Thursday, December 11, 2014

Fallout: New Vegas Review

Cover Art
     Hello everyone and happy Wednesday, hope your all doing great.  As time passes I notice myself reviewing open world sandbox titles more often than not. This may be because it is hard to return to the linear corridors of Call of Duty after one has roamed the vast hills of Skyrim.  Meaning you expect more choice in your actions rather than being shoved along ever so often through narrow pathways. I also brought up Skyrim because here we have another open world RPG sandbox made by Bethesda Studios that break a few records and is still being played today.  However Fallout: New Vegas came out before Skyrim was released, so Skyrim is like New Vegas.  Anyway Fallout: New Vegas is a open world open-world post apocalyptic sandbox game made by Bethesda back in 2010.  Set in a world where the Red Scare never ended, a devastating nuclear war took place between the U.S. and several other countries in 2077.  This world is set in an alternate timeline where atomic energy became the primary source of power following World War II.  Somewhere along the way the United States developed superior technology during the 1950's, they started focusing on laser technologies, advanced robotics, teleportation sciences and more.  As a result they stopped working on more practical things, such as more modern telephones or better working computer.  So the U.S. was frozen in the '50s era while time moved forward with more advanced tech.
   In the 2050's the U.S. government saw the danger of nuclear war and as a precaution built Vaults to keep the populace safe.  At the same time however, they did not take it seriously enough as only 122 vaults were built while around 40,000 were needed to save America.  When the bombs hit, most of the world was devastated, leaving wastelands and turning anything not inside the Vaults into mutants and ghouls.  Basically only the U.S. and part of Africa survived.  Many factions have arisen from the dust since the war ended, with the U.S. government gone, order is something thats hard to come by. The year is 2281, 204 years since the bombs dropped, mutants roam and many vault dwellers still do not know what has become of the world or simply chose to ignore it.
The major factions of  Fallout: New Vegas
 The notable factions are the NCR, Brotherhood of Steel, Caesar's Legion, and the Strip.  The NCR (New California Republic) is the largest faction in the game, consisting of California, Nevada, Oregon, Mexico and the Colorado River. They are set on democracy and organized society, probably the closest to Old World society. The Brotherhood of Steel are an advanced society with Pre-War technology whos goal is to collect this tech to keep it out of the hands of the ignorant.  The Strip is led by Mr. House, who was able to preserve a portion of Las Vegas from the nuclear blast (he found a way to prolong his life) and now works against the tide to maintain the world that is now gone.  Last and certainly least are the crazy maniacs known as Caesar's Legion, a slave nation of 87 tribes that bow under the might of Caesar and his merry men who dress like Romans and brutally slaughter anyone who stands in their way. You are a courier hired by the Mojave Express to deliver a package to the Strip but something goes wrong and you wake up to see someone digging your grave with a man in a suit telling you were fucked as soon as you picked up the package.  He lectures you for a bit before shooting you in the head.  Well, I thought, that was the shortest story of a protagonist I've ever seen.  Then I expected to shift views to someone else only to find myself awoken by a doctor who find almost dead.  A centimeter to the left or a hollow-point bullet would have killed me dead, but here I was.  After creating my character, choosing my starting perks, and heading out the door with some supplies I stood, triumphant in the face of death, ready to begin my adventure...and was imminently stung to death by massive scorpions.
The Courier fighting some deathclaws, one of the toughest enemies in the game
 It was there I learned the value of saving every ten feet else I lose any hard earned progress.  I talked to the residents of the town who seem to have this impression that I want to go after the guy who shot me in the head, which to me seems like a sign I should just go in the opposite direction.  I've seen alot of western films and know by this point that if you want revenge, dig two graves.  So since I had already been shot and buried alive, I thought about going home and settling down.  Instead I get pulled into a struggle of warring factions, political strife and killing enough people and mutants to fill the Grand Canyon, I mean it, THAT MANY BODIES!!!  There are many weapons in the game to discover, modify and repair, from snipers to miniguns.  Ammunition can be made at workbenches, but as stated earlier, you kill enough guys to have all the ammo ever needed, kinda, truth is you go through ammo pretty fucking fast.  In order to make it, you need the shell casing, the primer for that caliber and gunpowder, so its a pain in the ass to make.  Armor and clothing can be found throughout the Wasteland and can be repaired at select station for a large amount of money, usually more than your carrying...or will for awhile since you spent all your money on ammo and health kits.
  Your armor affects how much damage you take, thats what armor does, moving on.  Health drops like gravity holds a very strong grudge against you, so in order to stay alive one will need stimpacks, the item of life in the game that regenerates health along with other items that might as well not.  Via explosives or high powered weapons, body parts can be crippled, causing large disabilities to the player.  A crippled arm will cause your gun to sway back and forth, affected how to aim, crippled legs will cause one to limp and move slowly.  The worst thing to cripple is your head, which causes your vision to blur and worsen over time, you may even black out.  The Courier can go to a doctor to get their healed limbs fixed up or grab a doctors bag on the go for the same effect.  The V.A.T.S. (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System) aiming system, that allows the player to stop a for a moment, press a button and let numbers decide whether or not you hit your target, meaning gun skill or sniper perks are the key factor in it.  Perk points are given every two levels that can used to unlock a skill depending how high your skill level is involving the relevance of the perk.  So high gun skills allow for gun perks, repair skills allow for engineering perks and so forth.  Hardcore mode is a new feature that I found myself drawn to.  Removing a few HUD elements, forcing you to eat, sleep, and drink were the core features.  Others included ammunition weighing something but going against Fallout logic that says to carry enough ammo to choke the NRA least you end up fighting with your bear hands.  Medicine also kicks in over time rather than instantly which can be a problem when your being mauled by multiple enemies. The overall downfall of New Vegas is the bugs.  As with all of Bethesda lush open world games, when you make something massive that is injected with even more stuff to do, you sacrifice the opportunity to fix it all.  A sprint button would have been nice instead of lightly jogging 20 miles to the nearest town.  There is also a moral choice dilemma involved in the game that can seriously get you in trouble.  An good example is when I started the game and was a few levels in with meager gear.  I delivered a package to a NCR base and was told by the lookout that large pillars of smoke were coming from Nipton, a far off town.  I turn and sure enough like a Christmas tree on fire, there it is.  So since I have some quests to complete in that direction, I set out. After approaching the town a man runs out screaming that he won the lottery like a banshee on fire.  I stop and think for a moment where you'd buy a lottery ticket in this day and age, at a gas station or supermarket.  Problem was, those had all been nuked to shit, so I dismissed this man as crazy and approached the town.  A captain of Caesar's Legion approaches me and tells me to spread the word of what happened at the town.
The V.AT.S. aiming system
 Since I've yet to even enter the damn town, I have no idea what hes talking about.  Other than the opening cinematic I didn't know about the Legion other than they dress like Romans.  I then, upon entering the town, released what a bunch of fucking heartless bastards these guys were as I examined the destroyed buildings and the populace of the town nailed to fucking crosses,  I searched the town for survivors only to find one lone ranger, who told me these guys came in and held a "lottery" to see who would live, this ranger was runner up and was crippled instead of being crucified.  As I walked outside to get help, I had one thought: kill every last one of those smug dickheads.  I approached their leader and told him what a horrible person he was, he then told me to bring it on so I blew his head off...and all his friend's heads too. I left town and a level or two later was approached by some Legates and told I must pay for my crimes against their people.  HOW FUCKING IRONIC, I thought grimly.  I took out two of the five before dropping dead.  This process repeated itself several times despite the fact I went the opposite direction.  The point is that I played lawman and was killed multiple for by guys with better gear than me.  So I dropped the Xbox version and got a fresh start on the PC version complete with all the DLC instead of paying tons of extra cash for it.  Fallout New Vegas is a great game I would recommend for most people who hours and hours exploring the vast lands of the Mojave and the people who live within it. Also there are no vehicles or horses, so start walking. Hope you have enjoyed and see you next time. This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.
Awesome Trailer

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Skate 3 Review

Skate 3 box art
     Hello everyone and happy Wednesday, hope you had a awesome Thanksgiving and those of you who aren't in America, I'm sorry for your loss.  Also relating to Thanksgiving, an advertising campaign that is seriously blown out of proportion known as Black Friday recently occurred.  I'm the kind of man who hates these kind of things that drown on for long periods of time, although Black Friday is like the precursor to Armageddon, in the sense that Christmas is a month away and all hell is breaking loose.  So I suppose I shouldn't complain even as I'm facing the wave that will crush me under its might the way the Spartans faced the Persians.  Anyway, lets move on.  Where was I now, oh right, Black Friday.  Isn't it just awful how they glorify buying furniture at prices slight.... WAIT, NO!! Whew, caught myself there, at that rate we be here for days. I ending up giving in to the temptations of the low prices and bought some games off the Xbox Store which is something I normally wouldn't do because Steam exists, however they were Xbox exclusive titles, so yeah.  One of those game was Skate 3, something I can refer to without wincing as one of the games thats not in EAs very large shit bucket despite it being an EA game.  These are few and far between considering EA sole purpose in life seems to be money consumed dick heads that exist to torment those with less money than them.  Anyway I wouldn't necessarily put it with titles like Mirror's Edge or...other titles that I can't recall, but what makes it funny as hell because of how glitchy it is, in the same way Goat Simulator but not intentional.  So its still outside the bucket but is in constantly fighting not being pulled into it's endless void.  The game starts with you creating a character, choosing a board and watching a ridiculously funny opening sequence that is one of the few original ideas that EA has come up with, then again it was probably DICE.
ramping out of pool
After the opening sequence ends you are given a few tutorials then thrown into the world, from there you can take random jobs or compete races to earn fame, thus increasing "board sales". The money or fame you gain on this can be spent on clothes and boards, although you start with the American Flag board, so why chose anything else? As the player progresses through the game, more story missions will be unlocked, resulting in more missions and more gameplay. Tricks can be preformed that allow more XP to be earned and just about every object in the world can be interacted with, from grinding to kickflips and board spins.  All the while, EA is constantly bugging you for your email so they can spam you with offers about Orgin that you'll immediately through down the drain if you possess any decency. While Skate 3 may not have a good plot or even have a decent community system, the reason I bought it was for the free-roam mode in which you can run around the large world terrorizing the civilians who all have the same models or just continue to break every bone in your body.  While Skate 3 isn't the best game, its certainly fun to gather around the couch with your friends and watch each other wipe out.  There is also a map editor where you can build your own stadium to meet your own crazy aspiration.  There is not much more to know other than that about the game.  Hope you have enjoyed and I will be back next week.  This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Far Cry 3 Review

Cover Art
     Hello everyone and happy Wednesday.  Open world scenarios have become some of the most popular games to hit the market, it is almost part of the standard of what is expected from game studios today. Just about every open world game made these days incorporates action and usually guns, lots of guns and this one is no exception, still awesome though.  Since Far Cry 4 came out a few days back, I thought I'd review the game that raised the stakes after the second game gave you malaria, literally.  I did a review on Far Cry 2 way back when, but its not necessary to read it since the Far Cry series does this thing where its games are in no way related to each other except for guns, drugs and the title. Oh, also Hurk the monkey man crossed over from the third game to the forth, although he won't need any explaining. The game puts you into the shoes of Jason Brody, a college student vacationing all over the world with his friends and two brothers.  While in Bangkok partying hard, Jason and his friends are told about a totally awesome place where you can go anything called the Rook Islands. Being the adventurous 25 year old he is, Jason decides to trust this random stranger and go skydiving over the island.
     Turns out, the Rook Islands are at civil war between the natives and the slaving pirates who have made the island a complete madhouse. Jason and his friends are abducted and the leader of the pirates Vaas (see cover) decides to hold them ransom due to Jason's wealthy parents.  He is also a complete sociopath who does a alot of drugs and likes repeating the definition of insanity over and over again while he does things similar to the cover of the game.  Jason and his older brother Grant are held prisoner by Vaas while he taunts them with the occasional death threat added in.  After Vass leaves, Grant uses his former military training to escape with Jason.  They managed to make it out of the camp to look at a map and get their bearings when Grant is shot in the neck and dies in Jason's arms.  Vaas wishes to make sport out of Jason and gives him a head start into the jungle before sending the hounds in after him.  Jason falls into a river, losing Vaas's men and almost his life.  He is revived by Dennis Rogers, this very likable guy who tattooed a tribal symbol Jason's arm.
Jason using a zipline, his finished tatau clearly visible
 Dennis reveals to Jason he is in a native village and teaches Jason how to use a gun.  The "tatau" Dennis put on Jason will allow him to learn the skills of the Rakyat tribe needed to save his friends.  With this knowledge he sets out to get them back and escape the island before Vaas kills them all.  The game introduces a play style not common in todays action genre, Jason is a character that has no experience whatsoever in gun skills, knife fighting or any other war related skills.  He must learn them over time, receiving new tattoos for his tatau on his left arm that grant skills like knife throw take-downs, faster crouching movement, more stability when handling weapons and all around make him a better warrior.  Weapon customization is a large part of the game, with certain mods being unlocked with each radio tower having its air waves freed up of pirate jammers.  Mods like better scopes, suppressors, under-barrel shotguns and grenade launchers are just a few of the customization's to be unlocked.
     Guns can also be given a unique color pattern, making each weapon unique to the next.  Radio towers as mentioned earlier play a large role in exploration, allowing a little more of the map to become visible, in the portion of the map unlocked there will likely be an enemy outpost.  These outposts can be captured to liberate that certain zone which turns the outpost into a safehouse which can be used as a fast travel station and place to buy weapons. This also will also cause Rakyat warriors to patrol the zone that has been liberated, Jason can stop the car they are in and drive his fellow liberators around to help him.
If this happens to you, your not hunting right
 There are many ways to get around in the game, options range from trucks, ATVs, jet skis, boats, and even hang gliders just to name a few.  Later in the game Jason obtains a wing suit that can used to soar through the skies after jumping off a high point, he then pulls a parachute to slow down and land.  A crafting system is also present in the game, making Jason have to hunt and skin animals for their pelts which can be made into extra holsters for weapons and pouches to hold more ammo or syringes.  Plants can also be harvested to be crafted into syringes that have different effects depending on the recipe crafted, they can heal, allow Jason to see enemies, breath underwater, and resist fire, just to name a few. When hes not killing pirates and saving his friends, Jason can play poker or throwing knifes, which is just what it sounds like.  Notice boards contain assassination quests, Path of the Hunter tasks and medicine run missions to do.  Many ruins can be explored that contain relics, I've yet to collect them all so I don't know what they do, still fun to explore though. The massive landscape, immersion, and numerous quests make this a fun game that be run through many times and still be fun.  Far Cry 3 is a great game and I am looking forward to playing the fourth one soon.  Hope you enjoyed and I will be back after Thanksgiving, so until then pull out your flags and roast your turkeys in good old America.  This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dishonored Review

Cover Art
     Hello everyone and happy Wednesday, hope your doing well.  Today I pulled a game off the shelf of never ending optional stealth games, not nearly as large the zombie shelf.  That things the size of a house.  Point is, that this little beauty from 2012 is Dishonored.  Winning multiple awards for its story, the steam-punk Victorian world, gameplay and so forth.  Dishonored puts you in the shoes of silent protagonist 433; Corvo Attano, the Royal bodyguard to the Empress of the Isles.  The games starts out with Corvo returning from over seas to the City of Dunwell after having been sent out to find a cure for this nasty rat plague that is sweeping the city.  So he returns to the Empress and her daughter Emily, talks a bit to this guy YOU KNOW is so totally the bad guy, then you see the other smug-faced ass who YOU KNOW is the other bad guy.  I like it when you go through a game getting to know the cast of characters then find one of them is the bad guy.  I love and I hate it, getting to like someone then finding out their Hitler is usually upsetting but at the same time you think "WHHHAAA!! Where did that come from!! Thats why that one thing happened and he avoided the conversation about his favorite cheese, it all makes sense now!!".  I don't like however, five minutes into a game knowing the individual to be the villain and then they are the villain.  Why not just stand on the roof of the town square and scream "I'm the classy British bad guy".  So, anyway, Corvo comes home, says hey without saying hey and then then greets everyone, the adviser (bad guy), the lord regent (bad guy), the Empress and her daughter, Emily.  Then, not ten minutes there, the Empress gets stabbed through the rib cage by a mysterious bunch of assassins who kidnap Emily.  "Well then", I think. "Things went bugga all to 'ell right quick, that they did" more British me thinks.  Then bad guy A & B show up AFTER the Empress is dead and her daughter kidnapped, what a strange coincidence.
A grenade explodes, sending enemies flying 
To top it off they say "Oh would you look at that, Corvo has killed the Empress, that lady that hes spent years protecting, and kidnapped Emily in the five seconds it took us to get here.  Take him away" .  Wouldn't it have been nice if he said, "No, I didn't kill the Empress, regain your senses you morons"  But since he decided to be a mute, he ends up thrown in prison accused of killing the Empress.  So then, surprise surprise, someone who believes he didn't do it gives him the key to his cell and he escapes prison.  He meets up with a bunch of Loyalists who think the last monarchy was better than the current one and says they will help you track down the men who were associated with your fugitive status. So after acquiring some trademark gear thats cool like a retractable sword and a one handed cross bow, Corvo gets some sleep before his adventure.  He wakes up in a weird land of floating memories that happened recently.  Then after hearing a strange voice, the Outsider appears.  The Outsider is a supernatural being that has god like powers, he likes Corvo for some reason and adorns him with his mark, the shiny symbol seen on the box art.  Corvo wakes up to see the symbol on his hand and realizes it wasn't a dream.  Now with an advanced set of tools combined with powers gifted from the Outsider, Corvo sets out on his quest to prove himself innocent, find Emily and avenge the Empress's death.
Corvo Attano
Throughout the game Corvo will explore many locations varying from the streets of the open city to the abandoned flooded district of bad town.  The symbol on Corvo's hand marks the power he possesses, through the course of the game he can find bone runes, via a beating heart he was given by the outsider, it also tells secrets about those nearby, that can unlock and upgrade the abilities granted to him.  These vary from teleporting across large distances, stopping time for a short duration, possessing a human, using the Force and sending a swarm of rats to devour someone.  The most useful and my favorite was the Blink teleport power, letting you hop over buildings and get out of tight situations.  As mentioned earlier there are many weapons used by Corvo.  His retractable sword serves as his primary offensive weapon, the crossbow his silent stealth weapon, having many different types of darts like sleep darts, regular and incendiary bolts. He also has a flintlock pistol, grenades and spring razor traps that shred a man if he steps into it.  All equipment can be upgraded, the crossbow and flintlock can be upgraded to shoot farther and faster with a larger clip size to add.  Ammo pouches can also be expanded for more space.
The mark of the Outsider
Whale charms give bonuses to the player, who can hold up to six once the upgrades have been bought.  These allowing silent steps, a less likely chance to be hit by bullets and so forth. A moral choice aspect is also present in the game, decided how to approach your enemy and targets influences the ending, which there are three of.  I went through the game rendering everyone unconscious or just avoided them altogether, not being seen the whole game.  I did this for a few reasons, one; it was the right thing to do, I also always helped people unless it involved cannibalism.  Two; despite all the nasty shit that goes down during the story, I doubt if I decapitated half the populace, saved the Princess and tried to reenter society, it probably wouldn't go so well. The same goes for the guardsman of the city who go from caring lawman to raping scumbags at the change of the ruler.  I get the game's intent of trying to make these guys more villainous so you don't feel bad about offing them but I mean, come on, even Metro 2033 managed to give the Nazis some humanity, strange as that sounds. There are a few ways to approach the game: there the "stay in the shadows" kind of gameplay, no kill or the "guns blazing kill everything that moves" gamestyle.  Or a combination of the two.  Sword fight relies on timing and parrying before executing the finishing move.  Bodies, dead or alive, can be hidden in spots like rooftops, dumpsters and other out-of-sight places.  This can be crucial in segments when wishing to remain unseen, also darkness is your ally, stick with it and you'll be no more than a shadow.  Between missions Corvo returns to Loyalist HQ to resupply and spend your hard earned coin on upgrades. Potions for health and magic used to charge Corvo's power can be bought and found all over the place. There are also a number of plague ridden zombie like creature called Weavers that feed off the plague.  The more people killed, the higher the chaos, the more guards, the more zombies and so forth.  Not much more to say about Dishonored, great game, would play again, still need to buy the DLC. Hope you have all enjoyed and I will be back next week with another post.  This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Hotline Miami Review

box art
      Hello everyone and happy Wednesday.  Today I will be reviewing Hotline Miami, a game that has received exponential amount of praise in the last two years.  Since the Steam Halloween sale happened recently, I bought it, played it, and enjoyed far more than I thought I would.  Hotline Miami is a top down action game, meaning it is seen from above and not through the eyes of the character or at a third person perspective.  As hinted in the cover to the right, the game is extremely violent, but is presented in an 32 bit action arcade format.  Meaning while the game is still extremely violent, it is lessened down by the format of the game, else it probably would be the most graphic game to ever hit shelves.  The game follow the story of the unnamed protagonist, dubbed "Jacket" by the community, who keeps receiving cryptic phone calls from the same people.  The messages are worded differently each time with new addresses that say the same thing: go to this location and kill everyone inside.    While this sounds dark, all the people he kills are Russian mobsters, so no loss.  Taking place in the late 1980s, the game captures the time period perfectly. As the game progresses, Jacket will struggle to keep hold on reality and stay sane as his world slowly degrades.  Praised for its masterful story that builds the world with the atmosphere surrounding you, making it all feel like an LSD trip sometimes.  The gameplay is fast paced and no one play through is ever the same.  With the game constantly randomizing the items that are on the map, Jacket will encounter different weapons and enemy placement each time.  The player starts outside the building and will pick a mask, each mask has different abilities and more can be unlocked as missions are passed.  Some masks let you start with a weapon while others may enable your fists to do one hit kills.  The game works through a trial and error system that is unforgiving, one hit from
Your basic location for killing Russian mobsters
bullets or melee weapons kills you dead and Jacket must start the level all over again.  Jacket has many melee weapons at his disposal, a few need to be unlocked.  Guns are also frequent weapons to appear and enemies wielding them are the greatest threat, that and big buff guys that can only be killed by shotguns.  While using a gun is the easiest way to dispatch a group of guards, it also makes noise, which draws in the other twenty guys in the room who will kill you quicker than you can kill them. All items can be thrown at enemies, incapacitating them for the moment needed to finish them off.  Doors are your best friend in the game, these pieces of wood can be knocked down, throwing enemies of their feet and allowing for a surprise attack.  Hotline Miami has a awesome soundtrack that intertwines with the gameplay perfectly kind of like Skyrim, exempt with 80s techno music.  The game spans about 13 hours long, maybe twenty if your willing to play it through again for everything their is to find and the secret ending. I consider Hotline Miami to be a great game mixing action, gore and story all into one perfect pot, 9 out of 10. I hope you enjoyed this post, I will be back back with more reviews in the weeks to come.  This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Kingdom for Keflings Review

cover art
     Hello everyone and happy Wednesday, hope your all doing great.  I was browsing through the Steam store and saw that the new Civilization came out recently.  For those of you who don't know Sid Meier's Civilization is a game of growing your small settlement out of the stone age and into the future of man, which during the course of the evolution stage, you are seemingly an  immortal dictator that everyone follow without question.  Although I am fond of Civilization, when I saw it on Steam, I thought of Kingdom for Kefllings for some reason.  I played this game long ago in the long past year of 2009 before I discovered Civilization.  Basically a more basic version of Civilization with more direct interaction.  A Kingdom for Keflings was released for Xbox Arcade and then the following year on PC.  Mainly focusing on the Xbox side of the story, it uses the player's Microsoft avatar as the interactive sage you will be.  The game starts with a small pile of resources and you, a 20ft tall giant that will help and physically aid the Keflings into growing their society into a thriving middle ages city where everyone is happy and content, so basically the opposite of the middle ages. The Keflings are small elf-like people who you guild, in order to do this, you will set them to work chopping down trees for wood, which are then processed into boards which can then be made into houses.  The same can be said for stone, which can be mined for ore or made into stone blocks used to build walls and castles.
a town in the process of growing
Mills are built to create wood products, forges to create things from rock, weaving shops to process wool into cloth and some weird shop that process crystals for whatever reason.  Houses are built to upgrade the Kefling population, they can then be upgraded into manors. Schools can be built to teach certain skills to the Keflings, then you can send them to college.  The work force being educated in the middle ages, what is going on here? While the Keflings gather most of the supplies while taking them to and from locations to be made usable, the player creates the buildings and to upgrade them once the proper materials and blueprints are at hand.  Tools that the Keflings can be discovered by gathering a glowing resource, be it tree, ore or crystal, which are seen rarely.  There are also player upgrades to be discovered through doing the same action, these allow you to gather resources more efficiently and walk faster.  While the last one may sound stupid, it funny how slow you move when carrying 10 tons of wood to your village that is a few miles away.  One thing that bored me was that there is no wildlife or other creatures that threaten your society, so their is no danger or consequences for your choices. As with any world building game, there is a large sense of satisfaction at starting with some twigs and turning it into thriving city. There are more features to be held within this game but since its been four years since I picked it up, I will leave you with the good memorable bits.  Would recommend, though the music does tend to drive one insane after awhile, still fun though.  I hope you all enjoyed and I will be back next week with more reviews.  This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.
 must watch in highest setting to be visible

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Mortal Kombat Review

Universal Box art depicting Scorpion and Sub-Zero
     Hello everyone and happy Wednesday, hope your all doing great.  Today I'm going to be reviewing a game that revived the genre and became known to everyone.  Mortal Kombat is a game that most kids my age had the luxury of playing in the arcade that went on to evolve into something greater.  Starting out as a 2D arcade fighter, it kept true to its roots until after the second one.  After that it went down hill with crappier gameplay and appearance.  Since Mortal Combat X is out until April 2015, I will instead review the 2011 version, MK9.  Now for storytime, so sit back and relax.  In the beginning of time the six realms were created and the Elder Gods decreed that if one realm was to merge with the other, one would have to defeat that world's champions in ten consecutive mortal combat tournaments.  Later in time, there is a buff guy that wears a skull helmet named Shao Kahn who is as powerful as a god and is leader of Outworld, a realm.  He has set his sights on Earth realm and sends his emissary, Shang Tsung, to go wage the tournament against Earth realm.  Since the tournaments begin, Raiden the God of Thunder had been guiding the champions of the Realm against Outworld's fighters.  After nine losses to Outworld, Earth realm is on the edge of destruction.  Raiden puts forward Liu Kang who defeats all the contestants and Shang Tsung himself, sending them packing. In order to save his life from his master's wrath, Shang Tsung that the tournament should be
Fight in progress, X-ray move used above
hosted in Outworld, so Shao Kahn can defeat them personally.  Liu Kang beats everyone and punches a hole through Shao Kahn's chest and it kills him, but not really.  Fast forward through some other games where people understandingly start to get lost, we come to a giant pyramid that everyone starts killing each other trying to get to the top.  After everyone is dead, only Raiden and Shao Kahn remain.
    Right before Shao Kahn kills Raiden, he sends a vague message to his past self saying "He must win".  So basically Raiden comes to the understanding that he must do it all over again.  So theres the story, the nice thing is that you can buy this game and you won't have missed anything at all.  Combat is what you'd expect for a 2D fighting platform, you can punch and kick or mix for some varied combos.  Each character has their own moves, you could play as the undead hellspawn ninja Scorpion or the four armed half-dragon Goro and many other characters.  They all have moves unique to them, combos having different animations and effects.  The combo bar is a new feature added in MK9, allowing combos to become more powerful or if the bar is charged fully the player can execute their x-ray move.  This attack is extremely efficient and shows the interior damage being done, thus the name.   A large feature of Mortal Kombat is the fatalitys, moves that can be used after your opponent is defeated to finish them off in a gruesome way.  These vary from chopping them into many different pieces with swords to turning into a dragon and biting them in half.  Gore to the max.  Mortal Kombat is a game best shared with friends, like a gory version of Guitar Hero. Other than that, theres not much to say about it, great game though. Hope you all enjoyed and I will be back next week with another post. This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bioshock Review

North American Box Art
     Hello everyone and happy Wednesday.  Today I'm going to be exploring one of the most imaginative games that isn't a medevil fantasy game.  That game is Bioshock, an game best known for its plot twists and imagery thats developed and published by 2K Gmaes.  Bioshock received critical praise for its atmosphere and storytelling, so without further pause I will begin.  You are Jack, a man on a plane which crashes into the Atlantic Ocean.  Jack being the only survivor, swims to a lighthouse that is strangely close to the wreckage.  Jack goes inside the lighthouse and boards a submarine, which takes him to the amazing underwater city of Rapture.  He arrives to find that Rapture is in chaos and fighting a civil war to top it off.  This minute long video can explain things better than I can, so watch this unless you wish to be hopelessly confused. So now that you've watched that video, we can resume.  From ADAM overdose, splicers are formed.  They are people whose minds have been warped by plasmids, tonics that give genetic powers ranging from shooting lighting from your hands to releasing bees out of your arms to swarm enemies.  So these plasmids made most the populace go crazy and try to kill Jack as soon as they see him.  So Jack exits the submarine and hears the voice of Atlas over the radio, who asks Jack to help him and his family escape Rapture, and Jack can come with them, yay! So its up to Jack to fight his way through splicers and maniacs alike to escape Rapture. Unique in my eyes, Bioshock is carried both by its story and its gameplay.  Since I cant talk about the story least I spoil anything, I will explore the gameplay.  Coming out in 2007, this game is still graphically impressive by today's standards and still a marvel to admire.
Jack fighting a Big Daddy
Bioshock is an FPS at heart, throwing guns at you to create your own arsenal. Your weapons can be upgraded at Power to The People machines, which can only apply one upgrade per machine before they self combust for some reason.  Many plasmids can be obtained throughout the game which give different powers, there are also different levels for each plasmid, which can rise up to level three becoming more powerful with each level.  There are also Gene Tonics which affect the speed of the player, how fast they hack machines, what weapons do more damage and so forth.  Both plasmids and gene tonics can be purchased at a Gatherers Garden machine with ADAM.  Ah, ADAM, the stuff that makes the world go round, the thing everyone wants.  This magical substance can only be obtained from Little Sisters (see video) who are guarded by Big Daddies, the toughest enemies in the game.  They are giant armored creatures that were once men and have one purpose: protect their Little Sister to the last breath. Theres one on the cover, with the Little Sister in the backround.  Once the Big Daddy is dealt with, the player can choose to save the Little Sister, turning her back into a child and receiving 80 ADAM. However if your a heartless bastard that wants the bad ending, you can harvest them for double ADAM but they will not survive.  Besides, you get all the ADAM you need by saving them and it leaves a   "I did the right thing" feeling, also plays a heartwarming tune when you save them.  Theres also alot of plasmids and tonics that are useless, so you don't need double ADAM.  Since there is many weapons, there are also many different ammo types such as anti-personal, armor-piercing and explosive rounds are effective against different enemies.  Hacking is also a key part of the game, allowing Jack to hack turrets, open safes, and security cameras that spot enemies that call weaponized drones.  This is done through a pipe mini game that is getting the water from one end of the square to the other.  With masterful story telling and fun shoot 'em up gameplay, Bioshock is truly a unique game.  I find it fun and enjoyable awesome game with a good replay value, I recommend it to anyone who has a pair of hands.  I hope you all enjoyed and I will be back next week with another post. This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.
Early Bioshock Trailer    

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Assassin's Creed III Review

Box Art
     Hello everyone and happy Wednesday, hope your all doing well.  As of recent times I have been reviewing alot of small studio games (excluding Skyrim) along with some indie platforms.  So today I'd thought I'd review a game I almost got around to reviewing last year but didn't.  Assassin's Creed III is perhaps my favorite of the series and with the 7th one coming around the corner I'd thought I...oh whats that? Your confused that I'm reviewing the 3rd one when the seventh one is coming out? Well the answer is quiet simple...kind of.  Also there are 12 other AC games I didn't know existed until recently and don't matter. The first game followed the adventures of Altair Ibn- La'Ahad (during the Third Crusade in what is now Turkey) on his quest for redemption because he killed some innocent, had his death faked then became awesome enough to replace the other 200 Assassins who he knew.  The next three games follow the life of Ezio Auditore da Firenze (during the Italian Renaissance during the 15th century into the 16th) on his quest for revenge at the death of his family, which then turn into building the Assassin brotherhood to its peak in Italy to battle the Templars (these guys that believe that humanity cannot be trusted with it's own freedom and must forced into submission, also these guys are sown into important roles in society to better manipulate it. It Ubisoft's Aluminati.) This takes him from Florence to Rome across the sea to Constantinople and back again.  So thats a quick recap of the last games, with AC4 following after this one which has pirates, YARR.  Now quick rundown on the story, read my version or watch this video, maybe both.  So the Templars (the bad guys) and the Assassins (the good guys) have been fighting for hundred of years over having a free world devoid of tyrannical control or one controlled behind the shadows treating people like puppets. I'll let you match the options with their right partners.  So the year is 2012 and the protagonist is Desmond Miles, a guy who is lucky enough to be a descendant of the most influential and important Assassins of all time.  Desmond was raised in a solitary life to be an Assassin but ran
Cast of characters, no idea of the guy on the far right and Aveline isn't necessary to the story
away, years later in his 20s he is kidnapped by the mega corporation Abstergo, which is actually led by the Templars.  They put Desmond in the Animus, a machine that allows one to relieve the life of their ancestors. After reliving a part of the life of Altair who redeems himself by killing nine high ranking Templars, he finds out theres a tenth Templar; his mentor. He fights his mentor and grabs this artifact that is really important, touching it and discovering the location of several Pieces of Eden, powerful artifacts left behind by the First Civilization like the one hes holding. These guys came before everyone else did, with a more powerful existing before the Sun wiped out all life on the Earth.  They created many artifacts to stop the end of the world but it didn't work. Desmond is yanked back out of the Animus and is told he is of no further use to the Templars and is returned to his room.  Certain rare people have this sixth sense called Eagle Vision that allows them to see things usually unseen.  Desmond sees that Subject Sixteen, the guy before Desmond, played finger art with his blood on the walls which is pretty fucking deranged. Though that guy did go crazy and kill himself because the Animus was becoming reality for him.  Thats right, the Animus will kill you if your over exposed, just like drugs. Although through long periods of time in the Animus Desmond can pick up on the bleeding effect, allowing him to learn the skills of his ancestors in a short time.  Desmond is then rescued by Lucy, a double agent working within the Templars, but is actually an Assassin.  She gets Desmond out of there and takes him to a safe house to meet Shawn, this British guy who you don't like, but then like and Rebecca this tech girl who you like and keep liking.  Desmond hops in the Animus and dives into Ezio's memories.  Some stuff happens, Ezio kills most the guys behind his family's murder, reunites the brotherhood and discovers a special vault beneath the Vatican which contains a message from Manirva, a First Civilization person, for Desmond in the future. WHHHAAAAA!!!
     The message is a second solar flare is coming thats going to kill everyone, and they must find the answer the First Civilization left behind to save the world the second time around. Desmond hops out of the Animus, fights some Templars attacking the safe house, then fleeing to the Villa Auditore, Ezio's old villa, he hops back in to the Animus and back into Ezio's life.  Ezio's villa is destroyed, the brotherhood is shattered and Ezio goes to Rome to reunite the Assassins and defeat the new threat.  Some stuff happens, he kills the big baddie, and hides an Apple of Eden inside the Colosseum.  Desmond and Co. heads there and finds the Apple which freezes everyone, Juno, another First Civilization person tells Desmond that Lucy was working for the Templars the whole time.  WHHHHAAAAA!!!!!!  The Apple possesses Desmond and makes him
Connor fighting some Redcoats
stab Lucy, she dies and Desmond goes into a coma from overexposure to the Animus.  He wakes up in a virtual world and meets a version of Subject 16 he injected into the Animus before he offed himself.  He tells Desmond that he was put into the Animus to save his life and that he must revisit the unseen years of Altair and Ezio to separate the two in his mind so he can wake up.  Revelations happens and isn't really important other than at the end Ezio somehow sees Desmond and gives him everything he learned from the Apple of Eden also establishing a link back to reality.  Also when Altair died he sealed himself inside this library with another Apple of Eden, which is for some reason glossed over.  Desmond wakes up to find his dad standing over him telling him they found the place with the promise of saving the world. So they walk in, unlocking a door thats open with Ezios Apple. Finding ancient ruins with a wall of energy separating them from Earth's salvation. The ruins are putting out an Animus signal, which the gang acts upon and sends Desmond into the Animus.  He takes on Haytham Kenway, an Assassin sent across the sea in 1754 with the artifact are heroes need to open up the "prevent apocalypse" door. He gets on the ship and arrives in America, bumping into Benjamin Franklin along the way.  He meets Charles Lee and sets off to recruit and reunite members to his cause.  While doing so, he disguises as a Redcoat to get into a camp of British soldiers led by a former friend, now enemy.  In the act they take a slave caravan full of Native Americans.  Upon arriving they set the natives free and Haytham sneaks his way through the camp to find the man there looking for isn't there.
Haytham and Kaniehti:io
 Haytham asks Kaniehti:io, the leader of the Mohawk prisoners, if she recognizes the strange amulet he has.  She says she will take Haythem to its source if he kills General Braddock, a man whos been killing the Natives in his quest for expansion.  Also hes a former member of the order. He finds Braddock, chases him and Kaniehti:io tackles George Washington off his horse who is right next to Braddock.  Haytham kills Braddock and takes his ring.  Kaniehti:io takes Haytham  to the source of the amulet, he finds out the amulet is not associated with this cave.  Haytham goes back to Boston with his friends and decides Charles Lee has proven himself and puts the ring on his finger. Also through creative writing that avoided the subject until now, it turns out that Haytham and his friend are Templars.  WHHAAAA!!!  Years pass by and the player is now playing as Ratonhnhake:ton, the son of Haytham and Kaniehti:io.  He is a young child living in his village and is playing games in the forest with his friends when he is attacked by Charles Lee.  The two exchange words and Lee knocks out Ratonhnhake:ton.
     He wakes to find his village burning and his mother trapped beneath a beam in a burning hut.  He tries to save her, but cannot and she dies.  Years later Ratonhnhake:ton is talking to the Elder of the Village about his mother, she reveals Lee was looking for an artifact and the village is there to protect that artifact.  Ratonhnhake:ton picks up the sphere and is given a vision by the Juno that he must seek the Assassins in order to save his village. He sets out and finds Achilles, a retired assassin living at a homestead in the countryside.  After some stubborn negotiating Achilles reluctantly agrees to train Ratonhnhake:ton.  So they set to work and Achilles decides to call Ratonhnhake:ton Connor to make the settlers friendlier towards him. So the stage is set and Connor (Ratonhnhake:ton) will set out on his epic quest to save his people and fight a revolution to form a nation while witnessing many historical events.  Like Assassin's Creed II, the game has three open world maps that you can rotate to at any time; Boston, New York and the Frontier. Several new features have been added to the game and some have been improved on.
Connor hunting an Elk
The freerunning is smoother and looks nicer, also allowing natural things to be climbed like cliffs and jump between trees, something previously unseen in the series.  In the scenario of being chased the player can side under a fence or even run through part of a structure to gain some distance.  The counter system has improved allowing for failure instead of making you a one man army, making you have to press a counter button before than executing a counter attack that range from firing the pistol at the target to stick a bomb to them while throwing them at a group of enemies.  During gun fire sequences enemies can be used as a body shield and finishing moves pack a satisfying punch  as you duck and dodge your way through enemies.  Guns appear in the form of muskets, the player can carry two pistol, firing up to four shots with the double barrel pistols. These weapons prove to be useful yet take long to reload, therefore not seeming to overpowered.  A new stealth weapon is Connor's longbow which can be used to kill enemies silently.  Another new feature added in AC3 is hunting, allowing another use for the bow.  Through hunting, the player can acquire things that people want and sell pelts for money. Hunting can be direct with bow and musket or can happen when the player is not even present with the introduction of snares mixed with bait. A new crafting-trading system is added in which Connor can send pelts or make weapons, furniture, saddles and such things to sell.  Doing this you load the goods up on a ship or wagon and sent it to a certain store or trading post, depending of the good to the certain trading post, you will be paid according to what that post wants.  A religious convent will pay more for pelts than cannons and so forth.  This will be the players primary source of income so they can purchase new weapons and ship upgrades, which are the most expensive things in the game.
Connor's Tomahawk, awesome
The crafting also allows the player to craft personal objects like swords and guns.  This is quite useful as the best pistol is acquired through this system.  The only flaw with this system is while naval missions are fun, there not necessary to the gameplay like in AC4 where being a pirate and owning a ship go hand in hand.  Also the money you make mainly goes towards this, so once you've crafted all the upgrades, there is no motivation to make money, which is hard mind you.  In my experience the easiest way to make money is to go to this little corner of the map and kill bears while waiting for more bears to show up.  So after killing twenty bears, each which are killed which are killed through a three step quicktime event, you start to grow weary. The stuff that's hardest to make requires a craftsman of that skill to a certain degree.  Certain characters throughout the world can be invited to stay at your homestead to make a life for themselves.  You will come to bond with the inhabitants of your little piece of property and come to treat them as family.   The gear you are given has no armor tacked on to it, forcing you to rely and your reflexes otherwise be scraped off a redcoat's boot.  The weapons you are given follow a similar trend, in the sense there's no reason to buy new equipment because despite the stats applied to weapons they all stab things with equal force.  Connor's arsenal consisted of his two hidden blades, a bad ass looking tomahawk that you will never get rid of because its bad ass.
Achilles explaining the ropedart to Connor 
He also had a sword, two pistols, poison and a new weapon: the rope dart which allows Connor to hang enemies from trees and pull them down in the heat of battle.  The assassin recruitment is back, although sadly with little use.  Although the assassins can now use tactics such as sniping enemies from a distance, planting bombs and pretending to be the enemy.  Forts are now added, the player can take Templar forts to further their influence so they can recruit assassins and be able to walk around without being tackled every twenty feet.  The wanted system returns, if the player has committed crime, posters will be put up and heralds will yell about stuff you did, Connor can also visit a printing press to wipe the slate clean.  In between trying to save the free world, Connor can play games like checkers, Bowls, Morris, and Fanorona.  If you don't know what those are, look them up.  The new dialogue system is interesting, allowing you to have conversations with people throughout the world.  One that really blew my mind is that you have a drink with an assassin you recruited and find out Haytham killed his uncle before his eyes to get the magic amulet thing you're fighting for the whole game.  Despite AC3 being my favorite of the games, even as the AC4 came out and was fun, the one thing that bothered me most was Connor.  Despite being a major all around bad ass who has good moral premise and will always do the right thing, he is humorless.  Its such a dramatic change to go from Ezio, smiley happy lady's man to Connor.  He has his moments which make them special because of this.  Overall as a game I'd give AC3 a solid 9 of 10.  I hope you have enjoyed this post and I will be back next week.  This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.
Trailer recommend HD viewing

Thursday, September 11, 2014

State of Decay Review

Cover Art
     Hello everyone and happy Wednesday, hope your doing well.  Most of the time when I'm looking to review a game and don't feel satisfied with what I'm doing I turn around and reach into the zombie bin, the very large container which is the zombie adaptations seen in video games.  While alot of them are the same old shoot 'em up zombie game, there comes a special time when you find the diamond in the pile of rocks.  For me, State of Decay is one of those diamonds.  Developed by Undead Labs and published by Microsoft Studios, this third person persistent open world stealth zombie-survival horror game was released fully on July 2, it is also a mouthful to explain.  Set in a open world country valley with two towns, this games is loads of fun.  State of Decay shows something that unseen in zombie games; it makes you build your world to survive.  Based around established a safe haven from the hordes of undead and rescuing survivors to join your community.  The story is generic and it is the gameplay that carries the title.  You are camping at a lake when zombies attack and you need to find out whats going on, survive long enough to face the hordes and escape.  The you find out that the valley is boarded up and the military has jumped ship.  Another cool feature about the game is the concept of no second chances, you die, your dead.  During the game, you take control of no one single character, as you want to level up all their stats so they can become the ultimate survivor.  Also, a character's stamina will deteriorate over time if they do not get sleep.  Back on the death system, if a character
Surveying the area is always a good idea
dies, then that character is dead permanently and you will be thrown into another character, if none are available, then the game will restart. The characters have many skills to level such as gun skills, cardio, and fighting skills, these skills will level through their use.  Each area comes with new opportunities, from clearing infestations, helping survivors, scavenging for supplies and establishing outposts where you can restock (different from home base).  Targets can be marked by climbing up cell towers or high viewpoints.  After getting a good view of your surroundings, you can explore to find food, weapons, medicine and ammo, all of which you will need to maintain your community.  The game takes familiar concepts of zombie games like the scarcity of ammo and guns, not to take on hordes of zombies, also stay stealthy whenever possible. The player has a large number of melee weapons and guns st there disposal that can be found throughout the map. Most of the world is farmlands with small areas of interest such as towns, road stops and farmhouses, just to name a few.  Your character can carry a certain number of items until they are encumbered and will be exhausted easily. Influence is earned through depositing items into the safe for other survivors to use, this also affects the gear you may withdraw to use.  Gear also becomes damaged over time, with a workshop your cars and weapons can be repaired overnight. Supplies which you use differ from supplies that are needed for home base.  This means guns and ammo will be used by the survivors when put in the safe while rucksacks of medicine are needed to keep everyone healthy, food keeps everyone from starving and the most precious resource is ammo which is used to fight the zombies.
Materials are also collected so buildings can be built, upheld in good condition and so forth.  Rucksacks can be "broken" open to get a few things of morphine or bullets for personal use, however this is unwise as it is a waste of supplies.  Home base is where you retire to drop of rucksacks, switch survivors and the place where you feel safer than anywhere else.  There are over five home base locations to chose from that offer different advantages while possibly accommodating more space for people.  Gardens, bedrooms, workshops, medical bays, libraries, and extra storage are some of the expansions offered to make your home base more secure and better equipped for attacks.  A variety of cars are offered with different durability and speed allowing you to traverse the terrain easier while allowing gear and rucksacks to be stored in the trunk.  Each day is two hours long realtime, one hour for day and one for night. The enemies are zombies, who run at you and are dangerous in groups and best taken on with a gun.  There are also mutated zombies that make the game challenging at times, the massive hordes were hard enough, but to then add in zombies that are twice your size and can tackle you dead while others are the size of a truck make is a pain in the neck sometimes.  What is amusing to me is there are multiple of these truck sized Juggernauts in this small valley where men of eight feet are common.  Anyway, same rules, destroy the brain
Melee fighting
and the corpse wont move anymore, except the fucking Juggernaut zombies that take two clips from a M16 to kill, I mean fuck, ammo is scarce enough as it is without this shit.  While I'm on the subject, why not discuss the game's flaws for reference for the sequel.  One of the HUGE flaws of the game is the looting system, the idea is to collect supplies to survive, however once you loot a building, it's empty, the end.  While this plays great into realism, the question is: what happens once I've looted everything?  The answer is your screwed, boxed in a little valley with finite resources and repetitive rescue quests just keep coming.  Here an example.  I was played as my best leveled character, who could take on ten zombies face first and shoot a nickel midair a hundred yards away.  So hes tired and needs rest, I drive to home base a few blocks away and switch to a different character of much lesser skill and set out.  Five minutes later I'm looting a house when I hear a distress beacon from a few houses down.  So I race down towards to beacon to find my number one cornered by three zombies.  WHAT. THE. FUCK.  The game treats all characters the same, so they only have power when your playing them.  It takes away the "I'm the only guy who does anything around here" feeling because your everyone and then gives it back with this.  It doesn't help you have to do this kind of mission over and over again so your survivor who you've invested time in doesn't die.  Also it takes away the main things that make the apocalypse the apocalypse: the other survivors that will shoot you dead for a can of beans.  Every human encountered wants to share tea and cakes with you, and even give you freaking sports cars!  Theres no greater danger than the hordes that never make it to your home because of the minefield you built.  Overall, its the gameplay that carries State of Decay, and I like it despite its flaws and bugs.  It makes you do what a survivor would really do in the case of the apocalypse.  Good game that I would recommend to any survivalist or zombie lover.  Hope you enjoyed this review and I will be back in two weeks.  Until then, have fun.  This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.
Displays a fair amount of gameplay

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Motocross Madness Review

Cover Art
     Hello everyone and happy Wednesday.  I was watching the X Games recently, or at least something close to it.  It made me remember the early days of console gaming when the big thing was racing games and Golden Eye.  So thats what I grew up on, and with Microsoft releasing two free games every month to keep up with Sony.  I recently downloaded Motocross Madness, a little dirtbike trick racing game with tricks and jumps, also including having your avatar as the biker. Also exclusive to Xbox 360. The game puts you down with a standard bike that you can upgrade as you win money in races, allowing you to make your bike go faster, handle better, and so on.  The gameplay is quite simple; press the gas to go, brake to stop, and hybrid brake to drift.  As you rise through the ranks you will unlock more tricks that allow you to gain xp, which fills your boost meter, allowing you to to faster for a period of time, allowing you to stay on top of your opponents.  The amount of xp you are awarded depends on the difficulty of the trick, it also looks cooler mid-air.  The amount of money you gain at the end of each race depends on the number of coins you collect and what position you finish in.  The player can then spend this money on upgrades for their bike, buy new bikes, and special outfits.  With each level surpassed, tricks with a greater effect are unlocked, some tracks are almost so hard to beat that you must boost almost the whole time.  As mentioned earlier, the player gets to incorporate their avatar in to the game, which is a little animated version of you forged at your whim.  The game has a number of areas ranging from the deserts of Egypt to the treacherous glaciers of Iceland.  There are also open courses that allow you to mess around and explore the area while picking up collectibles.  The dialogue is poorly written, making it very amusing.  Overall I would call Motocross Madness a decent game, it does what its suppose to.  However, I would not recommend buying it, if it is free, grab it.  Hope you have enjoyed this post and I will be back next week.  This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Review

Box Art
     Hello everyone and happy Wednesday, hope your all doing good.  I know I'm pretty late to the bat for this one, since this is my first post in a few months I thought I'd write about probably one of the best games to hit the marketplace.  Developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks, released in November 11, 2011, this game was met with great profits and many happy fans.  It is a med-evil RPG style fantasy game that would be what England looked like in the Dark Ages if it had magic, dragons, cat people, and everything that moved wanted to kill you.  Literally everything does, its scary.  The Elder
Scrolls series, has one of the largest and expansive lore in the video game industry.  So for those of you who have not played one of the games (God have mercy on your souls) I will provide a little bit of back story to whats going on as simply as I can.
    Okay, Bethesda's last Elder Scrolls game was Oblivion, which took place 200 years prior to Skyrim.  The only thing that need be known about Oblivion is that a bunch of powerful monsters emerge from the demotic plane of Oblivion led by Merunes Dagon, a god like being called Daedra who is looking to ruin every-ones day.  He is defeated by Akatosh, leader of the Divines; the gods who created everything.  Fast forward 200 years and travel across the continent of Tamriel to Skyrim. A frigid northern realm that is home to the human race known as Nords, yet under control by the crumpling Empire based out of Cryadil, where the last game took place. For some time the Empire fighting a civil war in Skyrim with the Nords, who believe their way of life is at risk.  The player awakes in the back of a wagon bound in shackles on the way to his/her death with other prisoners including the rebel leader Ulfric Stormcloak.  The Elder Scrolls Series has always been about choice, in the wagon, the only information you have about yourself is that you were trying to cross the border, so your back story is up to you.  After arriving in Helgen, you notice the leader of Imperial troops in Skyrim, General Tullius is present.  This does not bode well, the atmosphere intensified a roar sounds in the distance. You are unloaded off the wagon and the guard asks who you are.  As mentioned earlier about choice, you the choice to choose between 10 unique races from the cat-like Khajiit, the reptile-like Argonians to the Orcs of the high mountains, a few
Cool picture of what Alduin looks like
different elves and humans are also in the mix. Depending on the race you choose, this will affect your starting stats such as sword skills or magic.  Don't worry though, your skills will advance over time in every area.  The game's environment also treats you differently depending on your race.  Basically unless your a human, everyone is a racist f*ck to you, the High Elves think their better than everyone and your constantly the butt of all the racist jokes, you know, typical fantasy setting.  Now you choose your race and watch a guy get decapitated and then your called up to the block.  Just when your about to meet your end at the head of an ax, a giant black dragon swoops down and then every things on fire followed by everyone screaming for their lives.  After running around trying not to be dragon chow, the guy who asked your name calls you over and cuts you loose.               Some more running and then you reach a crossroad, you can go with the racist rebels or the guys who just tried to cut your head off.  Whatever you choose, you fight a few guys, pick up some stuff and then emerge the only survivors, except that guy you didn't choose to go with.  Then you make your way to Riverwood, where you say hi to the guys family who went with, loot every coin in the town and run to Whiterun to tell the Jarl that dragons are back after thousands of years.  Everybody flips out and believes that only logical thing to do is send you, the messenger, to find out whats going on, yay logic.  After a series of quests that take you to tombs to find out stuff about of dragons and almost dying several times because of
scenic view of how large the world is
your crappy gear.  You get back to the people at Whiterun and fill them in on whats going on.  Then you go with some guards to investigate a nearby dragon sighting.  Which you then find the watchtower in ruin, dragon appears, you fight dragon, and dragon dies.  The dragon suddenly bursts into flames with energy swirling around it that then wraps around the player.  The dragon is now nothing but bones with the guards saying you are Dragonborn. You learn that you are the legendary individual with the body of a mortal and the soul of a dragon, Dragonborn, they come rarely every couple hundred years.  The last one conquered all the known world, so you have alot to live up to  You then hear a booming shout later in town and are then informed that the Greybeards, masters of the Voice; the powerful magic which dragons shout.  They have summoned you and then you are on your way. The thing that makes you special is that others have to practice for years to shout one word of power, while you are naturally gifted. After walking up the largest mountain on the continent, you talk to the Greybeards who teach you a thing or two before telling you that you must stop Alduin, the World Eater from destroying the plane of existence you exist on.  Also Alduin is the son of Akatosh, the Ruler of the Gods, so this won't be hard or anything. Why must you do this? Because it's your destiny, don't ask questions!  I'll leave it from there involving the story and focus more on the gameplay.  Skyrim improves alot on it's predecessors, adding a better skill learning tree, a more expansive world with more quest opportunities to be had and five quest lines that are awesome.  Also, if you get the game on PC, you have the Steam Workshop and mod community at your fingertips, so that literally makes the game endless.  The level up system is well balanced, gaining a skill point that you can spend on one of many different skill trees from destruction magic to smithing to one handed sword combat. These things will effect the quality of gear you can craft, how well you use that gear and how big of fire balls you can shoot from your hands. You also can upgrade of three player base traits every level.  These are Health, it speaks for itself, Stamina, how long you can run, how effective your block is or how many power attacks you can use until you die of exhaustion.
The holds of Skyrim
Last there is Magik, which affects the amount of spells you can cast and the difficulty of the spell. The game also levels with you, so one area doesn't have enemies that are harmful as tissue paper being thrown at you while the other would be like being covered in honey while being chased by bears, and when I say bears, I mean dragons.  None of that, the game is well leveled and all area's enemies get harder to fight, from men to trolls to dragons, things change.  Next topic is the world.  Cool thing about Skyrim, you will never run out of things to do.  Even once you've beaten all the quest lines, all you have to do is pick a direction, start walking and you'll find something to do.  You also have a really expansive world to work with, while Skyrim is only 14.8 square miles total, there are also hundreds of underground dungeons and place that technically don't even exist on the mortal plane of existence, like going to the afterlife.  If you have this game on PC, you have the Steam Workshop and mod community which literally makes the game endless.  Also mountains, lots of mountains to walk up with your horse. The combat is pretty straightforward, you swing sword at guy, also be sure to block, and then slicing him in half.  Magic is the same, shoot flames at the guy until he's ash, although being a mage is pretty lame, as the spells are weak after you pass level 10 and master spells take to long to get while also using all of your Magik. The environment of the world changes as you go places.  Such a ice frozen cities, marsh lands and sunny meadows are all places to go, and you can buy a house in the city of whatever climate is to your liking or with the Hearthfire DLC installed you can build your own. The best part of the game, other than the epic scenery and soundtrack, is the dragon language.  The Dragonborn can learn up to twenty shouts, which have three words apiece, so thats sixty dungeons to walk through, so you'd better get moving.  The DLCs add seven new shouts total, more tomb raiding, yay.  These shouts do things like throw enemies off cliffs, freezes them in ice and summons storms to call down lighting to rain down on your foes.  While there is much more to say about Skyrim, I warn you that this game will suck you in.  Also another huge thing, which IS my favorite about The Elder Scrolls Games.  THE LORE! Other than World of Warcraft, I can't think of a game with a more expansive story, THERE IS SO MUCH TO LEARN!  My God, you could spend days learning all the backstory of the game's universe, but that doesn't mean you can't play the games, you will learn. The only thing that I do not like about Skyrim is that it can be buggy alot of the time, though it does make for some funny stories to tell your friends.  I highly recommend it, you will get your money's worth out of this game.  Thanks for reading, hoped you enjoyed and I will be back with another post next week.  I now leave you with one of the coolest game trailer ever.  This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.
Awesome, 720 HD recommended