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Rakuen

Rakuen reviews some games

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Battlefield: Bad Company 2
I got this game because I finally had a computer that could play games. The last time I had a decent gaming computer was a 486 way back when everyone was using DOS and one computer was pretty much like every other computer.
For a start the game looks very good. The environments are almost completely destructible, very nice to see in a game, although finding cover is a lot harder when an RPG will totally destroy the wall you're hiding behind and perhaps bring a building falling down on you. It took me a little while to get used to controlling the character but once I had that down things went fairly well. Of course it was then that I ran into what would later become my major annoyance with the game; what role do I play?
You are a part of squad and appear to be the only one vulnerable to fire. Obviously this is important to keep the story going but when your team-mate gets hit five times by a tank and just picks himself up with no problem you have some immersion issues. With immortal team-mates you can pretty much hang back and let them take care of business, something I did a number of times when I couldn't see the enemies. As nice as it looks with snow and sand blowing around makes it impossible to see where you're going. The enemies apparently can see through it and still fire accurately. This led to me becoming a little disillusioned as I tagged along feeling like a fifth wheel in team. To counteract this the game massively overcompensates at key points.
At one stage in the game you are attacking an enemy base when two helicopters fly in and start firing at you. My captain shouts at me to get a rocket launcher, which I do (as well as killing all enemy soldiers in the area). Now the game decides I can switch from being mostly a spectator in the battle to the key person. The helicopters target me exclusively. No matter where I go both of them keep shooting at me, completely neglecting my team-mates. This makes it extremely hard to try shoot either of them as aiming at one leaves me open to the other. All this time my team-mates sit around idly while two other rocket launchers and two or three mounted rocket launchers lie right next to them. After dying about 50 times I was just about to rage quit forever when I managed to beat them.
I haven't gone much further but I really hope the game manages to feel more consistent in the future.
On a side note it only seems to have multiplayer capabilities when connected to the internet. I haven't done much looking into this but I certainly hope that's not true as I'd only really play with others at a lan.
6/10

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
A friend showed me this game a while back and I thought it looked amazing. Unfortunately I had to settle for playing Morrowind, which was brilliant as well, as my computer couldn't handle it. Now I've finally had a chance to play.
It had a similar look and feel to Morrowind, although better, and despite the laborious tutorial section in the beginning I thought it was going pretty well. Once I got outside though I found a lot of my ground was ugly and purple. This was solved by turning off the 'Draw distant land' option. I'm glad it was easy to fix but I also would have liked to see far into the distance.
Most of the game has kept the good parts of morrowind with some areas made better and a few others worse. Talking to people and trying to make them like you is much better than in Morrowind. The penalty in Oblivion isn't so steep and it relies on your decisions rather than blind luck (and is actually quite fun). Lock-picking has also been changed to use your skill and is again an improvement. What has become worse, though, is the profile system. In Morrowind everything was at your fingertips, in Oblivion there too many menus to go through. The same problem occurs when buying and selling. You can only (as far as I know) sell items individually. In this respect Morrwoind did far better.
The ability to become a journeyman, novice etc in different skills is a nice new feature, although it would be nice to have an area to see what bonuses your skill level is giving you.
Despite some flaws and annoyances I do find the game to be enjoyable and richer than its predecessor.
8/10


Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers
I rather like the Magic card game and the opportunity to play it on my PC seemed quite exciting. Everything looked great when I started up but it wasn't long (about three duels in) before my enthusiasm began to fade. I couldn't beat the second campaign battle with either of my starting decks (which I didn't get to choose) because I had nearly no flying monsters and so all their attacks went straight over my blockers. I tried to balance my deck a bit and discovered that there is no deck building ability whatsoever. Considering even the Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon games on the Gameboy have this feature I found this to be unacceptable. The idea of a trading card game is to build your own deck. I hurriedly uninstalled the game and was thankful that it was only a pirate copy.
Short review: If you see this game lying in the gutter, leave it there. Even free it's not worth it.
1/10

Portal
I finally got to play Portal, something everyone who plays games has been telling me to do. I finished it in one afternoon but I already knew it wasn't going to be a lengthy game.
My first thought was that it was a bit slow and boring but after they gave me my own portal gun and I started making portals I really began to enjoy. It might just be a concept test but there is something amazingly satisfying creating portals and watching gun turrets fall from the ceiling. Glados was great as well and her comments kept me constantly entertained. "The companion cube will never threaten to stab you." On that note I was quite sad when I was forced to euthanise my faithful companion cube.
The game has a great mood and never seems to loose it even as it switches from a test to an escape attempt. My only problem with the game was that it was too short.
10/10
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Added: 8 years, 1 month ago
 
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