What We’re Playing – September 9th
Another Friday, another “What We’re Playing.” Just the way it goes. Looking for something good to play? Check out what some of the Thunderbolt staff is plugging away on. Trust us, we’ve got good taste.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Beyond the pus-like jaundiced glow of its world, decent sense for dialogue, choice, character building, and all the things that ultimately define it, my favorite thing about Dues Ex: Human Revolution is the hacking system. It’s funny, because hacking mini-games have always been one of my biggest pet peeves, either trivialized into QTEs or rounds of Pipe Dream-like puzzle action. In most instances, they’ve never felt fully realized or in-tune with the world around them. Human Revolution’s hacking portions do, and as they account for a large enough part of the gameplay – as well as upgrade paths – they make a significant difference. Effective not only in the visualization of the hacking process, but also the way it’s implemented, I’ve found myself actively looking for things to hack, sometimes spending upwards of 10-20 minutes in a room unlocking every computer. And this is coming from someone who stopped playing Bioshock out of annoyance with its hacking equivalent. But I’m so much more interested in something that’s interconnected with the story and does not feel like a puzzle for the sake of being a puzzle. Along with numerous other things, Human Revolution gets that much right.
Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition
After an unfortunate mixup with Amazon, and a UPS driver who stopped by at the last minute, I finally got my hands on a game that’s been sitting on my to-play list for oh so long. Going from the Mojave to the Capitol Wasteland is quite the leap, like trying differently topped pizzas: it’s still pizza, just a different style. Fallout 3 seems to be less merciful when it comes to decision making. In trying to employ Charon, I agreed to kill an innocent, under the assumption that I could always change this after saving up the caps. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case … poor Greta. Thus far, I’ve completed Operation Anchorage, became a member of The Regulators, and most memorable of all, I freed a group of slaves from tyranny by staging a blood bath at the Lincoln Memorial. Clad in an ant motif armor, learned of vampiric ways, packing Honest Abe’s ancient repeater and a trusty canine sidekick who’s got my six, those evil doing circle-jerkers never stood a chance. Just call me Kamen Rider Gettysburg – I keep ’em Nuka-Colas poppin’.
Want more on Fallout? Click here to check out our coverage on this excellent, award-winning series.
In anticipation (or perhaps trepidation) of the impending release of Resistance 3, I thought it wise to reacquaint myself with the story and controls of the franchise by playing its younger brother, Resistance 2. I plodded though the campaign mode almost on autopilot, half remembering sequences and tactics from my first time through almost three years ago. My eyes glazed over and my attention waned. Resistance 2 was not an unimpressive game, just uninspired (despite what associate ed. Sean Kelley thinks). Its major talking points are now flat and insipid – forced, almost. Whilst utterly solid as a whole, I can’t help but wonder what game would have been produced by the team at Insomniac had they not leaned so heavily upon their influences. Ratchet & Clank, also developed by the studio, was a title so rich in charm and character that the minor flaws could be overlooked in appreciation of the game as a whole. Obviously character and charm were not high on the agenda for the Resistance franchise, but that shouldn’t mean an integral element of the studio’s success should be chucked out the window the second they want to produce a ‘mature’ title. Audiences grow and expand, but the need for warmth and charisma will remain an ever present element in gaming. Hopefully Insomniac will rekindle some of that lost magic with Resistance 3.