Friday, February 26, 2010

Impressions Round Up February 2010

I play a lot of games, and I tend to chop and change between quite a few at the same time - playing an hour or two of something before switching to something else for a while. I also don't like to review a game until I've finished it. This means that there are quite a few games that I never get around to talking about on this blog, because I never finish them, but I would really like to share my thoughts of what I have played. Hence the existence of this article, which I might make a regular monthly feature. So, let's take look at what I've been playing recently...

Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles - Wii
I spent about an hour with this follow up to The Umbrella Chronicles last night, and it is pretty good fun. The story focuses the missions that involved Leon S. Kennedy or Claire Redfield this time rather than Chris and Jill, so you get to explore the police station from Resident Evil 2, the Antarctic base from Code Veronica, and some all new stuff that looks like it may be set in or near the country from Resident Evil 5. The difficulty has definitely been toned down from the previous game, but I still find the shakiness of the camera annoying when I'm trying to line up a headshot. There are plenty of familiar enemies in the game, from the traditional zombies, giant spiders, dogs and hunters (from Resi 1).

Darksiders - Xbox 360
I had heard conflicting opinions about this one, but my curiosity was piqued enough to rent it. On first glance the game appears to be a God of War clone, but give the game a few hours and it settles into more of a Zelda formula, with you exploring the world, gaining new abilities, and fighting your way through multiple dungeons and bosses. I chose the normal difficulty setting and I have to say even early on I'm finding a lot of the battles quite tough, as you need to make good use of your block button and your dash move to quickly get out of trouble.

Star Ocean: The Last Hope International Edition - PlayStation 3
Though this is the fourth and most recent Star Ocean game to be released, it is actually a prequel to the other three and so I didn't see the harm in checking out the first few hours of the game. The graphics are decent, though they suffer from some distracting texture draw in, and the voice acting seems to range from merely passable to truly cringe worthy. I like the fact that battles are no longer random but triggered by touching enemies roaming the field, and I quite like the huge maps that you have to traverse, except it can be easy to lose your bearings in them. I haven't messed around with the Item Creation system yet, but I know that this is one area where this series can get incredibly complicated, so I may read a FAQ before trying to work it out for myself.

Resident Evil 5 - Xbox 360
Watching some footage of the newly released Lost in Nightmares DLC inspired me to finally purchase this game, and I have to say for the most part it is excellent fun. What I have played (halfway through chapter 2) does feel incredibly similar to Resident Evil 4, but it doesn't have the same impact this time having done it before. When played in single player mode, the AI of your partner is incredibly poor. Many times I was minding my own business trying to fend off hordes of bloodthirsty Majini (the infected humans in this game), only to be pumped full of lead because I happened to be standing between them and Sheva. This of course not only hurts, but wastes valuable ammo!

Batman: Arkham Asylum - PlayStation 3

Now this one I have actually played significantly more of than the other games mentioned here - I'm about 50% through in fact - so I probably will have a full review up before long. I like the set piece battles where you have to make use of your environment to evade and incapacitate goons, by making us of gargoyles, or sneaking around within ventilation ducts, and the way that the developers play tricks on the player. Reminds me of the good old gameplay of Metal Gear Solid (the original and best one).

I only have the first two games for a week so I don't know whether I will have time to complete them, but I do own the other three so I will continue to play them and other games in episodic chunks, and once I do finish them I will put up reviews like I normally do. While I technically haven't finished Forza Motorsport 3 (it feature a huge amount of championships), I do feel that I have played enough to come to a reasonable conclusion, so that will most likely be the next game to get the review treatment.

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