Genres FPS

May 1, 2012

Hard Reset: The Review

Hard Reset, one of the games I’ve been looking forward to since its announcement and not only because it is the first PC exclusive title in a long time but also because it’s made by some of the wonderful people who designed The Witcher, one of my favorite games of all time.  Does this game live up to the hype that it garnered over night?  Sort of…

Graphically Hard Reset is gorgeous and it has some of the best lighting elements I have ever seen in a game.  There is a level where a train is coming through a tunnel and as it approaches you can see light bouncing off all the metal in the tunnel and it looks amazing.  You can see it in some of the pictures below.

Additionally there is damage based textures on enemies so depending on how many times you’ve hit them they may look more damaged or exposed.  Several enemies fall apart and disintegrate as you damage them.  Additionally there are some fantastically large scale battles to fight and they are a lot of fun.

While the game does look amazing in many parts it suffers from repetitive level design.  After about the 8th level everything looks the same.  There aren’t really any varied enemies either.  You face the same 5 or 6 enemies throughout the entire game.  There is also the problem of having only two weapons and unlike other games where there are 10 to 20 guns to choose from there are only two in this game that you can modify and they transform into the weapon you want.  So your rifle is your rifle, gun, grenade launcher, and so forth all in one.  I’ll give it credit for originality and in some ways it works well but switching between the modes for the weapon can be confusing and it gets dull after a while.

The story also suffers in Hard Reset.  The story is mostly told in comic fashion slides during the loading sequences.  There are two problems with this.  First I hate cheaply made cut-scenes instead of animated or pre-rendered action sequences to explain the story line if not already done while playing and I will admit there are places for those in certain games but Hard Reset presents itself as a visual spectacle yet it uses a comic strip to present the story? Secondly the ‘press any key to continue’ and pauses in the dialogue often occur at the same time and this can lead to you missing 3 – 5 minutes of dialogue.   Additionally the story is fairly hard to follow which can be frustrating.

There is no Multi-Player so for those of you looking for a Multi-Player experience are going to be disappointed.

Hard Reset feels like it just needed three or four more months in development and it could have been so much more.  The game rings in at about 6 hours on normal for anyone who is experienced with FPS.  Those die hard FPS players should be able to go through it quicker.  Hard Reset isn’t a bad game, not by any means and for the price it’s worth its admission price.  That being said it’s an OK game not a great game.  Perhaps the second time around, if there is one, it will get a little more attention.

February 18, 2012

Co-Review: Gotham City Impostors

It’s been some time since we have heard from Monolith Productions. F.E.A.R. 2 was the last we heard from them and while the game was more varied than its predecessor, the A.I. took a large dose of stupid pills. They are finally back with a downloadable title that is rather odd. Take one part Batman, one part Team Fortress, and one part absurd humor, shake not stir, and you come away with one humorous but compelling shooter.

 

Joe:

Gameplay: Based on the Team Fortress/ Team Fortress 2 style game it works really well with plenty of customization allowing you to play this first person shooter however you like.  The four game types are varied (one being a challenge mode ripped right out of Batman Arkham City) giving plenty of verity to add value to the price of this DLC game. Fumigation was my favorite game type with Psych Warfare coming in a close second only because it was hard finding matches. There is some issue with match making and balancing that I hope get addressed in the upcoming patch and of course my favorite LAG! The game always states connecting to server but I think “server” is another name for “HOST” as in peer to peer gaming which always lags.

Rick:

The game types are varied but so few, though they never seem to grow stale. Fumigation is my game mode of choice, nothing more than territories but the matches are normally hard fought and can last a lengthy amount of time. The amount of customization is insane; everything from costumes, to weapons, to gadgets, to calling cards, and 1000 levels to gain. The gadgets are the star of the game play. Using a grapple gun or glider pack to traverse the intricate maps is like nothing else. I do agree with Joe, the matching making is a mess. Unbalanced games and some occasional lag can spoil the experience, though when all is going well the game’s brilliance shines.

Joe:

Visuals: the five maps are really detailed and incredibly intricate almost to a fault with plenty of nooks n crannies to discover and explore I wish the game types I like used more of the maps to play them so we could enjoy the detail that is hidden around every corner, door and on every roof! Most areas that are heavy engagement zones have a way to flank making attacking or defending feel challenging and rewarding although there are a few spots strung across the maps that can be abused to spawn lock the opposing team.

Rick: for a downloadable game, the visuals are great, but could be better. The maps are painstakingly detailed and have great variety. The amounts of verticality in the maps are just as impressive as the detail. The characters sport that goofy TF2 look but have a feel of their own. The customization adds more appeal to visuals and the humor. Would you like your Bats character to have a cardboard cowl, a rain slicker for a cape, and have them running around in nothing but a pair of briefs? Great news, you can have it. One little gripe I have with the visuals is the lack of mouth animation. There are some memorable quips, but to see the closed mouth models spurt them feels archaic

Joe:

Overall: The atheistic of the game is great adding comedy to the otherwise dark gothic universe of Batman. The visuals are really good and the maps well layed out with plenty of options to get around from place to place. The overall game is fun and varied with plenty of options to suit your gaming style. There are TONS of un-lockables and customization options that will keep you busy for months to come! Sound is great with hilarious voice acting and sound effects always making the experience enjoyable. There are a few things that need work but over-all this game is well worth the price!

Rick: For $15, the game offers a substantial amount of content and excitement. Like Joe I enjoyed the humor, the map layout, the combat, and the customization. The game was delayed once in January and it really could have used a few extra weeks to get the matchmaking under control and deal with some of the lag issues, but Monolith has stated there will be a title update in March to fix these issues; but would have been nice to already have this and not potentially kill the community because of these issues. The game is worth your money and could easily be the new go to shooter if the community and Monolith back the game. If you are looking for a TF2 experience consoles and have tried the sad excuse that was on The Orange Box (no support and awful community) than check this game out.

 

Pros:

~ team fortress 2 game type taken to the next level

~ Great visuals

~ Detailed map layouts

~ Character voices are hilarious

Cons:

~ Peer to peer host leads to laggy game play at times

~wish the game types used more o the maps to show off the detail put into them

~ Matching and balancing need a lot of work

~ Heavy body type, rockets, and armor. You will learn to hate this.

 

February 3, 2012

Review: Crysis for the Xbox 360

 

 

Adapt.Engage.Survive

Video source: Game Trailers

Story: Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea have reached critical mass as they square off on a small island located in the South China Sea. Why? A team of U.S. archeologists have unearthed an artifact of unknown origin that may pre-date the existence on humans on earth! North Korea moves in and takes control of the dig so the U.S. dispatches an elite Special Forces Unit outfitted with the latest in Nanosuit Technology to assess the situation and try to rescue the trapped archaeologists. The ensuing battles trigger the artifact to come to life releasing a new enemy bent on all our destruction!

 

 

Back in October EA and Crytek re-released the modified and enhanced version of the game that killed your computer Crysis. If you want more info. check out my article HERE. I downloaded Crysis shortly after it was quietly released onto Xbox Live and started playing; I’m only now posting my review due to the glut of  Holiday season game releases, work and well… Skyrim delaying me finishing this excellent campaign.

 

 

Visuals: The first thing I noticed was that for a DLC title this games visually rivals that of any newly released game that hit in the last year! Re-mastered using Cryengine3 this game looks stunning right down to the expression on an enemies’ face while you gab and crush the life out of him! This tropical landscape looks amazing, and if it weren’t for the bad guys bent on my demise would be a great vacation spot. When the game transitions from: tropical to “alien” and then to frozen wasteland the environments really come to life with stunning lighting and water effects, and environmental conditions that change almost on the fly. But, not all is perfect in thelandofCrysis, watching some explosions (BIG BOOM, yes please!) I noticed some pixilation and blocky-ness. Also in dark or low light rooms the gamma is preset way to dark but this just my personal opinion because I love to see as much detail as possible.

 

 

Sound and Musical Score: The sound was re-mastered as well giving complete satisfaction to every pull on my RT trigger button and toss of every grenade. Voice overs were ok but nothing amazing the Korean solders would speak some Korean but mostly English with a generic asian accent. Musical score was as epic as it should have been adding depth to the story and alerting you to upcoming large engagements and story progressions.

 

 

Control Scheme: Controls are tight and well layed out for the most part. The usual button apply LT aim, RT fire, Y change weapon, X reload, A is jump, B is used for menu options like inventory, map and quests, LB and RB are your nanosuit abilities, the BACK button has dual purpose of weapon loadout and map, the start does it’s normal fuction and the D pad does as well. My only real complaint is that there is no way to quickly throw a grenade without equipping it first by going into your inventory or holding Y for the popup menu ala’ portal and Halflife. The down side trying to grab fast-moving enemies or melee’ can be a major chore are times

 

 

 

Gameplay: I tend to play single-player campaigns on harder settings just so I have more of a challenge and, in this time of the six hour story, so the game takes longer to complete. My play-through clocked in somewhere between 8 and 10 hours (on hard difficulty not Delta I’m not man enough of that) so, above average length for the campaign. The game is fairly open world but you are moved in the liner fashion of:  receive a mission, then a secondary  mission, engage, clear, and move on which works well for progression of the story. Now, you think that with all the complaining and since the game was being reworked anyway that, well, maybe Crytek would do something with the freaking A.I. and they didn’t! Sadly the A.I. is just as retarded as in the original PC release leading me to believe that the helmets the solders wore were not to stop bullets but to protect from walking into walls…. I would shoot an explosive barrel next to a group of solders and the few that survived would not react and say “what was that?” or “Is anyone there?” and start skulking around until I was in their line of sight. One final gripe and this is more the aging hardware more that the game but when there was a lot of action on-screen at once the game would drop down to less than 10 FPS it  seemed but this only happened a few times.

 

 

Overall: Crytek has done a awesome job in “enhancing”  Crysis and squeezing some juice out of the ole’ Xbox 360. Cryengine3 looks great and this PC port is a classic that deserves some props! The A.I. maybe still the same but Crysis has very much to offer and for the $19.99 price tag (1600msp) it is so very worth it!

 

 

PROS:

+ looks great Cryengine3 makes this game look fresh and worthy of being compared to full retail releases

+ Sound design and music score are top notch

+ Story is interesting and compelling

+ Controls are tight for the most part

 

Cons:

– Great visuals come at a price of some blocky-ness and pixilation

– Ho-hum voice acting at times

– Truly short-bus A.I.

– Would have liked easier access to grenades and the grab/melee can be very frustrating

 

 

In the Grey Zone:

~ The old Xbox 360 is still breathing but it sometimes drags this title down with its obviously aging hardware

 

January 8, 2012

Gears of War 3: Raam’s Shadow review

Gears of War 3 had a great campaign, thoroughly varied, yet at some points it felt disjointed and headed due south east into the land were Bulletstorm and Halo 3 meet. Epic games came with a remedy for the campaign blues in the form of Raam’s Shadow, the second piece of DLC to hit the early September release. Raam’s Shadow forgets the imulsion bread locust, the “infection” bologna, Queen Mira’s rage inducing rants (for the most part), and gets back to what made the first two games great; urban destruction and human on locust combat. It may clock in at just two hours, but the two hours I had with Raam’s Shadow almost made me forget that Gears 3 had a campaign, it’s that good.

Raam’s Shadow is a prequel of sorts; it takes place in Ilima city just as the locusts are inking the city and the krill are ravaging the remains. You take control of Zeta squad which consist of Mihn Yong Kim from Gears of War, Tai Kaliso from Gears of War 2, Alicia Valera, and Michael Barrick form the GoW comics. Zeta squad is attempting to clear the city as Raam and his forces come carrying the harbinger of DOOM! The story takes both sides, so for the first time in a Gears campaign you play as a locust, Raam specifically or other locust if you are playing co-op. Raam is just too much fun to play as.

The game plays the same as GoW 3 with little variation, there are a few tweaks here and there but nothing that feels like a sequel. Raam, while being awesome, is also somewhat boring to play as. He has is infamous sword and his “krill finger” which just sounds dirty. The “krill finger” is just a point and instakill weapon which just feels boring. The pacing is much better than in the main campaign. Five acts that clock in a little over two hours on normal; raise the difficulty and it can lengthen your play time.  The environment shows off the power of the Unreal 3 engine with collapsing buildings and bridges, with this beautiful architecture on the brink of chaos and decay. I loved the look of the DLC again more so than 3. GoW 2 was as varied as I would have like the series to have gone. Don’t get me wrong Gears 3 is gorgeous but it just didn’t grab me visually like the last two entries in the series.

Raam’s Shadow, while short, is easily worth the $15 price tag. After seeing what Epic put together in this small DLC, I would not object to a prequel to the Gears trilogy. With Gear’s 2 we were given Dark Corners, which felt like it was left on the cutting room floor. Raam’s Shadow gives us a sneak peak at some back story while finally giving the locust some playtime. There is nothing new in terms of game play other than using the locust but I just can’t get over how much more I liked this short stint over an entire campaign. If you have GoW 3 pickup Raam’s Shadow, it’s short, but very enjoyable; and you don’t have to hear Baird complain.

+ Urban setting is back!

+ Playing as Raam is awesome

+ Very composed and better pacing

+ is a great example that a GoW prequel is needed

+Story is less bonkers than GoW3

+ Everybody loves the E-holes!

– is on the short side

– Raam’s weapons are awesome, yet boring from a game play standpoint

October 22, 2011

Homefront


Homefront is a THQ brainchild that utilizes the Unreal Engine and shows what beautiful art and performance on lower end machines can do. I fell in love with this game being my first play-through I took my time and listened to everything I could, read every article I could find and all. The campaign for Homefront is by far one of the truly epic. Although excruciatingly short it is absolutely mind blowing. The video in this article is the opening cut scene for the game, watch it to get an idea of where you are starting your mission.

This game is brutal. If you get sick easily, don’t play this as some of it is a bit grotesque for patriots or vets. Though the story makes for a good game it is a bit hard to not imagine it as possible. The game also displays ad space purchasing from TigerDirect.com in a long chapter where you are running through their main facility all you see is the name all over the place.

Graphics – 9

The Unreal Engine has granted THQ the ability to run super high end textures and graphics without the need for huge caches of video memory and thus has let me play at max settings on my system at minimum 20FPS (System specs at the bottom). I, being an Unreal Editor user and map creator myself know from experience how wonderfully you can texture to make the appearance of three dimensional object without the need for fully three dimensional polygons, and this is what help with the ample beauty even on low end machines. THQ could not have done better combining the Unreal Engine with Havoks’ physics engine has given them the ability to out perform and enhance others with a smaller budget in place for the titles.

Playability – 9/4

I gave two ratings for this for one reason, the difference in campaign to multiplayer. The campaign if you couldn’t tell by now has had me enamored. The multiplayer, however, is lacking anything different from the past few CoD releases. To call the multiplayer a MW2 clone would not be a far pull. It is run almost to the T exactly the same with the amount of guns/items even less then half that of CoD. I cannot accept a new release that is a carbon copy on a more popular game without some sort of compensation. The fact that even had a multiplayer at all seemed to be more or less an afterthought. It is so weak in comparison to what was expected after playing through the campaign that I could not even get past level 5. This in turn is why I believe the community has fled. They would have done much better to copy a better platform for multiplayer, say…. Battlefield for example. Either way, the playability in the campaign is awesome. Even on the normal difficulty I died about 50 times before finishing it. The game is not hard to the point that you want to quit but it is also that which makes it a bit odd. I would die only to see the AI to follow the exact same pathing and I could play a scene 10 times and finally find where to hide, how to shoot without ever getting shot. Trial and Error.

Audio – 7

The game is all voice acted and done well with the mouth working in unison with words. It is about as good as expected, though some of the gun sounds are a bit filtered or saturated. They seem to vary gun to gun and have an off queue sound to firing if only by the smallest fraction of a second though that may be my lack of a proper sound card.

All in all the game is a great success and for the price that you would pay at our friends, IntKeys, you can’t pass up this title.  Get a bonus 5% off their already low prices by using the TGB discount code: 224c76cae8

I would recommend it to any FPS fan for nothing more than the storyline. Otherwise, wait for MW3 as the multiplayer is a match to it with a ruined community.

October 17, 2011

Dead Island

Dead Island Logo

This title has had tons of publicity and hype built via the internet and with a lot of hype comes a lot of high expectations. Dead Island failed in no way to deliver. Dead Island brings all the fun of destroying zombie hordes with the ability to create and modify your own arsenal of weapons and skills. In this review I will be going over the pro, the cons, and the downright awesomeness of this release.

Let’s start with the bad.

Graphically speaking, the terrain is somewhat spectacular, I know that seems like a good, but where the terrain looks good other aspects lack. Primarily the zombies themselves and the vehicles are a bit simple. For a game this far into the graphically amazing generation that we game, this point cannot be overlooked. I believe that the developers had been using a platform with lackluster performance so as to make the game viable on a large array of systems and the only way to keep size small they didn’t want to make a multitude of different texture packages for each individual zombie. More on this in the good section as it ties with a great aspect.

The bad also continues with a bit of a bug PC version wide. The gamma adjustment setting for the game is off by a long shot making people play the game with a severely over saturated effect. Leaving the gamma default makes some parts of the game a bit too dark but quells the saturation effect drastically. This may be a bit of a hindrance for PC folk, however, it does not seem to affect people running Dead Island on consoles as bad.

The last bad is a bit from player error but it should not be this superfluous in a persistent environment. When you throw a weapon at an enemy and the weapon lays on the ground after its usefulness has been employed, if you die… the weapon is lost forever as the area “resets”. In a game where you are able to throw any and everything you can pick up why would you employ this feature? Ok, maybe I am not thinking within normal boundaries here but to be fair one of the Characters is a Thrown Weapons Specialist. If you throw a weapon you maxed out in upgrades and was a very rare find and you happen to back too far away or die, you have just completely lost your primary hardware for defeating enemies. This may not be a big deal in the early game but later it becomes a bit of a big deal as weapons can cost a lot of money.

Now on to the good, and for every bad I can name at least 10 good aspects. That is a pretty good ratio if I do say so. First and foremost, the environment, I find that the world itself is beyond beautiful. There are a ton of winding pathways and back alleys. There is always at least two ways of reaching your destination, if not more. With that being said, you need a great graphics processor to really enjoy the vast beauty that is Dead Island. With max settings the game looks almost like a window to the outside and that alone is worth the investment. Even on the lowest settings the game is graphically very impressive as it only drowns out some foliage and other non action oriented items.

With this world being as big as it is you need a variety of enemies and with Dead Island it is delivered it ways other imagined. In other games where the world is rather large you find that many of the enemies are just a recolored or reskinned hatchling of a low level mob. Not here, there are so many different enemies that just walking through the game you would think it almost a reality to have so many “people” running around. With this aspect comes the fact that you cannot reskin each mob to reflect multiple levels of graphical detail. The rendering is softened by option but it leaves them looking a bit less than premium at max due to this. Either way, this makes you as a player feel much more involved in a real world situation than a repetitive hack n’ slash style genre.

Weapons weapons and more weapons. Have you ever since “Shaun of the Dead” thought of the multitude of ways to destroy a zombie? This game gives you that and so much more. You can pick up almost any item and use it as a weapon against the hordes of murderous brain eaters or even take some of them and give them a bit of a more lethal edge, for example taking a bat and adding nails to the end. If you really don’t care for that why not jump up and drop kick your opponents and then kick their face into the dirt. The ability to decapitate and dismember these piles of meat via anything sharp makes for a fun gathering of friends by the beach. As for guns, yes there are some, why bother grabbing those up except in the event that your sickle should break or your 2×4 piece of lumber snap in half and already have been thrown at the enemy? There are an array of guns though for those wanting to snap off a few well placed shots and see heads explode into a gory mess behind their target.

Characters, the different style of play are not restricted to the chosen character though each have their specialty they can wield anything you want them to. That being said lets have a bit of an idea of each one shall we?
Heroes

  • Sam B as the Tank-class of the group has the ability to sustain heavy damage and handle numerous foes at the same time. His special ability is “Fury,” which is achieved by filling up a bar by killing zombies. He is also an expert in blunt weapon usage. During a Fury attack Sam can one hit kill zombies with his bare hands. The three branches of his skill tree are Fury, Combat, and Survival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Xian Mei is the assassin of the group with a particular predilection toward bladed weapons. The three branches of her skill tree are Blood Rage, Combat, and Survival. Her special ability is to enter a rage mode to deal extra damage to opponents with her knife.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Logan Carter is the jack of all trades within the team. He specializes in thrown weapons and some blunt weapons. His rage mode allows him to throw an infinite amount of knives at nearby zombies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Purna is the support within the team, and a firearm expert. When her Rage mode is activated Purna has unlimited ammo with her Revolver.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The RPG element is very well done. It is similar to Borderlands in that you level up and select a skill under one of three trees and progress further as you add points to a tree. You can mix and match and make your character completely unique to the style in which you play said character and to me that is a huge plus. Dead Island does not let you get behind whatsoever. When you level the enemies in which you encounter are as well your level and thus makes the game progressively harder whether or not you quest or grind your way to max level.

All in all I give this game a 9. It could not go lower but no higher either as some elements of bugs here or there make the game a bit non user friendly. That being said I would highly recommend getting this title and start your trek across this island full of insane mutilated killer corpses. Pick up a copy for your friend or family member as the game is co-op and makes for an even funner adventure. You can get a PC copy of the game from our friends at IntKeys.com. They are trustworthy and truly top tier for online key purchasing. Use our promo code for an even higher discount: 224c76cae8

October 10, 2011

Deus Ex: Human Revolution Review

It’s finally here, eleven years later, Deus Ex: Human Revolution has come and ye shall not be disappointed.  In an age where reboots of reboots of reboots are common I must say that I was skeptical and with the recent failure which was Duke Nukem I was more than a little concerned with this game being a complete flop.  I’m very happy to say that this was not the case. 

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a great game but it does have a couple of things that hold it back from being perfect one.  There aren’t many things that Deus Ex: HR does wrong but if I were to pick the biggest one I would say it would have to be the fact that it feels like it forces you to play the game in a certain way.   For example, you get almost three times as much experience playing the game via stealth instead of running and gunning.  This isn’t a deal breaker by any means but I prefer to play using a run and gun style and I felt I almost had to play it in a stealthy manner (think splinter cell) otherwise I wouldn’t get to experience near as many of the unlocks the game has to offer if I didn’t play the game in a stealthy way.  There is also the issue of the cutscenes, I love cutscenes, but when they don’t look as good as the game itself it kind of takes away from the immersion.  I’ve always been of the opinion that if you are going to do cutscenes use live action cutscenes or use an amped up version of the game engine to render them. 

Graphically the game shines, especially if you have the PC version with DX11 turned on.  Many of the computer control rooms look simply stunning, especially rooms like David Sarifs office.  They simply look stunning.  The game takes you all over the world and each of these locals looks vibrant and different.  Each one feels unique and fresh and if I had any complaint I wish it would have taken you to some others.  There were a couple of places where it felt like they just wanted to get whatever they were doing over with.  Near the end of the game, one of the backdrops looks almost like a piece of paper with paper birds.  I felt like they could of spent a few more minutes and taken it from ok to amazing.  Backdrops can add a massive wow factor to a game and can really take it to the next level. 

The game sounds amazing and it’s oozing with it.  Humming of electronics and grinding of gears, people talking in the street, preacher talking to their crowds, city sounds, and the list goes on Deus Ex sounds spectacular.   

There is plenty of betrayal, love, hate, bitterness, revenge and happiness to go around in DX:HR.  The plot in DX: HR centers on Adam Jensen follows your choices just like the previous titles, decisions you make, people you kill or people you don’t kill all add to the ending of the game.  The story from beginning to end, no matter how you play, is enthralling and enjoyable.  I’ve found myself lately with a lot of games unable to finish them, and these were easily ¼ the length of DX: HR and I can honestly say that I couldn’t put this game down.  I enjoyed it from beginning to end and I was sad to see it end.    

Despite its small flaws Deus Ex: Human Revolution is an amazing game, one that deserves to be played and multiple times at that.  The stealth style of gameplay may scare some people away, it almost did me, but I am glad that I decided to play it anyway.  If you have been on the fence about picking this game up let this be the final push you need to get it. 

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OA_-mhoksL8

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNEFl2EI2eU

Deus Ex

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October 7, 2011

RAGE

 

AVAILABLE FOR: PC, PLAYSTATION 3 and XBOX 360

RAGE is an action FPS with some RPG elements, developed by id, that thrusts you into a post apocalyptic world that has been ravaged and destroyed by a giant meteor. You take on the role of an ARK survivor, one of a select group of people chosen to guide humanity and rebuild society after its destruction by a planet killing meteor.The only problem is a military commander sabotaged  the project causing ARKs of his choosing with his people to open before any other ARK in an attempt to rebuild as he sees fit and become mankinds supreme dictator, as a result you awake from your stasis pod over 100 years after the impact.

Society is divided between bandit outlaws with a thirst for blood, mercenary groups, small cities/towns that have created a base of civilization and the traitorous military group known as the authority. As an ARK survivor you have been given some biological enhancements, such as your ability to utilize a defibrillator built into your chest when you die, and automatically heal when hurt through the use of nano tech.

RAGE is primarily an action FPS game and fits the genre well. The combat is fast paced and brutally satisfying, RPG elements come into the game in the form of accepting missions from key characters and being able to choose side quests from a job board, much like in borderlands, and also in the ability to communicate with most people in towns and cities. These RPG aspects do a nice job of accentuating the game as an action FPS and throw a unique twist to it. The world is large and semi open, its not entirely open world but also alot has been left open should you wish to explore outside of completing quests. Your main mode of transportation are vehicles, you are set up with a starter vehicle and obtain more throughout the game by winning them in races. The vehicles are customizable and can be outfitted with weapons such as dual mini guns or dual rocket launchers. The vehicle weapon system has been developed quite well, when in vehicle combat you have a certain field of view that enables an auto aim so you arent worried about driving and aiming your weapons at the same time, this method works extremely well and makes vehicle combat simple and enjoyable. There is no quick travel but the world is just large enough to have a massive scale but is set up so that traveling doesnt take forever and drag out. Ground combat is a bit limited as far as weapon selection, but makes up for it with good customization options and a good amount of power that varies on ammo type. Another perk is the ability to obtain “recipies” and engineer ammo, first aid, adrenaline enhancers and so on by collecting components as you complete missions and find things throughout the world. Even useless items such as empty bottles will get you cash at a vendor in town, so it pays to pick up everything, and as far as i can tell there is no limit as to how much you can carry. So a mission can bank you quite a bit of cash for ammo, gear and upgrades.

The graphics are seemingly outdated with DX9 which is welcome news for those with outdated systems who cant afford the outrageous cost of bleeding edge PC components. Regardless id has definitely worked a good deal of magic with DX9. The textures are most noticeable as being DX9, however the textures still reflect alot of detail and the lighting and shadows look amazing. DX11 would have been ideal to bring out the detail in the game but all in all the use of DX9 has been implemented beautifully and has been polished to a high degree. Stability is solid and glitches are at a minimum and have little to no impact on gameplay, which is saying alot for a newly released game. My only gripe really is that the player doesnt have advanced graphical options, you simply have resolution, brightness, gpu transcoding, and anti-aliasing. The id tech implemented adjusts the advanced options automatically based on your system specs and takes full advantage the resources available to optimize the game for 60 frames per second, this isnt a deal breaker as it does an excellent job of auto detecting specs and adjusting accordingly and will also come as a breath of fresh air for those who are less tech savvy and simply want to install and play. However the majority of the PC community likes to tweak it their way and not have it done for them with software. But not to fret, advanced graphics options should be made available in the first patch from Bethesda that is currently under development.

So far I have put just over 15hrs into RAGE, with quite a bit more to go. This is one game wont be held back by short gameplay. As far as replayability goes, I dont see that there will be much value in that, while its a packs alot of fun and intensity, its lack of full RPG elements such as leveling and complete customization will likely hinder its replay value. The only reason to go back and play it again would be to complete side quests not undertaken the first time through.

To break it down, RAGE is intensely fun with great gameplay and good mechanics and a gripping and intriguing story line, the graphics are implemented using older tech but done so expertly creating a beautiful world and characters with rich detail. For a new release is quite solid and and for the most part glitch free, a few patch releases and any noticeable glitches should be taken care of.

GRAPHICS:  7

GAMEPLAY:  8

STORY/PLOT:  9

MECHANICS:  9

OVERALL:  8.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 4, 2011

Hellgate – The Revival Of A Lost Treasure

Hellgate Logo

Hellgate London (Now Free to play check it out here.)

What can be said about this amazing game that has not been said in a million other ways? This game is the best bit of true RPG left in what used to be a great company named Blizzard. Flagship Studios, a smaller group formerly known as Blizzard North, created this title under their own newly created name shortly after their major production known to most by the name Diablo 2. This was to be an unofficial release of a futuristic Diablo setting. Most people figured it for the Diablo 3 that so many people sought after years of waiting for Blizzard to do anything with the still strong franchise. I was one of these people and thus went out in 2007 on release day and bought it in the collectors edition format which netted me a nice BIG box that all the contents came in as well as an awesome comic book that told the story of the start of Hellgate London. In synapse, think of the Paladins guild of Diablo 2 finding openings of gates to hell much as were seen in act 5 of Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction. They are now banding together and gathering new recruits to fight against the droves of minions spawning from the hole out of hell.

Now on to my review:

Graphics: 7

The game being released in 2007 has some last generation graphics being stuck in the realm of late DX9 to early DX10. That being said, the graphics are exceptional for the platform and date. They take the world into a dark and almost steampunk feel early on into an apocalyptic hell later. Blending the old world with the new has long been a hard concept for developers to make happen in a way that is acceptable and revered. Flagship Studios did this amazingly.

The view of the items and paperdoll are strikingly similar to Diablo 2 as seen in the following image here.

Hellgate Items

Functionality: 8

The game functions as it should, with years under its belt many of the original bugs have been found and fixed. Hellgate is great in its own ability to be playable even on low end machines. It bolsters the ability to both look amazing and wretched but still retain all of the playability any one person could want.

With this, you have a choice of how to play the game, in FPS mode or 3rd person. The ability to change play style on the fly with a flick of the mouse wheel makes the game that much more diverse.

Hellgate

Hellgate 3rd person

Storyline: 6

The storyline while full with quests here and there feels much the same as it did with Diablo 2, lacking. After going through the game on Normal mode you find that you were very easily able to note the storylines plot almost word for word. Though memorable it feels stagnant, in the way that it has all been done miserably before.

Multiplayer: 10

The best part of Hellgate has always been its multiplayer. It is very similar to that of Guild Wars in that the quest hubs are open to all players together and the venturing parts of the game are instanced. This makes questing so much nicer since trolls cant easily train you or steal mobs. This also makes it so that you can play alone when you want to and not be bothered by others while questing if you choose.

September 11, 2011

Warhammer 40K Space Marine: Review

 

Space Marine, you are Captain Titus commander of the chapter Ultramarines. Called to the Forge World Graia, you and your Battle-Brothers must stop the Ork Horde invasion before they loot the Manufactorium which hold the giant mech Titians that are too valuable to let fall into Warboss Grimskulls Ork hands. But, there is an underlying menace hidden on this world waiting to reveal itself and bring “Chaos” to the realm of man!

 

Warhammer 40k Space Marines is a hybrid hack-n-slash, third person shooter. Vaguely resembling the Gears of War series in that it is a third person shooter, that’s where the similarities end. Space Marines blends melee and shooting mechanics rather well being able to switch from gun to blade almost seamlessly allowing you to change tactics on the fly depending on the situation. Being a Space Marine you also use no cover system because all who oppose you must fall!.

 

To be fair I guess I should say that Gears of War is “like” Warhammer 40k Space Marines even though it’s a new title. Because the likes of the Gears of war series, Starcraft, Warcraft, Wolrd of Warcraft and even the Halo series have all “barrowed” from the Warhammer universe that has been around for 25 to 30 years from miniature gaming to RTS style pc games it is truly a universe that needs to be explored!

 

Gameplay is fun and hectic although playing on the hardest difficulty I didn’t feel challenged till about halfway through the game when larger enemies were more frequent. There are a decent amount of weapons to use throughout the campaign 9 ranged and 3 melee, if I remember correctly. You can carry 4 range weapons and 1 melee weapon at a time, each gun and blade having its own special advantages and disadvantages. My favorites where the Melta gun and Thunder Hammer (the Thundar Hammer can only be used with the Bolt pistol and Bolter). There are also “Fury” power ups that enhance your ‘Fury” ability that charges over time and when fully charged can be unleashed giving you the power to dispatch huge numbers of enemies in a single blow. At times the AI seemed a little on short bus side shooting the wrong way and getting stuck in and on various things but the bosses where fairly challenging to make up for it.

 

Graphically Relic did a fantastic job with the main characters giving them life in the game rather well. The npcs however look a little generic and seem to be reused here and there but that is a minor issue that doesn’t impact the game very much. The Orks look just as I would imagine them to be as well as the Chaos factions. The only real negative for the graphics would be the use of every shade of brown in the backdrops that hid, in my opinion, the fantastic gothic architecture in drabness. I know this is a pollution ridden manufacturing planet but the people have color so why not everything else? Also when there were large amounts of activity in game at once I experienced lag issues most likely do to the aging Xbox 360 hardware I was playing on.

 

Story and voice acting top notch with Relic showing us again that they are the right developers for the job, I was compelled to keep playing just to see what happens to Captain Titus and his crew next. The ending was at first what I thought would be standard but then took a darker route for an interesting plot twist hopefully leading into a sequel. Titus was voiced by Mark Strong usually known for playing villains, but does an excellent job bringing a “hero” quality and life to the character.

 

Multiplayer has two game types: Annihilation (Team Deathmatch) and Seize Ground (Domination style game) and a leveling system much like most games but when you reach level 4 you unlock customization much like Halo: Reach you will unlock different armor that can be used to fully customize your Marine from look to color to chapter you belong to. There is also a weapon load system with 3 main classes to begin with and custom classes unlock able later in ranking as well as more weapons to fill your custom classes with. It plays kind of like the old Mech Warrior or Mech Assault games because everyone wears this hulking armor so no one has the speed and agility of other multiplayer shooters which makes a nice change up in game play.

 

At the beginning of October the first DLC will be released, free of charge, to add a 4 player co-op element to Space marine much like Halo’s Firefight or Gear’s Horde mode but with elements of Battlefield BC2’s Onslaught mode added for, I hope, an interesting take on the game type.

 

In a nutshell the campaign lasts about 7 to 8 hours on average (longer for me because of the higher difficulty I set the game at and my hidden item obsession) with a great story fantastic voice overs and compelling musical score. Nice multiplayer customization and load outs I say buy it now!

 

+ Great story line based in the Warhammer 40k universe

+ Fantastic voice acting by Strong

+ Characters and enemies have a unique look and style

+ Boss battles are challenging

+ Gameplay mechanics work very well

+ Varity of weapons true to the universe

– AI can be stupid at times

– Drab color schemes can hide the fantastic architecture throughout the game

–  Lag issues with huge amounts of activity most likely due to console hardware

– Multiplayer lacking very many game types

– Multiplayer lacking as many weapons as the campaign has

 

Final Score: 8/10 Buy it now and relish in the carnage!

 

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