Posted by Bishna (339 posts) -

In case you missed January or February, I am on a mission to beat as many games as I can this year, and am chronicling my conquests in a monthly blog. As always I want to hear about what you guys think about these games or what I'm doing, enjoy!

Crysis 3/3/2013 - Completed story on Hard

I bought Crysis years ago during a Steam sale. To be honest, I didn't really buy it because I wanted to play it; I just wanted to look at it. I didn't have a very good PC back then so it didn't really impress me. I ended up uninstalling it without giving the actual gameplay a chance to win me over.

So now its 2013, a new game in the series has come out, I have a PC that can make the game look good, and I'm doing this thing where I try to beat a bunch of videogames and then write about them. It seems like as good a time as any to give Crysis a second chance. After completing it, I was definitely more impressed than I previously was.

The game still looks pretty good.

For the first third of the game or so you are doing what you do in most shooters, running around and shooting a bunch of people. The combat situations are simple and the enemy routines are too stale to make it interesting. Soon enough, you uncover a massive alien invasion force that has been lying in wait and is finally ready to release an onslaught of cold death upon the earth's unsuspecting populace; Thank god too, I was really getting bored.

After about an hour of wading through the alien's plumbing, the game finally gets interesting. The new enemy types offer greater and more interesting challenges compared to their bipedal counterparts. The Ceph, as they are called, will come at you from all angles. I found myself being flanked by even the most basic aliens.

As the gameplay gets more interesting, the visuals get less interesting

The human enemies from the first third were so easy that they ended up reinforcing my habit to use only the most banal of shooter tactics. First I clicked the right mouse button, then I held down the left one, and then everything in front of me died. While the basic action of shooting the Ceph was a possible avenue to victory, their high speed and maneuverability made it a disorienting strategy rather than just a boring one. The added annoyance was enough to actually get me to give the nano-suit powers a try.

I began having much more fun with the game at this point. I would use maximum speed to dodge enemy fire from cover to cover, or to make long leaps across rooftops. Maximum strength was useful for getting to elevated positions quickly. Strength also allows you to turn barrels and boxes into deadly projectiles. By far the best use of strength however, is using it to pick up aliens while punching them in their stupid alien...faces?

Its not all sunshine when it comes to Crysis I'm afraid. The shooting sucks, and in a First Person Shooter crappy shooting has a pretty big impact. Impact is really the problem I have with the shooting too, in so far is that it doesn't feel like there is any. Firing a weapon in Crysis doesn't feel like a significant event. The sound, animation and result don't connect in a cohesive and satisfying way. The guns don't feel powerful and the aiming doesn't give me consistent feedback. Oftentimes there is no different feeling between a shot that misses, and a shot that connects, and that makes for a wholly unsatisfying experience.

Crysis Warhead 3/4/2013 - Completed story on Hard

I shouldn't have written so much about Crysis, because Warhead is pretty much more of the same. The storyline of Warhead takes place in parallel to the events of the original. This time the player character has a British accent however. You still run and jump around in a skin tight super-suit and punch enemies in the face.

There are some new weapons like dual-wielded micro-smgs that destroy anything within four feet in front of you. I didn't find these very useful however, as I rarely found myself within four feet of an enemy that wasn't already dead. The addition of a melee class of enemies could have made the micro-smgs infinitely more useful.

This feels a bit too familiar

Warhead did make an effort to make the engagements with non-alien enemies more fun. A greater percentage of the human enemies were wearing knock-off super-suits, which gave them increased mobility and resistance. The alien encounters were still far more engaging though.

Wizorb 3/4/2013 - Completed story

Wizorb is a neat little game. I tend to like creative Breakout games and Wizorb doesn't change that tendency. It plays well, both with a controller and with mouse, but the gameplay isn't what makes this game special. What immediately grabbed me about the game was the art style and the animation. The use of bright colors and the jaunty sprites makes the aesthetic of the game really charming.

This game is so jovial

The gameplay itself is nothing mind-blowing. It's Breakout dressed in beautiful coat of paint with some decent tunes and a couple cool powerups. There is also a strange town building mechanic that ends up being almost exclusively superficial; however, I mean that in an extremely positive way. Far and away the game's greatest feature is its aesthetic, and having a progression meter in-game that is constructed of that aesthetic is genius. It's understated, and certainly isn't a selling point by itself, but I found an odd sense of appreciation in the care that was put into it.

Tomb Raider: Anniversary 3/10/2013 – Completed story

Tomb Raider: Anniversary was an extremely frustrating game to play. Growing up with an N64, I had no reverence for the series, but the release of the reboot made me wonder if there was anything in the past of the series that was worth experiencing. Having finished Anniversary, which I understand to be a remake of the original title, I don't feel like I was missing much as a kid.

The gameplay primarily consists of puzzle solving and traversing the environment. You work your way various levels in search of keys and items that will open up a path that will get you further to your goal. While some of the puzzles I found quite clever and fun to solve (particularly a handful of puzzles themed after Greek gods), most of the puzzles were rendered tedious and frustrating due to the poor controls.

No you're right Lara, jumping towards the ledge we were facing was a silly idea

It feels like I spent most of my time in Anniversary struggling with the controls. Every time I jumped off of a ledge, it was up in the air whether Laura would reach the destination that I intended. Sometimes she would find her way to my target, but sometimes she would just jump into a pool of lava. The rules that determine Lara's trajectory didn't seem to have any discernible consistency, but the thing that puzzled me the most was the series of gymnastic moves that Lara is capable of. There are four or five gymnastic combo moves that Lara can perform, but none of them have any sort of useful application for progressing through the game. There was also an extra long animation that would play when Lara was climbing a ledge that got me killed countless times. After completing the game, I really don't understand why anyone would want to bring this IP back, but maybe that is a little too harsh seeing as I never had any formative experiences with the original games.

Puzzle Quest 3/21/2013 - Completed story

Prior to now, Puzzle Quest was one of my favorite puzzle games of all time. It took a tried and true gameplay structure, match-three puzzles, and put a unique spin on it that gave it a greater context. Unfortunately I did two things during this full play-through of the game that made me see this game in a lesser light: I paid attention to the story, and I actually played the game to completion.

The game's story is pretty standard fantasy fair; there are elves, dwarves, humans, ancient gods, wizards, and minotaurs. Each of the factions play predictable roles in the universe. Elves are an ancient race of wise and recluse knowledge seekers, dwarves are studious builders, and minotaurs are tribal shamans. None of this would bother me in the least if the main character wasn't a raging asshole.

The core gameplay is still fantastic

Honestly, the main character in Puzzle Quest is one of the least likeable main characters I have ever played in a videogame. Every other character in the game has a unique character flaw that makes them something other than a bland stereotype, but the main character never ceases to tear them down emotionally for it. The dwarven companion tends to ramble about things like dwarven history and mechanical engineering, and instead of shutting up and learning a thing or two about the world, the main character interrupts him in the rudest way possible every time.

The game lasts about 6 hours longer than it should as well. If you do a decent amount of side-quests, you will end up with a pretty high level character around halfway through the game. Once you reach the late levels, you stop earning new abilities as quickly and the gameplay begins to stagnate because of it. I ended up spending hours fighting what were essentially the same battles over and over and over again until my dick of a protagonist finally worked his way across the map, stealing ancient artifacts, reviving vengeful gods, and just being kind of a racist along the way. I still think Puzzle Quest is a great game, but parts of it are so annoying that I can't call this one of my favorite puzzle games anymore.

March is in the books.

Well I was a little late with this one. Unfortunately my schedule with school hasn't allowed me to play as much as I would have wanted. Hopefully this summer will open up and allow me to clear some of these games that have been stacking up. See you next month.

#1 Posted by StarFoxA (5256 posts) -

Jesus, based on this blog and your previous blogs, you really like to play games on hard. You're a braver man than I.

#2 Posted by DorkPheasant (15 posts) -

Is wizorb worth buying?

#3 Posted by BeachThunder (13087 posts) -

Is wizorb worth buying?

Yes; it's ultra cheap, it's fun, and it has some nice pixels.

#4 Posted by Tonylope (197 posts) -

Ugh, Tomb Raider: Anniversary is one of the most frustrating games I've played in a long time. Everything you said about it is true. But for me the worst part about it was that I absolutely loved Legend, and this had almost none of the things that made that game great. Going through my backlog this was only the second of three games that I'd given up on. The third one was Tomb Raider: Underworld, both of which I got in the Tomb Raider HD Trilogy due to my love for Legend, funny how things work out sometimes.

#5 Posted by Slag (5474 posts) -

That's some quality gaming accomplishments there. Nicely done.

#6 Edited by DarthOrange (4094 posts) -

I have yet to start Wizorb (bought it last year). I think I'll finally give it a shot.

#7 Posted by Bishna (339 posts) -

@starfoxa: Ya, I started that pretty recently, I was always too timid to start a game on hard for fear of it crushing me. But too many games just ended up being boringly easy, so I decided to start on hard for ever game I play. Though I may have to rethink that, especially as my schedule tightens and I have less time to play.

@dorkpheasant: What @beachthundersaid. Its pretty darn cool for the price.

@tonylope: So Legend is good? I was planning on playing it after Anniversary, but I disliked Anniversary so much that I decided to skip it. If Legend really is that much better, I think I may be willing to give it a shot.

@slag: Thanks!

@darthorange: What beachthunder said again, its a pretty good time and is a good game to play while listening to podcasts or half watching netflix.

#8 Edited by Tonylope (197 posts) -

@bishna: I found Legend to be much more enjoyable than the other two. Even though it was made on the same engine as Anniversary, I rarely seemed to have problems getting Lara to do what needed to be done. Also what I really enjoyed about it was that it actually had what felt like an interesting story, visiting much more varied locales (not just ruins of old tombs). Lara interacts with a lot more characters and there's a charming back and forth every now and then between her and her supporting characters (Unlike Anniversary I felt like this game actually has a sense of humour). One downside might be that the gunplay is a little bit simple (even compared to Anniversary), but there was just something fun about jumping off of peoples heads' being the mechanism to activate slow motion. I think overall it's a much better package than Anniversary (I played through Legend at least 3 times for a reason), plus it's not a very long game, so you're not risking much of your time.

#9 Edited by Bishna (339 posts) -

@tonylope: All right you convinced me, I think I will give it a shot for April.

#10 Edited by Letter11 (33 posts) -

Did you find Wizorb hard? It seriously kicked my ass.

#11 Posted by Nictel (2658 posts) -

The time! Where are you getting all that time, can you give me the number of your seller?

#12 Posted by BisonHero (8314 posts) -

Yeah, the main character in Puzzle Quest is a bit of a dick, though I didn't mind it as much as you did. What I did mind was how OP as shit Lord Bane is. Even if you spec out your character well, his resistances are so high that you waste half of your turns on spells that he just resists. It can be a rough fight if your character can't do decent damage with skull matches.

#13 Posted by Gamer_152 (14282 posts) -

I remember buying Wizorb and then having a few days where I was really into it. It's a nice little game.

#14 Edited by Bishna (339 posts) -

@letter11: Ya it was really tough. I started off playing it with a controller because I wanted to be able to lean back and relax, but I had to switch to mouse controls because I couldn't complete the first world in one go. I ended up beating the first world a few times just to get a bunch of money to buy lives because the later levels are so hard. I really enjoy the basic gameplay loop of Breakout games though, so it wasn't a pain.

@nictel: Haha ya, this is pretty much the sum total of all my free time. I don't watch that much TV or movies or anything, its pretty much all games. My class load isn't that bad either, although I should probably get a job at some point.

@bisonhero: Maybe I exaggerated a bit about the main character's dickishness. It just got to me towards the end, but that's really only because the game was going on for far too long and I wanted it to end. He (and I assume she) is still a total asshole though. I also ran into the exact same problem on Bane, it took me about twenty tries to beat him. I was a wizard guy so I did damage almost exclusively through spells. When I finally ended him I nearly punched a hole in my monitor; I was so pumped.

@gamer_152: It really is, and that sort of made it hard for me to write about. I am not that great of a writer, and I couldn't quite put my exact feelings into words. Playing Wizorb was a simple pleasure, like a warm blanket...or something.