Fallout 4: Review

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I got really caught up in the anticipation for this game, I had an odd feeling like being a kid again and really wanting a toy and being reliant on things outside my means to get it.

I had a yearning feeling like I was missing out on something big. Friends where posting screenshots of their adventures on Facebook, while I moped around playing Fallout shelter game for the the tablet (Which turned out to be quite entertaining and enjoyable)

My best buddy had worked on the in-game animations, and many months before it was released we had had talked at length about the Fallout series, this and some of my friends also anticipating it’s release had me totally amped to play.

I was patient and eventually things turned around in my life and work and I figured a way to get a decent new PC, the moment finally arrived after the long 25 gb download.

The start of the game was great, the feel of the world unblemished, actually witnessing the most fascinating part of the game: Why was there a war,  what actually happened.(Small bits of padding are added to the main story) Then you submerge into the vault, as a bomb goes off you see the mushroom cloud: You were there!

Cryogenics, Frozen for 200 years, awesome!

Stepping out of the vault into the world is where some of the problems in the mechanics of the game started to appear. My computer went into overdrive, the CPU sounding like a Harrier jump jet taking off. This is a high spec brand new computer; I lowered the settings and game still ate up huge amount of resources.

I soldiered on, and worked my way through the main quest lines going back and retracing my steps and completing other quest lines: Minutemen, Railroad and the Institute (I didn’t get around to the brotherhood)

I enjoyed the main quests, although it is a bit usual in that what you choose doesn’t always work flawlessly or make a great deal of sense. (I guess that is the fallout series)

For example in the main mission for the railroad you have to complete nearly all the main missions for the institute to unlock the last missions for the Railroad, so you go to a huge amount of effort to get a reactor working only to flip over and then blow it up.

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Unfinished graphics are a problem throughout the game

There are plenty of things that make you overlook some of the issues  in the game, the feel of the game is a huge factor, the dialog and companions are great, Deacon and Codsworth especially.

Some of the side quests are so interesting and fun. I wasn’t so much a fan of the settlement building side of the game. It’s fun but it doesn’t feel like it is going anywhere. It is quite clunky time consuming and you start to understand how the game makers made the fallout 4 world, which ruins it a little for the player.

Fallout 4 and the series as a whole are good but mysterious games, they all have odd issues that other games don’t. The feel is great but things are unfinished or very roughly made, the characters and story line is strong but the mechanics of the game work very badly. Some things look great but others look fairly bad (Water for example).

I love the series, but can you imagine this game if they ironed out some of these bugs?

It is a great game and series but it could be the BEST game and series if they worked a bit harder fixing small problems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Star Trek- The game

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I am not really a ‘trekkie’,  I am however a lover of all things science fiction and that includes Star Trek. I enjoyed very much the last two movies Star Trek and the latest Star Trek: Into the Darkness.

After watching Star Trek: Into the Darkness (the movie) I began to ponder a little about why hasn’t humanity actually gone out and actually you know…explored the universe.

Sure we don’t have a fusion reactor or core or whatever they use, but if we did it would be something like Star Trek and it was with this child like excitement that I got into Star Trek the game.

The game, well the game was sadly not that good. I was genuinely let down by the caliber of this game everything seemed to be pointing to the game being at the very least entertaining but it flopped.

There where some cool novelties in the game, mainly that it used 3D, something that actually worked with my television. I played the entire game in 3D which was a new experience and it gave the game some interesting new aspects like knowing where to head on a 3D plane and knowing exactly where enemies are. But it horribly started to loose its novelty after a few shocking migraine headache episodes and I am unsure if I can endure another whole game in this medium.

The biggest disappointment is the story line, very basically a rip is opened up in space by a machine designed by the Vulcans called the ‘Helios device’, reptilian creatures called ‘ the Gorn’ which trekkies might remember as lizard people in latex suits way back from the original series.

Old Gorn
Old Gorn

The creatures the Gorn begin streaming through this rip in space and proceed to have a party, running around biting anyone they can find. You and your crew are forced to venture into the rip where you go to a Gorn planet, very basically you take on these reptilians and destroy them. There are bosses and very basic cryptic puzzles where you ‘hack’ into Gorn computers to get into rooms.

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New Gorn

The odd things in this game is the friendly aliens on the Gorn planet, at first they seem to be fighting the Gorn and it looks like they tried to communicate with you. They have their own weapons and as you work your way through the Gorn defenses you find plenty of the aliens locked up and you never even are able to let one poor alien free. It seemed obvious that you would ally with the aliens to take on the Gorn but that never actually happens and you gleefully blast everything away not even really caring about these poor hapless beings.

The games interface and weapons reminded me of Mass effect but certainly not even close to that level of weapon modification, some of the game play reminded me a little of dead space in style. The weapons are pretty bad, gamers expect much more than this when they get a game.

The game dynamics were shocking, it was one of the worst for bugs I have seen for a long time. I got trapped in this game many, many times. Once again this sort of thing should not happen, so many games these days go to the effort to quality assure that the gaming has no bugs. This game was a step back in time, one that turned back the pages of time to the late 90’s frontier of gaming.

The AI was non existent often the player could just run right up in front of the Gorn unoticed like you had invisible mode on.

However putting all these issues aside I really enjoy a game that funnels me through on a main story line, it kept me coming back for more. I enjoy the satisfying feeling of completing the game like finishing a lengthy novel and it is very hard to dismiss the lovable voice of Spock as he checks everything with his tricorder.

Tomb Raider 2013

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I hovered over this Xbox game to download many times, but I hesitated mainly because of Angelina Jolie. I have never played any of the earlier games and I hated the movie with a passion.

This was a flaw in my thinking, and this game turned out to be pretty awesome.

Here a very young but radically different looking Lara Croft is a budding young archaeologist searching with a team for the fabled island of Yamatai.

Lara is younger and has reduced breasts, her features are more subtle, she is more pixie like and lovable.  She is also unbelievably tough and in this game I became startled a few times with some of the substantial trials poor Lara has to go through.

The Island itself is beautiful and has the clear crispness of the far-cry series, something that was a joy to discover. The story line is interesting but it isn’t particularly deep or have many layers to it, it’s firmly an adventure game and the island is to shoot things and to explore.

There are plenty of ropes and things to climb and when you have been playing it for a while it begins to feel like a giant jungle Gym for adults. The weapons are pretty cool, there are not too many and it’s fairly standard fare. Each weapons can be modded when Lara finds ‘cargo’ around the island. Probably the best weapon is the bow and its relatively easy to mod your weapons up to their top level before the end of the game.

The enemies are a little dull, and they are worst part of the game. The AI is not very good and it’s the old story of ‘overhearing’ odd conversations between guards. This game also has a few ‘bosses’. The tombs are challenging but rather short boring things which I found a little odd seeing is the whole game is called  ‘Tomb Raider’.

Mostly I could not pull myself away from this game, I rushed through this game like an excited kid eager to see each new level. The only disappointment was I finished the game so quickly that I lacked to time to slowly enjoy every corner of the beautiful landscape. When the game was over and I re-entered the level  I felt like a child at a fun park but all the rides where closed.

The game is a great one the characther of Lara croft is revived and strong as ever, and the game looks fantatstic as the shift between scenes becomes seamless and I am filled with excitement as we enter a new era of gaming.

http://www.tombraider2013.com

The Assassins Creed Series

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The Assassins Creed Series. Xbox 360 / PC

I was excited to have a good look at next installment in the series -Assassins Creed 3 and  was curious to see the new adventures of Desmond Miles as he stabs his way through history.

Before I even played this game I was a little disheartened by the sight of giant bald American eagles and stars and stripes, it seemed like a little too obvious place to have someone descend back in time to discover.

For those of you who have never played the Assassins Creed games, the story line is like this: Desmond Miles our protagonist he is an attractive, cool young bartender who finds out he is related to a long line of Assassins. His enemy is Abstergo Industries which are the modern incarnation of ancient order of the knights Templar. The adventures with the Knights Templar first started in AC1, where he peels back the leaflets of time in the infamous Animus.  The science fiction heart of the series is the Animus, this device is the portal to which you pass through into your own DNA exploring hidden memories of your ancestors. You essentially ‘become’  your ancestor and at first you are incarnated in the form of Altaïr ibn-La’Ahad in the middle east in the 13th century. Then lovable Ezio in renaissance Italy, and then finally Ratonhnhake during the American revolution.

I will talk a little more about the idea of the Animus later, but it is probably worthwhile to concentrate for a little on the actual game play.

I think it is interesting here to track this game as technology and momentum this game has built. The gameplay at first was glitchy and repetitive but it was forgivable because this is a world that was new to gamers. The gameplay  in AC1 was also revolutionary and the movements of the assassin where seamless, actions where carried out like fighting in a way that you felt like it flowed. I don’t think at first any other game was even close to the level of Assassins creed. However there where (and are)  somethings that become annoying in the actual levels and way the game is structured. Most of the towns are grayed out as you ‘rediscover’ your memories. To unlock each area you climb up a high place and then look around to some majestic music as the world unlocks to you. This is fun at first but then it starts to drive you crazy, the developers have carried it through on all three games and the only real change is in Assassins creed 3 you climb up (some) trees, instead of a building. (wow!)

They also put little challenges in the game, some are really cool while others drive can you really nuts especially the feathers (and in Assassins creed 3 almanacs pages as well as feathers).  In general this helps you explore the map and works well but as you really get to know these games it feels less and less original as you keep playing. The tombs in AC2 where by far the best innovation in the series and was sad to see them not available in AC3, the same goes for weapons in AC2 the weapons are pretty cool and keep coming. the weapons in AC3 they are easy to obtain and not very interesting.

This is where I come back to the Animus the device  and the central story that eventually I am sure a movie will be made with Brad Pitt as Desmond. The Animus itself you have to keep reminding yourself is just a device of the game. In a way its interesting to think that DNA keeps your memories in- built. The idea is a great one, and it comes with all that talk about DNA having a real memory. The only thing is in reality the DNA just keeps genetic memories not ‘actual’ feelings and movie set like happenings the story line is more akin to the idea of reincarnation and you get the feeling there is a bit of regression therapy here. Unfortunately this is where the whole series and storyline falls down for me, it is basically science fiction and for that to believable you need to get your science right, even if its a bit wacky.

It also gets a little tiresome all this killing you have to do, I know its a computer game and he is an Assassin but it seems you have to wipe out half of humanity for these stupid balls and to get all these little opening things and square blocks and god knows what else. They also wiped out Desmond’s sexy love interest Lucy,which was starting to heat up in AC2. In AC3 you see a real attempt to move away from the formula with you starting off as a Templar and then growing up as a young Indian boy. There are some real changes in game play as well with you captaining a sailing ship with waves and sea that really look amazing and the game needs to be commended for that.

The game storyline in general  has some great possibilities  unfortunately however it looks like Desmond himself gets the cut at the end of Assassins creed 3 . (spoiler-Black flag hasn’t been released and I doubt very much if Desmond will stay dead).

Generally and finally there are some really cool things in the Assassins creed series that gets me in, but sometimes you just feel like it just takes so bloody long to get to the storyline.  AC1 was great a new adventure, AC2 is just mindbogglingly good, so good that when I went on a recent holiday to Italy I started to recognize buildings just from  playing the game.  AC3 is disappointing a little, the main character was very angry in a way that was not very nice, there are so few levels like only New York, Boston and the frontier,  and there where no tombs.

I can feel that the series is starting to slip away from the developers, they need to have a good look at the story line and what gamers enjoy. I hope that black flag shows us what AC is all about.

http://assassinscreed.ubi.com/en-au/games/assassins-creed-3/index.aspx