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Batman, Super Spies and Soldiers

After finishing Uncharted 3 faster than I thought I would, I decided to have a console game clear out. I had numerous console games hanging around in various stages of completion that weren’t going to go anywhere. Get rid. Trade them in. What was great about this is I got 20 GBP for trading in Uncharted 3 and it only cost me 24 GBP from ASDA so I played it for almost nothing. Bargain. Certainly worth the ten hours it delivered. I used the assorted funds to get Batman: Arkham City one of the new games on my ‘must play list’, and three older games that I just never got around to purchasing: Rainbow Six: Vegas 2, Alphas Protocol and Operation Flashpoint.

I’ve gone through the update and install routine with all the games and played them for about 30 minutes, with Arkham City getting a longer stretch.

I really liked Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City looks to be more of the same but with a more open and expansive setting. I’m not usually a big fan of open world games unless they shove in enough narrative to keep me occupied. I’m not interested in wondering around making my own entertainment when it comes to console games. Thankfully, there always seems to be a narrative strand to follow as well as interesting side missions kicking off through interaction with Batman’s many and varied cast. The one side mission I have at the minute was established through an interaction with Bane and is related to the previous game. All the various missions seem to be placed on the digital map to keep me all organised. All good. It exudes quality and I fully expect to be a great experience.

Alpha Protocol often goes down as one of those brilliant but flawed games. The magnitude of the ‘flawed’ part depending on who you speak to. It’s a very interesting premise. A role-playing game but not one set in a fantasy or a science fiction milieu but one of cinematic espionage. Regrettably, the verdict on the game has already been given and sales haven’t guaranteed it becoming a franchise. This is a pity as the combination could be brilliant. I’ve played about twenty minutes of it and it feels really good. There is already a number of things I like. It really feels like an espionage game, especially with the use of continuous ‘ear piece’ communication in the opening sections. The experience system is good, looking like it allows for very different characters, though it’s already causing minor build anxiety. The mini-games on security locks are already a bit annoying. We shall see. It’s a bit like a slightly older Bioware game with the branding filed off (as the developer did Knights of the Old Republic II). They have the espionage feel right. Looking forward to seeing how epic the experience gets.

Operation Flashpoint is intriguing, as it was a game I was really looking forward to but then the reviews and player feedback was…mixed. It was one of those games that was destined to have a confused reception. A simulation-based, realistic, tactical shooter was bound to be disliked by the FPS crowd who would end up buying it despite being well warned in advance. Those wanting the realistic and tactical experience would no doubt complain the game was too much of an arcade experience. Throw in the fact the developers and publishers actually lied about the game before it was released (the game is in no way an open ended military campaign on an open world island) and you have a recipe for disaster. The initial 30-minutes? It’s certainly not a typical FPS. I’m going to have to resort to reading the….manual. Not only that, it seems to realistic that combat seems to take place at distances that ensure your never fully sure who or what you are shooting at. Just like all those ‘from the front’ videos you see these days. Interesting, but it’s going to take some work. A slow burner.

Rainbow SIx: Vegas 2 is pretty much an old game I always meant to play after really enjoying the first one many, many years ago on the Xbox 360. I just never seemed to get around to purchasing it.

That’s pretty much my console game schedule set until March and, to be honest, probably beyond. I can’t see me finishing all those games before Mass Effect 3 is released. Especially since I only have Friday – Sunday to play them. I’m really going to have to pick one and stick with it otherwise I’ll just spread myself too thin. It’ll probably be Batman just from the point of view the other games have negligible return value.

About Ian O'Rourke

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