Posts tagged ‘gore’

October 1, 2011

F.E.A.R 3 Overview

As local co-op goes, I had done as much as I could with Borderlands and Resistance 3.  So when my buddy came over the other day, we headed down to Gamestop to buy something on impulse and see what happened.  The recommendation we were given?  Fear 3.  Or should I write it F3ar?  We’ll go with Fear 3.

It just doesn't look as cool when I write it

I admittedly haven’t played the first two Fear games.  I never really had the interest.  I’m usually not one to jump into the horror genre.  So the story was new to me, and I found myself profusely uninterested to find out what was going on.  There are so many games coming out with amazing stories, and so many games I already own with great stories, that I more or less just wanted something fun and gory to play on the couch with my friends.  So I’ll mainly be discussing the gameplay mechanics here.

Right off the bat, this game is seriously messed up

I’ll get the negatives out of the way first, and there’s really only two major complaints.  The first is your brother in the game, a sort of a narrator/voice-over helper.  His voice is just, well, too over the top.  Its so gravely it makes Christian Bale’s Batman sound feminine.  They tried too hard to make him sound scary, and he just sounds stupid.  Secondly, sometimes it’s difficult to tell where you are supposed to go next, so I found major gaps in the action while I was just wandering around, trying to figure out where to go (though in fairness, that may be my fault and not the game’s).

But enough of the nitpicking, lets move on to the positives.  This game has simply revolutionized the art of FPS AI.  The enemies in this game are just fantastically smart.  They call out correctly where you are hiding, they call out which gun you are using, they change cover repeatedly, upping the difficulty and the realism all at once.  Its great to see a game design opponents that are more than simple, Call of Duty-esque enemies.  Here, they don’t just pop up from behind the same cover and shoot at you, they actually move into better positions and work together in a manner many games would love to be able to achieve.  And not only that, but the cover they are hiding behind is often destructible.  The game doesn’t possess the level of destructible environments that the Battlefield series has attained, but by having it, to an extent, really adds to the gameplay.  Furthermore, the weapons are designed in a great manner and are fun to use, and there’s plenty of them.  The unique, over-barrel magazine shotgun in particular was my favorite.

Yeah, WTF is right

Since this is supposed to be a horror gore game, I might add that not only are the environments destructable, but the enemies as well.  Their limbs will fly off, and if they survive, they will continue to hobble towards you.  Zombies in the game will lose arms, cover their wounds, and continue on.  People will rush you with bombs strapped to their chests and dive suicidally at you when they are close enough.  And the soldiers will shout orders and discuss finding you, which adds to the immersive effects.  I honestly didn’t have high hopes about the game, but I was blown away by the realistic way the battles are conducted.

Is the game scary?  I don’t think so.  Its more creepy than anything.  Its got some pretty dark and twisted moments and you can tell the developers tried their damnedest to earn that M rating.  I think the scary little girl with black dirty hair cliche is too overused in media today though (too much of a throwback to The Ring).  Its not really a horror game as much as it is a well done first person shooter with some pretty bizarre and dark moments thrown in for good measure.  But the biggest compliment I have to give this game is the bullet time feature.  Its certainly a nod to the Max Payne series (which was also a pretty twisted FPS), but any time I get to shoot a room full of guys in slow-mo, I leave satisfied.  It certainly helps you get through the more difficult areas in the game (which I recommend only playing on the hardest difficulty).  Plus sometimes when you down enemies, they continue crawling towards you.  They must get paid a ton for that level of determination.

My only regret... is that I didn't get to see... the Sunsphere

Fear 3 is a good game for the place I’m at right now.  Its not addicting enough to interfere with my real life, but its fun enough to tide me over until some of the bigger titles come out, like Rage, BF3, MW3, and Skyrim.  Wow, there are tons of great games on the way.  I’d recommend Fear 3 for when you, like myself, find yourself in a gaming slump and want some gratuitous violence and pretty damn good graphics.  And hell, maybe there are folks out there, dedicated Fear franchise fans, who could add more concerning the story.  But for me, Fear 3 was more of a venture into a genre I don’t normally visit.  I was certainly not disappointed, but when its all said and done, I’m still more excited about some of the games on the horizon than I ever was about Fear 3.

September 21, 2011

Dead Island Review

I was at the beach with my cousin and his family about seven years ago.  We had just finished playing poker, and got off on a hypothetical run awry.  The topic was what we would do if a hurricane wiped out all connections to the island we were on, and everyone there was forced into a survival type situation.  It was one of the most entertaining hypotheticals we’d ever engaged in, and Dead Island, to an extent, helps one to visualize just such a scenario.  A number of things stand out about this game (which I admittedly have not finished yet).  First, there is a pretty damn good rap song at the beginning of the song.  Its great to hear a game with original musical content.  You stumble into a club while the song plays, drinking from a bottle of Jack while shoving dancers away from you.  A zombie attacks during the blur, then you wake up in an abandoned hotel.  That is all the introduction you get to the outbreak.  You have to walk through the darkened halls of the hotel while a siren blares.  It sets a wonderful atmosphere of tension and fear.  You can loot the many suitcases littering the halls, and this was my first indication as to what type of gameplay this will be.  It turns out my assumptions are correct, and this game is extremely fetch-quest based.  It also grabs another zombie-game stereotype, that of being insanely difficult.

As opposed to a game like Dead Rising, these zombies pose really difficult individual battles and when your up against a group it can be suffocating.  Many games put the difficulty in the overwhelming number of zombies you have to fight, but here things are spaced out a bit more, but with more strength per zombie.  Then there are more diverse zombies like thugs, which are taller and of course more maddening to kill.  Its easy to compare this game with other zombie games, and there is no lack of zombie games on the market.  Other than Nazi Zombies, which I don’t consider cannon in the zombie genre, I’m most familiar with Dead Rising, and so will use it as a comparison.  An improvement over Dead Rising is that when you die the game doesn’t take you back to the last save, but instead borrows a Borderlands style where when you die, you lose some money but not some progress.

So far the story is fairly typical.  There are safe houses scattered around the map, and you basically run errands for them, like getting food and medicine, in exchange for money and XP.  Of course there are more involved missions that help progress the story along, and in turn open up more of the map, but I won’t spoil any of the story here.  You also get trophy progress directly in your HUD which is nice when trying to figure out how many more miles or kills you lack for the next trohpy.

I just keep yelling "Get up out my face" like it will help

The game isn’t anything groundbreaking or new.  Hell, its pretty much the antithesis of originality.  The zombie genre has been done to death in recent years, but that doesn’t prevent Dead Island from having compelling gameplay.  It certainly does try its hardest to be immersive, including a sprint system with heavy breathing which can be rather realistic when running from zombies in the rain, dodging in and out of wrecked vehicles and rotting corpses.  Being attacked while swinging a cleaver wildly in a small bunker can be a frantic and claustrophobic experience, and certainly gives one that sense of actually being trapped on an island during a zombie uprising.  Moreover, this game has what I’ve always asked for in any first-person based game.  When you look down, you can see your feet!

The graphics are pretty great and the water looks incredible.  The blood, especially when strewn about in liberal amounts, gives off a terrifying vibe.  The gore and the horror are so well done in this game that its easy to overlook some of the other, less refined aspects, such as weapon degradation that, in my opinion, occurs too rapidly, and the extreme difficulty curve.  (On another note, its now reported that in Skyrim, weapons will not degrade, which is amazing in this writer’s opinion.)  But lets compare this game to my previous favorite zombie game, Dead Rising.  Take a look at Dead Rising’s gore from some image I found online:

And compare it to this picture of Dead Island I just took on my phone:

This game has taken the zombie genre, which can sometimes wander into the comical, and transformed it into a terrifying bloodbath.  And judging it by that standard, which is the only standard any zombie consumer can use reliably, this game has greatly succeeded.  I really do enjoy playing it, but for some reason its lending itself to more of a game where I play in spurts, not in binges.  Maybe I’ve played too many games like this recently, where you fetch someone’s lost bracelet for XP and grind it out for better weapons.  Maybe I’m just oversaturated with zombies.  But one thing’s for certain, its a hell of a lot of fun, and that’s all I’m really asking for in the end.