Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dead Space 3: Eudora Gameplay with Commentary

So here's over 15 minutes of Dead Space 3 gameplay withe projects Creative Director and Senior Audio Artist, taking us through the Eudora level.

There really isn't much else to say except "watch this awesome video!" Dead Space 3 keeps looking better and better every freaking day. Can't wait for it.

Edit: I've watched this video like a dozen times and absolutely love it. I was afraid at first after watching the first few videos that the evolution of the game was taking it away too much from the original formula, but it looks like Visceral have got it under control. Why did i even doubt them?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Borderlands 2: An Epic Sequel

Sequels are a special breed. In some cases they can be used to correct certain short comings of the original installment, other times it can build and expand on the first. The hardest challenge is to create a sequel for something that has gained massive success, and it is even harder if this success came as a surprise.

When it came to Borderlands 2, from the looks of it, it seems that Gearbox followed one basic principle: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Right out of the box Borderlands 2 seems like more of the first game, but as you play on you see the tweaks and adjustments that have gone in to refine the awesome formula that made the first game so much fun.

The exploration, the loot, THE GUNZ and especially the humor of the first game have been amped up to amazing heights this time around.

There are actually heaps of reviews out for the game already, so there's no point getting into that, from my side I just wanted to share how amazingly awesome Borderlands 2 is, but I think anyone who is even mildly interested in the game already know this.

The world of Pandora is bigger and badder than ever, with heaps of new areas to explore and enemies to fill up with bullets, or if you're like me, slice and dice with a laser construct katana.

The game looks freaking beautiful, with so much added detail etched into the cell shaded world that it's a gem to behold. For me it reaches heights reminiscent of Rage, which made such a hype about it's graphics and game features. Yes the two share a similar world, but the land of Borderlands 2 feels truly inhabited. To some extent I felt Borderlands 2 offered me the gaming experience that Rage had promised.

Borderlands 2  is filled with quests that lead you to its many new locations. Some of these quests you need to look out for though as the world is filled with many hidden side quests and Easter eggs which make exploring so damn addictive. These are hidden to the extent of dropping of specific baddies after doing specific tasks, without spoiling too much, do pay attention to such areas as The Fridge or even Caustic Caverns as the quests that take you there end pretty quick, but the ones you find hidden will keep you busy.

This time around the characters of Borderlands are brought to life in a bigger way as well. All the dialogue is amazingly voiced and you can't help but fall in  love with everyone you meet, even the bad guys.

Even "Handsome Jack" the antagonist of the game is someone you can't help but cheer for when he comes in over your intercom to blurt out his funny stories and one liners.

These characters give way to a flushed out story which can get pretty deep for a FPS. I know some reviews have dismissed the narrative of the game as a back seat to the action and loot that drives it, but I found it to be very engaging.There was one moment in the game that actually pulled some emotional strings for me cause it played on my feelings from the previous game. Then there are quests that made me just laugh out loud IRL because of the dialogue and interactions that were really just honestly funny.

But the loot, O GAWD THE LOOT!

Nothing beats that rush of findiing "that gun" that out bids your current favorite, but this time around most every single gun is so good that it's actually sad for me to let certain weapons go. I  read somewhere that you shouldn't get attached to weapons and that's so true. I actually had to buy more bag/ bank space so I could keep a few guns a little longer for sentimental value.

On my current play through I'm going in as Zer0 the assassin, who is pretty much a cyborg ninja, because that's how awesome Borderlands is. I was going to play as the Commando but felt it was too similar to the Solider from part one (not that that's a bad thing) and I wanted a fresh experience. It was hard to play him as the sword wielding psychopath I had envisioned from the get go, so I started his killing spree as a sniper, but a few more levels and points in I re-speced him into his Blood Shed tree and never looked back, except to admire the trail of death and blood I left behind.

This is my eventual aim for Zer0 once I get very effective with his  Deception skill, but for solo purposes I'll be rolling with this.

I really like the challenge of playing Zer0 as a melee focused toon, because I feel a lot of the game is easier on ranged combat. But Zer0's melee tree, if speced right, offers a lot of  straight out damage boosts which in turn allows me to get in "up close and personal" or hold back to pick off as need be. Weapon of choice is Shotguns and SMGs with a Sniper riffle for good measure... and his nifty katana.

Aside from talents and such you can also customize your vault hunter to some extent visually through the use of skins. These are presets whcih you can mix and match to suit your toons character.Though I've found a lot of skins I can't help but stick to this one called "Blood and rust" which covers Zer0 in - well in Blood and muck. It really looks like his killed some serious shizz and is out to hack up something new. And I like the contrast to the other "Clean" Zero skins that are popular online.

And my Zer0 is called Yautja (E-wat-ya) - which makes him even more bad ass.

So yeah man - Borderlands 2 is quite the shizz and I actually can't wait to get home to play it. As a successor I feel it has truly taken the franchise to new heights with its style and attitude. As a game it is truly one of the coolest shooters I've ever played, or just one of the coolest games period, cementing the franchise into my top 5 for keeps.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Borderlands 2: First Impressions

It's just like Borderlands part one but better.

Now I get back to playing.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Yaiba: Ninjas, Mechs and Zombies = WIN

Keiji Inafune better known as INAFKING to his fans is considered a legend amongest gaming circles. He is the genius that spear headed the dev group for Capcoms Mega man series and was the producer behind such titles as Onimusha, a few earlier Resident Evil titles and Dead Rising.

Though I never played Onimusha, Megaman was a staple of my early gaming life and Dead Rising one was pure awesome and of course the early  Resident Evil games were known for awesome Zombie action.

Well recently it has been announced that Inafune is working with his crew on a fresh new title, the premise of which has me sweating for more info.

A platform action game where you play a  Ninja, who fights mechs and zombies.

If that didn't sound win enough the teaser trailer that came out with the announcement had me gasping for more.

From the very brief teaser the game looks like a madder version of the recent Splatterhouse remake, but with a Ninja, and that's enough to have me giddy as a school girl.

Will definitely need to keep an eye on this one.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

And then?

And then my Grand father has been in hospital for a week now. He was admitted last Wednesday because he kept getting these strange "shakes" sort of like an epileptic seizure. It started about a week earlier but would normally last like a few seconds, but last Wednesday it last for like a full hour and more. So we had to call an Ambulance cause we found it very hard to move him.

With my Grandparents.
The doctors decided to admit him for the night. Sad thing was thought that the following day the doctors told us that my Grandfather wasn't going to make it through the night.

But his still there.

Yesterday they had to hook him up to a "breathing machine" because he finds it hard to take a breath on his own, yesterday was also his 75th Birthday.

So since last week I've been spending my nights at the Hospital with him, in fact I'll be there tonight as well. Basically I just sit there with him in case he needs something, plus I get to catch up on my reading. A few times my girl friend joins me for the night as well, which makes it a lot easier.

Since he got admitted I started reading Cormac McCarthy's the Road which I finished last night. Now that book read as though it were written for a hospital beside, so much so that the ending actually choked me up and I had to take a breather afterwards.

When I got back home I watched the movie for it and thought that while it was good, it just totally lacked the "soul" of the book and came off as very bland and grey. Part of the problem was that you didn't get to hear the main character's thoughts, which I thought was the main strength of the novel.The movie comes off as a film about survival while the book reads as more of a spiritual journey.

I've also been playing Darksiders 2 in between things, that game gets more and more epic the more you progress through it and I think it totally out shines the first game.

While going through The Road I also picked up "I am Alive" which is a downloadable game built around the idea of surviving an "end of the world" scenario. You basically scavenge for food and supplies and watch your ammo and try to strive against other survivors... it felt like a nice pit stop until I get my hands on The Last of Us which I think will totally redefine the survival genre of games.

I've also been doing a bit of planning for the community work I've been getting into lately. In fact I made a Facebook page for it and hope to have all the projects the other Hibiscus contestants and I put together.

Yesterday was an interesting day because I spent the better part of it watching videos over on this Youtube page for Feminist Frequency, I've never really been exposed to too much of the feminist movement, but I like the work that the moderator for Fem Frequency is doing. Anita Sarkeesian, the amazing young woman who runs the project has some very interesting views on things I've never really thought about in regards to women's role in media, be it movies, books, or games. A lot of it provides some really good food for thought.

Anita Sarkeesian
O and thanks to my buddy Micheal Jon, I've pre-purchased Borderlands 2 on Steam... so if all goes well I'll be playing it on day one :D

Plus last Friday the drag was lifted a bit because my buddy Kaos was having a house warming get together for his awesome new flat, so after being with my dead the whole night I went over and had a few drinks with my friends.

So yeah... the last few days have been pretty interesting. Right now I just hope things work out for the best with my Grandfather, but at the same time I don't want to get to all down about it. So I'm just taking it easy and getting on with other things as much as I can, while spending as much time with him as possible.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Darksiders 2: First Impressions

Within the first few moments of Darksiders 2 you can tell that you're embarking on something purely Epic.

The stakes have already been set up very high in the previous game; the Horseman War has been imprisoned for bringing on the Apocalypse, earth is dust and Humans are extinct. As  Wars Brother you take it upon yourself to prove his innocence and bring back humanity - You are Death... and you are a Bad Ass.

The first thing that grabbed me about the game is the music, and trust me this is normally something I almost never compliment right away, but Darksiers 2 has a score that gives every task a sense of grandness and urgency.

The music drives you; it drives you to ride, it drives you to move like a beast in combat, it makes you want to save the world.

Then there's the look of the game. Where Darksiders 1 had ruined cities and sad grey subways to bring to life its dead world, Darksiders 2 has massive forests, ice lands, and areas that are just a wonder to behold. The main hub of the game where you get your weapon upgrades and spells is a wonderfully crafted area with giant architecture blended nicely with the green around it. So nice that I love visiting it over and over.

To some extent the world reminded me a little of World of Warcraft, maybe because of the similar art style.

The combat in the game is a gem as well. Gone is the bulky fighting style of War. Death is quick and fluid, leaping in to a blood spilling frenzy with ease. Combat is also very tight and responsive, with Death doing exactly what you want him to, when you want him to. In fact the dodge roll in the game is so effect that it's almost cheating. But I'm pretty early into things and I'm sure I'll need it badly later on as combat gets heavier.

But what adds extra spice to the game is its little RPG touches. You get to fashion Death into your own style of killing machine. Through out the game enemies drop loot, this can be anything from clothing to weapons that carry different stats. Want your Death to be a strong tank filled with defence and resistance? so be it. My Death is fast, full on damage and crit.

The items also change the look of Death too, so this adds to even more customizations ecstatically.

One of the coolest parts of Darksiders 2s weapon list is the addition of "Possessed Weapons", these are items that level up with you. Plus they have this ability to "eat" other items. So if you feed it an item with a particular stat, those stats become part of the possessed weapon. You can also name these weapons so at the moment I have a pair of custom Scythes I named "Twin Peaks." I am massive loot whore, in WoW it was almost an obsession, so this aspect of Darksiders 2 keeps me venturing forth like mad.

There are also combat tress that carry this even further. Now these tress aren't that extensive, it's basically just two paths allowing either direct damage or damage through spells. My Death is all about the hands on.

The story is driven through dialogue wheels similar to Mass Effect and Dragon Age 2, though the dialogue options aren't as extensive they do a good job of moving things along. If you are one for story and lore, Darksiders 2 has it in plenty. All the dialogue is wonderfully brought to life with awesome voice work, so it's all a gem to sit through.

What drives me on in the game is exploring. I've said this over and over. I love to explore, and Darksiders 2 gives you lots to explore, and you get to to do so on your trusty horse Despair. As you ride along to objectives you come across ruins and caves that lead to side dungeons filled with special baddies and loot. This keeps the game from becoming stale story wise as you constantly have heaps to do.

The characters that drive the game are brought to life beautifully, but the star of the Show is Death, as it should be.

Michael Wincott is bad ass
Death as voiced by Michael Wincott, and is probably the coolest character I've played in a while. He is mysterious, bad ass, calm in the face of everything... with has a dry humour that actually makes you laugh now and then.  With all this Death actually has a certain charm to him that I haven't seen in to many recent characters in gaming.

Plus I've always been a fan of Wincott's voice and could never get enough of it in the past from his films, so him playing Death makes me giddy as a school girl. Ever since I saw him in the Crow I thought he had one of the coolest voices ever. It's kinda cool too how in the Game Death has a crow that shows him the path to follow when moving around in the world.

I remember how Darksiders 1 really reminded me of Soul Reaver: Legacy of Kane, well Darkisers 2 feels the same way. It really nails home the old school adventure game feel with larger than life locations and characters.

But Darkisers 1 for all its awesomeness did get a little boring some times, with its derivative puzzles and long gaps between combat. Thankfully this hasn't happened yet with Darksiders 2. 

When I first saw Darksiders 2 it was the game I didn't know I wanted. But if you're a fan of such titles as Castlevania: Lord of Shadows, God of War and the like, then Darksiders 2 will be a welcome addition to your collection.

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