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.