Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dragon Rising Impressions

I think I've made my way into this game just barely enough to say a few things about it now.

Let me start out with what isn't working for me:

1. Frequent Timed Objectives. So far the game is pushing me along with things like "go here now before X happens very soon". Having a clock pushing you can be frustrating. I don't dislike this gameplay mechanic, but after the first Operation Flashpoint I realized how nice some of it was to be able to take my time. Still have a ways to go in the game tho, so we shall see.

2. Commanding your fire-team. On the console this is no easy task when locked in a firefight. The key here is learning how to skip through it fast which requires practice. Also, you cannot move when in this menu. The upside to this is that there are plenty of commands to give.

3. No map editor for the Xbox 360. I'm upset about this. Very upset.

What is working for me:

1. The planning. You better have a plan and listen to your commanders or you will go down... A lot. The game does afford you a lot of creative ways of completing an objective. And when a plan works, it's very satisfying.

2. The Audio. The menu music song is outstanding. It's half ugly (in a good way), and half beautiful. The sound effects and voice work are top notch. One the second mission you will actually fear some noises ie. gunship firing down one you. It makes an incredible 'thump, thump, thump' sound and if you are wearing your headphones- will make you hide behind the couch and suck your thumb. Also the accuracy in which you can tell where something is better in this game then any other I have played. Lastly, the ambient sounds make it feel like its the time of day your in. Even going as far as changing as the time of day changes.

3. The presentation. Again, outstanding in every way. The graphics are above average and I'm constantly surprised by new things. In similar games like Ghost Recon or Call of Duty, scripted things happen with explosions. Here they can happen anywhere and structures can and will be destroyed. Another thing here is with the menus. This may be a design preference with me but they are beautiful. Another thing to mention here is the dynamic time of day lighting. The sun rises and sets. Haven't been in the rain yet, but looking forward to it.

4. The difficulty. This game is difficult. But not in a way that makes it seem impossible. Make a mistake and you will be shot. If you find yourself thinking "I shouldn't be here in this spot" then your probably shouldn't and you will probably be shot, or your team will. This is a game where the developers don't hold your hand. The first two missions can be frustrating... you feel like you are missing enemies and going the wrong way. Be patient. Listen to your commander and stay in cover. Once the third mission starts up the game really starts to shine.

5. Your AI buddies. They behave correctly. Get locked in a firefight and you quickly realize you can't just call them out to run and follow you especially if it means they will be shot in the back. If you are making a series of bad moves and they will stop listening to you at all. Also, if you send one or more of your guys down a hill to check things out before you go (aka, a suicide mission cause you are a wuss) they will get angry and let you know. The game places a premium on your teammates. Lose them and you are done. I've read that this part of the game is turning people off because they think they are just being unresponsive. Not the case. If you are making the right decisions they will listen.

So far I'm impressed. I can see that some people are really hammering this game (particularly the online modes). I do think, like I've mentioned before, that the game is one that was released in late Beta form. So of the gripes and complaints should be fixed here in the new future.

I'd liken this game to the original Ghost Recon, a whole lotta good. With so many things going on at once it is truly something to behold. Especially for a console game.

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