I'm on a roll! Time to head right into 2001. There are 23 games this year, so let's go!
007 - Agent Under Fire (Multi)
Yet another "Not GoldenEye But Still Looks Fun For A Bond Title." It's one of the first ones to incorporate "Bond moves," which I found to be interesting in Quantum of Solace, but not too well implemented in this one. It does look pretty nice for the year it came out and I think the voiceovers are nice, though it is a little strange to use Pierce Brosnan's likeness, but have Bond sound like Sean Connery. That's about it, though. Nothing too new or interesting.
Alcatraz - Prison Escape (PC)
I would say it's an adventure game, but...well, it's pretty crap and simple. Actually, even watching the video I found it to be incredibly boring. I know they were hoping for some sort of stealth/combat/infiltration kinda thing, but it falls flat from second number one. Very meh. That and it looks like some of the guards are moonwalking, which is hilarious, but the game's not SUPPOSED to be funny...at least I'm pretty sure.
Alien vs. Predator 2 (PC)
Now this game, much like the other AvP titles, is pretty damn fun. No, it didn't win, but it's a close runner up. There's a decent story, great graphics and animation, good voiceovers, lots of hard hitting action, plenty of play modes, lots of great effects...you want it, you got it. This is one of the best Alien vs. Predator titles, period, and if you're a fan of the series, you should definitely check it out.
CIA Operative - Solo Missions (PC)
...Folks, we all like to save money, but when you see a company like VALUSoft as your FPS developer, well...you get what you pay for, I guess. Pass!
Codename - Outbreak (PC)
This actually looks pretty fun and has some decent graphics. The story, animation, voiceovers, and overall gameplay are pretty good. I can't help thinking it's another military shooter, but one that actually has some balls. So in a way, yeah, this might be my kinda title. It didn't win, but you'll understand why when we hit #1.
Elite Forces - WW2 Iwo Jima (PC)
It's the same thing as Normandy, sooo...
Elite Forces - WW2 Normandy (PC)
Here's my take on both of these. They're both trying to be accurate, while also being military tactical, while also being budget. They're not well made and not very fun. The AI is pretty terrible, therefore the "tactic" part completely falls apart as well. Stay away from them.
Halo - Combat Evolved (Xbox) Look, you pretty much already know my viewpoint on this.
Everybody and their brother loved this game, but I just don't see it. There were plenty of other worthy titles this year, so if you love Halo, sorry.
Legends of Might and Magic (PC)
So basically it's Team Fortress 2, but Might and Magic. Yes, it looks pretty terrible. I suppose it might have some appeal to those that REALLY get into M&M, but I don't, so there you go. Pass!
Ominous Horizons - A Paladin's Calling (PC)
This looks like Hexen...if it was made with a $5 budget. No thanks.
Operation Flashpoint - Cold War Crisis (PC)
Another military tactical shooter. And this one looks especially bad. No thanks.
So again, it's basically Team Fortress 2, but SUPER CRAZY AWESOME HYPER. It actually looks pretty fun, but again, it's going to be exceedingly rare if I give an FPS a pass on multiplayer alone. Again, I would definitely try it if I still had a working Dreamcast (or DC emu), but as it stands it's a fast arcade title at best and a poor contender at worst. Trust me, you'll understand when you see #1.
Parkan - Iron Strategy (PC)
Seems almost like a combination between Tribes and Shogo. I'd definitely hit it, but I don't think it's available in anything but Russian. I'll have to check later. Definitely digging the music and interface, but again, I can't comment too terribly much on it because it's in an entirely different language.
Project Eden (Multi)
Now I've heard REALLY good things about this game, but as far as I can tell...it's another tactical shooter. Now, at least it's a new setting, developer, and concept overall, but I can't help but shake it's all just to cover up what it is. It certainly doesn't look boring, but maybe a little slow. It's certainly different and if that's what you're looking for, have at it.
Red Faction (Multi)
This is a pretty fun game that unfortunately is massively overhyped for one and only one thing: the ability to fuck things up. See, the environments are supposed to be super destructible. Well, they are, but in a very fickle way and as a result it seriously disconnects the player. It's fun, has very interesting concepts behind it, and is definitely worth playing, but maybe a little too ambitious for its own good.
Return to Castle Wolfenstein (PC)
I never felt there needed to be another Wolfenstein, but apparently id did...several times. RoCW is not a bad title, but it could be a lot better. It feels like a bad version of No One Lives Forever which, while not as good, is still good as NOLF is a damn fine title. The game looks and plays good, but is VERY cheap with AI that is just plain asshole-ish. Multiplayer is pretty fun too. And that's about it.
Secret Service - In Harm's Way (PC)
Serious Sam (PC)
Serious Sam, in my opinion, is basically the PC equivalent of TimeSplitters. It's fun, but almost too basic. I guess that's not really a bad thing, but when compared to other shooters this year, it's hard to say which way to go: brainless and fun...or serious but slow. Serious Sam is a seriously fun title (no pun intended), but I didn't feel it was able to stand up to better titles this year.
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon (PC)
Hey look, Rainbow Six. Yes, yes, it fucking well is.
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six - Take-Down - Missions in Korea (PC)
And now an ACTUAL Rainbow Six. PASS!!
Tribes 2 (PC)
I've heard great things about this game, some to the point that certain people say it's better than Team Fortress 2. It certainly looks pretty fun, but again, a multiplayer only title has a very slim chance of winning any GoTY in my book. There are jetpacks, flying things, and lots of shooting. Oh, and teamwork. That's really all I can say.
Vietnam 2 - Special Assignment (PC)
So in a way it's a very traditional FPS, but holy shit are those screams hilarious. The graphics don't quite compare to 2001 standards either. Also, doesn't it sound like the main character is trying to charm his way into their hearts with bullets? It would still be worth checking out just for shits and giggles, but little else.
Winner: Clive Barker's Undying (PC) If you know me then you know one thing I feel is suspiciously absent from today's gaming is the survival horror genre.
Undying is a great combination of FPS and survival horror. It's got great graphics, animation, sound, music, story...I mean, holy shit, it really is an incredible title. Now, it's been a few years since I've played it, but it's still a work of genius.
The game is creepy, can be legitimately scary at times, and has great ambience. Think of it almost like Amnesia, but an FPS. Now at first, that makes it seem like you're more empowered, have great weaponry at your disposal, etc., but what it really means is the enemies are ramped up, tough and quick, and SCARY AS SHIT. The game takes every opportunity to send you places you don't want to go fighting enemies you'd rather not with all kinds of creepy stuff happening.
I know, I know...at this point I'm just repeating myself, but seriously, it's a great title and definitely worth checking out if you haven't.
The true runner ups this year were AvP2, Codename Outbreak, Parkan, Serious Sam, and Tribes 2. Pretty good year overall, but there have been better. I seriously can't believe how many military tactical shooters. Hopefully that won't be a continuing trend as things go on. Till next time!
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