Ugh so it’s been a minute so I reviewed anything and guess what? it’s my favorite time of the year!! No, not autumn, but new game releases are here!!! It’s that time right before the holidays when a ton of new games comes out and we scramble to try and play them all and of course before long we will get new systems to drool over too so in the meantime let me tell you about some new games I played in the past 2 weeks.
1. Diablo III Xbox 360 (Late to the party but better than never)
Ok, I took my time getting this because I got it last year for PC and already worked my way deep into the game and just really didn’t want to start all over again but I had heard so much about the console version that just on the sheer fact that several of my friends are already playing it because they didn’t want the hassle of playing on PC, I got it. O WOW!!! This is a great experience and truth be told the last game that was remotely close to this was Sacred II released back in 2008. This is a great port of a PC game and the controls are excellent. No pointing and clicking, no hotkeying of buttons just a great straight loot-fest and I can’t recommend it enough. Now graphically, it’s not superior to the PC but it doesn’t make it any less fun. If you have been holding out playing it on console, get it and better yet, buddy up with 3 friends and play it on the same screen, you can’t go wrong!
4 out of 5 stars
2. Batman: Arkham Origins (this needed to stay in the asylum)
Let’s be honest, many of us still playing this title because well, it’s Batman. But many of us are disappointed in this game because…it’s a Batman game that SHOULD be better! It’s really sad to see that after Arkham Asylum and the pinnacle that was Arkham City this game come out and almost ruin it for the one shining light in super-hero gaming. It’s frustrating, it’s slow and tedious and it’s just plain not fun. This game takes place before the 1st two and is supposed to be a ‘year one’ game. Which is fine, but when playing it, why does it feel like an extension of the last game? You make your way around Gotham beating up criminals which gets monotonous and trying to deactivate towers so fast travel can be unlocked which is so sloppily done. Oh yeah, and you are supposed to stop Black Mask and you spend so much time just trying to get through the 1st few hours of the game you may forget that this is your main task. Then to further exasperate matters is that I wound up with 2 defective disks. The first one locked up prior to even starting and the second one stuttered for awhile before I managed to play at a clip before it did it again at the boss fight. Which told me that this was a waste. The small saving grace is that Roger Craig Smith does a good job with the voice acting for Batman but even he can’t really save this game from itself. If you haven’t gotten this already, save the money as this trip back to Gotham is a waste.
2 out of 5 stars.
3. Batman: Arkham Origin Blackgate (somehow more bearable on the Vita)
Somehow, on the Vita this is not as broken of a game as its console brother. This game takes Batman and puts him into a prison and then it plays more like Metroid and for the most part it works. A cool aspect is that the cut-scenes are told via cel shaded animation but when you play the game itself you can really get a good sense of the power of the Vita. it’s a nice portable way to take a Batman game with you and while it also doesn’t come close to the first 2 console Arkham games, it’s better to swallow that Arkham Origins. It is a bit dumbed down due to the fact that that it’s also designed for the 3DS so it really doesn’t get to shine on its own and to some degree at some points you may get stuck but have to use patience to get out of a jam. Also, I think the worst part is that instead of having an auto run, you actually have to hold the A button to do it. Again it’s not bad but it’s not great either
3 out of 5 stars
4. Assassins Creed IV Black Flag
O man, this is the closest you will get to play Pirates of the Caribbean without trampling all over the Disney license to do so! So, here is the kicker, the plot of the game isn’t just about Edward Kenway, Connor’s grandfather. The plot of the game really is how Abstergo is still digging into the memory DNA of Desmond Miles and using them to make an entertainment company as a front to hire people to dig through these memories as they try to find the Golden Apple. And the way its done in the opening of the game really made me laugh aloud as is was so slickly done. Truth be told if you have played this series from the very beginning, you will see numerous winks and nods throughout and you will see what kind of work Ubisoft really put into making this game. But asides from that, yes, you get to play as Edward and unlike ACIII where it seemingly took forever to see what made Connor into what he was, this game comes right out at you and shows how Edward nearly blunders his way into the shadow war between the Assassins and Templars. As far as i am into the game, it tells the story very well and it was very hard to pull myself away. As far as the controls, if you played one, then you have played them all and for some reason this time around it seems like the climbing mechanic is more fluid than it has been since ACII. For the few hours that I played last night, the game itself was a big joy because you really feel like you are rooting for Edward because at so many points you know that he got in over his head but its up to you to get him out and it’s fun in doing so. Whether you are escorting governors, or breaking into prisons stealthily, you still sometimes feel like a spectator while simultaneously taking control of the action as you do all that is needed to ‘save the day’. There are other distractions as well. You can gamble, go on contract kills to earn money and much more. This game is so far nearly as good in open world fun as Red Dead Redemption was. The only mixed feelings I have on the game are the graphics and partly because the PS4 / X box One is right around the corner. In some ways the game engine is really starting to show its age and while its one of the better looking games in its class, it makes me want to see how the next gen systems will take advantage of the graphics engine and better yet, what’s in store for the next installment. However, if you are a fan of this series and can’t wait until next month for the next gen, go on and play this now to tide yourself over until then. So far it’s a great story and a fun way to play pirate without having to watch Johnny Depp steal the spotlight.
4.5 out of 5 stars