Wednesday, December 7, 2011

So many games, so little time.

Sorry all for the long wait between posts. Between real life, work, and Skyrim, I'm finding it hard to write on here. The last couple months have been great for games. We've had BF3 come out as well as Modern Warfare 3. Skyrim has come out and the new Legend of Zelda. I've also been trying to play more games of Warhammer 40k, I added a small page on the side with pics of most of my Space Marines. Ill add more pictures as I play games with more people and get more of my other armies painted up.

Back to the video games though. Lets start with BF3. I still haven't played the single player. To me BF3 is all about the online play. I own the game for both PC and PS3. Finding games is easier in the PS3 version due to battle log being buggy and finicky about letting some computers and browsers enter games. Both versions have great graphics and game play. I still prefer to use a mouse to shoot though. The game really gets better when you play with friends who are great at communicating. The unlock trees work well with the game giving you steady rewards for just playing. Weapon specific unlocks are great because it means you have to use the weapon and be good with it to get the really good unlocks. The vehicles in the game are of course fun. They added the ability to immobilize vehicles now. Getting a lucky shot on a tank and making it stationary for a few seconds can be pivotal to winning a close match. Aircraft zoom around engaged in dog fights which makes even the air its own unique battlefield. helicopters armed to the teeth provide wonderful moving fire bases, unless piloted by completely inexperienced people. Then they become easy targets. In the right hands I've seen choppers tear up entire squads of enemies over and over and over. The different classes or kits of players have great customization and pretty cool gadgets. Recon personnel can laser designate vehicles for other classes to blast down with javelin missiles, or use drones to spot out and mark enemy movements and positions. That last tactic worked wonders in a match where all I did was spot people on the map for them and tell them which way people were coming after them.  I've played some games with the members of GaW ( they have great communication and rip up the battlefield where ever they go. Overall the game is great fun so far and  it only gets better when you have friends to play it.

Now for the one I've spent a ton of time playing. Elder Scrolls V:Skyrim. This game is big. Not just on a scale basis, but on the "holy crap its going to take me a long freaking time to do everything in the game big." With several races to choose from and unlimited possibilities, or seemingly limitless, of how to play the character you create. It has to have replay value as well. Skrim is set as the northern most nation of Tamriel and is part of the Empire. Civil war has broken out amongst the native denizens of Skyrim, the Nords, and threatens to cut their ties to the Empire. That big plot point is but a minor quest in the game though. As you start out your about to be executed by the Empire all because you got caught around the same time as the leader of the rebellion. As you lay your head down on the chopping block a monstrous echoing roar fills the air and a dragon comes sweeping down and begins to lay siege and torch the fort. After escaping you find that dragons have returned to the world after thousands of years of nonexistence. As you report to a major city, after traversing a beautiful landscape and navigating around a mountain, you hear about another dragon appearing and it making its way for the city. You end up slaying the beast with the guards and only to find its soul becomes sucked up by you, and its body burned up to the bones, leaving a large skeleton as  reminder of the battle. After you return you find out you are a dragon born, a legendary warrior foretold in prophecy. The story continues for hours and there are many ways to go about the quests that revolve around it. Dragons randomly attack you and villages. The world has a working ecosystem and beautiful night and day cycle. Your character gets more powerful the more you do things. Want to use a bow, cool go ahead and when you get better at it it brings you closer to leveling up. Wearing armor and getting hit helps your armor skill, crafting items, selling stuff, casting magic, and even picking pockets are all some of the ways of getting more powerful in the game. To make it better you have talent trees in the form of star formations. They represent the different things you can do to level up your character. When you level you gain one point that can be put into any star formation, As long as you meet the right proficiency of the skill.  These add amazing abilities to your character and give them a general archetype of what they do. Even after you've hit max level, 50, you can still improve skills and get better at everything.  Overall this game is amazing. I've encountered a few glitches but on a game scale this big a few glitches aren't game breakers. I still have to finish the story, due to the ridiculous amounts of side quests and faction quests I have not even done. This game will be one of my long running favorites.

Like I stated already there were a lot of games that are out that I still haven't had time to play. Modern Warfare 3 is most likely next on my list. I have played ample amounts of both BF and Modern Warfare. I know that there tends to be hostility and bias between people who play them. I promise I won't bring my bias to the table when I review and play MW3. Both games are great and both have their faults and flaws. I just really don't like playing with cocky prepubescent high school kids on MW that have mics. They anger me. Assassins Creed: Revelations is also in the works. Zelda will be played in time as well. There are only so many hours of sleep I can choose to not have.

For those of you who play or are familiar with Warhammer 40k I plan on putting some more pictures up of my armies soon. When I play my friends I'll try to have pictures of games being played. I have a ton of new necrons to paint as well as finish some of my space marines.

Thanks for reading and remember: Follow. But. Follow only if ye be men of valour, for the entrance to this cave is guarded by a creature so foul, so cruel that no man yet has fought with it and lived. Bones of full fifty men lie strewn about its lair. So, brave knights, if you do doubt your courage or your strength, come no further, for death awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Lets RAGE!

I'm not talking about swimming with the dolphins or whatever. Im talking about ID and Bethesda's new shooter. Bethesda is well known for its amazing games such as fallout and fallout new vegas as well as Oblivion and the upcoming Skyrim. Id is of course known for Doom. Their formula for a game was simple, combine Ids shooter with Bethesda's massive worlds. The result is giant explorable world with lots of guns and plenty of bloody corpses.

One of the great prospects of the game was the ability to make items. They range from bandages to explosive RC cars. Honestly I'm disappointed in the crafting system. You never discover recipe's on your own from using the system and most of the time have to fork over cash to learn the recipes that are really useful. Not that getting money in the game is hard, it just seems like they could of made the system more rewarding by letting you "unlock" crafted items.

The weapon selection in the game is the standard array: fist, pistol, shotgun, assault riffle, sniper rifle, rocket launcher, smg, and a crossbow. The game goes back to the roots of first person shooter, you can carry all your guns on you at the same time. It seems like the industry ditched that idea years ago for a more "realistic" approach to games. The thing that makes all of the weapons so fun is all the different ammunition available to you. Regular shotgun ammo is great, but exploding shotgun ammo is better. Crossbow bolts are great for stealth, bolts that let you controll the mind of your victim before making them explode into red mist are better. The ammo really makes the game fun. Dynamite crossbow bolts are my personal favorite. Regardless of how much armor the target has they take tons of damage from it.

Ai in shooters is something that is usually lacking. Deus Ex: Human Revolution had amazing AI. This game does in a different way. Most shooters you cant flank your enemies. They always seem to know where you are, That is not the case in Rage. If you shoot at them from one place and they duck behind cover, you can quickly move to a new spot and watch them still fire at the last spot they thought you were at. Reposition yourself and get clear shots where they have no cover available. The enemies aren't stupid however. They will use grenades and covering fire to allow their allies to close the gap to you. If you manage to kill enough they will run and alert another batch of baddies. When you flank them or are ambushed the enemies will climb over, under on or jump around tables chair pipes or any other object in their way to get to you. In a game with so many weapons you'd think that the idea of melee enemies would not work well. Id makes it work REALLY well.  Melee units jump, roll, tumble climb, and are just plain freaking fast and do massive damage. Mutants are the most sporadic moving targets in the game. Able to run on walls climb on pipes hanging from the ceiling and are clever enough to know if your aiming your shot gun at their legs to jump in a doorway and hold on so your shot hits nothing but the concrete below them.

Racing....I hate racing games. But I LOVE racing games that allow me to destroy my competition. Your range of vehicles is limited and your upgrades are plenty. The only way to get upgrade currency however is to race. Or to go into the vast wasteland and slaughter other bandit vehicles and collect a reward in town. Targeting your enemies in a vehicle is automatic, just wait til you see a red hexagon on them and fire away. You can also upgrade your wheels with spikes or your grill to do massive damage when ramming.The mini-gun and rockets are easy to come by and easy to go through though so beware not to run out of ammo while fighting four or five other cars at once.

Story is almost always lacking in shooters. Not too much different here. Its not a post nuclear war landscape. Its a post giant meteor landscape. Include your evil military regime and resistance faction and tada you have a cookie cutter story line. Oh wait, whats that, they are doing genetic experiments, oh wait its an Id game, no surprise there. In all honesty though, story lines like that are what I have come to expect from almost all shooter. Its the way they tell it that makes them good or not. Rage does a good job of making your character an intricate part of the story, I wont continue cause I don't want to spoil any surprises however.

Overall rage is a good buy. It has competitive racing multi-player, shooter co-op and a nice amount of time to beat the game, especially if you try to beat it 100%. It is the product of two amazing game companies, and wont surprise me to see if dlc is available with new stuff for it in the near future.

Other reviews and posts in the near future: Battlefield 3 (I'll be joining a co-workers clan and shooting lots of people), Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, and Ill be working on a page for my Warhammer 40k stuff.

Until next time: Follow. But. Follow only if ye be men of valour, for the entrance to this cave is guarded by a creature so foul, so cruel that no man yet has fought with it and lived. Bones of full fifty men lie strewn about its lair. So, brave knights, if you do doubt your courage or your strength, come no further, for death awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Orks, there are always more orks.

I would be lying horribly if It weren't true. Warhammer 40k: Space Marine came out today for those of us in the United States. Just spent 8 hours hacking and slashing my way through the game, and was decently satisfied with the story. Seeing as I play 40k, and I play space marines, I was interested in seeing how the game brought some of the gear and mechanics of the miniatures game into life. I was impressed for the most part. There is just something awesome about the English accented orks that I love.

 Your character, Captain Titus of the Ultramarines, starts the game off being unorthodox. Diving with a jet pack into a war torn sky evading exploding ships and landing on ones deck to be rid of it. At the begining of the game it reminded me of God of War, which it is but with orks and guns.

Titus strives to establish himself as a bad ass right away in the game. Carving up gretchkin and orks with a knife and mowing down wave after wave of hapless orks with his boltgun. Eventually crippling the ship and riding it down as it crashes upon the forge-world planet.

The game slowly introduces new types of orc, 'ard boyz, Nobz, and even weirdboyz, but they all felt the same. Shoot em enough or hack them to bits enough and they die. It takes far too long in the game to get a new enemy. Which is the welcome but frustrating arrival of the Chaos Space Marines. They are much more brutal and pack serious firepower. I say frustrating because by the time they showed up i was way too absolved in the ork killing tactic of stand in the open and shoot them till they get too close, they chop them to itty bitty bits with a chain sword. That tactic ended in repeat failures for the forces of Chaos.

It probably seems by now that i didn't like the game. On the contrary. I did. I spent the entire time glued to the TV not being able to stop pulling the trigger. The game is so well designed graphically that it was fun just running through the devastated city. I never encountered getting stuck or lost. With all of the objects that are in each area of the game I was expecting to get stuck in a piece of cover or terrain at least once. Enemies did, but I'm ok with that. Saved me bullets.

As far as the seeing stuff from the minis game in this game. I was very satisfied. The game unlocks lots of stuff really quick. This allows you to, in between active fighting areas, rearm and customize Titus. I experimented with classic chainsword and bolt gun, to the insanely fast firing Stormbolter and Power-axe. However, I will say there are a few levels in the game that I had tremendous fun with. You get to use a jump pack, and a power hammer. Rocketing yourself into the air just to ground pound into large packs of enemies, sending them flying. As you recovers start swinging away on the hammer and your rewarded with slow motion carnage of ork bodies and blood everywhere. After these frays even Titus is covered in blood. I was very impressed at the effect.

The weaponry is also very nice. There are a few things that I am disappointed at however. You get to use the sniper rifle and las-cannon which are devastating long range weapons. The plasma gun and Plasma cannons however, we just far to cumbersome to really enjoy using.

If you play Warhammer 40k you will have an understanding of who the space marines are. If you don't the game just kinda lets you find out. There were alot of interesting things that did appear in the game. The Inquisition is in it, as well as mentions of the tyranids, though they never do make an appearance in the game. The Blood Ravens chapter of the space marines make a visit, only to be coldly thanked by Titus. For those people that have forge world minis...don't worry. There is even one fight that takes place on a moving Titan.

All in all it is a fun game. There is no cooperative play yet. But that is going to be a free dlc in October. There is vs multi-player though. Ill be playing that for a few days before i give a review of that. From the little I've played so far they seem to done a decent job at making it feel like your playing the different types of infantry the minis game has.

Until next time I leave you with some advice from the Codex Astartes:  Better to be crippled in body, then crippled in mind.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


This is my first blog post ever. So if you read it, thank you. If you don't well then i guess it doesn't matter. If you know me you know i play a lot of games. This blog is not going to be a super professional opinion on a game. Its going to be MY opinion. That said if you disagree with me that's fine, because you can always click the back button.

This review of Deus Ex: Human Revolution will not be about the Game Stop will be about the game. SURPRISE. Ill try to have as few of spoilers as possible. Before i get into the nitty gritty of it I need to say...i suck at stealth games. Even metal gear solid when the enemy would follow your footprints in a circle for half an hour, i would still get caught.

I didn't play the first Deus Ex right when it came out. As a matter of fact it was several years later. I had a friend named Phil. Him and I played a couple of games online together. One day he goes "Hey have you ever played Deus Ex?" I went "No. Is it any good?" He went "Ya ill bring you my copy to try." Needless to say i was very satisfied and loved that game to death. Mostly because of the thickening plot and the interweaving conspiracy. The fact that if you chose not to kill everyone in your path, or if you did, actually mattered to how people in the game viewed your character only made it feel that much more immerse. If you haven't played the previous Deus Ex games don't worry. It assumes you've never heard of them. If you have then you'll be happy to know that, at least to me, it felt like a reboot of a game done 100% the way it should be.

The game starts out like most generic games. It introduces your character, your romantic other, your boss, and your base of operations. Insert cataclysmic world changing event for your character and off you go on a story.

You play in a world that has created cybernetic limbs and implants. Augs as they are called have a down side. Human genetics reject the augs and cause crippling pain and lack of control to them. So the companies that create the augs created a drug to help the body cope with the augmented limbs. People call it forced chemical dependency while the corporations say its up to the person who receives the augs on whether or not they want them. The drug is distributed through clinics, comically to me, called LIMB clinics. Which in the game serve as a place to restock on special augment specific ammo and, if you have enough credits, free Talent points.

I hate to say it but talent point trees are in every freaking game. But hey it works. Your talents represent your bodies unlocked augmented potential. Meaning its where all your cool crap comes from. They range from hacking helpers, Social interaction aids, to toughened skin that can deflect bullets, to light bending cloaking devices, seeing through walls and turning yourself into a living claymore shooting explosive ball bearings in an eight meter spread.

Sadly the one that kept me from dieing the most was the Icarus upgrade. My bane in games isn't that I am bad a gun fights. Or that I don't pay attention to that blinking light that ends up being a mine that blows me to smithereens....its I don't like using ladders or stairs. In turn I fall to me death more then i get killed by the baddies.

As far as the stealth and game play mechanics of the game go its solid. I even managed to maneuver my way around groups of guards that i was prepared to use a mini gun for. The cover system works well. Seamlessly shifting to a third person view and allowing you to pop over or around the side of your cover to take shots at your enemy and duck back down before he has a chance to return fire is nice. However cover is not only good for blocking bullets in this game it helps for stealth a tremendous amount.  It allows you to squeeze in as close to the crate in front of you so the guy peering over it with the machine gun doesn't see you at all. Its even has easy to understand prompts that let you jump to the next available cover or move around the same piece of cover to evade that pesky guard who decided to take a look just to make sure your not there. The game rewards you for stealth as well with a hefty bonus in experience points for making it through an objective without being seen at all.

Like I said before. I suck at stealth games. So i ultimately had to be prepared for hostile reactions. The game gives you the choice of lethal action or non-lethal right away. I, against all logic, said I'll play this game as non-lethal as i can.  So I spent about 1/3 to 1/2 the game trying to choke people out, sneak up behind them, tapping them on the shoulder and punching them in the jaw as soon as the turn around. It was fun and very amusing.  Notice i said trying. I got past about 4 rooms without anyone having the slightest idea i was even in the complex when i turned a corner and ran right into a guy with a gun. My finger hit the subdue button and next thing i know I have my elbow blades buried in his chest, which was a pleasant surprise seeing as everything else i had done was rather tame til that. Ultimately as I found upgrade kits for weapons I used them. I turned my 10mm pistol from a basic weapon to an armor piercing large clipped machine of death. I never worried when i ran into heavily armored guys with mini guns. One shot from mid range to the head. Problem solved. Only took about 4 armor piercing upgrades.

By the last half of the game the gloves were off. I had seen Jensen endure far to much and his enemies care far to little about him. all the weapons and steal combined I turned Jensen into a specter of death. Moving cloaked from one position taking down the baddies, and moving on re-cloaked before reinforcements could see what happened. Its rare that i found so much fun trying to not start a fire fight in a game.

There is however more to the game then killing and stealth. The game uses at key points a social interaction device that many games have used. None pull it off like this though. Stuck in first person mode staring down the person your talking to. Watching their body movement, and trying to pick the right option just to get an edge in the conversation and argument. Jensen moves when they move trying to get close or into a better position. Jensen moves to look out the windows in several scenes to survey all that is going on, like some of us would if we were in that situation. It works perfectly. There is an augment that makes it work to your advantage if social interaction isn't your thing. I surprisingly didn't have that augment and was still more then satisfied with the results.

Other then the social interaction aspect there are the city hubs. They are reminiscent of the old DX. The biggest thing to know about them is that they are huge. I got freaking lost in Heng Sha. It did allow me to explore everything though. The game rewards you for it too. Hidden weapons here, free credits there, alternate path into the night club. I spent 4 hours in a city hub doing stuff, hacking, exploring, and the like without shooting a gun. FOUR HOURS. If you know my patience that is impressive.

Overall the game took me about 55 hours. I spent a lot of it immersed in the conspiracy and loved it. The stealth aspect of it didn't daunt me from the game. If I couldn't sneak past it. I had more explosive methods to deal with it. If i got stuck, I just looked for another way around.  I will probably spend another 50+ trying to beat it without killing anyone but bosses, and looking for all the little bits of details I missed. As a fan of the original, this game is a breath of fresh air and a sigh of relief. The gaming industry didn't mess up a great game. They only made it better, unlike some of the othergames that have been released as of late.

Until next time: Follow. But. Follow only if ye be men of valour, for the entrance to this cave is guarded by a creature so foul, so cruel that no man yet has fought with it and lived. Bones of full fifty men lie strewn about its lair. So, brave knights, if you do doubt your courage or your strength, come no further, for death awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth.