Thanks for the epic comment, now to defend myself!
First off, it was obvious that ODST was not the game I was expecting. Maybe the unexpected narrative threw me off on the traditional Halo experience I thought this would be.
My comment about not knowing where I was going was really early in the gameplay where I don't think the waypoint system had even been revealed yet. I was just tossed in a large area with seemingly lots of ways to wander around and no direction. Very different from say the opening of Halo 1 where you're running around the confines of the spaceship (a whole sequence which I thought was absolutely brilliant. The ship seems large but thanks to locked doors, debris, and firefights that attract you in the right direction, you are never lost). Once the waypoint system was introduced things seemed to get better, but there also seemed to be a lot of backtracking early in the game.
Not sure where I got "Cat" from, maybe they said "Cap" for Captain Veronica Dare? I write the minute by minute as I go and sometimes things get a bit confused about what's on screen and what's on paper. :) And yeah, I think it's good that I didn't recognize Tricia Helfer's voice in this case. But if I saw her face would I immediately be "that's 6. That's number 6 from BSG."?
About casting well known actors, I obviously have some issues somewhere with this and will have to explore it a bit more. I think I have problems when the character they're playing is so close to their previous characters. I watch Castle on TV which stars Nathan Fillion in a completely different role than Firefly and I don't feel this way. I just kind of feel like this character was written for the specific reason to hire Fillion and excite the Firefly fanboys. That bothers me.
The only hint that there's something "bigger" going on in the game in its first hour is this one achievement I unlocked called "Junior Detective" (Found the first clue unraveling the mystery). I didn't even realize there was a mystery, except to where my squadmates were. It just didn't grab me in the hour I gave it, and tying that with everything else, I just didn't want to go on.
First Hour reviews aren't perfect, I'll be the first to admit it. But people judge games on a lot less. I used to be a pretty huge Halo fanboy, heck, I'm still a Halo 1 fanboy, but the series just doesn't do it for me anymore. I've found myself with very limited time to game lately so I guess I'm being more careful about my recommendations. I've heard ODST is short so that might actually be enough for me to get back to the game at some point, but I've had plenty of opportunities to continue playing it after I played the first hour (about a month ago), so that answered my "would I keep playing" question pretty easily.
Thanks for reading and commenting, glad to hear you like the style of review (even when it rips on a game you like!).
Okay.. full disclosure, I like the game and I'd like to come to its defense :)
I liked the visor mechanic a lot-- reminded me of the sniper night vision scope in Halo 1. It allowed me to experience the dark city streets atmosphere, but then spot enemies when I needed to.
I liked the map navigation. Sure, ODST is no full-on sandbox game, but making navigation/exploration a task in itself, with somewhat reduced combat requirements and the chance to evade if you desire-- that was a refreshing change of pace. The combat in those sequences does ramp up over the course of the game, as new areas of the city open up as well, but it's still never as hectic as the daytime flashback sequences with the other squad members.
"There’s really no clue on where I’m supposed to be going, just wandering around heading towards bad guys isn’t really helping."
Are you sure? ODST uses a waypoint system that gives you a compass, as well as the direction of your current objective. You can also place arbitrary waypoints on the map and use those-- it helps to set them at intersections you plan to traverse.
Veronica (not sure why you call her Cat-- are you referring to Reach's Kat?) is played by Tricia Helfer-- Caprica Six from BSG.
Is it better or worse that you knew her voice was familiar without placing it?
I'm not sure I really understand the objection to using... well, actors and actresses to do game voices. It sounds like you want to institutionalize typecasting. Nathan Fillion played Captain Malcom Reynolds, so now you can't use him as Buck in a video game because to you, he's Malcolm Reynolds, and that's distracting? Does this apply only to video games, or should he not be used in other films or television series as well, since you'll probably still hear the voice and think of Mal?
I'm a big fan of Halo and Firefly both, but to me, Fillion isn't any more Captain Malcolm Reynolds than he is Sgt. Buck. I know some others who object to the Firefly cast-- although they were in Halo 3 also (Fillion, Tudyk and Baldwin are in both games. Baldwin is Dutch and Tudyk is Mickey.) So many games have voice acting that is embarassing. I don't mind a familiar voice or two if it means I'm not feeling like I ought to be giving the characters line readings.
"Why should I care about this band of soldiers dropped into what is now a desolate city? The first hour of Halo 3: ODST gave me not a single to care."
I don't know-- that wasn't my experience. Dare is on a secret mission. I wanted to know what it is. The first assumption (what Buck thinks) is that they were going to assault the Covenant carrier. That wasn't it, though, and the game is at least as much a mission to find out what it was as it is to find your squadmates. I admit, it's not a story of earth-shattering significance-- the story crawler at the start I think tries to oversell it.
I love this site, and I love the whole "first hour" concept. On the other hand, it seems like a lot of the things you didn't like stemmed from elements that are only hinted at early in the game, that are supposed to tease for what happens later. The audiologs start in media res and introduce two characters-- Sadie (the teen buying a train ticket) and Virgil (the Superintendent). They don't beat you over the head with these things, but I appreciate that, and I guess it's kind of dismaying seeing them dismissed, because I like Bungie's design of these things-- but I'm sure if they know a lot of people just say "I don't get it, I'm confused" and move on, they'll put less effort into these things. Bioshock, which is also great, lacks a lot of subtlety, especially in the early radio communications and audio logs. "Hi I'm Atlas and I'll be conducting your combat tutorial today."
Anyway, love these reviews.
I have UQM for both Windows and Linux systems I use. I also had the original Star Control, which is basically the battles without the story. You probably didn't get to play long enough to notice, (And I understand that that is the point of these reviews) but, all the ships have their own peculiarities and some match ups go better than others. One thing I remember fondly about the original Star Control, is that I could give my 3yo daughter a strong ship, and take a weak one for myself, and "play to win" without crushing her fragile young ego. She'd win some, I'd win some, and there was fun to be had by all. Not many games can keep a young child and parent equally engaged and entertained. The head to head battles in UQM are the same way in that any ship can fight any ship.
I am tired of everybody saying Persona 3 is an awesome RPG. I don't see anything great about it. The story was okay, but it was Tartarus that killed it for me. I LIKE GRINDING, BUT TARTARUS IS TOO MUCH. Heck, I would love this game if they remove Tartarus. I'm around the 60+ hour mark and I'm only halfway done with the game? I'm only in October. The battle system is the same throughout the game. It was fun the first 30 hours of the game, but it got tiring afterwards. I found myself unable to keep my eyes open due to the repetitiveness of this game. (I actually feel asleep a couple of times while playing) It's only a bit challenging the first 15mins of a section. Once you know all the weakness, the monsters with weaknesses are a cakewalk. However, it still takes you forever to climb all the way to the top floor. You can train for hours, then have a monster cast hama/mudo on you and you will immediately get a game over. Heck, I trained so much that I ran out of homunculus and I still have problems with the full moon boss. This is one of the worst games I have ever played. It isn't fun at all.
...sounds like the most terrifying thing ever. How did this game escape an M rating?
I've heard it gets very difficult and frustrating near the end. But in a good way, mostly. I'd probably pick this up if I ever found it in the bargain bin, it's one of those games that's always been in the back of my mind since it came out but other things just kept pushing it further back.
on the wii theres some glitches in particular one puzzle that won't be solved because they left out part of the word u have to highlight im almost done the game too... :( otherwise, cool game to play if ur bored
Greatest game of all time. I'm 23 years old....this beautiful game will never be lost in my memory Happy Belated Chrono Trigger!!!!!
How do you regain energy
I didn't mean to imply that Team Ninja was at fault for those strange decisions, but I guess it did come across that way a little. Team Ninja might have been this game's saving grace, after all.
Interesting to hear you bought Ivy the Kiwi for Wii. I tried a demo of the DS game. It definitely has that Kirby Canvas Curse vibe, and I loved Canvas Curse. I haven't quite warmed up to it, but it's something to consider buying.
I liked the discussion about the Metroid series as well. It's important to note that most of the major changes and decisions (Wii remote-only controls, cinematic storyline) were decided by Sakamoto (Nintendo's Metroid guy) rather than Team Ninja, who mostly just developed the 3D assets and combat system. I read one of those Iwata Asks interviews with the Sakamoto, the Team Ninja head, and the guy in charge of the game's FMV scenes and the Metroid guy was the head honcho, for sure. You can sort of see a shift towards that cinematic storytelling style in Fusion and Zero Mission, which he was also in charge of.
I've got a First Hour of Other M going up on Monday, and a full review shortly after that.
There is no way the Call to Power series is better than Civilization 2. The real gang went on to make the best Civilization game after Civ 2, Alpha Centauri! Play that!
Yeah, I actually want to play Guardian of Light too, seems like something I would enjoy.
One more note on the movie, it felt almost as much of a Gerard Butler vehicle as it did an Angelina Jolie movie. Not sure if the buddy thing helped it out that much.
for the franchise so I'm probably not objective enough to give my opinion.
I will say this though, the new Guardian of Light game is quite fun. I've not been gaming much lately for personal reasons, but this game might be interesting enough to get me playing again, and even writing again.
Honestly, Lara Croft would be like The Godfather compared to the stuff they enjoy watching. Anyway, I've seen the original on television. It was pretty bad, but at least they raided a tomb...I think. There were stone monsters, at least.
I feel like this kind of game is counterintuitive on a system like the Wii, but can't speak about it with actual authority.
I played the demo on PSN and it was pretty good. I started in Vito's apartment and drove to a site where Joe and a Sicilian (think his name was Henry?) were ready to make a hit on some guy. It's got a few hitches in the framerate and the combat isn't perfect, but it's pretty good for an open-world game. There's a surprising bit of personality to help this stand out from other mob games, especially in the music.
actually this game isn't that hard if you've played A LOT like me so go download the game its awesome!
I've been curious about this game, thanks for doing the review. I was thinking about picking it up on the Wii. How do you think it would translate?
Yeah, I looked up both those voice actors later. Sorry about the noise in the background, I'm not sure how that got through.
Today is the 15 year anniversary of North American release of Chrono Trigger. Happy birthday CT.
I'd say Title Defense is another thing entirely. A wonderful thing that made Punch-Out!! so much more awesome than I expected it to be.
It's nice that they acknowledged that hearing a familiar voice takes you out of the game. Something else about Mafia II's voicework takes me out of the game, though... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpRkT9JxdnE
Also, same deal with Robin/Tales of Symphonia. That was also my first "Wow, these two characters have the same voice!" moment that I can remember.
Good discussion, I enjoy listening to these more than most gaming podcasts. What's that noise in the background, though? It was hypnotic during that pause when Greg was catching his train of thought, lol.
I really like the art style of Bioshock Infinite. And also need to play the original >_<
not sure if it qualifies, but the wii version of Punch Out!! had a mode named Title Defense. In it, you fight every single opponent you met with again, and in the exact same order as they were in the Contender competitions (Minor, Major and World Circuits); the big difference, however, is that you're now the champion, and those who lost to you will offer tremendously more difficult fights, as their strategies remix; your duty is to defend your title against them.
Haha, you are definitely right. I plan to write about it soon as there is an insane amount of daddy issues in Mass Effect 2.