Top critical review
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And I still haven't found what I'm looking for.
on 14 August 2013
I expected a Just Cause 2 - Skyrim - Red Dead Redemption - Fall Out - Deus Ex - GTA - Borderlands - Uncharted mashup. Just as some reviewing reviewers reviewed.
I got a Just Cause 2 - Skyrim - Red Dead Redemption - Fall Out - Deus Ex - GTA - Borderlands - Uncharted lite.
It was good. It was far from bad. yet did not excel in any of the areas the above list of aspirations. It was visually impressive... stunning even. The open world was pretty open. The ecosystem was bountiful. I don't think I have ever commented on flora & fauna of a computer game before. That in itself counts for something. kind of.
But ....It wasn't particularly challenging; even on a harder setting and it lacked decision making / choice. all very linear.
Map - for a start, the map shows you absolutely everything, right down to what plants grow where and every animals natural habitat, removing any sense of achievement when locating one; even a 5 year old can point the character in a direction. The map also showed the loot containers - ditto - no fun in finding them... and when you did, they contained very lacklustre items- the majority of which were merely useless items to sell (albeit semi-wittily described useless items to sell). No choice as to what you want to take from each container.
The skill tree although produces a cool tattoo (tatau?) is a very binary checklist. You choose to have a skill or not - no gradual grading of skills to hone your character into your preferred gameplay style. Just gather enough XP and you can have them all.
Vehicles - not too bad handling but didn't really add much to the game apart from a speedier method to get around. Little variety, again location marked on the map. No customisation, no looting from the vehicles. And moreover, no vehicle really felt that fun. Even the wingsuit - a first in my gaming experience was a bit lacklustre. It was more falling with style.
Weapons - a reasonable amount of variety in the game... Well it is a FPS after all. But it was never a challenge to get more ammo (conveniently dispensed at each savehouse by a chilled drinks machine. hmm). Which weapons to carry around represented the main choice of the game - you have a max of 4 slots. Your choice of combo between LMG, shotgun, bow&arrow, pistol, SMG, rocket Launcher, flame thrower, grenade launcher
Economy - money was too easy to come by. From mission 1, I was never strapped for cash. Purchases therefore became rather non-challenging and non-rewarding. A few hours into the game I had enough money to kit myself out with top notch gear. Free rewards (from switching on radio towers) were plentiful.
Missions - a bit stale; go here, collect `x' / kill `y' / do `z' steathily. Nothing that clever or new. Side missions were thoroughly pointless & unchallenging. 1 such mission I had to walk 60 metres, fire a gun near a person (not even at a person) and walk back. Easiest $250 I ever made.
Hunting - pretty good. Crafting - pretty good... although what has made other games so enjoyable is choice or the illusion of choice. Crafting, although you can choose the order there really is no choice. You don't have to sacrifice 1 choice over the other. You just collect more produce to make everything within time.
Collecting -. lots to collect. I can't fault that. Letters from the lost, relics, memory cards. But again they are all marked on the map. I didn't feel that glow of satisfaction when I found a hidden package in GTA (the day I found all 100 GTA 3 parcels ranks right up there with my wedding day and birth of children).
Mini Games - The radio towers which were all unique in terms of scaling were a linear progression akin to the most basic of platform games. No initiative, no variety of methods to achieve the objective. Just find the single route up and climb. All rather dull after the first one. I did enjoy the weapon challenges. But once they were all gone I was all at sea as the saying goes. Racing games - nothing spectacular. Deliver the package - yawn.
Enemy AI - ranged from dumb to fairly good. A good enough variety of enemy types, although improvable by varying skins a little.
In conclusion, it was a better than average FPS. But a worse than average RPG. It tried to tick a lot of boxes but I ultimately think it failed to impress in most areas. Sure it was ok. It was nice. It was pleasant. For me, this was not enough. I may of course be being unreasonable. Is a Just Cause 2 - Skyrim - Red Dead Redemption - Fall Out - Deus Ex - GTA - Borderlands - Uncharted mashup too much to ask?!