Archive for the ‘Videogames’ Category

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

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

The post will be a review of one of the few games that I have cleared recently, Borderlands 2. I managed to clear the final boss about a week ago, and thought that this is a game well worth reviewing for random people on the internet.

The only reason I played Borderlands 2 was because over the holidays a friend of mine bought it for me and a bunch of my friends with the idea of multiplayer gun-slinging, havoc reeking fun, and to start with, he was right. The first two hours that I played the game I was at my friend’s house playing together with my other friends. Each of us chose one of the four unique classes, I chose the assassin Zero, and then we dropped into the world. At first, the character builds weren’t very different, partly because of level, but mostly because of weapons at that moment. Until we made it to the next location, all of us were using pistols and melee attacks to get through waves of Bullymogs that blocked our path. After frustrating my friends with running ahead and killing things and stealing all of the loot, I left to go spend time with my girlfriend.

borderlands-2-zero-wallpaper

That was the only time that I played multiplayer, but for the most part, it was kind of fun. The night would have been more fun if I had gotten a sniper rifle at that point and taken advantage of my character’s unique abilities. I ran the rest of the game by myself, taking on a multitude of side quests to fill up my pockets and give me better loot to use to kill bigger things. The game is fairly fast pace, you walk into a new area and get swarmed by all of the monsters, thieves, and general baddies, but that doesn’t deter you because you start exploiting your class perks. I got into the habit of using my sniper rifles to start off a fight when I entered a new area, keeping my distance and picking off all of the new startled enemies. Then, when the stranglers finally ran up to me, I whipped out my shotgun and blew them away. This fighting tactic worked alright to start with, but after I got a few more weapon slots, it changed to accommodate the new arsenal that I was toting around with me.

It wasn’t until fairly late in the game that I actually “died”, at which point I discovered the Fight for Your Life system they implement in the game. If you get your health depleted, you are wounded and can’t zoom your weapons, and you have a limited amount of time to kill another enemy. If you manage to kill one, then you get your shield back and some portion of your health back, thus giving you another go at the current situation. This is where my new set of weapons came in, whenever I went into Fight for Your Life mode, I pulled out my rocket launcher and killed the closest thing. Once I recovered, I would reload my rocket launcher so I could be prepared for the next time that happened to me. I was caught refilling it too often when I actually died because I hadn’t reloaded it from before. Then I started my special ability where I would create a clone that would draw enemies in while I got huge buffs to my melee attacks and critical hits. This came in handy when trying to do massive damage to a boss, or escaping a hairy situation I had gotten myself into.

Overall, the combat system, diverse weapons, upgrades, and skill trees make combat a really great experience to experiment with. Later on in the game though, you will start to find it much more difficult to find a better weapon than the one you are using, I kept the same sniper rifle for a good five hours of game play, until I found one that had a massive power boost. Same with my shotgun, and I used the same pistol for most of the game. Money also became pointless along the way because you are just showered in money (literally) all of the time, which made actually dying later on kind of a mild annoyance than something to really avoid.

The atmosphere of the game world is remarkable because each area is different from the last, making you feel like you are in a wasteland, city, or decimated local. The only thing that could have made it slightly better was if the enemies changed more than they did. Yes I would fight giant bug things in a sewer area, and bandits in an outpost, but any time you found the same type of enemy in two different locations, they didn’t show any difference. This is mainly for the bandit designs because they were the same in the frozen waste land as they were in the desert. A bit more variation would have been great.

The game’s antagonist, Handsome Jack, is the pure embodiment of evil asshole that has to die. Later on in the game they add to his background and try to show you his motives and driving force behind him being a bastard, but in the end, you have no sympathy for the man. He is a great character because you never really have any moral grey moments when dealing with him, even after they add in his backstory.

The rest of the supporting character for the game really fill in the universe because everyone is different from the last important person you had to deal with. Each of the supporting characters will also give you unique quests for you to fill in your play time with. Some of the time you’ll have to kill so many of a certain monster, or run around trying to deliver mail in a bad part of town, but for the most part, you’ll get something new quest from quest. I went from checking up on my worst enemy’s grandmother, to trying to help a robot become human.

I highly recommend this game to anyone who likes dark/absurd humor, growth of characters, guns, and general merriment. Grab a buddy and take on Handsome Jack, and put him out of his misery!

borderlands2

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Architect

Again I avoided packing and instead indulge my Batman addiction with a marathon of Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and Under the Red Hood. So with my marathon of movies came good coffee and getting media files ready for Italy. Besides that I organized a last IHOP trip with guys for when I finish dinner with family I could see them one last time.

After dinner with my parents we watched the new Doctor Who before I went out to meet my friends at IHOP. It was a good IHOP trip, had some good conversations with the guys and shared some good stories before we all had to go our separate ways. It was kind of a sad moment getting back into my car and driving off because the next day I would leaving and starting the next big journey in my life. After all of this and everything I’ve been through emotionally and everything I’ve pushed myself to do physically, I think I’m ready for a real fresh start when I get over there. Though having that woman in red would be a nice to have in this new fresh start, but we’ll see what I can manage with things.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Architect

I did my usual routine for the day of do as little as possible and play video games. I was still sore from running last night. My mother and I got together to hem my pants for when I go to Italy. I hate buying pants because they never make the right size for me. I don’t know about other guys, but the inseam is just too high up on pants that have the correct length. I don’t know what they are thinking when they make pants, but they certainly aren’t thinking of me.

I kept playing through Kingdom Hearts 3D, and I just beat Sora’s side of the story and I’m kind of wondering what all is actually going on. Apparently there is time travel, but none of that matters, even though they met people that the bad guys didn’t think they should meet. And it looks like they may be trying to turn Sora evil for some reason. I haven’t finished Riku’s side yet because I’m only the last slew of bosses at the end that have bullshit attacks. I like that they have included Riku more in the story for the past few games. He was always an interesting character to me, because he was dark, yet light, yet neither, yet both. It was a character type that I wasn’t sure about to start with until he was in Chain of Memories and he said that his combination of powers was actually the twilight to dawn.

I also worked on my rogue character for Dungeons and Dragons and I think that I’ve made the right rogue for this upcoming campaign. I just need to write up his back story and his physical descriptions. I also worked on a Binder character that Brandon showed me, it’s a pretty cool class to play just because of how it all works. Binding vestiges to me through rituals and depending on how successful they are, the vestige can manifest in my personality and determine some of my decisions and actions. I took the improved binding feat so I can bind higher level vestiges to me earlier on, that way I can take on an even more versatile role for the party, even though there is no party at the moment and no campaign for the character.

I finished off the day with a stop at BJs to pick up dinner for the family because I wanted to have a real meal, but no one felt like cooking.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Architect

I stayed up late last night because I got in from my jog late and stayed up playing Killing Floor. I had intended to get up at 9am, but that didn’t happen. I think I’m going to design an alarm clock rubix cube that you have to solve so that it turns off. Around noon, my mother woke me up and asked if I was going to go out and run my errands for the day.

I finally willed myself up and got ready for the day with a cup of coffee, researching some Dungeons and Dragons material for the December quest, and my meds. I got dressed and hit up the pharmacy so I could get enough meds for my stay in Italy. Well they gave me another three month supply, so I’m good for a long time. After that I hit up the bank to inform them that I will be out of the country and that I don’t want them doing anything weird to my accounts once I’m over there. Well they told me to contact them via email to inform them of this fact, which confused me because I thought that doing it in person would work better for this kind of thing.

That finished out my errands so I spent the rest of my day eating lunch, playing more Killing Floor, and getting all of my books ready for the trip that I will be reading for both pleasure and for class. Brandon called and asked if he could drop by and pick up the shirt he left in my car from Schlitterbahn. When he got here we talked about work and Dungeons and Dragons stuff and school. He gave me a few ideas for classes that I could be and what I could do with my characters. It was a good talk and we’ll probably hang out before I leave for Italy.

Also, I don’t like Facebook and the photos that pop up on my feed. No matter where I am in the dealing getting better phase, still sucks.

Post Script: I’m angry. I’m angry a lot now. I’m angry that I’m not happy and that I don’t think I can be happy. I’m angry that other people are happy. I’m angry that she’s happy. I’m angry that for the last eight months I was in a dead relationship on her side. I’m angry that I work so hard, and do so much to get through each day and yet it means nothing. I’m angry that nothing makes it better, nothing heals it. I’m angry about the fact that I’m twenty, but I feel like I’m thirty. I’m angry that I don’t have what I feel I deserve: happiness. I’m angry that I don’t even know myself anymore. I’m angry because I don’t know if what I’m doing is because of me, or her, or something else. I’m angry at everything and everyone now.

Whatever the risk, still onward.

-The Architect