Thursday, 27 January 2011

Three is lucky!

It’s soon Christmas folks! I’ve pretty much played through all the important Christmas games already, before I’ve even got my pressies! Since this is probably my last entry of reviews this year I’ll go through three games in one post.

Metro 2033

First game; Metro 2033. It’s set in the post-apocalyptic world of 2033 after the nukes have wiped out mankind, and yes it does sound like a Fallout game, but this has a slight difference. Firstly its not an RPG and it may remind you of games like Fallout 3 or the STALKER games in looks and setting but actually it is a fairly straight forward first person shooter.

So while the game pushes you mostly from A to B in an old, but fairly wide, corridor fashioned FPS and trying to introduce some stealth sort of missions, what Metro 2033 truly is about is the atmosphere and the feeling of desperation underneath the surface of a nuked-out Moscow. The story is simple, you must deliver a message to a far off subway station while dealing with mutants that have grown out of the radioactive ruins of mankind. This makes for some hideous looking enemies and many scares, but what is truly creepy is the main story of a mutant creature that is rumoured to be the next step in evolution, humans are therefore no longer the furthest. This eerie creepiness and flashback scenes of this creature build a lot of Metro’s fantastic atmosphere.

Metro 2033 has a minimal HUD as you fight your way through subway stations, abandoned halls, sewer systems and hideouts. You even encounter battlefields beneath the surface. This lack of HUD helps keep you focused on the reality of things and what’s even more exciting is the fact that you have to wear a gas mask on the surface. Believe me that when you are breathing heavily inside a mask in a snowstorm with a a gas mask with huge cracks in visor while shooting at creatures and generally having a hard time surviving you truly feel sucked into the dark and dismal scenario. This is the games strongest point, it truly submerges you into the feeling of begin hopeless and having to fight your way to survive.

The game plays well, with a precise gun feeling and small things to consider. Like changing filters on your mask or recharging your batteries with a manual pump to use your torch and night vision goggles. The environments look fantastic and ooze atmosphere, even though you mostly are in underground settings. Sadly the animation of people, enemies and the voice overs are very bad. They are stiff and lack a lot of fluidity. This is such a shame since the rest of the graphical side of Metro is great.

I really enjoyed the dark and desperate moments of Metro 2033, and the underlying fear of the next step in evolution. I also enjoyed the fierce firefights combined with the desperation of changing gas mask filters or recharging my night vision goggles. I felt like I was there and it was frightening. However the bad animation and the very disappointing ending left me a little put out at the end. Of course looking back i was a fantastic ride, but I would have liked something amazing at the end and I would have maybe liked some more flashbacks to a time before the nukes fell from the sky. All in all it ends as a game with potential that could have gone so much further.



Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood up next. This is a direct follow-up of the story and main character from AC2. If I haven’t mentioned it before I will now; I absolutely love the AC series. I’ll happily admit that AC1 was flawed in many areas but the general idea was amazing, and so the sequel last year blew me away. Not only did it fix small nuisances of the original it added so much, much more. Sidequests from the main story, the ability to upgrade not only your armour and weaponry, but also rebuilt your local town. Brotherhood in other words had quite a bit to live up to.

AC:B is not a true AC3, it’s more like a sequel to AC2. Don’t get me wrong, it isn't an extention pack, it’s a full game with the same if not more length than AC2. It continues closely to the AC2 story, and if you still haven’t begun on any AC games then begin with AC2 before delving into Brotherhood. AC:B only lets you roam in one town, but the size of Rome is incredible and actually makes it seem larger than any AC game to date. In fact the sheer amount of things to do in Rome is amazing and will take you ages.

The main quest is to bring down the Borgia dictatorship in Rome, but along the way you can encounter in many exciting and historical sidestories. Everything from finding Romolous’ armour, to experimenting and trying out Leonardo Da Vinci’s many strange vehicles and machines. You will also get the choice to invest in shops, banks and buildings to help build Rome from ruins and have to take over the city one part at the time as you assassinate local leaders and take control yourself.

If you really enjoyed AC2 without hesitation take part in Ezio Auditore’s rebuilding of Rome, I guarantee you’ll love this game.



Pac-MAn Championship Edition DX

Last game for this time: Pac-Man Championship Edition DX. It’s a deluxe version of 2007’s Championship Edition which I never played. So far I have really enjoyed this game. It is addictive, very addictive. The game takes a twist on the traditional Pac-Man gameplay and lets you try and get as many sleeping ghosts in the maze to wake up and follow you while collecting the traditional dots. Each time all dots are eaten a fruit will appear and this again will unlock a new route of dots and sleeping ghosts.

This makes you press your self really hard to collect as many ghost behind you before eating a pill and turning around and eating them. The latter of course giving insane amounts of points. Combined with flashy and neon coloured HD visuals and a thumping, fantastic  techno soundtrack will give you great value fro money. For an entertaining arcade game this Christmas, go for Pac-Man!



That’s it for reviews of 2010, it’s been a good gaming year and I’ll be back next year with more reviews of new games. I may write a Looking back feature or a top 2010 list of something, maybe, maybe not. Until next time though; have a great Christmas and a happy new year! \o/

(This article was first published on Wednesday, December 22, 2010 on my original IGN blog.)

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