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Friday, September 9, 2011

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Deus Ex. Deus Ex is a game that many gamers, myself included herald as one of the best games ever made. It came out in the year 2000 and was so far ahead of its time, the rest of the industry spent so many years trying to match what that game did and really no one was able to do so, until now.

The third (second) game in the series (screw Invisible War) Deus Ex: Human Revolution was released at the end of August. Developed by the good people at Eidos Montreal there was a lot of hype for this one and a little fear too. Would we finally get a good sequel to the godly Deus Ex? Or would this be a steaming pile of crap and so another great injustice to the name? I finished up Deus Ex: Human Revolution (DEHR) last week and I'm here to share my thoughts on it.

DEHR takes place before the events of the original Deus Ex. Mankind is at the beginning of it's augmented age. You play as Adam Jenson the head of security for Sarif Industries. After an attack on the Sarif building Adam ends up augmented and out to find the people responsible for the attack. As I like to do that's about as far into the story I will go.

DEHR is a first person, I'll say action stealth game with third person mechanics. You move and explore for the most part in the first person, when you get into cover the game goes to a third person view. You explore a kind of open world, each area has a main hub you're confined to and you can go anywhere in said hub until it's time to move on. Then the hub is locked and you cannot go back, just like the first game.

Even though this game wasn't made by Warren Spector and Ion Storm, Eidos Montreal really nailed the whole Deus Ex thing. You can tell right from the start it's Deus Ex and it's in such a good way. The world, the atmosphere, the characters it's like they stepped out of the original masterpiece. Eidos did make some changes and some of them are for the better. The gun play is all player skill based now, you don't have to pump XP into getting better with a gun to be lethal with it. You point the crosshair or iron sites at something and you'll hit it. Hacking has been changed too, now it's a mini game as you work your way from the start of the system to the exit to complete the hack. It's fun but by the end of the game after hacking so many things I was wishing for the originals hacking, just a timer that goes down and you have that time to read all the stuff you need to before the alarm goes off. With all the upgrading to hacking you can do I'm shocked this wasn't an upgrade choice.

Movement and the combat is great, it's feels so right. If you chose to go stealth the stealth in this game actually works and if you chose to go in hot and smoke dudes you'll be able to with a vengeance. Graphically the game is outstanding and looks really sharp even with the green/yellow tint to everything.

So basically the game is amazing, you must play it. Above I just touched on some basic mechanics but what I really want to do is talk about some of the things I didn't like about DEHR.

One of the most shown features was the item highlighting, where items and things you can interact with are highlighted in the environment. I personally don't like that but you can thankfully turn it off. I'm not a fan of overdone huds and even though this is a game where the hud is explained (You don't get a hub until your augmented) I still like a minimalist hud. You can have way points on screen too and with all that crap on the screen it gets in the way of fighting and exploring. I don't know if the hud is in Adam's eyes or in his aug sunglasses but if it's in the glasses I would of loved to see the option to make them retract and go completely hudless. You can get close to this in the options but I wanted an in game option, would of been cool.

The next thing may be funny to some but I didn't really like the augs. What? I didn't like the augs in a Deus Ex game? It's not that they weren't neat they just didn't seem that useful. First thing I did was get most of the hacking aug upgrades because you need those to survive. After those were upgraded I didn't know where to put my points. I was going combat but most of the combat augs depend on you having a crosshair which I didn't as I was playing on "Give Me Deus Ex" difficulty, so those were useless. I ended up going to strength and just working my way around the list. By the end of the game I was just putting points into whatever and I ended up almost maxed out.

Just like everyone else I didn't like the boss fights, they weren't needed and just threw off the balance of the game. They're not as hard as everyone has been making them out to be, you just have to "game" the system. I would of liked the choice of not killing them though. No matter how you take them down they die in the after battle cinematic. They're never really explained it's just a few people that want you dead for some reason. But at least is had boss fights, so many games nowadays don't have them and I like to have that challenge at the end of a level. These bosses though aren't really different from other enemies you've been fighting, they just take more bullets. I do think the way Barret's arm spins apart to reveal the Gatling Gun is really cool.

The last thing I didn't care for was the way the ending(s) were done. They don't really wrap up anything but that's hard to do when it's a prequel, we already know what happens in the future.

I can't really think of anywhere else to put this part so it goes here. Difficulty wise this game isn't that hard. I was on the hardest setting with almost all the "help me" stuff turned off and I breezed through it. The boss fights were the only places that I was hung up on. You die in a few shots but from what I've seen it's like that on normal too so I don't know. If you're looking for a brutal challenge it's not here.

With that said DEHR is an amazing game. I played it like a fiend for 35 hours. It was nice to play a modern game that was actually long and not over in 6-8 hours. The entire time I was playing I was having a lot of fun with it. With the exception of the stuff above everything else about this game is godly, it's so good. If you like game you need to play this one right now! I can't imagine a better game than this coming out this year.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - 9 out of 10

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How Low Can You Go? (derp) A Limbo Review

Today was the day, it was the long awaited day! At the time of this writing it's the day Limbo was released on the PC. After seeing it come to the 360 last year and the PS3 a few weeks ago, it was the PC crowd's time to play it.

Limbo is at it's core a 2D platformer like Super Mario Bros or any of the numerous other games. There is a dash of Another World with the way the game feels. The one thing that you'll notice about Limbo from the outset is the art style. It's a silhouetted look with the boy you play as being all black except for his white eyes and everything else is either grey or black. It looks nice but now I've see a few games do it too so it's not as special anymore.

Game play is simple, you move through the world and solve puzzles. Again a lot like Another World or other similar games. But I insult Another World mentioning it in the same sentence as Limbo. Why you may ask? Because Limbo is a giant piece of shit, it sucks so hard.

What the hell? The indie darling of last year is a bad game? Yes it is, for starters you can barely call it a game. It feels like a tech demo, it feels unfinished.

Where to start? I don't know, I guess on the story or the total lack of one. I can understand minimal story but you are NEVER clued in on what's happening. The game starts and ends and you never find out what's going on. The developer said it's open to interpretation, well here's my interpretation! You're all lazy and just didn't want to write a story so you went with the old let the players decide what it all means. LAZINESS!!!

The puzzles are simple, it's obvious what to do at all of them but Playdead made most of them a pain in the ass to complete. One in particular I did the solution multiple times but the game just didn't except it. Eventually I made it past, I guess the game decided to let me continue. A lot of the puzzles are repeated multiple times in different levels. The one in my mind right now you have to deal with 4 times! You get this worm on your head that makes you only move in one direction until you get hit by the sun. It's not fun it's poorly designed and you have to do it 4 freaking times, absurd! I prefer puzzles that are tough to figure out but actually doing the solution isn't the hard part, this game is the opposite. Like I said above every puzzle's solution is easy but doing the solution is infuriatingly hard to do most of the time, because a lot of the puzzles are time based. You throw a switch and you have to hurry to do the next part before the time runs out, THAT IS NEVER FUN! And it's never fun here, the controls have a clunkiness to them that makes rushing to do these tough but for the wrong reasons. Then when you mess up a part you have to wait for everything to reset so you can try again, it doesn't have to be an instant restart like Super Meat Boy but waiting like that is horrible.

The checkpoint system to garbage too, you die and sometimes it sends you way to far back. If I die on a puzzle I should start before that puzzle not the one before it. I've passed the old one, I've proven I can do, what do I have to do it again? Because this game is crap and the developers are assholes.

I played Limbo for 3 hours today, it took me 3 hours to beat it and that 3 hours I will never get back. The game is utter and complete crap, overhyped and I have NO idea why the gaming world was so in love with this game. It boggles my mind! A lot of people compared it to Braid, Braid wipes it's ass with Limbo. It's crap, I hate it, it's one of the worst games I've ever played, actually it may be the worst because it's getting the lowest score I've ever given a game. If you like the art style go to Newgrounds and play Coma it's actually fun and it's free. DON'T waste your money on Limbo, don't, please don't!

Limbo - 0 out of 10 (Fuck this game)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

WAR uh, good god yall... Darksiders Review

Darksiders is an action game that was released at the very beginning of 2010. It was a game I was looking forward to but was unable to play it until about a week ago. I picked it up during Steam's Summer Camp sale and let me tell you something, I am damn glad I did.

In Darksiders the player takes control of War one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The battle between Heaven and Hell has started and you've been summoned before your time. When this happens Heaven and Hell are not happy to see you and all "hell" breaks loose.

The first thing many will notice about Darksiders is that it takes A LOT from the Legend of Zelda. The game's structure, with a kind of over world and a few dungeons strewn about. The weapons and items, you'll get a boomerang type weapon and something that's basically a hook shot. You increase your health with skull pieces instead of heart pieces, you get the idea. But with this you're playing the best "Zelda" game to come out in a long time.

While structurally close to Zelda the game's combat is closer to something like God of War or Devil May Cry but not as complicated. You have one button combat here much like Arkham Asylum, the first button is for your sword and the other is for a secondary weapon. You can kind of go back and forth but it's really not worth it and you'll stick with one weapon at a time. But most of the options from those other action games are in this one, if you like to be in the air for most of your combat you can do that here and it's very easy to do, if the ground is your thing you'll be just as badass. Something about this that a lot of these action games don't have is a lock on, just like Zelda's. For the most part it works but there are times when you'll hit the lock on button and it focuses on some guy far away from you and not the guy right next to you. It did happen more than I would of liked but I can forgive it. You could actually make it through the whole game without using the lock on at all.

The story was something I was extremely impressed with. At it's core it's a basic Heaven versus Hell thing but it is told so well. The script is awesome and it didn't have any parts I thought felt tacked on or out of place. The voice acting is some of the best I've ever heard with big name voice guys like Mark Hamill and Phil LaMarr. The whole thing never felt predictable and I was actually surprised near the end. Something that rarely happens for me is the ending actually made me super psyched for the sequel coming out in 2012.

But Darksiders wasn't a perfect game and I did have some complaints as I played through it.

One level in the game, The Black Throne was really horrible. It has a gimmick where you're given a portal gun and most of the level is spent using this item to make your way through the dungeon. If I wanted to play Portal I'd play Portal not Darksiders. It just wasn't ever fun, you have a mini-boss you fight as you go through and you have to fight him three times. It was just really garbage and the fight was just frustrating. I played about two thirds of this level and took a break for the night, I didn't even want to play anymore it was so bad but the next morning I played again and I was almost done with it so it ended up being bad but not super long. I'd recommend using a guide when you get there to just blast through it and go on to enjoy the last amazing parts of the game.

You have a fast travel option to get around the maps but when you teleport you have to go through a short level type thing. At first it's okay but you have to do it each time you port. It grates a bit after so many times but it's not a big deal.

Lastly and this seems to be something I complain about on almost every game, this one was too easy. I played on the hardest setting and it wasn't really a challenge. There were a few tricky parts and a couple bosses that were tough but the regular game was a breeze and the last boss was simple which I kind of liked. It's too often in this genre of game to have a last boss that is super brutal to beat but in this one it was a little on the easy side.

Darksiders is a great game. If you're a fan of Zelda and games like God of War it is a must play. I cannot recommend this game enough, it is utterly fantastic. Even with that one bad level the rest of the game is so good it makes up for that one. I can't say enough here about how much I love just do yourself a favor and go pick it up, like right now go get it.

Darksiders - 9 out of 10 (If the Black Throne hadn't sucked so much it would of been a 10 out of 10)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Danger Close: Medal of Honor Review

Medal of Honor started as a series that defined the World War 2 shooter. For a long time it was the only good WW2 game out there. Then Call of Duty came along and took all the great stuff Medal of Honor did and improved on it. After COD took over the reigns from MOH it focused on the modern times and many other franchises tried to catch up to them. Eventually Medal of Honor followed along and with that we get the new Medal of Honor.

The 2010 edition of Medal of Honor takes place during the War in Afghanistan and it never pulls any punches about that fact. You play as several different characters over 2 days during the conflict but for the majority of the game you'll control "Rabbit" a member of the Tier 1 APO Neptune squad. You also spend a good part of the game playing as "Deuce" a Sniper for AFO Wolfpack who runs along the guy from the cover of the game whose name I can't remember and I don't really want to look up.

From the story prospective the game isn't ever really clear on what's going on. You just seem to be going along killing guys and getting extracted but I'll go into that more later on.

Gameplay wise MOH is a modern wartime first person shooter. It's plays a lot like the other Modern FPS games on the market. You can carry two guns at a time and have an assortment of grenades to use. You use all the modern weapon hotness through out, M-14s, shotguns and the .50 caliber sniper rifle. At it's core it is a really by the numbers shooter, if you've played any other modern shooter you know what you're getting into.

The game does control decently, mouse aiming feels good and I didn't really have any issues with killing guys. The one complaint about the control set up is so many things are spread to far around the keyboard. I had to do a ton of rebinding on my keys to get stuff closer to my movement keys and that to me just screams lazy PC port because they just threw the keys where ever. It is cool in this time of not letting us bind keys they allowed us to do so, so we do have that.

I really liked the way the game looked. Danger Close did a great job making the game look pretty. The sand and mountains look really nice as you're playing. One of my complaints about Black Ops was the guns looked like crap while the rest of the game looked good. It is not the case here the guns look good, the environments look good. I have an older PC and I could play this at max settings no problem.

It may feel like I just kind of glossed over most of the game but it really is a by the book military FPS. With that said I have some complaints and they're the big focus of this review.

First up the story, it never made any sense. I'm guessing there is a story here somewhere but for the most part it's just a squad of soldiers killing dudes and trying to get somewhere. The first level looks like it's trying to set up an attempt at a narrative but after that it never goes anywhere. I can see a military game without the big time Call of Duty type story just being about some guys and doing their jobs over a couple days but this isn't it. MOH keeps trying to make everything you do a big deal but it isn't important to me when it's not really explained or fleshed out.

MOH also suffers from repetition and I mean a lot of it. Here's the game broken down in a few words. First off you need to go somewhere, you get there and need to hold that point, you "Paint" a target which is always "Danger Close" and BOOM! Then you need to wait for extraction and you do this for almost the entire game. It's broken up with some sniper parts and a riding a quad runner but that's the whole game.

The two biggest gripes with this game, it's too short and it's WAY too easy. I beat the game on the hard mode in about 4 hours! What the hell? Hard mode is suppose to be hard but this game's hard mode wasn't even tough, it had a few tricky parts but it still only took 4 hours. It's inexcusable that a game would come out and cost 60 bucks and only be 4 hours long. That to me just says this game was released for multiplayer and the single player was an after thought. Boo-Urns to Danger Close and EA for doing that! I paid 10 bucks for this in the last Steam sale and I feel a little ripped off, I would of been furious if I'd paid the full 60.

So I mentioned the multiplay, what did I think? I didn't even bother. I played the Beta and it was bland as hell and I didn't want to waste anytime with it.

In the end Medal of Honor is fun but we've all seen what it does before. It doesn't really try anything new and I fear this will not bode well for the series. If Danger Close (Who are working on a sequel) try to make a more original game instead of trying to be the next COD then I think they can make a great shooter. If you can get this cheap or rent it you'll have fun. It will scratch your FPS itch but again it will feel like deja vu.

Medal of Honor - 5 out of 10

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Call of Duty: Black Ops - The Review

Due to unemployment (I now have a job) I had to put off playing the newest entry in the Call of Duty franchise. Thanks to a friend gifting me the game on Steam I was finally able to play Black Ops.

The middle of last year when Black Ops was announced I was really excited to play it. I came away from Modern Warfare 2 with a bad taste in the my mouth. I think Infinity Ward really dropped the ball on that one and I was hoping Treyarch could right the wrongs that were done in MW2.

I'm going to skip all the stuff every Call of Duty games has, if you're reading this then I'm going to assume you know the series and what it's all about but I will sum it up. You go to war, shoot dudes and then you save the day and that's about it.

Black Ops takes place in the 1960s a time frame not really explored by FPS games or really game in general. You play Alex Mason a super secret black op soldier who does all the dirty work the US government doesn't want people to know is going down. The game starts out during the Bay of Pigs invasion you and you're group are sent in to kill Castro, that goes sideways and then it's full throttle for the rest of the game.

Two things I think Black Ops gets right are the story and the overall action of the game.

The story is really well told and the time frame is actually fresh for a war FPS game as many people haven't messed with it in the past. You start out in an interrogation chair being tortured about Alex's past. Through that series of interrogations we learn all the stuff Alex has done over the years, I liked the way it was presented it felt fresh for the series.

After Modern Warfare 2 was basically a walk through the park Black Ops tries to bring the series back to the brutal difficulty it's known for and while it's a tough game it's not as brutal as COD2 or 4. As you go through the levels the fighting feels really nice, the enemies are well placed and the levels are all pretty cool. This game does suffer from Call of Duty's version of war where you poke your head out and the entire enemy army turns on you and begins to fire, it feels really unrealistic, all the COD games do it but I think it's garbage.

As we follow Alex's missions we go to very different locations and times. As I said above you start in Cuba and eventually make your way to Vietnam and onwards. When Black Ops was first announced it was rumored it was all going to take place in Vietnam. Vietnam hasn't had a really good showing in video games with only a handful of mediocre to downright crappy games and I thought this was going to be the one to be awesome. Now the Vietnam levels are the best levels in the game with some of the most brutal things like the sneak assassination of some Vietcong soldiers. It really should of been the full focus of the game. I know the Vietnam war is a soft spot for a lot of people but I think if done right it's time for a good full on Vietnam game.

The one thing I took away from Black Ops was one of the characters, Frank Woods. Frank Woods was an awesome character and one of the most believable the series or really any game has every seen. As I was playing I felt like this was a guy I could follow into hell and no matter what we'd both make it out. James C Burns did his voice and it was an outstanding performance. I'd have to put Woods easily in my top ten list of best video game characters, no question.

Finally the multiplayer. It's Call of Duty, it's an almost exact copy of Modern Warfare 2, it seems like they shoehorned guns that aren't from that era so they could include them in the multiplayer. One gun is the Steyr AUG, the game doesn't go any later than 1968, the AUG wasn't in service until 1979. It's a nitpick but they shouldn't of had it for continuity sake but I guess I'm expecting to much from a Call of Duty game. So really, if you like the MW2 multiplayer you'll like this, if you hated the MW you'll hate this too. And as far as Zombies go I didn't really spend a lot of time with it but I liked World at Wars better and of course you have Left 4 Dead which is way better, so go with those for Zombie killing fun.

I know a lot of people don't like COD after 4 but this one is actually an decent game. It does somethings the series hasn't done before but it does keep with it's traditions. So take that into account if you decide to pick this one up.

Call of Duty: Black Ops - 7 out of 10

Thursday, June 23, 2011

15 Years Ago... Quake

I can still remember it, I came home to find the newest issue of PC Gamer in my mailbox. This was back when the magazine still came with a CD with a couple game demos on it. The month I'm remembering had something I was so shocked to see and I had no previous knowledge of it being included on the disc.

PC Gamer came with a demo for the first Quake.

I was so excited to finally have a chance to play id's newest first person shooter. I like many others was a gigantic Doom fan and couldn't wait to sink my teeth into their first truly 3d game. A quick install and I was into it. It all passed by way to fast but I ended up playing that demo over and over again as the next few weeks passed by.

Eventually June 22nd 1996 came and the full version of Quake was unleashed on the world. Just a couple days after my senior year of high school I was spending the first nights of my adult freedom playing the living hell out of Quake. At the time I only had a 75mhz Pentium 1 with 4 megs of ram and no 3d card. I ended up getting 4 more megs of ram to help run the game better but without a 3d card I was unable to experience Quake in it's full graphical glory but the game was still amazing.

I spent the next month going through Quake several times, finding secrets and mastering the various enemy types. Eventually my playing took me into the realm of online playing.

Quake was the first game I played online and even though my 56k connection and my weak PC made it a chore at times to play I still had a blast. Reaching out and killing guys in other states from the comfort of my bedroom, it was amazing.

The first Quake holds a special place in my gaming history and it was a game that got everything right. The single player was great, it was for many their first online experience and it set the stage for how online gaming would be for a long time.

For me though the Quake series began and ended with Quake 1. I didn't really care for Quake 2, I wanted more demon's and Lovecraft influenced monsters but what we got with Quake 2 and 4 was a typical space alien enemies shooting game. I never cared for them. And as far as Quake 3 was concerned I liked it but at the time I'd rather of played Unreal Tournament and that's usually what I did.

In a recent interview John Carmack mentioned that id was thinking about doing a "remake" of the first Quake with the Cthulhu inspired demons and gothic setting and I am so excited to hear about that. It's the direction I've wanted to see that series go and I hope we'll finally see it happen.

I recently replayed Quake about 2 or 3 months ago and it still holds up. It's a timeless game in an age when many older games have a hard time holding up as the FPS genre evolves but Quake can still stand side by side with the best of them. If you've never played Quake (shame on you) do yourself a favor and grab it off of Steam, you will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

I don't really get scared watching movies. For me watching a horror movie is just to see what they've done from a gore stand point. Jump scares and all that are to easy to see coming whenever I watch something so I usually don't bother. Now games on the other hand, they can scare the living crap out of me. From some NES games to Resident Evil and more recently Cryostasis when a game has good jump scares they floor me. I don't know if it's something about the interactivity of it that makes me scare so easy but it does happen and will probably always happen.

When I first heard about Amnesia I was interested in playing it. It was being called the, "Scariest game of all time" and it would make grown people break down and cry. I knew it would be something that would be hard for me to play as I scare so easy when it comes to games so it did take me awhile to actually get around to playing it.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent was released in late 2010. Brought to us by Frictional Games who had made the Penumbra series before this. It was first released as a digital download and later saw a retail release.

This takes place in 1839, you play as a man named Daniel. You awake in this castle unable to remember why he's in said castle and really not a whole lot about who he is. You set off to explore and you eventually find out that you're after something and that something is hunting you down, I'm keeping this vague as to not spoil any of the story.

Amnesia plays out in a first person perspective but it is not a FPS, in fact there isn't any combat in this game at all. You walk around solving puzzles and trying to reach your overall goal. It really made me think of it as a first person adventure game, as if something like Kings Quest or Phantasmagoria were in the first person. You find items and usually need to use them in some puzzle later on.

The controls for this are extremely tight. I absolutely love the feel the mouse has when you're looking around, it just feels so right. When some of the sanity stuff comes into play you get this neat sway effect that again just feels right with whats going on on the screen. If I could have anything to complain about the overall movement Daniel feels like he jumps way to high for the type of game it is.

Light plays a big role in your journey. Then you're in the darkness you start to lose sanity the lower your sanity goes the more crazy stuff you start to see. It reminds me of Eternal Darkness but I never saw it get super extreme like that game did, it never fakes a format of your hard drive and any of that breaking the fourth wall type of stuff. To fight back the insanity you need to be in the light and this can be handled a few ways. Sometimes candles and lanterns and such are already lit when you find them. You can find tinderboxes to light additional candles and the like. You also come into possession of a lantern you can carry around with you. The catch there is you need oil to keep it going which you'll find in all sorts of nooks and hidey holes around the castle.

Darkness can be your friend at times, it helps you hide from the monsters. Since you have zero combat options whenever a monster comes along you need to duck behind something and hope to hell it doesn't see you. Even with that there is a catch, you can't look at the monster. If you look at it your sanity drops quickly and eventually the thing you're looking at will see you and well, kill you dead. You have to balance hiding and you sanity to make sure you stay hidden but don't got all bat shit crazy from the darkness.

Now I do want to say, Amnesia is a good game. It has a great atmosphere and the story and setting are all really well done. But I do need to say this the game isn't that scary. It's creepy and there are some really messed up stuff going on in the world of Amnesia but I didn't really get scared much. It has one really good jump scare near the beginning of the game and after that, not so much. The tension can build up when you're being chased which I will say is thrilling but not really scary.

One of the things that doesn't really make this game scary to me is the lack on monsters. You really only encounter two types of monsters through out and for about ninety percent of the game it's only one type you see. For me horror is about the unknown and after you're seen the first monster there isn't really anything left unknown. They all look the same when you hear that sound that tells you a monster is coming you know what to expect and it just takes away from the horror. Now don't get me wrong the two monsters you see most in this are really cool looking (But still very similar looking) I would of loved to see some other messed up things, a little more variety would of been great.

The other thing I really didn't care for were some of the puzzles. Some of them were not easy to figure out, I'm not one to shrug off a challenge, while some of the puzzles required a little thinking to figure out some were not intuitive to figure out at all. The solution would be so abstract it took away from the overall experience. I had to look up the solution to one puzzle and the still didn't get it after I knew the solution I just sat there and wondered how anyone would figure it out on their own.

In closing I want to say it again. Amnesia is a really good game and yeah you should probably play it but don't believe all the hype, it's not that scary. Everything about the game comes together to make a great experience but it's just not an overall scary one. After playing this I really want to check out the Penumbra games as I've never played them but I am expecting more of the same in the "horror" department but I do think they'll be fun to play.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent 7 out of 10 (It's not scary)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Some "Flawed" Games From This Generation I Really Enjoyed

I was over on Giant Bomb and they had a thread about "Favorite Flawed Games." I really liked what I wrote about it so I wanted to put my response here.

You can check out the thread here - Giant Bomb Thread

I can think of a few games as I usually find myself enjoying the "flawed" games over the triple A super polished ones.
Far Cry 2 is probably the top of my list. With everything it got right the flaws are still present. Guard post respawns, broken stealth and for me at least the lack of co-op in a game that is just screaming for it. I can't think of another game recently that was just begging to have co-op. So many things are already there that make you wish you could play with someone else, it's like Ubisoft was teasing us with them. Instead of tacking on a competitive multiplayer they should of taken that time and effort and made co-op.

Next one I think of is Stalker: Clear Sky, that game is still buggy as hell. The first time I tried to play it I got stuck in an endless death loop because the game decided to kill me as I saved and I have no idea why. It wasn't radiation or an enemy attacking I was standing in an open field and just dropped as soon as the save did it's thing. I finally ended up using Clear Sky: Complete to play through it and then even ran into that Limansk crash bug. While I think Shadow of Chernobyl is the superior Stalker game when I was done with Clear Sky I had really enjoyed playing it and would consider giving it another go when it's time for me to replay a Stalker game.

I saw a lot of mentions of Too Human on here and while I don't really think that game is "flawed" in the since of it being broken it just didn't live up to the hype. Me, I absolutely loved it, I spent 60 something hours playing the living hell out of it until I found or traded for all the Elite armor pieces. I think at its core Too Human was a good attempt to bring a Diablo type loot gathering games to consoles, I liked the analog stick combat and the overall feel of the game. I just think when people hate on this one it's that they were expecting a game as unbelievably amazing as Diablo 2 and what we got was just a pretty good game.

A game I didn't see mentioned here yet is the newest Turok. While not the same Turok we know and love from the N64 days I still thought it was a fun simple FPS game. Every shooter we get doesn't have to be super military Call of Duty like shooter. Turok was like a throwback to the FPS games from back in the 90's and that was the main reason I loved it.

I guess the last game I want to mention is Cryostasis and really for the following reason. When I got to around level 12 the game would constantly crash on me until I messed with settings and worked through it. I've never had a game work better for me after I've turned the settings UP. Besides that another brilliant game more people should get a chance to play.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Some Thoughts On Far Cry 2

With rumors swirling around this week at the possibility of a Far Cry 3 being announced at E3 it made me think about Far Cry 2.

Far Cry 2 was a major departure from the the first game, no longer being developed by Crytek as that studio had moved on to Crysis it was instead made by Ubisoft Montreal. Ditching the man vs monster elements and the tropical island of the first game we're taken to a war torn Africa, on a mission to kill an arms dealer known as the Jackal. After a brief introductory/tutorial section you're presented with an open world to explore and find your way to your target.

Now this isn't really a review as I'm just writing down my thoughts on the game which I freaking loved. At a time when I was just tired of open world sandbox games Far Cry 2 was able to pull me in and every second of the entire month I devoted to playing this game was an amazing experience.

Now some people didn't really care for FC2 and yes I admit, it did have it's issues. It had some bugs and some glitches and some of the game mechanics could of been better but they're just some little things that I feel need to be looked past to enjoy what this game does right.

The one thing for me that FC2 had going for it was the immersion. Every step of the way I felt like I was in the deserts of Africa hunting diamonds and shooting fools. The little details like the barely there hub and the map you had to hold in your hands to use were so well done it helped bring you into the game. All this was presented with amazing graphics, I played the game on the PC and it is one of the best looking games out there, rivaling Crysis is parts. The Dunia engine really shines in this game as I think the only other game that uses it in full is the Avatar Movie Game.

I love the way the weapons work in this, they degrade as you use them and eventually jam and break down. It adds tension to a firefight when your gun is on it's last legs and you need to scramble to grab a fallen enemies' gun to finish off his friends. You can ambush supply lines to get access to new perfect condition weapons which will eventually break on you but for the real fun of it just use the guns the enemies drop. They only drop weapons in the worst condition and it ups the challenge and again the tension of the combat.

There is one thing I do not like about how they handled the weapons, they're broken up into three possible types. Primary, Secondary and Special. Primary are the basic assault rifles, shotguns and sniper rifles. Secondary are pistols and sub machine guns (Uzis and such) and finally the special weapons are rocket launchers flamethrowers and the like. I absolutely hate not being able to carry an assault weapon with a sniper rifle. You can get by with the dart gun in the special slot but really who wants to just put guys to sleep, I want to split skulls with a Dragunov and still be able to clean up with an AK-47.

Fire is very important in this game, you can use it to help in combat and that is really cool. Let's say you have a group of enemies in the field you can light said field on fire and kill them with that or use the same fire to corral them into an area for you to pick off easier.

I do want to mention that stealth in this game is just straight up broken. Enemies can see you from a mile away if you shoot one of their friends, you can barely sneak around and if someone lets out the slightest gasp when you shoot them in the face the whole area knows exactly where you're at. For a game that stressed how you could sneak and all that stuff for it not to work is really lame.

When you're wounded to your final section of life you get a severe wound. When you fix this wound you're treated to a gruesome animation of your character fixing the wound. You'll push bullet through your arm, reset broken fingers and pull sticks out of your leg. It's all really cool, I like how it's handled and I really wish more games would use this mechanic.

As I said in the article I did about more games needing co-op Far Cry 2 is the prime example of this. Most of the vehicles have multiple places to sit, namely the boats with a driver seat and then the gunner stations. It would of been great to cruise down a river with a friend, drop them off near the target then coordinate a strike on the target with them. This game sorely needed co-op and I think this is one of the biggest things it suffers from.

I also need to bring up the guard posts. When you pass through a guard post it's usually stocked with enemies, you kill them and move on. If you come back to the guard post they have respawned which is okay but you can just go barely out of sight of the post and turn around to be greeted with a full group of guards, all ready to kill you dead. It would of been cool if sometimes the posts are guarded by friendly units depending on you doing missions. The respawn rate on the guards should of been drawn out, you couldn't repair and restaff a guard post in a few minutes, it should take at least 24 in game hours for a post to respawn or even more depending on how far it is from the faction's main base.

The last thing I can say about Far Cry 2 that I didn't care for was the lack of mod support. Ubisoft didn't release the SDK for this one so the modders didn't get to have their way with the game. I imagine some amazing things would of been done to this one and I would of loved to see what people would of come up with.

I do list a lot of negatives here but don't get me wrong Far Cry 2 is amazing and it didn't deserve the hate it was getting by some reviewers and my fellow gamers. The game is one of my all time favorites any praise it gets it deserves but I see room for improvement in Far Cry 3. I hope Ubisoft takes some of the legitimate negative aspects of part 2 removes them and molds what's left into an even more amazing game.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

For The Grey Wardens! - Dragon Age: Origins - The Review

I first played Dragon Age: Origins at the end of 2009. I had picked it up on a Steam sale and was interested in trying it out. I wasn't very happy with Bioware after playing Mass Effect (Which I loathed) but I was willing to give them another chance. DAO was suppose to be the spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate which I loved so I thought, "Why not?"

Well, upon first playing it I actually did not like DAO. I played as a Human Noble Warrior and from the start it felt like Mass Effect again, a bunch of characters I just couldn't stand in a cookie cutter fantasy story (The Human Noble Origin I mean) and I just didn't want to deal with it. I made it through the Origin story and a little further but couldn't bring myself to play it much more.

I had been feeling the need to give DAO another chance over the last few months, I don't know why, maybe it had something to do with the sequel coming out, I'm not sure. But I ended up reinstalling it and last night after 63 hours of game time I finished DAO.

I went into DAO this time with a different attitude, what if I was wrong? What if this game was as good as everyone else said it was and I was to hasty in my initial judgement? Well I can tell you right here that I was to quick to judge and DAO is not only one of the best RPGs I've ever played it's one of the best games.

The story, taken from the Dragon Age Wiki...

"The player character—'the Warden'— is a new grey warden recruit within Ferelden, and begins his/her journey to halt the inevitable blight as one of the six origin stories. The origin chosen determines who the Warden is prior to the main events of the game's story. By the same measure, it also affects how NPCs (party and non-party) will react to the Warden. Elves, for example, are often viewed as second-class citizens. The last warden will be given the task of building an army to match the blight and gather companions along the way to support him/her on this onerous task. As the last grey warden within Ferelden, the actions taken, both indirectly and directly, will decide over the course of one year, which factions align with the warden to build this army and halt the blight, as well as the fate of those met on your journey."

Bioware did not use the Dungeon and Dragons license for this one, instead going with a well made world and fiction of their own. The world of DAO is very dark, the game takes place during a possible invasion and under the possibility of civil war but you get the feeling that even before all this is was a "dark" place to live. Mages are looked down upon as freaks of nature and are closely controlled, Elves are seen as second class citizens and often times are slaves to the Humans. Dwarves aren't really concerned with the surface problems, only what happens down in the underground. Those are just some of the bigger examples but there's more and it all comes together to make a world of it's own.

You start out at the beginning of the game able to choose from three races and three classes, Human, Elf or Dwarf then you can choose from Warrior, Mage and Rogue. Dwarves cannot be Mages as there resistance to magic does not let them use it. Depending on the combination you pick you'll get a different Origin story to go through. In total six Origins are available to go through, Human Noble, Dwarf Outcast and what I did, a member of the Circle of Magi. Personally the Circle of Magi origin was pretty good but the only other one I went through was the Human Noble and that one was garbage.

AS you progress through the game you'll learn specialties that you can use to customize you characters even further. Think of them as sub classes for each of the main three. I went through the game as a Mage but my subclasses were Arcane Warrior and Blood Mage, those together are almost to the point of being over powered it was great.

DAO is a pause and fight RPG, if you've played Baldur's Gate 1 or 2 you will be familiar with most of the mechanics presented here. You control a party of 4 all of whom you can choose from a pool of people you pick up during your travels. No matter what class you choose to play as you'll get a good group of people to complement your abilities in combat. You can view the battle field from a number of different perspectives with the PC version (The version I played) allowing you to pull the camera way up for a birds eye view of the fight. Space lets you pause combat to issue orders to your party but you can only issue one order at a time, you can't queue up a few attacks like you could in other games like Knights of the Old Republic. You have a hot bar at the bottom of the screen, numbered 1-0 then the rest are only clickable. The bar can be increased to the entirety of the bottom of your monitor which I really liked, I never had to leave abilities off the hotbar.

I had some problems with the combat though and I don't think that was a fault of the game but it was the game just not clicking with me. I had a problem getting the flow of combat and I don't feel like a ever fully grasped it. After finishing it I felt I could eventually master it if I played again but who knows. I had problems with Baldur's Gate when I played it too so I'm not surprised by this one.

Even with that said I did have some issues with the game that weren't my fault. The main thing was the areas of the game are meant to be gone through in a specific order as this game doesn't really have scaling level enemies like a lot of newer RPGs. Each area has a range of levels the enemies can be and if you go to a higher level area and you're not powerful enough you'll get slaughtered. Now I don't have a problem with this as a mechanic but the game doesn't really make any effort to tell you thing, I only learned about it reading the wiki after I was having such a hard time in one area. I wasn't in the right place for my level and I was paying for int hardcore. I don't want to game to hold my hand but a little hint would of been great or just don't let me go to the hardest area first because the player may not figure out that's why they're loosing. Another thing with the combat is you can destroy the enemy one time then reload and nothing really changes and you get slaughtered. It's just sometimes the fights get away from you, it happens through out the game, so while you're in a tough as nails area you may not know that's why you're losing.

Another thing to note are some of the NPCs. I know this in a RPG and talking to people for information is core to the game but it seems like Bioware's writers are getting a little full of themselves. Some of the basic NPCs take forever to get to the point, when you go to a shop the shop keeper shouldn't give a huge speech every time you visit. Some shopkeepers make you go through two or more dialog trees before you can get to the goods and this is on follow up visits not just the first time. Also some people just take to long to say what they need to, I can't remember the amount of times I thought they could of cut big chunks of dialog out and still get the same point across. You can skip the dialog if you finish reading before the NPC is done speaking but it can ruin the experience.

And lastly I hated it when you'd go through a long talk with an enemy and it would end in a fight without a save point. So if you lose the fight you need to go through the whole conversation again. Sometimes it saves right after the talking so you can just get back to the fight if you lose but it doesn't do it all the time and it should.

Dragon Age: Origins is an amazing game, I didn't think so at first but as I played through it recently it was just so much fun. The world and story with the help of awesome characters really bring it all together. If you're a fan of old school Bioware and you've been on the fence about this one do yourself a favor and buy it!

Dragon Age: Origins - 9 out of 10 The way the game handles enemy levels and forces you down a path without telling you and some of the extremely long winded NPCs is really what keeps this from being a 10.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl - Being Recreated In Crysis

A group of Russian modders are recreating Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl in Cryengine 2 which Crysis uses. I'm not 100 percent sure how far along they are but what I've see so far looks really good. As someone who really liked the gun play in Crysis and the overall atmosphere of the Stalker games it's going to be really cool to see these two put together into the same game.

The video below shows the mod in an early state. The Zone really comes alive in this engine and these guys are really doing a great job. I can't understand what's being said as I don't speak the language (I'm assuming it's Russian) being spoken but just watching it is enough for me it looks really good.

I just saw this video today and they seem to be further along in the process. The guns look a lot better and more in line with what you'd see in the original Stalker games, we also have a brief appearance of the Scar from Crysis and I wonder if they plan on keeping that in. They also show off the drivable cars which is really cool. If you look when he's driving the hands don't look right to me. I've seen other Crysis mods where the hands are suppose to be flesh and they never look right, like you can still see the Nanosuit under the skin textures. I don't know if that's something they can fix but I hope they do.

I'm extremely excited to see this come out if it does. I know huge mod projects like this can fizzle out and never be released but I hope this one makes it out. I don't even care if it's all in Russian when it's released I will still play it.

I will post updates about this whenever I hear new stuff but I can only go by what I read as I don't speak what I'm assuming is Russian.

You can check out their site too but again it's in what I think is Russian.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Once More Into The Zone - STALKER: Clear Sky (Clear Sky Complete Mod) Review

As I've said a bunch on this blog anyone who reads what I write knows I love Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl. I've played SOC countless times, Vanilla and with Mods installed. I absolutely love everything SOC brings to the table but I have never played any of the follow up games, Clear Sky or Call of Pripyat. I decided that was extremely uncalled for and decided to right this wrong and finally play both games.

Just moments ago I finished Stalker: Clear Sky with the Clear Sky: Complete Mod installed. I had previously tried to play Clear Sky but was met with glitches, bugs and other assorted crap keeping me from playing the game. The biggest one I encountered was early on where I just randomly died as I hit the quick save key. Well guess what happened? Yep, the death was in the quick save. I would of lost a lot of progress if I reloaded the auto save so I decided to just forget Clear Sky and go play Shadow of Chernobyl again.

Why did I wait until now to try playing this with a Mod installed? I like to play through games the first time as pure as possible or vanilla as some people call it. Even if I'm playing some really old game that needs a source port to run right on modern PCs I try to get one that doesn't change the base game at all. Complete is a series of mods that does this very thing. You can find a Complete mod for all three Stalker games and I figured if I was going to go through the buggy mess that is Clear Sky I should try Complete with it, so that's what I did. How does this notoriously glitch filled game handle with this mod and how is the game overall? Well read on to find this out!

Clear Sky is the second game in the Stalker series but it's a prequel to Shadow of Chernobyl taking place immediately before the events of the first game. You play the role of a Stalker named Scar. In the intro you see Scar leading a group of scientists through the Zone when an emission hits, killing all the scientists but leaving Scar alive. He's rescued by a group called Clear Sky and after awakening is told he has a connection with the Zone and further emissions will cause his central nervous system to break down and eventually kill him. From the outset that is your mission, to find out what is causing the Zone to lash out and put a stop to it. I won't go into it much more as it can ruin the story of SOC if you haven't played that yet as the two games do go together.

Clear Sky plays a lot like Shadow of Chernobyl which is to be expected but they did change up some of the mechanics, some of these changes are great and some are done so poorly they distract from the overall game. You go through the game in a first person view shooting at enemies and looking for loot to survive. You can access an inventory and equip Artifacts but even this has changed a little.

The biggest game change is the upgrade system, all weapons and armor can be upgraded through NPC characters in the major camps in the game. Weapons can be made to shoot faster, have better accuracy or even accept a different caliber of ammo. Armor can be made to offer better protection, add a gas mask or better night vision and you can increase the amount of Artifact pockets you can have. Unlike SOC in Clear Sky you start out unable to equip any Artifacts. You have to upgrade your armor to hold more and even that number can vary. Some armor while offering a better base protection do not have the ability to hold the maximum amount of Artifacts. The upgrade options for both weapons and armor are actually pretty deep with some upgrades cutting you off from others and so on. I really liked that I had to think about the path I wanted to take while upgrading and it actually made a difference in the type of gun I was wielding or the armor I was wearing.

The next biggest change are the way you find Artifacts. In SOC they were just laying around waiting for you to pick them up, that is not the case in Clear Sky. You have in your possession a detector which helps you find them in the Anomaly fields. You'll come across large fields of various Anomalies and this is where the detector comes into play. You use it to pinpoint where in the field the item is then go in after it, avoiding the Anomalies and trying to get out alive. This was a really nice addition as it makes you feel more like a Stalker having to survive in these dangerous fields to get the prize and make the Artifacts way more valuable.

Faction Wars, what's a Faction War? It's the worst freaking thing in this game and nothing but a pain to deal with. You have warring factions in Clear Sky, The Loners, The Bandits, Duty and Freedom. You can choose to join any of these groups and fight on their side but from the way they always need your help you'd think you're the only good fighter they have. I went with the Loner faction which is just made up of Stalkers and they were fighting against the bandits. At first it was okay just a little fighting here and there, kind of fun and a new addition. Then it all goes down hill. You will be called constantly to help out and if you don't you fail and the other side gains the upper hand. I don't know the breaking point for failing these that will make you get a game over or even if it's possible to get a game over from this but it still sucks. Hold a territory for your faction let's you get through much easier, here's an example. Early on in the game you go to the Garbage. If the Bandits hold the entrance you will get robbed when you enter and loose all your money. If you fight off the Bandits enough in the Cordon the Loner faction will get into the Garbage ahead of you and clear the entrance allowing you go through without paying. Stuff like that is a neat little touch but it ends up just being busy work.

I mentioned two locations above the Cordon and the Garbage. You may remember them from SOC, you'll be seeing a lot of the areas from SOC in this game. It makes sense because you're kind of leading up to the events in the first game and the Zone is only so big. At first I thought it was a little lazy to see so much reused but it adds to the element that Scar knows his way around the Zone and you do too as you've done it all before. I did think it was nice to see these areas like they were before Shadow of Chernobyl, like Freedom holding the Dark Valley and some sections of the Cordon actually inhabited beyond the Army base and the Rookie village.

I really liked what the Complete Mod did to this game. The first thing is the improved graphics. While Clear Sky vanilla is a better looking game than SOC this makes it look even better. All the redone textures are just amazing and help bring the Zone to life. Textures are all new, a new weather system has been added, the lighting is redone and that part just looks amazing. As the sun rises and the beams of light come through the windows or trees it's a really cool effect. The sound has been changed too adding in themes for each area and adding in a lot more guitar and vocal tracks for the NPCs who play guitar. Visually and auditorily this mod makes the entire game a million times better and I highly recommend you use this same mod if you decide to play through Clear Sky.

This wouldn't be one of my normal reviews if I didn't have a bug or glitch to complain about and it's time for that. Most the way through Clear Sky I didn't have any problems but the one bug I encountered was a nightmare and I almost gave up playing because of it. I was near the end of the game. You end up having to go through the town of Limansk to continue the story. Getting there isn't an issue but I was there for about 2 minutes and I was killed. No biggie, I'll reload and be fine. Nope! Crash to desktop, again not a big deal, the first time through SOC it crashed to desktop twice so I can give this "buggy mess" at least one crash. Well when I tried to reload my save it crashed again and again and again. Eventually I went with the beginning of the level auto save and that one loaded but the game crashed and so on and so forth. I looked online and read that this was a problem caused by the Complete mod making the game crash and that it only happens in the first part of Limansk. I was going to remove the mod and play through Limansk without it but then I read it's a problem with the base game and I could get the crash even without the mod. I did read that if you make it to the Construction yard in Limansk without crashing you're okay. After a few more crashed I eventually made it through the level and was able to finish the game without incident. This is a bad place to have to worry about dying as this is when the game get's crazy hard and I went through a ton of medkits and bandages getting to the end of this level so I wouldn't end up dying.

And this brings me to the last thing I want to say about Clear Sky and that's the difficulty. I know Stalker games are suppose to be difficult and I don't mind that but this one just all of a sudden get's super hard near the end, I mean the difficulty curve just rams up. I don't mind challenge but I can't stand when games do this and this one is no exception.

Overall Clear Sky was an okay game. I really liked some of the mechanic changes this game had which made me feel more immersed in the world. Faction Wars and the above mentioned bug almost ruined the game for me and I doubt it will be a game I replay anytime soon. My initial views on the vanilla game are probably still there but the polish Complete adds more than make up for the past issues. If you play this make sure it's with Complete, DO NOT PLAY VANILLA!

Stalker: Clear Sky - 7 out of 10

Link to download Clear Sky: Complete - http://www.moddb.com/mods/clear-sky-complete You can actually follow this link to get the Complete mods for Shadow of Chernobyl and Call of Pripyat also.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hardcore Mode or The Art of Losing Everything When You Die

The basic idea has been something that's been around in gaming for a long time. Going all the way back to the PC game Rogue, you adventure for as long as you want but if you die you lose everything and need to go back to square one. This is something I love to see in games, I look for any game that has this feature to try out and see how hard it can be. Before I even knew these type of games existed I would play many of my old school games in this fashion. I remember playing may SNES games were I would start over if I died and I always play my scrolling shooters in this way.

The game that really showed me other people liked this concept was Diablo 2. It had the Hell mode where you lost you character if you died. I can't remember if this was in the first Diablo as I didn't play a ton of it due to hardware issues at the time. I was blown away they included this mode, it adds a tension that at the time I had never experienced in a game. Yeah I was playing games like that before but actually being forced to lose your character and start over was just awesome to me.

We're starting to see this type of mode in more and more modern games. Torchlight has it and games like Spelunky and Dwarf Fortress take the roguelike approach to them. One big name game coming out, The Witcher 2 has a mode like this. You can save as often as you want but if you die it's game over, I cannot wait to try this mode out it holds so much potential for a challenge.

I want to mention another game that didn't feature a mode like this but it has a following in the "no death run" method of playing and that's Far Cry 2. I loved Far Cry 2 even with it's flaws but this is an interesting way to play this game. Exploring the jungles and forests of Africa never sure if there's someone waiting in the bush to snipe you it adds to the game play. Add to this if you never buy the upgraded weapons and just use the crappy stuff your enemies drop and you have an experience a lot of games can't offer you. Another game series that get's ever more exciting to play with this restriction are the STALKER games. They're already pretty unforgiving so add in the fact that your first death is your last and you get a real sense of how brutal the Zone can actually be. Try playing Shadow of Chernobyl with one of those realism mods on Master difficulty and only give yourself one death, you'll be going through the game at a snails pace just fearing death. It's can be so much fun, I want to see more of this in gaming.

I would like to see more titles ship with this option. I don't think games should only offer this as a game play choice because it will turn off some players but I would welcome challenge and I'm sure there's plenty of other people who would love to see this too.

The Battle of the Bloom - Crysis 2: Multiplayer Demo Impressions

I have to say I was a little bitter when the Crysis 2 multiplayer demo was only released on the 360. Seeing as Crysis was a PC game to shun the audience that put your game on the map seemed like a bad move to me. Then a few weeks later the word came down that Crytek was indeed releasing the demo on the PC. On March 1st I eagerly downloaded said demo because I was excited to see what Crytek had done with the sequel to one of my favorite games.

I'd seen some video of the demo in action so I knew all about the Call of Duty revamp the Crysis multiplayer had received. Gone are the big battlefields, only to be replaced with close quarters combat and the same perk based level up system most shooters these days have.

Getting into my first match I was greeted with the absolute worst thing in this demo, the Bloom. This game is really and I mean really bright. I usually play my games with the brightness a little higher than suggested and this time I had to turn the in game brightness down to zero and it was still to bright. I blame this on Crytek's over use of bloom. Everything is so shiny, it's blinding. I'm going to take a wild guess on this and assume Crytek is using so much bloom because it's covering up some weak textures. Seeing as they need to cram this game onto the 360 the overall graphics are going to suffer and we all know the secret to covering all that up is with bloom.

The controls are not up to par either. They just feel wrong like there's a slight delay or something. It's like they were going for that "weighted" feel like Killzone 2 but in this game it just doesn't work. When you have a fast paced shooter like a COD or a Halo then you put a weighted delay on the shooting it just feels off. I tried both the mouse and keyboard and my wired 360 controller and neither of them felt right. Also with using the mouse the sensitivity wouldn't stay were I put it often resetting to some random number while I was playing. When you're playing a game and all of a sudden the mouse goes all wonky due to the sensitivity deciding on it's own to change it doesn't inspire confidence.

Everything about this demo feels wrong. It's not fun to play and it's always feels like you're fighting with the game on top of the other players. The bloom is a major problem that needs to be toned down in the final game or preferably taken out all together. The controls are garbage and need major tweaking but I don't think either of these will happen. The first Crysis was a great game with amazing graphics (Part 1 looks better than part 2) and super tight controls. I don't see how Crytek could drop the ball this hard on the sequel but it's a real shame. I know it's only a demo but a demo is suppose to help sell the final product and all playing this demo has done for me is make me not want to play Crysis 2. It took a game I was super excited for and made me not even care. Crytek may address some of my issues in the final game but I'll never know as I will never play Crysis 2. Maybe the mod scene can get their hands on this and actually make the game playable, of that we can only hope.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

20 Years of Street Fighter 2

Today marks the 20th anniversary of one of my all time favorite games, Street Fighter 2: The World Warriors. This is a game that completely changed my life. I was so blown away by it, it helped fuel an obsession that you stay with me for almost the whole 20 years.

I had only played a little of the first Street Fighter, in the arcade with those giant rubber buttons you had to beat on to do the punched and kicks and on the Turbo-CD when it was known as Fighting Street. It was a clunky mess and really hard to play on either platform but for the first fighting I had ever played I still put a few quarters in it at the arcade and then I'd fire it up at home on occasion after I owned it. In the end it was just one of those two player games you keep around if you have a friend over and they want to play with you.

So a little while later I ended up going with my dad to Pittsburgh on a business trip. While he was in meetings all day I was free to explore the wonderful outskirts of Pittsburgh and yeah it was as great as it sounds. The only thing near the hotel was a really crappy mall. You know how in most places there's the nice mall with all the stores and food courts and all that jazz, then there's the other mall that you only go to if you need a cheap haircut or knockoff cupcakes or something? Well this was the second kind and it was a pretty bad mall but it did have an arcade. I wandered around the arcade a bit and ended up spending some money on the Simpsons arcade game. After that I went further in and there it was like it was calling out to me, Street Fighter 2.

I instantly recognized the name and I couldn't believe a game that mediocre had a sequel. Watching the demo I saw all these new fighters and they all looked interesting and it looked so smooth in the the way it played. I dropped my quarters in and that's when it all started. I played Blanka the first time I tried it out because he was a monster and I thought he looked cool. I ended up going through all the characters and decided that Guile would be the one I played as. When I went back to the hotel to have dinner with my dad it was all I could talk about surely boring the crap out of him but I was just so into it. The next day couldn't come fast enough so I could go back over there and play some more.

That was the first time I played Street Fighter 2 eventually there was an arcade close enough to me where I could go play it. I would go to the mall early on Sundays so I could have the SF2 machine to myself to practice and practice I did I eventually became pretty good at it.

Then came the greatest thing ever for me at that time, SF2 was coming to the SNES! I think I nearly crapped when I heard that news. That took the obsession to a whole new level, it allowed me as I'm sure it allowed others to get even better at the game without having to blow through quarters. Being able to spend more time with the characters I ended up moving away from Guile and I started using Ken. I liked that Ken didn't need to charge his moves and I just found him easiest for me to use.

Then of course we had the Championship Edition in the arcade which added the ability to play as the four bosses of SF2. Balrog, Vega, Sagat, and M Bison and this added a whole new level to the game as you had real people using these guys. Even though I was still playing SF2 at home I spent a ton of time in the arcades playing CE as M Bison.

Next up was Hyper Fighting and then Super Street Fight 2. SSF2 added four more characters, T Hawk, Fei Long, Cammy and Dee Jay while tweaking and adding some stuff to the others. This is the version of SF2 I spent the most time playing as it was in the arcades and on the SNES. I would literally play this for hours upon hours. I knew every character, all their moves and I could win with any of them. It's also around the time I shifted my focus from Ken to Ryu. Since SSF2 I've used Ryu in any Capcom fighting game that has him and I've never looked back.

As with Hyper Fighting before it we saw the release of Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo. With this came one new character in the form of the hidden boss Akuma and again some more character tweaks. A super meter was also added in that when filled it allowed you to do a super version of one of the basic special moves. This is the version of SF2 I spent the least amount of time with. I only played it in the arcade a couple times as none of them near me had any machines and the only home version to come out was for the 3DO. I was going to get the 3DO version but the system's controller was so bad for fighters I didn't really care.

With the success of SF2 we saw tons of 2D fighters come out and I pretty much played them all. If it was an obscure 2D fighter on the SNES or the Genesis I played it. If I heard an arcade 50 miles away had some new fighter before the one near me I went to play the new game there. Sitting here writing this now I'm flooded with memories of all the crappy fighters I've played. Even though none of them held a candle to SF2 I still searched for them and spent some time with each one. At the time the only other 2D fighter to hold my interest was Mortal Kombat.

Street Fighter 2 for me was the best set of fighting games to ever come out and nothing that's come out since has been able to hold up. Even Street Fighter 4 which is a throwback to SF2, I just couldn't get into it. I'll remember all the time I spent playing SF2 very fondly, it was and still is just simply awesome.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Maximum Review! Crysis and Crysis: Warhead

Crysis the system killer, the game that's suppose to bring a PC to it's knees. Even today four years after the game was released people still want a PC that can run Crysis at max settings. Recently I played through Crysis for the second time and I played Warhead for the first time yesterday.

Crysis is the story of Raptor team. They're sent to this island to investigate the Koreans who have some bad stuff going on. They've uncovered a relic and they're completely unaware of what they have in their possession. You play as part of Raptor team either Nomad (Crysis) or Psycho (Warhead) and you experience the same story from both of their perspectives. I really liked the way this was handled. There is a certain part in Crysis where Nomad and Psycho split up and this is where Warhead picks up. Both games reference each other with Warhead really bringing the Crysis references as you play through it. As far as the story goes though it's not something we haven't seen before. The military is sent to fight another military and then crap goes south when all of a sudden aliens!

Crysis is a FPS game, you run and gun your way through the jungle fighting your way to the end. This is where Crysis is probably at it's weakest as it's a basic FPS game, it doesn't really bring anything new to the table as far as gameplay. If you've played a PC FPS you've probably played a game like Crysis. The gimmick in Crysis is the Nanosuit which allows you to do some really cool things. You have the basic armor upgrade which is just like armor in any other game. You also get access to super speed which lets you run fast. You can cloak like the Predator which does add something to the gameplay. Cloaking and hiding from the enemy only to sneak up on them for a surprise attack is really cool. Lastly we have the super strength which is interesting. Not only does this give you the power to jump really high it also helps with your aiming. Putting on super strength helps with the weapon sway and reduces the recoil from your guns. I really like the way the strength was implemented in this and for anyone who likes to snipe it's extremely useful.

I don't want anyone to take me saying Crysis is just another FPS to take that to mean it's a bad game because it's far from that. Crysis is at it's core a really fun game, an extremely fun game. The thing I love about the whole thing is the feel of it. The way your character moves and handles his gun is just really nice. The weapon sway as you aim and shoot the little details like your iron sites becoming misaligned as you strafe is a great affect. Crysis unlike many FPS games models the whole character so you can look down and see your feet and legs, it just adds to the immersion.

You can't mention Crysis or Warhead without mentioning the graphics. Both games look amazing. They are both to me still the best looking games out right now. The jungles look amazing but the real star of this show are the snow levels. As I was playing Crysis I was in awe of the snow levels, especially the first one you're in it just looks so good. You do still need a decent machine to play these games at the max settings. While that doesn't mean what it use to meaning you can have a pretty hefty machine at a good price, you still need a good PC. One thing I heard about Warhead when it came out was how it ran better then Crysis but for this this wasn't the case. I had Warhead set up the same way as Crysis and for me it ran worse, with a lot of stuttering and hitching up. Your mileage may vary with this.

The differences between Crysis and Warhead aren't that varied. You get more weapons in Warhead but most of them weren't that useful to me. You have access to mines and claymores but I didn't use either of them my whole time through Warhead. One thing about both games I couldn't stand was how the default weapon was handled. You're given a version of the Scar and it's actually a good gun but the ammo is extremely limited, especially in Crysis. Once you run out of Scar ammo in Crysis you are forced to switch to the KPA assault weapon and I only remember one time where you get access to another Scar but by then you have so much KPA rifle ammo you won't want to swtich. Warhead gives you more Scar ammo to find but it's still to far and between to make much of a difference. It's like all those WW2 games where you're forced to use the German guns. To me it's not as much fun to use the same guns the enemies use all the time but it doesn't really break the game or anything.

Back to the story for a moment Warhead tries to be different than Crysis. While Crysis is a pretty straight forward war story with aliens Warhead also does this but they try to get inside the character of Psycho. We're given some back story and some characters from his past to bring us deeper into his world. None of this was hinted at in the first game so now all of a sudden Crytek is expanding on a secondary character from the first game. It didn't make a lot of sense to me. They try to portray Psycho as a emotionally damaged soldier but it just doesn't work. I don't know how I would of handled it but the way it's presented is just weak. I can sum Psycho up in three words, he is British.

Crysis is awesome. It looks great has great combat and some really cool set pieces. Warhead is good but what Crytek tried to do with it for me hurt the game. trying to flesh out a character in an expansion when the first game didn't have anything like that just feels out of place. Maybe if the first game had gone into the past of Nomad or something, I don't know. You should play Crysis and if you love it then check out Warhead to get more of the story. If you play Crysis and you only liked it or are indifferent then pass Warhead by.

Crysis - 9 out of 10

Crysis: Warhead 6 out of 10

We Dare - What the hell?!?

We Dare for the Wii is apparently a game where people get together and put the Wiimote is their pants then spank each other. Uh yeah, good luck getting four people together to play the Wii. I'm also going to go out on a limb and say the Wiimote condom finally makes sense.

Just watch the trailer...

And I'm calling it right now, this game is fake as hell.

ARES!!! God of War 3 - the review

So finally I had my chance to play God of War 3. I had put it off and put it off but I was able to get my hands of it and blew through the game in a couple days. I'm a gigantic fan of the whole series, absolutely in love with everything that's come out so far. So how does Kratos' first Playstation 3 outing hold up on my judgment? Read on and find out!

God of War 3 finds Kratos right where God of War 2 left him. Riding on the Titan Gaia as she climbs Mount Olympus with the rest of the Titans to finally end Zeus' reign and destroy the Gods once and for all.

GOW3 like all the other games in the series before it is an action hack and slash type of game. You control Kratos and move him from area to area leaving a trail of dead bodies in his wake.

First off the graphics are just simply amazing. Everything is the world of Kratos is so detailed. From the basic mountain side to a whole horizon filled with war you can make out all the smallest details. I'd have to say this is in the running as the absolute best looking game on the PS3 with Killzone 2 and Uncharted 2. It takes these PS3 exclusive game to truly show off the power the console has, it's just stunning. I do have one issue with the look of the game. In most games when you can interact with something or it's a place you can climb it looks a little different from the rest of the world, this isn't the case in GOW3. The game just looks so good it's hard to make out places to climb or a part in the wall you can just barely slide through.

The controls as always are very tight. Kratos responds very fast and it is extremely easy to get him to do what you want him to. In this action genre I've always felt the GOW games have the tightest controls and in part three it is still the case. Some mechanics have been changed and it's probably up to everyone to figure out if it's a good thing or not. First off they added in an ranged grapple. You can now grab enemies from a great distance which either has Kratos pull them to him or pull himself to them. I really like this addition,as I am a very aerial player in GOW it helps keep him in the air and still engage new monsters. They have also given Kratos a new set of abilities, in the form of "items." Through out the game you'll find these items like a bow and arrow. These are used with the L2 button and one of the face buttons. You also have a new meter with these that runs out as you attack with whatever it is you're using. With this addition the use of magic is also changed. It use to be the magic was selected with the D-pad and the L2 button used the magic. Now all the the magic is handled with the R2 button and one spell is assigned to a weapon.

You select the various weapons with the D-pad like you did the magic before. One thing I've always noticed in GOW game are the Blades are the best weapon. They're the most fun to use and the most useful. I'm guessing the makers of this game thought the same thing as three out of the four weapons you get are all like the Blades. This makes them all more fun to use but the standard blades are still the best. You use to be able to play through a whole GOW game just using the Blades but you can't do this in GOW3. Some of the functionality of the Blades have been taken away and given to the other weapons. The most notable is the ability to break an enemy's shield. No longer does , square, square, triangle break shields, you must use another weapon. Something cool with this is the real time weapons switching. You can be in the middle of a combo and hit the d-pad to switch it up and then just keep going. I think it works really well and it's nice to be able to switch so fast.

Something I would of liked to see put into this game were the PSP style GOW controls. Using the shoulder buttons to toggle the analog nub to a dodge to me was brilliant. Once I did that it made using the right stick to dodge a real chore. I did end up using the dodge a lot more in this game than the others though. As GOW3 is overall a harder game than it's predecessors. It's not insane hard or anything like that it's just a tougher game. I guessing it just assumes you've played the other games in the series and you should know what's up but some of this challenge is a little tacked on. The basic checkpointing in this is a little busted at times. In a few places you'll solve a puzzle only to miss a jump and die or fight a monster and die. Instead of starting back up past the puzzle you have to redo the whole thing. This is really annoying to me, it's just padding the difficulty to me putting frustration where there shouldn't be any. Another gripe are the unskippable cutscenes. Many, many times in this game you'll get a cutscene before a boss or get one during a boss fight as it moves to the next stage of said fight. If you die you have to watch the scene again, it's usually only a few seconds but it really gets tiresome to have to see these over and over again.

The GOW series is something known for it's massive boss fights and GOW 3 is no exception. Some of the bosses you fight are gigantic and this game has two such fights that are two of the best the entire series has. The rest of them though, they go between just okay to down right annoying. Most of the bosses are just a pain to fight and aren't any fun at all. It's not always clear how to damage them and even when you're doing damage you can't tell. For me it really drug the game down and it was sad to see the end of the "trilogy" have so many weak boss entries in it.

This is probably the most violent game I've every played. Kratos rips people apart, disembowels things and just goes on being as ultra-violent as he can be. It's really cool to finish up with a group of monsters and see Kratos standing there covered in blood.

So finally the one thing I want to mention without giving anything away is the story. For the most part anyone who's played GOW 1 and 2 will know what's up but I really did not like the ending. Just the way they try to explain what happened in the series was really weak and I felt as though it took a complete turn from the feel of the past games. This may not be the way you feel but I just wanted to share my thought.

God of War 3 is a good game, it plays well and it is a lot of fun except for most of the boss fights. For what is suppose to be the end of the series (Yeah right) I think it went out on a low note. For me God of War 2 is the pinnacle of the series and as of right now it's safe in that spot.

God of War 3 - 7 out of 10

Monday, February 21, 2011

25 Years of The Legend of Zelda!

So today (It's still the 21st as I write this) marks the 25th anniversary of the release of The Legend of Zelda. It made it's debut on the Japanese only Famicom Disk System then in 1987 it came to the US on the NES. Since then we've all helped a young swordsman named Link save a princess named Zelda from the thief Ganon.

I remember when I got my NES and along with it were two games (Well four if you count Gyromite and Duck Hunt) Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda. SMB I had played before in the arcade and on a friend's NES. LOZ on the other hand was something completely new to me. I didn't really have any experience with RPGs at that point so playing Zelda for the first time I was blown away by the massive scale this game had. Pretty much the whole world is available to you from the start of the game and you're free to explore and find your way in the land of Hyrule. Wooden Sword in hand you guide Link out into the wilds to fight Octoroks and Moblins. I was in awe of everything this game had.

Legend of Zelda was also a game I struggled with for some time, it actually holds my record for taking the longest time to beat. A little bit into the game I became hopelessly stuck unable to locate the raft and get to the fourth dungeon. I knew the raft was in the third dungeon but for some reason I couldn't find it. Eventually after about a year of playing it on and off I finally found the item I so desperately needed! As anyone who's played this knows Darknuts are some of the worst enemies in the game and in the third dungeon they are everywhere. Well there is a room that is completely filled with these monstrous knights and past that room is where the raft waited for me. I was still really young when I played this in 1987 but I'll admit I felt dumb when I found the raft. I was just avoiding the Darknut room not wanting to fight them and eventually I decided it was the thing to do and BAM, RAFT! After that I sailed right through the rest of the game in a couple days. The one thing though through all of that searching was that the game was still really fun.

After I killed Ganon I was surprised to find a whole second quest ahead of me! I immediately jumped back into the game and did it all over again. This time nothing stood in my way and I plowed my way to Ganon a second time. This game also has one of the first secrets in a game I ever found on my own. If you take a empty save file and name it Zelda you start on the second quest. My sister had wanted to play so I gave her a slot named Zelda as I was Link to only discover the game was different. I don't remember how I found out it was the second quest but I did and I really happy with myself for finding this out on my own.

Since the first Legend of Zelda we've been given plenty of sequels on all manner of platforms but this is also part of the series weakness. Every Zelda gave is really the exact same game, especially story wise. I guess it works but I would of liked to see the story evolve into more not just become rehash after rehash. There are a few entries in the series that deviate from this mold but they are few and far between.

Over the years I've had a lot of fun with the Zelda series and I look back on all those games fondly. The original introduced me to a completely different type of game that I had never played before and it remains to this day one of the best games ever made for any platform.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

60 Dollar PC games

For the current generation of consoles the games on the 360 and PS3 have been 60 bucks. For the first part of this generation their PC counterparts have been 50 sometimes 40 bucks. We PC gamers were happy to be getting the better looking, sometimes mod-able versions of these games at a better rate.

In 2009 this was about to change. Activision thinking everyone wants to pay more for games decided to release the PC version of Modern Warfare 2 at a 60 dollar "premium" and lots of PC gamers were sad but they still bought it. Then EA decided to follow this up with a 60 dollar Medal of Honor which some people bought but not as many as Modern Warfare 2. These two games alone were proof enough for EA and Activision that PC people will pay 60 dollars for a game.

In the last few months we've seen Black Ops, Dead Space 2, Bulletstorm and Crysis 2 at this 60 dollar price. It's getting a little crazy. I know these companies sell these games to make money but some companies do the right thing and keep these PC games at a reasonable price. Capcom is one of these companies. They've released some of their big name titles on the PC for 40 bucks, Dead Rising 2 and Lost Planet 2 are two games that come to mind.

Recently I've decided that some of these games especially the PC version don't need to be bought the day they come out. I have a crazy backlog and will be busy for awhile. The solution to this is to simply wait for Steam to have a crazy sale and get these 60 dollar games for 30 or less. I love Steam!

Red Faction: Armageddon losing the open world of Guerrilla. (Some thoughts on sandbox games)

When I played the demo for Red Faction: Guerrilla I was blown away. I absolutely loved everything about what they showed us in it. The destruction was on the top of my list as being one of the coolest things in a game ever and then there was the world. From the demo I thought Guerrilla was not so much an open world type game but something like the first Far Cry or Crysis. In those games it wasn't so much an open world as it was larger levels that gave you some amount of freedom to go through as you wished but still kept you contained. When I picked up Guerrilla and put it in the 360 I was completely shocked to see it was a sandbox open world game like the GTA series. In the end I thought it really hurt the game to have the open world aspect but that was one of a few flaws this game had.

Reading this past week that the follow up to Guerrilla, Red Faction: Armageddon will not be an open world game. This time around it will follow a linear path. There will still be destruction but this time the developers are going to try and guide you to it and with the enclosed environments they will be able to set up huge set piece demolition moments for us to hopefully enjoy.

Some people may not like the game going linear but for me it's a welcome improvement. I think the whole sandbox open world thing is kind of in a rut. Aside from the FPS games I think it's one of the most saturated genres in gaming right now. Everything needs to be open world! If it doesn't have 500 miles to explore it's crap! I really think the open world games need to be closed up some and the genre needs a retooling. After GTA4's ridiculous use of this mechanic it doesn't even look like Rockstar knows what to do with these anymore. I haven't played Red Dead Redemption yet and it has a ton of positive reviews and word of mouth but I don't know about it yet. Remember GTA4 was the second coming when it was released and about six months after that everyone started crapping on it for the crap game it was.

Though some games get the open world thing right and it's funny but they're mostly FPS games. Two that come to mind immediately are Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl and FarCry 2. Both of those games are fantastic examples or how to do open world right.

When Metro 2033 came out I know it received some crap for not being open world. I was so happy to play a new game that kept a linear path. It told a story and you had to follow it until the end. You could vary your path a little bit but for the most part you followed a path. And I hope we see more games like this that buck the trend and stay linear.

Open world games have a place in gaming and that genre has had some amazing games but it's becoming a little stale. Someone needs to come along and re-energize the world of well, open world.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition - Top 50 Video Game Characters of ALL TIME!

I didn't know this voting was going on but the Guinness people put out a top 50 list for video game characters. The voting was handled by the internet fans who went to the site and well, voted. The list which is below is actually pretty varied more varied then I thought it was going to be. I do have a problem with a couple of the characters listed. Goku and Naruto are not what I would call "gaming" characters. They come from anime and have games based on that medium. In doing a top 50 characters in gaming I would think all the entries should be characters that came from games. I guess you could call that a nitpick but that's how I feel about it. \

Though I am super psyched to see Larry Laffer on there. Leisure Suit Larry, 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 are great classic adventure games. Those newer Al Lowe-less "Larry" game are evil crap and tarnish the good name of that wonderful series.

1. Mario (Donkey Kong, Nintendo, 1981)
2. Link (The Legend of Zelda, Nintendo, 1986)
3. Master Chief (Halo: Combat Evolved, Microsoft, 2001)
4. Solid Snake (Metal Gear, Konami, 1987)
5. Cloud Strife (Final Fantasy VII, Square, 1997)
6. PAC-Man (PAC-Man, Namco, 1980)
7. Lara Croft (Tomb Raider, Eidos 1996)
8. Gordon Freeman (Half-Life, Valve, 1998)
9. Kratos (God of War, Sony, 2005)
10. Sonic (Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega, 1990)
11. Crash (Crash Bandicoot, Sony, 1996)
12. "Soap" MacTavish (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Activision, 2007)
13. Nico Bellic (Grand Theft Auto IV, Rockstar, 2008)
14. Samus Aran (Metroid, Nintendo 1986)
15. Ratchet (Ratchet & Clank, Sony, 2002)
16. Nathan Drake (Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Sony, 2007)
17. Captain Price (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Activision, 2007)
18. Kirby (Kirby's Dream Land, Nintendo, 1992)
19. Marcus Fenix (Gears of War, Microsoft, 2006)
20. Pikachu (Pokemon Red/Green, Nintendo 1996)
21. Yoshi (Super Mario World, Nintendo, 1990)
22. "CJ" Johnson (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Rockstar, 2004)
23. Mega Man (Mega Man, Capcom, 1987)
24. Sam Fisher (Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, Ubisoft, 2002)
25. Shadow (Sonic Adventure 2, Sega, 2001)
26. Jak (Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, Sony, 2001)
27. Duke Nukem (Duke Nukem, Apogee, 1991)
28. Dante (Devil May Cry, Bandai, 2003)
29. Naruto (Naruto: Konoha Ninpoch, Bandai, 2003)
30. Altair (Assassin's Creed, Ubisoft, 2007)
31. Zelda (The Legend of Zelda, Nintendo, 1986)
32. Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII, Square, 1997)
33. Donkey Kong (Donkey Kong, Nintendo, 1981)
34. The Prince (Prince of Persia, Broderbund, 1989)
35. Ezio (Assassin's Creed II, Ubisoft, 2009)
36. Leon S (Biohazard/ Resident Evil, Capcom, 1996)
37. Ash Ketchum (Pokemon Red/Green, Nintendo, 1996)
38. Guybrush Threepwood (The Secret of Monkey Island, LucasArts, 1990)
39. Spyro (Spyro the Dragon, Universal, 1998)
40. "Ghost" Riley (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, Activision, 2009)
41. Goku (Dragon Daihikyoe, Epoch, 1987)
42. Max Payne (Max Payne, Rockstar, 2001)
43. Jill Valentine (Biohazard/ Resident Evil, Capcom, 1996)
44. Princess Peach (Super Mario Bros., Nintendo, 1985)
45. Larry Laffer (Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards, Sierra, 1987)
46. Augustus Cole (Gears of War, Microsoft, 2006)
47. Bowser (Super Mario Bros., Nintendo, 1985)
48. Eddie Riggs (Brutal Legend, EA, 2009)
49. Ryu (Street Fighter, Capcom, 1987)
50. Sackboy (LIttleBigPlanet, Sony, 2008)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

So the Battlefield 3 reveal was leaked and so was the DLC?!? (A DLC rant)

We all knew Battlefield 3 was coming. It was inevitable that DICE was going to follow up it's extremely popular Battlefield 2 with a proper Battlefield game. Bad Company 1 and 2 were okay but they were console Battlefield games not the type we were use to on the PC.

But that besides the point while BF3 was announced/leaked another part of the game was leaked also. That would be the DLC, yeah that's right the game isn't even "Officially" announced and we already know about the DLC coming out for it. It appears to be a reworking of some classic Battlefield maps that you can get for free if you pay the extra money and get the special edition of the game. Or you can just get the normal version and pay extra down the line for these maps.

This DLC stuff is getting out of hand. It isn't uncommon for many games now to have day one DLC and most times you need to pay for it. So you have to lay down 60 bucks for a game and then another 5-10 bucks for the release day DLC if you want to be on par with the other players. Why don't the companies just start adding in this stuff and just do what they all want to and charge more for the game?

Remember when the NES came out and some of those games could be super expensive? Some SNES and Genesis games where 80-90 dollars. Then the CD format became standard with the PS1 and Saturn and those games could be 30-40 dollars, especially the games from Sony themselves. Now we're at 60 or 70 depending on if you need the special edition of a certain game. What will it be like next generation? Will all games be 70 bucks, maybe 80?

While I think the game companies are to blame for just being in general a little greedy, we the gamer are to blame too. Rushing out to pay the initial 60 bucks then paying for every little bit of DLC just let's the companies know we'll pay for it. If we just took a step back and didn't buy every set of horse armor or dog breed that we're offered maybe said companies will take a step back and think before they hold stuff back from the game disc and try to sell it to us later on. How many times have you paid for a DLC package and the download is only a few kilobytes, just an unlock for "DLC" that's already on the disc? How can they get away with this crap?

EA is getting really good with the DLC thing. I remember reading a April fools thing in Game Informer a couple years ago and they were joking that EA was going to start making the air from the footballs in Madden DLC but I don't think we're far off from that. Activision is to blame too with their 15 dollar map pack crap. Modern Warfare 2 was the first to have this ridiculous price for maps and 2 of them were old maps from COD4! Why do people pay this? It boggles my mind!

I'm not innocent in this, I've bought DLC before, I've bought DLC I never played. After I bought the first add-on for Red Faction: Guerrilla and never got around to actually playing it I realized what an utter waste buying that stuff was. Since then I haven't bought any DLC, no add-ons, no map packs, nothing. I am one hundred percent against the practice and I will NEVER buy any of this crap again. Anyone reading this should follow suit and do the same. Show the big game companies that we won't pay for stuff that should be included in the main game and maybe they'll go back to actually giving us what our 60 bucks should pay for in the first place.