I promise I will be back to games I am surprised by and/or ashamed of owning, soon, but first let me tell you about ‘Prey’ (the new one). ‘Prey’ is another very recent game I threw upon the top of the mountain just to take it off again and I did so with great pleasure.
I bought the game on the following info: first person perspective, space station. People seemed to like it. As with ‘What Remains of Edith Finch‘ I read that the game is best experienced without knowing too much about it beforehand and I now agree with that advice. If you thinking about playing ‘Prey’ and you get triggered by the same words as I do, you should probably stop reading and buy the game.
Welcome to my new category: ‘skipping’. Here I will be talking about games, which I don’t want to play (again). What an ironic twist. Nobody saw it coming.
The first game to be skipped on the way to the mountain top is Anno 2070. According to Steam I already played the game for four hours, but I couldn’t bring myself to spent even another 30 minutes with it. It’s not because the game is terrible. It isn’t. It’s because 2070 does not just refer to the future year, but also the number of hours you should spend in this game to really get the hang of it. I don’t want to do that in a game that strikes me as an okay building strategy game. I was never a big fan of the series and I only chose to take a look at it because of the science fiction setting. It is still very much a typical Anno game. Build and trade and build and possibly deal with people you don’t want to build and trade in your vicinity. I remember being bored by the tutorial campaign, but then again you don’t play Anno for it’s great story telling abilities. You play it because you are in between jobs or have no other interests in life. It’s entirely possible that I might revisit Anno 2070.
I remember reading about the first Alien Breed game in a (printed – on paper) PC-gaming-magazine – and by ‘first’ I do not mean the direct predecessor to the game, that I will be talking about shortly, but the original game released for PC in 1993. The screenshots promised a dark alien top-down-shooter full of violent action and suspense, which made it frustrating that it took me some time to get a copy of the game through the usual schoolyard connections. When I was finally able to install and launch the game on my trusty 386 (21 MHz, 2MB RAM) excitement quickly gave way to disappointment. It wasn’t what I had hoped for. The graphics and gameplay became bland and repetitive fast.
I didn’t play the first entry in the remake series, ‘Alien Breed: Evolution’, but since the first two games where released suspiciously close to each other in the same year (2010) I’m guessing the experience won’t differ that much. This is certainly the case with Alien Breed 2 and 3, which is why I decided to put them into one article. Team17 managed to transfer the series very well in the spirit of the originals. After a really nice comic intro, I quickly felt unimpressed again. The graphics are nothing to get excited about. They’re functional, which would be okay for me if they didn’t use the same mud-color palette all the way through. It all feels too familiar. Abandoned on an large space ship infested with (standard, run of the mill) aliens and some rouge AI talking too much. Which is about all the narrative we get. I felt myself reminded of Dead Space most of the time. ‘Go there to repair the bridge/reactor/door/cart that brings you to the bridge/reactor/door/cart, that you went out to repair in the first place’ – just less exciting, uglier and without the ultra violence. I realize that this is an unfair comparison because Alien Breed clearly didn’t set out to be another dead space and it’s certainly not a AAA production, but that’s what you get for being so unoriginal and having no depth at all.
I guess apart from the bland setting it’s an okay, but very superficial top-down shooter, which might keep you entertained for a short while. It probably works best as a coop experience. I probably won’t try to confirm that and instead play ‘Dead Space’ or ‘System Shock’, or even the also not very good, but still better game ‘Space Siege’. At ten Euros per game they are fairly priced, but if you buy all three entries you might feel that you bought the same game thrice.
Remember my last post? The one about Age of Empires II – HD Edition, where I told you, that right now I’m not in a situation where I want to spend hours upon hours in strategy games, because of life? A life I mainly want to spend playing hours upon hours of CRPGs I already put hours upon hours into when I was a teenager? Well, lucky me – next entry is ‘AI Wars: Fleet Command’ by Arcen Games, released in 2009. A deep, ultra complex, hardcore space RTS with a lot of text, and even more text. If a game offers you three different ways to execute a command in the first tutorial, you should be wary. After 45 minutes I was still stuck in the tutorials, and after I understood, that this is mainly a co-op endeavor, which wants to be played with other humans (boo!) I stopped trying to get into it. Which is a shame, because it felt like there’s a really good game hidden beneath all the samey looking buttons, boring menus and ‘practical’ graphics. This goes straight on the ‘when I am a pensioner’-pile.