Friday, August 12, 2022

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Sore Thumbs




Electronic Arts

Xbox 360

In its latest bid to remain competitive with Activision’s “Call of Duty” games, the once-great “Medal of Honor” series presents an installment that leads players on a linear path from one scripted set piece to the next. In addition to all the standard running and gunning, there’s an abundance of slow-mo door breaches and a handful of vehicular stages where you ram enemy cars off the road, “Burnout” style. All of this is sporadically fun but consistently spoiled by a convoluted narrative that has you darting all over the globe, inhabiting a variety of unmemorable characters. Then there’s the frustrating A.I. of your teammates, which frequently causes them to seek cover directly in your line of sight, or worse — behind the small piece of cover you’re presently using, thus forcing you out into the open.

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Your squadmates are much more agreeable when controlled by a flesh-and-blood player in the largely derivative multiplayer mode of “Warfighter.” All the standard character classes and deathmatch modes you’ve come to expect are here, but with one small innovation. You’re paired off with another player who can feed you ammo and otherwise render assistance. If your partner should fall, his killer is marked with a glowing halo, allowing you to avenge his death before he eventually respawns (at your location, once you’ve reached a point of relative safety). This dynamic causes you to form a strong bond with your counterpart, which breaks up the monotony of mindless kill streaks. Unfortunately, it’s still not quite enough to differentiate “Warfighter” from all the other “Call of Duty” wannabes out there. Long ago, the “Medal of Honor series served us well as a WWII shooter, but if it has nothing new to offer, perhaps it’s time for an honorable discharge.




EXOR Studios

Xbox Live Arcade

Imagine the early “Grand Theft Auto” games (with the top-down view) populated with the most ubiquitous adversaries in interactive entertainment, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what “Zombie Driver HD” is all about. You show hordes of undead the underside of your car, rescue hostages, upgrade your vehicle and weaponry and repeat. None of the game’s 31 brief levels are particularly deep, but at the reasonable price of 800 MS points, they should prove a worthy distraction for anyone who’s wanted to enjoy the zombie apocalypse from the comfort of their car.





PlayStation Vita

Survival horror games require slow pacing, suspense and creepy atmosphere. “Diablo”-style dungeon crawlers require numbingly frequent battles and an endless rush to keep leveling up. “Silent Hill: Book of Memories” attempts to combine these two disparate genres, and the result isn’t likely to satisfy fans of either. You explore randomly generated levels with an isometric view, picking up pipes and crowbars and other breakable weapons to use against evil nurses, flesh bags and other familiar foes from the “Silent Hill” universe. So you wind up with all the tedious grinding of a dungeon crawler combined with the irritatingly awkward combat for which “Silent Hill” is infamous. CV

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