Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Star Wars Battlefront - 4 stars

We have a new setup: PS4 and a new 1080p projector.  It is 2016.

Like many other great couch co-op games, this game is lackluster in other formats.  Most people know Battlefront to have been rather disappointing, mostly because of the decision to make it massively multiplayer and the way weapons/equipment are doled out.  Its predecessor, the original Battlefront, was released in the epoch before widespread console multiplayer, put you in the shoes (boots) of a soldier fighting within a huge AI army.  In this one, you're fighting within a huge internet-multiplayer army, with some of the problem being that most of the items need to be unlocked by playing the game a lot, so everyone starts out with only basic gear and has a generally lackluster experience - but the other people who've been playing awhile all have more advanced cooler gear.  That kind of sucks.  Plus, playing in a real army of humans sounds like it should be great except human players are often morons, and unless you are playing with a clan of friends, they don't do what a nice set of AI-controlled bots will do.

But the couch co-op experience is very different.

First, all the items are unlocked right off the bat.  Secondly, it is just you and partner facing off against the AI.  And the game is beautiful.  It looks completely realistic, probably because they used the same art assets as the films do (since they're all CG), so much so that it becomes difficult to see enemies sometimes if they blend in against the background - there is no highlighting, you just need to see things using your eyes.  The survival and training missions would normally be mindnumbingly dull if you were doing them single-player, but as with Samurai/Dynasty Warriors, playing an otherwise-dull single-player game with a partner is way more exciting and fun.

Our only complaint is that the local co-op options aren't more expansive and don't include the full range of game missions and battles.  It's got enough of it so that you can have fun and see the real potential, but it could be so, so much more.

Army of Two: Devil's Cartel - 5 stars

It's been a long time since I've updated this blog, mostly because, uh, life?

Anyhow, Army of Two: Devil's Cartel is the third installment in the Army of Two trilogy and likely the last.  Why?  Because the game was widely panned in reviews for having repetitive gameplay and a bad story.

Well, don't listen to them.  This is the best Army of Two game ever produced, and it is perfect.

They fixed all the stupid gameplay design choices from the last game (the second installment, Army of Two: 40th Day, which deserves 2 stars - while not being total shit, things like unshareable inventory makes this game a poor couch co-op experience: it was so bad that about 25-30% of the way through we just put it down and stopped playing) and the gameplay is absolutely excellent, with no flaws whatsoever.

I don't know what they are complaining about in terms of repetitive gameplay: when it comes to couch co-op, I'm not looking for too much variety.  I want to run through a variety of urban and suburban environments shooting at enemies with a variety of different weapons with my partner.  This game delivers that in spades.  The story is actually the most interesting one of the entire trilogy - it's a pretty adult and brutal storyline about drug cartels, and not dull at all.

If you were disappointed by the second Army of Two, this third one redeems the entire series.  I'm only sad that online reviewers somehow didn't like the game and this appears to be the end of the franchise.  At least they went out on top.