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.