This game is like Dark Souls, except it isn’t

May 16, 2017 no comments Posted in PC, Video Games

 

 

You would think that Dark Souls would be just like Dark Souls, however contrary to popular belief and common sense, it is not.

“It’s like Dark Souls” is commonly said of many games with even a minor resemblance to dark souls. This twitter profile has a good account of the wild comparisons. A game qualifies to be “Like Dark Souls” mainly when it shares the property Dark Souls is most infamous for; its unconventional, unforgiving difficulty.
According to darksoulsdeaths.com, on my first playthrough I died over 700 times. It’s hard to say what is normal for a game but I would expect that in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 I died  ~120 times during the campaign on Veteran in comparison.

When you die in Dark Souls, it normally takes a few minutes to get back to where you were before dying and not far from where you will die again. So time spent progressing through the levels in Dark Souls is a significantly lower percentage than in other games, which is alright because you are still progressing in knowledge and skill.

Dying is an important part of Dark Souls, it’s a game of learning from previous lives and using that knowledge to go a bit further from your bonfire or checkpoint than the last time. Dying is not a setback in your progression because most of the game’s progression takes place in your head as you learn to take on enemies effectively. This is proven by how speed runners can complete the game in over 50 minutes,

The game’s lore almost revolves around death and deaths aren’t “cut out” of the game’s timeline as you revert back to an earlier save like in many other games, it is nice to be spared from the common disbelief of your character encountering something “for the first time” while you’re sitting behind the screen expressionless, following the drill you formed a while ago.

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Dying Light is good I guess(PC)

June 1, 2016 no comments Posted in PC, Playstation & Sony, Video Games, Xbox & Microsoft

Dying Light is an open world survival horror game where zombies happen in a quarantined section of a relatively run down city called Harram and you’re sent there to retrieve an important ducument. DL incorporates a dynamic parkour system to a large degree, which you can often use to avoid slicing through hoards of walking meat(are humans Kosher, or are they Harram?).


Combat

Dying Light is almost a sequel to Dead Island, and by that I mean it pretty much is a sequel but it’s creators are not saying it is and it doesn’t appear to be set in the same universe, just one that’s very slightly different. They are both quite similar, but Dying Light is a major improvement over Dead Island.
Like Dead Island, combat is melee focused and finicky until you learn it’s intricacies, where it would definitely become rather rinse-and-repeat had Techland not include the progressive addition of enemies and abilities, which do well to keep it exciting. The abilities in Dying Light are mostly well designed and balanced —  their use depends on your scenery and what you’re fighting, a trait which successfully avoids over-reliance on a single combat routine over and over. A small nitpick is that there are a few things which feel out of place in the usually realistic feeling Dying Light universe such as craftable remedies that are way too effective and some other slightly cartoonish effects(Electricity for example stays with an object for seconds while arcing across its surface)

All melee weapons have a finite durability, they can be repaired but only a few times. I think this is a rather cheap attempt to make weapon retrieval more rewarding and to get players using multiple weapons. It makes using good weapons feel bad, like I’m wasting it. Mediocre weapons are plentiful, but saying goodbye to my favourite, customised weapon when it breaks forever makes me feel sad :(.
I certainly understand why Techland made weapons have such a short lifespan, if a player found a good weapon that lasted forever, they would have no insentive to search for loot, collect money etc.
They already sort of fixed this by having zombies get stronger as the player levels up while also unlocking new weapons, which in effect slowly makes your weapons less effective against them so when you get a new one it feels very powerful against them, but actually isn’t(weapons do improve slightly faster than zombies). Though I’m not a fan of this method and its affect isn’t strong enough keep players interested in looting on its own.
Dying Light is certainly better with finite weapon repairs than without thembut its a flawed solution.


Story

I’ve only seen people complain about it, but DL’s story is pretty good. The plot provided a constant sense of urgency(Maybe too much urgency, I felt bad having a free-running race while my allies were slowly dying). Some moments were misses, DL has some issues showing emotions and I think maybe it needs to be told it’s okay to cry, though there were certainly some good emotional scenes.

The worldbuilding however is amazing, Techland did a good job constructing an immersive universe with depth that still fits well in game format.
Night time is terrifiying in a way that gets my adrenaline going, and it does it without jump scares or making the player powerless – A lot of horror games lock the player in a flight position which isn’t particularly difficult and ‘flight’ often doesn’t require very much attention. In DL, we have fight and/or flight. There were several instances of these physiological affects happening to me as I played the game.

 


Summary

The levels are massive, populated, diverse and the player and infected both interact with them nicely. The art and graphics are great(apart from the unwanted effects and Gameworks), combat is exiting, the campaign is good and the side quests are plentifuloverall, I’d give Dying Light 7.9/10

I’d recommend this game if you liked Dead Island or melee action games and you have a good PC(Gameworks doesn’t work so well with AMD because nvidia works better with profits than consumers). The horror is good, but not overwhelming and can be avoided by sleeping through the night.

 

 

 

 

Game of Thrones: Book of the Stranger Review

May 22, 2016 no comments Posted in Film, Television

Something finally goes right for our protagonists this week in Game of Thrones!

Another high-quality episode in season 6 this week. While this episode is technically focused on set-up again, it was fantastic! So, here’s my thoughts on Book of the Stranger.

spoilersAs usual, spoilers for all of Game of Thrones abound. Get outta here if you’re not caught up.
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Game of Thrones: Oathbreaker Review

May 15, 2016 no comments Posted in Film, Television

After a crazy past two episodes, Game of Thrones slows down with Oathbreaker. But is this change of pace for the best? Or is it a grind?

We return to a slower, more political pace to the show in this episode, with more of a focus on character dynamics than we’ve gotten since season 4. Let’s break it down!

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Game of Thrones: Home Review

May 8, 2016 no comments Posted in Film, Television

After a strong start, can Game of Thrones land one of the show’s biggest moments yet?

Whoo! What a loaded episode. After last week’s primary set-up episode, this one was packed with revelations and deaths. Here we go!

For reasons which should be obvious to people who’ve seen the episode, I’m putting the Wall stuff at the end.

spoilers

If you haven’t caught up with season 6 of Thrones, get outta here. Massive spoilers. (more…)

-Ratchet and Clank (PS4)- Review

April 29, 2016 no comments Posted in Playstation & Sony, Video Games

Yep, we’re skipping over the PS3 games (for now anyway, it’s mainly because my ToD copy decided to freeze). Ladies and gentlemen after 2009 it became clear Insomniac Games were running out of ideas for their franchise. The game before this one had only 5 planets for god’s sake. Then they got a movie deal for a retelling of the plot of the first game. So obviously we need a game tie in. That’s where a re-imagining of the original Ratchet and Clank for the PS4 comes in.

Ratchet and Clank was released last week this April, with the US getting it a good deal earlier and Europe getting it earlier than us in Ireland. At the time I’m writing this I’ve yet to watch the film. The game was in concurrent development with Rainmaker Entertainment who are behind the film adaption. This lead to there being shared or at least touched character models, environments, animation and some writing between Insomniac and Rainmaker.

I was happy enough to see this kind of direction be taken, and if there was any game that needed fixing it was the first one. Retool the characters to be in line with their less asshole sides from the future games, add upgrade systems, some sexy visuals and new stuff…..instant sell for me. One thing that was odd was how it was a PS4 game being sold for 45 euro. I immediately thought back to the last game in the series which was sold for 30 euro for a reason. There were reassurances this was done to throw back to the original games’ price but I was still uneasy.

“The game, based on the movie, based on the game”

For the sake of this being a recent game/recent film I’ll not bother with a plot summary, especially since it’s just a revamped version of the first game’s plot with some new faces with the Galactic Rangers and Dr. Nefarious there for fanservice. The plot is what it is and that’s all I can really say.  I feel I can’t discuss much for the plot here, especially since part of it as a whole is in the film. Fair Warning: This isnt going to be very long. Once again Ratchet can do everything he could from before so the new things are the things being talked about.

The aiming system is the same from Deadlocked and Into the Nexus, for some reason it was dropped after Deadlocked until the previous game. Also returning from Nexus and ToL is Raritanium. You can find it from hidden ores that you can break open or get it as a random drop from enemies and can use it to upgrade a weapon’s various stats like Range or Rate of Fire. This system, since its introduction in ToD, has always bothered me as it made leveling a weapon up only increase its power but its grown on me considerably although in my opinion getting Raritanium seemed a tad harder here from what I’ve played.

New to the series are Holo-Cards. These cards can be found in packs of 3 or from enemy drops. They all contain images and info on stuff from the series however when you complete a 3 card set you geta increased drop rate for more Bolts, Raritanium or Cards. Completing a Weapon Deck lets you buy its Omega version in Challenge Mode. There are also 9 RYNO cards in the game, find them all and you get this game’s RYNO (game breaker). The best part is you can get the RYNO right before the final two bosses in case things weren’t easy enough for you. I find the Cards to be a nice addition, especially for a fucking fanboy and collecting all of them is pathetically easy in Challenge Mode. Gold Bolts in this game aren’t just used for screwing around with cosmetic stuff and concept art, it’s now used for CHEATS. Want the game at a higher speed? Infinite Ammo? Invulnerability? Granted those last two can only be done right before the final boss but these things don’t turn off Playstation Trophies, they only turn off XP. This makes getting 100% in Challenge Mode a good deal easier and can help you scrubs nuke the final boss faster.

Now…for the downsides. There’s no Arena Battles. No Armor. This game takes a lot from earlier games but not those two for some reason. In fact out of the Weapons you can buy only TWO of them are unique to this game. They’re great weapons (the Pixelizer is fucking amazing) but c’mon only 2 new weapons? Really? In terms of this game being a reboot there is a lot of level design and structure taken from the original. While there is new additions around 70% of the game is better looking versions of the original areas. Speaking of which this game looks fucking fantastic, this game shows how well the PS4 can do more cartoonish environments spectacularly. However like the previous game it only runs at 30fps instead of 60fps. However I’m more okay with that choice here since Nexus LOVED to fall UNDER 30fps while this game has it more constant and uses motion blur as a cover up.

The game is longer than the incredibly short Nexus and Quest for Booty with about 12 planets. I ended up completing it within around 9 hours. In Challenge Mode, since you’re skipping all the cutscenes, you’ll end up with a pathetically short playtime for each run onwards. Speaking of cutscenes the uses both clips from the film and in-game cutscenes. It makes the game feel more like a tie -in game with these clips playing in between the gameplay segments, and the quality of cutscenes with NPC’s aren’t very good quality. The humor is more of what we’ve already seen, with good Ratchet wit….mainly from the cutscenes that are clips from the film. The in-game dialogue is probably the blandest in the series, especially outside story events but even those are a good deal on bland side. Voice acting is great stuff but I can’t stand the one’s for Cora and Victor Von Ion. No they don’t use Stallone for his game counterpart. Ratchet isn’t the jerkass he is in the first game obviously and impressively sounds a good deal younger in his voice acting. We have Captain Qwark narrating the game which is absolutely a great decision. Some of the things he says is obvious stuff although its played for laughs most of the times he does it.

Upon completing the game and getting all the Gold Bolts you can unlock the Insomniac Museum again which is a lot…shitter than its previous entries. It’s just fan service over cut content with some Japanese Ratchet and Clank stuff in there for good measure. At this point Insomniac could cut me a break with the fanservice, this isn’t exactly a series that forgets it’s a series. The soundtrack is decent, I find the first game’s soundtrack to be a lot better but there are some great tracks in here.

In Short

The game is great, but after all the games in the series I’ve played I wanted a lot more out of it than what I got and I feel there’s things missing besides the aforementioned lack of armor and arena challenges. Maybe I’m just sick of the series or disappointed for the wrong reasons but I can still recommend the game, it’s not difficult in any sense and has a immense amount of things going for it. It did what it set out to do I just would like a lot more than what was there but the great fun I had is fun I wanted from this series for at least nearly 3 years. I would say it makes me look forward to the film…that is until a bunch of not-good reviews of the thing started popping up since yesterday. Oh fucking well.

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-TheAceAlucard

-Final Fantasy Explorers- Review

February 22, 2016 no comments Posted in Nintendo, Video Games

What a first, huh? A review that of a recent game rather than a SNES RPG

I have rather little to talk about before getting into the main portion of the review which is the gameplay. Explorers was released late 2014 in Japan, taking until January 2016 to be released in the US and Europe. All I could garner for development info was the director Atsushi Hashimoto making the game based off the concept of a multiplayer Final Fantasy adventure with a job system being incorporated. Soon after the game came out my drive to purchase this immediately was rather flustered by reviews generally not going higher than 7 out of 10 (Fun fact IGN indeed rated the game 6.8/10. I presume too much Final Fantasy) but after purchase has my fears been unfounded? Well first off the game isn’t being sold for the general 50 or above euro Nintendo games get as price tags for no fucking reason so scrounging 40 euro for the game wasn’t as much of a problem.

The story? Please. This game can be summed up as a Final Fantasy version of Monster Hunter, a series that does not bother with plot as far as I’m aware. The basic premise is there for the sake of it, people who hunt for powerful life and technology powering giving crystals are known as Explorers. YOU are a Explorer heading to the island of Amostra, which is newly discovered as a vast source of crystals but on the way there your airship gets blasted by fucking Bahamut. After booking it you (I’m getting fed up with this already) get to the town of Libertas to began questing around for questing’s sake in search of the island’s Grand Crystal. After about 20 hours of doing stuff and having a rather pointless lesson in what the search for crystals do to the world you get to the Grand Crystal, the story stops pretending it’s a thing and most of the game’s quests start opening up. Now let’s get to the REAL review.

First off the avatar customisation is rather shit with a very limited number of options, though I don’t mind not spending hours increasing the size and shape of every part of my character’s face. I do mind having to shorten my character’s name to Chris due to character limits that shouldn’t be there. Like usual you start off in your Freelancer Job, to get more you need to unlock them. You unlock a bunch early after completing one of the tutorial quests but you unlock most of them by finishing the Job Test quests that you’ll get along the game. Other Jobs are unlocked by specific means such as learning Firaga, Curaga, and Blizzaga to get the Red Mage Job or killing 500 monsters to get the Dark Knight job. You shouldn’t have any trouble with the requirements except the “Make 20 Monsters” one but we’ll get to that later. Jobs as you’d expect change your stats, the abilities you can use, weapons you equip and so on and so forth.

You get equipment mainly through the shop in Liberta using the materials you get from defeated monsters to either make more stuff or upgrade your equipments’ stats until the piece reaches its stat limits (haven’t reached the Buster Sword’s one yet so I don’t plan on replacing it). You don’t level up for killing things Liberta serves as the main hub, you select your quests there and after each quest you get sent back although you can choose to explore the island but certain areas are blocked off till you get a quest telling you can pass through and then the area is unlocked for good. These area barriers get rather annoying to see and I can’t think of a reason for them to really be there. You can select main areas you’ve discovered via the airship outside of quests but the in between areas leading to the main ones like mountain passages or forests have to be travelled through during quests and they’re much more repetitive since its basically 3 similar areas till you reach the next main area.

After a certain point you can also select a number of subquests to be done during quests for rewards like killing monsters or delivering a item. Regardless all quests cost a bit of money to actually start for some reason, it’s not like you’ll ever run out of gil in this game. Quests you unlock come in set difficulties which determines the monsters’ strength and exploring Amostra is always done on the highest quest difficulty available to you but Lv. 2 and Lv.3 item drops don’t happen unless you’re above a certain difficulty whilst Lv. 1 drops are always guaranteed. If you want to make finding new materials easier use LibertaExplorer, it’s a site opened by a bunch of fans at the start of February that contains a enormous deal of Explorers info that players should definitely check out, it’s really convenient. No matter what however you will get annoyed at how enemies tend to not appear in areas that they should like the humble Chocobo which you can kill but only if it decides to show up.

Let’s get into mechanics now. Explorers can all do a normal attack and sprint. Your AP meter is the fuel for your abilities and sprinting, it fills as you attack, use a ether or stand still. For the love of god don’t overuse it and run out unless you want to be left walking after your teammates as they sprint away. You can lock on to nearby enemies by tapping R and have the camera move to in front of you by tapping L, holding L or R opens the ability lists allowing you to use what you have on them. Abilities also have a charge time after use but usually you should always have at least one ability to use if you spam all of them. Holding both L and R opens the Crystal Surge menu when the game tells you have one available. The controls do have a hefty use on the shoulder buttons but it’s easy to get used to, my main issue is how the lock-on always locks on to any boss monsters if they are in the vicinity and not the small fries unless you press “Track Small” on the touch screen.

You learn all your abilities from the Main Crystal in Liberta and they all cost CP. CP is what you get from killing things and is multiplied heavily after a quest. CP is also used during equipment upgrades and monster fusions. The Main Crystal also lets you learn any mutated abilities you’ve found. What are those? Let me explain that with Crystal Surge. You have a count of your Crystal Resonance on the top left that you raise by using abilities, when it gets over 100 a Crystal Surge can occur. The Crystal Surge menu then can be opened allowing you to choose a temporary status change for example all of your attacks are Critcal Hits or all of your attacks are Fire Elemental , but the 4 that appear are random and you won’t know what they do unless you look them up in the game or just try them out. Anyway when a Crystal Surge is active some of your abilities may turn yellow. Use them and you unlock a ability mutation which is a extra add on for the ability you have and all mutations can be stacked and added with whatever other mutation the ability is compatible with. For example:

  1. I have a ability called Sonic Steel
  2. I activate the Fire Crystal Surge that makes my attacks all do fire damage
  3. Sonic Steel turns yellow and I use it during the surge, the game prompts me that I’ve gotten the Fire Mutation
  4. I purchase Sonic Steel1 (which has the fire mutation) from the Main Crystal and replace it with the normal Sonic Steel.
  5. I get a poison mutation for Sonic Steel1 allowing me to purchase Sonic Steel2 which now has a chance of poisoning and burning a enemy.

I can increase the power and chance of success of abilities by repeatedly mutating the same Surge. If you don’t want to use any of the Crystal Surges that appear in the list you can change it by using abilities a couple of times. If you want to get the most of your abilities, GET EVERY MUTATION YOU CAN.

Now there’s Magicite (no not the Final Fantasy VI stuff) which you unlock after you Encase your first Eidolon during the quest where you learn how to. Eidolons are the series’ summons that fight you in specific areas and can be defeated for items but when they are at low HP the Encase Crystal Surge can appear allowing you to capture the Eidolon and use their magicite. It is REALLY annoying trying to capture a Eidolon for the first time so here are some tips that you should keep in mind every time you attempt it:

-Use abilities or Crystal Shards that don’t damage the Eidolon to raise your Crystal Resonance

-Use the Oracle item to change the Surge list

-When playing in a team you all have individual Crystal Surges at around the same time and raising Resonance is much faster. Having 4 people with Surges increase the chances of one of them having Encase.

When you Encase an Eidolon, you unlock its Trance for permanent use and can sell the Magicite as a Eidolon. Your Trance meter fills as you attack and use abilities. When its full you can go into Trance which fills your HP and AP. It also lets you use a Trance Surge when you get another Crystal Surge which is a really strong special but what it does depends on the Eidolon you have equipped. Now WHO WANTS TO TRANSFORM INTO LIGHTNING FROM THE POPULAR FINAL FANTASY XIII!?!?!?!? Like unlocking Jobs, you can unlock Magicite from the Libertas Moogles after completing certain requirements that let you transform into veteran Final Fantasy characters in Trance and use their Trance Surge. No Final Fantasy IX characters sadly. You can also unlock and forge Final Fantasy outfits but they’re generally overshadowed in terms of protection and convenience.

Now Monster Creation. This thing mainly exists so that people playing solo can have some semblance of “team”. When a monster dies they have a chance of dropping their Atmalith…it’s their soul so to speak. You use this to create monsters to fight with you and they can…level up even though you can’t. I split Monster Creation into two catagories: Either they’re shit or they’re broken damage dealers. My personal favs are the Black Knight, Cactuar and Magic Pot who deal really high magic damage.

So people like playing with other people right? This is self explanatory, you can play with up to 3 others in different quests, the difficulty is raised depending on how many people are there so good job synergy and teamwork is necessary. This can be done with friends or people you find online that may or may not be cunts and run off whilst you try to get materials. Can’t do much in profanities though, you have a set list of things to inform the team of.

I think I’ve covered more than enough. The game is rather clunky but still great fun as it serves its purpose well. Like some other games (BRAVELY DEFAULT) I think it would’ve benefitted greatly from some more time, attention and additions to make things more convenient. The music is…decent but with a game like this you’re probably listening to music or a podcast (wink wink nudge nudge) when playing. It’s worth the price that its going for and fans of the series have already bought the game because of all the beautiful fanservice. I wish Gilgamesh and Omega Weapon weren’t the only non-summon boss fights though, some more fanservice in optional boss department pls.

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Anyone want to see what review comes up next? I’m leaving that up to you.

-TheAceAlucard