Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Medal of Honor Review

Game:  Medal of Honor
Year (s):  2010
Company:  dev. Danger Close, DICE (multiplayer only)  
            pub.  Electronic Arts
Engine:  Unreal Engine 3 (singleplayer), Frostbite 1.5 (multiplayer)
Type:  First-Person Shooter
Metacritic Score:  72
My Score:  I just took a shit that leveled a house

Price (as of May 27, 2012)

Regular price on Steam:  $19.99
Lowest Buy-It-Now on eBay (new, with shipping):  $9.99

Game Time: 5 hours, first time, on default. 

Obligatory Trailer:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1njQT9kJaM

See Also

Call of Duty 4 Review:  http://fpsandmtg.blogspot.com/2012/03/call-of-duty-4-modern-warfare.html


You play the role of a handful of different US soldiers, fighting Al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan.  Things go boom.  Bullets go zoom.  The Colonel and the General will argue again soon.  Welcome to this half-assed cartoon.


There's nothing new to say about an Unreal engine. 

Frostbite has been used exclusively for Medal of Honor and Battlefield titles, and in one Need for Speed game.  I can't comment further because it was confined to the multiplayer.  Due to what I call a bonehead decision, the multiplayer not only has a different developer and engine, but also requires a separate download and a (non-Steam) player registration.  


You may have noticed the See Also was for a different game; it's because they're twins in gameplay.  They even share most of the weapons.

Your teammates are invincible, and with Wolverine-like healing powers, you are too.  Your teammates yell out enemy positions, so you could be amazing at the game while stoned.  Vehicles segments are poorly presented, and probably the only time you might get killed.  AI is insipid.  With no challenge, there isn't anything for the adults in the room to appreciate. 

Expansions / DLC / Sequels

I had the Wikipedia page open.  I could have been professional and added that information here, but I didn't.  Medal of Honor is such a Candyland shooter that I choose to believe any of its bastard offspring, and all the developers, were killed in one of the many, many, in-game airstrikes. 

Final Thoughts

The Good:  My favorite part of the game was, by far, the logo for Danger Close during the game initialization load.  The credits were satisfactory.

The Bad:  Everything else.  This game is insultingly short; with no immersion, no challenge, and nothing done particularly well.  If you get this as a gift, donate it to Good Will. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Serious Sam: The Second Encounter Review

This blog has been sparse lately.  I've been busy playing Darksiders (it's like a Zelda game) and some old Nintendo stuff.  Also, it's nice out.  Anyway.

Game:  Serious Sam: The Second Encounter
Year (s):  2002 (original), 2010 (HD)
Company:  dev.  Crpteam
            pub.  Devolver Digital
Engine:  Serious Engine (original), Serious Engine 3 (HD)
Type:  First-Person Shooter

Price (as of May 24, 2012)

Regular price on Steam:  $19.99
Lowest Buy-It-Now on eBay (new, with shipping):  $4.75

Game Time: 9 hours, first time on easy

Obligatory Trailer:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Udq8Bhswiyc

See Also

The First Encounter Review:  http://fpsandmtg.blogspot.com/2011/06/serious-sam-first-encounter-review.html


Second Encounter starts off with Sam's ship crashing to Earth.  He must travel through time to activate a backup ship, fighting Mental's minions the whole way. 


This continues the style of old-school corridor battles interspersed with huge open areas and an onslaught of enemies.  The environments are more varied for a couple of reasons.  First, the game isn't confined to desert, as parts take place in medieval Europe and the Mayan jungle.  Second, Croteam experimented quite a bit with active area features.  Ice, jump pads, wind, traps... there's even a room that is, basically, a rotating clothes dryer full of death. 

The Second Encounter also featured a few other adjustments.  The game is broken in to three episodes, and a handful of new weapons spice things up (there are new enemies too). 

I played this game one notch lower than default.  It was quick and easy, but some of that may result from the hours spent playing The First Encounter and BFE, or from the better arsenal of weapons. 

Final Thoughts

I prefer this game over the first, but they are both essentially the same Quake 2/Unreal Gold style of gameplay (with more enemies and a touch of humor).  If you're looking to shoot stuff, find keys, hunt for secrets, and not have to think, this one is amusing. 

That being said, the gameplay isn't for everyone, and can border on mindless.  I recommend Serious Sam 3: BFE for anyone new to Serious Sam. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Year In Review: 2004

Year in Review: 2004

Doom 3, Half-Life 2, and Unreal Tournament 2004 were all great, so I thought It'd see what else happened in '04. It turns out I've never heard of most of the games. I'm going to mention titles I'm familiar with, or at least heard of, and ignore the rest.

I used this list http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_first-person_shooters as a reference. Dates are the initial release, and may apply to PC, consoles, or both. Alphabetically:

Doom 3

This paired a brand-new graphics engine with horror elements to reboot the Doom series in a fast-paced, visceral bloodbath. A masterpiece.

Far Cry

Far Cry is best known for enourmousenvironments allowing for one of the first open-world experiences. Slick AI and realistic jungle cat-and-mouse gameplay begat one of the most difficult shooters I've ever played. This is the first game from Crytek.

Half-Life 2

The award-winning Half-Life was followed by the award-wining Half-Life 2. The new Source engine had the best graphics of the time, and still looks good eight years later. This game excelled at pacing and level design, and was quite engaging.


Painkiller is one of the few contenders in the sparse old-school shooter market. This first game in the series had some of the largest bosses I've ever seen, along with hordes of monsters. A cult following continues to play and develop Painkiller titles (the most recent from February 2012) using the same engine and gameplay as this. The developer, People Can Fly, was purchased by Epic in 2007.

Star Wars: Battlefront

This game is noteworthy for supporting an unprecedented number of players and/or bots on team assault maps.

Unreal Tournament 2004

UT 2k4 was easy to LAN and had tons of game types and maps (further bolstered by fan-made content) . Balanced level design and solid bot support helped balance teams and allow a single player to rock out. Unreal Engines 2.0/2.5 were ubiquitously licensed by gaming and simulation developers.

Other Games

Here's a short list of '04 titles that I haven't played but sounded familiar: Halo 2, a Call of Duty title, Counter Strike: Source, a Goldeneye 007 game, a Medal of Honor game, Thief: Deadly Shadows (the final release from Ion Storm), and a Tribes game.

The odds and ends aren't all blockbusters, but I still think 2004 was a great year for the genre. There have been few decisions in my life as difficult as, “Should I get Doom 3, or Half-Life 2?”