I want to make this very clear: 2K are taking the piss - bare with me and I shall explain.
It's all very well the narrator assuring us, AGAIN, that everyone at 2K Marin, LIKE HIM, is a massive RPG geek with a metric fuckton of respect for the original XCOM series when everything points to them being the antithesis of it.
In my experience, the average 'RPG Geek' have very specific qualities that tend to stand out from the general population (ie. non RPG Geeks
): namely, they're quite creative, generally very perceptive, adapt to game / mathematical systems with uncanny speed and, last but by no means least, are incredibly imaginitive to the point where some of them will be creating game systems on the fly, developping character profiles and story elements simultaneously, effecting system changes outside of the essential rule perogative and, ultimately, coming up with something beautiful and unique even when making a tribute to somethat has already gone before.
Why? Because a Geek LOVES what they do - it's not just a hobby, it's a way of life and a means to express their most intrinsic desires and personalities (no matter how much of a fuck they happen to be!
I'm saying this now because I want you to understand why I'm toning down the rant that's NOT coming and why I'm going to keep this as objective as possible. And why I won't be paying full price for the game. And why, if I pick it up at all, it will be for the most pathetic amount of my hard earned money. That's assuming I just don't boycott this PoS.
I take it back, it's not a CoD rip off, it's a Mass Effect 1 rip off with somethjing that can't be too far shy of a coding plagerism of Fall Out 3's VATS system renamed as 'Time Units'. That's just for starters.
That mission screen was abyssmal: As BombBloke points out, not one of those characters on screen could keep still for more than a second, right down to the gaming stereotype woman handing out the mission - she really needs to go to the toilet and get that thrush sorted out!
I wonder how often, later in the game, we're going to walk in to that orchestrated testing session with flamboyantly unpredicatble weaponry? Every other mission, perhaps, or is that too obvious?
Then there's the Agent Experience screen. Really? Are you telling me that the only difference between the one in that gameplay demo and the one in Mass Effect 2 is actually ANY different? I hope not, otherwise the ridicule will start to fly.
The second part that made me want to hurt someone at 2K Marin came up as they showed us the Mission Board, as the narrator tried to convince us that with the original XCOM games it could get a little 'overwhelming' with all of the missions and their locations. Really? How so? Is it because it was on a global scale? Was it because there could be more than 5 on the trot if you got gang-banged by a half-dozen saucers? Or was it because the missions didn't follow an OBVIOUS and entirely linnear pattern like the new XCOM? I'm still at a loss on that one...
And then there's the actual mission they have decided to show us...
Let's start with the pitiful SkyRanger nod. Firstly, if there an FPS now that DOESN'T have a chopper flight scene? No? Hmmm.
How about the feeble Ghostbusters nod with the two of them checking each others packs?
Don't get me started on the dialogue - I spend a lot of time writing (does it show?
) and what those characters say during the mission is quite simply moronic. As pointed out earlier, these characters have apparently seen a woman defragment in a video clip and a giant fractal cannon appear out of nowhere and annihlated some dude and a car: 'What's going on here?' is the kind of thing you'd expect from a B-Movie cop or a Star Trek Red Shirt who's about to get turned in to 10m long smear of salsa. How about some dynamic dialogue? Something that tells me that these characters are weathered professionals who have seen human violence enough to recognise a shoot-out in a tent before? Maybe? Hmmm....
So much for the sandbox-esque mission profile they suggested over a year ago; that looked about as linear as Bioshock 1.
Add to that the circumstantial events - while the flaming bus was pretty, in a cartoony sort of way, again I can't help but wonder if BombBloke is bang on the money about it being a scripted event. If so, and keeping in mind that most of the events in the Bioshock games are ALL scripted, it's fair to assume that, players have an odd tendancy to be looking the OTHER WAY when shit goes down because they were attracted to something else (usually a big gun and ammo, in my case).
Let's also not forget that stick-scenery first gun fight with the flanking position and the number of times we've seen that. Brothers at Arms, the early CoD, First to Fight, Mass Effect, another Us Army advertising game I can't remember the name of right now... We've seen this over and over again and, while an effective strategy, it's not something you use as the advertising ploy to confirm it AS a strategy game: the player will be doing this anyway because they've played ALL the OTHER FPSs on the market.
It's also during this fire-fight that we see the Mass Effect rip as clearly as day (assuming you're not blind, but then, you'd not likely be playing computer games if you were blind, but you get my point...). Time comes to a NEAR halt, providing the player a chance to determine what his 'strategy' is going to be and to order his 'left and right fist' to use their special abilities. As we can see on the Character Experience Board, these characters won't get any more than 4 abilities (just like in Mass Efffect 2) which grow in effect each level (just like in Mass Effect 2) over the subsequent 4 levels of capped experience (just like in... oh, you get the gist...), and, unremarkably, is accessible on that skills wheel that operates under what is, assumably the EXACT same game mechanic and controller layout.
There's more I can point out, but I have to do some work today, so I'm going to give yo my final verdict:
2K Marin has made a game that has taken a game experience that was rated within the top 5 PC games of ALL TIME and dumbed it down for players with an IQ of 10 or less.
The arguement that it's a game designed for children is a load of shite because it's got scenes of graphic violence and horror and carrys a minimum of a 15 certifcate already (PEGI 16) and is likely to go up before release, so they're aiming this at people who actually MAY remember the original games.
The CEO of 2K is telling us that if Ray Charles was kicking out tunes today he'd be Kanye West? No he fucking wouldn't, he'd be Ray Charles: someone who COULD play an instrument, someone who COULD sing and, most of all, COULD write a song himself. So, given what we KNOW of Ray Charles, Kanye West, the original UFO Enemy Unknown / XCOM series and our inherent knowledge as a forum FULL OF RPG GEEKS we can summerise THREE facts without a hint of doubt:
1> 2K are about to release a game that is plagerising several other mainstream titles.
2> They have FAILED entirely to meet the expectations of the fan base that made the original franchise popular in the first place.
3> The CEO, the narrator and all of their game design, mechanic and concept staff are all full of shit.
Just my opinion, by the way...