You Are Browsing ' Games You Slept On ' Category

maxresdefault 2

No GravatarJoy Mech Fight, a Japan only Famicom game, was another early attempt at a fighting game from Nintendo. The game took a lot of influence from other fighting game but also Capcom’s Mega Man series. It had 2 scientists who made robots, one scientist went evil and reprogramed the robots except one. The difference in JMF was that after defeating the other robots, they became playable characters, much like story mode unlocks in modern fighting games. The graphics and music were impressive for the time, even as they fought hard against the limitations of the Famicom system ( This was during the transition phase between the 8 bit and 16 bit generations), and while they are not impressive by today’s standards, they were still a technical marvel. The game actually had the largest roster for a fighting game, with 36 characters, until the King of Fighters 98 came out and had 38.

Now there is the question of how to revive it, and to that I say that this is a chance to kill two birds with one stone. There is another game Nintendo was working on for Wii U that seems to have stalled, with no further direction. I refer of course to Project Giant Robot

That game would be perfect to repurpose as a reboot of Joy Mech Fight. It could be the game finally done right, with unique characters that feel like their own character, with the full character shown and not the way they were in the Famicom version with the disembodied limbs. In HD with 3D graphics, this would be an amazing game and if treated right, could be a unique fighting game for Nintendo to have on the NX. The two game concepts seem perfect for each other and would blend well.

Custom characters could be done fantastically in this and the opportunity is there for a variety of modes, such as story ( like in the original), Arcade, Local Multiplayer, Online Multiplayer and Custom Local and Online Multiplayer among others. Nintendo has stated recently that they are unsure of what to do with Project Giant Robot, and retooling it into a reboot of Joy Mech Fight just seems like a perfect way to make this into gold. As for who can make it, perhaps Platinum Games, with their track record of action games and robots in their games. Or maybe Next Level Games, with their unique offbeat games. In the end, whomever makes this, this is too good an opportunity to pass up.

 

 

5913630593_9233a42812_b

No GravatarUncharted: Drake’s Fortune is the start to an amazing series.  I unfortunately played the games out of order (started with Uncharted 3).  I ended up buying the Uncharted/Uncharted 2 dual pack and really thought I got my money’s worth from both games.  Despite having some age, Uncharted is a blast to play.

maxresdefault

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is a third-person shooter, action-adventure game that came out on the PlayStation 3 in 2007.  It was developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony.  Overall, it sold very well, and got critical acclaim, spawning two sequels.  Although when I originally heard about it, I thought it was going to be a Tomb Raider rip-off, so I ignored it completely until now.  This is not the case at all, and I wish I would have known that back in 2007.  This game is a ton of fun and does not play like a Tomb Raider game at all in game play, story, and tone.  If anything, it’s more Indiana Jones-like than Lara Croft.  The game was re-released as part of the Uncharted Collection in 2015 with slicker-looking graphics and more power.

In this game, we are introduced to Nathan Drake, treasure-hunter, Victor Sullivan, his mentor, and Elena Fisher, a journalist hired to record his adventures.  Nate is searching for Sir Francis Drake’s secret, which leads him on a quest for El Dorado.  Adventuring ensues with Elena provided as a love-interest for Drake.  Overall, it’s a fun story, but I felt the pacing was a little slower than Drake’s Deception.  I also was a little annoyed at the fact that the scenery was very similar: jungle/ruins.  That made the game feel a little dull, especially compared to Drake’s Deception, where you get to go to so many cool places.

The game is a typical third person shooter, duck and cover with the added elements of jumping and climbing.  Being the first of the series, it is definitely not as polished as the later games.  One thing that bugged me was the constant gun battles that lasted way too long and came up too often.  I felt like there wasn’t a very good balance between the adventuring portion and the action portion.  There were also some spots that drove me absolutely crazy and actually made me want to stop playing (I’ll get to that in a bit).  This is how I would classify each part of the game play:

maxresdefault (1)

1.) Adventuring/Puzzles

To me, the fun part of the game is the adventuring, and even though I don’t particularly like puzzle games, I actually kind of enjoyed the ones in this game.  I could figure out most of the puzzles by myself, and the rest I easily found how to do on YouTube (what did we do before YouTube, right?).  The jumping, leaping, and climbing is pretty easy to get the hang of, although it was a lot more polished in the later games.  I actually wish there was more exploring and jumping puzzles.  I felt that it was a little lacking, especially for a Tomb Raider fan like myself.

2.) Fighting

This was the part that really annoyed me.  I thought there was way too many gun fights for an adventure game.  It felt like every time you turned the corner there was another gun fight.  It actually became very predictable after awhile and took away from the game a bit.  This aspect was much improved in later Uncharted games, but it still unfortunately took a little away from the game.

3.) Vehicles

Throughout the game, you will ride on different vehicles, including Jeeps and jet-skis.  To me, this was one of the more fun points of the game.  In the Jeep, Elena is driving and Nate is shooting.  With the jet ski, you are driving as Nate but also must shoot with Elena.  It was a fun change from the massive amounts of gun fights that consumed the game play.

For the time that the game came out, the graphics were pretty good.  Obviously now, they are a little dated.  However, I could stand the graphics, and they didn’t give me a headache from Final Fantasy VII syndrome.  By the way, Final Fantasy VII syndrome is a term my husband and I have coined to describe how older games with funky graphics give us headaches when we play because of the eye strain.

Here’s the problem with this game: It reminds me of how I felt about the original Mass Effect.  Now don’t get me wrong, except for the cover-shoot and third person game play, they are worlds different.  But because I had to wait to play the original Mass Effect since I typically play on PC or PlayStation, I had already played the second and third game.  Playing the original became tedious and unpleasant because I knew how much better the later games were.  I don’t see this as a complete knock to Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune.  With all gaming franchises, there are improvements that come along the way.  Luckily, this is a franchise that keeps on improving.

urban champion

No Gravatarurban champion

 

Welcome to our new series, “Games That Should Be Revived”, in which I will be discussing various games that the IP holders should revive. Today lets look at a game that many absolutely despise but has some potential, Urban Champion.

Urban Champion, a fighting game on the NES  was one of Nintendo’s first attempts at a fighting game and to be honest, the game was awful. It is widely regarded as one of Nintendo’s worst games, so why am I arguing for a revival? Well its quite simple, the technology for what they wanted to do with the game was not quite there yet and while they did make an NES fighter with Joy Mech Fight that got a lot right, that was only released in Japan. With modern tech, a reboot could work, especially if it an in name only reboot.

Here is my proposal, hire Bandai Namco or SNK Playmore to develop it. Make it be Nintendo’s own 2D one on one fighting game like Capcom’s Street Fighter. With the proper work done, it could end up well. I think it would be best for Nintendo to farm it out to one of those 2 publishers mentioned due to their history of fighting games, especially SNK Playmore, who could make it work well.

This would not need to be a major production but rather let’s call it a b project. It could be done as a test to see if the series would work. It would need around 12 characters, online, arcade mode, 2 additional modes for multiplayer and single player to entice casuals as well as hardcores and the potential for DLC. It would also cost less than other games, again to hook people in. If this succeeds, DLC could be done to add a lot more content, or a sequel could be made that would be bigger and better like with Smash Bros 64 and then Smash Bros Melee.

But now the question, Why make the game? Well to be honest, Nintnedo is lacking in traiditional fighting games. Microsoft has Killer Instinct ( which formerly was with Nintendo) and Sony has locked up Street Fighter and King Of Fighters. Smash is not a traditional fighting game and Pokken requires two consoles for local multiplayer to work right. I feel that Nintendo needs a traditional 2D fighting game in their lineup and this could work perfectly. It doesn’t need to necessarily be a Street Fighter or King of Fighters clone but be similar yet different.  There is a market for these games, poor sales of SF V not withstanding ( and that was more due to the game ‘s barebones content at launch.) A traditional 2D fighting game would be welcome and a reboot of Urban Champion as an In Name Only reboot is just what the doctor ordered.

 

Next time: A look at Joy Mech Fight.

borderlands_2_wallpaper_by_slydog0905-d628xak

No GravatarBorderlands 2 is one of those special games that only comes around every once in awhile.  It’s a blood and guts shooter with some humor (and a bit of satire as well).  It also is one of the best online co-op games to this day.

Although the game has aged a bit, it still holds up very well.  Borderlands 2 is considered an action RPG first person shooter.  It was developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K in 2012 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC/Mac (the game also had a late PlayStation Vita and Linux port).  It is also the sequel to the original Borderlands that came out in 2009.  The game was re-released in 2015 in the Handsome Collection for this current generation of consoles, but for the purposes of this review, I am referring to my play-through on PlayStation 3.

header (1)

Just like the original game, Borderlands 2 follows different Vault Hunters on the planet of Pandora.  Another large corporation has taken control of the planet, spear-headed by the charismatic Handsome Jack.  The Vault Hunters have come to seek an even larger Vault on the planet but also end up getting caught up in a lot of issues on Pandora, including tons of side-quests.  Although the plot itself is kind of bland, the dialogue, humor, and splash of satire keep the game interesting.  Overall, the feel and ton of the game is a kind of dark comedy/space western.  It’s an odd combination, but it somehow works.
Borderlands 2 is a game that CAN’T take itself too seriously because the game itself is absurd.  It’s filled with ridiculous characters in a ridiculous places doing ridiculous things.  When playing the game, you will laugh, and you will probably laugh a lot.  It’s just enjoyable wandering around the world of Pandora and meeting the crazy people who live there.  Whether it’s meeting the British-imperialist wannabe, Sir Hammerlock…Or the very much redneck, Scooter….Or Ellie, the very big, but very funny mechanic….Or Tiny Tina, the world’s deadliest 13-year-old (by the way, search for “Tiny Tina” on YouTube and see why she’s a freaking hilarious)….Or my favorite, Butt Stallion, the diamond pony.

One great thing about Borderlands 2 game play, is that the game allows you to play as much as you want offline and immediately join up online and not lose your place in the game, as long as you are hosting.  So I could play for a couple hours by myself, see my friends online, invite them into my game, and continue my adventure with my friends without missing a beat.  Another thing that I love is that you can have your game open and allow online people to pop in and out at their leisure to help you.  Or, you can jump into someone else’s game that is way ahead of yours and help you level-up.  Or, you can have someone help you get through a particularly tough time.  It’s an extremely social game.

7_4_ViewDistance_Ultra

Online holds up to four people of whichever class you prefer.  The classes consist of: Commando, Siren, Gunserker, Assassin, Mechromancer (DLC), and Psycho (DLC).  Let me quickly go through each:

Commando: Turrets!

Siren: Phase-lock/Team Nurse!

Gunserker: Double-trouble guns!

Assassin: Stealth/Snipe!

Mechromancer: SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND! (You get a mech that helps you, and it’s awesome.)

Psycho: High risk, high reward play-style!

Each character is a blast to play.  And you will end up playing through the game, which is pretty long to begin with several times with each class.

images

Another big thing about Borderlands in general is the fact that there are more weapons possibilities than a player knows what to do with.  I’ve heard at least 17.75 million combinations because weapons randomly generate based on: your level, how many people in your group, where you found it, what baddie you got it from, what rarity level it is, and so on.  This means that even if you have beaten Borderlands 2 several times on all of the difficulties with ever character, you are ALWAYS looking for the next best weapon.

Though the original Borderlands game was interesting, and I have played a good deal out of it.  But I really didn’t like it, mostly for the fact that the graphics were awful and the online play was hard to connect to.  Now for the graphics, please understand that Borderlands uses cell shading, which gives off a cartoony-look. In the original game, I had a hard time even playing it because it gave me a headache (I call this Final Fantasy VII syndrome–where the graphics are so weird that it hurts you eyeballs/head.).

In Borderlands 2, you still have cell-shading, but IT IS SO MUCH BETTER.  The lines are crisper.  The graphics are much improved, and I can play this game for hours without issue.  Plus, now cell-shading makes sense to me.  This game isn’t about the latest, greatest graphics, but about the humor, satire, and fun of it.  The graphics actually look pretty good, but I have come to understand why the developers choose to use this method.  Also, with the online play, it is pretty easy to connect with your friends or random people.  The original Borderlands was kind of a pain in the you-know-what, but now you can jump from game to game without issue.

So, as you can see, Borderlands 2 is nothing but fun.  I am currently patiently waiting on news for a 3rd.  But in the mean time, happy vault hunting for those who still play!

uncharted_3_drakes_deception-1920x1080

No GravatarThe Uncharted series is all about fun and adventure.  Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception does not disappoint.  Whether you are playing it on a last-gen console or as a part of the Uncharted Collection for the current generation, the game delivers exactly what is expected of it.  Though it’s not quite a retro game yet, it’s getting to be a bit older now.  Here is my (Almost) Retro Review of it:

–For the purposes of this review, I played the game on the PlayStation 3.–

uncharted-3-wallpaper-1-hd

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is third person adventure game, developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony.  It is a PlayStation 3-only game, which came out in 2011, and has been pretty successful both in critical acclaim, awards, and copies sold.  The game was re-released in the Uncharted Collection for PlayStation 4 on October 7, 2015 with enhanced graphics and more power as it was rebuilt by Bluepoint Games for the current generation.

*Warning: Some Spoilers, but not many.*

I am going to admit that I have not played the first and second Uncharted games, so I’m not going to go into back-story, since I don’t know it.  However, I will say that the story is actually pretty easy to follow, even without knowing much about the first two.

If you didn’t know already, the Uncharted games are adventure games similar in feel to Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider.  Since I really like adventure-stuff, I am probably going to be biased on some of this (just letting you know).  If that genre is not your cup of tea, you can actually stop reading now.  But if you’re an arm-chair adventurer, like me, then you will probably love this game.

The particular plot of Uncharted 3 revolves around Nathan Drake and Victor Sullivan attempting to bring Katherine Marlowe, but they end up digging up more than they bargained for.  There are some flashbacks to a young Nate Drake and many locations to explore, including France and Syria, all in hopes of tracking down possible treasure/secrets Sir Francis Drake may have found in his journeys.

This game has a really fun story that definitely has some Tomb Raider/Indiana Jones qualities to it.  There are also some twists and turns.  The pacing was good as well, not too long or too short.  Many of the characters have been developed throughout the series, but I was able to follow along pretty well without playing the first or second.  Overall, it was a lot of fun to play, though the game is very cut-scene heavy.  I am not sure if that is a good thing or not.  Considering adventure games are supposed to be a bit cinematic, I suppose it’s a plus on Uncharted 3’s side.

*End spoilers.*

Uncharted-3

Like the other Uncharted games, 3 is also third person.  When I first saw the franchise being advertised, I thought the gameplay would be a rip-off of the Tomb Raider games.  BUT IT’S NOT.  The closest thing I could relate it to would be The Last of Us meets Assassin’s Creed, but even then I don’t know if that’s an apt description, so I’m going to go into the four aspects of gameplay I noticed the most:

1.) Exploring

Tomb Raider (at least the older ones I’ve played) forces the gamer to line up jumps pretty much perfectly to solve jump puzzles.  Uncharted seems to be more lax on this, though I’ve fallen off enough things in this game to say that you can’t push it too much.    Instead, I feel that it focuses more on the fun of exploring but not making the controls and jumps super hard.  This is a big plus.

2.) Puzzle-solving

I didn’t think that the puzzles were overly hard.  Most of them I could figure out by myself without a walkthrough (and I suck at puzzles).  They were fun, but not to the point of being stressful.  There was only one or two that stumped me for a moment, but YouTube quickly solved that problem.

3.) Battles

To me, the gun-battles felt a lot of the Mass Effect franchise, where you employ the use of cover and shoot from there in most cases.  I thought this game took it a step above by also using a really cool hand to hand fighting system that allows you to hit, block, and push in a battle with multiple people around.  I thought it was quite unique and enjoyed it immensely.

4.) Racing

That’s the best description that I could give it.  There are define times in the game where fighting isn’t the purpose; you must run.  And the running involves jumping and dodging and all sorts of fun.  I haven’t quite played a sequence like it, which is why I really liked playing.  It’s high intensity and really cool.

The multiplayer is pretty standard, though it is a bit weird because it is in third person.  It takes some getting used to.  However, it is fairly fun for those who enjoy that type of thing.  Unfortunately, I only had a chance to play it when it was free on PlayStation Plus, which excluded the co-op play.  I do have the game for PlayStation 4 in the Uncharted Collection.  When I get a chance to play it, I will update this review.

For 2011, the graphics were actually pretty darned good.  The overall game play looked good, but the cut scenes also looked really polished.  For a last-gen console game, I thought Naughty Dog did an amazing job.  Yes, I can say that games like The Last of Us (also Naughty Dog) and BioShock Infinite do look better, but those came out two years later.  Uncharted 3 still holds up very well and looks great in the process.  If you are playing it in the Uncharted Collection, the graphics will be a lot more polished.

In conclusion, I have completely fallen in love with this game and will probably be playing it again.  And again.  And again.  Once I get the time, I will be playing it on PS4 in the Uncharted Collection.

mass-effect-2-box-sm

No GravatarEvery once in awhile, a very special game comes along and really captivates you.  For me, Mass Effect 2 is one of those games.  I have put more time into it than any other game except for Skyrim, which deserves a special place all by itself.  With an estimated 260 or more hours in the game, four play-throughs, an numerous romances, there is something very amazing with this game.  It’s also one of the few games that I have shed tears for (in a good way).  A few weeks ago, I finished my last play-through of the game.  It’s time to move on.  But I want to share with you all how amazing Mass Effect 2 is to me.  Sure, it’s far from perfect, but it is very special.  Though this is a bit belated, here is my Mass Effect 2 review:

ME2_Cover_Art

Overview

Mass Effect 2 is a third-person, action RPG developed by BioWare and published by EA in late January 2010.  The game uses the Unreal Engine 3 and displayed what a game could do in the middle of the last-gen cycle’s heyday.  Although it is somewhat overshadowed by the disaster that was Mass Effect 3, it stands alone as an amazing game.

Story

Warning: If you haven’t had the chance to play this game, please do.  This review will contain some spoilers in the story section.

There are not many games that open with a bang like Mass Effect 2.  I don’t know of many that would kill the main character within the first scene.  But ME2 did, and it was awesome.  The pacing and intensity of the main story continues strongly from there as the player learns that Shepard has been “redone” by the questionable Cerberus group and has been asked to join them to stop the Collectors, an alien race that is harvesting human colonies.  After some digging, Shepard and his team eventually find out that the Reapers are behind this evil scheme.  The game is a wild ride, complete with old faces from the original game and some new but very memorable ones as well.

As one of the few games to actually get a setting in space done right, ME2 has an amazingly rich setting, complete with a detailed set of back-story or “Codex.”  Although the game is Science fiction, the explanation of everything from the Mass Effect fields, to the relays, to the use of biotics seem to be plausible enough to seem like it could really happen.  The game really is Sci-fi at its best.  With an interesting universe filled with cool aliens and beautiful, yet dangerous places, Mass Effect 2 really is the complete package.

The feel of the game is also incredibly epic, as it has one of the more memorable hero characters in video game history.  Commander Shepard, even when played as a badass instead of a paragon, embodies everything that a hero should be: intelligent, charismatic, skilled, and even good-looking.  Moreover, he (or she) is an incredible leader who demands the very best from his team.  It makes for an amazing game.  I still remember the first time that I beat it; I may have shed a few tears because I had fallen in love with all of the characters.  Unfortunately, the gaming industry doesn’t make many games like Mass Effect 2 anymore.

Game play

Besides having an amazing story, Mass Effect 2 is a blast to play.  Though it seems like a standard duck and cover, third-person shooter, it really is a full blown, action RPG.  The missions are fun, including the side-missions.  Sure, the planet-mining is probably the game’s greatest downfall, but it isn’t too annoying overall.  The make-up of a player’s team also can greatly affect the game play.  By balancing, biotics, soldiers, engineers, and the big “heavy-hitters” with the types of opponents (i.e. geth, mercs, Collectors), the game can feel different with nearly every mission.

ME2 is not a typical open-world RPG because that would be extremely hard to do with space ships.  However, the game does give the player free roam of the galaxy as well as mission selection, making the game still feel expansive.  There are a few missions that a player must do at certain times, but for the most part, the game has a go anywhere kind of feel to it.

One of the great gaming elements of ME2 is the fact that the player can change the outcome of the story based on the choices that he or she makes in the game.  The ability to make decisions that will have affects throughout several games is one of the best parts of the game.  Also, players have the option to play the character of Shepard however they’d like.  With dialogue options that range from good, to neutral, to badass, each of the game does not have to be the same.  Don’t even get me started on the romance options.  Like any typical BioWare game, I have played through a couple of times just to do a different romance option.  Why not, right?

screenshot-074-p

Graphics

Even though the graphics for Mass Effect 2 are starting to look a tad bit dated in comparison to what is out for this current generation of consoles, for the time, they were pretty amazing.  The cut-scenes were sharp, and the actual game play looked great for the time.  It is definitely a game that one can go back and continue playing on a last-gen console without feeling like the graphics are eye-straining, especially as TVs get better and better.

Voice performance

This is a category that I used to not have, but I think it is becoming more and more important as the story and dialogue of games become more important.  I adore the voice actors in this game, and it really is an all-star cast for the game.  Look at some of the celebrities who helped with the voice work of this game:

Adam Baldwin as Ka’Reegar

Claudia Black as Admiral Xen

Seth Green as Jeff “Joker” Moreau

Tricia Helfer as EDI

Michael Hogan as Captain Bailey

Carrie-Ann Moss as Aria T’Loak

Martin Sheen as the Illusive Man

Lance Henrikesen as Admiral Hackett

The list goes on and on.

I have special admiration for Tricia Helfer, who did the voice of EDI.  Unlike some other robotic characters in a game that starts with a D and ends in a estiny, she gives off the perfect performance as an AI with a sarcastic and saucy attitude.  It is one of the more memorable performances in the game.

Overall

Mass Effect 2 is a very special game for me.  It is an amazing combination of great story and good game play.  Yes, it has its flaws, but it still remains an epic game.

Fallout-3-Wallpapers-4

No Gravatar

When Fallout 4 was announced, there were a lot of very excited fans. I was definitely one of them. In the excitement of the announcement, many decided to go back and replay older Fallout games. I was also one of those people. I’ve played Fallout 3 before, but never got a chance to finish it. Going back through and actually beating Fallout 3 sounded like a really good idea. For those who haven’t played it or for those who wanted to hear my take on the game, I’ve decided to do a full review, though it’s a bit belated.

 

Fallout 3 is a single player, action role playing game that utilizes a huge open world post-apocalyptic setting. It was developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. Bethesda had bought the rights to the Fallout series from Black Isle Studios/Interplay Entertainment, so this was Bethesda’s first attempt with the franchise. The game came out in late October of 2008 for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. The game got rave reviews across the board and was given Game of the Year in several instances.

 

download

 

The game is set in the same universe as the rest of the earlier Fallout games. It takes place in the year 2277, which is approximately 200 years before the nuclear apocalypse that ravaged the United States. Many citizens ended up in “Vaults” underground that keep them alive during the bombings. The story’s protagonist is a character of the player’s choosing (male/female, looks, etc.) that resides in Vault 101. Things in the vault seem great at first, but after many years go by, events happen that force the protagonist to leave the vault. The wasteland that lies outside of the vault is deadly and full of secrets. As the main character explores the open-world area of what used to be Washington D.C., these secrets start to come to light.

 

The main story line is quite good. It has everyone that a person could want: family issues, secrets, exploration, evil groups vying for power, monsters, and an altruistic mission. There are many side quests as well that can push a player into playing for long, long time. The map is expansive and the tone really just make you feel like you are in the Capital Wasteland. The urban exploration alone in the game is well worth the price of the game. It was one of the first games that I actually felt overwhelmed over when I looked at the sheer size and scale of it. Once you go out of the vault, it really feels like you can go anywhere and do anything.

 

The game play is like a first person shooter to a degree. You can play that way if you want. However, the feel is more RPG with XP for kills, completing tasks, and quests. There is also a special combat system called V.A.T.S. (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System) that allows a player to pause time and pick special areas to attack on an enemy based on a probability percentage. It’s an interesting system that has a love or hate relationship with many Fallout 3 players. Luckily, you can choose whether you want to use it or not based off of how you want to play the game. This includes how a person levels up their character by choosing points in the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system, which stands for Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck. Players can also choose their way of playing by adding points to “Perks” that at given after leveling up. Want to sneak around and get stuff done that way? There are Perks for that. Want to go in guns-blazing? There are Perks for that. It creates the type of game play that is re-playable many, many times.

 

images

 

The graphics looked pretty slick at the time that the game came out. The opening sequence for the game is probably one of the best in gaming history, as it sets the tone of the game quite nicely and has a really creepy feel to it. The 1950s retro feel with the nuclear apocalypse grays and browns gives the game a unique feeling. It’s one of those games that a player could fall in love with, one of those rare gems that only come around every once in awhile.

 

I completely understand why it was hailed as Game of the Year from many places. It’s a great game, hands down. However, because of its age, the game play feels a bit stiff, and the Gamebryo game engine just wasn’t quite up to par with what it needed to do. The gray and brown color scheme makes hours and hours of play a little bland after awhile (it looks like this fixed for Fallout 4; there are a lot of more colorful game footage out). Regardless, though, it’s an amazing game. It’s definitely worth a play or replay before Fallout 4 comes out.
This War of Mine

No GravatarThis War of Mine

I first had the opportunity to check out This War of Mine at PAX East. I was immediately intrigued. The art is absolutely beautiful in its realistic simplicity. The game sucks you in and keeps you wondering what will happen day to day. You truly go through the day to day of what it’s like to live in a country ravaged by warfare.

I found myself wondering if I would survive and make it. You see the characters struggling and dealing with the psychological effects.

11 Bit Studios describes This War of Mine as:

This War Of Mine provides an experience of war seen from an entirely new angle. For the very first time you do not play as an elite soldier, rather a group of civilians trying to survive in a besieged city. During the day snipers outside stop you from leaving your refuge, so you need to focus on maintaining your hideout. At night you get a chance to scavenge nearby locations for items that will help you stay alive.

Make life-and-death decisions driven by your conscience. Try to protect everybody from your shelter or sacrifice some of them to endure the hardships. During war, there are no good or bad decisions; there is only survival. The sooner you realize that, the better.

 

11 Bit Studios created a great game that will keep you enthralled for hours. I highly recommend checking This War of Mine out and giving it a try. I give the game a 9 out of 10.

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 5.24.28 PM

This War of Mine is available now. Check it out and buy it here.

Mordor_title

No GravatarFor those gamers looking for a lot of action similar to the Batman: Arkham series mixed with some high fantasy, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor could be a good choice.  Set in the Lord of the Rings universe between the events of The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring, Shadow of Mordor is a great game for LOTR fans.  But, is it enjoyable for people who haven’t read the books or seen the films or for those who are not into the series?  Yes, one can play this game without any knowledge of the series.  However, it will be more enjoyable for LOTR fans.

The game was a sleeper hit when it came out in September of 2014, a hidden gem in a sea of mediocre games that had come out that year.  Developed by Monolith Productions and published by Warner Bro. Interactive Entertainment, it came out for PC, PlayStation 3 and 4, and XBox 360 and One.  For the purpose of this review, I will be exploring how the game felt for PlayStation 4.  The game is considered an action RPG and utilizes a more open world map.

The short version of the story is basically The Crow meets Lord of the Rings.  If you haven’t seen or read either, first of all I would suggest that you remedy that right away.  However, that might take some time so here is the synopsis: it’s a revenge tale about a Ranger named Talion (voiced by Troy Baker) who is killed, along with his family, and brought back to find those that killed them (the Uruks).  It’s an interesting revenge tale, and it’s fun to see familiar LOTR characters in the story as well.  Since the game takes place between The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, one can see Sauron’s minions getting stronger throughout the game.  Along with Talion, there is another undead wraith, Celebrimbor, who is helping out and giving him cool powers.  The relationship was a very similar feel to when Aragorn recruited the undead in Return of the King.   

 The biggest problem with the story is that, as a whole, it’s not strong enough to hold what I would say is the “average” person’s attention.  Sure, it’s fun, but it’s not super compelling.  Big-time LOTR fans would probably love it.  However, when I played it, I was playing more for the game play and not for the story.  As good as the beginning of the game started, it very much fizzled out over the end.

The story is in interesting idea but was executed poorly.

The story is an interesting idea but was executed poorly.

The game play, though, is very good, except for a few issues.  If you are familiar with the Batman Arkham games, Shadow of Mordor will be very easy to get into.  The game play is almost exact, and you level up in a similar way.  You fight in a similar way.  You can even change (most) attack commands mid-stride, making it easier to stop and counter and enemy.

The “RPG-aspect” (or leveling up system) of the game is very similar to the Batman: Arkham games as well.  Shadow of Mordor is not really the traditional RPG that I thought it was going to be.  When I heard it was open world, I was thinking more “Elder Scrolls.”  The game is very open world, and it’s very action oriented.  The leveling system is very interesting.  There are two skill trees to level up: Ranger and Wraith.  Each are interesting and fun to play.  There are ability points for getting enough XP, and the player can use those points to add certain powers and moves from the skill trees.  There are also options to upgrade the sword, bow, and dagger with runes that the player obtains from killing Uruk Captains (more on this later).

Overall, the basic game play mechanics of the game are very fun, but that’s not the crowning jewel of the game.  Technically, most of the game play is nothing new, since it borrows heavily from the Batman games’ mechanics.  However, the Nemesis System totally and utterly blew my mind.  It is new, original, and highly creative.  All year, I was looking for something new in gaming.  I was getting really tired of game play that is borrowed from ten or fifteen years ago.  Instead of relying on arena-style boss battles and push-the-button-oh-look-more-enemies, Shadow of Mordor gives us the Nemesis System, which I would describe as a roaming boss battle that remembers.

As you play the game, you meet Uruk Captains that can be pretty tough bosses.  If you kill one, you upset the balance of Sauron’s army.  If you or the boss run away during battle, the guy will remember you.  If one kills you, he will get more powerful when you come back (you’re already dead, so you can die as many times as you’d like–see the next segment for more details).  Not only that, but he may challenge a higher ranking Captain and change ranks.  If a normal Uruk kills you, he will get promoted up the ranks and so on.  If you die from something random, a lot of Uruks among the ranks get more powerful.  These bosses will remember that they killed you previously and comment on it.  You also can interrogate Uruks to gain information about bosses in the higher level ranks.  Each boss has strengths and weaknesses, and you have plan your attacks accordingly.

I have honestly not seen anything quite like this system.  I thought it was revolutionary when BioShock had the roaming boss battles, but Shadow of Mordor has improved upon that even more.  Sure, it can be a pain when you have a boss that has killed you several times and has gotten really powerful because of it.  But let me tell you, when you finally kill the guy, you will be cheering.  I also really enjoyed the strategy element that comes in when attacking these bosses.  You can’t go about doing things in just one way because what works for one boss might not for another.  Plus, you can make decisions such as allowing one boss to live so it will take out another (Uruks like to fight each other for power).

The Nemesis System really is the best part of the game.

The Nemesis System really is the best part of the game.

Here’s the only problem with the game play: besides a lackluster story line, the game can be very monotonous.  The side-quests are extremely repetitive and the nemesis system, which should be awesome, is very overbearing.  It’s hard to do ANYTHING without a boss targeting you out, which ends up being extremely annoying after about ten plus hours into the game.  The game play doesn’t translate well overall, unfortunately.  With a poor story line, the repetitive game play ends up being boring and hard to get through.  Sure, you can blast through the man quest with no problem, but for those who like to really get into the game, it ends up being very disappointing.

The graphics are fairly good, though there are much prettier-looking games out there for this current generation.  The overall look and feel of the game was a little dark and somewhat dull, which added to the monotony of the story after awhile.  However, I can understand the developer’s choice in this color palate, since it fits well with the dire tone of the story line.

The overall tone of the game is bleak and so is the color palate for the graphics.

The overall tone of the game is bleak and so is the color palate for the graphics.

Overall, the game is pretty decent: it makes great strides with the Nemesis System, but unfortunately does not do the same with the story.  However, it is refreshing to see a developer in the gaming industry try to do something different for a change, and I have to give Monolith productions a lot of credit for that.  Although I do not feel the game is a full price buy, now that it’s been out for several months, it would be a good addition to anyone’s gaming library at bit of a discount.

_-Alpha-Protocol-PC-_

No GravatarHave you ever watched a Bond film and thought “that’s what I want to do”? Well, you might change your mind after you play Alpha Protocol. Not because the game is specifically bad, but because you’ll get a feel of what being a spy in the field is actually like.

Alpha_Protocol_cover

Alpha Protocol is an action role-playing stealth game. What a mouthful, but accurate. It was released in 2010, and for a four year old game it feels…older. That’s not a bad thing, mind you.  Most gamers would say their favorites are from a generation of consoles that are no longer distributed, but those games are chosen quite often out of nostalgia. On the one hand those games were the best of their time, but on the other hand they fall short compared to some modern innovations. The point here is that Alpha Protocol feels like one of those games. Something you loved for what it was back when you played it the first time, but over the years it has lost its edge.

To start, Alpha Protocol is truly a spy story. You are Michael Thorton, a new recruit in the Alpha Protocol program, and your job is to serve your country and stop the bad guys. Sounds simple enough given this is the idea behind more than few games. However, you are a spy. Your job is to get things done with minimal exposure. Whether you kill everyone in your way or just leave them with a tortuous headache, no one should know you’re there. Stealth is a great game mechanic, and Alpha Protocol does a great job of using it. Except for the bugs.

Let me talk about those for a moment because most of the issues I had with this game stem from bugged stealth mechanics. There were times when I would be crouched behind a wall, completely out of sight and fully buffed in sound dampening, and taking a few steps alerted a guard more than ten feet away. This would then alert every guard on the map. And if I should come out of cover and actually be seen, one guard would be enough to expose my location to every guard who would then proceed to start shooting. It’s easy enough to rid yourself of guards and turn off an alarm, but in a minute I’ll tell you why this was such a problem.

alphaprotocskiltr

This game is good. It’s hard to call it great, and at times it isn’t all that fun, but it’s good. Agent Thorton is betrayed on his first assignment for Alpha Protocol and is set on a path to make things right. Here is where my favorite aspect of the game comes in. Choice. As Thorton you get to choose what happens. How you interact with others can determine how they respond to you and your actions. Gaining friendship has advantages, but so does rivalry. Who you get on your side can change the outcome; deciding who to ally with and who to piss off, that’s the trick. This game requires you to pay attention. Between gathered intelligence, dossier information, and other tidbits you collect along the way there is an abundance of knowledge. Knowing where you’re going, why you’re going there, and who you’re facing will make things far easier. The game doesn’t do all the thinking for you. The missions you choose to do, and the order you choose to do them in, also has impact.

1758486-alpha_protocol__9_

That’s all great, but how do you actually play? It’s simple enough. There is combat, stealth, hacking, and collecting. In combat you can put points into different weapons: shotguns, SMGs, assault rifles, pistols, and hands. There are also gadgets; from grenades, to flash bangs, to health kits, you can carry a minimal set into missions and use them for different situations. Stealth, while not a requirement in mission, is a good way to get all that you want. Hacking is dealt with in three ways: computers, keypads, and safes. Hacking a computer requires finding a series of non-moving letters and numbers amongst a stream of flashing figures. A keypad is simply hacked by matching numbers is ascending order to their circuit. A safe is a lock picking screen where you move pins into position and click them in place. Collecting is just what it sounds like. Make sure you explore every room because information, money, and security systems may be hiding anywhere (which is useful when you are lacking cash to buy that armor you want). You will spend the majority of the game working on these skills, getting used to being in cover and sneaking into position, only to reach “boss” fights and the final mission.

449924-alpha-protocol-windows-screenshot-the-picking-a-lock-mini

Remember when I said how bugged the stealth system was? Here is where that becomes important. Boss fights, including most of the final mission, are tough. Add in the fact that stealth becomes useless and they get tougher. Here, fight a helicopter that can shoot you through cover, never loses target lock, and you have to fire one RPG at a time at it and those RPGs are scattered across the map. On top of that, here are five men who are going to shoot you, chase you, and know where you are because the helicopter never loses target lock. And if one enemy knows where you are, they all do. It’s infuriating.

I will say that I had fun with this game. The story pulls you in, and you feel like a true spy when things go right. The stealth is fantastic, when it works. The characters are ranging, and often have unexpected stories. I plan to try it again, make some different choices and see what happens, but I do like where my initial instincts lead. And that’s good. This isn’t a game that says “here, make a choice” and then gives you a cookie cutter ending. Who you decide to be will change the path, and that’s nice to see.

alpha-protocol-xbox-360-063

There are other things I could cover. How bad targeting is, how wonky movement can be, how bad pathing is for NPCs, how many boss fights I won because of glitches…

If I were to recommend this game it would be lightly. If you like stealth games and spy stories try it out. If you don’t, skip it. Alpha Protocol requires dedication. It asks you to sit down, pay attention, and accept that things will not always go the way you want. You may do a bit of reloading, but know that the only save option is auto saves.

With all that said, you can always use brute force, and then stealth doesn’t matter so much. It will take more time, you’ll face more enemies, and you may lose out on some of the finer points, but at least you’ll know why all the guards are after you.

REAL OTAKU GAMER is using WP-Gravatar