Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Unskippable? Or What's Wrong With Dead Space 2

I recently played Dead Space 2.

I am not impressed. The first Dead Space was an excellent game, it had good pacing, good set pieces, interesting changes in interface, and a reasonable story.

Dead Space 2, much like EA's other sequel set in space, throws the baby out with the bathwater.
While Mass Effect went from Space Opera to Action (IN SPACE), Dead Space, went from Survival "Horror" to "Survival Horror".

But my problem has nothing to do with the change in genre. My problem? Is unskippable. Cutscenes and tutorial to be precise.

Now, I don't begrudge developers making you sit through the cutscenes the first time around. People put a lot of work into this, but I think there's a limit. For instance, when I start New Game+ (a mode which requires you to have completed the game) I do not expect to have to watch these things over again! Especially since they're just exposition. "Hey, Issac, this is what you're doing next!"

Another problem is that the game switches right from cutscenes into Quicktime Events or gameplay without much warning. Particularly on a smaller screen. There are elements elsewhere that make me want to say, "if you're going to have QTEs then you might as well use them."

Between Issac Clarke, Bastard Child of Gordon Freeman and Samus Aran, Monster-slaying godling, and Issac Clarke, whiny bitch with a silly looking face? I'll pick the former. There's a reason protagonists have had a policy of being silent. They tend to sound stupid when the speak.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Brink- Complaints

I'm not a huge fan of multiplayer, but I enjoyed playing Battlefront (the second, the first was a bit of a shambles when it came to a bunch of things), so I assumed brink would be a bit of a return to that for me. Sadly, not so much.

The biggest problem I have with brink is that the controls aren't... intuitive or explained, except through an in-game manual. A quick tutorial sequence *would not have been amiss*. This is one case where I would certainly advocate explaining how the game works, rather than when I manage to fumble my way to doing something, linking me to the appropriate page of the *in game* (and there's my problem) manual.
The game's a rental, so RTFM doesn't exactly apply here. If there had been a little booklet I probably would have read it, but I still think I'd be missing some skills, and rather than being thrown into the deep end having *the option* of a tutorial would have been nice.

The other problem I have stems from comparison of the game to another game. The game has a vault, duck, wall-run mechanic that makes it seem like it wants to be Mirror's Edge. The problem is of course that Mirror's edge was all about that and had an entire controller to nuance that mechanic throughout, while Brink maps the entire jump/vault set of skills to one button. So I can never quite be sure if I'm going to jump, slide along a wall or bounce up to another ledge. It seems as though the game has some sort of uncertain grasp as to whether or not the same technique will work the same way if you try it a second time.

Oh. And the character models are terribly uninteresting.