One of my first stops on Saturday was at the incredibly busy Activision booth. I goofed around with some of their superhero titles, but my real purpose was to check out some of their heavy-hitters in the fall line-up. Curiously, Modern Warfare 3 was missing in action (if it was there, I certainly didn’t see it). This really speaks to Activision’s mindset regarding the game: they don’t need to show it off, it’s going to sell itself. The two titles I spent the most time with were Prototype 2 and Goldeneye 007: Reloaded.
I’ll be upfront with you, I didn’t really like the first Prototype. It was choppy, unoriginal, and felt rushed overall. I was way more impressed with Infamous, which, if memory serves, was released around the same time as Prototype. I went in with no expectations of my hands-on with the Prototype‘s follow-up. Unfortunately, this just felt like more of the time. The game wasn’t choppy, but the fighting felt uncontrolled and wild; it was random mashing of buttons. There are some cool mechanics (an interactive environment lets you be very creative with your killing methods), but the camera was wild and the AI felt unintuitive. I just mindlessly hopped around and smashed foes for a few minutes before getting incredibly bored and walking away extremely unsatisfied. I really had no intentions of making an investment in Prototype 2, and this demo really didn’t change my mind. Prototype 2 is tentatively set to release on April 24, 2012. Check out the game in action below:
My experience with Goldeneye wasn’t much better. Really, there isn’t anything wrong with Goldeneye - it’s smooth, it’s fast, and it’s polished, but it’s just more of the same. Case in point: the Activision rep who ran us through our 10-minute multiplayer match sat us down and told us it was the same exact control scheme that players use in Call of Duty: Black Ops. And, really, that’s exactly what this feels like. There is nothing original about this game. There are some fun ideas used (e.g., Oddjob doesn’t have grenades, he has hats!), but the experience is stale. The single player campaign wasn’t available for hands-on time, but I don’t imagine it would be much different than your standard fair FPS campaign. I’m sure Goldeneye 007: Reloaded will get mostly positive reviews and sell pretty well during the holiday season, but it’s part of the problem. See, I’m one of those people that sees gaming as an art form (one of my first posts here was about a gaming-as-art exhibit at The Smithsonian). A trend that many industry folks have observed is a stasis in ingenuity, particularly in the FPS genre, and this is incredibly problematic because FPSs are some of the best-selling games. Gaming needs to evolve. Yes, every so often you’re going to have a game like Halo: Combat Evolved that comes along and turns an entire genre on its head. Of course, the money argument is going to come into play here: if a game makes a mountain of money, investors are going to push for more of the same, and Goldeneye 007: Reloaded is a very obvious biproduct of that mentality. Honestly, the combination is a financial no-brainer: people loved Black Ops and the original Goldeneye. It’s just a shame that more ingenuity and creativity weren’t brought into the development process. Again, there’s nothing wrong with this game, there’s just nothing new. The best guess for a release date is currently November 1, 2011. Check out Goldeneye 007: Reloaded in action below:
I am happy to say that this was the lowest point in my NYCC 2011 gaming experience. I had one-on-one time with Max Payne 3, The Darkness II, and Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. I also sat in on Capcom’s Resident Evil panel. Look forward to articles about those games in the next few days. In the meantime, check out my report of my hands-on time with Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and Resident Evil: Revelations.