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Thursday, 30 July 2015

2015.16 | Dungeon Siege III





 Completed on Very Hard in 17 hours in Single Player



Quick Overview
So what got my intrigue about this game was the developer. I have always been a fan of Obsidian for the fact their RPGs are generally very well written, have great characters and lore and feature fun and active player choices. On those fronts, this game did not disappoint at all.



In more depth

Companion
The characters are well developed and your companion delivers the right amount of commentary during gameplay and during conversations to the point you appreciate them being there but also don't want them to just shut the hell up.

There is an 'Influence' tied in with each companion that allows powers to be unlocked if you fill the influence meter. The influence is gained by being a great leader to those companions in your actions and conversation tones. The companion I preferred (Lucas) was a diplomat and felt people should be heard and given a chance, before being cut in half, where as my starting companion had a much harsher and warrior like attitude.

This adds a nice level of depth already to the companion next to you, assuring that they are not just another icon on the map.

Combat
Enemy and location variety is great. I really enjoyed the pace in which you move from one area to another and the different enemies you face within. You are never in one area for too long, and this is coming from someone who did every side mission he could find. From elemental magic attacking enemies to long range bow to big towering tank like enemies. It's all there to test your skills.

One thing I will say against the combat is, playing as Katarina, a rifle and dual wield pistol packing badass woman, who fights from distance, the roll for me was very OP. The roll dodge basically puts you in a invincible frame state and the amount of 'cool down' before you can roll again is almost non existent. Some tougher fights can turn into a rolling game due to that but there is strategy in that you have to decide when to stop rolling and make an attack.

There is also the environment variety that can change and affect how you fight as some areas are tight, where as others have space to move around.

Story
The story is well realised and did not disappoint an Obsidian fan. Though not their most ground-breaking work; it's solid, well written and well told.

It really gets you thinking about power and how people gain it and hold on to it. And also why they want it in the first place. As with most Obsidian games, there is no clear good or bad. There is only intentions, inspirations, and actions. It's up to you as a member of The Legion, a great historic order who have been massacred and lost many, to decide many people's faith as that is the role of The Legion. It is also you who decides and helps decides how The Legion should rebuild itself. Do you face the ugly truths of the past or hide them to make The Legion appear a something greater than what it is?

As a member of The Legion, who historically decide on disputes of the land, it is your job to settle some disputes and call some of the shots. There range from a land ownership dispute to deciding the faith of an ex-Legion member who causes chaos to ultimately deciding what to do with the person you have been pursuing for the whole game and many more throughout your journey.

Your decisions and the outcomes are explained in nicely drawn comic like pages, elaborating on the waves your decisions have made and perhaps how it was received by the public and the fellow Legion members. This is a nice way to acknowledge and feel the weight of your decision.

Gameplay
It might seem odd I have left gameplay for last but this is actually a fairly simple affair. Simple in its execution but done well and is addictive similarly to how a loot based ARPG games can get (think Diablo, Torchlight, etc). There is the three grades of items, many skills and proficiencies to pick and upgrade, many stats to think about, another upgrade system which is tied to 'mastering' the skill.

You have two sets of weapon sets, main and secondary. Main is usually your damage weapon and secondary is crowd control. Each weapon has three powers along with character based defensive powers. So it has most of the depth you would expect from such game and really I feel this is best experienced by playing the demo which you can get right here on Steam. I have mentioned the depth demo might not express in this little overview section.


To End...

So, overall, this is a very solid game in all its functions and I have thoroughly enjoyed my 17 hours with it.

It gets an overall;

VERY GOOD
7/10

Sunday, 26 July 2015

2015.15 | Batman: Arkham Knight


This is pretty much Arkham City with a Batmobile. That is by far not a bad thing, as that game was great. Batmbile can be fun but really has some frustrating things like the turning being strange until you get used to it and sometimes collisions don't work the best. I also hated in chase scenes when you takedown someone the camera swings and moves to show the takedown, leaving you very disorientated. There was no way to disable this at the time of me playing.

The story I can't say much about but the presentation is down right stellar. Great and very fun script and the directing does some very unique things. The game I feel must be really applauded for how originally it delivers many of its story aspects. Very clever and inspired.

I rarely mention these in my feedback posts, if ever, actually. But the publishers WBIE (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment) is really taking the piss now with how much of the content they are spreading around different retailers and pre-order bonuses and a Season Pass that costs almost as much as a newly released game. These are all silly practices and I know it's not Rocksteady's fault but as a consumer that really pissed me off about this game. For the record I have not fallen for any of it and now that I have finished the main game, won't give another penny to WBIE. Good try, WBIE, but all it does is put a bad image on the game. This along with the ABYSMAL and sickeningly false advertised PC version (even though I was on PS4, it's still shitty) are signs we need to be aware and cynical of WBIE. 

So, great gameplay, though perhaps a bit ageing now, topped with a very fun story, mixed with a new feature that is not going to blow your socks off, and a little darkness of the shoddy business practices - Overall it's a VERY GOOD outing for the Bat.

7/10.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

2015.14 | The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Time took to complete: 144 hours : 33 mins on Blood and Broken Bones (Hard) difficulty

Well, what to say about this game. My time played, topped with how hooked I was for pretty much every minute says it all.

The game is oozing with character which I love. They set very well each character and quest to the point you can easily mistake side quests as main ones. Every character has their story and you as Gerald, craft your own.

What is my favourite thing about crafting your story is nothing is clear. You just make decisions in that moment. How wrong or right they are don't even cross your mind, as a professional Witcher you do what you must and deal with whatever consequences it brings. Anything from a fellow witcher despising you to getting ambushed in town by someone who didn't like what you did about her problem few days ago. Memorable characters and great scenerios all around.

So it has what every great RPG should then, great characters, great quests and choices woven into the adventure subtly and expertly. Easy 10/10 right? Unfortunately not.

It might sound petty but you'll know if you have played or when you do; the menus are super outdated. I could write an essay but few highlights are; no junk system, no way to see how many alchemist materials you have when shopping, no way to filter anything in the menus, minimal and nonsensical category system, for example, your potions are in the same category as the books you collect, gotta scroll through few moments to get to the potions, and once you scrolled through books to get to potions, since there is no sorting, trying to find a specific potion can be pain. These are just headlines,mind. I write these points but almost a guarantee moments after I post this, few more points about the menu will come to mind. So yeah, unfortunately just badly designed and badly functioning menu systems all around. And for an RPG, that's a whole point off in my eyes.

I do not like ending on a negative as that's what sticks so I implore you to read the paragraphs before the last again and enjoy what is easily one of the best RPG game of our time;

9/10.

Monday, 4 May 2015

2015.13 | Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Director's Cut)


Time took to complete: 27 hours on Normal

So the reason I've picked normal was I remember from my first time playing this game (non director's cut version on PS3), that the bosses were really annoying for a stealth build. See this comic by PennyArcade. That's where the biggest improvement comes in. They have added stealth options to the boss fights. Like hacking a door and going to a room where you can activate a turret that will pretty much kill the boss for you in one of the boss fights. This is all good but, of course, feels exactly like what it is - Tacked on (though still very welcome).

Another bit I noticed in Director's Cut, I did NOT like. That is the inclusion of the DLC into the main story line. This DLC was a SNORE fest. Going back and forth in rooms in the same area, and to top it off has these scan doors that take an age to open due to all the animation and scanning that plays. Feels like padding hours. Oh and of course, you lose all your powers during this part. The only good thing about this part was at the end you get all your powers back in Praxis form, pretty much allowing you to re-spec your character if you weren't happy with some of the choices until that point.

So, one good change, one bad change. 

Game itself is still good. Stealth is pretty much an air vent hunter game (just move from one to another, they rarely let you down) and story, how far should humans go with technology is interesting but the game doesn't do anything that fun with it (goes into illuminati territory with it).

Overall, it was a good game lifted up to Very Good thanks to its writing and the atmosphere;

7/10.

Friday, 10 April 2015

2015.12 | Batman: Arkham Asylum


Platinum (no idea on time)

Oh man. It's still an exceptional game. Story is great, everything from the atmosphere to the writing to the voice acting to the action and taking out a room in predator mode. All have aged very gracefully. It was a blast to play through again and even getting all the Riddler trophies (had to use guide on one, and a guide on one area's riddle map location). 

Only issue I can fault it for is the repetitive boss fights. but that does not at all sour the experience so eh, easy to overlook.

I think this game is of 'classic' status to me. One I can go back and play over and over for years to come. Simply exceptional;

10/10. 

Sunday, 5 April 2015

2015.11 | WWE Day of Reckoning 2


Story mode completed in ~ 5 hours on NORMAL

This was a much more addictive story mode than I have expected. Once I dug in, I pretty much played it non stop to its end. 

The story is you get framed for stealing the WWE World Champion belt, which costs you your spot on RAW (this was during the times of SmackDown! vs RAW), your girlfriend Stacy Kiebler, and you try to win all that back.

The gameplay has the Stamina system that I believe made a return in WWE2k15 and in here at least, it works quite well. It stops the spam of the punch button, it makes you consider doing moves more and when your stamina is moderate - low, you really start to play more defensively, which for me meant just hiding outside the ring and going back in when the A.I. comes for me :)

Other than that, it's simple enough to play with grapples and strikes, yet you have to pay attention to reverse moves properly, and the aforementioned stamina. There is just enough there to keep your brain engaged. Career mode also has stats like Submission, Strength, Speed, Charisma, etc. that improves your wrestler as you play along. 

The 4 four way matches was the really big downfall for me. They are super frustrating. With A.I. ganging up on you, stopping all your special move attempts, and so on. Similarly, near the end in a Royal Rumble match, when you are at the ropes, the A.I. will gang up on you to kick you out but when you are starting to kick someone else out, the A.I. comes and helps THEM (when they had no affiliation with each other, so it wasn't some sort of smart ally system). It was super infuriating, and the only way to beat that was basically get lucky enough to get rid of 3 wrestlers and as the new ones come, get them out before another comes.

Overall, it was pretty OK to be honest. Wouldn't open it and play it again now that I got through the story or anything but while it lasted it was fun.

5/10.

2015.10 | Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments


Times walkthrough used: 1 (Case 3)

This was a much more interesting and fun entrance to this series than the previous attempt (Testament Of Sherlock Holmes) I found.

The 6 cases are varied in location and what you solve, and are mostly solid. They are not particularly challenging, but they'll keep you on your toes nonetheless. And majority of the fun comes not strictly from solving brain wrecking puzzles but more the joy of unrevealing the murders,

Sherlock is voiced well, though the facial animations could use an upgrade, and he is as 'lovable' as any adaptation of this genius character. I for one got a good few chuckles out of the writing and Sherlock's representation. It was done to a good standard.

I really enjoyed the good amount of user interactivity and involvement. You don't mindlessly click your way to the end, you have to pay attention. As using the clues you've found, you have to make deductions and connect the dots yourself. And come to many possible conclusions based on those (of course, only one is correct). The game lets you run with your incorrect decisions, and you can in fact accuse the wrong person. The game does allow you to check if you were correct at the click of a button and if you are so inclined, can reload and find more clues / come to another conclusion.

Along with this deduction system, there is the moral choice. Which is usually "yeah he did a crime but didn't mean it" or "justice at all costs" moral options. To my understanding, these only change the wordings of the letters (which summarise each completed case) and not the story or anything else, but still a welcome addition.

Pepper that with interactive puzzles like unlocking doors, and analysing evidence using Sherlock's work table, it's a pretty full game really. I hope these games keep coming, and I hope they keep getting better and better.

I would give this game a VERY GOOD,

7/10.