The first "real" episode of the new GameCritics podcast is now up and ready for your listening pleasure. Featuring new host Dylan Collins (@VhDylan) the crew takes on Mass Effect 3, best & worst sequels, trailers full of spiders, and I go into great detail on I Am Alive. There's something here to offend everybody! Give a listen, won't you?
Speaking of I Am Alive, I completed the game a few days ago and my review has been submitted. Look for full coverage on that soon, but in the meantime, do yourself a favor and check it out... it may not be to everyone's taste, but I think it's got a lot to say and it manages to say it in very interesting fashion.
In other reviews news, my full writeup of Mass Effect 3 is now live. Also, Eric Bowman (@Ercoman) gives his evaluation of Binary Domain, and it's a favorable one. In case you haven't added this sleeper hit to your to-play list, you can read more on it here.
As to what else I've been playing, I completed Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City in co-op with fellow GC'er Dan Weissenberger, aka @GC_Danny.
It's a pretty strange title in that development was handled by Slant Six, the developer responsible for the PlayStation Portable SOCOM titles. I'm not entirely sure why Capcom didn't handle the reins themselves, nor am I sure why it seems as though Slant Six isn't aware of how rough and unpolished their game is.
Although Raccoon City is getting hammered all over the Internet, I have to say that I did enjoy certain parts of it. The idea of playing as an Umbrella strike team member is pretty cool to me, and shifting the dynamic of power from being a solo hero to being part of a full assault squad struck me as quite interesting and full of promise. Unfortunately, the title's problems far outweigh the good bits.
To start with, the difficulty is way out of control. Dan and I played on the easiest setting (casual) and it was anything but a cakewalk. The enemies are ludicrous bullet-sponges, we were constantly running out of ammo, and holding off the hordes of enemies (even as part of a four-person squad) was pretty overwhelming. The maps are difficult to read, dodging requires multiple simultaneous button presses instead of simply being mapped to "A" like it would be in any normal game, the cover system is questionable and the upgrades and perks for each character aren't very exciting or special.
Something else that struck me is that anyone who hasn't already played Resident Evil 2 (originally released fourteen years ago, mind you) won't have a clue as to what's going on, and there is very little effort made towards making the strike team themselves memorable in any way apart from appearance. I also took special offense at the final level, when players are given a choice whether to protect or kill a certain NPC. Everything happened incredibly fast, and before I knew it, Dan and I were on opposite teams and he killed me before I even realized that our allegiances had changed. That particular twist left a very bitter taste in my mouth, and ended a game with serious problems on an even worse note.
It's not the worst thing I've ever played and I still think the idea of being an Umbrella agent is a good one, but Raccoon City should have been a far, far better title than it is.
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