Posts Tagged ‘shooter’

E3 2011 Performance Review: Operation Raccoon City shoots, then shoots some more

June 15, 2011

Honor your favorite series by hunting down and killing its main character!

Looks like Resident Evil‘s gone the way of Kingdom Hearts. With the future of its main numbered series of games in question, Capcom took the franchise on the “spin-off” and “spin-off on handhelds” route while the brass flounders about with what they need to do to make Resident Evil 6 a success. I offer one tip: Don’t make it like Operation Raccoon City.

At least don’t make it like its single-player mode. Or cooperative campaign. Or whatever it was I played at the Sony booth. It was called “cooperative campaign”, but I could’ve sworn I was just playing by myself. There was nothing cooperative about it, despite a few human beings playing the same game (maybe?) next to me. No team-up attacks, no recovering each other, no helping each other out in any sort of way at all. But then if we did all that we’d be playing a lousier version of Left 4 Dead then, wouldn’t we?

So, what makes it lousy? It feels just like we feared it would: SOCOM with zombies. The exact same controls, the exact same layout, even the exact samey-same way levels are laid out. Hide behind chest-high barricades, shoot braindead zombies, occasionally toss a grenade out or change weapons once in a while. The same cookie cutter template that was prevalent all over E3 this year. Is this the only way to revitalize a flagging franchise? Farm it out to the West and turn it into a shooter?

Resident Evil fans may be happy to play a SOCOM mod of their favorite series, that is, if they’re fooled easily by nostalgic throwbacks like a word-for-word recreation of the intro from Resident Evil 2 and a guest appearance from Kendo’s gun shop. Hunters and Lickers return, too. That’s cool and all if you like nostalgia-mining, but then the camera pulls back and there you are controlling some new faceless jerk no one cares about, who spouts macho curse words out in true cliched modern shooter fashion. Nothing feels very Resident Evil about that, and unless it comes from Marcus Fenix or Cole Train, I’m damn tired of it.

Maybe I’m burned so badly because this was the number one game I was looking forward to most at this year’s show. Maybe I just played the wrong demo. There was no “co-op” to be found in this co-op mode. Capcom’s booth had a different demo, a competitive multiplayer mode complete with an announcer shouting out the play-by-play. I didn’t play that one, but I doubt I would have really garnered that different an experience from it. Or maybe that really is the mode to play! It’s not like I ever touched Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood‘s single-player, and I love that game. So, I’ll try and keep a more open mind about this, but the fact that I knew exactly what Operation Raccoon City was going to be before even touching it left me disappointed, and maybe even a little disturbed. Am I that jaded or have games become that predictable?

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Landing on Saturn – Panzer Dragoon Saga: Forgotten Treasure

January 27, 2011

Panzer Dragoon Saga may not have much cachet with gamers these days (what does, besides Call of Duty? olol), but make no mistake: the name used to be whispered amongst gamers beyond just the hardest of the hardcore. Sega’s last hurrah for their doomed Saturn game console. The bizarre RPG follow-up to a rail-shooting franchise. The pathetically small print run which ultimately led to its infamy. Panzer Dragoon Saga was critically acclaimed when it released, but its legacy afterward became the stuff of myths, due to the fact that it printed only 6,000 copies initially, with the final units shipped at the end of its production run totaling 30,000. Keep in mind that most games these days have to sell through at least more than 100,000 units in order to be considered successful. Panzer Dragoon Saga is something of a holy grail amongst video game collectors, a unicorn. One rarely spots a copy in the wild, and if one does, one must be ready to pay dearly for it.

I never, ever thought I would come across a copy outside of, say, eBay. But one day, I found myself on the end of an offer to sell me the game for a price which, while still quite high, I knew I would never beat. I grimaced, forked over the change, and waited for the copy to arrive in the mail. You readers already know full-well the joyous bounty of the package I received, but the question still remained: Is Panzer Dragoon Saga all it’s cracked up to be?

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Big Bang Mini

March 2, 2009

Hi, I’m Philip Armstrong, aka Loki, aka Cooltendo. You might have read my internet comic about Mario and Link and Metroid over at http://www.drunkduck.com/Nintendo_Super_Squad/ It’s cool if you didn’t though. I asked Tim and John if I could share some thoughts I had on this game I played on their blog and they said yes! Here they are, please enjoy.

Big Bang Mini makes you cool. Not just cool for a DS owner, or cool for a person who plays games in general, but bona fide leather-jacket-tight-jeans-rock-star cool. When Big Bang Mini is nestled in your DS you strut.

If you’re anything like me this isn’t your normal attitude when it comes to games. I shudder at being labeled a “gamer.” Upon entering a Gamestop I tend to cower into my coat, shielding my face, afraid that I’ll be lumped in with the meathead “dude you just shot off that guy’s face!” brand of capital “G” gamers or with the Japanese obsessed weaboos who are expounding on the finer details of Ar Tonelico II with a disinterested clerk.

Lord forbid I ever take my DS out in public. I take advantage of the system’s portability primarily to move from the couch to the toilet without having to interrupt my game. I would never allow myself to be seen playing outside for fear of the silent judgement of strangers.

Not so with Big Bang Mini. It’s the kind of game that you play hanging around the bus stop or food court hoping that someone will take notice and ask what is that you’re playing.

“Oh, you know,” you reply, having prepared yourself for this very moment, “just a puzzle shooter mash-up travelog where you fling fireworks towards all sorts of crazy targets. There. I just exploded a surfing punk-walrus.” If you’re lucky you just might get the kicker response: can I try? Next thing you know you’re the life of the party, king of the crowd, Mr. rock star cool guy.

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