Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Exciting and Engaging Entertainment at E3!

I was excited for this years E3 announcements mostly because of the new console battle between Sony and Microsoft and also for a look at what Nintendo has planned for the Wii U. 3DS games were also in my sights!

Microsoft disappointed me greatly, they seem to think gamers will put up with any old nonsense and buy into their console. A lot of people say 'Well Charlie, you use Steam isn't that the same thing?' Well not really I love to share my console game library with my nephew but I wouldn't let him within ten feet of my PC. Also Steam's sales means that PC gamers are more likely to buy a recommended game rather than borrow it. Their games were also a little on the boring side (opinion I know) I'm really not into sports or driving games. Sony had me excited! They showed a lot of great trailers. I think the PS4 is cert for me! (When I get the pennies.)

This moody pixelart game What Lies Below was the first to catch my attention. I'm hoping and praying that it pops up on Steam eventually.

Mirror's Edge 2 got a teaser. I loved the first game and the main character, Faith has always been one of my favourites. I found the movement in the first game to be a little bit nauseating but the game itself always drew me back in. The game is insanely stylish as usual and I love Faith's design.

Next up Dragon Age Inquisition! Yes, yes I'm a fan of the old IE games like Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale and I massively prefer Origins to DA2. I'm hoping that they have tried to take the good things from both games and combine them. I played DA2 but after finishing it decided it was kind of mediocre. Maybe a 6/10 while Dragon Age Origins is a 8/10 for me. I don't think the repeated use of environments and it's rather easily distracted storyline served it well. I heard that they looked at Skyrim for DA:I which both intrigues and terrifies me as Skyrim isn't a game I would compare with the Dragon Age series.

Transistor is a game that got me really excited, as well as a female protagonist 'Red', it's by Supergiant Games the same people who made Bastion which is one of my favourite games. It looks just as gorgeous and I'm really intrigued about some of the imagery in the trailer. I'm hoping they consider releasing this on Steam also as it will be a while before I can afford a PS4.

Here's one they revealed for the PS3 Beyond: Two Souls (weird name)! Some great action and a storyline that looks really interesting.  I think this is going to be a must buy for me. It reminds me a lot of the recent Tomb Raider. 

I'm a sucker for Steampunk and this next game doesn't disappoint! The Order 1866 showed an extremely impressive and creepy trailer set in Victorian London. 

The weapons and setting just look so amazing. Apparently this trailer is in engine and if that's true I'm pretty wowed by that. Just imagine hunting those beasts in that fog. Brrr. I'm hoping it has a supernatural bent as Steampunk and the supernatural go together so well. 

I just want to mention Star Wars: Battlefront. Okay I'm not one for military shooters but you have my attention DICE! Mixing it in with Star Wars is a great idea and means we can get some variety beyond hyper realistic military hardware. 

The Witness by Jonathan Blow has a Myst vibe to the trailer and since I absolutely adore the socks off Myst and Riven it has me really interested. It looks like brain power and puzzle solving is the name of the game. 
Seemingly the PS4 has a lot of support from some big indie names. 

Well that's it for this post I'll be back with some coverage of Nintendo's offerings for the WII U and 3DS.



Saturday, 8 June 2013

Luigi's Mansion 2 Review.

Let's have a look at Luigi's Mansion 2: Dark Moon for the Nintendo 3DS. Developed by Next Level games and published by Nintendo Luigi's Mansion has sold well across the world shifting 1.22 million copies as of March 31st 2013.

Having played the original game on the Nintendo Gamecube I was very excited to pick this game up. My first impression was that is has excellent and charming graphics making good use of the 3DS's capabilities. A few of the earlier games had seemed blurry to me at times such as Ocarina of Time but Luigi's Mansion 2 rarely has that problem. I'd recommend you use the 3D in this game even if you didn't like it in other games you have played.

The set up for the game involves King Boo stealing the Dark Moon and corrupting it, causing havoc in Evershade Valley once more, undoing all Luigi's work of the first game. To subdue the now naughty ghosts Professor E Gadd pulls an unwilling Luigi back into the breach to clean up the mess and recover the now splintered Dark Moon.

Once you recover the Poltergust 5000 (a ghostbusting vaccuum cleaner) and a strobulb (with which to stun the ghosts) you will get into the game proper. I found the exploration gameplay to be extremely charming and every room seems to have been given excellent attention, furnished to perfection with plenty of crafty secrets to discover. I enjoyed the exploration aspect of the game just as much as the actual ghostbusting and finding hidden treasure troves and the extra special hidden shiny gems was very satisfying. My only problem with the game is that you have to do this exploring within the structure of a somewhat scripted level rather than be able to explore the area freely.

The areas themselves are refreshingly different with their own themes and new enemies are provided for a change of pace throughout. The difficulty curve is also well done with no extreme changes but a noticable increase in number and toughness of ghosts and obscurity of puzzles. The game really wouldn't be that hard to finish for most seasoned gamers but there are plenty of extra challenges to go and look for. Each level boasts a sneaky hidden Boo as well as a collection of Mario themed gems specific to that level. I found one of the levels, namely the clockworks, a little boring visually but the others more than make up for it.

Luigi himself has loads of character in this game and the poor guy continues on bravely under the always gleeful E. Gadd. The little things Luigi does like hitching up his Poltergust backpack or humming along nervously to the music in the level is very endearing. I hope we see more of this characterisation in Nintendo games in the future.

Controlling Luigi is a little fiddly at first but you get the hang of it. However, using the tilt feature of the 3DS to look around with the 3D on can be a little awkward at times and I found  myself using the X button to look up more than using that feature.

The game also features multiplayer which is great fun! I had a good time and also gained tips for the single players watching others players capture ghosts. The multiplayer can be strangely competitive though and I'm not sure that helps it much, as a co op  game. That said, when you join a game you can see the difficulty level   so you can avoid being out of your depth.

Overall I really love Luigi's Mansion 2. I think it's an oasis in a sea of ultra serious gaming and I think people looking for a change from games like shooters would find it extremely refreshing. I can highly recommend this game.  A 9/10 from me.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Just a note.

Sorry I haven't posted for a while I have been in hospital for surgery and have been recovering. I'm going to do a Dust: An Elysian Tail and Luigi's Mansion review soon! Stayed tuned!

Also: Animal Crossing Soon!!!.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

3DS Gaming AHOY.

I've been really ill lately, I'm waiting for an operation, so  I've been looking into 3DS games that I can play while lying down. I own a pearl pink 3DS and my past games have included Pokemon Soul Silver, Dragon Quest 9 and Ocarina of Time (of course) I also love Harvest Moon DS although it's a game with many flaws and not really something I would recommend.

Thanks to a generous get well gift from my Uncle Chris. I have ordered Harvest Moon A Tale of Two Towns, Luigi's Mansion 2 and Fire Emblem Awakening.

I will let you know what I think of these.

I was tempted to get a 3DS XL but that would mean no games! I secretly yearn for a yellow Pikachu one...

My best friend has also bought me Hitman Absolution a game I would have definitely not bought myself so we will see how that goes. I will also have more of a play on both Ni No Kuni and Dishonored.

I saw a mate playing Pokemon Mystery Dungeon on my 3DS and I was like WHAT THAT'S OUT. Turns out it's not out until May in Europe BOOOO

Anyway just wanted to do this small check in to let you know what the crack is!

Monday, 1 April 2013

Bioshock Infinite Review.

Right so I finished the game and I'm about three quarters of the way through 1999 mode. I love this game so much. It's as good if not better than Half Life 2. Strong words I know but a lot of what it does right is reminiscent of Half Life.

The storytelling is excellent you are never taken out of the action by cut scenes or the like other characters speak directly to you as Booker. At first I thought the fact that Booker was voiced would detract from this but it doesn't at all. Instead it adds a bit of feedback from him on the situation at hand and gives you an idea of what the character you are playing is like.

The story itself is excellent but I won't go into it much here for obvious reasons. Drew Holmes and Joe Fielder have done an amazing job with a complicated subject and you definitely won't leave the game confused or disappointed if you pay attention to the details like the voxophone audio logs.

The graphics are done in a way that really match the tone of the story they are bright and cheerful but somehow this makes the nasty underbelly of Columbia so much more terrifying. I have heard that they took this bright technicolour technique from Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining' and indeed it works. I ran the graphics on Ultra on my PC (2xGTX 580's on SLI) and they look gorgeous it all worked straight out of the box.

The game play is very satisfying but a little slow to get going. A friend on Raptr was glum because he thought that it was just a shoot and then hide behind cover game. I told him to hold his mechanical horses. At first you have to be really careful facing down enemies but the game introduces your upgrades in a way that makes you extremely grateful for them.

The vending machines in the game are fairly implemented and you really get a sense of balancing your need for weaponry and health kits over the ability to be resurrected or spending them on upgrading your vigors. You certainly can't have all of the above. The fact that you are limited to two guns is great too as you experience choosing your flavor of death rather than just running around like a walking armoury.

I personally was confused at the inclusion of 1999 mode as the game itself is quite far from the health regen cover shooters we get nowadays. You have visible health that doesn't come back without health kits and limited ammo and weaponry. I'm not really sure what 1999 mode was for but in a good way. This game is challenging whichever mode you pick and punishes you appropriately when you do things wrong. It's extremely well designed is what I'm trying to say.

Also cheers Mr Levine for making me feel ancient with your 'experience things like gamers did at the end of the last century!'...  thanks a lot.

All in all Bioshock Infinite receives a 10/10 from me. It's not perfect (nothing is, shut up) but it's as close as an FPS shooter is going to get. It was so good I bought a second copy for my best friend and if that's not a recommendation I don't know what is.

Tip of the hat to Irrational Games, well done.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Bioshock Infinite First Impressions.

Well I played Bioshock Infinite for 6 hours last night and not a single achievement. They must actually be hard to get this time. No 'Walk out of the starting area' for Levine which is good. I started the game on medium just because I have to admit I'm super curious about the story and where it will go. My next play through I will try 1999 mode I think.

The characters are great so far but I find it a little obvious that all is not what it seems in Columbia unlike Rapture where you were pretty much kept in the dark the entire game. Elizabeth is wonderful and I find her probably the least annoying escort NPC in the history of time. She hands you ammo, med kits and even revives you at a cost to your cash. She also picks locks and solves codes. Her voice acting is wonderful and you really get the sense of her character. I get a wizard of Oz vibe from Elizabeth's time rips as they appear in grainy black and white against the technicolour background. Indeed even her clothes remind me of Dorothy Gale.

The graphics are great. I'm playing on ultra on my PC and they look perfect. It's nice to play a game with some actual colour for once.

The combat was a little overwhelming at first especially coming from a game like dishonored but it got better once I got the hang of using my plasm...I mean vigors. They are really good fun. My favourite so far I think is the bucking bronco which gives you an amazing advantage over other vigor users that come to attack you. 

The most affecting thing about the game so far for me is the racist themes in it. It really makes you wonder how anyone could have thought it was right to treat people that way and really encourages me to shoot the bastards. 

Well I'm off to play again woohoo (sorry Ni No I'll play you soon I promise :)

PS You can play 1999 mode from the very start by inputting the Konami Code. x

Monday, 25 March 2013

Current Gaming Habits

What I'm playing at the moment. I will write more about each game later:

I just bought a Playstation 3 for cheap off my friend Dominic and I ordered Ni No Kuni straight away (even payed extra for 2nd day delivery) and it was totally worth it. I really love this music which is from the section 'The Fairygrounds' performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic. You can really imagine fairies marching along to it a sort of organised chaos!

I'm keeping up a village called 'Asgard' on Animal Crossing for the Gamecube. I have 'Animal Crossing New Leaf on preorder for the 3DS and I'm super excited for it. It's just the ultimate chill out game on a great handheld! I've been watching these Journal entries by Josh of Bit Block on Youtube. He is really a entertaining Let's Player. 

I've been playing Left 4 Dead 2 on Steam with my best friend Dave who you will probably hear a lot about and my friend Dominic. It's really fun just to do a new PVE campaign from the Workshop I think the best one we have played so far was 'Diescraper' which Dave thought was something in German at first... We have also gone back to Diablo 3 recently. I have a 60 Wizard and a 60 Hardcore Barbarian, but since I've been distracted by Ni No Kuni I haven't been helping much. (I think Dave is proper annoyed :p but I gots Shadar to defeat en it mun) 

I have also been dipping my toe into Dishonored which I have been playing on hard and trying to get a no kill no alert run. I did the entire first level 100% but somebody I had made unconscious must have been eaten by rats so now I have to do it all over again. Stupid tasty man and his delicious flesh. 

And then OF COURSE

As of now BIOSHOCK INFINITE IS PLAYABLE in 6 hours!!!! I have preloaded it and I just cannot wait to play this game. I have been waiting for it since before Skyrim for heavens sake. I love love love the Steampunk theme. It's going to be amazing. I also got a free copy of XCOM:EU out of it so I'm a very happy bunny.

So that's the gist of what I'm up to game wise at the moment! Don't worry I won't be so enthralled that I won't keep you guys updated.