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Thursday, July 14, 2011

WAR uh, good god yall... Darksiders Review

Darksiders is an action game that was released at the very beginning of 2010. It was a game I was looking forward to but was unable to play it until about a week ago. I picked it up during Steam's Summer Camp sale and let me tell you something, I am damn glad I did.

In Darksiders the player takes control of War one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The battle between Heaven and Hell has started and you've been summoned before your time. When this happens Heaven and Hell are not happy to see you and all "hell" breaks loose.

The first thing many will notice about Darksiders is that it takes A LOT from the Legend of Zelda. The game's structure, with a kind of over world and a few dungeons strewn about. The weapons and items, you'll get a boomerang type weapon and something that's basically a hook shot. You increase your health with skull pieces instead of heart pieces, you get the idea. But with this you're playing the best "Zelda" game to come out in a long time.

While structurally close to Zelda the game's combat is closer to something like God of War or Devil May Cry but not as complicated. You have one button combat here much like Arkham Asylum, the first button is for your sword and the other is for a secondary weapon. You can kind of go back and forth but it's really not worth it and you'll stick with one weapon at a time. But most of the options from those other action games are in this one, if you like to be in the air for most of your combat you can do that here and it's very easy to do, if the ground is your thing you'll be just as badass. Something about this that a lot of these action games don't have is a lock on, just like Zelda's. For the most part it works but there are times when you'll hit the lock on button and it focuses on some guy far away from you and not the guy right next to you. It did happen more than I would of liked but I can forgive it. You could actually make it through the whole game without using the lock on at all.

The story was something I was extremely impressed with. At it's core it's a basic Heaven versus Hell thing but it is told so well. The script is awesome and it didn't have any parts I thought felt tacked on or out of place. The voice acting is some of the best I've ever heard with big name voice guys like Mark Hamill and Phil LaMarr. The whole thing never felt predictable and I was actually surprised near the end. Something that rarely happens for me is the ending actually made me super psyched for the sequel coming out in 2012.

But Darksiders wasn't a perfect game and I did have some complaints as I played through it.

One level in the game, The Black Throne was really horrible. It has a gimmick where you're given a portal gun and most of the level is spent using this item to make your way through the dungeon. If I wanted to play Portal I'd play Portal not Darksiders. It just wasn't ever fun, you have a mini-boss you fight as you go through and you have to fight him three times. It was just really garbage and the fight was just frustrating. I played about two thirds of this level and took a break for the night, I didn't even want to play anymore it was so bad but the next morning I played again and I was almost done with it so it ended up being bad but not super long. I'd recommend using a guide when you get there to just blast through it and go on to enjoy the last amazing parts of the game.

You have a fast travel option to get around the maps but when you teleport you have to go through a short level type thing. At first it's okay but you have to do it each time you port. It grates a bit after so many times but it's not a big deal.

Lastly and this seems to be something I complain about on almost every game, this one was too easy. I played on the hardest setting and it wasn't really a challenge. There were a few tricky parts and a couple bosses that were tough but the regular game was a breeze and the last boss was simple which I kind of liked. It's too often in this genre of game to have a last boss that is super brutal to beat but in this one it was a little on the easy side.

Darksiders is a great game. If you're a fan of Zelda and games like God of War it is a must play. I cannot recommend this game enough, it is utterly fantastic. Even with that one bad level the rest of the game is so good it makes up for that one. I can't say enough here about how much I love just do yourself a favor and go pick it up, like right now go get it.

Darksiders - 9 out of 10 (If the Black Throne hadn't sucked so much it would of been a 10 out of 10)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Danger Close: Medal of Honor Review

Medal of Honor started as a series that defined the World War 2 shooter. For a long time it was the only good WW2 game out there. Then Call of Duty came along and took all the great stuff Medal of Honor did and improved on it. After COD took over the reigns from MOH it focused on the modern times and many other franchises tried to catch up to them. Eventually Medal of Honor followed along and with that we get the new Medal of Honor.

The 2010 edition of Medal of Honor takes place during the War in Afghanistan and it never pulls any punches about that fact. You play as several different characters over 2 days during the conflict but for the majority of the game you'll control "Rabbit" a member of the Tier 1 APO Neptune squad. You also spend a good part of the game playing as "Deuce" a Sniper for AFO Wolfpack who runs along the guy from the cover of the game whose name I can't remember and I don't really want to look up.

From the story prospective the game isn't ever really clear on what's going on. You just seem to be going along killing guys and getting extracted but I'll go into that more later on.

Gameplay wise MOH is a modern wartime first person shooter. It's plays a lot like the other Modern FPS games on the market. You can carry two guns at a time and have an assortment of grenades to use. You use all the modern weapon hotness through out, M-14s, shotguns and the .50 caliber sniper rifle. At it's core it is a really by the numbers shooter, if you've played any other modern shooter you know what you're getting into.

The game does control decently, mouse aiming feels good and I didn't really have any issues with killing guys. The one complaint about the control set up is so many things are spread to far around the keyboard. I had to do a ton of rebinding on my keys to get stuff closer to my movement keys and that to me just screams lazy PC port because they just threw the keys where ever. It is cool in this time of not letting us bind keys they allowed us to do so, so we do have that.

I really liked the way the game looked. Danger Close did a great job making the game look pretty. The sand and mountains look really nice as you're playing. One of my complaints about Black Ops was the guns looked like crap while the rest of the game looked good. It is not the case here the guns look good, the environments look good. I have an older PC and I could play this at max settings no problem.

It may feel like I just kind of glossed over most of the game but it really is a by the book military FPS. With that said I have some complaints and they're the big focus of this review.

First up the story, it never made any sense. I'm guessing there is a story here somewhere but for the most part it's just a squad of soldiers killing dudes and trying to get somewhere. The first level looks like it's trying to set up an attempt at a narrative but after that it never goes anywhere. I can see a military game without the big time Call of Duty type story just being about some guys and doing their jobs over a couple days but this isn't it. MOH keeps trying to make everything you do a big deal but it isn't important to me when it's not really explained or fleshed out.

MOH also suffers from repetition and I mean a lot of it. Here's the game broken down in a few words. First off you need to go somewhere, you get there and need to hold that point, you "Paint" a target which is always "Danger Close" and BOOM! Then you need to wait for extraction and you do this for almost the entire game. It's broken up with some sniper parts and a riding a quad runner but that's the whole game.

The two biggest gripes with this game, it's too short and it's WAY too easy. I beat the game on the hard mode in about 4 hours! What the hell? Hard mode is suppose to be hard but this game's hard mode wasn't even tough, it had a few tricky parts but it still only took 4 hours. It's inexcusable that a game would come out and cost 60 bucks and only be 4 hours long. That to me just says this game was released for multiplayer and the single player was an after thought. Boo-Urns to Danger Close and EA for doing that! I paid 10 bucks for this in the last Steam sale and I feel a little ripped off, I would of been furious if I'd paid the full 60.

So I mentioned the multiplay, what did I think? I didn't even bother. I played the Beta and it was bland as hell and I didn't want to waste anytime with it.

In the end Medal of Honor is fun but we've all seen what it does before. It doesn't really try anything new and I fear this will not bode well for the series. If Danger Close (Who are working on a sequel) try to make a more original game instead of trying to be the next COD then I think they can make a great shooter. If you can get this cheap or rent it you'll have fun. It will scratch your FPS itch but again it will feel like deja vu.

Medal of Honor - 5 out of 10