. I saw it on LIVE Arcade for only 800 space banana bucks, and figured I might as well revisit it, if only to strengthen my already considerable douchy hipster gamer credentials.

After playing through it, my main thought can be summed up pretty quickly: Thank the gods for the advancements in camera design and programming. Thank you Shinji Mikami for making Resident Evil 4 and changing the industry forever.

Back in 2003, a full 7+ years after games entered the third dimension, we were still at the point where no one could come up with a not-crap camera system for third person titles. Actually by the standards at the time, BGAE had a pretty good camera, which is not saying much.

While the old 8bit and especially the 16bit generation of games have held up great, and are still fun to go back and play, I find that the first two generations of 3D games are often painful to revisit. They hold up really poorly and show how much growing pains 3D game design went through. PSX and N64 games look absolutely hilariously awful and have terrible camera systems, PS2, Xbox and Gamecube games hold up a bit better, but still suffer from some obvious growing pains.

Whenever I revisit old games from those generations, I can deal with the low poly models and low rez textures (although PSX and to a lesser extent PS2 games lack of anti aliasing cause some serious eye strain), but the camera systems always infuriate and sometimes even (literally) sicken me.

This was often the case with Beyond Good and Evil HD. The camera was always jerking around for no good reason, getting stuck on walls and in corners and sometimes inexplicably focusing on all the wrong things, so I couldn't see what I was fighting. In the slaughterhouse dungeon especially, when you have to drive around in the hovercraft, I started feeling a bit ill. It was bad enough that I seriously considered just dropping the game and moving on.

Then I realized I am a man, promptly located my balls, and played on. It worries me sometimes how much games these days are turning me into a pussy. Old 8 and 16 bit games are suddenly hard as hell to me, and I get motion sickness from bad cameras and blurry graphics. Where once I could play Duke Nukem 3D multiplayer for hours on end, about 5 minutes with that game now will have me projectile vomiting on the screen.

That brings me to another point, there were a few sections in the game where I got stuck. I had no idea what to do next, and the game offered no clues. As always in these situations, the answer is dead easy, and after hours of searching (and cursing), when you find it, you feel like an idiot and the smartest guy ever at the same time. BGAEHD had a few situations like this, and every time the feeling I had, the frustration, felt really unfamiliar to me. I was wondering why that is, and it occurred to me that this never happens to me in games anymore. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any games I've played recently that put me in situations like that. Features like on screen tips, or visual clues like a faint glow around an object you can interact with, have almost completely removed those situations where you just get stuck. I hadn't actually though about this until now. I guess it's a good thing.. or is it?

BGAEHD is still as charming as ever. The art remains interesting, the characters are distinctive, and Double H is still the lamest, dorkiest sidekick ever. Pey'j is a little bit more annoying than I remembered though.

I remembered the story to be really good, and while it is not bad, it's not nearly as good as I remembered. It's pretty straightforward, the cutscenes are nothing special, the voice acting is merely ok, and the ending is borderline bad to me.

The soundtrack is also really quirky. The music was catchy though. I liked it.

I really enjoyed the side missions that end in chases. Some of those chase sequences are, to this day, some of the best chase sequences in gaming. Especially the one that has you running from the leader of the Alpha Sections. That was pretty kickass.

There was a strange sequence towards the third act where I had to locate some codes to access my spaceship. Turned out I needed to go into my inventory to check a pair of shoes. Thing is, I didn't realize I even had an inventory. Either it was never mentioned, or I must have skipped past that part of the tutorial. In any case, if not for that sequence, I seriously would have gone through the entire game without knowing there was an inventory in this game.

I also felt that in the dungeons, where you have to be stealthy, it often is just not very fun. I wasn't enjoying it at all. And it took me back to that time where everything had poorly implemented 'stealth elements'. It was all the rage. It was like you couldn't ship a game without having the stealth elements bullet point on the back. I'm happy the current trend of including RPG elements in every game doesn't result in nearly as much aggravation.

You spend much of the game together with a partner, and for the majority of the time, it works well. They don't do much, but they rarely screw you over either. I died a couple of times because my partner was killed, and twice the AI had a retard moment during scripted events that caused me to have to retry that section. However for the most part, the AI is somewhat competent.

As I mentioned earlier, the story takes a turn for the worse at the very end, and it was compounded by the credits douchy credits that run on forever. No scrolling credits here, noo, they fade in, like one guy at a time, and stay on screen for a long time. And you can't exit it by pressing any buttons. There is a short epilogue at the end, that hints at the events in the sequel, but I bet probably no one ever saw it because no one can't possibly have the patience to sit through such an obnoxious credits sequence without just exiting the game.

In the end, I don't think Beyond Good and Evil HD is that good. Don't get me wrong, it's a pretty good game, and it's really interesting and quirky. It's... different. And different is good, especially nowadays with all these derivative games. But it's not THAT good. It's not so good it deserves to be mentioned alongside the Ico's and Shadows of the Colossus' (Colossi?) of the world.

*Puts on his Bill Simmons hat*
I think Beyond Good and Evil is a case of a game that was underrated for so long, and people kept talking about how underrated it was, that in the end, it ended up being overrated.

Rating: 7.5 Ė A good, interesting and original game, that is hurt by a bad camera and some stealth sections that just aren't much fun.   read

8:52 PM on 04.03.2011

Poorly Thought Through Review: Dragon Age 2

I play games, quite a lot of games. And sometimes I wonder, what did other people think of this game? If I wonder this, surely others do as well.

In PTTR I review games as I complete them, completely subjectively. I'll write as much or as little as I damn well please, depending on if, or how much, the game stirred any thoughts or emotions up in me. If I feel like rambling on about some random detail that annoyed me, that's what I'll do.

So if you ever wondered what some guy thought of the game you're playing, I've got you covered.

I review games on a true 10 point scale. No 7-10 scale bullshit like IGN does, where you can only get less than 7 if you neglect to send some ad money their way.

This means that 1 = Shit. 2.5 = Poor. 5 = Average. 7 = Good. 10 = The Shit.

Poorly Thought Through Review: Dragon Age 2.

The reception of Dragon Age 2 among reviewers and consumers is one of the most interesting ones in recent memory. The dominant narrative has been that it's not a very good game. The attempts at streamlining the game really dumbed it down. There's only like 2 areas in the whole game, and they suck. Combat is mashy and stupid. The graphics aren't very good. The pacing is terrible. Dragon Age 2 hates heterosexual males. Dragon Age 2 also hates gays. And so on.

However, everyone I know who has been playing it, are saying they enjoy it a lot. I did too, I really enjoyed it.

That said...

The graphics are nothing to write home about, but compared to the muddy textures and general ugliness of Dragon Age: Origins, it's a huge step up. It also has an actual art style now, with at least some interesting character and environment designs. My main problem here was that they're still using those same awful hairstyles, and you can't even select default Hawke's hairstyle if you decide to make your own guy. Which was the only male hairstyle in the whole damn game that didn't look entirely crap.

The horrible hairstyles are pretty odd, considering most character artist students at my university can do as good or better mesh hair than we see in this game. And the intricacy of some of the armor designs in the game shows that clearly, the DA2 artists don't suck. They could have made some better hairstyles that that, even with a restrictive polygon budget.

Then there's the repetitive environments. Some of it can be explained away by having the whole game take place in Kirkwall. Although the lack of any real change when the game jumps forward a few years is a completely indefensible decision. I wouldn't think of it as an oversight, I doubt any art team wouldn't think of this. It has to be a decision that they simply didn't have time to do major changes to the city. The repetitive dungeon areas and the lack of environments in general I think is something that has to be blamed on an extremely tight schedule. It's not like the areas in the game are hyper detailed and took forever to research, design and build. It's by far the clearest indication that the DA2 team did not have enough time to work on this game.

The combat, I'm not going to lie, I enjoyed it. It looks off, really off, in the context of the world. Especially considering the established style of the first game. And it's mashy and not very strategic. The reason ME2 felt so good compared to ME was that it was a natural evolution of what was presented in the first game. You could clearly see how they built on what came before and made it work so much better. In DA2 however, you're looking at what is basically really poor third person action game combat, that has no relation to the previously established system.

It's clearly not an RPG combat system, which means that despite being featured in an RPG, it should be looked at as an Action game combat system. In which case, it fails pretty badly. I really do think that they kind of halfassed it, and ended up kind of in the middle.

They would have been better served going all the way in either direction. Either go all in with the action approach and add a block button and a dodge roll, get rid of ability timers and tune the moves and AI for hectic real time combat. Or use the previous system, eliminate some of the cumbersome shuffling around and maybe speed it up a little to keep it more involving, but stick within the framework of what you've got.

As it is, DA2 ended up with kind of a hybrid system that fails as an Action game combat system and fails as an RPG combat system. But like I said, I did enjoy it. Not because it was good, but because it was more involving. I like pressing buttons and seeing my character immediately reacting to my commands.

The story is poorly paced, the first act drags on for way too long, the third act is way to short, and the second act feels like the climax, leaving the short third act as a bit of a let down. I did enjoy having a voiced and defined protagonist this time around though. I've always preferred the defined character over the blank slate character approach. It works in some games, but in fully voiced, highly interactive games like this, standing around like a mute simpleton feels off to me. So I was happy about the 'Sheperdization' of the player character.

Then there's the game design decisions. Some of them are really strange to me. I'm not sure I understand the purpose of the streamlining they did on... well, everything. I mean I totally get that they saw the massive critical and commercial success that Mass Effect 2 had, with it's streamlined and polished approach to RPG systems and combat, and had the bright idea to take DA2 in that direction as well.

But what confuses me is, that's a complete rejection of the design philosophy they based the Dragon Age franchise on. DA was heavily pitched as the spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate. It was a real PC RPG. A return to Bioware's roots. A love letter to true RPG fans. And in most ways, DA:O was a success in this regard. Dragon Age was never supposed to be a streamlined game looking for mainstream success.

I'd really have loved to be a fly on the wall for the conversations they had about this at Bioware as they decided what direction to take DA2 in. Did they all have dollar signs in their eyes after ME2 came out and completely changed DA2? Surely they were already working on DA2 by then, they should have been far along in production even. Did they plan this direction for DA2 from the start, or did they make major changes inspired by the success of ME2 at some point during production? And is that part of the reason DA2 shows so many signs of being a rushed and underdeveloped product?

Regardless of if that was the case or not, DA2 came less than one and a half years after the first game, which is just not enough time to adequately put together the kind of massive experience that an RPG requires.

Dragon Age 2 is a strange creature. It's very flawed, it's not a good game. It's a game that doesn't know who or what it is. It tries to marry the RPG and 3rd Person Action genres, but instead of giving us the best of both worlds, it in many ways gives us the worst. Yet somehow, it remains very enjoyable. I played the whole thing from start to finish and enjoyed myself the whole time. And doesn't that make it good?

I'm confused by this game. And after finishing it weeks ago, I still think about it. If nothing else, it provided a long and entertaining experience, and left an impression. Kind of like your mom.

Rating: 7 Ė It's a 5 that's got a lot of heart. Those intangibles bring enough enjoyment to make up the difference and warrant a 7.   read

4:49 AM on 07.11.2008

Birdmen and the Casual Fallacy.

First off, woo, first blog! \o/ I was planning on doing this eventually, but I never really found myself with anything I deemed even remotely postable, be it opinion or...stuff. But now I do! So here we are.

In any case, I came across a very interesting article today, written by one Sean Malstrom, a man much smarter than me apparently, that I thought I'd share. It is called Birdmen and the Casual Fallacy, and it tackles the resurgence of Nintendo and the misconception of casual games by the industry at large.

Like most gamers worth a damn, I am disgusted when I see casual games on best seller list. And like most pretentious games-as-art fags, I think casual games insult my intelligence. And thus I have been a little bit down on Nintendo and the Wii.

Then I sat down to read this, like a good little wannabe intellectual, and by the end of the article, my mind was thoroughly blown.

I would say that if you have any interest in the ongoing 'casual' vs 'hardcore' debate, or any interest in the state of the gaming industry and where it is going, this article should be required reading.

Anywhooo, linkage:

A small excerpt:

"Nintendo is flying high. Rather than examine the nature of this flight, the birdmen are mesmerized by the feathers. The analysts and executives do not see the concepts of disruption and don’t even understand the Blue Ocean principles (though they think they do). The feathers they see on Nintendo’s ascent are casual games. Therefore, they surmise, if they make casual games then they will be flying high with Nintendo.

There is nothing new here. Years ago, when Grand Theft Auto 3 hit big, all the birdmen began putting out Grand Theft Auto 3 clones. Years before that, it was first person shooters. More years before that, it was bloody fighters. One can find the birdmen back in the 8-bit generation making platformers. They would look at Super Mario Brothers and go, ‚ÄúOh, I get it! We just need to make a game with cute music, colorful world, and upgrades like the magic mushroom!‚ÄĚ Slapping wings on their arms, these games flopped. Amazingly, despite how many times the birdmen fall down, each generation they are ready to put on feathers and jump off a cliff."

My thoughts:

It's already been clear for a while that Nintendo has won. But that article really makes it dawn on you just how masterful their maneuvering of recent years has been.

I also love how the article so perfectly conveyed my own feelings at almost the exact moment I felt it with :" ‚ÄúNOOOOO!!!!‚ÄĚ a hardcore gamer screams in sudden realization." ^_^

Personally, much like Jim posted a little while ago, I don't think the divide between games are 'hardcore' and 'casual', I think the divide is good games and sh*t games. And indeed, I do think "casual" means "retard".

And I disagree with the notion that the old 8 bit games equal the casual games of today. Couldn't be farther from the truth. A staple of the casual games of today is that they're easy as all hell and have no depth. Even Nintendo's own simplistic games are like that. Go back and play old NES games and you will get your arse handed to you in ways even the most difficult current AAA titles can't do to you. There is nothing casual about the 8 and 16 bit generation of games, despite superficial appearences that may indicate otherwise.

I also don't think Nintendo can take the upmarket, not to the point where it puts Microsoft and Sony on it's arse, simply due to the limitations of the Wii. There's always going to be a market for the biggest and best with the prettiest graphics. And the Wii can't touch that piece of the market. Nintendo simply can't move upstream enough during this generation. It'll have to change it's M.O. and put out a beast of a console next generation in order to hurt Xbox and Playstation the way this article suggests.

I think the shift here will be that Nintendo owns the lions share of the market, while Microsoft and Sony fight over smaller pieces, much like Sony owned the market the last generations while Microsoft and Nintendo quibbled over scraps, and before that, Nintendo and Sega. But in this case, those scraps happen to be the upmarket of big budget AAA titles, so life would probably not be *that* bad for the Xbox and Playstation.   read

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -