Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings Review

      Hello everyone and happy Wednesday, hope your all doing great.  A few months back I picked up The Witcher from a friend and started diving into its lush world.  One of biggest things I can appreciate about retro gaming is how far we've come visually in the graphical and animation department.  As I gaze back behind me while riding the hype train that is the Witcher 3, I can take a moment to see how far the series has come.  There are two games in the franchise with the Witcher 3 coming out this month on the 19th, I am a big fan of the series (both the books and the games) and was so excited when the Witcher 3 was announced that I preorderd the collector's edition before I even owned a Xbox One. However, being a critic and a gamer in general, I am always skeptical about any game that I have an interest in and especially games hyped until their trousers burst (i.e. WatchDogs, Destiny, Assassin's Creed Unity). The difference is The Witcher 3 is flying along in a small passenger jet built by the finest American craftsmen while something like the next Call of Duty game is flying in an AC-130 made of Styrofoam built by Chinese sweat shop workers, although we won't know whats in them until they land, we can make an educated guess.  Its nice to see a game series have an arc, learning the ropes and starting with facial animations that looks like a second grader drew a face on cereal box, making a sequel that was better in every way (this game) and rapping it all up with a finale that looks like it won't disappoint instead of making one of the things every year with minimal effort until the end of time like every franchise EA owns.  There also going to be releasing some free DLC that will be dished out over a few months and the DLC that comes with the season pass will add over thirty hours more to the game.  Thats how the industry should be conducting business, certainly not something EA would do.  If you mentioned free DLC and season passes below sixty dollars, they'd shoot you in the face with a flintlock and throw your corpse outside with the rest of their creative department.  So its nice to see a series that puts effort into gameplay, story, world, and graphical design all while knowing when to end.  Thats the sign of a good developer, knowing to quit before they run out of ideas or get bought by a parent company that will take their ideas and ruin them.  I mean, most game series usually start off good, I used to play Call of Duty all the way until World at War came out, after that Activision basically became EA and started spewing out the same shooter every year.  Sorry, (whew) rant over, lets take a look at the Witcher 2.  The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings is direct sequel to The Witcher and follows the plot that wrapped itself up in the first game.  At the end of The Witcher, Geralt (protagonist)  kills an
Geralt overlooking a King's camp
assassin that tried to murder King Foltest of Temeria and is appointed temporary bodyguard by Foltest.  Fast forward a month and Geralt is with Triss Merigold at a battlefield outside a fortress (his lover and mage to King Foltest) he asks Foltest if he can leave with Triss; Foltest says he may leave after the battle ends, what could go wrong?  Geralt fights through the rebels with Foltest with the goal of retaking Foltest's bastard children, after more soldiers and a dragon encounter they make it to Foltest's children who are with a blind priest.  He comforts them, tells them to wash while he gives thanks with the priest then surprise surprise, the priest removes his blindfold and slits Foltest's throat, turns out hes an assassin and a witcher, read the title.  This assassin Peter Pan dives off this castle into the water below, while Geralt checks to see if Foltest is still alive.  Then while standing over him, some soldiers run around the corner and see Geralt with dead Foltest, they assume the obvious.  The whole rest of the game could have been averted if this moment had been approached differently, if Geralt had just said "Don't be stupid, why would I kill the guy I was protecting?" instead of remaining quiet and just throwing his sword down.  Anyway, Termian Special Forces commander Roache springs Geralt to help him track down the killer and so our tale begins.  Geralt's combat hasn't changed too much from the first game, other than hes dropped those useless mini weapons, using his steel sword for humans and his silver sword for monsters along with throwing knifes and bombs crafted from various materials.scattered around the world. The game now emphasizes on gameplay involving parrying blows and dodging more frequently instead of the MMORG like game play of the first one.  Herbs are also found in the wild that can be combined with other substances to make potions that have varying
Geralt fist fighting an opponent in a brawl battle 
effects from damage modifiers to poison resistance.  Geralt also makes use of his signs that can project kinetic waves, fireballs and lightning shields. each with their own use.  Geralt can also pick up monster bounties while in towns, the game is not open world instead guiding the player along three open ended areas that are generated according to the player's choices. These levels are however are strung together in order by the game, each with their own quests and characters dependent on the path you choose.  There are also a multitude of activities present in the Witcher 2 that are good for making money like fist fight or arm wrestling and dice (more luck than not).  Armor and swords can also be crafted by a blacksmith at a forge if you have the blueprint, the materials and the coin to pay for the assembly, you will depend on your gear to keep you alive and your swords to stab things more efficiently.  The Witcher 2 also has a moral choice mechanic that affects the story and the overall end of the game, so choose wisely.  Dialogue can also be exchanged between Geralt and other charters to learn more about the world, his mission, that character and more.  Overall, The Witcher 2 is a bold successor to predecessor and I would recommend it for it's rich world, enjoyable cast of characters and fun gameplay,  I did get a little sick of the fetch quests, but its a fantasy game, so whatever.  I hope you have all enjoyed this review and I will be back next week with another post.  Until then, have fun.  This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.
cool trailer

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bioshock Infinite Review

     Hello everyone and happy Wednesday, hope your all doing great.  Today I'll be reviewing the third installment in the Bioshock series that takes back the old glory of the first game and screw everything over like Bioshock 2.  Well thats not technically true, Bioshock 2 had improved gameplay from the first game but had a really shitty story that went no where.  It was kinda like Destiny, except Destiny's story was unexplained and left everyone angry but still had fun gameplay and pretty levels.  Bioshock 2 made everyone angry for a different reason, that the gameplay was good and the story was explained but just bad.  Bioshock Infinite, on the other hand, had a great story that tied itself together in the end with an ending that is still stuck with me after two years, and has good gameplay.  Also since the game doesn't tie itself to the rest of the franchise until the end, I don't have to explain the plot of the previous installments. The year is 1912, you fill the shoes of Booker DeWitt, a surprisingly not silent protagonist as was the case with the previous games.  Booker is sent to the floating city of Columbia with the simple task " Bring us the girl and wipe away the dept".  He arrives to find Columbia is not what it seems, instead its a racist higher class society that worships a prophet named Zachary Hale Comstock and idolizes the founding fathers of America as religious icons.  Shortly after arriving Booker finds out hes the guy Comstock labeled as the guy whos going to fuck everything up, so then hes forced to fuck everyone up because they turn on him for being the guy who going to fuck everyone up.  The game mechanics consist of using a multitude of weapons ranging from pistols to shotguns to a multitude of rifles and back again.  Plasmids also make a return except now their called Vigors and you drink them instead of injecting them into your arm with a three inch needle which bothered me to some extent.  Its still to zap people with lightning or send flesh eating crows flying towards them, theres a great variety of Vigors spread throughout the game, my favorite one was the Bucking Bronco which suspended enemies mid air while increasing the damage they took.  In order to use Vigors, one must
A good shot of Columbia
have mana, a blue energy picked up around the environment.  Depending on the power of a certain Vigor, it will use more mana.  Food can also be picked up to heal the player, along with money that allows Booker to purchase ammo and weapon upgrades at vending machines.  Another large new element to Bioshock Infinite is the Sky Hook which allows the player to fly around on the rails throughout the level, this allows for fast paced approaches and its fun to fly off one then knock a enemy off a ledge into oblivion before you even touch down.  It also serves as a melee weapon and can cause some pretty gruesome finisher moves.  One of the most noteworthy addition to Bioshock Infinite is the Tear system, after you grab Elizabeth (the girl) from her massive Lady Justice tower she becomes your accomplice.  I say that because she is not a chore and adds alot to both gameplay and story, she can also open up tears in reality and pull stuff through from parallel universes like magic health stuff, walls, machine gun turrets and explosives, just to name a few.  While there is more to say about Bioshock Infinite, most of it would be talking about the story which is beautifully crafted and many get a bit wobbly at times but manages to tie it all together in the end.  Overall, Bioshock Infinite was a fun game and I'll probably play through it again sometime.  I hope you've all enjoyed and I'll be back next week with more reviews.  This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.
awesome gameplay trailer

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Destiny Review

  Hello everyone and happy Wednesday, hope your all doing great.  Today I'm going to review Bungie's first person open world sci-fie action RPG: Destiny.  Bungie are the guys who made Halo, one of the best shooter franchises put out and the series I spent my childhood playing. So then I find myself at a crossroad when the first game they release after breaking away from Halo is a so-so kind of game, not to mention that Activison put five hundred million dollars into the developing the sodding thing and it still came out mediocre. Not to say Destiny's a bad game, I've played bad games, it was hyped to be the pinnacle of sci-fie adventure and it fell short, its just boring. The most notable thing about Destiny is it is one of the prettiest games I've ever seen, its beautiful, but the action moves so fast that you don't always have time to admire the scenery.  It kind of reminds me of Dark Souls, meaning it looks like they designed the world first and came up with the story afterword.  The difference is that Dark Souls pulls off its story as being deep and immersive, something discovered as you progress and it all comes together in the end. Destiny is on the other side of that coin, theres no story, there may be bits and pieces but it doesn't answer some of the main plot points that are constantly brought up throughout the game.  This is perhaps the largest criticism surrounding Destiny, Bungie created this beautiful world that has no story.  This is what I know about Destiny: around the 21st century humans landed on Mars and discovered a giant floating space sphere called the Traveler that had technologies that skyrocketed humanity into a space faring golden age.  We terraformed new planets, built great cities on Mars and Venus, the human life span tripled, it was a age of miracles.  At least it was until the Travelers age long enemy, the Darkness, showed up.  Most of humanity was wiped out and we lost everything but the Traveler sacrificed itself to defeat the Darkness and now lies dormant over the last city on Earth centuries after the Collapse.  In it's dying breath the Traveler created the ghosts, which are little bits
From left to right: Warlock, Hunter, and Titan
of light that take solid form.  They seek out the dead to become Guardians, warriors of the light.  The game starts when a ghost is looking around in the ruins of Old Russia and finds you, the player.  You are awoken to find Ghost voiced by Peter Dinklage (hes awesome) telling you that you've been dead awhile and now your a Guardian, its very unclear what hes talking about and it never it fully answered.  Dinklage helps you find a gun, you fight your way through some Fallen (group of aliens), secure a ship and make your way to the Last City where you land at the Tower; the home of the Guardians.  You talk to this guy named the Speaker who is the voice of the Traveler and he tells the Darkness is coming back, so you set out on a space faring mission, traveling across multiple planets and space and time to save humanity, retaking it's glorious lost colonies from a multitude of aliens on the way and by retaking I mean killing armies of hostile aliens only for them to respawn again because MMORPG (massively mutiplayer online role playing game), thats why.  This once again dodges most story setup beside the opening, I found out later that the story is parsley revealed through the use of cards found in the game, which you then must log on to and read page after page of background lore, pretty quick way to make your audience go in the other direction. Now then, I can stop ranting about the story and move on to the gameplay, the thing that carries this game, it also has a awesome soundtrack written by Martin O'Donnell, the guy who did the badass soundtracks for all the Halo games (except Halo 4, seriously, fuck that game).  Destiny is first person shooter, so naturally you shoot things and throw grenades at said things.  Combat varies slightly depending on the class you choose, each with there own abilities.
     The Titan is a weapon of war that punches through to kick everyone's ass, the Hunter utilizes stealth and precision from great distances and the Warlock uses magic or something, actually they all use sci-fie powers given to them by the Traveler.  The Titan uses a smash attack, the Hunter a flaming gun thing and the Warlock hurls themselves at enemies and explodes like a orange fired from a potato gun.  The problem is Destiny's a like a small no subscription fee MMORPG, and one will
a few Guardians fighting some Vex
never do everything in a MMORPG unless their a sad twat with no life goals.  This is the reason I don't review MMORPGs, because its always more a first impressions post than a review. Therefore, I only leveled a Titan as high I could, constantly crossing my fingers to find good gear in chests so I could progress.  However, Destiny proved to be different than other MMORPGs by focusing more on singleplayer gameplay, which is ironic since the game must always have a internet connection least it kicks you to title screen instantly.  I tell you most the time...all the time I wonder what idiot thought up always online, cause I would find that idiot and strangle him with a ether net cord.  For you city people out there, perhaps the only bad thing about living in the country is the internet sucks, and also the back breaking labor required every day to keep the place from falling apart like gingerbread in a monsoon. Anyway, Destiny has the standard leveling system of a MMORPG meaning as your level rises you can upgrade the skills you have that may increase the damage of your special attack, up your reload time and make you more resistant to damage.  Armor also has rarity indicators, meaning how special the gear is and how much protection it supplies, just like your skill tree armor holds its own bonuses that can be upgraded with glimmer (currency) and upgrade materials which are different for every world.  However the game does this thing where mainly only use that one material instead of the other four to upgrade your stuff which leaves you with too much of one thing and not enough of another.   Theres also many factions in the Tower you can complete bounties for to get gear unique gear to that faction, this becomes extremely obnoxious if you want a different piece of gear from different vendors, but first must reach level 3 and have enough of the special currency to buy it, which takes about four hours or more to achieve per vendor.  Just stick with the Vanguard, easiest to achieve and same gear.  Theres also a multiplayer lobby called the Crucible and it does this thing I hate more
the customized intro custscne before every Crucible match
than anything about video games: it takes something time consuming and excruciating and makes it more necessary than the fun parts of the game which is why I said to stick with the Vanguard because you don't have to play Crucible to get the goods.  The other sad thing about the Crucible is that its not fun, the best example would be that in Halo multiplayer you started with a assault rifle and a pistol. and from there you had to look around the map for the sniper or the rocket launcher.  This balanced the gameplay and made every game different and fun but Destiny lets you use your loadout from singleplayer, meaning everyone has snipers and shotguns from the start, it takes all the fun out of it.   In the end my favorite activity was riding around on the Sparrow (hoverbike) through the world admiring the scenery and giving passing enemies the bird.  The overall deal breaker for Destiny is the...fucking...GRINDING.  This is what I hate about MMORPGs; "go to places you've already been and shoot the dudes again, but they are higher level dudes so that makes it different and unique" he said ever so sarcastically.  Theres no payoff, even when you beat the story and its so anti climactic that you want to strangle all the voice actors who read their lines like bored high school students.  Overall, I had fun with Destiny while it lasted and I keep coming back to admire the pretty scenery and awesome soundtrack (I love Martin O'Donnell).  I would suggest to try it, but only at a discount, don't buy this game for sixty dollars. There was fun to be had, but for five hundred million dollars I excepted this game to stop all wars and solve world hunger, it wasn't was just a meh game. I hope you all enjoyed this review and I will be back next week with another review.  This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.
cooler than the gameplay trailer and I'm a big fan 
of Led Zeppelin, so sue me 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number Review

     Hello everyone and happy Wednesday, hope your all doing great.  During November of last year I reviewed a top down 32 bit action game called Hotline Miami, which was enjoyable and cathartic.  Its been awhile since 2011 and now Devolver Digital has released the conclusion to the Hotline Miami with Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number. My Hotline Miami review here. The sequel take place a few years after the first game following the spiderweb of stories centering around the mayhem causing by the last game.  You have a group of vigilante murderers, a crooked detective, an actor in a movie inspired by the killings, an author writing a book about the killings, some Russian mobsters, and a few of Jacket's old war buddies.  This can get very confusing when your flipping through protagonists while going back and forth between  randomly different time periods. It also doesn't help that they have the durability of old pastries and crumble after a few mass murder sprees so then the pool of protagonists declines and your wondering if their stories mattered anyway.  The gameplay hasn't changed too much, its still super speed trial and error gameplay, with the slightest fart directed towards the player make hum drop dead but you can jump back in instantly, so no loss.  This time around the game is changing up the play style when you shift in between characters, each with their own abilities.  The author doesn't kill people, just knocks them out, theres a bear guy who dual wields machine guns, tiger mask can't use weapons but is lethal with fists, and theres a character who's two characters; one wielding a chainsaw, the other a pistol.  Its a fun system for mixing things up between chapters, its also much longer than it's predecessor and while fun, it probably should have ended three hours earlier. Combat as a whole hasn't changed much, you still pick up bats and knifes then throw them at people, you also shoot guns which are lying everywhere due to bad guys being as smart as you and carrying them everywhere. Enemies range between guys with guns, guys with melee weapons and mother fucking dogs that come at you like the Flash that proceed to rip your jugular vein out.  You can kick down doors to knock over enemies then proceed to finish them off and move to the next baddie.  It can get mighty annoying on a segment where you play as a soldier constantly using guns and facing Soviets in large numbers gets frustrating.  Also firing a gun in Hotline Miami is like bleeding a tank of piranhas, they all converge on you in swarms.  You can turn this to your advantage by camping behind a door and mowing down any poor sod that runs through.
Typical mass murder scene
 This can work in smaller areas with fewer guys but in larger missions with more guys and those fucking heavy dudes that only die from a shotgun blast, things quickly go to shit.  One might think of Hotline Miami 2 as a trial and error game, but enemies have different weapons and patrol patterns every time. Also you can fail so easily and be back in the game before your brains have hit the wall. Hotline Miami 2 introduces some new concepts and is longer than its predecessor but still doesn't have the same feel as the first.  Like comparing Dark Souls to Dark Souls II, the first always is better because it introduced the framework for the second, also had a deeper narrative tone.  Hotline Miami 2 is the same way, introduced a few new concepts and characters but ultimately lacks the hallucinogenic rage that drove the first game as you unravel the mystery of the phone calls along with the whole point to the slaughter.  The soundtrack is still awesome, the gameplay holds up, and if its just more Hotline Miami, then its a welcome second serving.  Overall, great game, makes me believe the indie developers aren't all a bunch of sellouts that will sequel the bollocks out of their own game when they need another gold couch in their platinum house.  Hope you enjoyed this review, sorry I couldn't say more, see my Hotline Miami review for a full assessment of the franchise. This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.
awesome trailer

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Watch Dogs Review

     Hello everyone and happy Wednesday, hope your all doing great. As it is to be noted, I enjoy open world sandbox games that give you the freedom to go where you want and do what you want, thats probably why I'm still playing Skyrim after four years.  Point is unless your a boring individual that has no imagination, you probably like the freedom to do whatever as well instead of being shoved down the linear corridors of modern day shooters.  Where was I going with all this?....Oh right, today I'm reviewing a open world third person action game by Ubisoft, the guys who are now releasing two Assassin's Creed games a year within the same month.  Not to say I don't like the series, but seriously, do I have to explain all the problems Unity meaning its a rushed buggy excuse for a game.  I feel bad for the the people who worked on Assassin's Creed: Rogue, which was actually a fun game, but was overshadowed by the failure of Unity. Anyways, Watch Dogs is a game set in Chicago focusing around hacker for hire Aiden Pearce who can hack into the "ctOS" network, a centralized operating system which manages the hyper connected city allowing him cause black outs, access security cameras, and discover information about a person by being near them, just to name a few things.  He can also hack money from people, which is what he was doing when he got caught, escaped, and then a hitman for the guys he stole from killed his niece.  As retribution Aiden becomes a a vigilante while trying to unravel the mystery of the men who are after him. Watch Dogs was one those games at E3 that was made out to be the best thing ever, Ubisoft even got a Russian software company to help them make the hacking more realistic...but in the end hacking is reduced to pointing your iPhone really hard at the thing you want to hack, I'm not kidding.  This is the problem with setting out to make a game seem like it will be the second coming, it will always fall short.  That was Destiny's problem, enjoyable game for the most part, but fell short.  Although if you spend $500 million developing a game, it would be nice to have a story.  Back to Watch Dogs, Aiden sets out to find his niece's killers, but is constantly foiled by boring mini-games and horribly dry characters, including himself.  Aiden has many tools that he and his cyber punk hacker friends can use such as changing traffic light, raising bridges, blowing up electrical grids, raising blockades, looking through cameras, and identifying literally everyone in Chicago.
Aiden completing a assassination mission
He also unlocks skill points throughout the game used to upgrade these skills.For the most part, all of Aiden's hacking skills are used for fighting escaping police chases, one of the large spot lights of the game that it showcased until it exploded was the random crime feature in which a criminal and a victim get together and some crime happens.  Aiden can then step in to help, which adds positive points to Aiden's reputation and does absolutely fucking nothing throughout the game.  Sorry if I sound bitter, its just hard to go through a game saving every bloke whos in danger of being mobbed by kittens only for Watch Dogs to spit in your face and laugh.  Also, you can only stop the crime if you hop in at the right moment, meaning if Aiden interferes to early, the criminal and victim shrug their shoulders and walk in the opposite direction like the encounter in which Scumbag 324 tried to stab Hapless Victim 748 didn't happen.  Their are also a bunch of mini games spread across the city, along with digital trips which allow to be inside games which you destroy Chicago in a giant robot spider or where Aiden flys like Superman, fun stuff.  There are numerous race missions and a few assassination missions throughout Chicago, which are useful to level up and upgrade skills.The player can also unlock safe houses across Chicago where they can change clothes, sleep, and resupply but they must first unlock the ctOS access point for that area of the city after you do a Wheres Waldo? mini-game.  Theres also guns in the game that you shoot people with, you can buy them or get them free off dead mafia members. Aiden also drives around in cars and on bikes to get around, which can be instantly delivered by Aiden's hitman friend.  Since I'm starting to see colors on account of my lack of sleep, I'm going to wrap this up.  Hope you have all enjoyed and I will be back after Spring break with more reviews.  Until then, have fun.
This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Long Dark Review

     Hello everyone and happy Wednesday, hope your all doing great.  Today I decided to grab a survival game off the self of Steam called the Long Dark by Hinterland Games.  Over the last two years the genre has seen increased popularity resulting in the making of many poorly made survival games, with only a few surviving on the live rafts floating above the muck.  I am happy to say The Long Dark is one of the best ones out there.  Though it is still early access and lacks a story mode, The Long Dark shows that it will improve greatly of its already an enjoyable immersive world. The Long Dark is set in the aftermath geometric global disaster, theres no zombies, no people, just all the threats Mother Nature can throw at you. You are an unnamed survivor whose plane went down in the Canadian Wilderness in the middle of winter, oops. Since theres no story mode currently, players are put in sandbox mode where the goal is to survive for as long as possible.  Also, just to clarify, geometric disaster means that the humanity's technology has been made useless, from flashlights to cars, anything with a electric base is garbage. At the beginning of each playthrough, players are put randomly on one of the two maps, Mystery Lake or Coastal Highway and which the player can travel between both.  Sometimes the game is merciful and spawns you during the daytime with clear weather (don't be mistaken, its always winter) or other times it laughs maniacally as your dropped in the middle of a blizzard at night when the temperature is twenty-eight below zero and then you trip off a cliff and die.  As I said the game is based around surviving long enough to scavenge for supplies, these supplies can be food, clothes, tools, medicine, and maybe, MAYBE, if your lucky you'll find the only damn gun the game that is crucial to your survival but you probably won't.  Your hunger and thirst each have their own meters, along with cold and fatigue. (see image) Food and drink is based around a calorie system that burns calories when you sleep or run or are out in cold weather for too long, also just being alive burns calories.
The player's overall condition, actions that can be preformed and the status of the weather  
If you get the gun, which is the best thing ever is you ammo for it, you can hunt for deer, rabbits, or wolves instead of searching abandoned trailers for food.  Once you kill something you can skin it and gut it, taking both the meat and hide which you can then cook to eat then make some clothing out of the hide if you have a sewing kit.  You can also melt and boil snow to make it potable so you don't get dysentery, not a fun way to die.  I know it can not be brought up enough (also obvious by the box art) but the cold is a constant danger, just walking around during the day can result in freezing to death.  To not freeze to death, you'll need to dress warm with clothes found around the world or making a coat out of wolves, which can prove difficult as you will need to kill the wolf, skin and let its hide cure indoors for 4 days all while staying alive in on the day to day basis.  Once you are freezing or just need to warm up, you can take shelter in buildings and make a fire to warm yourself in a fireplace, sleeping next to it is even better.  While I love this game and cannot help but love the beauty of the snowy landscape or the sunset from atop a high point, there is one thing that bugs me.  When launching the game theres a message saying that the unknown disaster has caused the wildlife to be "erratic", by this they mean armies of wolves ambushing you at any moment.  While they actually only travel solo thankfully, the unpredictability of when and how the wolves will appear is annoying.
The inside of a cabin, what secrets lie in wait
 Not to say I don't like the presence of the predators, its just I've been playing for eleven hours now and every time I died it was from wolves or being killed by a wolf after narrowly escaping a fight with a different wolf, I'd just like to die from something other than wolves. You can scare them away with flares or gun shots but sometimes the game just doesn't register what the A.I. is suppose to do and the wolf kills me.  There is a lower difficulty where nature doesn't attack you but it also ups the drop rate of gear and makes surviving way easier, I'd like a mix where nature is still mercilessly trying to kill you but cuts down on spawning so many wolves.  Other than that I love this game and it has good times ahead of it.  From the way it makes you truly feel alone to the somber soundtrack that makes you grasp the darkness that has fallen over humanity as you become attached to your character who is just as afraid of the end as you, but weathering every day gives a feeling of accomplishment that makes you feel like Jeremiah Johnson and then when it all ends and you fall dead of frostbite you feel...sad, like you lost a friend. The way The Long Dark pulls you in to feel this kind of emotion is what makes it beautiful and why I'm looking forward to its full release.  I hope you have all enjoyed and I will be back next week with more games.
This had been Jacob Arnold, signing off.
good trailer, really sets the mood

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Tomb Raider Review

     Hello everyone and happy Wednesday, hope your all doing great.  This weekend I was thinking about adventure so I watched Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom then decided to play the Tomb Raider reboot  because of tombs which I was thinking about then because of Indiana upon which I noticed many similarities.  Although I suppose thats not fair, since any game where you raid the crypt of some long dead bloke could be compared to Indiana Jones and the Tomb Raider series wouldn't be where it is today without such comparisons, however to their credit they have done well enough that any video game made about raiding tombs is associated with Tomb Raider, shocking as that may be if the title didn't throw you off.  Anyway, I recently played through the Tomb Raider reboot this weekend and was quiet pleased with the fast paced action, interesting story and pretty graphic design that motivated me to play through the whole thing in one weekend.  Thankfully as I mentioned before; this a reboot so I don't have to explain eight games of back story. So the game starts with the ship Endurance on a set course to find the lost kingdom of Yamatai located in the Dragon's Triangle, however crew members urge against this due to the violent storms associated with the area.  Much to nobody's surprise when the Endurance breaks in half and protagonist Lora Croft washes ashore only to be kidnapped by some nut, she escapes from the nut and now must find her friends, get off this island of crazies, and find out why these supernatural storms won't let them leave. I just want to clarify that Tomb Raider is a third person adventure survival shooter that contains areas ran through that be returned to later until the final stage.  Throughout the game Lora becomes a more hardened survivor, able to upgrade her skills through three trees being survival, hunter, and brawler. There are a variety of weapons unlocked throughout the story ranging from pistols to machine guns to shotguns and Lora's ever reliable bow.
Lora ziplining to a crashed plane
 All weapons can be upgraded with salvage found on enemy's bodies or rare weapon parts which are usually found at the end of a tomb in a big gold chest.  The world maps are pretty large with alot of exploration present in most locations, later in the game you can use your bow to make zip-lines used to zip across large areas of bottomless pits or spikes. Combat with enemies puts you in a position to be stealthy for 90% of the game, using your bow to shoot arrows through their heads or your ice pick to stab them from behind. If things go sideways Lora can fight the hostile bad guys using her machine gun, shotgun or pistol for a quick shot to the head.  With perks from the Brawler tree, Lora can fight enemies with her pick or stab arrows into their necks for special kills. Humans aren't the only thing trying to kill Lora, Mother Nature really hates Lora, so much as sending enough wolves to outnumber the dense bandit population along with storms to foil her every attempt to escape the island with freak storms.  Lora should also earn a spot on the list for people who have gotten the shit kicked out of them so frequently that Rambo looks like a girl scout next to her. Between torture, getting knocked off cliffs, stabbed with rebar and thrown through raging rapids its a wonder shes still breathing by the end of this.  Its also especially painful to watch because of the beautifully realistic way its portrayed with its pretty looks.  She also has a track record of dramatically escaping near death instances like fleeing from exploding research bases, exploding ships, exploding temples, exploding helicopters and anything else thats combustible which never stops being heart pounding when it happens.
  As I said earlier Tombs can be explored if Lora has the right equipment and then solves the motion puzzle within, allowing her to open a chest with large amounts of salvage and a weapon part. One can also expect alot of jumping when undertaking this quest since you'll frequently find yourself scaling cliffs and decaying buildings with a high likely hood of collapse, thankfully Lora leaps like a NBA all-star making this a free flowing part of gameplay.  One must also be eyeful of useful collectibles like GPS caches that show you where items are on the map, Lora can also hunt in some parts of the game for XP that will eventually yield skill points to level up with and since it is unlikely that the player will fully upgrade Lora by the end of the game or explore everything, you can go back to play until you get your satisfaction out of it.  Overall Tomb Raider was a fun game that I enjoyed though the one thing that bothered me in the beginning was the long segments without anything that were just boring.  Other than that its cinematic view to gameplay along with its fast pace made it enjoyable.  Hope you have all enjoyed this review and I will be back next week with more games. Until then, have fun.
This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.