I’ve noticed this a lot with games lately, but it seems like there is so much detail paid to setting the scene, creating the mood and starting the story that the rest of the game never lives up to the first few hours. I’m sure it’s not intentional and more of a consequence of schedule pressure and deadlines, but it’s unfortunate. Gears of War suffers a bit from this problem, but a bigger issue is a disjointed story. If you hadn’t been paying attention to the trailers and teasers before this game launched or if you hadn’t read the manual, you’d have no idea what was going on with the story. Then things happen so fast that there isn’t time to fill in the story. Things just happen, without a whole lot of explanation.
That being said, the pacing of the game is excellent. There’s no backtracking, no pointless objectives, just non-stop action. Checkpoints were seamless and the action moved quickly. This is the way action games should be paced. I just couldn’t believe how short the game was! I didn’t time myself, but I bet I didn’t spend more than eight hours here. That’s disappointing. Sure, I’ll spend some time trying the game at the higher difficulties and play a bunch of multiplayer, but the single player is just too short.
The actual game play is a mostly good with a few flaws. There have been many different descriptions of the in-game action. Some call it “stop-and-pop.” Hiding under cover and knowing when to pop out and shoot and when to blindfire, keeping yourself safe, is the name of the game. Me, I’d describe the game as a next-generation whack-a-mole. There were countless times where I’d be hiding under cover, being shot at by three different bad guys. I’d pop out to shoot and have to guess which of the three was going to pop up first. The first time it happened, I thought to myself, “I’m playing whack-a-mole.” What a buzz-kill that was. Where was the innovation? Where was the new game play? I sure didn’t find it.
After finishing the single player, I jumped on to Live to try out some multiplayer games. Most games are four-on-four, with different objectives like “killing the leader.” Most of the guys I ran around with were pretty cool and the games were fun but nothing special. The games are quick and demand teamwork, but with the pick-up ground aspect of matchmaking doesn’t really lend itself to developing that “teamwork.” Another problem with the matchmaking is the fact the game kicks you out to the main menu after the match is over. There’s no lobby or any other way to socialize. The games themselves are enjoyable but the overall experience was uninspired.
I was gonna try to jump into some co-op, but I haven’t been successful with that yet so far. Hopefully I’ll be able to give that a fair shake soon, to complete the experinece but overall, I’m satisfied. Not overwhelmed and definitely not blown away. This is not a 10/10 game. I would recommend this game with qualifiers. It’s short, yes, and it’s multiplayer experience is less-than-stellar, but it’s still a fun game.