Friday, June 19, 2009

Life: The Video Game review (2009)

Though graphically impressive, the waiting time can get pretty obnoxious at points. The constant grind aspects (work, education, showering, etc.) are obviously put in to give length despite a lack of ideas. Other existence simulators I've tried were more adequately thought out and pleasurable.

One major gripe of mine is the camera. While the viewing range is wide and ample, sometimes the 'nose' gets in the way. In addition to this, it's tiring to try and keep focus with visions overlapping. For example, if you hold your 'hand' close to your 'face' while focusing on the background, you'll see two hands. This is something the developers could easily fix with a patch, but it's been millions of years and there's no fix in sight (pun intended).

The influences of this game are obvious and lead to an easy comparison. Like the previously released Heaven (God Studios, 2006), it allows the freedom to choose between spirituality and somewhat more hedonistic endeavors. It's sad they opted to use a grittier approach in Life, as the game could've greatly benefited from Heaven's approach, in which the player's head has one eye capable of a 360 degree, panoramic view. Both games vastly surpass God Studio's 2003 effort, the ambitious and flawed Eden.

The 'sleep' aspect is an obvious yet clever cover up for the loading screens, and the dream sequences keep those with overactive thoughts satisfied. Birthdays and holidays help cure boredom. There's dating, but the female non-playable characters (NPCs) are too boring, delicate, and the dialogue they speak loops if you talk to them more than three times.

Furthermore, I noticed if you drive fast you can see roads, homes, and billboards rendering far in front of you. The speed of your vehicle may also cause warped images. Trees are nice, the physics engine rivals Half-Life 2, and there are some great water effects, but they're overreaching with this whole government war plot thing. It's all a bit insipid.

Ultimately, Life's got troublesome quirks, but with patience and a few downloadable patches, its future is promising. Current rating: 7.5/10.