Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dark Souls - the end to a perfect day.

I'm trying to think of the last time I was in a mad lust for a game.

Batman Arkham City kept my days long and tiring because it took a while after release to get in. Dead Space 2 would probably be the last game that had me foaming at the mouth waiting to play it.

Well for the last couple of days it's been Dark Souls that's been keeping me restless and wanting.

Since I picked up the PS3 last week, I've been itching to find something on it that mind blasts me, God of War 3 was a nice offering. Playing through it on hard was one of the most rewarding challenges I've had in gaming for awhile. But just from what I've read and seen of Dark Souls, I know this is the game that will make or break me.

I'm always bitching to my friends about finishing games to early, or how games just aren't challenging enough... well it seems that From Software had me in mind when it decided to unleash it's latest bloody rampage.

Previously popular for such titles as the Armored Core series, From Software made quiet ripples that turned into raging rapids when it put out a game called Demons Soul a few years back. That game was noted for it's massive open world to explore and brutal unforgiving combat.

Dark Souls bosses are mad

Well fast forward to 2011 and From Software has decided to revisit this formula to bring us Dark Souls, a game which IGN writer Keza MacDonald had this to say about:

The fact that it even exists at a time when gaming is trending more and more towards cinematic experiences designed to entertain rather than challenge is remarkable in itself. Its world is made up of dark secrets and oblique mythology which feed your curiosity rather than satisfy it; the deeper into it you get, the more fascinating nuances expose themselves to you. How on earth did a game like this come to be?

I liked reading that...

There's a great interview with Hidetaka Miyazaki, game director of Dark Souls over at IGN.

When I get my hands on a game I really like, there's nothing more I love than tearing into every little piece of it. Learning and mastering (and I mean really mastering) the combat system, or exploring all the areas and finding hidden places, and bragging about how I play it better than you!

At the heart of it Dark Souls is a dungeon crawler, but with a massive world that's filled with areas to explore, but no real quests and shit to tie em together. From what I've read, you have the land of Lordan which is made up lots and lots of regions and areas populated by dungeons and castles and swamps and canyons and forests and whatever else... all of which are in turn populated by blood thirsty nasties that want to kill you. There are boss type characters that roam these areas, just hanging with their minions talking shit about you.

Each one of these bosses take a certain tactic or game-play to defeat, and discovering what it is, is what Dark Souls is all about. If you think that you can just hack and slash your way through it, it's gonna punish you for your ignorance. Even the games slogan is: "Prepare to Die"

I farkin love this trailer

The thrill and push for exploration is to find new areas and greater challenges, but at the risk of for-certain dearth. Combat in Dark Souls is said to be precise and unforgiving, requiring you to master every move and use it accordingly. There are NPCs through out the game who give you fragments of a story and clues to what it is you need to do to survive, but don't think Skyrim friendly NPCs, this is a world that's designed to kill you... not praise you as its saviour.

In stark contrast to, say Bethesda's gorgeous worlds, which exist for you and you alone, Dark Souls is pretty indifferent to your presence. You exist to be crushed (or, less frequently, ignored). If you're there to save the world, nobody seems to care much. - IGN

This is less of a jolly romp through a fantasy world and more of a fight for survival in a horrify nightmare that's fun to muck around in. It's here to scare the shit out of you and see what you're gonna do about it, all the while letting you explore and find death at your own pace.

The PS3 collectors edition is what I'm going to order. It comes with a kick ass art book, game guide and sound track... and pain... lots of pain.

I've been watching so many videos and reading so many things about the game, that I wanna just buy a coma till next pay so that I can skip this week and order it. Then I'll need to buy anther coma until it arrives. I hope it gets in before my birthday.

Check out this Awesome class trailer with great clips from the game:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

And then?

Greetings fellow Survivor!

Man have I been busy these last few weeks. The broadcasting house I work for launched a television station last month, which meant lots and lots of long nights of work for me, cutting trailers and doing graphics.

But things are finally settling down now.

I don't mind working late, it sort of comes with the job I do, but come on man... I've got games to play and horror movies to watch!

...And a Girl friend to pleasure.

So what was I doing when I wasn't chained to my editing suit?

I took a trip to the west last week. A really good friend of mine came into Fiji from Aus for a few days and we spent the whole time out and about. Lots of drinks and late nights ending with a trip to a nice beach resort. I love the beach, but I'm shit scared of the ocean, funny that.

We stayed at this nice back packers place in Nadi, swimming the afternoon away and spending the night having beers by the pool, before going out in a drunken state to hunt down some BBQ at 1 in the morning. It was an awesome trip and something I really needed, esp after the hours of late nights at work. My GF came along with us too so it was an nice little getaway for the both us. She had a pretty hectic few weeks herself at job. But nothing she can't handle ;P

View from our room at the resort

I picked up Batman Arkham City a few weeks back, that games been a lot of fun. As anyone who visits my blog would know that one thing I love more than horror movies and video games is Batman!

The games been hyped to death online so I'm not gonna be doing some bullshit review for it. But know that it's the best Batman sim ever. The graphics are great, the gameplay is farkin amazing and it's a lot bigger than Arkahm Asylum. I think Rocksteady, the developer, is doing an amazing job with the franchise and I wish more people that handle Batman outside of comics would learn from them. (I'm looking at you Nolan)

I bought all the DLCs for it too which lets you play as Robin and Nightwing, and adds a few extra maps to the game.

I also picked up a nice HD screen for my PC which goes well with all the shit I watch and play on it.

And last weekend I got my self a PS3 which was pretty cool. It was even cooler how I got it.

I saw the trailer for Last of Us online and then cried myself to sleep because it looked so farkin mad but is a PS3 exclusive. I have a pretty good pc and 2 dead 360s but no PS3, and I thought to my self "maybe I should get one."

Then that afternoon I was having a few beers with my friends when one of them mentioned that his brother in law was selling a ps3 with some games.

Now a PS3 sells for about a thousand bucks here in Fiji and the games locally range from like 200 to 300 bucks.

Yes ... no shit. that's how farkin ridiculous it is. Even if you convert the currency and add shipping, it would not come to that much. That's why I do all my game shopping at Mighty Ape.

But any way, when my buddy mentioned the PS3 for sale I immediately jumped at the chance of buying it. I figured it would make a good Christmas gift to myself.

I was gonna pay for it out of my next pay, but then that Friday we had a Christmas party at work, and I won the award for "Staff of the Quarter" which is sort of like "Employee of the year"but split into four winners through out the year.

That award came with a good bit of cash which went towards the PS3 :D

Ah the fates... they weave in my favor.

I have to admit though, when I first got the PS3 set up it was a little under whelming. I was mucking around with Killzone 3, which was one of the games that came with it, and it just didn't live up to the hype I had seen of it online. Another let down was Uncharted. I got part 2 for it with the console and I was really looking forward to partake in the epic action adventure everyone has been raving about, but instead I got endless cut scenes with tiring quick time events and 'hold your hand' platforming.

I am such a shallow gamer, I want to play... I don't want to watch 5min cut scenes.

The game that saved the buy was Infamous. That also came with the console, along with GTA 4. If it wasn't for those two games I'd have to punch myself in the face.

But then just the other day I went into town and nearly dropped dead when I found God of War 3 on a store shelf for $99. It was a platinum edition, but even those things sell for millions here.

When I went home and fireed God of War 3 up, I suddenly saw what all the fan boys were giggling about. Up until then I didn't really care for the PS3 over my 360, but God of War 3 has to be one of the most delightfully awesome games I have ever played.

The graphics are farkin mad, and the story is epic/ badass. But the action... shit man, how could I have gone so long without playing this monster.

I've never played a God of War game before, but it has to be like one of my top 5 games at the moment, and the most different from my current top 3 games which are Doom3, Dead Space and the Silent Hill games.

Dark Souls

Now I'm loving the PS3 and am excited right now about going home to play it. Next up I wanna get Dark Souls for it. Sort of looks like Skyrim on evil demon forged drugs. It's a darker adventuring game where the focus is on combat, very very skilled combat. I've heard that some folks spent up to 400 hours on the damn thing to finish it. Exploring a slightly horror themed fantasy world is something that has my name written all over it.

Dark Souls

Tomorrow will be a fun afternoon. My friends and I did a secret Santa thingo and we're exchanging gifts over beers :D

Hope your weeks going awesome, if not... then make it awesome; it's farkin Christmas week man.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Skyrim: First Impressions - and a bit more.

I keep saying that I'm not much of an RPGer, not in the traditional sense. But whenever I play a game, any game, I like to fully engross myself into the character.

If I don't feel some kind of connection, at a character trait level, or some game play level, I just can't go on.

Story isn't always the most important thing to me in a video, Ima be really shallow and just get that out of the way. But that's not to say that I don't enjoy a good story.

Last weekend I got my hands on Skyrim, the latest Elder Scrolls game that has been killing the reviews on gaming sites across the interwebs.

I made myself some half elf/ half human guy before deciding he looked very dickish and re-rolled a Redguard. These are sort of like the barbarians of Skyrim I guess, the only other race that looked appealing and sounded cool were the Nords, but the whole farking game is about Nords so I couldn't be bothered to roll one.

Then I set off to discover my fortune, flame magic in one hand, sword in the other - hacking and burning my way through the frozen mountains of Skyrim.

Combat started off a little clunky, and though the whole sword and magic thing was working out fine, it wasn't how I wanted to play the game. I had an idea in my head for what sort of guy Hannibal was going to be. (yes that's my guys name)

He was mean mother lover, with a giant redish Warhawk and long dangling goatie. I was trying to make him look like Conan, before I changed my mind and decided to make him look like a bandit from RAGE. And because he was so bad ass I wanted him to mix shit up with a 2 handed sword and not sissy mage magic.

The coolest thing about Skyrim is that there is no class system. You sort of just do things and get better at it the more you do them. You do get these points whenever you level up, and you use them along the tress that you unlock.

Yeah so there's no class system, but your skills are divided into these trees that open up the more you use the skill. So you can't like, swing a sword all day and suddenly decide to kill something with a bow and arrow later on in the game, well you can - but your bow and arrow skills would be shit and it would take a hella long time for stuff to die.

So any ways eventually my guy became a Sword and Shield fella, because playing in whatever combat style you want results in death if your toon can't defend him self. I actually looked this bit up online and it said that most pure DPS only builds don't work in Skyrim, because the baddies are just so punishing.

And you know, if it does work for you, well than clap clap, because I thought I could play this thing however I wanted. But no worries - because the Sword and shield thing is pretty bad ass too.

On my first day of playing I must have done like 13 hours or so on it in one sitting, and then a another 6 to 7 hours the next day. Gameplay wise Skyrim brings nothing new to anything, it looks pretty meh for a current generation game, but with so many elements happening on screen the graphics feel bigger than then they look. (if that makes sense)

I did a lot of exploring, mostly because I was trying to make my way to this one place that sold black horses. If I was gonna drop a 1000 gold on a horse, it had to be black. I tried to play most of the game with a neutral moral compass, not really being bad, but also not being a goodie. This was going along very well until this one point where I was given the choice to become a werewolf. That's where I tossed the compass and just slaughtered a bunch of people so I could get 'beast form' as they call it.

That shits pretty OP.

From the first moments of the game, Skyrim is a lot of fun. It has a lot of places to explore, from villages to strongholds, to ancient ruins and farway hidden dungeons. The land of Skyrim is rich with lore and every place has a story and adventure to take up. It was also on my next day of playing that I encountered a dragon!

Man that bastard was tough take down. There I was just riding along minding my own business when I saw the beast however low along the fields ahead of me. Riding swiftly on my mighty stead soon I was along side it, and that is when the beast decided to attack.

Though the battle seemed very brutal at first, soon you come to learn that these dragons sort of just do the same thing over and over again. Aside from the ones you encounter through scripted events, dragon killing very quickly became very boring.

And then we came to the third day of my playing.

I was given this one quest - and I blame that one quest. I was to ride all the way across the map from where I was to deliver this thing to some farkin mages. Looking at the map, I was like "shit that's far"

And looking at the quest and seeing that it was 'optional' really didn't make me wanna do it. In fact, There was like 5 quests in my log that I really had to do, and about a 100 quests that were 'optional.'

This is when it dawned on me. "What is the farkin point of this game?"

I've been playing for 3 days, I clocked more than 20 hours and nothing I have done as amounted to anything. There really is on so much 'open world' one can do before you release that you are accomplishing nothing significant.

There is a single player story, but the side quests and open world was one of the major selling points of the game. But in this open world, there wasn't a story that was big enough to engross me, and the worst thing - I had not met one NPC that I gave a shit about, not one!. And that was my ultimate conclusion. With so many things to see and do, there is nothing to really give a shit about in Skyrim.

I miss u Alister

You sort of just 'play' in this world where you're all by yourself, which no other reason than to be part of thousands of tiny stories, but never part of anything significant enough to truly feel like a hero.

After discovering this idea, noting around me meant anything anymore. This is something that someone like Charlse Manson must be accustomed to feeling because as soon I had firmly wrapped my mind around this notion I proceeded to slaughter everything and everyone around me. I even lock picked and broke into peoples houses to kill them.

I killed as many people as I could before the guards got overwhelming and I was forced to flee on my black horse who I no longer gave a shit about.

Which is cool because at one point I had left my horse so I could go fight something and I came back to find that the fucker was gone. Which would gave been fine if he were free, but I paid 1k gold for that son of a bitch.

And companions, man those guys are farkin retarted. So many times I've seen them run into mobs of enemies only to get their asses handed to them, and in turn their dead asses handed to me. This sucks even harder when you're traveling on your mount, trying to get to this one location but your damn companion has decided that he or she has to stop at every farkin mob along the way to attack them.

This results in many a roads littered with the dead bodies of my ex- companions. Again I wouldn't give a shit if it wasn't for the 500g you need to pay to hire these bastards.

Now I am actually forcing myself to play this farkin game because I went through all the hassle of getting it.

Maybe this sort of thing is just not my thing. I guess I'm just a shallow RPGer who plays commercial RPGs like Dragon Age (which I farkin loved) and DA2. Not to mention The Witcher games which remain my undisputed favorite RPG games. Even Witcher 2 with all the bitchy controls and shit, I found more engaging than this. Even the exploring in Skyrim gets old once you realize your swapping one snowy mountain area for another snowy mountain area - o but this one has a ruined castle and that one had a forest.

Hell ... Risen, have you played that? That got midcore reviews, but I loved exploring in that, and the characters though not as well done as Dragon Age, felt so much more real than the dead eyed mannequins that populate Skyrim.

The closest thing I can compare this game to is Fallout New Vegas. Fallout 3 was something I spent months on playing. And when New Vegas came out, it had all the check list points of Fallout3, but I just didn't want to finish it. That's what Skyrim feels like to me.

An open world adventure that's fun if you don't mind piecing together your own story through hundreds of tiny stories that do noting towards the grand scheme of things. Exploring is fun for the first 20 hours before realize you're all alone in a single player game that feels like it's built for an mmo.

In the end Skyrim felt to me like something that would have shined brighter if it was allowed to burn out faster. How anyone can sit through the 100 hours of quests this game has promised is beyond me. If anything this game has taught me a little lesson: it's not how long a game is, it's how much fun and engaging it is that matters.

Ima go play Super Meatboy and wait for my Batman Arkham city to ship.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Rage: After thoughts (spoliers)

So I just finished RAGE... like just now. Like I just put the controls down, and Twittered about it before writing this.

There I was with my BFG, shooting my way through the Authority's fortified stronghold, the enemy were attacking in little mobs of 3 to 4, easily taken care of by my awesome BFG.

Then I thought to myself that I'd better save the BFG ammo, shit will get ugly for sure soon... and I wanna be ready.

So I make my up to these computers that I need to hack (click on) and suddenly the place goes into lock down. A few mutants trickle in at first... and then a few more. They just take a shotgun to the face to take em down, still saving the BFG... and the amour piercing rounds on my machine gun.

I'll save my ammo ... cause I know something's gonna come ripping through soon. I think I'll even drop a combat drone.

O good... the satellite is sorted. Now to get out of here and...


And just like that... everything I had come to enjoy about the game was instantly shattered by what can only be described as pure and utter BALLZ.

The ending of Rage would have to be one of the most disappointing/ anti- climatic bits of a game that I have ever played.

It was almost as though the developers were like "Holy shit! we don't have time for this... we need to end the game NOOOOOOW!"

What happened iD?

Man even Doom 3 had more of a narrative than this, and the ending was a proper ending. It had closure.

That's all I really want from a game... something that makes it all worth while. Yes the mega-textures looked great, and the animations for all the characters were amazing, but when it all leads up to nothing but a half ass stand off (without even a proper boss fight) ... then it's just fail to me.

I can tell you now that Rage is for most parts a great game. The action is pure madness and the exploration though not extensive is still enjoyable. The weapons are a blast and iDs signature BFG is as bad ass as ever.

After working so hard to establish so much, you can't believe that it was the same dev crew that put together the last 20mins or so of the game. Cause suddenly all the exploration is gone, the crowds of baddies you were previously up against are replaced by handfuls of Authority goons who, between the BFG and my huge supply of amour piercing rounds were easily taken care of, and before you can say "Borderlands was an awesome game" ...the whole thing is over.

It wasn't only that it was a short campaign, cause I can live with that, but just the suddenness of the ending really threw me off.

With so much to see and do in the game, I couldn't help but feel that I hadn't really done anything significant. In the end I didn't care how great everything looked, it just left me feeling very "meh." The game did have more than a few great moments, but right now I have no inkling to go back and re-play any of it.

If there was some kind of a New game+ mode then maybe I'd go back to look for more sewers or something to explore... but from the looks of things that would have been too much to ask for. It just felt that iD had worked so many elements into Rage that in the end they had a bag full of bits that were left unpolished.

Watching the game develop for so long I was sure that Rage was gonna shoot its way into my top 5 games of all time, but I guess I expected too much. I'm sad... I really am.

I hope Doom 4 does better than this.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Active Set - Famous for Dying

One thing I freakin love about blogging is connecting with people who share a taste for the things I love.

Today I got a very pleasant visit a friend of an L.A based post/punk band called The Active Set, and he was nice enough to share a link to the Video for their song "Famous for Dying."

I'm actually a huge fan of post/punk and the tune was immediately catchy. As I was watching it, suddenly I was like "Wait... are those... zombies?"

There are heaps of music videos out there with zombies running around, but I can't remember the last time I saw so much blood and guts spilt to a musical number. The effects in the vid are mad, and when the zombies started ripping limbs and chewing flesh, it was obvious that the Active Set are a cool band that love having fun and know all about the fine art of zombies.

Please do check out the video, and enjoy. Gotta warn you though... it gets very messy :D

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fun on the DarkSide.

So last night Traps bar had a Fashion show/ early Halloween bash and like every year my friends and I decided to dress up and head out.

We started out with a few beers and shots at Kaoskongo's house, before heading to this thing at Traps. Sadly this year the costumes were a little lacking. Unlike last year when the back bar at Traps was flooded with people in awesome outfits.

The fashion show was so so, and we got there late so the beers that the 15 bucks cover charge had lined up finished a few rounds after we got there. But it was still a fun night.

As you can see I went as a Sith :D

For something that I put together pretty much a day before, I thought the costume came out pretty good. Massive thanks to Micheal Jon's mummy for making me the hood.

It got a decent bit of attention at the clubs, which was pretty cool.
Albert and Mike in their costumes

Dani and I

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Aimless: Office Doodling.

Picked up a sketch book yesterday so that I can keep all my office doodles in one place. That's not to say some don't get out once in a while.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Lone Survivor:

It's true, I will play any horror themed game I can get my hands on.

No matter what the subject matter, it gets an automatic +10 if the details are hack and stitched around something ghastly and disturbing.

Dead Space, Doom 3, Silent Hill, Resident Evil 2... I love these games. But my love for horror didn't start with them. Even as a kid I was a massive fan of such titles as the critically shameful Frankenstein game on the NES or Splatter House on the Sega, not to mention the awesome Castlevania games.

I actually still play Splatter House 2, I never got to play the remake that came out recently because my 360 died, but I play part 2 a hell of a lot. I can actually finish the whole thing in 20mins. Don't fucken mess with that cause Splatter House 2 is freakin hard.

Lone Survivor

There's something about taking a concept and then stripping it down to dirty, bleeding sprites. When done right it can be as unnerving as any big game engine title. Link
Recently one game that caught my creepy attention is a little number called Lone Survivor. I shared a video for it on my twitter when I first saw it, and just today I was reading about it and felt compelled to mention it here on my blog so it can become a part of Zen and the Art of Zombies FOREVER!

Lone Survivor is the monstrous creation of one Jasper Byrne, a guy who I first came to know of after playing amazingly awesome Soundless Mountain 2, which was a D-make of Silent Hill 2. This guy has a way with 8 bit graphics man. You need to check out this trailer to see what I'm talking about. The amount of atmosphere and sheer creepiness he can hack into a sprite is just mad.

The basic premise of the game is you are a lone survivor in a city over run by strange dead things that are out to get you, and not only must you fight to keep your life, but you have to deal with the psychological hiccups of living in your own personal nightmare.

The game seems to be more Silent Hill then Dead Space with more of an emphasis on survival, in fact reading through the devs blog it seems that his not too fond of Dead Space, but the slow sanity decaying horror stuff he is striving for is awesome. It is something that sort of lacks at the moment amongst horror titles.

Really looking forward to this... can't wait to see how it all pans out. Do check out the developer blog HERE for more info on the project.

Dead Space rocks by the way...


Thursday, October 13, 2011

RAGE: First Impressions.

Rage looks farking amazing.

It is easily the best thing I have ever seen on my PC. I loved the graphics in Dead Space 2, but Rage is something else. As soon as I stepped out of that vault Ark... and raised my hands to block the suns glare in my eyes, a massive grin sliced across my face.

The Post Apocalyptic future never looked this good. There were numerous comparisons to the visuals of RAGE to games such as Fallout3 and Borderlands, and though these games might share a common theme... it truly does no justice to compare Rage directly.

Looking at a screen shot is one thing, but actually walking through the rusty, dusty world of Rage is a trip. From the bright burning sky above you, to the vast wasteland of decaying buildings and scavenged settlements that await you... I spent a decent amount of time just looking around before I followed any of the markers to do a quest.

And once you get a set of wheels the whole thing just takes on a different kind of life.

But know that Rage is not a full on RPG, no matter what the trailers and dev talk might say. If anything Rage is an action shooter with a little bit more NPC and story interaction we've come to expect from an iD game (or from most shooters to be honest). There is a general story that runs through the whole narrative. You've just come out of an Ark that was set up to contain the last of mankind moments before a meteor smashes into earth. Waking up many years later the world is now a harsh Mad Max sorta place, where mutants and bandits run rampant. The 'decent' folks have banded together to form survivor towns, and these become the hubs for your missions that unfold the rest of the story.

In these towns you meet people who have tasks for you, some of these tasks lead the main story, and other ones add to the richness of it. And this is where the game really shines for me. The characters you meet are just awesome. Each one of them brought to life with amazing animation, the kind where I sometimes just couldn't help but stare at the way they move and talk.

Hey babe... nice polys.

Every expression just feels so 'real' and every movement looks so "un-thought" of and natural, iD really out did themselves with it. If you wanna compare Rage to Fallout and Borderlands, the NPCs in those titles come off stiff and lifeless compared to the people of Rage.

And it doesn't stop there.

The first time I came across the baddies of Rage, it seriously scared the shit out of me. My first encounter was with these Ghost bandits. Mutants that were hold out in this abandoned building, half of which had crashed and gone underground. You spend a good 15 mins or so exploring the world before you meet these guys, and when they attack it's farkin mad.

The canon fodder of Rage. Always in packs, always deadly

I aim my sawed off shot gun at one of them and fire a shot, only to see the creature quickly duck and do a barrel roll towards me. Behind him another mutant came flipping and jumping through the pipes ahead. And beyond them I could see even more of them scuttling all over the place.

Who the fuck do I shoot first? this guy in front of me for sure, o fuck he dodged... ok that guy over there... I got him in the leg. Shit his crawling for cover... still firing. I can hear him though - telling his friends that his hurt. I turn the corner to see him staring at his leg, this guy was actually worried about the wound on his leg... as he looked up to stare me in the eyes with a snarling growl ,I empty my double barrel into his face.

one down, god knows how many more to go.

come at me bro!

To say the combat in Rage is frantic is an under statement. These baddies seem so alive. There have been so many games in recent years that deliver an enemy that looks as though the AI is really thinking and reacting. But nothing like this.

It really felt like these guys were up to no good for years before I showed up, and from the screams and aggression it really felt like I fucked up their day.

I found my self creeping and popping, not wanting to stir these guys. And by the time I finished the first mission - I was pumped. And so far I've only been up against the mutants and bandits, I can only imagine what I will be like when facing off against the organized Authority.

The weapons in Rage are also freakin awesome. Every gun you pick up you can be modifed to suit your needs. Smack a scope on a pistol, kill the recoil on your assault riffle. I'm not sure as yet if I can grab all the up-grades for everything, as you need to buy these upgrades, but the customizing in the game feels very good. They also sound great and pack a punch, and why wouldn't they? if there's one thing iD knows how to do is make a good gun.

You get money from quests, or from selling the numerous items you pick up on your missions. Some of these are simple vendor trash, but some are items you can use to make things.

As someone who needs to survive the wasteland, you have skills that allow you to craft certain items. Some need specific items, others have parts that are shared by other items... so you make stuff according to what you need.

These items range from bandages to mixed brews, or even drilling devices that break through locks that lead to otherwise inaccessible storage rooms and areas.

Speaking of areas, scattered through out the wasteland are these sewer entrances that lead to underground networks of caverns and pipes that are home to the meanest and nastiest mutants. Why would you go down there? Because these bastards like to kill shit and take their stuff, so if you're brave enough to go down there and take these fuckers out, you might find your self a nice gun or two.

So far I've found one sewer entrance nd there was a guy standing outside it who was all like "don't go in there stranger... you're gonna fucken die"

... and I believed him.

After mixing it up with the crazies on the surface, I think ima build up a bit more skill before I go fight them on their own turf.

I'm playing the game on Hard by the way... which makes these encounters mad as.

And what ups the stake even more is the lack of an auto-save function. If you don't F5 it now and then, you're stuffed.

If you do take a lot of hits though and get taken down, you get to play a little mini-game with your armor suits built in defibrillator, and depending on how well you do you get to come back with a certain amount of HP. Fuck it up and you come back with just enough health to bite it again, and this time for good.

You can only use this thing once before it goes on cool down.

There's also the Wing Stick. The signature weapon of Rage. This is basically a boomerang that doesn't come back. It occupies a grenade slot and allows you to carry out stealth kills.

So far these stealth kills have been a little redundant though since most of the baddies are really good friends and like to hang out very close to one another. I assume they do this so that they can gossip about the hot new guy who just came out of the Ark, that they can go all "Deliverance" on.

If the world of Rage isn't that big as most reviewers say, you can't really tell from the offset. The areas so far have been huge, and for getting around you really do need a vehicle. It's sort of similar to Borderlands in the way you have these areas that are linked through load points in the form of gates and such.

The driving handles very well. It's more arcade then anything else. It actually reminded me a lot of Burnout. The steering is very forgiving and allows for very tight controls, along with boosts and jumps to make it very exciting. I don't have mounted guns at the moment, so in between missions I get to have these chases with the roaming bandits along the wastelands.

And it's pretty freakin cool too. These guys pull up along side you and call out to you... shooting and threatening you as you try to get along with your business. I actually can't wait to get me a mounted Gatling gun so I can find these fuckers and shoot the shit out of them.

The vehicles like the guns are also customizable, and picking the ones you want really adds to the feel of making the ride your own.

Funny thing is, it's the driving parts that make me miss that one thing from Borderlands...

I actually per-ordered my copy of Rage back in June. So after months of waiting, yesterday I finally got my bloody little hands on it.

The game released last week, and the initial reaction by the majority of the gaming community wasn't too kind. Sure a lot of people agreed that RAGE looked freaking awesome and played great, but a shit load of bugs and graphic issues for the PC edition pissed a lot of people off.

It didn't really piss me off so much as disappointed me slightly. I mean here we have a game that's been in the development for so long, winning so many freaking awards at numerous game conventions, being done by iD software, the grand father of PC gaming... and what do we get?

An awesome console game that fudges up on the PC.

I think this kinda messed up the game for a lot of critics. When you're waiting in anticipation for such a high profile title from a developer that's such a major part of the game industry, you can't help but be shitty on them when they deliver a broken game. If you can't play it out of the box... then it's a broken game, there's no two ways about it.

I had to wait for a patch before I could play it, but lucky for me it was a Steam installation and not that horrid Windows live bullshit. When I first started the game after installation it crashed to desktop. That's just not on... luckily I had already downloaded the ATI drivers recommended by the Bethesda forums, so after the crash I went like this >_< and then loaded the drivers.

But all this was very quickly forgiven once the game started up. From the amazing opening FMV to the first time I fired a weapon. This game has all the hall marks of being one of my all time favorites.

I can't wait to get back to it...

I'll have more up as I play along.

Monday, October 3, 2011

FedEx Zombie Outbreak!

When you need that anti-virus in a hurry...

Check out the making of too

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hard Reset - back to basics.

So last night I picked up the controller and pressed Start on Hard Reset, the new Cyber punk FPS that's making the rounds online, and as reflect on the game right now all I can think is that it's farking hard.

But we'll get to that later...

Right from the start this game looks freaking sweet. The start menu twists and turns as you swap through options and pick things, in the back ground gadgets and gizmos click into place and the whole thing really sets you up for what's coming up.

The opening cut scene is a bit of a drag because it's done in this limited animation style, with moving pictures, which would have been cooler had the art been a little better. It goes from awesome art piece to lame scribbles and kind of spoils the other wise polished feel of the game.

As you enter the world you are greeted by Blade Runner-ish back ally, with neon lights and flying vehicles scattered across a decaying urban back drop. It all looks very fancy, but you don't get much time to take it in immediately because just up head are a pack of robot drones, that sort of look like the Mousers for the old Ninja Turtles TV show.

I going to admit to you right now that I have no idea why these things are attacking me and what it is I'm actually suppose to do. All I know is that I have a weapon in my hand and I have to shoot stuff... I guess.

So yeah, whatever story this game has is lost on me, I did try to pay attention when I played the demo, but with the actual game I sort of just skipped the intro about half way through it and now I have no idea what is going on. At one point in the game I had to place some sort of device that did something to these machines... fuck it... shoot stuff.

Aside form the story, the rest of the game is pretty straight forward. Things get in your way, and you have to blast them to pieces. Where Hard Reset cooks the beans is with its mad action, mad unforgiving action.

This is game developed by the creative minds that gave us Pain Killer and Bullet Storm, so one thing it knows how to do is pump the adrenaline. When talking to a friend of mine about the game, he said something about how he only plays "tactical shooters." What does that mean? Is that when you crouch behind something and then pop every now and then to deliver a head shot? Or is it when sneak around a corner and then through in a flash grenade before busting down to pull off a Mozambique Drill?

man fuck that... seriously... tactical shooter my ass.

I don't think you can afford to crouch behind anything in Hard Reset, there's actually no crouch button, the minute the action starts you find yourself jumping over obstacles and side stepping baddies as they rush you to rip you apart. You find your self constantly moving, while unleashing an unrelenting chain of gun fire at everything that moves. Make that an unstopping, relenting chain of gun fire because you never have to reload! As you kill enemies they drop items which replenish your health and ammo as well as give you points to upgrade your gear.

And health drops is what you pray for because there's no bull shit 'regenerating health bar' to baby sit your ass.

I will admit that while the action is mad and frantic, constantly keeping you on your toes, the weapons of Hard Reset leaves me feeling a little empty. You start of with these two guns, one of them is some sort of plasma/ energy weapon that I hate using cause I hate energy weapons, and this one particular looks pretty fucken lame.

What I have been using is this other weapon which is some kind of sci-fi assault riffle. Now these are the only two guns in the game, but what you can do is spend upgrade points to modify these weapons. What these upgrades do is essentially give your weapon the ability to morph into other weapons.

Upgrade station.

This is a pretty cool idea I guess. The "machine gun" mode that it starts off with is alright, but once you set up the grenade launcher and the shot gun addon, that's when things really start cooking. Down the tree for the gun there's also a RPG mode and some other cool stuff. So far I've spent all my upgrade points on this gun, so if I get to a point where I need to use the plasma gun, I'll be proper stuffed.

You can also upgrade things like sprint time and some sort of awareness thing that shows you where enemies are, which I think is a bit redundant because like... they're right in front of you >_<

The baddies in the game are some of the meanest mother huggers I've had the pleasure of shooting up. These guys rip onto the screen with only one goal, and that's to tear you a new one. They smash aside dumpsters, jump off of buildings, crash through windows and whatever else, just so they can mess you up. And the difficulty isn't because they come in massive numbers, which they do, it's the mixture of enemy types during any given encounter that makes the blood boil. But no matter how hard this monster gets, it never feels cheap or unfair. As the game pushes on, it forces you to develop your trigger finger, as the fights only get bigger and badder.

When it comes down to it, Hard Reset is a shooter in the purest sense of the word. Remember when you first played Call of Duty and thought "shit man... this is so damn cinematic". it was special... now days every single shooter plays out like a Jerry Bruckheimer film, and I'm not saying this is a bad thing. But it's just a nice change of pace to simply player a shooter to shoot stuff. The team behind the game obliviously had some hard set idea about what they wanted to put out, and they stick to their formula relentlessly through out.

Hard Reset looks great, plays frantic and doesn't even know it's own story... all in all... a great way to kill some time. It's definatly a great game experience, especially for fans of sci-fi/ cyber punk and action. The pick up and play nature of it is also a plus.

It definitely fills a niche for me right now, between Borderlands and waiting for Rage.

Monday, September 19, 2011

and then?

It's been a busy few weeks for me.

As the launch date for our up-coming TV channel draws nearer, I've been running around like a headless zombie making sure trailers are ready, graphics have been sorted and show titles have been made.

In fact, the team and I are going to be pulling a late night tomorrow to get some stuff out of the way.

But it's not too hectic. When I'm not at work, my girl friend and I have been killing time watching Dexter, which is a show I can't believe I didn't get into sooner.

O yeah she's back by the way... from the Pacific Games, bringing with her two silver medals for Badminton and a bottle of Tequila.

Dani (2nd from right) with her team.

I was pretty sure that that one week she was away was going to have some pretty slow nights, but I started the week with a bottle of Vodka and friends on Monday night, which is where a friend of mine gave me the install files for Team Fortress 2, and that pretty much killed the rest of my week.

So many hours were spent online meeting new people and then blowing then blowing them up.

I've never really played a competitive shooter before, and for the longest time I wasn't even sure if my inter-webs speed could keep up with one. I'm no stranger to online PVP though, because that is what took up most of my time on World of Warcraft. I used to shred faces with my Druid (who made it to rank 10 Champion before Burning Crusade came out) and once I got my Warlock... it was nothing but death and destruction all around.

But for the FPS thing, Team Fortress 2 would be my first time getting into it... and I love it.

The game's been around for a while and recently became free to play, and the moment you buy something from it's online store you become a premium member. As soon as I could I got some stuff for my favorite class; the Soldier and decked him out to perfection.

For those that haven't played the game, it's your standard first person deathmatch/ capture the flag type of game, except you have these characters that make up the games classes. You could pick one that fits your play style, or one who you think is just really cool.

When I started out I would muck around as the Heavy, but I just found him to be a little OP. He takes a massive pounding when being taken down, and is able to dish out a steady stream of pretty high damage, which is cool... but I just wasn't feeling the class mechanics and the character.

But the Solider, his fucking bad ass. And his got so much versatility to him which makes him a lot of fun to play. Plus mucking around with a shot gun and a Rocket launcher is pretty cool.

Like I said I got him a few things online, then I crafted him the Original, which is the rocket launcher from Quake, and being such an iD fan-boy I had to have that.

The Original

As I went through the list of cool things that the soldier can use, there were very few things that I wanted, and my toon was pretty much set with what he had. But there was this one item that kinda caught my attention.

If you had purchased a copy of Plants Vs Zombies before a certain date, you were issued with an item called the Brain bucket, which is basically a bucket on your head with blood stains on it. the flavor text on it reads:
Zombie tested, braaaains approved.

Now the item it's self may not seem like much, but come on... I'm the guy with the 'zombie' blog! I had to have this thing. For those that bought Plants Vs Zombies they get a "genuine" version of the bucket which was a limited thing. The rest of us need to either wait for a drop or get someone to craft it, which would mean having an item with someone else name on it. (crafted by - )

I tired trading for this item a few times, but without luck. But last night I managed to score myself a trade that didn't just get me a Brain bucket... but a Genuine one!


Now all I need is a Strange Rocket Launcher and I'm sorted.

Lets see how this week goes. I predict more Dexter and TF2 when I'm not working, and some Magicka since I'm hoping to pick up a new item pack for it today.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

You favourite toons - zombified.

It's been a while since I've posted something that's actually zombie related on this blog. Not that my love for zombies has nullified or anything, because it hasn't.

But every so often it gets a jolt.
I can't remember what I was looking for when I found this site.

It's called the MEGATHERIUM and it belongs photographer/ Illustrator Andre De Freitas, and I just spent the better part of the last hour or so just pouring over the images on this site while trying to get some work done >_<

The art on this site is amazing... but of all the sets of work, one in particular caught my fullest attention, and it was his collection of zombie portraits. He doesn't need me to say that this guy has some serious skill... but I'm going to say it anyway: "This guy has some serious skill"

Please do have a look, and while there make sure you check out the other art bits as well.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

and then?

And then we've come to the end of another week.

It's been a pretty busy one for me this week. The TV station I'm working for is launching soon and I've got a whole bunch of titles I need to do for these in-house shows that we're producing.

There's seven of them that need to be done and I've managed to dish out one and a half of them. Half because the one I am currently working on still needs an end frame. We would have gotten through them a lot faster, but the guy I'm working with (My GF's brother) is also working on some branding stuff for the station, so a lot of his time is taken up and divided.

The week started off great though, with me winning a Steam copy of Limbo, compliments of I don't think I've ever won anything online before, and Limbo is a pretty solid win. I played the game to death, and am gonna try to get the "No point in dying" Achievement, which requires you to finish the game in one sitting with no more than 5 deaths :O


Wednesday night was pretty much spent spilling blood on the War Hammer 40k: Space Marine demo. And in the middle of all of this I'm also trying to squeeze in as much time as I can with my girl friend who flies off to Noumea (New Caledonia) next week for the South Pacific Games. She's a Local rep for Badminton and she did awesome with 3 silver medals in the last SPG. Check out an article on her here.

So yesterday her and I grabbed some dinner and shared a nice chill night together, because of her training I hardly get to see her.

I also picked up Borderlands on Steam yesterday for like $10 bucks Fijian... so that's pure win. I woke my friend Kaos up to use his card, and he ended up buying a 4-pack of the game :D

Borderlands: Island of Dr Ned (DLC)

That's gonna kill some time with my GF gone... and it should almost hold me over for Rage which hits in October. I pre-ordered that off my friends card too. (But I applied for a card for myself - so soon I won't have to wake you up Kaos)

We also had an interesting visitor this week. My GF and mum were mucking around in the garden when they stumbled across this little guy.

Phylliidia - or Bini to his friends.

This was pretty cool cause I didn't even know we had these here in Fiji, at least I've never seen one. We gave him room and board for the night, feeding him leaves and stuff, before letting him get back to his adventure in the morning. We also named him Bini cause he really liked eating Bean leaves. We didn't ask him what his real names was because we didn't want to seem nosey.

Aside from that, this week we also had the ever popular Hibiscus Festival (that actually ends today) and our company (FBC) entered a Queen contestant, so our boss had us attend all the events that she took part in. Which I didn't mind too much. I've also been eating down at the festival everyday because it's right near my office. There's a shit load of BBQ stalls there, so it's sort of starved for variety. Most of the time I just come back to the office with a plate full of Pani Puri or idli. But tonight ima get me some BBQ!

Snow cone!

Today at 1pm we have a float march through Suva city, which all the FBC crew will be taking part in. I'm taking my little sister and my niece (along with my brother) down for the march, and Kaos is gonna bring his little girl down... so it's gonna be fun :D

Later on my GF and I are gonna enjoy the last night of the festival, by eating loads of cotton candy and maybe hitting a few rides. (maybe)

I'll be sure to post some pics of it after.

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