Games, games and more games. Since I was a kid gaming has been my main hobby. I love gaming, though with the pass of time and the growth on daily responsibilities, I’ve learned to take it easy, play on short sessions, etc. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn how to stop buying games, so I have an immense collection waiting to be played. So nowadays, I play little but (almost) daily, what allows me to enjoy this little hobby of mine, exploring my collection.
As I did in April, here I list and review the games I completed through the last quarter:
- Child of Light (PSVita): A delightful little game by Ubisoft. It’s a fairy tale made videogame, with stunning art and very interesting gameplay. CoL combines a 2D sidescrolling exploration game with turn-based RPG combat. The combination might sound weird, but it works surprisingly well. The combat system is really good, making use of classic elements like use of magic, elemental attacks (fire, water, earth and wind), changes of formations, etc. The exploration part is too simple, limiting the player to move around pretty linear environments. I feel that the addition of backtracking could have made the game way more enjoyable. Artistically the game is superb, with an impressive use of the Ubi Art framework the company developed for Rayman Origins. Seriously, the game is gorgeous. Give it a chance if you’re not afraid of “childish” looking games. The game gets really close to excellence.
- Doom II Hell on Earth (PC): I wrote a post recently to talk about good design and it was inspired by my playthrough of Doom II. Do I need to say more? This game was launched in 1994 and, 23 years later, it’s still one of the best first person shooters you can play. Of course, technically it’s completely outdated, but the gameplay stays as good as once was. We can’t say that of some games that were launched 5 years ago. The game is a frenetic run throught 30 or so levels, exquisitely designed, shooting everything that moves. The variety of levels is astonishing, specially if we have in mind the technical limitations of those years. You’ll play levels that are big and complex. Levels that are small and chaotic. Even levels that feel like a gigantic puzzle. They added the two-barrel shotgun (aw yeah!) and a few new enemies. I can only say that id Software put together a masterpiece in 1994. I’m pretty sure you can get it for a few euros on steam/gog or whatever. It’s a must play.
- Need for Speed Most Wanted (PSVita): I just finished playing it. And, while being a good game, it’s been a disappointment. First thing that I didn’t like was the idea of bringing the “takedowns” and collisions of Burnout to a NFS game. Yeah, I know they’re the same developers, but still. I felt like all this slow mo collisions didn’t fit well. For me, those scenes were breaking the pace of the game. Another thing that I didn’t like was the art direction. I can appreciate the effort, and it has a lot of personality. It just didn’t feel right to me. And finally, and more importantly, the open world where you drive lacks personality and interest. I come from playing Forza Horizon last year, that blew my mind exactly with that. On FH, just driving around was extremely fun, and that was thanks to a less urban, very inspired design of the environment. In NFSMW there are only city and highways, and to be honest, it’s was quite boring to go through it. It’s looking like I didn’t like the game, and that’s not accurate. The races themselves were really good (e.g. better than in FH). Artistically and technically is a really good game. The navigation system is a good idea on how to guide the player through the game contents, that by the way, it has a lot. Overall a good game, but won’t change your life.
- Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Justice For All (NDS): It’s painful to say this, as I’m a big fan of the first Phoenix Wright, but Justice For All has been a disappointment. It has all the ingredients to be good, but the game never gets to its full potential. It presents 4 new cases, but none of them is as memorable as they were on the first game. The characters and stories are not as inspired and, though they’re fun and you’ll burst laughing from time to time, is not the same. Specially in a game where story is a 95% percent of the game. Also, there are a few “puzzle solutions”, specially in court, where the logic is quite obtuse. It’s still good though.
- The Order 1886 (PS4): I don’t remember many games as criticized as The Order 1886. There was so much hype with it when it came out, that the defects of the game (it has a few) were magnified. The game presents a steampunk universe, set in London, and yeah, on 1886. You play as Sir Galahad, a member of the Round Table that fights the super natural, and more specifically, lycans. Let me say, that the start point is really cool (in my opinion), and that the setup and design of the universe is nothing short of outstanding. In terms of graphics and sound the game is also impressive, with moments that will leave you with your mouth open. So what’s the problem then? Well, to start, the game is short. We’re talking of 6 or 7 hours of gameplay. No multiplayer, no extra modes. That’s no problem for me, as long as while it lasts it offers something compelling. Another heavily criticized aspect was the gameplay. The game is a 3rd person shooter, similar to Gears of War. It also introduces a little bit of stealth, and a bunch of quick time events. None of it is specially memorable, but except for certain stealth moment that was a bit annoying, the gameplay feels good. The control is responsive, action is fun, etc.
I can understand that people was expecting something else, but honestly, I think The Order 1886 is a good game, and it offers a few hours of good quality entertainment. To close this “defense” of the game, I would like to point out that the story and characters are well developed. Specially Galahad, who shows the conflict he’s living pretty well. The game sets up a universe that is really interesting, and I hope some day we will have the opportunity of seeing it’s full potential.
That was all. A couple of small disappointments, a good action, story-driven game, a surprise and a master piece. Though I criticized a bit NFS and PW, I have to say that all games I played this past three months were good, and I had a great time playing them. As a final note, this past month I had the opportunity of playing a bit of a game I can’t really talk about, as it hasn’t been announce, and it looks really good. Perks of having game developers as friends 😛