Monday, August 12, 2013

Deadlight Review

Over the last few years we have seen just about everything zombie within the realms of possibility, but never before have we seen it quite like this. Taking place in the 80's for seemingly no reason whatsoever, Deadlight is a side scrolling platforming puzzle game which puts the player in the shoes of protagonist Randall Wayne. Randall Wayne is a grizzly looking manly man in search of his family from which he has been separated. Seattle has been overrun by a sickness that has spread and turned its inhabitants into the flesh eating, walking undead known simply as "shadows".

The first thing that will jump at you while playing Deadlight is its apparent dreary look and atmosphere. This is something that Deadlight does indisputably well. A blend of dark shadows against brightly lit, yet washed out backgrounds set a tone that is perfect for the games setting. The thing that impressed me the most about the in game visuals and environments is the way the developers made this obviously two dimensional adventure seem very un-two dimensional. From time to time you will stumble into areas that have a breathtaking amount of depth for a side-scroller. Often given the illusion that the background is much more than just a background, almost giving you the urge to explore it. The bulk of the main story is done through comic like stills that are equally impressive and also fit the games tone just right.

But does the story stand up to the games impressive lighting and dynamic environments? Unfortunately it does not. The story here is fairly cliche, something you may expect from an older budget title of days passed. It's not that the story was absolutely terrible, it just simply falls into the category of mediocre. As far as the games ending is concerned, the story gets an A for effort, but its delivery is poorly executed, ultimately stealing the thunder of the moment.

To go with the games dreary look is a wonderful, eerie and atmospheric soundtrack of ambiance that harmoniously melds with the games visual experience. Its obvious that a lot of care wen't into this games soundtrack and the effort has certainly paid off. Yet I can't say the same for the games atrocious voice acting and dialogue. Randall Wayne's voice definitely holds a certain gruffness that one would expect from a giant man with an epic beard. But gruffness doesn't go the distance when it comes to voice acting. A lot of the voices in this game make cheesy B-rate acting seem wonderful and a few interesting lines aside, the games dialogue seems forced and at times unnecessary.

All the things mentioned above can still sum up to a great experience, but most of my frustrations with the game come from the titles mediocre gameplay. Aside from a few overly frustrating parts, the game doesn't offer much in the way of challenge. Keep in mind that this is coming from a guy who tends to stray from titles involving heavy platforming and puzzles. Deadlight is extremely linear and though there are a fair amount of collectibles to be found, the game offers very little in the ways of exploration. After finishing my first play-through with the game I had a an overall completion of over 85% percent. I had found a great many of the games collectibles, though I wasn't really looking for them. In fact, I didn't particularly find many roads straying from the beaten path. As far as puzzles are concerned there are definitely a few moments here and there that had me scratching my head, but the end result of the puzzles failed to wow me in any way. Deadlights gameplay is about as straight forward as it gets. 

Deadlight focuses greatly on survival. Your best bet is to avoid the undead at all cost and a lot of the time it almost seems like there is no danger of combat whatsoever. But its the moments when combat is unavoidable that emphasize just how clunky and frustrating the combat system really is. Swinging your ax around uses up stamina. When your stamina runs dry you will have to wait a frustratingly long time for it to refill. Simply hacking away at zombies with your ax will get you no further than knocking a zombie down, providing you with a few moments until they are once again on their feet. When on the ground players can bring the ax down on disabled enemies for a kill. In small numbers this is fine, but when facing an overwhelming number of zombies you might as well throw yourself at them until they rip you apart allowing you to restart at the last check point. It doesn't help that the controls, especially when it comes to platforming, are simply passable. Normally I would ease up on infrequent clunky and unresponsiveness in controls. But seeing as this is a platformer, I personally feel the controls should be the most solid of all the games aspects. Usually the occasional wonkyness with controls is fine, but its frantic situations when you need to make every jump and attack count that this can cause agonizing frustration. 

Deadlight is definitely not the worst title I have ever played. It gets a lot of respect for making an attempt on something new and refreshing in a genre that has nearly been beaten to death. But with lack luster gameplay, a campaign of three to five hours, some bugs including crashing, horrible voice acting and equally unimpressive dialogue I couldn't consciously recommend this title for a price of fifteen dollars. If you find it on sale for five bucks and some of the games aspects intrigue you, give it a go.  


- Impressive Visuals 

- Diverse Environments 

- Great Soundtrack


- Linear 

- Terrible Voice Acting

- Too Short

- Uninspiring Gameplay


6.4 / 10

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Witcher 2 Walkthrough: Chapter 1 (Parts 11-14)

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Part 11: Defeat Letho

Part 12: Where is Triss?

Part 13: Follow the Trail / Find Cedric

Part 14: Death to the Traitor

The Witcher 2 Walkthrough: Chapter 1 (Parts 6-10)

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Part 6: A Matter of Price / Speak to Cedric

Part 7: Defeating the Kayran

Part 8: Prison Barge / Rose of Rememberance

Part 9: Talk to Zoltan / Meet with Iorveth

Part 10: Kill the Arachas

The Witcher 2 Walkthrough: Chapter 1 (Parts 1-5)

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Part 1: A Rough Landing / By the Gods

Part 2: The Nekker Contract

Part 3: Troll Trouble

Part 4: The Endrega Contract

Part 5: Indecent Proposal 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Witcher 2 Walkthrough: Prologue (Parts 6-9)

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Prologue: Part 6 (To the Temple)

Prologue: Part 7 (Temple Courtyard)

Prologue: Part 8 (Assassination) 

Prologue: Part 9 (Escaping Prison)

The Witcher 2 Walkthrough: Prologue (Parts 1-5)

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Prologue: Part 1 (Interrogation)

Prologue: Part 2 

Prologue: Part 3 (Barricade)

Prologue: Part 4 (At the Fore)

Prologue: Part 5 

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Walkthrough

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings walkthrough in 720P.


Parts 1-5

Parts 6-9

Chapter 1: 

Parts 1-5

Parts 6-10

Parts 11-14

Chapter 2: In progress.

The Darkness 2 Review

The release of The Darkness in 2007 filled us with a sense of wonderment and gave us an opportunity to explore an innovative title quite unlike anything we had previously experienced. In 2012 Jackie Estacado returns with The Darkness 2. Though the Darkness 2 lacks the same innovation and sense of awe that the first game presented, The Darkness 2 can still provide players with an enjoyable experience so long as you can look past it's faults.

Jackie has achieved much this time around, currently standing at the head of the Franchetti crime family, Jackie is clearly living a life of extravagance. After years of suppressing the evil force that lurks within him known only as "the darkness", it is clear that the story's lead protagonist is trying his best to find a new life and make peace with his past. Unfortunately as things take a turn for the worse Jackie is forced into relying on the evil within him once again and learns that some things just can't stay buried.

Though the Darkness 2 starts out rather slow and uninteresting, the games story picks up tremendously about half way through it's rather short campaign. What starts off as a very generic plot unravels into a wonderfully crafted story that will make the player think and keep them guessing. This in marriage with many of the games emotional moments can make for quite an enjoyable ride and you will find yourself pushing forward for the chance to see what happens next. 

A lot has changed this time around, and one of the things you will notice right away is the art style. Digital Extremes has decided to ditch the more realistic approach that Starbreeze Studios used for the original Darkness, instead using a very cell shaded look more true to the comic book the games are based off of. The new art style is fairly charming in it's own way and does a good job of portraying the intended atmosphere, though I can't say the game truly impressed me visually. Textures at times seemed to almost bleed into others and lighting would sometimes create splotchy shadows and react to textures in unpredictable manners. None of these things were enough to make the game unplayable, but could be rather agitating from time to time. Players on console may not experience these problems. Though these small graphical issues could pull you out of the experience it's important to note that the game does sport some solid programming. Bugs are hard to come by in The Darkness 2 and I would be surprised to hear of any that one could consider game breaking.

Notice the wavy lines caused by the lighting.
On the surface The Darkness 2 may look like a refreshing title. It certainly seems like there may be some serious innovation here. Unfortunately that is not the case. Though The Darkness 2 does have some interesting mechanics, these are mainly par for the course in this day and age. Tentacle limbs of doom aside, The Darkness 2 is very much your every day linear, corridor shooter. Players will shuffle from point A to point B through claustrophobic environments that leave little breathing room. On your way to point B you will fight band after band of very generic looking badies. Its bad enough that a lot of these enemies look identical to one another, but its especially unsavory when enemies are simply uninteresting. If you are looking for strong AI you won't find it here. Enemies in the Darkness 2 do not come in spectacular variation. Furthermore enemies will be encountered in predictable patterns and will usually be found running around aimlessly unloading clips in your general direction. This leaves little suspense in combat as you will find yourself using the same methods to dispatch your enemies over and over again. The vast majority of the games difficulty is due to level design, as you will be forced to fight numerous enemies in uncomfortably small areas.

The Darkness 2 is a brutal game. Enemies can be torn apart like wish bones, beheaded, blown up, ripped in half and torn limb from limb. This is something the game does rather well. You feel like the powerhouse of a demon the games makes you out to be. The games weaponry is also commendable. Though there isn't a wide range of firearms to choose from, each gun feels like it hold significant weight and the ability to duel wield any variation of weapon that can be held with one hand is extremely refreshing. The aim assist clearly goes above and beyond helping the player make his or her shots connect. Sometimes this is a bad thing, but i'm more forgiving of this with The Darkness 2 as it allows players to effectively duel wield without greatly struggling due to the lack of iron sight.

This time around The Darkness 2 features some meaty RPG elements. Though the skill tree provided is not nearly as in depth as what you might find in some ARPGS, it is certainly impressive for a shooter. Killing enemies awards experience. How much experience you get depends on how the enemy is dispatched. Shooting an enemy will award you ten experience while ripping them limb from limb could award you thirty. Throughout the games campaign you  will come across stations where you will be given the chance to spend your earned experience on a wide variety of different skills. Some of these skills can be interesting and a lot of fun. Such as the ability to occasionally chuck a black hole at your enemies, sucking everyone in the vicinity into a dark nothingness. Some skills are executions that can be performed on enemies that have been grabbed by your evil looking demon tentacles. These executions are extremely graphic and these brief moments are some of the most satisfying ones the game has to offer. But as you progress through the game and have killed, disemboweled and maimed your seven hundredth enemy, you begin to see that these executions are lacking in variety and after a while they stop holding the same appeal.

As mentioned before the campaign is fairly short. You will only spend around five to seven hours playing through it depending on the difficulty you chose. Though that is indeed a short campaign even for a shooter, the game does have some decent replay value. For starters, after finishing the game players will be given the chance to select new game plus which allows you to play through the campaign again but with all the experience earned from your previous playthrough. The game also has some really fun multiplayer. Players can join together in up to groups of four to take on a whole separate two hour campaign. This campaign is lacking in story but is surprisingly entertaining.

The Darkness 2 is certainly not without flaws, but those who are merely looking for an entertaining shooting experience will find their time is well spent playing the role of Jackie Estacado. The Darkness 2 shows a lot of potential in gameplay and it offers a truly entertaining co-operative experience. I wouldn't advise shelling out a lot of your hard earned cash for this title, but for twenty bucks most shooter fans will be pleased with their purchase.


- Interesting Story

- Enjoyable RPG Elements

- Satisfying weaponry


- Poor AI

- Mediocre Level Design

- Repetitive Combat


7.2 / 10

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Witcher: Enhanced Edition Review

Born from the popular and fantastic books by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. CD Projekt has accumulated great fame from The Witcher, all while grabbing the attention of countless readers, guiding them to the well received series that made all this possible. In the Witcher, players will get the chance to take hold of one of the greatest fantasy characters of all time, Geralt of Rivia, and lead him through a many great trials all while unraveling mysteries as dark as the world that surrounds him.

The Witchers story is not considered cannon, and has little to do with the books, aside from a handful of (sometimes cheesy) appearances. When it comes to licensed titles, this is something we are all too familiar with in the world of gaming. No surprises to be found there. But something that might catch you off guard is just how well CD Projekt has portrayed this dark fantasy world as well as its beloved characters. Nearly everything found within this title is true to Witcher lore. The Witcher series is absolutely rich with lore. Sapkowski has painstakingly mapped out his world and breathed life into it with copious amounts of detail. CD Projekt has quite obviously gone above and beyond the call of duty with their research and are clearly fans of the books themselves as I am about as satisfied with the game as one could be in this regard. Possibly one of the most impressive things in the game is it's intro.  A brief but spectacular reenactment of the short story also titled "The Witcher" found in the book The Last Wish.

Without Geralt there would be no story. This is unquestionable. So it stands obvious that CD Projekt's portrayal of the white wolf is of utmost importance. CD Project excels beyond expectation in this area. Geralt looks every bit the part to the degree that this is now how I picture him while reading the books. Geralts looks are only surpassed by how well he is voiced. The voice acting for Geralt is nothing short of spectacular. Dark, wise, and full of grit. Cold and calculated. I have a hard time believing CD Project could have found a better man for the job. Much of Geralts dialogue suits him well. You will find more often than not that Geralts responses are true to his character, but this isn't always the case. Fans of the books may find themselves scratching their heads at some of Geralts decisions as they occasionally feel a bit out of character. But when taking the time to consider how much CD Projekt has gotten right, these brief moments are easy to shrug off.   

The Witchers story is quite substantial. Though some liberties have been taken that may cause slight uneasiness in hardcore fans of the series, CD Projekt has mostly succeeded where many would have likely failed. Geralt has found himself once again smack in the middle of chaos, darkness, racial tension and political intrigue. A dark fantasy setting not unlike Game of Thrones. Taking place after the books, Geralt has fallen victim to amnesia and finds that his personal struggles will need to take the back burner as he seeks out answers to haunting questions surrounding the attack on Kaer Morhen, the witchers stronghold. As the plot thickens it becomes obvious that the picture is far larger than Geralt had originally perceived and the solution grows ever more complicated.

The story here is well told and very much feels like an adventure you might read about in the books. Once in a while the story takes a cheesy turn for the worse, like a quest where you have to reenact an event in the book The Last Wish, a quest that feels rather forced, allowing fans of the books to relive a popular scenario.

Something I am rather fond of is some of the difficult decisions the player is forced into making. In the world of The Witcher, good and evil is not always so easily distinguished. This is a very human and realistic approach and is something that CD Projekt has done a great job at portraying in their own telling of Geralts story. Loving these sections of the game as much as I did, I couldn't help but feel that I simply couldn't get enough. The Witcher would have only benefited from having more of these moments.

The musical score found in The Witcher is quite beautiful and befitting. The music always seems to enhance the mood yet flawlessly blend into the experience. Ever so subtle when traveling through peaceful and serene environments, yet edgy and biting when situations get heated. Unfortunately not all the sounds in The Witcher fair as well as the music. Geralt aside, the voice acting can range from mediocre to downright atrocious and some of the games sound effects can fall short. Such as the fluttering of birds gathered in a bush you are passing. The sound of flapping wings sounds more like a man blowing in to a glass of water with a straw.

The Witcher is getting up there in years as far as the gaming industry is concerned yet it wears its age rather well. Today The Witcher could still be considered a good looking game. Beautiful environments, adequate lighting and even some stunning artwork that finds its way into the games cut scenes and load screens. Some of the games areas such as a fielded zone found in act four are especially beautiful. The grass found in this particular field appears to almost be hand painted on, the end result looking reminiscent of the captivating artwork mentioned above. Though these things are truly noteworthy there are a few visuals aspects of the game I found to be less appealing. The games character models can be pretty inconsistent. Though Geralt and a few others look great, many of the games characters lack the same amount of detail and care. Further more, players can expect to see character models being excessively reused almost to the point of confusion. It would have been nice to see other characters receive the same amount of detail as say Geralt and Dandelion.

Take note of the color scheme used in this shot, as well as the flowers in the field.

An example of the games gorgeous art work mentioned in the paragraph above.

The gameplay here is engaging yet not a hundred percent satisfying though the flow of combat is effective. The game sports a sort of combo system where players will have to time attacks just right to flow from one series of attacks into another. Furthermore the game features a number of combat stances each effective against a particular type of enemy as well as two swords. One for monsters and one for humans. When in combat with a good variety of enemies this system works well and can even be fairly enjoyable. But when faced with a single, more difficult enemy, merely timing out each attack can get rather boring. This is especially the case if the fight is long and drawn out. 

Occasionally the combat system can feel quite wonky, you may notice Geralt suddenly halt while you are trying to strike up a new combo. This isn't frequent enough to infuriate players, but expect to be frustrated from time to time. 

The game does have a magic system where the player can choose from an assortment of "signs" to aid you in combat. I mostly found the magic in the game to pretty useless aside from a small handful of scenarios and because you cannot fluidly cast a spell in mid combo without interrupting the flow of your sword attacks, its easier to hack and slash your way through enemies.

The combat may not be the the most complicated but it looks absolutely amazing. The Witcher has some of the best combat animations I have ever seen in a game. These animations come in great variety. Fluidly slashing, performing pirouettes, kicking out at enemies and jumping high into the air to come crashing down on foes with your sword. All of these look wonderful and are gracefully executed. Even when dissatisfied with your current engagement you can always look to these remarkable animations for a continual source of entertainment.

Combat can also be aided with the help of potions. The saying goes: a witcher without potions is only half a witcher. Though alchemy prominently takes its place in The Witcher the above saying only slightly applies here. Throughout the world many alchemical ingredients can be found. When resting at a bonfire the player can use these ingredients to concoct potions that will apply various effects to the games protagonist. A Cat potion will grant Geralt the ability to see in the dark while the Swallow potion will give a substantial boost to health regeneration. The game truly has a great variety of potions that can be created but only a small handful of them prove to be especially useful. Aside from one or two potions, players could play through the entirety of the game without paying much attention to the alchemy system.

Bonfires are also used to apply talent points to one of Geralts many skill tree's. Essentially "leveling up". When the player has ascended to a new level he or she will receive a number of talent points. These points come in variations of bronze, silver and gold and can be assigned to a slot reserved for one the three colors. While there are certainly a lot of talents to choose from the game doesn't do a good job of presenting the player with difficult choices pertaining to character builds. When it comes to bronze talents, you will be able to unlock more skills than necessary, leaving the player looking to just dump his or her bronze talents into any old slot just to use them up. The same goes with silver talents for the most part, especially once you have progressed a decent way through the games campaign. The only really hard choices the player is faced with is placing gold talents which come much, much later in the game. Even then you are only given so many before your playthrough is over. This is the kind of thing that is seen too often in games. I want to make agonizing decisions when building my character. We all "want" everything a skill tree has to offer, but that doesn't mean we should get it. Sometimes all it takes is a well thought out skill tree to entice a player to a second go at a game. 

The Witcher is a seriously meaty title. If you are looking for content this game is going to give you great bang for the buck. My recent playthrough ended in well over fifty hours of gameplay and I skipped over a ton of quests. I would not be surprised to hear of people getting seventy hours of game in a playthrough. Unfortunately many of the games areas are revisited far too frequently. This isn't a tremendously big deal, but a more frequent change of scenery would have been greatly appreciated. 

It's obvious that this is a sizable RPG, but in some ways this can be counter productive, especially when looked at in conjunction with the games consistently wavering flow. The Witcher consists of five chapters, each being considerable in length. Two of these chapters were so infuriatingly painful I was left with the urge of head butting my keyboard until every single key had been dislodged and ground into powder. A blind rage that was only intensified by some of the games poorly implemented mechanics and absolutely atrocious sense of direction. 

Possibly the fault of poor translation, some of the quest descriptions are not descriptive what so ever. Frequently leaving the player feeling lost. The game does have a quest tracker, but you will quickly realize that the tracker is not always reliable, as sometimes it will not show up at all, or may lead you to a location only for you to find that the person you are looking for is nowhere to be found. Sometimes this is the fault of the games night and day mechanics. Some of the games quests require you to  arrive at a location at a certain time of day. To cycle through these times of day the player will often need to rest at a bonfire. Bonfires are often scarce and if a quest is poorly described you may find yourself running back and forth from a bonfire repeatedly until you have arrived at the proper hour. On a few occasions I would repeat this routine only to find that the NPC was still nowhere to be found. I would then save at the location of the NPC, exit out of the game and reload my save to find the NPC had magically appeared where he or she was supposed to be standing all along.

Clearly the game has some bugs that were never worked out. This is ever so apparent with the games constant crashes. Throughout my playthrough of the game, I experienced crashes on countless occasions. A lot of these crashes happened repeatedly in a particular area. I simply had to keep trying at it until the game ceased its crashing long enough for me to get passed a buggy area. Furthermore, the game lacks a competent auto save feature. Resulting in a significant amount of loss from one of the games many crashes. It is advised that players use the games quick save feature as much as possible. 

... and the truth comes out...
The Witcher is a game that can shine gloriously, but when it rains it pours. If this is a title you expect to play, you will learn to love its more colorful qualities fondly, but be prepared for a lot of frustration waiting on the long road ahead. The road is quite long. I am a huge fan of the books and really respect CD Projekt and what they stand for. The Witcher is surely a lovable journey and if you can look past its faults you will find yourself immersed in a world as beautiful as it is dark. For the most hardcore of RPG fans, this ones for you. 


- Great Story

- Tons of Content

- Fantastic Combat Animations

- Fascinating World


- Terrible Flow

- Atrocious Sense of Direction

- Bugs

- Poorly Implemented Mechanics

- Mediocre Voice Acting and Character Models


7.6 / 10

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sleeping Dogs Review

Gang fights, emotional turmoil and moral indecision. Enter Sleeping Dogs, a game where all of these and much more will drive you into the darkest side of Hong Kong. Sleeping Dogs plays in familiar territory. An open sandbox world all too reminiscent of a franchise that pioneered the genre. Though Sleeping Dogs may look like a mere carbon copy on the surface, deep down the game is quite original in its own right. 

Hong Kong is quite different from the locations we are used to exploring in this genre. A city saturated in neon lights and submerged in culture. But what is sure to grab you is the Asian way of organized crime. The gang life is something we are not all too unfamiliar with, but never before have we seen it like this. 

In Sleeping Dogs we assume the role of Wei Shen. An undercover cop lost in the thick of the gang life in Hong Kong. A world painted with both brotherhood and betrayal. For Wei, things get a bit confusing as he dives ever deeper into his double life. The lines begin to blur. But as chaos unfolds Wei has no choice but to push forward, driven by strong bonds and a troubled past.

The story starts off rather slow. Some of the games cheesiest dialogue can be found here. There is a prominent sense that Sleeping Dogs is trying to come off as edgy. But as things progress and chaos consumes, you will find yourself locked in your seat, awaiting the page to be turned. As you progress through the game the story seems to gradually pick up pace. Quickly things start becoming more interesting, characters start to show their true colors and situations escalate to a riveting climax. The more hours you have clocked in Sleeping Dogs the harder it will be to put the game down. 

Sleeping Dogs has quite a lot of characters, something that is typical of the genre. With all the characters working their way into the story its understandable that some of them will be lacking in presence. But not all of the characters found in Sleeping Dogs are so forgettable. There are some very lovable characters here and its easy to grow rather attached to some favorites. The emotional evolution of some of the games more memorable characters helps to draw the player into the world that United Front has created. 

Sleeping Dogs is not an amazing looking title. It wouldn't be hard to find games that look better, but that doesn't leave it as a bad looking game either. The overall look of your surroundings is quite charming in its own way, especially at night. The majority of the games close ups look quite good as well. There are definitely moments that will graphically shine better than others, but the game clearly suffers from inconsistent textures and even with anti aliasing set quite high, jagged lines are still fairly prominent. These things can occasionally pull you out of the experience, but by no means ruins the title. Some of the games most visually appealing moments will come not in the form of textures but stylistic combat animations. Something the game does rather well. That being said, the game also has its fair share of unnaturally stiff animations outside of combat.

This "shop" is quite clearly a poorly made texture placed behind the window. 
Combat is unquestionably Sleeping Dogs strongest point. This is largely what sets this title apart from its competitors and is the aspect of the game that truly grabbed me. In Sleeping Dogs combat doesn't just come in the form of chaotic gun fights. Players will often take part in melee combat which is both incredibly responsive and admirably fleshed out. Looking somewhere between brutish street fighting and graceful kung fu, the melee combat is stylish, holds depth, yet is easy enough for any Joe Shmo to pick up. These fights are largely comprised of adequate combos, counters, grapples and stuns. Feeling not unlike your every day fighting game. But to spice things up the game also has an assortment of melee weapons to be found and most enemies can be dispatched by using environmental objects. Some of these executions can be quite brutal, such as slamming an enemies head into a table saw or impaling an unfortunate attacker on a jagged pole. These environmental attacks come in stunning variety and stay satisfying all the way up to the end.

Those with an itchy trigger finger need not worry. Though the melee combat is certainly the most entertaining way to engage your enemies, gun battles can also be a lot of fun. Sleeping Dogs features a solid cover system which also allows players to blind fire. The cover system works great and I never found myself getting stuck or unable to take cover behind something that would obviously function as protection. Further more there is a bullet time feature that is activated when leaping from cover or falling from great heights. This mechanic wasn't necessarily poorly implemented but none the less I found it to be less effective than just firing at enemies from a stationary position.  

A sense of achievement is aided by the games RPG elements. There are a fair number of paths the player can progress through, each holding their own simplistic skill tree. This undoubtedly adds a lot of flavor to the game and helps the player to form a tighter bond with the lead protagonist. Unfortunately I can't help but feel that the RPG elements could have been implemented in a better way. Instead of having a number of separate skills that the player can level up, I would like to see a more condensed system with a unified and larger skill tree. This would greatly add depth to character development all while strengthening the games replay value. 

In Sleeping Dogs you will find a considerable amount of content. Though I clocked about twenty hours playing through the main story and indulging in numerous side quests, its quite clear that I could have easily dumped ten to fifteen more hours into Sleeping Dogs with further exploration. Completionists will not find it difficult to dump a good fifty hours into this title.. Side quests, mini games and collectibles are in great abundance. 

For such a large game I didn't find Sleeping Dogs to be unbearably buggy, but this doesn't mean there wasn't a fair share of bumps in the road. A particularity jaw dropping example is a bug in the very beginning of the game that will leave many players scratching their heads. In this situation you will be told you need to follow someone only to find that the person stops midway. Stopping yourself and waiting for this person will result in failing the mission. This bug has happened to every person I know that has played the game and the fact that something so serious that takes place ten minutes in was never fixed is mind boggling. Throughout the game more minor examples of bad AI pathing can be found but none of them even came close to the bug found in the beginning of the game. 

Sleeping Dogs is certainly not a masterpiece. It has its fair share of flaws and shortcomings, but these minor issues do not take away from the games memorable moments and stellar combat. I greatly enjoyed my time playing through this game and imagine most others will as well. If stylistic and satisfying combat is something you are looking for and you find great joy exploring an immersive world not frequently portrayed, Sleeping Dogs is for you.


- Stylistic and Satisfying Combat

- Gripping and Emotional Story

- Rich with Content


- Pathing Issues

- Inconsistent Visuals      


8.4 / 10

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Fear 3 Review

Sometimes a game just gets a bad rep. This is especially the case with games that advertise themselves as something they are not. After diving into Fear 3 it became all too clear that people have been speaking ill of the game for all the wrong reasons. But does that mean it's an outstanding title?

It should be no surprise to you that the Fear franchise is generally perceived as a shooter / horror series. As someone who has dumped quite a few hours into the original Fear on the 360, I can tell you that I would agree that the first installment of the series had its fair share of spooky moments. And while Fear 3 does sport its own few moments of unease it's clear that the third installment of this series is by no means a horror title. If you have looked to Fear banking on chilling scenarios and moments of fright, you may consider looking else where. But if you embrace shooters with an open mind and are looking for some heart pounding action you may look no further. Though Fear 3 does have some creepy moments, it excels most at being an FPS of epic proportions. 

Fear 3 is an excellent looking title. Taking screenshots for this game was a real treat as I found it agonizing to pick the ones I liked the best. The art style is masterfully executed and you will find yourself in awe at many of the games visually stimulating moments. From great textures, to more than adequate physics, to gorgeous lighting you will certainly find yourself focusing on some of the great scenery this game has to offer. Even the gore in Fear 3 (and there is a lot of it) looks incredible. Watching as your enemies explode into a mass of blood and gore is sickeningly entertaining. Though these moments look fairly good in stills, seeing blood spurt from your enemies in motion is quite another experience.  The FMV sequences featured in Fear 3 can also be equally stimulating, and many of them will most certainly hold your interest. Unfortunately at times the FMV can seem overly grainy, blurry and there is often some bleeding. These moments can occasionally pull you out of the experience, but considering how the rest of the game looks and flows, its hardly something to spoil the party. In addition to the games wonderful visuals I was ecstatic to find that Fear 3 is exceptionally optimized on PC. Frame rates were consistently smooth throughout the whole experience, only adding to the games graceful gameplay. 

For an intense action game, good controls are key and Fear 3 delivers. Fear 3 is chock full of heart pounding action that can often be very challenging. This is not a slow paced FPS. You will take considerable damage from enemy fire, and enemies can be found in great numbers. They will move and react quickly and a few hiccups aside the AI ain't too shabby. This is where the game's cover system comes into play. Each area you will combat in was obviously well thought out and crafted. Cover is in great abundance and this is necessary. But Fear 3 is not simply about picking a great place to take cover and turtle it out until the deed is done. A good portion of the cover found in Fear 3 is destructible, as is some of the other surrounding environmental objects. Enemies will advance on your position and will often shoot out your cover. This helps to keep players on their toes and provides an abundance of excitement while engaged in combat. Players will often need to fall back and stay a step ahead. Not knowing where you will take cover next, or not having a fall back plan can often lead to a swift death. 

Unfortunately there were a few instances where using cover did not work as it should, keeping me from popping up from cover and dispatching enemies. Or sometimes you may find that an obvious cover choice will not allow you to take refuge. This can be fairly irritating, but fortunately does not happen too often. Fear 3 has also struck a nerve by not implementing a feature for blind fire when your enemies can often be seen poking their guns out of cover and unloading in your general direction. Generally I may have not been bothered by the fact that the game features a cover system but left out blind fire. But allowing enemies to perform actions that the player should also be able to do is quite the pet peeve of mine. 

Fear 3 also has its hallmark bullet time feature. This of course is nothing new to action games, but Fear 3 pulls this off exceptionally well. Bullet time is not merely a means to decimate your enemies in a stylish fashion, it is often necessary for survival.

One of my favorite aspects of Fear 3 is the weaponry. All the firearms featured in Fear 3 feel spectacular. All weapons hold a considerable amount of weight and I can't think of a single one that isn't a blast to use. Dispatching your enemies with grace is what Fear 3 is all about and its the smoothness, accuracy and ease of your arsenal that makes this so entertaining. In addition to your exceptional gear, the melee combat can be not only entertaining but quite useful. A slide kick can be a very effective way to dispatch an enemy, and when foes get a little close for comfort a quick slash of the knife is often a remedy for the problem at hand.  

Fear 3's story is interesting enough to hold your attention but feels quite generic overall. Most of the story is presented in between chapters in short spurts, or occasionally with some lack luster narrative in the form of stills and short blurbs of text. The games campaign is far too brief to hold any substantial plot and so its progression often feels rushed, but as players progress further into the game they will find passable story telling to keep them entertained in between large pockets of incredible combat. Though Fear 3's story is nothing to swoon over, the action is enough to make this game an exciting journey. 

Fear 3's flow is usually quite smooth, though occasionally an overly challenging encounter may obstruct the games progression. This is not necessarily a bad thing and falls more under the players personal preference. I for one enjoy challenging scenarios and consider some of the games more difficult encounters to be quite memorable. Unfortunately as mentioned before, the game is quite short.

Players are given the chance to play through the campaign as the lead protagonists brother which is unquestionably a much different approach. Playing as Point Man's brother, you will use psychic abilities instead of firearms to dispose of your enemies. This is indeed an interesting touch, though I found playing through the game as Point Man to be significantly more entertaining. Unfortunately players will only be able to play chapters as Point Man's brother once they have finished them with the games lead protagonist. You can forget about multiplayer, as I was unable to find an active match.

Wait a second...
It's clear that Fear 3 may not be what you expected, but this doesn't have to be a bad thing. Fear 3 is filled to the brim with intense, heart pounding action and its single player campaign greatly excels at bringing you a quality FPS experience. Though Fear 3 has it's fair share of quirks and a few areas that could use some improvement, this is a highly recommendable game for those looking for an action packed campaign experience. For adrenaline junkies, Fear 3 should prove to be well worth the money. 


- Intense Action

- Beautiful Visuals

- Great Weaponry

-Well Optimized


- Short on Content

- Cover System Need Work

- Mediocre Story


7.9 / 10

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Doom 3: BFG Edition Review

There's no doubt that when the mighty Doom 3 first dropped, few of us had the pleasure to experience the game as it was meant to be enjoyed. In 2012 Bethesda graced shooter fans with the re-release of Id Software's classic. Doom 3: BFG Edition doesn't bear a whole lot of visual improvement for this aging title, but it does offer Doom 3's expansion Resurrection of Evil and The Lost Missions as well as the classics that pioneered this titan of a genre. 

Doom 3 holds true to its predecessors. With modern shooters spawning like rabbits in April, it's certainly refreshing to play a game that sports the generic shooter formula of old. You will make your way through claustrophobic corridors, one after the other. Health will be sparse, and managing your numerous weapons ammunition is essential for survival. You can expect near unending spawns, dodging fire balls and the lack of the ever so popular iron sight.

C'mon baby, gimme another Call of Duty.
It should go without saying that Doom 3 is not going to hold its own visually when compared to modern releases. That being said, for a title that was released nine years ago, Doom 3 is not an unbearably bad looking title. Id Software did their very best to future proof this game to the best of their abilities and their efforts were obviously not wasted. Even as dated as the title is, the games environments can still be quite a joy to explore. Atmosphere is prominent here and the combination of hellish looking objects, blood splattered halls and seriously creepy whispering makes your trek to hell and back far more believable than other more modern adventures you may embark on.

Lighting is sparse in Doom 3, something that adds greatly to the games authentically creepy atmosphere. In the BFG Edition developers saw fit to add a shoulder mounted flashlight in place of Doom 3's generic flashlight so that players have the ability to both see and shoot at the same time. An idea I personally do not agree with, as the dark corridors of Doom 3 is very much what made the game what it is today (or perhaps yesterday). As frustratingly dark as the original release could be, there was something exciting about having to choose between a gun or a flashlight and guiding your shots by the brief flash of light spawned from hell fire could be an exhilarating experience. Id Software has also taken it upon themselves to increase the lighting in some of the games areas. Possibly to show off it's newly freshened up textures, a new addition that for me was just barley noticeable.

Despite these changes, Doom 3 still remains a fairly challenging game. Especially when played on harder difficulties. Though the bosses rarely proved to be a significant challenge, some of the games spawns can feel overwhelming. When submerged in these moments of utter chaos, Doom 3 really shines. You consistently find yourself cycling through weapons, trying to assess the situation at hand and deal with it in the best manner possible. Dodging projectiles, while trying to keep your distance from advancing enemies, all while constantly looking over your shoulder for that enemy you know is bound to spawn behind you. These moments are nothing short of thrilling. When you find your dodging skills at their peak and your reaction time in harmony with your most accurate of shots, you will find yourself immersed in awe as these are the most memorable moments that Doom 3 has to offer. 

The weaponry in Doom 3 is spectacular. An area where Id Software generally thrives. Your arsenal is diverse, each gun serving their purpose and feeling as if they pack quite a punch. This is good as a lot of your time in Doom 3 will be spent blasting away at demons that generally want to tear your face off. Don't expect traditional weaponry here. As always Doom sports some very over the top guns and when considering what lurks around the corner, this is a very good thing. 

Doom 3's Story is nothing special to say the least, but its presentation is wonderfully executed. As you progress through corridor after corridor you are left with the feeling that you are in fact on a dreadful pilgrimage to the fiery depths of hell. With every step you feel the tight jaws of the abyss closing in on you. It's this progression that makes the game so interesting. It's not a matter of one moment you are surrounded by man made architecture and the next in the belly of the beast. As you further your adventure the world around you will begin to twist and distort into an evil vision. It's this journey that helps the player to realize the consequences of the protagonists quest and how dreadful it must be to be caught in such a horrific predicament.

Doom 3 BFG Edition is not unreasonably priced and if you find yourself wanting the whole package it comes with than this is certainly a good buy. The thing is, the best the game has to offer can be experienced in the original version and seeing as Doom 3 has dropped in price substantially, players that are just looking to experience Doom 3 for the first time or perhaps how it was meant to be played all along would be just as happy picking up the original release. For shooter fans that have never had the chance to experience the Doom franchise, I highly recommend you pick up one of these, regardless of which you think is best for you. Doom 3 withstands the test of time and my recent playthrough has gotten me all the more excited for the release of Doom 4. 


8 / 10

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Doom 3 & BFG Edition Locker Combinations

Here are the combinations to all the lockers found in Doom 3. These work for the BFG edition as well. Stock up and enjoy!

Doom 3:
    Cabinet 001: 396
    Cabinet 003: 483
    Cabinet 009: 752
    Cabinet 013: 586
    Cabinet 017: 347
    Cabinet 023: 531
    Cabinet 038: 409
    Cabinet 039: 102
    Cabinet 047: 123
    Cabinet 048: 123
    Cabinet 049: 123
    Cabinet 054: 246
    Cabinet 054 (second): 142
    Cabinet 054 (third): 631
    Cabinet 063: 972
    Cabinet 064: 651
    Cabinet 071: 532
    Cabinet 078: 364
    Cabinet 079: 364
    Cabinet 103: 259
    Cabinet 104: 579
    Cabinet 108: 847
    Cabinet 112: 538
    Cabinet 114: 715
    Cabinet 116: 972
    Cabinet 116 (second): 624
    Cabinet 117: 624
    Cabinet 213: 371
    Cabinet 215: 298
    Cabinet 317: 841
    Cabinet 386: 836
    Cabinet 387: 836
    Cabinet 452: 571
    Cabinet 666: 372
    Cabinet 669: 468
    Cabinet 965: 428
    Cabinet 21D: 298
    CPU Lab A: 627
    Double-Barrel Case: 731
    Level 3 Access: 463
    Mars City Armory: 584
    Martian Buddies 1 and 2: 0508
    Monorail Airlock: 826
    Plasma Storage: 734
    Security Chief Door: 931
    Storage 07: 725
    Valve 1 Terminal: 842
    Weapons Storage 1 and 2: 584
Doom 3: Lost Missions
    Cabinet 054: 631
    Cabinet 071: 532
    Cabinet 104: 579
    Cabinet 108: 847
    Cabinet 805: 372
    Cabinet 806: 372
    Cabinet 965: 429
    Shotgun Cabinet: 731
Doom 3: Resurrection Of Evil
    Cabinet 029: 516
    Cabinet 034: 134
    Cabinet 035: 134
    Cabinet 042: 714
    Cabinet 105: 769
    Cabinet 116: 634
    Cabinet 117: 634
    Cabinet 407: 937
    Cabinet 408: 937

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Dead Island Riptide Walkthrough (Parts 51-53)

Return to Dead Island: Riptide walkthrough.

Part 51: With the Tide

Part 52: For the Greater Good

Part 53: Final Boss / The End

Dead Island: Riptide Walkthrough (Part 46-50)

Return to Dead Island: Riptide walkthrough.

Part 46: Rescue

Part 47: The Crash

Part 48: Talk to Serpo

Part 49: Family Ties

Part 50: Quarantine Zone

Dead Island: Riptide Walkthrough (Parts 41-45)

Return to Dead Island: Riptide walkthrough.

Part 41: Superhero / Rescue Lydia

Part 42: Perfect Plan

Part 43: Rescue Alex / Geoffrey Nape's Warehouse

Part 44: Militarized Zone / Destroy the Sirens

Part 45: Power Generator / Communication Section / Radio Room

Killing Floor Review

In May of 2009, small time developers, Tripwire Interactive dropped an under the radar shooter by the name of Killing Floor. For years I had pondered picking up this title, but for fear of money wasted the game remained sitting on the back burner. Killing Floor is not all that innovative. It's not particularly refreshing and by no means was this game founded on a titan of a budget. It's easy to see how such a title has slipped past many gamer's, but all this does not keep Killing Floor from being addictive and a hell of a lot of fun. 

Killing Floor has no campaign. There is no brilliant story here and to be honest it's presentation can be considered lacking to say the least. The game launched with only one game mode (though another has been recently added), but all this sits well with me. The idea is simple. Give players a rather large amount of spacious maps to choose from and send wave after wave of mutated freaks in to brutalize, maim, and stomp the crap out them. A rather cliche formula that has been used time and time again. But as simple as this overplayed game mode can seem the vast majority of games always seem to fudge it up one way or another. This is where Killing Floor differentiates itself from the rest of the litter. Instead of sending in enemies non stop while you frantically try to take grip of the situation and stay focused, Killing Floor gives players a minute in between each wave to allow players to catch their breath. Killing enemies awards cash and during this one minute window players are given the chance to seek out a randomly placed vendor to trade loot for gear, ammunition and weaponry. This helps to give the player a sense of achievement for eliminating waves all while giving the player something to work for. The huge arsenal that players get to choose from in combination with the games simple class system allows players to find a play style that works for them, making you feel a bit a home.  

There is nothing too special about the class system that Killing Floor sports, but its simple enough that its hard to mess up. Essentially adding RPG elements to the game, but also making the game feel accessible to those who may be unfamiliar with the genre. Simple yet effective. The game has a hand full of classes that can be switched from once a wave. Each class favors a different selection of weapon's and has its own set of small challenges to complete in order to obtain the next rank. Bonuses will be given to the class and the bonuses increase as you level up. Money does not accumulate from match to match, but your classes continue to progress, allowing you to feel like you have earned something for all your hard work.

Speaking of hard work, Killing Floor can be a very challenging game. Especially to newcomers. Playing on harder difficulties with little knowledge of how the game works can be ridiculously difficult, especially with low level classes. I Personally really enjoy a challenging game, and for me this was a huge plus. I grow increasingly tired of games where mindless button mashing will get you a favorable result. Killing Floor is certainly not for casual gamers looking to have their hand held. By no means is Killing Floor a "Tactical" shooter. On the contrary it has much more of an arcade feel to it. But developing a good strategy is very important, especially for solo play. 

I was thrilled to find a game like this to be as as enjoyable as it is rolling solo, but co-operative gameplay can prove to be extremely rewarding. Killing Floor doesn't demand coordinated team play, nor does it require your team to stick together and carefully choose classes. And in this case I wouldn't want it any other way. But it's those moments where you have joined together in a tight hall, or a large room with doors welded shut, blasting away at a seemingly impossible amount of enemies that makes this game really shine.

Killing Floor is getting a bit dated at this point, especially when you look at the graphical improvements that have been made over the past four years. Shooters tend to rely a lot more on visuals than most other genres, and though Killing Floor is aging, its still hold up wonderfully. Killing Floor is not going to inspire the same kind of awe that Metro does, but I found myself pleasantly surprised at how good the game looks for it's age. Especially when considering this title utilizes Direct X 9.  The graphics in combination with the games genuinely creepy atmosphere provides a stimulating experience.

Though the game can be visually appealing there are many other aspects of the game that make it very apparent that funds were not plentiful. What the game features for voice acting is quite atrocious. Not that there is a whole lot of voice acting to be heard. As you kill your way through waves of enemies, characters will shouts out quick little quips that sometimes inspire a chuckle. But on most occasions these one liners fall all too short. Animations in Killing Floor always appear to be overly stiff and models can be quite inconsistent.

Though the gameplay found in Killing Floor is immensely enjoyable and addictive, you can't help but noticed that a lot seems to be missing. OK, players can buy weapons and there's a lot of them. Great. But why are there no attachments and upgrades to be purchased? This game could greatly benefit from more customization. Monsters come in massive waves. This game features a ludicrous amount of on screen enemies. All of these enemies serve their purpose, but since the game only features the one game mode I can't help but feel that there should be a much larger variety of enemies.

The good news is that Killing Floor has found it's way to the Steam Workshop, and the game has an impressive community. There is a great abundance of skins and fan made maps to explore and this certainly adds much to the games replay value. The maps that come with the game are fun enough I assure you and there is plenty to work with here, but more is always a better. Some of these fan made maps are rather brilliant. 

Killing Floor is certainly not a huge release. There is much room for improvement and hopefully if there is a next time around there will be more of a budget to work with. That being said, Killing Floor truly is a hell of a lot of fun and can be found for a more than reasonable price. If you are a fan of this kind of game I highly recommend giving Killing Floor a try.


- Addictive Gameplay

- Large Arsenal 

- Interesting Combination of Elements 


- Minor Bugs

- Unimpressive Sound

- Lacking in Content