Archive for category Game Impressions

Marston or Phelps? A Comparison of L.A. Noire and Red Dead Redemption

Rockstar Games is hitting its stride now. Two straight games that are genre defining, and potentially revolutionary, they’ve released now, both of which to fan and critical acclaim. But which one is better? Team Bondi’s homage to film noire or Rockstar San Diego’s western classic?

I’ve already stated on this blog that Red Dead Redemption is among my favorite games of all time, and L.A. Noire was my most anticipated game of 2011. But, which game will I say is better?

I have to warn you, this post contains spoilers for both games. If you haven’t finished it, I suggest you wouldn’t read the “plot” section of this post.

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Motorstorm Apocalypse Impressions

(All screenshots were taken by me using the in-game screenshot feature. Full gallery here)

In one sentence: The best arcade racing game. :)

Compared with Split/Second: Split/Second was a recent arcade racer with the same exploding city theme. That was a great game, but MotorStorm Apocalypse is better; it simply has more creative tracks and racing.

What makes the MotorStorm series great: Intensely creative tracks are the cornerstone of the series. Diverse racing surfaces (rock, sand, dirt, grass, asphalt, water) that feel and behave like you’d expect. The vehicle classes (motorcycles, ATVs, buggies, big rigs, etc) each give the player a distinctly different race experience and aren’t just stat tweaks. This game keeps all of that and adds more…

What does Apocalypse Change?

  • Tracks: When Apocalypse announced urban racing, I was worried that it was going to be all bland asphalt road racing and lose the charm of the diverse racing surfaces, jumps, branching paths, and creative geometries. Not even close. The tracks are as wildly creative as ever, if not more so. One good example is the track that takes place almost entirely on the damaged roof tops of buildings.
  • Expanded single-player campaign: The races are more like fully designed missions rather than combinations of track/objective/vehicle class. The story is much more fleshed out, but it’s largely just entertaining window dressing.
  • Multiplayer: Perks, leveling, way more unlockables and achievables; betting system. It’s the same competitive racing at its heart, but there is way more polish.
  • Stereoscopic 3D: Stereoscopic 3D was made for this game. The effect is amazing and is a perfect fit for a game that is mechanically about maneuvering the environment.
  • Music: The series is known for exceptionally good licensed music picks (maybe that’s just because I grew up in a similar time frame as the devs?). This game uses original music, including movie soundtrack style music and some techno.

Summary

In my opinion, nothing has topped the MotorStorm series in providing amazing, creative racing fun. This improves the formula and pushes the racing genre farther than it’s been taken before.

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de Blob 2 on the PS3

After first making an appearance on the Wii, and then taking a turn on mobile platforms, de Blob 2 is coming to the PlayStation 3 for the first time, in a direct sequel to the original. Since it comes from a motion-sensitive background, it is no surprise to see support for PlayStation Move controls integrated into the game, but you need not have invested in Sony’s latest peripheral if you want to enjoy its colorful world for a few hours.

The aim in de Blob 2 is to turn the monochromatic world into a hive of colorful loveliness, and thanks to the superior power of the PlayStation 3, the graphics are far crisper and more vibrant than on the Nintendo Wii. You move around the eponymous hero, and at its most basic, it is a kind of paint by numbers platformer, where you literally have to follow the required color scheme in order to progress. The story is thin on the ground, but the selection of cut scenes do a good job of bringing the broadly drawn characters to life, and the simple black and white of the good versus evil plot is pleasingly reflected in the gameplay, which is not something that can be boasted by many other games.

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Deus Ex: Human Revolution Impressions

When I was at PAX East 2011, I got a chance to see brand new footage of Deus Ex: Human Revolution with several thousand other people. The only problem with that was that we weren’t allowed to capture it. I can totally understand why Eidos Montreal thought that was for the best. After all, the footage was from a build that was several months old, but after seeing what I saw, I was really impressed.

Honestly, I don’t see how that footage could have hurt the game; it was everything it should have been. To start things off, watch the video below. It gives you a look at what we saw, but does cut it short, since once the main hero entered the building, we got to see more of the action.

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