Anyone who reads GameCritics.com regularly will know that I'm not a big fan of first-person shooter (FPS) games. I don't hate them, but I don't think it's particularly fun to just run around and blast things, either. Most of the games tend to be very repetitious and unimaginative, and the genre has rarely captured my attention. Being the non-fragger that I am, I was particularly interested to check out Half-Life.
Trying to gauge which game was the first to blur the line between game and movie is a daunting task (and one sure to inspire more than a few arguments). However, the game that tends to stand out as one of the first to do it effectively is Half-Life—a classic PC game that is now making its debut on the PlayStation 2 gaming console.
Game Description:Half-Life features an integrated storyline with stunning visual effects and a huge, sprawling environment filled with aliens determined to hunt you down and kill you. You no longer just point and shoot—Half-Life is a dynamic, plot-driven, complex world where you need to play smart to survive. Monsters have a strong instinct for self-preservation. They will duck, jump, hide behind barriers to avoid gunfire, and even retreat if feeling threatened. Superior AI drives these behaviors and they are different for each species. Plus you can choose from 18 different weapons, ranging from a crowbar to laser-guided rockets.
While being a reviewer isnt always easy, sometimes its even tougher when youre also a fan. Its our job to look at games objectively, but were still human. We all have our preferences and tastes, and theres nothing more miserable than seeing a series you love go down the drain with a rotten sequel. As if that wasnt painful enough, reviewing such a game forces you to thoroughly examine every single aspect of it, instead of having the luxury of deluding yourself into thinking it really isnt all that bad.
Game Description: You are the vampire Kain, the most evil figure ever to appear in a video game. Cloaked in stealth, you will move through crowds unseen, travel stories above the peasant herds on which you feed—leaping from rooftop to rooftop—and use mind control to overcome vampire-proof inventions. The combat choreography in Blood Omen 2 unfolds with dancelike precision as Kain engages armies of demons and humans alike.
Game Description: Like Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto III, State of Emergency offers the player virtually unlimited scope for mayhem, and huge, sprawling urban environments to explore through missions or nonlinear action. But this time the level of chaos has been upped considerably, as the game offers the potential for hundreds of rioters to be onscreen at once, each with his or her own AI, set of motivations, and loyalties. The environments are intricately interactive; almost any object (including body parts) can be picked up and used as a weapon.
I think Matt did a great job pointing out the good versus the bad in Soul Reaver 2, so there's no need for me to elaborate on any of that. But I would like to expound one of his points—the balance between story and game, which is Soul Reaver 2's most glaring flaw.
Sometimes great games have bad stories, and sometimes great stories accompany bad games. However, I have never seen this distinction become more acute than with Soul Reaver 2 for PlayStation 2, Crystal Dynamic's long awaited sequel (actually third in the Legacy Of Kain series) to their 1999 vampire epic.
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