My 2 Credit(s) - 2/12/09
Okay so this is a little late. I usually start writing this up Tuesday morning but I got a little sidetracked by getting offered a freelance job. Anyways, games!
Resident Evil 5 Demo (last time!):
So I played through the demo one last time and I got a hang of the controls. It wasn't ridiculously jarring like the first time around and it was familiar just from having played it so much.
For those who haven't played it, when you start the demo, you're given the option of playing two levels. I'd been playing the first one over and over and hating it. I imagine there is more to it than I played but all I ever get out of this level is running into a building and then getting a bunch of dudes running at me trying to kill me. After mucking about with them for a few minutes another guy with a huge axe comes at me and kills me. That'd been my entire experience with the RE5 demo so far.
When the same thing happened the third time around, I thought I'd had enough but I figured I'd give the second level a try. This was a good decision. Instead of immediately going into combat, I had a chance to explore a little and fight a crazy person here and there. There really wasn't much to see or find (I didn't get that far in) but the experience was so much better than the one I had in the first level. The best part was where I finally got to see a bit of the co-op mechanics. Sheva, my AI partner, jumped to a building across the street where she was immediately inundated with crazies. I had to support her from across the street with a rifle. She died pretty quickly, mostly because I was not aiming carefully, but I actually had some fun.
Still, my complaints about the controls stand. You're either walking at a glacial pace or jogging slightly faster. You can't do either if you're shooting or have your knife out. I still see no reason why this is the case. You walk slow enough so that you can't just circle-strafe a dude and slash/shoot him until he's dead.
The only thing that really makes up for the fact that you can barely control your character is an incredibly stupid enemy. You have some hostile villagers running at you to kill you only to stop about ten feet from you and begin to very slowly approach you, weapon raised. Then, when they are in striking distance, they stop again, giving you at least a second or two to shoot or stab them before they finally try to hit you. Hit or miss, they wait another few seconds to swing again. When you finally manage to kill an enemy, they fall to the ground and then bubble into some kind of evil oil or some shit which disappears, revealing some ammo or maybe some medicinal herbs.
Replace the hostile villagers with a for-real zombie and that encounter sounds like it could've come straight from the first Resident Evil game and I think this is the core of the problem. It's not the controls that are clunky and antiquated, it's the combat itself. When Resident Evil first came out, we didn't really have a firm grasp of navigating a 3D space in a video game. Cameras were locked in place and movement was relative to your character. The game and the combat had to be built around this fact. Now, in 2009, we've overcome that hurdle and moving through a 3D space comes naturally for both developers and gamers.
But then you still have this game franchise. Playing through that game with contemporary controls would be trivial. Imagine your standard RE hallway with maybe three zombies except now you're Master Chief. There would be no contest, no threat. Even if you could only use melee attacks, you could still zip around and take out these zombies with minimal effort and so the tension and fear that survival horror games are based on vanishes. The only way to make enemies and combat which are still stuck in 1996 relevant is to impose artificial limitations on player movement and control. Instead of evolving the game with contemporary control schemes, Capcom kept the game the same and deprecated the controls.
That's not to say that this kind of game is bad or that it's wrong to enjoy it. I know I would love to see graphical updates of decade-old games, despite their now dated controls and gaming conventions. But this particular game does not appeal to me at all and I will certainly not be purchasing RE5 when it comes out.
I think I'm done with this game. I ran back and forth under that stupid bridge so many times. When I finally managed to turn off the force field thing, I couldn't manage to get the car up the hill onto the bridge (apparently you're supposed to?) so I just gave up and walked all the way to the next level (Sandtraps?). Gamefaqs tells me I'm more than halfway done. Unless there's anything really super-compelling that I'm gonna miss out on, I'm finished with this game.
I feel like I've been playing forever but it still feels like the game hasn't started. I've just been going from Point A to Point B to Point C with nothing really happening at all. The combat isn't particularly exciting. I'm just going through the motions and it's not fun.
Contra on XBLA
I forgot I bought this and played it for a bit when Jessie and I had some friends over. It is a hard unforgiving game that was meant for kids and was designed such that you kept feeding it quarters. I am too old for that shit. Still, it was kinda fun and I got an achievement out of it.
Halo Wars Demo
I didn't have time to get too deep into this and I'm a little worried that I never will. I was hoping that T3h Haloz would force me into playing and enjoying an RTS but I'm not sure it will be able to. It is definitely streamlined and on easy-mode but I don't know that it's something I want to keep playing. I only tried the tutorials and that made it seem pretty easy to pick up and play. I'll give the campaign a shot before I make a decision on the game.
Left 4 Dead
I played a few times over the weekend when Gugger was down for NYCC. Good as usual. I finally got to try out the barn in Blood Harvest. We got scattered a bit and could've held it better but we did fine and I would love to try it again.
I actually played a bit on the PC as well. My accuracy actually went down a little, which is strange. I guess the sticky-aim on the console version works better than I thought. I also found that the game is a little harder. I'm not sure what it is but we died a couple times. It's probably because I'm used to playing with people and I was playing alone with bots. They sometimes don't get to the boat/tank/watever as soon as they can and they end up dying. Stupid jerks!
I ordered Onechanbara after finding out I'd gotten that illustration gig. That's the chicks in bikinis with katanas hacking at zombies game. How can that game not be fun?
Also, I ordered the GTA IV DLC The Lost and the Damned off Amazon. If you order it from Amazon, you can get 3 months of Live for FREEEEEE
Onechanbara should be here by the end of the week so I'll have some words about it next week.
Also, if you didn't notice, I finally decided on a name for my regular gaming posts.