The Last Of Us is everything you would expect it to be and some. If this is any representation for the future of gaming or next-gen games, boy does it look promising.
Now I’ll start by saying two things. One, ive been off for quite some time and I apologize for that . Some things in my personal life needed sorting out and now that it’s all done I’m happy as ever to have the time to do this again. Two, I hate zombies or infected games. I think the whole zombie fad has had its run and its time we move on. I didn’t enjoy the zombie modes in the Call Of Duty franchise or Left 4 Dead or even the Dead Rising franchise. But this game caught my attention so I gave it a whirl and I was not disappointed in the least.
Now we all know that Naughty Dog is famous for their Uncharted series and it’s always been one of the best looking game franchises around. So we were all expecting The Last of Us to be on the same level of quality but they delivered something even better. From the lighting to the attention to the little details in the environment The Last of Us is throws you into a post-apocalyptic version of America that feels genuinely authentic. Set 20 years after the first outbreak of the infection, nature has retaken its role as ruler of the lands. Vegetation grown over everything and everywhere clashing with the concrete jungles makes for some breathtaking scenery at times. The animations are top-notch also. Everything is animated and thought of, for instance in most 3rd person games with a cover system if an NPC is in cover and you join them one of two things happened. 1. You snapped your allies out of cover taking his spot or 2. You simply pass through your allies. But in this title your character takes cover over the NPC with a small animation. There’s also animation for things like if you run too close to a wall your character will stick his hand out pushing himself away from the wall giving the impression of this being a real person you’re seeing reacting to his surrounding world. If you’re selecting a throwable object or medic pack the character will take his back pack off and pull out whatever he or she needs keeping you immersed in the game. Like I said everything is animated and more games out there should start paying attention to these details. Though the game does suffer from some glitches graphically the most prominent one being, the position of camera causes the view to drop out-of-bounds of the games or some object don’t appear when the really are there again because of the camera positioning.
Now the bread and butter of any game out there is gameplay and to be quite honest the gameplay for The Last of Us is great but nothing revolutionary. It’s your standard 3rd person cover base game and that’s a good. They kept it simple and familiar so it accessible to anyone. There are a few mechanics that are unique to this game and deserve mentioning.
The Backpack or Inventory System in this game was impressive. Your character carries around a backpack with his weapons, crafts, supplies and med kits. The impressive thing about this system is that you access it in real-time. You character will drop his pack start going through it when you go to select an item never pulling out of the game with menus or pause screens and keeping the danger present. If you start going through your pack in the middle of a fight to change weapons because you ran out of ammo ( and that will happen often!) it will almost get you killed more often than not forcing player to strategically thinks about what gear the want at close reach in certain situations. It’s not the first time this has been done but it isn’t done often enough and the game does a great job with it.
The Crafting system in this game is simple and fun to use also not to mention a life saver. In the world you’re exploring you must keep an eye out for supplies. Alcohol with rags can make Molotov cocktails or medkits and blades with binding can make shiv’s that can get you out of a tight spot quickly. Crafted items only last so long forcing the player to keep looking for supplies anywhere they go as if their survival depended on it. At first the game gives you hints in dialog when the characters tell each other they should look for supplies in that particular area but in later in the game you’ll be a real scavenger looking in every corner for any supplies on your own. There are also tools and nuts n bolts you can collect to upgrade your firearms and bow. After collecting enough of these you need to find a crafting table to start working on your firearms unlike the previous craft i mentioned that you can make on the fly anywhere.
The main protagonist of the game also possesses the ability to focus his Hearing to see his surroundings. Once players engage this mode they can see through walls and spot enemy movement and hear their plans. Once this feature is engaged it has unlimited use but it does slow the player down considerably.
The game also tries to broaden its gameplay by introducing horse riding segments and switching between the two main characters keeps the gameplay fresh throughout the story. But there are a few glitches in the gameplay that can pull you out the experience sometime, an example of this is if you try to go up a ladder as the same as an NPC you be thrown back pretty far by imaginary wind.
Like I said the bread and butter of games is the gameplay, but for The Last of Us its hands down the story. Now I’m not going to ruin the story for anyone here. I’ll keep it short and sweet. You play a person named Joel for most of the game and in the other segments a little girl named Ellie. Both has lost love ones and you travel across America with them while trying to survive the world they live in inhibited by infected humans that attack anything quickly and violently and other survivors who strive for control and power and other who will do whatever it takes to keep surviving. That’s all I dear say about the story so to find out the rest you have to play it.
The Last of Us is a gaming experience no one should miss and that’s coming from a person who is sick of zombie and infected games. Sure there are a few bugs that need working out but apart from that it’s a sure thing. The voice acting and animations and even the little banter between both characters makes this and unforgettable story and experience. This game is proof that video games are slowly become the leading form of entertainment and defeating movie plots and TV shows by leaps and bounds. If you haven’t played it yet you owe it to yourself to treat yourself to this eye candy and engaging characters that you will miss once the game is over and only want more.
9.5 Out of 10
Far Cry 3 is a prime example of what sandbox games should aspire to be like. Truly a great experience.
I’ve been a fan of the Far Cry series since the first title in 2004 came out on the PC. I was blow away by its graphics at the time and game play of a somewhat sand box style island. The second installment was a bit of a let down. It vastly improved on the sandbox style and graphics and dynamic engines, but no story and really bland game play. Far Cry 3 took the best of both worlds and spawned this memorable experience!
Ok so this is what the Far Cry series (or anything Crytek) is known for, pushing the boundaries of modern graphics and physics. And does this game ever deliver. The fact that the game is based on a tropical island (instead of the constant yellow color savanna) really gives it the chance to show off what the “Dunia” engine and “Havok” physics can do. The sunlight bouncing off the big green, shining, leaves and the lightning on a stormy night to illuminate the way is really a joy to watch. Almost every item in the world is rendered with high textures to give you a sense that the world you’re in is bordering real. The animations are top-notch also. Everything your character does is animated from healing his wounds to opening a door and climbing and getting in and out of vehicles, i just love that things didn’t just happen in the game, everything was animated. The movement of the animals for a last example, a tiger will stroll around elegantly but when it spots a pig or a buffalo, in starts creeping and hiding. Then it gives chase to its pray and attacks it, I’m telling you with the great job they did on the animations, it’s like watching the discovery channel!
So the game takes places on an island, a rather large island that is split into two and you will want a vehicle to navigate around in. It’s a sandbox FPS and is one hell of a fun ride. So what makes this FPS stand out from the others? For starters lets begin with the Upgrade System. Your not John McClain or James Bond or some special forces guy here, you’re just a regular guy who can’t defend himself all too well at the beginning of the game. But as you progress you get experience for accomplishing tasks, liberating certain areas and of course killing the baddies. With this experience you can unlock/upgrade features. Features like being able to take more damage or jumping from higher ground stabbing your enemy and throwing his own knife at his partners head in one sleek move. There are 3 main categories you can focus on, stealth and survival, assault and health, long-range take downs and mobility. Each time you upgrade you earn a new Tribal tattoo on your left arm. If you manage to upgrade everything you’ll have one cool look tat.
One great improvement over Far Cry 2 is Liberating Outpost. For those of you who didn’t play Far Cry 2, when you cleared out an outpost the enemies simply re-spawn and reoccupied the area. In other words killing them or clearing the area had no purpose or advantage. This was greatly changed in the new title. Not only can you clear the outpost, it also removes enemies patrolling that area of the map, making life much easier for you. Clear enough of them and you can hunt, accomplish missions and do side quests in peace.
Another key feature of the game is Crafting. Crafting is optional but definitely recommended. The wild life that inhibits the island from animals to plants will allow you, when collected, to create useful items such as a bigger ammo pouch with animal skin or make medicine from plants. Don’t have any cash to buy healing vials? Make some by collecting the right plant. It’s not as detailed like in some games such as Oblivion or Reckoning but that’s a good thing. Crafting is simple and useful, even fun at times.
The weapons in Far Cry 3 at the beginning are limited to be honest at first but there are Radio Towers located all over the island that can be liberated to earn more weapons in the gun shops. Not only does your dangerous climb to the top of the towers reward you with new guns but it also reveals areas on your map, kinda like viewpoints in Assassin’s Creed. It’s was actually fun to climb the towers. They offer a small puzzle really not to challenging but fun none the less.
The side missions in the game are in abundance. My personal favorite was the Path Of The Hunter missions. They’re missions where you embark on a hunt for a rare and dangerous animal with a specific weapon. These missions were tense and fun to play. There nothing like stalking a rare golden tiger in the bushes with a bow and arrow, dangerous but satisfying. They’re was also the Wanted Dead missions. These were simply assassination contracts all over the island that had to be completed with a knife. The entourage can be taken out with any weapon of the players choice but the target has to be killed by the knife. As fun as these were, they got a little repetitive and boring towards the end. There’s also a few Supply Drop missions. These were simple driving from point A to B in a time limit. And finally, the Villagers Side Missions. I loved these because of its comical approach to some of them and darker tones and betrayal in others. Most of them are relatively short and near the starting point. My only grip with this is I wish they had put in a few more in the world. These side missions gave you a sense of what the insanity on the island has done to the people. And little Collectibles all over, Statues, WW2 letters, Memory cards. Just a lot of stuff
One thing that the developers captured well in this game is you can really Play It Your Way. I’m not saying that like the Hitman or Splinter Cell developers do saying you can play stealthy or run and gun. Well all know running and gunning in Hitman and Splinter Cell sucks. But this game, really you can play completely silent, every weapon has a suppressor or go in guns blazing or even setup ambushes for tactical gamer’s. You can really play any way you like and it will work. Kudos to you Ubisoft.
It’s rare that a game shines in-game play, graphics and story. This is one of those gems.You play as a young man named Jason Brody. Jason and six of his friends, including his older and younger brother, are on vacation and end up on an island like no other. So you start off the game locked up and tortured and confused. Your captor, who has to be one of the greatest villains in gaming, Vaas, gives you a nice little monologue. You manage to escape his prison but at a dear price. You then realize all your friends are captured and it’s up to you to save them. As the story progresses it plays with the theme of insanity a lot. Things that were once considered crazy or something you would never do becomes normal. Friends start turning on each other all while trying to save them and questions like what the purpose of life is come into play. I can’ t say too much or some great moments will be given away. But I have to say that every encounter you get with Vaas is a great one and you will look forward to meeting him again throughout the game.
If you’ve put off playing this game, wait no more. It’s a blast to play through and an experience you wont soon forget. It has a decent 10 hour campaign but if you do the little extras, you can easily get 20 to 30 hours out of it. The multiplayer is very good also with a great and addicting upgrade system that will make want to go another round. I think gamer’s of all kinds will enjoy this title and should not be missed by any.
9.0 OUT OF 10
The new and hip thing in gaming lately is for developers to keep putting new content and keeping their fans intrigued in their brand. Chances are if you own a game it has DownLoadable Content available for it. But are most companies trying to satisfy their clientele or their greed?
DLC is very popular in the gaming industry now, so much that some of them merited their own review as if they were a game on their own. But the problem is too often have I seen slogan on advertisements stating “DLC available on launch day of this title.” Day one content I think they call it. Am I really supposed to be happy about that? I mean most new releases cost 59.99$ already and now I’m being told I need to shell out more money to experience the game to it fullest.
Now DLC is great in the sense that you get to keep playing that game you love with new content. You can get new weapons to gives you that edge in multiplayer, or add more story-line to the single player campaign and it’s most famous use is for multiplayer maps and map packs. So in theory this sounds great and to be fair, they’re decently priced most of the time. But some cracks in this foundation are beginning to show their ugly faces.
ON DISC DLC
If you never heard of on disc DLC here’s a run down of it. After you buy the game and start playing, you notice some things are locked or simply missing . After playing for while hoping to unlock it you find out you have to download an activation key to have access to this content… that’s on the disc…you just paid for. And this download isn’t free either. The developers of the game simply don’t think you’ve paid enough to have access to everything on the disc so they lock it. If you don’t think this practice is popular here are a few big titles that have this cash grab: Gears of War 3, God of War, Red Dead Redemption, Resident Evil 5 & *6, BioShock 2, Mass Effect 2, Street Fighter IV, and much more the list goes on. Go ahead and Google ”On disc DLC” to find more articles on them. To simply put it, on disc DLC should be a crime. Imagine it this way, after buying cellphone and paying full price for it, you notice that when you wanna download and app, it requires a password that you don have. You contact the provider and they tell you “you have to pay for that password” even though your phone possesses the capabilities of downloading the app and using it. Your just paying for a code to unlock something you already have. That’s what on disc DLC is.
LIMITED DEVELOPMENT AND HOLD BACKS…
Lately you can’t help but sense that video games are starting to feel worn down or incomplete in some way. A missing plot point or missing game mode or even missing levels. I can’t help but feel like developers are being held back or limited in their work because of the greedy nature of those pulling the strings. I’ m sure it happens more often than not, some of their projects are purposely shelved only to be slapped on as DLC when sales start slowing down. Games like the Assassin’s Creed franchise keep releasing add-on’s for continuation of the main story line, that most people miss out on because they don’t believe its fair to force gamer’s into paying more for a product already purchased.
IN THE END
DLC has it up’ s but not enough to cover the down’s. Game company’s should limit their use and push developer to make more complete games. I should point out that DLC is not really the problem here, it’s been around since the dawn of gaming, the problem is developers misuse of it. Downloading maps or characters or whatever is nothing new to video games, whats new is the rate at which its being abused. The want for money is getting in the way of making good games lately. Proof of that is things like day one content. What that says is “while making the core game we also had a team develop cash grabs.” Taking away DLC might hurt the industry bad, what we needs is for it to be controlled. What do you say?
*Resident Evil 6′s On Disc DLC price tag was removed due to complaints from gamer’s…..we should complain more!
Now I’m really hoping that most of you know what this game is. The only reason Shadow Of The Colossus made it to my list of Forgotten Gems is because more often than not when i mention it to some friends they just don’t know what it is or never played it.
Released in 2005 by Team ICO, this game was truly a demonstration of how video games can be an art form. It was unique for its time and just plain inspiring to play or watch. Even by today’s standards it exceeds expectations.
The story-line of the game is straight forward. You’re a young boy who is trying to save a woman who seems to be dying. In a last-ditch effort, he travels with her on horseback to a place known as “The Forbidden Lands” where he is informed that he must defeat sixteen giant creatures, known as Colossi, to save her life.
The unique thing about this game is the setting. As massive as The Forbidden Lands is, it’s completely deserted. No villages or people to talk to or generic enemies you have to keep fighting off. The land is only inhibited be the Colossi. So you’re tasked with finding them and then figuring out how to bring these majestic creatures down. When it’ s all said and done, you move to the next one. Hanging on for dear life is key to survival. The beasts will try to shake you off violently as your climbing them. Scaling the giants is a puzzle on its own. From finding a spot to grab onto to looking for a place to recuperate on the creature because you can only hang on for so long.
But thing about this game is that plays with you emotionally. When you approach most of the Colossi, their indifferent towards you, not hostile at all. After you take them down you see them crashing to the ground in way that oddly seems graceful and visually striking and it begins to dawn on you “is killing these beautiful creatures worth it for this woman?“
And the crowning jewel of this game is its orchestral soundtrack. The music in this game can make you feel sad or lonely about the events occurring or can fill you with adrenalin and excitement or even make you feel courageous and brave. It does a superb job at capturing the moment. The sound track was composed by Kow Otani and then an album was released called: Shadow Of The Colossus: Roar Of The Earth
This game was re-released in HD exclusively for the PS3 recently and is without a doubt a recommend for anyone. If you’ve been putting this one-off, don’t anymore you wont regret it.
Danger Close did an amazing job with 2010′s Medal of Honor, can they do it again for Medal Of Honor: Warfighter?
Before jumping into this review, I have to say the developers of this game really took in to consideration the real people who made all their fortune possible, the men a women of the armed forces across the world. They really wanted to show what they go through in the field and at home. That alone convinced me to buy this game. Alright, lets dig in!
Now when it comes to shooters, graphics is always a touchy subject. Some prefer the stylistic design of the Call Of Duty franchise, or others the sharp edgy look of the Battlefield franchise and so on. Too each his own I say. Medal Of Honor: Warfighter features a look similar to the Battlefield franchise. The game appears to have a filter system that changes the color scheme depending on the surroundings. The animation in this game could use some work though. More often than not, my weapon stayed static on-screen when I was reloading that resulted in me not knowing when i was ready fire again because the animation never cued. The environments are well portrayed on the other hand depicting what you would think that part of the world would look like in the middle of a war zone. Sometimes though you would find that the game couldn’t keep up with you or something, and you would catch parts of the game still loading missing or low res textures. Hopefully they patch this up soon enough.
The mechanics of the game are like any other standard FPS. You point and shoot people. But the game does try to make its own unique entries like Breaching Options. This allows you to select the way you would like to go ahead into a room. Some of the breaches include sawed off shotgun breach, plate charge breach and the old fashion kick the door down. You unlock more methods as you progress through the game. The only thing that disappointed me about this new feature was that no matter what you used on the door or wall, the result was always the same. There is no advantage of using one style over another, so boils down to what looks prettier to you.
One huge addition in this title was the Racing Segments. I have to say i was not looking forward to playing this part of the game but it turned out to be one of the best part. The racing segments are extremely fast paced and fun to play. From tearing through a crowded market to slamming you opponent into a wall to escape, the developers did a good job on this part. And to add even more to the experience is the soundtrack during the chases. Composed by Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park and Ramin Djawadi, (famous for composing the soundtrack for the Ironman movies) the music really puts you in the heat of the chase. As you get closer to your target the music intensifies, if you’re losing the subject it plays some string that make you tense and cringe at the screen. Definitely one of the most memorable moments of the game.
The Multiplayer in this game is alright. It try’s to mimic the fast paced action of the Call Of Duty franchise and the Realism and destructibility of the Battlefield franchise, that meshes well enough. They also introduce a new Buddy System that actually performed better than it sounded when announced. At the beginning of each match online, you are paired with a playing on your team and designated fire team buddy’s. Your buddy can heal you quickly and give you ammo if your running low. Your buddy is also always visible to you on the map and in-game. This new system promotes teammates sticking together and coordinating instead of running and gunning.
The game does a very good job at the Class System. You got your standard Assault class, Heavy Gunner class and Sniper class. Some classes that might be new to others are the Demolition class that is good with you guessed it explosives, and the Point Man class that specializes with mobility and quick reactions. There’ s also the Spec Ops class the specializes in close range combat and some cool gadgets.
The Gun Upgrade system is a bit tricky to use and its very easy to get lost on the multiplayer menu. But you can really customize your weapon this time around. From different stocks, to ammo type, muzzle accessories, scopes, under barrel and more. But on the down side is that the weapons repeat themselves sometimes for most factions, they just have different attachments on them.
The game takes place sometime directly after the actions of 2010′s Medal Of Honor. It starts you off playing with some familiar characters in search of an arms dealer but things go south when you discover they’re carrying much more firepower than anticipated. You and your Tier 1 friends are tasked with finding out who’s at the responsible end of this. But a fairly large part of the story is told through the eyes of the families, of these soldiers your playing, and really gives you what we could think is an idea of what its like living in their circumstances. It tries and does a good job of showing you what things are like for the men behind the rifle.
I really wanted this game to do really well but animation glitches and sound glitches along with a short 5 hour campaign took a lot away from this game. I do not regret buying this game at all, I had a lot of fun with it but i recommend it only for the hardcore military buffs out there that need a new shooter.
7.0 OUT OF 10
Hitman Absolution is somewhat of a tribute to the old gamer’s and a welcome to the new ones. But is that a good enough?
Well lets see, I’ve been a fan of Hitman since the first one on PC Hitman: Codename 47 and played them all thoroughly since then including this new installment Hitman Absolution.
Now to kick things off lets get the graphics out of the way.
Hitman: Absolution is a stunning game, the appearance of the environments really pulls you into there world and gives you a sense of being in these wonderful and sometimes exotic places. The lighting and shadowing is not the best but good none the less. Sometimes you will get that lens flare / camera filter affect found in Kain and Lynch 2: Dog Days that can be bothersome but overshadowed by the elegant style the artists chose for this game. The character animation are ok and sometimes downright disappointing. For instance when removing the silencer from a weapon it simply disappears in thin air and pop back on when you select it. The animation for pulling a weapon out is just not present. For a late 2012 game you would expect the character to move his hands to pull his weapon out instead of it simply appearing in his hands.
If your a fan of the series your gonna have a blast. I’ve put in close to 30 hours and still figuring out new way to take out my targets. From accidental death to poisoning to sniper perches its all there. If your new to the series, after the 2nd or 3rd assignment you’ll get the swing of things. Some of the new feature are really welcomed such as the cover system. Standard in most third person games today but new to the Hitman franchise it come in great use . Not necessarily for cover from firefights but more for staying out of sight while keeping a good view.
The new Disguise system made the game harder but more realistic at the same time. So the old formula is still there, certain dress codes gets you access to certain areas. But this time around employees are aware of there work colleagues. So wearing a guards uniform will no longer give you a free pass to the whole level folks. The guards (or whoever you’re pretending to be) know each other and will try to find out who you are. Seems kinda redundant right?
Well this is were the new Instincts feature comes in. When activated its supposed to give us an idea of how Agent 47 sees the world. Items of interest are highlighted, path of some of the guards are revealed giving you the upper hand. But this power is not infinite, it will deplete over use. The difficulty setting will determine the rate of decay. But its most useful ability is to blend in when an NPC of the same disguise is suspicious of you. If you activate it when there on to you, 47 will pull his hat down to hide his face or pretend to talk on the radio or whatever is suitable to the costume to convince them he is one of them.
The last new mechanism is the Point & Shoot. If you played “Splinter Cell: Conviction” its the same thing as the mark and execute. For those who don’t know it’s an ability to slow time down and mark multiple target then get a cut scene of your character blazing bullets away killing all those marked…..a feature i used once….. because the game told me too. Personally i don’t think it belongs in Hitman.
The Grading System is similar to the old games only that points were added instead of simply a rating. Your rating for completing an assignment can be view versus your friends and people around the world. They also added a “Contracts” mode were player can create there own assignment and post them up as contract for players around the world to take on. Certain terms can be made and the player has to abide by them to receive payment. Terms such as: kill this guy with the bird suit and an golf club. With your earned money you can buy and upgrade weapons and items for future contracts.
The story picks up a few years after the events of Hitman: Blood Money were agent 47 takes on a contract to kill his only close connection, Dianna Burnwood. Shes been with him since the first game. Laying bloody on the floor she asks a favor of 47 as her dying wish. To protect a young girl involved in the same experiments as 47. She gets kidnapped and the hunt is on. If you never played the games or don’t know the back story you might get a little confused on things. I recommend at least reading up on the previous stories before getting in. And the finally a lengthy campaign! Not the longest but long enough to justify the price. It wont be one of those 3 or 4 hour games i assure that.
Solid game but not the best in the series. Definitely a recommend on my behalf. If your looking for a good stealth / action give this one a go!
8.5 OUT OF 10