Game Enthusiast X: Tis te h ENDz?

Whoa.. thats pretty cool looking.
Whoa.. thats pretty cool looking.

Hello all.  Now, I know not many read my gamer blogs.  So, I think this is going to be the last one for a long while, don’t want to bore you all to death.

As I said in a blog earlier today labeled “Domo omigato” ..I’m headed to Japan next year.  kick it with an ol friend and hit one of the last great video game shows left “Tokyo Game Show”.  There was E3 (Electronics Entertainment Expo)  but it became too massive and was discontinued in it’s past form, reformulated, striped down, and is now only held for press and business folk.  There is an  “E3 for All”, but as it is now, its severaly lacking.  Sony, Microsoft, and many, if not most 3rd party software companies chose to completely skip it.

So, This Fall and Winter is seeing a HUGE list of releases of hyped games.  Many of which, have been unfairly criticized by the gaming community.  which brings my to my 1st piece…

…I believe the gamer community have become spoiled sheeple.  I believe this because, I’ve read alot of the forums, reviews, public opinion.. and, its a disturbing trend I’ve seen, and simply loathe in the mainstream music genre for years and years now.  They will blindly follow names, and shruck originality.  The beginning of the year seemed good, but, this holiday seasons fanboy mentality is bad…just…bad.  It mostly involves graphics.. which is ridiculous.  I noticed in many forums and reviews about a game called “Clive Barkers: Jericho”  while there picking about the actual gameplay is pretty accurate, and such.. they slam the graphics for just, simple reasons.. and I was setback about it.  saying there bland, low rez, simple, etc.  and it wouldn’t be so bad, but many fanboys regurgitate that as the main reason the game “sux”.. and it’s not the case, the game isn’t great, but the story is very interesting and original, of course, it’s written by clive barker.  but because the gameplay and “graphics” aren’t up to the standards of Jesus, they slam the MAN.. Clive Barker, he just wrote it.. and the story holds very well.  it drives the game in my mind.  But the graphics are actually quite good, great effects, very dirty, grim look, there really is no ground for there bitching.  But these same fanboys will blindly follow Halo3 into it’s “Been there done that” with a smile.  which I’m still baffled about.  not saying it’s a bad game….it’s just a spit polished Halo2 though, but it’s the second coming of Christ to the public, I don’t get it.

There are many examples of this going on.  unfair criticisim or inappropriate praise.  Hmm, critics must be getting paid for there reviews or something.

Anyway.. I’ll hit up some reviews.  not super long, just many short ones of games I’ve been playing.

first up..

Kane and Lynch: Dead Men ——————————————————————————————-

From the makers of one of my favorite game series “Hitman” comes a new IP, Kane and Lynch.  a Story of a Good man named Kane who does very bad things, imprisoned and on deathrow for one of them gets broken out of prison by Lynch, a schizophrenic psycho who blacks out and does bad things who wants to know who killed his wife.  Lynch is contracted by Kanes former Crime syndicate to bust Kane out so he can finish a job.  May not sound cool to some people, I think it’s a decent enough concept for a game, what is making it such a great story is the character development.. you really start to become interested in these characters with how there being fleshed out and sculpted.  And so far.. (haven’t finished the game yet)  You get the feeling that, while Kane is disturbed and cold blooded at what he does, deep down he is regretful and just wants any cost.  While Lynch’s story so far isn’t being told so much, hopefully it will get to his story.  Right now you get this sense that he lets his emotions get to him and he acts out, with very negative consequences.  His mental issues will obviously get you into trouble..and he’s very shady as to what actually happened to his wife, but you sense he doesn’t know.  it’s pretty complex and is well done, IO Interactive really knows how to string a story together, they’ve shown that with Hitman.

The gameplay so far is.. a little difficult, but fast paced, no sneaking in this game.  Team is the word for this game.. you have others besides Kane and Lynch who fight with you, there dumb sometimes, when you fall in combat, they’re suppose to help you, but they don’t sometimes, making for a frustarating game sometimes.  the cover system isn’t bad, it works well, not as good as Gears of Wars..but they nearly perfected that.  Graphically, its not a bad looking game at all, smoke effects are good, textures are detailed, models are high poly-count, it looks alright, I’ve read alot of bitching about the graphics and I don’t see the problem at all, sure, it’s no Crysis or Unreal 3… but shit, people, come on, there not bad either.  so many fanboys cry foul when every texture isn’t shiny and glowing and it’s stupid. they like over effects, not realistic effects.

The voice acting.. is.. GREAT.  some of the best casting and work I’ve heard in a long time. Lynch in particular caught my attention early on, Kane was voiced well but didn’t shine til a little later in the game.. so, watching the cut scenes is compelling and entertaining!

So.. think I’d give this one a… 7.9

____________Final Thoughts___________ Graphics “could” be better but they fit and are good. Voice acting is phenomenal performance on computers is sketchy, some patches are needed to really help this part of the game. invisible walls SUCK Story is GREAT. AI isn’t too smart.

Next up…

Need for Speed: ProStreet ———————————————————————————

I still love the Need for Speed series of racers, it’s had it’s ups and downs, but always maintains entertaining properties, I REALLY loved the Underground series.. Most Wanted was good too, but Carbon was shaky.. just too much like Most Wanted (Carbon is Most Wanted 2.. thats what I call it) and it ruined drifting.  So, here is Prostreet… another large change to the Need for Speed series.

Electronic Arts has made a couple huge changes to the Need for Speed brand before, adding “Pursuit” races in Need for Speed 3, simplifying and stylizing it in Underground. and now, moving into more of a sim style control and very clean legal street racing direction.  Gone, is being chased by cops and having to knock out police cars.  in is heavy car phyics and car damage, drifting makes a decent return as well.  Drifting in Underground, while unrealistic, was really fun!.. you where basically on ice, but it was fun.  Carbons version of drifting was even more unrealistic and stressed speed as opposed to angle and it just felt all wrong, felt like the shit handling that Ridge Racer was known for.  Here in ProStreet.. The drifting becomes entertaining again, it’s really a mix of the 2, undergrounds icy drift and Carbons sticky fast drift.  it merges the 2 together well, and it reals more realistic, while maintaining the fun part.  one gripe against the drifting though, instead of multiple laps on a drift track, your only doing one small section of a course for 3 heats.  wish they’re where more full course drifting.

Controls all around aren’t bad, the cars are heavier, but they seem good, feel like there proper weight, some cars seem like they should control a little tighter, but it’s workable.  sense of speed is “different”  I don’t want to say it feels slower, but the effects to make it seem faster than it really is are far reduced.

The story… well, not really is one.. I believe you play as the same “character” from Carbon and Most Wanted.. but you’ve gone legit, only participating in legal street racing.. and, thats about where it ends.  no more FMV either, while Most wanted did a good job with the FMV, Carbon didn’t really. so, not a big lose.

Graphically, it’s far more subdued, BUT, still looks good, very high detailed cars, damage looks great too, very nice, rivaling the damage model used in DiRT.  Track detail isn’t bad, coming from Carbon where the city is colorful and large, it seems a little too striped down, far less going on then in the other Need for speeds.  The smoke effect in this game is breathtaking, and I’m suprised I haven’t read more about it in reviews, especially from the gaming community that is SSoo stuck on graphics. these are great.  look very realistic, smoke from the tires will build up and flow over the cars, creating a blurry siloette in the smoke. just looks stunning.

Sound.. WAY more subdued then in many previous NFS games, Underground to Carbon had fantastic sounds and was just great.. while these are still high quality and good, just seems like far less then usual.  things change accordingly.. like if you had a turbo or a new engine, it’ll change, but aside from that, there just doesn’t seem to be as much attention to the sound system as before.

ProStreet gets… an 8.3

_____________Final Thoughts____________________ Controls seem heavier, but more realistic. Graphics are clean and well done, but less “special” and flashy. drifting makes a return and becomes fun again! lack of story actually helps.. story sucked in carbon. Sound is less impressive this time around. SMOKE……purdy.

Next up on the Chopping Block…

Assassin’s Creed ————————————————————————————————

So, this game caught my interest about a full year ago.. just seemed like a medevil Hitman and looked fantastic.

The game that actually came out though is different than what I was ultimately hoping for.

Going to much into the story ruins the big suprises in it.. so, I’ll just skim the basics.  you play as Altair, An Assassin who is set forth a HUGE mission to prove himself to his guild which he dishonored by breaking all 3 rules of the Assassin’s “Creed”  along the way you get wrapped up in a story of conspiracy and questioned loyalty and agenda.

The story so far seems pretty good, and interesting, gotta play thru the rest to see how it pans out.

Graphically, the game is brilliant.  Climbing to the top of a church tower in Jerusalem and looking over the huge city is fantastic.  the scale of the game is very large.  There are so many people in the market place, you gently push them out of the way, it’s impressive to say the least.  one gets lost in the larges cities easily if you don’t keep an eye on your super “knows everything all the time” map.

…which brings me to my biggest problem with the game… It holds your hand WAY too much.  the thing I loved about Hitman was the fact that it basically went “Kill this guy…figured it out for yourself” and you had to plot peoples positions, there patterns, when they had to go to the bathroom or took a smoke break, etc etc. and planned an attack based on that.  Many people would prefer more hand holding based on that but I loved the freedom.  me and my roommate would play hitman 2 and discuss how we did a level, many times we did it way differently then one another. This game on the other hand, does things in this fashion “you gotta kill this guy, over here…exactly, doesn’t matter how, everyone who saw you do it will forget about it, if they got guff just kill them too, no worries, no penalties.”  this for me removes all need to be “stealthy”.. your not rewarded for it, nor penalized.  so why bother?.. just run and gun.. err,.. run and sword…swing.

Another issue is repetition.. so far, the later levels feel the same as the others, pickpocket, kill him, kill him, collect this. thats the formula.  kinda getting tired of that… the story isn’t quite driving the game enough to look past this either.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still fun, just  getting a little repetitive.

Sound wise, it’s pretty good, all the sounds you’d expect in high quality, voice acting is… good, but interesting. You’re character “Altair” does a good enough job, he has an american accent… which fits into the story once you play it, I won’t explain.. so it’s not an issue… some of the other characters need work on there accents, but it’s pretty alright, doesn’t distract.  the amount of dialogue used really should have been much more vast.  too many times I hear the same thing coming from different people..

Other things, controls are great, the upgrade system works well and fits in, combat can be quick but is fun.  While there are “invisible walls” (one of my biggest pet peeves of games) there intelligently done and make “sense”.. you’d havta play the game,… I really don’t want to give anything away.

All in All… 7.9

_______________________Final Thoughts________________________

Graphics are very impressive and artistically stellar. Story is intriguing and isn’t what your thinking…at ALL. Controls are excellent. combat and climbing system while simple, do work very well. WAY too much hand holding. No penalty for just going gungho taking out everybody with no stealth.

And Finally….


Crysis is the sequel-ish game to Far Cry.. personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of Far Cry, but it was a fantastic looking game that still looks pretty damn good.  the actual gameplay I wasn’t into.. just wasn’t interesting to me.  This one..however, seems like it’s gonna be better, the story so far, your an elite soldier, and… your crew start dying off from.. something.. and gotta…do…something.  Ya know what, I’m not paying alot of attention to the story so far because it just seems so much like all other stories. your “good” there “bad” stop the “bad” from killing the “good”.. so far it’s just not interesting and doesn’t seem well developed so far, that may change with later levels though.

Your in this super suit that can amplify your strength and speed, can increase your resistance to bullets, or…make you invisible.  but the power cell in the suit can only do one at a time apparently, an “upgrade” later in the game to allow 2 things at once would be cool, I won’t hold my breath though.  The AI in the game seems pretty smart, they’ll wait for you, spot you from miles away, hide if needed, or run away if they know there ain’t no way you’re dying.  but for such an advanced game, I’d expect more.. ya know?.. like squad based planning, flushing you out from both sides, stuff like that.

controls are typical WASD and mouse style, there quick and responsive, the suit functions are intelligently configured and are quick and easy to use. blah blah blah..

the huge thing about this game, and why so many computer nerds are now completely broke or bankrupt…is the graphics.. in 5 years, when we have like 2GB video cards that can calculate 40 gazillion operations a second.. this thing will STILL need more power.  this is a beast.  for reference, I have most the details set to either high or medium (goes up to very high) a resolution of 1280×720, No-AF or AA turned on.. I have 4gb of RAM, and an 8800GTS 640mb video card…and I might average 21fps… I MIGHT average that. sometimes I get a whopping 35, other times I crawl at 13fps.  it’s a beast no doubt.

but visually.. it is a very pretty game, breathtaking at times.  sun shines through the trees and casts rays of light and shadows that move with the breeze.  when you walk through bushes, they bend and part, shoot a treet enough and it’ll break and fall..very realistically I might add.  turn on your suits strength and you can throw enemies through buildings!…like THIS!!..

Yes… that is an in game screenshot.  the motion blur, shadows, lighting, everything is simply awe inspiring. The water effects are the best I’ve seen, besting that of even Bioshock.

The sound in this game is no slouch either.  sound of the waves lapping across the coast, birds circling overhead. crunch of the grass as you walk through it. can hear the breeze in some levels. they put alot of attention into every aspect of the presentation of this game and it shows through everywhere.

all this comes at a HUGE price… benjamins wise, My computer is pretty beefy, sporting 3ghz dualcore 600gb RAID-0 4gb of tight timing RAM and a hefty videocard.. and it chokes.. repeatedly.. on it’s own blood.

At it’s highest settings.. I get about… 3fps (frames per second) 3.. thats friggin’ pitiful.. in stark contrast.. I can turn every setting up in Unreal Tournament 3 with resolution at it’s max and STILL be running above 30fps.  hopefully that shows you just how simply crazy the requirements are on this.

with that being said….. I give this, so far… 8.9

______________________Final Thoughts_________________________

Simply the most beautiful game ever made…so far. Controls are great and work very well. Story so far is pretty ho-hum and bland. the AI while good, I believe should have been alot better!


So, one of my early predictions of the console wars in ENTHUSIAST I I I. is, for the most part, still holding true. the 360 is still selling very well here in the states, and is even…FINALLY, picking up in Japan!. which is a nice turn of events, and the Ps3 is still just not doing well, but, like I said, is picking up steam do to price cuts on there end.. pretty deep price cuts too.

I said the Wii could go either way, and in terms of hardware sales.. it went through the roof, the wii is the system to beat right now, ever since it’s release it has sold more system than anybody else.  and I think thats awesome.  But, the problem is… Nintendo is still cursed. why you ask?. hell, they caused it themselves.  They make games that are TOO good, thats right…TOO good, every game they release becomes a staple of gaming, all the critics praise it, the public only buys that game.. and there lies the problem.  People own nintendo systems to play Nintendos games.  they don’t really care about Need for Speed on the Wii, or Tomb Raider on the Wii, because the other systems are going to have them too, and there going to look alot better.  they get Nintendos exclusives.  So developers don’t try hard enough to release good games on nintendos systems and they desperately need. Nintendo Microsoft and Sony,makes all there money on software sales from other developers, if people don’t want to develop on there system, really no matter how many they sell, there sunk.

the Wii is selling fantastically, but the 3rd party developers games aren’t selling well because Nintendo is stealing all there thunder by releasing great games.. am I complaining?.. no no, I love Nintendo and there games, I think developers need to try alot harder to show the public “Hey, we can do great things on the Wii as well”.. if they don’t, I still fear the Wii is going to have a shorter lifespan than it should have.

My 2 cents.

So… I’m done!

Leave a Comment