Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Wednesday Low-Down 4-20-11

Since this blog is all about me and my journey through the waves of publication glory I thought it would be best to take some time out and talk about some different aspects of my life.  One of them I greatly enjoy is (what I like to call) Launch-Tuesday.  From DVDs to Video Games, almost everything is released on this faithful day.  Sadly, I'm usually so engrossed by the choices that day tends to fly fairly quickly.  I'll try to keep these up every Wednesday or Thursday if possible and provide you just a little more insight on what makes me tick.

So, without further ado, here are some short reviews about my latest purchase/play testing endeavors:

                I'll be honest; I've never played a SOCOM game in my life.  I was enticed by this offer because they had a Full Deployment Edition that bundled everything in the Playstation Move Starter pack (Minus Sports Champions), the Sharp Shooter attachment, and the game for only $150.  It's pretty much like getting SOCOM for free.  I was very impressed with the Playstation Move when I demoed it at Best Buy so this was a win-win situation.
                Unfortunately, after playing with it for a few hours, it's more like a so-so situation.  Don't get me wrong, I loved the SOCOM beta and the new perspective it took on tactical shooting games.  Without playing the originals, I set myself apart from the core members of the franchise.  While so-called "SOCOM 2 vets" abhor this new direction, newcomers like myself welcome it.  However, my actual experience with the final build was a letdown.
                The key feature I was hoping to use and abuse was the Playstation Move/Sharp Shooter combo.  I don't know about everyone else but to me, FPS and Shooter games alike need to be played with a keyboard and mouse, no ifs/ands/buts.  You lose a tremendous amount of precision fiddling around with the thumb sticks hoping to set up a clean aimed shot.  The Sharp Shooter alleviated many of those precision issues but caused horrible pain after usage of more than 20-30 minutes.  My wrist would begin to feel soar and I wouldn't want to play much longer which is sad because the button mapping on the Sharpshooter is brilliant.  I flawlessly transitioned from the controller and really don't see a reason to go back to it.
                Playing online is a lot of fun.  Definitely a change of pace from the shooters I'm used to (Team Fortress 2, Counterstrike: Source) but welcomed.  If only the Sharpshooter wasn't so much of a drag on my hands I'd probably be out there playing it right now.  Overall, it's a solid game and worthy of shelf space on any PS3 enthusiast's shelf.  Just be weary of the Sharp Shooter and you're golden.

Final Rating: B

Mortal Kombat
                I have a tenured history with this franchise.  Mortal Monday fell on my brother's 9th birthday and my father was 1st in line at Toys R' Us to pick up a copy.  When we came home from school we were treated to the most memorably lackluster experience of all time.  Granted, this may have been because we purchased the toned down SNES version but also because the game itself wasn't as good as people made it out to be.
                So here we are, almost 20 years later and what does the new developer NetherRealm bring to the table?  The exact same game with a shiny new coat of paint.  I swear, it felt like I was playing the old arcade version with the same clunky jump mechanics, robotic hit detection, and painfully complex special moves.  Now, I love fighting games.  Over 50% of my Dreamcast collection is filled with them.  I've played them all from the amazing (Project Justice, Capcom vs. SNK) to the less fortunate (Plasma Sword).  I'm definitely no stranger to the genre.  After playing Street Fighter 2 to death on the SNES, Mortal Kombat was supposed to be a refreshing change.  But sadly, the mechanics and fighting system were borderline terrible.  After that experienced, I could never be a true fan of the franchise, and that's what I believed when I was only 10 years old.  Now this rendition of Mortal Kombat takes the same tried and true formula which sadly only appeals to fans of excess and downright ridiculous violence.
                I'll admit, NetherRealm completely stepped up their game by producing some of the most horrendous and creative fatalities of all time.  Noob Saibot takes the cake with a devastating move in which he clones himself and splits the victim in half by pulling their legs in the opposite direction.  Watching the opponent gasp in horror as they reach the neck is downright painful and hard to watch the first time through.
                This is the essential flaw with Mortal Kombat.  Everything seems cool and original...  At first.  As soon as you are used to seeing everything (in this case, being desensitized) then what are you left with?  A mediocre fighting game not even worthy of being on the Annual Evolution Fighting Tournament.  Fans of GTA will enjoy watching all of the fatalities and bone crunching hits for a good month because afterwards, things become stale and boring.  If anything, this is a rental at best.  Spend a weekend ripping out the each other's intestines and then take pleasure in the purity of a true fighting engine with Super Street Fighter 4 or Marvel vs Capcom 3.

Final Rating: D

I really...  REALLY wanted to buy Portal 2 this week as well but sadly my budget constraints and common sense did not allow any wiggle room this week.  That and I'm waiting for a price drop.  I played the original when the Orange Box launched back in 2007 and it was worth every penny.  I just couldn't see myself dropping $40-50 on it.  Definitely a $30 and under purchase though.  Owners of the game, no spoilers please to maintain my sanity.

Truth be told, I'll probably break by the end of the week.


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