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.