Game Summaries – Dead Red Planet Lost 2 Alan Wake’(s) Redemption.

Ello, ello, ello all – time once again a game summary lo down. Now I know these games deserve their own game review slot (don’t worry, Alpha Protocol is definitely getting one), but it would take forever with just one game alone, plus I took a little too long in the gaming process to meet timely singular reviews so summaries will have to do starting with Lost Planet 2.

Lost Planet 2

Like Just Cause 2, Lost Planet 2 completely and utterly sucks, which goes to show that Sequelitis is alive and well, even in video games. Ironically it too features a lazily, hap-hazard wire combat system (at least in part). You know, say what you will about the 2009 remake/sequel Bionic Commando, but at least its wire combat and overall mechanics worked well enough to be fun. Anyway the story picks up about 10 years later after the first game where Wayne Holden, amine cookie cutter protagonist 128B, defeats the evil empire of evil NEVEC, and frees the poorly named world E.D.N. III from an eternal winter. In LP2 Mr. Holden is ‘poof, begone’ not here, and in his stead players take control of random collection of near-faceless characters from different Snow Pirates factions, and all with less personality then Holden – which is saying something right there. Using conventional weapons like machine guns and shotties, as well as 10 ft tall battle armors called Vital Suits (VSs) players will fight against rival snow pirates and the native giant insect-dinosaur hybrids of the planet called Akrids. There isn’t many degrees of separation between the first game and the second, but the changes they did make were either useless or made the game that much harder to play.  The most annoying thing they did however though was make the single player completely dependant on co-op play; sure you can try to play it by yourself and/or use computerized helpers but that’s like shouting in the void – pointless.

Your bots aren’t smart enough to help long term throughout the game and doing it by yourself is just suicide; especially with the extra large bosses in the game. I’ll admit it was fun bring the pain with three other meat shields at my side, but as Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw once said, single player must be able to be played alone – and I tend to agree (although not about Borderlands, which he said this statement about its single player). The controls are bad, the story’s confusingly longwinded, and their standard multiplayer is a joke; seriously I would give it my lowest rating but again I did have some fleeting moments of fun so it can walk away with a very generous Bronze ranking. Now… On to much better games, thank the bit mapper.

Ranking: Bronze

Alan Wake

I’ll be honest people I’m not a big fan of horror — well anything really. The way I see it the unknown has more to fear of me than I of it (I’ll will curb stomp *insert favorite horror franchise here*). However once I heard about Alan Wake I knew that was a game I wanted to play, and I’m glad I did. The story starts with Alan Wake; famed crime thriller novelist from New York City – or was anyway until a two year writer’s block set upon his brain. Now he just another miserable, sleepless, soul looking for answers in a bottle. Alice, Alan’s wife, worries about him constantly (well him and the dark (foreshadowing — heh, funny)); so she takes him out of the city and into the country for a little change of scenery and maybe to help him somehow. They ended up in a sleepy, unassuming, little burgh known as Bright Falls; where they lived happily ever after…

Oh wait, no… It is where Alice get kidnapped, Alan loses a week – doesn’t know how, he’s also is getting attacked by shadowed versions of townsfolk – thinks he’s losing his mind, and of course Alan’s finding pages of something he wrote, but didn’t write, all over the place, chronicling everything that was happing to him and others, as it was happing. Geez man… The only trouble most tourists have is getting lost – or getting eaten by a bear; but still Alan’s misfortune is our excellent adventure. Players must help Alan find Alice and stop whatever force is plaguing them all. Alan Wake is an excellent game for storytelling purposes alone, the characters are pretty realistic in motions, gestures and speaking. We watch Alan Wake’s cut scenes like we would a TV show, even so far as there being recaps on each new chapter. Fun, though at times I thought story progression was a little rushed usually this method. The audio and visuals are awesome, they set the tone they want to portray and some of the tracks just make me smile. Combat is also straightforward but inventive; basically baddies are invincible unless you expose them to a healthy dose of light. Light can come from anywhere, but mostly from your flashlight (which also happens to be your targeting reticle). Over time Alan gain use of better light sources like spotlights, flares, and flash grenades and how you use them will dictate your survival or not. I have no real complaints’ about this game except that a player can beat it rather quickly in a day if they wished. Of course they can just ramp up the difficulty and starting looking for the rest of the manuscripts or better yet wait a couple weeks or so and buy some DLC and continue the adventure. Either way (or otherwise) Alan Wake earns a Platinum ranking – you’re back on top Mr. Wake.

Ranking: Platinum

Red Dead Redemption

I’ll have to give credit where credit’s due my friends, I may not always agree with ‘Rockstar Games’ raw and uncensored context within their games (mostly overkill if you ask me, but they have been getting better); but I cannot argue that they make good games (maybe GTA 4, that was boring). They creatively recreate our world to fit the theme in their current game; whether it’s a punk who commits impossible crimes and becomes a crime boss, or a misunderstood young man who wedgies’ his way to victory, and yes even a 1910 ex-bandit cowboy who trying to stop his old gang and save his family. The latter is the Premise of Red Dead Redemption a game so good, that it could be the game of the year.

John Marston, your character, is essentially a blank slate – you can do practically anything a man from that era can do almost completely ignoring his main mission. Want to gamble – go gamble, want to cheat at gambling – you can do that to, want to rob the dealer – why not, and so on and so fort. You can do good stuff too like bounty hunting, clearing out bandit camps, and the occasional overthrowing of a Mexican dictatorship. There so much to see and do player’s will hours and hours just riding around doing instances the game throws their way, performing Legend of the West challenges like sharpshooting and hunting, even catch an old timey movie or two. Immersion is Rockstar’s claim to fame (well that and running down hookers) and they succeed once again. Sadly the even this perfect portrayal of the wild west doesn’t get my Triple Platinum ranking because like a junk yard dog on a gnarled, warped, bone – Rockstar just won’t pitch their horrible throwback control scheme. I said it before and I’ll say it again you won’t need X to run! Now that I think about it, RDR interface wasn’t the most streamline either. For example in order to quick travel I needed to open my inventory, find my camp icon (and also find a flat piece of land away from roads, towns, and rivers…), select it, wait 3 seconds, choose ‘travel’, select from the list (not a map), then you go to the location. It may not seem so bad but players will be fast traveling a lot in the course of the game so over time it will become annoying. Interface issues aside Red Dead Redemption is still a winner; looks excellent, sounds wonderful, characters are likeable (or unlikeable depending on your preference) and most impressively this game doesn’t have to go to the lowest common level to be fun or realistic. It looks like our favorite fratboyesque developer is finally growing up – I hope I didn’t jinx it though.

Ranking: Platinum

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