I was quite surprised when a copy of [REDACTED] showed up at the office the other day. Totally unrequested and arriving out of the blue, it was a real treat to open the envelope and see what was inside… My excitement didn't last long, though.
Since the game is still under embargo, I can't share any specific info, but I will say that the way [REDACTED] turned out isn't really a surprise considering some of the comments made by people involved in its development.
Honestly, I put about an hour into it before booting it out of my 360 and calling it done. I won't be reviewing it, and I'm pretty glad about that. The thought of having to put more time in is not appealing at all.
I suppose most I can say about it is that it starts off on the wrong foot, the story is quickly shown to be an ignored afterthought, and the general design feels free of inspiration and totally by-the-numbers. If [REDACTED] had shown up two or three years ago, I probably would have been more impressed. As it stands (and based on the hour I played) it seems extremely late to the party.
After putting [REDACTED] aside, I moved on to Dead Space 2. It wasn't high on my list of things to play this year, but I've heard several people say that it was a serious contender as their Game of the Year, and several more say that it's going to be on their top ten of 2011. After getting through about a third of it, I can’t imagine why anyone would think so highly of it.
Of course, it's quite beautiful and very polished. Based on looks alone, it's certainly impressive. However, I've never been a critic that's been easily swayed by graphics. Once the pretty is pulled away, it's basically a predictable corridor shooter that relies heavily on jump scares and back-attacks to get the best of players.
If you read my Dead Space review, then you'll know that I wasn't too high on the first game. However, in comparing the two, I'd have to say that I think I actually prefer the first one over the sequel. Dead Space 2 (so far, anyway) feels like a retread that's heavier on the combat and doesn't significantly change or improve anything.
Like I said, I've only seen about a third of the game so my opinion may change as I get further in, but... I kind of doubt it.