25 March 2010

Splinter Cell: 24

I remember reading a while ago a preview of Splinter Cell: Conviction, the latest in the long running line of stealth action games from Ubisoft. The lead game designer (or was it producer?) gloated how Jack Bauer in TV-series 24 makes perfect headshots one after another. He wanted something similar to his game so that you, the player, don't need to re-target all the time. Guess what? It  has happened exactly as he wanted. And that's not a good thing.

Okay. Sam Fisher is a really bad rogue agent now and everyone wants his head while he's on his personal vendetta. You still control this once cool character from behind his back. He hops and rolls from cover to cover, ever helpfully indicated by the on-screen arrows. You really don't need to think about too much of your surroundings as everything's been more or less highlighted for you, like where it's safe to take cover, where the enemies are etc. While peeking from behind the cover, you see a set piece of three baddies. Lo and behold, one is close to you with his back exposed. Sneak towards him and finish him with a melee takedown. This grants you the possibility for the game designer's brainchild, the Jack Bauer headshot spree. You mark the remaining two enemies, hit 'y' and Fisher executes them with perfect headshots. Without you, the player, needing to do any aiming. Just like Jack Bauer, you see.

What if you don't get a melee kill and thus can't automatically execute? Fear not, non-stealth action is easy as a pie as the game has no challenge to present at all. Heck, it even throws in a ghost image of Sam Fisher to show where the enemies last spotted you so you can easily be perfectly safe all the time and pop out to snipe down the baddies. I tip-toed, executed and shot my way through the demo with no difficulties at all.

Splinter Cell: Conviction is not my kind of game. Splinter Cell series has not been that for a long time. The first game was a great stealth action thriller but by each passing sequel it has gotten worse and worse and more towards action. This time you can't even talk about action as everything's so easy. I have been talking about how lacklustre PS3 exclusive games have been but now Xbox 360 gets its very own underwhelming exclusive. I can't help but feel like Don Quijote fighting against windmills as Splinter Cell: Conviction will probably score big on media and sells bucketloads but despite of danger of repeating myself, at least I get a warm and fuzzy feeling about the fact the game won't find its way to my shelf.

Super violent self-help just like in 24, the game's big role model.

10 March 2010

Once more with a feeling!

Re-played the last mission of ME2, just couldn't let that one guy bite the dust. Now he didn't because I replaced him. Tali ftw! "No One Left Behind" now clocked. What a game! No game on current generation comes even close, no matter the stakes or hype.

 Doesn't she look like young Max from 'Dark Angel'?
End of the world and someone else coming up...
Fancy visor, forgot to pick it up from Omega market earlier.
...and it hides some of my scars too!
Who wouldn't want to tell off the boss, eh?
"How are you, lover?"

5 March 2010

God of Lol

Poor PS3 still gathering dust...

Ooh, another PS3 exclusive super-mega-killer-app in sight, God of War III!!!1!!shift+1 Must download the demo right away! 2,7 gigabytes! It must be like so awesome, the biggest demo so far, bigger than the one for Uncharted 2. Can't wait!

(donwloading...)

(demo installing...)

(playing the demo)

(rolling eyes in disbelief)

What the hell is all the hype about? At its best, God of War III is a completely mediocre hack 'n slah and even that is stretching it. Audiovisually underwhelming and playing like a very poor copy of Heavenly Sword, the game is lacking drama in every turn and action. Not to mention the level of self-intentional violence that is completely off-putting and disgusting. Few games make me physically sick and this is one of them.

I didn't like God of War and God of War II on PS2. Technically they were impressive but the games were prisoners of their own genre, never breaking out of the mold to actually entertain. Also, I hate the main character Kratos, his laughably adolescent 'tough ass' attitude and ugly looks. Things haven't gotten any better on PS3 reincarnation. Quite the contrary. It doesn't look and feel like a PS3 game, it doesn't even look and feel like God of Wars on PS2. 'nuff said.

And the game has already scored big round 10's in every review I have read. Oh dear... I guess modern reviewers really don't have any perspective as to what is a good game and what is not. And God of War III certainly isn't a good game. Okay, okay, demo might be misleading but as demos go, they should push you to the shop. This didn't and that's all of God of War III I'll ever need.

"I don't like your head! I rip it off!" And indeed Kratos does. Disgusting.