Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Dead Space: The Review

Developer: EA redwood studios
Publisher: EA
Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC
Released: October 24th 2008
Genre: 3rd person sci-fi shooter/ survival horror

So its 3:24am and ive JUST finished dead space. i was really excited about this, which was confusing because ea hasn't made a good game since oddworld strangers wrath in my opinion. so after  couple-a-hour stints is it the next big thing in survival horror?

Honestly? no.

and for once I'm disappointed to admit it. 

I read the comics, did all the puzzles on the site, read all this lore voraciously, i had to know what the plot and back story was. All of that i loved, and don't get me wrong, i love dead space too. but its just a clone of resident evil 4.

So if you don't know already (and if you don't your mother and i are very disappointed in you young man), you play Issac Clarke. An engineer on a small ship investigating a distress signal coming from a dead, silent, drifting hulk of a mining ship the usg ishimura. unfortunately they get trapped there and they find out that, whilst the crews dead, the atmosphere certainly isn't.

cheesy i know but it works.

anyway i cant say much, but what i can say is the story can be wrapped up in 5 minutes, theres a good minute long interesting scene every few hours but all in all i finished the game wanting to know more, not in a sequel, but in back story. i needed it to be explained to me in a more concise and plain way.
Though this is a successful new ip so you know ea is gonna bleed it dry so i expect ill read a novel about it some time in 2009.
-Plus there is an animated feature film that tells the prequel story, so i guess youve gotta buy that to get the full experience. 

bad e.a.

Game play wise its pretty much resident evil 4. remember playing silent hill or resident evil first and then the other and going "hang on, the controls are exactly the same". this is just like that nostalgic 1998 feeling, whether its good or bad i don't know but there we are.
The merchant is replaced by a machine, but you still get loot and ammo from enemies, which you can then use to buy new guns and upgrade them and stuff. but like resi 4 you cant upgrade it all in one play through. theres logs, over the right shoulder aiming. in fact its pretty much resident evil 4 with a new skin.
though thankfully they've got none of those damn quicktime events. everything, including being dragged by a tentacle across a room and having to shoot its week points to escape is real time relying on you, not pressing a a lot. 
unfortunately i was drawn in with comparisons to bioshock. lets be clear. - THIS IS NOT BIOSHOCK. this is resident evil 4 by a mile between the two games. the problem with that is that the ishimura has no character, if you go in expecting rapture type world that's full of character you in for a disappointment. instead you get something more akin to the mars base from doom 3. 
-anyway I'm going off on a tangent here, but the point is, rapture felt like it had a history, like you'd joined a game halfway through the worlds narrative. but in dead space all you've got is a blue line leading you in form an airlock to set pieces which seem to have been waiting for you.
Which neat leads me to the fact that this is not open ended, its funneling you down a path half life 2 style. only with back tracking for the final 3rd. it lacks character, you go here, do something, get told to go to the next point and follow the path. Which is lame but how its done is neat. issac uses , when clicking the right thumbstick, a hologram that beams along the ground to your next destination. in theory its really disappointing but its cool and different.
Speaking of which. theres no hud, well there is, but it not in your face. issacs spine is his hp bar, he gets a holographic inventory and display above weapons for ammo. its real time and immersive but unlike alone in the dark its not adding to the fear its just a neat factor. 
overall i got used to the hud instantly, you can still pause, but it just feels like an interactive movie at some points.
only trouble is its less aliens and more jason x.

to sum up the controls its responsive and easy to use, but its overcomplicated by combos. left trigger plus x is stasis freeze, x alone is health packs, which is a poor choice when you might need to freeze a fast enemy, and use your last health pack by mistake and then get badly hurt because you didn't freeze it in time and have no health pack.
However, i can ignore most faults because of the dismemberment system, i got used to so much shooting out legs and arms off that i tried another game in the same vein and kept missing headshots because i aimed for the joints.
its fun, but its never implemented any more than you see in the first fight and it had more potential i think.
You can also upgrade weapons with a system reminiscent of the sphere grid from final fantasy x. you gain power cores across grids to upgrade the powers of your suits and weapons. its a nice touch but unlike resi 4 you may have to level up two blank spaces before you can gain any actual power ups.

Graphics wise space is beautiful. an orange ether permeates the sky and rainstorms of meteors flow past like a stream. However inside its, well, like i said, its doom 3 all over again. its not very easy on the eyes, theres jagged edges were there should be smooth surfaces, edges are grainy and cloudy and the colour pallet was uninspired. Again I'm going to compare it to rapture, but also the starting areas of resident evil 4, either Spanish woodlands or the art deco of fort frolic and its just bland in comparison to either. the game lacks character. the hero is iconic, but the levels and creatures leave a lot to be desired. it never detracts from the gameplay though, i had a blast. but in retrospect i think "yeah, at the time i didnt notice it but-", and im getting this a lot as i write this review. i enjoyed myself, but i can pick so many nits with this game. though possibly i am just being biased due to my poor previous experiences with ea?

Sound wise i was really disappointed, its poor and buggy and all in all annoying at times. there can be a creature in the next room but its so close to the door that tension building music is playing. but i would just be browsing the wares in the store and i noticed that after 30 seconds it stops instantly and then restarts. i cant think of that many items but i can say that its barely even ambiance, they couldn't feasibly release a soundtrack to this like obscure or alone in the dark.

i could go on about the factors that bugged me, but these faults, though they number in the good dozen or so, never mess with the experience, because honestly its the scariest game Ive played in a long  long time. which surprised me. though like many games this does lessen as the game goes on but all in all i enjoyed it, it inst very good in the grand scheme of things but for 10 hours of horror gameplay id say its worth a rental but a full purchase buy?..... maybe, for once I'm indecisive, some of you will love it and disagree with me, saying I'm too harsh, others will hate it and say I'm too lenient but id say give it a try.

on one hand you will have a great time, on the other you will not care about it at all 1 year from now.

so i give it a loose-

SCORE: [6/10]


Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Remedy wakes up from slumber to release new trailer

Too cheesy?, yeah i thought so too, but im lost for good titles right now , gimme a break!

anyhoo, horror fans prepare to go nuts for the new alan wake trailer!, 'nuff said.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Bioshock 2: Sea of dreams PS3 easter egg trailer

A little late on the uptake i know, but i think ive got it.

So theres a lot of speculation on this, and my first thought was rapture rising from the sea, but i think ive got it now.
The girl is one of the little sisters, now in her teens, that jack saved from rapture in the good ending. only instead of living normal lives like the others she went all "carrie" and has similar plasmid abilities to jack and the splicers. maybe jack made the big daddy doll to give her something familiar to attach to when she was little and now its bringing back these long blacked out memories or rapture and she is unconsciously shaping the sand behind her to the images in her head as she looks out at the sea.
Perhaps it doesn't even take place on rapture, and this is just the catalyst for it, im definitley getting a carrie/ring vibe of the girl, but only time will tell. aside from a terrible endgame boss bioshock was almost perfect, maybe it could have used some more period music but the art deco style just captured my imagination. So needless to say i cant wait for this.

But seriously folks, the trailer, whats your speculation about it?

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

On the topic of homcoming

Now since pj doody was kind enough to give me an interview for the site ive gotten about 200 emails if i knew when it would come out in Europe. also comments on here, pms to my xbox account, i was once even asked in a game of lone wolves in halo 3!

well i asked pj because a lot of people are getting different dates , most commonly october 30th and november 13th, he was a great guy and asked about it and its still sketchy but apprently no we in the uk and europe cant expect it this month, im guessing novembers 2nd or 3rd week. so it doesn't have fable or dead space or the like to compete with. but that just a guess on my part.

not to exact i know, but please, enough wit ze emailzzzzz!!!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

The Suffering: The Review (or: "How Danny got back in the saddle")

Developer: Surreal Software 
Publisher: Midway games
Platforms: PS2, XBOX, Pc
Release: July 30th 2004
Genre: Third person shooter with psychological horror themes.

So a few posts back i posted a link were midway had, very surprisingly, put this game up for a free download. Being a horror nut (go figure) and the fact ive yet to see an xbox copy in stores i spent a good 6 hours on my poor connection downloading this. So yesterday i finally sat down to play it.

I'll then stood up after that "brief session" to find several hours had passed and i had finished the entire game. 
So i guess i liked it, i think.

The game beings with the eyerollingly named protagonist "torque" (no, really) being admitted into carnate island penitentiary for the murder of his wife and children. Wouldn't you know it however that as soon as the locks bolt shut everything goes all "silent hill" on the islands population.
Now, do you remember the prison level from ghost hunter?, well this is it, albeit in a much more free roaming sense. from the off set your never given any clues theres maps and such but your not even told what button you use to see them. your just given a knife and told "heres the open cell door, escape!". Now this i really liked, i had no idea were i was, what i was looking for. i just fought my way through the demons filling up the prison and explored the blocks and tried to find a narrative in there. somewhere. 
To be honest i dont know if this was intentional or bad design but i couldnt help but think it would make a good level in left 4 dead with 4 players stranded around this island trying to find a way off.
The level design is nice, albiet bland in parts. and sometimes the textures are apt to dissapear for sod all reason. really on the whole it feels so much like an incomplete test level from another game i cant place my finger on. the island has a mental institution, a WWII amy barracks, a beached slave trade ship and a graveyard of witch trial victims to name a few. i know ive played something like this before. its neat to explore but i cant escape this nagging feeling ive played something just like this before.
please leave a comment if you can think of he game im thinking of as this is bugging the crap out of me.
-anyway. music wise it not very good, just cheap screeching noises with flashes of gore to make use of those tired "jump" scares.
Control wise its not bad, but i find myself closing the program instead of opening doors because of poor placement on the keyboard at default (im not a pc gamer), sometimes the character, after a checkpoint starts constantly running to the left or right even when the keyboard is removed from the computer. I could go on but to sum it up its fun , to a point, it has faults.

This isn't really a long or in depth review, i think thats quite an apt analogy of the game itself, This game is like buffy the vampire slayer, or ghosthunter. A third person horror game that never feels like your in a world, like fable or resident evil 2. You are always conscious that this is an enclosed little area, like setting out pieces on a pre set puzzle board. Thats not to say it isn't fun. i had a relatively good experience playing this, going crazy with a shotgun running towards 2 done screeching terrors from beyond.
Is it worth getting?, its free, so of course. would i pay full price on release when this came out?, no. its an interesting gameplay experience, but in no way is it memorable, there are few scares, the story is ranging from inconsistent to none existent and it just needed more rounding off before release. For example, you can have prisoners or guards team up with you, but they can suddenly stop following you for no reason, disappear, or just get locked behind a door thats pre set to forever close after you enter it.

Honestly i can go on but these little faults allow for no mental interaction. its more of a mindless shooter with horrific imagery over a true survival horror. not once did i believe torque, who could turn into a bloody giant monster with a sword for an arm for gods sake!, was not going to make it through this without a scratch. To be blunt you just dont give a crap about him.

I know this review is inconsistent. but thats the game in one, its hard to define. can i recommend you will enjoy it for a gameplay session o two?, yes, its a free game that i can recommend. but is it worth your time as much as ghost hunter or obscure, let alone resident evil or silent hill?, no, honestly its not.

SCORE [7/10]