Monday, January 25, 2010

Deserved criticism, surprised praise

Finally picked up the February issue of PC Gamer this weekend.

All the excitement has been sucked out of going to the bookstore to buy a gaming magazine. It was but three years ago (maybe) two or three titles would dot the rack, all with their own sneaks, previews and different takes on the PC gaming universe.

Sure we all complained about the hype and the occassional bias apparently given for those behind the scene stories, but at least there were choices between reviews and articles. Best of all, there was a lot to help with that gaming fix.

Now its just PC Gamer, and while its a good magazine staffed by people who obviously love PC games, its a title produced between the British and American offices with no clear line between who is who.

Some Sanity, At Last
Affirmation can come in many forms, mine came with the PC Gamer review of Modern Warfare 2. One would think with all the unquestionable praise from its base of PC players the game would get an 'Editors Choice' moniker. There are no dedicated servers but the ingenuity of the limited mutliplayer and revolutionary single player help overlook any shortcomings, the fans claim.

Not according to Tom Francis.

'You can duck behind cover and wait for the bullet wounds to wear off, just like in a real war. Its fun for a while but not indefinitely. When MW2 tries for an atmosphere of explosive pendemonium, it absolutely nails it-but at the expense of any tactical freedom, space to think or choice about where to go.'

Although Francis liked some of the set pieces, such as the much talked about coop play with the AC-130 gunship, the game wasn't everything the forums had claimed. For something that screamed off the shelves in record numbers, it only reached 80% in the final opinion of PC Gamer.

The reviewer could have been publishing my opinions about Modern Warfare with this same review. I bought MW on sale at Steam with the sole purpose to see if I was missing out on anything as MW2 made headlines in conventional newpapers such as USA Today. I had previously dropped out of the Call of Duty series some time back feeling the same that I felt aftter playing MW; Great linear play with some exciting moments, but pretty much leaving an empty feeling afterwards.

In complete contrast, when I finished Dead Space it took all the willpower, as well as a stack of unplayed games, not to dive right back in and play through it again.

Modern Warfare hasn't been booted up since my first play through.

World War 2, but in a good way
What did catch my eye in the current issue of PC Gamer was the review for Saboteur. The open world, GTA-style game has the player sneaking, killing and blowing up his way through Germany-occupied Paris.

This much lesser known title snuck away with a rating of 86% with the gameplay sounding much more like Thief than any GTA game. The graphics look good from the pictures and website, gameplay appears consistent and the voice acting is spot on, according to the review.

Once I get through the multitide of titles that have downloaded themselves onto my hardrive, I'll have to look at Saboteur. Who knows, maybe by then it'll be on sale!

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