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I just finished my first runthrough of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. As a huge fan of the first game (and really, Invisible War wasn't that bad) this latest installment is about as faithful to the franchise as anyone has a right to expect. Is it perfect? No, but then again, what is?
I'll be doing a longer writeup in the very near future, but my list of gripes against the game is short. The biggest one, of course, is the issue of the boss fights. I don't object to having bosses in the game at all and I don't even necessarily object to having some of them be mandatory fights (as opposed to sneaking by, talking them out of it, etc.) but I just didn't feel as though they were very well done. The first boss fight in particular is a pretty shoddy affair. Overall, I feel these areas are the biggest stumbling points in the adventure.
(PRO TIP: if you activate the Typhoon aug and level it up all the way, it destroys any boss in two hits. It's massively overpowered, but it takes a lot of the pain out of what can otherwise be a series of frustrating encounters for stealth players. For my money, the three Praxis points needed here were totally worth it.)
Otherwise, nothing too surprising… the way the experience system is heavily slanted towards stealth could have used a few tweaks, hacking pops up too often, and some of the areas and sidequests were pretty dull. Also, I was little disappointed that there weren't more "random" things happening. For example, at one point I entered a clinic and just about fell out of my chair when a character called out to me. I had gotten so used to the environments being essentially inert that it was a shock when something happened that I didn't expect, or that didn't require me to initiate it.
All that stuff aside, I don't want to leave the impression that I didn't like the game, because I really did. It's basically Deus Ex remastered for the current age, and the time it took to run main character Adam Jensen from start to finish was certainly time well spent. In fact, I was enjoying the game so much that I earned the Pacifist and Foxiest of the Hounds achievements (complete the game without killing anyone or setting off any alarms, respectively) and was quite happy to put out the effort.
Recently, word has surfaced of a DLC add-on called The Missing Link, which apparently takes players through the "time unaccounted for" at one point later on in the main campaign. To be perfectly honest, I never felt as though there was anything missing in the first place, and I think it's a little silly to try and horn something in there. On the other hand, if it turns out that this DLC is relevant to the main game, it makes the developers look as though they purposely removed something with the intent of collecting an extra fee later on. I'm certainly all in favor of Deus Ex DLC, but it seems to me as though it would have been a very simple thing to have this extra mission be an unrelated side-story and just eliminate any potential problem before it occurs.
Reviews are starting to hit for Dead Island.
Despite being one of the most talked-about titles of the year, gameplay has been a giant question mark up until very, very recently. Now that people have had hands-on and spend some time with it, apparently the game is an open-world adventure/survival title similar to something along the lines of Fallout 3. To me, that sounds completely awesome, and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of it.
Of course, developer Techland is hardly known for their technical prowess and I've heard a wide variety of complaints (there's a day-one patch correcting thirty or forty issues) but I can't say that it wasn't expected… regardless, I have no problem overlooking a few rough edges as long as the core concepts and gameplay hold up, and according to several people whose opinions I respect, it does. There are definitely a ton of games with zombies in them these days, but I still have yet to play one that captures the feeling of fortifying a location, helping survivors, and struggling to stay alive when massively outnumbered by the walking dead.
From what I can tell, Dead Island seems to come closest to what I think of as the "classic" zombie formula seen so often in books and film. I hope that turns out to be the case.
I had a few hours to kill tonight, so I grabbed a handful of DS games out of my backlog and started running through them to see what would catch my attention. The winner? Glory of Heracles.
I only put about an hour into it, but everything I've seen so far has been quite impressive. The graphics are surprisingly good for the DS, the writing has been better than average, and there is an undeniable intelligence and slickness to the design that's quite unusual. I need to spend some more time with it, but my initial impression is that the developer (Paon?) Has taken the classic Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) formula and combined it with certain elements taken from MMOs to create fast-moving, streamlined game that is absolutely painless to play.
At this point in my gaming career, the thought of playing another standard JRPG is about as appealing as reading a stack of math textbooks, but Heracles is certainly something different. Initially, anyway. Checking my wife's safe file (she completed it last year) it took her about forty hours to finish, and despite all of the neat design choices, there are very few games, in my opinion, That can justify such a long play time. However, it's having no problem keeping my attention at the moment, and I am curious to see what other tricks the game has up its sleeve.
According to my friend @ApricotSushi, began can be had at Amazon for something absurd like $4.00. At that price, it's impossible to resist, if only to see the way the developers have sped up the pace of play and trimmed back some of the usual time-consuming elements.
So, the rumors of an add-on peripheral to Nintendo's 3DS have turned out to be true. A rash of early "almost official" reports came out today, and later on there were plenty of links that cemented it. In fact, the world-renowned K.O. Han of the Monster Hunter Podcast himself passed me a number of news bits on the subject.
While there's still plenty of information yet to come, it's pretty clear that this add-on exists solely to enable a new version of Monster Hunter Tri. Capcom's beastly series is mega-big business in Japan, and will provide the automatic bestseller that Nintendo's handheld so badly needs.
Along those same lines of being so needy, this new add-on also puts the 3DS and Nintendo itself in a new light—no longer the infallible industry leader, it's tough to see their recent decisions as anything other than flawed and misguided. Putting such a strong emphasis on 3D was questionable without a rock-solid selection of games to back it up, and it was absolutely incomprehensible to me that the hardware was released with only one stick after Sony had taken years and years of flak for doing the same thing with the PSP. Oh, and that recent price drop? Looks like Nintendo was off the mark in terms of picking the correct price point too.
At this point, I would do anything to get an interview with Hiroshi Yamauchi. I think it's safe to say that he's probably got an opinion about all of these shenanigans lately…
Currently, he's got about 42 minutes a night to play because adulting is a timesuck, but despite that, he's a happily married guy with two kids who both have better K/D ratios than he does.
Brad still loves Transformers, he's on Marvel Puzzle Quest when nobody at the office is looking, and his favorite game of all time is the first Mass Effect -- and he thought the trilogy's ending was Just Fine, Thanks.
Follow Brad on Twitter at @BradGallaway