Curse this backlog. I really do try, but I have something of a bug for competitive online multiplayer. Forza 4's single player is seeing some nice progress, and consequently, I've crossed off Gran Turismo 5
and Need for Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed
off my backlog. Forza 4 will receive a grading when it's done, because it deserves my full judgement. The other two do not. Shift 2 is okay, and looks kinda decent on my rig, but just fails to incite the same thrills as Forza. Helmet/Cockpit cam is bloody awful, despite the rather cool feature of your head turning as you go into corners. It does have a better selection of tracks, my favourite being Brands Hatch, a circuit I have visited in real life many a time, and even had the oppurnity to track day round it on my Honda VFR 400. Nice to be able to do so virtually too. However, the crap cockpit view (due to the tint in the windscreen making everything too bloody dark) really holds the game back, and I'll be buggered if I'm going to use Chase View. 7
Gran Turismo 5 just lacks in every way. It isn't as pretty as Forza, the 3D has major ghosting, it doesn't handle as well. It also lacks a lot of the character of Forza 4, which really feels like its embraced the world of Motor racing. Maybe that's just me, but I felt less like I was part of something special, let alone being in control of a 12 cylinder monster. In racing sims, it's all about feel. Dirt 3 has feel. F1 2010 and 2011 have feel. Gran Turismo 5 and Shift 2 do not have that feel. Forza 4 does. GT 5 gets a 6. Expect Forza 4 to get something much higher.
Serious Sam: Second Encounter still awaits completion, mainly because I got a bit bored of it. My multiplayer focus has shifted to Battlefield 3, which has really grown on me. Major complaint though; spawning. Team DM is a serious pisser when it comes to spawning, as you can spawn right in someones crosshairs and only experience rwo seconds of life before falling to the ground in a bloody mess. This problem isn't so bad on other game modes, but after a long day at work, Team DM is just the remedy. That said, I still go to this over Modern Warfare 3, which despite me singing its praises the last few months, has not seen any action in three weeks. Bravo EA and Dice. Also, it looks gorgeous, and truly trounces its medicore single player experience. Score to come when I reach a decent level.
Todays main focus is Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine
. This budget title (picked up in Morrisons for �7 new) takes the middle road between Gears of War third person shootery and Devil May Cry-esque hack slashy hammery fun. And it is fun... for a while.
See, many middle of the road games have this issue with longetivity, where you're forcing yourself to complete it for completions sake. This is the curse of the backlog; you buy a ton of games you think you'll like, and then have to suffer through those it turns out you merely think are okay. Some level variation and enemy variation would have gone a long way to help Spehs Mehrene, and whilst Mark Strong is a rather cool choice to voice a battle-hardened religious seven foot nutjob, I can't help but think another race might have been a better choice for such a game. Fire Warrior, the old PS2 game, focused on the Tau, a much more interesting race. But say Warhammer 40k to someone, and they'll probably respond with "Is that the thing with the Space Marines?". They're the poster boys of the 40k universe, and none more so than the Ultra Marines.
If there is a sequel, I think it would have more potential if it focused on someone like the Eldar; a much cooler unique looking race of elf-like aliens, who might envoke a more diverse hack and slash system. This is the main crux of the problem; combat. It just isn't interesting enough to carry you through the 4-6 hour campaign. The weapons are all samey and not unlike anything you've seen in other games, and the hack and slash gameplay is simplistic at best. What I did like were the sections with the jump pack and the hammer, but these were far too shortlived. Also, the promise of controlling the Titan never really came to fruition, which could have been a real good climax ala Gears of War 2 with the big turtle dude you ride who's name I've forgotton.
I did like the Orks as an enemy, but there wasn't enough unit variety. The big feather in the games cap is the challenge of managing both long distance foes and close quarters combat simultaneously, which the Rage power certainly helps with. I guess that is how I'd summarise the game; lot's of good ideas that kinda work, but not enough variation to make fun for more than two or three hours. Therefore, Spehs Mehrene gets a 6
Next time, maybe Serious Sam Second Encounter (good, but over exposed to it), maybe Killzone 3 (highly overrated series ahoy, but kinda pretty in 3D), maybe Metro 2033 (hard to get back into) and maybe Forza 4 (sexy sexy)
BRUMAK! IT'S A BRUMAK! HA!