Killzone 3 picks up immediately following Killzone 2. The story is kind of bad, and it ends very abruptly. It’s not really an ending at all. But the rest of the game is pretty great. It’s easily one of the best looking shooters I’ve ever played. The amount of detail in every level is absolutely nuts. In some of the later levels, when stuff is really going down, it’s a beautiful sight.
The game plays pretty much the same as it did in the second game. If anything, the controls are slightly less floaty. The music also improved between the two games. I’ve embedded the title theme, which is pretty amazing. I don’t have much else to say about it. It’s very good.
I finished this one on accident. I mean, I meant to play Section 8: Prejudice, and I fired up the campaign that I had in progress from the last time I played it, but I didn’t realize it was so close to the end. As in, it was the last level. I steamrolled it because I found out afterward the difficulty for the whole campaign was set on easy. I can’t remember if that was the default or if I even had a choice in the matter.
Anyway, Section 8 is a lot like the Tribes games. You have a jetpack, a couple of weapons, selectable loadouts, large maps, lots of players. The single player is nothing like the multiplayer. It’s just a linear tour through some level geometry. One of the neat things about it is that everything drops out of the sky rather than materialize out of thin air. Kind of like Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, which was an amazing game. It’s a little ugly, but probably on purpose because of the intended high player counts. I just browsed a few of the game modes, and I saw 9 players on a 32 max map, and that was the most populated server.
Journey is amazing, and the less I say about it, the better it is for everyone else who reads this and hasn’t played it. It’s short, but it’s a beautiful experience. If you own a PS3, you should play Journey.
What do I have to say about Resident Evil 5? When I left off last time, I was halfway through the game and couldn’t be bothered to finish it. I recently got the Resident Evil 6 Archives, so I felt compelled to power through this one so I wouldn’t be lost in 6.
Resident Evil 5 feels like it jammed together Resident Evil 4 (totally fucking awesome) and Resident Evil Zero. I’m one of the few people who actually enjoyed Resident Evil Zero, so it would make sense that I would enjoy Resident Evil 5, but it’s not that great. The enemies are somehow stupider than most RE enemies. The friendly AI partner is mostly competent but not great. The biggest offense it commits is poor choice of weaponry. When I give it a rifle and a pistol, it’ll use the pistol until the ammo is depleted before using the much more powerful rifle. This isn’t much a problem fighting normal enemies, but it’s very annoying when you’re fighting the mid-range to boss level enemies. I mean I gave the AI partner the rifle for a reason.
There are also some tonal changes in Resident Evil 5. The game is more action-y, even more so than RE4. You still can’t move and shoot at the same time, but you can sidestep, and there are even enemies with rifles who shoot at you. The story is your basic Resident Evil nonsense; someone has a virus, it turns people into monsters, they want to use it on a lot of people, the end. There’s a “shocking twist” 3/4ths through the game that is absolutely obvious well before you get to it.
But Resident Evil 5 isn’t really a bad game. It’s quirky, for sure, but it’s competent.
I finally finished the trilogy. I intended on completing all the DLC but I passed on “Omega” for Mass Effect 3. Other than that, I played all of it. The first thing I have to say is that I didn’t hate the ending, even if I chose the wrong one. I don’t really get the hate for the ending in the first place. The whole game is about giving you mostly superficial choices. The endings are in line with that.
Mass Effect 3 is the best playing of all of them. The combat is more action-y and the stuff outside of combat is smoothed out so that you are making an effort but it’s not mindblowingly boring or tedious. No Mako, no resource collection, not much planet scanning. I’m rather glad that the crew in ME3 is reduced back down to ME1 numbers. The huge cast in ME2 was almost a necessity since the main plot didn’t really go anywhere. There’s enough to do with the story in ME3 that the off-plot missions are nice diversions.
The whole trilogy is certainly worth playing, even if Mass Effect 1 is starting to show a little age. Get them on consoles (to avoid Origin), and get the DLC. It soaked up an entire month of weekends for me and it was totally worth it.
Rolling straight from Killzone HD to Killzone 2 really highlights how the game improved between iterations. The original Killzone had very little soundtrack, if any, while Killzone 2 has one of those high budget orchestral soundtracks. Colors in Killzone were muted while the sequel threw oranges and blues all over the place. Even today, the game looks pretty fantastic. It’s a first-person game with a cover system, but the cover system isn’t as sticky as most. You hold down L2, and if you’re near something, you’ll duck behind it. It doesn’t always work out, but you can just let go of the trigger and find cover somewhere else. Friendly AI is pretty dumb, but at least they keep their deaths to a minimum. The story is minimal, but you’re part of an invasion force sent to take control of a planet full of space nazis. It doesn’t get far, but things go to hell very nicely. One minute you feel like you’re actually winning, and then everything crashes down around you. It does a decent job of making you feel like you’re the bad guy.
I got Killzone HD as part of the larger Killzone Trilogy bundle, but I’ve owned the original Killzone for quite a while. I never finished it on PS2 because I got stuck on a particularly difficult level, and the game wasn’t all that interesting enough to justify wasting a lot of time on it. But now that I have Killzone 2 and 3, I kind of wanted to go back and get through the first game. So what’s HD about Killzone HD? The resolution is higher, and the texturing on the character models is a bit more detailed, but that’s about it. The FMV between levels is particularly low resolution and full of artifacts from being highly compressed. It’s a competent if boring FPS.
I wasn’t expecting to finish Unmechanical tonight, but it was very, very short. Just over two hours short. The game is rather fun though. You play as a little robot with a helicopter on his head and a tractor beam. You carry stuff around and solve some physics-y puzzles. The game is beautiful, and the puzzles are mostly easy. I really enjoyed the game, so I wish it were twice as long.
OMD2 is a third person tower defense. You can play it solo or coop, with coop being the big new feature in OMD2. I didn’t play the first Orcs Must Die! but I got OMD2 so Katie and I could have a new coop game to play. It’s pretty enjoyable! It looks good and it has a fair amount of difficulty. It’s fun to try to figure out how to best combine traps for maximum orc destruction. This game does a great job of handling large amounts of enemies on screen at the same time. Whole hordes of orcs flood into the levels and blasting them while they clog up your traps is very satisfying.
This one probably shouldn’t count because I was in the process of playing it before New Year’s but oh well. The story and background behind the game may actually be more interesting than the game itself. The game is a third person platformer. You play as a kid, Quico, and you have to navigate through a world and solve puzzles while managing an enormous monster. The game is a metaphor for how a kid copes with his alcoholic, abusive father. The game world and music are beautiful, but the platforming a little sloppy, and the framerate outright sucks sometimes when the monster is raging. It’s a little on the short side, but considering the framerate problems and loose platforming, that’s probably a good thing.