Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Mass Effecting

It was a little daunting starting Mass Effect, but considering how big the game is I finished it rapidly. This goes to show how compelling and playable Bioware have made this wonderful game. It makes me regret giving up on their Knights of the Old Republic when I tried to play it many years ago.

The whole world is fantastically realised, it feels like a living and breathing Universe. I was worried that the non-linear open-ended elements would affect the story, but the story is so epic and well integrated this never becomes a problem.

Despite its age the first Mass Effect holds up pretty well, with only the really clunky save system being the one thing that is very out of place here. Well maybe some of the driving around in the Mako on a planet sections too.

Some of the impossible choices you had to make felt very Telltale Games, and I mean that in a good way. I can't help feeling that some of the ones I made will come back to bite me in the ass in one of the sequels.

I just had a lot of enjoyment running around bases armed with my shotgun and my preferred team by my side, Wrex and Ashley, even though a lot of the mission were similar it never felt repetitive. Disarming space cults and culling space gangsters has never been so fun.

I really enjoyed Mass Effect and I can't wait to get around to the sequel.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Alan (Wake) in the Dark

One of the biggest bouts of game envy I ever suffered was concerning Alan Wake on the Xbox 360. As a PS3 owner for years I've looked longingly towards it, so when my girlfriend finally recovered her Xbox 360 from storage she bought a copy of it for me to finally play (she's a sweetheart like that). It was worth the wait as it is a fantastic game with a chilling atmosphere.

The graphics are great in a slightly-old-game kind of way. I found myself thinking a lot: "Jeez, this game would've looked fantastic when it was first released." One touch I really liked was that you didn't have to press a button to talk to people. You just walked up near to them and they would engage you in conversation. That was the same for opening doors too.

When I first told my friend that I was playing Alan Wake he replied, "That's the game where you spend ages running around the forest at night." To be fair, that remains pretty true throughout the game. There is a little bit of repetition in the torch-lighting and shooting I still think there are enough different locations to keep things interesting.

Alan Wake is drenched in homage. Almost a little too much. Things like the Lamp Lady are just a bit to obvious. It is really like Twin Peaks and Stephen King in a blender sometimes, but the story is intriguing and well paced. The voice acting is a high standard too.

I must give this game high praise too for including songs by Roy Orbison, Nick Cave and David Bowie. Three of my all-time favourites!

So Alan Wake, it was worth the wait and the game has not aged too badly. I really liked the setting and story, but wished the gameplay was a bit more interesting in places and it was a bit more original. On the whole Alan Wake is a strong decent game.