Saturday, May 4, 2024

Doom Eternal (PC) Review

Doom Eternal annoyed me to no end.

Its a very polished game, and it looks great. When the game gets going, its a lot of fun. Its a functional product, and it works as advertised. Soundtrack is excellent, and the action is hectic. Is Doom Eternal a polished game that runs well? Yes. There is nothing technically wrong with the game.

However, I cannot recommend this game, because I did not have fun playing it. For fans of the first game expecting similar gameplay, understand that in certain aspects, Doom Eternal is a VERY different game. My biggest complaint are design decisions that get in the way of me having fun.

Generally, to acquire ammo, you have to kill grunts with the chainsaw, but you have limited amount of ammo you can carry (even with all the upgrades), and because weapons share the same ammo pool, such as double barrel shotgun and combat shotgun, running out of ammo with one weapon means you are out of ammo with the other (this is the same as the first game), but what makes it worse is how you constantly keep running out of ammo, and you have to use the chainsaw to kill a grunt to get some precious ammo, which by the way doesn't always top up the ammo supply AND you have to wait excruciatingly long for chainsaw fuel to auto refill. Its so dumb. Why not let glory kills refill ammo? They had the perfect system all worked out in the last game. Why change it?

To further add to my irritation, there are LONG platforming sections. I don't understand this. Why? Who wanted this? Its so poorly done too, it feels goofy and out of place.

The final levels are an incredible culmination of all the irritating design choices into one perfect package. When I beat the final boss...I stared at the screen for a good 30 seconds, in a state of introspection, thinking to myself, how with some minor tweaks this game could have easily surpassed DOOM (2016) in every respect. Such a pity.

I really wish I enjoyed this game, but I didn't.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Rise of the Tomb Raider (PC) Review

Rise of the Tomb Raider is a very solid sequel, and I really enjoyed this game. The graphics are top-notch — I played it at 3440x1440 resolution on a machine running an i7 12700k and a GeForce RTX 3080Ti with ray tracing enabled and I was getting over 100+ FPS with DLSS set to Quality mode. The attention to detail in the tombs you get to explore is outstanding, even extending to the optional ones. These optional tombs came closest to delivering the experience of the old games for me.

Level design in this game is exceptional, surpassing Tomb Raider (2013). Notably, the Syria level stands out as extremely well done. Combat mechanics are functional, and thankfully, unlike the last game, there aren't too many quick-time events.

However, the crafting system from the previous game makes a comeback, and unfortunately, it's not good. It feels out of place in a game like this. Having to constantly loot for resources becomes quite tedious. RPG mechanics don't make much sense in a fairly linear game such as this. Personally, I play Tomb Raider games to explore interesting levels, solve puzzles, and collect cool artifacts—anything beyond that feels like a distraction.

The voice acting for Lara Croft is very good, but I can't say the same for any of the other characters. The dialogue is often boring, and the overall story feels nonsensical. I don't understand why they felt the need to “humanize” Lara Croft, especially when they struggle to tell an interesting story. The original games kept it simple: Lara Croft is a rich adventurer who likes to raid tombs. Now, they've tried to create this elaborate backstory for her, which, in my opinion, detracts from the experience. The story of Rise of the Tomb Raider is essentially an Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade rip-off, told in a boring and lazy manner.

It took me about 16 hours to finish the main campaign and some of the optional tombs, which can be very challenging.

I got this game for free on the Epic Game Store, which, despite all the Fortnite money, is still not great. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, the game is not available on GOG. I recommend buying this game on Steam, where it frequently goes on sale.

Assassins's Creed Origins (PC) Review

The best thing about Assassin’s Creed Origins is the game world. Ubisoft did a fantastic job creating Egypt. The map is massive, and strictly playing the story missions covers around 60% of the map—this is without any of the DLC content. Exploring the pyramids, the Sphinx, and other Egyptian landmarks is a lot of fun. The City of Memphis is particularly memorable to me. In the hands of a better studio, this game could have been a masterpiece.

Graphics fidelity is top-notch, and it’s very well optimized. At the absolute highest settings on 3440x1440, I was getting around 120 FPS on my GeForce RTX 3080 Ti. With the HUD elements disabled, it manages to look on par with Red Dead Redemption 2 in some areas.

Gameplay is very mediocre and extremely repetitive. It’s obvious that they are trying to imitate The Witcher 3, but it does not measure up. The mechanics seem very shallow, and they got boring fast. It suffers from the copy-paste design of Ubisoft games—bargain bin gameplay in a AAA open world. In true Ubisoft fashion, the map is full of markers, which robs the player of the joy of exploring and discovering something cool in the open world. Once a viewpoint is activated, everything in the area is highlighted on the map for the most part. There is no reason to go to a remote corner of the map because you know nothing is there other than maybe a trinket or two. But if it is anything remotely important, Ubisoft will make sure there is a question mark on the map. It removes any sense of discovery.

The bird is another goofy mechanic in the game. It’s basically a high-tech drone in the form of a hawk, and the game really wants you to use it. It could have been so much better, but Ubisoft can’t help themselves.

There are also those ridiculous modern-day sections, but thankfully, they are very short.

I am happy they removed looting animations from the previous games.

The story can be interesting in certain parts, but by and large, it’s nonsensical. The dialogue is very bad, and the characters are poorly written. It felt like they were trying to create a character like Geralt from the Witcher games but failed. Black Flag still remains the best in terms of story and characters. The final missions are extremely annoying because you don’t even get to play as the main character.

I paid $8.99 for this game, and I think I got my money’s worth. I recommend getting it on sale.