Angry Robot

It's been a while since I posted about games

44 days, to be exact, when I was still evaluating the PS3. Since then it basically went Demon’s Souls – Uncharted 2 – Dragon Age – Little Big Planet (PSP). I didn’t finish Demon’s Souls, but hope to someday. I totally loved it, and would consider it one of the better games of the year. Many have said that of Uncharted 2, and I can see why, as it has great writing, excellent pacing, and plenty of gameplay variety. However, it seems a little old-fashioned. Perhaps it’s me personally rather than the industry as a whole, but I feel like we’ve moved on from linear story-based games that are trying to be like movies. The game does not allow you to make any choices other than which order to shoot the bad guys. I realize this was the case with Halo as well, and many other A-list games. But my tastes have gradually shifted.

Oh yeah, Halo ODST. Almost forgot about that one, as it was a bit of a flash in the pan. It’s interesting to note that said linear storytellers Bungie actually shifted to a non-linear, architectural model for the sections of ODST. It was certainly well-made, but short, and not really worth a full game price. Had a few epic sessions of firefight though – one game lasted two hours. Damn.

Not that it’s much different from what Bioware has been doing for years, but Dragon Age is more where I see the future of games, where every aspect of the game (gameplay, story, etc.) changes based on the player’s choices. It’s a party-based action RPG with excellent writing, mission design, and an extremely detailed world to explore. Sure, it’s elves and wizards which is a little played out, but despite that the material is strong. I’m nowhere near finished it, but still plugging away.

I rarely buy full-price PSP games, but I made an exception for Little Big Planet for some reason. I’ve never played more than the demo of the big boy PS3 version, so I don’t know how the portable game compares, but I’ve really enjoyed my few hours with this one. It’s generally a pleasant, relaxing experience playing through the story missions – I’m not a huge platformer fan but this is good stuff. I’ve played very few player-made levels, and haven’t tried to create them yet myself, but I aim to, and that’s all that counts, innit?

All the while I can never resist buying and barely playing iPhone games. The iPhone is an amazing games platform, blah blah. Great, your game uses all your batteries and then your phone is dead. A phone call interrupts your game and when you go back, it didn’t save. Or the game takes five minutes to load. Or the touch controls suck, again. Or it’s a dumbed-down version of what would be decent on another platform. I’ve definitely played some great iPhone games, but most of them I never spend more than half an hour with.

Not sure why I keep buying them.

The latest is Rogue Planet, gameloft’s attempt to rip off Advance Wars. Gameloft is like the iPhone’s Asylum studios, churning out cheap knockoffs of well-known franchises. Some of them are good in a workmanlike, the-gameplay-is-engaging sort of way, but they all feel soulless, with no originality or inspiration to be found.

It’s december – there are a million games out, and no time to play them. I’m hoping to try out the new Zelda, Assassin’s Creed 2, Borderlands and even Modern Warfare 2, but I probably can’t do everything I want to between now and the release of Mass Effect 2 and whatever the latest Final Fantasy is. But whatever – when it comes to video games, too much of a good thing is still a good thing.