Opinion: 3 Massively-Hyped Games That Look Completely Average

After getting hands-on with a number of eagerly-anticipated titles at Eurogamer Expo, Jacques Voller explains why three of gaming’s most hyped up-and-coming experiences really don’t seem anything special.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale

For a game that is essentially a complete rip-off of Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros, Battle Royal is much better than I was expecting. The major downside, however, would be that Sony’s list of exclusive characters isn’t exactly extensive, meaning that developers SCE Santa Monica have had to borrow characters from other series. The list of attack moves is varied enough, so it never feels quite the same when playing as either Nathan Drake or Sly Cooper. And while the game may not feel as composed as something like Mortal Combat, Tekken or even Super Smash Bros, there’s still a lot of fun to be had if you have a group of friends together. Each of the different characters has a range of different specializations which can be exploited: for example, Nathan Drake is a more long-range specialist and this reflects in his special attacks where he’ll throw a gas tank to shoot or knock over a stone pillar, flattening your opponents.

Problems arise when facing-off with the computer, as the balancing system seems to be way off, and both times that myself and two other people were playing against the computer, it always seemed to come out on top. One aspect I did like was the ever-changing background which switched to themes from different franchises, however, I’m not sure how much players will notice this as all your concentration is going into keeping an eye on yours and your friends’ characters and it seemed to be more of a benefit for people watching you play. Another slight problem is that it can become very frantic at times, meaning that you’ll occasionally lose your player and find yourself punching the air. The controls are your standard fighting controls: X is jump, Circle is punch, Square is to do long-range attacks and Triangle to kick, with variations of these performed when you hit certain directional buttons, so veterans will find it easy and familiar to use.

For newcomers, the learning curve for Battle Royale isn’t steep, so you’re not going to find it difficult to learn. Somebody I was playing against said he had never picked up a PlayStation controller before, but found it intuitive and easy to play. But this is not going to sway any Nintendo players to jump ship and buy a PS3, as Super Smash Bros is far superior. That said, for PS3 owners who have yet to buy the Wii, or don’t plan on getting one, this makes a good alternative. My final verdict is that Santa Monica have started something that has great potential, but until they have a much larger roster of fighters and change it so it’s different from Nintendo’s in-house fighting game, there isn’t really much here to warrant a day-one purchase.

 

Hitman Absolution

While there wasn’t anything intrinsically wrong with the gameplay here (the controls are solid and it’s beautiful to look at) this new Hitman title actually just seemed boring, and the instructions for what I was supposed to do weren’t clear. Like other games I played over the weekend, Absolution has definitely been influenced by other, more successful series: for example, the ‘instinct mode’ which behaves exactly like Eagle Sense in Assassins Creed Revelations highlighting enemies and targets as well as showing the movements of guards and police officers.

The AI is decent enough – not only do the crowd react to you, they run and cower when you pull out your weapons and the police will follow you until you’re dead or surrendered. However, unless you know where you’re going to hide from them, you’re going to find yourself dying over and over again. In the Chinatown demo that was available to play, the way you could take out your target was varied, but without the card that was in front of the screen, I would’ve had absolutely no idea where these locations where, and with the AI on what seemed to be a hair-trigger when it comes to noticing what you’re doing, I probably would have died a few more times before I completed the mission. I was told that there were other ways of taking the target out – a sniper rifle in a window for example – but these were not clearly marked and I felt like I missed something by not doing this.

Like I said earlier, the controls were solid, but they weren’t clearly indicated. I had no idea how to put away weapons after I had unholstered them, leaving me running round Chinatown trying to get away from the police with two handguns out. The disguise mechanic is still there, allowing you to take the clothes off other people, which is something I’m going to praise it for as it is the only stealth game to include such a feature (and other supposed stealth games like Assassins Creed have chosen to omit it). This doesn’t help to overcome its weaknesses though, and I’d say it’s only for hardcore fans of the series.

 

Tomb Raider Reboot

If you’ve been watching the trailers and gameplay footage from the new Tomb Raider game and thought to yourself: ‘That looks strangely similar to the Uncharted franchise’, then you’d be right. Not only does Tomb Raider look like something that should belong in the Uncharted universe, it also plays like the highly successful Sony series. No sooner have you scaled the first rock face you’ll find in the game’s jungle environment, you’ll be getting flashbacks to Nathan Drake’s debut outing.

The only difference that I could see between this and Uncharted is that Tomb Raider has a much more open-world feel to it, as you’ll have to set up camp to shelter from the rain, and hunt deer to find a source of food. It’s always been known that Uncharted was influenced by the first Tomb Raider games, but they’ve always been different enough so that people won’t draw direct comparisons. With the new Tomb Raider game though, developer Crystal Dynamics may have well have just re-skinned the Uncharted games and released them under a new title.

In fact, the two games are so similar to each other, that I wouldn’t be surprised if Crystal Dynamics came out and said that they both shared the same universe. The developers have said that they are going for a more realistic approach to the franchise, which more than likely means that they are going to leave the supernatural elements that made Tomb Raider such an interesting series in the first place. What does differentiate it from the Uncharted games is the survival aspect, which requires the player to hunt animals, light a fire and find shelter. Unfortunately, this is very basic. It could get more in depth the further you progress, but didn’t really seem to go very far in the demo, and for a game that requires you to use a bow and arrow, there seemed to be a lot of ammo scattered around the place, making hunting deer relatively easy. No matter how in depth this survival aspect goes, this game will always be overshadowed by how similar it is to the Uncharted franchise.

At best, this is a good alternative for people who don’t own a PS3 but want to play Uncharted. At worst, Tomb Raider is an over-hyped copy of a much greater game that doesn’t quite know its own identity.

 

Do you agree or disagree with Jacques’ thoughts? Leave your comments below.

 



Comments
23 Responses to “Opinion: 3 Massively-Hyped Games That Look Completely Average”
  1. HeavY says:

    You misspelled HALO 4

    • Jacques Voller says:

      Unfortunately, I did not got to play Halo 4 as the lines were to long. I took one look at it though and thought that it really wasn’t worth standing in line for

      • Zach says:

        Halo definitely seems like one of these games. I mean it looks good and all, but that Hype for it is pretty big. Just my opinion.

      • Chief says:

        I did not got.

        I agree with Playstation Allstars. Not massively-hyped, but massively-advertised. Still will be average.
        Hitman, I think everyone is pretty pessimistic about it. It will be average.
        Now Tomb Raider, I think will be awesome. From a gameplay perspective – it’s Uncharted. That cannot be denied, I mean, just look at it! But I think the developers are using those now known mechanics to tell a powerful story about a vulnerable woman who becomes the action star we all know today. I think you’ll be surprised, but at the same time I don’t think it’s “overhyped”. Most people know of it, but I don’t think people are shouting it’s going to be the best game ever made. Ever.

        I think Far Cry 3 may be overhyped, it LOOKS great, but I don’t think it will be. I will never forgive them for the abomination that was Far Cry 2. I think the re-release of Doom 3 is overhyped for what it is, and I’m feeling cautiously pessimistic about Dishonoured. I think for games like Halo 4, AC3 and COD: BO2 – we all know what to expect, and think they’ll deliver.

    • AJ says:

      And where the hell is Black Ops 2 on this list? Ya know, only the next game in the most overhyped “average” series of all time.

  2. mikey says:

    so because you cant figure out the controls after playing a demo for a few minutes hitman is average?lolz….and if youre using the instinct mode in that game youre doing it all wrong as any self respecting hitman fan will be turning that nonsense off from the start….just sounds like a lack of handholding causes you to think a game is average to me,but at the end of the day youre certainly entitled to your opinion just make it a bit more clear next time because you seem to be presenting this article as a list of facts

  3. Bob says:

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion – but I think your stance on Hitman: Absolution may be a bit misguided. The majority of your concerns focus on your own confusion within the game/control mechanics.

    If you were thrown into Assassin’s Creed III as your first experience in the AC series, you would have NO IDEA what was going on. That game is far more confusing to newcomers than Hitman. Even experienced gamers take hours to overcome the AC learning curve.

    I think both of the series are great; but based on the sheer amount of time and effort that was poured into Hitman: Absolution, I have personally cancelled my ACIII pre-order because there simply won’t be time for it.

    Some of the confusion is intentional, the Hitman series has always had an element of throwing you into an unfamiliar environment as a layer to the challenge. I agree with you that some of the new features seem “off”… but, it is important that they can also be turned off to accommodate those of us who don’t like them.

    The other 2 games you analyzed seem fair to me… they could go either way. If anything I personally feel that Hitman is being significantly UNDER-hyped! Truly non-linear games are surprisingly *and* inexcusably rare; we should support them when they are carefully developed for over 6 years!

  4. Mark Butler says:

    I’d say Jacques’ initial criticisms of PS All-Stars and the new Hitman ring true – though with the latter, as others have said, issues with knowing what does what and how to interact effectively within the gameworld are likely to come with experience.

    However, I am quite looking forward to Tomb Raider myself. I’m very much intrigued by the open-world concept (I’m a sucker for sandbox).

  5. John says:

    Everything PlayStation is average and overhype that doesn’t deliver. PSABR will be a huge flop. The preorder numbers already prove it.

  6. usrev2 says:

    why is assassins creed not on this list? the entire series has been overrated why would 3 be any different, I expect the vast majority of people who get it to beat it a few days after launch.
    I for one, will wait until it is $20 or less, which should be feb-march 2013

    • Your mom says:

      Revelations, which is basically an expansion pack is still $30 brand new. I have no idea what kind of marketing analysis you have going on but it’s pretty bad.

      As for the actual “reviewer” this article is terrible and you should feel bad for trying to get hits to your shitty site like this. Hitman will be phenomenal as it always is and Tomb Raider will bring respect back to the series (But not women, of course lol). That Battle Royale shit looks bad IMO though, all I see on N4G is OMG NEW CHRACTER LST CHEK IT OOOOOUT DUDES! when its just a rip off of Super Smash Bros.

  7. Kai says:

    When I was reading the bit on Hitman, I thought, “Wow, that sounds exactly like Hitman!” The fact that you don’t have a bunch of markers on the screen telling you where to go is, in fact, the point. That’s the game. The fun is finding all the different ways there are to complete your objective on your own. It also adds to replayability, because you can always go back to a level and find a completely different way to complete your objectives, or talking to your friends about the game and having them telling you something you might have totally missed. If there were markers on screen telling you what every single option was, there would be no point to the game.

  8. MartinB105 says:

    I’m looking forward to Tomb Raider, although I will admit that it could still be hit or miss. I guess it helps that I’ve bought every game in the series except Angel of Darkness.

  9. Sean says:

    PlayStation All-Stars is NOT a complete ripoff of Smash Bros. I am a hardcore Smash Bros Melee and Project M fan, and I see many, many differences.

  10. Kamille says:

    the Tomb Raider reboot has hyped but the Sony All Star and Hitman have almost no hype…. =/

  11. Twinkie says:

    I do agree with your points about the Hitman Absolution demo but I have to add that the controls were obviously not fully “translated” from console to PC. I played the demo too, at the gamescom this year, and I too was a little confused and I never managed to finish it in the given time but as I said there were many bugs which seemed like typical “game not done yet” or at least “not fully transcribed from console to PC yet”. I wouldn’t write it off before playing the full version and the sniper challenge they gave out to pre-orderers was pretty nice.
    I remember the graphics or the UI in the demo as not fully refined compared to the graphics they showed in the sniper challenge, although of course that is entirely subjective.

    Also I agree with Kai talking about the “no hints issue”. So far every Hitman game I can remember had one or two relatively obvious ways to finish each mission but it was always more about finding the smoothest or most professional way to finish the task. Besides, if you want a challenge and start on the highest difficulty in the last Hitman games you will have barely any information at all, leaving you pretty much clueless about the way the mission should be done until you discover it. That’s also a reason why I didn’t finish the demo. If I would play the game at home I would probably take at least 10-20 minutes just looking around, maybe even up to an hour if I can’t find anything or at least nothing that satisfies me.
    I have played through Hitman: Blood Money at least 4 times and to this day I cannot honestly say that I know all ways to do all missions. I know several good ways for every mission (beside maybe the one in the white house, that one is my worst nightmare) but I don’t know all. It’s what makes Hitman Hitman.

    My next big personal disappointment might be the new Splinter Cell since their gameplaydesigners have publicly announced that the game has turned it’s back on it’s roots and for me Splinter Cell 1 and Chaos Theory were the best Splinter Cell games ever and exactly that kind of gameplay is what they leave behind. Splinter Cell and Hitman have both been awesome sneakshooters so far, both in different ways but both unique, and if they make their threats real Splinter Cell will lose that unique status.

  12. JS100 says:

    Correction, Tomb Raider does not look like Uncharted. Uncharted looks like Tomb Raider.

  13. Trekster says:

    Seems only fair for Tomb Raider to supposedly steal from a game that got most of ideas from the Tomb Raider series?

  14. Concerned Citizen says:

    Of course you didn’t enjoy PSABR. You were too stupid enough to figure out how it works. You label it as basic as Smash yet from your description you clearly failed to grasp how it plays and its gameplay fundamentals. That’s just embarrassing.

  15. grupposcaloddi says:

    You wrote:

    I was told that there were other ways of taking the target out – a sniper rifle in a window for example – but these were not clearly marked and I felt like I missed something by not doing this

    Did you play the previous hitmans? This is hitman! It’s a not linear game. You need to use your brain to play it. I can understand that, nowadays, tha absolute majority of games don’t require to have a brain, but only to follow a path full of marks and to have the only skill to shoot and so a game like hitman looks strange, but I think that the strange thing is that gamers have become used to play without brain.

  16. delack says:

    Mortal Combat? are you illiterate?

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