Bulletstorm PS3 Demo Impressions

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bulletstorm

Just wrapped up my second session of Bulletstorm and it was what I expected it to be. It’s an arcade style point driven first person shooter. Someone on NeoGAF described it as MadWorld meets a first person shooter and I think that’s very appropriate.

I was planning to try Bulletstorm for the PC, but since there’s no word of a demo prior to release, the PlayStation 3 demo will do. I was pleasantly surprised with how well it ran, looked and controlled. I have no idea how it compares to the Xbox 360 release, but if past experiences tells us anything, it’s the Xbox 360 version that you’d want if you were picking an ideal console version. However, with that in mind, racking up points by “killing with skill” is a significant part of the game, so having friends to compare scores with is an important consideration.

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Gran Turismo 5 Post 1.05 Impressions

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Before I begin, let me just say I’ve already penned down Gran Turismo 5 as my most disappointing game of 2010. You can also consider this a review if you want.

I picked up Gran Turismo 5 on launch day. I tolerated the 40+ minute install and gave it a fair shake, but I gave up on it until a patch like 1.05 came along.

Gran Turismo 5 isn’t done and if it is, there’s a host of changes that need to happen with the user interface/experience and the game’s tech.

Loading, Installing, Loading

First and foremost, the game’s incessant loading. Both the length and the frequency of loading is source of annoyance. Just navigating between menus require me to wait and stare at a clock and watch for the PS3’s disk activity light flare up. For a game that spends that much time switching between menus, this is unacceptable.

Menus! I’m Lost In A Maze of Menus!

Why can’t I manage my personal music from the Music Library? Why is it tucked away in the Hardware/Audio section under the game’s Main Options? Why have a separate tuning and maintenance page? Why can’t they be consolidated into one? And why can’t I adjust the in-game volume from within the game itself?

Gran Turismo 5’s menu layout for its GT World is garbage. Even GT5 Prologue’s interface was better organized — hell, even GT5’s own Arcade Mode is better. It is a decent looker of interface, I’ll give it that, but functionality is much more important to me than form.

Premium vs Standard

I’m trying to play Gran Turismo 5 with only Premium cars because I enjoy driving from the cockpit. I like turning off the HUD (thanks to latest patch for that option) and reading the in-car dials while racing. So for me, the lack of in-cockpit view with the standard cars is a turn off. In my view, Gran Turismo 5 has only about 200+ cars which is plenty.

But what’s the point of these rendered cockpits when I can’t fully explore them? I can glance left and right and explore what’s in front of me, but what about the rear? I can only look back. It’s a nitpick, but that’s what Gran Turismo was always about: the details.

All In The Details

Details like the actuated rear wing of an Enzo? I didn’t know the car featured that because I’ve never seen it in another game. I love the detailing of the wheels in some of the cars as well. All the digital read outs right there in front of me without the necessity of a game HUD really helps establish that fantasy of driving in these speedy machines.

Inconsistent

But then I notice that driver isn’t paddle shifting correctly or that the wheel in one car looks like a hexadecagon. C’mon now. Why is it so inconsistent?

Even the tracks and the tech powering the game range from gorgeous and smooth to cringe worthy. This game tries to be 60 FPS. I give it kudos for trying, but I cannot believe or forgive the amount of pop-in and screen tearing that happens. Around certain tracks I can predict when a tear will happen and when a city block will suddenly pop into view. Why make your game look so good if your engine cannot handle the stress?

Oh that’s right. Photo mode.

Because this game is all about car porn stills.

It’s All About The Driving Though

At the end of the day, the only reason why I keep pushing forward with Gran Turismo 5 is because of the excellent driving. It feels right and it’s gratifying when I pull off the perfect turn. The driving itself makes up for a lot of this game’s missteps, but I wonder how long that will last.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit PS3 Demo Impressions

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I just finished trying out the Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit PS3 demo and thought I’d pen some thoughts down. At approximately 1.5 GB, the demo offered two tracks — cop chase and a traditional race with exotic cars.

The cop chase was a return to what made the Hot Pursuit games exhilarating. Being chased is alright, but chasing down hoodlums and executing P.I.T maneuvers to take cars out reminded me of the good old days. Taking out racers was simple enough; just ram cars until they’re disabled. I was also given spike strips and road block summons to make my life easier, but I didn’t use them as much as I should have. I wish they gave us access to the helicopter support though.

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Vanquish PS3 Demo Impressions

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Update: It actually has 2x AA.

I want more Vanquish. That 711 MB PS3 demo wasn’t enough! I haven’t felt this bad ass since the original Max Payne. Vanquish is slick, stylish and a reminder that there’s more to shooters than an M16A2 burst to the head.

Platinum Games knows its audience and the options menu is a testament to that. An option for improving the visibility of text on standard definition TV’s? No problem. An option to use L1/R1 for shooting? Of course. It runs well on PlayStation 3 hardware? Absolutely.

It doesn’t looks like it features 2X anti-aliasing and it is a bit blurry (possibly running 1024×720 as well?), but it’s fine because I’m too busy sliding on my knees and unloading bullets into the the face of robots. The slow motion slide reminded me of the diving bullet time shooting of Max Payne. It’s a very uncommon perspective and sensation.

The voice acting is solid and — I want to say — deliberately cheesy. The techno ramble fits and it somehow helps sell that awesome high tech armor the main character, Gideon, is wearing. I love watching that suit transform and morph; it’s quite possibly the neatest looking suit of armor I’ve ever seen in a game.
I died once in the demo. It was during the boss battle. I don’t know why, but I feel that this game should have a jump function. It seems weird to see Gideon sliding with rocket propulsion and not be able to jump. I also felt sliding with L2 and holding L1 for the slow motion while pressing R1 to shoot was pushing the limits of controller comfort. I’m sure I’ll get used to both those quirks, but it’s still worth noting.

Nitpicks aside, I’m sold on Vanquish. It runs well, looks good and it’s a barrage of fun. Looking forward to October 19, 2010!

For more information on Vanquish, visit the official website.

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