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