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  1. My only annoyance... The game uses a health system that allows you to eat food to gain health back... The only problem with this is how unrealistic this is. You find cake in garbage cans, and cotton candy sitting on a bench and you eat it all... It even allows you to continue to eat even when your health is full... "Vapors" or special attacks are powered by, oddly enough, heart attack-inducing BOTTLES OF SALTS. http://forums.xisto.com/no_longer_exists/ Besides this game mechanic, haha, everything else is excellent
  2. It all started with Irrational Games' System Shock... Needless to say, we've come a long way since: I didn't get into this series until System Shock 2 circa 2001, but I've been a fan ever since. Bioshock, System Shock 2's spiritual successor, was awesome, but sadly felt very "console-ized." While the graphics were stunning, the game suffered from terrible bugs due to the fact that the PC version was a port of the Console version, and that they added a very strict activation system that allowed you, the buyer, to only install it on, I believe it was 3 different systems. I think a later patch fixed that, but it still pisses me off they did it in the first place. Bioshock then had a sequel, which I played for about an hour before I got bored and quit. When Bioshock Infinite was announced, I had renewed hope that the game would again be awesome, and thankfully, I was right. Bioshock Infinite opens very similar to the first Bioshock... Everything is done completely in first person mode, which is awesome as it gives you the feeling like you ARE the character, Booker DeWitt. You start out on a rowboat with 2 other people. They have a very odd discussion that makes sense after you play the game, but basically they drop you off at a lighthouse in the middle of the ocean. A disturbing note is on the door "Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt, this is your last chance!" As Booker, it is your job to find a girl named Elizabeth and bring her back to New York, telling her anything she wants to hear as long as you bring her back. The opening of the game does not really clarify what this "debt" is, but in several dream-like sequences, it is inferred that you have a gambling debt, as there are many horse racing tickets on your desk. After a very dark and gray opening sequence, you are transported to the wonderful land of Columbia, a city that floats in the sky. You work your way through this Heaven-like paradise for awhile, which acts as a very natural tutorial, as everyone is very nice to you and you have nothing to worry about, but there is a constant sense of wrongness about the place. I won't spoil anything, but after awhile you quickly discover Columbia's secrets, and you are then in trouble as you keep forcing your way through to find Elizabeth. Again, I really don't want to spoil it, but I must say, Elizabeth is probably one of the most memorable and life-filled video game characters I've "met" since Alyx Vance in the Half Life series. Elizabeth becomes your companion, and she is NOT annoying like most escort missions in other games. She stays the hell out of the way during firefights, and is actually helpful. As you continue your journey with her, you can't help but feel for her innocence and its loss as she sees you gun down hundreds of assailants... I truly feel remose the fact that eventually she starts helping you as you defend yourself. Elizabeth is special. She has the ability to create portals into other, parallel universes similar to what you would see on an episode of Fringe. She will help you by pulling in objects from other universes such as med-kits, guns, and turrets. Combined with your ability to use what are called "Vapors" which are basically just Plasmids (as seen in Bioshock), and your guns, you and Elizabeth are a force to be reckoned with. The story takes you on a journey of self-discovery and wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey... stuff. The plot can be confusing at times, because of the parallel universes, half the time I had no idea where or when the hell we were... The game takes VERY creepy turns and is a roller coaster of the mind. By the time you are done, you may be shaking your head in confusion, but after reading more in forums, you may learn more about what the whole thing was about. Music, sound effects, gameplay, graphics. Everything and all were top notch. Never had any crashes and the game didn't really feel like a "consolized" game. The characters are memorable, and there's never a moment that doesn't fully emmerse you into this universe... and many others Get this, and play it.
  3. *Added some censorship to the Far Cry 3 screenshot so I could get that back in there.
  4. Crysis 3 marks the end to a 7 year old trilogy. Crytek has always been bleeding edge in terms of graphics and is probably the reason why nVidia and ATI are still in business. Sadly, with consoles being so popular, the graphics are nowhere near as good as they could be due to game developers having to make their games reverse compatible with hardware from 2006 Crysis 3 pushes the envelope with graphics and is the best looking in the series, but it is kind of sad that the game from 2007, Crysis, set on its highest graphics settings still competes with Crysis 3 on its highest settings. In terms of gameplay, I was sad. Crysis 2 was very "consolized" for a generation of Call of Duty gamers and Crysis 3 is identical. Same UI and gameplay mechanics. Trying to use the quick suit function change using Mouse Button 3 is annoying because it was built for a console analog stick... So when I press Middle Mouse Button, and try to move the cursor over to Cloak, there is a delay or it flat out doesn't move the cursor, leaving me vulnerable.... In the original Made-For-PC Crysis, this was smooth, and I could push my mouse in the direction of which function I wanted and it went there instantly. This allowed me to pull off those kick *bottom* moves they always show the main character doing in the game trailers... The story itself is very cliche and doesn't feel epic at all till near the end. Then they ramp up the scope of how epic it is and then the game is over. For example... In Crysis 1, you started by jumping out of an airplane, which demonstrated the "OOOOOH I CAN SEE THE WHOLE ISLAND" aspect of the graphics, which was HUGE back then. Then your entire squad started getting murdered one by one and you had no idea what was going on. In Crysis 2, you started in a damaged submarine and you watched your entire squad get gunned down in front of your face. Then you had the "OOOOH I FEEL LIKE I AM REALLY IN NEW YORK CITY OMG THAT BUILDING JUST BLEW UP!!!" Crysis 3 starts off on an empty boat. In the rain. There is no exploration. If I backtrack and jump off the other side of the boat, there is a big invisible wall stopping me from exploring. From the very start, you are on a linear path through the game, totally eliminating the exploration aspect that made the series famous. They also completely ruin immersion by constantly having your character movement keys locked during in-game cutscenes.... In the first Crysis, if something huge was happening, it would have a small text pop up saying "To view, hit Enter" and your camera would zoom in on whatever it was. You could still move and ignore whatever it was, though... This was great because it never ruined immersion with your character and you felt like YOU were the main character. In Crysis 3, they are constantly forcing you to sit through cutscenes (which are THANKFULLY skippable with the Enter key) as your character does a bunch of stuff, like walking through a door. There are a couple instances of QTE (quick time events) that force you to press Spacebar multiple times, but they are not frustrating like other QTE's are that force you to mash multiple buttons in squence like Dance Dance Revolution.... I have no problem with pressing space bar multple times to break free, this is acceptable and good use of QTE's. One of my biggest problems is that the A.I. has super vision. I can be out of sight behind a car, and if I uncloak for more than a second, your threat detector jumps up half way, and you hear a guard say "What was that?!" This soon leads to a firefight with no energy to protect myself, which usually leads to death and reloading a checkpoint. The unrealistic A.I. ruins it for me. I can't pull off any stealth kills because any nearby guards will instantly know where I am and start lobbing grenades in my general direction, even if I killed a guy with a silent bow and arrow and was nowhere to be seen. Tall grass no longer hides you like it had since Far Cry (2004). There is no real way to play stealth-fully here. The characters you interact with as you play are annoying. From the very beginning of the story, they are constantly bashing you because you are apparently not all human due to the suit you are wearing. They don't trust you and constantly remind you of that, even though you do NOTHING but help them and show there is no reason not to trust you. From the beginning, you are constantly asking them and warning them about the "Alpha Ceph." They blow you off and tell you that you are crazy, up until, TA-DA, the Alpha Ceph shows up. Then they are all over themselves begging you for your help. By then, I wouldn't give em a drop of piss because I was so sick of their sarcasm. By the last 3/4 of the game, they finally started becoming more likeable, but by then it was too late. One of the other game mechanics is "Hacking" Hacking is basically watching the dot bounce up and down until it gets into the specified area and you press Enter. If you miss it, you lose energy till you have to start over... This is very basic and sort of a pain in the *bottom*. I feel like they could have done better, but as-is, it's not too horrible. It more breaks the flow of combat, but it helps if you want to hack a turret to shoot at enemies while you sneak around. I have not tried multiplayer yet, as I'm already done with this game and not in the mood anymore. Overall, definitely not worth $60. Crysis took me forever to beat due to the open world exploration, long plot, and good gameplay and replayability. Crysis 2 took me 12 hours to beat and I never picked it up again. Crysis 3 took me about 6 hours to beat, including all the reloading I had to do from dying from the A.I super vision. Overall, on an easy setting, you could beat this game in 3-4 hours and not miss anything. By the time the price comes down on this, you should be able to get a decent graphics card to handle it, so do yourself a favor and wait a year or two so you can get the most bang for your buck on the graphics. Get http://forums.xisto.com/topic/51300-far-cry-3-review/ '>Far Cry 3 instead.
  5. Just did a more in-depth review of Assassin's Creed 2 since it was on my mind http://forums.xisto.com/topic/51336-assassins-creed-2-review/ '>http://forums.xisto.com/topic/51336-assassins-creed-2-review/
  6. I know it's a long time coming reviewing a game that came out in 2009, but I had bought it on a Steam sale last year, and just recently managed to install it and get around to beating it. My reluctance to play Assassin's Creed 2 was directly due to its predecessor, Assassin's Creed. I had purchased the "Director's Cut" edition for the PC years ago when it was released, and the repetitive nature of the game left a bad taste in my mouth. So when I finally decided to play the game I'd purchased, I only did so because I was bored and waiting for Far Cry 3 to be released. Assassin's Creed ended abruptly and was meant to be a cliff hanger. While there was a sort of resolution to part of the plot, the overall exploits of Desmond (the main character of the first game) were left with nothing but questions.... I remember Crysis did the same thing, not "finishing" the plot with the expectation of having future games that would continue where the last one left off... The fact that developers do this pisses me off for 2 reasons. Firstly, they are almost taking it for granted that their game will be successful enough that they will sell enough copies of the game and be rich enough to even make any sequels.... This arrogance just rubs me the wrong way because even if the game is amazing, just the arrogance of such a move is kind of douchy. If the game IS successful... then I, as a player, have to usually sit and wait around a year or two for the next game in the series to pick up where I left off. The second alternative is that the game completely bombs, and we players never GET a sequel, so the game just sort of dies. A third possible alternative is what happened with Crysis... The game ended with you staring at an island where something HUGE happened and you expect to go back to the island and save a friend.... Crysis 2 completely ELIMINATES your player, and you start off as someone completely new, and they don't really explain the gap between the two games... Sort of a spit in the face and makes you feel like the developers had no idea how to connect the two games, so they said screw it. Thankfully, Assassin's Creed 2 picks up literally right where the last one left off. They did make some character texture changes, so it is a bit odd seeing the "recap" video at the beginning that sums up the events from the previous game and seeing the same characters but look slightly different... Anyway, the game looks significantly better than its predecessor. The textures and overall look and feel is cleaner the scope of the level design is still massive as you can clearly see the entire city when climbing to the peaks where you can survey the land. For a console port, the game is very well optimized. I don't recall any major crashes or slowdowns. I could max out the graphics quality and did not see any slow down in frame rate. The audio quality is quite good, and the voice acting is done very well. Your character's ancestor, Altair, in the first game had an American accent, which did not make any sense. This game takes place in Renaissance-era Italy, and they actually have realistic accents, and even slip into speaking Italian at points, but you figure out what they are saying through context. The characters are very well fleshed out, and you feel close to them. The overall plot is interesting and it compels you as you play through it. Sadly, though, there are points that drag on. Gameplay is a mixed bag... While most of the main plot missions vary to a degree where redundancy is minimal, you are basically doing the same things over and over again... The same can be said for the first Assassin's Creed... You are either running to beat a clock, trying to sneak in and assassinate someone, or you are solving jumping / platformer puzzles. Gameplay pissed me off, as a PC user, when it came to the platform jumping puzzles... For some reason, when involved in a side-quest to steal treasure, or any level that made you jump around, at random, the game will change your camera perspective... One second, you will be using your mouse to turn by moving it left to right... Simple 3rd person controls, yes? Then, while you are trying to make it to the next jump, the camera will abruptly change to a fixed perspective, where your mouse no longer controls which direction your character is looking, but rather it just swivels the camera back and forth, inducing sea sickness.... Meanwhile, as you are trying to jump to the next platform thinking your mouse is controlling your direction, you jump off in the completely wrong direction and either fall to your death, or have to restart that part of the level by having to re-climb up to get back to where you were... The game took me 34 hours to complete, and I would wager that literally HALF of that time was due to me having to reload checkpoints due to dying or failing a jump. This game is frustrating.... Towards the end I found myself trying to just plow through the main quest as fast as possible because I just wanted to find out what happens in the plot, because I could care less anymore about finding hidden treasure or running around collecting feathers and other crap... This leads me to my other gripe, this game has waaaay too many things that can distract you unnecessarily. You help your character's sister at the beginning of the game collect hawk feathers for her... and for the rest of the game, there are 100 hawk feathers just floating in space in hard to reach places. As you collect them, you get money... I know, right? Why wouldn't I just shoot down a hawk and pluck the damned thing? Also, there are towers scattered throughout the game that, if you climb to their peaks, will unlock the map, showing you a section at a time. There are 73 of these. I know this well because I did them all... Worst waste of time... After repeating yourself 73 times, what do you get???? NOTHING. All you've done is shown the full map, but you get no reward... No achievement. No acknowledgement. Nothing. At least in Fary Cry 3, which has a similar game mechanic, you unlock guns by doing this. In the end, I became an art collector... As you play through the game, there are vendors that sell paintings... These you can buy and they appear in a Villa in the game so you can observe them and learn about what they are with a little description. They are mostly religious early Christian paintings, but there are a few, tasteful nudes to keep you occupied Overall, the game has a decent plot, but again, they left it as a cliffhanger, expecting you to buy the other games. I own the next one, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, which picks up directly where the last one left off, but honestly, I am so burned out from this damned repetition, I am probably just going to watch the cutscenes on YouTube. Even on a cheap holiday bundle sale on Steam, I would only recommend this game if you have time to burn.
  7. The Far Cry franchise has been weird... I bought the first Far Cry back in 2004 and it was on 6 CDs. The game barely ran on my computer because it was a PC exclusive at the time... back then they made PC games first, and then if it did well, it might get a port over to a console... Good times. Far Cry was revolutionary because they developed it beyond the current PC hardware capabilities... So you couldn't even see "Ultra" settings for at least 6 months to a year until after they released it as you upgraded your PC. Crysis, Far Cry's "spiritual successor" did the same thing, and crippled PCs' hardware, which is nice, because now when I go back and play it, even though it's an older game, it still looks great. Far Cry 2 was released and I immediately bought it based on YouTube videos and E3 demos. They promised much but sadly only delivered on some. Far Cry 2 had nothing to do with Far Cry 1. Far Cry 2 was basically felt like a video game retelling of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. It's open world was rich, and a nice change of pace. I don't think there are many other games that take place in the plains of Africa, but sadly they made the game world so huge that getting from place to place eventually became tedius and long... Not to mention that every enemy in the game was out for your blood for no reason, and it was impossible to outrun them. Far Cry 3 solves a lot of Far Cry 2's problems. Far Cry 3 has a large, open world but smaller than Far Cry 2's, but is full of enough stuff where it is a nice even balance of open world but not devoid of anything interesting to explore. Far Cry 3 returns to the series' roots by taking place on an island, as did the original. The story is that you are Jason Brody, a regular guy who is partying with your friends across multiple locations searching for fun and excitement. The game starts with you parachuting with your friends and eventually you are captured and taken for ransom. Without spoiling too much, the basic plot of the game involves your exploits as you run around the island causing havok, and trying to save your friends from slavers. You will meet some very interesting characters along the way. Sadly, a lot of these very interesting characters don't get a lot of screen time so you don't get quite as much character development as you would like, but the characters themselves are memorable, well acted, and overall just very well done. The graphics are very good for a modern day game. Sadly, you can see how Consoles have taken the forefront in gaming development, because we now see that games aren't as optimized as they could be. At Ultra settings, Far Cry 3 looks amazing, but sadly sufferes random framerate sputtering. I enountered a bug where every few minutes, the game would simply go to a blank screen while the audio was stuck, and I had to CTRL ALT DEL to kill it, but I think they've patched it since then, as I haven't had that trouble much after my first few days. Audio is very well done, but I decided to turn off the ambient music. I found it was too loud and overshadowed some of the dialog... Also it ruined the ambience. Voice acting is top notch and everyone did an amazing job. Gameplay/gunplay is really well done, and the guns "feel" very solid. Flamethrowers bring fire, which if you played Far Cry 2 was pivital. Fire can push your enemies back or in a direction that gives you an advantage... You can also catch on fire, so care is needed you don't get caught in a burning building. Sadly, you can set a building on fire, and when it goes out, nothing really looks that different. That is sadly something I figured they would have improved on, but with a large world like Far Cry 3's I'm sure they don't have the resources to make everything destructible. Hunting is also critical... You can hunt anything from dogs to goats to lepards to tigers and bears... Skinning these animals yields materials that you can use to craft larger backpacks to carry more loot, as well as larger packs for ammo, etc. Very helpful and gives you motivation to actually go out and seek a shark in the water and go hand-to-hand with nothing but a knife... so you can make yourself a nice large wallet to hold more money. I spent 20 hours to beat the game, and it felt just right. The plot pace was done very well, and it never really dragged on for me. I had just finished Assassin's Creed 2, which felt like it took FOREVER. I did noticed some very interesting similarites between those two games. The open world areas can only been seen on the map by climbing "mini-games" where you climb towers and survey the surrounding areas... Far Cry 3 was a lot better because it didn't have NEARLY as many of these towers as Assassin's Creed has... I think it was only 18 towers as compared to Assassin Creed's 73... And with Far Cry 3, doing this unlocks guns, whereas in Assassin's Creed, you don't unlock anything for doing it, so there is little reward other than unlocking the map area. There are lots of fun places to explore, and things to collect if you are into that, but just playing through on the main quest, and hunting was enough for me... I basically unlocked most of the skills but never felt overpowered, and also, I never felt like the game was overwealmingly challenging... like Assassin's Creed where I kept having to replay from a checkpoint 100+++ times due to a stupid misstep causing me to fall to my death over and over again... Once you beat the main story, you have the option of going through and exploring and unlocking things, which is nice. The game also has Co-Op (which is more like Left 4 Dead and NOT playing through the solo campaign with a buddy, so I've heard) and Multiplayer, though I haven't tried either of those yet. Overall, I highly recommend this game. They've ironed out a lot of problems that older games had, though some more patches and optimizations would definitely help.
  8. Arma II... I think the first time I picked that game up was back in 2010 when I was searching for a realistic combat simulator. The controls were sluggish and complicated, and I would get sniped by bad guys that I couldn't see... It was very frustrating so I sold it. A year later, I tried it again because Steam had a summer sale going on, and I got Arma II and its expansion for super cheap. After I figured out the controls, I got into multiplayer gaming and had some fun for awhile, but then that got old, so the game sat and collected virtual dust... UNTIL.... The DayZ (read Day Zed if you are European) is a mod for Arma II Combined Operations (Arma II and its expansion). You need both to use the mod. DayZ is a mod that strips the game down and gives you zombies. Left 4 Dead is fun for awhile, but its linearity slowly makes gameplay too predictable after multiple playthroughs... DayZ on the other hand puts you in the middle of the Russian wilderness with nothing but a couple of cans of food, a pistol with 2 clips, and a bottle of water.... And zombies. Since the mod uses a game that was hyper-realistic to begin with, you need to maintain your levels of hunger, thirst, and mend any wounds you receive either through zombie bites, falling from high places, or most likely: other players. Yes, this game not only gives you zombies, but other players are just as destitute as you are, and will kill you without even a thought just so they can loot your bloody corpse for a box of matches so they can cook food. DayZ is an entirely new gaming experience, since the only rule is that of survival. That's it. No objectives, no waypoints... You start on a beach and you are free to explore, or just sit on your *bottom* while your food rations slowly deplete. You can find food, water, and guns in the cities, but cities are crawling with zombies and other players. You can try teaming up with other people, but most likely, they will shoot you in the back when you least expect it. It used to be that if you murded someone, your player's appearance would change to the "Bandit" skin... which would tip other players off that you had killed another player, and they would know you're a bastard. Now, though, with recent updates, they disabled that for realism since "people aren't going to change their clothes and stand out just because they killed someone." So now, everyone looks the same (more or less) so there are no real reprocussions to murder... unless they kill you first, or someone else sees you do it. Survival being your main objective is motivated by the fact that your player character is persistant, since it is syncronized on every server you go on... So if you log off, and join the next day, your character will be hungry and thirsty as the server keeps track the last time you ate or drank anything. So you have to be diligent with playing every day to keep your character alive... As you play and gather supplies, you slowly have more to lose, meaning you will be less likely to take risks, but you always have to combat hunger and thirst... Forcing you back to the zombie-infested cities for supplies. You can hunt for food, but game is incredibly rare. You'll be lucky to spot a goat in 4 hours of gameplay, which provides about 3 meals.... And you can't just kill a goat and eat it. You first need to find a hunting knife so you can gut it... Then you need fire wood to cook it, so you need an axe to chop wood... And finally, you need matches to light a fire to cook the meat.... only THEN can you eat. Your health is tracked through a "blood" meter. You start out at 12,000, but that can go very quickly, as if you sustain an injury that causes you to bleed out, then you will continue to bleed unless you bandage it up. As your blood meter depletes, the screen slowly turns to black and white, and if it gets too low, then you will start to black out, which is really inconvenient when you are being chased by an entire town worth of zombies. Beyond gameplay, the DayZ mod makes you consider how real people will act in the event of an actual catastrophe that forces people into a fight or flight mode. You would think that with the threat of the undead, players would band together to find supplies or form clans to find car parts to rebuild some of the broken down vehicles in the game. And there are some factions that exist that play together on some servers, but mostly if you are not a member of any faction just trying to surive, you're as good as dead unless you are prepared to defend yourself against the undead, and the not-dead. If you are truly into Role Playing, this mod gives you an excellent opportunity to put yourself into true moral predicaments. I can recall first starting out, I didn't want to kill any living player just because I felt that it would hang on my character's concious. No less than half an hour into my first playthrough, I hear gunfire off in the distance. Someone was shooting at me. I managed to go prone and crawl forward until I could see the shooter. I was loosing blood but I didn't have time to bandage so I got up and started shooting back before I passed out from blood loss. With only 800 points of health left, I managed a head shot and took the guy down. I truly felt terrible, as I was trying to type in the main chat window that I was a friendly, but he wouldn't have any of it. I looted the corpse and managed to get my health back up to about 1,400 by eating all of the food I had when I got shot in the back of the head by ANOTHER player that must have been watching the whole time. Truly survival of the fittest. At that point, I was so close to death that it didn't matter so much, though I was sad that I lost all of the loot that I had aquired up to that point. Also, being a realistic simulator, you don't get a map. There are maps in-game, but they are incredibly rare. If you look online, maps are available, but the only way you can learn to navigate and find where you are is to follow signs that you would actually use in real life, such as the location of the sun based on what time it is (the game follows a full 24 hours day/night cycle) and you can also find north using the game's stars, but that's incredibly rare, as night is pitch black. Ah, night. Night turns the game into hell. If you are fortunate to be home all day for summer vacation, then it really doesn't matter, but if you work all day and come home to play, you'll find that most servers in your time zone will follow the same time, so you will be playing from dusk to night. The only way you can see is to light a flare or light a fire, which are both extremely hazardous, as they broadcast your location to both zombies and other players. Best to avoid DayZ at night, unless you want to freak the hell out while being chased in the moonlight. Oh yes, these zombies stumble around when not alerted, but if you get their attention by making too much noise or if they see you, they f***ing SPRINT. And you can try outrunning them, but odds are, you'll just attract the rest of the hoard. If you find a barn or a building, they revert back to their stumbling state and walk slowly towards you, but if that building only has the one entrance, you'll quickly find yourself trapped with very little ammunition, wishing you could just shoot yourself and end it quickly... When zombies finally corner you, they hit, and bite... and keep hitting you even after your bones break and you try crawling away... but they just keep hitting you as the world goes black and white, until .... you die. There's not a lot of chance of surviving once you break your leg unless you have just enough ammo to fire wildly into the hoard until you get enough time to shoot yourself up with morphine and walk it off. There is so much more I can go on about, but this is overly done as it is. Go get Arma II while it's on sale, and get this mod. I recommend the Steam Version. https://store.bistudio.com/ DayZ mod can be downloaded here: http://forums.xisto.com/no_longer_exists/ And may God have mercy on your soul.
  9. It's been a long time since 2007, when Mass Effect was first released on the PC. Mass Effect re-invented the role playing game genre, and added a true sense of story telling, and character development. You really have to give Bioware credit, they sure know how to tell a story. In preparation for the upcoming third game in the Mass Effect trilogy, I've been re-playing Mass Effect 1 and 2 from start to finish so that I have a fresh understanding of the plot for when the new game is released in March (3/6/12). With the last two games fresh in my mind, I thought it would be prudent to write up a quick review for anyone who has not yet gotten into the series... I know it's not probable, but not impossible. In Mass Effect, you play as Commander Shepard. You have the option of spelling out a first name, but it really isn't relevant, because "Shepard" is what everyone is going to call you. And you will learn to be Shepard, and Shepard will become a part of you. You can choose your gender at the start, which means that right off the start, you're going to end up playing Mass Effect at least twice... Through intuitive and simple controls, you will seamlessly navigate through conversations with other people. How you handle those conversations will determine whether you are a bad-*bottom* renegade, or a peaceful paragon. Which, in combination with your gender, you're looking at playing Mass Effect now 4 times... Once good once bad as male, and once good and once bad as female. Now obviously you don't HAVE to play the game 4 times, but you will have a slightly different game experience each way that you play.... Oh wait, I forgot that you also have multiple combat classes to choose from, whether you are going to be a tech/sniper, a close quarters engineer, or a telepathic biotic, etc... Now you are looking at even MORE replay potential. For my latest playthroughs, I am sticking to a male infiltrator/sniper/paragon. It's my standard character and it's what I am good at.... Oh and just one more thing.... Once you finish the game, there is a New Game+ mode, essentially giving you the ability to play through AGAIN, keeping all of your skills and stuff from the last playthrough... I personally found that in completing the game and finding all the sub-quests and areas through my first playthrough, this wasn't necessary and I was ready just to move on to Mass Effect 2... Mass Effect 2... Now that is another matter entirely. Just when you get comfortable with Mass Effect 1, you then have the option of exporting your ME1 savegame into Mass Effect 2, which will remember all of your choices from the first game... So if someone on your crew died in the first game, they are still going to be dead in the second. This is unprecidented, and I can't think of any other video game series that has successfully done something like this to such detail. With Mass Effect 3 coming out, you will be able to continue your story by uploading your ME2 savegame, and thus it will remember all of THOSE choices as well... Mass Effect 2 has an entirely new crew, which in other video games typically meant that half of them would be shallow and meaningless, but Bioware makes each crew member that you pick up memorable and deep in each their own separate way. You don't have to like them all, but they all have realistic back-stories, and you can't help but sympathizing with some of them. I love video games that actually make you CARE about a character NPC that you are working with... Half Life 2 did a great job at that with Alyx Vance. The combat for both ME1 and ME2 is really intuitive and works well... The two games are slightly different with keyboard mapping, but overall both systems are well implemented once you get used to it. The look and feel of ME1 is generally very ...blue. While ME2 is very ...red. The art team at Bioware definitely have deep themes they are going for... Will be interesting to see what template they go with in ME3... The music in ME1 is more memorable to me, just because it sounds a LOT like the music from System Shock 2 (which I loved as well). ME2's music is much more intense, but not quite as memorable. Graphics for both games are top notch. The characters' skins/textures are highly detailed, so when the camera zooms in on a face, you can see every pore. The games themselves are surprisingly non-buggy. I don't think in the countless of hours of playtime I've ever had my computer crash while playing ME or ME2. Let's hope they keep up with that quality standard when ME3 is released... I am TRULY hoping that it is not dumbed down for the xbox360, just because that console is as old or older than the first ME game in the series... Just wouldn't do the game justice to dumb it down like that. Overall, I highly recommend these two games, and I will definitely be purchasing Mass Effect 3 when it comes out, just so I can finally see the exciting conclusion to this massive story arc.
  10. Oh joy, oh rapture! After years and years, we finally get to play the latest installment of the Deus Ex series. I have been a fan of Deus Ex for almost a decade now, and after playing the latest one for over 65 hours, I can honestly say that this is a game I highly recommend. Now I am going to go into why this is so, but I want to get the negative comments out of the way first: After playing Alpha Protocol, I had high expectations for Deus Ex. Alpha Protocol had a dialog structure that actually made a difference to your gameplay. In Deus Ex: HR, the choices you make in dialog are not as drastic as they are in AP, which is disappointing. In fact, no matter how you play the game, whether you are a pacifist and sneak your way through the game without killing anyone, or if you are a homicidal maniac killing anything that moves, the endings are all the same. There are a total of 4 endings, and it comes down to literally pushing a button to determine which ending you get. This was highly disappointing, as I have been used to playing games like AP and Mass Effect where the actions you take through the game actually have an impact on the ending. Now that that little rant is out of the way, I want to go over each aspect of the game: Graphics: Graphics are streamlined as you would expect from a game that was also released on consoles... The game has a yellow tint to it, that you can say is due to the sunglasses that the protagonist wears, which enhances the contrast, but it does get a little old. Textures are actually quite bad for a modern game. I've seen signs on bulletin boards in games from 2005 that are as clear as day, but other than NPC skins, the textures look like they are years out of date. Gameplay: Graphics are ok, but gameplay is king. I've played through this game 3 times now, and I never got bored. I've played it as a pure non-killing pacifist and as a cold blooded killing machine. There's no ONE way to play this game. You do get rewarded for taking the more peaceful route... For example, if you use a melee takedown that only knocks out a bad guy, you get 50 experience points... But if you hold the button down a bit longer and kill the guy, you only get 30 xp, which just doesn't make much sense to me. Ghosting through the game takes patience, sneaking past guards and not triggering any alarms, but you get a TON of XP for it, so it makes it worth it. It's easy to trigger an alarm and suddenly you have a swarm of soldiers shooting at you... Makes it hard to survive. Hacking is big in this game. The hacking minigame reminds me somewhat of the game Uplink, where you have to unlock "nodes" without getting traced, and reach a target before time runs out. This can be frustrating, but the hacking mini game in Alpha Protocol was infinitely harder and more annoying to have to repeat OVER AND OVER. Hacking in Deus Ex never really got old for me, because it didn't take too long to do. This game is first person, until you lean up against a wall to use the cover system, then you spin out of his head and can look around corners. This is easily done, and works intuitively. I like it. Guns are very cool. Each gun has several animations used to reloading and whatnot, and they are high tech and very sleek. Each gun has it's own "feel" to it. Some weapons are more useful than others, and with limited inventory space, you do have to pick and choose which ones you want to carry around with you, especially because you can upgrade these weapons using mods... Meaning if you invest mods in a weapon, you'd better hang on to it. Mods include increased damage, silencers, laser sights, increased clip size, etc. Sounds... Sounds are good. The voice actors do a good job, though when you start going on a killing spree, you typically hear the same screams over and over again... One of the things that really annoyed me was the outdated ragdoll physics... For example: http://forums.xisto.com/no_longer_exists/404.png I've also experienced some random crashes, but thankfully there are both auto-saves as well as quick saves... Overall, I've really loved playing this game, and I highly recommend it.
  11. I try to add in spoiler alerts for anyone that wants to play the game so they are actually surprised when something happens, rather than accidentally reading about it in my posts.
  12. Ok, I just completed the game for the second time. The first time, I went all out stealth and it took me about 22 hours to beat. This time, I went the guns-blazing SMG cowboy approach... Finished the game in about 7 hours... Now, taking on 2 completely different attitudes though the game, I found that I had influenced people in different ways. But even though I took completely different approaches, there was not a lot of difference between the two playthroughs. I did actually miss out on a mission because I executed a gun trafficker before he could explain his side of the story, but that's about it.Other than my attitude and the way people treated me, I didn't really feel like it was as epic as other games that have the same mechanic... Like with Mass Effect, even though all the missions were all based in the same locations, the conversations you had felt completely different, where the conversations in Alpha Protocol seemed to be more similar and less drastic in contrast. Could be due to the voice actor or scripting, but I dunno. Being a badass in Alpha Protocol just isn't as rewarding as taking the Ethan Hunt "Mission Impossible" stealth approach. So I'm glad I got the stealth gameplay done first, because the second playthrough, I knew where to go and went in without hardly stopping.Overall the game handles both stealth and action evenly, so no matter what your play style, you'll find yourself having a lot of fun playing this game!
  13. Yes, I'm reviewing a game that was made in 2004. I recently purchased the last game that Troika ever made before they closed from a Steam sale. I had this game years ago, but had forgotten about it until I saw it and decided to try it out again. The vanilla game had a lot of bugs but there are tons of fan patches that make the game playable and, yes, awesome. Bloodlines was truly a unique gaming experience, and I hadn't really taken a close enough look at all the little details that Troika had put in. Just the little things, like if you actually take the time to look up, sometimes you'll actually see a 747 jet high in the air. Or how NPC eyes will actually shift to look at you when you are speaking or walking near them... Stuff like that where they didn't NEED to put it in, but it's there and it adds to the depth. Playing as the various types of vampire clans brings entirely different gaming experiences. The first ever time I played, I went with Toreador, who are charismatic and act like humans... I wafted in and out of society with a sharp tongue and everyone loved me.... The second time I played, I went with Nosferatu, who are disfigured and everyone was disgusted by my looks. My character had to eat rats. Then Tremere, who are like blood mages. The story and locations are nice and varied, and even though you are going through and killing NPCs most of the time, every location is unique and never gets repetitive or boring. The graphics were top notch at the time, using a then-beta Source engine... It was quite buggy at the time, but with community patches is nice and stable on modern-day machines. I remember I had a TON of problems running this smoothly at the time, but now that I have a beefy computer and graphics card, it's smooth as silk. Sounds are amazing and will immerse you in the dark atmosphere of the game. And one notable aspect of the game is the unique attention to detail they gave to all the major characters... The eyes in particular were well done. Below are actual in-game shots. Remember this is from 2004. There are some straight polygons you'll notice, but overall, still done very well. Cloth too is amazing because of how it actually flows with movement, though it is quite buggy from what I've seen, but it took great strides and you just don't see it enough in modern games. Overall, if you can find this game either through a Steam sale or otherwise and you are into Vampires or Role Playing, I highly recommend this game. Just make sure to pick up the community patch. Here's the latest one at this time Patch 7.6b or 7.7 beta: http://forums.xisto.com/no_longer_exists/
  14. Well, I just finished Alpha Protocol. Despite all the bugs when loading savegames and overall difficult moments in the game, I enjoyed the experience.The game feels very open because you can basically control who you want to work with or piss off based on the responses you provide in your dialog with NPCs. Even though the missions were somewhat linear themselves, I felt like I had control over my fate just by how I handled myself as a secret agent. I've played large open world RPGs like Oblivion, and I've played story-driven cinematic games like Mass Effect.... But Alpha Protocol just feels different.I like the spy genre RPG, I think they handled it really well, and I wish more game companies would try to get away from the same old medieval/fantasy settings for RPG games. I think there is a whole world of possibilities out there.The storyline itself was pretty solid. There were times where I neglected to read dossiers, and was lost a bit, but overall I got the jist of the story.There are possible romances to be had with up to (I believe) 3 ladies... There are no "sex scenes" from what I've seen. I managed to get 2 of the girls, and it just fades to black. Absolutely rated PG and not anything like the erotic scenes from Mass Effect. It's more like a James Bond movie, where all you really get to see if the before and after pillow talk. No moaning or whatnot. The one thing I didn't like is that they don't give you a lot of time to spend with the women to actually develop any feelings for the characters themselves... The only character you actually talk to through most of the game is Mina, but that's only through your headset as she is your handler for missions... *spoiler alert*But even though I spent a lot of time with her, when I had to chose between saving her life and pursuing the mission... I actually didn't feel any regret pursuing the mission just because I hadn't really given much of a damn about her as a player. She's quickly replaced by a similar sounding voice actress and NPC so it's like I didn't really LOSE anything by sacrificing her.**End Spoiler**The characters are nice and varied, but again, I didn't feel as emotional about any of them as I did for Alyx Vance in Half Life 2, or any of the characters in Mass Effect.... I can't really place it. The voice acting is done very well, and each character is very distinct, but it's sort of the fact that most characters are rather stereotyped... You have a douchebag coworker, the sexy Russian "bad girl," the sultry reporter, and so on... Just felt cookie-cutter-ish, if that makes any sense.There are, from what I read, 3 endings you can get, depending on who lives and dies, and which side you want to be on when given the choice. My first playthrough, I was stealthy as possible, and tried to never kill anyone... My gameplay time was about 20 hours due to having to restart from checkpoints either because I set off alarms that I didn't want to set off, or I was horribly overpowered by enemies that wiped the floor with my brains. I just started a new game focusing on martial arts and submachine guns.... blazing my way through levels, and I must say it's going a LOT faster now that I just don't give a damn.Not being a tech ninja, I find that the hacking mini-games are in fact PHYSICALLY HARDER because I don't have any skill points in my tech area. So I guess that is a bit realistic.. You're not going to know how to hack a computer if your only love is for punching and shooting.The sad part, though, is that hacking is required for almost all of the missions, in one form or another... So having points in it will save you from some of the IMPOSSIBLE mini games that show up as you play through the game....For example, hacking a computer consists of 2 codes, and a WALL OF letters... Your goal is to find the sequence that matches your codes in the WALL OF letters. Practicing over and over, you get better at it, but at higher levels, you find that the timer gets shorter and you get locked out much easier... Buying EMPs gives you a freebie but those cost money and you are limited to the max number you can carry... The easiest minigame is picking locks, but even that is somewhat sluggish at times.Overall, I'd recommend this game to anyone who is into 3rd person action/stealth games the next time it comes up for sale on Steam or if you see it cheap on Amazon... The biggest bug I encountered was loading a savegame after dying, the level would be empty. The best way to fix that is to quit the level and go back to the main menu, and load your checkpoint from there... And also I recommend to use the "Save Last Checkpoint" function a lot just in case you need to jump back a few checkpoints in the game if you screw up or miss out on an opportunity or extra bonus objective...Have fun saving the world!
  15. That's sweet. I've had my eye on the Kinect for awhile now, waiting for PC modders to do wonderful things with it. So far the only real stuff I've seen that people were able to get is easy motion capture. I think the technology is a step in the right direction, though. I feel like this could be the future of gaming once they make it more user-friendly and get rid of the bugs.
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