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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Why is no one talking about this? - Dreamfall Chapters, Ori and the Blind Forest

I think one of the more infuriating things about this industry (apart from the shady business practices) is the great or just good games that get over shadowed. We all know what the next Call of Duty is but most games slip under the radar. Its even more unusual when it seems like no one is talking about a game at all. Youtube has its own people posting about their "Top 10 Underrated Games" lists but even then that doesn't cover all of them. This weekend, I picked up two games, one I heard about but never played and another I'd never even heard of.

Dreamfall Chapters is one of those kickstarter children popped out some time ago, October of last year to be precise. Its a continuation of the Longest Journey series that was around during the time of the original Xbox. I always wanted to play it if only for how unusual it looked and probably because of the lack of things people said about it. Even the worst games get their own time in the spot light to get roasted for their five minutes of fame, but this series was just that one title I always saw at GameStop (or EB Games back then; god I'm old...). I never got to play them because I was too young when it came out to pick up an M rated game, too poor to pick it up on the 360's arcade and not really interested to pick up the games on Steam. Too bad for me.
Its a standard point and click game. Pick up item, combine item with another item, solve puzzle with said combination. I've never really been a fan of these games though I suppose The Walking Dead series from TellTale has warmed me up to the idea. Its also sort of in the same vein as Walking Dead. There's a heavy focus on narrative but not in a bad way. Walking Dead was about the loss of humanity and the futility in trying to reclaim it. The story it told was never forced into your face and you were free to respond to it how you pleased. I can't really get a focus on the theme of this game other than "authority is bad" but it doesn't really matter. The writing is really good and haunting at times. Tragically beautiful at points and funny in others. Juggling both dry comedy and saddening writing is no easy feat but welcome when done right.
Speaking of writing, I really like the world building. I've never played any of the other games in the series but it never felt like I needed to. I decided to go in blind rather than get caught up. Thankfully there was an option for me to be caught up to speed in the game which is a nice tough. Its difficult to make a world feel real but the game did a pretty good job. Rather than be assaulted with exposition dumps or dragged kicking and screaming past terms and events I really wanted to know about, each dialogue felt natural and fluid. Though I missed a few terms, common sense filled me in pretty well. I knew what was a curse, what was their term for currency and generally all that was going on. In contrast, if you've ever read a book with just massive amounts of exposition filling the reader in versus a story like 1984 which doesn't hold your hand in anything, its leaning more towards 1984 but not too much so that its alienating.
I have my qualms about the game in certain areas but its a puzzle game and that's pretty par for the course.

Speaking of puzzle games, Ori and the Blind forest. I give off this groan whenever I hear that a game is going to be exclusive to a certain system, especially when it interests me. I can deal with it when its for a handheld system, especially in this generation considering the mechanics of both the 3DS and Vita are unlike any other system to date, but when it comes to consoles its really annoying. I don't have too many qualms about it, I understand the practice, but I just hate it how something might not get the exposure it should have gotten because not everyone had that particular system. Its like if your favorite series had its own cannon continuation but it was on a completely different system and then failed so now you can't expect to see any more games in the coming years. This game looked amazing to me and heart breaking. I was really excited for it but it just kind of fell through once I knew I couldn't play it for lack of owning and Xbox One. Lucky me it was on PC.
This is one of those few times when I debate giving a perfect score if I was reviewing it. Breathless is really a good way to describe something like this. Its like watching a painting move before your very eyes but slowly so you have time to appreciate it as the art itself begins to change. As far as puzzle platformers go, its pretty standard with a few variations. The story and visuals are really where it excels. There's combat but its done in a way I feel I can get stronger. If an enemy is too tough, I can usually end up using my cunning or just coming back later after I've gotten stronger or a better ability. Each encounter you have shouldn't be enraging but rather rewarding. If it is enraging, the player should feel in control so as to not feel as though they've reached and impassible point but rather have options apart from sticking it out to just straight up quitting the game.
Puzzles shouldn't be annoying as well. If I feel the need to window the game just to look up a quick commentary, then you've done something wrong. I did have to do it once, but it was more my fault. Rather than explore the puzzle, I got frustrated and looked up a walkthrough. Of course it was the easiest thing to solve so I felt like an idiot.
In terms of writing its more of a vacuum. Rather than dialogue, visuals are represented. While there is some text, most of it is just telling you minor things. "Go to Point A!" kind of stuff. Its difficult to make me feel sad or any emotion other than unintentional anger for a particular character. Its a greater feat when you make me feel for a character without even having any dialogue spoken. I don't like to feel heartbreak but it invests me in characters. Like how Tali is just my favorite character in Mass Effect for the things she did rather than me being told by the game, "SHE IS AWESOME. YOU LIKE HER NOW." An opposite example would be "Press button to pay respects."

Both of these games are worth their price tag. Good games that I had completely looked over until now and its unfortunate that I did.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Early Access: Oblitus

So I guess I'm starting up a new thing here. Early Access is going to (obviously) look at early access games on Steam. The point being is that I either feel these games are in a state which, while being unfinished, I cannot definitively pin a static score to. That is to say if I either feel a game has some untapped potential in the early access list, I feel it would be 'unfair' of me to evaluate all I've seen/played so far.

Oblitus is an early access game I never heard about. Literally. I just happened across a Youtube video... somehow, about it. The game is supposed to be '2-D Dark Souls', which I can kind of see. Nameless faceless protagonist you are, you have been given a loose directive to find... someone. This objective now tasks you to kill things/avoid being killed by things. I... kind of like it. The immediate problem is not knowing what the hell is going on. After the ten minute loading screen (yes, ten minutes) I was dropped into the main menu and then into the game after a short tutorial. You have a shield and a spear. Pretty standard stuff. You have a variety of moves, mostly just in poke with spear, throw said spear, block, parry, roll and jump.
Progressing into the game you may find small 'power ups'. Said power ups will give you different bonuses. However, as I've seen, these bonuses don't stay once you die and they don't come back with you once you die. First run I got heavy armor. Second run was a poison spear. Third was a spear that went through enemies. And last was an invincibility roll. This is kind of annoying. I don't mind not being able to take said items with me when I respawn but the problem is that I have no idea what said items do. In Dark Souls, I may take a risky path in order to get that one item that is just the most awesomest thing ever and not care about dying once I get it. In Mario, die and your power ups are forfeit. The difference is with Dark Souls and Mario, each of those power up are in static places. So if I was a Mario savant, I know exactly where to get the next mushroom and then fire flower. I can accurately go forward knowing full well what is going to happen. Randomized rewards are... interesting. They keep game play blind like in The Binding of Isaac. I have no idea if said power up was worth having my health shaved off.
Back to not being told stuff, you have a health bar riiiight in the top left hand corner. Difficult to see and since its not numbers, its hard to know how much life you actually have. Its a circle that empties itself when you take damage. Goes from green to yellow to red. Pretty standard. Apart from that, there's a moment when the damage I took led to me having almost no life bar. I mean in the sense it was either so low it was outside of my 20/20 vision, or some problem with the resolution obscured it. When I fought a boss after getting the heavy armor, my damage didn't seem to change at all. I seemed to still take the same amount so I was unaware if it did much of anything at all.

The game shows promise. I feel there's a lack of focus on certain aspects, but the game is playable so there's that. Combat is interesting and definitely has a 'think first' motif. Each enemy varies in how you must deal with them. Some easy enemies will be clunked in with harder enemies so you have to use your moves perfectly to survive unscathed. If this game was finished, I'd probably buy it. I do like the atmosphere and handling of certain things, so I'd say its not bad.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Dragon Ball Xenoverse PC Review - 9/10

The very first anime I ever saw as a kid and recognized it as anime was Dragon Ball Z. The series stuck with me all the way into adulthood. The adolescent violence, over the top fight scenes and ridiculous amounts of yelling. Its the perfect anime. All joking aside, I really love it. All of it actually. Though most people don't seem to hold it in such high regards, at least parts anyway. Everyone remembers Z but no one really wants to acknowledge GT and the first series is barely even mentioned. The games don't really help either, focusing on a specific series rather than the whole entirety. While this game doesn't have the first series, it does have Z and GT which is a step in the right direction. But enough delaying and onto the review.

The Good:
I might say this too much but it bears repeating: a game that runs well is better than the prettiest game. While I'm not saying the game's visuals aren't striking, what I mean to say is that it runs smoothly thanks to cell shading. Looks nice and it runs nice. Most every game tries to do the best graphics and the best shadow/water effects, my PC chugs just trying to render a single frame and even then its still screwed up. While I did have a few drop points here and there, it never became a problem and was at sensible times like during a brightly colored and flashy super move. Point is, it runs great and it looks great.
One of the things I really dislike about Dragon Ball games is their almost complete leaning on fighting. Sure, the entire series is based on fighting but we have enough fighting games out there. Too many clones of the same game with the same functions. Set in a small arena, 3D fighting on a 2D plane, over reliance on combos and exploits. This game does have some of those things but it doesn't dwell on them. For instance, there are a few large maps such as on Namek and even multiple stages to switch between maps in a single mission freely. Combos are there but they aren't thrust into your face or the core of game play. Dragon Ball has always been fluid. One fight can go through multiple stages, elevations and even different places. The stages rarely stay static so it always bugged me that the maps in previous titles were more scenery than actual... well, maps. You usually have wide open spaces, not only the ground but also in the sky and now even the water.
Another gripe I have about fighting games is cheapness. At the beginning, you're given everything you can get. Apart from unlockable skins and even some finishers, this never changes. So when I get to a boss or fight that is insanely difficult or just plain cheap I just want to throw the controller out the window. Adding in the ability to get stronger and faster through game play definitely makes me happy. The fights in the game are far from easy and I have a few losses to prove it. Though at the end, I can just go back and grind for more Xp or even just power through it by skill alone. Basically, the game is more accessible with the ability for veterans to take their course and the rest of us to take what we want.
While the character creation leaves some to be desired, it still is a welcome addition. Rather than pick that one fighter simply because they have the best moves, I can make someone to my own liking and add the skills and abilities I WANT. Do I want to be a namekian with a kameha wearing some Frieza soldier armor? Now I can! Or how about play as a female majiin with some of Vegeta's moves and Piccolo's armor? Now I can! Apart from that, each race as well as gender has their own additions and subtractions. Females are usually quicker and with a higher ki count while males have greater defenses and do more melee damage.
Back onto the subject of the previous games, they were always static. They always followed the same arcs to the letter and any deviation was considered a side mission. Here, the entire story is basically a 'what if' scenario. What if all the baddies won their battles? What if the Z fighters weren't strong enough? While we'll probably never see each individual enemy's ideal world as they see fit, we do get to see a small snip it of if they win. The ones who were supposed to stop them are lying face on the floor and an evil smirk cuts across their face. You are a time traveler and someone is messing with time, making it so Goku and his friends fail in each of their major fights. You need to go back in time and help them. I love this idea so much. Not only do we get to gloss over the major points of the series, we also get to be apart of it. One funny part was during the fight with the Ginyu Force in which your character accidentally switches bodies with Ginyu. An awesome point was when I fought Frieza in his final form while Namek burned beneath our feet. Its one of those things you just have to experience to see how awesome it really is.

The Bad:
Unfortunately the character creation leaves much to be desired. Why can't I have a skinny majiin male? Where are the female Namekian and Frieza's race choices? Its not a huge deal but there's a point where you have to see that there was some really cool stuff on the cutting board. You know what I would have liked to have been? A kai. While this can be added into future DLC, I just want it now rather than later.
The tutorial is lengthy and somewhat annoying. Once you've created your character, you walk around the hub world just... talking to people. Some people have blips over their heads to signify something to say but the game doesn't tell you that you need to talk to just about everyone before you can proceed. During this time you can't fight, play, buy items or gear. Also be wary of simply clicking without reading. A mission required me early on to go into a portal. Too bad I skipped over that part because I didn't know how to go through it. What you need to do is lock on and press B. Of course I, being an idiot, thought you could just fly through it.

The Meh:
The game is sort of structured like an MMO and its clear to see. There's a somewhat big focus on online. While I wasn't able to play because I think the server for the game isn't up, after a certain point in the game you can see other people's characters walking about. Not the people playing as the characters but simply stock characters like NPCs. Its not a bad thing but usually MMOs don't last very long. This game was based off of the failed MMO for Dragon Ball Z and it really shows. Even in characters. You 'apparently' can have more than one character. Only problem is all the other slots are locked out. So I basically just have been deleting my current character to see what the other races look like... which sucks.
Its hard to tell when items become available to you. I had two sets of armor for preordering and I did not like their look at all, but they functioned so I had no choice but to wear them. You never really know when the new set of gear is going to be available because it doesn't work by your level. I'm 15 right now and I've only just gotten access to lvl 5 stuff. Super moves can either be rewarded via missions but you can also buy them... sometimes. After you've bought them they just kind of vanish. I haven't been able to buy new skills in a long time. Speaking of gear, there's no real easy way to see which gear is better. It works off of increments of stat changes, however, it doesn't tell you if said stat change is better or worse than the stuff you're wearing even if you've bought it. It just shows what will be lost and what will be gained by putting on the armor and I don't mean loss as in the skills that are currently modified by your current gear.

I'm calling it. This is the best Dragon Ball game I've ever played. Its a solid game and at the end of the day I feel it was worth the price of admission. While you won't be able to preorder it anymore for the special little goodies, the game is worth it. Its fast, its fun and you will have fun as well.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Why We Shouldn't Have Gaming Awards

Ah yes. Gaming awards. This is generally a weird subject for gamers. First off I'd like to give my opinion on award shows: they're dumb. I know I'm coming out of the gate swinging my biased bat around like a kid trying to smash a pinata, but I stand firmly by this. Award shows are about as interesting as... something that's not very interesting. Okay, so maybe I'm not a word smith. I consider award shows to be dull and sort of cancerous. The whole process is rigged to be either the most pretentious or the obligatory "this movie was actually good" category that pops up every once and a while. With no input from those who ACTUALLY saw and liked the movie, award shows are more Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB scrolling until they find the movie that was pretty highly rated and had that one actor who was in that other movie that fans liked but they didn't give even a participation reward to because 'gorsh I sure love them'.
The same reason I don't like award shows is the same reason I don't vote for the president: my choices don't actually matter. In the rare occasion an actually deserving movie gets the nod like Tropic Thunder, sort of brings people back to the thought that, "No seriously this time award shows are finally getting their stuff together and taking their faces away from the tight grip of their butt holes. I think award shows would have a lot more clout if they allowed actual real people to chime in to vote. But I feel much like what is the Electoral College to voting for the president, they'll somehow shaft everyone in one fell swoop
The reason you can't quantify what is 'good' is because movie is an art form. That would be on the same level if I gave awards to a Salvador Dali painting. Art is subjective. One person would see a brilliant take on the social economical norms of their respective culture and time period, while another person would just see a gloopy pile of paint. Yes, I'm going to hammer in that games are an art form. Accept it. If I saw a painting that got the 'Painting of the Year' sticker plastered on it, I'd feel a bit weird. First off that's not the painting I would have picked and neither would most people. Second I don't need to be told when art is pretty to look at by a person I've never met. In gaming its different. Movies often have their awards plastered all over their box but its more of a "You should buy this because people said it was really well made" kind of thing. Comes off as less pretentious when you do your best to market what people have actually said. However, the gaming industry has taken this to it's logical breaking point, releasing all new 'versions' of their game with the tag line "Game of the Year". The game doesn't even have to be actually good or even that no one liked it. The gaming industry thinks of us all as cows looking at shiny objects, Game of the Year, or GOTY for short, being the crowing achievement of shiny stuff. This can also happen for good games. See Arkham City's GOTY box art in all its messy glory, simply plastered with praises for it being a good game. Yes it is a good game though I feel as though I will vomit from your choice of box art.
Gaming award shows are even worse. Generally speaking, I don't mind people reviewing games. I feel that would be very hypocritical as it is literally my job to do so. Giving a score to a game is a decent way to tell if a game is good or bad. Reviewers use general and quantifiable ways to say if its good or bad. Good games should be rewarded and bad games should be punished. I am not disagreeing with you there. However, in this industry it has become increasingly apparent that shady practices often come into play. The most recent has to be with the debacle of Shadow of Mordor. The developers were so scared their game wasn't going to be well received so they did some underhanded stuff to get better reviews like paying off people. They must look red with embarrassment now considering that their game was actually great. In fact it was the best Lord of the Rings game I've ever played... excluding the Lego games. Those are usually good.
There is no committee of people dedicated to making sure sub par games don't get to slap that coveted GOTY sticker on their box so any idiot could do it. If you know anything about the economy, know that over saturation of a thing with devalue said thing. I know its tough to sell games in this industry but you don't have to do it in a patronizing way. I think the problem also arises with gaming gems. Games that surprised just about everyone but quickly fell off the map. In fact this is what this whole post is kind of about. I've been playing Dragon's Dogma again, a game I consider to be my favorite of all time. The problem arises when a game we like or adore is not getting the praise it deserves. This ties back into the whole 'Games are art' motif. Often times good games get shoveled under a pile of mediocre or bad titles. The good games often have a difficult time shining through the muck and gaming award shows are if the industry hands a shiny stick to the game to get out of said muck. However, that stick is wrapped in barb wire and alcohol. Its a double slap in the face when a poisonous industry content on lining their pockets at the expense of others gives awards to games. Suddenly that industry we have a love-hate relationship with becomes like an abusive figure promoting something. No matter if it is good or not, you have to take whatever they say with a grain of salt, knowing full well this is a horrible person who probably likes horrible things.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

What can I expect from Dragon Ball: Xenoverse?

Excuse me if my grammar is terrible during this post because I'm jumping up and down with excitement, figuratively of course. While I must wait an excruciating amount of time for this game to release, it has given me time to research about the game. And looking at the calendar it will come out in two weeks so ya, I have a LOT of time. In any case, over my browsing the web, here are some facts to hopefully get you excited for the game.

1. Its going to be open... kind of
Open world may be too much to ask for but this game will have more of an actual world. You'll be able to travel around certain parts of Earth in terms of Dragon Ball's world. While it hasn't been completely clear as to how open or what parts we'll be able to travel around in, it seems that the game has a bit of progression outside of simply just 'fighting mode'. This isn't new for Dragon Ball as a few years ago, in Raging Blast, you were able to travel around an albeit small but still free to travel around Earth.

2. The game will feature the same sagas as the anime including Battle of Gods, as well as a new story
The game itself is centered around you going through the same sagas from Saiyan to Buu. This is pretty standard, seeing as how basically every single game has had this story. The only difference being the GT games and any additions to the normal Z story. Pretty standard, except the story is flipped. Not to go into too much detail, your character is from the future and some bad stuff is happening. So you and Future Trunks go back in time and essentially mess with the time line to your own liking. Not sure as to what 'your own liking' will entail, but aside from that the story this time is flipped. Speaking of 'your character'...

3. You can now create your own character, complete with race options
FINALLY. I've always wanted this! You can now create your own character, complete with gender (equality high five) and clothing options, as well as being able to choose from a few races. From what I've seen, the races are from Earthling, Saiyan, Majin, Namekian and even Frieza. Not only that, but apparently races DO have an affect on gameplay. Namekians can use healing items to a greater advantage as well as regeneration when low on health as well as high health and defense. Saiyans have lower health but larger attacks and can become stronger if revived. No word on what other stats the other races have but I can presume that the Majin will have increased defense and regeneration and Frieza will have higher levels of Ki. Not only all of this, but you can choose to become and apprentice of one of the original characters, allowing you to learn their special moves and even be able to use their clothing options. Also, leveling up... which is awesome.

4. Differences in combat
Not a lot of them, though two worth mentioning. First you can now fight underwater. This isn't a huge deal, but considering this is probably the first time any of the games have added this in makes it somewhat significant. Will you be hindered underwater? Will ki blasts be ineffective? We'll just have to wait and see. Lastly, you can teleport behind targets. Sort of like an instant transmission, you can pop behind someone for a few quick attacks. This does have its own limit being its own ki meter, so you can't just BAMF in back of someone for instant wins. Still it adds a new level of depth to the game.

5. NO QUICK TIME EVENTS
This really needs no introduction. NO. QUICK TIME. EVENTS

6. The game is (sort of) based off the failed MMO
Don't you just hate it when you don't get the cool things other people get over seas. Dragon Ball Online shut down almost two years ago to Korea and Taiwan. Why it wasn't released here or anywhere else, I don't know. The game also allowed you to create a character with gender and race options as well as level up... and that's pretty much where the similarities end.

7. A bunch of new characters
Well... new as in you can play as them. Of course there are the cool ones like Gogeta and even Beerus, And then... Raspberry? Appule? Whatever. A bunch of characters you can choose from which is cool. Might be like a 'Dan' situation but whatever.

Bonus: Preorder exclusives
I preordered the Steam version which gets me two types of armor and access to SS4 Vegeta. From the website I'm reading, it also says that there is planned DLC so you might want to fork over a few extra bucks for that extra content when it comes out.

So as you can see, I have a lot that I'm going to be fretting over I would like to say, however, this game releases on a Friday. So far, I've been getting random Tuesday releases, which really screws with my sleeping/work schedule, making me choose to whether I want more traffic to this site by releasing my review sooner or sleeping and getting to work on time not sleepy. Whoever made this game release on a sensible time, I could kiss you.
In any case, the game releases on February 27th on Xbox One, 360, PS4 and 3 as well as PC.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Dying Light - PC Review 8.7/10

I'd just like to say first off my PC isn't amazing. Its basic at best. It has the requirements to play something and not much else. I'll try not to focus on the aspects of the graphics too much but if there's a problem with the performance then I will DEFINITELY talk about that. At the very least you should be able to play the game at a decent frame rate. I know I'm going to get a lot of hate for this but what it comes down to is if I can run the game by what I've been told by the page on Steam, then I have an expectation to play it. Crashes, frame dips and texture tearing have somewhat to do with graphics cards but they should be limited to the very least possible to ensure that whoever is playing the game is actually being able to play it. From the guy who hasn't upgraded his PC in years to the person who has bought a PC specifically for this game or has the best specs available, in the same way a normal edition console player vs a special edition console player.

The Good:
Despite the fact I had to lower my settings to a ridiculous degree, this game looks great. Mostly the scenery which is sort of a third world country setting with just a dash of zombie apocalypse. You don't really see that setting as much. Dead Island was close but more pleasant part of third world country type deal. Bugs flying around, run down shacks. Its all very nice. Unfortunately the game doesn't run as well as I'd hope and the frame rate dips but its playable and that's really the most I need.
The zombies are actually (kind of) smart. They're easy to take down but they come at you from multiple angles. Making you always wary of a possible attack. There's also not too much difference between the special zombies other than the truly malformed ones, so you can't just immediately know which one to kill and which one to avoid if you just scan a crowd.
You can craft a lot of things just out in the field, such as a medkits, fire crackers and even some thrown weapons. It was a bit annoying in Dead Island where if you needed something you'd either have to find it or go to that one special vendor for molotovs.
While the ability to repair weapons has been greatly diminished, what little repairing you can do can be done in the field as well as crafting weapon mods. Even though you can't really upgrade a weapon the same was as you could before, you now have the ability to what little you can on the fly in the field.
Leveling up is done in a unique way. You now have three skill trees that level up opposite of each other. Fighting, Running and Scavenging. You gain more points for Fighting the more you fight and it levels up separately to Running which can be leveled up from anything as simple as kicking to making successful jumps. It's sort of like with Borderlands 2 where the more often you fired a weapon of a certain type, the better you were at handling a weapon of that type from then on. Or more like Sleeping Dogs where you had three different level up bars which each corresponded to their own level up perks, rewards/benefits and each had their own way of leveling up independent of the other two. It really forces you to be a master of all trades. If I want to kill zombies better, I'll need the combat tree also the sprint tree because of some of the bonuses it offers like dodging or getting me closer to bashing their brains in more efficiently.
I really love how the game doesn't limit me. There's a lot of ways to kill zombies cheaply or tactically, and the game encourages it. A bit further on you'll find some barriers that you'd usually see blocking some sort of entrance like we have in the real world. Spikes that are littered about to limit mobility. After some luck, I found that if you kick or herd zombies into these, they immediately get killed. The game didn't punish me for doing this, and in fact it rewarded me. I spent a few minutes kicking zombies into the barriers and still getting the xp I would if I bashed their brains in the old fashioned way. Sometimes cars will be on fire and if a zombie walks by it will catch on fire. Herd a zombie on fire into others and they'll start a chain reaction. There are also some oil slicks around so if they get set on fire, its a trap for slow witted zombies. There's also some chemical spills lying around and I experimented with kicking a zombie in one. This game really rewards you for just being clever or perspective. You don't see that a lot which is much appreciated.

The Bad:
Parkour isn't all that great... Don't get me wrong, it functions. A good portion of the prologue teaches you how to effectively use the surroundings to your advantage. Zombies aren't great climbers so you can make use of that, though this doesn't mean that you can always get away from them by standing on top of a sedan. Why is this bad? One particular mission I'm stuck on is a jumping puzzle. This guy asked me to get some stuff for his mom. Instead of letting me in his home, I have to get through the roof. I have to do a few jumps to get to this really unfair jump which is clearly meant for me to cross it, but I've died twice to it, loosing some scavenging xp as a result. The game also expects you to make some of these insane landings. In the prologue, you need to activate these traps. Later on, you'll need to have pinpoint accuracy in order to get to some of these places, which is sort of unfair.

The Meh:
Seriously? What's up with the government always being evil? The story is you're basically working for this pseudo government organization. At first it seems as if they're being really decent, actually trying to stop an even bigger catastrophe and finding a permanent cure for the outbreak. However, this is quickly kicked aside later as your contact asks you to steal information that will help cure the plague. So much for that hope.

This is actually a really good game, and I like it. I just wish I could turn down the settings a bit more so I could actually play this at a smooth 60 fps. If you haven't already, I suggest you buy it. Suffice it to say this is the best zombie game so far in 2015, at least that I've played so far.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Preorder Blues

Hey guys. First off, I'd just like to say thanks for reading this. Its a little weird for a post, but then again no subject is really too weird for me to talk about. I've probably talked about this subject before but apparently no one has listened considering it needs to be pointed out again.
Video games are really the only system that ever does this. Sure, you can argue with things like Amazon, paying upfront for an item to be delivered at a specific date, but even then you don't actually purchase said item till it is within a certain vicinity of being delivered to its final destination. For instance I've ordered three items and I've been charged for neither of them as of late. Preorders are the equivalent of putting your jacket on a chair in the movie theater to save a seat, but instead you left about 5 bucks. Of course there's a whole bunch of things that can go wrong with basically reserving a game for yourself. For instance in the case of the latest Duke Nukem game (topical reference, right?), the game came out fifteen years later. While GameStop handled it well enough, still accepting these decade old preorder slips in, its not always the case like right now where Best Buy is cancelling some preorders for the new Majora's Mask 3DS.
But I'm not really going to talk about the practice of this, rather going to talk about preorder bonuses. Its... weird. I'm more on the positive side of this fence. Prepurchasing a game gives incentive as well as extra income to show how well liked the game is or just how much people are excited for said game. In terms of triple A companies and titles, this is little more than a few extra numbers on their sales. In terms of indie games, this can be a huge bump. Okay, so how do we get people to preorder our game or at least give a greater incentive to do so? Preorder bonuses. Special content given 'free' to those dedicated customers that shelled out a few extra bucks for us. You can't see it, but I'm giving a thumbs up. This is a really cool idea. Personally, the best in my opinion is the season pass. YES, season passes are becoming less than... great. Its basically saying, "We are going to make you pay more for the full experience of this game." But in another light, its more saying that "We are making those who bought are game a bit happier with the realization that there will be more content on the way." Most of my reviews detail the first few hours of a game. Mostly because I feel that's because those few hours are really supposed to be what the game represents. You wouldn't continue eating something that tastes bad, so I shouldn't have to slog through a bad game because there's this one thing that totally redeems it in the end. Also I'm not that well known so a review copy is less likely for me, but whatever. Basically, I'm not hugely affected by wishing for more content other than, "I like this game past the review I did and I would still like to play more of it."
My negative point with preorders are lockouts. Basically, I have this game but I don't get that small little bit of content that was promised before hand. You may say that the incentive goes further to make sure that you preorder it again, which I tend to agree. However, that is a stupid business practice. Its like if you ordered a hot dog but the guy asked if you wanted some relish or mustard. You said no and started eating. After the first bite you change your mind and offer the vendor some more money to get some relish. A) Since you've taken some of the hot dog, he now has to put less relish on it but you are still expected to pay full price for the extra. B) He in turn makes more money or at least the same amount as you would have given him before. Refusing me is just a poor business idea.
Some companies do this better than others. EA recently made it possible for those who didn't preorder Dragon Age: Inquisition to get the content offered if you preordered the game. You may say that EA is putting profits first and I would say... yes. Its also sensible. Other people can now get this content for a small and reasonable fee, thereby making it so everyone can play at the same level or have the same amount of play and experience as others. I preordered Dying Light and they did something that is incredibly stupid. They've locked out some major content for those who don't preorder. Now I'm not talking about some weapon, schematic or skin, no this is an actual game mode for the game. This is... insane. They've made no comments as to why this is or if the content will be available later for free or purchase. Essentially now, if you don't preorder the game within a few hours of when this post will (hopefully) be posted, that means you will not have a major part of the game. This is not a new thing. Metro Last Light did the same thing with Ranger Mode. Basically, you were locked out of a few things IN THE GAME like an alternate difficulty. The only difference is THAT was available as paid DLC day one. As messed up as that sounds, this is worse. You've basically just been locked out of a game. This is not some special edition with added content, no special bonus, this is a part of the game cut out.
Will I be playing Dying Light? Of course. Will this reflect my view of the game? Eh... maybe. Its a poor business practice and pretty stupid. So if Dying Light is a good game despite this, they've basically made a few potential buyers have to do a double take. If its a bad game, then essentially its a bit worse considering they're trying to bleed a few more bucks just to make some money back on their bad game. I hope this isn't a trend that continues this year, or at least gets a little better. Say give us the option to buy it later for a sensible price. It gives you more money and it gives us more content. Its a win win.

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