Category: Games

Max Payne 3

The game takes place in Brazil, with some flashback treats for fans of the series that take us to the city of Hoboke, New Jersey where Max moved after quitting the NYPD. Max Payne 3 is both emotionally exhausting and thrilling. Rockstar did a fantastic job of making Max relatable and likable, despite his grogginess throughout the campaign.

Max is desperate in trying to escape the memories of his past. He gets involved in the private security sector of a wealthy family in Sao Paulo,Brazil and expectedly, things take a turn for the worse. The story escalates into a rollercoaster of shadowy conspiracies and warring factions. The pacing of the story, as well as the action, is reminiscent of 90’s movies like Lethal Weapon, minus the humor. The script is brilliant. Rockstar raises the bar with the narrative once again, making each character feel and sound like a real, believable person. We hear Max’s inner dialogue throughout the entire game, accentuating his inner turmoil and agony.

The visually striking environments are a real tease. For years, Rockstar gave us massive, open world environments to traverse and explore, but the detail packed levels of MP3 are largely linear with only a few secondary routes to your objectives. Nevertheless, the indelicate details of the Sao Paulo slums are awe-inspiring. Accompanying the gritty yet beautiful world are the meticulously rendered character models. Every bystander, every thug, every encounter feels authentic. The populated streets and alleys radiate with life and history. Everything feels lived in and realistic, thanks to an impressive graphics engine.

Unfortunately, the entire experience is marred with frustrating artefacting filters that are overdone and extremely distracting during gameplay. While a nice stylistic touch at first, it soon becomes an unbearable nuisance that begs for an off option. It is unfortunate such a small element hinders the overall experience.
The cinematics, while beautifully directed, interrupt the gameplay too often. A cut scene lies around every corner: for opening doors, walking through an alley – absolutely everything. They’re designed to cover up the loading screens, but it could have been handled better.

I shot the sheriff, but then his thugs gunned me down

Max Payne 3 will kick your butt. You will run into frustration within the first few missions. Hoards of bad guys will shred you to pieces if you’re not using cover strategically. The shootouts go from exhilarating to unforgiving early on, but that’s what makes the game so fantastic. There is a high level of difficulty, even on the normal setting, that makes each completed mission feel like a merited victory.

The gunplay is precise, fast, and excessively violent. The last kill launches a special bullet time cinematic which lets you pump endless amounts of lead into your enemy, while pieces of flesh and blood paint the screen. The shooting feels smooth, the guns have nice weight to them, and the variety in the death animations is stupendous.

Where the gameplay falters is the dive mechanic. It feels clumsy and useless. It looks cool to dive in slow motion and pick off baddies, but considering the erratic, stampeding enemies, there’s little use for it. The variety in guns is also lacking. There are handguns, SMGs, shotguns, assault rifles and the occasional sniper rifle, but in my entire playthrough, I relied on only a few effective weapons. Enemies can also toss grenades at you, but you can’t throw them back. Bummer!

My biggest disappointment in the gameplay department is the repetition. What you do in the first two hours of the game is no different than the last two. Each objective consists of your typical run, cover, and shoot structure with a few sniper sections tossed in. The creative level designs and challenging enemies save the day, but those looking for innovation in their third person shooters should look elsewhere.

You will spend between 8-10 hours with Max Payne’s main story. It’s definitely worth replaying for the great narrative, but the biggest surprise is the addition of an Arcade Mode. This mode is strictly for accumulating points, earning medals and climbing the scoreboard. The Arcade mode takes the story missions, tosses the cinematics, and lets you lose to gun down enemies as quickly as possible. Throw in an exciting multiplayer mode into the mix, and you have a ton of value for the money.


Constant Evolution Of Rise Of Flight

We are a greedy lot though, and the demand for bigger and better games meant that those systems continued to develop, until they finally reached the point where they are at today. The realism in today’s games is staggering when you compare it to those early efforts, and it’s hard to imagine how far they will go in the future.

Rise of Flight is a perfect example of the tweaking that goes into the games, as well as the systems they are played on. It may be an incredibly popular World War I flight simulator, but that doesn’t stop the fans from wanting more. It appears that the Rise of Flight developers are in agreement that their game could be better, as they constantly seem to be adding new options, all of which are designed to add even more realism to a game that was already bursting with it.

As you might expect, the planes are the focal point of the Rise of Flight game, and while there are a good number to choose from, enthusiasts of World War I will still want to see other planes included that may not have shown up in the original version. To that end, the makers of the game teamed up with a Ukrainian software modeling team to help them develop even more methods of flight. You would think that would be enough to keep even the most hardcore gamer happy, but they still want more.

The next step for the Rise of Flight developers was to add a level of artificial intelligence that would control such things as cloud patterns, as well as the level of darkness of the night. That may sound like an insane level of detail to the majority of us, but when you are designing a game that is based on real historical events, then you will want to include as much realism as possible, all with the goal of putting the player in the middle of the action, and asking them to suspend belief long enough to believe that they are actually flying a World War I plane.

With all those little tweaks and additions constantly being made, it means that the Rise of Flight game is in a constant state of future development. That is great news for fans of the game, as it will mean that their experience will only continue to improve. In fact it might only be a matter of time before they are dodging bullets from a World War I plane while still sitting in their own living room.


Realism in Games

The Elder Scrolls series was built on immersion. Everything in an elder scrolls game is tediously fleshed out. That ruins? An entire team built that. That book on the table? Yes, you can read it and it actually is a story. A short story but a story nonetheless. Everything in those games is old and has a story behind it. An Elder Scrolls game has an entire completed world. Take Skyrim for example each city has it’s own little world with NPCs just acting out their daily lives and we can observe them and take part in them.

This helps when you have to do a quest where you have to defend another character in the world.. You already care by default because protecting them is required to finish the mission but that’s too cold. A fleshed out real world will help you draw closer to that character and develop a relationship with them. That way when you’re protecting them it means that much more to you because it’s like your own friend is in trouble. This can be especially nerve racking on your first play-through of any game. In games like Skyrim important characters can’t die, but if you’ve never played the game before you don’t know that. The character’s life can be especially important to you.

Contrast this to a game like Fable where everything in the entire world is catered around your character. No one else in the game but your character matters. There are hundreds of characters in the game. Towns have large populations but they don’t matter. They all have names likes and interests but they don’t matter more than numbers do. You can’t get attached to anyone because they’re the exact same. Sure they talk back to you but you hear the same tired phrase from hundreds. You can marry these people but what’s the point? You can literally marry anyone because everyone throws themselves at you.


Lollipop Chainsaw

The game needs to be short because it has lots of personality. How long has it been since you’ve enjoyed a game on a console that has this much personality? I’m betting it hasn’t been since at least last generation. The conversations between the characters are short and funny. Every section of the game has its brand of humor and its own jokes. And that’s the thing. The jokes are short and the levels are short. But because of the brevity of the game you feel compelled to keep playing. Lollipop Chainsaw was designed to be an arcade style game from the beginning. It was made so that you played through the game and enjoyed the story. And the story was amazing it was as Angry Joe put it “Like a tiny delectable cupcake.” Lollipop Chainsaw is a game that is as much fun to play as any old school classic game.

After the story you go on and try to beta your high score and unlock a ton of unlockables. You know the drill new costumes, concept art, new music tracks etc. But here’s the thing the only reason any of this works is because the gameplay is just so much fun and just so addicting. There are enough combos to where fighting hordes of zombies can be strategic without being overwhelming. Ideally you want to startle as many zombies as possible and beat them all in one fell swipe via Sparkle Hunting mode. That gives you the most coins and the highest score but sometimes you can just be so overwhelmed by the zombie horde that you need to chop down some enemies. Finally, you have to factor in how your overall time fits into this. All this thought needs to be put into a stage to beat the high scores, but also you don’t have to put this much thought into the game. You can beat the game consistently by spamming the “Y” button over and over again. You won’t get a pretty score but it’ll get you to the next stage and you can just keep coming back and repeating stages as many times as you want to. And that’s something that Lollipop Chainsaw gives me that most games today just don’t let me have.


About Royal Revolt

This is a refreshing and different take on the tower defense genre adding elements of RPG and strategy. The story is simple but well portrayed with a good spattering of humor thrown in. There is a comical aside with your antagonists before and after every stage, usually giving you hints of what you can expect to face next. The are some subtle references to mythology, perhaps where the developers drew their inspiration.

There was the potential here for a complicated and frustrating play experience, thankfully though, the developers have put a great deal of thought into this aspect and the control gestures are both simple and intuitive. You take control of the hero directly, there is no virtual control pad, touching anywhere on the screen makes your hero set off in that direction. Your army controls itself, the only thing you need to worry about in that regard is making sure you keep calling them. On the bottom left of screen you’ll see a bar that slowly fills up, as it does so you’ll be able to tap the icons directly above it to call new troops. At first there are only swordsmen but you’ll have access to more types as you progress. As the hero you’ll need to lead the troops where you want them to go, but you’ll occasionally need to leave them to their own devices while you run ahead to disable traps and obstacles. To the bottom right of screen is your spell selection, you can equip up to 2 spells in each level and these are activated by tapping their icons. Spells have a cooldown period so you’ll need to use them with a little strategy in mind.

A lot of detail has been put into the sound effects and visuals, the play area is clearly defined and it’s easy to distinguish enemy troops from your own. Characters are detailed and upgrades are visible on units even in battle. The sound effects are fun and suit the visual feel of the game, I didn’t find them tiresome even after long periods of play. Royal Revolt! will shorten your battery life but it wasn’t even close to as bad as I thought it would be, there is a lot happening on an off screen and it doesn’t effect performance. I haven’t noticed any slowdown or visual glitching. If there is a limit on the amount of troops you can call, I haven’t yet discovered it. Put simply, this title sets an amazing standard.

As you gain experience your hero gets stronger, and gains more health. You can also upgrade your troops with your gold. Your troops get stronger and more effective, their equipment gets better and this is also shown visually. The first few levels are relatively cheap, but each successive level costs double the level before. Each unit has a maximum level of 9, you’ll probably want to focus on your swordsmen at first as they’re the backbone of your offense. Each unit has a speciality, the catapults for example are great for destroying towers but almost useless against troops and physically weak, meaning they need to be protected. You are also able to upgrade your spells giving them longer durations and stronger effects. Each spell has its pros and cons and its really just trying them out to see which combination you like best but playing through the missions you will need to utilize them all. The menus are all clear and simple, as well as organized.

All together, there are 30 levels to play through, 24 of which are story missions. The final level by the way is almost impossible, combining all the traps and elements from the whole campaign. I found I needed to backtrack here to level up my troops a bit. There are 6 levels scattered around the map marked with a skull flag, these levels are a little more difficult but they’re not essential for progression. They have a more social application, if you sign in through social media you can compare your score with your friends. The only way to score is by playing these extra missions and each week the score is reset back to zero. For every star you earn in the story missions, you gain a daily income of 100 gold, handy when you’re saving for expensive upgrades.


Dungeon Rampage Facebook Game

Dungeon Rampage is an action RPG/Dungeon Crawler much akin to games like Diablo and their ilk, featuring randomly generated dungeons, multi-player action with up to 4 players at a given time, and lots of loots and characters to play with!

This game is different from most Facebook games, as there is no energy bar present, so you can play as much as you would like without penalty! You start off in the Rookie league, and the game offers you a brief tutorial level, featuring the highlander berserker. This character is a heavy melee based character, and the opening tutorial will teach you some of the basics of the game. Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses, special powers, and 3 weapon slots using the Z,X, and Y keys. Some weapons can be charged up using mana to deliver powerful attacks and abilities, such as the hammer which sends a shockwave out and damages enemies in it’s way.

As you continue playing you will encounter loot chests, and have different levels of rarity. Common, Uncommon, and Legendary Chests, and these will require the required key in order to open them. Most of these will offer you weapons for the various characters, or perhaps some item boosts, like XP potions or power potions.

Each Character in the game has their own special power, which benefits the entire team for a brief time, but can come in handy during overwhelming odds. You get these by picking up gold stars, which can be found by destroying statues or by destroying the environment. Once you are ready to unleash it and have filled up your special meter bar, pressing the B button allows you to go all powerful and unleash your devasting power!

Thankfully, almost everything in this game can be bought with the in-game gold, or for a small price you can purchase “Gems”, which are the real money currency, in order to purchase new characters, styles, keys, and other items. Styles are basically different character models, and you can purchase pets which will help you out in your journey.

You can also have up to 3 other players join you in your dungeon crawls, and they can join your game mid-game if you allow it. More players inside a dungeon will increase the difficulty and XP rewards given, but can be a big help in some dungeons and boss fights. Continuing onward through the different dungeon terrains, levels, and boss fights will lead you through different leagues of increasing difficulty.

The action in this game is intense and reminds me of a cross between Smash TV, Diablo, and Castle Crashers. The character designs and cartoony style definitely gives me a bit of a Castle Crashers vibe, and the loot fest and money grabbing reminds me of Diablo and Smash TV, which makes for a fun combination.


Dynasty Warriors 8

Story mode feels much more fleshed out from previous versions, staying more true to the Romance of the Three Kingdoms story line from the novel of the same name, rendered in beautiful cut-scenes. Story mode can also be played with another player, through the Jin, Wu, Wei, and Shu dynasties. In most levels you can play as 3 characters from that particular event, and all progress done in any mode, not just story mode, will carry over to other modes. Each story mode can take about 5 or 6 hours each, in my experience, and the events during game play of the story levels are much better fleshed out and more story driven than previous versions, featuring in-game cut scenes, as well as full rendered cut-scenes, which I must say are very beautifully done. You can also get Hypothetical endings as well for playing the story mode again and completing the requirements.

My only complaint about story mode, is that the “Other” campaigns, featuring Zhang Jiao of the Yellow Turbans, Dong Zhuo, Yuan Shao, and others, only feature one level to play as them, and not a full blown campaign like the other dynasties, but its a minor thing, as the main dynasties have much better fleshed out story line and more involving cut-scenes and game play.

Ambition mode, is a base building side game, where you build up a town to welcome the Emperor onto your town, featuring recruiting new allies, building facilities and much more! You select a single character you have unlocked, and your goal is to build up your town, which will benefit all characters you have gathered, and carries over all leveling up from ambition mode to story/free mode, and vice versa. This mode plays like a mix of XL game play from previous games, featuring random enemies and placements, which can be quite interesting. You can play several different battles, such as skirmish fights, which are required for gathering facility and weapon materials to upgrade your buildings. Unconventional Battles are fights where you can get fame, which is required to get more allies, and then there is great battles, where you can gather allies to further your cause!

You can build several different buildings, which will aid your entire gaming experience, such as a blacksmith, which allows you to get better weapons, upgrading them, and even reforging and tempering and other special abilities. Merchants allows you to exchange materials for other materials (weapon material to facility material, and vice versa), as well as buying and selling animals. The academy and training room allows you to level up your characters and power up their stats and levels with gold (the academy). There is several other facilities that will aid you, like the tea house, farming building, and stables, will all help immensely for all characters, in and out of ambition mode.

Ambition mode can be played online with another player too, and can visit each others towns and play the battles together, which I feel is a nice addition.

Free mode allows you to play any levels you have unlocked with different difficulty levels, and can also be played with a friend online as well, as well as offline game play too! There isn’t too much for free mode, except for replaying old levels, just like in previous games, in case you wish to level up characters, play on harder difficulties, and so forth.


Game Dev Tycoon

Initially, you start in the early 1980s in your garage with no employees, limited money and a limited amount of choices. As you make more games and gain more money, more options are unlocked such as new consoles and the ability to create your first game engine. With making more games, you will gain more research points to research new topics and choices and your game development skills will improve. After amassing over $1 million, you can upgrade to a new office and starts hiring your first employees which can help you make better games. After making more hit titles, you will be able to move into even larger offices and hire more employees to develop more larger and sophisticated games.

When you are creating your first game, you have to think of a name, a genre and a topic of choice. Each genre and topic combination has different effects on the sales of your game. Next, you are brought to a menu of choices where you can adjust the bars to match what you think the game should include. In the first stage, you have to adjust the time spent on the engine, gameplay and the story/quests. The next stage includes the dialogue, level design and AI. The last stage includes the world design, graphics and sound. The amount of time spent on one aspect versus another can affect how your game would turn out. When you are finished, you will see how reviewers rate your game and how much money in sales have you made and you have just created your first game.


Info of MediEvil Review

MediEvil takes place in 13th century England, where the Kingdom of Gallowmere is invaded by an evil sorcerer named Zarok who steals the souls of all the villagers and turns them into a zombie army. Zarok’s energy also revives a dead champion knight named Sir Dan Fortesque. Fortesque was widely believed to be the hero of the first battle against Zarok, but he finds out he was the first to die, and his reputation is based on a lie. Knowing the only way he’ll be sent to the hall of heroes, Fortesque goes to defeat Zarok for one final time.

The settings of the game are in the kingdom of Gallowmere. MediEvil is a platform game so each level has secret challenges and areas to find. The levels are fairly large, and for the most part do a good job of creating a creepy vibe. The environment’s are all dark and full of coffins and other things of that nature. There are a lot of blocky textures, but it’s expected since this game came out back in 1998. However, the graphics are definitely a weak point for MediEvil. Dan’s movements aren’t fluid at all, and his attacks are all choppy and don’t have a natural ebb and flow other games such as Spyro and Tomb Raider. Also the enemies are very blurry, and could’ve been made more scary. Like I said before, the graphics definitely aren’t a strong suite of this game. However, since this was made in 1998 it’s unfair to really bash them too bad. The sound is good for the most part, some sounds are generic, but the music is surprisingly good.

Graphics: 3/10

Sound/Music: 3/10

Story/Setting: 6/10

Controls and Gameplay

The gameplay of MediEvil is both a strength of the game and a weakness. The gameplay is very simple, but it doesn’t do anything revolutionary. The game is third person, and you control Sir Dan Fortesque and navigate through levels searching for keys to unlock doors, and other items. You can fight zombies and other enemies with a variety of weapons that include swords, throwing knives, clubs, and more. The levels are all fairly big, but can become repetitive. In each level there is a “chalice” that is awarded if you beat 100% of the level. Beating a level is done by defeating all the enemies, and exploring the whole area. This can be both fun and frustrating. It’s good if you like searching and finding things in a game. If you just want a quick playthrough, it’s annoying when you think you’ve beaten the whole level but the progress bar isn’t showing 100%.

The enemies you face are mostly zombies but there are other creatures as well. The fights are very easy, but they do get progressively harder. I wouldn’t say anything in the game is particularly difficult though. The game feels just like any other platform game. The controls are fairly standard, with movement done with the directional pad. The square button is used for power attacks, circle lets you jump, X is used for short, quick attacks, and triangle allows Sir Daniel Fortesque to block attacks. One major problem with the controls is running, in the game running is done by tapping the directional pad twice and holding it down. It can become annoying getting a fight and than having to double tap to run. Another major problem is selecting a weapon from the inventory, you have to continuously press select to access the inventory. It would have been better if Sony just allowed you to access weapons without having to press select. Also, the camera angles in the game are terrible. Naturally, since the game is third person

Controls: 5/10

Gameplay: 5/10

Rent or Buy? Final Thoughts

MediEvil is one of those games that was great when it came out, but hasn’t aged gracefully. If you played this game when it new, than I’d recommend getting it purely for the nostalgia trip. I played this game in 1999, and I don’t regret buying it because I enjoyed it as a child back than. But from an unbiased point of view, the graphics are blocky and the textures don’t look good, the character movement and camera angles are jerky, and overall it has very repetitive gameplay. I’d honestly not recommend you buy this game if it’s your first time hearing about it.

Breakdown

Graphics: 3/10

Sound/Music: 3/10

Story/Setting: 6/10

Controls: 5/10

Gameplay: 5/10

Overall: 6/10.


Dragon Age

The World

Players encounter a whole new world in Dragon Age Origins, filled with weird and wonderful races, the Quinari for example, and enemies to take on, and a mythology that has deeper roots than some well-established RPG’s which have been around for longer. There are many areas in the game which introduce elements never considered by other games, such as The Circle. This is the central hub for all those with magical powers, asserting control over those who practice the dark arts and training others to use the light arts well.

The Mythology

The mythology in the game is still celebrated as some of the deepest in gaming history. The world is littered with various volumes on certain aspects of the game, offering the player who chooses to read them all the wealth of knowledge of an entire world. As far as the core history goes, a group of mages attempted to enter the game’s version of heaven, and when they did they tainted it with their darkness and desire for power. As a result all of the beings, thought to be gods, living in the realm became dark beasts, which were buried deep underground by the dwarves. The Darkspawn, creatures tainted by this darkness, seek out these gods and once every few hundred years do find one, known as an Arch Daemon. These old gods must be destroyed to stop the Darkspawn spreading across the world, and every time they find one of their gods the ensuing rampage is known as a blight.

The Heroes

The Grey Wardens are the heroes of Dragon Age Origins, a group of warriors from all races which have consumed Darkspawn blood and survived its effects, making them stronger. Players create a character which becomes a Grey Warden in the game, and so follow the current blight to its end, in which they must kill the Arch Daemon. Interestingly the Grey Warden to kill the Arch Daemon will also themselves die, and a choice is offered to players before they kill it which allows them to choose to live on or die a hero.

The Characters And Choices

The main characters in the game are a group of warriors from across the races in the game. Players interact with each of these characters in their hub area between quests, making for some very touching and often comedic conversations. This is where Dragon Age Origins opens up, because players can make other characters either love or hate them, each achieving specific abilities within them. The choices given to players range from the trivial to the unbelievable, often resulting in irreversible, world changing effects.