Tuesday, December 17, 2013

DayZ Standalone Alpha First Impressions

When the DayZ Mod for Arma II hit the scene a bit over a year ago, it really took off and Arma sales went through the roof.  As soon as I hear about it, I had no choice but to give it a shot, and now the DayZ standalone alpha has been released, and it has quite a name to live up to.  I haven't played it for an extensive amount of time (a few hours), but this is simply a first impression.  I'll keep this one short.

The Good:

It's still very much DayZ - As soon as I spawned into the game I could immediately feel it.  I knew exactly where I was, but the environment around me just looked so much more beautiful, it was amazing.

Arma III Engine - The biggest difference with the DayZ mod and standalone version is that the standalone uses the Arma III engine, which is pretty fantastic.  With this comes better graphics, better animations, and, perhaps the most important thing, all houses are lootable.  I feel like this really adds a whole new layer to DayZ, I always hated entering a town and have only 1 or 2 (sometimes even none) houses to be able to go into.  The first town I entered in this version (Balota for any of you familiar with DayZ) was filled with plenty of houses that I could enter.  I once just looked through a window and saw a zombie wandering around in a house.  I don't know why this was so amazing to me, but I loved it, and it really helps paint the environment for me.

The map - The map is still Chenarus, as I stated earlier, and is the same map we all know and love.  This map is one that I can never get sick of, and even after playing for over a year, still don't know every in and out of the thing.  It is gigantic and byfar the biggest map out of any fps to date (save for Planetside 2 maybe).  If you love Chenarus, then you'll be right at home.

The difficulty - This is a tough one to pinpoint, but there are a few things that have changed.  First, there are a heck of a lot less zombies (I would imagine more will be added as development continues), and secondly loot is much tougher to come by.  It certainly feels more realistic, and out of my entire time playing I didn't find a single "pile" of things.  If I found something, it was just one thing, and that was that.  I'm assuming this is to make up for the ability to be able to enter all houses, and forcing you to get yourself into more dangerous situations (as if we didn't have enough to deal with already).  But truthfully, I liked what I played.  I would like a few more zombies, but I enjoyed finding things on desks and beds, rather than just finding a pile of things on the ground before me.

With less loot comes less guns and I didn't find even one in my time playing (mind you I never went to any military area's either), I would imagine that vehicles are few and far between (and probably broken most the time), but this is something all DayZ players should be familiar with, and to add to the difficulty further you start with a flashlight and nothing more.   This is as vanilla as it gets, people.

Direct Communications ONLY - This makes me terribly happy!  For those of you who haven't played the DayZ mod, there are 4 channels you can talk through - group, vehicle, direct, and side channels.  Direct is only talking to those around you, which is how I feel the game should be, but side channel allows you to talk to anyone on the entire server.  With a single click of a button all 50 people on the server can hear your beautiful voice.  And it sucks.  It totally ruins the immersion, and usually scares the living crap out of you because its about 100x louder than it should be.  DayZ Standalone fixes this issue and allows only direct communication.

New Loot - The loot that I have found in this game is certainly different from the mod.  They focus much more on the cosmetics of your character, finding jeans, shirts, backpacks, masks, and other such things. I've never really thought of DayZ as this sort of game, but I enjoy it.  Too many times did I confuse my teammate for another player (since they all pretty much used the same skin) in the mod.  This fixes that to a degree. There are still old pieces of loot to be found, with some added fun.  I've found a wrench, axe, screwdriver, rags, and some dirty old moldy oranges that killed me when I ate them.  Take that however you will, but it's certainly different.

The Bad:

Boring - If you've never played DayZ then I don't suggest buying this.  I personally enjoyed myself, however if you've never played before then you will probably find this game very boring in its current state.  You'll probably feel more lost than anything as well.  It is not a boring game by any means, but it certainly has its down-time moments, and ones that you have to expect and be prepared for.  This isn't a fast-paced first person shooter like Battlefield or Call of Duty and it shouldn't be treated as such.  But if you are expecting this, then yes, it will be boring to you.

The UI - I'm not really terribly thrilled about the UI.  I really enjoy the mods way of doing things, having a hunger, thirst, and blood meter on the side of the screen so that you always knew when you needed to eat. However, the new UI is pretty much just the lower right hand corner of your screen saying things like "I feel hungry", "My mouth is dry", "I feel blood dripping down my shirt".  They're really sticking to the "it's your story" campaign, which is fine.  I have some of the best stories from DayZ, so that's completely reasonable.  But I just am not thrilled with this.  I don't really see the appeal with it, and the meters worked so well.  It even takes away from the experience to a degree.

I would much rather have the text say "you feel hungry". Yes, this is me being very nitpicky, but when the game says "I feel hungry", I get the impression that I'm playing a game and controlling a character in said game.  While this is exactly what I am doing, I don't want to be reminded of this.  It feels like my character is turning to me and going "I feel hungry, feed me now!".  I don't feel like it's a choice I'm making it, but rather a choice he is making, and that takes away from the whole "it's your story" thing, and feels more like "It's the guy you're following around's story".

Bugs and Glitches - There's not much to say here.  There is a ton of bugs and other things that interfere, I've gone through walls, been hit through walls, seen floating objects, and overall had trouble picking items up off the ground, which can be very annoying a draining.  The constant night time through all servers gets kind annoying, and some servers are far too dark to the point where you cannot seen even an inch in front of you without your flashlight.

But all the being said, this was and is expected.  This is an alpha release, not even a beta release, and they tell you many, many, many times that it is such.  It is not something that they are trying to hide.  So I guess the bad would simply be all the bugs that they have yet to get around to.  Other than that, the game is pretty much a fancier looking DayZ.

Should You Buy It?

If you've played DayZ mod and you love it and want to support the developers and make the standalone release the best it can be, then yes.  I highly recommend buying it.  It is still a lot of fun, and I have no, so far, encountered any game breaking mechanics.

If you have never played DayZ, then certainly not.  This will be extremely underwhelming, annoying, and all around boring for you.  I would certainly suggest purchasing Arma II and its expansion and downloading the mod for it, as this game is a one of a kind experience, but I wouldn't buy the Alpha game if you've never once played DayZ before.

If you truly are interested in giving DayZ a try, the Steam Christmas sale is coming up next week or so, and I would highly suggest buying it when it is on sale.  It's going for pretty cheap nowadays and it is worth every penny to experience what is the best zombie game that I have personally ever played.  It is one of a kind, truly.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Starbound Beta: First Impressions

It is finally that time!  Ever since I caught wind of Starbound earlier this year, I was extatic to play the game.  Being a huge fan of Terraria, I was totally for the idea of adding an entire new element of exploration that allowed you to travel through space to various different planets.  Well a few days ago, the beta was finally released, and I've got some good, some bad, and some just plain ugly things to say about the game.

However, before I begin, let me get your full understanding that I am well aware that this is, in fact, a beta.  I don't expect it to be perfect, and neither do the developers.  This is simply what I've noticed during playing the game.

The Good:

Exploration and Adventure:

If you liked Terraria, then Starbound is definitely not going to disappoint.  The adventure begins immediately, with your ship having run out of fuel above an unknown planet, you are forced to head on down and find any means of fuel.

Once you beam down to the planet the fun begins.  As in Terraria, your best bet is to make a house for shelter somewhere to hide yourself from the monsters of this world. The creatures of the planet depend on its biome.  Desert, Tundra, and Arid are just of a few of the biomes that I have personally encountered along the way.  Some of the monsters you encounter are neutral, and will only attack once provoked.  Others will attack on sight.  This can happen during either night or day, but it would seem that higher level monsters come out during the night time.

Each planet also varies in size, the bigger the planet, the deeper you can mine, and the longer it takes to traverse across the world.  For example, the first planet that I landed on was rather small, and I was able to walk from one end to the other in less than a single in-game day.  The second planet, however, was much larger, and took me a total of seven days in order to traverse it's entire surface (This was about an entire hour in real life).  I really enjoy how each planet is varying in so many ways, and it really puts the sense of exploration to a whole new level when comparing it to Terraria.

Character Customization and Story:

Terraria had a fun little character customization that I always enjoyed, simple, but fun. Starbound is very similar, but also takes it up to a whole new level.  You now have a race to choose from, and just as in Terraria, you can choose your gender, and there are also a plethora of head, body, and legs to choose from for each character.  Each race comes with it's own "story" behind it.  For example, I chose The Glitch as my race, which is a robot that has gained self-realization and has headed out into the galaxy on his own.  The stories actually get more in-depth than I had expected and as you explore you can find towns that can give you more information about your race and exactly how you came to be.  It is one of the more rewarding portions of exploring these worlds.

Weapons, Armor, and Tools:

Just as in Terraria, you begin with no armor, and have to mine for minerals in order to create new materials.  This portion is definitely the most similar to Terraria, having to dig and mine and craft and build.  Some monsters you come across will drop cool new weapons. A few that I have encountered thus far is an axe that inflicts poison on an enemy when hit, a one-handed sword that shoots out bubbles when used(much more efficient than it sound), and a two-handed sword that shoots out smog, similar to the bubbles, but over a much larger area.

So far I haven't found much difference in the armors.  Bronze armor, silver armor, gold armor, it is all pretty similar.  However, the armors in this game do have three different attributes to it.  Defense, Energy, and Warmth.  Defense is pretty self explanatory, the higher the defense, the less damage you take.  Energy is a concept that I have yet to encounter, as all starting armors have 0 and I'm not entirely sure what it could be used for. And warmth is something that we will get to later, and one that become a key part of the game.

There are a few new tools that Starbound adds right from the get-go.  You begin with the Matter Manipulator, which is basically an all-in-one tool that can break dirt, cut down tree's, and mine ore.  However, it does these things at a much slower pace than the tools that are proficient in a single aspect.  Another new concept that Starbound has added is wear on these tools.  Similar to Minecraft, once you use a tool too much it will break and you will have to craft a new one.  However armor, weapons, and the Matter Manipulator seem to last forever regardless of how many times they are used.  Another interesting tool that you start with is the flashlight.  It's use is pretty self explanatory, and I have to say that it really shows off the amazing lighting effects that the game has.

Monsters and Planetary Effects:

I wasn't quite sure how to title this one, but I promise it'll make sense.  As I stated earlier, the monsters vary from planet to planet.  Arid planets have very dinosaur-like monsters, whereas Tundra planets have snowmen, yeti's and other snow-like creatures.  Fish and birds also found flying and swimming throughout the game.  The fish do not deal any damage to you, however, some birds will begin coughing up poison balls or other types of projectiles at you.  Not just birds, but land creatures also have their own special abilities. Some are as simple as a quick charge in your direction, while others, like birds, can fire projectiles at you.

The planetary effects are a really cool way to engross you into this game.  The first planet that my friends and I landed on was an Arid planet, and when night fell, it would begin to get cold.  However, a single torch would warm us, and we would not succumb to this disaster.  The second planet, however, was that of a Tundra.  Within a minute of landing on this planet, our characters began getting hurt from the cold and it took 4 torches to help us retain our warmth.  We built a house to keep us warm, and between the monsters and the cold, this planet was far more deadly than our first one.  This is when the "warmth" aspect of armor really comes in handy, however, generally putting on warmer clothes also means getting rid of some defense.  You save yourself from the cold, but the monsters are now stronger than ever.  It's a tough situation to be in, honestly, but it makes for a ton of fun, and this was one of my favorite aspects of Starbound so far.

Graphics and Music:

The graphics in this game are pretty spectacular.  They are far more "modern" than Terraria, the characters and monsters are much less sprite-like, and the backgrounds in this game are simply beautiful.  You can see planets in the background , sometimes large, sometimes small, but always magnificent looking.  And as mentioned earlier, the lighting is absolutely amazing.  There's no real way to describe it, so please take a look at the picture to your right.

The music is also astounding, giving off the perfect impression of what emotion you should be feeling.  Some planets give off an amazing sense of adventure, whilst others, such as the Tundra planets, give off an endearing sense of fear, which is completely reasonable when you have the affects of the cold constantly wearing you down.  Every second is terrifying on these planets, and the music only helps convey this point perfectly.

The Multiplayer:

A lot of indie games I find it extremely difficult to get playing with friends.  We usually have to port forward, use Hamachi, jump through all sorts of hoops to get into a game with one another, and then once we do finally get into one, the game is generally not ready to multiplayer and very laggy.

Starbound multiplayer is flawless, honestly.  We did have to use Hamachi to get into eachothers games, but no port forwarding was required, and I was amazed that there seemed to be no even the slightest amount of Lag between me and my friends games. If you have friends to play the game with, I highly suggest doing that, as it makes the experience that much better.

The Bad:

Lack of Equipment and Rewards:

This is one that that I can only imagine will get better as time goes on.  But being in beta, it is very underwhelming, especially when comparing it to Terraria.  When I played Terraria, I always felt like I was getting somewhere.  I would dig into a cave, find a treasure chest filled with some awesome new type of equipment, or find a crystal heart that increased my health.  Hookshots, jet boots, shoes that allowed you to sprint, new weapons, some cool new armor, it felt like I was always finding something new, and that kept the game exciting.  Starbound somewhat lacks this (at least so far).

While I am really enjoying the game, I do get this sense that I'm not getting anywhere.  Now, admittedly, the pace of this game is much slower than Terraria, as you have hundreds of thousands of planets to head to and explore, this only makes sense.  But even after playing for 10+ hours I feel like I haven't gotten really anywhere.  I mine a lot more than I did in Terraria, and it gets me new armor that is very bland and only gives me a defense boost.  The only real defining factor that helps is the weapons.  I have found a good amount of weapons in this game, and many with some cool and unique abilities.  But other than that, not much.  I would love to have something as simple as the hookshot, which you were able to get pretty early on in Terraria.  It's not overpowered, but it is extremely useful, and I am only hoping that there is a hookshot in this game.  This is definitely something that I hope gets better with time, and I'm sure that it will.


Personally, I really enjoyed this difficulty.  You get thrown into the world, there is no tutorial, you just have to figure it out for yourself.  The monsters are tough, you die a lot, and very unexpectedly.  And while I did enjoy this sometimes, as I like a game that really tests my skills, it did get annoying at times.

The monsters randomly spawn in caves, and many times will come falling from above the screen, landing right on top of you.  At the start of the game this pretty much meant you were dead.  One hit from an enemy would to anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 of your health, and if an enemy sneaks up on you like this, you're dead, it is as simple as that.

The fall damage is ridiculous in this game.  From what I can tell, there is a one block difference from 0 damage to 90% of your health, which I think is insanity.  There;s truly no in between, every time I fell just a little bit too far I found myself either amazed that I didn't get hurt at all, or annoyed because I just went from 100 health, to 10 health.  If I had been wounded slightly, the fall would have killed me instantly.  This kind of enforces my thoughts on getting a hookshot.  If I could simply get this tool early in the game, then at least I would have a fighting chance when plumetting to my death.  There are also no crystal hearts like in Terraria, so your health is always at 100 points, and armor doesn't seem to help fall damage whatsoever.  Whether it is day 1 or day 100, fall damage always seems to be your worst enemy, and I would love to see something, anything, that would at least subtract from the amount of health it does.

Enemy AI:

I gotta be honest, it's pretty bad.  A lot of the times the enemy will stand directly above you and just stand there, when there is a perfectly good hole that they could walk through just two inches to your left.  I'm assuming that this is something that will also get better with time, but as it stands its not difficult to defeat an enemy.

You Can Hit Through Walls:

Yeaaaah.  This is something that I used to my advantage a lot, and I felt really bad doing it.  You can kill any and all enemies, no matter how difficult, but simply building a one-block wall between you and them.  They can't hit you through this wall, but you can easily hit them.  And since their AI is so bad, they simply brush against the wall, and when you hit them back, the run back into the wall so you can hit them again.  This also goes back to the difficulty aspect of the game though.

The very first boss battle my friends and I faced was against a flying saucer.  The saucer would drop down enemies from it, and you would be forced to face them, while the saucer flew overhead.  Everytime you would jump up to hit the saucer, it would also go up, making it nearly impossible to hit the stupid thing, and it had an ungodly amount of HP.  It easily took 10 hits before we did 1/10th of its HP, and it was so impossible to hit the thing that we easily died five or six times before that happened.  Then, to add to the chaos, if the boss battle took too long, he would just fly away and never come back.  This was the first boss you ever fight in the game, and the first time we fought him we assumed we simply weren't strong enough, so we got new weapons and armor that could easily kill anything around us, and went back to fight him again.

We found that it was just as difficult and annoying as the first time, and the only way we were able to finally beat him was by building a wall between him and us, and hitting him through that.  It felt cheap, but as I said, there didn't seem to be any other way to beat the guy.

The Ugly:

As with any beta, there are always going to be some glitches that need to be patched up.  This is just me describing the glitches I have seen thus far, and truthfully there aren't many.

Getting Stuck in a Wall After an Enemy Hits You:

This happened on more than one occassion for me.  Sometimes I would be fighting an enemy, and his knockback would throw me right into a wall.  The only way to escape would be to break the wall, but since I was in a battle I did not have time to do this.  A lot of times it would end up being the death of me, I would get stuck in the worst spot, and my sword would go right above the enemy.  The times that I did survive, I had to pray that while I was breaking the wall, another enemy didn't see me.

Hit Through Walls:

I put this on the bad already, but I also think it deserves to go here too.  It seems unfair and cheap, and I feel like it is definitely a glitch that needs to be evened out.

Falling From Far Distances Causes a Ton of Lag:

One time I decided to built a skyscraper high up into the sky, and of course, I eventually decided to jump off of it.  On my way down, my game would randomly stop for about 5 seconds and then start again.  Stop, then start again.  A drop that should have taken no more than 30 seconds was now taking upwards of 5 minutes.  I can only assume that this is because I am falling faster than the game can load, which makes perfect sense, but I also feel like it's something that needs to be addressed.

Would I Suggest This Game:


If you are a fan of Terraria then this game will not disappoint, and I would suggest buying it even now, during beta, and giving your feedback to the developers of what they can improve on.  The game isn't perfect, but it is still a ton of fun, and it will only get better with our suggestions.

If you aren't a fan of Terraria, then I would still suggest this game to you, as it is overall an amazing experience, however, you may want to wait until the game is out of beta to give it a try.

Call of Duty Didn't Win Best Shooter Two Years in a Row? About Time

If you've ever taken the time to check through this blog, then you would probably learn two things about me.

1.  I really like Majora's Mask

2.  I really hate the Call of Duty franchise

I've ranted about this before, so I'll keep it short.  It's not so much Call of Duty in itself that I can't stand. Modern Warfare was released that I played the game pretty consistently.  But over the years a single game wears itself out, and that's what the entire Call of Duty franchise is: A single game with a yearly $60 map pack.  However, I hate Activision far more than I hate Call of Duty, as I believe that they are the one's that are truly keeping the game from blossoming any further, forcing a game to come out yearly so that they can make the most profit off of it, and, if the developer goes against anything they say, then they will fire them immediately (See Infinity Ward after Modern Warfare 2).
There was even a time back when the original

But this year the the Video Game Award's (I'm going to call it VGA because VGX is just stupid and confusing), Bioshock: Infinite won the award for best shooter.  I loved Bioshock: Infinite, and I loved it for an array of reasons, but lets be honest, the shooting aspect of the game was not its strong point in the least.  However, that being said, it went up against Call of Duty and won, dethroning the "champ" for two years in a row now, something that hasn't happened since 2006. (Last year it went to Borderlands 2, highly deserving of this title).  And while I, and many others, feel like the award should have gone to Last Metro, the cold hard truth is that the game simply isn't mainstream enough for it to receive this award, and I'll take Bioshock over Call of Duty any day.

Honestly, it makes me pretty damn happy.  I've heard of a heck of a lot of negative feedback towards CoD: Ghosts this year, and I can see the shifting change of people finally, FINALLY getting sick of Call of Duty.  Of course, there's always going to be those hardcore players who continue with the franchise, and that's fine, but I think the public opinion of finally beginning to sway towards my side, getting sick of Activision making the same reproduction of a game every single year, and I like that.

To add to my overall happiness, CoD: Ghosts sales numbers are down from last year, and the negative reviews have been piling up.  I hope that this is finally the turn of events that I, and many others, have been waiting for, and Call of Duty finally crashes and burns up with Guitar Hero, the last franchise that Activision drove into the ground.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Microsoft, You Had Us All in the Palm of Your Hand. And You Blew It.

Before we begin with the Xbox One bashing, and I assure you, that is coming, let me start this train off a little differently.  Let me tell you a story.  One of great nostalgia that I am sure many of you can relate to, and one that was the beginning of entire new era of gaming: Online.

The year was 2004.  I was in the 7th grade, and a game by the name of Halo 2 had just come out.  I
honestly don't remember how I got my Xbox.  I have no memory of it at all, actually.  Perhaps I got it from a friend, or at a used video game shop, perhaps I even bought it new with the little amount of money I had saved up at that time, and while I don't remember how I obtained my first Xbox, I do remember my first xbox live experience.

It came in the form of Halo 2.  When I bought the game, it came with a 2 month trial of Xbox live Gold (Yeah, two whole freaking months.  Those were the days, weren't they?).  My cousin and I would come home from school every single day, sit down, and play Halo 2 for hours and hours.  We started off pretty terrible, having only played the original Halo a small amount, and now with Xbox live fully enabled we found a plethora of skilled players that would often times wipe the floor with us.  But, as with everything, the more we practiced, the better we got, and the more games we began to win.  Hours would go by, we would make a custom game of our own and practice sniping each other.  One of us would run across the map, and the other had to get a head shot (if you hit the body, you had to wait for the shield to recharge) before reaching the other side of the map.  He was always way better than me.  To this day I'm not the greatest sniper, and I much prefer the Shotgun/bunt technique that I became known for in those days.

Those days were greatest.  And I mean greatest.  I would regard them as some of the best gaming memories I have, and a large part of that was because of xbox live itself.  I had played shooters in the past, Jetforce Gemini was one of my favorites on the N64, Goldeneye was always a good time, and I even enjoyed playing some Metroid Prime 2 when my friends were around.  But none of them could even begin to compare to the amount of fun I had playing Halo 2.  There was no screen peeking, it was all based on skill, each matchw as with different players, you had to figure out there strategies, how they played.  You'd make friends, form a "clan", do some 2v2 or 4v4.  If someone beat us, we would call them out.  We would challenge them to a custom match.  If we won, it was the most amazing feeling, if we lost it kind of sucked, but we would always move on.

It was then that I swore by the Xbox.  I had always been a Nintendo Junky up until that point, but that experience changed me, and at that time the Xbox was king.  It wasn't long after that, that the console wars began.  PS3 vs. 360.  Who in there right mind would go for PS3?  I would mock Sony, and I knew very few people who would argue for them.  We would talk at the lunch table at school and everyone agreed that the 360 would be the victor of this.  And in many ways they were, for a very long time.  Some could argue that because the Wii made the most money, that it was the victor, but for us hardcore gamers, we know that this wasn't the case.  The 360 was the fan favorite, Xbox live was very well accepted, even with the $60 yearly fee.  It only grew from there, and Xbox Live was practically a must have if you owned an Xbox.

When Call of Duty 4 hit the scene we suddenly had a war between Halo and CoD.  People were flocking to each side, and while I did enjoy CoD in it's glory days, I would always stand up for Halo when it came down to it.  The best part about this war between gamers was that it was practically all based on the 360.  We suddenly didn't have a console war at all, PS3 and Wii were no where to be found, it was strictly between Call of Duty on the 360 or Halo... On the 360.  Sure, CoD was on the PS3, but lets be honest with ourselves, that is simply not where the demand was.

And because of this, Microsoft out shined Sony for a long time.  Practically throughout the entire era of of 7th generation consoles.  And while in recent years I have found myself personally playing PC games more than a console, I still stood of for the 360 for quite a while.  In fact, when the first wind blew of the "Xbox 720", as it was known as for a point, I was very excited to see what Microsoft had in store for us.

Then word got out.  A lot of words, actually.  Xbox One wasn't going to allow you to share games with friends.  Used games would be gone forever.  The Kinect came standard, and was built in, there was no turning it off.  You were online all the time, and if you did not have an internet connection, then the console was as good as a brick.  The Kinect was always on, you had no choice in this matter.  It was always watching, always listening.

One stream of shit after another came about.  It seemed like every single day something new came out that was revealed about the Xbox One, and it was always stupid, controlling bullshit, that didn't allow gamers any sort of freedom.  You did what Microsoft wanted because you didn't have a choice, and that was final.  Either like it, or "Stick with the 360" was what we were told.

Well I will say that I did not stick with the 360.  Nor did I move on to the Xbox One.  No, I chose to jump across that gap.  To take a look from a different direction.  I chose Sony.  I chose the PS4.  And I'm not the only one, practically all of my friends, the one from high school that would bash the PS3 and swear by the 360, every last one of them decided that the PS4 was better.

And this is where we get into the sticky stuff.  The stuff that really, really peeves me off.  This is where my tone towards Microsoft is going to change because I am really annoyed with this company right now, and let me tell you why:

What the hell is this "entertainment system" crap.

I'm sick of hearing Microsoft call their system an "entertainment system".  I get why they do it (because it is), but that doesn't mean I'm happy about it.  They might as well have just slapped every hardcore gamer in the face.  Every one of us who swore by the 360 as the superior console of the 7th generation.  The Xbox One is not a gaming console, they've made that pretty clear, instead it is an "entertainment system".

Between never hearing a single Microsoft corespondent call it a gaming console, and the fact that they spent practically two hours at E3 tell everyone that "you can watch TV on it", I'm about all Microsofted out, and quite frankly, I feel betrayed.  Microsoft doesn't care about me, they don't care about us, all they care about is what makes the most money.

And I get it, they're a business, of course they care about making money, which is completely understandable.  However, that shouldn't be all that they care about, and they're making it pretty obvious that this is the case.  And the truth of the matter is that it's not working.  Not by a long shot.  It's too late, Microsoft, you blew it.  Nobody cares that you can watch TV on a little box in the corner that takes up a quarter of your screen.  The wife and children could care less that they can watch Netflix for $60 extra than you could with any other system.   Grandma and Grandpa aren't going to want to tell their xbox to turn on they're not going to want to use their hand to slide the screen across the TV.  Which leads us to our next biggest issue with the Xbox One.

Nobody wants the freaking Kinect

There, I said it.  Nobody wants this stupid pile of crap.  You know what I would like?  The Xbox One to be $100 cheaper.  Take the Kinect out and what do you know, there we go, problem solved!  I have never once had the urge to stand up and slap some balls around with my hands.  I don't want to swipe my hand across the screen, I want to press a button.  The one and only thing that I can ever see the Kinect being useful for, is for the Just Dance Series.  I'm not gung-ho for them myself, but I understand the appeal, and to me that makes sense.

To me, it feels like Microsoft is trying to cash in on the Wii's success.  But it's not working.  The Wii was a fun family system, do you know why?  Because it was relatable and easy to understand.  Give grandpa the controller and tell him to go golfing.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the Wiimote is acting as the golf club.  When I want to play tennis on the Kinect, it doesn't feel like tennis.  It feels like I'm slapping a ball with my hand.

But honestly, that's not my biggest issue with the Kinect.  I don't personally understand the appeal behind it, but I can get that other people may be interested in it.  Some people other than myself might like the idea of talking to their Xbox, or... Doing other things that the Kinect does with it.  That being said, I feel that a pretty large majority are on my side, and think the Kinect is pointless, and a waste of money.  The sales of the Kinect were terrible, very few people bought one, especially at the steep price of $100.  So why in the hell do they make this stupid thing a mandatory add on to the Xbox One?!?!?!

I don't like to be told what to do, Microsoft.  I don't enjoy things being forced upon me.  As most people don't, and that right there is your biggest downfall.

Stop trying to force us into crap that we don't want

They forced us into the Kinect, they've forced us into having an internet connection, they've been forcing theirnot have done if the outrages and screams couldn't have been heard from every different crevice and corner that you could fall into on the internet.  It was a good move on their part, they would have lost a ton more sales otherwise, but just the fact that they tried at all was enough to muddy my mouth with their greedy bullshit, and I doubt I will be buying an Xbox One anytime in future, and if I do, it will most certainly be used.
thousands of freaking ads that they spew across the dashboard on us for years, and they tried the damnedest to force us into not being able to share our games with friends, but luckily our voice got through.  Which, might I add, they would

But you know what, while I'm hear I'll end with one more thing:

Stop trying to make an Xbox a PC.  It isn't one.  And it never will be one.

They call the Xbox an "All-in-one Entertainment System", but they could not be more wrong.  My PC is all that I need for that.  It can play DVD's, it can go online (for a hell of a lot cheaper than my Xbox), it can play Netflix (for $8 a month), I can play all the games I want (And at dirt cheap prices with Steam), I can surf the web with it easily and efficiently (because you know, it has this wonderful tidbit that is called a keyboard and a mouse).  I can do practically anything with my PC, and it is the exact definition of an "All-in-One Entertainment System", and I've already given Microsoft money for the damn operating system, so why in the hell do they find it such a necessity to make their gaming console as "PC" as possible when I could just play on my PC?!

Thanks but no thanks Microsoft.  You had all of us in the palm of your hand, and you blew it.  For now I'll stick with my PC, and when I do get a next generation console, it sure as hell won't be an Xbox One.

Oh, and did I mention that my computer doesn't watch me masturbate either?  That's always a plus.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pokemon X Brings Back that Red and Blue Nostalgia

So I'm going to be honest here, I was pretty skeptical of X and Y at first.  Don't get me wrong, I'm all for change, but I do know that sometimes change just flat out doesn't work.  When it was first announced,  I enjoyed the new look of the game itself.  While Black and White brought a more modern look the game series, it is absolutely nothing compared to the look that X and Y bring to the table.  Roller skates were a cool alternate to the classic bike, and it seemed like Game Freak was really trying to stretch for new content.

With Mega Evolutions being introduced, I found myself at an odd end of the spectrum.  I really liked the idea of Mega Evolution.  Seeing Charizard and Blastoise look like even more badass than usual was something new, excited, and invigorating (Venusaur got the shaft end), and hearing that both X and Y had different Mega Evolutions was an interesting concept.  But it was after these were released that I decided to stop looking into news for X and Y.  It wasn't that I wasn't interested, it was more that I enjoy surprises.  And so I set out to retain as little information about the game as I possibly could have.  For those of you who have not bought the game yet, and are similar to me, going in (half) blind, I suggest that you go out, buy the game right now, and do not read this any further.  For if you do, you may not be blessed with the same feelings that I have been blessed with tonight.

Between schoolwork and work-work I found that I was not able to find time to buy and play Pokemon X (which was my choice) when it was first released.  However, tonight that all changed, as some free time has come my way, I went out and bought the game.  As I already stated, I knew that game itself was going to be something new, but I could have never imagined just how new this experience is.

I've bought and played at least one game in each generation of Pokemon (excluding black and white 2), and I've while I've always liked the formula's that they've provided, I did find it getting rather stale by the time I played Black.  While they did add some new things here and there, it wasn't enough to keep my interest.  In short, I beat the game and that was pretty much the end of it, never picked it up again.

Let me just say, that the first three hours that I have experienced of Pokemon X has completely blown away any Pokemon game over the last decade.  I may even argue that it is better than the originals, albeit, as I said, I have only played around three hours of the game so far.  But what a glorious beginning it has been.  Right off the bat you're thrown into the adventure, you walk outside and meet up with some new found friends (there are 4 "rivals" it would seem this time around), and the sense of adventure that is presenting before you is like a work of art.

Receiving your starter Pokemon is like Christmas morning, with surprises around every corner.  You will soon find out that you can pet your Pokemon, feed your Pokemon, play mini games with your Pokemon, and by doing this you can raise their affection level, their base stats, and even give them special abilities such as helping them dodge attacks, and survive deadly blows by being "in synch" with it's trainer.  I found myself spending more time petting and feeding my Pokemon than I did battling with it or adventuring.  Hell, sometimes I even felt such a connection with the little guy that I felt bad sending how out onto the battlefield.  This simplistic feature truly does bring you and your Pokemon closer than ever before.  It's like mixing Nintendogs with Pokemon, and the two harmonize perfectly.
Wow!  Is this real life?!

Of course the 3D visuals are amazing for a Pokemon game, between the look, feel, and the different camera angles, I sometimes forget I'm even playing a Pokemon game.  However, what threw me off even more so was the music in the game.  While it did have a Pokemon feel to it, it also... Didn't.  I don't entirely know how to explain it, but the music was different in it's own way, that it truly felt like you were setting off on an adventure, yet it still had hints of the classic Pokemon sound.

Battles are stunning, and they are far more immersive than any Pokemon game before.  The camera angles make you feel like you're truly in a battle.  The start is always the other trainers hand throwing a Pokeball, the music makes you actually feel like there is something at stake, and sometimes it even feels like you are watching a Pokemon battle on television.  Each Pokemon's animation really makes sense, and instead of them just moving back and forth, it really feels like they each have their own personality, a Pidgey does not react like a Caterpie, and with good reason.  However, this is still somewhat of a new concept, and I absolutely love it.  The attack animations are also very unique, and they only make the battles seem that much more realistic.

I was in shock and awe when I realized that I not only get to choose one of the three new starters, but also one of the three original starters.  And while I am true to the fire starters, it was a tough decision.  Sure,
Charmander is my favorite, but I already have Fennekin, and whats the point of having two fire starters?  I ended up going with Squirtle, to say the least, and something about all of it just felt right.  I felt like the adventure was starting all over again when he entered my team!

Pokemon X and Y is truly amazing, it brings to the table many new idea's, and all of which work amazingly well.  I've never felt such a connection with my Pokemon.  Between th
e ability to communicate and care for them, the realistic battles, new music, and awesome new graphics, I feel like my Pokemon are realer than they've ever been before.  I find myself truly caring about them, rather than mindlessly using them to do my bidding.  And while I realize not everyone feels the same way I do, the sense of nostalgia that has been brought to me is something that I thought I would never experience again.  I feel just like my six year old self did when he received Charmander for the first time.  It's new, it's invigorating, and I don't care if it's weird, because I'm loving every minute of it!

Oh, and I cannot wait to see how it feels to have my Blastoise Mega Evolve for the first time!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Late August news,

         Good evening readers, tonight there is actually quite a bit of news to go through. Firstly, Activision (the studio that brought us the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare games) had a conference about Call of Duty: Ghosts, which featured Eminem for fifteen seconds!!!! I know, so incredibly exciting right? That was sarcasm by the way. Also there was a new seven minute play through on Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag which focused on the stealth aspects of the game. These are only two stories but they’re huge stories which contain excessive information for the enthusiastic fan. Therefore without further due, let us begin.
          The Activision conference begins with the host (some kind of producer of the game) talking about how over the last half decade Call of Duty has become one of the most iconic things in all entertainment in general, and the way they describe it is quite intriguing, and it makes one think. There is without a doubt of how publicly huge and successful he franchise has become. There are references to the series in about every famous television program including talk shows, celebrities express their enthusiasm for the games, the series is always talked about on national news especially near the annual release date in November. It is one large piece that builds society’s pastime today, sitting beside Facebook, and Youtube in famous forms of entertainment that forms modern culture, mostly in the United States. Then they show the brand new online multiplayer trailer, one of the most noticeable things being that the soundtrack behind the trailer is an Eminem song, one that isn’t even out yet. The trailer shows a combination of brand new features, and the same old perfected online multiplayer experience, in which the producers go into more depth afterwards, therefore I shall write the details. After the trailer Eminem shows up on screen, describing his enthusiasm about Call of Duty and that a lot of his music from his brand new album is in the game, then he leaves. Sorry if you were expecting a historic speech. Then the main host gives the attention to another producer who then describes and presents many details about the new game.
            Treyarch’s Dolphin dive, except the player does not enter prone, and this much helps to escape gunfire. There are apparently many new weapons in comparison to Modern Warfare 3, in fact 80% more weapons to be approximate. They also created a new weapon class, known as marksman rifles.  This class is basically the hybrid of assault rifles and snipers, a lot like most of the weapons from World at War. Personally as that is my favorite Call of Duty game and I love those types of semi-auto accurate rifles I am so psyched for this! There are also many more perks that one can use in the game. The producers admired how flexible the point system was in the Black Ops II customization; therefore they did basically the same thing. This gives a lot of freedom for strategizing classes, and example they mention was that the player could manipulate their point spending to have almost all of the perks, while having only one weapon with no attachments or grenades. I am personally quite excited to use this. A new fresh thing that they brought in for this game was personal soldier customization. That is correct; the player can now customize their appearance to look unique in the game and not just be the same soldier as everyone else. One can customize equipment on soldier, camouflage, outfit, and even gender. Yep, the player can play as a woman soldier now! Oh what a world we currently live in! In addition the sound effects are so advanced for this game that shooting outside makes a different echo noise than from shooting inside which is louder with no echo! The player now has many new maneuvers that he may use in combat, for example leaning. This can be used to attack from cover of walls or to avoid fire. One can also vault over ledges, making this movement faster and the player can still fire their weapon while doing this. The third and final new maneuver is the knee slide, which is basically like
                   The maps of the new online multiplayer also include interaction with the environment. One can blow up walls to navigate easier through the map, or blow up a building or a gas station for cover; this means a lot more strategy in the game. There are also a number of new modes to play online. Among these is one where the player can revive their teammates. Another one is where the player has to achieve a kill in their time limit or they explode, and if they achieve a kill they gain a perk and become faster. This means one must kill a lot, and if they succeed they become more and more powerful as they kill more though they mustn’t stop killing. This sounds like a very exciting fast paced game mode. Another game mode is a Squad game, where the player is playing cooperatively with five other online teammates, and must take down a squad of powerful strategically placed AI enemies. One can make their own Squad map with enemies and specific settings and challenge their friends, or try their friends created maps. If anyone cares about my opinion about this game or the series in general, I was in love with World at War as a child and grew up from age ten playing that and Halo 3 as my first online shooter games ever (I played the other Halo games before though but this was a new online level). Then over the years Call of Duty disappointed me more and more with never ever making anything that new, and cheeping me out every year with only a month or two of entertainment, and then realizing it was just the same thing and I wasted my time with the  one new mode, whether survival or Zombies. I despised the series, was a hater if you will, then everything changed when Black Ops II came out. It improved everything so much and made it feel new! I liked that game a lot, and in fact I still play it when I get the time. This game gave me faith in Call of Duty after it was terrible and frankly “sucked” for so many years. This is why I am excited and have faith in this new game. Shall I but it? No, not this year anyway, I simply do NOT have the time, there are so many good games coming out because of the new generation, but I am only going to buy Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag and Batman: Arkham Origins.  Maybe in many months away when I finish those games and no new good ones have come out yet, then I might purchase that and the new grand Theft Auto, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about this new game, I actually really like this new Call of Duty as of right now!

                        On to the other piece of news, the producer of Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag had another play through of the game, similar to the thirteen minute open world play from the other week, except this one focuses on stealth. It begins from Edward’s ship, at a point in the story when he is after a templar arms dealer, so likely further in the game than the last play through. The producer first finds an underwater cave that leads to treasure, therefore he goes scuba diving. To do this they use a giant upside-down metal “bell” known as a water bell to get air deep beneath the surface, an actual thing that pirates really used. The underwater graphics is amazing as Edward navigates through, he spots a shark which is quite frightening, with the fear of almost really spotting a shark. Fortunately Edward is too far from the shark to be noticed and safely reaches a cavern. It turns out that this cavern has four guards in it, and unfortunately when Edward Scuba dives he has no weapons or armor. He crept it behind a wall and whistled for a guard to come. The enemies in this game have specific classes, this guard was an agile, who carries throwing blades and knives. The producer took out the enemy stealthily, and grabbed his knife. Edward then went atop a tent and used the blade to kill another guard. This attracts the two remaining guards, then Edward air assassinates one (with his fist it appears, jumping on top of people from high up does hurt A LOT I suppose). Then the producer is facing the only remaining enemy, in which he merely deflects his attack to take his weapon, and then kill him. Edward claims his treasure, climbs out of the cave and gets back onto his ship.
                     The next segment in the play through shows when The Jackdog arrives at Havana, one of the three actual cities in the game. The city looks great, and the buildings are high and close, perfect for free running. In the city Edward takes an optional assassination contract to take down a templar. In these missions there are optional objectives, which is not new, optional objectives have been available since Assassins Creed: Brotherhood for extra DNA game completion, except in this game, the optional objectives are worth EXTRA MONEY!!! This is a huge incentive to do extra objectives! The optional objective in this mission is to not be detected. Edward arrives on the rooftops around a courtyard with a number of guards and the target. The producer activates eagle vision to “tag” the guards; this means even after eagle vision is done one can still see the guards highlighted even through walls. Edward stealthily takes down one of the rooftop guards and then the producer explains how there are so many ways to take down the target as one pleases. The producer used free aiming in his gun, and shot an explosive barrel which killed the target and another guard, good strategy! With the mission complete Edward escapes the scene as to not be caught, and goes to a weapon shop. In the game Edward can get up to four pistols to hold at once, and one can shoes to buy one of many different types of pistols. I also spotted a number of ship upgrades in the menu, such as ram strength, hull armor, different positioned cannons, many swords, different types of sails, and even a decoration head for the ship.
                                 The next segment shows when Edward is going for the main objective assassination. To navigate through the guard filled village, Edward uses a new hiding spot, a door, which he used to assassinate a guard from. Then made a large distraction by blowing a berserker dart at a guard and making the guard go, well, berserk! The producer then free ran Edward to the ship, climbed up from the hull while stealthily assassinating guards, then on the large giant class ship known as the “Man of War” he took out some guards using his new pistols and killed the target templar arms dealer with a headshot. That concluded the play through. Well I am super excited! What about you guys?! Everyone enjoy the final weeks or days or moments of their summer! Brock Out!


Monday, August 12, 2013

Mid-August news, and Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap review

         Good evening readers, there isn’t really much news about video games, a little update here and there, however I did something else interesting the previous week. Those who watched my top thirteen Legend of Zelda games would know that there are three games in the series I haven’t played yet, Minish Cap and the two Four Swords games. I played Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap this week and I will do a review on the game. As for the other two Four Swords games, I do not intend to play them. When I tried to play them, I learned that it was a necessity to have more than one player, or else one cannot play. WHAT THE HELL NINTENDO? No one I know likes Legend of Zelda therefore I have no other people to play with, imagine if I purchased one of those games honestly and legally for money??! I wouldn’t even be able to play it and lose my money. Therefore if anyone was wondering the four Swords games are dead last on my Zelda list because no matter how good they are some people cannot even play them even if they have the games. Before I review Minish Cap here is a bit of news update on some upcoming games.
             As many know, this Holiday season Nintendo is releasing a remake of Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker for the Wii U. The game will be almost identical to the original GameCube game, just with a few already known changes, such as and HD graphics revamp, and a shortened triforce quest near the end of the game. There have been a few more updates on the new release. In the new game there will be a new side quest in which Link can get a “swift sail” that is very fast, and has a red symbol, unlike the original with a blue wave symbol.  This will make sea travel much more fast and efficient, for the few people who can actually get bored when sailing on the open sea in the game. Also for those who care the items menu has been updated to look very interesting. Here is an image of it so I mustn’t go through the trouble of attempting to describe the new menu to you. In addition for those who care the tingle tuner has been changed to have new properties and aspects in the game, not using the original “Tingle Tuner” which attached to the Game boy Advanced.

               There has been a little more news on the currently being produced Star Wars: Battlefront 3 game, it has been confirmed that the game will be in third person, staying true to its predecessors. My personal hopes are that this new game will bring back everything that made the older games great, just like classes, the maps, vehicles, and Jedi, and those galactic conquests, meanwhile having new spice and bring new shooter aspects to the table. That is really it for this game’s news for now.

                   It took me five days to beat Minish Cap, and to be honest the game was a little short, not to say that it was not filled with tons of fun things to do. One thing that I really found fascinating about the game was that it had brought aspects from every other Zelda game, and brought its own spice into play. It has a very similar soundtrack to A Link to the Past, while a lot of the sound effects and vocal sounds come from the Nintendo 64 games. The characters and humans derive from Wind Waker and the Nintendo 64 games. The over world enemies and game play are very similar to the game boy games and Wind Waker.  There are aspects of wind, but also an Ocarina that can teleport the player. The dungeons are very similar to the game boy games, and there is even one mini dungeon with the original Legend of Zelda dungeon theme and has original enemies. Meanwhile the game has its own species, known as the Minish, the kinstone side quest is very entertaining and makes me interested in interacting with different characters. The over world is rich and filled with secrets and activities. The dungeons are strategic and fun, and the combat is excellent. The soundtrack is great; the plot was fun basic one that did the job right with interesting characters, it was one a good plot but still not as good as the heart wrenching Wind Waker or Skyward Sword plots. Vaati was an interesting villain, and Ezlo was an interesting character as well. If I were to put this on my list of greatest Zelda games, this would be number seven on my list, being my favorite two dimensional Zelda game. I prsonally give the game a nine out of ten, being nearly flawless. Well that is all for today, there has not been a lot of new news lately, if any reader wishes for me to analyze a specific piece of news feel free to specify so in the comments. Brock Out!

Monday, August 5, 2013

August gaming news! Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag, Super Mario Crossover 3

             Good evening everyone, today we have some more news about Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag, and Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, and I also have a little news about a new free online game that is really fun and interesting to check out!

              Remember in the previous article, at the end of my in depth Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag play through analysis I asked a very important question about the game? Who the heck is going in that animus again? Well Ubisoft Singapore (where they're making the game) actually answered that and gave us some screenshots. The primary player is a brand new Abstergo employee who apparently has no idea what he's getting into. Your new and not yet named protagonist can leave the animus any time he wants to go screw around in the open world-like building of Abstergo Industries (which actually from the screenshots has striking resemblance to Ubisoft's office). The protagonist has to do various tactical missions to find out more about the true secrets of his new job, by spying on people, hacking into systems, and other espionage-like stuff. The protagonist has a personal office, which has a bunch of figurines of Assassins Creed characters for some reason. Also the main protagonist will also be used in first person, as to make it more like a real human being, which is very interesting and I cannot wait to check it out! The questions still remain though, what is going on with all of Desmond's assassin friends, and what ever happened to Juno taking over the world, everything seems pretty normal right now anyway. Well I suppose we'll find that out when we get our hands on the game. Also the host from Escapist News went to visit Ubisoft Singapore. For those who are geographically challenged, Singapore is in Malaysia, or Southeast Asia, which is really tropical and a great environment to find influence for the game. There she learned more about details of the game. Edward Kenway has a fleet of different types of ships, some are better for different missions. The Schooner is very fast and small, for example. The underwater scuba diving includes under water free running, as in maneuvers that can be used with objects to accelerate speed. Another bit of information is that the method of scuba diving that is used in the game, carrying a huge anchor held air tank, with a breathing hole facing down and use it to breathe as one explore beneath the ocean, is actually what pirates used to explore shipwrecks, pirates actually kind of scuba dived! There are three types of sharks and three types of whales that one can harpoon hunt, and the animals are used to upgrade weapons, a method that was inspired by the Far Cry series. Despite being very cruel, the hunting looks very fun! The player has a harpoon ready, and the once the prey is spotted one throws the harpoon, and if they hit, the boat is sent dragging behind the harpoon wounded prey with a rope and the player has to hang on until the prey bleeds out.

      There has slowly grown a large buildup of news since the trailer release and game play release of A Link between Worlds, as well as many confirmations. In the new Zelda 3DS game it will have a large portion taking place in the dark world from A Link To The Past. The map in the new game is similar to A Link to the Past, though not identical because changes have been made. There are many enemies and weapons identical to A Link to the Past, such as a hammer. The game shall be released in November of this year. Also all of the weapons seem to run on a single energy meter that recharges itself, completely depleting the need for ammunition for various weapons, arrows, bombs, and magic. It is also said that the new Zelda game shall take place centuries after A Link to the Past. On a slightly irrelevant note Zelda Wii U production seems to be going very well and production is pretty successful, rumors say that the game might be done in late 2014, which is awesome!

          Exploding Rabbit studios is an online free video game production studio that completely runs on donations. They made two Mario clone games called Super Mario Crossover and Super Mario Crossover 2. The games did not only feature Marion, the player could also play as Samus, Link, Mega Man, Luigi, some guy from Castlevania, and some guy from Ninja Gaiden, and some guy from a  gun game. My apologies for not knowing a lot of the character references, I am from a more recent era after all.  In addition the player could choose different skins for each character from the NES version to the SNES and game boy versions of them. Even the maps could be customized to these consoles. In addition each character plays their own awesome theme songs during each level.  Also each specific character has their unique attacks from their games and upgrades from their own games, in a Mario world that is freaking awesome! Why am I talking about this though? Well, they made a third game, Super Mario Crossover 3. Besides having an all new map this game features more characters, and more skins, such as different side characters from each main character’s game. Also the maps can be customized to look like a specific character’s game. I really have nothing else to say, if this isn’t tripping you out with excitement then get the hell off of this blog and never come back. Otherwise check it out! You can also save your progress on your computer.

        There is no more news, so just because, I am going to show all of the readers my gaming purchase list for the last part of the year. These are the games that I suggest the most for the year, beginning from most important to least important.

1.       Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag

2.       Grand Theft Auto V

3.       Batman: Arkham Origins

   If you aren’t really a fan of the batman games then discount that last one, bu out of all the new releasing games, even the new Battlefield, Call of Duty, or Legend of Zelda games that are coming out these are the games that I think shall be the best (I love Zelda games but I never was a fan of the DS). Well that seems like all I have to talk about tonight, there was not a lot of new information last week, but remember everyone, PAX Prime is coming up soon, a comic/video game convention, and Nintendo said that they were going to release new information about the Wii U Zelda game in a near future convention, sooooo………..?  Brock Out!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag in depth news and analysis

               Hello once again, readers of TheWhyButton, here is another news article to top off the mid-summer month of July. Personally I am a huge fan of the Assassins Creed [sic] series, and there was a ton of news about the next installment to the series: Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag. It may seem that there is not much news for this article, however there is actually a huge amount of Assassins Creed IV news that came along with a thirteen minute Caribbean open world demo, which I will go into with extreme depth. As for advice to any who has not seen the thirteen minute demo, GO WATCH IT NOW!
             The demo begins in a small village a few missions into the game. At this point in the story Edward Kenway had already met the Assassins though he is still a pirate; therefore he still pursues selfish goals such as fame and riches.
            I shall digress for a moment to speak about the graphics and the physical properties of this one town. First of all, the graphics are absolutely fantastic! One problem that I and many had with Assassins Creed III is that while the forest and tree free running was fun, new, and interesting, the free running in the cities was not that good compared to the other games. This is not necessarily the fault of the developers, because they made late eighteenth century colonial America very realistic, though the problem with that is the buildings were not high. In addition the roads were very wide therefore navigating by rooftop was inconvenient and not fast, and the player just ended up running through the street most of the time. This is especially poor if we compare this to past Assassins Creed games, where the player could navigate Ezio Auditorre through large, dense, amazing Renaissance cities with huge buildings and small streets and amazing travel within Florence, Venice, Rome, and Instanbul. Fortunately the creators of Assassins Creed IV highly improved the towns and cities. While being realistic in the early eighteenth century colonies, the buildings are still not that high. Never the less, the streets are really small, and the houses and buildings are really close together, making the free running system very fast. It is also great how they put the tropical climate to affect the game. Personally I live in the Caribbean (North Coast Dominican Republic Cabarete) so I really know how the wildlife of the jungle just consumes towns; also living here gives me so much more interest in this new game. In the towns there are a lot of jungle trees between streets and buildings, as well as there are even rivers running through the town. The atmosphere seems so full of life. The houses in the villages are also more like grass huts, (like poor beach houses) and the cities have the Spanish/Italian architecture influence.
This is the largest city in the game: Havana, Cuba
        Back to reviewing the demo, the player first accepts an assassination contract, pretty much the exact same way that one did in Assassins Creed II. Edward Kenway walks through crowds for a few blocks and then reaches some sort of pub. This area can be used to find advice, missions, purchase upgrades and items, to hire new crew for the ship, the Jackdog, or simply drink alcohol. Edward’s target is very close to the desk of the pub, therefore Edward goes incognito blending into the desk, before he assassinates the target bashing his head into the desk. The other templar target runs away. As the chase is going on the producer explains that there are many ways a chase can go; one can simply get near the target and then assassinate them, they can use the new pistol’s third person free aiming mode to shoot the target, or the target can reach his ship and then the chase must continue by ship. There are no loading screens in the game; one can go on and off ship freely without waiting. As they go chasing the ship the producer explains how the Jackdog is like the second protagonist in the game. There are dozens of upgrades that can be given to the ship, and must be given in order to be able to face the giant ships. One may also customize the ship how they wish. There are also many different types of ships that one faces in the game, from small scouts, to the average sized frigate, to giant armada ships that are impossible to defeat without upgrades. As the Jackdog reaches the pursuing ship, Edward Kenway looks through his telescope to examine the enemy ship. One can do this is the game to see what valuable cargo the ship is carrying and how dangerous the ship is. The ship that Edward was pursuing was filled with rum, which the producer commented “it can be highly valuable in the economy, if you know how to use it right.” This makes me feel that there is going to be a shipment economy system much like Assassins Creed III, where different supplies could be made or combined and used in certain ways. I actually don’t like this, yes there are different fun ways to get money but still this is a game about assassinating, stealth, killing people, this is not FarmVille. Stop selling rum and wheat and keep getting money by assassination contracts! Anyway when attacking the enemy ship the player has the choice to either merely destroy the ship or plunder the ship. Plundering the ship would mean to not completely destroy it; merely immobilize it and then use it for resources, which is slightly more difficult than just destroying it. The way the cannons work is exactly like the last Assassins Creed game, though one can also use the swivel gun more freely, to take out specific crew or the captain. There are many ways to board the enemy ships, either stealthily do it from far away by swimming through the water, or full on board it right beside it with all of your crew. The only concern is if someone in your crew dies, they die for good. In the demo Edward climbed up the sail of the ship, and used free running to jump onto the sail masts of the enemy ship, and then perform an air assassination to get down. The combat is almost exactly like Assassins Creed III it appears, which I really liked. Edward Kenway use two swords and can quickly switch to his pistols and back. It also appears that Edward is wearing leather armor; this may indicate that we can upgrade armor in this game, which I really liked and missed from the last game. Once the ship was conquered the player had a choice, to either use the ship’s part to repair the player’s own ship (implying that the ship does not just regenerate), send their ship to Edward’s fleet, or take the ship’s remaining crew members and make them Edward’s crew.
                  After this segment Edward’s ship continues navigating through the Caribbean sea, the map is revealed to be very large, and the game takes place in Cuba, the Bahamas, Southern Florida, Hispaniola (my country!), and Puerto Rico, as well has dozens and dozens of miscellaneous land masses. Personally I love how the game presents the tropical biome. The water is so colorful, bright, and well done, the jungles are full of life, and they “perfect the combination of man-made structures with natural free running use.” It also appears that the game will have a day and night cycle with various weather patterns, because the Caribbean weather is quite chaotic and unpredictable! This game makes me wish I lived in the Caribbean, until I remember that I actually do.  Anyway there are also among seventy five different secret locations that have upgrades for both Edward and his ship. In the demo Edward came across a small island where a dead drunken sailor was found with a treasure map with Mayan ruins. During this point the player also saw a faction war occurring from far away. In this game, identical to this point in history, the Spanish and British empires were not friends, and were very competitive. In this game one can choose to work with either of these factions, either favoring one, making peace with both, or destroying both and always stealing and plundering from everyone. On the journey to the island with the treasure the ship discovers that it is in a storm. The producer comments that “storms can be very dangerous and can destroy your ships if you don’t know how to navigate through one, however you can also use it to your advantage, by perhaps leading an enemy ship into a storm as a trap to destroy them.” I plan on using this trick a lot if I encounter trouble with ship warfare. They reach the island, and it is occupied by either Templars or colonists. There are many stealth maneuvers that one can use, for the jungle brush is very concealing. The Mayan ruins also show the perfect combination of tree free running and building free running. The stealth in this game looks a lot smoother than the stealth in its predecessor. I always was caught in Assassins Creed III because the maneuvers were always faulty and awkward, in addition the stealth never felt necessary because one could just fight and kill everyone so easily. Having said that the final part of the demo proved that stealth was necessary at some parts in this game. Right outside of the temple where the treasure lies there were two guards with prisoners. If Edward can save the prisoners then they become part of his crew, however if Edward is caught then the prisoners shall be killed. Once the player took down the enemies and gained his new recruits the demo was over, and that was one hell of a taste of Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag.
             The game appears to be coming out this Halloween, and yet there is still one huge question on my mind. We get what most of this game is going to be like, however one major detail has not been revealed, and hopefully won’t be until the release. Who is going into the animus???? We know that it has to be someone who is related to Desmond to have the same ancestor from three hundred years ago, so are we getting a new protagonist with the series? What ever happened with the end of the world? Is that goddess taking over the world? My hypothesis is that Desmond is not going to be dead; the writers of this series are predictable enough. Personally I love all of the writing for the assassins’ stories, I love Ezio and Altair stories, they were so beautifully and perfectly done, amongst the best plot and stories I have ever played, looking through their tragic lives, and even Connor’s story was pretty good. However the writing for the Desmond story is disappointing and lazy. Every game instead of answering questions and coming up with any sort of resolutions and conclusions they just put in a bunch of confusing stuff that makes absolutely no sense. It is forgivable to do that sort of thing once, like I didn’t mind the ending of Assassins Creed II and in fact it interested me highly. Assassins Creed Revelations was one of my favorite endings to any game ever, that gave no confusing questions, and in fact it answered almost everything of the horrible mess the plot was in before. Not answering questions and doing stuff that makes no sense and never gets answered later is just a cop out and the result of lazy writing. WARNING: the following examples proving my point contain major game spoilers, if you have not played all of these games and you care not to get spoiled, and then read no more. You have been warned.  Here are some examples: In Assassins Creed II there is a segment where Desmond becomes Altair, sure, that is really cool, but then he goes and sleeps with a Templar woman from the first game. This was treated like it was a big deal for the plot, and yet it was never mentioned again and to this day that segment means nothing. It was cool to unexpectedly play as Altair though all one did was chase a woman, no cool fighting or assassinations or intriguing important plot points. Example number two: the entire ending of Assassins Creed: Brotherhood. Yes, to this day they never explained why Desmond killed Lucy, while there are theories there is no actual answer. Why would they kill off the only reason I was actually interested in Desmond's story. Everyone was waiting for them to fall for each other and have a moment and then BAM!!! She is dead. The writers merely wanted to have a dramatic ending, though this just made no sense and was disappointing.  Example three: the ending of Assassins Creed III. This is what the writers were probably thinking “ooh damn, oh no, what do we do, we need to finally conclude this big mess, there is not more room to excuse space for another game (I mean really the entire Assassins Creed III plot was getting ONE KEY!!!)  uummmm……ummmm….. let’s kill him? Ya he’ll die to save everyone it sounds perfect!” Meanwhile another writer turns to him and asks “Well then what are we going to do about the next game?” Where the first lazy writer replies “Don’t think like that! Don’t be stupid! We never think out how our random meaningless illogical plot points for Desmond actually support or pan out for future games, now go drink some for glue and rat poison like the rest of the Desmond story line writing department!” Meanwhile the Ezio/Altair/Connor writing departments are filled with educated award winning greatest gaming writers ever.

          I apologize for this rant, it is just difficult to see how such beautiful and perfect storylines can be written beside such lazy cop out story lines in one game. I am not sure who is going into the animus in the next game, or what is happening in the future at that time, hopefully it will be really interesting and bring new stuff to the table with a plot that actually makes sense. If nothing has changed for Desmond’s writers, Desmond would be alive in this game, because writing him back to be a alive and then having just something else to do to stop Minerva would be the laziest sensible way to write the future segment of this game. What do you guys think? Are you as excited for the game as I am? Who do you think is going into the animus and why? Please comment and Brock Out!