Monday, November 22, 2010

Review: Mafia II

     Sometimes you play a game because you hear how great it's gonna be, sometimes you take a chance on a series that isn't great, and sometimes it turns out to be a great game. Mafia II is not one of these, the first in the series was not necessarily well received. Mafia II was supposed to rival Grand Theft Auto and create an atmosphere that would rival any game.

     The opining hour or so of the game sets up the story very well, driving into Empire City (New York) in the middle of winter with snow pelting down and some dramatic music in the background was very atmospheric and added a lot to the game, but as the story goes on it begins to lose its atmosphere and personality. It becomes a generic sandbox game with a mafia theme, oh wait did I say sandbox, I lied, ill get to that in a minute. It was very difficult to connect with Vito given that there is never a romantic interest, there is rarely any mention of his family, and the only person he is constantly in contact with is his dumb friend Joe. Oh yea, and not to mention every three chapters there is a catastrophe and you have to start over with no money, because we all know we want to play a mafia game where we have no cumulative money. 

     I mentioned sandbox, and in any review of Mafia II that word should only appear after the phrase "this game is not a" or in all caps after the word "SHITTY", because we all know when we are outraged we use caps and lose the ability to make full sentences and we resort to profanity and sentence fragments. The game does have a free roam element but is there anything to do, NO! there isn't. The side missions are non-existent robbing and selling cars to two different people are it.

      The twist at the end involves your best friend Joe holding a gun to your head as you run in to kill the Boss. This is not an original but it was fine with me until Vito said, "Trust me on this," and Joe simply replies, "let's shoot this cock-sucker on the count of three." When Vito asks Joe why he did it he says the Boss made him an offer. Would a mobster really turn on a mob boss just because his best friend, who just shot up an entire observatory to kill YOUR boss, says trust me, COME ON no way.

     One more thing real quick, the checkpoints were few and far between making a 15 minute shootout that is already frustratingly cheap, frustratingly long, because every death starts you over.

     Overall this game makes me want to find everyone who was involved in making this game and make them all a set of cement shoes.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Review: Fable III

     So... Fable III, what all can I say about this game. There are many things that come to mind, frustratingly glitchy, underwhelming, lack of choice and short. Those were the negatives, obviously, but some positives: game play mechanics, visuals, and improved co-op.
     Let's start with the bad news, GLITCHES! I encountered several of these and I had the privilege of seeing all of girlfriends glitches.
-Glitch 1: Entering the tailor in Bowerstone Market and every item of clothing, when selected, says stealing is a crime. Yes thank you Peter Molyneux stealing IS a crime, but i do not want to steal i want to buy.
-Glitch 2: Becoming a forced pacifist, at one point I was not able unsheathe any weapon. I could run into balverines, bandits, and even wolves and they got the pleasure of Mr. TTB's tender backside.
-Glitch 3: I know I am awesome, but floating. My character animations for walking apparently disappeared and I only slid across the ground no moved from below the waist. I must have equipped my special Fable III Wheelies.
-Glitch 4: While playing with girlfriend her husband left her, no doubt because of the fine exhibit of a digital man that I am, putting their child in the orphanage. Well once she arrived there to adopt her own child, she could not even interact with her let alone adopt her, poor thing.

     Underwhelming, just like all of Molyneux games it did not live up to all of the promises that were made. This is no surprise. So I'll just move on.

     Lack of choice was a big complaint that I personally had. I could murder everyone in the village and still win their hearts by completing their quests. Not to mention that the physical effects of your murder or sainthood were pretty much non existent. The only real decisions one has was to keep or break your promises and several decisions as a king or queen mostly involving money. For a game centered around choice it sure was lacking in that department.

     The game was short and the ending was a blah, very similar to Fable II. When I say short I mean 10-15 hours most gamers will say wow that's a long game. For an rpg/action game that has a name like Peter Molyneux attached to it, that's not enough. That is actual game time not  the time I had to leave my system on to make money since I decided to be a good guy, I'm enough of a douche in real life, and millions of dollars are hard to come by.

     The game play mechanics were tight and well put together, switching between magic, ranged and melee was surprisingly fluid and felt great. Fighting large groups of enemies is fun in this game and not at all tedious like in Fable II. The new simplified magic system and the magic weaving system worked surprisingly well and Molyneux did actually deliver on that front.

     The darker and more realistic graphics were a nice change from previous entries in the series. Each area looked real and felt like it had its own personality.

     Co-op was improved in Fable III but it still has a long way to go, maybe Lionhead should talk to Blizzard and get some tips.

     Overall I enjoyed the game, but I will probably never play through it again unless there is some awesome DLC that would merit another round.