Posts Tagged ‘first impressions’

For the Emperor!

The demo has two levels, one of which lets you dive-bomb with a jetpack.

I love Warhammer 40K. Well, probably. I’ve never played the tabletop game proper (not having the cash to spend on miniatures and paint – the 40K refers to the price, right?), I did play a lot of Space Hulk at my local game shop back in the day. I enjoy the line of novels, and Relic’s Dawn of War RTS games have been great, so I had to fire up and play the Space Marine demo when it came out yesterday (even putting aside time with the new Deus Ex to try it).

And how is it? I really dig it. The demo offers you two missions to sample the gameplay, letting you duke it out with Orks in both ranged and melee. Comparisons to Gears of War and other stop-n-pop shooters are exaggerated and untrue: there is no cover system (cover is for chicken-wusses). As an Imperial Space Marine, you’re expected to wade into combat and take the fight to your enemy, and holy crap, is it glorious. With your bolter (3 varieties of bolters, no less) and chainsaw-sword you can switch fluidly between shooty and slashy, with explosions of gore commonplace. It’s pretty over-the-top, and fits the 40K universe perfectly.

It’s a solid demo and well worth checking out. This is one of the most promising straight-up action games I’ve seen in a while. My only problem is that I had to disable V-Sync to play it, which occasionally led to choppy framerates. I’m not sure why V-Sync makes the non-menu graphics invisible.

Unleashing "fury" makes everything die EVEN FASTER.

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Who Wants to Wait Forever?

Well, I ended up in the First Access Club as a result of buying the Borderlands Game of the Year edition. I was actually surprised by it: at that point I had completely written off Duke Nukem Forever, perhaps believing it existed in one of the Area 51 bunkers or in the belly of the Loch Ness monster. Oh, Chad of little faith.

Today I downloaded the demo. I looked from my November 1997 Issue of PC Gamer to the screen; indeed, Duke was finally back.

Of course, on start up, the game tried to give me a heart attack: For some reason, in full screen mode, the game won’t play (this game uses the Unreal 3 Engine – I have Mass Effect, BioShock, and Daggerdale all running the same engine full screen at maxed settings: fix this crap ASAP, Gearbox!) so I had to complete the game in windowed mode. Seriously, I thought Gearbox was pulling the most sadistic and least funny joke ever.

But on to the game. The demo begins with a reenactment of the final moments of Duke Nukem 3D (not its official expansion for whatever reason) with Duke up against the Cycloid Emperor. The game gives you the Devastator weapon and lets you go to town before kicking a field goal with the Emperor’s eyeball. This was a satisfying start, but the demo allowed further play in a later level, which starts you out in a monster truck. This stage was much meatier, letting you fight it out with Duke’s old pig cop enemies and experiment with more weapons (my favorite of which is still the Ripper chaingun). However, it also features some driving with incredibly iffy controls, and other than the first area it’s pretty bereft of enemies. I think it gives a pretty good feel for what to expect, and this is probably not a good thing.

It's time to kick ass and...draw pictures!

Good, Bad…He’s the Guy with the Gun

First off, the interactivity that made Duke Nukem 3D stand out from the rest of the FPS games of the mid-’90s is still in full force. You can relieve yourself at a toilet, drink from a water fountain, and even doodle on a dry-erase board. The action is solid(when it’s there, I spent more time running corridors in the demo than shooting anyone) but the guns don’t feel or sound meaty (the shotgun does almost no damage outside of point-blank range). You also get to ride a mine cart around, which is a fun way to see the scenery.

The Shrink Ray is back!

On the other hand, it’s unfortunately a lot more modern than I was expecting. You can only carry two weapons at a time along with a complement of pipe bombs, and the “quick kick” with the Mighty Foot is conspicuously absent. I admit that I was hoping you’d be able to carry a ridiculous complement of weapons as you could in the original, and I’m a bit disappointed by that. Also, there are quick-time-events requiring mashing of the spacebar. It seems, too, that the aliens from Duke3D are the enemies here; I thought Duke’s old nemesis Dr. Proton was supposed to be returning? Oh well, it was a short demo.

So I admit that for me, the demo is a mixed bag. Overall, my biggest complaint is that it doesn’t feel so much like a sequel to Duke Nukem 3D as it does a modern revamp. It’s distinctly underwhelming and unpolished, and I’m guessing this reflects on the game as a whole. It doesn’t give me a good reason to plunk down $60 bucks for a copy. While I’m disappointed with its modern trappings, it’s pretty cool to actually see Duke Nukem Forever existing, even if it does kinda suck…it’s just setting in how long it’s been since it was announced. Whoa. I feel old now. Thanks for that, Gearbox.

Well, I decided to download the demo for the new Mortal Kombat from the PSN, to get a taste of testing my might.

I haven’t played a Mortal Kombat game in at least ten years, and it’s probably been at least five years since I’ve played a new fighting game. It’s far from my favorite genre, but I figured it would be worth it to revisit one of the classic games of my misspent youth.

Upon starting the demo, I was greeted with the title screen, chose the only available options ( FIGHT > LADDER) and was presented with the character select screen. The demo lets you choose from Scorpion, Sub Zero, Johhny Cage or Mileena. I chose Scorpion, as he’s been my favorite MK character for years, and also because I don’t think I could live with myself if I played as Johnny Cage.

Immediately after, I was dropped into a fight with Sub Zero. It was an easy fight, which is a good thing, because I had to figure the controls out. They’re responsive and solid, and I’m sure they’d be even better if I could have gone into training mode to figure out what I was doing. I like the controls – they’re fluid and easy to pick up, and I managed to figure out a couple of combos and throws (it wasn’t until the second fight that I learned how to block). For most of the fight, Sub Zero just stood there while I wailed on him (Sub Zero IQ perhaps? Couldn’t help myself). And when it came time to FINISH HIM…I punched him.

I really must learn how to perform fatalities.

The second fight was Scorpion vs. Scorpion. Ah, the mirror match. This one was kind of a pain, mostly because I couldn’t tell myself from…myself. However, it was nice to be challenged after the lobotomized Sub Zero beatdown, and I discovered Scorpion’s throw and TOASTY! moves. It was at this point that I really started to get a feel for the game. And I’ll be honest, I’m liking it.

Again I failed to perform a fatality (and honestly I never figured them out), but I did manage to get a combo breaker in during the Mileena fight. By now I’m noticing that Scorpion says the same “Vengeance will be mine!” before every match – hopefully we get a few more sound bites than that in the full version.

My two cents? The game looks to be shaping up nicely, with a lot of gameplay modes available (though blacked out for now) on the main menu, and the Krypt as shown in the trailer at the end of the demo looks to offer a lot of extra content, too. I do have to wonder why Sonya looks so much like Nina Williams from Tekken but…eh, who really cares?

Plus Kratos. Makes me proud to own a PS3.

Count me in for looking forward to the finished product.