>Impressions: Mercs 2 / Tiger 09 / Tales of Vesperia

>I’d rush-ordered Tales of Vesperia last week, figuring that with the 3-day weekend, I’d have ample time to mess about with it. As it happened, though, I barely touched it; did a lot of and Tiger 09 and Mercenaries 2 instead.

Mercs 2:
I’m a little concerned about Mercs 2. I’m only about 3 or 4 hours into it, and yet I’ve unlocked almost 300 Achievement Points and my save file indicates that I’m just over 40% complete. For an open world game, that doesn’t bode well at all.

As a huge fan of the first game I had very high hopes for the sequel, but I can’t really say that I’m all that impressed this time around. Graphically, it’s a bit spotty; textures pop in and out all the time, and even when they’re fully in they’re not necessarily all that pretty. The driving model is pretty strange and doesn’t really feel quite right, especially when it comes to braking to a full stop (for all the game’s emphasis on physics, the laws of inertia do not apply at all when jumping out of a moving vehicle). Blowing things up – the hallmark of the franchise – is still fun, but to be perfectly honest, I haven’t really had many opportunities to blow anything up just yet (however, I only unlocked the airstrike support option this very morning right before I went to work, so maybe that will change now).

And, of course, the game does suffer a bit from EA-itis – there’s lots of poorly-written and generally unnecessary emphasis on how bad-ass these characters are.

I do appreciate the game’s new economy feature – you can’t just call in supplies and air support willy-nilly now, you need to have enough fuel stockpiled to arrange for this stuff; which means that in addition to the missions, you also need to be on the lookout for fuel, cash and armaments you can arrange to steal via airlift. (There’s a logic flaw in this, though – it costs fuel to get stuff airlifted to your location, but it costs no fuel to steal stuff – and I’ve stolen far more stuff than I’ve ordered, and from farther away than any of the missions I’ve been on.)

That said, I’m a little underwhelmed, especially if the game is as short as it appears it may be.

Tiger 09
Tried to get some online golf going over the weekend, but EA’s servers were a bit wonky and we couldn’t get it to work. That said, there doesn’t appear to be an in-game option to invite anyone from your friends list; you have to create a game lobby and then back out to the 360 guide button, which is where you invite someone. This seems to be a bit too many steps than necessary, and it’s especially confusing when the server isn’t working.

As for the single player – it is definitely the best iteration in the franchise that I’ve yet played. All it really needs, in Tiger ’10, is a graphical upgrade; while the players and the courses look good, the backgrounds and the trees look PS1-ish, and there are issues with the camera during certain shots (especially with long putts where the camera doesn’t always follow the ball into the hole, which means you have no idea what you just did).

Tales of Vesperia
As noted above, I didn’t really get around to this one. I did about an hour’s worth late Friday/early Saturday, and that was about it. I’ll need to spend more time with it when I can put 100% focus into it. What I saw was interesting. Combat is a little tricky, at least in terms of the controls.

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