Battlefield 3 Review

So my friend bought me this the other day because he needed to unlock a reward and couldn’t do it in multiplayer, so wanted to stage it.

Anyway, Battlefield 3 is a game I looked forward to with a lot of anticipation – Battlefield has always been a great game, how could it possibly go wrong? Every single game was awesome, even 1943 – despite its pathetic lack of maps and the fact that they only did Japan instead of the entire game – except 2142, which had a few good moments. With a track record like that it’s absurd to think you would fuck up (but hey so did Capcom, Square Enix, Eidos, Nintendo, and pretty much every game developer).

Well I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt, the multiplayer is fucking terrible. It’s just absolutely terrible. And my friends, I’m sorry, the multiplayer is the entire game. Battlefield never had a real campaign until the last 3 games. I have not played it and no matter how good it is, it doesn’t excuse how shitty the game is.

The problem is that this game is entirely focused on infantry combat. Battlefield was never popular because of it’s infantry combat – the infantry aspect has been terrible in every game in the past 8 years. The selling point was that it was a mixed battlefield. Namely, it has tanks and shit, and Battlefield is the only game that’s ever had tanks (and shit) that was actually fun and solid enough to play – including Unreal Tourn, Starsiege Tribes, and other games. There is no variety of vehicles in this game – only 30 different vehicles. There are over 60 different guns though!

I think if your game is going to be focused on ground combat, you need to actually have that aspect of the game work correctly. It’s absurd. It does not fucking work. You can hit someone at point blank (your fucking gun barrel is touching their tonsils, that’s what point blank means) in the head, twice, with a .45, or with a shotgun, they won’t die. You can hit them directly with a tank shell – no kill. The hitboxes and the gun damages are broken. There is no other description, they’re simply broken.

The problem with these new shooters is that nothing new was implemented in any of them with the exception of killstreaks and all that bullshit in CoD. Battlefield copied and decided that, in order to make the game exponentially less fun and exponentially more frustrating, they would make weapons unlockable instead of having a balanced game where every player has the same access to the same resources.

On top of that, there is no attempt at balanced matchmaking. It’s completely absurd that as a level 20 or whatever player you still have to play with level 100s who have everything unlocked and can see you across the map. Interestingly enough, that’s what causes the grief in BF. People don’t give a shit if you kill thembut if it’s clearly complete bullshit, they get pissed. Battlefield 3’s problem is that those are 99% of the kills. Imagine if someone in Black Ops threw a tomahawk across the entire map, THROUGH a wall, and killed you. That’s how every single kill in Battlefield 3 feels. You get killed repeatedly through buildings, walls, 4 ton shipping crates, you name it. And the ballistics are completely unrealistic and inconsistent. A  guy can hit you across the entire map, which is like 2 km, with an m16, while your sniper hits him in the face and doesn’t kill him. It has nothing to do with lag, or your computer, or the server. It’s simply the game having a non-functional netcode.

There are so many other utterly unrealistic and asinine  things they implemented in the game. One of them is laser sights which just blind the hell out of you if they are aimed at you – completely contrary to reality which is not in the slightest bit what happens unless it’s aimed perfectly at your iris. Which is still false.

Another terrible thing about this game is that the entire multiplayer component is accessed from your web browser. You wanted to leave your browser open and have it leech bandwidth and memory the entire time you play, right?

What else is wrong with the game you say? Maybe the fact that the knife programming is literally non-functional. If you press knife from a certain distance, it grabs them and slits their throat. This is assuming someone doesn’t shoot you in mid-animation – which is pure bullshit. Sorry but if your teammate managed to get knifed, they deserve to die – there should be no escape from that. If you for some reason don’t initiate the knife animation – which happens about 85% of the time – you will instead stand there like a fucking idiot SPAMMING the knife button and you certainly won’t kill anyone that way. That’s another fun thing, because the knife forces you to use the insta-kill animation, otherwise it slashes like in counter-strike, not hitting the guy because the insta-kill range is larger than the actual melee range,.

What else!?!?! Over half the maps, especially the good ones, are DLC exclusive! Pay for Wake Island again you tool! What? You mean you paid for it in BF1942, BF1943, and BF2? That’s too god damn bad! Pay for the same map we’ve released at least twice! That’s completely unacceptable. Battlefield maps used to be free. There is no excuse to charge for them now.

This is literally the worst multiplayer shooter I have ever played, and I have played every multiplayer shooter there is on the market.

Revisiting the newer features. Battlefield used to be a matter of skill. If a fuckface raped you in a dogfight in Battlefield 1942, it’s because they were good. They weren’t hacking. They may have been but they likely weren’t. In Battlefield 3 if a fuckface rapes you in pretty much anything, they’re hacking. Either they’re hacking, which I’d say is 30% of the time, or, it’s because the game is god fucking awfully designed. Example:

Battlefield Bad Company introduced class/item unlocks, replacing the old system of “You can choose whatever gun you want and have fun you customer, you! Go show them how you kick ass” with a new, faggoty fucking bullshit Call of Duty system of pseudo-positive reinforcements through “unlocks”, “rewards”, “ranks”, and “promotions.” So now you have the added bonus of the call of duty pissant community migrating to BF3, on console and PC. Fortunately on consoles you can’t hear their pissant asinine comments, but on PC you can. So you get faggots going “Herp derp you’re lvl 32 and you’re liek 12/13 who are you to talk?” when you say something utterly non-confrontational and irrelevant first. So where naturally you’d kill a bitch fair and square, no, now you have bullshit flak jackets and cocksuckers with M98s with better scopes than yours that manage to kill you first or even though you hit them 18 times. It’s a fucking terrible game and this unlock “progression” bullshit needs to stop being forcefed to these millenial kids that shouldn’t be playing our games in the first place, to make them think they are doing something with their time. In the old days when a shooter released, we didn’t lie to ourselves. We fucking were wasting our time shooting digital people and we didn’t need to pretend otherwise.

But who am I to talk? I’ve played every one of these piece  games since Beta before 1942 ever came out. I’ve played in clans and leagues for every game. Obviously I suck at them.

But no, really, they ruined every last possible fraction of the game. Mobile spawn points? enemy motion detectors? Chaff? Can’t combine certain attachments? Extremely unrealistic bullet drop? We’re talking about worse bullet drop than BF1942 here and BF1942 was god awful about it. Literally there is not one redeeming factor to this game whatsoever.

You get infinite ammo as long as your support troops aren’t mentally retarded. Infinite health. Almost infinite revives unless the person you revived doens’t know how to accept a revive properly.

Aircraft have unlimited chaff and obviously never use it until they are locked on. Unless every single person on your team locks on them and fires one by one until one of you hits them, that piece of shit is not going down from a javelin or hellfire or stinger or missile from an AA truck.

If you’re in a tank, you may as well blow yourself up. AT is entirely fucking overpowered and god forbid you fight another tank because while you do, you’ll have to also make sure you have a gunner shooting 15 AT people at once.

There is absolutely no redeeming value whatsoever. The game has wonderful graphics but that’s  irrelevant and does not make up for how ungodly bad the gameplay is.I don’t endorse CoD at all so if you have to get a shooter, seriously, get Bad Company 2 – BF3 is pure horse manure.

Score – 2/10

Falling Skies

Anyone who is an actual sci-fi fan has at least heard of this show on TNT, starring Noah Wyle, Will Patton (Armageddon) , Seychelle Gabriel (Weeds), Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation), Colin Cunningham (Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Elektra), and Ryan Robbins (Battlestar Galactica, Stargate Atlantis. Sanctuary, Mortal Kombat Legacy) – to refuse to watch it at least for a minute would be immature and unbecoming of a nerd so hopefully you’ve heard of it. I had high hopes for it because it was a type of alien invasion show that hadn’t been on TV before (If I haven’t at least heard of it, that means it sucks, and so it doesn’t count – you can try and refute this if you want). and so far the only disappointment I have is that 1 hour shows are only 43 minutes long, and every single one of them wastes a minimum of 1.5 minutes recapping.

If you haven’t seen the episodes up until this point, whats wrong with you!? Go to the beginning and start watching it!

Anyway sorry I digress. So Falling Skies has a decent ensemble of not-lead actors. Will Patton is good, Colin Cunningham and Ryan Robbins have been in every sci-fi thing ever made, so they’re used to sci-fi roles. Seychelle Gabriel, well, she’s just cute. She wasn’t a bad actor in the two episodes of Weeds she was in (or was it 1?) but that’s the only place I’ve seen her. Noah Wyle….I don’t understand any of the jokes or references to Noah Wyle or why some people don’t like him. Admittedly he isn’t an A-list actor but he seems to do just fine as far as I’m concerned.

There is one annoying trend that has developed in the past 15 episodes though – Mason get’s away with doing whatever he wants, even though Weaver acts pissed, and then he goes and does it again whenever it’s about his family. Granted, I would too. If my sons were all I had left I’d tell everyone to go fuck themselves in the alien occupation apocalypse whenever that’s what I needed to do. Also I would like them to develop more of the characters. Hopefully Pope is not gone, or the black dude.

It may come as a surprise, but one thing in the show does personally irritate me. There’s a black dude, an engineer, in the show and his name is Jamil. My name is Jameel. I’m not black. I have that name because it belongs to my culture – Middle Eastern culture. He’s not Middle Eastern I’m willing to bet. The character is spelled Jamil but it’s just weird to hear your name on TV as a character after living in a world of Pauls and Joshes for so long. People are starting to use my name now and it’s bullshit. I never signed any forms saying they could do it.

As far as the plots go they are more or less kind of predictable – most sci-fi plots are – but I don’t feel it really detracts from anything. Once you watch enough TV or play enough games you can predict what’s going to happen in pretty much anything with pixels.

All in all, as a show with Spielbergs name on it, I feel it’s good and I hope it keeps going. Far too often sci-fi shows get cancelled because of ratings or whatever reason. The fact that it’s made it to Season 2 is kind of promising. Most shows don’t:  V, Firefly, Stargate Universe didn’t get to 3 because 1 and 2 sucked (I have no respect for SGU – it was cool for about 10 episodes and then it became unacceptable, for many many reasons.). Caprica, etc.

Weeds Season 8

So, for those who watch Weeds, you were probably apathetic all through Season 7 – probably since at least Season 5. Really the show has been “bleh” since the end of Season 1 – Nancy has just made progressively more destructive decisions and everything has spiraled out of control almost. So, at the end of Season 7 it looked like the show might be over. However, for those who know how to Google, Season 8 was announced quite a while ago and the trailer told you that what you thought happened at the end of S7, did not happen.

Anyway, I feel so far that Season 8 has been better in just two episodes than most of Season 7 and even Season 6 were combined. They are kind of getting back to elements in the story that went abandoned for entire seasons. Here’s to hoping it keeps getting better again.

Dead Island 2: Riptide announcement

Most people who pay attention to the gaming industry probably should have realized there would be a sequel to Dead Island. It sold 3 million copies which is still a pretty decent record, for an under the radar game. It isn’t the undeserved bullshit 12 million copies that Call of Duty sells, but then again Deep Silver/Techland aren’t money hungry prostitutes who spend absolutely no money developing and keep the hundreds of millions of dollars for their yachts, like Activision Blizzard.

So anyway, people who actually liked Dead Island should be happy – this provides an opportunity for them to take what they learned from the failures of Dead Island 1 and correct them. I only hope Giles Lamb and Deep Silver bless us with a trailer even more amazing than the first announcement trailer. In my opinion, it’s going to be hard to top.

Unfortunately there is no information whatsoever available about the game, so I do not imagine it is very far along. That or they want to keep it under wraps. I think a lot of people were actually hoping for the sequel to be something more like “Dead Nation”, where it took place not on an island, but if it does literally take place on an island again, that’s just fine with me. This time though I would like something different from the cut and dry talent trees and characters of the first game. If we could have characters with actual stories, that we cared about, this time – and the freedom to really build our characters how we want – that would be amazing.

Eagerly looking forward to it, the new trailer, and a tobuscus literal song for the trailer.

Dead Island

Please consider that I wrote this review like, 9 months ago and forgot it was on my computer. So now it is publicized.

October, 2011

I have been waiting for this game for months on end, eagerly I might add, as I hope most zombie aficionado/gamer hybrids have. Im sure many people have been, considering the reverse chronological-order method of storytelling used in the trailer, and the absolutely wonderful music written by Giles Lamb and performed by the Dead Island Orchestra. So my opinion may be slightly biased and for that I apologize and issue a warning up front – reviewing something you care about is a daunting task to be impartial with.

As the months passed by, ever so slowly, I stopped caring as much, as I’m sure many did as well, but every now and then I would remember “What’s that game with the zombies? I’ll look that up”, and then watch the trailer again, and virtually blow a load after going OMFG the trailer is so awesome.

Now that the game has been out for almost three weeks, I’ve had time to think it over (though not the time or specifically, the will, to finish the storyline). Let’s face it, when you play online, things happen in such a flurry that you don’t know what quests you did and what you still need to do, and if you aren’t careful, you’ll beat the storyline without experiencing everything.

Overview:

Dead Island is an open-world, post zombie-inducing-contagion-outbreak first person action RPG, in the archetypal sense of modern, scientific zombie mythos, rooted as much as possible [we assume because they created the virus or whatever] in science and reality. It’s like Left 4 Dead, Borderlands, and Fallout 3 all rolled into one meat sandwich. The elements from each of these three games are well blended, though very distinguishable to those who have played all three games. It is not terribly original (nothing with zombies ever will be) and it seems familiar – in a good way.

Gameplay

From the beginning, unless you skipped the admittedly annoying rap intro starring our friends Sam and Logan, you are submitted to the blood, sexism, and pretty much mature/adult oriented material – you will be attacked by your first zombie within a few minutes (after single looting 40 or 50 suitcases – more about that later) and if your video settings are correct, it will probably scare you because you won’t be expecting it.

As previously mentioned, the game plays like a triumvirate of three excellent games: Borderlands, Fallout 3, and Left 4 dead.

Ostensibly Borderlands and Fallout 3 are two different sides of the same coin, though Borderlands takes a different approach. In Dead Island, as in Borderlands, all the damage you do to an enemy is shown, like in an MMORPG, as “floating combat text”, as are other things like whether or not your thrown weapon ricochets back to you. Also like in Borderlands (a feature infuriatingly omitted in Fallout 3. All those fucking motorcycle parts and I never get to build a functioning motorcycle!!!!?), you can use vehicles to get around – though it requires the utmost of Battlefield 1942 skill in later chapters when  you are trying to drive away from butchers up a 20 degree road that curves around a mountain and has obstacles all over and around it. You may think that running over people got old several GTA’s ago – but running over zombies did not.

Unlike all three games, though, wandering around the island affords you a rich amount of loot – some may be useless as weapons, some may not be worth much money, and many may just be energy drinks (seriously, this island would be a paradise if you liked Monster as much as I do – zombies withstanding). Left 4 Dead, Fallout, and Borderlands have a distinct lack of random “shit” that you can pick up (unlike Elder Scrolls, in FO3’s case), which is not the case in Dead Island. Though admittedly, you can not pick things up as though it were the source engine, where you can pick up pretty much anything, and there are realistic physics involved. Much to the contrary, you can only pick up useable items or quest items.

The game plays much like Borderlands, with quest and plot progression, and even endlessly respawning skags when you return to areas where they spawn (pronounced Zombies). In addition, you also can find or pick up weapons modified with special “magic” abilities, just like Borderlands. You can do poison damage, bleeding damage, electricity damage, and fire damage to zombies, as well as humans.

Sound

Anyone who saw the trailer or played with the sound on in this game can tell you the soundtrack is superb Giles Lambs trailer piano theme, and all of the piano themes in the game, are beautiful, as is the more traditional action game music. Sound is an integral component of making a convincing environment, and as has been said in other reviews, the sound makes you feel like you’re there. You pant with heavy breaths when sprinting, you freak out when  you hear the tyrannosaurus growls of a thug, or hear the creepy noises of a Suicider nearby. You run to the hills when you’re near the hotel, in the resort, as it persistently sounds as if the entire building will collapse on top of you, or like a gigantic zombie is literally ripping metal pieces of the hotel apart.

Survival Horror

From the beginning, this game was hyped as being much more down to earth than Left 4 Dead, and it is. In fact, I would say this is the first survival horror game to be true to the name in several years (including Silent Hill and Resident Evil and Fatal Frame and Alice and other games) When you play alone, this game will make you paranoid. You become the person running across Moresby from an increasingly hard to handle horde of zombies, by yourself, with no bullets, with very few healing items, broken weapons, and low health. The zombie that was 30 feet away from you will be hitting you in the back a second later, when you pause to kill a zombie you thought was a bigger threat. When you hear a thug for the first time in the distance, I believe when you first clear the life guard building of zombies is the first thug, it will scare you off of the beach because you have no idea where it’s coming from.

Plot

Admittedly, the plot leaves something to be desired – like the best survival horror game, Resident Evil, you are thrust into this situation (though this time with almost no plot or introduction, compared to the story RE gives you before that classic live action intro). It does however become revealed through cinema scenes and tapes and documents, in the classic style of Resident Evil. It is also fairly predictable (pro tip: Do not let your girlfriend read ahead in the strategy guide)

Zombies

To be honest, the scariest zombies in the game, to me, are the infected, and the thugs. Suiciders are slow, though I consider their blast radius to be overpowered. Floaters are quite dangerous, but in multiplayer they can be effectively handled. The same can be said about thugs – even two people can mercilessly beat a thug to death, in a wildly entertaining emulation of the pool cue scene in Shaun of the Dead, if they are good at the game. This is where Dead Island takes much of its Left 4 Dead influence. All the zombies from Left 4 Dead are also types in Dead Island, though prettier (more grotesque and more realistic) and more varied.

Rams

Chargers

Thugs

Tanks

Infected

Hunters

Butchers

Witches (though easier to kill than witches)

Floaters

Combined Boomer and Spitter

Walkers

Average zombies, though less insane

Suicider

Boomer

Obviously the comparison is not absolute. A thug is less dangerous than a Tank, because it will not throw shit at you, and does not move quickly at all – in fact, they forget you exist after they knock you over. A ram is less dangerous than a charger, only because it is like the Yeti in Trial of the Crusader – dodging it as it slams into a wall affords you some DPS time. Suiciders are more dangerous than Boomers, but move slower. Walkers also move much slower than normal zombies in L4D, though they can easily kill you. On the other hand, Infected, unlike hunters, can easily kill you with one hit if you do not get the drop on them. I would say butchers are less dangerous than witches, as a witch can easily kill at least one party member in L4D, though a butcher is not much of a challenge to a full party of FPS veterans, which are fortunately almost the only people left on PC.

Multiplayer

Unfortunately, this is where the survival horror loses a lot of mojo, as do all survival horror games that are multiplayer. While Left 4 Dead is still a challenge (because of the sheerly retarded number of zombies you have to kill. I’ve been playing a lot of L:4D since DI came out and I lose count after 100 zombies killed from one horde – and this is halfway through the horde), Dead Island becomes can become a joke with two people – though once you have good weapons that isn’t the case. Where L4D uses very cut and dry game mechanics and sheer attrition to make sure you usually don’t beat the scenario (let’s not forget to place a large amount of blame on people who suck balls at games), Dead Island’s multiplayer requires your team not only to stay together, but to have common sense as well. Overwhelming numbers of zombies are not required to make the game difficult, because the enemies level with you.

Loot

While this is an online RPG, it is not a loot game like WoW. Having an epic Bleeding Baseball Bat at 100% durability doesn’t make you unstoppable, regardless of  your build. Even having an epic (or anything higher?) AK 47 doesn’t make you unstoppable. Ammo is just as scarce as Resident Evil 1 or 2 or 3 and combat in this game is almost entirely melee – whether you are trying to beat a zombie to death with a wooden stick (props to RE Outbreak) or you are desparately fending off a horde of infected and walkers at a gas station because a scripted quest event made you, you won’t even get to shoot a zombie until some time in Act II – and all those dreams you had of how cool and easy it would be to kill a zombie when you finally get a gun will be crushed instantly when a headshot seems to do nothing to them.

Workbenches

Like Fallout, there are many a workbench scattered around – actually a ridiculous amount of workbenches when you get to the city (for good reason – unless you run away all the time, you will need repair very often). This facilitates using one of the coolest features of Dead Island: The stupid shit you pick up all the time is actually used to make things from scratch, or modify your weapons! The best part is, the modifications actually make sense! (Well, some of them. Lighting a baseball bat on fire and somehow keeping it on fire without burning the bat is…interesting) Some of them are very Borderlands, like shock mods for guns – imagine a bullet that is also a tazer.

I have one complaint about this game, honestly. One. Maybe two.

1)     There is no area loot. Literally, within the first three minutes of the game, there are about a hundred suitcases or closets to  loot. Any seasoned gamer knows you damn well better take EVERY item ever, and have no shame about your Josh Holloway like activities. That large battery can be used later, if not for a mod you want, you can sell it. You’ll need money because, eventually, a baseball bat will cost $4000. Leave it to the douchebags to capitalize on post-apocalyptic commerce opportunities.

2)     I didn’t get the chance to preorder on Amazon, and get the artbook. THis isn’t their fault but you know, I’ll complain about it.

Anyway, I give the game a 4.4 out of 5, or an 88 if you suck at math.

Total War: Rome II Announced!

Or whatever this stupid new uniform naming convention is that they decided to use starting with Shogun 2. It would be nice if they had that bright idea 15 years ago so that all of our Total War games were in the same place on our shelf/steam.

So, let’s start this off with my initial reactions, as I shall now show you:

I think this pretty much sums up every fans reaction.

If  you guessed that I’m as pleased as punch, you are correct. You win nothing.

Rome Total War was the best Total War game to date when it came out. It is still one of the three best total war games. I would honestly rate Fall of the Samurai as the best, right now, because it is over a decade of learning on their part implemented in one game so that everything works very well. Rome second, Medieval 2 third. That isn’t to say that it wasn’t broken, or that it was unpleasantly unrealistic at times, or that Rome Total Realism mod was not required to make the game good. Once you played Realism, you didn’t go back (if you are a historian like me and know your ancient/classical history/culture/language/etc.).

Every TW fan, except for newcomers lured by the past three games, has wanted this for years and years. We spent so many hours of our lives playing  this game, it was just wonderful.

I have already made my remarks to CA in hoping that they draw upon their learning experiences and combine that without changing the original game drastically, in order to make this game get a 110% review score. There are a few things that were unique to Rome, that need to stay that way – like city view. Cities were a major, major part of Roman history. Ab Urbe Condita, anyone? It was an empire of cities. Being able to view your city was the shit, and with these graphics, it will be an awesome feature:

Ooh purdy.

Another good part about RTW was the massive size of the map (which was also present in Medieval 2 and Empire to an extent). This time I hope it extends as far south as Ethiopia, as most people are aware there was a Roman presence there in addition to other classical cultures. I also hope for the other cultures to be as emphasized this time around, without having to download a mod like Europa Barbarorum or Rome Total Realism to even experience the Bactrians or Sarmatians, etc. One of the other things that needs to stick with this game, from FoTS – something they should have implemented years ago: 40 unit battles. In fact, 40 unit armies. A Roman legion was ~7000 men including auxilia and cavalry, ~4800 of those Roman legionaries – which equals about 20 units of cohorts alone. I want to have a realistic Roman army this time, without mods. Without marching my armies around in pairs or groups (though I would do that anyway, as I do in Fall.)

Yet another feature, the fact that you could walk armies over the sea in certain areas – Strait of Gibraltar, and between Sicily and Italy for example.

Sidenote: Remember 8 army city sieges, and how they crashed your computer? I bet this time they’ll work.
 

You have to remember that Rome was the third game they ever made, so the AI was nowhere near as good or complex at diplomacy as it is now (not that it is perfect because it still needs work) – that would add immensely to the game. The other problem I always had was that Rome was very misrepresented. They had four factions, the three families, and the Senate. In Realism Rome was just one faction, as it should be. While in the vanilla game this made for great civil wars, it was also debilitating to play as Rome because every other Roman stood in your way. That should still happen but not in a way that requires you conquer all of Italy again, from your own people.

There is one interesting element they are introducing, which is combined battlefields:

Huh?

I’m not sure how this works, though, or the point – other than naval invasions. Roman triremes were little more than floating troops platforms. The Romans did not have a navy. Their navy was the army. They threw dudes on a boat, used a corvus to anchor themselves to the enemy ship, and stormed the ship and fought hand to hand. So there isn’t any actual naval warfare, just the Romans turning boats into a land battle. Frankly I don’t need that although it’s fine with me if you add it for that sole purpose.

Either way, holy god damn shit. I cannot wait.

 

Spec Ops: The Line Review

I’ll be honest, the only attention I ever gave this game pre-release was to watch some developer video interviews. It sounded interesting based on those. I downloaded the demo on Steam a while back and played it, it seemed pretty cool.

So I’ve just finished the game, the campaign more specifically, on regular difficulty. To be honest I torrented this game, as I do not drop money on games unless I know they are worth it – except for games that are 2 dollars or whatever like Perfect Dark Zero because – it’s two dollars, bfd. So as I could not play multiplayer, I have no interest in it and I hear it’s just generic like most 3ps.Overall I think it’s one of the better third person shooters available on the market. I stay away from them because third person shooters are pretty much complete garbage, and I can’t even remember a single one that has proven me wrong (including Gears).

The graphics on PC are great, though it’s not as if they are so fantastic that it distracts you from anything else. I never experienced any issues whatsoever with performance on ultra high graphics, though I will definitely say the graphical options you are given are very cookie cutter and very obvious signs that this multiplat was developed for console first and PC last. I did not notice any bad shadows or anything like that, though I did notice the sweat on Adams’s head has a little bit too strong of a specular channel and it just looks white, rather than like sweat. Regardless of what angle the sun hits your body,  your sweat will never look like someone came on you,

As far as the gameplay goes, it is fairly realistic on normal difficulty. I say fairly because enemy heads will frequently explode when sniped – when shot with a simple Steyr Scout, which is a .308 – not a round so big that it would blow your head up. There are increasingly frequent exceptions to this, as the game goes on. For example, you will fight “heavys” who are basically jugerrnauts from CoDMW and they will take absurd amounts of punishment before dying. That isn’t realistic at all. No existing armor in the world can stop large caliber rounds, over and over. Even if it did, you’re going to be out for a while. Here’s an extreme example: I literally hit a heavy in the upper chest with an RPG-7. He shrugged it off and kept going. That’s just bad programming. There are obviously other exceptions to it being realistic, such as hitting a soldier five or so times before they die. It’s nothing surprising though, nearly every shooter sheds realism in favor of difficulty.

I am kind of disappointed in the array of available weapons. You’ve got the Beretta M9, the Desert Eagle, about two seconds worth of using some sort of Colt magnum, the UMP45, Colt M4A1, the HK416 which is called the 417 in this game – and for some reason confined to single fire only, a mini-Uzi, RPG-7, Grenade Launcher, Steyr Scout Tactical, the AA12 auto-shotgun, Benelli M4 (XM1014 is the same thing), some sort of pump shot, the SCAR, the SAW, P90, and the Barrett. And like every game, the Barrett is misrepresented . That may sound like a lot of gun variety but it really isn’t, especially because of the ridiculous amount of people you have to kill. You will run out of ammo quick as there isn’t a lot of ammo laying around – you’ll pretty much be forced to scavenge weapons from dead guys and more often than not, it ends up being something shitty. Which is why I nearly raged and quit the game in the last two chapters – the P90 and SCAR just don’t cut it, at all, and you are increasingly forced into harder situations, culminating in a hellhole with at least 4 .50 machine gun emplacements that are pretty much impossible to take out, even with an RPG or grenade launcher – because the sheer number of enemies that will just replace anyone you kill.

The music is great, in my opinion. A lot of it sounds like Tool, specifically 10,000 days – there’s a section in the game where you’ll think you’re listening to Lost Keys. It doesn’t interrupt the action too much (other than the actual songs which come out of nowhere over the radio station) – even those only underscore the action in a few sparse places.

Story is the major component of this game, and is the sole reason you should ever try playing it. The story is very good for a third person shooter – obviously not something you ever expect, as no shooter has a well-written or even worthwhile story. It’s written in a Damon Lindelof/Quintin Tarintino style, because they invented story-telling. You know, where you start near the end and then go back. I don’t really understand the story myself, not completely, but I’m told via YouTube by BrokenGamezHD that you’ll understand it more the second time. Like if you watch The Sixth Sense again and pay attention.

There are some annoyances, the same kind that occur in every third person shooter – so while I can’t blame it too much from suffering from it’s nature, I can blame it for not trying to overcome it. Cover doesn’t always work, melee doesn’t always work, and vaulting over cover doesn’t always work. There’s also a max range for your grenade throws that is not at all affected by angle – which pisses me off, Uncharted pretty much does the same thing. Sometimes you’ll try to take cover and end up running, if you don’t do it right. Sometimes you’ll try to vault and instead punch the air. Occasionally you’ll hit a dude in the face over 100 times with a machine gun (heavies) before they die. Really that’s only the last heavy in the game where that happens though.

The more you think about it, the more similarities you will notice between the mechanics not working in this game and Raccoon City. Raccoon City, though, is still infinitely more broken than this game is, and so it would be unfair to make that comparison without a disclaimer. This seems as good a place as any to discuss the “Accolades”. As you kill people and do things, you work towards accolades. Except these accolades do nothing for you. You’ll be like “Sweet I’m a rifle marksman what do I get? Jack shit, eh? I was hoping for maybe a permanent recoil reduction or something but I guess not.” They have no purpose at all, they are just superficial boring pseudo-achievements that so many modern games have, really telling you how many people you’ve shot rather than meaning anything.

I feel that could have been done better – as much as it pains me to say, kind of like the way MW3 does it. Shudder.

Overall I think the game is one of the better 3ps on the market, but I would not suggest anyone spend $60 on it, ever. I wouldn’t suggest you spend $60 on any game, including Oblivion, Fallout 3, Skyrim, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, because those prices are ridiculous. The only game I would ever suggest you spend 60 dollars on is if you manage to find an original copy of Chrono Trigger somehow – which was over $60 when it came out in 1995 and stayed that way for a long time. And I would only have you do that as a collectors item, never to be opened. You can buy the PSX or DS version if you want to play it, or do the intelligent thing and use a ROM.

Steal it or wait until its like 10 – 20 dollars before you own this game. My score would make it seem otherwise but the game simply doesn’t have that much replay value, and replay value is what you have to consider when you drop that much money on a piece of plastic. Otherwise you paid all that money for a long movie. You may as well buy a shitty game with no replay value [like FF13] if you’re going to waste money because at that point, what difference does it make.

My Score: 8 out of 10

Alan Wake review

I actually played American Nightmare this Spring before I ever purchased Alan Wake – simply because the game was hard to find at an agreeable price for something I thought was a 360 launch title. I was not aware the game was actually kind of new, only 2 years old. So I was more prepared, somewhat, than I expected to be.

This game was shown to us for years, which is why I thought it was out earlier, and so my interest had been thoroughly piqued. Needless to say I am not disappointed.

First of all, I’m a writer. I don’t claim to be a great writer and in all honesty, I haven’t written a full page in my  novel in at least 4 months. I won’t claim to be a good writer and I often ignore grammatical issues or stupid spelling errors, such as improper usage of apostrophes when it comes to posession. You judge, I don’t care. . I’ve been writing for nearly two decades, some amateur work, some freelance work, some for actual publications. It’s what I like doing, I’m narcissistic that way.

Naturally, a story about a writer appeals to me – especially when it’s in the form of a horror video game on the console I cherish above others. Having said that, I admit to not having collected or read the full manuscripts in either Alan Wake title. I’ll do it eventually, but the manuscripts are kind of ancillary to the narration of the story in the game.

Many people argue that the writing is horrible, so I once again direct you to the fact that gamers and all people who express their opinions are conceited, blind assholes. You try and write a better story. I’ll wait. I’ll proof-read your dreck and in all likelihood, immediately throw it back at you because I couldn’t overcome your first grade English in order to even try to get to the point. The writing is not horrible, at all. The narration is not horrible, at all.

There is one qualm I have with the game insofar as the actor for Alan Wake and the narrator are concerned though. I believe Noah Wyle would be a perfect match for the character of Alan Wake. Yes, Noah Wyle. What’s he going to do, turn it down? He’s not exactly an A list actor (though I like all of his movies and Falling Skies.) I think he portrays a history professor quite well, and so I could see him as a writer.

The story essentially revolves around a very successful thriller/horror author who goes, with his wife, on a “vacation” to upstate New York in order to take a break after his most recent book tour. Obviously they need to spend some time together, alone, somewhere quaint. He is plagued by nightmares and the story pretty much collapses into psychological horror as he loses his grip on reality and his wife.

Alan Wake plays like Resident Evil 5, more or less. It’s a third person survival horror game, with equal parts action and equal parts jolt scares or creepiness like poltergeists and taken, in addition to a lot of townies who are plain creepy. The game dotes on a very tired subject, the light and the dark, where the light keeps the dark at bay and the darkness is malevolent, if not downright evil. People often cite this as a thin excuse for not liking the game or not respecting the story, which is simply a sign of ignorance – you can’t expect everything to be original. Any thought you could possibly have, at least 17 people have already had that idea or something very similar.

In order to combat the darkness, you have a flashlight, and a gun. You also have checkpoints in the form of streetlamps, though sometimes they are irrelevant because you can run from a pack of taken – right into a checkpoint – and they’ll follow your ass and murder you. You get increasingly powerful lights throughout the game, and of course, lose every single one of them, every time you get a flashlight; You cannot kill an enemy without weakening them via flashlight. Some enemies like poltergeisted bulldozers can only be killed by a flashlight, flashbang, or flare gun. As you would expect, you need batteries to power these flashlights, and your batteries will run low if you charge the light beam too long. Overall, the flashlight adds another layer to what might otherwise be copy pasta third person shooter combat.

In the arms department, the arsenal is far more sparse than American Nightmare or Resident Evil. You get a revolver, a double-barrel break action or a pump shotgun, and a hunting rifle. For your grenade launcher you get a flare gun, and you get road flares. You also get flash-bangs  which are lovely. In comparison the choices are much more limited, but the revolver will almost always do the trick. When it doesn’t,  you have a hunting rifle or shotgun – when you need to disperse a major crowd, there are the flash-bangs and flare gun.

Alan Wake shares many similarities or familiar situations with survival horror games, such as the fact that you need finite supplies in order to survive, or the fact that Alan Wake is a writer, not a Navy SEAL. Often times you will have more supplies than you can possibly carry, but many times you will find yourself low or empty on them and cursing your carrying capacity. When this happens, the game becomes survival horror – and unfortunately, Alan Wake isn’t an Olympic athlete so he sucks at running. A lot of the time you will run for your life if you don’t have the ammo or batteries, or flares, and sometimes a flare will only slightly increase your chance of survival.

As far as bosses go, there aren’t really any. Every now and then you’ll have to fight an extremely annoying enemy who moves at what is apparently the speed of shadow, which is faster than the speed of light it seems. It’s so fast you can see it moving. More often, you’ll have to blind a possessed piece of construction equipment to death, like a combine, a bulldozer, or what have you. You may have to fight a tornado or two.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the game and I believe it’s a must for horror fans. The combat does get redundant in the latter stages of the game, as you will fall into a cycle of “Do Event A. Fight a ton of dudes. It’s safe, run to Event B and do that all again.” but I would hardly say it detracts from the point, which is the story. Pretty much every third person shooter or action game these days has de-evolved into the Uncharted “Safe Room, Rape Room” game-play that I just described, so there isn’t much you can do to change it.

If you don’t own it and do like this type of game, it should be $9 at a GameStop somewhere (Yes we all hate GameStop, just be economic and do it anyway.)

Atmosphere/Environment: 10/10

Story: 10/10

Gameplay: 9/10

I’ll just round my score up to a 10 out of 10.

Walking Dead Ep. 2: Starved for Help

When the Walking Dead video game first appeared on the radar, I kind of scoffed at it. While I am not a huge fan of the Comic Books just yet, I have read some of them and I am a rabid fan of the AMC series. I can recognize its faults and, though Bear McCreary does the music – as every good show is scored by him – I often lost faith during Season 2, as did most people – just as I did with Battlestar Galactica during the last ten episodes, when things were painfully slow and then ended with a sudden, glorious boom.

Many people hate thoroughly on the show, but that’s because the internet and our society simply breeds pricks who can’t appreciate anything. Many people online rave about how the game is immensely better than the show, and I’m starting to agree with them slightly.

The first episode was great. This second episode absolutely blows the first one out of the water.

I think most of the reason the game is able to succeed is, well, other than the far increased development time and game time per episode (as compared to 43 minutes per episode of the show), it is a game. It doesn’t have to adhere to network standards. They can curse all they want. They can kill who they want, be as candid as they want. That, and the game puts you in a position of control over the development of the storyline.

There are moments, especially in this episode – and a lot of them – where I find myself so engrossed in the story that I have the same reactions as the characters themselves. On the way to the farm, I myself said Jesus christ a few seconds before Carly did, and believe me I am no squeamish person nor am I anything but completely desensitized to violence. For a cel shaded video game to still deliver dramatic violence as well as real video does, it had to have been done correctly.

The subject matter in episode 2 was far more gritty and far more unabridged than episode 1, and it made it that much more engrossing. There were times where I definitely found myself stuck as to what decision to make, especially when it came to whether or not to kill people – and the end of the episode was a hard moral choice, though I made it without any hesitation.

I’m not the type who plays this kind of game – ever – but I do believe that Telltale studios has struck gold with this game, in all honesty. If you haven’t checked out episode 1 and 2 yet, I strongly suggest you do so. I know when I purchased it it was 25 dollars for all of the future episodes, I don’t know if that deal is still available. It may have been $29.99, I’m not positive, but this is one game purchase I have not regretted at any point, and I have two complaints about this game, period:

1) You cannot use an interaction prompt with an item while moving

2) Sometimes the path-finding is wonky, but only rarely.

Very few games invest me in the storyline and this one finds me yelling at Lee, yelling at NPCs not to do things they are doing. It makes me consider my decisions before making them, and I never renege and play through again to make a different decision – unless I’m going to make an entirely new game.

Even the character’s I don’t like, when they die, it strikes a chord with me. Even the characters who aren’t that prominent.

My one question is, where’s Glenn?  He wasn’t in the camp, at all. I’m 100% positive he didn’t die in Ep. 1.

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

I’ll be up front with you here. This game….it no good.

As I am writing this review two months after playing, I’ll make it short and maybe picture-less  You know what shit looks like anyhow, I’m sure.

Environment.

Slant Six did a superb job of creating a believable, enjoyable, and creepy atmosphere for Raccoon City, doing justice to the many different iterations of the town. Cars are wrecked everywhere, there’s plenty of blood and everything is on fire, and it’s dark. The Umbrella labs beneath the city, especially, I have to say are the most exquisite part and add depth to the facility that makes it far more believable than anything we ever saw in Outbreak, RE2 or RE Chronicles.

Weapons.

The weapons are all broken and disappointing, save for the knife. The knife and melee options make for a fun revisit to a different developers game: Dead Rising. As far as the guns go, I have literally shot both AI and human players in the head 8 times [and they didn’t die] with this baby:

Sweet death.

It wasn’t just “Oh maybe it glitched.” No, this happens on a reliable basis all the time in story mode and a little bit less in multiplayer. This rifle is used to destroy equipment and disable vehicles. It’s not used on human beings. This would literally gib a human being. Yet a human enemy, be it a soldier or another player, does not instantly die when hit anywhere with it. Thus the problem with putting an anti-material rifle in any game, ever. It’s SUPPOSED TO BE BROKEN. When it isn’t broken, it ruins the game, and so it’s then broken in a different way. In two months they have not patched any problems with the guns.

Monsters.

Zombies will not reliably attack you unless you are bleeding, which is a good game mechanic for multiplayer, but even when you are bleeding they often ignore you. Hunters will literally run up to you, as described by this gentleman on YouTube (in the perfect voice I might add), and troll you:

He’s not joking. A hunter will occasionally run right up to you, be within inches of ruining your life, and then it will suddenly spin around and run away. What the fuck!? That hunter just trolled me! All of the B.O.W.s work on aggro, so, whoever shoots the Tyrants more, that’s who it goes after. Admittedly, the AI functions well enough to make the game stressful and harrowing – the way it should be – but more often than not it’s just a battle of hopefully directing the NPC enemies away from you long enough for someone else to be the victim.

Passive/Actives.

Some of the actives in this game, much more so than the passives, are complete broken horse shit. RPG abilities do not belong in shooters, ever, and this is no exception. Lupo especially – she has an active that grants her invincibility (or is it infinite ammo?) for about 20 seconds straight, with pretty much no cool down. It’s not fun, at all, to be the one unfortunate enough to be trying to kill her. Vector has active camo that won’t reliably fade even after being grenaded. Both Spec Ops teams and USS have the same skills for matching classes, but it seems the majority of the time that the U.S.S has a pre-existing design advantage.

Game Modes.

This game does have many good game modes, like G-Virus sample mode, which is essentially capture the G-virus (like CTF). Nemesis is another good mode, though DLC of course – it’s an objective match, King of the Hill essentially, where each team can take control of nemesis and he’ll murder the other team as long as your team controls the Nemesis panel. All of the game modes, minus Heroes, are fun, they are just crippled by broken weapons. Heroes unfortunately pits two teams of “heroes” against each other – heroes being somewhat canon characters who have THOUSANDS of HP and can take anything but a Grenade Launcher shot to the face, repeatedly, and still kill the other team alone if the other team has lost its heroes – even if not, they can still take on four enemy heroes at once for quite a while. I have had matches where we literally corner raped Jill Valentine for minutes straight, hitting her thousands of times with every weapon in the game, and she did not die.

Story.

Story is, of course, irrelevant in this game, as it contradicts pretty much every game that is considered canon, and intentionally so. Even knowing that, the story is virtually non-existent and consists only of a non-stop slew of Ramirezery:

 ‘Wolfpack, do everything. Do everything else. Wolfpack, we’re leaving you for dead. Fight us.”

which, without being tied together by an overall plot like a similar action thriller novel would be, is just annoying and tedious.

Art design: 10/10

Single Player Gameplay: 4/10

Multiplayer Gameplay: 6/10

Story: 2 out of 10

Score: 5 /10, or 51%, and that’s being generous by not combining game-play into one category.

Don’t buy this garbage unless you find it for less than $10. This is $60 I’ll never get back.