Copyright Adam Schlosser
Contact:
aschloss@gmail.com


Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser


Posted by Pip

MF32- Set Them On Fire

When all else fails, kick it. Then hit it with a rock. If those fail, you’re done for. Rhett at least handled the Universe splitting itself apart with some grace. Content just goes running to little kids! Where’s her dignity in being a mighty supernatural being. Shown up by a bunch of kids. That’s practically Scooby Doo villain territory of shame. Gluttony is going to have one head of a headache when she comes back…


Long, Angry Review that wouldn't be such a whiner if it developed superpowers: Infamous- You have no idea how much I was looking forward to this game. Even going through the game's introductory area I was psyched (seriously, the first three minutes of the game are ludicrously good) and had a feeling that this could be one of the greatest games EVER. They even give you a creative and valid reason why your character can't use a gun, use cars to get around the city, or swim away. Then I got into the gameplay and within a few hours went from this extreme joy to horrific frustration and just being pissed off after playing the game for a few minutes. All of the potential the game has is squandered by terrible execution. The backstory and idea behind the characters are all well done and intriguing but once you start playing, your character is an unnecessarily gruff wannabe tough guy (his voice reminds me of Will Arnett doing his cheesy tough guy voice. I can't watch the cinemas without thinking of 30 Rock), his friend quickly gets annoying, his girlfried serves no purpose other than to yell at you and blame you for all of the world's problems, and the story goes from a really interesting take on throwing super science into a realistic world to a crude version of season 3 of the Venture Brothers. The Raysphere is O.R.B. and the First Sons are the Guild. It almost feels like a ripoff. The gameplay doesn't fare any better. The camera is a mess that swings on its own accord and frequently gets stuck in objects, your character grabs out for objects that he's nowhere near, he gets stuck on objects, there are times that just can't jump over a railing or drop down from something because he keeps re-grabbing it (making himself a wonderful target for enemies and leading to many many deaths), trying to get him to turn around if an enemy dodges takes forever, using of your advanced powers saps your energy in a matter of seconds, your powers aren't even that good, he's incredibly slow (made much worse by the later missions which have you walking from one end of the world to an object and then walking all the back to the other end), and the enemies. If there's one thing that ruins this game beyond repair, it's the enemies. There are lots of them. LOTS of them. I attached a picture of the radar in the game at the bottom of the review. Take a look at it. All those red dots and triangles are enemies. That isn't even a special scene or an ambush or boss battle. That's just a regular mission. Literally three seconds after I dropped to the ground, no less than four rockets hit me at the same time and I died. You can't run away from them because they'll follow you from one end of the island all the way to the other. They have nigh-perfect aim and can shoot you no matter where you are or what you're doing. They can shoot through walls (the first time you're hit by an RPG that just phased through a wall and kills you is sure to generate more than a few curse words). Enemies can attack you before they even show up on the radar, they're just dots on my TV but they can still hit you with a regular gun. The developers are apparently under the impression that bullets never deviate from their initial path. In the world of Sucker Punch, every bullet that missing its target is still circulating the globe just waiting to peg Cole in the face. And it's not like Cole is strong or has any defense. The first powers I upgraded were the defensive ones, but even maxed out, a single enemy can waste you in a matter of seconds. You'll often die just walking to the next mission because you're swamped by random enemies. The game rarely has music so you spend the majority of the game just listening to gunfire, it practically never stops. If you do choose to engage them in combat, they're all cowards. They spend all their time hiding behind cover or running away from you, that you have to hunt them down one by one to get rid of them. And remember that these enemies are attacking you from far away or from a rooftop two blocks away. That means you have to fight with the controls to climb up the building, engage the enemy, hunt him down and get him out of his cover, zap him three or four times (headshots aren't one hit kills either. Hell, you can stick a grenade to an enemy and it will still get up and continue shooting).You can spends hours doing these tedious and horribly boring sidequests and upon completing them, the game tells you that you cleaned up that area and enemies won't return to it. Except that's not true. Enemies regularly appear in "clean" areas in and out of missions. Halfway through the game I just gave up and set the difficulty on easy hoping that it would reduce the endless tedium of the swarms of enemies but it didn't matter. Cole still dies in seconds, enemy mobs still flood the street, and it still takes too long to kill each one. I couldn't notice any difference between the Hard and Easy difficulties. The game is a nonstop stream of fighting the same repetitive enemies over and over. Every island has the same three or four grunts just with a different costume depending on what territory you're in and one or two unique "big guys". Even the boss battles are boring. The first one is beaten by a... wait for it, what's the most overused hack device that plagues bad games... a quicktime event. A quicktime event where the only button is X. You just keep mashing it over and over. The other two bosses (yep, there are only three bosses in the entire game) are just stronger versions of regular enemies and take no more skill or strategy than repeatedly spamming your basic attack. The more you get damaged, the more the color drains from the game, the darker the screen gets, and the more blurry and crowded your vision becomes. So in a game with hoards of enemies that are attack from everywhere and from out of your normal view, your health is displayed by obstructing the screen even more. You'll die many times simply because you got hurt a bit and then couldn't see something obstructing your view, an enemy, or find a path out of where you are. For every interesting and downright unique side quest, there are ones where you have hunt down a package based on a still picture, race to different points under a very strict time limit, crawl around a building destroying these tiny boxes, or do what a photographer tells you to. Why some random guy taking pictures of you doing basic moves clears out all the enemies from an area (supposedly), I don't know. You also have your standard godawful escort missions with stupid, stupid AI characters. On one mission, the guy ran away from me and the objective and went straight towards the enemies. I killed them all off but then he got stuck inside a car. He couldn't get around it or walk away so he just wedged himself in more and more. All I could do was blast away the car, but the game counted that as having the car fall on him so he died and I failed the mission. Even the trophies are stupid. You just have to grind specific moves or powers to unlock most them. Some of them are just random and if you don't finish them before beating a certain area, you're screwed. I have to knock three guys off of a roof at the same time to earn one trophy. Sounds easy enough, right? The problem is that there are almost no places in the game where three enemies appear on a roof together and when you do find some, they all scatter away from each other because they're cowards. I've knocked two off plenty of times, but I can't get the third. The worst trophy is the staple of all poorly designed game: the collectathon. Scattered through the game are 350 little shards and you have to collect ALL of them. They don't show up on your map, some don't show up on your radar, and some you can't collect at certain times. I was standing inside one and it was clipping through the character, but it wouldn't give me the shard. The game is rather buggy too. Textures will just disappear, your aim will suddenly be clouded with a mass of fog, your powers will randomly stop working even if you're at full strength (consistently too. I played one mission three times and the same problem occurred every time), you'll jump through things you can normally climb, you'll fall through the GROUND for seemingly no reason, you'll hit invisible walls in the air or middle of the road, you won't be able to climb up even the slightest of inclines, your powers will only fire up or veer away from where you're targeting, and cars and enemies will spawn out of thin air (although, seeing civilians spawn several stories up in the air and then plummet to the ground is kind of funny). I even had one point where I was supposed to get a mission from a cop, but he just started freaking out. He was targeting civilians like the other cops do to enemies. I healed the people he shot, but he’d just run after them again and shoot them more. He left me alone, but he was dead set on murdering every civilian he came across. I had to leave, complete, a few missions, and when I returned, he was functioning properly. Apparently fences are a part of Cole's rogues gallery. You can rarely climb or jump over them despite the nonstop climbing in other areas, you can't fire through them but enemies can, and you can't knock them down despite being about to throw bombs and flip cars without a problem. And let’s consider your powers and fences and metal objects. The first time I came across an enemy hiding behind a metal fence and one standing on a metal platform, I got all excited and was ready to unleash some science based mayhem. You shoot the metal with electricity, the sparks and lightning zap around it in an impressive fashion, AND! Nothing happens to the enemy. Electrifying metal to fry an enemy is one of the first uses of shooting lightning bolts from your hands than I thought of doing, but your powers don’t affect the world like that. You can fry a guy standing in water (which is keen, so kudos to them), but electricity and metal are a harmless combination in the Infamous world. Everything about this game makes it feel like it was rushed out. Possibly the sole gameplay decision I can praise is the game's way of keeping you in certain areas until you're ready to move on. Like GTA's storms that close bridges or cops that block exits until you're ready to move on, your enemies knock out the city's power in areas you aren't supposed to go to yet. Since all your powers are derived from electricity, you're kept on a nice path but it doesn't feel confining. The morality system winds up being completely useless. Storywise, there's literally no difference between the two decisions. Two examples. At one point, you're given the option of destroying an item or taking it. If you take it, it blows up and kills a specific person. If you destroy it... it backfires, blows up, and kills that same person. In another, you go right to save a person or go left to abandon it. If you abandon it, the person dies. If you save the person, it winds up being a dummy and the person was actually to the left so it dies. The whole system defies its own logic and goes out of its way to make your choices not matter. It's nothing more than a blurb to stick on the back of the box. Actually, that's what most of the game is. It's a bunch of bullet points and interesting ideas that were thrown together without any concern if they worked or that the game was actually fun.



Sins Committed: Bad acting, Bad dialogue, Bad controls, Bad camera, Artificial difficulty, Too many enemies, Everything Is Brown (last third of the game), Wasted potential
Virtues Acted: Interesting story, Good player management


Posted by Pip

Game Picture

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