There was a very good Polygon article about the troubled development of this game a few years back. EA Tiburon, the Madden guys, is the developer. And after this, they remained the Madden guys. When you read the article you learn a lot about the restrictions DC put on them, and the time spent working on it that resulted in a lot of the story by Marv Wolfman being thrown out. Also, Superman Returns the film was shrouded in such secrecy they didn't get a full look at the script.
But Tiburon did have a couple good ideas here, mainly that since Superman is so powerful, instead of him having a health bar, they give the city of Metropolis a health bar, and when Metallo and other villains attack the city, or fires or other disasters happen, you have to prevent them. But the more people get hurt, and the more the city gets wrecked, the more that health bar goes down. Metropolis is a vast, multilevel affair, and there's a nice, tranquil simplicity to just flying around- I do think as I did back in 2008 this game really gets the flying right. THere's a good amount of combos and various uses for heat vision, ice breath, and super-breath, though like me you may just find yourself using the same combos over and over since they work.
The problem becomes there's not too much to do- either you fight fires or fight bad guys, basically. Mr. Mxyptlk has some races to send Superman on. There are stretches- not long stretches, but they FEEL long since the city is so empty- where you're just waiting to get a signal to do one of those menial tasks to push the XP bar forward and advance the story as well. And the story is piecemeal- it awkwardly jumps between storylines with Metallo and Mongul (who shows up in a new scene taking place before the events of the movie, which I found near impossible to beat way back when but pretty easy now), and parts of the movie. The film's cast lent their likenesses and voices to the game, though Kate Bosworth looks and sounds off. I was really disappointed with Routh's performance- the script by Flint Dille and Wolfman doesn't give him much to work with, true, but he delivers lines in the same stilted stuffed shirt style he did in Superman Returns. Considering how much better Routh has been in... well, pretty much every thing he's done since Superman Returns, I'm gonna lay this one at the feet of Warner Bros and Bryan Singer.
Spider-Man 2 set a standard in 2004 that Superhero open world games have struggled to match, and this game is a prime example of that struggle. It was likely time Also, this game's graphics are sooooooo 2006 it hurts. Metropolis from afar looks weirdly blue green and there's a lot of pop-in. Especially annoying is when you have to take an injured citizen to an ambluance and the game specifies one far away but the game's lack of model variety usually means there's an ambulance RIGHT THERE.
And yet, I enjoy playing this game and will likely press on...
Spider-Man 2- speaking of, I've been playing the XBox version of this and I Cannot, I repeat CANNOT- turn off Doc Ock's crazy machine. Can anyone help me out with this? Also, this game is probably the only example of a movie tie in adding something- mainly the Black Cat plot- that actually enhances the movie's storyline (since it helps Peter sort out his feelings for Mary Jane).
Snpier Elite 4- free on PlayStation Plus this month, I only just got around to trying it. I played through and enjoyed Sniper Elite V2 for the 360, though I had to laugh at the game's over the top ending and hints at a Cold War set sequel, which never materialized. I was really impressed with, in a sad, inner 13 year old way, the whole bullets crashing into bones and organs effects that Rebellion Developments seems to have way too much fun crafting.
Set in Italy in 1943, the downmarket BJ Blazkowicz that is Karl Fairburne is back and ready to kill some Nazis. In V2 the levels felt linear- here it's a lot more like Hitman and I approve of the change. I found myself on an island off the coast of Italy filled with little targets and goals to take out. The main one was a high ranking Nazi officer who of course has intel. But there were also four other Nazi officers to take out, a checkpoint to clear, and Nazi propaganda cameras to destroy. While I wouldn't exactly call it variety- there are also an absurd amount of collectibles to grab- what I appreciated about it was that it gave me plenty of goals to think about as a navigated the terrain and made my way towards the main target.
The game is fairly challenging for me on even the Casual difficulty, which surprised me but didn't bother me too much, because the game's stealth mechanics so far are fairly solid. Nothing particularly earth shattering or innovative, but it plays fair with its surroundings and what the player and enemies can or can't see.
But we're really here for the gross, gory effects, and the game delivers. Shooting in this game feels very tactile and solid, and you feel every crunch the bullet cam slaps onto the screen. It's so... satisfying to pull off a long shot, or pull it off without having to hold your breath (more XP for me!). What I found myself doing surprisingly often is waiting for soldiers to get into the vicinity of cars and trucks and gas canisters so I can shoot them and blow them up. Even better, there are now environmental kills- shooting a load of bricks that just happens to be hanging above a busy street or shooting out support beams on a platform.
The Council- damn you and your sales, Microsoft. I initially passed on this Telltale-alike from developer Big Bad Wolf. I was kind of annoyed that the voice actors for the main character and his mother were American when the characters were clearly French- in fact the voice actor of the main character, Louis, while not giving a bad performance, felt really off and not suited for the material. But I was continually intrigued by what I heard about the conversation mechanics. Big Bad Wolf has hit on some fascinating mechanics, and when they offered the first episode for a little over a buck, I gave it a shot. I was hooked enough after the first episode to buy the season pass, and here we are.
What are the mechanics, you might say? Well, you can choose Louis' background and interests at the start. Politics, subterfuge, knowledge of the occult, psychological warfare, even agility- all of these abilities can be used to navigate the game's world and its characters. One skill might be effective in learning something from a particularly tricky subject- but that may mean you won't have the ability later to unlock a box containing power ups. Or one skill will cause the person you've having a conversation with to avoid the question.
Your abilities come with a price- Louis has a limited amount of focus to use these special traits, and depending on how much experience you have, and how many points you have put in will affect what you have to win or lose a confrontation.
The Council is not simply a game of "X Will remember that", Big Bad Wolf is trying to make the experience more, well, playable. And that's what drew me to the game. There are some mildly interesting puzzles and plenty of wandering around the big island estate where the game takes place, but the conversations between Louis de Richet and the personalities he meets is the meat. Initially the Council is thrilling in that regard.
Then something goes horribly, terribly wrong.
Let's finally talk about the story: Louis De Richet and his mother Sarah are members of the Golden Order, a secret society based out of France that collects occult artifacts. When Louis' mother goes missing in the early 1790s, he finds himself summoned to the island manor of the mysterious Lord Mortimer where she was last seen. Sarah de Richet was supposed to cast a vote for the Council, a sect of world leaders and movers and shakers from Europe and the United states that include some dude named Napoleon Bonaparte (whose actor speaks with a French accent) and George Washington, you know, that President guy. Louis finds himself embroiled in not only the fate of his mother but the Council's desire to manipulate world events for mankind's own good. The lovely duchess Emily Hillsborrow (a VERY Good Bibi Jones- the voice acting is fine in general but she stands out) has eyes for Louis, and he has eyes for her. Too bad he keeps having visions of his mother shooting her. And there's that strange girl with her head shaved that looks like the long lost daughter of John Adams...
For the first three chapters, I was hooked. Louis' continual descent into the bizarre world of the Council has a lot of intrigue and the characters are very interesting, despite the fact that the character models are all hyper-detailed (except for the smooth skinned Emily) and look like overly busy Todd McFarlane drawings. Lord Mortimer isn't an eccentric that dabbles in the occult who has a lot of rich friends- he's a man who's trying to manipulate the fate of nations, with Washington and others as his beneficiaries. At times it kind of felt what it must be like to be the Templars in the Assassin's Creed series- SHOULD people choose their own fate, or does this chaotic world need shaping by the "Right" people?
But then episode 4 happens and
- Spoiler: show