Mega games get mega reviews in a megaly disordered fashion.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

I Wanna Be The Guy: NRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH

You guys all remember playing Super Meat Boy, yes? Or how about N+ Way Of The Ninja? Any platforming game which is insanely hard? Hell, I'll accept any of the Trials games? If not, go play them so that you've at least got some understanding of how hard platforming games can get in the modern day and age. And then come and play this game: I Wanna Be The Guy: The Movie: The Game. Yes, that IS the actual name. Be scared.


Nice bit of high quality WordArt. Anyone else remember WordArt?  LIKE THIS STATUS IF YOU REMEMBER WORDART!!!!!!!
The year: 200X. The story: The Kid wants to be The Guy so sets out to become The Guy. That's it. That's all the story there is. No names, no towns, nothing. Pure retro simplicity. John Carmack once said: "Story in a game is like a story in a porn movie. It's expected to be there, but it's not that important" and he was pretty much talking about this kind of shit-on-your-face platforming hell game. It doesn't matter about that though, as during the intro you see a giant 8-bit gorilla climbing the side of a skyscraper, so you know it's going to be good. And then you see your character: The Kid. A tiny, Alex Kidd-esque dude with a cape (and if you pick normal mode: a bow in his hair...cheers). Cool. Awesome. Kid with cape, best start the game, probably...


Ah, yeah, no. That looks nice and easy, eh? Just make your way down, learn the controls, right? No. Death ETA: imminent. 
Now, I don't want to spoil it but: I died about 5 seconds in. Then 10 seconds in. Then 20 seconds in. Then switched the game off. Then reloaded it. Then died 10 seconds in. The switched it off again and laughed for about 3 minutes. The game is brutally difficult. Maybe even insanely difficult. The problem is that every time you die you know that there's a perfectly visible and mostly logical way through the problems, even if you can't actually make your way through it. Not going to lie, it boosts the frustration levels pretty fucking high as you can imagine. Thankfully, similar to Super Meat Boy and Trials this game relies on constant comedy to keep you coming back for more. The way that you die is more often than not pretty funny, and overcoming those obstacles is crazy rewarding. More rewarding than any of your bullshit FPS games or FIFAs. Considering how many obstacles and curve balls are on the screen at once, it's impressive when you manage to work your way through them all. This makes reaching the next screen feel like some kind of prize; you cheer, you laugh, you cry, you look at the next screen and think:

What's wrong? Don't you like having no floor, walls fully covered in spikes, walls that attack you , invisible platforms and the game developers laughing straight in your face?
As for playing the game itself, it's delightfully simple. All that's used are your arrow keys, shift, Z and R for move, jump/double jump, shoot and restart. That's it. No useless sprint button (Super Meat Boy, looking at you...), somersaults, Tanooki skins, power orbs or anything. Just a pure platforming hellfest. To be perfectly honest the amount that you die would negate any cool button things you would have anyway, but that's not the point. The movement style is easy to manage, with none of the Mario-slide going on, no jump acceleration, no harsh Castlevania knock back from damage...it's pretty much as easy to control as you can imagine. Almost the opposite of the difficulty of the game. It feels good when you nail a jump between obstacles or invert direction mid jump to avoid death and the easy control system accentuates that. It's so easy that you know outright that any mistakes you make are entirely on YOU and not the game. Man-up, restart and play better. It's your own fault you died, unless it's your first time in that area in which case you can take that as a trial run. This ease of playing applies to the entire series: I Wanna Save The Kids and I Wanna Be The Guy Gaiden. They're pretty decent, but this is the first and best, don't forget.

"What did you say about me? Nice and easy to control? Then control your fucking way through this! THIS ISN'T EVEN MY FINAL FORM!"
Now, I love when games make you try hard. It makes me feel like a kid again, back when finishing a game was something to brag about in the playground and it feels good. I still think games need to bring more of this back, and thankfully Live Arcade and PSN are giving the opportunity for players to find this feeling again (as long as you can wade through the piles of shite). I Wanna Be The Guy has got to be the king of this games by not only being stupidly hard, but also by testing your reasoning skills, your reactions, your memory, your basic game knowledge, and your goddamn stamina. It's worth downloading for free, if only for the laughs you get from the first few screens (I assume there's more but...y'know...I've not got very far...) and the pop culture references. I can guarantee that you won't be complaining about the difficulty of your shoddy CoD games or your Need For Speeds with their difficulty curves. This has a difficulty CLIFF. And you will fucking love it. If not, you can always downgrade to Super Meat Boy and just watch a speedrun of this game on YouTube.


This never gets old. Every time you die this plays. And when you've been playing for a few seconds and this busts in: genius.

Peace.

Links to download the game: http://kayin.pyoko.org/iwbtg/downloads.php Voila. Download and play, suckas!

Cliff Notes: It'll make you laugh, it'll make you cry, it'll ruin other games for you. I'm still not sure about it myself. It steps over the "Too Fucking Hard Line" and does a little dance. Hot damn.
Rating: 7/10 I loved it. But I've barely seen any of it outside YouTube vids and that makes me a bit sad. Realistically if I was better at games it would get higher...
Friend Recommend: Dude, it's free...why WOULDN'T you download it? 

Friday, 12 October 2012

KING OF DRAGONS: simplistic fun-funs

So my week of reviews (remember that thing, true believers?) ended embarrassingly quickly, like some kind of virgin's one night stand. It was my birthday so I'm going to go ahead and blame other people. Namely Sir Vodka and Miss Tequila. Best friends. <3

Anyway, thought I would just do the final review before kicking back and reviewing whatever whenever so here is KING OF DRAGONS. Enjoy.



NNNNRGH. It's like they looked up "90's nerd" and just copied and pasted the definition into art somehow.
Side scrolling beat 'em ups have been done to death, but even so there are very few that anyone can say are bad. Hell, just look at the success of Castle Crashers and you can see that there will always be a place in gaming for these games. A fairly unknown game in this genre is KING OF DRAGONS (or KoD. Fuck you, CoD, you don't own that word) which is a massive dissapointment due to it being an awesome game. It features your standard fantasy fighters (Elven archer, wizard, warrior, cleric, dwarf) in your standard fantasy settings of forests and castles fighting standard fantasy enemies like orcs, evil knights and hydras. Completely standard in every way. Except it's awesome. Like, CAPITAL LETTERS AWESOME.

I'd tell you about the story but I have no fucking idea what happens to be honest and I don't really care. You're making your way to a castle thing to save someone and kill a KING OF DRAGONS who I'm pretty sure lives in a crystal tower on a bed of gold, naturally. I'm not even sure why your character has to do this when he clearly has the means to butcher his way into power in another kingdom somewhere else and probably live peacefully with the KING OF DRAGONS in the neighbouring land.



This is like, the second or third boss. He's a piece of piss. Might as well just shake hands and ask if he needs any help, it'd be easier, more profitable and take less time. Except he doesn't have hands because he's a wyvern.
The fighting system is rather nifty. There's one button to attack. No combos. None at all. You don't need combos, combos are for wimps and losers. Each character has their own attack schemes, though, with the elf being long range but weak, the wizard being mid range and mid power, etc etc etc. As you progress you pick up and auto equip better equipment that looks snazzier and attacks cooler depending on the character type. If you want the best looking, check the wizard, he's badass. You also upgrade your offhand weapon, which in the case of the melee guys is a shield which you can use (I think. It never really comes up) and for the ranged guys it boosts attack speed (probably. Again, it doesn't matter). But fuck that. You'll soon learn that attacking while jumping is the only real way forward. There's a magic button too, possibly  but there's only really a point if you're the wizard. So ignore that, too. You won't need it.


Look! Here's the warrior again! Blocking like a champ. I think. I've never seen what blocking looks like, tbh...
The difficulty level of the game is intense but oddly manageable. I mean, I've never completed the game so...y'know... But each time you do get a little further. The enemies spawn in a recognisable pattern and learning this spawn style wins you the game. It'll have you using ability spheres like a champ and smacking down enemies quicker than they can attack. Unless you play cleric. NEVER DO THIS. He attacks with a flyswatter and it's just embarrassing to watch. Once you start to recognise attack patterns of both the enemies and the bosses you can start to power through some of the levels in a couple of minutes. The first boss is a good example: you can actually stand in-between his dual wielded chain-maces and beat him in seconds. It's amazing. Soon you can start hitting the last levels no problem and enjoy the ride. Also the quicker you do it the more points/exp you get leading to your character levelling up and being able to survive longer. In some respects this game is a weird race, even though it's an rpg beat 'em up. 

Some chests actually freeze/damage you. Serves you right, cleric, for not being a ranged guy. That puny elf down the bottom is having no problem at all. And is fully clothed (looking at you, warrior...)
There are some bad points as always. KING OF DRAGONS recycles enemies more than any other game I've played barring Dynasty Warriors. There's about 5 or 6 different enemies who just do the age old colour transformation trick as the game progresses. Even the bosses do this. Though this might be a downside, it kind of twists into a odd good side. You don't want to have to deal with new enemies all the time in a game like this. You want to learn how to move to save your ass, and the repeating enemies help this by making you finesse your attack system all the time. You can actually plan attacks the moment a colour comes on the screen, and it's reassuring to know how to handle a situation when you don't have a special move to save the day like in Streets of Rage or Golden Axe. The only irredeemable bad point is that the last boss, the KING OF DRAGONS is insanely hard. I play this game on easy, and I still haven't beaten him and his RIDICULOUS GODDAM MOVES FUCKSHITNRRRRGH. No-one should plan a game where the last boss just shits all over the preparation you have done so far. It's a sour end to an otherwise frikkin' sweet game. 

That's not a natural position for a head to be. Serious. Also, you're as big as the last boss's toe...
So yeah. I like this game, and this was less of a review and more of a praise session. But that's what I feel this game deserves. It's simplistic but in a way which demands that you pay attention. The bosses are nicely thought out and the progression through the (ridiculously) short levels is enjoyable and varied. If you've ever wanted to play an RPG and not fuck about with all the customisation and just get down to it then this game fits the bill. If you want something to do for an hour this is the thing. If you want to actually play a good game, then pick this beast up. Also, the arcade version of this game was one of the best arcade cabinet games that I played and that was in a hotel in Ibiza when I was 8.

Peace out.

Links to emulators and roms:
http://www.emulator-zone.com/doc.php/snes/ I prefer Snes9x, personally, but whatever.

http://coolrom.com/roms/snes/967/King_of_Dragons.php

Cliff Notes: A truly excellent example of how Beat 'Em Ups are one of the most fun franchises around. And how nerds rule.
Rating: 9/10. That last one was taken off from the last boss and his stupid as fuck attack scheme.
Friend Recommend: Definitely. It's free. It's fun. No-one can dislike it. Download it now.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

PETA's "Games": How not to do irony right. Or anything right for that matter.

I have a confession to make. I fucking hate PETA. With every ounce of my being. This doesn't make me a bad person, just like how disliking organised religion doesn't instantly make you a satanist. There's loads of reasons for my dislike but the primary one is the way they've been butchering (geddit?) games in the name of irony. For an organisation that is against suffering they've been going out of their way to bring ridiculous and pointless grief to the gaming industry in the form of "parodies" which achieve absolutely fucking nothing. Like Mario Kills Tanooki. He gets his tanooki suit from a magic leaf, not through skinning animals. It's a glorified onesie. How can you use something like that to be a dick and protest things? It doesn't make sense! And Cooking Mama? It's the most inoffensive, delightful cooking game. And they've twisted it into an abomination and brought unpleasantness to the world. Good Job, you've increased the hate in the world by a little bit, PETA...

That one on the bottom right? That's Sea Kittens. PETA tried to rebrand fish as "sea kittens". No word of a lie. Fucking sea kittens. BECAUSE THAT'S GOING TO MAKE KIDS LIKE THEM, NO?
I'm going to ignore most of the games, because there's no way of washing the memories away without prescription drugs so I'll just stick to the big 'uns. Like: Super Tofu Boy. Most of you should know that Super Meat Boy is one of the most rewarding but fucking ridiculously hard games you will ever play next to Dark Souls. You play a cube of meat in a platforming world trying to save Bandage Girl from Dr. Foetus. I've died around 3,000 times in the game (honest. Probably more) due to the harsh but fair levels of the game. And I fucking love it. And then I played PETA's Super Tofu Boy. Nrrrrrrgh. As a parody it's decided it's target is going to be McDonalds, which is admirable I guess seeing as McDonalds is a douchehole company. BUT: they also take a swing at Meat Boy himself, labelling him as smelly, rotting and angry which is incredibly harsh seeing as meat is both natural and delicious and only rotting if you leave it out for ages. The insults don't stop there though. The game is so badly put together that getting to the end of a level is almost impossible thanks to the shoddy control system and overall mechanics of the game. I gave up in disgust after two levels as it was giving me so much fucking stress. I admire trying to change the world, but fucking hell this is a shit game. No message was carried across due to the inept and shoddy creation of the game. You can't make a point if people can't play the game. The offensive hit at SMB filled me with anger as well, until I heard about Team Meat's rebuttal: they released a secret character (Super Tofu Boy) in the PC version of the game. Super Tofu Boy couldn't sprint or jump very high making it impossible to finish the first level, in turn making it the single greatest parody of a parody yet. Parodception.

World's Greatest "FUCK YOU" awarded to Team Meat. Also, parodception is now copyrighted by yours truly.

So, that's the one of the most obvious of the games done (and the most humorous) but now to deal with the whole reason for writing this: POKÉMON: BLACK AND BLUE. Right, those of you who played/watched Pokémon will know that there has always been a fine line between companion and captive, and it's constantly being explored by the creators. Ash struggles between the social convention of "collecting" Pokémon and fighting with them, and them actually being friends. You can see this all the time but for those who don't remember: how about when Ash sacrifices his life to stop Mew and Mewtwo from fighting and is brought back to life by the magic tears of all the Pokémon? Or when he uses his body as a meat shield to save Pikachu from the Spearow attack in the very first episode? Or when he has to let Butterfree return to the wild to find a mate and he (read: all of us) has a good cry? It became such a big deal in B&W that the line between good and bad becomes incredibly blurred. The antagonists are forms of Pokémon freedom fighters leading to a storyline so big that it actually has a sequel (almost unheard of in the main Pokémon series). A summary: kids are taught by this video game that freedom of will for pets is important, that Pokémon are companions that should be treated right, that they have free will and emotions and feel pain, hurt, sadness and need to be treated as friends (much like real animals). And then PETA shits all over the entire series with the monstrosity that is Black and Blue.



I'm pretty sure that counts as fighting fire with fire. Which only works with forest/bushfires. And some forms of science.
So. The game itself. Pikachu escapes from Cheren, electrocutes him repeatedly, attacks Professor Juniper, repeatedly injures her, recruits Pokémon to his cause and then uses them to force his views on both Ghetsis and Ash using their unique powers over the elements to brutally injure them. Firstly: the fighting system. It makes no sense. Each Pokémon has four moves (good) except they don't follow any real Pokémon established scheme (bad). There is no recognisable effectiveness system, leaving you clueless for the most part. There is no healing system (I always healed my Pokémon in the games, kept them healthy and happy). You can't tell if the moves are buffs, special based or physical based. Hell, there's no real system to the monster set-ups at all, they could just be faceless nothings and achieve the same outcome which defeats the attempt at giving the Pokémon any kind of soul and actually backtracks slightly. Each battle is forced upon you removing the exploration and companionship of the games, killing the attachments you form. It removes the attempts of your character to better the world with his friends while at the same time learning how to better him/herself. For the entirety of the game you're bombarded with false advertising of cruelty in the series, with each of the characters claiming to not give a shit when in fact they're only trying to do good by the little fellas. The ultimate insult comes when they use "prizes" to spread propaganda of cruelty to animals in a game set for children. I find it hard to accept that using a fairly innocent and yet deep game for people of all ages including kids is the best medium for trying to almost brainwash kids away from enjoying games or the life altering friendship of a pet. "Prizes" should not be graphic and horrifying images of cruelty to animals. They can be far better and more thought out than that. If you want an example, play New Super Chick Sisters. It's poor, but it makes sense, is decently built, teaches you without being offensive and could be more easily called a parody.


Let's fight PETA's fire fighting by fighting the fire with fire. Because according to PETA that's now okay.  And so is ethically killing things, which I was pretty sure they were against. Or not. I'm confused about what PETA now stands for...
We all know that cruelty to animals is wrong, and if you DON'T then a piss-poor propaganda style "parody" of a gameboy game is not going to fucking change that, is it? And ethical-ness? Is it ethical to aim this kind of thing at children? Is it ethical to "free" pets from their owners by putting them down? Is it ethical to show that extreme violence towards "bad" people is the answer to the problems? Ruining games and acting like a dick does not win people to your cause. It just makes people think you're a dick. Because you are being a dick. And use a different medium that doesn't involve children, yeah? They just want to enjoy being kids and playing games. Leave the hard decisions for when they're older and can actually form their own opinions and not yours.


Never trust someone who uses The Situation  topless to advertise a message.
Fuck PETA. It pretty much shits all over it's own points and fails at forming coherent opinions on cruelty, resorting to base images of extreme events. And it ruins my favourite games which is the gravest insult of all.

Rant over. See you next time. And feel free to enjoy your food whether it be meat or vegetable, just make sure you know where it comes from and how it's made. You don't need PETA to achieve that.


Links to the "games". Play at your peril: http://www.peta.org/interactive/games/default.aspx

*UPDATE* I'm painfully aware that the factsheet thingy is tiny so: Link to the actual PETA fact sheet thingy: http://cheezburger.com/5020481024

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Dragon's Dogma: Skyrim but...challenging

Capcom can boast a wide variety of games for all consoles since their founding almost 20 years ago and in that time have created some of the more enduring multi platform franchises that are around today. From Street Fighter to Resident Evil and Devil May Cry, they have shown that they know what they're doing when it comes to sequels. It's interesting to note that one of their most marketed games of this year is actually not part of any of these franchises and is instead a game all on it's own: Dragon's Dogma, an in depth, challenging and yet simple RPG.

You can even clamber on cows. Hell yeah.

The crux of this game's story is that your heart has been eaten by a recently revived/summoned Dragon, branding you as an "Arisen" and causing most of the area to deem you as a super dragon hunter (even though you are a fisherman). You proceed to work your way up the monster food chain with your trusty sidekick until you are powerful enough to go and kill the aforementioned dragon. At which point shit gets fucking weird, and you end up becoming some sort of god after half of the city is destroyed. I'm not really sure what happened at the end to be honest, I was tired and it made little sense and after killing a giant dragon I just didn't really care. Kind of like the post game stuff for the recent Pokemon games.


It's this big....and yet there's post game stuff? Spoilers: The post game boss is one guy. One guy.

Now, most of the missions in the game are just "Kill X amount of Y monsters" and don't have any effect on the main storyline other than giving you the experience needed to level up. This is kind of frustrating, because if you play games like me and try to 100% them, then it requires you to constantly run backwards and forwards between towns to check noticeboards for decidedly pointless quests. That you still try and fucking do anyway. The highlight being "kill 40 rabbits". >:( 40 fucking rabbits. Tiny little balls of fur. Why could they possibly need killing, and why don't they just buy some fucking ferrets. The main story quests are actually quite exciting in contrast, having you fight a griffin and then hunt it down to it's nest or butcher your way through a wraith filled swamp. The only problem lies in the fact that there's barely any quick travel, and the only quick travel gems you have only spawn in one place, making it unfeasible. This requires you to spend most of the game running from ONE FUCKING END OF THE MAP TO THE OTHER. You do get to experience a brilliantly varied landscape and fight interesting battle against goblins, chimeras, saurians and dragons, but it's so fucking long! 


Beautiful as fuck, but now you need to run to the centre of town. And this is short, in comparison to the rest.

Repetition is the key in this game, with your sidekicks learning how to fight monsters by finding and killing them. This comes in very handy towards the end of the game where when you come across a troll, you can stand back and watch your allies take him down, whereas before they would flail around like idiots. It makes it feel much more like a multiplayer game even though it's just you playing, by having your team-mates shout out advice they have learnt through playing in other peoples games. That's right: your sidekick can be hired by another player to fill his group of four and then learn from the battles that he fights there, making him even more useful in your game, and vice versa. Soon you'll also learn the best way for you to take down monsters and will be scaling them to get to their weak points like a mini Shadow Of The Colossus. And it feels good. Very good.



Standard enemy. Climb snake and kill, climb goat and kill, batter legs, then smack lion's face in. Easier with 4 of you.

The level up system is decent, with you not only gaining level ups, but also proficiency levels in roles. The higher the proficiency level, the higher ranked moves you can learn which may be key for taking down later bosses. If you then want to swap to a different profession then there are some transferable skills to aid you, instead of you starting as a n00b all over again. Likewise, your sidekick also levels up this way, letting you pick and choose what sort of team you want and allowing you to swap roles accordingly. 


The magic archer fires multiple homing arrows. TOTALLY BADASS.

It's not all good news, though. NPCs sometimes don't spawn causing you real trouble in completing quests, and monsters wander, making you have to run everywhere to find them. Quest explanations cause difficulty as well by being cryptic and frustrating. You do get to explore, but I swear there's an area that I've never been to, even though I tried to do all the quests. In the end, you have to do the old RPG thing of running everywhere, talking to everyone and killing everything. And believe me, there is a lot of running. Fucking loads. And your team-mates shout things out that are really fucking pointless. After the 25th time running through the same canyon, I don't want my team-mates shouting "GOBLINS! GOBLINS! WATCH OUT!". By that point you've killed dragons and griffins. Goblins barely survive you breathing on them.


This guy isn't great, but it sums up how much running is done...Just watch the first few minutes.

Peace.

Cliff Notes: Simple battle system that still provides excitement by giving increasingly fun monsters to fight. Even more fun when you become a L337 monster hunter and can take down Chimeras in less than a minute using your learned tactics. Just wish there wasn't so much FUCKING RUNNING.
Rating: 7/10. Because of the running.
Friend Recommend: Yeah, if you like RPGs then this is a good playthrough, and interesting. Definitely buy if you are a runner.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Shadow Complex: Proving There Is Nothing Wrong With Copying

By this point in your lives, I imagine that you've at least had a passing glance at Metroid and Castlevania. If you haven't, then that's fine, but I reserve the right to judge you. But whether you have or haven't I suggest you pick this game up ASAP. Why, I hear you say? WELL, LET ME TELL YOU:

Shadow Complex follows cheeky Jason (voiced by Nolan North, no less!) as he attempts to rescue his girlfriend who disappeared while they were backpacking through some caves somewhere (unimportant). He quickly finds out she is being held captive in a massive underground facility full of soldiers, experimental weapons, old mines, underground lakes and giant robots. Before you get all iffy about the fact that a Johnny Normalface is able to take down hundreds of enemies and not die, I should mention: he's the son of a top-tier army guy and was been trained in the ways of secret spydom before turning his back on said profession. There's a touching (read: hilarious) moment when he has a flashback to a chat with his dad before saying "You were right, I guess. Thanks dad". So yeah. without spoiling too much of the story: ex-secret spy trying to save Princess Peach from a faceless enemy in a giant Metroidvania underground complex while also saving the world. Standard gaming stuff, really, but that shit never gets old.

See, it's huge. Each tiny square is a screen. And that entire top area is explorable, too. HUGE.

Now, the game itself is incredibly easy to get used to. The buttons are only run, jump, shoot, and use item/melee. You could probably play this game with a Mega-Drive controller. But that's not a bad thing. This game isn't trying to be complex (despite it's name), it's trying to be enjoyable and you don't need complicated control schemes to do that, you just need A GOOD GAME.While exploring the facility you come across gold bars, security keys, better guns and parts of a super suit, much like Metroid. To find these, you are given a flashlight which highlights doors and vents and colour codes them to the relevant destroy method for your ease of opening. With the upgrades and super suit you're given new abilities to help you unlock more areas, until you're essentially Samus (minus the weird squashed up rolling. That makes no sense). This constant upgrade system stops the game from becoming stale and really makes the game fun. At one point you get gloves that let you super-punch people. Trust me, it's good. There's even a running count on how many people you have made scream. For real, they proper "AEEEIIIIGH!" when they get knocked off drops.

As I said: never fucking get's old. THIS. IS. ACCEPTABLE!

Apart from that, the game is played in 2.5D with you exploring in a standard sidescroller style, but having to sometimes shoot into the background. This is actually rather easy and I haven't had a single bit of trouble with shooting into the back. But if you do, you have unlimited bullets. So no biggee. There are a variety of different areas to explore, and some of them actually change as the game progresses (such as flooding an entire office area). Backtracking is on the most part easy, but there are a couple of nags in that a couple of areas become confusing later on, even with such a simplistic map. But there are guides online everywhere to help you find all the little secrets if you are having trouble. 

Pretty sure spy training doesn't cover this...

For those who complete the game quickly: there's a challenge mode that is genuinely challenging, with multiple different types of challenges and time limits. They're actually pretty fun and give you a hand in the main game by teaching you how to more effectively use your super suit to help you in your journey. The achievements are a hodge-podge of easy and hard, with an achievement for completing the game with no more than 12% of the items (which is ridiculously hard. I suggest New Game +ing it a couple of times first). The graphics are also sweet as, using Unreal 3 and being made by Chair/Epic, and the voice acting is perfect, with a script by a comic book writer.

Run super fast and the background blurs. AND YOU CAN RUN ON WATER AND DISINTEGRATE PEOPLE.

Apart from that, I can't mention too much as it would detract from the game and ruin it. As for downsides: there aren't really any. I mean, it is frustrating collecting all the items for a good 100% completion, but if an item is in the game, then the in game map mentions it. It's just a bit time consuming is all. And that doesn't matter when you are zooming around and rocket punching everyone...

Peace

Cliff Notes: Metroidvania in the modern age: sweet graphics, voices, gameplay, exploration...everything is sweet. Genius.
Rating: 9/10 I dropped one because sometimes items on the map are covered by other symbols :<
Friend Recommender: Yes. Of course. Buy it, you tool.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Prototype 2: The Amazing Infamous Crackodown

Prototype 2 is the charming story of a young, naive man searching for his daughter in a Finding Nemo-esque way while gaining powers to casually flit around a city and enjoy the sights. Obviously that's bullshit, but to be honest it'd probably make a better game than what it actually is. I didn't like this game. It was shit. Truly bad. It makes The Room look like Good Will fucking Hunting.

"Alt? There is no alt! I got a fucking squiggly line key, and a fucking key with a blue triangle on it! What kind of fucking keyboard is this anyway?!"


The game itself is a pretty standard open-city experience. You run around completing missions/side quests and collecting evidence. The problem lies in the fact that it's basically Crackdown 2 but melee based. It suffers from the same problems as Crackdown: boredom, repetition and iffy storyline. You pretty much have to play the same half hour over and over again for the entire game. They throw in some stealth missions, but to be fair all you do is scan for people who are out of sight of others, eat them and then repeat. And when the people in the room have gone from 15 to 4, you would think someone would pull the fucking alarm. But no. Everyone in the game is a retard.

"emo mutherfucker"

The AI has even more problems than just that, though. Considering you're the protagonist of the game and EVERYONE is looking for you, almost all the enemies are completely useless. You can sweep through the sky and fall far enough to kill a normal person into the middle of an army base and it only registers mild surprise. You get a "watch it!" and then are allowed to fuck off an hack their system. Which makes no sense. Or if you go on a killing spree all you need to do to lose the tail is run round a corner, transform, and then it's fine. You can be halfway up a fucking skyscraper but as long as you transform off camera, the helicopters won't even care that you are king-konging it around as a ninety year old woman. It ruins any kind of stealthiness you need or any of the challenge.


"Fuck off. I fucking hate computers."

The enemies are...weak. There's no challenge and the only reason I ever died was through fucking about. Fuck, they give you an ability which makes you impervious to bullets. There's no challenge with that kind of power-upping. The only slight challenge comes from the super mutants, and even they just need the right type of attack at the right time to kill them, no biggee. And even if you do have trouble with the enemies, everyone's a health pack. Or you can run away at the speed of sound. Even the last boss is a joke. Considering he's been running around cities for ages at this point he's barely any harder than your standard enemy, and is even less as memorable.

"Oh man, and I thought my balls were big!"

The achievements are worth a quick mention. Because they're quick. It's one of those games where you get the majority of them BY ACCIDENT WHEN PLAYING. They should not be achievements. There is no achievement in doing easy fucking things. Seriously, look it up, most of them are like a tutorial. Fucking pointless.


"Lance Bertram...Blackwatch APC driver. Doesn't sound important. Fuck it, I'll kill him anyway."

Now, I never played the first one so I don't have that to compare it to, but when compared to Crackdown this game does have it's merits. Because it's a melee based game the combat is more fun than Crackdown's primarily shooting based combat. Attacks feel meaty and satisfying and each "weapon" has a special move which devastates humans or allows openings in mutants. The dialogue is hilarious in a bad/good kind of way, with the main character swearing like a beast (as can be seen from the quotes dotted around) and often it's the swearing which stops the game becoming a joke. Or makes it one. Not sure, don't care. There's a decent upgrade system which will have you searching areas (albeit for a tiny amount of time) to allow you to level up all your abilities to their fullest. Running around the city is okay, no fiddly climbing like Crackdown. But meh. That's it on the good side, I'm afraid. From what I've seen, inFamous is way better. But then again, most things are...
"I'm going to skull fuck you & suck the memories out the hole"

Peace.

Cliff Notes: Cut rate city exploration game with a repetitive mission system. Just play the first half an hour...
Rating: 4/10, and I'm being generous.
Friend Recommender: Fuck no. I'd recommend them to stay the fuck away.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013: A Magical Gathering

Most of you reading this probably haven't played any Magic the Gathering, either because it's beyond nerdy or just because it looks confusing as fuck. Well, this game is the perfect place to start if you want to see what's involved. For those of you who do play: this game is invaluable in fixing up your gameplans and actually being a good player, unlike me who just throws cards around like a kid on crack.

Firstly, this game tries everything in it's power to help you learn how to play. With a tutorial, three campaign modes and a challenge mode it quickly establishes an easy learning curve. It pretty much holds a tissue to your face and sternly says "spit." every few minutes, but you'll be grateful for it. Battles range from flat out monster swarms (Krenko's goblins) to a race against time (Jace's mill deck) and back to single attacking monsters (Nefarox's exalted deck from M13). Each of these not only show you how to play, but also let you experience what different decks and play styles have to offer. For the ultimate challenge, it also has the Challenge campaign: 10 or so halfway complete matches with a goal of finishing the match in a couple of moves. I'm not going to lie, I had to look up a couple of the solutions...but they show you some of the most technically awkward yet amazing moves in Magic.

For the Pros, the game has been properly programmed with all of the rules of MTG, allowing you to play through scenarios without having to wonder what exactly happens when you play certain combos of cards. This allows you to finesse your game by using odd rulings to get the upper hand in real life (such as what happens when a mix of monsters attack, some with first strike some without). This is invaluable as I've seen friends who know rules like the back of their hand realise they've been playing wrong, or finding out new ways to be a dick and ruining the game for everyone.

As you play through the matches you also unlock cards to add to your deck. In the deck manager you can make a deck of minimum 60 cards, all you need to do is add or remove cards to your deck that you've unlocked for that deck and then the game takes care of how many land are in your deck for you. Each deck is contained to only it's own cards, no mix ups with other decks, which makes it easier for n00bs, and also helps intermediates with learning to deck build efficiently. Deck.

Now, I haven't really talked about the game itself much but to be honest it'd be fairly pointless. If you haven't played it before I would recommend just downloading the trial on Steam for free because otherwise I'll confuse you, and for people who know how it's played: download it anyway, I don't need to explain the mechanics. There's a 90% chance you'll like it. The graphics and artwork is good, flying cards actually fly, and attacks have animations depending on the style of monster (flame elementals shoot fire from the card to the enemy player).

The best thing about the game is the multiplayer mode though. It allows you to play free-for-all matches as standard but there's also a 2v2 match, which is excellent fun and often hilarious. Especially if the right combination of decks come up. There's also a Planechase mode, which has a card in the centre which effects everything in the game and adds a ridiculous amount of randomness to the games, for better or (far more fucking often :< ) worse. There are problems with the match making though, and often the games will bug out and refuse to work halfway through which is frustrating but happens not too often. The only major drawback is people rage quitting. Which is fucking annoying. Don't do it. It makes you a dick.

Peace

P.s. Deck

Cliff Notes: Magic being Magic. Great for newcomers AND returning players alike.
Rating: 8/10 (for nerds), possibly 5/10 if not.
Friend Recommender: If they're nerds, then yes. If they aren't then I probably would try not to talk about Magic around them. Not going to lie. Once you mention mana, card draw or declaring blockers they kind of tune out.


Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Max Payne 3: Return of the Bullet Time

It's been about a decade or something since I last uploaded a review, but to be fair there's been pretty much nothing good out to play or I've had no money. It's either blank spaces when that happens or just me going "I played Mario on a SNES emulator again. That was...jumpy?", so get used to it. But yeah, review time.

Right, bit of backstory: Max Payne 1 came out in 2001, Max Payne 2 in 2003 and both are generally regarded as good, solid games. In depth, Noir-style, story and monologuing, decent action, well thought out bosses and also the first games to feature Bullet Time, which was a big deal for games back then. It makes sense that Rockstar would revisit the series on the latest generation console after nearly a decade gap to let people know what happened to Max, even without the lead writer from the previous games (instead they have the writer from Red Dead Redemption, which is good enough for me).


So yeah, the game itself. Well as you might have guessed diving slow motion through the air and nailing a guy across the room in the head with dual-wielded pistols before landing in cover behind a sofa and reloading is TOTALLY FUCKING BADASS. Other things that are TOTALLY FUCKING BADASS: running out of pain pills and diving slow mo over your only cover (through hanging pots and pans) to cap a guy with your shotgun, diving slow mo off a stair set and shooting a grenade with a bullet to kill your enemies, diving slow mo round a blind corner and taking everyone out with an AK before they notice you're there. Pretty much anything can be made better with slow mo diving. Except when you dive too far and kill yourself. No, wait, that's still cool. Obviously there's more to the game, but seeing as bullet time was the original selling point for a lot of people, it's just nice to note that it still hasn't gotten old.


The story is fairly standard and lousy with double crosses and people lieing, but it's all set in brilliant environments that make you want to watch more. I even felt compassion towards some of the characters, which I haven't felt since I saw Jaheira cry of Khalid's corpse at the start of BG2. Admittedly the situations are ridiculous, but even the game pretty much tells you try cry it a river before exploding everything on screen. There are the odd twist or turn that I didn't see coming and actually was fairly new. I would tell you and just label it spoilers, but you should just play through it and find out. If you start to get bored then the last line that Max says is completely worth it, trust me.


It's not perfect though. There are so many bits that are frustrating that it's not funny. In some areas, it's almost impossible to progress due to the enemies flanking system, volume, and lack of cover. The game does compensate by actually giving you more health packs when you die multiple times though, so that's always appreciated. The enemies have uncanny aim, as well, even on normal difficulty, but it makes you try harder instead of treating it like CoD. You also get to set the amount of auto-aim you receive as well, so that you can change things if they get too easy/hard.


As a parting note: I never even touched the multiplayer as I bought the game purely for the single player run through, so bite me. The achievements are a mix between playing the game or pretty difficult, which is nice as you can do a second playthrough and feel proud of what you do, or just playthrough once and snag up at least half if you try hard.


Anyway, I kind of lost interest towards the end, but yeah:: it's worth buying if you liked the others, and is a good place to start if you didn't. And once you finish here, go and buy a Blacksad comic because that is equally as Noir/awesome


Peace


Cliff Notes: More of Max being Max, with swearing, drugs, cartels, hookers, booze, bullet-time and shooting. Standard.

Rating: 7/10
Would I recommend it to friends: If they know who Max Payne is, then yes. If not, then maybe. But I would suggest buying it at a discount price just in case.

Return to reviews

I stopped reviewing games after a tiny amount of time actually reviewing shit because basically shit hit a shit fan. Like, as bad as Bioware's reputation in the past 6 months kind of bad. The kind where you know it's coming and you prepare, but the world still throws a Catalyst at you and you're forced to give stuff away for free because you suck.

But anyway, I'm going to make a comeback and try and stick with it seeing as there are some pretty decent games coming out soon as of September, starting with Borderlands 2, which looks delightful and pretty and you should buy it.

To commemorate my comeback, I will be doing a WEEK LONG SPECTACULAR REVIEW FEST, featuring at least 7 games, unless I do more, but I am pretty fucking lazy, so don't count on it.

Starting from Wednesday it shall go like this:

Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 (Steam)
Prototype 2 (360)
Shadow Complex (Live Arcade)
Dragon's Dogma (360)
Final Fantasy 12 (PS2)
Lollipop Chainsaw (360)
King of Dragons (SNES/arcade cabinet)
I will also be uploading a new pic for the blog from a good friend who I shall maybe link to on here if he wants me to, as it's a pretty awesome pic for something he "just sort of did".

Apart from that, peace out bros, and don't get all butthurt about the lack of sunshine.

Monday, 23 April 2012

THE BEST GAME EVER: BALDUR'S GATE/BALDUR'S GATE 2

A workmate told me to do a retro review, so I am. Yeah, it's not Sonic or Mario or some other figurehead game, but it is the best game series that Bioware ever released AND it first appeared 14 years ago. That's before the games market became focussed on prepubescent kids playing the gaming equivalent of paintball on crack, and also before consoles even had the opportunity to go on the internet (apart from the Dreamcast. God bless you Sega).

If you think of RPGs nowadays, you'll no doubt think of games where overpowering is a familiar problem. Games where content is so deep that by the time you've explored for a while the storyline quests become these rediculously easy, offhand kind of occurences. This wasn't always the case. BG was one of the original cadre of point-and-click, "fine, go level up then, I'll still bust your balls" kind of games. This is mostly due to the fact that it's a direct port of the Dungeons and Dragons rule book and is set within it's universe. I know, at this point you're probably thinking it's a nerdy as shit game that involves 20 sided dice, elves, orcs, dwarves and bullshit like that. Not going to lie, it does. And you will fucking love it. If you like RPGs, then this is like the mother, father and cousin of all of them and without it you haven't lived. Can't juggle hitting an healing? autopause after every round of attcks. Not sure if you can hit an enemy? Click on it. Where are you going? Open up the detailed, excellently rendered map. What can you equip? CHECK THIS:

Arrows go to quivers. each type of armour gets put on each type of symbol. Weapons go on weapons. 16 slots in your inventory for items at the bottom and the current weight/weight limit is over/under the bag. EASY. (note: for old gamers: I am aware that Minsc should have Boo the miniature giant space hamster in his quick items, yes.)

This game laid down so many conventions that haven't been beaten in over 14 years. I for one have never played a game with an inventory system as easy to manage as this. Fuck, you can even quick change the colour scheme of your gear by clicking the brown/black squares on the right. It's just fucking glorious. None of this "just put a dot next to the item" that leads to you going: "Wait, so can I wear a robe AND trousers? And can I wear multiple rings/necklaces?" ONE SLOT, ONE ITEM. DEAL WITH IT. Each item has a description for you to read that includes everything you need to know, for those who don't know whether to equip a halberd or a flail.

Now, there is a nerdy, maths heavy area with equipping things too. You have an armour class that lowers depending on the equipped gear/class, and it also affects other things as well, but essentially: the lower number in the banner on the mid-right of the inventory the better. And once I got it to -27. When you've played this game you'll understand why that's a big thing. 

Enough about the decididly excellent user interface and more about the actual game. The story is good, not Oscar winning, but good. With your father murdered you have to leave home to get help from your father's friends and end up saving the world. Standard affair. But the it's as deep as you want it to be thanks to it being set in the DnD universe. Hell, for those of you geeky enough to have read the Dragonlance Chronicles, you get to meet a knight of Solamnia who was accidentally teleported from another dimension. There's just the right touch of humour as well, such as a character who whenever you meet him will scream in terror and dissapear in a puff of smoke and who's identity only becomes apparent in the final expansion pack (in a cruel and hilarious twist of fate). Or Biff the Understudy (look it up). Or the Big Metal Unit (again, look it up). On top of that they pile on suspense, engaging NPCs, perfect companions, romance options, a pretty decent reputation scheme that actually allows you to benefit from staying neutral and personal moral choices that will always cause someone to be upset. 

Obviously this game isn't perfect. The first time you play it you WILL spend a large amount of it going: "what's a critical miss? I spent hours to get one level up and that was all I got? How do you fail to copy a spell to your spellbook?" but it's just one of those things that you need to plug at. In the end they become a critical factor to this games success. If you play the core rules then checking speed factor against dice rolls becomes natural and the gambling system of "will the spell be memorised correctly" is tense. You don't have the money to spare to make mistakes, unlike modern games where you could buy the country you're playing in by the end.

An important thing about this game is how it rewards the gamer who plays the entire series. Items and people you meet in the first game will crop up in the second game and even the second game's expansion pack. Of course, it's not necessary to play the first game first, but once you have you start to appreciate the game for what it is worth and understand the characters and why they join with you, and it will have you coming back to play the game in a different way each time. It's this kind of thought out approach to the games that has cause Bioware to be one of the forerunners of RPGs today, and they even use a lot of the same story mechanics and multiple-game-spanning choices as they did back here in the nineties.

So yeah, it's not for beginners and it's probably not for very casual gamers, but if you want a genuinely rewarding game where completion is an achievement and levelling up never loses it's boredom then this is for you. Just get used to tapping Q to quick save otherwise you will regret it. Especially when you go into a vampire coven and your only Cleric gets level drained. Every. God. Damn. Time.

Cliff Notes: A true RPG that isn't rushed and can't be rushed through. Requires thought, practice and effort but is far more rewarding than a lot of modern Action RPGs.
Rating: 9/10
Would I recommend it to my friends: If you're my friend, then chances are I've already told you to play it. And you should.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Continue? 10...9...8.....

Remember that? Remember when you used to go "Oh man, I hope I got enough points for a continue otherwise I am fuuuuuuucked!". Remember when the weight of a dozen enemies or a giant mecha-boss would bear down upon you and you'd go: "Pah! I have a continue! Trollololololol!". Or the "I...I did it. I finally defeated Robotnik! What year is it?!" This is about that.

There was a time before downloads, before CDs, before memory cards when all you would need to play a game was the console, a cartridge, a D-Pad and two or three buttons. And it had the hardest fucking games in the world. Seriously: take any five of your favourite childhood games and think about how many of them you actually completed. Hell, I know I never completed Batman Returns/Mercs/Toejam and Earl/James Pond (without cheats, anyway). The only one of the five that I did was Sonic, and only because I played it hundreds of times. And that's my other point: how many times did you play a game that you got for the Mega Drive or SNES? Each of those times you weren't bored with it, either. You just perfected each level until you got closer and closer to beating the last boss. Take that through to nowadays and count how many games you haven't completed. Not through boredom, or because you put the controller down, but just through sheer difficulty. I can only think of one: Dark Souls. This isn't a review of that game, but I will say that it's worth a look in: genuinely challenging, not because the enemies have a bajillion HP but because it requires hard work, finesse and preparation. Fuck, I know it's joining the "never completed, badass, oldy" game group for me.

But here's the problem: each game you pick up nowadays is designed for you to complete it. There's no: "have you beaten the last boss?", just "have you beaten the last boss YET?" and it's caused the whole gaming experience to change. If you start a game knowing you will finish it then the challenge is partially gone. You are essentially just playing an (incredibly) interactive film and it's caused the game designers to have to make games more interesting or better designed to accommodate that. If you compare retro games with modern games,then modern games have incredibly deep stories and excellent cut scenes that you can immerse yourself into so that you get more satisfaction from playing the entirety of the game. Retro games had none of that. Take Sonic vs Mass Effect: Sonic 1 has zero storyline, it's purely just "run forwards, hit Dr Robotnik/Eggman til he flies away". That's it. But managing that was hard, and each time you beat Robotnik you gave yourself satisfaction with no need for the game to do it for you or for a super cutscene to appear and make you go "shit, that's cool, I want to carry on".

I'm not saying that modern games are bad or easy though, just that it's a completely different experience nowadays, and that's probably why a lot of gamers are disappointed with modern games. If you take away the joy of finishing a game being special then you've taken away a core mechanic of games that needs to be replaced. Bioware has this down good with their personal, tailored, choice based story systems, but apart from that most other games have got achievements and trophies. A lot of reviews ignore these when reviewing the game, but they can make or break some game experiences. All your achievements are logged, so proudly displaying the fact that you completed Dead Space 2 on hardcore (3 saves, no checkpoints, minimal items) setting is something to be genuinely proud of and is an excellent replacement for the old "I won!" purely personal achievements. Where most games go wrong, though, is that the majority of achievement points are given to you on completing various chapters of most games. That's not an achievement, that's just playing the game, just give one achievement for finishing it. But if achievements are done right they bridge the gap between the modern cinematic gaming experience and the butt-fuckingly hard and rewarding retro games scene and give you a rewarding (and challenging) gaming experience. Want to try  some? Go and try to finish off the achievements for Dead Space 2, Super Meatboy, or Portal 2. It will be hard, but fuck: you will feel like an absolute fucking boss if you manage them.


Just saying.


Also, buy Dark Souls. Then sit there and cry while you try to kill the bosses. No amount of grinding will help you here. Dark Souls is to Skyrim what childbirth is to a hug. 

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (Or: How To Confuse Fanboys)

So way back in September I played this game at GameFest and thought "hey, this is pretty neat!". Since then Capcom basically told everyone a few even neater facts, namely that you can kill Leon and you fight Nemesis/Mr X. Then they released trailers and stuff and everyone thought this game looked mad good. And then they bought the game. And then traded it back in, or would have done if Game hadn't have gone bust. And then I wrote this review.

GOOD SHIT

Right, so, the big thing with this game is that you get to play a squad based shooter against zombies, then against UBCS (Spec Ops people), and then against BOTH AT THE SAME TIME. That might not sound like anything special but when you're in a pitched battle against people who are basically dicking on you and then you get attacked by zombies: fucking frantic fun. Swinging in with that is that if you cause an enemy to bleed, he'll attract almost all the zombies over to him which is pretty much a game winning outcome. And super satisfying. The zombies also infect people sometimes, which for a while will protect you from zombies but also turn you into a zombie if/when you die  (if you don't have an antiviral spray. But they seem to drop out of half the zombies asses anyway). Again, mega satisfying to do to enemies or to do to yourself if you don't like your team-mates online....

That's all the good things about the gameplay, so before I slag it off here are the other neat-oh things: Every level has a "SHIT, I REMEMBER THAT!" section. From the fire escape ladder or chief of police's office in the Police department to the tram lift and round by Kendo's gun shop, there's something for every fan. The fact that the game starts you off with standing outside Birkin's lab while he gets shot up and then running away from his transformation shows just how hard they've tried to make this fit in with the events of Resident Evil 2/3. The part in the Umbrella facility where the security cameras feature is used to see Leon say goodbye to Ada, which almost made me cheer with fan-ish happiness. Hell, they even explain how Leon did that stupid 180 in his car at the start of Resi 2. And that's pretty much where all the happiness ends.

BAD SHIT



So a cover based squad shooter. Seems sound, right? Not if they make it so that to aim out of cover your character has to actually crouch halfway out of cover to do so. In the end I stopped trying to shoot from cover because you leave yourself so exposed. This doesn't make any sense seeing as it is one of the core foundations of this type of game, and they've basically fucked it up. Aiming down sites is piss-poor too, with the sniper rifle not hitting where you aim it or hitting invisible cover instead and the handgun weaving all over the place. Bullet drop shouldn't happen in a Resi game. It just makes everyone angry. Which means fighting the almost invincible Nemesis is fucking hard just because of the core mechanics being terrible.

The AI is fucking awful. Even worse than Sheva from Resi 5. They took her ability level and spread it over 3 people so they're all only 33% as good as Sheva is. More bullets land on them than the zombies. And yet them and their stupid accents still don't die.

Most enemies in the game can be taken down with one or two bullets to the head apart from big names (and lickers, even though it's their weak spot). I was standing at point blank range and emptied 20 shotgun shells into Ada's face and she wouldn't go down. She just wandered off. Nikolai took untold amounts of sniper bullets to the forehead and just shrugged and moved on. Now, I understand the need for bosses to be hard, but maybe the design shouldn't have allowed me to have the barrel of my gun against people's foreheads and them not go down. It just doesn't make sense and in a Resi game just looks fucking stupid.

The big thing about this game is (as I've already said) the appearance of old stuff. Unfortunately most of it is really off hand and is just thrown away. I appreciate that this squad needs to be kept in the shadows for the most part so that it doesn't conflict with the canon of Resident Evil, but every time you see something from the games...you just skip away with a big "lol, fuck that". Examples: You see Birkin, run away, he's never mentioned again. You chase down Nikolai, he runs away, he's not mentioned again. You fix the broken Nemesis, run away, he's not mentioned again. I had no idea what I was doing for most of the game and no idea why there were so many mercs fucking about in a zombie infested town. The real sad point of the game comes at the end when you've hunted down Leon and Claire and have to kill them. For untold reasons Leon is a rookie cop who is now a crack shot with a sniper rifle and Claire could 3 star every Angry Birds level with her ability with the grenade launcher. On top of that is that they are being protected by an army of mercs for no apparent reason. Mercs who can't set up a simple baricade to stop you just running past them in the final battle...

And that's when shit gets weird. You have Leon and Claire at gunpoint at the very end of the game and then you are told to make a decision: Kill them or save them (obviously you kill them, because who wouldn't?). You're magically transported to an arena style area and told to kill off half of your team and Leon/Claire EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE AT GUNPOINT. And when you win? There is a 6 second ending of: "Time to die", fade to black, gunshot. The big selling point of the game was mearly a 6 second afterthought. Disappointing. And anticlimatic. Seems to be a theme nowadays.

Cliff Notes: A squad shooter that fails at both shooting and squading plus a pointless level up system. I didn't even play the versus matches because I honestly couldn't be arsed to play any more of this shit.
Rating: 4/10
Would I recommend it to my friends: GOD NO. But if they got given it then it could make a fun-ish campaign multiplayer mode. Anything's an improvement on having doors blocked by retarded AI just standing there.


Monday, 19 March 2012

MASS EFFECT THREE WAS FUN FUCK YOU (single player edition)

Attention: spoilers!

Now that that is dealt with: let's first have a look at the part of the game that didn't suck, namely: 99% of the game.

Mass Disrespect 3 returns to the series on the slightly confusing note of Shepard sitting in a detention centre. For those who didn't download the DLC Arrival for ME2: everyone got angry that you fucked over a bunch of non-council terrorists (who get destroyed by Reapers anyway) which in turn allows everyone in council space to sit on their arses for a while debating whether or not Shepard is a liar/badman/hero. Cue Earth being taken by Reapers while Shepard learns the basics of shooting a gun and punching things with laser fists.

To be fair, the tutorial is one of the better parts of the game by allowing people new to the series to get acquainted to the control system, old players to go "oh shit, Shepard can now somersault!" and everyone to laugh at the gangly flailing that is Shepard's running animation. However, it kind of also set a bad tone with veteran gamers. Anyone who picked the Ruthless backstory for Shep and played through both games as a Renegade (badman) is forced to look at Shep's tortured face as a child dies, even though you may have let umpteen people dies previously and not given a shit about them. To top it off, the Reaper that kills said child is quite happy taking down taxis whilst the most advanced ship in the galaxy is floating ten metres away with it's hatch open and Shepard staring out with a melancholy expression.

The game proceeds through the established channels of recruiting players and nations, much like previous games, and stays pretty fun throughout. Team mates make welcome returns and have made significant steps forward whilst Shep has sat on this thumbs apparently doing shit all apart from making touching speeches. But: OUT OF THE WAY, FUCKERS! The trick is that most impressive part of the game's characters doesn't lie with the guys in your team. It's about the people you meet who showed up in the other games. The meeting with Thane who now spends all his time in hospital due to his chronic illness (but still gets himself killed fighting an asian cyber assassin ninja from space) is only topped by Legion sacrificing himself to give Geth true AI, finally creating unity and peace between Quarian and Geth. I felt more attached to Wrex and his macho headbutts than to James Idon'tevenknowhissurname who spends all his time cleaning his "gun" and pretending to be a hispanic.

There are so many things thrown in for people who have played the previous games that you can't seem to step anywhere without going "I remember thaaaat" and nodding happily. Fuck, the best bit of the game was a side quest that managed to link in multiple quests, as follows:

A doctor is complaining about broken Medi Gel dispensers and a Cerberus preacher. After fixing the dispensers you find out that the preacher is (REF #1) Conrad Verner, your number one fan. After sorting him out, he calls (REF #2) Gavin Hossle from Feros to give you some bonus data which can't be accessed without the (REF #3) Elkoss Combine license. Then, this can't be decripted without (REF #4) Asari matriarch writings from Mass Effect 1. After changing my boxers, Conrad points out his Cerberus link, who pulls a gun on Shep. Conrad catches the bullet with his chest, Shep punches the guy, I thought it was all over. THEN (REF #5) Jenna from ME1 pops up to say that she put duds in the gun. Mind blown. And the game is full of tiny points like that. You are constantly assaulted emails concerning people from your past who have helped save the day in small ways, or who decide to aid the war effort. It also means that your war assets are through the roof for returning players by the halfway point, even without multiplayer, but heyho.

So, the game is good, the back-referencing is fucking perfect, graphics are good, story is great, the enemies are challenging when placed in certain situations, the final assault on Earth, including the "final sprint" is spafftacular, and then...it ends. Ish. I don't really remember. It's a bit of a blur.

Imagine: you've just spent 40 hours collecting assets and soldiers (and reputation. Still no idea what the fuck that is) from across the galaxy and making Shepard the most holy person since Prometheus picked up some modelling clay and then...none of it makes a blind bit of difference. In ME2 they pretty much play a ticklist of: "Yep, you bought double glazing, that saved a life. Oh, and good job for picking the robot to hack shit, that was a clever move". In ME3 you get nada. No gold medal for your time completing side quests. No Hanar comforting the dying in their last moments. No (and this bit REALLY pissed me off) Elcor charging into battle with mounted chainguns, which the game pretty much promised me. From there, you divert any kind of last boss (sorry, Marauder Shields. You were a worthy opponent) and proceed to having a stand off with the Illusive Man, who appears to be nothing but a pawn. Bit lame, seeing as he was a major character for two games and then gets discarded like a piece of gum when there isn't a bin around. "Uh. Shit. I'll just casually drop this on the floor when no-one's looking. Sweet, no-one saw...think I'm in the clea-" NOPE. Fuck you, Bioware.

The ending's almost redeemed by the sad death of Captain "Token" Anderson, but then plummets straight back into the "eh" regions by the appearance of a psychic ghost robot child who tells you the entire trilogy now boils down to three bullshit choices (destory the bad guys and some good guys, control the bad guys, make everyone semi-robot things). Over a hundred hours (if you did all the side quests in all three games) and the endgame is a choice between three morally questionable decisions? No. And to top it all off, each of the endings look exactly the fucking same. No. What about my Paragon or Renegade points? No.



It's like eating a delicious meal and then having the chef come out and tell you that you've been eating feces all along and that you can't leave until you've finished the meal and licked the plate clean. Yeah, it was a delicious quiche, I can't deny that, but you kind of ruined the entire meal. Now, I don't want to see Shepard baking cookies with the council races, or a Krogan/Salarian marriage, but I cured the fucking Genophage, united every race in the galaxy, gave the Quarians their homeworld and apparently made organic races into semi-robots (still not sure on that one). I'd like some fucking closure. But there was none coming. Apart from some bullshit about Shepard maybe being indoctrinated and that the end was him fighting the indoctrination and Buzz Aldrin telling us all that there will be more shit pie arriving at our tables soon. YUM, GRUBS UP GUYS. Cheers for everything, Bioware, and cheers to you EA for being douchebags with the failing business that is Game PLC.

On a closing note: Marauder Shields will be always remembered, never forgotten. RIP




Cliff Notes: 39 hours of fucking amazing gaming, with a return to ME1's sidequesting roots and an excellent carry on from the level/other shit that you got in ME2. 1 hour of shite.
Rating: Mostly 8/10. I'd give it 9, but they don't put a Krogan in your squad which sucked ass.
Would I recommend it to my friendsIf they've not played the other games then probably not. If they have then I would, but I would advise them shutting their eyes and covering their ears for anything after disappearing into the Citadel at the end....

Also, I promise that the next reviews will be more review based, shorter and less tear filled.