Saturday, February 23, 2008

This week's column

4 buttons out of 5 for 'Unreal Tournament 3'

Instant action. That, in a nutshell, is what "Unreal Tournament 3" for Sony's PlayStation 3 has going for it.

Even the campaign mode is a multi-player battle against computer robots. It takes me back to the days of "Tribes" and "Tribes 2" for the PC.

UT3's story is a meaningless gesture. You're a mercenary, and you blast your way through missions. I wish the makers of these games would drop the pretense that they even need a story. It's all about as believable as professional wrestling.

Just give us the guns. UT3 is an exceptional student in that category, delivering high-tech, futuristic, and unbelievably powerful weapons. As I blasted through enemies, I would say to myself, "That shot would've never worked in 'Call of Duty.'"

UT3 does lack precision but makes up for it with its fun, over-the-top game play. I keep reminding myself not all games have to be frustrating to be enjoyable.

I've read online you can play this game with a keyboard and mouse hooked up to your PS3. Some people are more comfortable with this setup. You can filter online matches to exclude keyboards, however.

Why anyone would prefer a mouse to the Sixaxis controller is a mystery to me.

The graphics look like a PS3 game's graphics should; crisp and fluid. I thought the cut-scenes, while wholly unnecessary for understanding the game, looked great. The hammy acting is par for the course with most games of the genre.

I give UT3 four buttons out of five.

"Soul Caliber Legends."

"Soul Caliber" is a series that's revered for its player-vs.-player fighting, like "Streetfighter" or "Mortal Kombat." So naturally, the first "Soul Caliber" game Namco Bandi Games publishes for the Wii is a third-person action adventure.

Every second I spent playing "Soul Caliber Legends" prompted the same question: Is this a joke?

Unfortunately, it wasn't. As far as action adventure games, "Legends" isn't the worst I've seen. The design is fairly straightforward and the combat system, while unique to the Wii's controls, works well.

Like many action-adventure games, it can be repetitive at times. The cut scenes were nice but infrequent; the developers often used the paper-doll method of story-telling, letting text tap across the screen between stationary characters.

Some fans of the series said "Legends" filled in big holes in the "Soul Caliber" story.

Again with this story business — I wish I could get a show of hands of how many people who play "Soul Caliber" can recite one plot point of this supposed epic adventure.

This is a game where players hack each other with medieval weapons. In the upcoming PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the "Soul Caliber IV," Darth Vader and Yoda are unlockable characters.

We're not dealing with Chaucer here.

Look, Namco, the next time you want to release a "Soul Caliber" game for the Wii, please don't do this. "Legends" demeans us both.

I give it two-buttons out of five.


Takean said...

"Why anyone would prefer a mouse to the Sixaxis controller is a mystery to me."

To most people growing up on FPS...most were played via the PC. There is a certain lvl of accuracy that is simple and easy to achieve on the PC, where it is more difficult to grasp on a controller. Having not tried the PS3 controller for this game I cannot vouch for how well it plays...but if it is like any other fps on a console...cod4, halo3, etc, a mouse and keyboard...IMHO is much more accurate. To me, a mouse is just like pointing a stick at just point. The controller scheme though is a lot like pointing a 2x4...its possible and you can get used to it, but it still is odd and not as accurate. With the release of COD4 however, they helped this accuracy a bit with the double tab on the trigger button to target an enemy...which helps keep you from spraying bullets everwhere. But if you have played tribes and tribes 2...then I am assuming you used to use a mouse and controllers may just be more comfortable to you instead...(not sure why though). Guess we all like different kinds of cake.

Dan Whisenhunt said...

I just am so used to shooters on the controller now- I also played "Tribes 2" for the PS2 as well as "Star Wars Battlefront II."