Videogames highlights – February 2012
The new installment of my beloved/hated Videogames highlights (let’s call it “installment of the hopefully regained normality”) almost seems a first person shooters fair. Personally I would prefer to devote much more attention to the Half-Life sci-fi universe, but Gabe Newell says that it isn’t the case to stir things up too much before the time has come. Right: Half-Life 2: Episode 3 should be out just for Christmas 2007, so there is still room for rumors on improbable Steam consoles, BAFTA awards (Portal 2) and other niceties. Never mind, it means that I will spend time with Diablo III (coming out on the next 15th of May)!
Almost two years after its debut on Xbox 360, the psychological action thriller by Remedy Entertainment finally lands on PC: Alan Wake features a writer which is trying to fight his demons (he didn’t write anything for two years) in the town of Bright Falls, but he must face a dark force come out from his new and still unpublished novel – unknown even to his author. Remedy had to acquire the publishing rights from Microsoft to let the game arrive on Windows PC, but the patience has brought excellent returns both for developers and players: the former have recovered the investment within the first 48 hours of sale, the latter can enjoy a very good conversion and a “consumer friendly” approach treating piracy as it should be treated and not like the fucking end to all the things.
Far Cry 3
Awaited for September on PC Windows, Xbox 360 and PS3, Far Cry 3 is a shooter set on a tropical island that wants to be realistic and let the player feel like part of a world that has no particular interest for his survival. The official introduction trailer describes the unpleasant beginning of the protagonist’s misadventures, being him entrapped on the island with a series of mentally unstable characters loaded with guns and ammo. His aim is to free himself from that hostile world mission after mission, shooting after shooting and hallucinogenic mushroom after hallucinogenic mushroom (…). The developers say they have learned from the errors made with Far Cry 2 and promise less malaria for everyone.
In a world where developers so desperately try to cover as much gaming platforms as possible, the Polish team of Flying Wild Hog decided to bet everything on the environment that saw the birth and the blooming of the FPS genre: Hard Reset: Extended Edition is the updated and expanded version of an old-school shooter that pays homage to titles like Quake and Unreal, where there are few possible movem
ents and where everything the player needs to do is shoot, shoot, shoot and strafing shoot. To be released for PC Windows on September 2012, better start warming up the machine guns and replacing the GPU cooling fan…
Max Payne 3
The series that brought the use-abuse of bullet time in video games will return this May (PC, Xbox 360, PS3) with the third, messed up adventure featuring the troubled undercover policeman Max Payne: this time the set is a Brazilian city full of gangs, cops and killed corpses, many of which owe their status to our trigger-happy hero. Max Payne 3 will not have the noir settings typical of the series but will keep the violence and the complex plots of the previous chapters, the developers promise. And on the PC the game will look gorgeous.
The bad, nasty and ugly two-dimensional beat’em up/action game named Shank is back badder, nastier and uglier than ever: available since February on PC Windows, Xbox 360 and PS3, Shank 2 improves the cartoonish ultra-violence formula of the original game with updated fighting mechanics, new weapons and a new multiplayer survival mode.
The gaming industry tends to devour itself more than other entertainment sectors, and generally the result is negative proportionally to the greed (foolishness) of unrestrained publishers like Electronic Arts: this new Syndicate is the reboot in first person shooter form of the isometric tactical shooter created by Peter Molyneux’s Bullfrog away back in 1993. The original game was (and still is!) fun, engaging and well done, the remake is painfully poor but it has nice ASCII graphics for pirates. The “masterpiece” from Starbreeze Studios is available since February on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.