Archive | August, 2012

Gamefly review #1

29 Aug

GameFly review number 1

Ghost Recon: Future SoldierĀ  is not good but fun, I’ll call it a 7.

The game feels a lot like Splinter Cell: Conviction. The snap shot mechanism feels a lot like the Mark & Execute system and the active camo acts a lot like the shadow stealth mechanism in any stealth game. The sync shot is less over powered than the M&E system and the active camo makes a lot more intuitive sense than any shadow hiding element.

(In most of these games, especially splinter cell being three feet from a light source will make you completely undetectable, very unlike real life. With active camo it’s easier to understand what a real guard would be thinking. You’re invisible but blurry, so getting close to someone who make them take a closer look and notice you.)

The game breaks down when you get caught. All the cool mechanics break and you’re left with a standard third person shooter with no interesting features. It’s a less harsh penalty than forcing you to restart the checkpoint.
I think the game is almost like a “fancy” version of bejeweled, where the goal is to eliminateĀ a bunch of guys in groups of three or four without getting caught. Each area is like one of the bejeweled puzzles. And even on elite difficult, the solution is usually to wait a couple of seconds for a few of them to move out of sight, sneak up and kill them, then kill their friends. Or pick off the most important targets armed with the heavy weapons and finish the rest off in the action part.

The customization mechanism is broad but shallow, you can change a lot of parts but not enough to truly effect anything. Most of them only effect “control” and maneuverability and you can’t really increase or decrease them enough to noticeably alter either. If you really tried to decrease control you be able to make it so a smg couldn’t snipe people at extremely long ranges, but that’s about it. In this kind of arcade-like shooter, guns aren’t a complex enough element to really change a lot of things about them. They have to all do roughly the same damage in the a small timeframe, and be laser accurate at all the time. Seriously a SMG can use a 4x ACOG with no problems. Sure, maybe you’ll want a sniper rifle for sniping missions, but in any other environment a smg will kill just as easily, just as quickly.

The Graphics have some issues, The colors are all very faded and light, without even dark brown it feels like. the camouflages are very faded light colors and while they’re supposed to be real ones it makes for an ugly looking game. The uniforms and equipment have some interesting bits, with the cowboy like face cover being interesting but over all there’s no feeling of being an elite ghost operative with super active camo systems and fancy computer software. And there only five takedown animations of which the coolest is the in combat behind takedown where you punch them over and break their neck by casually kicking them.

There is no feeling of being an elite ghost operative, I feel. What I could tell they were going for was the idea of you being this “Ghost” sneaking behind enemy lines and causing so much chaos a weaker friendly force could destroy them, but there’s no feeling of doing that. You just kill a bunch of people and are told you did something super important.

The why or story just sucks, there’s no point to it all and it’s as stupid as hell. You’re tracking down these people who killed some other ghosts with some booby trap. And I thought this was just an extra precaution on part of the convoy that the other ghosts ambushed, but no apparently the booby trap was important part of the plan or something because a random russian prisoner brag about how awesome they are for doing it. I have no idea where that prisoner came from. I’ve played that level twice, and keep thinking I skipped a cutscene, do you have to play on the hardest difficulty setting? The last mission is where the ghosts kill all the leaders of this organization which was responsible for a coup attempt in Russia is framed in terms of avenging those other ghosts and the game plays up how lone wolf they’re supposed to be doing it. Like the radio people sever communications with you and everybody makes a big deal about how the russia government that you saved would be pissed off at you for getting caught killing the people that attacked them.

Also this “Raven Rock” launches a nuclear missile at the US, which is taken out by an American missile defense system that is never talked about or explained. So the radio people send the ghosts to near a Russian Missile base, which you never go to because they sent in a Georgian special Forces unit in already. So the set up is extremely confusing and also involves a “Davis family Vacation” level for no real reason.

Honestly they do seem to ripping off the Call of duty story telling model but very, very badly. If the plot is just an excuse to connect different environments together, please make the cutscenes skippable.

Over all the game makes my head hurt if i think about it too long, and if I tried to replay it, I’d have to sit through more stuff that I’d have to think about because the game was taking too long to get to the fun stuff.

Leaving behind Space battles

12 Aug

I haven’t posted anything on this blog, but I had some problems, I had to download and install a bunch of games I bought during the big steam summer sale. I could still use the computer, but the wordpress writing tool is oddly laggy. It’s very annoying and I’m writing this in windows notepad.

Well, today I leave behind a childish thing from my early years by declaring that a Star Destroyer would beat the Enterprise-D in a fight.
Wondering which would win in a fight was a very fun game, but it’s time to explore why those two ships existed.

The Star Destroyer is designed to be something that cannot be defeated by raw power alone and must be overcome by returning to the spirtual Force. Like a stormtrooper, it lacks humanity and even the individual ablitity to defeat one is meaningless. There are simply so many of them that a Star destroyer is merely part of a force of nature.

The Enterprise-D is almost the exact opposite.It’s a redshirt, designed to last just long enough to show that the threat is something that cannont be solved merely by raw power or brute force. That while if there was three hundred Enterprises it could overcome the danger, the heroes don’t have that and must use human ingenuity to overcome it.

Games have some level of artistic merit, but they are not Narrative Art. Star Wars and Star Trek are controlled experiences where everything serves the story. There’s no point to daydreaming about what an element of a narrative work would do outside the context of the story, because it only matters in that context.