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Thoughts on Proteus

27 Jan

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Steam’s library is full of amazing games. Whether they be Triple-A experiences, or run away indie successes, there’s no denying the amount of great choices there are for gamers. However, it also easy for good games to get lost, and Proteus is one of those hidden gems. Whether or not Proteus can be considered a game is not up for debate here. Therefore, Proteus is easily one of the most interesting games I have ever played, and would put it next to Journey in terms of the emotional experience it has given me.  First and foremost, Proteus is a first person exploration game that gives the player one and only one objective: explore. There are no puzzles, enemies to fight or any boss battles. The player must simply explore.

The island itself is gorgeous. Never mind the graphics, but looking on how the colors blend, it is easy to get lost in the beauty of it all. Not only does it look great, the environment has eye-catching landmarks scattered across the island which makes it easy for the player to forget where he⁄she was going. One moment you might be climbing the highest mountain on the island, only to see a cabin and the distance, and quickly change course. In Proteus the sounds of the island play a crucial role in delivering this quality experience.

Exploring the island in Proteus may not seem rewarding in the most literal meaning, or even when compared to other games, but the simple sights and sounds that Ed Key and David Kanaga have created really give the player a childlike curiosity when exploring the island. The wildlife on the island each comes with its own set a unique sounds and when paired with the soundtrack create a world that anyone would want to discover. I found myself following a leaping frog for five minutes simply to see and hear where it would lead me.

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As fun as the island was exploring, Proteus leaves itself completely open to interpretation. As was said earlier, Proteus delivered an emotional experience for me, which can only be described in a pastoral sense. It made me want to get away from city life and reminded of the simple pleasures nature can deliver. It is easy to forget how to relax sometimes and playing Proteus gives me that gratification. Of course that is one simple interpretation of Proteus, and because the island is randomly generated, every play through can provide a different experience.

Proteus is a polarizing game because some may not even consider it a game, but those that play it may get entirely different experience from one another. One may simply get bored after walking around for 5 minutes. However it is still a game everyone must try because it can truly inspire or raise emotions in players that have never truly played a game like Proteus.

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The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Sony’s Conference

25 Feb

As February 20th has come and gone, so has Sony’s reveal of the PS4. At their conference, Sony showed of many aspects of their new console. Sony showed off the specs, the new UI, and most importantly the games. But the whole conference wasn’t perfect, here’s what Sony did well, and didn’t do well during their conference.

THE GOOD:

Showing off the specs of the PS4 was a right move on Sony’s part. While half of the audience probably had no idea of what any of the specs meant, I’ll give you a comparison. The PS3 had 512 MB of RAM, now the PS4 has 8 GB. The PS4 is also essentially a PC in a box. Gone is Sony’s proprietary Cell processor that developers loathed to develop for, the PS4 has a processor from AMD.

Sony showed off the controller, and while we don’t exactly know what the front touch pad is going to be used for, the controller still keeps the look all Playstation fans know and love, with a few minor, but welcome differences. The analog sticks are convex this time, and the triggers are more like the Xbox 360 controller. The newest and best addition to the controller is the share button. I’ll get into what that does soon.

The PS4’s new interface looks good, although it looks a bit like Windows 8, but nevertheless, the interface is much better than the current XMB. From what was showed off, the new PSN seems better. Players now have the ability to spectate their friends gameplay as well as play for their friends, should they allow it. Finally there is the new Share functionality. Basically the PS4 is constantly recording. Get a crazy kill in a FPS, you can instantly upload in online, without the need of a PVR.

Finally Sony showed of some games. Sony invited Guerilla Games and Sucker Punch to show Killzone: Shadow and Fall, and inFamous: Second Son respectively. This would of been enough for them to show, but Sony went above their call, and had demos from third party developers such as Capcom, Ubisoft, Blizzard, and even Bungie.

THE BAD:

Remember when Sony acquired the streaming company Gaikai for 380 million dollars? Well the acquisition is finally being put to good use, but at the conference, Sony danced around the issue of backwards compatibility. Sony claimed that eventually the PS4 would be able to stream all PS1, PS2 and PS3 games, but when this is only an eventuality.

This is small an annoyance, but Sony didn’t actually show the console itself. While I understand that there is still 10 months until release, it’s easier to get excited for a product when you see it.

Most Playstation fans would usually be happy to see LittleBigPlanet creator Media Molecule to get up on stage, but what they showed was very confusing. No one was really sure if they were showing off a new game with the Move controller, or just a tech demo. Same with Quantic Dream. Sure it’s cool how realistic the person looked, but again this has no place at a console reveal.

THE UGLY:

Not much was ugly about Sony’s conference, but Square Enix really brought the conference to a low point. First they show a demo from a year ago, that every one watching has already seen, but then they just tell everyone to be excited for E3 because of a new Final Fantasy game. How about instead of announcing a new game, maybe Square should finish the one they’ve been working on for who knows who long now.

In conclusion, Sony had a great show despite a few low points, and I’m really excited to see what Microsoft can do to top Sony.

The Next-Gen is Near

31 Jan

Earlier today Sony posted a teaser on its website. The only thing worth noting is this teaser is the date and time. February 20th, 6 PM EST. 

Now we can only assume that is the day that Sony will unveil its next-gen console, the Playstation 4. As we eagerly await its unveiling, the only thing we can do is speculate on what exactly Sony will show.

The Name:

Up to now, everyone has heard the codename, “Orbis”. The name Orbis is certainly a possibility, especially if the Vita and Orbis interact with each other. Vita means life, and Orbis means circle in English. Put those together and you get “The circle of life”. Personally I do not like the name, and besides it wouldn’t mean much to consumers because barely anyone owns a PS Vita, let alone knows what a PS Vita is. The name Orbis also abandons the Playstation name that consumers know. When parents walk into a store and see an Orbis, they’re not going to know that it’s the new Playstation.

Another name that Sony may be considering, is just simply calling it the Playstation 4. It simple and everyone knows what a Playstation is and the 4 clearly indicates that it is a new Playstation. Or Sony can name their new console the Playstation. Honestly, I really don’t care what they call it, but that’s only because I know the core Playstation audience already knows that they’re going to buy the system. Sony has to name their next-gen for the casual folk. The people that barely know the difference between the Wii and Wii U.

The Games:

While I highly doubt many games will be shown, because I’m expecting Sony to do their big reveal at E3, but it wouldn’t hurt if Sony gave us a tease of what is set to come, so people know what they’re going to be getting into when they buy console at launch. If you didn’t know, Sony owns 12 studios, and most of them are currently working on unannounced titles. The key for this event is to show off key franchises.

Sony’s flagship studio, Naughty Dog has one team working on The Last of Us which is out on May 7th, but their second team hasn’t said anything on what they’re working on. It’s easy to guess that they’re working on Uncharted 4 because that is Sony’s biggest franchise. If Sony were to show off a trailer for Uncharted 4, and say that it is a launch title, people would go crazy.

Guerrilla Games also hasn’t announced anything, and their last game was Killzone 3, and now we can only assume Guerrilla Games is working on a sequel to Sony’s FPS. Guerrilla Games knows how to make amazing first person shooters, and if Sony wants their console to sell, Sony’s going to need show fans that they’re ready for the next-gen.

As I previously said, Sony is most likely going to wait for E3 to show off the majority of their launch titles, but teasing those two games will get people to pre-order their console early.

The Price:

“599 US Dollars!” That is one mistake Sony does not want to make again. After this generation, Sony has learned that their customers will not get second jobs to buy their console. The sweet spot for the PS4 is going to be 300$. The highest Sony can charge is 500$ and that’s really high for console. Today consoles, are becoming increasingly irrelevant, and Sony must price it perfectly to get people to buy it.

Hopefully Sony will show off some cool stuff at their event on February 20th, but even if they don’t show any games, or give the price, I’m still very excited to watch the event. Thanks for reading!

Dishonored Review

29 Oct

New IP’s this late in a console cycle are extremely rare and being successful are even rarer, but Arkane Studios looks to break this trend with their game Dishonored. Dishonored is a stealth action game, giving players the choice to either slink around the shadows or in killing every one in sight. Dishonored in set in a Victorian era London, but Dunwall is not what it seems to be. Dunwall’s citizens are being terrorized by a rat plague that has been killing its citizens. The rat plague is obviously caused by rats that eat their victims and turn them into flesh eating monsters.

In Dishonored, you play as Corvo Attano, the bodyguard of the Empress and her daughter Emily. When the Empress is assassinated, Corvo is framed and sentenced to execution by the Lord Regent. Faced with death, and mysterious group aids Corvo and helps him escape from prison to save Emily and the Empire. Soon after Corvo is contacted by a mysterious figure only known as “The Outsider” and receives powers to complete his mission.

The city of Dunwall has an interesting art style on it that may not be for everyone. Personally I didn’t hate it, but it didn’t impress me either, and I know I’m in the minority in this. Powered by the Unreal Engine 3, I think Arkane could have made some of the textures, and character models look better.

Dishonored has been greatly advertised as being a “chose your own path” game and while it is generally true, players can chose how to approach each mission, but towards the end of the game, the choices are reduced to kill or not kill. While this is not a huge issue for me, it is annoying when a game doesn’t deliver what it’s advertising and essentially becomes very linear. These linear parts were boring and felt like a chore compared to the assassination missions of the beginning of the game. However during the assassination missions, Dishonored does give the player a choice on how to take care of each target. During one mission I was tasked to assassinate two men, and while I simply could have killed the two men, I was given another possibility to let them live, but still successfully complete the mission. Finally, although I complained about the latter half of the game being linear, and having simple choices, the “kill or not kill” part actually effects gameplay in later missions. Kill too many guards, and you’ll have more plague victims to deal with. Knock out guards, and have fewer victims. It seems simple when I write it out here, but it really has an effect on the later missions as plague victims prove to be a challenge.

Speaking of how to take care of foes, the combat of Dishonored is well done. The sword and gunplay works well. It is clear that Arkane intended for this game to at least be played through twice; once a stealthy playthrough and one with lots of action because both approaches are equally rewarding. There’s as much satisfaction in sneaking through an enemy guard patrol as there is in going in and slaughtering them all in a brutal fight. Either way presents a challenge as the enemy AI is exceptionally done. While sneaking through, if you are caught, the guards are realistic. The AI is not relentless. If you manage to get away from the guards, they will be on alert and look for you, but they will eventually give up and return to their normal activities. On the other hand, if you fight the enemies they prove to be a challenge but not impossible if the player uses his resources correctly.

Dishonored is definitely an interesting game. The mission design is open world at the beginning but it gets progressively linear throughout the game, which hurts the “fun” factor because the best parts of the game come from taking your own approach to every different assassination. The story isn’t very engaging, and the art style may not be for everyone but the gameplay really saves this game and that warrants a “rent” in my opinion.

Did you play Dishonored? Disagree or agree with my opinion, let me know in the comments below. Thanks for Reading!

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Class Creator

30 Sep

For some time, there’s been a Class Generator for Black Ops 2. With the game coming out in less than month, here’s the link to the Generator.

Thanks to 402THUNDER402 for linking his subscribers to the class generator Check out his channel if you want.

Since Black Ops 2 is one of my most anticipated games of 2012, I decided to make a class for Domination:

This is just one of the many classes people can make in Black Ops 2. Have you made any classes, post them in the comments below!

Duke Nukem Forever Review

25 Sep

Announced in 1997 by 3D Realms, Duke Nukem Forever was finally released in 2011. When Gearbox Software acquired the rights to the Duke Nukem franchise, Gearbox Software helped finish the game, but now that it’s out, was it worth the 14 year wait?

Duke Nukem Forever’s development started all the way back in 1997, and now that the game is out, it feels like it should have been released in the 90’s because Duke Nukem Forever still uses shooter mechanics from 1997, thus making the game outdated by today’s standards. Duke Nukem Forever makes fun of today’s shooters, but still uses the standards set by modern games. Early in the game, players encounter a soldier that offers Duke Power Armor, and Duke explicitly replies “Power Armor is for p***ies, which would be okay, but instead Duke Nukem Forever’s uses a game mechanic that resembles armor. In Duke Nukem, Duke has an “Ego” bar. The “Ego” bar acts as a shield for Duke, and when the bar runs low, Duke has to rely on health. DNF suffers from an identity crisis. The game seems like it doesn’t want to let go of Duke Nukem’s glory days by making fun of today’s shooters, but DNF also turns around and uses the very mechanics it makes fun of.

The level design in DNF suffers the same problem as the gameplay, it is outdated. The level design is very simple; kill enemies, solve a simple puzzle, move on to next room, rinse and repeat. Even though many of the levels designs in DNF are outdated, I have to applaud the team at 3D Realms to keep the game fresh. DNF will change things up for the players every one and a while, instead of relying on the same mechanic for the whole game. Early on in DNF, the Duke gets shrunken down, and has to drive around in a RC car. Later Duke drives around in his Monster Truck, running over aliens. These driving sections of the game help keep the regular portions of DNF seem a bit less repetitive that they already are.

One thing that really bothered me in DNF were the loading screens. After every part or chapter in DNF, the game would have to load. Normally this wouldn’t bother me at all, but when you’re sitting there for 10-15 seconds staring at a loading screen, it starts to get annoying, and when they happen often, it really takes you out of the experience.

When players are done with the single player, they can tackle on DNF’s multiplayer component. The multiplayer includes 3 game modes; Team Deathmatch, Deatchmatch and Capture the Babe. Capture the Babe is basically the like Capture the Flag, but instead of a flag, it’s a women, which again is another sign of the game’s age. A game mode like that has no place in todays world. Games are still being played and the multiplayer is a fun distraction, but it won’t hold you for long.

Overall I’m not exactly sure what to think of this game. I had fun playing the game. The shooting is smooth, and I only saw one drop in framerate during my entire playthrough. On the other hand, while there is some variety in missions, the level design sometimes feels uninspired and repetitive. For anyone that has pre-ordered the game when it was announced in 1997, buying Duke Nukem Forever was all but guaranteed, but for this generation of gamers, 60 dollars is just too much for this game. The only way I can recommend buying this game is if you can find Duke Nukem Forever for super cheap, and if you’re looking for a diversion while waiting for the big games coming out this fall.

My Most Anticipated Games of 2012

24 Sep

The fall season has started with the release of Borderlands 2, and now the floodgates are open. As much as I would love to get all the big games of 2012, I can’t, so these are my most anticipated games, and the games I’ll be getting this fall.

1. Dishonored (Release Date: October 9th, 2012)

Dishonored is a first person “shooter”, and I put shooter in quotes because, you can play and complete Dishonored without killing anyone the whole game. Dishonored takes place in a Victorian style world. The city is separated into the slums, where the poor and people affected by the plague live, and the rich part of town. In this world players are going to be tasked with assassinating targets, but getting to a target can be executed in any way the player wants. Want to go in a heavily guarded fortress guns blazing? You can do it. Want to go take the stealthy path, and take out your target quietly? You can do that too. With powers and weapons, each assassination mission is an open playground. This game sounds extremely interesting, and at this point in the console cycle, any new IP has to be really cool to get anyone’s attention.

2. Medal of Honor: Warfighter (Release Date: October 23rd, 2012)

Medal of Honor: Warfighter uses DICE’s new Frostbite 2 engine to build both the single and multiplayer portions of game. Besides the powerful tech to build the game, the single player is a unique experience. The campaign tells the story of American Tier 1 Operators, which are the elite members of the military, and the story itself is taken from actual events told by Tier 1 Operators, the same people players will control when the game is released. Aside from the single player, the new multiplayer will make players proud to represent their countries, by letting players choose their own respective countries to fight for. Americans can choose an American military unit, and same goes for various other countries such as Canada, England, and Germany. The multiplayer also includes the new “Buddy System”. The “Buddy System” allows player to spawn on their “Buddy’s” and they can have each others back in an intense firefight. I liked the last Medal of Honor that came out in 2010, but it didn’t really impress me. Maybe this one can can really change that,  and make it my go to online shooter for the year

3. Assassins Creed 3 (Release Date: October 30th, 2012)

After two spin-off titles in Assassins Creed: Brotherhood and Revelations, gamers are finally getting a full sequel to 2009’s Assassins Creed 2. Set during the American Revolution, players take the role of Connor, a half native American, and half English assassin. In this game Connor is tasked with seeking out members of the Templar on both sides of the battlefield. Players can also explore Colonial Boston, New York, and can explore the Frontier. Assassins Creed 3 also includes the ability to explore the ocean and take part in ship to ship battles. I really like the Assassin Creed story and I’m hoping this can be a fitting conclusion for what has been so far an amazing story.

4. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

Black Ops 2

Yes I’m anticipating a Call of Duty game. The original Black Ops was my favorite Call of Duty ever (COD4 being a super close second). The campaign takes place in the 1980s and in 2025 and Frank Woods and Alex Mason are returning during the 1980s portion of the story, and players take the role as David Mason, Alex Mason’s son, in 2025. The story revolves around the super villain Menendez and how he takes control of America’s drone army and turns it on themselves. Everyone knows that Call of Duty fans don’t play CoD just for single player, the multiplayer changes the usual formula a bit. With the new “Pick 10 Create-a-Class” , the gives players the freedom to choose to put whatever they want in their class with new “Wild Cards”. With “Wild Cards”, players can put multiple Tier 1 perks, or multiple gun attachments. Also who can forget the fan favorite zombies. I wasn’t much of a fan of Black Op Zombies but I’m hoping that Black Ops 2 can turn me back around on that.

5. Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale (Release Date: November 20th, 2012)

Bad name aside, I’m actually really looking forward to this game. On the surface it seems like a simple Smash Bros. clone, but from watching gameplay and hearing people talk about it, Playstation All-Stars requires a whole different strategy to win that Smash Bros. In this game the way to win is to gain AP (Action Points), and with enough AP, players get access to their Level 1 Super. There are 3 Tiers of Supers. A Level 3 Super will kill the most players on screen, but players can earn Level 1 or Level 2 Supers faster and can get a lot of kills that way too. I think its unfair to cast this off as a simple Smash Bros. clone, and the roster of characters is amazing for any Playstation gamer, or any gamer, and that’s why it deserves any gamers time.
Those are my most anticipated games of 2012. What about you? What are you anticipating this year? That comments are there for a reason. Thanks for reading!