Thursday, April 21, 2011

Portal 2 impressions

The short version.  It's fantastic.
I've been playing Portal 2 for the last two nights and the game is an absolute joy to play.  It has a ton of polish and attention to detail.  It oozes charm.  The animation and voice-acting is so impressive that the game has an almost Pixar quality to it.  Not in visual fidelity mind you, but in general look, feel, and level of talent involved in making it.  All characters you interact with are robots, but their animation and voices are so well done they come across as more "human" than most characters in lengthy RPGs.
The game is also down right hilarious.  Even funnier than the first one.  I have not stopped smiling while playing and I have lost track of how many times I have actually laughed out loud.
The puzzles and level design is also fantastic.  Solving a particular clever/tricky puzzle is quite exhilarating.
I purchased the PS3 version since Valve seemed to favor that one (over the 360).  You get a free copy of the PC version through Steam with the PS3 copy.  You can also play co-op with PC users from the PS3.  And you get Steam cloud save support.  I applaud Valve for again seeming to treat their customers right.  The Orange Box was (still is) one of the best values out there and the PS3 version of Portal 2 seems to give a lot back.  Good job guys.
Not sure how long the single-player is (I'm by Chapter 5 I think) but I've already put more hours into it than the first game.  I'm in no hurry for it to end.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Crysis 2

I never added my thoughts on Crysis 2, which I picked up for the 360 the day it was released.  Since it has been a few weeks now, laziness has set in and I don't feel like writing up a detailed impressions post.  So just some quick thoughts.
- Game is plenty pretty, although Killzone 3 and Uncharted 2 are still holders of the best-console-graphics crown imo.
- The Nanosuit is a lot of fun to use and can make you feel like a bad-ass.  Me like.
- I found the sections that have you fighting against the human forces far less entertaining than when you were up against the Ceph.  Not sure why.  Maybe I just like killing squid-like aliens.
- Gameplay is solid.  The game controls and feels great and I didn't have any problem utilizing all of the nanosuit's powers and abilities, since they are all smartly mapped to the controller.
- While battles don't feel as dynamic and entertaining as those in the Halo series, the battlefields are large and offer you plenty of ways to approach them.  Enemy A.I. is smart at times, but can also be very glitchy with enemies walking in circles, getting stuck in the environment or sometimes being oblivious to what is going on around them.  And sometimes, the opposite is true, with enemies spotting you instantly from 50 yards away while you are hiding behind some foliage as if they were looking in your direction the whole time.
- The story was . . . well it was kinda weak and relayed to the player poorly.  I never played the first Crysis but I've read even if you did, it had little to do with this game.  You basically follow way points the entire game, not really knowing (or caring) what you had to do most of the time.  Or maybe I just wasn't paying attention since it was all pretty uninteresting.
- I've only tried a handful of multiplayer matches and the impression I got was that engagement usually just consistent of both players activating Maximum Armor and unloading on each other.  That may not be a fair assessment of the whole experience given my limited time with it.  Not sure if it interests me enough for me to devote much time to it to find out though.  Or I should say, not sure if I am willing to stop playing Black-Ops to find out.