MadCatz are a peripheral company. They make controllers, fightsticks, headphones, and other third party pieces that break way within three months. In 2012, they decided to make a game. MadCatz should not make games.
Damage Inc. Pacific Squadron WWII is a flight simulator whose title is longer than it is. You’d have expected it to master the fundamental element of its premise. Nope. Planes control like a wheelie bin with a propellor. Maneuvering my reticle would send my Wildcat into a nose dive, or assault me with the shaky-camera effect. At points I was worried that the sides of the screen would slice my pilot in half and then rattle the bits around the cockpit.
If I had to pick one sentence to describe Total Overdose, it would be ‘Oh, honey, no.’
You can tell that the devs really loved this game, but they did so in the manner of a newborn seal; all huge eyes and floppy incompetence. The music is lovingly chosen (if occasionally a bit ‘mexsploitation Yackety Sax’), the B-movie vibe speaks of hours spent watching Robert Rodriguez films, and ‘isn’t this wacky awesome cheesy fun? :D :D :D’ practically seeps from every pore. I almost feel bad for making fun of it. On the other hand, The Tay Bridge Disaster was a labour of love.
They wanted silly, addictive combat mechanics. Total Overdose combat is pretty fun. They wanted to make a ridiculous, campy game. Didn’t do too badly at that. They wanted their game to be funny…
Sound effects are an underappreciated element of most games, really. I hold up my hands here, I’m as guilty as anyone, never taking note unless they’re exceptional or exceptionally recognisable stock sounds – my ears are attuned to Half Life’s hitting-metal clink and every-game-ever’s Wilhelm Scream, to name but a few – which Halo 4 is refreshingly devoid of.
Halo 4 really pulls you into its world in a way few other games do. Stepping out from Forward Unto Dawn – one foot still braced on unforgiving metal, the other pressing down into soft grass – into the bliss landscape of Requiem, triggers one of the game’s prettiest tracks. You hear the tones of discovery, of trepidation and amazement, and then the distant humming of Covenant Ghosts zipping away, the slight distortion of weapons firing. All resonating as one, you’re there, and it feels just spectacular.
The past weekend, I had the opportunity to get hands-on with Sony’s upcoming Playstation Vita. In a pair of preview articles, I’ll be covering the hardware itself, as well as the games available at the preview event. This piece will focus on five of the available titles, and while only a portion of the launch releases, they are some of the most promoted and should provide an accurate impression of the full lineup.
The games I played at the event were: Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Little Deviants, Wipeout 2048, ModNation Racers: Road Trip, and Gravity Rush; all of which will be covered in this article. I instinctively opened with Uncharted: Golden Abyss, what might be considered the platform’s flagship release. I was ultimately disappointed.