Author Topic: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread  (Read 128938 times)

Offline Fanghawk

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 645
  • Avatar of Machinimanliness
    • Marshall's Machinima
Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #30 on: January 19, 2010, 12:34:55 PM »
At least they had SOMETHING to make a game from. Imagine if they'd made a Casino Royale video game: "Play cards for two days. Press X to bluff your opponent. Wiggle the mouse to avoid the poisoned drink. End the game in an tacked-on, over-the-top shootout. Game Over."

Offline bobdog

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3532
  • Avatar of Curiousness
Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #31 on: January 20, 2010, 03:58:06 PM »
Alone in the Dark (2008) is the buggiest POS I have ever had the displeasure of installing -- thank goodness I only paid $4 for it. From the fact that it took about 45 minutes to reset my key bindings (but at least you could do so), to attempting to figure out the probably 40 buttons necessary to run the game, to finally getting in-game, only to have it crash BSOD EVERY 15 MINUTES OF GAME TIME!!! you can finally see my ire at this title.

I REALLY wanted to like this, and I could see shots of brilliance laced throughout, but the bugs, the poor driving situations, the lack of saves in crucial areas, the camera kicking you from 1st-person to 3rd-person every 5 seconds, the overly gratuitous swearing -- all contributed to me only getting through the 2nd episode before yanking it in disgust. The pity is that Atari did patch the console versions of the game to address almost ALL of these problems, but basically left PC owners out to dry. In all the forum entries I've read, such action has left a very bitter taste in PC gamers' mouths.

The graphics and background effects (rooms splitting, roads crumbling, buildings falling, the fire effects) are intensely spectacular. The view overlooking Central Park, and the driving portions through a disentegrating city are manic and amazing. But integrating you and everything else into these scenes is the problem. I would switch to 1st-person to navigate rooms, only to be kicked to 3rd-person when some thematic element occurred (barrier falls in place, electric line swings, etc.) and would have to manually switch BACK to 1st-person -- the programming wouldn't automatically do it for me.

And then the buttons ... the buttons, the buttons... which darn button do I press now to open my jacket, or to use an object, or simply to walk forward??? Crysis had fewer buttons to use and I could still finish it without much complaint. The keyboard configuration is masochistically obnoxious, and you will curse it every time you have to play the game.

Ultimately, AITD is a game (as Doc mentioned earlier) that swung for the fences, but I'd dare suggest it was still in the locker room when it did so, as it is so incomplete for the PC version. Shame on you Atari for creating something that could have been great, shackling it with game-stopping bugs, and finally forgetting about your PC enthusiasts. 4.8 out of 10

Offline bobdog

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3532
  • Avatar of Curiousness
Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #32 on: January 27, 2010, 11:10:13 AM »
The premise of Darkest of Days is sublime – that you are an agent of a future agency that monitors time travel. Unfortunately, someone is messing with the past, so you must go back and make corrections. Your own history is equally alarming – you were an MIA from General George Custer’s famous “Last Stand”, so the agency saved you for their own uses, expecting that saving your hide would buy your gratitude.

Your “teacher” is another time transplant named Dexter – an NYC fireman who entered the Twin Towers on September 11 and was snabbed by the Agency before he was crushed. He also curses like a belligerent sailor, which is extremely offputting, so be forewarned. His role is to scout out missions and prepare you for entry and removal, all while keeping within the mandate to minimize timeline disturbances.

Because “someone” has been messing around with the timeline, your initial tasks are to locate two individuals – one in the Civil War and another in World War 1 – keep them safe from harm and return them undisturbed to their original timeline. However, by the third level, you learn more about the Opposition, and actually meet its founder in the 7th level. You don’t learn until the end why they are making these substantial changes.

Unfortunately, things are never simple – make one little change to events and it skews the whole timestream... so you are constantly having to fix the results of your previous actions. Moving back and forth between timelines, you are taken hostage in a WW2 POW camp and marked for death – clearly the most moving levels in the game. Fortunately, Dexter pulls out some futuristic weapons every now and again (you’ve been fighting with period pieces mostly), to turn the tide of battle. I didn’t mind fighting with the period muskets, cannons and other “ancient” weapons, but the reloading mechanism (you have to time your button press to actively reload) gets to be a pain in the toucas if it jams and then takes twice as long to load.

Once both individuals are returned to the appropriate timeline, you need to find the Agency’s administrator, who happens to be taking holiday in Pompeii right as Mount Vesuvius erupts. Several firefights (and one NASTY game-stopping bug) later, all are returned home, only to learn the dirty truth behind the Opposition’s efforts. And then roll credits, just as the game started getting good....

Ultimately, DoD could do a lot more with the time-traveling premise, but it somehow misses the mark. Instead of spending the first 12 levels in the Civil War and WW1, maybe they should have skipped ahead a bit in the storyline and brought you into the overall premise earlier. And although these catastrophes kept getting billed as “biggest and bloodiest” battles, I never really felt the overwhelming numbers against me – not like when playing Call of Duty and entering those war zones. So really, what DoD needs to do is hop back in time and spend a little more effort on the overall game. 6.9 out of 10

Offline bobdog

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3532
  • Avatar of Curiousness
Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #33 on: January 30, 2010, 11:40:54 AM »
Okay, quick and easy review of Infernal -- it sucks. Big time.

This below average 3rd-person shooter has clunky controls and buggy gameplay (I experienced 3 BSODs in the first one and a half levels). After the 3rd BSOD in the second map, I decided I'd had enough. Not to mention, the storyline (or what I could glean from the cutscenes in between BSODs) is stupid: you were an angel cast out of heaven, who God has decided to kill off with human military troops, so you defect to the devil's team and regain your powers.... what part of ANY of this makes sense?

Do not buy this game, no matter how cheap it is. Do not rent this game for console. Do not play this game. 4 out of 10, only because it has a cool sports car model.

Offline bobdog

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3532
  • Avatar of Curiousness
Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #34 on: February 04, 2010, 11:24:04 AM »
Timeshift was kind of shoved by the wayside when it came out, but I’d like to recommend it to FPS players. The background of the game is interesting, because it’s one of those few games to get a second chance. I don’t remember the specific details, but after the first beta was shown to the publisher, they pulled it and gave it to an internal team, who almost completely reworked it. The end result went from a bright, almost cartoonish, graphical scheme to a more realistic, grittier tone, and the work put into the graphical revamp shows, featuring detailed levels with detritus and various paraphernalia.
 
Story wise, Timeshift finds you in an alternate World War 2 that has been conquered by a scientist from the future – the same scientist who seemingly caused the explosion in the lab where you were testing out the “beta” suit, whose time features subsequently kicked you back into the past. The interesting storyline gradually unfolds through between-mission cut-scenes to show you what happened in the future to stick you in the past, although the end result could have used a bit more explanation. The world itself has more of a 50’s Soviet influence in how things look.

Your suit offers three specific time-related powers – stop, fast forward and reverse – that affect the world around you, but leave you unchanged. For example, the “stop” feature stops all things, including elements such as water, flame and electricity, and bullets and rockets, allowing you to pass by them unharmed. “Fast forward” is basically “bullet-time” and propels you faster than everything around you, causing the world to seemingly move in slow-motion. And “reverse” turns back time before your eyes, such as a collapsed bridge reconnecting so that you can cross it, only to have it collapse after your crossing. Unfortunately, this power was not used as often.

Unlike FEAR and FEAR 2, in which I barely used my time-powers (because I’m so LEET!!!   :onethumb: ), you absolutely will HAVE to use your time-powers to succeed in firefights and various environmental puzzles. The suit’s onboard A.I. will choose the necessary power for you, or you can go manual.

The finale against the future scientist could have used at least one more tier of challenge, because it felt a little rushed. However, Timeshift is overall a solid game that you should be able to pick up on the cheap. 8.8 out of 10

EDIT: I totally forgot to mention about the hefty weapon selection -- you've got a number of cool weapons to use, although I admit my favorite was the sticky missile bomb: fly that baby up to your enemies and watch 'em explode!!  :onethumb:
« Last Edit: February 05, 2010, 06:47:34 AM by bobdog »

Offline GreyMouser

  • Forums Keeper
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 510
  • It's all so UNREAL to me.
I, also, liked TimeShift
« Reply #35 on: February 04, 2010, 09:58:28 PM »
I'd really enjoyed the game,;.....except the last two levels...::)
The biggest complaint I have with the game was the "Lame" ending....:P

Good review, Bobdog...:ok:
I completely agree with your overall review....;)


............................. .:smoking:

The Beauty is in the "Play".

Offline bobdog

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3532
  • Avatar of Curiousness
Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #36 on: February 08, 2010, 12:21:50 PM »
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men just leaves a vile taste in your mouth after playing it, especially with its two bummer endings. I guess you shouldn’t expect happy endings when you play a convicted mercenary and his psychotic, drug-addled partner.

K&L definitely gets the organized crime thing down right, with some thugs busting you out of the pen, where you as Kane have spent the last 14 years on a murder rap and are about to be zapped in the electric chair. It seems you robbed an organized crime “family” of something very important – although we never once learn what is in the briefcase you are hauling around – and to get this “whatever” back, the family has kidnapped your ex-wife and daughter for insurance. They also saddle you with  Lynch, a psycho who probably killed his own wife while under the influence of heavy hallucinogens, and must report back to the family every day on your progress.

What should be an easy job turns into a nightmare as a result of Lynch’s monumental screw-ups, making your task an impossibility from the start. Ironically, by the story’s end, Lynch seems to be the sane voice of reason as you become manic in your desire to rescue and protect your daughter.

Even with some significant plotholes, K&L does have a meaty – though short – story and this is the only thing that really drove me to finish the game. Graphics are fine, with a variety of urban and rural environments, and the engine does some cool things with crowds, such as in a packed nightclub that you must escape through the masses without alerting the guards. If you’ve played any of IO’s previous Hitman games, it feels very similar with its 3rd-person view, although your character can take cover and shoot around corners. However, you can only carry two weapons that you can switch in the field – a pistol and a rifle.

This is a mature game and the language is very explicit and graphic non-stop. On medium difficulty, it was a challenge, but you generally have 1-3 partners that you can somewhat rely upon and direct in various actions. Unfortunately, the game has no quicksaves (console port   :redhot:  ) and maybe only 3-4 autosaves within each level that you’ll have to start from. However, if you quit out of any level at any point, you’ll have to replay the whole thing, regardless of whether you hit an autosave or not.

K&L is short at about 6 hours gameplay, but the storyline mostly propels you forward effectively, like a decent organized crime movie. I’d recommend getting it on the cheap, and then have a bar of soap and some Lysol handy at the end when you finish it. 6.1 out of 10

Offline Fanghawk

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 645
  • Avatar of Machinimanliness
    • Marshall's Machinima
Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #37 on: February 08, 2010, 02:38:59 PM »
Kane & Lynch is on my list, even though I'm not expecting a "best game evar" experience. It seems to be the equivalent of a bad action movie; not everyone will admit it to be a quality piece of work, yet a certain amount of entertainment can come from its "badness" as well. But since this is the kind of game I would play for the story anyway, and since that seems to have emerged relatively unscathed in your review, there's probably nothing for me to worry about.

Do you think the game would be more bearable if you suffer through with a partner in co-op? All the levels in the story mode are available with one player as Kane and the other as Lynch, and you are able to choose from any level in the game, skipping those you don't like. (Which may not be a good thing... Yahtzee once noted that games which advertise being able to skip levels usually do so because they aren't very good in the first place.)

But it's the "Fragile Alliance" mode that looked especially interesting. You play as one of up to four bank robbers who attempt to rob a building. If successful, the stolen money is split among the survivors and can be used to buy new weapons and armor while adding to your score. The key phrase there is "among the survivors": if one of the teammates happens to take a bullet from behind, that's more cash for everybody else, and it also forces you to be wary of someone betraying you. Of course, if you kill the rest of your team too soon, you'll have to hold off the hordes of police and armed guards all by your lonesome, which is also the side your dead teammates will be respawning in. It's a great concept, but I'm not sure how well its been executed, especially considering that there are supposed to be only four maps included with the game.

I’d recommend getting it on the cheap, and then have a bar of soap and some Lysol handy at the end when you finish it.

Done and done.

Offline bobdog

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3532
  • Avatar of Curiousness
Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #38 on: February 15, 2010, 10:19:55 AM »
Stranglehold is the game follow-up to John Woo’s famous Hong Kong flick Hard Boiled, starring Chow-Yun Fat as Tia Tequila ... er ... Tequila Sunrise ... whoops ... Detective Tequila. The game plays like a six-hour action movie with a robust storyline, nicely-done cutscenes that actually advance the plot, amazing graphics through the Unreal engine, and fun, but challenging, gameplay.

Basically the game plays like Max Payne, which itself was an homage to John Woo’s cinematic action style, so it’s all come around again. However, Stranglehold tosses a few new things into the mix, namely the ability to accrue special points when you complete unique kills. Points go toward four main powers: healing, scoped kills (that follow the bullet to the target), an invincible barrage of gunfire, and the roundhouse, which spins you around and kills all enemies in sight. So yeah, it plays just like a John Woo movie, in other words. Unique kills are gained generally from using the environment somehow: sliding down banisters, dropping signs or barrels on foes, running up railings, shooting while on a rope swing, sliding over counters, riding on wheeled carts, and even plain old head shots.

Gameplay is basically wave after wave after wave of foes attacking you in a specific location – restaurants, ruined buildings, apartments, docks, boat yards and even the Chicago Museum of History – until you manage to kill all spawned foes and move to the next location, where it all starts again. The waves are split up by Mexican standoffs and boss fights. In the first, you must dodge bullets and bring your reticule up to shoot a foe before circling around to shoot the next foe, until all are dead. The boss fights usually end up as shoot-outs between you and gang leaders or even armed helicopters, and most foes require you to use your Tequila powers to effectively take them out.

It’s fun for what it is, has a great, cohesive storyline, and provides just enough challenge to keep your interest for its short length. 8.6 out of 10

Offline bobdog

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3532
  • Avatar of Curiousness
Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #39 on: February 17, 2010, 06:47:55 AM »
Despite being 3 years old and featuring “last-gen” graphics, Commandos Strike Force was actually pretty satisfying for me to play through, with some amazing challenges. I will temper my enthusiasm by reminding readers that I am big on stealth games such as Thief and Deus Ex, and my experience with this game is a direct reflection of my love of that FPS sub-genre.

CSF is a graphically-updated version of what originated as an overhead/isometric view action Real-Time Strategy game. Although not an RTS in the normal sense of extracting and allocating resources, Commandos put you in charge of 3-5 specifically skilled characters and was set in World War 2 in a real-time gameplay environment. In other words, the world continued on its way, guards walk their routes, workers do their tasks, etc. The challenging fun of the original Commandos and its sequels was to make it through the map, accomplish tasks and extract yourself without setting off alarms. Occasionally, you'd need to use 2-3 characters at once to get past obstacles. Some areas were devilishly hard, making your escape all the more fulfilling.

Well, CSF takes us back to this style of gameplay, only now in a full first-person experience. You have three characters to control (no more than two in any one mission): spy, marine and sniper. Of them all, the spy was most fun to play, allowing you to just go balls out and cause havoc behind the lines. The marine was my least favorite because he was simply too generic, but the sniper’s silent kills and sniping opportunities were fun in various missions. Now, alluding to my original line about loving stealth games, you can see why the spy and sniper were most fun.

Missions consist of infiltration, assassination, hold the fort, etc, and are set in three campaigns for France, Norway and Russia. The first two missions also serve as training exercises, and I liked that if you explored maps further, optional objectives arose, making for a richer experience. The best mission was a three-map infiltration set in a French city with winding streets, where the spy was responsible for a number of objectives. This required him to have to obtain various upgraded uniforms to sneak past and kill his Nazi foes. Another highlight followed the sniper into a bombed-out Russian city, where he must eliminate five Nazi leaders; going further into the map unleashed new goals. The most challenging map was a bridge stand-off supported by your marine and sniper, forcing you to revert back and forth between them. This single map actually took me several hours to get past.

There is an underlying storyline to the game – something about how your unit continues to be betrayed, and this causes some suspicion among the team members. This could have actually been played another way and would have really turned the game around, but they went the safe route.

Overall, despite its dated graphics, CSF had a Thief-like feel to it but set in WW2. The opportunity to play several character types gave the tired WW2 genre a new life in my eyes, although the marine was far too generic and could have used some more definition. 7.8 out of 10

Offline bobdog

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3532
  • Avatar of Curiousness
Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #40 on: February 23, 2010, 05:34:33 PM »
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 offers probably the most powerful gaming experience I've ever had through its single-player storyline and situations. The destinations are varied -- Middle East, South America, Russia, Norway, and even American soil -- but the underlying terrorist thread threatens to spill the whole world into chaos. It is a game with consequences and disturbing imagery that impact our sense of normalcy and safety, and that is what makes it so powerful.

I don't want to spoil anyone's play, so I will simply say that I enjoyed MW2, it was challenging, and it made me think more about the results of our actions in the broader world. Also, the Special Operations that you can access have some fun replay factor once the main campaign is completed.

I originally wanted to give this game a full 10 score, but its high price and 6-hour gameplay require me to knock it down slightly to 9.2 out of 10.

Offline bobdog

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3532
  • Avatar of Curiousness
Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #41 on: March 16, 2010, 11:26:00 AM »
Lost Planet: Extreme Condition was neither bad nor great – just averagely good. The story throws you in the mix of action right at the start, which is always nice, and sets up the flow of the game. You are on an ice planet that has the unfortunate problem of also being home to some critters called Akrids – basically big bugs of all types. If that wasn’t enough, someone wants to destroy the planet!!   :o  Oh noes!!!

This world, Eden 2, was one of humanity’s first colonized worlds. However, the resources spent in sending these colonists basically destroyed Earth’s economy, and promised future assistance never arrived, stranding the colonists on an uninhabitable ice planet that suddenly sprouted Akrid, who came in search of the new “heat” that they sensed. Humans had to evacuate back to their space shuttles, although some “snow pirates” remained to tough it out. Only some years later did humanity create mechs called VS (virtual suits) that allowed them to successfully fight the Akrid and harvest the heat that they accumulated – heat that can be used to keep the humans alive on the icy wastes.

The game alternates between human, mech and Akrid foes, taking place in both interior and exterior locales, and each level ends in a boss fight between a super-mega-monster Akrid or an advanced Mech. The boss fights are sometimes abnormally tough, with boss Akrids towering 50, 60, 80 feet tall and dwarfing your mech and especially you on foot. For most encounters, I was able to manage through the game on medium difficulty, but after several boss fights forced me to spend 90+ minutes on them, I installed a trainer to grant me God mode.  ;)

The complex story is told in lengthy (sometimes 10-minute) cutscenes between missions and has something to do with a terra-forming project that will wipe out all life on the planet, including the Akrid and the “rebel” snow pirates of which you now belong. The story takes places over several years, but sometimes lacks tension, alluding to possible romances that never come to fruition between your character and a female buddy. Actually, they showed some restraint in this respect, but I felt it could have been accomplished effectively within the storyline.

At any rate, the character models are amazingly textured and detailed, and the level design is generally very good, although none of them really stand out in hindsight. The Akrid, however, are the cornerstone of this game, because each of the bosses are unique, taking on the shape of moths, spiders, scorpions, beetles and other “buggy” pests. Their presence ensures that Lost Planet is more than just another average shooter.

Pet Peeve Alert!! Lost Planet does not allow you to customize your key bindings. You also are unable to save anywhere, as it is a console port. Final score: 7.1 out of 10

Offline bobdog

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3532
  • Avatar of Curiousness
Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #42 on: March 18, 2010, 06:44:47 AM »
So Blacksite: Area 51 is another game that’s gotten some poor reviews, although I think somewhat unfairly. Maybe the v1.2 patch fixed some initial issues that players had with it – what I do know is that I had a pretty fun romp on this cross-platform FPS, and it exceeded my expectations.

Graphically, the game uses the Unreal engine for some pretty amazing level designs – I did notice some graphical inconsistencies in some in-game cutscenes, but this only happened a few times and was certainly nothing to detract from the overall experience. I also noticed some wonky physics on occasion, but again, this was rare.

Blacksite is a generic FPS with some slight squad control, but never really takes advantage of this skill like other squad games such as the Rainbow Six Vegas series. One unique new element is “squad morale” – if you make headshots and push aggressively, your squad morale goes up and your squad mates are aggressive in engaging the enemy; if one of your mates goes down, squad morale falls and your remaining mates simply hunker down and return fire from behind barriers.

Harvey Smith of Deus Ex fame made a comparison between these two games, but other than the sci-fi plot and overall conspiracy, there is no other link. Well, some of the levels are kind of small, so that would compare to DX: Invisible War.... The story is fairly strong however, with events in modern-day Iraq leading into what occurs in the Nevada desert. You are brought in for a similar reason with the same team to assess a blooming threat in a small Nevada town that then appears to lead to a full-blown -- possibly alien?? -- invasion. You’ll find the truth along the way although the game is relatively short at about 6-8 hours.

Blacksite features some of the best driving sequences I’ve had in an FPS (from a third-person view), as well as the nicest trailer park I’ve seen since No One Lives Forever 2, and some cool helicopter scenarios. So the game tries a few new things, has a good story and is a decent shooter. 7.6 out of 10

Offline bobdog

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3532
  • Avatar of Curiousness
Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #43 on: March 22, 2010, 07:15:57 AM »
Well, speaking of Rainbow Six Vegas 2, here’s my review of this action shooter. Let’s start with Starfox’s Rainbow Six Vegas 1 review as a primer.... Okay, all read up there? Fine.

Vegas 2 was good, but not nearly as engaging as the first game. I mean really, what’s exciting about going through gyms, libraries and convention centers?? Yes, it is realistic perhaps for Vegas, but it’s not so unique to play through, especially compared to the first game’s high-rises, casinos, and even a dam.

Gameplay was challenging but just didn’t feel as original and inviting. The storyline also was a little convoluted, especially when we learn the whole scenario is one huge grudge match by a disaffected former good guy who just happens upon unlimited caches of money to fund this terrorist takeover of Las Vegas? C’mon!

Regardless, Vegas 2 is a pretty fun romp through some realistic scenarios and really provided that visceral feel of taking out the “bad guys” with your team, especially when your actions have consequences. 8.1 out of 10

Offline bobdog

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3532
  • Avatar of Curiousness
Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #44 on: May 21, 2010, 07:16:04 AM »
Wanted: Weapons of Fate is an atmospheric, third-person action game that serves as the gaming sequel of the Universal Studios movie Wanted. I never saw the movie when it came out, but after playing the game tie-in, I’m at least interested in seeking it out.

The game follows Wesley, the son of a super assassin, who has now become an assassin in his own right. The game apparently takes off after the ending of the movie, in Wesley’s apartment, and he is being sought by one of several assassin fraternities. Likewise, he’s interested in finding out who killed his mother, and why he was forced to kill his own father. What follows is a 5-6 hour journey of discovery, featuring some flashbacks where you play as Wesley’s father (aka The Killer).

The game excels in making the use of cover as simple and fun as possible. And you will need cover, constantly. Hordes of underlings, snipers, kamikaze fighters, and enhanced assassins with similar powers will attack you. The best way to pick them off is to hide behind cover, pop out occasionally, and then take them out. A single button click will allow you to leap between cover almost instantaneously – probably the best use of cover of any game I’ve played.

Your foes also use cover efficiently, so you’ll only get micro-seconds to take them out as they pop up. That is, until you learn how to curve bullets, something your assassin’s heritage allows. Again, the process is simple: press two buttons simultaneously, you will pop up from cover, and you’ll see an arc form from you to your selected target. Once the arc goes from red to white, let loose your two buttons, and your bullet will arc around and hit the target, sometimes simply stunning them enough to force them out of cover, but more often than not killing them outright, occasionally with a scene that follows your bullet to the target. Another super skill that you learn is the ability to slow time as you leap between cover, but this wasn’t as useful except during certain boss battles.

Oh yes, you’ll take on a number of bosses at the end of each level, all with differing methods of play: one’s a shotgun toting Russian, another sports a sniper rifle, one perches behind cover and lets his minions tackle you, another rappels down from above .... You just need to figure out which of your powers is most effective to take them out.

Between levels, and sometimes within levels, you’ll have cutscenes indicating the broader storyline. As mentioned, someone killed your mother, and pitted you against your father. But there’s an underlying dilemma surrounding the “Loom of Fate,” which all the assassin fraternities are protecting, but one head assassin – The Immortal – now covets for himself. Overall, it was a pretty cool story, making me want to rent the movie to find out more.

Locations are a mix of downtown apartments, office buildings, cathedrals and crypts, abandoned bell towers, European streets, and decrepit factories, but perhaps the most distinctive was a level on an airliner where you play Wesley’s father. Besides going through the first time and causing your foes to get sucked out of the airplane, you also go back through the falling airplane, where you experience a slow-motion version that requires you to shoot bullets out of the air and leap from seat to seat to get to the back of the plane.

As I said, it’s a fairly short game with little replay value (except to collect all the intel files placed throughout the game, which result in extras such as comic book covers, posters, game art, movies, etc.), but bending bullets never gets old. The story propels you forward, and makes the game feel like you’re playing a movie. 7.6 out of 10