I’ve been playing a fair amount in the last week. I finally finished Deus Ex: Human Revolution, started Enslaved and Space Marine and yesterday picked up the latest downloadable game from RedLynx (the people who brought you the pad smashing Trials HD) MotoHeroz. Here are some words about those games.
MotoHeroz is very much like Trials, really. Except you control a buggy rather than a dirtbike and so far it has been far more manageable than Trials. It’s bright and colourful which could lead you into a false sense of security and cause you to think that it’s for kids, that it’s Trials dumbed down for hamfisted imbeciles. It’s true that the opening levels are very tame, but of course those are just teaching to you lean the buggy back and forth and introducing the power ups. The latter are a pleasant inclusion, though so far I’ve only found the turbo boost and super jump.
The idea of the main game is almost a cross between Trials and Joe Danger, in that it has the wacky level design of Trials but also features a basic story to move you from A to B. Also, like Mr Danger, there are plenty of collectibles, too. You race an opponent from start to finish, the faster you are the better the medal you receive. After about an hour with the game, it’s safe to say that it has wholly captured me and I’ll be spending quite a lot of time with it. The levels are inspired and range from simple to full of crazy loops and jumps.
It’s pricing is rather steep at 1500 magic Wii points, thankfully I had exactly 1500 points languishing on the console so took the plunge. It wasn’t exactly a gamble knowing how good RedLynx are, but it has exceeded my expectations so far.
As a recovering 40k addict, Space Marine was an obvious purchase, really. I played the table top game for several years, I’ve read some of the books, I’ve painted the models and spent far too much on small plastic men with hulking armour. It’s safe to say that the videogame both captures what I love and hate about 40k on the whole. I love the feeling of being powerful, that size that a Space Marine holds and the visceral energy that goes into the combat. But I still dislike the fact that Games Workshop and Relic (the developer) can only concentrate on the stalwarts of the franchise, the Marine and the Ork. There’s such a wealth of races in the franchise that I’m saddened to see the same blue armour accented by the same cockney Ork voices as ever.
As a game it’s okay, there’s nothing groundbreaking here. It’s certainly not a Gears of War clone, but there’s also no need to guess the inspiration behind the play style. However one could spend an entire day arguing about the chicken and the egg. The game looks great and certainly empowers you with the blessings of the emperor as you literally cut thousands of Orks to pieces with chainsword and bolter. However it becomes repetitive over the first few chapters and doesn’t let up. You walk for 30 seconds admiring the scenery, kill 100 or so Orks, then walk some more to a weapon upgrade, then kill more Orks. But then what more do you want?
Also the health regen system is awful as only your shield recharges and the only way to regain any health is to stun an Ork then execute him. This can be pretty tough when surrounded by them and it soon becomes a frustration. It’s a good game that will calm any angry 40k fan, but it’s not going to win any accolades.
I’m not going to say too much about Enslaved as I haven’t finished it and to be honest I feel that there will be a sizeable blog upon completion. I played a little of Enslaved when it was first released and it really didn’t win me over. I thought it was a bit dull, the camera lacked an intelligence and the controls were unwieldy. Fast forward to now and the plot is winning me over, the camera is now bearable and, well, the controls are still terrible but I can live with them.
What’s enamouring me though is the characters themselves and the world they inhabit. The motion capture of Andy Serkis lends so much to the game that it’s hard not to be dragged in when watching the cut scenes, etc. Anyway, more to come in the future on this one.
Oh Deus Ex, you wonderful cruel hearted bitch. I honestly loved this game. The stealth was tight, the story gripping, everything just fell into place. Except those boss fights, but I’ll come to those in a minute. What I loved was the richness of the game world, the little touches that made the immersion take over. From the Final Fantasy posters to the Nigerian email scams in peoples inbox. Also the emails that revolve around Ricky Gervais’ Office were brilliant. The random conversations in the background were great and leaked small amounts of information, the decisions that could be made that would alter the course of later stages, superb.
But about those bosses. I’ve said it before, so has much of the internet, they were out of place in such a game. The bosses only accented those playing by brute force and gunplay. For someone like myself who played stealthy and non lethal I would arrive at a boss fight with no weapons and very little in the way of defense… particularly on that second to last fight. The game actually feels that a team of hundreds designed the main game but one bloke with his own ideas sat in a separate room developing boss fights. They don’t work and don’t fit the mould.
In fact those boss fights were so bad and annoyed me so much that it would easily have been my Game Of The Year (so far) without them. Somebody on Twitter said to me that it would have made more sense if the boss fights could have been hindered in some way by those who specialised in sneaking and hacking… that made much more sense that what the developers did.
It’s still a must play game and you’d be depriving yourself by not experiencing it. Just, ask for some tips for those boss fights (Just upgrade the Typhoon augment to the max and they’re a breeze).