Archive for March, 2013

Finally, a fresh title to sink my teeth into. I am speaking of Dishonored of course, a game that I finally had a chance to clear in the past month or so. I had been waiting for Dishonored for a long time, and basically bought it when it first came out and managed to play it while I was in my dorm room in Urbino. Unfortunately though, while I was Italy, I discovered that it was the game that pushed my laptop over the edge and would make it overheat. So I finally managed to sink my teeth into it when I got back and managed to get a cooling mat for it. After the first couple chapters I put the game down, as I do with many of my games, and switched to a different one to see how that one suited my fancy for a while. However, in the past month, I made a pact with myself to clear all of my games that I have that I never really cleared (at least the ones with clear endings). So now I only keep five games on my laptop at any time, four games that I dive into, and one for casual play. Thus, Dishonored was reinstalled, and completed finally. WARNING: SPOILERS.

First off, I would like to comment on the beautiful environment that was created in this new world. The city of Dunwall came to life with the distinct architecture though out the entire city, the citizens that had motives, character, depth, and the way that The Outsider spoke to me. The world is huge, allowing you to take multiple paths to the same goal, making it so if I couldn’t sneak past a guard and into the lighthouse, I could scale another building and blink between roofs, and hide in dumpsters to get there. Now, I ran a “no kill” run for my first play through for a few reasons: one, my friend who had seen the game seemed skeptical of an assassin game that could be cleared without killing a soul, two, I wanted the challenge of being the city’s crusader, and three, I read some of the repercussions of killing people and decided to leave that to my “kill everyone” play through.

Going through the game, I noticed that the atmosphere stayed relatively constant: you have a person to murder or not, and you are wanted for killing the empress so you’ll be killed on site. Things were dark and grimy, just the way you’d expect a city in downfall would be. The game doesn’t get too dark though, you never have to murder your sainted mother or anything, for the most part, you are just killing people who are either A, evil or B, part of the evil machine. The environment does all of the work, and a couple of characters add to it, like Granny Rags and The Outsider.

The mechanics work like a dream, never really breaking stride in the game, allowing you to seamlessly blink across a roof, possess a rat, sneak into the building, hit a guard with a sleep dart, steal a safe code, and make it out through the fourth floor window. However, that sequence happened about the six time that I tried the mission. I give the game points for definitely being challenging when trying not to kill people. However, now that I have tried playing by killing everyone that I see, I have found the game much easier to get through. Now, that same sequence goes more like this: kill the front guard, take his key, kill the guard guarding the safe code, and walk out like a boss.

I’ve also started to experience the difference in high and low chaos now that I have started my “kill everyone” run. Playing the first assassination mission showed more rat swarms to start off with, which I know is just the beginning of the mayhem that is going to ensue. Overall, I give the game a high rating, and I’m waiting for the Knife of Dunwall DLC(s) that will be coming out (though depending on price, I may not get them, we will see).

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Architect

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I am frustrated with a new trend in gaming that has been going on in probably the worst ways imaginable. The trend is Downloadable Content, or DLC, that I am here to really talk about today.

Now I have purchased certain DLCs before for my different games, and for the ones I bought, I was actually really happy with what I received. I’ve paid $5 for a good extra five hours of story and gameplay for some of my games, and I’ve paid $1 for something nifty that I kind of wanted for my character. Overall, I think I’ve spent no more than $20 on DLCs for all of my games. The thing that I am really starting to not like is the increase in the price of DLCs, the content you actually get for the price, and the release dates for the DLCs.

The prices of DLCs seem to be going up quite a bit for most of the games that I keep a watch on, which is irritating. Paying $10 for a new costume isn’t how things should be, that should be a dollar, maybe two at most, but I don’t want to shell out so much just for some rags on my characters. I also don’t want to pay $5 for a new weapon, again, that should be a couple of bucks at most. When I’m paying $10 for a DLC, I want to get at least another five hours of gameplay, or story for that money. Currently though, most of the DLCs that have been coming out only give you either a skin or a map for five or ten bucks. The DLCs I purchased for Kingdoms of Amalur were worth the price because I got a huge new area to explore in each, added plot, cool new features that actually mattered, and a slew of special weapons to be earn in those areas.

Now I recently purchased the new Fire Emblem: Awakening game for the 3DS and noticed that I could download some extra maps for it, which I first thought was cool. Then I started looking at the prices for each of them. Four, five, and even six dollars for a single map to play. Each map only gives you about twenty minutes of extra gameplay depending on how careful you are with your units. This is the type of DLC that I don’t enjoy, the kind that gives you a map, 20 minutes of gameplay, and charges you so much. What I want for five or six bucks is a map pack, something that has all of the extra xenologues, or paralogues in them. I would be content with paying five bucks for the map pack of a set of those. Developers really need to start thinking about what they are making into DLC and how much that is actually going to cost because all of us are cutting back on our gaming purchases and trying to make smart, long term choices for what we purchase.

The final point I’m going to make with these DLC problems is the release dates for some of the things they are releasing. This irks me probably the most out of everything because of the time frame of everything. Game is released. Next day, DLC is released. Or, the even worse model. Game is released, so is DLC on the same day. I get really angry about this because I feel that if they can churn out DLC right after the release or the day of, then why couldn’t it be a part of the original game? Seriously, I know everyone wants to just rob my wallet when it comes to games now, but can we at least have things calm down with the DLC stuff? I have no problem with the idea of DLCs, extra content that they didn’t have time to put into the original game or stuff they just wanted to add because they felt like it, sure give me some of that. I just want the developers to really consider pricing this stuff better, and to get better with the release dates of the stuff because I won’t buy a DLC that comes out day of the game release, nor will I buy a DLC a year and a half after the game is out. Developers really need to find the sweet spot for releasing this stuff.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Architect

A squeal to a game series that I have been waiting quite a while came out, DmC. My background with the series was having the first three games and never getting more than a couple hours into any of them. So when I saw the trailers and gameplay of the new one and saw that they were basically rebooting the series, I was kind of excited to give it a try. Now though, I wish I hadn’t bought the game and all of its lack of content.

To start off with, the night that I got the game, I put it into my XBOX and started drinking while playing it. As I played and became increasingly more impaired, I found that the game was too easy, so I bumped up the difficulty every time I beat a level with an S rank or higher. Well in no time I was playing on the hardest difficulty first available to you without beating the game, still getting S and SS ranks on all of the missions. Then, before I knew it, I beat the game. No deaths, all S rank or above, while heavily impaired at the end.

So here is the critique: the game sucked. I bought the game a few days after it came out, so I still had to pay full price (used wasn’t available yet, but it’s only $5 cheaper now). The game was not worth full price for how much I actually got out of the game, and this is the thing that really irks me about current gaming. It seems that developers think that just playing a game again on a higher difficulty is what replay value is about, beating the score you made last time, honing your skills, and adding your name to a leaderboard. This, however, is not replay value, this is a copout. Replay is wanting to experience the unique game for all of its greatness, reliving the story, and partly for some nostalgia. I frequently replay The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, because it has a great plot, cutting grass is fun, and it’s still the best adventure game I’ve ever played. I have made multiple character profiles in Elder Scrolls: Oblivion to try out the different character builds and different side quests and stuff. I’ve thrown open a new file in Fire Emblem because I want a good challenge. DmC has none of these traits. It is short, typical hack and slash, no challenge.

Now as I said before, I was excited for the reboot of the series because of the prospect of the challenge and plot that would just take me in (and the fact that Dante got impaled by a freaking sword and lived, but got killed by puppets). I saw that they reworked the combat system, made it more fluid. Great! I like being able to throw a guy up, blast him with a shotgun, throw his friend off the stage, and then cut the head off the last guy in one fluid combo. What I don’t like is making certain weapons, again, useless. The scythe you get is awesome, but so weak that I only used it when I needed a large combo, or for the enemies that had to have it used on them. Once you get past the fluid combat, there are no other redeeming qualities. Story is flat, boring, and just kind of annoying. You see all of the different things they talk about, and want to know more, but never get it. There are plot twists that you see the second you start the game. The characters have little motive to actually do much. It is very frustrating.

To conclude, this game had potential, so much, but fell flat on its face. It could have been a longer, more challenging game, but instead it is a short, easy, overpriced, generic game. Unfortunately, this is the last Devil May Cry game that I will most likely be purchasing for quite some time. DmC, I bid you farewell.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Architect