Sunday, August 03, 2008

Gamer's Diary - Forza Motorsport 2, Indigo Prophecy, Star Trek Elite Force II

Forza Motorsport 2: The last time I played this I described it as "sweet, sweet candy." This time I found it somewhat disappointing. The game hasn't changed; I have. Since I last played Forza Motorsport 2, I've also played Codemasters' DiRT and GRID. Forza, while still fun, suffers by comparison to these.

Two main factors make Forza less fun than the other two. The selection of cars for unlocking lies at the heart of the first factor. In Forza much as in Gran Turismo , the player must spend much of the first hours of the game driving slow, poor-handling cars. These can be upgraded, but it takes quite a bit of time. By contrast, games like Burnout 3 , DiRT , GRID, and even Project Gotham 3 give you fast cars and a sense of speed right from the get-go.

The second main factor shows in how Forza handles racing. Much like Gran Turismo , it plays more like a driving game than a racing game. A.I. competitors tend to drive the perfect racing line, spread out in a queue, never battle the other cars, and pretty much ignore the player. But in DiRT and GRID , the A.I. opponents race against each other, use different strategies for getting around corners, make mistakes, and seem willing to trade paint with the player.

Playing Forza Motorsport 2 provides significantly less excitement than the other options I've mentioned, with the exception of the Gran Turismo series, which it surpasses. If you want an attempt at accurate vehicle simulation, play Forza or Gran Turismo . If you want racing fun, play DiRT, GRID, Burnout, or FlatOut

Indigo Prophecy : This game surprised me with just how much I disliked it on playing it again. Perhaps I overlooked it before, but this time I was struck by the game's reliance on "quick time" events for, well, pretty much everything. Pressing buttons in sequence or flicking the analog sticks in particular patterns is okay in very small doses, as in the recent Tomb Raider games or God of War , but too much resembles loading a fine martini with vermouth - it ruins it.

This game would have come across much better if it had stuck to the 3D adventure game framework, with action flowing naturally from the controls, much as in Dreamfall .

I think that I shall trade this one in or give it away, and I already got the rest of the story from online FAQs. The intriguing story line does not offer enough interest for me to play through the broken control design to get to its end.

Star Trek Elite Force II: I played this before, but only got as far as getting repeatedly killed by Borg in the first level. This time I played a little more intelligently, and instead of the half hour I'd allotted myself to play, I put a half hour plus three into it, finishing the first two action levels (Borg, Dallas).

I really enjoyed this game. It still looks great, controls well, and has a really good Star Trek vibe to it. I'll definitely return to this one when my random game chooser picks it again.

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