March First Impressions Roundup

During the past month or so I’ve played seven games that I’ve never touched before and probably won’t play long enough to do a proper review of them. So, here are my first impressions of these titles. You can find the gameplay footage from the Videos page.

Rogue Legacy
rogue legacyI must confess I tried a demo for this game a long time ago. It seemed fun enough, but I felt like it didn’t have much to offer. The verdict in a nut shell is that the gameplay is lacking. It’s the best of album of random gimmicks that get old fast. The upgrades are a boring +X% grindfest and the game just doens’t hold interest long enough for me to really get invested in it. I liked the idea and theme, but execution was lacking.

Alpha Protocol
alpha protocolI had no expectations when jumping into this game and I was surprised at how much it reminded me of a role-playing game. I liked the idea of playing a spy and gearing up to different sort of missions. The humor was fun enough, but let’s just say that it helped that I was in a good mood. The problem, again, was that the gameplay was dreadful. Shooting in this game was horribly unsatisfying and I didn’t at any point feel like anything was at stake. I didn’t care. There was a lot of talking, too, so I wouldn’t really call this an action game. Interesting idea poorly executed.

Batman: Arkham Asylum
batman arkham asylumI don’t know what this game is supposed to be. Some people call it a brawler but I barely did any fighting in it. What little fighting there was, it was really boring and monotonous. I liked the idea of sneaking around like in thief, planning your next move, and then gliding in like in Just Cause 2. There could’ve been more of that even at the beginning. I like Batman just fine. I don’t really care about superheroes, but I don’t think there ever was anything “super” about Batman. Maybe that he’s super rich. The voice acting and script in this game were ridiculously poor and I didn’t see the point in running back and forth in the asylum. Very weak first hour. Maybe it gets better. I’m leaning towards giving it another go.

C&C: Red Alert 3: Uprising
command conquer red alert 3 uprisingWhat is it with strategy games and these survival missions with a handful of troops? I hate it. Give me structures to build. I didn’t feel like finishing the intro mission (if it even was that). Instead I jumped into a skirmish match. It was serviceable but I’ve seen it already and gotten bored of it. The acting was (as a juxtaposition to Batman) ridiculously hilarious and with the addition of awesome rock music they really had something going for them in this game. Too bad I never encountered anything interesting in the gameplay whatsoever.

Dragon Age: Origins
dragon age originsThe first hour to this game had me hitting the Snooze button several times. It was just so boring. If any book started like this then nobody would read it. They try to force a lot of random lore down your throat with a truckload of characters you should immediately be interested in. In addition the first steps of gameplay are like trying to run in a swamp. Nothing happens and your left to wonder why you should care about anything that’s happening. I kept playing and after the first hour I started to get into it a little bit. Maybe I’ll try this one again, since it might actually have something interesting happening in it. The game mechanics and all the loot are just there, too. It’s like the devs just expect you to be interested in whatever they put in the game. I’m not. I looted a small warehouseful of stuff but barely touched the inventory. Why should I? There was no incentive to do so. If you’re a game developer, this next one is for you: It is your job to make the player interested in the game! Don’t forget that.

EDGE
edgeA puzzle game with pretty much no direction to it. No planning required. No intelligence required. Just go and somehow you’ll end up at the exit from the level. I liked the fact that the controls in the game took some getting used to and actually required some skill to master. Too bad they didn’t focus as much in the level design.

SimCity 4 Deluxe
simcity 4What a disaster. People cried their eyes out with the new SimCity and how much worse it was than SimCity 4. Having now played both of them I have no idea where all of that was coming from. Sure the new SimCity had problems, but the game was like a dream compared to this piece of garbage called SimCity 4. Maybe you could make larger cities in it. Maybe it wasn’t always online. And maybe you could even drive a tank in the game and destroy your own city by shooting it to pieces. Fine! But that doesn’t make up for the fact that mechanically the game was and is a nightmare. Building anything in SimCity 4 requires just far too much effort to me to give a second thought to it after a while. And the popups made me feel like it was 1998, again! GUI design was like a brainchild of a 12-year-old and to top it all of the sound design made an extra effort to make the game as unplayable as possible. Give me the new SimCity any day of the week over this one. Thank you.

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