Years after the Hype

Rumpy
Lately, meaning the last several years or so, I've been playing older games that are several years old, rather than newest as I don't have the absolute best PC or console, which often means I get to playing games that were at one point hyped up. The effect of this is interesting, in the sense that I can judge these games on their merits alone rather than being clouded by hype. Sometimes, games that have been seen as disappointments end up exceeding expectations, such as in my case, ID's Rage, a beautiful game that I feel didn't deserve the thrashing it got. Or sometimes a game that has such hype surrounding it that it can't help escape disappointment one way or another, even when much time has elapsed. But that's an interesting question in itself, isn't it? Can a game stand on its own merits? Or does it collapse under the weight of its own hype?

Well, a little background on this one. I had a friend who loved History and recommended the Assassin Creed games to me, and at the time, I hadn't heard of them. Then years later, saw the first game in a store and bought it. By then, the 2nd game and its mini-sequels had been released. So, yeah, there was a lot of buzz, so I decided to check out the first game. I really couldn't get much of a handle on it. Everything had felt so clunky and it was a tedious game. But the concept was alright. I got bored about halfway through it and shelved it for a couple of years. Then after Black Flag came out, I got that and played it and loved it. Which made me want to play the first one again, and it was actually much easier once I was prepared to deal with some of its awkwardness. Actually beat it too.

So, I actually became more interested in these games and ended up buying a number of them, including AC3, Rogue, 2 and its other games. I played AC3 first, and loved it. No, seriously. Despite the things said about it, it can actually be quite a good game taken at face value. Something about it really clicked for me, and I loved exploring the Frontier. But the less said about Paul Revere, the better...

Ok, I know I'm weird, but I went from that to AC2. I think this game is generally considered the best of the franchise? But It may be the buzz surrounding this game combined with the fact that it's an older looking game, but I was pretty unimpressed with this one. In comparison, I actually liked AC3 a lot more. The design of this game just felt oddly sterile, drab and lifeless, considering Italy should have been full of life and color. I thought that maybe there would be more flavour to it, but I was quite underwhelmed. In Black Flag and even in AC3, the people you assassinate are more prominent figures. Here, they felt like mere stepping stones. And I also felt Rodriga Borgia wasn't as well done in terms of a villain in this game. Until the very end, he doesn't have very much presence, which was a step down from the first game. In the end, it didn't really click with me. And that ending...

Sadly, I feel AC2 is one of the latter.

Comments

  • 16 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Gratch
    GT Member
    I need to get on this "one year behind" cycle, as I spend a ton on new games that I never really get around to playing and/or finishing.
  • EngineNo9
    GT Member
    Gratch wrote: »
    I need to get on this "one year behind" cycle, as I spend a ton on new games that I never really get around to playing and/or finishing.

    Yeah, I wish I could do that as well. The problem is that I am just too attuned to what is new and need to check it out.

    I also find that any games I buy late and on sale rarely seem to get played. If it wasn't important enough for me to get excited about on launch I can rarely convince myself to play it instead of something else exciting and newer.
  • Rumpy
    GT Member
    It's actually more than just a few years behind. Part of the thing behind this is that I once was more into the upgrade curve and knew much more about what I wanted or needed. But over time, that became less important to me. So, while I eventually get to big ticket games, it will usually be years later when I can finally come around to it. So, it's created a natural filtering process. The benefit of this is that I can find some gems that have been overlooked by some and just generally enjoy things more for their own merits.

    This might sound strange, but I still don't operate a 64-bit version of Windows. Very seldomly do I find myself needing it. There have only been a few times I've bought a game on Steam by mistake without realizing they were or been gifted one that's 64-bit only, but for the most part, I get by. It's only been within the last 3 years or so when 64-bit games have become more common, and I always justify it by saying that I'll eventually come around to upgrading. The advantage is that I don't feel stressed about needing to play the biggest and latest games and I find myself catching up on older releases that I've wanted to play, and I'm perfectly happy doing so. I just got done playing the Tomb Raider reboot.

    One thing I've noticed that GOG doesn't do that Steam does is list whether a game is 64-bit or not as part of their specs, which sounds like something moot from a certain point of view, but their site has so many older games, that having 64-bit only games and not have it listed is kind of an awkward oversight. I once had gotten a free game from them, Jotun, I think, and I couldn't figure out why I couldn't play it until I went to the forum associated for the game and found others pointing out it was a 64-bit game. :/

    On the console side of things, I still only have a PS3. I've loved catching up on older games with it, like the AC series for instance. I think I'm nearing the point though where I'll be ready to possibly sell it and getting a PS4 around Christmas to play some of the newer generation of games and prime myself for RDR2.
  • Gratch
    GT Member
    EngineNo9 wrote: »
    I also find that any games I buy late and on sale rarely seem to get played. If it wasn't important enough for me to get excited about on launch I can rarely convince myself to play it instead of something else exciting and newer.

    Very true. The number of unplayed games in my Steam library is, frankly, embarrassing.
  • Purge
    GT Member
    Gratch wrote: »
    EngineNo9 wrote: »
    I also find that any games I buy late and on sale rarely seem to get played. If it wasn't important enough for me to get excited about on launch I can rarely convince myself to play it instead of something else exciting and newer.

    Very true. The number of unplayed games in my Steam library is, frankly, embarrassing the norm.

    FTFY ;)
  • Rumpy
    GT Member
    Heck, I buy games knowing I won't be getting to them for awhile. I'm supposed to be buying a Steam card for myself as a gift this past Birthday of mine, but I've yet to go and do that knowing I already have plenty of games waiting.
  • Rumpy
    GT Member edited October 15
    So, next The Force Unleashed. Was this game unfairly criticized or was it simply a bad game? Well, yes and no.

    I think if you set aside all the controversy surrounding the game and focus on the game itself, it can be fairly interesting. Admittedly, the gameplay itself feels uninspired, and sometimes even at odds with itself. It's certainly no Jedi Knight game, that's for sure. I think the thing is, the force powers are lacking in variety and the game relies too much on combos. So, most of the fighting ends up either force lightning or force push choices, which kind of gets old quickly. With the Jedi Knight games, you could at least choose the force powers you wanted and make things more interesting.

    If there's one criticism I have, it's that its main selling point, the mechanic that allows you to manipulate objects, isn't really used to its full advantage. It's actually used very seldomly when needed to move forward in a level. In fact, I'd have to say, Force Push is used more, to break down doors for instance.

    The story itself is actually kind of interesting. I didn't realize until further into the game that it was actually a prequel setting itself between ROTS and ANH. I thought it was fairly well written, and probably the best part of the game. The animation in the cutscenes is also fairly well done, which can be attributed to motion-capture. Most people though likely won't ever see the story due to frustrating gameplay. Well, I did say interesting, but I feel the story actually falls apart at the end where it canonically doesn't make sense.

    I think the most frustrating part, and most would agree with me, was bringing the Star Destroyer down. It's actually not all that difficult once you know what you should actually be doing and ignore the on-screen instructions and just follow your instincts. I think the fault with this part were the on-screen instructions and the way they were drawn. Most would expect the directions to be seen as though you're looking from the top of the controller, but for some reason, they chose to display it as though the controller were in a horizontal profile, which simply isn't realistic. For example, when the right stick is supposed to stay center, it looks like it's pushing up, causing the confusion. If it had been drawn looking from top-down, it would have solved the confusion and would have been much easier.

    So, story aside, I think it's not a great Star Wars game. It's not even a great game in general. But I do think it is better than people gave it credit for. It's simply passable Star Wars entertainment.

    Heh, these almost sound like they could be a series of articles...
  • Dante Rising
    GT Member
    I'm trying to understand why I purchase new games at all. My Steam library has over 200 games I haven't touched, and between all the consoles and portables, I probably have another hundred games unplayed, and in many cases unopened.

    Years ago, before just about every new game was available digitally, one could argue that it was better to pick up the game before it disappeared or became a vastly more expensive collector item. But now?

    In some instances, like Beyond Divinity 2, I'll purchase the game at full price to support the developer. But in most cases I think I'm being a mindless drone to Capatalism. Consume, consume, consume. A friend of mine estimated that I would need about 60 weeks, playing games like a full time job, just to,get caught up on my current library if I didn't buy even one more title. Considering I play about 10 hours per week, the deficit is growing larger.

    That isn't meant to brag. It is a representation of how absurd my gaming habits are when quantified.
  • Isgrimnur
    GT Member
    We're still a victim of old habits that are no longer appropriate to the facts on the ground, be it game hoarding or the legacy of human evolution.
  • Rumpy
    GT Member
    I think Steam sales have largely helped. I usually wait until the games I want are cheap enough. I buy them, and then they wait until I get around to them, which often can take a year or more.
  • Rumpy
    GT Member edited October 20
    Ok, The Force Unleashed II. Colour me surprised, this is actually a pretty good Star Wars game! They've improved a ton of things from the first game, including fixing the dodgy force grabbing. Now it's actually quite fun. And it's really a gorgeous game. In fact, probably the best looking SW game next to SW Battlefront, if you max everything, which has it looking less like a last-gen game and more current gen. I was quite shocked how good it looked before I had to turn things down to get more an appropriate framerate.

    Still, it's sad that this had to be the last LucasArts SW game, and perhaps the last LucasArts game overall.
  • Purge
    GT Member
    You're dead to me.
  • EngineNo9
    GT Member
    Rumpy wrote: »
    Ok, The Force Unleashed II. Colour me surprised, this is actually a pretty good Star Wars game! They've improved a ton of things from the first game, including fixing the dodgy force grabbing. Now it's actually quite fun. And it's really a gorgeous game. In fact, probably the best looking SW game next to SW Battlefront, if you max everything, which has it looking less like a last-gen game and more current gen. I was quite shocked how good it looked before I had to turn things down to get more an appropriate framerate.

    Still, it's sad that this had to be the last LucasArts SW game, and perhaps the last LucasArts game overall.

    Interesting. I'm not sure I ever played this second one much past the initial stuff, might have to re-install it and see how it plays now.

    Even better to be able to max out all the graphics and effects as well!
  • Rumpy
    GT Member edited October 20
    Oh yeah, I and I could never get enough shocking jumptroopers and watching them flying around uncontrollably. So epic and fun! The physics and euphoria were such that if one were to collide into another, they'd each take each other out. I've seen it happen on my playthrough and it was so satisfying.
    Purge wrote: »
    You're dead to me.

    The first game was mired by its flaws and it never rose up above that, and it's a game that I feel deserved the criticism it got. It was also very repetitive, choosing to revisit planets twice. At best, it was a passable game, only reserved for those feeling desperate for a SW game. It was also a fairly ugly game, even on PC.

    The sequel though, is a much better game overall. It's the game I feel the original should have been all along. Everything about it is more refined. The gameplay is better, the graphics are leaps above what the original were, and what a difference just a few years can make! The controls are also much improved, much more accurate and nimble and the force powers are also more fun to use. Like I said, I was shocked at how good it looked and how well it played. I know the first game was a disappointment, but if you take that away and just get into this game for what it is, it's a pleasantly surprising game. It's a much shorter game, mind you, but when you consider the repetition the first game had, that's a blessing that chooses to have more story-focused locations.
  • Purge
    GT Member
    I played them back-to-back. TFUII was horrid for bugs and the storyline was kinda meh. It felt like, for me, being stuck in the Halo Library level for basically the entire game.

    Diff'rent strokes.
  • Rumpy
    GT Member
    Yeah, the first game definitely had the better story. Still, if they took the technology they had with the second game, with the story of the first game, it would be a better overall game. But I did find the gameplay pretty good this time around.

    I never encountered bugs in the PC version of the game.
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