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Quickreviews: Prototype and Terraria

August 20, 2011

I played Prototype through in a few days, and I’ve got to say: it’s another underrated game. I’m starting to wonder how the major reviewers make their reviews. I’m fairly convinced that the only games to receive good reviews are sequels to existing AAA titles, specifically shooters. Anyway – back to the review. Prototype is basically what you would get by mixing GTA3 and Spiderman, with a lot more superpowers, with an original but forgettable government-zombie-virus plot.

There are several reasons why I liked Prototype. First, and probably most importantly: the gameplay was solid. A bit derivative (felt very God of War-ish), but solid and very free-form. You could approach most missions from several different ways – you are rarely “boxed in” to using only one method to solve the situation. Yet, at the same time most of the missions were at least a little challenging, and some where down-right difficult (on Normal mode). The difficulty curve was “just right”, which is something I find increasingly rare, and I would have imagined impossible in a game that gives you God-like combat powers. Even with incredible powers, it’s possible to be 2- or 3-shot a number of times in the game, or to work your way into an inescapable situation.

Another aspect of the game is the “living city” and the somewhat unique side-missions. I wish there had been more variety in the side-missions (see also: Saints Row 2), but most of the missions were fairly inventive.

Anyway – overall a very under-appreciated game. I’m really looking forward to the sequel.

 

Terraria – or how (not?) to build a world. The premise is simple: copy-paste the insanely popular Minecraft, just make it 2D and add more combat. Not a bad idea at all, in fact I think it works /better/ than Minecraft for the purpose of multiplayer, because it’s MUCH easier to keep track of buddies in a changeable, destructible environment if there are only two dimensions. Ultimately, LOOT breaks the game. I can tell the makers of the game aren’t MMO fans, or else this would have been less of an issue. Essentially, loot is /kinda/ rare, and the way the game is played changes ENTIRELY with a few pieces of gear. If your friend has it, and you don’t, you could go hours and hours while you search for the same item in order for the two players to stay on the same level. What this leads to, is the players going their own separate ways to gather loot, or, to even /compete/ for loot – since loot doesn’t respawn. What exacerbates this problem is the semihard (teheheh) and hard modes – where you loose your loot or your entire toon if you die. This means that if your character dies, but your friend stays alive, you have to start all over. That really sucks, especially if all of the easily accessible loot is already gone. Or, if you simply drop all your loot when you die (semihard mode), your friend can pick up all your loot, but that usually leads to “WHERE IS MY GOLD ORE AND MY OTHER LOOT!?” discussions. When you pick up loot, you aren’t given an inventory of what you picked up, it just simply is thrown in with your other crap, and it stacks automatically with your existing stuff. So, dividing loot after a buddy dies is an arduous task. This basically breaks multiplayer, given that loot determines what tier of the game you are playing at, and losing that loot means you can’t play with your friends if your loot level is noticeably different.

Oh, and I didn’t even mention how difficult it is to even start up a multiplayer match. The very LEAST you need to do is forward ports on your router (not /that/ big of a deal), and you need to find and run the separate executable to start a server on your own computer. Basically, the game brings you back to the early 90s of multiplayer gaming.

If the developers of this game built in a decent server UI and fixed the loot situation (which would likely require a ground-up redesign of how the game is played) such that players can more easily play together even if there is a disparity in loot, this game would be a 10/10. Otherwise, I give it a 8/10. Good, but definitely not great.

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