Friday, October 14, 2011

Crysis 2 Review

           

            Since the release of Crysis in 2007, Crytek has become a more than familiar name within the industry. Sporting ridiculously high requirements, Crysis enthralled players such as myself with visuals that were far beyond its time. The problem was if you didn’t have access to a sufficient pc (and most did not) then you were left out in the cold.
            When Crytek released Crysis 2 in March this year, that all changed. Not only did Crytek manage to make a game that looks so amazing you will find your jaw between your feet for the whole ride, but they did it on consol.
           
                                            In game screenshot? You bet your hairy lil ass.

In Crysis 2 you will find yourself playing the role of “Alcatraz”, a marine who ends up being the only hope for humanity. Armed with an amazing suit you will fight your way through the ruined streets of New York City, as mankind’s greatest weapon, combating and avoiding an alien menace that lurks around every corner. The amazing visuals that CryEngine 3 provides is more than enough to keep you entertained during your Crysis 2 experience, but to make things better, the game also features an outstanding and cinematic campaign. Throughout the campaign you will find challenging scenarios, stimulating graphic, some varying but mostly good voice acting, an epic adventure, well hidden collectables, and much, much more.
            Crysis 2 feels a lot like your average military shooter at it's core, but the nanosuit adds much depth as it allows players to use its ever famous cloaking ability, as well as armor, superhuman speed, a tactical scanner and thermal vision. In both campaign and multiplayer the use of just about all the suits powers will be vital for survival. All of the skills consume energy, which will quickly refill when the nanosuit's powers are no longer in use. This adds an interesting twist to multiplayer seeing as being uncloaked can be hazardous to the health, players must be strategic about how they push through the maps. Finding your self out in the middle of a huge open area with no energy, unlcoaked will usually end in death.
Another enjoyable aspect is the RPG elements cleverly implemented into Crysis 2. While kicking some alien ass you will receive XP, which you will then be able to spend to improve your suit and give yourself sweet new upgrades. RPG elements arise once again in the multiplayer mode which very much resembles Call of Duty with a few interesting ideas tossed into the pot, such as the individual leveling of each of your suits abilities. Unlock weapons, attachments, and perks to aid to you in battle, and complete challenges and pull off skill shots to get an extra xp boost. Crysis 2 also has a great assortment of maps and game modes to be explored online, which will help to keep you coming back for more.



Unfortunately, Crysis 2 also has a handful of things that kept the game from reaching its full potential.
One of the biggest problems being how linear the campaign was, it was not easy to play Crysis 2 for extensive periods of time due to its boxed in, linear path which leaves you wanting to spread the wings a bit. Often enough you will find yourself on a street that feels similar to a street before it, doing something that you’re pretty sure you’ve already done before.
            The checkpoints in the game also occasionally frustrated me, sometimes being spaced a bit too far apart and may leave you wondering later why they placed two so close together in some part of the campaign where it almost seemed silly. This was not a huge problem, but was something I couldn’t help but notice.
            I’ve seen that a good number of reviewers have spoken out against the games AI, voicing that the enemies in game are terribly stupid. This is also something I took notice of, but honestly it didn’t bother me all that much. I feel the combat felt rich regardless of how good the AI performed.
           The last point I would like to make is left to debate. I personally felt the games stealth aspects left me sneaking through enemies time and time again. Yes I could have just stopped and fought my way through every scenario, but often I just found it to be a hassle. For those of you that enjoy Metal Gear Solid this could very well be a fun and interesting element, but I often found myself feeling a bit bored with sneaking around and longing for some scenarios where stealth would not be the ultimate solution.


           Overall I really enjoyed Crysis 2. I wouldn't go as far as to say it was the most enjoyable gaming experience of my life, but I did find it to be refreshing and it looks great. It looks really great! The game has been out for a bit and at this point has dropped significantly in price. I recommend picking it up, the graphics alone are worth the money.

Score:
8.3 / 10

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - Cross Platforming





Counter-Strike fans will not have to wait much longer for their new fix, for Valve has announced that Counter-Strike: Global Offensive should be hitting stores early next year. Its been a bit since Counter-Strike source hit shelves almost seven years back and Global Offensive looks as though it just might have been worth the wait. Not only has Valve promised new guns, maps, game modes and upgraded visuals, but they have also released another tasty little nugget of info... Cross Platforming. 
Cross platforming is a relatively new idea in the industry and not many games have graced us with its presence but Valve has claimed that its new installment in the award winning franchise will allow friends to duke it out regardless of which platform they choose to play it on. If all goes well you should be able to buy Global Offense by first quarter 2012.

This trailer should have you drooling.

Modern Warfare 3 And Why I'm Not Buying It



Since the Release of the first Modern Warfare, Call of Duty (as you well know) has become a household name. I know many people, just as you do, that play Call of Duty to such an extent that they are hesitant to give other games a chance and maybe even play Call of Duty exclusively. With the 3rd installment on the way people have been getting very excited about its upcoming release in November. Rumors are circulating and starved MWF players all over are foaming at the mouth in anticipation of Infinity Wards newest release and there is no doubt in my mind that it will sell an outrageous amount of copies within its first week on shelves.
Understand that I love shooters and my experience with COD dates back to the release of the original for PC. Don’t worry, this is not a rant about how the originals are so much better than the latest installments, that is far, far from the truth. I missed out on MWF but have spent a more than a generous amount of time on MWF 2 and though you may say it doesn’t apply even more of my time was put into World at War. So know that I don’t think the new breed of COD is absolute crap. Call of Duty is a lot of fun and a good game, but that’s just it, to me that’s all it is… a good game. I do not think Modern Warfare 2 is the best Militant shooter and /or best game I have ever played.

For starters, I cannot stand more than half of the online maps. With a few exceptions, MWF2 has some of the worst maps I have ever played.

Big open field after big open field.

            Snipers can get bothersome in this kind of situation, but honestly snipers are the least of my worries. If you ask me the maps are just bare, unimaginative, bland, unmoving and not very memorable. Most maps lack any sort of creative cover, you find yourself always hiding behind a car or crouching behind some random object that happens to be sitting there. Never have I been in an area of a Modern Warfare 2 map and thought to myself, wow the developers must have really worked hard to make shoot outs fun in this area.  When it comes to competitive shooters, to me, the maps are very important. If I’m going to spend hour after hour for months to come owning people in your shooter you’d best give me some interesting environments to do it in. The way the game handles spawning is yet another annoying aspect of MWF 2. It may be a good way to get you back in the action but I can’t stand spawning in some random area only to be killed shortly after, a lot of the time from behind. Specific spawning zones can be great for this reason, especially in games with round play, such as Counter – Strike.
            Another thing I never understood was the idea of twelve man team death match and eight man death match. A person usually plays death match for a faster paced experience with more targets to shoot at. In this case the more people the better.
            Modern Warfare also lacks a solid campaign. The entire story is like eating toasted wonder bread with nothing on it, which wouldn’t be so horrible if the online maps weren’t just as dry.
            Visually I have never found the Call of Duty games to be appealing, even for their time. I have always felt that the games looked washed out and faded. Gritty but not cool gritty like Resident Evil 5… just gritty. Nothing ever seems vibrant and alive and nothing ever seems to stand out or really catch my attention.
MWF does offer some nice things such as great customization, fun rpg elements, a great weapon selection and more. I did enjoy my time with the game and would never go as far as to say it is one of the worst shooters I have ever played, but with other games on the way such as Skyrim or Counter – Strike: Global Offensive, and considering the things the MWF series has been lacking, MWF 3 will stay buried deep down my list of games to buy in the future. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mastering Brink Online



            Brink is a game I enjoy immensely. Looking online you’ll find very mixed reviews of the game, usually ones not in its favor. I can see how Brink may not be your type of game but if you have an open enough mind and play it the right way Brink can be one hell of a rush. I’ve heard complaints among players of getting low xp per a match but kicking ass the entire time.  For those of you who could use a little help in the world of Brink I’ve compiled some tips for you to help get your ass kicking in gear.

First Rule of Brink:
Brink is not Call of Duty

Second Rule of Brink:
Brink is NOT Call of Duty.

            The easiest mistake you can make in Brink is playing the game like you would Call of Duty. Sorry lone wolves, in Brink you are getting nowhere with your usual tactics. Brink was masterfully crafted so that helping your teammates is the best way to help yourself. Splash Damage did a fantastic job of making this game fair all around and I applaud them for it. Which Brings me to my first point…

BUFF BUFF BUFF!!!

            Buffing your fellow companions will not only give you a generous amount of xp but it also helps your team win the match and makes your grind a little easier. This is especially important for classes such as the soldier and engineer because a great portion of your xp will come from buffing other players. Don’t waste precious supplies buffing yourself. Yea that damage buff may seem like its really going to help you, but not as much as an easy 75 xp, and there’s always a good chance another team mate will buff you. The one class that you should refrain from going buff crazy with is the medic. Medics get a whopping 150 xp for a full revive so always keep an appropriate amount of supplies at hand. If you are playing a medic and your team seems to be doing well and sticking together then don’t be afraid to start buffing. Those syringes are going to do you no good if your team isn’t dying.

Being Objective VS Defending

            If your team is attacking, being objective is obviously important. If you’re swift finishing objectives you will rack up a lot of xp. But if there are far to many people going for an objective there are other great offense alternatives. Once again the medic is a great class in this situation, but in addition if the operative is played right they can be quite good as well. With the operative it’s important that you use all the skills at their disposal. A well placed caltrop has the potential to cripple a tight nit defending team as well as assist you with kills and raking in a butt ton of xp. Taking disguise can also be a big help. Even if you don’t plan on keeping it disguising yourself as enemies as well as extracting intel from them is another great way to keep the xp rolling. Don’t forget to help your team locate mines and place homing beacons on the enemy.
            Defending in Brink it’s a good idea to go with medic or maybe soldier if there isn’t another.  Just be wise when giving out ammo as a soldier. The lower the recipients ammo the better. Buffing players who are low on ammo will give the soldier a hefty wad of xp. From a team standpoint the engineer is also a good defending class but I find I get less xp with them.

Don’t Be Afraid To Die

Dying is not penalized in Brink so don’t be afraid to gamble once in a while!

Keep Moving!

Never stand still and shoot. That’s a really good way to achieve nothing. Even Brink stresses the fact that you should ALWAYS be moving. Bob and weave around as you spray lead into your enemy. This may seem a little tricky at first but keep at it and you’ll get the hang of it. Think old school Unreal Tournament.

Master The Art Of The Slide

Sliding is a very important part of Brink. With a little practice you’ll be sliding around a corner while your enemy stands there chewing up the scenery. In addition I would like to note that Brink has many routes running through their maps and they should all be taken advantage of. Getting the drop on 3 space cadets is a great way to dispose of them.


If All Else Fails
            
            If you still feel you are not doing well I would like to refer you once again to the medic. Make sure you have those nifty extra supply abilities and at all costs revive every teammate you can reach. As mentioned before, revive can be a ridiculously easy way to rack up a hefty final score and who doesn’t like being healed, right?

            Hopefully these tips will give you a bit of an edge on the field. 

The Gamestop guy and (Dead Space 2 Review)



Beating the original Dead Space was a magical moment for me. It took me a long time to finally give the game a try. When a demo was put on xbox live prior to its release I remember playing it and thinking to myself, “this isn’t so great”. Time went on and I heard some good things about it. Hearing people rave about the games amazing story and equally amazing graphics perked my interest a bit, but I still just didn’t care enough to pick up a copy. One stranger changed it all.
            I was in gamestop doing my usual rounds in the el cheapo department but I just couldn’t find anything that grabbed me. I looked and looked and finally settled on some cheesy game (that I’m sure I would have regretted) when a gamestop employee stopped me dead in my tracks.
            “thinking about getting that?”  He asked.
Almost embarrassed I shook my head yes. But this guy was clearly not having it.
“Have you played this yet?” asking another question this time with an even cheesier looking game in his had, practically waving it in my face.
            I looked at the cover and almost laughed. The ridiculous severed hand floating in space and above it read “Dead Space” an equally ridiculous title.


(ahahahahahahahahaha....oh.... you're serious...)


“nah, I tried it and it seemed like nothing special” I respond.
Gamestop guy then proceeds to take the game I had in my hand from me and puts Dead Space in its place.
“Trust me, this game is MUCH better!” he says.
I’m not sure why, maybe it was his enthusiasm, but I rolled with it.

IT WAS SO HARD TO STOP PLAYING!

When Dead Space 2 was on the verge of being released I was filled with both excitement and fear. Dead Space had since become one of my favorite games. I loved just about everything about it and I knew it would be very hard for Visceral top. I remember beating Dead Space and thinking, wow that last boss was kinda easy, but holy shit was that the most epic ending ever!
            So there I am. Back at gamestop. In my hands, Dead Space 2 and Bulletstorm. Being worried about DS2 letting me down I’m unsure of what to pick, remembering what had happened last time, I decide to ask another gamestop guy (a very different gamestop guy). This one insists that Bulletstorm is the superior game but for some reason I don’t listen. Am I Ever Glad!

Not only did Dead Space 2 deliver, it surpassed my expectations! From the moment this game starts it is a heart racing, adrenaline pumping dash to the finish. Honestly little has changed mechanic wise since the original Dead Space. A few new weapons, a bit of a touch up on the visual end of things, some minor things here and there… But what grabs you is the character development, besides everything in the series was pretty much solid from the get go. As Isaac Clarke starts his second unfortunate encounter with the horrific necromorphs you see very early in that things are not all right. The character has been severely shaken up from the events of the first Dead Space and in the sequel it shows, making Isaac Clarke feel real. Human. The games stunning graphics mix flawlessly with its intense sound track and sound effects making Dead Space 2 a truly terrifying experience. The games linear nature may seem to be a bore but it will lead not just the character but YOU creeping through dark corridors wondering what the next corner will bring all while tangling you up in its intricate story. You will come in contact with new horrifying creatures, blow out air locks sucking your foes out into the cold depths of space, take on massive waves of beasties and in harder difficulties you will die, and die, and die, and love every minute of it. The New Game + once again appears in Dead Space and this time offers a new unlockable difficulty, Hard Core. Hard Core couldn’t be more appropriately named because not only is it relative to the second highest difficulty without the option to new game + into it, but there are no checkpoints… oh… and you can only save…3… times.
           


After beating Dead Space 2 I was left in awe as I thought back to the amazing game that I just had the pleasure to experience, and as the credits stopped rolling without hesitation I started my way through round 2. When round 2 was finished, instead of considering another game, I once again dove into DS2 for round 3.
            Every Encounter in DS2 seems tediously thought out. Though the game tends to be almost entirely close quarters, playing through the game time and time again will bring new vantage points to your attention and you’ll find better ways to deal with those tricky situations that Visceral seems to love to drop you in. At no time did I feel the game was starting to lose its steam and the campaign drew me in more and more with every step I took. Aboard a space city of sorts DS2 will guide you through interesting environments one after the other. One moment you will find yourself aboard a thrilling fast paced train sequence, you’ll explore futuristic malls, and explore an extremely disturbing nursery/school. All of these areas seem believable in their own futuristic way. Seeming to give you a taste of what you will never live to see. You will lose yourself in DS2’s fantastic story telling and fall in love with its characters.



One significant change I did notice in the sequel was the lack of annoying puzzles and uninteresting mini games that the original Dead Space offered. Personally I don’t feel these aspects ruined the original but I do believe DS2 benefits from them being left out, moving the focus to the things that really count. Almost all of what made Dead Space so great found its way to Dead Space 2. You will still scavenge for power nodes, which can be used to upgrade your innovative arsenal of weaponry as well as Isaac’s iconic engineering suit. Ammo is extremely valuable and you will once again agonize over every shot fired, trying your absolute best to make every shot count knowing that there just may not be that plasma cutter ammo waiting around the corner to save the day. You will still use stasis to your advantage, slowing down advancing enemies allowing you to take better control of an otherwise chaotic situation. You’ll still creep slowly down dark halls wondering if the whispering in the backround was placed to scare you, or as a warning to all that the shit is about to hit the fan. And when ammo is no where to be found you will still use kinesis to fling deadly objects at your enemies in hopes that one of them may drop a little ammunition to keep the killing in full swing.



The few minor problems didn’t do much to influence my opinion of the game, but I felt they should be noted regardless. The new online multiplayer that Dead Space 2 sports is less than mediocre. A poorly crafted competitive mode, which pits humans against monsters in a left 4 dead fashion. I found the multiplayer to be clunky and boring. Not to mention that there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of people playing the game online. The campaign more than makes up for this but I would still have been thrilled to find a solid online mode to add to the games already insanely high replay value.
            In addition I had really hoped for a little more. A challenge mode maybe, or better yet a survival mode where you could rank in on leaderboards and compare your scores with friends.
As you can tell, as far as draw backs go, I’m really reaching here!

Overall Dead Space 2 was a thrilling experience, one that I gleefully returned to again and again. Being the masterpiece of a sequel it is, it’s obvious that Dead Space is starting to move into a comfortable spot among the best of survival horror games the industry has to offer. If this genre does anything at all for you, and you have been hesitating, do yourself a favor. Take my advice, pick up Dead Space 2 and get ready for one hell of a ride!

Thanks gamestop guy! Seriously!!! 


SCORE
9.6 / 10

The Dudes TOP 5 zombie games of ALL TIME!









Left 4 Dead 2
The ass kicking sequel to Valves ground breaking Zombie Shooter Left 4 Dead proved to be just as good if not better.


Resident Evil (Directors Cut)
This is the one that started it all. Survival Horror's first great step. Not to mention a difficult and merciless game.


Zombies Ate My Neighbors 
Yea... wasn't it great?


Dead Island
Techland's magnificent undead masterpiece. Dead Island's visuals will put you in awe. Decapitation has never been so pretty.


Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
Making a good thing out of a not so good thing.

An Island Vacation (Dead Island Review)



I stumbled upon Techland’s Dead Island maybe a week before its release on September 6th. Now I must admit, at heart I am among the greatest of zombie lovers. Playing every zombie game I can get my hands on as well as playing them through multiple times, sometimes, even the bad ones.  So you can imagine my surprise and excitement as I found myself watching a trailer of the mysterious game, Dead Island, and found that it would soon be available for purchase.

The day after release I found myself immersed in a horrifying and beautiful world filled with palm trees and rotting corpses… and it was good. Dead Island brings superb lighting to the table; illuminating a massive, fairly open world for you to explore and admire as fight your way through wave after wave of gruesome undead. You and up to 3 other players can join forces to journey through environments such as the island resort as well as a hostile city for some close encounter urban combat.
At its core Dead Island is an RPG, and this is where it shines. The game offers 4 playable characters, each with their own skill tree and special ability. Each character is fairly dull in personality but the massive amount of quests Dead Island offers will keep you entertained for many days to come. Random generated gear will have you hunting for that perfect weapon and the lust for xp will have you killing everything in your path to soak up more. Dead Island involves a lot of hacking and beating your way through your enemies. Ammunition is hard to come by and finding your first firearm will take a fairly long time. Weapon repair is needed often and is very expensive, keep weapons in tip top shape or risk dying… a lot. Dead Island in some regards can be fairly difficult, especially when not in a party, so dying is something you will have to get used to, thankfully dying will have you respawn nearby, all enemies will retain the health you left them at and no xp loss will be suffered, but dying WILL cost you money.








Having some cash on you can be very important in Dead Island especially with the rate at which weapon’s deteriorate and with how much you will have to spend to get them working again. Money can also be used to upgrade your weapons and pays a small contribution to the games crafting system.
Dead Island does not offer a very rich story and the voice acting is very poor, but some of the sound effects and music help to give off the creepy, eerie and unusual atmosphere that contributes to the games charm. Quests you receive are usually very interactive and fun. I never found myself dreading a quest because I felt like I’d done it a thousand times before, which is exactly how most Grand Theft Auto games make me feel (Yea, I said it.). Dead Island also includes a new game + feature which as with any similar rpg is a great feature to have and adds a lot of replay value.

  As much as I enjoyed my trek on the island, I also observed some things here and there that sort of annoyed me. The online system is very easy to use and will give you the option to join other players when they are near by you, unfortunately the game does not mention what level the other players are and it matches you up by story progress, sometimes you find yourself in a game with a much lower level player, this is especially the case when playing through the story a second time. I had also encountered some bugs and glitches throughout the game however most were fixed after a patch was released shortly after the game hit shelves. Some textures load a bit slow (if such a thing would bother you) and at times combat can be frustrating.

Overall I had a great time playing Dead Island and have put a good 60 hours into it. With some minor burps here and there Techland offers a unique and exciting experience with Dead Island that will have you coming back for more. I’ve tried to be as honest as possible with this review but remember… I really love zombies.







SCORE
8.5 / 10