Homework 2 – Game Reviews
September 18th, 2011
Angels Fall First: Planetstorm
Angels Fall First: Planetstorm is a first-person, scifi, team-combat shooter that takes the genre to the next level. Unlike the Call of Duty or Battlefield series, AFF: Planetstorm moves the fight from planet to planet all the way into outer space. Players can run and gun as a lone soldier, or mount up onto any one of dozens of combat craft, from two-seater ground attack vehicles to giant capital ships in need of a competent crew. The key to success is teamwork.
The worlds and open space combat grounds are vast and detailed. The combat vehicles and weapons were designed from the ground up, which adds to the initial impact of the game. The game also employs a fairly competent AI that controls any NPCs used to balance out the teams. The demo exhibited a balanced game style that took the fights from relying on heavy armor to individual infantry, which prevented every game from becoming a tank or capital ship battle.
This is definitely a game I would like to play online with team-oriented players. It offers features and gameplay that would appeal to a wider audience than the typical first-person shooter fans. I found myself engulfed in a fight with a horde of AI enemies that dropped like flies as the poured out of the troop transport. Easy kills, to say the least, but I didn’t want to stop. If you have played any first-person shooter before, you will find yourself knee-deep in the fight in a matter of seconds.
Pros: Great graphics, fluid game-play, vast worlds, fresh design and endless replayability.
Cons: The player animations are a little jerky, but you will forget all about it when you gun down a few dozen of them.
This is a modern take on the side-scrolling video games of the 1980s. I was hesitant to try it, simply because the side scrolling games have been done to death. What intrigued me was the depth of the graphics. I decided to go for broke and try it. I was forced to dig out an old game controller in order to play the demo, when I learned that it was designed as a console game. An Xbox controller worked just fine.
The appearance of the opening screen of the game gives you the sense that it’s a 3D shooter. My first instinct was to try to turn around. I watched my character spin instead. After getting used to the scrolling nature of the game, the fun began.
The game is developed in a cartoonish, playful manner, yet the graphics are top-notch. The developers made excellent use of the Unreal Engine. The focal length is narrow. The background blurs off into the distance, which gives you a much greater sense of depth. The character movements are fluid and well animated, adding to the playful environment of the game.
Once you get over the side-scrolling disorientation, the game pulls you in. Since this was a basic demo, there is no way to comment on the long-term playability of the game, but my initial impression was positive. I would definitely reccommend this game to anyone interested in a new twist on an old tried and true theme. Like most side-scrolling games, the replayability usually isn’t there, but we play them for the challenge.
Pros: Amazing graphics, goofy and playful game style, rewarding progress, entertaining sound effects.
Cons: An uncontrollable desire to rotate around with a fixed camera angle. Once you get past it, you’ll have fun.
Hazard: Journey of Life
I decided to go out of my comfort zone and try a game that didn’t look anything like what I’ve played before. Hazard: The Journey of Life most definitely didn’t look like anything I have ever played before. Hazard is a puzzle art game that makes you wonder why it was ever made in the first place. I can only describe the experience as disturbing, and not in a good way.
I guess the graphical interface could best be described as a bad, low-resolution acid flashback. You get the feeling that you are caught in the world of Tron if it were running in a 1972 Texas Instruments calculator. The game, if that’s how you could describe it, leaves you wondering if there is any more, and again, not in a good way. You get the feeling of being a rat in a maze that’s slowly being gassed with bug spray. The music-ish sound effects added to the surreal and disturbing nature of the game. I would imagine that long-term exposure to those sound would make you want to pee.
I finally left the game after repeatedly clicking on the EXIT sign that did not let you exit. Maybe that’s how a suicidal person feels while having a panic attack, since the exit is located behind glass. I’m certain if the game designers equipped you with a gun, it would take no more than 2 minutes before you try to figure out how to use it on yourself. I’m pretty sure the only people who can enjoy this game are those who, like the designer, are on serious medication. If you want a taste of insanity, download this little gem and try it at your own risk.
Pros: I’m still looking for one.
Cons: The whole gaming experience.