July 12, 2006

Another Day, Another Bad Game

by psu

I picked up Condemned: Criminal Origins a while back, and gave it another try tonight. This game was written up rather favorably when the 360 launched. Yet more evidence that the gaming press has their head up their collective ass.

Let's list the number of things that this game gets wrong.

1. So dark I have to run with the flashlight 100% of the time. OOOooooo, such creepy atmosphere.

2. Number of different enemy types in the first two hours of gameplay: 1.

3. How combat works in the first two hours of gameplay: hit, hit, block, dodge, hit hit. Next.

4. Control scheme has a sprint button. By sprint, they mean walk. When you aren't sprinting, you move at a snail's pace, noticing the whole time that this room looks just like the previous room. Anyway, to "sprint", you have to click down on the left analog stick while you use it to move around. Brilliant! Or you can try to configure this to be on a trigger. But then you have to click down to block, which makes combat impossible. Way to go.

5. Boring repetitive "evidence collection" mechanics mean it takes you 15 extra minutes to get to the next exposition point.

6. Maps make you run in circles because all areas look exactly the same.

On the up side, you can save anywhere when you get so bored you want to cry.

This leaves the number of titles worth playing on the 360 in the first nine months since launch at a staggering: one and a half (I gave up on Call of Duty).

Maybe I'll go play Half-Life 2 over again under emulation, or just stab myself with a pen.

Posted by psu at July 12, 2006 10:37 PM | Bookmark This

Oblivion's still only one game worth OWNING, but I';ve found several others worth PLAYING through Gamefly.

I rather liked the new Tomb Raider game; not perfect, but a decent action adventure that finally fixed the retarded control scheme.

Kameo was actually kinda neat until the final level, and still better than the initial wave of reviews led me to believe it would be. If they'd gotten rid of the stupid lava level, fixed the control scheme in the water, and changed up the order of the creatures you get it probably would've scored better.

I enjoyed the Prey demo much more than I thought I would, and am probably going to rent it next. I usually get bored quickly with shooters but if Prey's pacing keeps up that'll make me happy.

And...umm...okay, I guess that is about it. Table Tennis is fun with a group of people, though. I'm praying to the zombie gods that Dead Rising doesn't suck.

Posted by Adam Rixey at July 12, 2006 11:11 PM

> Kameo was actually kinda neat

Woohoo, found someone who liked it! :-D

Actually though this is kind of indicative of a larger problem. You're right, Condemned is really rather dull (I gave it a long, long time until I gave up on it, because I felt I must be missing the amazing things everyone else saw in it, but my final conclusion was the same as yours). But the press loved it and it sold loads. CoD2 was good to start with but trailed off and is still basically just another WW2 shooter, but the press loved it and it sold a SHEDLOAD of copies (90% attach early on, I am led to believe). Kameo is pretty good (if still not great) and DEFINITELY different, the press were fairly "meh" about it and it slipped by unnoticed.

The reality is that on the one hand, the gaming press complains about the lack of innovation, an accusation levelled squarely at the 360 since launch. On the other hand, the only games they ever talk about are first-person shooters and racing games, and if you're not one of those they will ignore you (Kameo being a case in point). The public, meanwhile, buy what they are told to buy, meaning that there's no way any sensible developer would risk making anything other than an FPS or racing game. Nobody really wins, so why do they perpetuate the cycle?

Posted by Andy P at July 13, 2006 05:44 AM

I wouldn't mind another FPS if it were *good*.

Posted by psu at July 13, 2006 06:55 AM

Now, where are the hordes of C:CO fanboys to declare that psu "is teh gay"?

Posted by Dr. Click at July 13, 2006 12:29 PM

Fortunately, C:CO is insufficiently Japanese to have hordes of super-obsessed fanboys freaking out about it.

Also, this whole only-one-game-worth-owning thing is pretty much why I don't own a 360 and probably won't until maybe Christmas. Or next year. I expect I'll buy a Wii first.

Posted by Nat at July 13, 2006 09:37 PM

Don't know how you feel about driving games, but Burnout Revenge is the only thing that's gotten my buddy with a 360 to take out Oblivion. Multiplayer isn't great with only two people, but we've spent days at a time just taking turns at the career mode events.

Posted by Matt at July 14, 2006 01:30 AM

Burnout Revenge is pretty nice, but it's really not that different from the other versions previously released. I am glad they got rid of that "feature" where you press the button and your car explodes on the starting line during the party mode.

Posted by Adam Rixey at July 14, 2006 09:32 AM

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