I’ll only mention Rockstar and Grand Theft Auto once in this review simply for the purpose of putting down any notion that L.A. Noire is “Grand Theft Auto set in the 1940s,” or even that it’s a Rockstar game. It isn’t. Team Bondi developed L.A. Noire and they went for something entirely different. [Read more...]
Between the pair of peripherals released in 2010, the handheld releases in 2011 and the console release in 2012, it’s been a long time since new hardware hasn’t been on our minds. This inevitably leads to the discussion of potential. It’s not about what this hardware can do now, it’s about what it might be able to do in the future.
Almost all the biggest games this year include guns to some capacity. Although not every big game calls itself a shooter, guns are ubiquitous among high profile games. This makes it easy to get fatigued. Why do guns get so much attention as a means of combat while swords, fists and magic fall by the wayside? And why don’t we see more diversity in high profile games? The answer is, who cares?
It’s easy to list games that Outland gets its influence from. It has Metroid style exploration and upgrading, Ikaruga style color switching, Shadow of the Colossus style bosses and N+ or Price of Persia style platforming. And yet, Outland’s unique visual style and beautiful animations stood out to me most the first time I played it. Running and jumping in video games is far from revolutionary, but the fluid motions of your character in Outland and the mix of silhouette and color make Outland’s visual presentation nothing short of stunning.
Portal managed to strike a balance between unique mechanics and polished execution. It did so flawlessly, but Portal 2 faces its own set of challenges. Forced to walk the tightrope of maintaining what made the previous game great while changing it enough to avoid the “1.5” branding, Portal 2 is no doubt a difficult sequel to develop. Luckily, Valve steps up to the plate and delivers one of the most charming games I’ve played since Portal’s initial release in 2007.
Crysis 2 looks good and developer Crytek knows this. The intro credit says “Achieved with CryEngine 3,” and the first achievement you get is called “Can it run Crysis?” However, pretty visuals alone don’t impress me. Luckily, Crysis 2 offers more than just its console-PC flame war inducing graphics. It’s also a fantastic game and a serious contender for the best shooter of 2011.
Set in the United States under North Korean occupation, Homefront attempts to differentiate itself from other first person shooters with a unique back-story. You take control of Robert Jacobs, an ex-helicopter pilot, and fight in the American resistance. This grim scenario could have allowed for an incredibly interesting shooter, but instead fails to implement anything we haven’t already seen in the genre.