Given that I’m a huge fan of the Devil May Cry series, I was pretty skeptical of DmC. The combat is easier. A lot easier. I must admit, that is probably my biggest problem with the game, because it’s just ridiculous how easy these fights are. They try to throw in some different enemies to make sure you make use of some sort of strategy, but all it really does is serve to annoy. The story is a major disappointment, but there are hilarious moments that almost redeem the stupidity in most of the rest of the game. Glitches happen surprisingly often, especially considering that it’s so far past the release and there have been patches. I ran into noticeable lag inside and outside of combat, console freezes, and even ridiculously long loading screens. It’s kind of sad; I actually do like a big part of what this game does, but unfortunately a good chunk of it is crap. If you feel like braving it, be my guest, but otherwise, stick to Devil May Cry 4, because Nero is the best, or the HD Collection.
It seems like more and more these days, the games that Sony’s giving out for free to PlayStation Plus members are indie games that I don’t really like at all. ibb & obb continues that in spectacular fashion. Right off the bat, the first thing you’ll notice is just how beautiful the game is. It blew me away much like PixelJunk Eden did the first time I saw it. Unfortunately, I also found it to be about as fun as Eden, which is to say not at all. The heavy emphasis on co-op is what really bugs me. I’ve never really been much of a fan of co-op platformers, and the level of cooperation necessary to succeed in ibb & obb just makes the game not fun. It has a lot of great ideas, though, like how in online play you get a sort of paintbrush that allows you to communicate with your partner to conquer the various obstacles you’ll find yourself facing. If you’re a fan of indie games, it’s definitely worth giving the game a try, because the music and design of everything is beautiful. It’s just a shame that the gameplay isn’t as gorgeous.
Being that a new generation is here, it’s no surprise Insomniac decided to bring its second biggest franchise into the future by sending it off with a bang on the PS3 with Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus. The first thing you’ll notice is that the animation in the cutscenes is downright incredible. Seriously, the levels of quality in the cutscenes are almost like something out of a Pixar film and even feel like a movie right down to the setup and presentation of the story (no doubt having something to do with the R&C movie on its way). After that, you’ll likely notice that the story is not really up to par with the rest of the series, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering this game acts as a bridge much like Quest for Booty did, but it’s still decent enough. The new weapons and Clank platforming levels are pretty great, too. If you’ve ever been a fan of the R&C series or third person shooters in general, you’ll love this game. My only real beef is that the graphics look so much better than past games that it makes it seem like this game is more “next gen” than any of the other R&C games we saw on PS3.
I was having a blast playing all of these new indie adventure games on Steam, but the honeymoon’s over. Face Noir is, once again, a sour note in the genre. Granted, I don’t care for noir, anyway, and the delivery here is particularly dry. The dialogue is groan-worthy, and the voice acting is unconvincing. I’m still not sure if I should be offended by the Chinese cab driver… who speaks with a broken English lisp… and sounds like a white guy doing an accent. As for the gameplay, the puzzles are pretty straightforward, though I found the order you are supposed to do things in kind of annoying. I know I will need bullets. Let me pick them up before I’ve found the gun! The number of items you have to “look at” before being allowed to interact with is also a little ridiculous. I know I have to push the dumpster. I don’t need to “see” it first! Some locations present an overhead view, though, which does make it harder for you, the player, to notice if something is under something else. But it’s an odd, cramped camera angle to put in an adventure game. Overall, Face Noir feels like it hasn’t learned from the many games that have come before it.
Being a pretty big fan of sidescrolling beat ‘em ups, I expected to really like Final Exam, but I have to say I ended up being really disappointed. The art style seems like it’s trying to emulate Borderlands, but it’s sadly devoid of any of the charm present in either of the Borderlands games. The graphics barely matter, anyway, considering the camera is pulled out so far during co-op (the main draw of the game) that you can barely even make out any of the finer details of your character. To add to the list of terrible things this title has going for it, the combat is simply boring. No matter which choices you make when leveling up, the combat never becomes engaging enough to make you care about what you’re doing, even after unlocking the special abilities for each of the characters. The dreadful combat wouldn’t be as big of a problem if it wasn’t for every level feeling like it should have ended about 20 minutes earlier. As is, this game isn’t worth anyone’s time.
The intensity of the first act had me hooked, but the second act, in which the game introduces a butt load of information via cartoonish and somewhat out-of-place survival guides, was a slog to get through. Once I’d finished the tutorial, though, I was set loose into the wild again to fend for myself, and it was glorious. I love how survival plays such a big role. You’re not only killing zombies with makeshift weapons. You also have to worry about your hunger, thirst, and tiredness. I thought it would be a pain babysitting these needs, but it’s really not and raises the stakes just a hair more. Fishing in the dark is super scary… I don’t like how there are so few places where you’re allowed to sleep, though. How to Survive should have gone all out by letting you make your own huts. Missed opportunity. The game comes up short in a few other areas, too. The controls are passable but not great. Seriously, why is the right bumper the attack button?! Inventory management could have used some TLC, as well. It’s definitely a flawed game that doesn’t take full advantage of its “survival” motif, but it still makes for a fun arcade experience.