Friday, May 28

Wild Horses

Some things never change. I invited my brother to join in on a Free Roam play session, so I could explore Red Dead Redemption's multiplayer offering with a dependable contemporary. Our sibling rivalry was quickly rediscovered. Upon connecting to the session, he looked pretty smug, riding into the MacFarlane Ranch on his shiny mule. I couldn't stand it, so I did what any reasonable man would do: I plugged his awkward steed right in-between the eyes. As his mount collapsed to the ground, my brother's screams of anguish bellowed through our Skype call. Not content to leave my brother alone in the depths of his grief, I strode towards him, gun drawn and sent to him to the underworld with his equine companion. I began to cackle maniacally, content that I had established my authority.

As is most always the case, I had assumed dominance too early. Aforementioned brother proceeded to kill me several times in quick succession. To save face, and to stop an endless run of respawns, I called a truce and we proceeded to storm several gang hideouts. While this was fun, I found much more enjoyment killing NPCs, animals and other players unfortunate enough to join our session with a friend (or sibling as it were) in tow. Poor old sk8erbee, we hunted you down like a dog. You put up a good fight though, until next time.

I'll play the campaign on and off for the next few weeks and will post a review upon completion. The plan for now is to move onto some new stimulus (no Modern Warfare pun intended). We've just upgraded our download quota to the point where I can actually download recent releases from Steam without receding to snail speed. I am inexorably excited at the prospect of being able to download anything and everything until I fill up the hard drives on my 360, PS3 and PC (even my PSPgo). I've already picked up demos for Split/Second, UFC 2010, Rocket Knight, Splinter Cell: Conviction and Tiger Woods 11.

I'm tossing up whether I should get the Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Elite Echelon Edition off Steam which includes all the Splinter Cell titles for less than 50 USD. What do you reckon? For me, Sam Fisher has always been Solid Snake's dorky, awkward cousin. From what I've heard, Conviction takes the series in a direction which I would find more agreeable. Chaos Theory was good fun with company, but Double Agent was mediocre at its best. I've always wanted to love the Splinter Cell games, but the combination of flawed stealth mechanics and Michael Ironside's ham-fisted voice acting have ensured that the Metal Gears have secured (exponentially) more playtime.  

I'm also planning to start on Lost Planet 2. My impressions so far have been mixed. Playing the co-op campaign has been an enjoyable exercise in brutality. For competitive matches however, the connection quality is so poor that I have not been able to complete a match. Not because I'm quitting, rather the connection drops after about 3 minutes. Not happy with that I must admit. If at all possible, I am going to avoid playing the campaign solo altogether. I've read enough to know that it's torture that is best avoided.

Can anyone help with Splinter Cell? Yay or nay?


  1. A nice update indeed! In regards to RDR, my copy still hasn't arrived. I suppose there's more than enough entertainment as is!

    I found Split Second to be a bit of a non-event, all things considered. A case of a game showing its hand early, leaving nothing more than a curious case of it being at its best when you're behind the pack - rather than leading it. Glad I chose Blur over it.

    As far as Splinter Cell goes...50USD is alright, I suppose, but I reckon you're only really paying for Chaos Theory and Conviction. Seems alright!

    And got up to the infamous sandworm-esque Akrid in Episode 3, Chapter 3. Holy hell! Massive, tough as hell, amazing. I can see folks not enjoying it, but so far, it's my GOTY! So intricate, challenging and beautiful.

  2. GOTY? Talk about showing you hand early! :p

    I agree wholeheartedly with you assessment of Split/Second. I don't where it can go from the demo (other than meh-town).

  3. Interestingly enough, LP2 is on the top of the charts over here on the Media Create charts. Who would have thought!

    I know it's a big call, and one written coming off the hectic battle against an airship-sized beast, but if it doesn't remain the GOTY - there's the possibility of it getting beaten out by Kane & Lynch 2 or Brink, it's already cemented itself as a title dear to my heart.

    And Split/Second...yeah, what a waste! It's a contentious viewpoint, but I had much more fun with the Stuntman Ignition demo than with Split/Second. S/S felt like a cheaper, more gimmicky Burnout.

  4. Dude I don't mean to generalise, but a game full of mechs and giant monsters: if that didn't top the charts in Japan I would have been deeply concerned. Brink should be awesome, but Kane & Lynch 2? I think you'll come away disappointed, much like I did with the first game.

    Once again, you are right on the money with Split/Second. The poor man's Burnout for sure.

  5. Well, you'd have to consider what else hit at around the same time as LP2 - namely Metal Gear Solid Peacewalker, the new Dragon Quest etc. The bigger surprise is that while the PS3 version of LP2 topped the charts, the 360 version comes in at number five! 360! I mean, apart from Cave bullet-hell shmups, what else would the discerning Japanese gamer have a 360 for?!

    I'm a huge fan of IO Interactive's work, and while the gameplay of K&L:DM was fairly uneven - broken in some sections - I found the characters to be the most interesting and the intention the most dramatic of this gen - no joke! Much like the original Hitman game, their first attempts at a new franchise can go either way. Hitman and K&L were stumbling affairs with great potential, whilst Freedom Fighters and Mini Ninjas were top-notch. It's the stumbling titles that get their sequels down pat and go on to do amazing things. Stylistically, K&L2 looks like it's going in all the right directions. All reports say the gunplay and cover is much improved and features some very impressive camera work. But the character development and script is what will be the big winner for me, I predict.

  6. It Hurts to say this but dont get splintercell, its going for a trade in very soon, gonna put it towards lost planet 2 on friday, yes i will be joining your LP2 posse now guys, Taz as im forgetfull i recommend you add me on PSN, my id is Tribune.

  7. Dude, LP2 is just not my cup of tea, and as I find there no need what-so0ever to own a 360 (apart from ME), I would recommend against SC. Seriously dude, it is a poor version of MGS. You know this, I know this, everyone knows this.

    Also, hoping to pick up RDR today> Will be mosying along the plain tonight hopefully!@

  8. I played the demo of Conviction. Good, not great.

    Try the actual campaign of Lost Planet 2 Sambo. You may be surprised what you find. Once again, good, not great.

  9. well after that stellar review i may just leave LP2 out, i know youll know try the convincing nah but itll be mad multi, i have red dead for that. I want something all comsuming.

  10. On a completely unrelated note, I am really really pumped for Killzone 3. it looks so smexy. And Reubs, I think you may be waiting a while for the all consuming game (aside from Red Dead). Most of the games that are coming out are going to be good, but nothing that will hold your attention for a 100 hours

  11. I wouldn't recommend LP2 Reuben. To do so would be selfish. I am only looking for an extra squad member, the game (from my experience) is too inconsistent to endorse. If you have the disposable income great, if not, leave it be.

    Killzone 3 will only be good if Rico is killed from the outset. He is the worst character in videogame history.

    There's not much coming out for a while Rubes.

  12. what about alpha proptocol, any reviews yet??

    People we need to organise a posse meet up on the weekend preferably saturday during the day as the wife is out and i can play games for a solid 8 hours, unless given chores but i want to do some wrangling and shoot outs with you all.

  13. Dude Red Dead is literally sold out everywhere at the moment!!! It is ridiculous. I was hoping for some posse action tonight, but that's not happening now damn it!

    Also, I am going to get myself a pair of Astro A40s!

  14. I hear Alpha Protocol is a patchy misfire at the moment. Gunplay is woefully underwhelming - which negates the weapon customisation aspects, plus it's your usual Obsidian affair of buggy, glitchy camera and graphics hampering an ambitious reach for the stars. A massive shame. If any platform is to be recommended playing it on, it'd be PC - where, much like KOTOR2, the fans can fix the bugs and finish off the game.

    I'll add you on PSN, Reubes. I can't do anything to persuade any folks to grab LP2, but I'm having an utter ball. The single player - which is secondary to co-op - is hard, punishing, but for proving to have amazing replay value. Lots of different weapon-runs, always attempting objectives in different ways. It's like the prototypical action-MMO, where the quest itself is the drive, rather than the story. Just big, exciting setpiece battles and gorgeous design mirroring quest instances in your more traditional MMOs such as Phantasy Star Online or the popularised four-player questing action-RPGs on the PSP.

    My RDR hasn't arrived yet either, which is a shame. I really wish it wasn't getting all the exposure on the podcasts I listen's making me wonder on RDR's legs in terms of multiplayer - some wet blankets sadly stated things along the line of "Hey, I was thinking - like most people who saw the trailer - this was going to be the next big thing in multiplayer. Sadly, not to be. Sort of like the Uncharted 2 multiplayer syndrome - great for the first few weeks, then you'll never touch it again."

    Hope that's not the case.

  15. RDR will last as long as you make it. There is quite a lot of content to be sifted through online. That is with or without a posse.

    Uncharted 2's multiplayer didn't do anything for me, but then again it is well supported. With the cover system and competent gunplay it had plenty of potential, but the community was the killer I thought. There were many instances where people were rage quitting midway through matches (competitive and co-op). There was obviously not enough of a penalty for truant players.

  16. Good to hear on the RDR front, then. You've saved my enthusiasm. On the topic of Rockstar sandbox...isn't it time we saw a new Smuggler's Run? Because this gen, with this tech? Yes please. Post-apocalyptic car-wars with the wonderful trading system we saw in Chinatown Wars. I'd be all over that.

  17. I can remember renting Smuggler's Run, but I can't actually remember how it played. I would imagine the current iteration to be something like Motorstorm crossed with Privateer.

    I am of the opinion that GTA: Chinatown Wars is a thoroughly overrated game. I understand the change in perspective was unexpected, but I haven't found the story or play to be overly compelling. The drug trade system was a bit shallow. Buy drugs when on sale, sell when in demand. I sold coke for an exorbinant price and had enough money to buy stockpiles of all narcotics on offer. I then had enough money to not give a damn about it anymore.

  18. I didn't care much for the story, but the game itself took me back to the good ol' days of GTA, where going on a top-down rampage was the reason to play. The drug-trading aspect was something I dug because it led to a lot of city-exploration. The missions? Take them or leave them.

    You're right about the cash situation, though. I wish they'd allow the purchase of businesses and add a more mature level to their take on organised crime. But perhaps that'd go over the target audience.