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.
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.
Doom 3: BFG Edition is the ultimate edition of Doom 3. It also includes the original games, which is great if you’ve somehow never played them before. They’re still pretty fun to run through. Unfortunately, they took out Doom 3’s co-op feature from the original Xbox version, and the amount of framerate drops present in this iteration seem ridiculous. Why does this game have so much screen tearing considering how old it is? The graphics haven’t aged well at all, and the story isn’t just boring but somehow manages to feel almost nonexistent. This isn’t a surprise, because I do remember it being rather barebones at its release, but it is something to keep in mind when looking at the game in terms of what we are used to in today’s FPS offerings. The gunplay is also pretty disappointing as the only real difference in the feeling of the guns is how fast they shoot. While still somewhat fun, I can’t suggest playing this version over the PC one. If you’re looking for the best version of Doom 3, just buy it on PC and get some mods for it.
The first level of Dwarf Madness was okay. Not terribly exciting, but it served its purpose in introducing the coin-collecting, twin-stick shooting gameplay. Once I’d found all of the coins for that level, though, the camera zoomed out, showing me the same level, and simply sprinkled in new coins in random locations for me to go find again. Yeah, there were more (and stronger) monsters now roaming about in Round 2, but I felt robbed of any sense of progression. You mean Dwarf Madness is just an arena shooter?! The presentation (which is great, by the way) begs to be part of a more Gauntlet-like experience, where each level/round is an actual journey or, at the very least, somewhat distinct. As is, I always got bored playing on the same stage, usually by the time I reached Round 5. Maybe doing away with the long pauses in between rounds (or having no rounds in general, and things just naturally escalated) would fix that. I can’t say for sure. Something’s missing, though. While the 4-player co-op support and purchasable weapons and upgrades do add replay value, it’s not quite enough.