PREVIEWSPillars of Eternity Preview
For Obsidian's crowdfunded love letter to Infinity Engine games like Icewind Dale and Baldur's Gate, I was impressed by its willingness to pull back the curtain and let me see the machinery behind it.
Yesterday, while cleaning up my media center, I found my copy of Ratchet & Clank: Into The Nexus, which I bought sometime before Christmas last year. I had been pretty excited about this game pre-release, what with it being the first "traditional", albeit shorter than usual,...
There seems to be two kinds of racing games. Those with weapons and those without. The ones with weapons are oriented towards combat, and are generally more arcadish. The ones without are more serious, focusing instead on driving skill instead of aim. F-zero gx falls between the two, being both arcadey and skill-oriented, with some basic attacks.
F0gx has a story which involves you, captain falcon, going out and saving the world...or the universe...or your sock drawer (it's not really clear about this) by racing various enemies. You're only going to play the story to get money, or to laugh at the cheesy movies. The story is unfairly hard, with your enemies following preset paths which are almost impossible to keep up with. Some tracks are just ridiculous. Some have no walls, some require you to take out 30 enemies. You need to have a ton of patience and quick reflexes to beat the campaign. If you're quick to get angry at a game, just skip the single player completely.
You also have a standard grand prix race, which allows you to compete on tracks of various difficulty for money. This is the best way to gain parts, as in order to continue the campaign you have to buy the next chapter, and completing a chapter usually only gives you enough money to buy the next one.
The actual racing is somewhat of a split personality. Around the first lap, it's an intense race to the finish, where you have to take insanely close corners, while worrying about the position of the other racers as you attempt to knock them off course. On the second lap, and all consecutive laps, you get the boost power. Then it degrades into a mindless boosting frenzy. You go so fast, you can barely think about which walls not to hit, let alone how to take out opponents.
Your opponents are not exactly pushovers either. They go along just as fast as you do, and will attack with impunity if they get the chance.
Unfortunately, impunity is not what it used to be. You have two attacks. The first is a spin attack which causes your car to spin around, knocking any enemies off course. It's useless. The second is an energy attack, which causes a little energy ball to fly around your car, which if used correctly, can cause damage or even an instant kill. This is more useful, but on later laps when speed is the only thing that matters, you'll find it's easier just to get ahead of enemies.
The games graphics are wonderful. You can get an intense feeling of speed as the screen blurs when you boost, and the tracks are extremely detailed. The other cars look just like they do in the game setup screen, which is definitely a good thing. The cube handles this extremely well, and even with all 30 cars on the screen, there's no slowdown at all. Kudos to the graphics department.
Another aspect of the game is the car creator. The more you race, the more money you can get, the more cars and car parts you can buy.You can make up to four unique cars, and can choose between chassis, cockpits, and engines. You can change the colors of each part and can even create your own logos in a marginally decent logo editor to slap on your car.
Multiplayer is fun. With the standar four person race, you can compete against your friends and each can have their own car suited to their playing style. But that really depends on how much time you want to spend on the game.
F-zero gx is a game which has alot of good points, but is dragged down mostly by mindless racing. The replay is good, allowing you to race for new parts and cars, and multiplayer is generally fun, but the combat is an afterthought. All in all, it's a good rental and if you have the resilience to spend alot of time on an extremely difficult game, is also a good buy.