Diablo 3 Review

diablo-3-game-bannerDiablo III was super-hyped, having been 10 years since the amazing Diablo 2. Diablo 2 was the game of a generation, or one of the games of a generation, with which people could get together – in the same physical location! and then cackle maniacally as they slaughtered their way through hordes of Undead and Demons and anything else in the way.

So, how could you possibly follow up the greatest co-op dungeon crawler ever made with another sequel? Well, in Blizzard’s defense, you couldn’t. And they didn’t.

Diablo III was a miserable fiasco from the minute it launched, and Battle.NET exploded. No one could connect to the game, and it had issues for days, and days. Even after those were resolved, it still had issues with people actually getting connected to the servers.

One of the key failures of Diablo III was the fact that it required an internet connection to play, even if you were playing alone. Blizzard utterly failed their fans with this game from the beginning. They actually even came out and said it wasn’t a good game, in an interview, before it released. They tried too hard to implement WoW mechanics and, as expected, a failure is what they got. It seems in hindsight, remembering the Diablo 2 release on PSX, that Blizzard’s goal the whole time was to beta test this trash on PC, find out what didn’t work and then release the fixed version on console.

To anyone who hasn’t played Diablo II, they will never understand the stigma with Diablo III. Even if they go back and play it, it will tell them nothing. Nostalgia goggles aside, Diablo 1 and 2 were solid, incredible games. In stark contrast, Diablo 3 lacks the offline multiplayer; lacks the interesting classes (Amazon, Paladin, etc.), lacks the randomized dungeons, lacks the loot and the loot drop rates, and lacks the splendor of its forefathers. On top of that, it doesn’t even have weapon animations, something that even WoW has. Carrying a weapon is quite literally a stat stick – as if you were playing a mage, warlock, or priest in Warcraft.

The most core problem is that the game simply is not fun. To level up, you must play the same story over, and over, and over again multiple times. Doing the same dungeons, seeing the same lack of loot, more likely than not. On top of that, the spells and moves cease to be fun before the end of even the first playthrough. The enemies, at harder difficulties – are just amalgamations of spell-types, and are thrown together in combinations that will be the most asinine – not the most challenging.

On top of all that, the story is terrible. It is completely, entirely predictable to anyone who is even familiar with storytelling – you need not play Diablo 2 or 1 to figure out what happens after you meet Leah.

Perhaps the worst part of the entire game is the real money auction house, which is soon being removed from the PC version and does not exist on console. It negates playing the game at all – you areexponentially more likely to get loot for your class from the RMAH than you ever are by actually playing the game.

So, what’s the point of playing the game?

 

Dead Island: Caught in it’s own Riptide

I don’t care for IGN or GS or other reviewers, so when Dead Island: Riptide got mixed ratings that varied from abysmal to mediocre, I wasn’t turned off. I’d planned to buy this game long ago. What ensued afterwards was one of the most glitch-filled three hours I’ve had the pain to experience.

I’m told to go to this fishing village. Okay, I go there, but I enter from what is evidently the wrong end. I end up fighting infinite zombies who glitch through walls, jump on top of buildings, hit me through walls, and NEVER stop spawning. Let’s suffice to say I racked up a giant wallet and several levels pretty quickly, while I managed to stay alive.

Then I tried desparately to run away and tried to swim to safety. And died in the ocean for no explicable reason.

This is after the storm at the beginning robs me of all three of my guns. Praytell, why did I lose my guns? Not that they are so amazing in the game – you could and still can hit a zombie in the face repeatedly with a shotgun without killing them. Regardless, I feel like having a gun, even a handgun, might have made me less zombie food for the infinite hordes I faced.

Most importantly, the co op on PC is completely broken. Yes it’s launch day. Regardless, it literally doesn’t work at all. They are aware and are on it but guys here’s the thing. This isn’t really a sequel. It’s more of a big expansion. Same engine. Same mechanics. Why is everything suddenly broken? Getting hit through walls? Zombies that magically walk through obstacles? Jump on roofs? 100% inability to connect to other players?

I have yet to beat the game or really even make any story progress, but I am now convinced that reviewers are bullshit more than I was. There was no mention of ungodly glitching in the reviews, or broken functions. Co-op, which was an unprofessional and ad hoc affair at the best in the original game, has a much improved interface – assuming it works. This just goes to show me that reviewers are hipsters who spent 1.5 hours with a game and don’t actually have any idea what they’re playing or talking about, not to mention they arbitrarily rate games and decide when to follow their own rating system.

Which is funny because, they tore simCity apart for its server problems and glitches, which happened after they reviewed it. The review is supposed to be on release day. Yet they reviewed Riptide days before hand, before there actually were issues.

BioShock Infinite

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I am not typically a fan of linear, scripted video games, whether they are first person shooters or not. Having said that I undeniably own a very large amount of them and love those specific games, including all three BioShock games, but only after I know they are worth money. Being an owner of the first two BioShocks, I knew that the game would probably be good, but wasn’t interested in the massive build-up for this title.

BioShock Infinite is a wonderful title that excels in story, graphics, voice acting (but honestly aren’t you sick of Troy Baker), gameplay, and pretty much every category.

Columbia is a beautifully designed floating city, far cheerier and with a different mood than Rapture, and rife with the games underlying themes in mostly subtle ways, though they become far more prevalent towards the end of the game. It’s a world stuck in the early 1900s and clinging to the late 1800s – culturally speaking – while essentially maintaining a level of technology not far behind the 1980s. Even my roommate, who hates Steampunk with an inexplicable and unqualified passion, was so taken by the brief glimpses he caught of my gameplay that he had to play it, and finished it before I did.

When you first arrive, you are immediately engrossed in the environment and how thoroughly faith and religion are intertwined in the city. You have a fair and you have cool side-shows like the barbershop quartet on the airship. Unfortunately, the illusion of the city only gets the player so far because this is once again a linear FPS game, and you cannot interact with the people the vast majority of the time. It is not open world – no BioShock ever has been, and you cannot do what you want. You might explore, but that’s the limit. Open world is not what BioShock is about, and that doesn’t subtract from its quality.

The game-play is superb as well. It’s pretty hard to screw up a first person shooter, to be honest, regardless of the fact that repeatedly killing droves of people can get boring. If anything I feel as though the game threw too many options at me and I ended up not experiencing all the Vigors, and all the guns, and all the equipment builds. The vigors especially, there are too many. Each has quite a specific power but feels as if you need to stick to a small set – both because of the lack of salts and because of their specific purposes. Even though killing so many people does start to mount up, it never really seems to get old.

As far as sound is concerned, I was quite impressed. The game is louder than hell if you have a nice speaker system, but it isn’t just loud. The sounds all feel natural and are occasionally disheartening, such as the Soundbird, which really adds to the atmosphere. Two main things made me love the sound though. First, all of the battle music sounds wonderfully like Apocalyptica. You can’t ask for more. Second, all of the other music. Whether it’s a tear that simply plays “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, a tear that briefly plays some Led Zepplin (I think), or the well made cover songs – for example, the old timey cover of Soft Cell’s Tainted Love on the phonograph was pretty much excellent. I do believe I heard some Dropkick Murphys somewhere in there too. The voice acting was superb as well, whether it was the British sliders, Elizabeth, Comstock, or Slate, everyone did a great job and they never sounded bad. Troy Baker does the voice of Booker and I feel he did a lot towards making the main character feel likable. The role gave him a lot more exposure and range than the contrite dialog in RE6 and it feels like he made the character his.

Everyone raved about how the story will blow your mind at the end. Well, it didn’t, although it did upset me but not for any reasons of being offended or any of that. Admittedly the story was not that original, it just mishmashed a lot of themes that have been floating around for decades into one well made script, but it did so in a way that made it enjoyable and not entirely predictable. At the end though, you will want to play the game again just for the story alone.

Close enough

Close enough

Elizabeth has been voted by a lot of reviewers and gamers as the best female character in any game ever and I’m pretty much going to agree. She was strong, intelligent, capable, emotionally human, and humble, and I’d say classically attractive. People have bitched that the game enforces gender stereotypes, or that it’s racist, or violent – all of that is false and if you are the type who would give it a seconds notice, the game is not for you. I read on a site that the game is chauvanist because there aren’t female enemies. Actually yea, there are quite a few female enemies including the rebels and police. Elizabeth herself is more powerful or capable than you ever turn out to be in the course of the game, and so is Fitzroy.

By the way, that crap in the commercial, never happened – but I assume the noose was supposed to be a depiction how you are “saving” her.

BioShock Infinite: 9.5 out of 10

State of the Gaming Industry

So I’m sitting on GameSpot, trolling for more words about games, and I see on the new Today in Headlines feature that someone has posted a rumor about Nextbox always requiring internet, as news. Lo and behold, it’s Eddie. You don’t say. All GameSpot does nowadays is post rumors and it’s not going to stop. It’s usually Eddie, too. And then he links to previously posted rumors as sources for his rumor article.

Microsoft has said absolutely nothing about Durango. They have announced nothing, not even its name. So what do you have on GameSpot? The same pathetic parade of teenagers and office chair crusaders huffing and puffing, romping and stomping about their standards and Microsoft crossing the line.

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You weren’t going to buy the new Xbox anyway. You were going to camp a gaming store like an unemployed teenager/otherwise penny and responsibility-less little bitch that you are, and buy up all the PS4s so that when adults get off of work, they can’t find one, and they have to pre-order it. Then you’re going to sell it on eBay for a 200% mark up, like a little bitch.

Just shut up. Shut up with the false ethics. It got old the 1st time this rumor was circulated, now we’re on the 11th time.

This whole generation of the console war has been significantly more pathetic than the last one. You have this guy, this jacktard from Epic, Mark Reins (Unreal Engine, not Unreal games, those haven’t been made in years and they shouldn’t have been made after Unreal 2 and UT2k5. Arguably those shouldn’t have been either, does anyone even remember Unreal 2?) who literally came out and used very poorly chosen words:

“It’s like giving you the world’s best PC,” he added, pointing to Sony’s introduction of “super convenient” features such as the ability to play games while they’re downloading and perform background updates.

I almost cannot believe how an alleged professional could make such an insanely absurd official statement, to the media, in an interview where he is being recorded. It is incomprehensible to me how you could be that ignorant and careless. Don’t get me wrong, I work in IT, I know first hand how stupid IT people actually are and it racks my brain each day that I have to train myself to live in a reality where people this stupid actually are entrusted with any further responsibility than shoveling dirt. No offense to you, construction workers or grave diggers, I actually respect you more than these fools.

Very poorly worded.This is a guy who works for Epic, a company that has been one of the driving forces behind revolutionizing PC graphics ability for twenty fucking years. That statement is 100% fallacious by any stretch of the imagination. The World’s Best PC? Are you daft? The PS4 and Durango  are just now catching up to the point computers were at when the PS3 and 360 came out.

He went on to further display his incompetence by stating that 32-bit OS’s like Windows 7 or 8 limit gamers to 2 gb of RAM. No they don’t. x86 architecture limits you to 4 gb maximum of RAM because it prevents more from being addressed, whether you have 4 or you have 32 – you’re only getting 4. No PC gamer who owns a gaming PC, whether they built or bought it, has an x86 system. You can’t buy x86 systems anymore outside of business purposes – if you want to get your hands on a bunch of laptops – and those still have 64 bit processors gimped with 32-bit Windows. x64 processors have been the norm for years. My 3 year old Gaming PC that I’m writing on right now is x64 and even at that time, in March 2010, my PC was only upper mid-range – there were definitely better machines around and still are.

All of this fake bullshit really needs to stop. It does nothing but perpetuate ignorance among the consumers as well as among the industry. When a leading developer proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that they don’t understand basic concepts taught in a freshman CS course, you have to be worried about the industry much more than just the potential of always online gaming.

There’s more, don’t worry.

steam0

Yea, Valve fucking invented mandatory internet connections for gaming before the 360 even came out. Unfortunately, because it’s nothing but Millenial kids and younger bitching about this, the throbbing masses  wouldn’t know that. For years after Steam came out, on and off, you had to be online to play your single player shit whether or not you wanted to. This literally did not end until 2010, if it ever did end. Frankly I don’t know because it’s been at least 5 years since I spent more than a week off the internet.

Case in point. I recall going to Covington and staying for a weekend of boozing when my roommate was on leave before he deployed to Afghanistan. He brought his laptop to the hotel and we literally couldn’t play half of his games because we weren’t on the internet. Our friend with us also brought his laptop. He couldn’t play his games either. So the misplaced rage towards Microsoft, based entirely on a rumor that originated most likely from GameStop themselves, needs to end. If you want to be mad at someone, be mad at Valve or Vivendi for introducing this concept in the first place. There’s a reason it failed when they tried it on Steam. Do you honestly think that if Steam, the world’s #1 game retailer and online game service couldn’t pull it off, that Microsoft can?