Sunday, April 7, 2013

Tomb Raider Walkthrough (Parts 31-34)

Click here for parts 26-30 of this walkthrough.

Part 31: Let's See What You've Got

Part 32: Cage Puzzle

Part 33: Chasm Ziggurat 

Part 34: Final Boss. The End.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Tomb Raider Walkthrough (Parts 26-30)

Click here for parts 21-25 of this walkthrough.

Click here for parts 31-34 of this walkthrough.

Part 26: Cliff Side Bunker

Part 27: Save Alex

Part 28: Climb to the Research Base

Part 29: Lift Puzzle

Part 30: Enter the Monastery

Max Payne 3 Review

Max Payne is back and this time at the hands of the greatly successful studio, Rockstar games. Providing us once again with a look into the life of a hero on a perpetual streak of very bad luck. No longer an officer of the law, Max is dangerously close to rock bottom and has found himself in Sao Paulo working private security for an obscenely rich family soon to be caught up in a series of unfortunate events. 

Max Payne 3 is filled to the brim with intense and graphic violence. An over the top shooter that is immensely enjoyable and all too easy to admire. Though some of you may yawn at the thought of yet another bullet time shooter, Max Payne 3 if far from your every day third person title and is jam packed with a certain complexity not often seen within the genre.

Combat in Max Payne 3 can be intense and sometimes fairly challenging. This is no run and gun shooter. Players will have to utilize the games great cover system and signature bullet time feature to get through chaotic shoot outs. Mindlessly running around, shooting at enemies with reckless abandon will only end in a frustration as you will spend more time being mowed down by enemy fire than progressing through the mission. This adds a good amount of excitement to combat, as I frequently found myself surveying the battlefield from cover, allowing my bullet time meter to fill up and lying in wait for the most opportune moment to unleash hell upon my foes in a glorious hail of gun fire. 

One of things I greatly admire about Max Payne 3 is that all the weapons feel like they hold a substantial amount of weight. Whether you decide to go guns blazing with an assault rifle or prefer to keep it simple with a nine millimeter pistol, you will be racking up kills all the same. Though you can efficiently get the job done with just about any weapon you come across, the game still holds a diverse arsenal and each gun feels unique in its own way.

The AI in Max Payne 3 is one of the games most valuable assets. This is some of the most complex AI I've seen in a shooter and because of this, combat often feels quite unpredictable. AI will use cover, blind fire, and utilize flanking tactics in an attempt to flush you out into the open for an easy kill. Players will need to stay on their toes and constantly check their surroundings in order to survive as you are never quite sure if you'll be waiting for a head to pop out of cover, or will need to quickly fall back in order to avoid a rushing enemy.

Another feature that I immensely enjoy is the fact that when you fire a fatal shot at an enemy the cross hair will change briefly. This is obviously not a monumental addition to gameplay, but when stuck in the heat of battle its surprisingly comforting to know for a fact that the enemy you last shot at is now out of the picture. I would very much like to see something like this implemented in more shooters. 

Max Payne 3 is tremendously brutal and graphic. When dispatching the last enemy of an area the game will quickly cut to a slow motion kill cam where the player can continue to dispense bullets into the enemy, being able to witness their destruction in gruesome detail. This never gets old and looks just as cool the forty-seventh time as it does the first, to the degree that I almost always found myself turning an already dead enemy into swiss cheese at the expense of losing ammunition. 

Max Payne 3 is not an especially amazing looking title, though its look does hold a certain charm. You will find inconsistent textures and I personally encountered quite a few bugs in the graphics department using a Radeon HD 7850. These bugs were certainly enough to pull me out of the experience, especially during some cut scenes, but were not enough to ruin the game for me. I would imagine these problems will not be seen by players using an Nvidia GPU and those who picked up the game for console. The environments on the other hand are quite impressive. Players will be guided through interesting areas that are well varied and hold a fair amount of detail. The games rich and dynamic lighting is easily one of its most impressive visual qualities.

The presentation here is nothing short of phenomenal, and Max Payne 3 is commendably well scripted. The games narrative is dripping with powerful metaphors and a strong vocabulary. Max Payne is not only fantastically voiced but holds a certain character depth not often seen in the video game industry. You will feel for Max as you follow him through a series of horrendously bad days that are unquestionably unrivaled. A cold cynicism is prominent in his character, Max is clearly a man that has been trialed beyond reasonable limits and from these hardships a great wisdom has blossomed. All this greatly adds to your sense of belief making Max feel very much like a real person. 

The story here is also quite impressive. Though it starts off a bit on the slow side, it dramatically picks up pace as you progress. The game has great chunks of story sequences before and after missions and these provide a greatly appreciated break from the almost non stop, heart pumping action. Unfortunately some of these sequences don't hold up to the others and feel  pointlessly tacked on. This is especially the case with some of the segments cleverly implemented to mask loading times. 

Max Payne 3 isn't a particularly long game but there's a lot of replay value here. Aside from the games numerous collectibles there is also a whole slew of enjoyable game modes to play. The multiplayer for Max Payne 3 is certainly nothing special but held a surprising amount of interest for me, this is an area that I feel Rockstar usually does very well in and Max Payne 3 is no exception.

Max Payne 3 is a tremendously well put together experience. An action title that delivers on numerous levels and effectively draws the player into the life of a man trying to find inner peace in a world where violence is insistently trying to find him. Though Max Payne 3 may feel a bit stifling to those who are used to Rockstar's sand box approach, I found this to be a very refreshing experience from a studio that usually lacks the ability to hold my interest. I hope to see more titles like this from Rockstar in the future. Max Payne 3 is simply a title that no shooter fan should pass up.  


- Superb Narrative

- Gripping Gameplay

- Strong AI


- Bugs

- Slow Story Points


9 / 10

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Tomb Raider Walkthrough (Parts 21-25)

Click here for parts 16-20 of this walkthrough.

Click here for parts 26-30 of this walkthrough.

Part 21: On the Run

Part 22: Suspended Ship

Part 23: A Pirates Life

Part 24: Reach the Endurance Wreck

Part 25: The Flooded Vault

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Problem with Rockstar Games

As I am sure many might be rooting me on with this article, I am all too aware that many more will detest it.  It would be no surprise to you that the Grand Theft Auto series has accomplished quite a lot over the years and with the release of GTA 4 in 2008, the series went viral. Ever since Rockstar games has become a powerhouse in the gaming industry and has moved on to achieve great success with sales and a massive fanbase that is obscenely loyal to it's cause. 

Now I don't want you to think that I'm just here to rave about how much I absolutely hate GTA, nor do I want to press the fact that Rockstar lacks any decent qualities what so ever. That is simply not the case. But as I sat here in front of my monitor, vigorously thrashing out a few hours of Max Payne 3, a thought suddenly dawned on me. And that thought was, 'wow, this is actually pretty good'.  But that's something I'll get to in just a moment. 

My problem with Rockstar, is the amount of padding they decide to force feed their players. Diluting otherwise good gameplay and resulting in an altogether atrocious flow. To me this became painfully apparent in one of their more recent titles, Red Dead Redemption. Now this is not to say that Red Dead Redemption was a terrible game. In fact for those of you who have read my review of the game, its quite obvious that for the most part I enjoyed it, even if it didn't receive as favorable of a score as it might have on other sites. Red Dead Redemption is chock full of amazingly well developed characters, rich combat and holds a story that is as commendable as it is well told. These alone are great qualities to have in a game and I really wish that I could have scored it higher. But after finding myself twenty or so hours in, I was struck with a realization I knew all too well, especially when Rockstar games are involved. I was forced to come to terms with the fact that this masterfully crafted game was just simply getting boring. 

Great characters and an interesting story alone are not enough to get me through a game, and maybe if these game were about half the length that they end up being it wouldn't be so bad. But Red Dead suffered heavily from the same problem that I find in GTA titles. There are only so many times you can make me do the same mission until I stop to think, 'Hey, wait a second... I've already done this three times'. Maybe this alone wouldn't be such a bad thing, I mean, quite a lot of games have the player do something that they were already asked to do earlier. But in addition I feel that its always just when I'm starting to get into the game that I'm asked to travel to the other side of the map to do some mission. Only to find that the mission is all too similar to one that I just completed a few hours ago and now that I'm finished I will have to travel once again to the other side of the map to find myself doing the same mission again. This time with a different name. Its this kind of formula that takes away from the good qualities. Qualities that Rockstar obviously puts a back breaking amount of work into implementing. I get it, content sells, but I'm still left feeling that Rockstar is the student filling his essay with two pages of padding to reach the four page mark. 

So as mentioned earlier, here I am, finding myself once again playing through yet another title by the ever so famous Rockstar. The catch here is that Max Payne 3 is actually shaping up to be a great game. I can't help but notice that below all that padding and filler there is in fact a diamond to be found. Max Payne 3 picks up on it's previous formula, one that differentiates substantially from the GTA series, and thus allows me to fully appreciate the greater qualities that Rockstar brings to the table. A great story, fun gameplay and superb narrative. I write this in hopes that the message gets across, and just maybe Rockstar will start to break free from their comfort zone and start producing games with more sustenance and less filler.  

Tomb Raider Walkthrough (Parts 16-20)

Click here for parts 11-15 of this walkthrough.

Click here for parts 21-25 of this walkthrough.

Part 16: Find a way to the Stronghold

Part 17: Bridge

Part 18: Underground Prison

Part 19: Escape the Burning Shrine

Part 20: Get to the Chopper!

Tomb Raider Walkthrough (Parts 11-15)

Click here for parts 6-10 of this walkthrough.

Click here for parts 16-20 of this walkthrough.

Part 11: Bell Puzzle

Part 12: Road to Shantytown

Part 13: Shantytown

Part 14: Grim

Part 15: Chamber of Judgement

Torchlight 2 Beatles Reference

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Best Bioshock: Infinite Arsenal (Top 8 Weapons & Vigors)

1. Paddywhacker Hand Cannon

The hand cannon is by far my favorite weapon in Infinite. In 1999 Mode I used this weapon whenever possible and it never disappoints. Use the hand cannon to line up head shots and watch enemy heads explode like grapes.

2. Bird's Eye Sniper Rifle

I was surprised to see just how well the sniper rifle in Infinite handles, and it quickly became a favored weapon. Lining up head shots with this beast feels natural and the damage it can dish out is devastating.

3. Murder of Crows

At first glance the murder of crows vigor is obviously handy. Fully upgraded on the other hand, this vigor becomes one of Bookers best friends. Killing your enemies with this vigor turns their corpse into a nest of death and once mastered this skill is the ultimate weapon for crowed control.

4. Peppermill Crank Gun

When it comes to busting machines up, the crank gun is where its at. With a little practice at readying this powerful weapon you'll be turning patriots into swiss cheese in no time.

5. Shock Jockey

A little cliche? Possibly. But Shock Jockey is not just great for damage, when used properly against turrets and machines this vigor will get you through some tough situations. Just let 'er rip and unload.

6. Sky-Hook

The sky-hook is obviously one of the greatest additions to Infinite. Executions and a back up jab is a lot of fun with the sky-hook, but it's ability to help the player glide around and avoid hot spots is where the sky-hook really shines.

7. China Broom Shotgun

The shotgun is a well loved weapon in most games and Infinite is no exception. This is a great weapon to quickly switch to when enemies get too close for comfort. Though the shotgun is not the most powerful weapon in the game, you would do well to use it when the situation arises.

8. Vox Repeater

The vox repeater is a weapon I find myself picking up quite a lot at later points in the game. The vox repeater dishes out a decent amount of damage and can be fired at extremely fast speeds with deadly accuracy. Nearing the end of the game this weapon is found in great abundance and is great as a back up when ammo is low.

Tomb Raider Walkthrough (Parts 6-10)

Click here for parts 1-5 of this walkthrough.

Click here for parts 11-15 of this walkthrough.

Part 6: Shield Boss

Part 7: Down the Hill / Find the Pilot:

Part 8: Rope Arrows:

Part 9: Hall of Ascension

Part 10: Chasm Monastery

Monday, April 1, 2013

Tomb Raider Walkthrough (Parts 1-5)

Click here for parts 6-10 of the walkthrough.

Part 1: Intro

Part 2: Catch up with Whitman

Part 3: Escape 

Part 4: Tomb of the Unworthy

Part 5: Find the Radio Tower