Games: Rate and Discuss

Discussion in 'General Gaming' started by Asknoone, Jun 29, 2009.

  1. ríomhaire

    ríomhaire Moderator
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    The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
    Best part: Boss fights
    Worst part: Tedium

    There are two highlights of Twilight Princess that really summed up how I wished Skyward Sword was going to be. The first was the Darknut fights. Darknuts were a wonderful foe in Twilight Princess and the most fun part of it. Duelling with them and out fighting them was how I had hoped Skyward Sword would be like. I was not disappointed on that front, or at least I was intermittently not disappointed. Two of the standard enemies are duellers but you very quickly learn how to beat them but occasionally the boss fights serve up wonderful fights.

    The motion controls work very well and are pretty damn fun. You only need to do small motions but of course I was making grand sweeps for the hell of it. If you get flustered mid battle you'll run into trouble but if you remain calm and don't swing wildly the game tracks your motion pretty damn well.


    The other highlight of Twilight Princess was Snowpeak. My main problem with Zelda games is that they feel like Zelda games. I know exactly what I'm doing. I do some telescoped sidequests to access a dungeon, then when I'm in a dungeon I know I have to get the map, then fight a miniboss to get the dungeon item, then use that item to get the boss key then fight the boss. It's hard to lose yourself in it when you know the ropes and none of the dungeons ever seem like anything other than video game levels. They could never be anything useful. Snowpeak in Twilight Princess actually seemed like it could have been an old abandoned manor house at some point before the monsters took over. It also had unique twists to it: There are no recovery hearts in the entire level and there's a hub area at the start of it where you can go speak with two NPCs and update your objectives.

    The devs were saying with Skyward Sword they were bringing the levels and the world closer together and there would be less separating them. I dared hope that all the dungeons would be like Snowpeak and built into the world. It was pretty much the exact opposite of that. The world has been game-ified. Now not only do you have these nonsense "temples" that make no sense dotted around the landscape, the world is just as ****ed up and puzzle-filled. There is absolutely no place in Hyrule that's inhabited normally or safe (which is really part of the story too so at least there's no clash their).

    The world is also divided into three completely discrete regions. You cannot travel from the Kokiri forest stand-in to the Death Mountain stand-in. There is simply no way to get from one to the other (though you can see them in each other's skyboxes). To go between them you must go to Skyloft (floating islandy place where you fly around on birds) and then from there to the other area. It's completely goddamn pointless and unnecessary. They world isn't even a coherent place any more. It's arbitrarily divided up into three unconnected regions. You will also be going back and forth between these areas constantly on fetch quests that pad out the game.

    Puzzles are a stable of Zelda games that most of the 3D games suck at. Most of the time you are not solving puzzles, you are doing the same tasks with the item you have just been giving or simply following instructions laid before you. There is not joy in this. There are genuinely good puzzles with interesting solutions, but like much of the game you must wade through (still mildly entertaining) repetitive tasks to get to them.


    This is not to say I didn't like the game, there is just far too much padding in it. It took me between 30 or 40 hours to finish this. It probably would have been more fun if it had been half that. A lot of people complain that games have been getting shorter, I think there's good reason for that. Old games are full to the brim of crap and Zelda still plays like an old game.

    One good thing about that is that bosses are actually difficult. Not difficult on the level of dying repeatedly, but difficult to the level of being pushed close to death many times (the ideal level IMO). Bosses are absolutely the highlight of this game. I wish there were more of them and fewer fetch quests, but then again, everyone wishes that. Also, it uses that retarded system where you have to beat the game in order to unlock hard mode. Why do developers do that? Just give me the ****ing option from the start.



    Anyway. Good game. Great boss fights. Lots of crap.
     
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  2. Tollbooth Willie

    Tollbooth Willie The Freeman

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    Dragon's Dogma - 8 or 9/10

    Very solid action rpg. Interesting approach to 'multiplayer'. Style tries too hard to bank off Demon's Souls. Combat is enjoyable. Story is alright. Plays like Monster Hunter in a medieval setting sort of mixed with a typical hack and slash. Very short if you don't take the time and do everything else in the game, though it is mostly fetch quests.






    Capcom is still a pile of dog shit company no matter what, though.
     
  3. Stigmata

    Stigmata The Freeman

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    League of Legends - 5/10

    Graphics: disgusting.

    Interface: inscrutable.

    Design: copypaste and anti-fun

    Developer: shady and egotistical as ****.

    Gameplay: actually pretty okay.
     
  4. Wanted Bob

    Wanted Bob Companion Cube

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    Zeno Clash - 8/10

    Loses marks for annoying random FPS drops, and for the brevity of the story (finished it in 3 hours). However, punching dudes in the face is just so satisfying in this game, and the unique character designs and environments more than make up for the sub-par graphics. Voice acting is atrocious, but oddly enough it didn't bother me. Probably because I just sort of considered it part of the weirdness of the game world.

    Overall, worth the $2.50 I spent on it, especially if I feel like doing the challenge rooms when I'm bored. Excited for the sequel now, open world will be awesome for a game with such an imaginative art style, and hopefully they make some new additions to the fighting system and graphics engine (I think they are using UE3 now).
     
  5. Barnz

    Barnz Retired Content Creator
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    Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine - 4/10

    a terrible Tomb Raider clone with bad, unresponsive controls. also:

    >game breaking bugs (I had to restart a level 4 times to get a door working)
    >dumb ai (they just stand still and wait for you to kill them)
    >dumb puzzles that make no sense
    >good graphics and art direction
     
  6. SpotEnemyBoats

    SpotEnemyBoats Companion Cube

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    I never reviewed this game but here goes.

    Battlefield 3 - 5/10:

    Single player: Quick time events, on rails gameplay, generic war plot as seen in every ****ing military shooter.

    Mulitiplayer: A love child between COD and BF, maps with flags bunched together. Derp CQ combat.

    Graphics: Would look good if not for the blue filter, supernova and lens glare burning my eyes.

    I'm officially retired from military FPS, I don't want to play one ever again.
     
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  7. Vegeta897

    Vegeta897 Banned as all fuck

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    B... but.... you're... missing... nnhgnh..
     
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  8. Stigmata

    Stigmata The Freeman

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    Did I review Dota 2 yet? Maybe. I'm gonna do it again.

    Dota 2 - 9.5/10

    Graphics: Really good. The stylism is subtle and communicative, a very ept expansion on the design rules introduced with TF2. Combinations of silhouettes and colour schemes lead to players never being confused about which hero is which and what they're gonna do to you. Polycount is high but not too high, textures are beautiful, lighting is mostly gorgeous... but the fog of war is a little blocky and creates some odd shading on trees in certain situations. Pseudo-global illumination is a treat. Performance could be a little better though.

    Story/Lore/Characters: Character designs might honestly be the best I've encountered in any game ever made. Everyone has a lore background, and all the lore weaves together nearly flawlessly, touching on everything from Hero rivalries to the very natures of the Radiant and Dire Ancients, and even the Shopkeepers, and it all ties into their visual design and characterisation.

    Gameplay/Design: It really might be my favourite game ever made. It's complex and varied and has a huge burden of knowledge, but everything has a counter and nothing is overpowered if people know what they're doing. The most popular pubstompers have very strong direct counters - Riki and Bounty Hunter, with their invisibility, are countered by the Gem of True Sight and Sentry Wards, which themselves can be countered by the Gem dropping on death and Sentries being revealed by other Sentries; while heroes like Lycan and Ursa who excel at one-on-one combat can be easily kited and are completely shut down by disabling spells. It's rock-paper-scissors on crack, but not meth or PCP, because those **** you up bad. Characters also have a turn speed, which, while annoying to the beginner as it tends to feel like the characters are "laggy", it's an important part of the game's balance and ensures that nobody can unleash powerful spells while trying to make an escape from an otherwise dangerous situation.

    Sound: Amazing. Voice acting is diverse and extremely high-quality, with only two or three Heroes sharing a similar voice - and even then they're differentiated by processing effects or variations in accent and delivery. The musical score, while sparse, is understatedly perfect and makes use of interesting, if not particularly complex, melodies and rhythms. Little things, like the sound effect for trying to cast a spell while Silenced eliciting a high-pitched and highly processed "Silence!" voice clip - reminiscent of Portal turrets, and only noticeable if you're specifically listening to the sound effect - are really nice touches that seem to reveal an overall emphasis on the game's design making use of subconscious or subliminal communication of information.
     
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  9. Yorick

    Yorick Guest

    I've been playing a lot of cooperative / multiplayer games lately:

    Max Payne 3 - The minimum amount of payne possible / 10. This game is seriously awful, it's nothing like a Max Payne game. It's like someone made a generic, bad, fps game, threw in bullet time, and slapped the name Max Payne on it.

    Army of Two: 40th Day - 7/10. Pretty fun, haven't noticed a lot of differences from the first one, though I haven't played that one in years. It's fun, though. Some annoyances with controls are present, could stand to have some more guns. But, you know, it's fun.

    Dungeons and Dragons Online - 9/10. Some of the most fun I've ever had with an MMO. It doesn't suffer from many of the problems that plague World of Warcraft like spending your entire life walking around Durotar, or having it be a grind. Having so many traps and puzzles makes it a blast, and the addition of GM Narration is just awesome.

    Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light - 8/10. This game is unlike any Tomb Raider game ever, and it's awesome. It's built to be cooperative, and the teamwork based things you can do are just awesome. It's a lot of fun, and I haven't seen much about it that I haven't liked. There are puzzles, additional small things you can do to unlock things, there's some customization, and overall it's just good.
     
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  10. SpotEnemyBoats

    SpotEnemyBoats Companion Cube

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    Batman: Arkham City - 9/10

    Voice Acting: Love the voices, well... except for Harley... ugh. Why did they change Arleen Sorkin for MLP voice actress. I am disapoint. But it blew my mind that Azula from A:TLA voiced Catwoman (Grey Delisle).

    Gameplay: Very much expanded upon with even more gadgets, more combo moves and more. Open world gameplay also makes it new and different, rather Arkham Asylum's more linear style gameplay.

    Graphics: Looks pretty good for Unreal Engine 3, but DX11 mode and PhysX kills performance BIG time. I even have a GTX 680! I'm guessing its bugged and only works with playable FPS in DX9 mode. Sucks won't be able to play the game with tessellation.

    Story: I haven't had a chance to finish it, but ****... I was so curious that I spoiled the story for myself! Anyways, I was up to the part facing Penguin but ****ing loading screens being such a dick to me. Had to uninstall it, will try to play again.
     
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  11. ríomhaire

    ríomhaire Moderator
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    Bastion
    HOLY ****ING BALLS EVERYTHING IS GOOD
     
  12. Edeslash

    Edeslash Party Escort Bot

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    That's the part where you buy the soundtrack CD (with a download link) from Supergiant's site.
    Like I did.
     
  13. ríomhaire

    ríomhaire Moderator
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    Soundtrack came with the Humble Bundle purchase. I've been listening to it on a loop for the last few days.
     
  14. Tollbooth Willie

    Tollbooth Willie The Freeman

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    I like the part where you liked 40th Day. Shame the third game is going to be about two nameless homos fighting the Cartel.
     
  15. Dragonfire5262

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    Portal 2 - 9/10

    Portal 2 was a great game, I LOVED it! it was fun, intuitive, funny, and had very, very good graphics and physics. Two of my main complaints were, though, that A) You cant interact with as much stuff as in the first portal. Take the chairs, for instance. if you find an office chair lying on the floor, you often can't pick it up. And, B) The portals just looked better in Portal 1.
    But, as I said, it is a GREAT game! 9/10
     
  16. Remus

    Remus Companion Cube

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    Alpha Protocol 8/10

    Wah, wah, game's terrible, wah!
    Mental note, ignore what other people say about a game.

    It's one of those flawed games that you either hate or love. Well, I loved it.

    Anyways:


    The good.

    -Great storyline, that always keeps you wanting to see what happens next, and that branches off depending on your actions.
    -Replay value. There are entire levels, situations, and characters that you will not see on one playthrough depending on your actions.
    -Memorable characters
    -Voice acting and dialogue
    -Decent gameplay

    The bad. (reason for the -2 points)

    -Graphical quality is inconsistent throughout the game. It varies from good to bad (sometimes in the same level).
    Overall it does not use the unreal engine to it's full potential.
    -Dumb AI: Walking into walls? Check. An entire army of thugs climbing a ladder only to be staring right down the barrel of my shotgun? Check.
    -Badly optimised. It's not an extraordinary game in the graphics department so you would expect it to run smoothly maxed out. But regardless of what you choose in the graphics options, it suffers from stuttering, and lag. Which has a bad habit of happening at the worst of times (boss fights).
    -Over the top and annoying boss fights.
     
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  17. Tollbooth Willie

    Tollbooth Willie The Freeman

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    I agree Remus. The game was pretty damn good, just marred by a few flaws. Picked it up again used for the ps3 a few months ago, but never finished. Played it on release for the 360. Only time the game ever f*cked me over was glitching during a stealth required mission and rendering a door unusable. Everything else was just dumb AI or glitchy ragdolls.

    Transformers: Fall of Cybertron - 8/10

    This won't be a very good review because I'm gay.

    Plays very similar to its prequel, War For Cybertron. Typical run and gun gameplay that gets a little repetitive after a while, but the game manages to be fun until the end. Only complaints I can really think of are a short story, a few plot holes (though one is mostly an explanation for something in the tv series Transformers: Prime. Oh yeah, it's in that continuity.) Steve Blum's god awful voice acting, a few nasty textures courtesy of Unreal and an at times wonky network for online play.

    The story is pretty baller. Exactly what you expect from the name, but then it just does some really cool shit. Then it does some meh stuff. The end level itself is both awesome and weak.

    Did I mention how fun the multiplayer is? 'cause it is. Customize the shit out of your own Cybertronian with four different classes with their own parts. Put Swoop's goddamned pterodactyl alt mode head on your Scientist class. LOOK AT THAT SHIT. Four typical game modes (Team Deathmatch, Conquest/point control, Head Hunter and something else. My brain hurts.

    Anyway. The game's both a step up from WFC and a bit of a step back in the story department. If you like Transformers, buy it. If you don't... find a demo or something.
     
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  18. MJ12

    MJ12 The Freeman

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    FTL: F*ck The Law

    8/10

    I am really enjoying this game, especially for the $9 price tag. It's somewhat irritatingly ambiguous as how to unlock new ships. I've only got the starter ship and the Engie ship. Maybe it's because I kind of suck.

    There are a few times where I get frustrated though, like how suddenly my ship will run out of energy right at the beginning of a fight, and I will only be able to use one gun. I don't know how that sporadically happens.

    Either way, lots of fun management and strategy. Oh, and excellent music.
     
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  19. MFL

    MFL AlbatrossofTime

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    Wait til you get to the boss. Your opinion might skew.
     
  20. ríomhaire

    ríomhaire Moderator
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    Black Mesa: Episode One

    A long time ago when I was young(er) and (more) foolish I spent much time on the old Black Mesa forums and was steadily in the "purist" camp. I was shocked at how popular suggestions like adding in new visions/cutscenes where the g-man talks directly to Gordon throughout the game or having a giant portal to Xen open in the skybox during Surface Tension were. Now it wasn't the actual dev team saying these things but I always felt rather outnumbered by the people who wanted such significant changes. It made me think if this is what the average person wants then it seems likely the devs think that too or that they would bow to the demands of the masses.

    It seems my fears were pretty unfounded. The mod is very faithful to the original, too faithful in some ways even! Though I called myself and was called by others a purist I never wanted just Half-Life with better graphics, the graphics of Half-Life don't bother me. I've replayed it many times through the years and it still looks good to me (and I prefer to use the original models to the HD pack due to how some of the enemies are redesigned).

    What I always wanted from this mod was Half-Life updated to the Half-Life 2 feel. Half-Life with the same aesthetic and style as its sequel was always a prospect to be awed by. I will be honest that in this regard I was disappointed with a lot of areas. I can't really hold that against the team. I had a very specific idea of certain things and I can't expect them to read my mind and use that as a design outline.

    Their effort has been herculean and their results over all are pretty damn good for a commercial game and truly outstanding for a mod. That said, I think a project that is ambitious enough to attempt to improve upon one of the most highly regarded games of all time deserves to be held to the standards of a full game and I won't be letting the bugs and rough parts slide just because it's a free mod. I think to do otherwise would be a condescension to the team. Unfortunately while there is tremendous quality in this mod, the quality is not consistent throughout.


    Looking at the title screen of the mod for the first time pretty much summed up the whole experience. Here was this great view of the Black Mesa transit system. Scientists milling about and checking the lovingly textured schedule. Trams running to and fro in the background. It brings the Black Mesa Research Facility to life. Then I noticed an impatient scientist sitting on a bench in the bottom left corned of the screen, his leg shaking in agitation. Well, that was evidently what the team wanted to convey at least. What it really looked like was he had his foot resting on some sort of actuator that was robotically and rigidly moving his leg up and down in a motion that seemed completely independent of the rest of him. In short it was unnatural. It really drew me out of the moment. The whole mod is like that title screen; a great tapestry of work with tons of little details that drive me mad and unfortunately some not so little problems as well.

    I'll go through the various aspects individually:


    Basic Gameplay
    The basic run and gun gameplay of the Half-Life series is still present and the movement can be set to either be the Half-Life style always run or the Half-Life 2 style shift to sprint set up. One strange change is the addition of view bob and view roll which seem at odds with Half-Life's kinetic gameplay but they can be easily disabled from the main menu before you start the mod. Another change is that Gordon's jump height seems to have been reduced. Crouch-jumps are now required to climb almost any obstacle and running jumps need to be performed much more carefully to avoid falling short of your target. This adds little frustrations throughout the experience that seem rather needless.

    The general mechanics of combat are unchanged but the difficulty of the mod is quite a bit higher than the original game in many places. There is a fine line between reasonable challenge and unfair difficulty and sadly I think many parts of Black Mesa fall a sizeable distance into the latter. I will go into more specifics of this in the enemies section bellow. Suffice to say I think the team do not understand the difference between making a challenge and just making the game harder.

    I must make a special mention of Unforseen Consequences and the decision to make such major changes to the opening gameplay. I think the idea of denying the player weapons for a while was a good one, and is something Valve themselves did at the start of Half-Life 2, but it was ruined by the inclusion of flares and far too many zombies. What is the point of making the player helpless only to provide them with a gimmicky means of self-defence? The use of flares in the Half-Life 2 episodes ties into the use of the gravity gun throughout the game. In this mod it's a gimmick that is retired as soon as you get proper weapons and renders any tension brought on by holding off on giving the player the crowbar moot.

    On the bugs front I had some random crashes, mostly during load times. When I reached to the dam scene my Tau Gun had mysteriously disappeared and I could not equip it even after picking up ammo for it. I needed to spawn myself a new one in the console to get it back. If I wasn't already familiar with how to use the Source console I don't know know how I would have taken out the helicopter here. I would count that as a fairly game-breaking bug for the average player.


    Characters
    Certainly one of the best part of the mod is the improvement to the scientist and guard interactions. The voice acting for the guards and scientists is pretty solid and captures the charm of the original while expanding on it. While the faces and animations aren't Valve-quality they are very passable for a video game. Few companies seem to be able to do faces very well.

    The real improvement is they now react to unique situations. From leaving everyone behind in Office Complex to the guard taking cover behind crates in Questionable Ethics the little scripting touches really bring the whole thing to life. I always cared for my barneys, walters, einsteins and luthors but this time I felt they cared back. Having barneys backing me up with more weapons than just the pistol was also great.

    The inclusion of Isaac was handled extremely well though I'm a bit disappointed that the story details/retcons present in Episode Two were not taken into account. I understand that the Anomalous Materials scenes were probably planned out well in advance of the release of Episode Two but this mod still came out after these details were revealed. Eli seems somewhat in the dark about the running of the experiment, which seems a bit odd considering that Episode Two tells us he was one of the people the g-man presented the sample crystal to (though I supposed Breen could have altered the test behind his back at the last minute). The more obvious example the lack of any appearance by Arne, either with the casserole or as one of the scientists who lets you into the test chamber (which the commentary track says was the inspiration for his personality and where I think would be the more appropriate place to put him).

    There were a few bad moments of scripting amongst the good presentation though. The worst example by far I saw was if you save the scientist who's intended to be the snipers' first victim he stays crouched staring at the corpse of a security guard (whose ragdoll clipped through the floor and wound up in an extremely contorted unnatural position) forever. It's not like that even requires cheating or foreknowledge, just quick reactions. Occasional stiff animation doesn't help the experience either.

    The voice acting for the female scientists did not seem as good as the male this is overshadowed by how atrocious the acting for the HECU soldiers is. It's hard to believe that the voices of the soldiers and friendly characters belong in the same project. I saw some confusing justification of this when the On A Rail gameplay video surfaced but even if the voice acting is for some reason deliberately bad that doesn't actually stop it being bad.


    Enemies
    The Acid Lion spit greatly improves the Bullsquid as an enemy. It makes it a better threat and more interesting. Previously the Bullsquid was no threat to a player who simply kept moving. The new spitting mechanics mean the player must actually be concerned with dodging rather than just moving. This difficulty increase is a fair challenge to the player. I do not feel the same about most enemy changes though. As for the design of the Bullsquid, the way the spit stains everything is a pretty nice touch but I found the design of the enemy itself lacking, particularly tentacles. They are not good. They only bed in one place and come across as far too rigid because of this. It looks outdated in an otherwise very good- and modern-looking mod. I'm pretty sure modern computers can handle more joints in the model.

    The vision distortion effect on the Houndeye's attack is a good way of making them a more credibly threat but the reduction in charge time is too much. In Half-Life the threat of the Houndeyes (little as it became to an experienced player) was that they attack in a pack and all start charging, requiring you to quickly deal with all of them either by killing them or just making them all flinch. The charge-up time with its distinct noise sent a clear message to the player. You had to deal with this quickly, but left enough time so that there was some build up of tension while you tried to defuse the situation. That was the beauty of a pack of Houndeyes; they form a living time-bomb and are deadly in groups the player doesn't handle them well. The vision distortion improves their ability to operate as a pack (getting hit by one will make it harder to deal with the rest because it disorientates the player) but the faster attack just turns a fight with a pack of Houndeyes from generating interesting and unique gameplay to a game of whack-a-mole. It's not really unfair or terribly hard, it's just uninteresting. Houndeyes also have the strange habit of randomly having all their limbs fly off when you kill them, no other enemies seem to gib that spontaneously.

    Zombies and headcrabs are just the Half-Life 2 versions in terms of gameplay, nothing really to say there. In terms of design they look exactly like updated version of Half-Life zombies. I would have preferred if they were more like Half-Life 2 zombies but they do look good. They die terribly though. They do not have a smooth transition to ragdoll. They jerk suddenly when they die (possibly the model clipping inside itself during animation?) and the headcrab just falls off vertically down with no momentum, plonking onto the floor like a sack of potatoes. It looks dreadful and you see it every time you kill a zombie.

    Alien Slave AI needs some work. If they are unaware of your presence they will not react to you shooting them in the least. They don't even go into a ready stance. They just stand idly and let you chip away at their health with the pistol. The fact that they attack really fast on all difficulty settings seems odd, they only attacked that fast on hard in the original and I thought that a good use of the difficulty settings when most games just adjust damage with difficulty options. The assassins' cloak behaviour on different difficulties was kept after all. Design-wise the Vortigaunts need new animations. Need them. In Half-Life 2 the Vortigaunts have a bit of a proud warrior race thing going on. They stand upright and fight fiercely. They should not have the same body language in the game where they are enslaved. They should be hunched over, more animalistic, more beaten down looking. They should not stand up straight and proud.

    AI wise the HECU grunts have the opposite problem to the Vortigaunts; they have super-senses. They will see you from any distance even if you're crouched, not moving and mostly hidden behind cover or if you are above or bellow them. Unless they are acting through a scripted sequence they will be aware of you even if their backs are turned, making sneaking stealth impossible except in specific situations. The marines engage ferociously as soon as they are aware of you (which is always) and their SMGs seem to be more accurate than the player's one. It's almost impossible to avoid getting hit by them unless you're taking them out from very long range which is impossible in most circumstances. The fights with them end up just being a case of headshotting them as fast as possible with the revolver because killing them ASAP is the only viable option to not taking loads of damage from them. They never give you respite and while that may be realistic behaviour it makes for frustrating gameplay. The fact that the player is often lacking adequate cover doesn't help matters. There is little room for tactical gameplay against an omniscient, nigh-aimbotting foe. In terms of design I do not like the fact that their armour is blatantly not a PCV. Have some love for Gearbox canon!

    In terms of general AI everyone is too concerned with killing Freeman. I attempted to observe a battle between human and Xenian troops (the one where an Osprey continuously reinforces the HECU side) and would just get torn to pieces as soon as I approached as both sides dropped what they were doing to immediately kill the man in the orange suit. This is not only frustrating but you're causing the player to miss out on a really great set-piece. Watching a battle between the two forces is always a great moment to show off the game and AI. I actually opened up the console and used the notarget cheat just so I could watch the battle.

    The Apache cliff fight is insane. Utterly insane. It never misses and kills you in a moment if you peak out of cover. It took me ten rockets and two fully charged tau canon shots to bring the thing down. These two factors make the entire fight a question of sitting in cover for a few minutes, briefly sticking one's head out to fire a shot before ducking again. There is no room for error and no interesting strategies to take it down. In Half-Life 2 we have two similar enemie; the Hunter Chopper and the Gunship. The Hunter Chopper attacks in a similar manner to the Apache but the big difference being while facing the Hunter Chopper on foot one is constantly ducking between different bits of cover that are being degraded. You must move forward in these sections. In Black Mesa you are stuck behind a couple of rocks. The Half-Life 2 Gunship is a game of distraction, where you shoot out a rocket from safety before revealing yourself from cover, getting the Gunship's attention off you before trying to steer the rocket in for a hit. The Apache, like many things in this mod, offers difficulty but no strategy. This is not why I play the Half-Life series and the gameplay in many parts of this mod has failed to capture the essence of what makes the series great games to play.

    I find it passing amusing that the one enemy who always gives me trouble on my playthroughs of Half-Life, the Ichthyosaur, has been rendered pathetically easy to defeat. Two crossbow bolts? This is supposed to be a deadly game of cat and mouse put in a 3D environment. You must juggle the tasks of dodging the bites of the beast, surfacing for air and using your openings to land hits with your crossbow. All this has been rendered pretty much moot as the Ichthyosaur can be dispatched in moments with two well placed shots.

    No complaints about the Grunts and Controllers by the way. They seem pretty spot on. In fact, I must apologise to the Half-Life: Short Stories team but I think I prefer Black Mesa's Xenians to the ones from Human Error. Oh, and I mush just quickly ask, where are the leeches?


    Environements
    This was always going to be the make or break of the mod and overall I was surprised at how pleased I was with the locals in this mod, though the quality and design focus seems to vary a lot from chapter to chapter. Is the purpose of the mod to recreate the levels of Half-Life embellished with extra details and nicer graphics? Was it to smooth out the poorer design decisions of Half-Life? Was it to fix the more ridiculous and wacky parts of the levels that made no logical sense? If I had only gotten to play one chapter of the mod I would have had a different answer for different ones.

    Blast Pit is the most obviously sanitised chapter. The more ridiculous parts of the generator room have been removed and replaced with a much more logical set up (though I miss Smithers' insane hiding place) though the glowing green goo remains. I have no idea why is the team has made an effort to make the Facility more believable but then continued to use the Simpsons' idea of what nuclear waste is like. There is a reason Valve made the radioactive waste in Half-Life 2 less silly when the adopted the more realism-based style. Having the glowing green goo remain in Black Mesa, though its alliteration adds appeal, is like playing Tehran Highway in Battlefield 3 only to discover when you reach the enemy base that you are not fighting Russian soldiers, but the National Army from Battlefiend Heroes. It is not a coherent design choice.

    Questionable Ethics and Anomalous Materials seem to have gotten the most love with addition of details and better designs and are both a joy to explore. I suppose it fits that they are both still currently active labs while many of the other areas are more disused. I can't say I love the shortening and simplification of On A Rail, a chapter I actually like in the original game, but I can see the purpose behind it. The addition of the raising the rocket set-piece was a very good idea and I applaud it. It almost makes me wish there were a third part to the launching the rocket series just to extend the whole sequence a bit more.

    The fact that it was seen fit to give On A Rail an overhaul and Blast Bit a bit more logic really raises the question of why similar things did not happen to Residue Processing. I am actually in the pro-Xen squad as well as the pro-On A Rail squad but by god Residue Processing is a terrible chapter in both the original game and Black Mesa. The fact that the game slows down here and gives you a break from the action is not itself the bad thing. It is wise to give the player a breather between the action-packed chapters proceeding and following it (even if taking the players weapons away to do so is annoying). Residue Processing's problem has always been that it is both silly and uninteresting. Nonsensical criss-crossing conveyor belts and pointless buckets of churning glowing green goo do not engage the players mind in any way and just provide an obstacle to get back to the entertainment. If this mod had been able to make Residue Processing actually fun that would have been a grand achievement in and of itself but it seems like the chapter out of the whole mod that the least effort has been put into. I think Residue Processing was salvageable if the dev team had replaced the uninteresting jumping with actual mentally taxing puzzles but it seems no one even tried with this chapter. It is not just the low point of Half-Life, it is now the low-point in its recreation effort in terms of what the team were willing to invest in it.

    The rest of the mod provides a good standard of polish to the areas with some highlights and lowlights. The cliff scene vista is of course beautiful; as lovely today as the one in Half-Life was in 1998. I'm glad it was done justice.

    The set pieces are hit and miss, with most being hit thankfully. For example both the scripted sequences in the lobby in Questionable Ethics are pretty good, but I thought the handling of the sequence I mentioned earlier where the Xenian and human forces engage each other was handled poorly. Not only does the overzealousness of the AI to fight Freeman get in the way of being able to watch the fight unfold but I thought the TOW missile launcher set piece was badly implemented. The idea of having to manually reload the launcher was a great one but if you're going to have a mounted missile launcher that you must reload manually and fires missiles the size of your normal rocket launcher they should be damn powerful missiles. It should take out the Osprey in one hit or two at the very, very most and it should decimate enemies in a very wide radius (as a side note, two bullets from a 50 cal machine gun reduces enemies to a bloody mess but a satchel charge or TOW missile at their feat just ragdolls them, what?). If you're going to have such a dramatically set up toy to play with use it should have an equally dramatic effect when you shoot it at things.

    As a final passing remark on level design, Valve has, in their level design, set up a shorthand system for communicating intractable objects with the player without explicitly stating it. A greem light on a control panel, a red Valve or visible handles on a door should indicate that those objects have an effect when used. While Black Mesa for the mast majority of the mod follows good design practices to bring the players attention to what is needed, it does sometimes include elements that look like they should be interactable but actually do nothing.


    Summary
    This mod has highs and lows both as a stand-along product and as a remake of Half-Life. I would recommend that any Half-Life fan play it though I don't think it's going to be replacing my bi-annual playthroughs of the original. It is certainly one of the best mods I've ever had the pleasure of playing. The enjoyment in provided certainly outweighed its frustrations, but the frustrations it provided were many.

    Pros:
    • Beautiful translation of the original Black Mesa Research Facility to modern standards
    • Friendly characters are well animated, voiced and scripted and really helps build upon the charm of the original game
    • Sanitisation of some of the more ridiculous bits of level design from Half-Life
    • It's the still Half-Life we all know and love
    Cons:
    • Inconsistent quality and level design choices
    • A failure to understand the difference between creating a challenge and creating difficulty
    • Several AI problems
    • Random crashes
     
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  21. Edeslash

    Edeslash Party Escort Bot

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    I kept scrolling and scrolling down as fast as I could but it just wouldn't end.
     
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  22. ríomhaire

    ríomhaire Moderator
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    Read every word.
     
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  23. ríomhaire

    ríomhaire Moderator
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    Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker HD
    Did you play the other Metal Gear Solid games and think to yourself that what this series really needs is grinding and a shallow management sim elements? That these games aren't easy enough and the plot just wasn't quite stupid enough? Then this is the game for you. Metal Gear Solid with added ****ing grinding. How could anyone not think that was a good idea?
     
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  24. Rorschach120

    Rorschach120 Party Escort Bot

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    I was having a lot of fun till I got to the tank and realized "oh wait... This is impossible"
     
  25. Rorschach120

    Rorschach120 Party Escort Bot

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    League Of Legends: Rorschach'sEPIC review

    Many people here probably feel that this game does not need to be reviewed and is just a remake but I have to disagree. The first time I saw people sitting together playing LoL I, at first, felt as though as I was interrupting something due to the silence (except for "clik clik clik clik"), and then I felt like this game looked like a stupid waste of time. It took a while for my friends to finally pressure me into playing it. When I did finally play: all I found was frustration. My friends were getting pissed at me for feeding and I was getting pissed because I hadn't the slightest idea how to compete with this game. After weeks and weeks of epic coaching from my friends and many many deaths and defeats I finally started getting the hang of it and the game really began to piece together in my head. So without further delay, and hopefully with minimum bias, here are my thoughts on League Of Legends:

    (I'll go worst to best)

    Sound/Music: The music in this game is typical. Forgettable. I'm not sure why they wasted their time here, really. The sound effects in this game bring it together in a necessary way that I felt the DotA mod was lacking. There are sound cues for certain spells that allow you to better time your attacks. An example would be Renekton's rage meter making a sound when it gets enough rage to do a special attack. There are lots of other little sound cues that raise the very high skill ceiling that this game has to another level.
    Nit-pick: I think the announcer has a bit too much reverb.

    Graphics: Here is where I admit a bit of bias: I really like the Warcraft style graphics. In fact if Lol didn't have the cubed, cell shaded, cartoonish graphics that it does I might not have ever played it. The art style of this game gives me great nostalgia. That being said...

    This game doesn't look nearly as good as Dota 2. The graphics were updated a few months ago and actually look much crisper and don't look as jagged. It should also be said that I have seen this game run on a $200 Lenovo laptop with a Celeron processor and on-board graphics fairly smoothly. I feel there is something to be said for it's accessibility on the hardware front.

    The spell effects in this game look fantastic and bring the game to life. The sheer variety of spells that can be happening at once can be confusing but are actually harmonious enough to not completely blind you.

    Gameplay: This game is DotA. It is DotA with a faster pace, more accessible controls, and a greater variety of role-specific champions. The pace of this game is greatly affected by the cheapness of boots, recall, and the chance of getting fed right off the bat and thus going for a sure win. Many games don't last more than 20mins because that is when you are allowed to surrender. This is also due to the high ceiling this game has which I will discuss in a moment.
    An important difference between LoL and DotA (and Dota 2) is that you are consistently controlling your champion like in Diablo, there is no selecting other units. There is however a popup that show details about characters and buildings when you click on them. The way spells are designed in this game allow for experienced players to try new characters without having to learn an entirely different control scheme. QWER are arranged for each character in a way that compliments their play-style. Similar characters are controlled almost identically. You are also allowed two summoner spells which you pick before the game and are available for every champion.
    The roles in this game are designed so that the way a champion's skills play out are far more important than what the champion is. For instance, Maokai is a tank whose skills make him more of a support character and so he cannot push a lane like other tanks. This is something that really makes the game harder to grasp for new players who want to jump in and kill or tank. One bad player, or one that is unfamiliar with their champion can ruin the whole game. The skill ceiling in this game is such that new players could end up with someone smurfing (an experienced player on a new account) and get owned completely and then the next game they are against a mix of noob-types and the game plays out oddly. Same goes for your team. I am exhausted of waiting for the game to load and then playing only to find out that one person is a complete noob and feeds the crap out of Teemo (someone you don't want to feed) and makes the whole team look bad. There are somehow even level 30 players (the max your account can be) that still barely know how to play the game and get their arses whooped. What LoL lacks is some kind of coaching mode where ranked players can coach people on how to play and be designated to do so. Many people already try to teach each other but most are repulsive and weren't appointed to do so in the first place.

    All of that being said there is nothing like coming out victorious after and long and evenly matched game.

    OVERALL (some of these I didn't think had to be explained above):

    PROS
    • With experience this game has rewarding and addictive gameplay
    • Anyone can play it on their toaster
    • Characters are very cool and have good variety
    • Playing as a team with your friends is a great experience (except when you are losing it for them)
    • It's FREE... except for skins (hat money)
    • Frequently updated
    CONS
    • Very hard learning curve
    • Frustrating to get people to work together
    • Free = too many people who suck at video games
    • New champions are usually OP until the next patch
    • Lackluster graphics
    • Long matches that you get penalized for leaving (even if you are clearly losing and getting kill farmed)
    • You will waste a lot of time if you want to be good at this game
    SUBJECTIVE NUMBER: 7.5/10

    I am addicted to this game and I don't know why. Must... kill... more...noobsss!!!
     
  26. ríomhaire

    ríomhaire Moderator
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    Fallout - not bad
    I'm not finished yet but I think I'm done enough to give a review. First time I've really played a proper old-school WRPG before. Previously I've played only Oblivion (and a little Skyrim) and and FPS-RPGs like Fallout 3 and Deus Ex. I've also finished Final Fantasy X but that hardly seems like the same genre at all. Got the GOG version when they were giving it away for free and got the fan patches (though I seemed to have missed on or two and as a result there are no children in my game at all). One of the patches lets me adjust the resolution but it makes the mouse really awkward to use so I just left the resolution low.

    Anyway I'm surprised by how much fun I had with this. It doesn't suffer from most of the issues I associate RPGs. Grinding isn't a thing. Going up a level is not an insurmountable task easily accomplished by doing some quests and going up a level or getting new equipment is a big damn deal. I'm only level 9 and I don't have the best armour and I reckon if I pushed straight for the final objectives with my current character I could probably finish the game without too much trouble, though I do plan on running around and doing a few more quests first.

    The quest themselves aren't all just go here and kill ten whatevers/collect this item. You aren't inundated with tons of shitty little quests but a smaller number of well made ones that give different experiences and challenges. I can't say I feel like I've done the same quest twice. Even if I've done two different ones about killing Deathclaws the way they're presented makes them feel unique.

    Ridiculously inflated numbers isn't an issue either. I'm level 9 and have less than 70 health and feel pretty damn powerful and the fact that all stats are out of ten and all skills are a percentage (though you can go over 100%) gives you an easy understanding of where you stand with everything. When I discover that a Deathclaw has >200 health I know that's a big deal and I'm not going to encounter enemies late in the game with a thousand times the health of the starting enemies.

    One problem I thought I had with RPGs in general still stands though: Meta-knowledge. The first thing I'm given is a character creation screen. How the hell am I supposed to know what stats and skills I want already? I haven't played the game yet! After a few false starts (I didn't realise the "you don't have time to aim" line in the Fast Shot description wasn't just flavour text) I just consulted a character creation guide and made a high intelligence, agility and perception character intending to invest in small arms and speech (though due to pouring a bunch of my levels into energy weapons I'm still only just over 50% in speech).

    Some things surprised me, especially after having played Fallout 3 before. Many of the skills seem a lot more situational and less useful than they do in 3. To start off science and lockpicking both seem much more situational. You just don't find random buildings around the waste with locked chests or computer controlled safes like in this game. I was expecting to be lockpicking a lot but as I didn't want to rob anyone who wasn't "evil" I've barely used it. I was also surprised that there is no equipment degradation to repair with means the repair skill, like science, is pretty much just for quests. There's a traps skill for detecting traps but I've encountered only three places with traps in the entire game and they didn't do massive damage so that skill just doesn't seem worth investing in. I had to look up what the outdoorsmanship skill did because the description really game me no idea. Turns out it just decreases the odds of "bad" random encounters and increases the odds of special encounters (which I have had one of despite only having 2% outdoorman skill). Seems like a waste unless you really want the alien blaster. As a last note on skills: to fully heal yourself you need to invest in two separate skills: First aid and doctor. Not only does this seem like me to be a discouragement to investing in self-healing but the doctor skill seems kind of crap too: I have not once in my playthrough been inflicted with the status effects (crippled limbs) that this skill allows you to cure.

    Anyway the actual gameplay is really fun. I like the turn based combat and the dialogue and pretty much everything. It'll all nice. It's always harder to say what's good than what's wrong about games so this review is probably coming off as pretty negative. I must also replay with different characters. I want to see how much I can do with a character who invests 0 in combat skills but only things like science, speech and sneak and another one that's an 88 year old woman with the lowest possible intelligence stat and with max hand to hand combat skills.

    Anyway I might amend this review when I actually finish the game but to close I'll ask the actual RPG fans out there what should I go for next: Fallout 2 or Planetscape?
     
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  27. Laivasse

    Laivasse Companion Cube

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    Depends on the kind of game you want to play next. Do you feel like playing a tonally less serious but larger version of F1, with more quests and skills relevance (which addresses some of your review criticisms), or do you want to try a completely different approach to the isometric RPG format? In pure gameplay terms, I think Fallouts 1 & 2 are more enjoyable than any Infinity Engine game, but those games do bring other things to the table, such as superior sense of immersion, story and character (depending on the particular game).

    Planescape has a much more directed, linear approach to world traversal and story progression. Unlike the Fallouts, it's all about the characters, so it's super text-heavy and the text is where practically 100% of the interesting game stuff happens - although the production values are top notch, with great audio and art (and with the widescreen mod it still looks wonderful) - as opposed to in combat or skill-based world interaction. The trade off is that it has some of the best story and characters in all gaming. Also unlike Fallout, the combat is real-time dice rolls ('Real-Time-with-Pause') and actually kind of terrible. What it has in common with Fallout is that there is some meta-knowledge necessary - namely that you have to pump lots of points into Wisdom (with Intelligence and Charisma close behind), plus multi-class your main guy at every stage, to get the most out of the story. My second play through as a high Int/Wis jack-of-all-trades revealed to me that my first play through, as an average stats Fighter, had led me to miss out on huge swathes of story and character interaction. Then again, my character's inadequacy during that first run caused certain things to resolve in a brutal bittersweet way that made me QQ, so I can't say for certain that I regret making the shitty choices first time, since they made my second play all the more mind-blowing. Probably ranks as my favourite game out of this lot although I've replayed the Baldur's Gate series more.

    Speaking of which, the Baldur's Gate series is another option in this same vein of game. It uses the same engine, ruleset and RTwP combat as Planescape, but it places more emphasis on diversity of character builds and equipment usage (eg. in Planescape your guy can't even use armour), so the combat's a bit more satisfying and tactical. Accordingly, you really have to pay more attention to the cog's teeth of the D&D game mechanics and try to absorb them. Some people find Baldur's Gate impenetrable as a result - myself, I feel that while it is the most complex of these kind of games, ironically it requires the least foreknowledge out of any of them. You can make a shitty character and be confident that it at least won't affect the story. Even if through character creation you create a guy who fundamentally sucks (eg. fighter with rubbish HP, mage with no spells), it might make for a more frustrating game but it can easily be compensated for by picking up badass mofo NPCs for your party. In terms of writing: BG1's personal story and character depth is paper thin, but the overarching political story is more interesting than it's often given credit for. BG2 strengthens the personal story and ramps up the party interaction to almost-Planescape levels, but becomes a much more linear game than BG1 in terms of exploration.

    Finally, if you do decide you're not just satisfied to continue through the Fallout series, then you've got another choice to make. You could get the awesome D&D Anthology which has all the games and expansions for Baldur's Gate 1&2, Icewind Dale, Planescape and Temple of Elemental Evil - should be available as a download somewhere too; I got mine from the Gamestop online store but it's now saying 'unavailable' - OR you could wait and try the forthcoming Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, which is only BG1 but will have newly created content and won't require faffing around with patches, fixes and widescreen mods. Should also fix it to make multiplayer easier too.

    EDIT: looked around and you can download the D&D Anth. off GamersGate for €20 if you're interested in it.
    ***NO MORE EDITS: €15 Gamestop
     
  28. ríomhaire

    ríomhaire Moderator
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    So I only just noticed that the game is called Planescape: Torment. I've been reading it as Planetscape for years.
     
  29. knut

    knut Party Escort Bot

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    that's funny, because just yesterday i was looking for planetside related stuff and i always - always - end up subconsciously searching for planescape instead.
     
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  30. Zephos

    Zephos Companion Cube

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    Holy shit, I've been living a lie my entire life.
     
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  31. Rorschach120

    Rorschach120 Party Escort Bot

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    Mount and Blade: Warband...

    What?... what just happened to the last week or so? Is it Monday?... No?

    This game is some pure Medieval crack.

    Take the large map and theme of Medieval Total War 2, mix it in with a pioneering melee combat system, add RPG elements to it, then add sandbox variety that reminds me of Minecraft.

    You start off as just one guy on a large game map (similar to how the total war game map is, minus the "turn-based" part). You begin by getting a task of collecting more troupes to your warband and tracking down some bandits. After that it's like a few trips to the bathroom and eating occasionally. This game Sucks You In!!

    The game is a complete sandbox that creates its own stories for the player... Not in a sense where there is a dynamic story every time, but events play out in the game like a story. For example:

    I became a vassal of the Vaegir kingdom and chose to siege a Nordish castle. I found my fellow vassal's party and told him to follow me to the castle where we built siege equipment. Once built, I lead the charge against the castle and was the first guy off the siege tower, blocking swings with my shield (which is now covered in arrows) and responding with overhead ax swings into archer's heads. After a long and bloody battle, with my character literally covered in red, we came out victorious and took the castle. Unfortunately my ally who assisted in taking the castle was more favored by the king so the fief was going to be given to him. The story then continues from there with many options to choose from: Kill the guy who got my castle, kill the king, have the other guy indicted for treason, encourage the enemy to take the castle back and then take it back in return, win the favor of other vassals and have them vote for me to get the castle, or just let it slide and retain my honor (which is a point system :rolleyes: ).

    The beauty of this game lies in the fact that it changes as you keep playing. You start as nobody, a hired sword. You then complete quests and raise a small army. Then you become a vassal, though you don't have to.

    There are ways of convincing people that you should be king, or you can siege a castle (if you have enough trained men) and build from there, but that is very difficult.

    After you become a vassal you follow your marshal (the king's general) around fighting in wars, and taking towns and castles. You are granted certain castles that you siege, although as mentioned before there is a whole political system that can ruin it for your party. These castles and villages can be upgraded with buildings and can supply more recruits. When you get enough renown you are able to become the king's marshal. Or, if you have enough troops and you spread word of your rite to the throne then you can fight for it.

    Once king (hours and hours of playing, mind you... days), there is a completely higher level of game in place. Managing cities, garrisons, and foreign relations. Managing vassals and deciding who gets what and figuring out if any mean to betray you. The game goes to a whole other level of depth.

    Before I go on forever though... If you haven't played this game yet then BUY IT! PLAY IT! It is fairly cheap and well worth the $ or euro. Don't bother with the original Mount and Blade or Fire and Sword. Warband is the meat in the pudding for too many reasons to put here, trust me.

    7 for graphics, sound, art. The clashing of swords, axes, wood clubs, arrows striking your shield never get old and are very accurate (I think).
    8 for story, since there isn't one... but there is...
    9 for game-play, I have never seen this level of sandbox before. The war-map game mixed with the political game are amazing. The combat itself is something new entirely and is hard at first but is extremely rewarding once you start to learn it. Giant large-scale battles are intense.

    OVERALL: 8
     
  32. Krynn72

    Krynn72 The Freeman

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    Dishonored. 7/10

    I went into this game not knowing much at all about it. All I knew about it was that one of the developers worked on HL2, and that it's graphics were stylized and it had peanuts on robo-stilts. So thats all I knew about it when I bought it, and thus my expectations for the game on a scale of -10 to +10 was a solid 0.

    It starts off good, setting the atmosphere and plot up in a short halflife-tram style scene. You see big whaling ships around you as you enter a palace, with people discussing a plague thats ravaging the area and political maneuvers to try and receive aid. The game then quickly (too quickly in my opinion) jumps right in to the "dishonored" part. From then on its all about you working alone and following directions to kill dudes.

    The gameplay is fun, and was more varied than I expected it to be. The magic in the game is overpowering however, its very easy to play once you get the hang of it. When you get in straight forward scrapes with 2+ enemies, you can't duke it out though. Its very easy to be killed when out numbered, but the magic and stealth component means you'll never be in such a situation if you're good, and if you do get in that situation, its usually easy to escape it. I played most of the game only using a few of the powers I felt weren't overpowering, and which best fit with the kind of style I wanted to play in. Ultimately its a satisfying experience the first time though, but it doesn't hold up on multiple playthroughs. I tried playing though it a second time and found myself getting bored since I was using other powers this time, which were indeed too powerful.

    The setting and story are decent as well, and had me interested in the game the whole time I played through it. The plot is something we've seen many times in movies, books and games, but its told well enough, and has characters in it that provoke a emotional response better than most games. Enemies aren't always just mindless killing machines, and you meet interesting people who aren't clear cut bad or good. There's also a good amount of backstory to be gleaned from reading books/notes/diaries. You learn more about the culture's religion, celebrations, etc, as well as how the plague is affecting people.

    The setting and atmosphere are the biggest letdown though, and why I can't give a score higher than 7. I mean, its good the way it is, but there is SO, SO much lost potential in here. Outside of the books there's very little else that has anything to do with the setting. The rat plague results in nothing more than a few areas with a couple zombielike "infected" and another few areas with a bunch of rats around that might attack you. And these spots are few and far between. Thats about it for the plague thats obliterating the city. Whaling is a big part of the culture as gleaned from the books, but outside of that intro scene I can't remember encountering anything else having to due with this huge part of their society. Sure there's a few "whale oil" batteries that you can take out of things to deactivate them, but god damnit I wanted to see more whaling ships and sing whaling songs with the whalers at the whaling ports. There was also hints of political intrigue, but you never got to really participate or see them play out.

    Then there's the mask. It was supposed to be this cool thing, it was in all the advertisements, on the loading screens, and had a big deal made about it when you first get it in the game... but all it did was like, let you zoom in a bit (but only after you upgrade it).

    So thats my opinion on Dishonored. A good game, with a distinguishable aftertaste of squandered potential. I can't see any DLC making up for it, but I hope if they make a sequel that it gets the time it needs to flesh out all these aspects of the setting and let the player actually experience them.
     
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  33. Tollbooth Willie

    Tollbooth Willie The Freeman

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    Agreed. The universe is ripe for spinoff material. The heavy implication of The Outsider being a whale and not being touched upon again has whet my appetite for more of the character in the future.
     
  34. Warped Dan

    Warped Dan Vortigaunt

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    Borderlands 2 9/10

    Very solid game with many humorous moments, lots of action, bajillions of guns, plenty of replay value and great visuals. I cannot put this game down and I keep replaying the game and I'm still on the my first player. You really get your monies worth with this game.
     
  35. morgs

    morgs The Freeman

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    Well personally I had a whale of a time.

    But yeah I agree, I would have liked to see things more than read about them.
     
  36. Dog--

    Dog-- The Freeman

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    Terraria - wow/10

    It all started when I went to buy Primal Carnage on steam, then saw LFD2 on sale for 5 bucks. I only had $15 to spend in my paypal, so I bought LFD2 instead of Primal Carnage. Primal Carnage didn't look like it'd last me a long time like LFD2 would, I played LFD1 all the damn time and never played #2, but figured it's more or less new levels and new gear. I decided to find another $10 game to buy to make the difference.

    Now I'm a HUGE fan of Minecraft. I own a server, play with friends, straight up addicted. I love it. I heard of Terraria a few times before but I always thought it as a shittier version of Minecraft. How wrong I was. I decided screw it, and just bought it on a whim, as LFD2 was (supposed to be) my main purchase. If anything Terraria was the side purchase despite it being twice the price.

    I'm going to be comparing this game to Minecraft a lot, so be prepared.

    I started the game up and created my character and generated a new world (which takes a lot longer than MC). I started playing and was instantly hooked. This game is awesome. I've barely scratched the surface from my 2 hours of playing but damn is there a lot of content. I started out building a really shitty house for my NPC Tutorial dude and me to live in and be protected from monsters at night, and didn't really know what to do. It's very similar to Minecraft where you have to get a house built to protect from monsters at night, and find gel (coal in MC) to make torches and light the place up. Build better weapons to protect yourself, and armor. Your basic defenses first. Some mechanics are different. For example, light doesn't repel monsters like it does in MC, but it still makes me feel a lot safer knowing I can actually see what I'm fighting. Unlike MC you start with 3 tools: A pick, a sword, and an axe. The sword is horrible. It takes forever to kill zombies with and they aren't your only concern. Slimes can mess you up early on, and these floating eyeball things flying around can bug you too. So I figured I had to get some kind of ranged weapon to fight these guys. Luckily there is an in game crafting help-type thing. It tells you what you need to build certain things, and you don't have to 'draw' it on the crafting grid like MC. So building a bow and arrows was cake. They were shitty, hey, it's better than nothing. Combining arrows and torches gives you flaming arrows, not only are they stronger, but you can also shoot them far away for some light.

    So after I had myself situated, and decorated my house with tables, chairs, vases and tiki torches, I decided I'm going to go out and find one of these caves to go on an adventure. I just keep walking left and eventually find one. Lots of pots to smash (can't help but think of Zelda), and a few chests. This is the point in the game where I realized how much crap there actually is. First I find a spear. I figure that I'm super lucky to actually find a decent weapon, I thought they were rare. No. I smash some pots and find a few more chests and end up with 2 boomerangs, 114 throwing knives, 3 grenades, 6 shurikens, the spear, and my sword. It just gives you a taste of how much weapons and items there actually are. Those are just the weapons I found. Never mind all the healing potions, ingredients, gel, monsters, ores, cobwebs, etc, that I've found. That's not all I found though, there are also traps. That kill you very easily. I'm just walking along minding my own business and step on a pressure plate and BOOM. Boulder falls on my head and I die. So I respawn at home and go aaaaallll the way back (it was a fair distance over hills and mountains) so retrieve my stuff, then continue onward. For about 10 steps. Then I hit another pressure plate, rock falls I die. So I go back AGAIN, get my stuff, and now I'm way more cautious. I see pot about 20 steps ahead of where I last died. I smash it, and it's like an atomic bomb goes off - it was ****ing booby trapped. So I go BACK AGAIN. This time, I look where I'm going and only smash pots with ranged weapons. I run out of torches while down there as well. Great, it's pitch black. Until I find some glowsticks! Nice. You can throw them or just hold them, which is something MC really needs (being able to hold a light source). After going deeper and deeper I eventually hit the end on the cave. I come back with a decent haul and make myself a slightly better sword, and better tools. Like MC better tools mine/chop/hammer faster.

    I still have no idea what I'm doing as far as armor goes, but I'm sure I'll learn. Looking at some of my options to build things I yet again realize how much crap there is in this game. I can build a keg to brew ales, an anvil to make weapons, a sawmill to make furniture (you can make a toilet and garbage cans, the hell?). Turns out you need this furniture to attract NPCs to come and live at your settlement. That's right, you can have a whole village of NPCs, and they aren't just there for nothing. Each one has a specialty. Be it selling goods, selling ammo, selling armor, healing you, etc, etc. They each need their own house and you gotta take of them too. It's like being a lord of your own kingdom. It's really neat.

    It's just insane the amount of stuff you can do. The one thing I love about this over MC is that you can't really get lost. It's 2D, you just go the direction you came from and you'll find your way back eventually. So you can go as far as you need to to find whatever you want. I've only scratched the surface and can't wait to learn more on this game. I might have a new addiction.

    If you're a fan of Minecraft and, like me, thought Terraria looked stupid I have some advice: Play it. Just try it. Trust me, it's really awesome.

    Kind of went on a long writing spree, but shit. I haven't been this hooked on a game since... Well.. Minecraft. I only wish I had the writing ability to properly articulate my thoughts and experience like riomhaire up there! Only $10 on steam, I'd say give it a buy if you're a fan of Minecraft.
     
  37. Rorschach120

    Rorschach120 Party Escort Bot

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    Every so often I will play a game that I was not really expecting much due to it's mainstream hype or typical sounding plot line, and end up being entirely blown away and sucked into at the same time. Assassin's Creed 2 was one of those games for me. I had played AC1 and was intrigued by it's Templar vs. Assassin back-story as well as Desmond's story and the concept of the animus. The second game, however, was like a 20 hour movie that was interactive and had me rushing through missions just so I could get more of the story and characters. When I had finally gotten to the ending it had me sitting there with my mouth open like "Holy French Toast" all through the credits. I mean the ending to that game was perfect. I am almost always let down by endings of video games and I especially hate cliffhangers, but this game had the greatest cliffhanger; one that I feel the series has been desperately trying to live up to. Ever since the ending to this game I have been a loyal fan and have beaten both Brotherhood and Revelations. I liked Brotherhood. I thought Revelations was a drag, the story didn't move quite as much.

    Assassin's Creed 3

    GAMEPLAY

    FREE-RUNNING: The free-running is a signature component of the series and has gone through some small but costly changes in AC3. You can now climb trees and run through entire forests by just running from tree to tree. This is a cool feature but it is not designed as though you can just climb trees. All they did was add logical shapes to the trees that look as though they are climbable. Most of the trees can't be climbed, though many can be. Another thing to consider is that you are no longer in a fully developed, tightly designed city like you were in AC2. Boston is quite open and there will be times where you will find yourself having to drop to the ground to continue. With the addition of bigger roads, more horses, and fast travel, free-running through cities is not as cool as it used to be. Guards can see you much easier now and at much further distances. Another thing is that there is almost always more than 2 guards on rooftop outposts as opposed to the single guard-per-roof layout of the previous games. There are no cool buildings or churches or caves to climb the inside of like in the past games. The only sense of vertigo you get is from climbing really tall trees (which is frustrating because it is hard to climb down and you can't see the ground to know whether you can leap or not).

    STEALTH: Being an assassin in the past has usually meant being able to sneak up on anyone in the game and feel like a bad-ass doing so. AC3 has completely changed this. There are so many scenarios in this game that imply that you should be stealthy but aren't really because stealth is next to impossible in this game. There are never guards alone. Guards are always looking all around them. Double-assassinate only works 50% of the time. You can now assassinate with every weapon however it's useless because any weapon besides the hidden blade causes detection. There are certain scripted sequences where it is like 'Oh boy they put a guy standing alone here, oh boy! oh boy! oh boy!' Besides that it is really hit or miss whether stealth is actually possible. I loved that in AC2 it was obvious when you had to fight everyone, and otherwise you could stealth your way through it. In AC3 it gets to the point where you are always fighting because wasting another hour of you life just to discover that something wasn't designed to do what you are trying is infuriating. The compass in this game is USELESS. They put a third of the people actually there on the compass. If there is a large group they count it as one red dot. If there is a guy 20 yards away from another they count it as one dot. This game is a complete let down as far as stealth goes. It almost makes me want to go back and play AC2 again just so I can feel like a bad-ass.

    COMBAT: The combat in this game makes AC2 look like Frogger, except with no logs or cars or whatever. The combat system has been improved so that you can counter and then decide to either kill or disarm while countering. The new system is a huge improvement over the past one. There are now different ways to kill different enemies the fastest. Your typical redcoat with go down with a simple counter. Officers need to be disarmed and then beaten on. There is now an attack indicator and if you counter-kill while more than one person's attack indicator is up then Connor with hack through all of them in a really cool and brutal sequence.

    NAVAL CAMPAIGN: Fun. I don't want to go in-depth about this. It shouldn't be a reason to buy this game but it is a very fun and satisfying addition to it. You can upgrade your ship.

    HUNTING: Also fun. Way more in-depth than RDR was and gives you items that you can actually craft things out of.

    HOMESTEAD / ITEM CRAFTING / TRADING: This is a cool feature they added. You can now skin animals or buy items to be crafted by people that you invite to live on your homestead. You complete 'Homestead Missions' and save people so that they can come be part of your village. After you hire them they begin new quest lines that happen on the homestead. As you complete these quests for smiths, trappers, miners, etc..they become capable of crafting better items. After you craft items you can send out convoys to sell your items for profit, or you can even craft weapons and upgrades. The recipes for items (like weapons) must be found in chests around the world. The Homestead and crafting elements are a nice addition and have more depth than you would expect. The trading is kind of useless though and only serves to earn more money which can be easily earned other ways.

    TECHNICAL / DESIGN


    GRAPHICS (XBOX360): The graphics in Revelations are better than they are in this game, for the consoles at least. It seems they were more concerned with making character's eyes really shiny rather than making sure environments drew on time and the sides of faces didn't look like an MC Escher painting. The water looks really cool in this game. I look forward to seeing PC graphics. The game could look really amazing. Just not on the 360. I tried playing the game in 3D and my 360 almost overheated, it was laggy, although what I saw could be really cool on PC.

    SOUND: I'm not sure how someone would feel being expected to follow up to the beautiful score that AC2 had. Whoever did create the score for this game copied 'The Bourne Ultimatum" almost note for note. Seriously, wait for the main title to come on the screen and think about it. I would have preferred some sort of pentatonic variation of the AC2 score (to sound a bit more Native American) but they went with all new (besides the main theme, which like I said is copied) music that doesn't even compare. The voice acting, as expected, is superb in most areas. Connor can be a bit shallow at times but is compelling when he really needs to be; he's no Ezio.

    PRESENTATION / MENUS: The game really doesn't look as cool as the second one did. I preferred the white DNA-themed menus over the new blue compass-like circles. The weapon wheel takes like 4 seconds to load and adds up fast. It makes me not want to switch from weapon to weapon... Just fight.

    STORY

    I'm going to try really hard not to spoil anything. Err anything that will not disapoint.

    CONNOR'S STORY: Not as interesting as Ezio's. Very epic. Lots of twists and turns. Sort of anti-climactic. Begins better than it ends, although they are both good.

    DESMOND'S STORY: F**K THIS STORY. I really liked it until this game. I really am trying not to spoil anything but they ruined Desmond's story. RUINED IT. OK I have to go into spoilers. I'm not going to give it away exactly but I have to vent something... you have been warned.

    SPOILERS!
    His first mission is like 'ooo this looks promising.' The second one is like 'Oh man they are teaching me stuff.' The third is the last and the biggest let down ever. Desmond whips his deus ex out and f*cks everyone. Ruining the entire point of you training.

    And then the end cinematic. Oh my... Worst ending in gaming ever. Seriously, I pulled out the 'Worst ever' card. Ruined the ending just so they could set it up for another game to make more money off of, which they could have done anyways with a good ending. In one scene they manage to create a whole new story that already has so many obvious holes in it that it gives you a headache watching. They make it seem like they are going to give you a choice and show you this cool (and expensive) CGI movie that is completely pointless, and then they never give you any choice and show you that they have completely wasted your time.

    "Thanks for playing. F*ck you. Here's 45 MINUTES WORTH OF CREDITS THAT YOU CAN'T SKIP"

    They name like every person who has ever worked for Ubisoft and then their children, and then all the Chinese people.

    I give the game itself an 8 because there is a lot to do and the controls are similar enough to enjoy it.

    I give the story a 5 because they ruined the series for me.
     
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  38. SnakeTheLegend

    SnakeTheLegend Vortigaunt

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    I am currently playing through Dead Space 2 and loving every minute of it. I had to take a change of scenery since I just beat dishonored. But goodness is Dead Space 2 great! I really loved the first one, so far the sequel is better in almost every aspect.
     
  39. Dog--

    Dog-- The Freeman

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    The War Z - Can't really rate yet, because it's in alpha still.

    I loved the idea of DayZ, but the game itself seemed too broken and just.. Shitty. So I didn't play it. Perhaps when it is it's own standalone game I'll probably buy it, but not until then. Which sucks because, as I said, the idea behind it is awesome. Which is why I found out about The War Z. Essentially the same exact thing, but it's own game instead of a mod. I started playing last night, and it's actually a really fun game. Can't really say if it was worth the $25 bucks yet, because the full game hasn't even been released yet, but if the alpha is any indication of what the full game will be like, then I think it will be a pretty darn awesome game.

    I was hesitant to buy it because I heard there were lots of bugs and hackers ran rampant. I couldn't really find any info on the game because of the agreement you have to sign which says you can't post screens, videos, and you can barely talk about the game unless you want to run the risk of being banned. But I'll say this much: There are no game breaking bugs that I've encountered. As for hackers, I've been in one server with hackers and everyone is pretty good about warning people. There is a map of your game world and they'll just say "hackers at X location, stay away". And that's pretty much it, you can either stay away from that area or just join a new server.

    I'm having fun with it, but I'll have to report back when the Beta is released. Or if the agreement is still in effect for the beta, then wait for the full game.
     
  40. Rorschach120

    Rorschach120 Party Escort Bot

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    CODBLOPS2 Singleplayer - I have gotten tired of where CoD has gone since it's early cinematic WW2 days. Shoot people, run, shoot more people, run, shoot a ridiculous amount of people, run, hit 'f'. MW1 and 2 were decent, with 1 being the best of the two games. The snow bike level in MW2 is very memorable as well as the Chernobyl level from MW. MW3 was boring. I thought the original Black Ops was cool merely because it was finally a decent Vietnam game. It was definitely a much better game than WaW. So with all these experiences coming together I was left pretty surprised by BLOPS2. It switches between 80s era ops and year 2025 future weapons battles in some pretty cool places. So i'll just go ahead and point out the things I liked:

    -You can now set up your entire load out before every mission, including perks.
    -The electronic music blasting through this one vacation island level is bada$$.
    -The guns. Best guns in a CoD game.
    -The future is just cool in general, very believable but it still feels like a sci-fi shooter
    -You can actually fail objectives and cause different story lines to happen
    -"JOSEFINNAA!!" You turn into an angry Spanish guy who goes berserk (DOOM style)
    -Overall the best single player experience in a Call of Duty game, I was really surprised.

    CONS:

    -Same run, shoot, run game that it's always been, although it's a bit more intensely done in this game. The weapons are more powerful too.
    -Same typical military characters that we are supposed to care about for some reason
    -Some odd sequences that are meant to feel cool just ruin the actual feeling.
    -You can't put all the future upgrades (including lasers) on the old guns (AK47, Barretta 50cal sniper, UZI)
    -The vehicle missions are just slaughter fests. Which I suppose is accurate but it just gets old.
    -Another lame "One brown guy v.s. the world" CoD story.


    I don't really have a number for this one since I haven't played all of it... I have beaten the single-player and I can definitely recommend that. I am a bit of a sucker for future tech games though. Best CoD single-player for sure.
     
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