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.
Rayman Legends is amazing. I just played Rayman Origins earlier this summer, and I fell in love pretty much instantly. Rayman Legends takes that love I had for Origins and multiplies it at least 500 times. The animation is about a million times smoother, which is incredible given the amount of detail and fluidity of the animation present in Origins. The levels are pretty much the same as those in Origins (meaning they’re collect-a-thons, races, and a few boss battles), but they also add a new element which allows you to take control of Murfy to swat at and change obstacles in the levels. This addition works incredibly well, but it’s pretty clear from the way Murfy moves and the sorts of actions that he performs that he was designed specifically for use on the Wii U gamepad. The game also adds in a ton of new characters, costumes, and even spectacular musical-themed levels that are so good, I cannot find words to properly express just how good they are. If you are a fan of platformers at all, then you really must play this game.
In the past few years, people have been throwing around the term “cinematic experience” with reckless abandon. Though I will admit that there are plenty of games that deliver cinematic experiences, I think Asura’s Wrath may be the absolute best so far. Asura’s Wrath doesn’t have much gameplay, it’s pretty much all just quick time events glued together with some absolutely gorgeous cutscenes and an actually interesting story smack dab in the middle of it all. Sure, because there’s not really much gameplay, it can get a little boring, but the twists and turns of the story keep you on your toes, and the quality of the voice acting and graphics is incredibly high. I know this is going to sound silly, but I feel like Asura’s Wrath is the rich foreign delicacy of the gaming world. It’s different, not for everyone, but is definitely an experience that you’ll remember for quite some time. Despite it not being for everyone, I strongly recommend trying it because of the amazing quality of everything in the game. At the very least, it’s better at being a game than Heavy Rain.
Being that I absolutely adored Duke Nukem Forever, despite the hate everyone had for it, I went into Aliens: Colonial Marines expecting to kind of like it. Unfortunately, I was way off base. Colonial Marines definitely looks like a game that has been in development for almost a decade. The graphics, at their best, look like they’d be at home on the original Xbox, the gameplay is sort of decent, and the sound direction is great, but the ridiculous amount of glitches and randomly horrible voice acting make the game feel like it’s not worth any amount of time you’ll put into it. Although, I must say, as a fan of the Aliens franchise, I really liked all the nods to the mythos. It’s just too bad that you need to really play the game to experience that stuff. It does support local co-op, which is pretty awesome and works about as well as the single player campaign, but it really doesn’t make much of an impression when playing it after you’ve played some of the better co-op FPS campaigns out there. There’s also some cool gun customization, but I just could not get sucked into it enough to unlock most of the upgrades.
While not actually good, Superman Returns does provide a lot of hilarious fun just because of how bad everything in the game is. Combat is awful. Combos are really sloppy despite the initial hilarity of punching someone so hard that they go sailing through the air. All of Superman’s abilities feel insanely underpowered. However, you do have the ability to unlock Bizarro and rampage across Metropolis and wreck every single thing that isn’t a building. This proves to be incredibly hilarious as, while Bizarro’s reverse powers mostly don’t differentiate from Superman’s, he does have super-suck breath. This is the funniest way to kill people and blow up cars that I have seen in quite some time. Despite the combat being bad, the game isn’t hard at all. Health bars don’t matter, because they constantly regenerate. Also, the frequent mentoring by the voice of Jor-El will eventually annoy you to the point that you’ll be eternally thankful he blew up along with Krypton. Superman Returns is a lesson in how a Superman game could almost be good, but even considering that, steer clear unless you’re a huge fan.
With its newfound focus on cinematic storytelling and epic gunfights, Tomb Raider feels a little out of place in the series. Lara is at her best when traversing ruins, so it saddens me to see environmental puzzles take a back seat to shootouts. Fortunately, the firefights are very well done. The close quartered environments provide a very intense battleground, and the weapon selection is excellent. If the game was nothing but gun battles and rock climbing strung back to back, it would be perfect. Unfortunately, the story breaks things up too frequently with cut scenes and quick time events. At least the buttons you are asked to press in these scenes make sense, but it’s not very consistent with which cut scenes do or do not have them. What I’d really like are no cut scenes, because the story is nothing special. It provides a nice setting, but if anything, it diminishes my appreciation of Lara. She’s often depicted as a weak, whiner baby, contrary to her in-game actions. Even though I’m disappointed with the direction the series is headed, I still enjoyed Tomb Raider.