Welcome to Empirical Purple

A blog by Simon Brady to cover a surprisingly wide range of geekiness, in a combination that no-one else does quite the same way. Probably. Either that, or it'll just be Simon talking about the likes of Football (usually the Soccer variety), PC & Tabletop Gaming, WWE, Movies, Music and occasionally even my actual job of Graphic Design, depending on what I'm up to in the world.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Following up the Force

It was not quite two years ago when I first posted about Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Even then I was already a couple of years late to the party on even playing it, never mind reviewing it.

That was the PC version, though, and I hated it. As lovely as the idea was, with nice technology behind force-gripping and repulsing everything in sight, it just didn't work, didn't flow through the keyboard and mouse control system.

For XBox, however, which I've been playing recently, oh dear lordy it's so much better. So consider this a follow-up. The controls work, force powers are findable quickly and simply as you upgrade them, and even the Simon Says button-mashing Boss-killing combos that I couldn't stand feel much nicer when it's just X, Y, A and B to choose from.

Having played it through much further than my first attempt, the story is knitting together much more nicely. Grabbing Jedi holocrons and hoping that it's one with a cool new lightsaber colour (you start with red and can acquire yellow, gold, blue, purple and green along the way) or a fancy glow effect for an existing one rather than just some points is a decent reward and customisation system too.

Dragging the Star Destroyer down was ridiculously tedious, so much so that the satisfaction supposed to be gained from smashing a starship into a planet was more like relief at a break from the tedium. I know it's supposed to be difficult, but there's a difference between making something hard and making something unintuitive and boring, especially when it's the set piece of pretty much the entire game.

Currently my apprentice is running around the Death Star, wondering quite how to make it through the maze of tunnels ('maze' meaning, of course, completely linear, as all games now seem to be). Though this is a much better game, I can't help but think it's not a step forward save for the physics to be able to throw things around like rag dolls.

It reminds me of this jump back to 90s gaming, where 'amazing graphics' were still fairly crappy, low-resolution sprites. That didn't matter, you see, because the games were hugely fun. They didn't hand everything to you on a plate, or take you from A to B with no challenge other than walking from one place to another.

Which reminds me how well designed those sorts of games were. Why are more games not like this? You either get one straight line or one huge sandbox, because no-one bothers to actually design levels any more, or so it seems. Lazy, lazy design. Either that or I'm just looking back with rose-tinted spectacles at a more innocent age.

Now get off my lawn.

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