Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Game Review: AaAaAA!!! - A Reckless Disregard for Gravity

This game is pretty fun and I actually find it a bit relaxing too.  It's a simple game: jump off a building and perform stunts to earn points.  It's a great way to pass time if you're not interested in playing something to involved.

Performing stunts isn't anything too complicated.  Just stick close to buildings, flip off or thumbs up to bystanders, and spraying tags on the side of buildings.  There is a bit of physics to the game to add to the difficulty and moving to much to the left or right will need to be done carefully otherwise you'll end up bumping into everything or landing on roofs which result in game overs.  At the end of each level depending on how many points you have earned, you will gain 'teeth' which is used to unlock new levels and a few moves that can be used to earn even more points in other levels.

Personally I find the game to be very enjoyable.  It's a good choice for people who love games with simple goals with a challenge.  That being said, it's not exactly something that would hold someone's interest for very long.  The only real difference between all the levels is their design.  You're doing the same thing in each level, it's just that some levels will have more opportunities to perform stunts and all levels will obviously will be different in terms of how you reach the end of the level.  So it can eventually become a bit boring and repetitive.  Overall, I would recommend getting this game, but you should probably wait for Steam to put it on sale.

Until next time.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Game Review - McPixel

McPixel is simple and fun point 'n' click game where you have 20 seconds to find and use something in each level to prevent an explosion from occurring.  If you do something that doesn't stop the explosion you may get short and silly result before the explosion, although something silly will probably occur when you do successfully stop the explosion.

The humor is a really a silly hit or miss deal, depending on who you are.  Sometimes it just doesn't make any sense or may seem immature to you.  It could also be a bit funny.  It could also be so random and absurd that you can't laughing and you need to take break (I had at least one of these).  The game itself is not very long or in depth and is good for those who are bored but not interested in playing something too involving or in some other situation that you would play a game like this in.

For those of you who are interested in collecting the steam trading cards McPixel has 13 cards to collect.  I got this game during the Summer Getaway Sale and it was on sale for $0.99 and its actual price is $4.99, so this would be a title to look out for during the Winter Holiday Sales.  Until next time.

I know that was a short game review but McPixel was a short game.  I am writing and releasing game reviews in order from shortest to longest in the amount of time it takes to finish them.  College classes will be starting back up in less than two weeks, so I will try to release a few more before then.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Recent Steam Summer Sale

I know that this ended two weeks ago, but between work and school I never got the chance to really talk about it yet.  As always, Steam's summer sale was phenomenal and I got tons of great titles (although I missed out on getting RPGMaker VX Ace at a cheap flash sale price).  Some of them I have started drafts for game reviews and so those will be out soon.  In addition to great sales, this also seemed like the moment for Steam's new Trading Card system to a good start.  Adding new games to the list of those with trading cards each day, chances are high that you own at least one game with trading cards.  At first I wasn't really interested in it, but after a few days I was hooked.  The best part is that you don't need to sink any of your own money into it unless you really want to, because you can find people to trade cards with in order to get the set you want completed.  The rewards for the most part consist of experience towards your steam level, emoticons, profile backgrounds, sometimes another trading card, and at higher steam levels coupons for games (the best coupon I've got so far, at level 12, was 90% for Portal 2).  If you're not interested in the cards, then you can sell them at the community market place for as low as $.10 to as high as $.40 (the highest I've seen at least) and foil cards are worth even more than their non-foil counterparts.  Well, that's all I have to say for now, I'll be posting up some game reviews later this month to give you a good idea what to keep an eye out for during the winter sales. Until next time.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Game Review - Gunpoint

Wow it's been a while since I have done one of these.  Gunpoint is an interesting and very fun indie stealth puzzle game.  Jumping at totally believable heights, rewiring buildings, and stealing highly sensitive data, you play as a Freelance Investigator who at first is very close to being framed for a murder, then helps a young woman is going to be framed for the same murder, and more jobs.

One of the interesting features of this game is the choices you can make.  You get to choose what you say to your clients and this will affect which jobs you get in the future as well as how the story pans out.  Not only that but you can choose how to handle each job: fast, silent, non-violent, whether or not you let guards see you, and any combination of these.

I really enjoy how each mission is designed and idea behind how the missions are solved.  The big thing about the missions is to never get spotted because it's a one hit, one kill for you if you do get spotted.  But that's okay because you get all kinds of cool gadgets to help complete a mission and each mission can handled multiple ways.  You have your trusty trench coat that lets you jump far distances and survive otherwise deadly heights.  You also get tools to help you rewire the wiring in the buildings; a single switch can be set to open/close doors, turn off lights, or overload sockets (booby trap). My favorite gadget is the one that allows you to wire a guard's gun to anything in a building.  In the final level, I wired a guard's gun to another guard's gun so that when the first guard fired his gun the guard's gun went off and shot a third guard.

At the very end of the game, you get to choose what you put in your report and when it's finished your web browser will open up and you can share your 'report' with your friends.  Overall the game is very fun, has great replay value, and you have the choice of starting a completely new game or replaying certain missions with all the gear you have acquired throughout the game to try and get a better score.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Reminiscing the good old days of D&D

I remember when I first got into Dungeons and Dragons like it was yesterday, and believe it or not I didn't start out with the pen and paper version like so many often do.  No it was early 1999 and I was still only seven years old (summer birthday FTW) and I was getting ready to play my first computer RPG ever: Baldur's Gate.  It was also my first exposure to D&D and a few years later, I got into the pen and paper version.  I greatly enjoyed the pen and paper game (and still do) because it offered so much freedom and imagination to me when creating a character. Of course, I liked the computer games as well (Baldur's Gate I and II, Neverwinter Nights, etc.) because even though they didn't offer as much freedom in character creation (I really liked creating my own origin stories, okay) let's be honest, I am pretty sure we all enjoyed being able to see the world and our characters on the computer screen A LOT.

By far my favorite game has to be Neverwinter Nights I & II, but unfortunately it's been a long time since I have played them and the discs have all but been lost (I don't mean damaged or anything, they simply disappeared).  But with the recent discovery of the NWN mmo (eh more like a year ago) I got super excited and decided to do research on it.  And that is when I came across gog.com, a website that sells so many old treasures that have been made to work on the current operating systems and both NVN I & II are up there. Not only that but many other old popular D&D games are up there too.  Pretty soon I'll be able to play some of my old favorites again and not have to worry about doing extra stuff just to get them to work on windows 7 (not that the extra steps are difficult, just tedious and sometimes a pain to find a solution to).  Until next time.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

What's the deal with cash shops?

This post isn't me questioning the validity of the existence of cash shops for online games, but instead trying to explain it (because believe it or not there are still people who don't understand it).

The first thing I want to address is how everyone who doesn't like the idea of cash shops refer to them as methods of squeezing money out of the customers. While that may be a harsh way of putting it, and this might be a harsh way of replying to it but: no shit.  The companies that develop and release these games don't do this for the hell of it.  Well they kind of do, but they do this for a living so they expect to paid for it, and a lot of that money comes from the people who play the games produced by the companies.  So, for people who don't like cash shops, to use the statement "they are trying to squeeze money out of the people who play the game" as an argument is pretty dumb.  But now it's time to explain what is in a cash shop and how they make cash shops effective.

Now we all know about subscription based plans and free to play based plans right?  Well usually when a game incorporates both plans, they do it in a way that the subscription based plan provides more benefits for the player than free to play would.  Obviously there are many gamers who don't mind paying subscription fees but for those who do mind, they are provided with the free to play version.  It usually depends on what is offered in the cash shop to know who the target consumers are.  There are cosmetic type items, occasionally functional items, and then (more rarely depending on the game) are feature unlock items.  The first two target all consumer no matter if they are subscribers or not.  They are items that are meant to help your characters look cool and unique or provide whatever functionality it is intended for.  No one is forcing the players to buy these items, but there are players who are willing to buy these items and that is why such items are even put up on a cash.

Feature unlock items play a big role in cash shops, especially in games such as EverQuest II or Star Wars: The Old Republic.  As mentioned in the previous paragraph, subscription based plans provide a lot of benefits for players. In fact, they actually provide the most benefits for players in an online game.  So while many players don't want to pay a subscription for a game, they would still like to have access to certain features of the game. So much so, that they would even make a one time payment to have access to it.  So developers create feature unlock items and like their name implies, unlocks certain features of the game that would normally only be available to a subscriber.  Of course not all features that are available to subscribers will have feature unlock counterparts in the cash shop, otherwise there would be no point to the cash shop items.  As you may have guessed by now, these items are really only targeted towards free to play gamers who don't want to pay a subscription for the entire game, but are willing to make a one time payment for certain features.  Usually the only players who do this instead of subscribing are those who so busy with other things in their life that they feel it wouldn't really be worth paying a subscription (usually around $10-$15 a month) for the game.

In general, many mmo games use cash shops but it's the choice of the player to decide whether to purchase items from these shops or not.  I, for example, have only found one game at the moment that I have been loyal to for so long: Dragon Nest.  I have bought quite a few things from their cash shop, but only because I know I will be loyal to this game for quite a while (after all I have been loyal for nearly two years now).

Now understandably, there is a particular type of game that we all know and somewhat despise: pay-to-win games.  Simply put, they are games with cash shops that contain items that give players an edge in the game. These items vary from game to game, but generally range from exp boosts to other special items not found in normal shops.  Weapons and armor are not generally found in cash shops but I am sure there may be a game with cash shop that contains these items.

Well that pretty much sums up mmo cash shops.  I know they may seem annoying to people who don't like the idea of spending money on stuff for a free to play game or in addition to a subscription.  However, cash shops are legitimate and a lot of the negative feed back that they get is a bit unreasonable. Until next time.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Deus Ex vs. Invisible War

As fans of DE: Human Revolution, we loved the story, the game mechanics, the characters, everything.  The first Deus Ex (as in first one made, not the first one based on story time line) game was loved for pretty much the same reasons.  However, not as many people loved Deus Ex: Invisible War.  Invisible War was the first game I played in the series and was the first game I had played with truly unlimited replay value (I was playing just before deciding to write this post as a matter of fact).  It wasn't until 2007 (when the game was put on Steam) that I could try the first Deus Ex game (old games work much better on my computer through Steam).  After playing the first game, I could somewhat see what people meant for some of the reasons they didn't like the second.

While Invisible War's story was okay, I agree it couldn't compare with Deus ex. The parts of the game where the 'conspiracies' and revealing secrets were supposed to play out just felt...weak.  Probably because no one was truly your enemy until you had to make the decisions starting at Antarctica.  Sure there were instances beforehand where you would be left with no choice but to defend yourself from members of particular factions but they weren't really enemies yet.  And a lot of information you get about them or about things or people who you haven't met yet is, from what I have seen playing over a hundreds (still counting), is kind of just given to you for the most part.  Given to you by who? Pretty much anyone part of the main teams will want you on their side so they pretty much think that by making friends with you, you will help them in the end.  So even though it's supposed to be a conspiracy/mystery type deal, it just doesn't really feel like one.

This one actually confused me quite a bit. Quite a few people have argued that the graphics of Deus Ex (first one, not HR) were good but when Invisible War came out the graphics were terrible.  Nowadays, many people would say that they both have bad graphics, however, people like me would look back at it as nothing more than good memories.  What I don't understand is what is meant by Invisible War's graphics.  Are they speaking relative to Deus Ex or relative to every other game released around the same time as Invisible War?  To say that Deus Ex graphics were better than Invisible War is not very correct.  For one thing, models for characters in Invisible War look nicer than Deus Ex and environment models don't look that bad either. I've researched on Invisible War quite a bit to see what was the issue and from what i've found, I've come to the conclusion that there may have been two different versions (or at least a really big patch...or both) of the game. Here are pictures of the Invisible War game I played:

And here is an image of the game I found in my research:

And here are some images from the game I played:

And here are some images from the version of the game I found:

Now here are some images from the first Deus Ex game:

The bottom image of the Invisible War game I played and the top image of the other Invisible War game I found both contain the same weapon they just look different and on top of that the HUD and item/biomod images are slightly different. Other than that, the graphics and quality differences are very small. Between both Invisible War games and Deus Ex however, are pretty noticeable, particularly with character models, the environment models are pretty close in some areas.

Regardless, I think it's safe to say that the graphics of Invisible War are fine , if not better than Deus Ex.

I am sure there are other reasons as to why some people hate Deus Ex: Invisible War, but these are the two major things that I hear most people complain about. Until next time.