Friday, February 16, 2007

Games I Haven't Played

There comes a time in every man's life when he must take a good hard look at the things listed in the 'Now Playing' sidebar on his blog and admit to himself that he's just not going to finish most of those games. Lets go through them one by one and discuss why they're being dismissed to the 'waste of money' pile.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

I really enjoyed Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones and having heard that The Sands of Time was the best entry in the series I assumed I would enjoy it too. Sadly it is not the case. The gameplay mechanics are not as polished as they were in the more recent game, and the focus is more on fighting than on the cool acrobatic tricks and nifty leaping around that made The Two Thrones so much fun. I reached the first boss monster, got frustrated and never went back to it.

Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth

I heard a few good things about this one on the gaming blogs and it was cheap so I picked it up. There is quite a bit to recommend it: the gameplay is smooth and reasonably bug free, and the designers have done a superb job of evoking both the visceral and the existential dread of Lovecraft's writing. Sadly one cannot say the same for the game's writers, who have pretty much made the overall story a Disney ride through a bullet pointed list of Cthulhu mythos scenarios. Considering that they start out breaking the cardinal rule of these stories (“Don't show the audience the whistling octopus until the end”) it's remarkable that the designers managed to make the individual setpieces work so well. The sewers level (cardinal rule of game design: “Always have a level set in the sewers”) is one of the scariest gaming experiences I've had since Thief 3's orphanage. You know, maybe this one deserves a second chance...

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds

This one on the other hand is just a stinker. You control a selection of characters from the TV show in what is basically a graphically updated version of Double Dragon (and not a very good one at that). The fact that it says 'Buffy' in the title got me most of the way through, but the sad facts are that the game doesn't actually do much with it's license (for some inexplicable reason most of the action takes place in an alternate reality, rather than the actual locations of the TV show), the story sucks and the gameplay is simply dead boring. I reached the last level but just got so bored that I can't be fucked finishing it.

Xenosaga Episode II

When I was a kid I used to love games with elaborate, overwrought storylines and big cinematic cutscenes. If I was still a kid I would probably love this game, as it's story is dramatic and epic, even by Japanese RPG standards, and it's probably about 90% cutscenes. Maybe it would have helped if I'd played the first game, but I never really got a handle on the combat system, so I stopped playing about halfway through.

Heroes of Might and Magic III

This on the other hand is a fantastic game. I probably sunk a good forty or fifty hours into it last year, finishing the main game and making solid progress through the expansions, but it got very hard, and after taking a two month break from it (after moving to Australia and not having a computer) I found that I'd lost my edge and couldn't get any further than where I'd saved my game before moving.


The only reason I stopped playing this one was because I lost the disc. I found it again (actually I found another copy, I thought it had been stolen in the great CD heist of aught-two, but it turns out it was packed away in a box at my Mum's house) over Christmas, so when I have time I intend to get back into it.

Final Fantasy X

You haven't defeated me yet Final Fantasy X, I will get back to you one day! Just you wait!

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