Why in the world did I think a flying game had any flying chance of satisfying my gaming needs? Has there ever been a flying game that was enjoyable? If so, please let me know because I have never found one. Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. came pretty damn close and maybe even Crimson Skies (also made my Airtight Games) I got for free with my original Xbox, but for games like Superman, Ironman, and now Dark Void, the whole jetpack thing has really left me wondering, are flying games a waste of time? And this is coming from someone who was seriously considering purchasing this game.
I know in the past I have based my demo impressions as being exactly what the full retail version of the game will be like, and have been completely wrong. Example: My take on the Dead Space demo. It sucked. The game itself? It rocked my world. So I have to be careful here as this may not represent the final product. Or will it in this case?
First off, the visuals are severely lacking by Airtight Games. It's got that Uncharted 2 look, but if it was made back in 2002. Some textures were higher resolution than others and it might not have been so noticeable had they not placed low and high res textures right next to each other. Flying around these mountainous environments, I'm not sure what was preventing the developers from increasing the resolutions on just about everything. The environments weren't that expansive, the game was not overloaded with a bunch of characters or large animations and it just left a huge question mark over my head. The visuals were horribly weak, the explosions from destroying enemy aircraft were non-existent, and the explosions from grenades were laughable. Maybe impressive explosions don't exist when you cross over into the Bermuda Triangle?
The flying itself took some getting used to. The controls were definitely wonky and I found myself changing the Y axis on the controls multiple times because I couldn't get comfortable with either set up. Up to go down, down to go up? I always have trouble with this. I decided to leave it on default and got the hang of it eventually. But still, way too loose for my liking.
If you're walking and you tap Y twice, you'll start flying. But the way this game mechanic was implemented will be frustrating to many because if you're pushing forward at the same time you do this, and you forget to stop pushing forward when you hit Y to start flying, you'll immediately start flying down. And in my case, I ended up flying straight into mountains and other objects in the game resulting in death. The flying starts fast and is damn near uncontrollable at first. They could have toned down the jet pack launch a bit to make it more controllable when transitioning from walking to flying.
Once you do start flying in the demo, you have to shoot down a few enemy fighters flying around in these disc like craft. Not an easy task! It took me a while to figure it all out but as you get close to them, you can hit the B button and somehow magically land onto the craft you're trying to shoot down. Once you grab onto it, the craft tries to shoot you off. You can avoid this by running around as the gun spools up to shoot you. As the gun is spooling up, it gives you some time to take off what I believe is some type of shield in the front. Once you take it off, you have access to take out the alien pilot, do a simple and I imagine, very repetitive robotic animation of gaining control of the gun out of his hands, stepping on the aliens head, and blowing it off. When that's complete, you can then pilot his craft and fly it around like you would with your jet pack. Controls are the same. Maneuvers are the same. It doesn't seem any more or any less powerful than what you have at your disposal on your jet pack. So I'm not sure what advantage you have in commandeering one of these things. Although, they do look pretty cool. I give them that.
When you get back on the ground and start shooting enemies on foot, you get a bit of a Mass Effect feel. With the camera angles and especially with the enemies. They look pretty similar, but way less polished. I won't go too much into detail with the ground combat as there was really nothing special about it and the demo was more about the flying. The shooting lacked 'umph' and the meleeing was more powerful than shooting. Huh? I do want to rant about one small thing real quick, why does every shooter game have some type of annoying little creature squirming around on the ground trying to kill you? You have Grunts and the Flood in Halo. You have Headcrabs in Half-Life. Crab Worms and Spider Ants in Borderlands. The list goes on and on for annoying little creatures in games that are difficult to kill and in my opinion, slows the games flow. Most of the time, these creatures are irrelevant as you can just keep walking away until they stop following you. And if you decide to kill them instead, you're not rewarded for the amount of time and ammo you waste on these pointless bastards. So why put them in? Developers: Stop putting these in just because you need more diversity in your enemy line-up. Move beyond what gamers are used to and expect in a typical game on the 360 and PS3. Get more creative, surprise us!
To finish this demo impression off, I can confidently say that I'm no longer looking forward to this release anymore. The fact that Bear McCreary was doing the score was a huge bonus for me but even the music seemed out of place in this demo. Will it be the same throughout the entire game? I think I was hearing Irish Folk music at the end and none of it made any sense. I hope Bear did not do the sound effects as well, because even the sound effects were weak. Airtight needs to amp up just about every aspect of this game if they wish to gain some respectable reviews from their gaming peers.
As of now, this game is a rental for me. In the future. Far away into the future. Demo's can make or break a game, and Airtight Games should delay this one even longer. The need for more polish was shockingly obvious. Capcom, you really want your name on this?
Play the demo yet? Tell me what you think in the comments.
Friday, January 8, 2010
DARK VOID: DEMO IMPRESSIONS
Airtight Games|Dark Void|Demo impressions|Xbox 360|
The importance of computer graphics for online gaming [Image: http://images.grinderschool.com/rakeback/party-poker-logo.png] Computer graphics are a big part of the internet today, appearing on websites all over the world and providing the central piece to many a creative e-mail. Creating the graphics for a website is one of the main things that you have to think about when you are starting a business. It is important to have the right content on there as well, however the way that everything is displayed will be what users see when they first click on the site. Having interesting and attractive graphics can be the deciding factor in determining whether or not a user stays on the site to have a look around. One place in which computer graphics are particularly important is in the world of online gaming. With sites like partypoker rising in popularity all the time, the way that they look and the image that they project is becoming increasingly vital to their success. When you first head to this website, you are greeted with instantly eye-catching images and graphics. The background is a gradient of green to black and the 'Download Now' and 'Instant Play' buttons are prominent on the left. There are symbols all over the place evoking the game of poker and getting users into the right frame of mind to begin playing. Of course when you are actually involved in a game on this website, the computer graphics make up the majority of your experience and thus become even more important. If you want to see what the experience involves, you can take a tour [here: http://www.partypoker.com/how-to-play/playing-on-our-tables/take-a-tour.html] to find out. From the cards in your own hand to the moves of the other players, everything is represented in this way and contributes to the game. The whole website is also tied together by the Party Poker logo, with the poker chip and the recognizable font style ensuring that you can spot it anywhere.