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Tag: action

Retrospective – The Witcher

Geralt of Rivia. Mercenary. Witcher. Made and trained to kill monsters in the defence of humankind as a sword for hire, he wanders from town to village to smallholdings in the countryside seeking notices nailed to bulletin boards and fence posts. Or maybe the sound of screams from somewhere deep inside the forest nearby, heralding potential work for his kind that they might fill their coin pouch. Drowners, manticores, vampires, kikkimoras, anything the local alderman might pay a bounty for. His downtime is spent playing dice or cards, or brewing potions for his work and tending to his injuries while enjoying the company of a beautiful woman.

Geralt’s adventures were first published in book form by Polish author, Andrzej Sapkowski, as a series of short stories depicting the Witcher’s various jobs ranging from slaying a beast preying on local merchants along the road to lifting curses from a princess at the personal behest of the King. Through all of this, he endures the adulation of those he saved in equal measure to the animosity from those who scorn his kind. Witchers are not quite human, you see. They are usually taken as children to a Witcher fortress that acts as their school, taught to fight with swords, practice herblore for potion brewing, given training in tracking animals, anything that their work would require. Once they come of age, and only if they survive, they are put through the Trial of grasses where their young bodies are subjected to powerful mutagen potions, one after the other, and infected with various sicknesses to develop immunity that will last a lifetime to all sickness. Spells are cast to inject a little magic into them, though just a little.



Crossing the Line, Spec Ops Style

While working through my backlog of games I am also playing some recent titles as well. I figure it is best to stagger these in the hopes of keeping the blog relevant to current gaming instead of being totally retro.* I played the demo of Spec Ops: The Line some time back, soon after release, and was impressed with the feel of it. In my opinion this merited a closer look, so here it is.

* Note, not all went as planned here and… yeah this game is now last year’s news and I am way behind again… but you can see my intentions were pure so I will keep this ill-fated line in none the less…



Relaunch Inauguration with Just Cause 2

So here I am, finally able to write for my blog again and having also fixed the issues with transfer to my new Gmail address. Of course, for now the blog looks near the same as before and nothing much will have changed but… hey, we’re back! And we are back with just cause, too. Or should I say Just Cause 2… yeah ok I won’t pull too many of those jokes, I promise. They have been done to death already so let me just get into the meat of things. I have a huge backlog so this calls for some speed blogging.

So, Just Cause 2… let me just say first of all that this is a game I had resolved not to play initially. Pre-release I saw trailers and gameplay review podcasts about Just Cause 2 showing some of the gameplay features and, while clearly looking awesome on many levels I found some of the gameplay mechanics to be a little off. Namely the infinite parachute and grapple hook combo. Maybe I was too hard on the game and pre-judging it without giving it a chance? I often thought this but was content to let the game slide by anyway. Then Steam comes along with their awesome summer sale deals and put up the usual publisher packs, set fire to my credit card and dumped a load of games into my library before running off into the night. This is a process I like to call the Game Glomp, and no one does it better than Steam.



Batman: Arkham City on Trial

So, having been a huge fan (understatement if there ever was one) of Batman: Arkham Asylum, I was waiting with baited breath for Batman: Arkham City, delivered by Rocksteady Studios. I don’t normally pre-order games at the store or even online via D2D distribution methods, but for this one I was willing to make an exception. Arkham Asylum was, without a doubt, one of the most satisfying purchases on the XBox I have made to date and needed a good kicking to pull if off its podium. Since we are talking Batman here, I think we can all agree that the only thing capable of pulling Batman off a high and hard-to-reach vantage point is another Batman.



Gearing up for War!

So, around the time I was half way through Space Marine and drafting my blog, a few days after release in fact, I ran back to the shops to collect my pre-order of Gears of War 3. The third (well, duh) in the series by Epic Games, Gears of War 3 has been a pleasure for me to play over the evolution of the series.

Anyone that knows me knows that I like a game with a story, and one that is told well regardless of how preposterous it might be in substance. This should be evident from my review of Mass Effect 2, where I praise the writing and story telling of the game in general. Gears of War as a series has story depth in spades, digging.. a very deep hole…. you get the idea.



Forever waiting for the Duke!

And the Duke is what we got!

OK so this review is way over due and I guess in keeping with the game itself. The production schedule was somewhat akin to that of the great pyramids and, as such, it kind of shows in the game itself. By now a lot of reviews have been out so you have all seen the slightly diverse pool of opinions on the game. I got it on release day and started playing instantly but it has been put down a few times for other game’s sake which I have also to review. Kind of like Gearbox, really, developing the game itself. I doubt anyone has been waiting with baited breath for me, though, so hey.

One thing noticed pretty early, is that Duke Nukem Forever does not take the plot very serious, giving you the usual farce of silly situations to face. If you can take this as it is then all is good, but if you want gritty reality and maturity in your shooters then this is not the game for you. In a way it is to FPS games what Monkey Island is to the point and click adventure. To put it bluntly, a little goofy…



Home is where the Homefront is.

I viewed Homefront from THQ at a slight distance as a curious observer for some time in the build up and post release, not entirely sure what was putting me off about it. I saw podcasts on G4TV about it, online trailers on Steam when it was released and read a couple of articles about it and all I was presented with was another first person shooter and another fantastical story about America being invaded. Maybe I was getting bored with this story after playing Modern Warfare 2 and World in Conflict, so maybe this put me off somewhat but I figured I should give it a fair shake when I saw it on the specials shelf in the store.

I loaded it up, now finding I was looking forward to getting my teeth into it, despite my apprehensions about the storyline.



Be vewy, vewy quiet….

…. I’m hunting merchant ships.

So, having mulled this game over for a long time, I finally bought it. Yes, yes, I know there are some shiny and sparkly new games out there. And I could have put my money to them if I wanted to, and may still. Silent Hunter III is an older game now, the latest in the series being number 5, so it is not current news and I would say that every review that could be written has been written. However, if you are like me and you have not even read those reviews anyway, then this will be a good journey together to the bottom of the sea.

Why did I buy it? Well, because I felt like stretching my horizons when it comes to games, and there are few out there that play like this one, while much of the rest out currently play like everything that came before it.



Magicka, Co-op, control systems and ggggrrrah!

Ok so a while back I picked up Magicka on Steam when it was being sold off with a bunch of the DLCs. Watching the trailers and a little reading I figured it was worth the price as it looked like my kind of game. Kind of like the good old Cannon Fodder but with magic as well. Especially with the Vietnam DLC where you give your mage a machine gun and go nuts.

The first thing I noticed when I was playing was the language for the voice overs, since the narration and subtitles were in English then the actual game voices turned into something that was slightly Swedish, but not. I wondered if there was a setting for the game gone wrong but all the options said English so I consulted the steam forum where I was told this is the game’s own language, similar to what The Sims employs that uses a mix of multiple languages to achieve some kind of jibberish. So, ok this was cool, but confusing after all the previous English thrown at me.



Mass Effect 2 Brings Me Hope

Besides my BioShock review I mentioned before that I also bought Mass Effect 2 on the Steam sale over the holidays. In fact, playing Mass Effect 2 took over most of the time instead of BioShock to a point that I was not too sure which game review would hit the blog first. It has been interesting to play two heavily contrasting games side by side, especially as both involve some kind of super powers in their characters and dub themselves as Role Play Games.

I also mentioned before that I replayed the first Mass Effect to import a save game, something that once I got down to trying was fairly difficult. Mainly locating the obscure hidden holders where the save game was from the first Mass Effect so I could select it and import it. Feeling a little flushed about this, though, I started playing and pretty early on realised that there were a couple of perks to importing a game. One was an increase to the starting points I could assign to powers and abilities as well as a starting pot of credits, the other was less useful but might appeal to others in the form of an achievement. So I guess for the starting points and credits it was kind of worth it. I was also able to remap my character details a little to give him Biotic powers, which is something I have never done in the first Mass Effect so I decided this was the time to give it a try.