Gears of War: Judgment is the best Gears of War game yet. Hands down, there's just no other to say it. I could go on and type an opening paragraph in an attempt at coming off as clever or witty, leaving you on the edge of your seat in suspense while yelling, "Just tell us if you liked the game!" I could write vaguely for the next couple hundred of words describing the gameplay, the graphics, the campaign, how annoying the gnasher is all while not giving a verdict until the last sentence. I could show blatant disregard for the inverted pyramid and just list a bunch of nonsensical ramblings. Or, I could do what I just did and tell you in the opening sentence - this game is fun.
Admittedly, I've never been huge on the Gears of War franchise. Every previous installment was given to me, either as a gift or a friend/relative saying, "You have to play this!" It's always been something I've found enjoyable in small doses, an hour here, an hour there, but I've never been one to self identify as a Gears fan. It's always sort of been an exercise in suspending disbelief for me. Gears fans let's face it - everything about this series is utterly absurd: The stout, ridiculously unpractical physiques of every male character; the random profanity laced dialogue, spaced out just to make the game seem edgier; a goddamn chainsaw bayonet. But...it's fun, and at the end of the day isn't the purpose of playing a video game to have fun?
Okay, so let’s get this out of the way, this is NOT a Metal Gear game, it doesn’t have the Kojima flair that you’d expect from a Metal Gear game, if must go into this game aware of this or else your experience won’t be what you’ve hoped for.
Now that that’s out of the way, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has had an interesting development cycle to say the least. From it being revealed with this jaw dropping trailer at E3 2009 and originally was meant to bridge the gap in Raiden’s story from Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4. To briefly being canceled in late in 2010, to eventually changing developers altogether from Kojima Productions to Platinum games. To eventually moving the story from bridging the gap of Raiden from MGS2 and MGS4 to taking place after MGS4.
So how does Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance stack up? It has the visceral gameplay that you’ve come to expect from a Platinum Game project. It is easy to pull off really impressive looking combos, with a press of the light attack and heavy attack everything flows seamlessly into some jaw dropping moves that you can pull off. It abandons a block and dash for their new parry system which is simple and easy to use, just move the left stick toward an opponent press light attack to perform a parry. The biggest new gameplay mechanic that they’ve added is Blade Mode which allows you to cut an enemy once weakened into hundreds of little pieces. While fun and extremely cool, after a while Blade Mode get old. The game does a good job of keeping things moving, fighting a boss every 45 minutes to an hour, it always feels like you’re progressing and they don’t bog you minutia and fluff that most games have today to pad it’s playtime.
Now I’ve already address the length of a game in an article earlier this week right here (http://continueend.com/featured/45-metal-gear-rising-does-length-matter). Metal Gear Rising has about 4-6 hours of gameplay with an hour or two of cut scenes, like I said previously it lends itself to this kind of game because it doesn’t allow the gameplay to get old, it left me wanting more which is better than having me get bored of it. Metal Gear Rising does have a lot of replay value, with it’s grading system of each battle it gives you a challenge to obtain a S ranking for each battle.
The music in the game is, well to put it nicely something that a 15 year old Raiden would listen to and that isn’t a compliment. It has generic rock music with guitar riffs that scream, look at me I can play guitar do you guys love me yet? The music is a huge disappointment, as the Metal Gear series has always had some of the greatest soundtracks in all of video games. Even with the soundtrack being awful, it still somewhat fits in with the action that is going on, so it doesn’t feel out of place as much as it feels just sub par.
If you are familiar with the Metal Gear series and if you’re reading this or if you’ve haven’t been six feet under for the past 15 years. You’ll know that the story telling in the series of the utmost importance and is just as if not more important than the gameplay. In Metal Gear Rising that isn’t the case, the story feels underwhelming and pointless at times. Orphans, war mongers, money, military industrial complex, it doesn’t even come close to high bar that the series has set in the past. If you come into this game expecting narrative being the selling point you’re just going to be disappointed. This isn’t to say that the story doesn’t have some decent points in it, there are a few times where I chuckled a bit, finding random enemies hiding in boxes and cutting them up listening to their cries for help was always fun. Quinton Flynn performance as Raiden at times is excellent and at times is underwhelming and cheesey. Overall if you’re buying this game for the story, don’t, you won’t enjoy yourself.
In the end Metal Gear Rising is an excellent action game while not being a good Metal Gear game and that’s okay. It isn’t a Metal Gear game at heart, it’s a action game with bad music, a bad story and ridiculously fun gameplay. If you come into this game aware of this, you’re going to have yourself a lot of fun, it might not be the game everyone was hoping for but it’s the game that many will enjoy. Now if you excuse me, I need to purchase a high-frequency blade. Continue.
When I first heard about Double Fine teaming up with Ron Gilbert to create a new adventure game, my interest was piqued. Alright, that is a flat-out lie, my interest was more than piqued, I quickly found myself scouring the internet for any information I could find on the upcoming title. The only way that I survived the leadup to the release of the game was doing my best to brainwash myself into forgetting that it was coming out. I wish that I was joking.
As you can probably glean from reading this, I’m a pretty big fan of adventure games, in fact, I grew up playing those games. Sure, I grew up with Mario and Doom like every other kid of the 80’s and 90’s as well, but the games that engrossed me the most were those crazy adventure games. I can’t even explain the countless hours that I spent trying to slog my way through Maniac Mansion and the sheer frustration of not being able to solve a puzzle followed by the ecstasy of finally figuring the damned thing out.
The Cave picks up where Ron Gilbert left off with Maniac Mansion all of those years ago and makes some adjustments to appeal to modern gamers and to work on modern consoles. Basically, it is not a point-and-click adventure title because in case you haven’t noticed, the concept of point-and-click is sometimes a bit cumbersome on a controller. The Cave takes this into account by opting to combine classic adventure gameplay with platforming of sorts and it works almost without fault. I say almost because there are times when the jumping is far-from perfect, but it is definitely acceptable.