I’m A Sucker For A Bloody Good Time

Happy Weekend TAY!

Thanks to last week’s long weekend, this weekend arrived even quicker. I hope everyone who started back to school last week is all settled in and ready for the coming workload. My little guy started grade 4 last week and is loving being back at school.

Last week was a bit of a mess for me as we all had to adjust to being back on “school time”, but I did manage a little gaming when I could.

I finished Prototype 2. That was awesome! I think it was a fantastic game and the production values were top notch. Everything worked extremely well and it felt like a ton of Radical’s love went into every moment.

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I found I enjoyed the story and the protagonist was great fun to play. The one liners he quipped were particularly funny for me as often I had just made a similar comment to myself about what was going on in the scene. Much of the story was presented as full motion video memories of the people you consumed and was a particularly nice touch. You don’t see a lot of FMV with real actors any longer in games and these snippets of video really helped flesh out the world of Prototype 2.

I don’t think I had one complaint about the game. Everything was well balanced, the combat was extremely enjoyable, and having all those super powers to move around the world made for a wonderfully fluid ride. The upgrade system was also well done and I loved having several different upgrade trees to fit my playstyle.

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Prototype 2 critically is a mixed bag. Some people complain about the amount of repetition. While there was definitely similar things to do (as with most sandbox games), the missions in Prototype 2 are also a lot of fun and often have varying approaches for completing. At no point did I ever think “Oh here’s another one of these missions”.

Some didn’t like the story, but I thought it was presented well and was interesting to watch unfold. It’s not going to win any awards for storytelling, but I think the writing was solid and entertaining.

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I’d definitely recommend the game if you liked the first Prototype. It is the first game refined. Or, if you enjoy superhero games that are also brutal and bloody, then I think it might be something worth checking out.

With Prototype 2 completed I was all set to move on to Alien: Isolation. Then I was looking at Steam’s front page and they recommended a game to me based on what other games I played. The game was Dead Effect and ran me a whopping $1.64 (CDN). The preview video looked interesting. Spaceship full of zombies, that can’t be bad...can it?

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So, instead of playing a triple-A title that most people seemed to love (Alien: Isolation), I chose to play the cool looking horror shooter Steam recommended me for the price of a cheap cheeseburger.

I’m still not sure if I would rather have had the cheeseburger. Not that the game is awful. It works well enough and looks pretty in its own way. I’ve only played a few levels but I’m just not feeling it. It is somewhat tedious and not the least bit scary up to the point I’ve completed.

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Dead Effect reminds me visually of Doom 3 or The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay on the Xbox. Maybe that’s a little unfair, it looks alright, but I can’t shake the feeling that the game is 15 years old with a fresh coat of paint on top. Not that Doom 3 and Riddick looked the least bit bad, they just look a little old now on the original Xbox.

Much of the old school feel is that the levels are very Doom 2 in construction and the gameplay definitely feels Doom-ish. Not that this is bad, Doom still holds up pretty well in my opinion. There is also no jump in Dead Effect and there is a crouch that I haven’t felt the need to use, all giving it that retro shooter feel.

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So far, the combat and level design are a little tedious. I hope this improves. Dead Effect does a fair job of crowds of zombies overwhelming you, but the AI is pretty bad so that often the faster zombies in the back get hung up on the slower walkers in the front of the pack.

It is the shooting that maybe bothers me the most, there is little visual feedback when firing weapons and almost no hit reactions from the mobs other than when you strike a killing blow. Actually, the more I think about it, it might be the lackluster character modeling that is dragging down the game.

I decided to look up Dead Effect on Wikipedia. Unbeknownst to me, it was originally an iOS and Android game built in Unity. This makes more sense to me now. I can see it being an iOS shooter, at least compared to the few I’ve played. On iOS this might be fun, but on a PC where I just finished playing the amazing first person shooter, Wolfenstein: The New Order, Dead Effect just isn’t doing it for me.

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Maybe I’m being overly critical, really I’m unsure how I feel about Dead Effect so far. It has a fairly good atmosphere and is pleasing enough visually to make me want to see more, but the gameplay really needs to pick up soon. I suppose I’ll finish it anyhow; I try to have the philosophy of finishing what is on my plate (though, it isn’t a hard and fast rule). I don’t dislike the game, not at all, I just feel maybe my time could be spent better elsewhere. Hopefully the game will change my mind as it goes along. I’ve probably had a $1.64 worth of fun already, so I can’t complain too much.

Speaking of full plates, I’ve got my plate full with work this weekend, but hopefully I’ll have some time to try and get Dead Effect out of the way. Rock Band 3 will likely be on-tap with the family and I’m sure I’ll be treated to many of my son’s creations in Super Mario Maker over the weekend.

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So, what are you playing this weekend?