Modern Warfare 3


It was honestly never my intention to play any of the Modern Warfare games but for the third time circumstances have intervened. I suppose them being cheap, accessible and – more importantly – short enough to complete in an evening have something to do with it. If there was ever a videogame equivalent of a blockbuster movie this is it – six hours of spectacles in a linear story that requires little emotional investment and does not require anything past those six hours to show you everything it has to offer. Disregarding my other feelings for the game, I can really appreciate the straightforward simplicity of it.

… Speaking about the campaign, of course. I have not played the multiplayer.

Anyhow, I guess Modern Warfare 3 is a slight improvement over the second iteration in most areas. The graphics are a little better, the areas a little more varied, the events a little more spectacular and the gameplay a little less random. That being said, it is still mostly about getting lucky enough not to be shot long enough to make it to the next checkpoint. Like many other games there seems to be a discrepancy between the narrative and the gameplay – the game tells you that you are constantly out of time and need to hurry along, but keeping back and using cover in the areas you have already cleared is a much safer way to play. In fact, more often than not friendly NPCs will do the job for you if you do not hurry about it.

… Which I guess sums up the Modern Warfare 3 campaign really well – it is streamlined to get you through it quickly. The mechanics are smooth, there are very few areas to explore outside of the main track and the game will more or less play itself if you do not take an active part in the action. It all adds to the simple blockbuster appeal, and even though it doesn’t really feel revolutionary or meaningful (considering all the rage about the “no russian” mission in MW2 this is a bit ironic) I really can’t fault it for going for accessibility.

Posted on Nov 28/11 by Saint and filed under Reflections | No Comments »

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El Shaddai

El Shaddai

El Shaddai is one of those games that make me feel like I missed an important point somewhere and after that very few things in the game make any sense anymore.

From the looks of it, it is some sort of Devil May Cry/God of War-style brawler with platform elements and really trippy graphics. The platform elements mesh really poorly with said trippy graphics and the times you die it is because of wobbly jumping controls and  really odd perspectives. The brawling fares somewhat better and is pretty fun in the beginning, but there are really few enemies, even fewer attacks and all arenas are circular and empty so it doesn’t really give the sense of it being a core feature.

The graphics are very odd, change every so often and use more than a few techniques I have never seen in the context of games before – this was actually the only reason I got the game in the first place. Some of it is pretty cool, but the effects that feel really innovative create such weird results that it is hard to see it begin used for something other than surreal landscapes.

I am honestly not sure what to think about the game – it found it to be a decent diversion, but considering the staggering amount of good games released lately “decent diversion” doesn’t really cut it. There is that lingering feeling that I don’t really get what it’s about though, and I am hesitant to talk down a game that just wasn’t meant for me to begin with. I never did have the patience to do deep analysis of fighting games, but the system in El Shaddai seems to be too simple and easy to beat to offer any depth. The psychedelic and fluid art style and bizarre story elements are certainly welcome experimentation, but they are more weird than impressive.

Still, I don’t know. Maybe the point was to provide an abstract game with a familiar base – if so, I can think of no better examples.

Posted on Nov 20/11 by Saint and filed under Reflections | No Comments »

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Deus Ex – Human Revolution

Deus Ex

Certain games, maybe notably so the Final Fantasy series, tend to put a lot of effort into an impressive and explosive opening in order to hook the player from the beginning – with this in mind it struck me as a bit odd that Deus Ex, published by Square Enix, has such an unassuming first few hours. It looks pretty uninteresting – even poor, in some cases – for the first couple of hours, before coming alive when you leave the first city. On the other hand, Deus Ex is a mystery plot with action elements rather than a grand battle-filled quest, so it suits the game a lot better in the end. Still, takes a while to get into.

In fact, Deus Ex has the issue of not being very attractive in a lot of areas. Graphics are occasionally good due to fantastic set design, but mostly look rather dull. Animations are poor, but few games seem to solve that these days. Gameplay features are by themselves mostly interesting but have poor synergy overall, as if someone did not bother going through the game a couple of times killing their darlings. The story is fairly strong and solemn, but a couple of times it is stunted by ill-conceived jokes and misplaced characters. It bears the familiar ring of a project that has somehow grown too large without a clear will directing all of the components, maybe the extensive credits list explains it. In short, Deus Ex does well in many areas but it is not really impressive in any of them.

It does not do anything so poorly it becomes annoying though, and even though the intrigue is sometimes a bit blatant there is enough of it to keep you going. Also, the game goes a bit heavier on the ‘RPG’ side of the action-RPG scale and it is easy to get immersed in the world when reading the woeful email communication of cubicle slaves or doing impromptu urban exploration. The augmentations are powerful enough that you feel capable of tackling any situation, but not so powerful that it becomes too easy. Maybe asking for the game to be more in other areas would diminish the quality of that.

Posted on Nov 15/11 by Saint and filed under Reflections | No Comments »