Mega games get mega reviews in a megaly disordered fashion.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (Or: How To Confuse Fanboys)

So way back in September I played this game at GameFest and thought "hey, this is pretty neat!". Since then Capcom basically told everyone a few even neater facts, namely that you can kill Leon and you fight Nemesis/Mr X. Then they released trailers and stuff and everyone thought this game looked mad good. And then they bought the game. And then traded it back in, or would have done if Game hadn't have gone bust. And then I wrote this review.


Right, so, the big thing with this game is that you get to play a squad based shooter against zombies, then against UBCS (Spec Ops people), and then against BOTH AT THE SAME TIME. That might not sound like anything special but when you're in a pitched battle against people who are basically dicking on you and then you get attacked by zombies: fucking frantic fun. Swinging in with that is that if you cause an enemy to bleed, he'll attract almost all the zombies over to him which is pretty much a game winning outcome. And super satisfying. The zombies also infect people sometimes, which for a while will protect you from zombies but also turn you into a zombie if/when you die  (if you don't have an antiviral spray. But they seem to drop out of half the zombies asses anyway). Again, mega satisfying to do to enemies or to do to yourself if you don't like your team-mates online....

That's all the good things about the gameplay, so before I slag it off here are the other neat-oh things: Every level has a "SHIT, I REMEMBER THAT!" section. From the fire escape ladder or chief of police's office in the Police department to the tram lift and round by Kendo's gun shop, there's something for every fan. The fact that the game starts you off with standing outside Birkin's lab while he gets shot up and then running away from his transformation shows just how hard they've tried to make this fit in with the events of Resident Evil 2/3. The part in the Umbrella facility where the security cameras feature is used to see Leon say goodbye to Ada, which almost made me cheer with fan-ish happiness. Hell, they even explain how Leon did that stupid 180 in his car at the start of Resi 2. And that's pretty much where all the happiness ends.


So a cover based squad shooter. Seems sound, right? Not if they make it so that to aim out of cover your character has to actually crouch halfway out of cover to do so. In the end I stopped trying to shoot from cover because you leave yourself so exposed. This doesn't make any sense seeing as it is one of the core foundations of this type of game, and they've basically fucked it up. Aiming down sites is piss-poor too, with the sniper rifle not hitting where you aim it or hitting invisible cover instead and the handgun weaving all over the place. Bullet drop shouldn't happen in a Resi game. It just makes everyone angry. Which means fighting the almost invincible Nemesis is fucking hard just because of the core mechanics being terrible.

The AI is fucking awful. Even worse than Sheva from Resi 5. They took her ability level and spread it over 3 people so they're all only 33% as good as Sheva is. More bullets land on them than the zombies. And yet them and their stupid accents still don't die.

Most enemies in the game can be taken down with one or two bullets to the head apart from big names (and lickers, even though it's their weak spot). I was standing at point blank range and emptied 20 shotgun shells into Ada's face and she wouldn't go down. She just wandered off. Nikolai took untold amounts of sniper bullets to the forehead and just shrugged and moved on. Now, I understand the need for bosses to be hard, but maybe the design shouldn't have allowed me to have the barrel of my gun against people's foreheads and them not go down. It just doesn't make sense and in a Resi game just looks fucking stupid.

The big thing about this game is (as I've already said) the appearance of old stuff. Unfortunately most of it is really off hand and is just thrown away. I appreciate that this squad needs to be kept in the shadows for the most part so that it doesn't conflict with the canon of Resident Evil, but every time you see something from the just skip away with a big "lol, fuck that". Examples: You see Birkin, run away, he's never mentioned again. You chase down Nikolai, he runs away, he's not mentioned again. You fix the broken Nemesis, run away, he's not mentioned again. I had no idea what I was doing for most of the game and no idea why there were so many mercs fucking about in a zombie infested town. The real sad point of the game comes at the end when you've hunted down Leon and Claire and have to kill them. For untold reasons Leon is a rookie cop who is now a crack shot with a sniper rifle and Claire could 3 star every Angry Birds level with her ability with the grenade launcher. On top of that is that they are being protected by an army of mercs for no apparent reason. Mercs who can't set up a simple baricade to stop you just running past them in the final battle...

And that's when shit gets weird. You have Leon and Claire at gunpoint at the very end of the game and then you are told to make a decision: Kill them or save them (obviously you kill them, because who wouldn't?). You're magically transported to an arena style area and told to kill off half of your team and Leon/Claire EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE AT GUNPOINT. And when you win? There is a 6 second ending of: "Time to die", fade to black, gunshot. The big selling point of the game was mearly a 6 second afterthought. Disappointing. And anticlimatic. Seems to be a theme nowadays.

Cliff Notes: A squad shooter that fails at both shooting and squading plus a pointless level up system. I didn't even play the versus matches because I honestly couldn't be arsed to play any more of this shit.
Rating: 4/10
Would I recommend it to my friends: GOD NO. But if they got given it then it could make a fun-ish campaign multiplayer mode. Anything's an improvement on having doors blocked by retarded AI just standing there.

Monday, 19 March 2012

MASS EFFECT THREE WAS FUN FUCK YOU (single player edition)

Attention: spoilers!

Now that that is dealt with: let's first have a look at the part of the game that didn't suck, namely: 99% of the game.

Mass Disrespect 3 returns to the series on the slightly confusing note of Shepard sitting in a detention centre. For those who didn't download the DLC Arrival for ME2: everyone got angry that you fucked over a bunch of non-council terrorists (who get destroyed by Reapers anyway) which in turn allows everyone in council space to sit on their arses for a while debating whether or not Shepard is a liar/badman/hero. Cue Earth being taken by Reapers while Shepard learns the basics of shooting a gun and punching things with laser fists.

To be fair, the tutorial is one of the better parts of the game by allowing people new to the series to get acquainted to the control system, old players to go "oh shit, Shepard can now somersault!" and everyone to laugh at the gangly flailing that is Shepard's running animation. However, it kind of also set a bad tone with veteran gamers. Anyone who picked the Ruthless backstory for Shep and played through both games as a Renegade (badman) is forced to look at Shep's tortured face as a child dies, even though you may have let umpteen people dies previously and not given a shit about them. To top it off, the Reaper that kills said child is quite happy taking down taxis whilst the most advanced ship in the galaxy is floating ten metres away with it's hatch open and Shepard staring out with a melancholy expression.

The game proceeds through the established channels of recruiting players and nations, much like previous games, and stays pretty fun throughout. Team mates make welcome returns and have made significant steps forward whilst Shep has sat on this thumbs apparently doing shit all apart from making touching speeches. But: OUT OF THE WAY, FUCKERS! The trick is that most impressive part of the game's characters doesn't lie with the guys in your team. It's about the people you meet who showed up in the other games. The meeting with Thane who now spends all his time in hospital due to his chronic illness (but still gets himself killed fighting an asian cyber assassin ninja from space) is only topped by Legion sacrificing himself to give Geth true AI, finally creating unity and peace between Quarian and Geth. I felt more attached to Wrex and his macho headbutts than to James Idon'tevenknowhissurname who spends all his time cleaning his "gun" and pretending to be a hispanic.

There are so many things thrown in for people who have played the previous games that you can't seem to step anywhere without going "I remember thaaaat" and nodding happily. Fuck, the best bit of the game was a side quest that managed to link in multiple quests, as follows:

A doctor is complaining about broken Medi Gel dispensers and a Cerberus preacher. After fixing the dispensers you find out that the preacher is (REF #1) Conrad Verner, your number one fan. After sorting him out, he calls (REF #2) Gavin Hossle from Feros to give you some bonus data which can't be accessed without the (REF #3) Elkoss Combine license. Then, this can't be decripted without (REF #4) Asari matriarch writings from Mass Effect 1. After changing my boxers, Conrad points out his Cerberus link, who pulls a gun on Shep. Conrad catches the bullet with his chest, Shep punches the guy, I thought it was all over. THEN (REF #5) Jenna from ME1 pops up to say that she put duds in the gun. Mind blown. And the game is full of tiny points like that. You are constantly assaulted emails concerning people from your past who have helped save the day in small ways, or who decide to aid the war effort. It also means that your war assets are through the roof for returning players by the halfway point, even without multiplayer, but heyho.

So, the game is good, the back-referencing is fucking perfect, graphics are good, story is great, the enemies are challenging when placed in certain situations, the final assault on Earth, including the "final sprint" is spafftacular, and ends. Ish. I don't really remember. It's a bit of a blur.

Imagine: you've just spent 40 hours collecting assets and soldiers (and reputation. Still no idea what the fuck that is) from across the galaxy and making Shepard the most holy person since Prometheus picked up some modelling clay and then...none of it makes a blind bit of difference. In ME2 they pretty much play a ticklist of: "Yep, you bought double glazing, that saved a life. Oh, and good job for picking the robot to hack shit, that was a clever move". In ME3 you get nada. No gold medal for your time completing side quests. No Hanar comforting the dying in their last moments. No (and this bit REALLY pissed me off) Elcor charging into battle with mounted chainguns, which the game pretty much promised me. From there, you divert any kind of last boss (sorry, Marauder Shields. You were a worthy opponent) and proceed to having a stand off with the Illusive Man, who appears to be nothing but a pawn. Bit lame, seeing as he was a major character for two games and then gets discarded like a piece of gum when there isn't a bin around. "Uh. Shit. I'll just casually drop this on the floor when no-one's looking. Sweet, no-one saw...think I'm in the clea-" NOPE. Fuck you, Bioware.

The ending's almost redeemed by the sad death of Captain "Token" Anderson, but then plummets straight back into the "eh" regions by the appearance of a psychic ghost robot child who tells you the entire trilogy now boils down to three bullshit choices (destory the bad guys and some good guys, control the bad guys, make everyone semi-robot things). Over a hundred hours (if you did all the side quests in all three games) and the endgame is a choice between three morally questionable decisions? No. And to top it all off, each of the endings look exactly the fucking same. No. What about my Paragon or Renegade points? No.

It's like eating a delicious meal and then having the chef come out and tell you that you've been eating feces all along and that you can't leave until you've finished the meal and licked the plate clean. Yeah, it was a delicious quiche, I can't deny that, but you kind of ruined the entire meal. Now, I don't want to see Shepard baking cookies with the council races, or a Krogan/Salarian marriage, but I cured the fucking Genophage, united every race in the galaxy, gave the Quarians their homeworld and apparently made organic races into semi-robots (still not sure on that one). I'd like some fucking closure. But there was none coming. Apart from some bullshit about Shepard maybe being indoctrinated and that the end was him fighting the indoctrination and Buzz Aldrin telling us all that there will be more shit pie arriving at our tables soon. YUM, GRUBS UP GUYS. Cheers for everything, Bioware, and cheers to you EA for being douchebags with the failing business that is Game PLC.

On a closing note: Marauder Shields will be always remembered, never forgotten. RIP

Cliff Notes: 39 hours of fucking amazing gaming, with a return to ME1's sidequesting roots and an excellent carry on from the level/other shit that you got in ME2. 1 hour of shite.
Rating: Mostly 8/10. I'd give it 9, but they don't put a Krogan in your squad which sucked ass.
Would I recommend it to my friendsIf they've not played the other games then probably not. If they have then I would, but I would advise them shutting their eyes and covering their ears for anything after disappearing into the Citadel at the end....

Also, I promise that the next reviews will be more review based, shorter and less tear filled. 

Saturday, 17 March 2012

MASS EFFECT 3 WAS FUN FUCK YOU (multiplayer edition)

Before I get stuck into this whole shebang, it's probably worth mentioning that I'm a fanboy and this is my third review or something. So don't expect me to be too unbiased or professional here.

Right, if you've heard of Mass Defect 3, then you've probably also heard the two massive bitchfits that have been going around about it: 1) The ending sucks hard and 2) The only way to get the best ending is to play multiplayer, which no-one wants to play. Both aren't really true. I'll get onto the ending later, but for now there's this multiplayer stuff to deal with.

Before Mass Jizzfest 3 came out, Bioware let us all know that multiplayer was going to be in the game and that it would AID the player (AID) in achieving the best ending in the game. Most of the community became outraged at this because they can't read and thought you had to play multiplayer in order to allow Shepard to be seen planting flowers in his front garden at the end of the game. Now, I got pretty sad at this because all I thought was "holyshitIcanplayasaKroganNrrgghhhh" while everyone else was slamming the game before it even had a chance to apologise.

On a side note: if you've not played the game, then: the galaxy map is split into different areas with a multiplayer match in each one. Each section has a readiness displayed as a percentage, which is bolstered by playing there. These percentages add up to give you an overall galactic readiness percentage. This galactic readiness percentage is basically a marker for how well the war assets you amassed in single player will actually fight (so, say you collected 5,000 assets and have 50% galactic readiness then you will have 2,500 effective troops).

So basically, if you don't play multiplayer it will be harder to completely fill up your war assets to fight the Reapers, but not impossible seeing as there is a literal fuckton of assets in single player campaign. And if you are struggling to amass enough by the end of single player campaign, then you haven't done the side quests. And if you haven't done the side quests because you don't want to, then you've bought the wrong game. This is an RPG, not CoD, now jog on back to Fifa. Multiplayer isn't needed at all to get the best ending (which doesn't even fucking exist anyway), it's just helps the people who are too lazy to play the game go into the last boss prepared.

Apart from that, the multiplayer is fairly solid. The enemies get progressively harder. There are three different difficulties (easy, hard, and gang-rape) and three different enemies (Cerberus, Geth, and Reapersohgodnowhy). Taking these challenges on in squads of four is pretty fun, with an arsenal of weapons to unlock and level up, unique abilities for class and race choices and packages of goodies to buy with your hard earned whore money. And I will tell you now: when you save up for the expensive package and it drops a Black Widow, it's shit-your-pants exciting. The only downside is the proliferation of Krogans and Vanguards, which destroy all hope of getting points/exp for yourself. There's also the problems with melee attacks actually hitting, but that's only frustrating when you are playing a Krogan or Drell, so it's not really that bad.

Apart from that, the multiplayer is good, and doesn't just feel tagged on like it has done in other games, and the fact that it contributes to single player is a nice touch, not necessary, but handy for those people who don't want to play the RPG aspect of an RPG game. Plug in a headset and it's a decent add-on squad shooter to keep people happy for longer.

Cliff notes: Fun, quick to pick up, helps those without the time or energy to explore the galaxy in single player mode
Rating: 7/10
Would I recommend it to my friends: Yes, because the random players I come across online are retards.