Archive for category Gaming Review

Operation7 : Single Redeeming Factor Exemplar

SWAT officers decorate the main menu, for inexplicable reasons.

There is a fairly new – as in, less than half the years of the juggernauts – MMOFPS in the market, the free shooter Operation7 by… a Korean studio which I don’t know (Park Esm?). As might be expected from the Koreans, Op7 is incredibly addictive despite some – let’s be honest here – very stupid design decisions.

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Splinter Cell Double Agent

I stopped following the Splinter Cell series shortly after Double Agent was announced, because I was convinced that with this new entry, Sam Fisher will join the Ghosts and Rainbow in becoming a completely different beast than what it started out.

After getting a chance to play through a bit of Double Agent, I was bloody right, too.

If Ubisoft had wanted so badly to make a game about double agents, then they could have done so without involving this series. Obviously, this means that Ubisoft felt Splinter Cell needed changing. In conclusion (surprise!), Ubisoft are consisted of ass and byproduct.

Really now. Splinter Cell was the only game series that had done pure stealth remotely well for a good while now. But like how Snake Eater was the peak of Metal Gear Solid, Chaos Theory was the peak of Splinter Cell.

Oh sure, one might say you still sneak around and try to persuade the local guard to look away (with say, a whistle, or a fist) long enough for you to do your thing. The change is in the presentation – there’s just none of that technological spy-wizardry. Hell, forget what I said earlier, there’s no real sneaking, even; it’s no longer about pressing yourself as deep into the shadows as possible, it’s about staying out of the fixed view radius of patrolling drones with less humanism than the computer they guard.

Splinter Cell was the Deus Ex, or Thief, kind of sneaker – the shadow is your ally, because God help you, nothing else on the field is. Beyond all else, the most disappointing aspect of Double Agent was losing this mood, which was so very strong in Chaos Theory. The gameplay mechanics haven’t changed very much, but it doesn’t feel right to use those mechanics anymore.

And let’s not even mention how they took out the full light meter, simplifying to three-colour states. What the fsck.

So, with Splinter Cell succumbed to Ubisoft’s clutches, and Guns of the Patriots ending Metal Gear Solid (though to be fair, the game always seems less about full sneaking then “full sneaking until you get to the point where shooting it out doesn’t matter anymore”), I guess we can bid adieu to pure stealth games for a while.



Hell's Highway : you're in the (British) Army now

Yes! You can have a full squad now! Three fireteams FTW!

On the whole, the third game in the Brothers in Arms series, Hell’s Highway, is great, giving the Second World War a very intimate and personal feeling by judicious use of cinematics and cutscenes. At the same time, it has excellent, tactical gameplay marred only by occasionally idiotic AI (but at least nothing Earned in Blood stupid) and some very random gameplay changes. The most egregious is probably the sudden and complete left-field segues as a British tank commander. Wait, what?

I thought I was playing Brothers in Arms. Turns out it was Call of Duty.

I mean, yeah, it’s fun to just rampage through enemy defenses once in a while (and totally trash the game’s vaunted “authenticity”) but… what?

Meet Subplot #12659.

At least tanks are no longer murderously difficult like, say, the unstoppable tin cans in Earned in Blood.

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Silent Hunter III : im in ur sector, sinkin ur convoys

I don’t usually play simulations, especially on a subject as obscure (for gaming) as submarine warfare. While I’ve dabbled in Combat Flight Simulator 3 and IL-2 Sturmovik, my longest stint with the joystick was with Star Wars Battlefront 2.

In any case, I’ve tried this game about eight months ago. At the time, I found its interface obtuse and gameplay in general a tad too slow for my liking. Regardless, I recently installed it and gave it a week. I’m glad to say that my opinion of the game has changed.

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Rainbow Six Vegas – not a mess, for once

Anyone who’s ever heard me rant about Ghost Recon will know that I hated how Ubisoft “actionfied” the Red Storm tactical shooters. Ghost Recon is still in the shoot-em-up stage – I don’t know about the X360 version, but the PC version of Advanced Warfighter was horrid (though GRAW2 came out just recently promising more focus on tactics).

Rainbow Six gave its (supposed) last hurrah back during Raven Shield – ever since that, I don’t think there’s been a decent Rainbow Six shooter. Until now, that is.

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Third-Person Wargaming – Silent Storm & Faces of War

Been hellishly busy for the last 2 weeks (projects and assignments, tests) so didn’t really have time to write anything.

Anyway, in the interim, I got two strategy games – Silent Storm (S^2… they probably didn’t want to call it ‘SS’) and Faces of War.

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S.T.A.L.K.E.R. – essentially Oblivion with guns

Recently got S.T.A.L.K.E.R. – Shadow of Chernobyl, and after playing through the first area or two, I think I have enough of an impression on the game to form an opinion.

Immediately, the game reminded me of Deus Ex – the near-future plot, the mystery, the fact that you start with a crappy pistol, etcetera. STALKER, of course, looks far better, but in essence, it plays the same. Moving on.

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