Happy Weekend TAY!
Looks like spring is making an appearance around here this weekend and the chipmunks are finally out and about (and hungry). I guess I’ll have to start thinking about outside chores again. Say what you want about winter, but shoveling snow (well, snowblowing) is definitely less work for me than what the summer has to bring.
I finally finished Far Cry Primal last week. I think, in terms of gameplay, that Primal is my favourite of the Far Cry games since Far Cry 2. The mix of melee and more primitive weaponry appeals to me and the animal taming is an interesting mechanic. I feel that this is the most polished Far Cry game on the Dunia 2 engine.
What Primal lacks is the stellar writing and acting of Far Cry 3 and 4. This is somewhat understandable since the spoken language in Primal is made-up specifically for the game (created by historical linguists no less). They still do a fantastic job of conveying emotions with the acting and this, combined with the subtitles, makes for interesting dialogue but I don’t have quite the same level of engagement to the character with subtitles in between us. The bigger issue is that the overall story and characters simply aren’t as interesting as the past two Far Cry games.
*Extended Intro Sequence to Far Cry 3. NSFW!*
I think Vaas (Far Cry 3) and Pagan Min (Far Cry 4) are some of the best written and best voiced villains that video games have ever seen. This is a huge part of the appeal of the Far Cry games for me and this aspect is, unfortunately, missing in Primal. Still, I had an amazing time with Primal and would heartily recommend it to anyone.
With Primal in the bag, I thought it was time to give the new Boost Mode on the PS4 Pro a whirl. As is common with me and my frugal gaming habits (which severely delays which games I play), I selected Guerrilla’s launch title: Killzone Shadow Fall as my first outing with Boost Mode.
I’m glad to hear Guerrilla is finding great success with Horizon: Zero Dawn, because Killzone Shadow Fall isn’t a very good game. There is some wonderful tech and beautiful visuals on display with the Decima engine and this seems like it was a good primer for their work on Zero Dawn. However, the gameplay in Shadow Fall borders on the boring.
The gunplay feels uninspired, the AI is dreadful, and the level design is often dull (which is a pity since it all looks so incredible). I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a big Killzone fan. The second game was alright and I enjoyed the third game primarily because I played it with the PS3 Sharpshooter which went a long way to covering up the terrible gameplay.
I feel that Shadow Fall doesn’t learn any of the lessons from the problems in the previous Killzone games and seems to focus all its efforts on the visuals (which again are often jaw-dropping). This is somewhat understandable since visual showpieces are needed for launch titles, but Shadow Fall does nothing to change my opinion of the franchise.
What I found most amazing about Shadow Fall was that it managed to insult me in a way that few games ever have before.
I don’t like music/soundtracks in my first person shooters and I particularly loathe battle music. I understand that many have a different opinion, but I also know that many share my view. I think music ruins the atmosphere of a game and battle music is one of the worst inventions in gaming.
Most games give you the opportunity to turn off the music. Shadow Fall gives me volume sliders for voices and sound effects. There is also a slider for music, but the lowest you can turn down the music is to 50% and even at that level the music is quite loud in the game. So loud in fact that it often makes it hard to hear what is being said to you.
So, Guerrilla goes to the trouble of making a volume slider but then has the arrogance to assume I will want to listen to the music anyhow. Turning off the music, particularly in first-person shooters, is a well-established option and the lack of this option in Shadow Fall truly boggles my mind (and pisses me off). The overall sound design in Shadow Fall is fairly impressive and is very often masked by the dull score.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to finish off Killzone Shadow Fall this week so I can move on to something more exciting. I’m looking at either Yakuza 2 or Mafia III to play next.
So, what are you playing this weekend?