This week every game developer everywhere released a demo for every upcoming game ever. Or at least it seemed like it.
Having nothing better to do, I decided to review them ALL.
FEAR: Perseus Mandate
I've always enjoyed experiencing the same story from multiple angles, which is why I'm so looking forward to Project Offset.
Perseus Mandate is a story parallel to that of the original FEAR. You're some other bloke, doing something else while some other guy runs around some laboratory killing demons and what not. Yeah, I can't really remember the story of FEAR, but I'm sure it was interesting to somebody. So whatever the FEAR story was, you're some other guy doing something else while that guy does his thing. I suppose the end will be the city exploding like it did at the end of FEAR. Erm, SPOILERS, I guess. Whatever.
The FEAR engine is really starting to show it's age. Pretty much everybody has multicore processors and this game takes absolutely no advantage of that fact what so ever. The main give away is that I can get something ridiculous like over 9000 fps while running down a hallway, but the second something big happens like getting in to a firefight it drops to mid to low 20s. Great optimisation there fellas.
I have to feel for the people that see the high fps at the start, then increase all their options, then get in to a firefight and watch their computer almost die and think they've broken their PC.
The story itself was pretty FEARish. If you enjoyed FEAR then give the demo a whack, but if the story/gameplay bored you then give this a miss, it's much of the same.
I'm going to give this one a miss myself, while I enjoyed FEAR, I can't really bring myself to sit through the wavy frame rate and what I remember of the story was mediocre. Sitting through the same boring story again would only add to the suffering.
Ever since seeing the live-action ad for this game I've been pumped. Not many games have live-action ads, and theirs was BAD ARSE.
Having seen nothing of the gameplay I had no idea what the game would be like, just that their ad was wicked-awesome.
With all the effects and post filters applied to pretty much everything you could tell that they were really going for that "Next-Gen" (sigh) look. This meant the game was probably made for the 360, or the PS3 or something. Essentially being a console port I expected nothing more than this to lag horribly and have thrilling gameplay like Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo. My expectations were quickly assassinated, a single bullet to the head, then rewound and shot again in slow motion.
The game ran amazingly, and was actually quite fun. The time-shifting controls are bit confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it it can make firefights so much cooler.
I really enjoyed freezing time, running up to a guy, taking their gun and shooting their team-mates with his gun, and then un-freezing time and watching them all die at the same time.
The only thing bad about this demo was that it kept bitching to me about my drivers being out of date, even though I'm running the latest beta's that came out the day before.
I'll definitely be checking out the retail release of this game.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Yet another clear "Next-Gen" game, and yet again, my expectations were blown away.
There was a bit of jerkiness at the start, but I assume that had something to do with the wicked transition from cinematic to in-game, because after that it ran like water down the back of a bathing gazelle in a hot African oasis on a bright sunny day.
It is definitely a Call of Duty game, no doubt about it. If you're a fan of the series you'll immediately see similarities to it's predecessors.
The effects and graphic quality was great. The gameplay and gun fighting was class all the way. The UI was easy to read and understand, and your objectives were easily understood and executed. The anti-tank gun was a bit strange though.
The grenade warning icon thingy is a bit vague at times. Sometimes it makes it seem like the grenade is a lot further away than it actually is, resulting in you dying in a horribly painful way.
The nightvision section was awesome. I loved how all your team-mates had laser sights, it really worked well when your creeping through the building in the dark with your NV on and you see your team-mate's beams shine through the windows.
Probably my favourite part about all CoD games (except for the first) is that you don't have health. Instead you have what I guess could be called a pain threshold. If you get hurt too much in a short period of time you die. But if you get close to the threshold but don't cross it, you can quickly recover by taking cover, or you know, not getting shot.
I was never a fan of CoDs multiplayer, but they've always made amazing single-player games, and I'll definitely be checking this one's out.
Unreal Tournament 3
I must say, I think this is the first time I've ever played a beta demo.
The demo, sorry, beta demo, comes with three action packed maps. The two deathmatch maps are interesting. The first one is very much like an old UT99 map that I loved to death. The second one, Shangri la, however, is very reminiscent of the hellish fiery level from UT2003, mainly because it lags to death much like the one from UT03 did when it first came out.
Both deathmatch maps almost killed my PC. The first map, whose name I cannot remember, as it probably wasn't very memorable, started running OK once the game started going, but as I said before, the second map gave my PC a stroke.
Deathmatch was fun, and very much the same as the deathmatch in the previous UT titles. The guns and environments certainly looked prettier. I think though, especially for games like this, that they're getting too detailed. Tracking detailed people through detailed environments gets really hard, they blend in to the background so well. The team-based games that I would play later would relieve me, because team players glow their colour.
Strangely enough, other UT3 engine games run supah-fine on my tall, dark and handsome PC, so I assume it might have something to do with it being a beta demo. Or maybe Epic (Megagames) are trying to buy in to all the beta hype that web 2.0 has been getting. Actually come to think about it, web 2.0 and "next-gen" games are a lot alike in their bullshit. They both have shiny surfaces and LARGE things that don't really help at all. Not to mention everyone wants to be it for some reason. So I suppose a clash of the two was inevitable.
Anywho, the Vehicle CTF mode is where I fell in love with this game. This mode's unmemorable map actually ran a decent frame rate, which I was simply amazed at considering that instead of a smaller area with bots running around shooting each other, I now had a much larger map with bots in vehicles shooting at each other. Where it's pulling these extra frames from is beyond me but kudos to the dev team. I didn't enjoy VCTF for the frame rate alone, another deciding factor was the hoverboards that replace your translocator. Mother-loving HOVERBOARDS. If someone's driving a vehicle ahead of you you can grapple on to their vehicle and get pulled along while floating on your board. This alone entertained me for at least 10 minutes.
I started doing the objective and found out that you can cap the flag on your hoverboard. Flying around on your hoverboard with a flag on your back looks downright awesome. I felt pimp. Until one of the noob bots started camping his flag with a tank. Every time I ran in to the flag room I'd get blown to smithereens. Remembering it was a vehicle capture the flag, I promptly hopped in a fly-y vehicle of doom and a rained death and destruction down on his poor little head from above. Capping the flag that time was much easier.
This game will not only get my money but my official Baines Seal of Approval, reserved for only the best of the best of the best of the Men in Black.