Sunday, September 18, 2011

Deus Ex: Human Revolution Review

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the first good new game that I've played All year. It came out at a moment when I was searching for a good singleplayer game to play.

Until this game was announced back in 2009, I had never heard of the series. Mostly because I was too young when the original came out. But after seeing the announcement trailer, I became intrigued by it. It looked like something different, something that had the potential to be very good.

Let me give you a little history on this series. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a prequel to the very first game which was developed by series creators Ion Storm Inc and published by Eidos Interactive back in 2000. The first game, simply called Deus Ex, was critically acclaimed and won a number of Game of the Year awards due to pioneering designs in player choice. The sequel, Deus Ex: Invisible War, was not as acclaimed as the original but still received well by many critics.

With that little history lesson over, lets get back to the present, I mean the past, eh, you know, because Human Revolution is a prequel ? You no what, I'll try and keep the comedy to a minimum.

Anyway, Human Revolution is set in the year 2027, 25 years before the first game. You play as Adam Jensen who is head of security for Sarif Industries, the leading corporation in Augmentation research. Jensen became the Chief of security for Sarif after he left the Detriot SWAT team after refusing to follow a questionable order. During an attack on Sarif Industries, Jensen is critically injured and has no choice but to undergo radical surgery that fuses his body with these Augmentations

                                                        A now famous line of Dialogue

After being out of action for six months recovering, upon his return to Sarif Industries, Jensen is adament that he will find out who was responsible for the attack that left him mortally wounded and is hellbent on revenge.

                                                  The end result of Jensens Augmentations

The gameplay flows really well. The developers have what they like to call the "pillars of gameplay," which are Combat, Stealth, Hacking and Social". You can choose what way you want to play based on the way you upgrade your augmentations. Augmentations are unlocked and upgraded using Praxis points, which you can get in three ways. You gain Praxis points after you earn a certain amount of experience, by purchasing them from LIMB clinics (hospitals set up for those with augmentations) or you can find upgrade packs that are scattered throughout the game for you to find.

This is almost like an old school kind of game. It doesn't spoonfeed you all the information you need to get the job done, sometimes you have to find new ways to complete your objective which led me to trying things I normally wouldn't think of. The inventory system also leads you to having to think about what you want to bring with you. You can't just pick up everything and keep moving, so this presents new challenges. Also, certain items can be combined which will give you some space for more stuff. One example is combining a flashbang grenade with a land mine.

Overall: I enjoyed this game very much. It presented challenges that made me think about what I really wanted to do and how I would have to do it. The story telling is very good, combining cutscenes with  informative devices such as emails that you come accross after hacking computers. I loved all the different ways I could solve problems, one good example is when I ran out of ammo, I was able to hack a turret and set it to target my enemies, and then proceed to pick it up and bring it with me to take out whatever laid ahead. Pretty Awesome.


"Fun, challenging and a good story. Well worth the buy if you want a good singleplayer game to fill your time if you are wiating for the upcoming autumn/fall releases."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Drive is Opening This Week, Go See It

About a month back I was fortunate to go to the first day of Movie Fest. This was a cool little event in Dublin where they were showing films that weren't coming out for a good fews months. I was aware that two films were being shown plus a number of trailers that were exclusive to Comic-Con this year, the two films were Fright Night and The Change Up which I knew about when I bought the tickets. However I did not anticipate that a secret film was being shown and that film was a Cannes Film Festival winner Drive. Just the day before my brother comes up to me and tells me to look at a trailer for an upcoming movie called Drive, needless to say I was very impressed yet doubtful that the 'guy from the Notebook' could pull off any kind of badass.

Fortunately I got to see this film a day after I saw the trailer so I could still remember my impressions of the trailer before I saw the film, those impressions went right out the window when I saw the opening scene. The film is very unique in the sense of its direction, there is not a lot of talking in Drive just a lot of acting. Not going to talk a lot about this movie but I just want to get my word out that this is a beast of a movie and has totally changed my image of Ryan Gosling who is absolutely incredible in this movie along with Carrie Mulligan who is also exceptional. This is definitely on my movie of the year list. So if you wanna go to the cinema this week? Go see this movie, you will not regret it. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Bastion Review

Xbox Live Arcade always has something of a boom period during the summer as small titles such as Bastion get recognised and prospers for its short but sweet gameplay.

Bastion, to simply put it, is one of those Arcade titles set to dazzle you for its art and simplified gameplay mechanics. So it sounds like Limbo right? Well not quite like Limo, Limbo uses its art to immerse and drive the player to continue even if you don't know who or why you are continuing. Bastion on the other hand doesn't focus on its art as much as Limbo does, not to say that Bastion's art is weaker than Limbo's, but that Bastion doesn't totally rely on its art (its a matter of opinion at the end of the day on who's art you prefer). Bastion although does reinforce its story in a somewhat innovated way with the addition of a narrator narrating your every move; 

Of course the narrator doesn't voice your every move but you can see that a lot of the narrative is explaining everything around him and further describing each object as the player picks up new weapons or heads into a new area. This is the main highlight of Bastion in my opinion instead of stopping the gameplay to watch a cutscene and to catch up with the story, the narrator tells the story as the player progresses through the game. Many classic games takes this route such as BioShock and Half Life 2, they refuse to stop the player and try to explain everything in a short cutscene because they don't want to take the easy option out. However cutscene's are not all bad, its just refreshing to try something that is rarely done well. 

The story itself is quite simple but thanks to its narrative it draws you into the world easily. Bastion takes the point of view of Sebastian who's tale begins with the aftermath of the Calamity, a catastrophic event that brought to the end of the world as he knew it. Sebastian meets up with a wise old man, the narrator, at the Bastion a place everyone planned to meet if dire times came to be. From then on Sebastian must recreate the old world as he knew it, one step at a time. 

The gameplay is simple enough, A to jump around B and X to use your two weapons along with right bumper to use a special ability of your choosing. I enjoyed the combat a ton considering they mixed it up quite a lot, from maneuvering  to using short ranged weapons to long ranged weapons I must admit I enjoyed forming different classes together. Its nothing compelling like I said, but regardless the system works quite well for its genre.

Overall: I found the game unique and simplified in the sense that they used a highly regarded method of storytelling by not introducing cutscenes. The majority of the story is told through a narrator which is the first of its kind. The story and its art was by far the highlight of this game and therefore gets a high score from me. 

"It dazzles me in a multitude of ways with keeping a slick and easy to follow story along with a new and refreshing storytelling method."  

I still love Valve

Well it's yet another I love Valve deal. Portal 1, the original smash hit puzzle game, is now free on Steam.

Here's a link to download it from browser or you can just click on Portal in the shop
(It may say a price for whatever currency you have but there's an option to just download it in the actual menu)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Minecraft 1.8 Review

Yesterday a preview of Minecrafte 1.8 update was released. This is just an update you may think... Oh how wrong you are... Minecraft 1.8 is the long awaited Adventure update... Well, at least half of it. The full update is to be finished in 1.9. However this isn't just a new update. This is a new game essentially.

Markus Persson, Jebs Bergensten and the rest of the Mojang crew have been hard at work over the last few weeks as they prepared for possibly the biggest Minecraft update to date. Ranging from the small items, gates for fences, to the huge, ravines and abandoned mineshafts.

I've restarted my Minecraft career because a lot of these changes can't take place in areas already explored which was bad for me seeing as I have the habbit of exploring all the areas near my main one so my map looks nice and full. Doesn't bother me too much but it can't be helped. These new changes include, Rivers, Seas, New biomes (Areas such as swamps and mountainous) Ravines, valleys, bayou like forests and more. I'm personally avid over the mountainous biomes. It reminds me of the levels I had back in Alpha version 1.2.12, back when there was no real restrictions and each level was pretty dam nice looking.
One of my new levels, I have an air city behind that cliff now...

There are various tweaks and twists to already implemented features, such as an improved bow which you can charge up before firing. Chest animations, and an entirely new system of combat. Gone are the days where you could just charge into the night with a sword and 8 Cooked pork chops. There is the addition of the hunger bar which changes the way we all will have to fight. When our hunger bar is up high, we have health regeneration but when it's down low, it's just a waste of pixels to you. Food no longer heals you. It boosts up your hunger which in turn heals you over time. I can already hear an outcry of rage from people for Mojang "wrecking" combat in Minecraft. I think it's a great addition and puts more faith into actual strategy in combat making you properly choose your attacks instead of it being a competition of who can click fastest. Another big thing is the addition of NPC villages however the come with the lack of npcs for the time being. I'm not sure if they'll come with the official release date or with 1.9.
An underground cavern I found within a few minutes of starting 1.8

The Mojang team have also improved Speed and stability of the game itself. I have a laptop. It's a fast-ish one. It can run modern-ish games like Borderlands and shit pretty well. It had trouble running Minecraft before in terms of me not being able to enjoy having the graphics on fancy. Now I can run it on full power with no problem. The graphics and light systems have been improved aswell. There's also a creative mode for you guys who insist on using inventory editors in your levels and insist it's for creative purposes. You have infinite supplies and can fly etc.
Pretty sunrise is prettier from my new Skycity.

One of my favourite additions is the New main mob (I say main because of the fact that there's a new cave spider who has the ability to poison) which is the Enderman/Farlander. This new mob is hilariously fun and scary. Odd combination but I have had real fun trying to fuck around with this new long limbed foe and it's truly a good bit of fun. It has the characteristics of the weeping angel from Doctor Who who is frozen in place if you're looking at it and as soon as you look away it can kill you in a matter of seconds. The Enderman is friendly at first HOWEVER as soon as your cross hair lands upon him, he looks at you with a terrifying gaze. The moment your cross hair moves... prepare yourself for a battle with a teleporting paedophile (They just seem like that to me what with their creepy zombie noises and long limbs).
Please prepare your anus for a raping.

I have probably left out a lot of important things mainly due to the fact there is just so much to talk about and for that, i'm sorry.

This trailer shows exactly what the update is like ^

So overall what did I think?
Showing the new bow and other items like food and XP bar.

This isn't an update. This is a new GAME. It's spectacular. It's changed what Minecraft is for the better. It's just brilliant. However it isn't without it's faults. This is only an early release. Places like npc villages and the mineshafts tend to be very buggy in the sense that they don't form properly for a variety of reasons. If you have yet to download it, here is the link from the official Minecraft Forums Or you can wait 'till the 12th. Your call. Either way Mojang have just shot way up in my book.

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