And also: Killzone 3, Torchlight (XBLA)

Welly welly well:  yesterday was extremely productive on the gaming front.  After I finished Dragon Age 2, I ended up also finishing Killzone 3, and then sunk some serious time into the XBLA version of Torchlight.

Killzone 3:  Firstly, let me say that I did not care for Killzone 2.  It might have been pretty, but that was all it had going for it, as far as I’m concerned.  The controls just felt weird, although I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not really all that used to the PS3’s controls when it comes to shooters.  But even so – it felt stiff and unresponsive.  The story was muddled and convoluted.  I didn’t know why I was doing what I was doing, and eventually I just gave up.

(I might also add that the main reason why I bought Killzone 3 in the first place, since I’m not really a fan of the franchise, is because Amazon was offering a $20 credit towards future purchases, and there are going to be a lot of future game purchases this year, and every little bit helps, and there are too many commas in this sentence, and for that, I apologize.)

The good:  Killzone 3 is, if nothing else, absolutely jaw-droppingly gorgeous.  It felt, at times, like someone stuck a gritty shooter into a Final Fantasy cutscene.  It’s true that the game can be a bit too brown at times, but overall the environments are nicely varied and detailed and really just look phenomenal.  The controls are a lot easier to manage than in KZ2; everything feels quick and responsive and precise.  There’s a nice variety of things to do; I know some people are tired of turret sequences, but I still kinda like ’em, especially when they’re done well.  (See also:  Bulletstorm.)  Surprisingly good voice acting, even if the script is a bit ridiculous.  It would be fair to say that it can sometimes take itself a bit too seriously, but it’s never awful.

The bad:  The difficulty level is all over the place.  I played the game on the default difficulty and got my ass kicked left and right; or, alternately, I was killing dudes left and right with little to no fuss.  The enemies can, on occasion, soak up even more bullets than in the original Uncharted, which is ridiculous – how many times must I shoot a man in the head before he stops getting up?  Also – if the enemies and I are using the same guns, then it seems awfully unfair that I can’t hit anyone from more than 20 yards with an assault rifle and yet I can still be one-shot-killed from across the map by that same rifle.  I must say, this game got me as close as I’ve come to breaking a controller in about 25 years.

Torchlight:  I’ve played bits and pieces of the PC version off and on for the last year and a half; I don’t really game on the PC very much and so I haven’t really sunk my teeth into it.  But in any event, I’m familiar with the game, I knew what I was getting into, I wanted to support the developers, and I really want to play online co-op in the forthcoming sequel.   The XBLA port is surprisingly good; the controls are, for the most part, excellent.  The menus can be a little cluttered, but they’re still effective.  The only thing that seems a little off is the number of unidentified loot drops; I’d say that at least 80% of what drops requires an Identify scroll, and that seems a tad high.  This will be a fun time waster for the foreseeable future.

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