Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings Review

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

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bioshock Infinite Review

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

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Destiny Review

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

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number Review

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

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Watch Dogs Review

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

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Long Dark Review

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

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Tomb Raider Review

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

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Sniper Elite V2 Review

     Hello everyone and happy Wednesday, hope your all doing great.  Today I am dipping into the World War II era of shooters that started the genre and picking one of the more original titles among the vast desert, still more lush than the racist shooters set in the modern age.  The Sniper Elite series made its debut way back in 2005 as a sniper game set in the World War II era, which was a common spectacle back then.  It's uniqueness shined above the rest with it's realistic bullet ballistics effected by wind, distance, heart rate and position.  The first Sniper Elite received critical acclaim with its third person sniper action and a whopping seven years later V2 came out with improved graphics and gameplay elements in 2012. The sequel is a remake to the original with some modifications, Sniper Elite V2 takes place in Berlin 1945 during the last days of Nazi rule.  As anyone who took 6th grade history knows, America and other nations were sweeping in to recruit Nazi scientists because of their knowledge in science.  One of the many vast inventions of the Nazi arsenal were the V2 rockets; deadly missiles for their time that were undetectable until it was too late.  The Soviets led the charge against Berlin before the Allies could arrive and while everyone agreed the Nazis were bad, the Soviets were almost as bad then they defiantly became genocidal maniacs later.  Then America was freaking out that the Soviets might get their hands on the V2 scientists so the Allies send American OSS agent Karl Fairburne is sent in to Berlin to assassinate the scientists and their Russian contacts.  While this didn't really happen, the Soviets never got their hands on the scientists because they were dead.  So who knows what happened. The game centers around traversing a certain environment, assassinating the target and then making tracks before they even know you were there or just go in guns blazing.  The player is equipped with three weapons, their Springfield sniper rifle which will be used for some pretty awesome long range kills, your Tommy Gun, for when things get out in the open and your one-shot silenced pistol for getting close and staying quiet.
 Karl can also preform stealth kills with his knife as well as laying trip mines and other traps to create a daring escape or a brutal offensive.  The most enjoyable feature about V2 is the x-ray feature that allows the player to see an accurate depiction of following a bullet to its target and the damage it deals (see image and trailer). The overall challenge is trying to do it all quietly and remain undetected, Karl can use surrounding noises like speaker noise, rocket emissions, anti-air guns to shoot insync with the noise, thus masking the sound of gun fire.  Karl can then proceed to move bodies out of sight to remain unnoticed or could go a whole mission without killing anyone at all besides the target.  While the game encourages the stealthy sniper approach, there are many paths that can be taken, as I said earlier brute force is an option but makes it easier to be overwhelmed unless your carrying many grenades and even then one must beware. Theres also a DLC where you can kill Hitler, packs a satisfying punch. Overall Sniper Elite V2 is a fun game that is one of the few unique concepts left on the shooter and the open world sequel came out a few months ago, so that should be fun. I had fun with this game and would recommend it to those who enjoy fast paced rewarding action.  I hope you all enjoyed this review and I will be back next week with more games. This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Dying Light Review

     Hello everyone and happy Wednesday. hope your all doing great.  Today I will be reviewing yet another zombie game BUT WAIT, THERES A TWIST!!!!!  This zombie game is awesome with cutting edge graphics, a large open world and parkour to zip around with ease, this is Dying Light. I started following Dying Light's development about two years back and was immediately excited for the release of an open world parkour zombie game, something that would set the standard for the zombie genre.  In February after so much anticipation all my hopes and dreams were brought to me through greatness of this game.  I will admit that the story could use some work, but you can only carry zombie scenarios so far before you find yourself in the endless loop and cliches and stereotypes, so I wont hold it against my love of this game.  Dying Light is a open world sandbox RPG zombie game set in the fictional city of Harran that centers around protagonist Kyle Crane.  The city of Harran is placed under quarantine after the outbreak of unknown virus, and BOOM; zombie apocalypse.  The rest of the world is fine and the Global Relief Effort (GRE) is sending in supplies to sustain the remaining survivors while the Ministry of Defense is talking about firebombing the city out of existence.  So the game starts with the GRE sending in Crane to retrieve a file from rogue GRE agent Kadir Suleiman which if released contains a toxic form of the virus, at least thats what they say, wink wink.  After being on the ground for thirty seconds, Crane is immediately attacked by bandits, beaten up and bitten by a zombie after killing the bandits, but suddenly he is saved by Jade and Amir; some people. Amir dies, Crane passes out and Jade takes him to the Tower, the safe area for Brekens group. Not the best special agent to send in to retrieve a highly dangerous file, you find out hes cool later, but thats then and this is now so thats how it is. Crane is told hes infected but can take "Antizen" to suppress the virus so he sets off to help these people in whatever way he can while trying to get the file back.  Now that the stage is set, we can begin.  After a quick prologue with some instructions to the basics of the game and an introduction of the cast, you are released to explore this large scenic world made of sheet metal and dead things.  The first I noticed early on in the game is the inefficiency of weapons, as whacking zombies with table legs didn't seem to do much more than flicking them in the nose would do.  So for your first hour of the game you'll run away from most fights, which later on is still a good idea at times due how quickly stamina drains.  Crane can also gather some local herbs used to make drugs which increase his skills for a short period of time. You can raise your maximum efficiency in combat and free running through perks on the skill tree which are obtained as you gain XP which go towards the three tress; combat, stamina, and survival.  The first two allow you to run faster, hit harder, have more energy for both tasks along with learning new fight and parkour moves.
Crane luring zombies with firecrackers 
The survival tree contains crafting skills for weapons and equipment, XP for this tree is gained by helping survivors, completing missions or collecting packages dropped by planes.  Some vital perks on the survival tree are the grappling hook, the ability to arm traps such as explosive cars and electric fence traps.  As your survival rank increases, so will the quality of loot found in the world with certain areas containing certain items.  Gathering supplies is a large part of gameplay, with the stuff gathered you can make electric machetes and sorts of neat gadgets. Crane also knows how to lockpick every lock ever which grants him access to locked houses, chests, and storage compartments in cars. Blueprints are scattered all over the world contains new recipes for weapons, buffs, and explosives, just to name a few.  While traversing the terrain almost any location can be reached, no where is off limits which is good because in one mission you have to collect UV light bulbs atop a 500 ft bridge, survivor XP is also taken away every time you die, so it pays to be careful.  Another staple in the genre since Left 4 Dead came out is "special" zombies, so as you move along in the game you'll see exploding zombies "Bomber", spitting zombies "Toad", 9 ft tall super muscly zombies "Demolisher"  and super fast insta-kill zombies "Nightmares".
  Another defining part of the game is seen on the cover "Good Night, Good Luck", when the sun goes down zombies become more hostile, Nightmares come out and will chase you all around Harran.  Later in the game you acquire weapons strong enough to kill them in two or three hits but the catch is that more zombies you kill at night, the more attention you attract gives you a wanted level that can be shook at safehouses.
Two players taking on a demolisher
Virals don't like UV light, you have a UV flashlight that can be used for a short duration of time or use flares found off airdrops. While it is the most dangerous at night planes drop the most valuable airdrops at night which really doesn't make any sense whatsoever since Cranes the only person in Harran who doesn't spend the night in a corner sucking his thumb and crying.  As I just mentioned, safehouses are very important to gameplay, as you can access your storage there, sleep through the night, and sometimes buy or sell things to the local trader.  There are a multitude of safehouses scattered across Harran both in the Slums and Old Town (the two districts you visit) that can be activated clearing out the undead, securing all entrances and turning on the power.  There is also a multitude of side quests to take on as well as random encounters like fighting bandits to save a survivor.  Theres also this guy named "Rais"(actually Kadir Suleiman) who has really brutal lackeys that go around terrorizing everyone including you and your buds, so take them out because you have a gun and they don't.  Rock, paper, shotgun as they say. Theres also a four player co-op feature added in, so if you want to run around kicking zombies off cliffs with your friends, no problem. The one recurring thing that bothered me is the realism put into this game, I mean in the sense of human anatomy.  If you can chop a guy in half and watch as his guts gush out while hes screaming bloody murder without grimacing then you have removed yourself from humanity. Overall Dying Light's gameplay is what carries it above and beyond while the story does its job.  Not to say it was bad, there were people with feelings and a protagonist that had some personality instead of being bland and stone faced like every other apocalypse protagonist. I've played it for about seventy hours now, so I like it and hope to see this kind of quality in the future for other zombie games.  I hope you all have enjoyed this fast paced review and I will be back next week with more game.
This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.

One of the coolest trailer I've seen in a long time

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Witcher Review

     Hello everyone and happy Wednesday, hope your all doing great.  As CD Projekt Red marchs ever onward to completing the Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, which looks like it could be one of the best RPGs ever, I wonder back to older times when they were just beginning their grand adventure.  Though The Witcher released way back in 2007, I thought to pay tribute to the original, also the game trough at my feet is almost empty and since I'm not made of money and am unable to buy all the new releases coming out.  I also don't possess a two thousand dollar gaming PC, sorry for being such a square, so I can't play all my friend's games that they lend me which is why I don't review PC exclusive games, but today is the exception to that rule, so pull out that confetti cause its time to go to fantasy land.  The Witcher is an PC exclusive released in 2007 by CD Projekt Red based off the novels written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski that takes place in a mid evil land known made of several kingdoms.  Its kind of like Lord of the Rings with more swearing and racism.  The player follows the story of Geralt of Rivia, a witcher.  In the early days of man during their arrival in this dimension and event known as the Conjuncture of the Spheres put many monstrous creatures into the land.  To counter the brutality of the monsters humans created witchers, who were specially augmented from childhood to be stronger, faster and better than any warrior through vigorous training and later mutagens that made them superhuman.  This was done by a process known as the Trail of the Grasses which consisted of ingesting powerful herbs and modifying certain parts of the witcher's bodies, as a result of the trials witchers appear pale and have animal eyes.  They can also ingest hazardous potions that grant strength along with supernatural abilities and resistance to poisons, there also immune to all diseases.  The witchers also use Signs, these minor magical spells prove very useful to witchers (see picture).  As time moved on, humanity became stronger and no longer needed the witchers to protect them and they became shunned by all as mutants, and hated like the dwarves and elves, traveling the land as monster hunters for hire.  Like I said, lots of racism, you will kill alot of guys over racism.
 So the game opens with Geralt running through the woods in a hazy state with someone calling his name over and over again.  Geralt is found unconscious by his fellow witchers and taken to the witcher stronghold of Kaer Morhen.  There are very few witchers left in the world, even fewer in Kaer Morhen, where there was 30 witchers and 40 students at Kaer Morhen, there is now 4 witchers and one student after a large attack many years back.  After recovering, Geralt can remember nothing of his past until two days ago when he was rescued.  When talking to Triss, a sorceress at the castle armed bandits invade the castle along with two sorcerers accompanied by a giant insect like creature.  After fighting off the bandits, Geralt can chose whether to stop the theft of the witchers secrets or kill the insect.  Choice is a key gameplay mechanic throughout the series, each will lead to different outcomes and a overall different ending, I hear the Witcher 3 will have 36 endings.  BioWare also helped on this project making it no surprise that moral choice is present, anyone whos played Mass Effect will know what I'm talking about. So Geralt chooses his desired path, find out these bandits work for Salamandra, some not so nice guys that want the secrets of the witchers for their own purposes.  After the attack everyone sets off towards a different part of the continent while Geralt sets off for Temeria and so his journey begins.  The combat is pretty straight forward meaning you click on the thing you want to kill followed by a few more clicks executed at the right time which create a combo that deals more damage.  There are many types of weapons you will use, mainly the witchers steel sword that is used against humans and witchers silver sword thats used against monsters and wraiths.  Theres also a bunch of useless side weapons that you will never use and were taken out in the second game because of said uselessness. Geralt also uses signs which can be learned throughout the story (see picture for effects).
Geralt wandering the wilderness
The many plant types spread throughout the world can be made into potions used to enhance Geralts abilities, these vary from given night vision, recovering health faster, or dealing more damage.  One annoyance the player will constantly face is that apparently Geralt's amnesia extends so far that he forgets how swords work on monsters because he has to research a monster by reading about it before he can fulfill the contract on the target. This can be annoying because you have to buy the books to research the creature and they can cost up to 400 orens, and for that sum I would expect the game to give me the magical sword of damnation that turns people into radishes or something thats actually useful.  Imagine what an awkward conversation that would be for an expert monster slayer for a How to book on monster slaying.  If you chop anythings head off, it dies.  Except a Hydra, but were not in Greece, are we?  Did I mention that Geralt is also perhaps the most famous witcher ever, known for his outstanding skills and knowledge, now reduced to a sap that will give away all his money for a book.  Anyways, moving on.  The player can rotate between fighting stances to suit the enemy type Geralt is fighting, be it fast, strong or group oriented (also another stupid feature taken out in the sequel).  As Geralt progresses through the game his level will increase, allowing you to upgrade his skills trees that his effect strength which determines his sword skills, his Magic skills that determine his effectiveness with Signs, and his general skills that effect his health and resistance to stuff.  The game is played out in five chapters along with the prologue and epilogue, they each have their different locations and unique quests to go with them.  Also alot of fetch quests and with it comes even more walking, but thus is the medevil RPG way.  There is also a crafting system that allows Geralt to give certain items to a blacksmith and ask them to craft a sword or new set of armor which can make a big difference when fighting enemies. Overall The Witcher is a fun game that can take some warming up to, although one can really appreciate the features of the second game once the first has been beaten and if your playing both on PC your save file from the first game can be transferred over into the second.  I'll probably review that game within the next couple months.  I hope you have enjoyed this review and I will be back next week with more games.  This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Just Cause 2 Review

     Hello everyone and happy Wednesday, hope your all doing great.  Today I'm reviewing a game that was a blast to play, even if my shitty PC couldn't run straight with all the explosions happening everywhere.  Also since the sequel is being released in a couple of months and looks even more over the top than its predecessors, it only makes sense to review Just Cause 2 before the third one is released.  (Also I reviewed the multiplayer mod way back when and its been bugging me since)  Developed by Avalanche Studios, this massive open world  third-person shooter game is set on the fictional island of Panau centered around CIA operative Rico Rodriquez who is sent in to overthrow the Dictator Pandak Panay.  Its basically North Korea if North Korea was a island, even has a 4 ft tall leader with a high voice, oh, except they have working nukes. Just Cause 2 is one of those rare gems that fulfills the over arching desire one has when playing video games: to destroy everything.  The main gameplay mechanic centers around destroying enough stuff to fill up your Chaos meter to unlock another mission.  The world of Panau is 400 squared miles large, making it really annoying to get around in, thankfully your well equipped. Rico is equipped with many tools to help him fight communism like his grappling hook that can latch onto anything from people to buildings to anything, but most importantly it propels him forward when it latches on to something.  A quick way to get around is to propel yourself forward with the grappling hook and then in mid air activating the parachute, throwing the player into the air which they can then continue to pull themselves along with the grappling hook.  Rico most powerful ability is the power to defy physics, for example he doesn't need to use his parachute when falling from terminal velocity, he only needs to grapple the ground to increase the speed in which he would become hamburger with an accent and he turns out fine. He also has the ability to surf of a jet while its hitting top speed and then hoping off five feet off the ground.  His grappling hook can also detach and work as a sturdy cable, say, attaching a cable to helicopter and the ground is pretty effective, also fun to watch. Even though he might as well not need them since there are conveniently placed explosives all over the place, Rico can carry four weapons; two sidearms and two multi-handed weapons from rifles to rocket launchers.  He can also fire twelve gauge slugs from sawed off shotguns with one hand, in both hands at the same time, VIDEO GAMES!!!
Rico blowing stuff up while car surfing
 Just Cause 2 also comes off as a very silly game, which makes it weird when it tries to be serious about the rebels cause when moments ago you were flying a harrier jet into a shrine of the Great Leader.  Did I mention the final boss battle is fighting the dictator on active nukes mid air as their headed off to destroy most of the world, this game knows how to fuck around when it wants to.  There are a few design flaws they didn't seem to consider and not talking about the glitches but those are expected to come with an open world game the size of Asia, I'm talking about the delivery system.  Throughout the story, Rico can call his friendly Texan mentor to drop him upgraded weapons or vehicles, however for every item wanted you must get it individually instead of scanning all your groceries and then checking out, its a painful process.  The game also has multiple factions that you can help throughout the course of the game like the Roaches, an organized crime syndicate, the Reapers, a bunch of whiny socialist rebels, and the Ular boys, an ultra-nationalist group who don't like anyone but their own country men.  You are basically the back bone of all these groups, as they seem to have that ongoing awareness to use the protagonist to solve all their problems without getting off their lazy asses.  The overall summary of this game is that you can blow everything up, not sold?  Well, theres also a multiplayer mod so you can still blow up everything...with your friends. (heres a link to that review)  Hope you've enjoyed this explosive review and I will be back next week with more games.  This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off

Thursday, February 5, 2015

D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die Review

Cover Art
     Hello everyone and happy Wednesday, hope your all doing great.  Today I am dipping into the very shallow pool which is the point & click adventure genre.  Very popular during the 90s, the popularity of the genre has declined yet still has some gems that we all smile at to today such as the Monkey Island franchise.  So today I bring a game from that fading genre called D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die, an exclusive for the Xbox One made by Sweary.  Centering around protagonist David Young who gains special powers after taking a bullet to the head giving him the ability to see the events of a past event through objects related to said event he calls "mementos".  David worked for the police force as a very useful detective because of his gift up until his wive was mysteriously murdered and with her dying breath she said something about "D".
  So then, and stay with me here, David quits the police force and goes about investigating everyone with a name starting with "D".  For anyone in modern America whos seen a cop show, one would thing they'd need a little more to go on than that. At some point a scantly clad women who thinks shes a cat to the point of not speaking and hunting mice moves in with David.  It was at this point where I paused with sadness, put down the controller, and went outside...for a couple of days.  A week later after doing things with my life I was walking by my Xbox One and remembered I had a game to play so I could review it.  It was a rather dry year in 2014 and since I don't any games stockpiled, I'm kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel here.  Since I got the Xbox One for Christmas, I haven't had it for long so I've been playing the only game I have for it which is the next-gen version of Grand Theft Auto V (even though I played through it three times), which I will probably review in the future once I muster up the strength to write that novel of a post.  So until The Witcher 3 comes out, I'm probably not going to be reviewing too many Xbox One games.
Action fight
Where was I...Oh right!...crazy half naked cat ladies.  I'm betting that that bullet took some basic senses with him, including the one to make him not sound mono toned about everything.    Anyway, constantly searching for a year or so following the incident, David is confronted by an old cop friend who is concerned for David on account of him investigating every person on Earth whose name starts with D and brings him some evidence to speed up this impossible investigation. Throughout the course of this game, the player interacts with a variety of objects but is constantly bogged down by a stamina feature.  [My following statement is not quoted from The Escapist "Yahtzee" in any way, I just share the same views on the matter, please don't sue me.]  Everything David does drains stamina, from opening doors to conversing with people.  Although, something that came off strange to me was the action sequences where David partakes in heated gunfights and a good deal of fist fighting yet walks away not even the slight bit winded.  To regain stamina David gulps down every food item in sight, his cat person roommate can also sell him food.
  The player is also graded on each thing in accordance to how its actually supposed to happen, so everything you do it wrong and leaves you wandering why not just watch a movie.  I got this game for free by the way.  The overall problem I had with this game was it was boring with an unimaginative narrative.  Sure, it had a good plot and some good ideas but is evened out by the generic bits when its not being fucking weird, once again; cat ladies.  But then again, perhaps I'll never understand the land which is modern Japan and you'd be right to say that.  Moving on, as I said earlier the point & click adventure genre is dying out, so it takes something special to stand out today.  I hold Telltale's The Walking Dead as such an example.  With a good setting, engaging characters and a story influenced by your decisions makes it a heart wrenching masterpiece.  While there are a few episodes to come in season 1, it may pick up the pace were episode 2 fell flat, but until then my opinion stands firm.  Hope you enjoyed this review and I will back next week with more games.  Until then, have fun.
This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How to Survive Review

     Hello everyone and happy Wednesday, been awhile.  Today I will taking a game from the ever growing shelf of the zombie genre, speaking of which, DYING LIGHT CAME OUT THIS WEEK, WOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!  Parkour zombie game, open world with cutting edge graphics and a bitching weapons crafting system, sadly since it came out today, I will not be reviewing it for another week or two.  So until then another zombie game off Steam thats fun for a quick run through.  How to Survive is a zombie game developed by 505 Games
set on a chain of islands, as it seems all indie zombie games that came out after Dead Island must follow this standard.  Anyways, you are an immune survivor that survived a storm and now must escape, also the plot of Dead Island.  What this game has that Dead Island doesn't is a poorly voiced Russian guy named Kovac who guides you through parts of the game, teaches you how to survive, and adds some humor to a game with the most erie soundtrack ever.  Meaning they took a violin and smashed it into a organ over and over again.  After you gather your wits and some food, you set off on an adventure of untold propor....., just got beaten to death by twenty zombies.  Okay then lets try again, game puts you back to the intro sequence after hours of exploration and progress, (flip table).  The first problem one will face is poor controls, and when fighting a horde of zombies with a stick, its nice to have an idea whats going on.  Second problem, crappy save system that only allows saves at safe zones and after missions are completed.  I'm the kind of gamer who likes to explore before the game starts to find some gear so I don't get whacked, something that seems to be necessary in recent releases that require you to have good gear to survive the next level, but without telling you need it.  However once you progress a little into the game it becomes quiet enjoyable.  The game utilizes a crafting-survival system that seems to go hand in hand with zombie games these days.  You can mash a stick and a rock together to get a mace or some mechanical parts, an air compressor with a barrel to get a homemade air gun.  Hunger and thirst are also thrown into the mix, you have to kill animals and cook them or scavenge for berries.  Water has to be taken from a well and can be put in bottles to save for later, the player must also sleep when tired to retain stamina and mental health. The combat it decent enough with silly animations that kill enemies in two to three hits depending on the weapon.
Well, shit
  With each new island comes new forms of zombies, some stronger, others are brought back to life from lightning for some reason.  The problem is new zombies equal new glitches with some reanimating after death, not because their zombies, just randomly coming back to life after they've been killed.  Armor can also be made to increase protection to health, and with the use of armor and weapons, stamina is increased along with max health.  Also, your character can be added to the ever growing list of silent protagonists that telepathically communicate with NPCs who speak to you like you speak back leading to some awkward situations.  Co-op is also an included feature that allows you to tackle challenges outside of story mode with friends. Overall I'd call How to Survive pretty good for an independent studio that was worth three bucks and a few hours of my time.  Hope you all enjoyed and I will back next week with more reviews.  This has been Jacob Arnold, signing off.