Thursday, October 13, 2011

Alan Wake Review

Platform: xbox360
Genre: thriller, horror survival

The player heard about a new game called Alan wake. It was a game promising a new tweak to the horror-survival gameplay. It also promised a captivating story just like one of Stephen king's novels.

On a rainy day of May the game was released and the player rushed to get it.

...suddenly I awoke on the couch and the game finished installing ... I reached out for the controller and turned off the light. It was late at night and I was struggling to progress. I had my controller and i was runningi low on battery. I reached for a new set. They weren't there ...

... hours passed and all I had was this foggy world where I had to relly on Alan's flashlight and the weapons he had collected. I helped him find the pages he was collecting but I missed a few. The creepiness has faded away because the camera kept showing me when the creeps appeared. But I was amazed of the scenery although it kept following the same pattern ... The forest ...

The story kept the player tied to the screen ... He tried to escape rhe temptation but he failed ... miserably. He couldn't always predict what was going to happen. He will never expect a rockstage all fired up to mix up the monster killing with the glorious power of metal ...

One thing kept ruining the cinematic experience of the player. He kept seeing how the lips wheren't in sync with what he was hearing. But he didn't care that much because the game has delievered. It didn't deliver much but it was a very ok release after all ... The player had it ... He had his driving sections, collectibles and a great deal of story and armosfhere ...

... The reader now notices he ended reading this short review ... He walks away ... Unaware of what is happening in Bright Falls

Baku: Alan Wake was a very refreshing experience in the vortex of bad or boring horror games. Not many games have really managed to get me immersed in the experience as this one did, enough that I finished it in a single session (while COma was next to me trying not to get scared as horror games sometimes have that effect on him) which does not happen very often.
The story was very engrossing for me and it's pacing was spot on. The way you found out what happened in the past from the novel pages you find lying around was great and Alan's struggle to find his wife in a town that seemed to become darker and creepier as time went on was brilliant.
As far as gameplay goes the mechanic of using light to weaken enemies was interesting and the game always gave me just enough resources to keep me tensed up which is just what I was expecting so kudos to the developers.
I didn't follow this game much before launch but I had a very pleasant surprise and all in all it's one of the best horror survival games I've played in a while and frankly I'm just waiting for a sequel to explain more about the dark force that inhabits Bright Falls though some things may be better left unexplained.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Red Dead Redemption Review

Platform: xbox 360
Genre: sandbox

I will start this review with a confession. I always wanted to play a good western game although I cannot say that I'm a big fan of the genre. I didn't see any Clint Eastwood movies or the highly-acclaimed Deadwood. Also, on the gaming side of things, I only played the Call of Juarez series and I tried Gun but it kept crashing to desktop. Other games like Dead man's hand, Red Dead Revolver have passed me by. (Baku: Nothing missed there since Red Dead Revolver is not really much of a game as it's comprised mostly of arenas where you shoot a bunch of people to get revenge for something or other buy some new weapons then go on to the next arena and kill a bunch more people)

Rockstar Games, known for their Grand Theft Auto franchise took their unique gameplay style along with the somewhat mature(Baku:I think it's really mature with just enough humor) mature characters and story to the Old West. What came out of it ... is awesome. They kept the open world formula with lots of distractions from the main plot but they replaced the cars with horses. At least this might be their first game where the means of transportation are fully licensed. The setting is huge and of course some parts of it are closed till a certain point in the story. Some might say that the world is too empty and it might not have easter eggs or funny references at every corner as you may find in some of their other games but it doesn't matter. Personally I had lots of fun riding my horse (with no name) through the desert, killing and skining everything that walked, watching people die of thirst and then vultures coming to eat them, picking flowers, searching for hidden treasures or helping random civilians in need. The list of things to do is enormous ... add the side-missions, mini-games, the achievement to tie a unlucky-female and put her on the train-tracks, capture better horses and so on and you have a huge game with lot's of things to do.

The main plot is awesome, it integrates a lot of stuff related to that period like the mexican revolution and the noble indians. From my point of view the story could be summarized as the end of a era ... the end of the cowboyz and outlaws and the coming of "civilization". I found it a bit sad, but that may be because I really liked the main character ... John Marston. He is a ex-outlaw on his way to redemption. Unlike Grand theft auto where nobody had a problem with hookers, John is a family oriented man. I think from all that Rockstar threw at us, he is my favorite character(Baku:And the rest of the cast isn't too shabby either, they created a lot of intriguing characters)... And without any spoilers I take off my cowboy hat and bow before Rockstar for the awesome ending.

The gameplay is nothing more than you would expect it to. Go to a letter on your map, watch a cutscene, mount your horse, go from point A to point B, shoot something/someone ... mission succesfull. The cool part is that as you advance through the story you can buy newspapers that will have news related to what you did. Also there are some challenges that can keep you distracted and have to be triggered in a way. These vary from collecting plants to killing and skinning some sort of wildlife (there are a lot to choose from, from rabbits to bears) or find a hidden treasure. Of course at higher levels they can have more and more special requirements like shooting 5 birds from a moving train (Baku: which took me about 1 hour to complete... damn birds).

As the shooting goes you can take cover almost behind anything, and (I see it's a trend now) a bullet-time effect ... that slows down time and you can precisely target your opponent. This is widely used in duels against random folk that just have a death-wish or something.
Although you may call it a western-GTA I found it a different game and I had a lot of fun with it. Also it cannot be a GTA because John Marston doesn't have a cellphone and an annoying cousin to invite him to playing poker or darts.

the bad: sometimes riding session can get boring and long, some graphical issues
the good: the story, the characters, the setting

Friday, June 3, 2011

Dead Money (Fallout New Vegas DLC) Review

Platform: PC
Genre: (DLC) RPG

Well, let's give a go to DLC reviews. Although I'm not a big fan of theese and I prefer a old fashioned boxed add-on, some DLC's still shine. Of course, I'm not talking about those that give you a new skin/suit or just a overpowered gun.

So, Dead Money... This and the other DLC's to come are reason I cannot finish New Vegas. I want to play through all of them before I end the game. That, plus the exploring of everything in the game. It is the first one, and in pure Bethesda Style is a masterpiece. You are taken to a abandoned Brotherhood of steel Outpost where you are gased and find yourself in a dark place. It's the Sierra Madre Casino that protects it's riches. Without spoiling much, i can tell you that the characters you will meet are awesome and have very interesting backgrounds. The setting is filled with smoke and creepy-ex-residents of the Sierra Madre which only die if you cripple one of their limbs. Also death cam come from various traps scattered through the scenery or from a collar that you cannot get rid of and will explode near certain emitters. If you want to spend more time in the darkness, appart from a extra snowglobe there are some hidden stashed you can collect.

There's not much to say though without spoiling anything. The story is great, it would've been awesome if there would have been more space or if you could go back to find all the stashes.

Oh yeah ... it also raises the level cap to 35 :D.

The bad: a bit repetitive
The good: awesome characters

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Risen Review

Platform: PC
Genre: RPG

After losing the Gothic franchise to JoWood, Pyranha Bytes had to start work on a new project and started making what they know best .. an open world RPG (Baku:exactly like every other RPG they've ever made). And so Risen made it's way to our hard-drives and consoles. Set in a new world, with a new Nameless Hero the story starts on a ship which is under attack from ... something. You play as one of the survivors, washed up on the shores of a near island. From there on it's up to you ... to save the world obviously.

They seem to have used the same engine (a bit more polished, and it runs much smoother) like Gothic 3 only the island is set in a more tropical environment with thick forests you wouldn't go into. The land is run by three factions and you can choose to join one of them each coming with their pros and cons. You will be welcomed by the monastery for some brain-washing (or so they say ... didn't quite play it the monastery way) and some weed-smuggling, by the Town to keep order or by Don Esteban to retake the town for him. It doesn't quite matter which one you help ... cause, apart for some quests the outcome of it is the same. It is a bit funny how these three factions seem copy/pasted from Gothic 2 ... and maybe Gothic 1 (seeing how one of them lives in the swamp). That might be the major flaw with Risen after all ... it feels too much like the Gothic series ... in many ways ...(Baku: maybe too many ways)

The island is much smaller then many of the lands Piranha Bytes has thrown at us ... or at least that's how it felt to me. But despite its size, it's filled with stuff to explore. Caves, ancient structures (some are explorable only after certain quests ...), mountains to climb or levitate from one to another and treasures to dig. About the levitate part I have to mention a big FAIL (not relevant to the review). I went through a cave and reached an exit on the top of a mountain. I could see a heap of gold, a sword and some other things on another mountain. I checked my inventory and saw that I only have 1 levitation spell. I decided to use it to get on the other side see what's there and if it was worth it I'd reload, buy another scroll and come back. Of course the sword was a bit better then mine so I did all mentioned above. Half an hour later with the sword in my hands I levitated back and continued my adventure. Then I realized the painful truth. I could've just teleported from there. Major fail.

Ok, back to the game ... and to the teleporters ... once you get at a certain chapter, some *spoiler* will spawn all over the land and some of them will be carrying teleporter stones. Yes we saw them till now. The thing is .. that there are too many in my opinion. You will get a teleporter stone for almost every road junction there is. Until your first teleport you will have to walk. The view is nice and the things that want to bite your head off are deadly. The fighting system has improved a lot since Gothic 3. At points it might be the same button-mashing ... until your first human opponent. There I learned to block and believe me it is very useful. Also at first you only have a 3-hit max combo (or something of the sort) but if you level up a type of weapon (the one you will use most of the game of course) you will unlock longer combos and special attacks or the ability to wield two-handers with one-hand.

Well, in the end I'll have to say that Risen is a pretty solid RPG that every fan of the genre should play. Although it resembles some of the developers last games in some ways, it still has a unique feeling, great graphics, a awesome atmosphere, some good characters and that feeling of loneliness and fear to go into a forest at night we missed.

Baku: As you can probably guess I'm not really a fan of the Gothic franchise but I did play Risen and while I did finish it I wasn't particularly impressed by any of it.

the bad: few characters to remember, final "boss fight" 
the good: a solid Piranha Bytes RPG, that brings back that Gothic feeling under a new name

*I will post screenshots late ... you can find them all on our Facebook page

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast Review

Platform: PC
Genre: FPS

Here comes a nostalgia one from the time I had somewhere around 10 games I played over and over again and never got bored of. The time when my internet connection had to struggle a few minutes to download a simple picture, long before my first kiss or any other "firsts".

One of those few games I went through a lot of times was Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. At first, the story didn't make much sense because I hadn't played the first game from the series (or even heard about it for that matter) but I kept going. It kept me entralled because it was the first Star Wars game I got my hands on. Soon followed by Rogue Squadron and Jedi Knight III.

So back to Outcast. You start as Kyle Katarn (one of my favorite Star Wars characters) on a "blue milk run" (yeah, I still know a lot of the dialogue from the game) a.k.a. a scouting mission towards a imperial Outpost. After gunning down some imperial troopers, you find some crystals used to induce the Force into living subjects.

As the story develops you find Dessan, a Sith ... Lord I guess and his apprentice who kill your partner to get information about the Valley of the Jedi (something happened there in the first game). From here on the game takes you to many well-known places including Yavin 4 (where you get trained by Luke Skywalker to get in touch with the Force again), Bespin, Nar'Shadaa and many more. You will also meet many of the movies characters like Lando Calrission, R2-D2, C3-PO ... Some will help you in your quest (or you will help them) or others are just there to look pretty (and as reference to the movies I guess). Trust me you will not be dissappointed with the story and the way it evolves. Also you find out why it's not always a good idea to trust "a bartender with bad grammar". Linking the story are cutscenes (which at the time I found to be awesome) usually presenting the Raven Claw (Katarn's ship) leaving or coming or landing...

One of the most awesome levels, in my opinion, is the one where you have to regain your lighsaber (and your force powers). You have to go through a training ground gaining one force power at a time and use it to go to next area. At the end of the course your lightsaber awaits ... in a cage of sorts. I don't know about other people, but that was a moment in which I wished I had three hands. But, after gaining the saber I felt powerful and awesome. From that moment on I usually tried to "role-play" the game. Not having a moral system, I usually tried to feel like the "good guy" by walking slowly through the levels with the sword turned of, trying to mind-trick the enemies and so on.

The Force Powers are pretty neat, you get the ability to pull, push, mindtrick, lightning, run very fast and maybe some others I don't recall right now. From time to time, these upgrade themselves. The only problem with the lightsaber is that after you get it in your possession all the other weapons become obsolete (and you get a lot of new ones from that point on) ... you will use them just to see how they fire or maybe in a few bossfights. But when you start meeting the Reborn (the bad guys with lightsabers) you can pull some cool combos or jumps and stuff (I don't know exactly how many there are or how they work ... cause I remember smashing buttons when I experienced them). Oh, I forgot to mention dismemberments.
All these being said, the game still has some tricks up it's sleeve until the end. At some point you have to go through a stealth-based mission and at another point you get to 'drive" an AT-ST.

The game also offered a pretty nice multiplayer. With the above-mentioned Force Powers (customizable) you could do some pretty sick stuff. I always liked to play on the Bespin level with Force Jump maxed and jump around all over the place like a moron.

the bad: i'll have to think about it
the good: a nice Star Wars title for it's time

Monday, April 11, 2011

Crysis 2 Review

Platform: Xbox 360
Genre: FPS

What's the first thing that comes into your mind when you hear Crysis ? A earthquake, starvation, economical breakdown, terrorists or a tsunami ? Well in a gamers mind a tropical paradise full of vegetation and life that looks and feels as real as is gets is getting shape. Also names like Nomad and Prophet pop up. Take the above mentioned place, throw some vehicles, make it (almost) fully destructible and you got one of the best FPS's launched in a long time.
Now with Crysis 2 you might be expecting to return to the said paradise and ... maybe fill out the missing gaps in the story. Well ... no. The game takes you to another jungle, this time made out of concrete. I'm talking about the always busy New York. You start the game as a US Marine, named Alcatraz minutes before his death. After getting hold of a nanosuit (which saves his life) you start roaming around the streets of the city killing Ceph (the aliens) and soldiers (of course, humans to kill each other even when the Earth is attacked). On your pointA-to-pointB journey you will meet some interesting characters (some that want to help you, some that want you dead).

Although New York looks impresive (thanks to the new cry engine) it lacks the free-roaming from the previous games. You don't have the same freedom to build up a strategy on how to pass a group of enemies. Yes there are side-streets, subway entrances and you can jump on buildings (or jump down for that matter) but it's just not the same. Also this renders the vehicles provided totally useless and one of my favorite things in Crysis was to drive around the place.

The runs pretty smooth on the Xbox although in some cases it stutters a bit and sometimes you can see things just appear meters in front of you. Also I really liked the fire in the game and light effects (there are a lot of lights, explosions, stuff like like that). The weird thing is that when you throw a object ... Alcatraz moves his arms forward and it takes one extra second until he let's go of the object (I also noticed this in the previous Crysis games).
After killing Ceph you can "harvest" their bodies for resources that you can use to upgrade your suit. These upgrades vary from stealth-bonuses to running consuming less energy and so on. You still have the ability to cloak yourself or enhance the suits armor but you have to be careful because everything (like running, jumping) will deplete your energy bar and you can accidentaly de-cloak yourself in the worst moment possible. Just like these suit upgrades, you can modify your weapons with parts that you had on previous death-sharing-devices. You also have a nanovision (some sort of infrared or something) and the ability to look at a zone and mark weapon caches or enemies. While in stealth you can quick-kill your enemies or if you get close to them you can grab-and-throw them.
The only weird thing in the game is that the AI isn't always there. Sometimes I would just sit behind this tree or something and the enemies came one a time in the same spot. I also encountered a situation when i was sitting right besides a enemy and we would just look at me ... eventually crouching or running back-and-forth.
The game has a pretty lengthy campaign full of surprises and plot-twists, it looks and feels brilliant but the thing it lacks the most are boss-fight ... there are none. Also there are plenty of collectibles to make you replay the game a lot of times. There are New York souvenirs, dog-tags, car keys and email conversations.

the bad: the AI 
the good: graphics, you can go stealthy or just gun everyone down

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Gothic 3 Forsaken Gods Enhanced Edition Review

Platform: PC
Genre: RPG

So after making a awesome job on Gothic 3, making the game more than playable, the community patch team was hired by JoWood to do the same thing for the expansion pack (or so the rumor goes). Now I retried the game and I have to say I'm very pleased with their work. I haven't encountered any bug till the end of the game. No quest bugs, no floating trees (maybe there are some, but I didn't check every tree in the game).

So CPT made the game more then playable and now I finished it and I can review it properly. The story follows Gothic 3's "go to the unknown lands with xardas" ending (the best one in my opinion). So far so good right ? Yes but this is where the Gothic story I know and like ends. Once in the Unknown Lands, the nameless guy and Xardas have an argument over human's capacity to protect themselves and the land. And here the Nameless Hero "dies". The producers decided to make a drastic change in the main characters behavior. Bad move. Now, our beloved pony-tail-wearer feels like all humans are weaklings and he is the only one man-enough to do something right. After coming back to the land of Myrtana he finds Gorn fighting Thorus for no apparent reason.

The land of Myrtana is almost the way we left it, except

that Varant and Nordmar are completely blocked and maybe a temple/fence/neighborhood spawned in some places. The quests are interesting and kinda diverse (although some are weird), but the annoying part is that from a point on you get to run between cities for stupid reasons. Like... you have to find a replacement for a guard in Montera but the only place you find one is in Cape Dun (and then you have to escort him back).

The only weird thing is that Myrtana kinda lost it's appeal ... I didn't find the least desire to explore a cave or anything if I didn't have to. Also the new producers added a lot of new armors and items that kinda don't fit the universe. Also from a point on the game offers different ways (so you can end up in jail at some point or not ... and many other choices) but the ending is the same. Another weird thing is that 3 quarters of the game (even more) is about Gorn and Thorus and the [maybe spoiler alert] big new menace ... blabla... is introduced with 3 quests (or so) before the end. And just like in Gothic 3 ... you get a lot of learning points that you'll just look at (opposite of Gothic 1 and 2 ... when I never had enough). I did encounter one "bug" (if you can call it that) but it was pretty helpful. The last ... let's call it boss has a summoning ability. So after getting my butt kicked a lot of times I tried to summon my own Golem to help. Of course in a few minutes I was running like a scared kid (and drinking potions on the way, you can still enter your inventory and

nothing will attack you) when I got the quest completed message ... the bosses summons killed him somehow ... AWESOME.

So yes, the community patch team made a unplayable game ... playable. The game can be finished now without any bugged quests or anything and is worth it (if you're not considering it has Gothic in it's name).

the bad: it's a Gothic 
the good: a nice enjoyable casual RPG (if you're not considering it has Gothic in it's name)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bulletstorm Review

Platform: PC
Genre: FPS

While waiting for all the games that
have to pop out and I want to play (all of them having numbers at the end), I had to kill my time with something. While the Wii and 360 are still waiting for a TV, the PSP is on vacation and the iPhone waits for the last appStore bill to pay itself I got the dust off the PC. The always trust-worthy PC which still begs for a upgrade, but it also shows me that he can still fight the good fight and deliver the best.
So, what to play ? Shift 2, Crysis 2, Portal 2 and many other 2's are still unreleased ... no Lego games left unfinished (100% of course) I turned my attention to something fresh. So i got my hands on Bulletstorm.

I put a stop on my grand-project in Minecraft and I went for a taste of how it is to "Kill with skill". It proved to be one of those games that I just couldn't exit till finished it.

From the start the game introduces you to its "humor" of language and mixed-up swearing. This is one of those things that you either like it or not. Maybe I would've hated it in another game but here it mixes up just fine with the game's atmosphere. A few moments later in which you plunge your ship (after drinking a bootle of ... booze) through the biggest warship in the galaxy you wake up on a weird planet full of gangs and mutants. Of course this was set up as a vacation but you soon find out of some poor architectural decisions. As you get out of what's left of your hip you get a laso-thingy attached to your arm (of course it had a name but laso-thingy sounds nicer) that measures the coolness in your enemy-killing-abilities and gives you skill-shots that you use to upgrade weapons or buy ammo. And by upgrade I mean ... increased ammo capacity, or unlocking a secondary fire-mode (and increasing ammo capacity for that one as well). Also you can kick your enemies into different objects scattered around the map like huge cacti or electric wires.

The weapons that go through your hands till the end of the game are pretty neat. Although at first you get the classic-FPS weapons like a shotgun, a assault rifle, a pistol or a sniper-rifle, as you advance with the campaign you will have in one of your pockets (can only carry 3 weapons at a time) a rail-gun that launches enemies into the air, a flail-launcher which shoots a "rope" with explosives which wraps around your enemies (or yourself, depending on who pulled the trigger first. Also you can control the trajectory of a bullet shot with a sniper-rifle.

The things that come after you and try to paint the walls with your insides range from gang-members to gang-members-on-flying-machines to huge-monsters the size of the city (actually there's only one).

To get even more skillshot points you can find all of the hidden-stuff in the game. There are many bottles to drink (grants even more point if you kill anyone drunk), or newsletter robots to kill or insects to squish.

The boss-fights were quite cool, the bosses always being big and awesome. Although I heard many complaining about the ending I found it to be OK. It leaves a hard-to-miss hint that there will be a second part to this story, but that's something I'm looking forward to.

the bad: voiceacting (Baku: I don't agree with that)
the good: visuals, skillshots

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Call of Duty: Black Ops Review

Platform: PC
Genre: FPS

“The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle!” [General John J. Pershing]

In 2003 while I was experiencing first year of high-school one of my new class-mates convinced me to play Call of Duty. I was getting bored of World War 2 shooters but I tried it. And I'm not sorry I did. It had a very realistic battle feel to it ... enemies respawning giving it a feel of a actual battle between two armies. Also I really liked that it wasn't so focused on one-man-bring-down-an-entire-something-rambo-thingy and you always had a lot of people around you ... some named (probably to make you sympathise with them).
Then it got an expansion, a Call of duty 2 came and so on. The series changed a bit with Modern Warfare, the 4th instalment in the series. It gave up the World War 2 setting for a more modern army_vs._ terrorist one. It was brilliant, but it was ... different (not just the setting). It focused on giving a more cinematic experience of the conflict with intense cutscenes taken from the players point of view. since then we got a return to the old seconcd World War with Call of Duty: World at War and a second Modern Warfare.

Now, Infinity Ward has stepped on a new ground ... the Cold War. You start the game with a assault on Fidel Castro's villa and end up killing him. WTF ? Anyway ... you find out that the one you killed was a clone and the story develops from there on. If you like conspiracy theoryes and stuff of the sort ... this right here might be your Mecca. During the game, you shake hands with Kennedy, play on a shipwreck full of chemical bombs, through Vietnam or go underwater on a station that reminds me of the one from The Abyss movie. This might be something worth mentioning. Sometimes durring the story you might have a "I've seen this before" feeling. So, in some spots the game seems to deliver scenes from movies like "The Great escape (1963)" or "A beautiful mind (2001)". Without spoiling too much the story evolves around Mason (the main character) who is strapped onto a chair and interogated about some numbers which he (apparently) knows nothing about and the search through his memories to find out the true meaning.

Unlike it's predecesors, in Call of Duty Black Ops you usually fight with one-or-more of your teammates instead of huge squadrons of useless-stupid-3d-models. But this being the Cold War it is understandable. Theyr AI is almost but not quite. They give some cover or help during fights but many times I have had the feeling that the enemy was only targeting me and completely ignoring my squad of Man in Tights.

The levels (as stated above) are pretty diverse, from Hong-Kong rooftops, to a street shoot-down in Havana, from Vietnam to Siberia. The story is linked with intense-cinematics and from time to time the game slows-down allowing you too see a airplane crashing and missing you by a inch. Of course a lot of them seem exaggerated and are closer to Chuck Norris movies than to the first Call of Duty game but they are visually delicious so we might excuse them.

Of course I find the Vietnam level awesome for more than one reason. You have to fly a helicopter and shoot stuff, ninja-kill some Vietnamese dudes while they sleep or drag them underwater from their boats. But the most awesome part while you are controlling a boat. Let me explain this. While on the boat you shoot enemies, buildings, towers, helicopters ... there's fire, chaos, stuff flying around and then you hear a musical tune which transforms into Rolling Stone's song "Sympathy for the devil". In this brief moment the game feels awesome.

As all Call of Duty's this one was pretty short (took me about 5-6 hours to complete) but it compensates with great multyplayer and Zombies). Of course there is zombie mode in which you have to survive as many zombie-waves as you can as either JFK, Castro, Nixon oranother guy. I have to give credit to JFK's voice impersonator on doing a great job.

the bad: seems to copy some movies key moments, too linear
the good: Rolling Stones, some "special" levels, zombies, presentation (audio + graphics)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Dead Space Review

Platform: Xbox 360
Genre: horror survival

As mentioned many times by now, I don't like horror games but I try some of them from time to time and many times I was surprised to actually like the game (like Sillent HIll Shattered Memories, Cryostasis or Clive Barker's Undying). Now, that Dead Space 2 is out and the series generated a lot of hype I gave it's predecesor another shot.

So ... Isaac Clarke is on his way to the USG Ishimura to repair ... something. Anyway, once you crash-land on the Ishimura you'll be presented with the actual situation. The ship is just a wreck floating in outer space, all of it's crew is dead and blood is omnipresent on the walls or floors. Of course you are separated by the rest of the crew (4 people .... 2 killed in the first cutscenes) and have to carve your way around the Ishimura doing mostly maintenance stuff.
Although the first 9 chapters are mainly repair-this, repair-that or go get this so we can repair that ... the story gets some interesting twists and it kinda sucks you in.

Basicly you start looking for a way to leave the Ishimura but, usually some non-sense happens and you have to go to a certain area of the ship (via a a tram system) and do the necessary repairs or adjustments. A notable mention would be that the necromorphs, the new inhabitants are gonna try to ... well ... eat you i guess. These are the former crew-members with some extra limbs. Early in the game you are told to shot the limbs for extra-damage ... so happy limb-shooting. This gimmick tends to be really cool if you're using the first weapon in the game a.k.a. the plasma-cutter. It shoots 3 rounds of ... plasma I guess either in a verstical or horizontal line. I cannot tell much of the other weapons because I was going for a achievement that makes you finish the game with the first weapon only but they seemed interesting, there is flamethrower, assault rifle and so on. Also, Mr. Clarke can use stasis to slow down object or enemies and kinesis to take up big objects or get them out of the way.

The atmosphere is pretty creepy and all, but It wasn't quite a jump-of-your-seat-experience (except for the ending but I was kinda expecting that). there were a lot of unused ooportunities. Like ... you're using a lot of small elevators in the game and yet there was not a ambush in any of them or anything. There are times when you have to get out of the Ishimura. Then you are timed by a oxygen-meter and there is no gravity at all. To move in zero gravity, you can walk or you can target a place and jump to it (even if it's on wall or ceiling).

From time to time you get to a store which is used to buy medpacks, ammo or new armour or weapons (if you found the needed schematics) or a workbench where you can upgrade your equipment.

Theese being said ... I enjoyed Dead Space more then I though I will ... and I'm actually doing a New Game + (i don't usually do them).

the bad: repetitive repair-something objectives
the good: setting, atmosphere, cut-off-their-limbs

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Test Drive Unlimited Review

Platform: PC
Genre: racing

There are a few games that stoof the test of time on my HDD like Diablo 2 (because it was addictive), GTA Vice City (I was modding it), TES Morrowind (because it was huge + lots of fans making awesome mods), Gothic 2 Night of the Raven (best game ever) and Test Drive Unlimited. I got the came when it released but I couldn't play it for like 2-3 months because I had to upgrade my PC.

When I started playing it the first time (I made 3-4 playthroughs both online or offline) it was just awesome. You are flown to Oahu, one of Hawaii's islands and after you loan a car you get to buy your first house and car. The game invites youto do races, cruise around the map alone or with other players and to do secondary missions.

After completing races or secondary missions you earn credits wich are used to buy new cars or houses. The cars are separated into groups from G to A depending on how good they are. Also some races are restricted to car groups or car makers. Bored of racing ? The game gives you lots of alternative stuff to do like getting hitchhikers to their destination in time, taking a car from point A to point B without scratching it or delivering a package in time. Some of theese give you coupons which you can use to buy your avatar clothes.

But the awesomes of this game is te feeling it gives you. You can totally imerse yourself in your favorite car on the roads of Oahu. Dashboard-cam, fine radios (plus the possibity to add to up to 4 custom radios), total simulation and two different manual gearboxes is everything you need to fully enjoy cruising. And if you play on-line, you can meet other players on the road and can challenge them to races. Also, in multyplayer mode you can buy clubs or be invited to join a club another player created (somewhat like guilds in MMORPG's). I have to mention the classic music raio-station because there is a interesting feel given to driving like a maniac on a motorcicle (yes, the game has them too) while listening to Mozart.

So, I have to say that this is/was a epic game and I just got Test Drive Unlimited 2 (to be reviewed) which I hope will be even greater. Also there is a great MODing community constantly making new car models for the game.

the bad: I'll have to think about it
the good: Awesome free-roam experience, variety of cars

Friday, February 11, 2011

Project Hysteria Review

Platform: iPhone
Genre: adventure/puzzle

So, after getting the new iPhone 4 I looked into my wallet and it was ... of course ... empty. I started looking for full games. After "finishing" most of them (at least to the point I needed to buy the rest of the game) i started to dig to find something worth it.

At a first glance Project Hysteria seemed like a good one. A simple scary adventure game. Now, after completion I dunno what to review out of it.

The story ? ... it starts with you, the player, tied up in aabandoned shed giving your first twochoices: to start freeing yourself or to wait a bit more. This is the one major gameplay component of the whole game. You see a nice first-person cinematic and then you get to choose your next move. Now, the cinematics are pretty well made (actually all the producers needed were a good camera and a forest).


m time to time you get to a puzzle or to a short minigame of tap-the-branch-to-go-forward, but they get annoying and repetitive very quick. Also a skip cutscene or something like that would've been very useful cause sometimes the autosave point is two cutscenes away ... and you have to see the whole thing again.

All theese been said the game is worth it ... nice video, nice audio and a awesome trailer for Project Hysteria 2 (which is not free of course) with much more puzzles.

I forgot to mention that you can beat the game iin 20 minutes.

the bad: too short
the good: free, a second one is coming