Friday, February 06, 2015

First Impressions #1 - Apotheon & Dead Space 3

Introducing a new segment on the Chessasaur blognet, "First Impressions" where I put down some quick thoughts about games that I've just started.

Apotheon Image Apotheon (PC) - I was looking forward to this one since I first heard about it last year. It's like playing a game that was painted onto a Grecian urn. In a word, the art in this game is incredible! As 2-D side-scrolling action games go, it's good, but there are some annoying control quirks - like holding up a shield toward an enemy, trying to back away, and flipping around, which exposes your back! Some of the combat devolves into almost Super Smash Bros kind of aerial flights and weapon selection can get a little cumbersome. There's a fair amount of voice work in the game and to be honest, I wish there wasn't. It would have been more impressive, I think, if it had been more like the old Lego games. Hearing American or English voices coming out of people and gods from ancient Greece just seems wrong.

Dead Space 3 Image Dead Space 3 (PS3) - Having just finished #2 and wanting to see what happened with Ellie and Isaac, I jumped right into Dead Space 3. I started on the PC (ie, Origin) and was doing fine until it instructed me to "crouch" with the X key. Crouch? There's no crouching in Dead Space games!! So, I abandoned that until I could work out a good alternative for the Fangpad. The next night, I decided to play the PS3 version (I have the disc and free PS+ downloadable versions), figuring that the controller layout might be easier to deal with.

And here I'm going to put in a new Pet Peeve - game makers have got to STOP putting multiple operations on individual controller keys! This is something I'm feeling is unique to console games since I haven't encountered it on a PC game (yet?). One example in this game is the R3 button (which is hardly even a "button" at all!) - press it once and Isaac crouches; press and hold and it's the directional beacon signal! So, if you go to figure out your heading and you don't hold the R-stick down long enough, you crouch and start moving at about half speed!

Anyway, part of me wanted to try to play it this way since I sometimes feel I don't get enough "gamepad" exercise, but while the Dead Space series looks like a 3rd person action game, it's really a cleverly disguised first-person shooter. This means that aiming is crucial in staying alive and not wasting a ton of ammo. For me, I've always had issues aiming weapons using thumbsticks, with the exception of Halo - for some reason, they just got it right. So, I'm going to have to go back to playing it on the PC, and I also want to compare some of the weapons. It seemed like the low end guns didn't have as much "punch" in the PS3 version as they did on the PC. I was playing on the same difficulty level (yes, Casual), but either I was missing A LOT or the bullets weren't doing as much damage.

What I will say is that I'm super impressed with the game so far and am really looking forward to playing more! As I'd hoped, Ellie and Isaac stayed together after the events on Titan station and now she's gone missing which gives him something to fight for. With all he's been through, she's probably all he has left. (The text log that's on the bed gives a little nod to the line in DS2 where Ellie says he owes her an eye!) Ironically, the lunar city Isaac is in looks like Neuromancer's Sprawl - something that the space station never did even if that's what it had been called. The amount of action sequences in just the first hour are better and more impressive than almost anything in Dead Space 2. I don't know why this entry got such low review scores (with GameInformer being a notable exception), and I hope it doesn't slow down, but so I'm far thrilled!

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