Yes I’ve been a bit lacking on this. But it is not my fault. Peer pressure made me do it! honest! So my main deviance has been that due to a fantastic Steam sale I picked up Borderlands & DLC and in a roundabout manner I got STALKER too. Those didn’t really help in completing the original pile. Also I ended up going back to InFamous for an Evil run through. Which I may write a small about here. But I’m maybe gonna go a bit more in-depth in a post later on either here or PressXorDie.
So last time I wrote I was in the early stages of Mirrors Edge. I’ve since completed it after uttering the phrase ‘for fuck sake’ roughly 476 times. Now when Mirrors Edge is good it is Very Good, but when it is bad, it is oh so frustrating. It’s a 3:97 ratio between the good and bad unfortunately. The game when it is perfect is an amazing free flowing moving treat as faith leaps over fences, slides under ducts and springboards across rooftops. It gives a great sense of fluidity and speed that’s invigorating to have. And this is how the game was sold to me back in the says of it’s release. It had always given me this impression of being like Assassins Creed or Infamous, just with more manual control. In Infamous and AC you pretty much push the stick forward and the game will do the rest. It was beautiful to watch, robe and lightening flowing behind you as you jumped from poll to poll, rooftop to rooftop, leaping into a pile of hay as if it is something as natural as opening a door. I felt that Mirrors Edge would be this way, just without the other mechanic of electricity manipulation or killing people in the way, the controls purely dedicated to the act of moving from A to B as beautifully as possible, that it would be a visceral and awe inspiring experience.
Which it could of been if it wasn’t for the crappy contextual controls. Basically contextual controls are a work around on a keypad ‘only’ having 15 or so inputs and buttons. When you’re stood near a TV then X might turn it on. When stood near a toilet X might flush it. Near a car you might open it, and so on. In Mirrors Edge you have most actions mapped to the L1 and L2; L1 for upwards movements, L2 for downwards movement. L2 would drop you from a ledge, duck you under an obstacle or crouch into a vent. L1 on the other hand makes you; jump up, jump across a gap, wall run, wall scramble, climb up, vault over fences, etc. Which when you have a panel fence to wall run up it starts to make problems when the game decides you want to do the vault instead and you leap over the fence to the 200ft drop below. Which at least leads to the nice fall sound in Mirrors Edge. They don’t just black the game out with ‘fail’ they let you drop to the bottom and hear the crunch. However the satisfying crunch loses its charm after the game kills you several times in actions out of your control. It’s just plain annoying to know that you know where to go, but the game is choosing the wrong action to execute. Landing hard for mistiming a roll is my bad, and I get punished for it by losing my flow and getting hurt. That’s okay and I know ‘hey my bad, I’ll do better next time around’. This however isn’t your bad and it’s infuriating to have to repeat the same sequence in the hope the game will pull off the right action.
I think my most favourite part was when chasing down one of the other runners in I think Chapter 3. It’s all about the chase and the speed and keeping your actions fluid so that you can keep up. There’s no police to have to stop and beat up, and as it was a mostly rooftop experience there wasn’t too much variety for actions beyond simple jumping and sliding so the controls didn’t get in the way. I’ll still be keeping an eye out for a possible Mirrors Edge sequel and hope they tweak the control scheme to make the actions simpler to pull off. Just make it more of like the chase sequence, focus on travelling around the more unorthodox places. That’s when ME was at it’s best. I played on the Ps3 which I think has some free DLC for it, so I might have a looksy at those later on. They might sate my vision of what I thought ME would be like.
So after ME along came the Borderlands sale and the two week break into my completionist plan. Borderlands complete-to-date for only £12, not much to complain about there. So we picked it up and spent many nights playing it. I’m not so sure what I think of Borderlands. It was a game that appealed to my inner hoarder (I really need to get a picture of my Fallout 3 home) and it was nice to finally get in some co-op gameplay with my housemates. The art is nice, the game was good enough. But I felt as an RPG it was somewhat lacking. Mostly in story, it was just so weak, the characters so simple, and the ending was just oh-so lame. However it wasn’t too much of an issue as it was a framework to have some cocking about with friends, but I can’t think of how lame it would be to play on your own. I guess it would be enjoyable to a degree, but if you’re going in hoping for usual RPG fare then you’re going to be disappointed. It was a nice change from my last few FPS games though. Having a gun that shoots flames and in a colourful and light-hearted world was a nice change of pace. Unfortunately just as we cracked into the DLC the other two got back into WoW again, so we’ve only done Dr Ned and a bit of Roxxys. I’ve heard Knoxx is good, and I really want to push them to finish before the Claptrap DLC comes out. STALKER I got half a week later, though I’ve only played it for an hour or so. It quickly reminded me how much we rely on auto-save and checkpoints in modern games though. Demon Souls should of taught me that well.
I also had a bit of a dip in Splinter Cell Conviction as Tom uses LoveFilm and had got it out (but was playing WoW). Now I’ve never played another Splinter Cell game before (though I’ve been told I should now have a shot with some of the last gen stuff) so I wasn’t sure on what to expect. It wasn’t too fun, it kind of teaches you to hide in the shadows, but there’s so many places that are brightly lit with no choice to knock out any lights. Also for a game where I want to be creeping about there’s not much sound in it. Because we’re not in the game world we need the game to give us cues, like footsteps, so we know where the enemy is. But they instead overlay this with a thumping soundtrack and leave you only with people who are shouting at you. And they only tend to do this after they’ve been alerted to your presence, after you just walked right into the quiet room they were in. I did like the objectives that are written on the walls. I’d like to see that kind of AR type stuff built into more games in the future. But in the end I quit after the early mission escaping the base and moved on to InFamous.
Now this was actually all a week and a bit ago, and I’ve actually also completed Prototype (getting back into ‘completionist’ mode) and I’m about 90% through InFamous on Evil, but as I said back when I started writing this I’m going to hold them off for a separate post. I’ve been a bit off from games recently due to family events, dealing with other things, and my lethargy coming back. Also I got a new phone, which has been fun. I might do a mini review later on of a couple apps I’ve grabbed for it.