Strangely enough, there are quite a few ‘big’ titles being released this week. And not just ‘this week’, more like: Friday! There’s something for everyone (or maybe not) as: Saints Row IV, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist and The Bureau: XCOM Declassified all see their EU releases.
Rather than write at length about any one of these titles I’m going to instead write a third’s length about each.
In my opening paragraph I said “there’s something for everyone” but that definitely isn’t the case. All three titles are definitely of the ‘action’ genre persuasion; perhaps each with their own key twists.
Saints Row IV is an action-adventure open world affair from Volition, Inc. I must admit (I seem to be saying this a lot lately) I’ve never played a Saints Row game. The series has always been compared to Grand Theft Auto and, for me, I like the cocktail of realism and comedy that GTA provides. The Saints Row games have always erred on the side of comedy with Over The Top action sequences.
I’m not going to say the comedy in Saints Row is ‘childish’ but I’m certainly typing it with my fingers.
No, but seriously, the Saints Row franchise is huge and definitely has its fans. Saints Row: The Third is currently available for free for all PS+ subscribers too so if you’ve never played one (like me) you could always check that out.
I’m really not going to go into detail about the new features this game brings to the franchise because it’s a fucking Saints Row game; you already know if you want to play it or not.
Just in-case you were worried the fourth outing of this tongue-in-cheek series may be a flop check out this Metacritic score: 86. There, you can go and buy it now.
The Bad (Not really ‘bad’, just not as ‘good’ as Good)
Guess what, I actually have played a Splinter Cell game! That’s right, I was a big fan of Sam Fisher and his sultry stealth moves back on PS2 (see: Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell). I’m a fan of the stealth genre so the older games really appealed to me. The more recent games… not so much.
My experience with the last couple of Splinter Cell titles has been one of annoyance and frustration. I know we all complain how Call of Duty is ruining the world (perhaps we’re too eager to slander CoD sometimes) but, as with the Resident Evil franchise, I really do see a correlation with the direction the Splinter Cell series has gone. It’s all action; not enough creeping around and hiding in shadows.
Blacklist does try to get back to the series’ root, I don’t deny it. But it’s still an action game at heart and it’s its big set pieces which you’ll remember most from the single player campaign.
Developers: we don’t want the option of stealth or action! We want dedicated stealth gameplay. Look at Metal Gear Solid. As soon as you alert the guards to your presence you know you’re fucked. You then try your best to take out any guards in the vicinity before hiding in the nearest locker, cardboard box or female character’s generous cleavage. Only once things have quieted down on the ol’ ‘alert’ front do you proceed.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution had the same problem. While it pretended you could play the game stealthily it always felt ‘wrong’ and like life would be easier if you just pulled out your machine gun and ‘went to town’ on the roomful of baddies.
Still, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist is certainly not a bad game; it’s actually a rather good game. Just maybe not the stealth behemoth you were expecting. Metacritic: 82.
According to Jim Sterling (of Destructoid) the game “wants to be XCOM without being XCOM. As such, it is nothing.”
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but I’ve got a bit of a The Good, The Bad and The Ugly theme going on here. So I’m probably being a bit more harsh on XCOM than I should so it’ll fit with my ‘The Ugly’ naming convention.
Still, it’s probably not going to be worth purchasing this game until it’s price lowers in a month or two. Metacritic: 65.