5 on the Fly. Fus Ro Dah!

27 12 2011

What’s not to love?! You got dragons (that no longer fly backwards!), swords and sorcery and a character that levels from how you play! Hundreds of hours of questing, including 2 main stories, and dozens of side quests and randomly generated quests to keep you playing forever! Or at least until the DLC pops here pretty soon. And as an added bonus to all the call backs to Oblivion, improved graphics and an awesome physics engine (aka asshole physics), Bethesda, makers of the new Fallout series, will be cramming more DLC down your pie hole than you can shake a Wabberjack at! Throw on top of that a completely original sound track filled will all kinds of nerdy goodness and you got a recipe for what I call one of the MUST BUY games of the year!

Most Interesting Dragon Ever



RAGE Demo Now Available

22 11 2011

The demo for RAGE is available now for download on Xbox 360.  I didn’t hold this game in very high regard, but I do admit it’s worth at least checking out.  You can read my thoughts on RAGE in my review here , and if you enjoy the demo enough you can even pick up RAGE this weekend for only $29.95.  Sorry Playstation 3 owners, you’ll get your chance to demo RAGE December 6th.  Bummers.


There be dragons afoot (and a troll in the dungeon…I thought you should know)

15 11 2011

For the last nearly 5 days straight, I have not been able to get enough of this game. The biggest and best in the franchise yet, Skyrim offers a lot of enjoyment for all fans of the RPG genre. With all the requisite monsters you expect, hordes of bandits, throngs of undead and a dragon scattered here and there, if you like RPGs this is one you won’t want to miss. I mean come on! How many other games offer 9+ races and near infinite questing?!

Mace to face, canine vermin!

As far as combat is concerned, you have 2 main roads to pick from: Weapons or Magic. Within Weapons you will find all the nasty brain bashers that were made famous throughout the darkages. If you fancy swords and shields, you’re covered. What’s that? Two-handed weapons you say? We got 3 flavors: Axe, Mace or Great Sword. Dual wield was implemented in this installment, but it seems kinda “tagged on” and rather unwieldy. Personally, I prefer skulking about in the shadows, so I played with a bow the entire game, although I must admit I had a feeling of great disappointment when I neglected to find any crossbows in the entire game….who knows maybe I will get hooked up in the DLC. Along with your weapons, you may also augment them with the all new crafting system which allows improvements to gear and weapons, or if you are inclined like myself, you will enjoy adding poison to your weapons for added effects.  The new way magic works is top notch in my opinion. It essentially allows a mage to dual wield spells if you will, in that I can equip a healing spell in my left hand and a combat spell in the right, or dual combat spells, or mix and match from the gigantic library of spells the game has to offer.

3 to 1, paltry odds for any free Greek!

During the course of the game, your character levels up based on the skills you use and improving those skills, so Bethesda allows the player to progress the game on their own accord. If you like to be a hero, you can be the knight in shining armor, or on the flip side of that, my Argonian Assassin has crippled empires and brought kings to their graves. You play Skyrim on YOUR terms. And as you adventure through the land, you can also learn special dragon “Shouts” or the language of the dragons and augment your character with HUGE attacks: Spit fire balls, breath frost, slow time or slam enemies with unrelenting force.

I’ve spent nearly 20 hours playing and haven’t even discovered HALF of the quests in the game, I expect big things from Bethesda on this outing, if Fallout: New Vegas means anything, Skyrim fans should have the next years worth of DLC to look forward too.

And if you’re actively playing Skyrim and reading this page, drop me a line! Let me know what you play, how you play, how many shouts you’ve unlocked or anything else you think is pertinent!


RAGE Proves Timing is Everything

15 10 2011

Rage Review

Let me begin by saying id has made a gigantic game.  Gigantic.  Three discs on Xbox 360 and 7.8 GB hard drive usage on PS3.  I threw the game in and waited 20 minutes for the damn thing to completely load.  What ever happened to the days where I rushed home after buying a game, put it in the system and just started playing?  Every game now makes me immediately download an update or requires updating trophy data.  But now that rants over and on to the meat and potatoes of id‘s long time coming post apocalyptic wasteland epic.

An August 2009 issue of Game Informer sits in my bathroom with many of it’s back issue brethren, I know this because I’ve looked at it often.  Not until RAGE was released this month did I realize it’s been 3 years since it’s announcement.  In that same issue Borderlands, Mass Effect 2, Uncharted 2, Modern Warfare 2, Assassin’s Creed II, Heavy Rain, God of War III, Left 4 Dead 2, BioShock 2, Alan Wake, and The Last Guardian were all previewed as upcoming games, and all of them, with the exception of The Last Guardian have been released, had huge success, and are even moving onto the next titles in their respective series.  So what took id so long?  Well, the short answer, making a huge system challenging FPS.  RAGE has the most impressive graphics I’ve seen in any game to date.  Every character has their own look, their own design, they follow you when they chat with you, and they rarely have the same thing to say when you converse with them.  The voice acting is superb and the facial animations are spot on, allowing you to see and hear the characters emotions you’re interacting with.  Enemies chat amongst themselves, talk to each other during combat, dodge, dip, dive, duck, and dodge to avoid incoming fire.  The wasteland is large and extremely detailed, it’s so detailed in fact that it almost seems too clean to be a post apocalyptic wasteland.  But sadly almost none of that matters because even with it’s superior graphics, the areas just seem…dated and done before.  Rightfully so I guess, Fallout and Borderlands have both done “this wasteland”, and they did it well, I’ve traveled it many times.  And RAGE’s huge wasteland is a little exaggerated, the detailed cliffs and hills you see on the horizon are nothing but a facade, you’re still driving from point to point with little to no exploration in between.

Your travels through the wasteland take you to two large cities and multiple “dungeon” type hideouts.  My immediate thoughts upon arriving in Wellsprings was “Firefly anyone?”, and Subway Town looks straight out of the live action Mario Bros. film or to be generous, an underground Bladerunner.  Why does every techno post apocalyptic wasteland have to use the same music and color palette?  Traveling to the same hideout for different missions became drab and repetitive, which was dissappointing considering each level was incredibly detailed and had massive potential of being something greater.  Even the Authorities Capital Prime felt cramped and rushed.  Don’t let the repetitive nature of some hideouts discourage you from exploring, each level is still interesting and well thought out.

The gameplay in RAGE is polished and solid.  id knows how to do first person shooters, and RAGE is no exception.  Moving around feels a little too smooth but the realistic head bob is a nice addition and makes you feel like you’re floating a little less.  Firing the range of weapons, which aren’t many, manage to feel real in your hands.  They have bearable recoil and each serve a purpose for certain enemies.  You can buy upgrades and ammo for weapons from vendors in towns, although ammo for most weapons are abundant as long as you’re looting bodies in the wasteland.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the melee attack, it was under powered and didn’t feel like a natural fluid motion.  I did enjoy the generic 1970’s grindhouse karate flick sound effect though.  A lot of the weapons feel under powered actually, enemies take way too much damage, even well placed head shots don’t seem to chip away much hp.  The Gearheads and Authority troops were notorious for taking ridiculous amounts of damage, usually absorbing a third of a clip before meeting their demise.  The menus in RAGE are similar to Fallout 3’s Pip-Boy, you “flip” between each page scrolling through quest progression, building helpful gadgets, assigning weapon slots, and checking items in your inventory.  The mandatory “flipping” between pages can be slow at times, making navigating through the menus annoying since you’re in them often.  I thought RAGE did make creating items in the game really simple though, the recipes are easily accessible and not difficult to remember.  It’s even easier since all the recipes and number of items you can create are always right in front of you.

Besides combat on foot, you also spend a lot of time in combat while driving.  This isn’t a racing game, although you do technically race, RAGE is heavier on the FPS aspect, but racing is an integral part of the title that needs to be critiqued.  The driving mechanics are solid making piloting the vehicles simple and fun.  The vehicles do feel very light though, adopting the same “floating” feeling as on foot.  This makes pushing bandit vehicles easy, often making them roll right over the top of you during races and in combat.  You can only upgrade your rides with racing certificates that you receive for winning races.  The generic races are a blast, but the Rally Point races random Feltrite drop was obnoxious and ultimately lead to me hating that race mode.  The races aren’t mandatory so this inconvenience was easy to avoid.  To avoid constant repairs on your vehicle it is highly suggested to upgrade your vehicle to the max before feeding yourself to the proverbial wolves of the wasteland.  There is no traditional Deathmatch in RAGE, all the multiplayer is done with vehicle combat, so if you want to succeed in multiplayer, you’ll need to become very familiar with your vehicle.

It took me around 12 hours to finally finish RAGE.  I spent a lot of my time racing, doing side jobs, and exploring.  As small as the wasteland is, I still managed to find numerous things to accomplish.  RAGE flows as smoothly as you walk, and I was very surprised when I saw the 12 hour mark on my save file because it really didn’t feel like it.  What RAGE lacked in an abundant wasteland, it gained through narration and strong story progression.  I understood where I came from, I understood what I was fighting for, and I understood who I was fighting for.  But RAGE still felt unfinished when I saw the credits roll.  Is there more?  id essentially created the FPS genre, but I feel the days of the silent protagonists are coming to an end, and id has proven that releasing a game at the right moment is key.  The boat was almost missed.

RAGE scores an A-.



I finally rid myself of Fallout: New Vegas

21 09 2011

This has been on my mind since the first day I purchased Fallout: New Vegas, and now it has to be said, “I don’t like this Fallout.”  There I said it, I tried to deny it for so long but I can’t do it anymore.  I’ve tried so hard to enjoy this game, but no matter what I do, I find myself bored and disconnected from it somehow.  Fallout 3 was my favorite game of 2009, I beat the shit out of that game.  I  found everything there was to do in Fallout 3 completing 100% of the achievements and purchasing all the DLC.  I found myself engrossed in the story and completely enveloped in the wasteland.  I wandered everywhere, saw everything and literally had to physically pull myself away from Fallout 3 to accomplish real life tasks.

So why am I finding it so hard to enjoy New Vegas?  What is so drastically different that has me so disconnected with this title?  I created three different characters, all drastically different in S.P.E.C.I.A.L’s, perks, skills, karma and factions, and still found no character interesting or fun to play.  Living in Las Vegas I did find the surrounding areas of New Vegas very amusing, Good Springs, the Hoover Dam, Red Rock, Boulder City and Primm, but even being familiar with these area’s in real life, I never wanted to actually explore them in game.  And actually trying to explore them wasn’t easy.  I constantly found everything outside my current questing area’s far too high in level.  The previous Fallout that I loved so much for it’s freedom and exploration was lost, and now felt like a substandard game on rails.  Instead New Vegas now made exploring difficult and unbeneficial forcing you from one area to the next.  The unexplorable vast wasteland wasn’t the only drawback to the game, the perks and factions were also factors in my dislike for the game.  The Wild Wasteland perk was the only real perk I enjoyed, most of the others were drab and uninspired.  With every character I made I joined both major factions and even attempted to stay neutral between the two with one of my characters.  The New California Republic was by far the easiest faction to join and made traveling around the wasteland safer.  But what if I didn’t believe in the NCR’s values?  So I tried joining Caesar’s Legion, but I found them unwelcoming and even after finishing numerous menial quests for them I still found myself “unfriendly” with them and now also “unfriendly” with the NCR (which proved costly since they’re everywhere).  There were a few things I did like about New Vegas, Hardcore mode was ingenious, and a lot of the companions you meet during your travels proved to be very helpful, leaving me constantly torn between which two I was going to use.   But without fail, every time I picked up the Fallout: New Vegas box I let out a long tired *sigh* and placed it back on the shelf.  And there it’s sat for almost a year now, collecting dust and an occasional glance.  Well not anymore, I don’t plan on keeping the game much longer, I will find some value in it, probably in the form of trade in credit.

Brink Review

14 06 2011

I felt it was time to throw my review out there since I’ve been defending Brink since day one. 

Brink, from the developer Splash Damage, is a cross platform FPS, with great ambition.  I say this, because I feel a lot of the developers ideas were lost in translation.  

In Brink you choose to play as two factions fighting for control of the “Ark”.  An island of refuge for the Security and the Resistance.  Each team of 8 has 4 basic classes to choose from: Assault, Operative, Engineer, and Medic.  All of these classes have special abilities that are needed to accomplish tactical objectives in the game.  That’s really all you need to know.  The game is very strong in many aspects.  Your character is completely customisable, from the clothes you wear, to the scars and tattoo’s that cover your character’s 3 available body types (Heavy, Medium, or Light).  There are plenty of weapons to choose from, and all of those are also customisable.  The guns feel real when fired, and none of them feel like pin point accurate lazer rifles.  Battle’s feel raw, really requiring teamwork and appropriate class utilisation to accomplish tasks and objectives.  The maps are beautifully made, they force you to explore, looking for flank points and beneficial command posts.  With all of these positives, there are some low points.

The game I feel was doomed early on primarily from constant delays.  So when Brink finally arrived, we (gamers) were expecting a finely “polished” game.  Brink was boasting dedicated servers for PC, but the XBOX 360’s version was plagued with lag issues. PSN was still “down for maintenance”, making Brink’s strong multiplayer unplayable online on the PS3.  Brink lacks a true single player experience, forcing you to essentially play all the multiplayer maps against “bots”.  The level cap is 20, and is easily reachable in a short time of playing certain maps.  These were my main issues with Brink.

I really like Brink.  I like what it has brought to the FPS genre.  Splash Damage has worked hard on correcting the lag issues on the 360, and even have FREE dlc coming out later this June.  I highly suggest you give Brink a try, I think you’ll be pleasently surprised.

Brink gets a B+.