Friday, October 28, 2011

The War of the Worlds (XBLA): "H.G. Well's Classic Tale Reimagined"

When you have been a gamer for as long as I have you have likely witnessed the change in visual styles, and graphics on gaming consoles through the years. There have been both 2D, and 3D versions of video games released throughout the years I have been gaming. Rarely ever do you see a developer take a gaming concept of old, and significantly enhance it though. This is definitely the case with 'Other Ocean Interactive's (The Developer)' latest reimagining of H.G. Wells classic martian invasion story "The War of the Worlds". The developer has taken the oldschool 2D platforming genre, and has applied it in a way that pays perfect tribute to the classic invasion tale. The graphics are definitely next generation quality, and the soundtrack is truly amazing. To top all of that off, Other Ocean Interactive has acquired the voice-over talents of 'Sir Patrick Stewart'! With all of that combined 'The War of the Worlds' for the Xbox 360 has been brought to life in a way that the newer generation of gamers can experience, and appreciate.

The story of 'The War of the Worlds' for the Xbox 360 is told as you make progress in the game with narratives that are added as you advance. The gameplay controls are very simple, and require the use of only a few buttons (Left Thumbstick/D.Pad = movement, X/Right Trigger = Run/Interact, A = Roll/Jump) on your Xbox 360 controller. The real challenge comes with the gameplay itself. The game will have you trying to avoid martian detection in very stealthy ways, and surviving certain sitiuations in the game will definitely test your patience. Along the way you will encounter several types of martians, and martian devices/spacecraft that must each be dealt with in a different manner. For the most part you will be avoiding detection, and dodging obstacles during your playthrough. The game itself is presented in stages that are based in locations mentioned in H.G. Well's tale. Once you make it to an end of a stage you will be rewarded with a new 2D cinematic sequence letting you know that you have completed it. Each stage also starts of with such a sequence. This game is long, and hard to beat but if you can survive the invasion you can definitely say that you have accomplished an amazing gaming feat.

The graphics in 'The War of the Worlds' put most of the 2D platformers I have ever played to shame (including the beloved Castlevania series I greatly enjoy). Other Ocean Interactive has combined several layers (some of which are moving) to each stage in the game giving it a very unique, and alive look/feel. They also kept a time period look to it with a certain color scheme that really compliments the tale that is being told. The music, or soundtrack to the game is truly impressive and has an ambient sound quality about it. Often times you will hear climactic orchestral type music when facing the harder parts of 'The War of the Worlds'. The developer even included cool radio songs, and special sound effects during certain parts of the game. I could imagine how awesome it would all sound, and look on an HD TV.

Unfortunately in the end I was unable to complete my playthrough of 'The War of the Worlds'. It's unrelenting, and unforgiving gameplay features had me repeating certain parts for up to an hour at a time. The developer of the game left no room for error when it came to advancing past certain parts. This actually began to annoy me after a while. To me it seemed as if the game's entire difficulty setting was set too high, and was solely based on executing certain parts in a precise manner. The main character that you controlled (Arthur) also seemed to move much more slowly than all of the other human, and martian characters in the game. It was actually as if he were running in slow motion. In all honesty this is a game that I really want to like, but it's so difficult that it sapped the fun right out of it for me. If you are a gamer who can tolerate having to play an area over, and over again in order to get past it then this game would be perfect. If I knew what I know now about this game, and didn't own it I would definitely skip it though.

*NOTE to my readers/Other Ocean Interactive: "I sincerely apologize to both my loyal readers, and Other Ocean Interactive for not being able to complete my playthrough of the game. I always do my best to complete a full playthrough of every game I review in order to deliver a full assessment of my experience. In this case I did my best to do so, but was unable to complete it due to the extreme difficulty I encountered. I hope that you understand".

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