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Tag Archives: review

(Bonus post! Don’t worry, it’s all back to games after this.)

“How was the movie?”
“The movie?”
“The Facebook movie.”
“Uh, it’s pretty good, but immediately smacks you in the face with Sorkin dialogue.”
“Sorkin dialogue?”
“As in Aaron Sorkin?”
“No, as in one of the many other famous Sorkins working on the film.”

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Get it? ‘For the record’? ’cause that’s the thing from Modern Warfare 2?

Anyway, I wanted to throw up an extra post this week to clear up some matters pertaining to last week’s post. It exploded in popularity and I thought it was worth explaining my thoughts on the game and its predecessor.

I’m in no rush to defend myself from angry multiplayer obsessives that believe in “Infinity Ward fanboys” (That’s a thing now? Really?) or think that complaints about the game are code for craving grenade launchers…That are still in the game.

But for the sake of anyone with reasonable questions or any regulars who actually give a crap about Call of Duty, here’s the lowdown:

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Let me begin by saying: I hate Fallout 3.

I found it to be an incredibly dull game that was even boring to look at. A game that consisted of tiny bits of bad dialogue and genuine questing, wedged between bland hours of killing raiders or mutants in sewers and subways and other boring copy/paste dungeons. Bethesda had even removed everything that made Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion enjoyable.

The weird part is that I seem to be the only one. Even a good chunk of the die-hard original Fallout fans (who decried how the Bethesda-made Fallout 3 wasn’t like the old games and didn’t mesh story-wise) praised the game as a standalone gaming experience.

Personally, I didn’t play the original Fallout games until after Fallout 3, and I still enjoyed them more their younger brother from another mother.

Then Obsidian comes along to make Fallout: New Vegas. My interest was sustained entirely by the connections (Marcus the super mutant is in it!) to Fallout 2. It certainly didn’t help that Obsidian were responsible for Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords – one of the worst games I have ever played.

Then, given the reputation of Obsidian for developing badly designed, downright broken games (Alpha Protocol, etc.) and only having a few good story ideas to their name…Combing this with Fallout 3 could only end badly, right?

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[There’s no alt-text/titles on this one.]

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About The Comic

Once again, massive thanks and all credit to hatebreeder for supplying the awesome art.

Red Dead Redemption has four sets of Challenges for the player to complete. They’re fun but sometimes they can become a hassle and sometimes they can lead to some bizarre situations.
The Sharpshooter ranks that require you to shoot off hats ended with me walking into a town, shooting hats off passers-by and cheerfully walking away, leaving panicked and hatless folk behind.

Given that the challenges appear only in your menu, aren’t given to you by characters and seem to have no in-game basis, you do sometimes have to wonder what’s going on in John Marston’s head when he feels he has to “Disarm any 6 enemies without reloading or changing weapons” just to get a new outfit.

About The Game

Pictured: John Marston, horses and a desert. Get used to them. But don't worry, they're all pretty cool.

…It’s kind of impossible to review.

A summary won’t do, I can’t just describe the experience because experience can differ. It’s just too big, too dense and too complex. Much like Grand Theft Auto IV.  It took me over a year and multiple playthroughs to get a full grasp and see everything that game had to offer. To fully review either, I would have to go through the game mission-by-mission, challenge-by-challenge, line-by-line and explain what’s good and what’s bad. Essays could be written about the nitpicks in these 30 hour games with their side missions and alternate dialogue.

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I thought it would be a treat to open up the write-up with a comic – even if it only makes sense to those familiar with the game.
Massive thanks and all credit to hatebreeder for supplying the awesome art.

A Possible Explanation (click for big)

The story is the focus of Alan Wake and that is where the game excels. It’s a thrilling ride, dripping with atmosphere. The characters, with the exception of the plot device wife, are well rounded, likeable and given just enough depth.
The clever and engaging writing is great, in the dialogue (save a few off moments) and even in the ingeniously prophetic manuscript pages. The game is consistently funny, not laugh out loud, but little moments to make you smile, balanced perfectly against the tension and scares.

For all it’s references and inspiration to and from other media there’s nothing quite like Alan Wake in video games. Feel free to correct me with an obscure PC adventure game from the ’90s though.

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(I’m updating early this week while the game is still semi-almost-kinda-new, but I’ll still be posting something else on Friday)

I did a double take when I started the game and thought this was live action.

The story in Conviction is very Splinter Cell. You will roughly follow it – Sam Fisher wants the truth about his daughter, and to hurt some bad guys. But you probably won’t comprehend every facet, as it throws forgettable names at you and uses clunky and confusing exposition.
In fact, I’d be surprised if anyone could tell Black Arrow from White Box or Megiddo, never mind telling Tom Reed apart from Prentiss or Robertson or Lucius Galliard or Calvin Sampson or…
All of this leaves you occasionally wondering why you’re there and who you’re even working for.

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I’m working on a Splinter Cell Conviction write up, but in the meantime I thought I’d share my thoughts on Splinter Cell Chaos Theory. It’s the third game in the series and seems to be considered the greatest by most of the fans.

But instead of talking about the game like I usually do, I’ve decided to review it through a step-by-step visual guide for the PC version of the game.

Guide to Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory

  • Step 1: Get your bought and legally owned copy of the game. (See Fig.1)


  • Step 2: Insert the disc in your Windows 7 (or Vista) PC.
  • Step 3: Follow the instructions to install the game.
  • Step 4: Discover that the anti-piracy StarForce protection will not work with your Windows 7 (or Vista) PC and won’t let you get far enough to type in the CD key, never mind play the game.

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Shiny things are nice things...

…Kinda sucks.

I recently got a new computer (out of fear that the broken fan on my old one was whispering “When I melt I’m going to take all your files and internets with me.”) and the internet soon told me it was apparently good enough to run Crysis. You remember Crysis? 2007? Best looking game ever made? No one played it because it was designed for 2010 PCs? I found out it was available for less than £10 on Amazon. I jumped at this bargain.

Now I can’t help but feel ripped off.

Going in you can’t expect much from the story. Even before release you knew it was a routine mission to rescue scientists from North Koreans and then it all goes wrong and ancient buried ice aliens burst out. And that’s it. Seriously. That’s, like, the entire plot. It doesn’t go into more detail about any of those things, the aliens aren’t given a motive and virtually nothing links together.

Or to put it another way: you play a faceless, helmeted space marine super soldier Special Forces super soldier with a regenerative suit of MJOLNIR armour Nanosuit working with ordinary marines marines fighting the Covenant North Koreans and then the Flood the ancient ice aliens are released and annoy you for the rest of the game. Oh, and big black borders fade over the gameplay with a piece of text telling you the name of the new level. Sound familiar?

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It’s 1913 and World War is approaching.

You are on a train travelling on the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

You’re trying to rescue a girl you’ve never met.

Your arm was just cut off by monsters controlled by a sinister man in a top hat.

You’re here because you’re following the instructions of the voice in your head.

This is Shadow Hearts.

Gasp! That's a real place! And a real time!

I have had a frankly obsessive fascination with this game. I heard a lot about and finally one summer with a lot of time to kill – I watched the entire game on YouTube. Since then, I found a much better place to enjoy the game, and did so a second time.

The reason I find Shadow Hearts so interesting is because it is set in our world at an interesting point in our history, with our historical figures and our locales.

Yet, it’s still a madcap JRPG filled with magic, monsters and a lot of the usual tropes and clichés.

Summary – You need to read kethryveris’ Let’s Play Shadow Hearts: Because the Voice In My Head Told Me To

It’s a top quality Let’s Play. No ridiculous in-character prose, just funny and occasionally insightful commentary around well put together and clearly-presented screenshots and text. (it’d be perfect if there was a bit more consideration for referencing continuity – the reader might not remember that one guy from 50 updates ago) Extra credit to kethryveris because I robbed all these screenshots from that LP.

(If you’d like more reasons about why you should bother, or if you just want to look at some pretty pictures take a look below.)

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