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It’s a shame to me that the most well-known SCP video game is a buggy, antiquated mess of a game. Yes it’s free, and yes it was only made by one guy, but no that does not make this one worth playing more than once. Congrats to Joonas Rikkonen for making something that’s as it good as it is with only some cheap assets and a low-grade engine he had on hand. Aaaaaand that’s as far as my good will goes on that front.
The ultra-basic graphics and gameplay is perfectly acceptable. I’m not even close to expecting anything above that, nor do I really care for it. I understand where SCP lies in terms of Creative Commons. I get you can’t monetize a lot of what makes SCP, well… SCP. And with friends in the multiplayer mod that’s the last thing your paying attention to. No, my problem lies in two major factors.
One, the map design. For the life of me I can’t fathom why Rikkonen would make the game procedurally generated. I don’t mind the concept, however it doesn’t work here at all. While I don’t hate the simple graphics and laboratory design on their own — though some differentiation between rooms wouldn’t hurt —, coupled with the different level generation every time you start a new seed, the game quickly becomes a hell of endless labyrinthian boring white walls and hallways. A labyrinth without of ounce of fun to walk around in. And your stamina blows, so be prepared to do a lot of 3 second sprints, stops, sprints, stops for HOURS as you backtrack trying to remember the order of the rooms you just passed was. The archaic navigation device you can find is only an incremental improvement, providing the most basic of map information. Not a fun time let me say, and completely up to chance as to whether you’ll get a good seed or not.
My second problem is with the progression overall. It’s so terribly unclear where to go, what order to do it in, and for that matter what I’m even trying to do. An hour in and I started using a guide. Even without that it wasn’t a walk in the park. The enemy kiting in this game is awful. Dead end? you’re dead. Two seconds of stamina ran out? Deader than dead. Trying to have more than five seconds alone without some creature chasing you endlessly? Sorry but that doesn’t compute. Near the end I got so frustrated I just turned on God mode and tried to beat the game anyway. As I was getting gutted by invisible creatures while a plague doctor infinitely choked me out for the 10 time I realized it was just not worth it anymore. For as much of a time sink as this is, it’s not nearly intuitive or exciting enough. If I really wanna see the ending one day I’ll get a hold of my good friend Unregistered HyperCam 2 and see what they got on YouTube. Until then, I’m content to leave this game on the shelf.
Look, I love SCP. And I know it’s a long shot to wait for a home-run game that checks every box of mine, but this game just doesn’t cut it for me. The integration of lore, items, and enemies is awesome. The execution of everything else? Not so much. Who knows, somebody taking another crack at this formula may very well give us the quintessential SCP one day. Just not today.
Perhaps the closest we’ll ever get to a Narcos game, this one took a while to click for me. When I first booted this baby up a year ago it was….eh. Kind of confusing and overly open-ended. Fast forward to this September and I finally mustered the motivation to give it another try. I don’t know what it is but it felt so much more simpler than I remember it being. The whole cartel system just felt right to me and soon I was on a roll. I’m not exaggerating when I say I probably marathoned every mission in the game by playing just this for a week straight.
Not without reason, both the combat and narrative backdrop was supremely satisfying. Watching the little debriefs on my target and then systemically destroying them morale-wise and strength-wise was magnifique. Seeing the reactions of cartel higher-ups to my upsetting the balance of power was uber-gratifying and the cherry on top. The prime directive of taking down head honcho El Sueño was just too tantalizing a goal to not pursue. When the power fantasy was finally realized I felt unstoppable. Like I said, the game is Narcos and I’m Javier Peña, but instead of red tape and prohibitive politicking I have a squad of homie dudebros and more bullet-shaped lead than we know what to do with. Add to that the customization is pretty sweet, micro transactions completely optional and unnecessary for me.
Of course none of this would be worth mentioning if not for the handling and gameplay. And man it is smoother in Wildlands than it gets credit for. The transitions, be it from third person to first, vehicle to ground traversal, or crouching to prone, are all super sleek animation wise and let you do a lot of tacticool maneuvers. Plus it is has one of the most consistently dependable vehicle handling schemes of any game I’ve ever played, with an asterisk for the sometimes dodgy driving on rocky terrain. But even then that’s just amusing. The gun handling and customization is fantastic to boot as well. No notes from me there except keep it up Mr Clancy.
The game design is most likely one you’re familiar with. Open-world venture with enemy outposts, bases, and miscellaneous villages strewn throughout. And honestly I’m sort of torn on this methodology. On the one hand, with such a strict narrative goal I can see how it’s hard to add too much variety to the gameplay and missions. But maybe a bit more time in the oven to justify such a large open-world may have been preferred. The actual outpost takedowns are awesome, naturally. And with as many as there are you learn quickly to get creative with your method of madness. It can’t be argued it’s not repetitive, but for some reason I don’t mind it here. Just gives me more practice runs as I perfect my Terminator emulation. Though my favorite infiltration style will always be the stealthy drone scouting followed by meticulous sniper shots method, where I pick them off one by one, or two by two or three by three when I use the AI.
Speaking of AI, let’s talk about your buddies. Their logic is a bit all over the place, but they don’t annoy me too often. They can be real nice when you want to eliminate someone out of Line of Sight, and they’re almost impossible to spot by enemies when you’re sneaking around, unrealistically so. As in an enemy won’t see them when they’re five feet away and looking right at them. But besides it insulting reality and logic I’d prefer that to being punished for not being on top of he AI commands as much as I should be. But man these guys have no self-preservation center in their brain. You get pinned down in a location you better hope they followed you inside or heed your follow command in time, because otherwise they’re about to go down quicker than you can say gesundheit. Again, not the worst, but this game definitively proves they have not created the perfect AI yet. Because when they do I just now their priority will be to use that technology to give me the perfect teammates.
I’ll be the first to say, by all accounts this game isn’t really anything special. Notable polish ignored its undeniably cookie-cutter. Despite that I can’t help but enjoy this schlock. It’s simply too primally fun to goof around and experiment with different weapons and styles. If you enjoy tactical third-person shooters, and especially if you have a squad of your own peeps who do too, then give this game some consideration.
About as racing as a racing game can be. I remember being kind of obsessed with this game as a kid. And to it’s credit, the terrain deformation and slow-mo crashes are pretty entertaining, and furthermore technically impressive for the time. AND THE VEHICLE NAMES. Peak middle school cool. Juvenile me very much approved. No joke there’s a Racing Truck named Voodoo Iguana, and better yet in one of the sequels there’s a motorcycle called Wasabi Katana. I like to imagine they had two darts boards full of random nouns and adjectives in the developer headquarters and whenever they needed a new vehicle name they got to throwing.
Unfortunately that’s where this game peaks. It’s a competent game, but not one that will hold your attention long. I like the format of motorcycles vs buggies vs big rigs vs trucks vs cars, it makes it more of a party racing game than a competitive one, and I even like that you’re restricted in certain races to specific vehicle types, with different routes better suited for for each dirt-kicker. My only technical issue with the game is most small and medium-size vehicles have overly tuned turn rates. Makes it a bit clunky when you’re just getting used to the movement.
That aside, the game feels very repetitive after a while, even adjusting for it being a drivey drivey vroom vroom game. Maybe some powerups or match modifiers would have given me more mileage. It goes without saying the online mode is kapoot, and with only one mode I can’t help but be burnt out before even halfway through this entirely too long game. Nostalgic fondness withstanding, MotorStorm is a second-rate game with third-rate staying power. As far as racing games are concerned, you could do much worse, but you could also do much better. I say keep this one on the shelves of time.