Monday, June 20, 2011

Darksiders and Duke Nukem Forever

So been working on some older games I never got around to trying when they come out.  Seems to be a common trend lately, but it works with my schedule so.  First we're going to take a look at Darksiders, and then I'm going to delve into some Duke Nukem.

So Darksiders.  I wish I had gotten this game when it first came out.  It's a game in the similar vein of Jak and Dexter, beyond good and evil and platformer/fighters in general, with a bit of God of War tossed in.  You play the game as War, one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  You've been stripped of your powers and sent back down to earth to essentially fix the problems they think you caused.  The game runs like a standard one of it's genre.  You get some weapons, skill and weapons to do battle with the various demons and angels that assault you, and use them to solve various puzzles scattered throughout the world.  The system works a bit like Zelda, where you go to a dungeon, get a new item that helps you out and then you can go back and re-discover areas you've never been too before.  What sets this game apart from others of it's kind is the story/atmosphere and also the general ease of controls.  Once I got used to how the control scheme worked and picked up a few new moves, the game just seems to flow well.  I can swiftly go from offensive to defensive with my attacks and movement, and also throw in random other moves to get me around.  Plus, and this is a big kicker for me, you can activate your defense anytime, during any move.  So many games just don't do this.  You start off a move and are now stuck in it, meanwhile any enemy can come along and knock you off your flow, thus making doing almost any move beyond your basic almost worthless.

The atmosphere was the other big part.  I'm usually not one to fawn over how a game looks and such.  But this game is just amazing in it's details and settings.  It's a post apocalyptic world that actually looks like it would make sense.  It's got some ruined sections, others returning to nature, signs of demonic influence scattered throughout the world and some pretty nice visuals of the whole destruction wrought.  The lore of the game is also very interesting.  It's a different take on Christian Theology, with the Horsemen actually working for a neutral third party, who's main interest lies in maintaining a balance between the powers that be.  I'm eagerly looking forward to the second installment of this game, and urge people to pick up a copy of this if they can.

So, Duke Nukem Forever.  The game that took 10+ years in total to bring out.  The game everyone would joke about and kept assuring ourselves would never come out.  Well it's out, and well....   Ok, first off, the game does not live up to the hype.  Unless it came in a gilded case, physically made your other games weep in sorrow and then blew your mind would it live up to the hype.  This being said, this game feels half finished, and that's a funny thing to say with how long it took to come out.  The best way I've heard this game be described is an FPS archaeological dig through what was hot during certain years.  Driving in FPS games(borderlands) was fun, so there is a level or two with some driving.  Unfortunately, the car handles like crap, and also randomly disappeared while I was using it in once level, forcing me to kill myself to get it back. The lack of being able to have more then one weapon as well, is annoying as hell.  You see so many weapons lying around all over the place from enemies you kill, and since you can only have two at a time on you, your forced to leave some behind, or guess at what might be dropping in the future to get some ammo.

The Duke Nukem humor is there, and this is one of the few redeeming factors of this game.  Constant jabs at other games, internet humor and other references make the one liners all the more amusing.  Plus, Duke's voice is the right kind of gritty wise cracking that a game like this wants.  This can't save the game though.  So many of the features either seem half rushed in, like they really wanted to show it off but either left it half done, or just didn't know what to do with it.  This is a major pet peeve of mine with games.  Almost any mechanic can work in a game, if it's A. Implemented properly and B.  Fits into the overall scheme of the game.  You wouldn't expect to be playing Final Fantasy and suddenly a golf match shows up out of no where to handle a boss fight.  Then again, the Final Fantasy games have been getting weirder as time goes on....  Anyway, back on topic.  So, after all this time, what do we have?  A somewhat ok generic shooter, with some ok jokes and wisecracks, a whole case of misogyny and not much else to show for it.  This game is going to go down in history, just not the way it wanted too.

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