Whew, it’s been a while since I wrote anything. I’ve been side-tracked by trivial and less interesting things as of late, but I fully intend to put an end to that. I will continue writing on this blog and you can look forward to numerous reviews (of both games and movies!) in 2011. Sadly it looks like 2010 is coming to a close, so today I’m going to talk a bit about a couple games that I never got around to reviewing this year.
Fallout: New Vegas (PS3)
If you’ve read my old review of Fallout 3 (found here), you may be expecting me to lavish New Vegas with praises regarding atmosphere, world size and the like. Sadly, this time around I just can’t do that. Honestly, I’m not really sure what changed between Fallout 3 and New Vegas but the game just absolutely failed to click for me. It’s weird because New Vegas is nearly better in every way: the game world is less cut-and-paste, the music is outstanding, the voice acting is light years better, the story is much less guided and surprisingly open and the arbitrary morality system that I disliked has been all but removed. These are all great boons to the game, and if you’re looking for a game that’s easy to lose tons of hours in this is it.
You can start to see why I find it weird that I simply didn’t like New Vegas very much. It’s a great game and I acknowledge that it’s a great game, but it never really pulled me in. I often found myself trying real hard to keep playing it despite having no desire to, and that’s never a good sign. Maybe, despite all the mechanical improvements, it was too similar to Fallout 3. I put a lot of time into Fallout 3 and I’m beginning to think that New Vegas just made me feel like I was doing the same things over again.
This shortcoming had the game feeling more like a mod or expansion to Fallout 3 and I couldn’t make a connection to it. I think the Fallout series needs to take a break, get a new engine developed for it, and come back fresh with a truly new-feeling entry.
Call of Duty: Black Ops (PC)
I missed out entirely on Modern Warfare 2 simply because I wasn’t sick of Call of Duty 4 yet when it came out. Black Ops was set to be a great new first person shooter to dig into for me because of this. Unfortunately I made the mistake of purchasing it for the PC. Despite being touted as a game PC gamers could appreciate, the game ended up being a very poor port of the console version.
I suppose I can understand how this happens. If you look at the sales figures, Black Ops sold millions on the Xbox on launch day and the PC numbers didn’t even come close. This is a big problem for PC gaming these days and I don’t see developers/publishers doing much about it. It’s mostly a shame because I can tell the game is, in fact, good. The problem is that you only get brief glimpses of that good game in between the incessant crashes and poor optimization. It’s difficult to say much else about Black Ops, it’s Call of Duty through and through. The campaign is intense and rather interesting from a story standpoint, especially if you like the Vietnam and Cold War settings. This was definitely pleasing as first person shooters need to explore more conflicts and settings if they’re to keep from getting too redundant.
The multiplayer is as good as ever, featuring more customization than the previous entries in the franchise. The game does suffer from certain guns being worlds better than others (thus causing all the players to just choose the same gun), but this problem has been present since Counter-Strike and is pretty derivative of the online fps genre. Long story short the multiplayer is fun and robust and it features some new modes that nearly remind me of old Goldeneye modes like The Man with the Golden Gun. Just make sure you buy it on console.
Obviously these are very quick thoughts rather than full reviews, but hopefully you found them informative should you be considering these games. Christmas is coming up and all, so if you’re going to ask for games it’s always good to be informed first! In case you’re looking for thoughts on other games released this past year, here’s some quick links to what I’ve written for 2010:
Review: Halo Reach (360)
Review: Mafia II (PS3)
Thoughts: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (PS3)
Thoughts: StarCraft II Wings of Liberty (PC)
Review: Deadly Premonition (360)
Review: Alan Wake (360)
Thoughts: ModNation Racers (PS3)
That about finishes up 2010! There are a few more games that I’d like to review from this year that I fully intend to write up at some point, including Gran Turismo 5, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, God of War III and WoW: Cataclysm. I’ll be sure and find the time to take a look at them and get something written in the coming months. Lastly, keep watching the blog because sometime in the next week or two I’ll be writing up a look at what my favorite games of 2010 were and why. See you then!