Archive | January 2012

Games & art

Hey guys, this is Clover again. I’ve realised that quite a few of you want games to be considered a medium of art. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing more I’d love than our medium to be accepted as a mature art form to display emotions, flaws and feelings in the human condition. I would like it if we were up there on the pedestal with music, literature and film. But let’s not get into that right now. I’ll have time to write that later.

Back to my main point. So to you who thinks that all narratives should be deep and immersive, to those who want all characters to be compelling and different. I will ask you a question, where did you start playing games, or how? You probably started the same way I did. On Nintendo. Face it, almost no Nintendo title has had those kind of titles, it’s either go save a princess or level up your little pet until he evolves. You see what I mean? You didn’t start off with games with the most complex of stories, you started off simple and fun. Sure when you get older, you might need more thought-provoking titles to ease your hunger. But the thing is, video games have been, and always will be, made for entertainment.

I admit, I like a little compelling and complex story myself but on the other hand, I like to let loose and find some fun to have. Within a world so foreign I don’t believe it’s real. If I don’t believe it can be real then it’s all the more fun knowing you can do anything in there and it won’t affect you outside the game.

I feel I’m contradicting myself here. I’ll get to the point. For you, people of art, there are games made for you. I’ll give you a small list of modern games suiting your needs, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, GTA4, L.A Noire, Red Dead Redemption, Fallout: 3 and many  more. But you have to realise that “dumb” games are made for entertaining the masses and make money. Games like Call Of Duty, Battlefield, Super Mario, Dead Space, Space Marine 40K,  Halo, Gears Of War and Just Cause.

Gamers, one day we shall have our No Country For Old Men, Macbeth or Mona Lisa. One day, we will have the game that brings us out of the dark and accepted by all as our own medium of art.

And for those of you who have shit for brains, go play Duke Nukem Forever.

Clover out.

Fallout 3 review (expansions excluded)

Clover here again with another review.

So let us start out. We start in a bloody, blurry room where you’re in some dark cave or something and talking to your Dad. You design yourself and see your future unfold by the way you look, like an ugly c**t I might add. Sorry Bethesda but come on, your humans in this game don’t look the best. Then your mum dies… oh wow… that’s a bad start in life…

OK satire aside, the game is awesome and as soon as you start playing you’ll be hooked. Even though I enjoyed it thoroughly, I started off properly after my third try to know what to do with which weapons when and what amount of currency why. It is difficult to start off with, seeing as it was the first time for me playing a Bethesda game so I didn’t know what to do or where to go. After I played It for a few more hours I became used to the combat system and the mechanics. After that I could play it without fault, each enemy I killed was another added to enjoyment. That made me sound rather… psychotic, please don’t arrest me.

What I found not suiting the game’s style were the subway tunnels and the caves. It’s not I have something against them; it’s just that the game shouldn’t be creepy or eerie. The vaults themselves were creepy enough and when you were walking around you felt as if something was there watching, following or about to jump out and attack you. But the darkness of the situation you’re in balances that out seeing as basically mankind has reached its end. The V.A.T.S might make you feel lazy due to the simplified combat but it is a great aid in actually getting some kind of damage on your opponents. Honestly, the more I tried to shoot the buggers outside of V.A.T.S the more bullets were wasted.

The story is as good as any game can have and the voice acting is well done, especially in the likes of Liam Neeson but unfortunately because of the story, the game is a little too linear for my liking. I enjoy a bit of freedom when it comes to deciding one’s fate. Seeing as it is an open world Bethesda game, obviously it is littered with glitches. I haven’t encountered many on my journey through the wasteland, but the glitches go by forgiven as the sheer greatness of the game outshines the flaws.

Another great thing about this game is the feeling you get at the end when you discover you’re the saviour of humanity, you save the lives of every living human and monster you like (if you so choose). The way you do this of course is monitored by the game’s morality system known as the Karma meter. The meter determines how characters act around you and what speech options you get in conversations. To me, it makes no difference to the way I played it, I always ended up doing the right thing and I’m always the good guy in the outcome. I can become bad but it’s just not in my nature.

The one thing i noticed was, the quest Oasis. I kept him alive. Now in the game, it registers as good karma but I don’t believe this, the fact that Harold and Bob suffers as they live longer is to me, a sense of torture. He tells you he wants to die, from what I’ve learnt in the Fallout Wiki and the game itself (http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Fallout_Wiki) he’s lived for over 2 centuries and if you keep him alive you don’t ease his suffering. I kept him alive to see if I could get a lower karma but no, if you force him to suffer then somehow it’s good. But on the other hand, the immersion in this game is amazing. When I had Harold given the life-giving thingy. I actually felt really bad about prolonging his life. It’s the same with Megaton after I blew it up on my first play through. I loved the people who lived there, apart from moira, she can go suck a pipe… but yes I thought everybody there were great except for that thing where they stare at you in the whole conversation. But yes, when I nuked it, I felt like a monster. There was a pain somewhere in my head when I did it. I had such a weighing guilt in me so I had to start the game again. It can suck you in so easily, not only with the looks but the personalities as well. Fallout 3 has taught me not to nuke people. Everybody, it’s a bad idea, trust me.
I give Fallout 3: 9/10

It might not be perfect but it is a shining example of a great RPG that is matured with experience and has time invested into it by a great studio. It proves a game doesn’t need good visuals to be a great one.

Clover out.

[SW:TOR] BioWare Triumphant

It’s no secret that Dragon Age: Origins is my favorite game. To that extent, it’s slightly possible that I’m biased towards anything BioWare tosses at us. The Mass Effect games effectively kicked ass, but they lost a lot of respectability when they sold out with the sequel to Origins.

As resentful as I am for DA:2, it’s about time I commend them on their more recent release, Star Wars: The Old Republic. So far the game is good. My only issue with it is the toll it takes on my machine to work, but it’s a small price to pay to kill things with my morally-ambiguous twi’lek Jedi Sentinel. Hell, that’s a mouthful.

Firstly, SW:TOR is fantastic in quite a few ways. It’s the most immersive MMORPG I’ve played (so far), but there’re a few setbacks, primarily the amazing quality of graphics. I’ve got to be honest, I made the rookie mistake of “Oh, my PC handles WoW perfectly. TOR should be a walk in the park.”

It isn’t.

The detail is really good, and the textures look sublime. The downside is that it really degrades the frame-rate quality and therefore overall satisfaction if the settings are put to too high. I’m personally using a NVIDIA GeForce 8600 chip which generally did the trick on WoW – it could handle the shadows, textures and pretty much the view distance up to a medium setting, which was good enough. On TOR it’s different altogether: on medium settings I only got a single frame every several seconds.

I just turned the shadows off. Yes, it looks tacky when your Twi’lek Jedi Sentinel is somehow immune to light displacements but that’s the price you have to pay to slice up droids freely or fall down an elevator shaft and discover what happens when a Force-sensitive humanoid alien collides with the elevator (which is now at the bottom of the shaft) from a high point with the effect of gravity quickly bringing it to terminal velocity, which was essentially my experience.

The classes are fun, the races look good, customization doesn’t leave much to be desired and the voiced dialogue just rocks. Unfortunately it’ll be a while before it reaches its prime, as it’s still in the growth stage. I can’t talk about an MMORPG without mentioning WoW, which’ll be it’s main competitor.

Now I’m waiting for my euphoric merging of Blizzard, Bioware and Bethesda. Bethware Blizzard, or something.

-L.A

[Fallout: New Vegas] Please Assume The Position

I’m not sure where to start with this one. Fallout New Vegas is probably my favorite game in the series so far, even for it’s flaws:

Bethesda have this thing that, when you talk to characters in any of their games, time stops and you’re forced to look the NPCs in the eye. They fixed this in Skyrim, their latest installation in the Elder Scrolls series, so perhaps we’ll be able to look away while Victor is speaking to us in the next Fallout game. God only knows.

As far as the gameplay goes, it’s pretty much the same as the last game in the series. the Vault-tech Assistet Targetting System (or VATS) pretty much does all your shooting for you. In fact, the main distinction (or, at least, factor that separates it from it’s predecessor) is “Hardcore Mode.”

So far, in every RPG that I’ve come across, I’ve never had the option to purposely starve my character to death. Nor deny him sleep, water or any of the necessary modes of protecting himself/herself from radiation sickness and the problems that incurs. Hell, F:NV takes “roleplaying game” to the next level.

Another benefit as far as I’m concerned is the Wacky Wasteland perk you’re given at the beginning. It warps the game into a funhouse of culture references, alien blasters and shows you the reality of Indie’s stunt from the recent movie, Curse of the Crystal… whatever (the name doesn’t come to mind, nor have I really had any interest in the Indiana Jones movies). The story is… flawed, to an extent, but the multiple endings are more-or-less satisfying and the quests are fun, one of them [SPOILERsending me out to a robot-manufacturing plant to reprogram a robot into a sexbot… upon reprogramming, you’re given the option to test it out.

I took it.

So, in conclusion, Fallout: New Vegas has a mixed reception from me – it uses the same mechanics as F3, but as a role-player game it’ll be one of my favorites, at least until Bethesda re-invent Skyrim with the ability to starve my wood-elf.

-L.A

Just Cause 2

Clover here, reviewing another game for you to gorge your eyes upon. I forgot to write on Word that the landscapes, when you see them, are absolutely beautiful. Just to let you know that when you see it, you see the possibilities open up in front of you, you can see your next chaotic conquest.

I’m going to look back at this game with very fond memories. Each car I drove, regardless if it was slow or not, you still felt like a God. The abilities you gain through the entire game sees you either scaling whole buildings to flying planes into another plane. The possibilities in this game are completely endless. I’m going to the mention the negatives later, but as I said, you can do anything you want in the limits of the game. I can explain this better, look at a game like… let’s say… Fallout. You can do technically anything can’t you? Think about it, agreed? OK, moving on, in just Cause 2 you can do a 1000 more things than that. You can take your car, strap it onto a helicopter and fly away with your car dangling, then proceeding to a military base and dropping it on an enemy. You can steal a fire truck and play chicken with a police car. You can strap two planes together and have them play tug of war. The one thing that Just Cause 2 achieved was the element of fun that is missing in the majority of games these days.

The weapons are all balanced quite well and the upgrade system is pretty useful when you find you have a preferred vehicle or weapon, then you can upgrade them as you please without doing the same with the others. It is nearly perfect; the one thing that could have made it better was at least a good story and believable voice acting. Here come the negatives. The voice acting in this is as if the actors knew the game was a joke in itself. Maybe that’s what it is… maybe it doesn’t take itself seriously. That actually makes sense, a game that isn’t supposed to be serious doesn’t have anything serious to say. It is the same thing with the story. It’s way too hectic and loosely written. The game is a satire of itself, it’s a perfect blend of good old-fashioned cheesy and over the top James Bond style action blended with more freedom than the imagination of William Wallace. Once you reach the end of the career you become the most powerful person on the island of Panau, nothing can stop you, not even helicopters with mounted missile launchers.

Once you reach the higher levels, that’s it, you can’t max out, and the thing is you don’t need to. But as I’m saying this, blowing up entire military complexes is actually just as fun as driving down a mountain in an ice cream van. I think this game is highly underrated by all of my friends and most reviewers. What is a good game to you people these days? A game where you get frustrated so much you have to rage quit? Or is it a real game where you can sit down, pick up a controller and know you have an entire 400 square kilometres to wreak havoc on. It is one of my favourite games in my personal library. I bought it a year or 2 back and I haven’t gotten bored with it yet.

Definitely one of the best open world games I have ever played, the free roaming and endless possibilities make it a very enjoyable time and I’ve spent over a 100 hours playing it. It was worth buying the limited edition. The only thing that brings it down is it’s bad story telling and worse voice acting. It’s no piece of art, but you can make it your own art.

Clover out.

Battlefield 3 discuss

Clover here. I have figured out how to have fun on Battlefield 3. Play the team or squad deathmatch mode. That’s it.

Clover out.

Oh and stop SOPA.