GearWERKZ After-Action: Tuesday, 23 May Edition - Prey, Horizon: Zero Dawn, & Lawbreakers
It's time for another after-action report, where I roundup all of the action from Rounding Off Infinity, the YouTube gaming channel of GearWERKZ.com. And it's a pretty exciting edition. Perhaps the most exciting yet. Today we have the two First-boot episodes, the first featuring the recent release from Bethesda, Prey, the spiritual successor to the 2006 original. And my first one hour+ in Horizon: Zero Dawn, from the developers of the Killzone series. And to top it off, there's an hour of this weekend's LawBreakers Beta from Boss Key games, showing intense arena-shooter action of what is sure to be one of the hottest games of 2017! Release the hounds!!!
My Gaming Diary. Dear Diary: this game has been on my radar for a very long time. Almost as long as the original Prey was, even though that 2006 release was in development purgatory for much longer than I paid attention to it. I loved the original and so, despite the fact that this one fractured from that original storyline, I have given Bethesda the benefit of the doubt that they would do its legacy proud. It is Bethesda after all. And so here we go with the first boot of a game that stands all the chances in the world to become one of my darlings of 2017, or one of my stinkers if it is not as good as the original. Hold on to yer butts!
My Gaming Diary: Dear Diary, so Prey is a slow burn. It is proceeding very slowly, but I can see shades of Bioshock, mixed with the faint twinge of System Shock 2, and even some of the original Prey. This session wraps up my first hour and 15 minutes or so in the game. It is not the most exciting experience that I have had in the opening hour, but I can already see some potential in the leveling experience that points to an eventual feeling of being a bad arse. Right now I just feel like Gordon Freeman. Crowbar Gordon Freeman. So, yeah, add some tastes of Half-Life to the roster of similar-to titles I enumerated above.
Prey feels seriously creepy, and I expect that to continue. I'm not yet sure if it is ever going to feel like a proper shooter. I hope that ammo is not too scarce. I've picked up rounds for a 9mm and a shotgun, but those weapons have yet to present themselves. Hopefully the second hour will see me rounding out my inventory of weapons. Maybe then things will get really fun.
My Gaming Diary: Dear Diary, Guerilla has done a remarkable job in terms of cinematic quality in the opening hour of Horizon: Zero Dawn. But much like Prey, you need to vest yourself enough to stick with the first hour. For now, I feel like this game has the most potential of two titles that I started playing this week to tickle my action-game itch. I am still not convinced that the weaponeering in Prey is going to do it for me. Both games have a certain degree of crafting, Zero Dawn more so. But I give Horizon a nod in that the crafting screen did not seem like some cryptic Necronomicon to me and seems fairly intuitive.
I love the movie-esque presentation in Zero Dawn's opener, but I kept praying for the time jump. I would have preferred just a 5 minute cinematic cut, rather than the forcing me to play as a child in a overly lengthy tutorial. Still, that part is behind me now, and as long as we go full-bore from here on out, maybe I'll forget the opening pain after a couple hours of actiony delight. There's a LOT of Tomb Raider-like design in this title, which is a game that I did not like as much as most otherss. Guerilla hopefully built a game that leaves me more in control of the character than Eidos' hand-holdy reboot.
Start here: 12:15
My Gaming Diary: Dear Diary, it was good to talk about all of the upcoming changes to the site, the podcast, and the gaming channel. I was just happy that all of those things are as straight in my head as I was afraid I was fooling myself otherwise. I mistakenly thought that I had played UT3 on this machine before, but it looks like was on one of the desktops maybe. It cracks me up how much this game reminds me of Gears of War. Not sure if the devs were trying to ape that title deliberately or if it was just happenstance.
UT3 is a good time overall. The specific ergos of that workstation are bothersome in games. I liked playing with the Zalman FPS1000 GunMouse today, but the positions I was in were sub-optimal. Fortunately, I only had the one session to record this cycle, as I'll be switching over to play some games in beta on the primary gaming desktop, as well as some portable games on the Nintendo 3DS. I'm interested to see more of this "campaign", even though it is more kind of window dressing disguised as a tutorial to train you up for the multiplayer. Whatever. It works.
My Gaming Diary: Dear Diary, I thought that I was all beta'd out. There have been more betas in 2017 than I recall being the historical norm. They have also been highly accessible. Even when there have been betas before, it seemed like I was never able to get in. Thankfully I had a hook to the Lawbreakers Beta, having been on the invite list since the Alphas were run locally out of the Boss Key offices in North Carolina.
This game is orchestrated chaos, and I love it. Even without my teammates being on comms, I love it. It took me a long time to get settled. The last time I played, I was on their equipment, so a certain amount of disconnect was expected, with my keyboard and mouse setup and so forth. But here at home, getting into my normal paradigm was a must. There was a small glitch where when I mapped my keys, the updated mapping was not shown in the setting screen. It only presented after I was in a match. Other than that, I really cannot see anything wrong with this title. Boss Key's design approach of wanting these matches to average out to about 5 - 10 minutes per is executed perfectly here. Doesn't leave you a lot of time to drink coffee in-between respawns and matches though. So tank up before the game starts.
Intro music, "Dawn at the Top of the World", by Copperhead and David Seikawitch, used via Creative Commons license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/)