This weekend, I went up North to spend some time with my girlfriend and her family. We played 5 different games during my stay, and seeing as I don’t own a 360, they were all rather new to me.
Left 4 Dead 2
Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 2
Gears of War 2
Left 4 Dead 2
First of all, having bought Left 4 Dead for her Dad and playing that to death before Christmas, my girlfriend’s Mum bought him the second one. A game which promises “new friends, more zombies, better apocalypse”. Without wanting to sound pretentious, let’s see if it met my expectations.
I really enjoyed Left 4 Dead. The atmosphere, the teamwork, the characters, the action… I liked so much about it. I first tried it around a mate’s house in France, then at my girlfriend’s house, then finally I got it for PC for Christmas 2009. I know I probably should’ve got L4D2 instead or as well – I just didn’t think my laptop would run it and I didn’t know if I’d like it. But I digress.
Left 4 Dead 2 is a game that, one would hope, takes everything it did in the first, and make better, hence the new friends, more zombies, better apocalypse tagline. I really like the addition of melee weapons, and going back to L4D will be a bit depressing in that aspect. I also thought the new campaigns were good, if a bit hard.
There is a fair bit that is new about this game, and yet I feel reluctant to call it better. I preferred the survivors I grew to like in the first, and whilst Nick and Ellis may be good characters, I felt myself yearning to play as Zoey, or Louis, or Bill or Francis. What’s strange about this is that the characters, being essentially equal, shouldn’t really change my experience, and I don’t know why that is. Maybe it’s the memories from the first, but that isn’t really long enough ago to be getting nostalgic. I pined for them nonetheless.
The more zombies aspect, with the addition of the charger, jockey, spitter and wandering witch; adds so much to the gameplay, changing strategies and so on, though in my head I see it as being too much. When playing the original, we got used to the musical cues and planned ahead based on that. I even started hearing witches that weren’t there, becoming slightly paranoid – it shows how engrossing the game is, that whilst not scary, the atmosphere really draws you in. Now I found myself asking “What was that?” far too often, and being knocked over by a charger or something similar in an unexpected manner. You would think that this unpredictability would bring good things to the game, but really it just wound me up. All the guesswork at having 7 or so possible special infected to choose from, all with fairly different tactics, and wondering what the game would throw at me next really took away from the experience.
Better apocalypse? That I could agree with. The bridge scene in Left 4 Dead 2 was particularly epic. I really liked the carnival and shopping centre/mall campaigns in particular, and the concert was rather awesome in the sense of what was going on as opposed to what you had to do. For the most part, the apocalypses were bigger, though once again I missed the 4/5 from Left 4 Dead, and I can’t decide whether they were better. Truth be told it can’t be done. Both games have awesome aspects, but there isn’t enough of a pull for me with L4D2 to buy it when I don’t know whether my laptop would run it. I had fun, but I think I’ll leave it for when I go up there again.
Oh, and they need to make a Left 4 Dead set in the UK. And add melee weapons to L4D if possible.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
Having played Medal of Honor and not understanding what my Dad saw in the particular “war games” segment of the FPS genre, I gave the first few Call of Duty games a miss. Now, after all the hype and stuff about COD:MW2, and being offered a two player go on it, I thought I might as well give it a try.
Now, I’m no expert, and I didn’t play on Xbox Live, or try any of the single player campaign, I only played the two player splitscreen missions. There’s your disclaimer for my opinion. We tried a couple of those “Special Ops” missions. I thought it was a shame that you couldn’t do a “proper game” in Co-op, as we later did in Terminator Salvation, but I got on with what was on offer.
Anyway, we tried a few of those Special Ops, particular “favourites” included the snowy crow’s nest type mission, the snipers in the snow, and the snowmobile race that I kept winning due to the trees on the last hill. I also liked the petrol station/fast food restaurant waves of enemies and the one where you have to get points in the other restaurant by hiding in the kitchen and working together.
Some parts of this game seemed too hard for me, and deaths were numerous on the breach and snow sniping missions, due mainly to faults on my part. I lack the patience, and that’s what these wartime (albeit modern wartime) games require. For me, the characters move too slowly, and realism translates into boredom. This is not the kind of game for me, but I’m not bashing it (especially not having played single player), and I think my girlfriend’s Dad liked having a teammate for a change.
Next up was Terminator Salvation. We played a few chapters of 2-player campaign. I’ve not seen the film, so it was mainly just a game to me. The graphics weren’t outstanding, and the same things that made the cover scheme interesting (choosing the next piece of cover to run to) also made me pissed off. It just didn’t work when I wanted it to most, and I kept running out of ammo. These things gradually wore me down, and the first couple of levels seemed too repetitive for me and my short attention span, so I was out of there after a couple of chapters.
Gears of War 2
Last of the 2-player games I tried (last to review, probably third or something but nevermind), Gears of War 2 seems a bit less generic than Terminator did, and had some good ideas, like the part that tells you where your partner is, and stomping on aliens’ heads; but again, after a few levels I just got bored, and it was too macho. It just made me think of the stereotypical American soldier you see in all the films, I’m not sure what rank or whatever, but they pretty much act like that. Only in space or something. Fun for a bit, but having my head stomped on by an alien was the last straw for me. Failing like that led to a rage quit, craftily disguised with the meal that was served soon after.
Last but probably deserves to be least, actually, not that as that’s a bit harsh, and someone somewhere probably likes this game a bit. Unlike the others, which with the exception of Terminator, were all rather mainstream big seller types.
WET or Wet or whatever, is a game that’s a bit like Mirror’s Edge, The Matrix, some odd grindhouse thing and probably a whole bunch more things. In theory, my brain tells me I’d like this game. It has a lot of good ideas, like Mirror’s Edge did, but unlike Mirror’s Edge’s slight bits that made no sense or whatever, Wet kind of pissed me off.
I like the soundtrack, it’s great, though the sound effects drown it out a bit. The sword/gunfire elements are a nice idea, but the locking of abilities wasn’t apparent in the PS3 demo or when I tried it at a game expo in Paris, so when I said “Watch this” and couldn’t do what I was expecting it was rather stupid. I like the idea of the acrobatics and flying through the air whilst shooting, but after a while it kind of gets old. It falls down in execution in my opinion. The voice acting is a bit off and when it zooms in on her face or whatever it just looks rubbish, worse than some PS3 visuals.
After the first two chapters or so, I ended up in her base type place, and was told to do some challenges. There was no indication (that I recall) of how to continue with the game besides “do this challenge” and then “do this one”. Weird as it sounds I just wanted to continue with the “story”. I wanted to do mad flips and run about killing things, not be tested on how well I can shoot and run about a set course. Challenges shouldn’t really be forced. Bit of a dick move.
I’ll probably play this one again when I go up there next. That and 2-player Left 4 Dead with my girlfriend. Either 1 or 2 or both on that one, they’re probably the games that I like most out of what I tried this time around, and I just want to finish Wet so it’s done.
Hope this wasn’t a waste of your time, but it probably was. Sorry. read