Before I get into it, here's a link to the A Jumps, B Shoots podcast that I was recently on. The topic is New vs Used games, and these guys put together a pretty entertaining show. If that sounds like a good way to spend an hour, check it out.)
So, the Mass Effect 3 demo. I hesitate to bring it up, but I can't let it pass without making at least a few brief comments.
First off, I really hope that the game addresses Ashley's radical make over… if the game hadn't told me that's who it was, I never would have recognized her, and I don't mean that in a good way. Secondly, female Krogan head coverings? Really? I mean, they're already commoditized in the story, so that little touch felt like a bit too much. Again, I hope that the game covers this aspect in some detail. Third, the combat. The controls felt kludgey to me, and I actually got bored before the demo ended. I sincerely hope that the game doesn't overdo the corridor shooting. After all, there are a million shooters out on the market already and the combat has never been the main reason I enjoyed ME.
As for the multiplayer… it's multiplayer. I am reserving judgment to see how the final implementation shakes down, but it seems as though there are plenty of opportunities for micro transactions and the content that was shown wasn't compelling to me at all. Of course, I'm not much of a multiplayer person to begin with, so I really hope that BioWare's claim that the campaign doesn't require multiplayer holds true.
After going through both MP and 1P parts of the demo, I think I might have canceled my pre-order if I wasn't already slotted to review. The vibes just don't feel right here, but I feel somewhat obligated since I covered the first two and ME1 is one of my favorite games of all time… I definitely want to see how the trilogy turns out, even if it ends up being a train wreck. Or, it could be awesome. I mean, that is possible. Maybe it's not very likely, but it's still possible.
What else have I been playing? Driver: San Francisco and Warriors: Legends of Troy. Neither one of these are games that I would have picked up without hearing some positive chatter from other people, but they both have turned out to be winners in my book. I'm cooking up full reviews for both, but in a nutshell:
Driver – It's the car game for people who don't like cars. It's got an interesting story that mixes fantasy elements with a 70's cop show theme, there are some unique gameplay mechanics (you can leap out of your own body and into someone else's at will) and the soundtrack is absolutely killer.
Warriors – Basically an interactive retelling of The Iliad and the events of the Trojan War, this title takes the basic Dynasty Warriors formula and slows it down, takes out a lot of the over-the-topness and spends a lot of effort detailing the various personalities and conflicts that occur. The gameplay is fairly static and it encourages grinding for cash to buy upgrades, but putting it on Easy and just plowing through each level is like getting the most interesting history lesson possible.
Also, bonus points for their interpretation of the Amazon warrior Penthesilea, who is quite possibly the strongest character in the game.
Binary Domain from Sega has demos available on PSN and XBL, and I definitely suggest that you check it out.
A lot will depend on how much variety there is in the missions and environmental design, but I see a great deal of potential here between character customization and team management. The controls also felt quite solid to me, although I did not have a headset available to test out the voice commands. Apparently, players can shout out orders or answer questions from their teammates, but the same function is also accessible via the controller if so desired. If you ask me, there is definitely a "sleeper" feeling to this one… take a look and see what you think.
The trailer above was released for Far Cry 3. I can't say that I enjoyed Far Cry and Far Cry 2 was not a favorite of mine either, but I like the premise on display this time around and you never know, the third time could be the charm.
To round things out, here are a couple of quick links you might want to take a look at.
@xMattieBrice takes PlayStation: the Official Magazine to task for some transphobic writing. I am quite happy to report that the editorial staff steps up and tries to set things right. Yay!
@TevisThompson has written an incredible essay on Zelda and what's wrong with it. There is no way I can do it justice with a quick summary, so do yourself a favor and click on over.
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