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.