We Are Not Amused

So there’s been a bevy of new demos out recently, and that’s always fun. I’ve taken the time to play through what I considered to be the most imporant ones, “Bulletstorm” and “Crysis 2,” and I thought I’d drop some knowledge on you about what I thought. Brace yourself to be opinion-ed.

Bulletstorm

It makes me feel dirty to admit it, but I actually really enjoyed this. I have several legitimate grievances against “Bulletstorm” before I even play it, and they are the following: (hit the jump to read)

1. It’s so conspicuously knocking off of “Gears of War” and “UT3.” I mean the character models and the guns look like they’re built from identical polygons. It’s the worst kind of imitation: the imitation of yourself.

2. It’s that game that makes us look bad. You know it is. People give “Mass Effect” a finger-wag, and you’re all like, “You don’t even know. ‘Mass Effect’ is an epic space opera with rich characters.” But if someone says “Bulletstorm” is a vile and bone-headed glorification of mass murder, what in the hell are you going to say back? That’s exactly what the damned thing is! How do you reply to basic truth? “Look, just because I scored 250 points just now for a move called a ‘Gang Bang’ where I sodomized four people with .50 cal hollow-tips in under ten seconds in 1080 HD with heavy metal blasting in the background while my protagonist screamed ‘F*ck yeah, eat a d*ck,’ doesn’t–oh wait, I see your point.”

Still, the game undeniably works. The shooting mechanics are satisfying, and Epic has a real talent for giving your player a sense of weight and gravity, even in something ridiculous like this. I’m not going to sit here like a moron and tell you I didn’t have fun. I’m just going to grumble about that fact and pretend it didn’t happen.

Crysis 2

Blegh. Unimpressed. I saw some campaign footage from this one at E3, and I reacted with a thunderous, resounding “meh.” That opinion continues to be confirmed with this multiplayer demo. What is “Crysis 2″ exactly? Why should anyone buy it? Does CryTek have any illusion that they are beating the corpse of a horse by releasing a futuristic first-person shooter where you don a power-suit and kill invading aliens?

What’s so…egregious about “Crysis 2″ MP is how obviously it rips off “Modern Warfare 2″ and “Black Ops.” It’s just sad to see grown, mature adults pilfering ideas from someone else with such reckless abandon. Anyone who’s logged competitive time in the land of Infinity Ward will recognize everything they are seeing: the sprinting, the quick kills, kill-streak vehicle unlocks, even Kill-Cams for the love of God! It’s not only here, it’s here in exactly the same fashion as “Call of Duty” does it. Just because you throw in cloaking doesn’t take the deja vu away, guys.

And furthermore, it doesn’t play well. Aiming feels over-demanding for a control stick, and the controls are floaty and un-tethered in general. The powers, which are kind of wonkily tossed in on top of a MW2 skeleton, feel perfunctory and irritating, and don’t bring levels to the combat like the armor abilities of “Reach” did so beautifully.

And again I must ask: why? What are you bringing to the table, “Crysis 2″? On the PC, you were that game nerds used to test the power of their rigs. In console land, everyone is created equal, and you’re far from the best looking game on any platform. So what is it you’re hoping I’ll drop sixty greenbacks for? I would begin to seriously consider packaging candy with the game, and putting a sticker that said, “Free Candy Inside!” on the cover. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the best shot you have right now.