Ni No Kuni – Death to the Backlog

know I’ve told you guys numerous times already, but I had lost my dear PS3 for a little over a year. Furthermore, after Microsoft decided to bend us over without even the courtesy of using some lube, I sold off my Xbox 360 and everything that went with it. So, since I was essentially starting my game collection from scratch again, I’ve been accumulating a ton of PS3 games these last couple/few months, because I refuse to let a mere backlog of games get in the way of enjoying all the titles I should have over the years. I’ve been averaging the completion of a new game every 7-10 days… but, ahhh, I don’t think I’ll be making the same sort of progress for a while.

I’m not going to go into a review or anything… at only 7 and a half hours in, that would be foolish. I’m still at what you would probably consider the beginning of the game, and let me tell you – I. Am. In. Love.

I spent quite a bit of time just perusing the net to see which titles on the PS3 earned the highest ratings, or were recommended in recommendation threads on popular forums. Ni No Kuni – Wrath of the White Witch popped up more often than not, so I looked into some videos and reviews. The blend of RPG gameplay elements with anime aesthetics intrigued me to no end… but I wasn’t sure if I would actually enjoy what the game had to offer. In short, the combat seemed to be an interesting mix of real-time AND turn-based action… with a bit of Pokemon thrown into the mix for good (bad?) measure. The first thing that bothered me was the Pokemon style stuff… I don’t like Pokemon. I just don’t. Also, the ‘anime look’ was the result of work put in by Tohei Animation – a rare contribution to gaming to say the least – but based on what I saw, the game could have been really charming, or really childish. I wasn’t sure I wanted to plunk my hard earned coin down to find out.

Well, the reasonable price of $39.99 dropped to an even more enticing $29.99, so I picked it up. I played through a couple of other games before getting to it, but now that I have… I can honestly say that this is one of the most rewarding blind buys I’ve made in a long time. It has a very old school vibe to… meaning you can roam around a world map via various modes of transportation (although I’ve only been able to wander by foot thus far), and you run into those little mini-battles frequently during your travels. You’ll stop off at various towns and cities, gain levels and acquire other useful stuff. You can’t just always run from point A to point B though, unless you’re a madman and don’t want to acquire as much help for your characters as possible… you should spend some time grinding and doing side quests… and I freakin’ love it. I can’t remember the last time I played a game like this… I miss the Final Fantasy/Chrono Trigger days! To be able to dump hours into just battling creepy crawlies and leveling up without it feeling like a chore is wonderful. It helps that the characters, story and anime art style ooze more charm than most of what’s come out in years.

I’m having a ton of fun… and I don’t see myself putting the game down anytime soon. It’s sort of a shame, lol. My poor backlog is just waiting for me to plow through it, and I just can’t see myself taking a break from Ni No Kuni to get it done. I’m debating taking a break after 20 hours of gameplay, since I could probably put a good 50 hours into this game at the very least, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to… wish me luck!

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Bit-History: The Elder Scrolls V – Skyrim

My last Bit-History was dedicated to Oblivion, a game which had been touted as the definitive open-world/free-choice RPG. It wasn’t. The world at large felt like a sandbox that did little to differentiate one area from the next, and the main quest missions were the very definition of tedium. Because of my underwhelming experience with Elder Scrolls’ fourth installment, I was no longer sure about my place amongst the world of RPG’s – If Oblivion was considered the best of the best, and I found it to be disappointing in most every aspect… was my brief relationship with RPG’s at a close? Would I have to stay content with FPS and platform games? The answer to both is obviously no, since I went against my better judgment and decided to give Skyrim a shot. I guess the better question would be, “Why would you play Skyrim when you obviously loathed the game that came before it?”

I expected Skyrim’s release to be a major event, but the onslaught of coverage was too effective for me to ignore. I’m a big fan of gaming, so I keep myself up to date as much as humanly possible, regardless of whatever biases I’ve acquired along the way. A good rule of thumb for any gamer, especially serious ones is ‘Never judge the current state of a franchise on where it’s been.’ How many series began with a bit of a fumble, only to improve and become some of the most recognized names in gaming? Yeah, Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed say hello. So, I read every review, watched every video and looked at a bajillion opinions from actual gamers on the appropriate forums. What I had read sounded interesting enough, and as a fan of everything Viking, its look had more than piqued my interest. The gameplay actually showed off a variety of terrain (shocker!), and being able to hike throw snow peppered lands while taking on dragons as they attack from the sky? I couldn’t help but feverishly follow the hype… but still, I was careful to make an INFORMED decision, rather than make a blind leap to buy something I probably wouldn’t enjoy.

I am so, so glad I went against my better judgment and picked up this game.

After a brief tutorial which hinted at the disparity of the land, as well as an introduction to dragon battle, I found the true beginning of my journey in the wilderness. Well, a path on the wilderness, but it was still nothing but trees, snow-covered mountaintops and shrubs as far as the eye could see. I could already see this was going to be quite a different experience than Oblivion… this world looked fully realized, and I was hoping some exploration would complete that picture with a bit of variety. It did, but more on that in a bit. One other thing worth noting, was that I met this world with an orchestral score that was every bit as epic, majestic yet calming as anything out of Lord of the Rings… and this score plays a BIG part of the adventure that awaits. The game’s soundtrack is on, like, four CD’s, and the game has more than enough occasions to cycle through so none of the themes feel irritatingly recycled.

Anyway, I was walking my way down to a lower elevation, until I stumbled upon my next breathtaking sight – Running water. I know how ridiculous that sounds, but that stream seemed to be alive. Oh, and what was this? A fellow traveler is resting his haunches next to his lean-to! I walk over and introduce myself, and he happily tells me about the fruitful hunts he’s had in the area. Not only that, but he’s willing to share! He says something along the lines of, “There’s more than enough to go around, bud!” I agree, nod my head and smile… and then I realized something – I don’t really have any appropriate hunting equipment. At least, nothing long range. I decided to take a look in his inventory… he had a bow. So, I took a look around, making sure there were no witnesses to inform the nearest town of my wrongdoings… and made the hunter meet his maker. The bow was mine! His little bed beside his lean-to looked enticing, but I didn’t want to stay so close to the ‘evidence’, so I continued in my travels. For the rest of the game, that hunter had never respawned, proving each and every choice you make is everlasting. Oddly enough, I sort of felt bad after the fact, especially since this little item would be dropped by many-a-foe throughout the game.

Over the next some-odd hours, I made my way to the nearest town and learned how to do some chores for a bit of coin, and I pushed my way through a few caves which were inhabited by bandits. I wandered off the beaten path for a bit, and met some fairly dangerous animals along the way. After putting them down and taking their hides so I could eventually turn them into leather or leather strips, I visited my first major city. There I learned a great deal more about the situation in Skyrim, and the further I pressed through the main story, the more I began to realize how much better it was than Oblivion’s. Dragon’s which haven’t been seen for ages are beginning to rise, and there’s an ominous force behind them which must be stopped. Coincidentally, you learn you are ‘Dragonborn’, meaning you’re the only hope that Skyrim has. The world of man needs to stand together as well, but they’re too busy brewing a civil war to really care what that means in regards to their survival. The scope of the story is far greater, and more epic than anything Oblivion attempted to deliver. As a result of the story at hand, I felt more like a hero… like a man who was working with each separate faction to get them where they needed to be, as opposed to merely being their errand boy. Even so, I didn’t feel unstoppable – Regardless of all my efforts in mediation, the civil war would come to a head, and I would have to choose a side.

So yeah, I found the main quest to be a HUGE improvement over that of its predecessor. A civil war in the works with the threat of powerful dragons looming? What’s not to like? That being said, it really was the free-roam gameplay that sucked me in. Oblivion tried to offer the same sort of experience, but since its world wasn’t fully realized, nor feel as if it was truly inhabited with life, I never got into it… but in Skyrim? Oh, I wanted to see every piece of the map, so I stayed away from the main quest for a long, long time, just so I could explore. 70 hours dumped into the game, and I was probably only halfway through the main quest. Not only that, but I was STILL finding new locations! How crazy is that? That’s how massive this world is – To walk from one side to the other takes 30-ish minutes, and that’s if you’re taking the easiest route. Incorporate traveling through the mountains and you’re going to increase that time by quite a bit, especially if you’re the kind of adventurer who doesn’t mind stopping to admire the beauty of the land. Granted, the game allows you to fast-travel to locations you’ve visited, but I just didn’t want to. No, I wanted to keep walking, hunting, having random encounters, and come across various other surprises along the way. This is why the ‘open world’ of Skyrim works, and ultimately crushes the ‘reality’ that Oblivion failed to provide – There was enough people and events throughout this world to make it feel alive. I could be walking along at night, and see a powerful spellcaster take on some dangerous vampires. The appearance of towering giants made me stop in my tracks. Travelers would break down and require assistance. Assassins would just run at me out of nowhere, having my heart rate jump as I struggled to survive the battle. Merchants wandering the wilderness would offer me rare and even illegal products. Oh, and there’s plenty of random dragon encounters, too. We certainly can’t forget about that. And all this is only the tip of the iceberg – I can’t even begin to describe the variety of animals and creatures you’ll face along the way. Again, in short, Skyrim feels ALIVE… the land looks and feels REAL. Well, real enough at least, anyway.

Of course, there is more to a game than plot and aesthetic experience, and when it comes to RPG’s, a big part of the game comes from navigating menus. Menus allow you the ability to level up, equip armor/weapons and use items, and check on the status of your quests. Personally, I didn’t like the menus in Oblivion. They were all so dull, and as a result, using them felt like a chore (yes, even on the PC version), thus ruining the immersion. So, Bethesda streamlined the menu for Skyrim and PC fans everywhere cried foul. “EHRMAHRGAWRD, THEY MADE IT CONSOLE FRIENDLY! NOOOOO!” Not me, however. Things don’t need to be complicated in order to work, and I vastly prefer the menu system in Skyrim. Not only are they easier to navigate, but they all look vastly different from one another. For skills, you unlock ‘star branches’ from constellations in the night sky. Looking at items appears in a list that can be broken down by category, and you can always see the physical item and inspect it. Applying magic to weapons and armor looks a bit different, as does the quest menu… it never gets dull. When I look at my inventory, I feel like I’m looking at my own stuff, and not just a yellow parchment with reddish-brown lettering (yuck).

For me, Skyrim is one of the must play games of the last decade… but that’s not to say it’s perfect. Far from it, as a matter of fact. Skyrim has a TON of issues, the first major complaint stemming from battle. It’s a HUGE improvement over Oblivion, but it still feels wonky. People are so used to first person precision nowadays, that anything less feels unacceptable. Use of your shield and weapons aren’t terrible, but they do leave an awful lot to be desired, mainly because it doesn’t feel like you’re actually in control. Pushing your action buttons will allow you to raise a shield or swing a sword, but the animation happens a little after your command, not WITH it… like in any other first person game. To make the clumsiness of battle more awkward, the scaling of certain enemies just doesn’t make sense. I mean, if I can take countless DRAGONS down with ease, I should be able to take more than a single hit from a giant before I’m pushing daisies right? Or, even more lopsided are the times when you’re actually able to destroy dragons AND giants, yet an armored enemy in dungeon or keep will shred you like yesterday’s lettuce. Does that make ANY sort of sense whatsoever? No? OK, just making sure I wasn’t crazy or something.

Then, there’s the bugs and glitches. Many have been hammered out of course, but there’s still a good handful of quests that will get hung up, meaning you’ll never be able to complete them. There have been a few mid-quest tasks that just wouldn’t ‘activate’ for me, so they’re forever stuck in limbo. Actually, I once even encountered a bug in one of the main quest missions – A certain order of actions actually rendered my attacks to the enemy useless, and I had to clear the cache on my console in order to get things working right again. To be fair though, these really are minor inconveniences when compared to the amount of stuff there is to do in Skyrim. As I already said, I put 70 hours into this game without thinking twice… and I probably only touched a fraction of what the game had to offer. Bethesda had this to say – There are an almost infinite amount of possible ways to play this game, and virtually no one is going to replicate the same experience, step for step. As a result, some glitches are nearly impossible to find in testing, before AND after the fact. I accept this response from the devs, because the game is MASSIVE and there are bound to be flaws. Some people won’t accept this and say that more time should be spent on quality control… but when virtually every decision you make along the way is going to be unique from everyone else who plays the game, can we really expect Bethesda to find EVERY bug? Probably not. So, they get a pass from me… the game is just so immersive, I can skip a side quest without worry, because I know there’s more than enough to do no matter how much time I put into the game.

Honestly, I could sit here and write all day. In fact, I’ve already written a bit more than I usually do for a Bit-History piece, so I’m going to put a cap on the ‘review’ here. I’ve covered some of my favorite aspects of the game as well as why it craps all over Oblivion, as well as the negatives. If you’ve played this game, you already know how great this game is… but if you haven’t tried this game because you loathed Oblivion, take it from me… Skyrim is not to be missed.

God of War: Ascension

I didn’t get to play this game until months after its release, and not for a lack of interest. No, my poor PS3 had died in 2012, and with a kid at home and all, it was difficult to acquire the funds for a replacement. It’s a good thing I waited though, because I was able to nab the God of War (red) edition of the PS3, which included the God of War Origins Collection (the two PSP games via download voucher), God of War Collection (God of War 1 and 2), God of War 3 and God of War Ascension. The console itself came with a 500gb hard drive, and I got it all for the sweet price of $300. Yep, it was a sweet, sweet deal (steal?).

Yes, I’m a die-hard God of War fan. I know many regard it as a mindless button masher, but is that necessarily a bad thing? It’s infantile to dismiss an entire genre, based solely on its gameplay style. What matters most is how well the devs take advantage of that gameplay, and when it comes to God of War… it works. BOY does it work. For a ‘mindless button masher’, it’s offered some of the most action set-pieces gamers have ever seen. Even if you’re not a fan of the franchise, you’d be a fool to deny as much. I mean, entire levels played out on beasts that were larger than mountains, and you were tasked with taking them down. Granted, controls for God of War were nothing special – as they mostly required you to endlessly beat your attack buttons – but nobody has ever used such a simple mechanic with such satisfying results. God of War and the sequels it spawned were all pinnacles of the ‘mindless action platformer’… and for a franchise that only demands you turn off your brain and enjoy the ride, nothing has ever come close to surpassing it. You want to talk about a killer app? God of War helped move more Playstation 2’s than a guy who got arrested for beating a prostitute moved Sham-Wow.

That being said, I was highly skeptical of God of War: Ascension. God of War III was a spectacular action platformer that was backed by insane visuals, and it finally completed Kratos’ trilogy of rage. Knowing full well it would have been downright silly to further a completed plot line, the devs wisely decided on a prequel. Now, I wasn’t against the idea of a prequel per se, but I was convinced they wouldn’t be able to top the action from God of War III. After all, that was Kratos’ endgame, so it wouldn’t have made sense for this game to feel larger in scale. So, where this game really needed to excel was its story. Unfortunately, it failed to deliver.

Why? There’s a missed opportunity here, for starters. As an origin story, we really should have started amidst the battle where Kratos’ army was slaughtered to no end. We could have fought our way through the madness as men all around us were being skewered and dismembered, until Kratos finally decides to offer his services to the God of War. But no, the story begins AFTER Kratos has killed his family, cursed to wear their ashes on his skin forever. What’s the point of having a prequel then? I don’t think I’m the only one who hoped to play through Kratos’ origins, and I’m honestly shocked that the devs missed such a golden opportunity.

Anyway, at the beginning of our tale, Kratos still shows signs of humanity – He’s confused and conflicted, and his destiny isn’t quite set in stone just yet. He could forge his temper to a manageable point, or he could give in to the rage that’s swelling inside… we obviously know which path he’s chosen. The seeds of revenge have already been planted, and their vines – as black as night – are beginning to sprout and corrupt his soul. Kratos has already made the decision to break his oath to Ares, and the Fates – quite possibly the most disappointing villains in the franchise – have imprisoned him as a result. Kratos breaks free and sets forth on a quest to ‘put down’ the Fates so they won’t be able to intervene in his assault against the Gods. It’s a decent setup, but getting from point A to point B feels empty, somehow.

The Fates are the ultimate tipping point for Kratos, pushing him from a man betrayed to a man blinded by his anger, but I didn’t see this play out with natural progression. More often than not, it feels like Kratos is getting angrier ‘ just because’. Furthermore, other than the weak ‘Fates holding Kratos captive’ storyline, there’s literally nothing to bridge this adventure to the big picture. It doesn’t add anything, or do much to preface the things to come.

So, the action doesn’t top III, and the story seems like an insignificant one-off, much like the PSP titles. None of this really comes as a surprise however, but that’s precisely the problem. The devs really shouldn’t have pushed forward with another installment unless they COULD surprise us, but they did anyway because they had to milk their money maker. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Ascension is a BAD game, because it’s most certainly not. The fighting gameplay feels familiar, if not identical to what we’ve been treated to previously… which isn’t a bad thing. As I said before, if it works, it works, and in God of War’s case it most certainly does. The devs added some switchable powers for Kratos’ blades, all of which harness unique abilities. They’re mostly useless, except for fire, but I definitely appreciate the options. Also, a big addition to the series was the use to manipulate objects through time – Come across a bridge that’s been demolished? Use this newfound ability to have it go back in time, until it’s reconstructed itself block by block. This comes into play with more than a few puzzles, and it’s always fun to experiment with. Last but not least, the game offers some jaw-dropping set-pieces. It’s expected at this stage of the game, and I was actually impressed that they were able to deliver something that felt fresh and new – the large mechanical snake ride through the skies and mountains comes to mind – while continuing the tradition of massive monster battles. Still, when compared to the likes of God of War II and III, most everything else is forgettable. Even the new time-shifting gameplay mechanic, as cleverly implemented as it was, isn’t new to gamers. Hell, Prince of Persia did the very same thing some years back, and other franchises years before that.

Despite all my bitching, I’ll say it again – God of War: Ascension is a decent game. If you’re a fan of the God of War style of gameplay, then you’re going to enjoy most of what this game has to offer (outside of the story, that is). Personally, for me, it’s the weakest game between the PS2 and PS3 iterations, but I’m still glad I played through it. It didn’t knock my socks off, nor did I want to claim it as ‘game of the year’, but it was still God of War, through and through. Here’s the only caveat – If you’re unfamiliar with the franchise, don’t make this game your introduction. Do yourself a favor and pick up the God of War Saga collection, and start from the beginning, working your way through. Once you have an appreciation for the series and all it has to offer, Ascension will likely become more enticing.

Infamous

In my seemingly never ending quest to finish a nice backlog of PS3 games before the PS4 comes out, I’m currently playing through Infamous, the open world game which lets you play as a man who has recently acquired super powers.  I’ve heard nothing but good things regarding this franchise… so how is it, exactly?

Personally, I think the game lacks a little something.  You spend far too long tackling the same sort of missions over and over again.  Go here, protect them, escort them, keep an eye on them without being spotted, blah blah blah.  Also, there are side missions for you to tackle, but these are the ones that end up feeling the most repetitive after all is said and done… but you sort of HAVE to do them.  Why?  Well, every time you help someone out in the city, that particular ‘zone’ is cleared of all crime.  This game mechanic is sort of similar to clearing out hoods in GTA: San Andreas.  Actually cleaning up the city before you try to accomplish the main storyline makes your life a lot easier, because bad guys are always shooting at you from every perceivable angle otherwise.  But, the repetitive game structure is really a small complaint in the grand scheme of things.

For being the first game in a series, Infamous is really pretty solid.  The storyline is cool, and the game does a decent job at staggering when you acquire new powers throughout its entirety.  Granted, I’m only 33% into the game right now (with a lot of time having been spent on side jobs), but I’m still unlocking powers and grinning like an idiot from ear to ear when I get to try them out for the first time.  Once you spend some time upgrading everything… just, woah.  That’s when things REALLY start to get fun.

See, your character has the ability to harness electricity without feeling like he’s hooked his nuts up to a car battery, so there’s plenty he can do – He can fire short bursts of lightning, chuck some lightning grenades, he can crash down from rooftops and shock nearby enemies, and a bunch more.  There’s even something I’d call a ‘force push’, which can really knock a lot of enemies on their ass.  The powers you can unlock actually differ depending on ‘how’ you play the game…

…And by that, I mean if you choose to serve your city as a beacon for hope, or if you want to be an evil sonnofabitch and destroy everyone and everything in sight.  The choice is yours, although it’s important to note that the game’s ‘good ending’ is always going to be considered canon moving forward.  This sort of ‘good or evil’ thing isn’t really new, but it’s VERY cool how the devs decided to let you figure out what you wanted to do with your newfound powers.  The last game I’ve probably played with this implementation of morality and how it shapes your character, was Fable II… which was just a boring piece of shit (honestly, I don’t see what people see in that lackluster franchise).  Infamous actually makes this mechanic work.

After all is said and done, Infamous is too fun to put down.  I just know I’m going to end up plunking a TON of hours into this game, and yet I don’t even care (I’m a husband and a father so game time is limited), because it’s just THAT awesome to waste bad guys on such a large scale.  Its biggest problem is that it doesn’t really feel like it’s broken any new ground – Honestly, you mash up an earlier Grand Theft Auto game with Crackdown, mix in some good storytelling, and there you have it – Infamous.  I know my initial opinion here seems lukewarm, but on the contrary, I’m actually quite excited to move on to Infamous 2 at some point in the not too distant future, and I’m DEFINITELY excited to see Infamous: Second Son when it drops on the PS4 in 2014.

If you haven’t played these games yet, you can score the ‘Infamous Collection’, which comes complete with all downloadable content, for $30 or less.

Resistance: Fall of Man

I just finished playing this game shortly after beating ‘The Last of Us’… I know, I was late to the party.  I was pretty tired of playing Halo and Call of Duty, to the point where I even thought I was sick of the FPS genre.  Still, the Resistance Trilogy was available for only $30, so I figured, “Why the hell not?”  I’m glad I went against the inner voice that told me I probably wouldn’t enjoy these games very much, because Resistance is probably the most fun I’ve had in a FPS in quite some time.

At first, it doesn’t seem like a very big deal – Yeah, you’re a dude during the era of WWII blasting aliens.  ‘Aliens’… why do we always have to be going against aliens?  A legitimate question I had going in, but the gameplay here had me forget about that in no time.

One of the things I loved about Call of Duty 2, before that franchise went belly up with excess instead of realism, was that you had to really think on your feet.  You couldn’t just run into an area blazing with everything in your inventory and expect to get out alive.  No, you had to be smart and tactical, and you had to replay the same areas over and over again until you figured out a method that worked to your advantage.  In this respect, the game was almost a puzzle that relied on speed and reflexes just as much as your intellect.  It was an incredibly frustrating experience at times, but boy, was it rewarding.  Well, Resistance surprisingly brings back the feel of the old Call of Duty games… just running through each area means certain doom, meaning you have to think on your feet and use some hardcore tactics if you hope to move along… and yet, you’re not fighting in the typical WWII environment.  Oh, sure, the outfits and buildings are all there, but the plot actually depicts an alternate timeline where world events at the time are disrupted by a larger, otherworldly threat.  This may seem like a boring mish-mash of clichéd experiences we’ve played time and time again, but MAN, the formula works like no other.

One of the great things about the game is the variety of weapons you’ll use along the way.  You’ll use some traditional ‘human’ fare, but get a hefty dose of alien technology to dwindle the opposition as well.  What really makes this mash-up work however, are the fun secondary modes that each item has.  For example, a standard alien plasma rifle comes equipped with a certain amount of homing devices… just tag an enemy with one, and then unleash all you have… all of your ammo will automatically find their way to the enemy no matter where you aim.  How cool is that?  Every piece of weaponry you come across has something fun like this in store for you to exploit when the chips are down, and some of the items you get to lob at your enemies are pretty creative, too.

Another thing that really surprised me was just how challenging the game was.  At first, it was an absolute cake walk… but things got tougher and tougher as time went on, and by the end of the game, things were pretty brutal.  You know, games that don’t offer a lot of challenge can be really fun to play, but it’s the challenge that usually keeps me glued to the edge of my seat, since I become more determined by the minute to move forward.  The game is brutal, but never quite unfair.  By the end of the game, you actually have to use a variety of different weapons in unison to defend yourself against certain foes appropriately.  The FPS genre is sorely lacking such gameplay… mostly, you just have to pick up whatever you find and go with it.  In this game however, you need to be smarter with what you’re using.  There’s really nothing worse than a FPS that offers a ton of variety, yet no reason to use most of it.  I loved the recent Naughty Dog effort ‘The Last of Us’, but there are weapons I NEVER had to use.

Graphically, the game wasn’t all that impression.  Granted, this was (I believe) a PS3 launch title, but it was still behind what the competition was offering.  Lighting wasn’t great, black levels were always murky… that’s all well and good for artistic choice, since they wanted the game to look a bit muted and faded like an old WWII film reel or something, but taking away the visual contrast robs the game from its much needed atmosphere.

All in all, I think Resistance is the most fun I’ve had with a FPS game in a long, long time, and I just can’t wait to play the rest, even though I understand they’ve ‘mainstreamed’ the gameplay a bit more in those.

All that really needs to be said is that the game is fun AND challenging, and actually feels like you’re legitimately in the heat of battle/war.  If you haven’t played this game as of yet, I highly recommend doing so before the next-gen rolls around and you forget about it.