Wednesday, 11 May 2011

The Lovefilm Files: 100-Word Reviews

It's time for my yearly Lovefilm 3-month subscription. As a rule, I'll play more new (and newish) console games over this period than the entire rest of the year. So let's take a look at what I've got out at the moment, shall we? And why not do it in perfectly-formed, exactly-100-word chunks?
WARNING: Combat Equipment May Spontaneously Combust
Battlefield: Bad Company 2
looks like a Modern Warfare clone and kinda-sorta is… until you blow your first wall down. That big irrepressible grin carries you to the point where destroying buildings feels natural and tactical. But it makes awful choices, especially in the unlocks system. Rewarding more experienced players by boosting their abilities is counter-intuitive enough. But depriving classes of key equipment? (It takes two hours playing medic before you’re allowed medkits). Madness. I’m right on the cusp of greatly enjoying it, and can't help but feel it's me doing something wrong. But isn't that the first sign of an abusive relationship?

More like PanOH-YEAH
Just Cause 2
proves you only need two things to make a game compelling: an interesting setting, and an interesting way of getting around it. The latter is most obvious: you can grapple, skydive and parachute around with comedically ridiculous ease. But Panau is possibly the greater achievement, harking back to the tropical lusciousness of Far Cry and the nooks & crannies of GTA: San Andreas. It could do with more usable stuff hidden around: there's nothing to be found as brilliant as GTA's jetpacks. Nevertheless, it's a deeply satisfying place to explore and then blow up, one fuel depot at a time.

Spider-Men
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions
is, for a game featuring four different Spider-Men (Vanilla, Teeny, Gritty, Dayglo), surprisingly repetitive. It steals smartly, especially in its stealthy Noir levels which are equal parts Arkham Asylum and Splinter Cell Conviction (working the HUD-minimising features of the latter into its sepia-tone world better than Conviction did). But every level follows the same boss/rubbish minions/boss formula, and making long play sessions exhausting. Most of the pleasure I got out of it were tickles to my geek lobes from seeing the familiar rendered in shiny graphics. For all it borrows from that game, it's as if Arkham Asylum never happened.

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Videogames, film, music, comics: feed them into the Alex-Spencer machine and out come neat little articles. Like the ones you're looking at here.