Games Meet Metal: Two Bad Games, One Winner

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Two Bad Games, One Winner

These past couple weeks, I've had the misfortune of buying two high profile video games that turned out to be total clunkers: Dead Space 3 and Aliens: Colonial Marines. Both were high profile, both got tons of advertising, and both ended up tanking. DS3 was considered bland compared to it's horror-specific previous entries, while A: CO was flat out considered to be released too early in development. In fact, Alien's press has been so bad (stories of developer woes and knowledge that the game was gonna bomb before release have been all over the web), that it's actually taken the heat off of Dead Space for the time being.

Now, let's pose the question: which pile of excrement would you actually play if they were your only choices? Let's break these games down into several categories and let's see who wins the shit-covered crown.

Note: I'll only be comparing the single-player mode for these comparisons. While Aliens does have a decent online multiplayer mode and main mission co-op, Dead Space 3 just opted for the co-op. I did try to play DS co-op, but every jerk I teamed up with bailed on me in search of loot. So please, blame them.
Graphics and Sound: Dead Space gets the nod here, as some of the background scenery on the planet Isaac Clarke is visiting can be quite striking. The necromorphs, DS3's main enemies, are very detailed and sound rather terrifying. Aliens isn't that bad either, but there is one major issue: screen tearing. The tearing literally starts on the title screen when a spaceship flies in from the left side of the screen. It's just so apparent you can't ignore it. The humans in the game also have a bad case of zombieitis, in that they're always giving you the same cold dead stare. DS3's humans are full of emotion in their body and their faces, which helps communicate the story better.

Winner: Dead Space 3

Story and plot: Dead Space 3 starts out hot. You find out that you ex girl is in trouble while researching the possible homeworld of the Markers. Thus, you're being escorted out of a space station that's slowly being  blown to bits by the followers of Unitology. You make it off just in time, but this is where the whole game slows to a crawl. In fact, the rest of the game can be rather "Modern Warfarey" at times. Fight to get to a point, then do it again, then do it again. You're allowed to go on a few side missions, but the end result is just a supply refill. Alien doesn't have a deep storyline either. Hell, you can pretty much copy and paste the second Alien's movie script onto the game and it would almost match. A:CO also has a tendency to just go from place to place without much else happening. However, I'm gonna give the victory here to A:CO for two reasons. First, the story is actually a bit more fun to experience to me, as it ties in a few empty gaps in the Alien mythos. Second is the nostalgia factor. Through the game, you'll keep running into areas that were in the movie and objects that have been faithfully recreated. I was pretty surprised to find Newt's baby doll head still intact. While that may only count for people who are huge Alien fans, it includes me, so it counts.

Winner: Aliens: Colonial Marines

Controls/Player Options/Playability: Both games handle just fine for what they're supposed to do. You point a weapon at something, you pull the trigger, something dies. Aliens tends to be a bit looser, as the movie's token machine gun, rifle has issues with scattershooting at the most improbable times. Plus, piloting the massive crate loader, an iconic item in the movie and supposed to be a highlight of the game, turns out to be sluggish to use. All you can do is wave the massive arms in front of you and hope you can hit your target. DS 3 doesn't have massive machinery to get into, also it does let you manipulate a ton of stuff with the series's token telekinesis powers. Solving the game's puzzles requires it, and is actually kind of fun to use. However, the game's biggest contribution to the player is the ability to make weapons from scratch. Isaac will find tons of dismantled gun bits laying all around to make his own bad ass assault weapons with a ton of buffs to add on. I was quite proud of my acid shooting handgun myself. The best Aliens can do is a Halo-like level up system, and that works at a snail's pace.

Winner: Dead Space 3

So, there you have it. Out of two crappy games, Dad Space 3 gets the nod as not being as crappy as Aliens is. In the end, it'll be game sales that dictate if these games's trends will continue. Another unfortunate bad game, Resident Evil 6, has suffered from low sales due to straying too far from its roots, thus making the series's creators consider a full revamp. Let's hope that low sales of these two games will force their creators to look at things in an equal light.

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