The scenery clipping is far from the only bug too. As sentry turrets materialise out of thin air, enemy grunts rush blindly past you - presumably because you’ve reached a point in the mission without tagging their trigger point - and pressurised containers explode without damaging anything within their vicinity.
And though such issues may be fixed via patches, that won’t cure Colonial Marines’ most unforgivable flaw: that the xenomorphs here have been cursed with staccato movement, the very opposite of the sinuous, fluid flexibility that was so terrifying in the movies. Perhaps the most damning criticism to be made is that even the ‘greasy’ Alien: Resurrection xenos looked better than this collection of cardboard cut-outs.
Ultimate killing machine? Not in this game
The rest of the game looks much as if it has walked out of the PS2 era too, a problem compounded by bland environments and identikit bad guys. No wonder the preview events showcased the PC version which, while still less than stunning, is at least slightly better looking.
I’m not suggesting that Gearbox went into this to make anything but a good game, but six years of indecision, a constantly shifting release dates and seemingly a loss of direction has unfortunately turned the product into something to lament. After all, in a similar way to how we’re now stuck with Prometheus as the “definite” precursor to Alien, we’re now stuck with this as the gaming’s official sequel to Aliens.
Dead Space 3: a story of assumed identity
Following hot on the heels of Aliens: Colonial Marines was Dead Space 3, a game which most had long suspected was set to take Visceral Game’s claustrophobic horror in a new direction.
Sure enough, that’s was exactly what we got, with long-suffering engineer Isaac Clarke being once more lured into battle against the corrupted necromorphs. His affair with the mysterious Marker – which set loose his tormentors in the first place – coming to some kind of conclusion in the process.
It offers co-op mode for a first time, as well as human enemies equipped with guns and even locates the action within more open environments, Clarke taking a trip to a snow-covered planet during large sections of the game. These foreign concepts twisting and transforming Dead Space 3 into something resembling Uncharted with zombie aliens, a marked departure from the atmospheric survival horror of before.
For that change, the game was attacked rather ferociously by the gaming press. While I can see why some criticism was due, there comes a point when you must judge what’s on the disc - not what you hoped was on the disc. After all, we don’t lambast Aliens for not being similar in concept to Alien do we?
Light him up
With that in mind I’d like to put it on record that I had a good time with Dead Space 3. Not quite as good a time as I had with its predecessors admittedly, but by upping the tempo while preserving the series’ seamless design, Visceral have pulled off an action horror which walks all over the likes of Resident Evil 6.
The only downsides are a reliance on unoriginal boss fights and puzzle sections to which the solution is to find three keys for three slots – a gameplay mechanic that the industry really needs to start moving away from if you ask this grizzled gamer.
Next page: Crysis 3 out for an easy Prophet
Re: A few comments
Ironclad said: "Plus joypads suck, keyboards and mice for teh win."
This is the key, and belongs up top, way ahead of clock speeds, cores, or polygon capacity. The 'console' as we know it is defined by a painfully 'low-bandwidth' user interface, the ubiquitous gamepad. This feeble device is the chief constraint on console gaming. It offers basic four-way directional control, and a minimal number of buttons, thereby severely restricting the human-game interaction. Witness the Sony PS4 launch, where we saw nearly photo-realistic characters jerking around like insanely detailed 3D versions of Pac-Man. Rendering just doesn't matter - there is simply no way the player can move their onscreen avatar with anything resembling real-life fluidity.
There's another point, equally important. Gamepads have the wrong TYPE of control. They control velocity, not position. Rotation, not angle. (It's a first-derivative thing, if you recall any high-school calculus). This is simply NOT the way humans think and move. When I turn to my friend, I'm rotating to THIS angle... not STARTING rotation, waiting, then STOPPING rotation. Similarly, if I aim a weapon, I don't START sweeping to the right, then STOP. I turn a few degrees right. I turn TO a given location, not AT a given rate.
Taken together, the limitations of the gamepad result in dumbed-down games. Good console games are built around those limitations, so players may not notice what's been done. But the richness and depth of a PC game like ArmA, or Flight Simulator, or Civilization, or even Battlefield, is simply not on the menu. (It's easy to think of other examples.)
Add the openness of the PC ecosystem, and the gap widens still further. The new 'social' features of the PS4 emphasize this gap, rather than narrowing it. Yes, you can press "Share." On the PC, you can connect to multiple services simultaneously. You can count on developers finding new ways to deliver games, sell games, tie games into resources that don't even exist yet. You can count on a 'mod' community inventing anything the developers miss. (And in turn spurring commercial development to new achievements.) This vibrant ecosystem will always produce faster evolution than a console monoculture.
To go back to the car analogy, it's more like the difference between a train and a helicopter. The train can switch tracks, at pre-determined points. It can go faster or slower. The helicopter can wander freely in three-space. The train is constrained by a cumbersome switching system, operated by a very limited number of corporate bodies. The helicopter can be privately owned, and hence upgraded or modified, taken 'off the grid,' to locations not served by the rail network.
Of course, even that strained comparison falls short of capturing the actual gulf we're talking about. A gulf that will continue to widen, given that the growing power of the PC will not be constrained by the human interface, while the advancing clock cycles of a PS4 or even PS5 will be increasingly wasted, as far as gameplay potential.
Re: A few comments
"In car terms both of them have (console / PC) have an engine which produces 500bhp. But the PC weighs in at 3 tonnes and only has rear wheel drive. The console weighs in at 1.7 tonnes and is 4 wheel drive. It's lighter and has more grip off the line (sorry I've been watching a lot of top gear lately)"
Ok, it's Friday and post lunch so I'll take that car analogy challenge and raise it some:
The PC can be fitted with superior cooling and then have the CPU and Graphics Card overclocked (Nitrous and Turbocharged), it can also be fitted with an SSD drive (slick tyres?) while the console has to be stock clocked or even underclocked in order to avoid overheating it's tiny box . So the PC is the drag racer, while the console is the production line machine. If you watched Top Gear a few weeks back when they drove around the U.S.A you'll know how that turned out.
Plus joypads suck, keyboards and mice for teh win.
FPS on a console (no keyboard and mouse) is like sex with the world's thickest condom.
Re: A few comments
Never tried Tomb Raider, but i'm curious.
As for MGR, I agree 110%. It may be a nice action game, but please don't name it Metal Gear.
Metal gear has always been an action/espionage game, not a glorified slash-em-up.
And it has NEVER EVER been a game of kill'em all. I managed to end Metal Gear Solid killing only the bosses. And MG3 without killing anyone.
So yeah, MGR is definitely not part of Metal Gear series.
Sad face, because that was me when i looked at MGR. I just thought "please, don't go that way. Please respect the fans... please please please please"
Re: A few comments
I'll confuse the issue somewhat by mentioning a genre of game where NEITHER a keyboard+mouse NOR a gamepad is the correct choice - the racing game. No, I don't mean one of the myriad knock-offs of Mario Kart (itself arguably a knock-off of F-Zero, but never mind that), but GT, Forza, Dirt, etc.
I have one of the XBox360 controllers-for-Windows (XBCFW), and while it's great for playing e.g. Portal 2 (for which I bought it), it sucks balls for playing Dirt 3. Why?
In Portal 2, I have access on the XBCFW to *all* the necessary controls for actual gameplay (save, load, and quit are not part of actual gameplay, so they don't have to be on the controller). The XBCFW suits the size and shape of my hands nicely, and Portal 2 exploits the force-feedback to e.g. make the controller kick in my hands as Chel completes a long jump. Yes, it's silly having to use a speed-by-deflection analogue stick to turn, but running with it is reasonable, because when running, you set a speed, not a position.
In Dirt 3, however, when using the XBCFW I have to steer with an analogue stick and accelerate / decelerate with analogue trigger buttons. That stick is now actually serving the purpose specified above by other commentators - X amount of deflection means X' amount of rate of steering or (for the trigger buttons) rate of movement/braking (a good thing). The end-to-end throw of an XBCFW analogue stick is less than an inch, and all the steering response must fit into that inch (a bad thing). Dirt 3 does have (buried in the advanced controls somewhere) linearity settings, but the steering is still extremely twitchy on centre. (That said, it's amusing to hear the navigator telling me to "Reste concentré" as I roll the car over and attempt to fell a tree with it, which is all too easy when racing with twitchy steering on gravel surfaces. Never have I heard a fellow occupant of a car with so much sang-froid.)
A wheel controller, on the other hand, is utterly useless for Portal 2 because it doesn't have enough axes fitted, and the movement model isn't suited to a steering wheel and foot pedals. Dirt 3, however, comes alive (even on the bottom-priced wheel I bought) because the input model (wheel, brake, accelerator) matches the input model for a real car, and that murderous twitchiness just vanishes because the wheel throws much further to each side than the stick does.