Ben Cantrick (mackys) wrote,
Ben Cantrick

Video game roundup.

Splinter Cell is probably tied with the original Tenchu as my favorite "sneak and kill" game ever. Imagine Tenchu with guns, lock picking, a better graphics engine, and a secret agent atmosphere and you've got Splinter Cell. Jeremy Irons also does a great job as the voice of the main character, Sam Fisher. (Check out the "making of" stuff you unlock after you win the game.)

The game is not flawless, of course. The controls become so intuitive and are so responsive that it gets frustrating at times that you can't just, say, break any window you want, climb any wall you want, etc. The sheer freedom of movement you have as Sam makes you want even more. Graphically it's pretty good, though night vision and thermal vision modes aren't so hot on the PS2. (I understand they're nicer on the PC and XBox.) Also, you simply have got to enjoy sneaky games. If you don't, you're going to hate this game.

But these are minor quibbles. I've been playing this game for the last two months on and off, and always enjoyed playing it, even when I was occasionally frustrated with a level. If you're a friend of mine and want to borrow it and try it out, let me know and I'll loan you my copy since I'm done with it.

So now I'm on to Jak II, which has been pretty good as well. I'm about 60% through, most of which I did when jigenm4c rented it for a 5 day'er and both of us spent way, way too much time playing it. I kept my save game around, and I'm glad I did. I'm apparently not even to the really hard missions yet, but the thought of having to redo some of the things I did would be really obnoxious. Don't get me wrong - I do enjoy the challenge level of this game, which is medium to medium-high. But just like in GTA3 (which this game borrowed quite a bit of gameplay from - to good effect) oftentimes I just like cruising around the city and enjoying the world that Naughty Dog made. A world so well done that it seems truly alive.

Too alive sometimes, actually. Naughty Dog has done such a good job with their level of detail coding that almost everywhere you go, any time of the (excellently done) day or night, the streets are crowded with people, and the skies with hovering vehicles. And it all runs at a pretty good frame rate. Previously I'd gotten pretty good at tearing around Liberty City and Vice City without regard to traffic - or anything else. The city in Jak II requires a lot more skill to get around fast. Part of it is that the vehicles don't manuver as well (even your hoverboard can't turn quite on a dime, and it's ten times better than most of the vehicles) but mostly it's just the crowded conditions. Now, you could just plow everybody down, but intermixed in the crowd there are rifle-toting guys in red armor who are ready to shoot you on sight for... eh, anything really. (As one of them says in one of the first few cut-scenes: "Surrender and DIE!" To which Daxter replies, "Excuse me sir, but don't you mean surrender *OR DIE*?" "Heh, not in THIS town!") Hitting them with your jetcar or hoverboard is plenty of excuse, of course. And that knowledge certainly adds some spice to the gameplay...

There are some flaws. The missions can become repetitive. Some of them are frustrating. The lack of manual aiming on the guns (yes, you get cars AND guns in this game - told you they aped from GTA) is a bit obnoxious at times. But overall Jak II is shaping up to be a very good game. If nothing else, the screenshots have made for good LJ icon fodder...
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