kalirion: Darksiders Warmastered Edition
Fun action/metroidvania/hack'n'slash/rpg/whateveryouwannacallit. I didn't collect everything though.
I really liked this one. I'm worried about starting the 2nd game because I've heard its so buggy.
Finally finished Prince of Persia (2008)
on PS3. I've always been a huge fan of the series and I was expecting that this almost cult-classic that received tons of great reviews but failed commercially might become my favourite in the series. Well, it did not.
Frankly, after all the great things I've heard about it and considering how fantastic the "Sands" trilogy was, this was a gigantic letdown. I don't even know where to start, I have issues with almost every single aspect of this game, starting with the graphical style. I don't hate it but I certainly don't love it. I love stylised graphics but this weird combo of realism with hand-painted textures just doesn't work for me. I didn't like it in the Telltale games, I don't like it here. But enough about that...
I hate the game's format and it's one of the worst and most pointless uses of an "open world" I've seen. First off: you can do almost anything in the game in any order. This means that you know in advance that there will be nothing interesting going on, no character development, not a single turn of events and yes, there actually isn't. The only thing you get is one very brief story sequence after you've defeated either boss and there isn't much going on either. Secondly, the game's entire routine is: enter a new "corrupted" area, platform your way to the boss, kill him, now "enjoy" collecting orbs that have appeared in the very same places you just passed. And you have to kill each boss five times (or six, not sure) and there's practically no enemies in-between besides some weird random shadow thingy that appears once in a blue moon and is disposed of in seconds. And collecting those arbitrarily placed blue orbs really shouldn't be the main portion of the game, right?
Then there's the platforming which is obviously the core gameplay. Oh, it LOOKS great but if it were great I'd be having fun, wouldn't I? I'm not. That's because the platforming is a series of quick time events on rails. In a good platform game you have to aim jumps, time them AND explore the environment to figure out how to do them. Nothing of that applies here. The game is based on platforms you can safely stand on which are connected by "platforming tunnels". If you fall, you return to the last platform. The thing is that once you leave a platform there's usually only one way, sometimes small crossings, and there's really no thinking involved in getting through these. The entire challenge is based on the fact that depending on the wall element you reach next you have to press a different button. Some sections can be done entirely without even touching the stick, just press the right button when the Prince has reached the right spot. Oh yeah, and there's almost no environmental puzzles and the ones that are there are pathetic compared to the ones from the "Sands" series.
Then there's the combat which suffers from pretty much the same issues as the platforming. All fights are 1 on 1 against some dude and are basically QTE sequences. The game doesn't openly show that they are QTEs (well, except when it actually does because there ARE additionally tons of actual QTEs during the fights) but basically it's just about pushing buttons the right moment and depending on the enemy's "state" you have to press a different button. And the "right" way fight is to learn the combos, which are long and seriously arbitrary button sequences which you can look up in the pause menu. And it's not special attacks like in say God of War, oh no, it's just chains of standard attacks. Push the wrong button, chain broken. Yeah, I'm not gonna waste my time learning those when short bursts will also quickly dispose of either boss. And technically all fights look the same. They all take place in a small arena, the enemies don't really do anything interesting. There's one boss who can only be killed by pushing him off ledges or into stuff but that's the best the game does.
Oh, and there's a progression system. Every billion orbs you collect you can unlock some new power of Ormazd. What do these do? They extend the QTE platforming, yay! They unlock different kinds of plates. When you reach a plate you press Y/triangle and... in two cases you're just thrown away in the right direction, in one case you start a short Temple Run kind of thing and in the final one you have a mediocre flying sequence that plays like Rebel Assault minus shooting (including Rebel Assault's readability problems). So basically all powers do the same thing in a slightly different way.
Then there's the story which is okay I guess but really not exciting and, as I mentioned, lacked any turns of events or genuine climaxes. I think in the whole game there's just three characters besides two bandits or something in the intro (but I don't remember exactly because I started this playthrough last year). And the game begins with a punch in the face of fans of the "Sands" fans since the Prince yells "Farah!" all the time - who is revealed to be a lost donkey. And this version of the prince is Nathan Drake. Literally. It's Nathan Drake. He's an adventurous, cocky thief with a heart of gold. Voiced by Nolan North. Yeah, it's Nathan Drake in a turban.
I guess the music was decent but... you will hear that same epic oriental theme a million times over the course of the game. If there's ever been a game with too little music it's this one.
So yeah, I really didn't enjoy it much and just wanted to get it over with.
Now, the thing is this: the game's ending is pretty great. There's one small twist in the end that is better than any other moment in the game. A great open ending. And then they released the Epilogue DLC which I haven't played yet but which presumably ruins the one great thing the game had going for it. Well, here's hoping that it's better than the base game.
Disappointing to hear this because I really like what I've seen from the Sand series after 2.5 games.