Yes I played Halo 4. My opinion? It's like 343 studios tried to get as close as they possibly could to a Bungie Halo rather than really put their own unique stamp on it. There are a couple differences-I think the Forerunners are some of the most challenging enemies in the series and ammo is a lot more scarce in general making you be a bit more tactical in your approach to enemies. And obviously there will be no lack of content with free Spartan Ops missions every week. And maybe for this entry it was the way to go, so 343 could point to this and say yes we can do a Halo game, now the next entry will be us really putting our own spin on it for the next entry. It does make me potentially excited for Halo 5, though at this point I can't see buying an Xbox 720 (or whatever it will be called) just for that if they are jumping to the next generation with the next entry.
I've been fairly vocal about my massive disappointment in the virtually unplayable mess that was Epic Mickey. It was ugly, even for a Wii game, the controls were a little wonky but the killer was the terrible camera that literally made it impossible to even see much of the time. When I heard they were making a sequel, I wanted to be optimistic that Warren Spector and his team would see the obvious problems and really work to fix them, but I was understandably not expecting a huge turnaround. I was interested in the fact that they were releasing 2 decidedly different Epic Mickey titles for home console and the 3DS, the latter being an homage to the old 8 & 16-bit classic Mickey games while the former was more in line withe original, giving people good reasons to buy both. That's assuming they are any good of course. Well, demos have been released for both titles, and I've turned from skeptic to very excited.
For the console version, I know Warren Spector talked about this being a "video game musical" but I wasn't horribly impressed with the opening number by the Mad Doctor, so we'll see how that theme actually works out(but the addition of voice acting is a nice and much needed touch). The good news is the game plays very well. The camera is pretty much fixed, the controls respond well (though I think some potential was missed since this title fits motion control well and they decided to go with the traditional controller format) and it looks great. I might very well actually grab this for the Wii U come launch day as it should be roughly the same on all consoles.
The portable version is a pretty nice surprise as well. 2d platformers aren't exactly rare on portables so a title would have to do something special to stand out and Power of Ilusion manages to look great in its old school style and is jam packed with characters and general fan service for the discerning Disney fan. Granted if you are still playing plenty of New Super Mario Bros. 2 or Paper Mario (which I'll talk more about in my next post) I doubt this will replace those but it's also probably the last worthwhile 3DS title coming out this year (damn you Nintendo for pushing Luigi's Mansion 2 back) so it's probably worth the pickup at some point.
So in essence these two demos have for now turned me into a hopeful fan of the Epic Mickey franchise. Let's hope the full release lives up to the potential. My next post will almost certainly be on Sunday with thoughts if not first impressions (depending on how much time I get in) on the big 3DS holiday release-Paper Mario: Sticker Star. Until then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Medieval Shark