What We’re Playing – July 15th
The weekend is upon us and it’s time to play some videogames. Here are a few games we’ve been playing away from the office this week. What’s on your agenda? Share what you’re playing!
Good intentions only go so far. The feeling with Brink is that its developers created a checklist of all the best elements of first-person shooter games and threw them together without considering the consequences. After too many hours of pushing through the single-player after reading that I’d get as much as I put into Brink, I was ready to bring my leveled character online and see how this proposed blend of single and multi-player action worked in practice.
The short version is that I spent the next few hours continuing to play against bots, only my game was joinable now, and I’d occasionally be reminded of the game’s intentions when another human player entered the battle. Only, by the time they joined, I usually had the opposing team locked into a corner and the remainder were back-and-forth battles with no real definitive end in sight. This made things reasonably more disappointing, as during the week or so I’ve spent playing Brink, I’ve still yet to experience anything like a seamless blend of solo and online action.
Following Brink, I’m not sure I have an interest in this kind of hybrid gameplay anymore. It’s reminded me of the inherent value in having the two experiences separated. Nonetheless, I feel it generally works in games like Left 4 Dead, so it’s clearly possible. Part of the problem, as I find it, is that Brink‘s maps are arena-like, but without any sort of arena game type; none of it makes logical sense.
It’s a bit odd moving on from Brink, as there’s this persistent nagging feeling that I’ve still not experienced the one thing I set out to try. Sometimes these things can’t be helped.
Serious Sam: The First Encounter
I’ve lately been on a quest to complete a number of cult classics that I’d missed out on. Following the completion of Postal 2: Share the Pain, and it’s awful expansion Apocalypse Weekend, I felt ready to ride out further into FPS country.
To go from Postal 2 to Serious Sam is certainly a change, but my general irregular performance at the genre remains a constant. Nevertheless, I feel the need to press on, battling a flavorful assortment of vicious alien bastards, raiding the secrets of ancient Egypt, and just stayin’ alive. Overall, I’m starting to get why Sam “Serious” Stone is such a big deal. And on that note, I hope his universe is beyond the disastrous clutches of cinema’s impudent antichrist, Uwe Boll (R.I.P. Postal Dude).
I have to say, I’m pleasantly surprised with what I’ve played so far of F.E.A.R. 3. I haven’t had a chance yet to dip into the multiplayer options, spending my time with the singleplayer campaign. It’s light on scares, but I have really been enjoying the game’s combat. New developer Day 1 Studios has added a scoring system that rewards players with upgrades for playing the game well. The game tracks nearly everything you do, rewarding you for landing headshots, performing melee attacks and even collecting loot. Nearly every play style is accommodated and the rewards are practical – who doesn’t want an extra grenade or two? Where the game fails so far is that it doesn’t feel very cohesive. You have your horror sections and you have your white-knuckle combat scenes and the two are almost always served separately. I’m looking forward to finishing F.E.A.R. 3 and writing up a proper look at the game in the coming weeks; stay tuned.