Thursday, June 2, 2011

So few lines

I am going to start traveling with riders: no hotels with televisions of the non-flat screen variety.

That being said, I did play about four hours of Bulletstorm two nights ago (got drunk last night instead) and honestly feel like I missed about three quarters of the what the game had to offer. It was still pretty, but not as pretty as it would have been at home, and the text was impossible to read. The longer I played the more reckless I became which oddly enough kept me from dying all the time. When I first started Bulletstorm I was playing like any other first person cover based shooter and wondered why the cover didn't actually work half the time. I'm ducking behind something that is smaller than I am which works in every other shooter ever, why am I still getting shot? This game only rewards you when you play in a matter befitting the main character: running full steam at guys, kicking them into the nearest sharp object and generally not giving a shit about anything. Oh, and drinking in game nets you more points for kills along with a startling realistic depiction of have about three beers to many.

Bulletstorm came from the strange union of People Can Fly and Epic. People Can Fly put out Painkiller, an exceptional shooter whose name has been sullied by several mediocre to terrible follow ups, but the balls to the wall nature of Painkiller is present in Bulletstorm and is its best feature. And what did Epic bring to the party? Well, on the plus side they know how to use the Unreal engine to great affect, but they also carry the baggage of questionable character design, lame stories and profanity for the sake of profanity (I like a good F-bomb as much as the next guy, but some of what is said just doesn't make sense. Kill your dick? Really?) These things worked in Gears of War, but there was a certain levity of mood and movement in Painkiller, in spite of being set in hell, that is just barely there in Bulletstorm. There are brilliant moments here, but there is also a fair amount of slowly jogging to the next area so bad guys can spawn out of the ground and take up defensive positions.

I am not going to play the game again until I have returned to my personal, more appropriate venue, and I am certainly not going to saddle Crysis 2 with a mere 480 interlace vertical lines.


There is much to be said about Dragon Age 2 but I don't know where to start. I don't know if it was a better or worse game than the first, just different. The combat was still not what I would expect out Bioware, stuck somewhere between the real time frenzy of Mass Effect 2 and the psuedo-turn based old school RPG's and not being as good as either. It got the job done, especially when I stopped trying to deal with monster closet encounters and dropped the difficulty down to casual. Contrary to popular opinion, the story and my lack of control over it never really bothered me. Judging from the achievements that I missed there was quite a bit of freedom with how I dealt with my party members that I missed, but then again I played through the game as organically as I could. None of the characters were very interesting in a romantic way, so I did not pursue any of them beyond a tryst with the female rogue who was never in my party because my character could do everything she could, only better. When the final twist came and I had to choose sides only one member deserted me, and when he showed up to fight me later he went down with an arrow square between his eyes, so no big loss.

I did feel that I was locked into a specific party makeup because I chose to play a rogue. Having two rogues in the same party is not worth it, so that ruled out Varric and the pirate chick with the nice ass. I needed a tank and a healer, and since I didn't muck with the other characters abilities when they leveled up there was only one choice for each of them.

Aha, I just hit upon what I did wrong: I assumed that Bioware would inject some variety into their player builds, but that was my job. Damn, foiled by my own laziness again.

Dragon Age 2 was not great, but it wasn't terrible either. I would have sooner played The Witcher 2, and it is looking like that might actually happen on consoles this time around.

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