Now that I’ve gotten my Kool Keith reference out of the way, I can get to my post.
E3 this year was arguably better than it was in recent years past, but it still feels like an overpriced media fuckfest. Anyway, I won’t rant about the blisters I got walking around and around the LA Convention Center, and get straight to the games.
Dragon Age: Origins
I know what you’re thinking – how can a Bioware title be bad!? I sort of thought the same thing when I first laid eyes on Dragon Age. Bioware has had a great track record, even if you include Jade Empire (which was not that bad), but Dragon Age looks godawful so far. Granted that it was not shown to the public (it was viewable by appointment only, squirreled away in the EA meeting rooms, along with Mass Effect 2 and Pandemic’s The Saboteur – more on those later), Bioware still has their work cut out for them. The game’s UI is clunky and awkward, with an almost oversized HUD and a fantasy MMO style. UI’s can be redone, though – it’s all about combat, and immersion, right? Well, while the combat looks entertaining, the immersion is virtually nonexistent. Plus, the voice-over work is shoddy and amateur. I really hope that Bioware can pull this together, but at this point, I’m really not sure. They do have the excellent Mass Effect 2 and SW:TOR going for them though. Maybe they over-extended themselves on this one?
DC Universe Online
Unlike Dragon Age, DC Universe Online was on display to the public. Aaaand… it looks worse than Champions Online AND the aging City of Heroes on every level. I didn’t get to customize a character, so I can’t comment on that. However, the combat feels robotic and unnatural, even by MMO standards, and the questing feels contrived and boring. I almost feel like they’re trying to milk the DC universe’s heroes for all they can in this one, in the hopes that it will distract players from how awful the game actually is. Too bad, because I actually like MMOs.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Here’s another game that surprised me by how underwhelming it was. I don’t really know if I can call Arkham Asylum bad, because it’s really not that bad. It’s just incredibly bland and mediocre. I watched/played through the tutorial and a bit of the first level, and it was disappointing. Yes, you can throw batarangs. Yes, the combat animations look fantastic. Yes, the character design looks ridiculous and cartoonish. Wait, what? Yeah, you heard me. Batman looks like someone took Marcus Fenix and Dominic Santiago from GoW and combined them into one chunky beefcake in a batsuit. It’s disheartening. On the upside, the Arkham Asylum exhibit was awesome. They had a gurney and a fog machine and barbed wire and all of that jazz. Too bad they couldn’t make the same effort to prevent their game from being (moderately) full of fail.
Next post: The Mediocre and The Good.