Review: Alpha Prime and Shadowgrounds Survivor (PC)
Buying a title developed for European audiences is a bit of a dice roll: You might end up with something uniquely cool and far removed from your everyday experience, or you might end up with haggis. With that in mind, we've got two offerings from European developers to look at.
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Interesting view there, but I do feel it's a little far-fetched. I'd say at least the Shadowgrounds follow-up was developed for Steam, not particularly Europe. And for the most part, we do play the very same games as Americans do. Yes, there are some Euro releases (mostly French) that might baffle Americans, but those are certainly not the norm. It's the Hollywood effect: most developers are going for the US-style experience. Just think DICE, Remedy, Criterion, Bugbear... I can't say what sort of Euro-centric angle they'd have.
The part where things go different ways may be in the publishing and especially marketing phase.
you know some of the biggest games get made in europe right, where do you think GTA and Tomb raider come from? yes we do make more original games than the yanks, but hell, everybody does =p
European games are different. Obviously there's a lot of crossover, and as a North American consumer I don't get to see the full range of products released overseas, but a lot - hell, I'll go out on a limb and say most - of what hits these shores that were originally developed for European audiences are "different." Sometimes it's a reflection of different design sensibilities and sometimes it's purely unintentional, but whether it's hilariously goofy dialog or casually naked boobs everywhere there's usually something that marks them as distinct.
I don't mean it as a criticism. I think the world desperately needs non-American game development efforts. The last thing I want is a world in which my only gaming choices come from companies owned by EA and Microsoft.
As a fairly jaded, cynical gamer who is nevertheless quite an FPS fan, I found Alpha Prime mildly enjoyable. But as Andy noted, it gets by on the surreal plot more than anything else. Which is why I played it to the end. Said plot isn't really as hard to follow as Andy makes out (some of the cutscene banter is a little confusing though, surprisingly solid acting let down by a weak script), it pretty much comes down to various people wishing to abuse Hubbardium for their own gains. Interestingly the main character Arnie almost hints that he would do the same, by playing it pretty casual. Definitely one of the more interesting game heroes of late. In fact, AP has some very good character animation, texturing and modeling.
The main problem with the game is that the weapons feel weak, especially on hard difficulty where ammo IS at a premium, AND all the enemy types take a good few shots to kill. Don't play this game on hard, even FPS vets will just find it frustrating. Conversely, on easy, you can be shot dozens and dozens of times and still not die.