Please note (again) that the title says first impressions. This is not commentary from a full play-through. I just want to put some initial musings down before the weekend. I’ll have more to say on next week’s podcast, I’m sure. I won’t really discuss the multiplayer here, since most people who care at all have probably already played the MP demo. It’s like that, only with more game modes (none of which I’ve unlocked yet).
The singleplayer campaign reminds me most of FEAR2. There are lots of bad guys wearing masks standing around waiting to find you. There’s plenty of ammo lying around, and you’re a supersoldier with a high-tech suit facing a supernatural enemy. There’s also lots of data on the screen; you have the option to pull down a special HUD that shows you yellow “strategy points” which are good for getting a view of the enemy and terrain. You can tag bad guys, but I haven’t noticed much effect of this, other than having a faint red outline around them while you approach.
The navigation system is pretty good, but the amount of data is overwhelming sometimes. It’s also a bit tricky to figure out where you’re going at certain spots. There’ll be a big wall in the way, and you think “Maybe I can jump over it” but no, you have to go around (way around, in one spot). So far, though (and I should point out I’ve only played about an hour of the campaign), it’s a pretty straightforward shooter, mostly in open street areas closed in and fragmented by military hardware.
At the same time, the game does move you through a number of different locales quickly. You start off in a submarine, but then it surfaces, and then some guy drags you up into a building. Then you move down to street level, then into the subway, then up into a hotel. The environments are intriguing in the variety of color palettes, which is obviously a case of them wanting to show off the Cry engine. It looks fine; I’m not blown away by the graphics, but then that’s one of the least important parts of a game for me.
Much more important is the gameplay, and I’m really enjoying the gameplay so far. First of all, they’ve finally figured out how to make stealth easier! Hooray! No more hiding in shadows or dragging yourself along alley walls. Just push a button and BAM! The enemy can’t see you. Of course once you make a stealth kill, everyone else is instantly like “d00D There he is!” and sixteen people open fire at once. But it’s still fun.
One quick complaint I have, especially at the start, is that the game drags you through some of the scenes in a very awkward way. Sometimes it’s a cut scene and you have no control. (All first-person; it’s weird to see things from a POV you usually control, but then have yourself dragged hither and yon.) Sometimes you can only move in a specific direction, slowly. And other times you just run or jog wherever you want (though it’s obvious that you need to go down the hall, and then you’re right back into another cutscene). Game developers! Make cutscenes into cutscenes, and let us control ourselves normally the rest of the time!
Overall, I give the singleplayer game seven thumbs up so far. I’ve been playing a good bit of the multiplayer, especially since I got to play with someone very cool last night. Oops, I’ve said too much! Tune into the podcast for the rest of the story.