Tag Archives: review

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.

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!

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.

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.