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have been released in the 90’s because Duke Nukem Forever still uses shooter mechanics from 1997, thus making the game outdated by today’s standards.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The level design in DNF suffers the same problem as the gameplay, it is outdated.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 Even though many of the levels designs in DNF are outdated, I have to applaud the team at 3D Realms to keep the game fresh.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.

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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!

Recent Happenings

23 Sep

It’s been a week since my last post. This past week I’ve been doing a whole bunch of school work, but besides that I started Duke Nukem Forever, and the game is a big Meh. Fundamentally it works, but just doesn’t work by today’s standards. My review should be coming up this week. I also got the new Billy Talent album, called “Dead Silence”. It’s pretty good so far and here’s a link to one of their songs called Viking Death March. On Monday, expect an article describing my most anticipated games this fall, that should be up at noon if WordPress works right. Stay tuned for more to come and as always thanks for reading!

NHL 13 Review

16 Sep

With the lockout becoming official on Saturday September 15th, NHL 13 looks like it will be the only time we’ll be able to experience one of the best sports in the world. Many critics will immediately call NHL 13 a simple roster update, NHL 13 is much more. EA Canada manages to make a huge gameplay leap, one which matches the leap from NHL 06 to NHL 07 with the skill stick. NHL 13 is based around what EA Canada is calling ”True Performance Skating” and ”EA Sports Hockey I.Q.”

”True Performance Skating” makes the game momentum. Remember in NHL 12, where you used to be able to do sharp turns in front of the net? Those cut in fronts are not possible in NHL 13. The new skating system gives the players momentum. Beating a defense man to the puck in the offensive zone, by gaining momentum and skating around  him means sacrificing the ability to cut in front of the net and getting the scoring chance.  It makes NHL 13 more of a Hockey simulation rather than just being an arcade like experience. The True Performance Skating also gives weight to the players. Players like Stamkos will be able to fly from one end to of the ice to another but lacks the ability to give huge hits, while players Chara are slower but have the ability to deliver bone crushing hits.

The next addition is the new ”EA Sports Hockey I.Q.”, which fits perfectly well with the True Performance Skating. The AI in this game is  better than what it was in NHL 12. In NHL 12, the goalies only focused on the players with the puck, failing to see any other possible threats on the ice. This is what led to many of the lame one-timer goals that players used to exploit. In NHL 13, that is eliminated. Now goalies will survey the ice, and look at every possible threat, including one timers. In NHL 13, goalies will recognize all scoring threats, and with the all new motion engine that allows goalies to have a variety of different save attempts for each shot, will be more likely to stop any shot. The new AI isn’t limited to the goalies. AI players will now hit, poke check and basically do everything to try and get the puck from you.

Returning fans from the game will recognize the game modes such as Be a GM, and Be a Pro, and these still are incredible fun to play. There are new game modes such as GM Connected, and NHL Moments Live. GM Connected takes Be a GM and brings it online for up to 750 players to participate in. GM Connected is very ambitious but I think it will be only popular for large communities. NHL Live Moments let players relive classic moments from the 2011-2012 season and other classic NHL moments. EA has promised to deliver more moments from this season, but since there is a lockout, hopefully EA can deliver other moments from past seasons.

Although the new skating system and AI are great additions, the game suffers in some points. In game, while simply skating around an opposing player, the puck will sometimes be simply taken away from you. In other cases, whether it be you or the opposing team, the puck seems to be magnetically attracted by hockey sticks. The instances are frustrating especially in critical points a hockey game.

With no hockey season in sight, NHL 13 is great way to get any hockey fans through the season. With a huge technology leap with the ”True Performance Skating” and the ”EA Sports Hockey I.Q.”, this game is a must have for any hockey fan. With the familiar game modes such as Be a GM and Be a Pro, and also some new ones such as GM Connected and NHL Live Moments, NHL 13 will be enough for fans that love hockey.

What’s Up?

12 Sep

So what’s up? School! Seriously though, I went to the midnight release of NHL 13. There was a tournament but I showed up too late to join it. After 3 hours I finally got the game at midnight, got home and played some games against my friend. Like I said last week, the review is going to go up this Sunday. This is not all, I also went and got Duke Nukem Forever. Yes I actually went to go buy it. It was just too cheap to let go. For 10$ I just had to have it, Duke Nukem Forever is a piece of video game history. It was announced in 1997, that’s fourteen long years of development time. I might also review Duke Nukem too, so expect that whenever I post it. That’s it for now. Thanks for reading!

What if Blu-Ray lost the Format War?

9 Sep

After the success of the Playstation 2, Sony became over confident with its console business and thought anyone would buy the Playstation 3. Sony priced the Playstation 3 at 600 dollars because it was also a Blu-Ray player. In this reality, Blu-Ray won the format war, and is probably the only reason people bought the Playstation 3, and because Blu-Ray players at the time were very expensive as well. What if Sony hadn’t won the format war? What if instead of Blu-Rays we’d all be watching HD DVDs. This is what it would be like in that alternate reality.

In 2002, Toshiba and various other companies started to develop a new DVD format which would be eventually be named HD DVD. Various companies including Microsoft announce their support for HD DVDs. Negotiations between the Blu-Ray Disc Association and and the DVD Forum have broken down, and now both formats are at war.

The first HD DVD player finally launches March 31st, 2006 and costs approximately 1000 dollars. The first movies to be released on HD DVD are launched on April 18th, 2006. Soon after on June 20th, 2006, the first Blu-Ray movies are released.

By CES 2007, it was clear the HD DVD was the format of the future. After realizing that the format war was lost, Sony closed the Blu-Ray Disc Association and discontinued Blu-Rays. Now Sony’s already struggling console suffered even more, now that its Blu-Ray player was completely useless. In an effort to save the Playstation 3, Sony announced a newer, cheaper version of the Playstation 3 at E3 2007. The new version of PS3 would still be an expensive system at 400 dollars. Sony again tried to help the PS3’s sales announcing God of War 2 as a PS3 game instead of a Ps2 one. Even with the release of God of War 2 and new IP’s such as Resistance and Uncharted, the PS3’s future didn’t look good.  Sony’s last hope would be the release of Metal Gear Solid 4 and Gran Turismo 5.

Two years into its the life cycle and after the release of Metal Gear Solid 4, it still wasn’t enough for the PS3. Soon after Insomniac Games would announce that it would be only developing for the Xbox 360. Right before CES 2009 Sony would announce that they would be withdrawing from the console market, and would become a third party developer just like Sega had done. Sony would eventually have more success as a third party publisher because of all the studios they own.

This is just my interpretation of what could of happened if Blu-Ray and Sony lost the format war. What do you think could have happened?

Blog Update

7 Sep

I haven’t posted anything in a couple of days now, so here’s just an update of whats going on in my life and what to expect. Firstly, the fall season officially starts for me this Tuesday with the release of NHL 13, so expect a review of that next weekend. On Sunday expect a What If scenario in the gaming industry. I’m going to be exploring an alternate reality in the gaming industry. That’s pretty much it for now, thanks for reading!