Here's the report :
Deus Ex : Human Revolution
Finally got to spend some quality time with the augmented edition I bought. Mixed feelings.
It's Deus Ex - so we do have an interesting story. The augmentation system seems interesting and well thought-out. The stealthing is pretty decent. The conversation / persuasion mechanics are also pretty cool.
But here's what I didn't like :
- The gunplay is all over the place. The game bumps you into third person view when you're in cover, and back into first-person when you pop out of cover. This makes for some very awkward moments during firefights and leaves you scurrying about frantically. The whole cover / shooting system is poorly implemented, and the level design doesn't help - forcing you into situations where you can't play purely as an FPS, nor purely as a cover shooter. The entire combat experience is frustrating and clunky, and also unavoidable. Sure, if you're really, really good, you can sneak through entire levels - but you'll eventually come across a boss fight that you can't avoid. It's pretty bad design - directly impacting the core experience.
- I'm about seven hours in, and the gameworld is unconvincing. Walking around Deus Ex's Detroit, I never got the feeling that I was exploring a city. It felt more like a movie set. Wandering around a gameworld, you need to feel that the world around you is real - the places and people should feel like they've been here for ages before you arrived, and go about doing their thing even when you aren't around. A living, breathing world. And there are plenty of games which do it perfectly well - Red Dead Redemption, New Vegas, GTA to name a few. But Human Revolution fails here. I never got any feeling other than the fact that I was exploring a game level with game characters. Perhaps sacrificing the free-exloration in favour of separate levels with loading screens may have lent a sense of distance between locations and fleshed out the illusion better ? But as it stands, Detroit in Human Revolution is simply too small and claustrophobic to be a convincing open world.
Boy Oh Boy! I'm enjoying this one.
Got it running on my desktop - runs beautifully with everything maxed out on my Core i9 powered rig with a two-year old GTX 295 2Gig card, on Vista (yes, yes, I know). Sure - still has some random pop-in (but not nearly as much as on the lapop) and occasional tearing, but nothing that breaks the game.
It looks great, the world seems huge, and the gunplay and vehicle combat have a nice, solid (and slightly old school) feel to them. Which is kinda why I like it. RAGE isn't the most thought-provoking or innovative or cleverest of games, but it nails the fun factor. Driving around and killing things is great fun in RAGE, and isn't that what a shooter should be? It's the exact opposite of Deus Ex, in that it's a game that doesn't try to do too many things, but keeps it simple and does it well.
Five hours in - just reached Wellspring and completed a few quests. Loving it so far. Oh - and Wellspring actually feels like a real place - with personality, a history and a sense of life. Again, nails something that Deus Ex fails to do. Plus - RAGE has a (barely) hidden tribute to Fallout. \m/
Just got started with this one - on XBOX. It's rather beautiful to look at, and features some interesting terraforming mechanics. Reminded me of an ultra-modern Populous variant. But I played only past the first tutorial level, and so can't really comment on how good the actual game is. More soon enough - plan to spend more time with this by the next weekend.
P.S. Stopped numbering the episodes. It was foolish to begin doing it in the first place. So hence. Er. Ah.