Game Overdose 05: Cut Cocktail (Alice: Madness Returns, Infamous 2)
So part of the problem for loving video games is the cost.A bigger problem is the time it tends to take to complete one. Couple this with me wanting to keep things fairly topical (i.e “News”) and then take into consideration that I have no money, which means that I have no time as I’m spending every spare minute looking for some tiny scraping of a job.
My point is really that the only game released recently that I’ve had the oppurtunity to play fully has been Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and as these articles are meant to be “in depth analysis” of games the actual completion of the game takes a lot of time… So I figured I’d do a quick “cocktail” of stuff. Nothing that would constitute a true article, but one that could be either a quick synopsis or even a basic skeletal structure for a future one… So I’m going to take a look at Alice: Madness Returns, Infamous 2 this week, and there might be another one of these for next week. I’ll try to find something more interesting to talk about soon!
Alice: Madness Returns
For a game that’s come about 11 years after the original, I can’t help but feel that not a lot of thought has gone into it… So here’s 5 quick points about what didn’t work. Overall, it’s a bad game, but it had some OK ideas.
1) Combat became boring
Having played (and given up on) the previous game, I can happily say that the combat is an improvement… However it crams far too many boring sequences into it. There’s no fun involved, you’re just trying to get through it to the next plot point
2) Platforming became boring
This is a proper 3d platformer. Nearly the whole time is spent jumping from point to point, which was ok for about the first half an hour of each stage. It gave you an opportunity to look at the pretty scenery and look at the cool art direction, but due to copy-pasting this became very tired very quickly.
3) Storyline felt too thin
For every second of story there was 20 minutes of gameplay. And this was exacerbated by the subtlety of the story, the psychological aspect that meant you had to empathise and connect with the characters involved, work things out. Snippet by snippet was revealed… This was doubley depressing because looking back on it, the storyline and freaky moments were actually quite interesting, and the voice acting was rather good.
4) Numerous pickups – too many!
There’s multiple different pickups in the game. Memories, that give snatches of Alices past, Teeth, which were used to upgrade weapons, Conch Shells, which led to mini side areas to unlock health boosts, Bottles… which did nothing. There were also Snouts, which could be found and defeated to unlock… more teeth.
The problem I have is that the process of collecting them felt over-bearing, and mostly pointless. Teeth were given out sporadically, bottles served no incentive, and memories were so far and few between that I felt as if getting them was like a tiny amount kindness shown by an abusive parent.
5)Mini-games felt annoying, pointless, padding
Again, mini-games were just a further annoyance. They weren’t interesting side-steps from the main game, just another thing to be bored of. The game thankfully had a skip button, but that seems to remove the point.
Golden Bullet: Make the game shorter.
The biggest problem the game has is that it feels too long, whether by padding, poor design choices, or plot-points being too-sparingly sprinkled. Half of the reason why the story felt so un-engaging was because I couldn’t remember who the characters were, and the wonder of each new location was speedily quashed under the boredom of over-exposure.
Remove bottles, shorten levels. More story elements, more frequent memories, mini-games wouldn’t feel like ANOTHER obstacle in getting to the meat, and the repetition of the combat and platforming would be lessened too.
This game would have done well to be an indie title.
Infamous 2 is a good game, and is technically better than its predecessor. But that’s the thing that gets me, it’s “technically” better.
I was expecting an epic sequel, something akin to Uncharted 2 that improved on the original formula massively. Instead I got more of a Dragon Age 2. Still fun, but infinitely less epic than its predecessor. I just hope it’s not the end to the series, and that they SOMEHOW pull something else out of it.