New Game Shorts

It has been a big couple of weeks for new games, so here are some short impressions of the new stuff flowing through the house. Knights of the Old Republic: Sith Lords

Picked this up used at not quite full price. The best and worst thing you can say about this game is that it is more of the same light saber wielding force power throwing Jedi ass kicking. As before, the game starts out pretty slowly, and as before you will run through a series of mostly linear dungeons, er, planets where you get missions, kill stuff and generally engage in a lot of dialog and combat.

I’ve done the first two areas and then ran into a battle that kicked me hard, so I got distracted with other things. But, I fully plan to get back to this since it is my favorite RPG combat engine of all time. Also, games with save anywhere must be appreciated and savored.

Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory

Another game in this excellent series that offers more of the same. Gameplay, graphics, camera control and general balance have all been improved over the earlier games. But it all seems a bit easier. The new save anywhere feature makes the levels 10,000,000 times less tedious than in Pandora Tomorrow. You can spend just as much time playing the game, but it doesn’t feel like suffering. It’s super fun to experiment and play around with different ways to beat up the poor robot guards.

The co-op mode is a bit sluggish when the action is heavy, but is astoundingly well done otherwise right down to the fact that you can save the co-op game anywhere you want.

I haven’t tried the multiplayer yet. I sucked at it last time. I assume I will suck this time as well.

Resident Evil 4

I got this “for free” at the Exchange, and it was worth every single game that I never play that I traded for it. Compared to Halo, or even Splinter Cell the combat system is sluggish, awkward, and generally sucky. Normally, I would throw this game away because it does not allow me to walk and aim my gun at the same time. But, RE4 saves itself by serving up an endless stream of slow zombies (oh sorry, “villagers”) for me to mow down with my shotgun. The gruesome headshot animations alone are worth the price of admission. The graphics in the game look great, and the overall atmosphere is almost actually creepy. While the combat system does blow, your enemies are so slow that it is good enough to get the job done. So, my only real complaints so far are:

1. Stupid savepoints.

2. A sidegame early on that nets you a free weapon that turns out to completely suck.

3. One of those hateful inventory systems where you get to carry a sniper rifle in a briefcase but to make the game “more realistic” or “strategically deeper” you can’t just carry everything you see. I’ve never understood why games do this (this means YOU, Deus Ex: Invisible War).

None of these things has detracted significantly from the fun of blowing up zombie heads.