But there is plenty of it, and it is delivered to a high standard and it is fun to play. And this should really be the yardstick, right? If you think it should be changing and improving in new ways then you know what to do, but for now you will get more of that CoD formula that the world craves so much. Activision have a billion dollars on day one that says they know what they are doing.
It's such a missed opportunity. The setting and locations are fun, interesting and entirely within the scope of pulp adventure literature. Some of the puzzles (most of which revolve around stepping on some tiles and not on others, or avoiding otherwise Indiana Jones-style set pieces) are fun in a way, and the clever addition of your great-grandfather's notebook as an in-game item that shows you absent-minded sketches of some of the tricks and traps offers a sort of hint system that preserves the suspension of disbelief in an appropriate way. And, I suppose the game is easy enough to rarely become frustrating (except during one particular boss fight where you can be shot and killed through walls). It's not frustration that'll get you, though. It'll be the sheer ennui that sets in when you contemplate the pointlessness of continuing to play this lackluster, lazy and horribly overpriced mess.
Unlike Metal Gear games of yesteryear, the industry is not going to learn anything new from Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Nor are gamers, for that matter. Revengeance would rather be an anime than a game in some ways. But the solid swordplay mechanics and the sheer comic craziness is enough to sustain it through the relatively short SP game. But will we still be talking about Metal Gear Rising in three months?
Just as in the previous story, Dragonfall consumed my imagination for the whole time I was playing it. When it was done, I missed the characters and wanted it to continue. That is perhaps the ultimate sign of a well-told story. As a game, it's pretty good – balanced, challenging combat that calls for a variety of tactics to respond to different situations; viable paths for combat fans, mages and even charisma-junkies; plenty of relevant activities to keep the player engaged during non-combat 'downtime'. But as a story – a piece of interactive fiction that takes a substantial corpus of existing source material and spins an engrossing yarn about power, betrayal, revenge, duty, family and loyalty – it is a supreme work.
While perhaps a little derivative, it's all simple to learn, beautifully presented, and with enough detail and variety to keep fantasy buffs engaged for a long time. Age of Wonders feels like it's back to stay, in all its beardy, D20-throwing glory.
So another lukewarm MMO, then. But occasionally heated up a bit by the rare confluence of scenery, music (the majority of which is excellent) and raw atmosphere that can transport you for a fleeting moment to the Tamriel we've grown to know and love.
For those who have never played a Tropico game, I heartily encourage a look at this fine series. For old timers who've always enjoyed the leisurely pace and low difficulty, there's always the opportunity to cheat yourself a little extra money at any time. The graphics are mediocre as usual, but it's more than made up for by the gameplay. I said I'd be pleased with more of the same, and much of the core game remains unchanged, but with just enough that's new and interesting to keep you engaged.
It's not a perfect game, and there are a couple of small issues. But they really are small. I had two CTDs, and a few instances of Sniper Elite 3 freezing up for about fifteen seconds during the bullet cam. Once, I seemed to be unable to relocate, with the attention marker stuck on my player, despite the fact that I fled into a series of empty underground tunnels. The game relies perhaps a little too heavily on the 'OMG' tactic of dropping a tank into a level as a mandatory boss fight. But for everything that Rebellion has got right here, these are minor flaws. Sniper Elite III is so enjoyable because it's a stealth game done right.