A quick update on games recently played:
Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad
Played a few hours on the PC of the one local buddy that kept his preorder. A bit of a turd right now. Serious performance issues (we did a quick copy to two other differing machines with different CPU and GPU, all pretty high spec). Looks fair. Not horrible, but certainly nothing here justifying TWI's "cutting edge" label. Somewhat clunky game-play / movement, yet seems faster that RO: Ostfront (haven't played that in a while though). Cover system broken - it's a crap shoot whether you can cover or not. Seems faster play style by those playing compared to Ostfront.
The CODizing of the game is a success, IMHO, if you wanted the game to lean more that way. Veterans will likely not. Serious reliability issues. Crashes on all three PCs constantly (this is barely beta quality, and certainly questionable just a week from release). Server browser kaput. Music irritating (can be silenced). Weapon sounds are bordering on superb. Overall, glad I bailed on it, holds no interest at this time, and I'm not one that falls into the "pay retail for potential" crowd - a ludicrous idea from a TWI VP. I'd pass, unless you are a WWII semi-realism fanatic and / or RO & Ostfront are favorites.
Hard Reset (Demo)
Nice engine renders the cyberpunk world with attractive, though not world-beating, visuals. Game-play is quite linear, and one is unable to access areas of the environment that appear easy to get to (e.g., invisible walls trying to jump a railing, etc.) Not a big fan of that. Weapons, at least in the demo, are for all practical purposes unlimited in ammo, enemy fairly easy to clobber. Looks interesting from the rather short demo exposure, probably a decent buy for sci-fi / cyberpunk genre fans at the price.
As I said in an earlier entry, I'm not sure how this one slipped by me. I have not had this much fun in a game since Portal / Portal 2. FPS & RPG combined (and I'm not normally a fan of the latter), it provides engaging game-play, interesting and varied quests that thankfully have none of the "rinse and repeat" boredom factor of Far Cry 2. The humor, music, character development, and story are engrossing. Co-op play is a complete hoot. If you have even the remotest interest in the genre, and don't have the game, passing on it when Steam has one of their ludicrous sales (e.g., ~ eight bucks for the game with all four DLC) is a gaming crime. GET IT!
I wanted to like this game. I wanted to love it. I get a kick out of zombie games. Left 4 Dead, Killing Floor, et al, all provide loads of fun. The award winning trailer looked awesome. My friends were as hyped about it as most. The reality: at this point, a contender for turd of the summer, displacing RO2:HOS as my pick for worst game delivery of the summer.
First, the release on steam was a debug build. Riddled with bugs. The fix broke save games (though thankfully not skills progress), and clobbered the pre-order bonus DLC access. To the developer's credit, these issues were addressed rapidly, and they are hinting at some kind of compensation for those afflicted by the screw-ups.
Even without the mess, the game-play itself is not capturing me. Imagine the overly repetitive quest mechanics of Far Cry 2, insert zombies: "Go get me a cappuccino. It's all the way across the island. Fight all the zombies on the way there. And back. Wait for my wooden response upon your return. Rinse. Repeat."
Combat mechanics are a bit strange. Even with a weapon with some length, it seems hard sometimes to hit the target, while the zombie arms seem to be able to hold an invisible baseball bat, hitting you from the same distance where your character misses - and you're wielding an oar against just their arms. They also take an unreasonable amount of punishment before finally passing on to zombie heaven. Makes killing them a chore, instead of a challenge. Quests are yet more broken in the latest patch: I have quests to meet an NPC, but no NPC is to be found at the destination. Can't complete it.
A pass, at least for now, even if you are a zombie fan.