Tomb Raider review/thoughts type thing.

So most duders I seen have really enjoyed Tomb Raider and while I enjoyed it, I definitely don't like as much as others do. Btw, there will be some spoilers since I'm going to talk about every aspect of the game.

First, let's start on the story. Its kind of bad. It's partly about this spirit that's stranded them on the island and while at the same time fighting Mathias and the cultists on the island which doesn't really make a lot of sense. Why can't it just be about the vengeful spirits and the Oni. They were much more interesting than the solari which I just thought were boring. Its almost like they felt they had to put enemies on the island so they came up with the Solari which I think hurt the story. The story would have worked better for me if was about Lara investigating tombs to find out about this vengeful spirit its protectors and how to calm it or stop it. Now you have to come up with some weird reason why the Solari are involved in the story at all when in reality, they shouldn't have even been in the game if we're honest. While I think Lara was well done, I think everyone else who is depicted in this game is a horrible trope who only served to push the narrative of Lara becoming this bad ass adventurer we all know her to be which actually hurts her growth as a character. I supposed to believe that Lara really gave a shit about the nerd dude when she's barely said two sentences to him? I know I sure as hell didn't. I think it would have worked better if either all of them died and you revisited them through flashbacks or just not have any side characters at all especially if they're going to be that shallow. And the ending was terrible. Developers really need to stop doing ending boss fights with qtes. Its not fun, just annoying.

The gameplay is actually fun. The napalm arrows are fun to use (maybe a bit op) and the guns feel good especially the shotgun which I used most of the time after the bow. Its fun to be in combat but I didn't really like the way most of the combat situations were set up. Sometimes, they would just do the uncharted thing were they just flood a bunch a bunch of guys into a crowded and have them come after you. Which can be fun but also a bit irritating (I'll get to why in a moment). I wish their was a blind fire in cover, would have made the combat situations much easier to deal with( not that they were hard, they weren't but I would have liked more flexibility with how I could approach combat situations). I liked that the cover was destructible so you had to keep moving and enemies were very good at flanking your position and trying to flush you out with fire arrows and mozolotovs. Things that I didn't about the gameplay was that when Lara approaches an area, she starts crouching when enemies are nearby. That's a nice touch, but I would like the opportunity to crouch and take out enemies. It almost as if the game is telling me in what way I should play, which is just annoying. I'm not stupid, I know there are enemies there, you don't have to alert me by having Lara crouch. Another thing (and this is a big one for me) there is entirely too much fighting. I know that sounds weird, especially since I just said that I enjoyed the combat but I don't think the combat is the best part of the game. The exploration is without a doubt fantastic in this game. Especially once you get the rope arrow, there's just a lot of places you can explore and search. The tombs were my favorite part of the game. I found them to be a lot of fun but unfortunately, there's only like 6 or 7 tombs in the entire game which is disappointing. I would have probably liked this game better if it was mostly exploring (like the previous tomb raiders) and maybe some combat but not against human enemies. I just didn't find that particularly fun or at least not as fun as exploring around the island looking for stuff and raiding tombs. There's also a lot of qte's in this game. Now, this generation we've seen a lot of qte's and action sequences in games. Hell, Heavy Rain is basically one qte after another. But Tomb Raider really over did it with the qte's I think. I really wasn't expecting that at all. I figured the first hour would be qte or cut scene heavy but the rest of the game would have little or no qtes and maybe an action sequence thrown in every once in awhile. But the game is littered with them. I think every 30-45 minutes there is a qte or an action sequence when you do the main story. While i don't hate qte's or action sequences, I think they overdid it with them. I think a better balance would have been a qte or an action sequence every 45 minutes to an hour. That way there is a balance between getting to play the game and showing off a cool action sequence (because the action sequences are cool but I think there's just too many for me to enjoy them when they happen).

The MP is pretty bad. Nothing really new or memorable to speak of and I didn't find it that fun or enjoyable. There are basically 4 modes. Team deathmatch, capture the flag, find medical supplies, and free for all. There are 4 on 4 teams divided into 3 rounds so you'll play one round as the survivors and the other as the Solari. The main problem with it is that if you don't spawn on your teammates, there's only one spot where you can spawn at making it easy for the other team to sit there at the choke point and gun you down as you come out. Idk if they've changed it yet but I recall that being pretty bad in terms of map design. Most of the maps are pretty small as well.

Now even though I've been pretty negative, I really enjoyed the game. I like Lara as a character and I'll definitely pick up the next Tomb Raider title. I just hope that the next game has more of an emphasis on exploration and less emphasis on action sequences.

Start the Conversation

Dark Souls 2 Trailer Analysis/Thoughts

So the new Dark Souls trailer and a 12 minute gameplay demo with the director was released yesterday. After watching it about 20 times now, I wanted to share some thoughts on it:

So obviously the graphical vitality of Dark Souls 2 is much improved. The textures look better, the lighting is amazing, and just in general the game looks aesthetically more pleasing than Dark Souls 1 did. I'm also getting sort of a Demon's Souls vibe from the game right now.

At 00:52, the UI seems to change after certain period of time. Not sure it that a natural thing that the game internally does or if you need to push a button in order for the UI to collaspe but either way its a nice change. There's also no humanity counter that I could see, which is a big gameplay if there is no humanity in this game. I'm guessing that will be reveled later on but I haven't heard any news on it either way. That does bring up the question as to how online play will work since humanity was way you were able to co-op or do pvp. Maybe their going back to using stones like in Demon's Souls? I guess that's something we'll have to find out later. It also seems like magic has its own slot instead of occupying a slot in your rh/lh which i think is probably more useful. No estus, but they have already said that estus will be in Dark Souls 2 but that does bring up the question as to what the new healing is. Maybe it will function similar to humanity or a divine blessing? Not sure as of yet.

At 1:18, bonfires are back in the game. Honestly, not sure how I feel about this. I liked this better than the hub world in Demon's Souls where you have to start back at the beginning of the level if you die but I was hoping for something new and inventive like the bonfires were but then again if it ain't broke don't fix it and this is a sequel and Dark Souls 1 wasn't.

At 1:39, we get a look at combat. The combat looks to be faster but still seems to have that souls feel to it and duel wielding. And the duel wielding actually looks effective and not a hinderance like it is in Dark Souls 1. It looks like theirs more of an emphasis on attack combos, particularly when he was dual wielding, to finish off enemies. I wonder if there's some sort of hidden attack modifier bonus to finishing off a combo similar to how rapiers get a hidden modifier bonus on critical's in Dark Souls 1? He also was dodging pretty quickly though he was wearing mediumish armor. So I wonder what the equip burden is like to be able to fast roll like that or is that medium roll and fast roll is like ridiculously fast? If mid roll is that fast, that would kind of make wearing light armor pointless if you could mid roll that fast unless you were rping or something. I think they may have gotten rid of poise. The character is wearing medium armor but still got stun locked by those pretty weak enemies. That wouldn't happen in Dark Souls if your poise was 40 or higher unless it was heavy two handed attack and even then some enemies( like the hallows in the burg) couldn't stun lock you if you had decent armor on. Guess its something we will have to wait and see on.

At 3:10, it looks like lighting may play a big role in DKS2 since there adding a torch for you to use. This could be really interesting to see how this idea plays out.

At 3:40, new enemy with a way to counter backstabs. Looks like the ai may be more adaptive to your actions and how you tackle them than in DKS1. In DKS1, it was just so easy to just run around and get backstabs, you were almost stupid not to do it. It looks like there is going to be answer to people always backstabbing enemies.

At 4:50, looks like there are keeping with giving you multiple routes to explore an area which I think is a good thing. That was probably my favorite part of the souls series.

At 5:28, it looks like you can equip three weapons in your weapon slots instead two. I wonder how that effects equip burden and now their's a deflection mechanic. It looks interesting but I wonder how its useful. You could parry away arrows and even magic in DKS1 but there was really no need to, so I'm wondering what the usefulness of this will be. It looked like the enemy ran out of axes to throw at you, so maybe there's limitation in enemy resources/equipment like the player character? That would be interesting.

At 7:36, I like the mechanic of finding items that unlock new areas. Its seems like a blending between DeS and DKS1 in terms of exploration. They want you to explore but without feeling like you have to. I think the last two games, particularly DeS, you felt like you had to do certain things in order to get things that wanted for your character.

At 8:42, so similar to DKS1, you can use enemies to manipulate the environment. You can also backpedal while shooting a bow. Not sure how I feel about that tbh. Maybe if it was a thing were you can fire off a quick shot while back pedaling but it does significantly less damage than standing still and firing the bow I wouldn't mind that. It also looks like when he used the heavy attack with the greatsword it missed. Not sure if that was just faulty hit detection or if that's a mechanic in the game. It would be interesting as a mechanic in the game. Sort of like a risk-reward type thing. I should also mention how good these animations look.

So I think that's about it. I think I was a little concerned about them making the game easier or putting in an easy mode or whatever they said in that interview with Eurogamer. But I think I feel a little bit better about it now that I've seen this demo and read some more interviews etc. Still a little bummed about no Miyazaki but I think I'll get over it eventually. Anyway, what do you guys think? Agree? Disagree?

10 Comments

Backlog review: Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning

So considering that this is a title that I bought at launch, this game eventually getting buried in my pile of games makes buying this game at launch a bit of a disappointment for me. But I was looking for something to play and remembered I stopped right after I got to Alabastra, which is basically the end of the game. So I decided to start skipping all of the side quests since their basically all the same (go there, kill that guy/creature/gang and come back to collect reward) and go straight to the end. So a few hours later, I had finished it and still feel it this game is a medicore at best rpg with a cool fighting system. Just a fair warning, there will be spoilers below.

The Good:

The combat is really fun. Its more about timing and rhythm to pull off combos instead of series of buttons you would need to use to pull off like you would see in a hack and slash type game like DMC or Bayonetta. There are three classes you can choose from (warrior, rogue, and mage) and you get to choose skills from those three classes whenever you level up. So the game gives a lot of flexibility is terms of how you would like to play your character. You can be a warrior who uses greatswords and bow or rogue who uses faeblades and chakams. It allows you to customize the character to your playstyle and play within the mechanics of the game. They also allow you to respec at a fateweaver for a small cost which allows you to never get bored with the gameplay.

The Bad:

Your character is very powerful even at the beginning of the game so when you level up, you just become more and more powerful to the point where at the end of the game, you are overpowered and just killing everything with little effort. Even on hard difficulty, most things don't pose a great threat to you and you can just brute force your way through a majority, if not all of the content. So if they are going to make you that powerful, then either there shouldn't be any leveling system in place, or the enemies have to hit you much harder in order to balance it out. I found myself getting bored with the combat and that's not because the combat system is bad, its because your character is already really powerful so leveling just makes the content really not worth playing. I found myself just running past most of the enemies after I had initially cleared the area simply because they posed no threat, I would get little to no xp for killing them, and they gave no good loot.

The story is also fairly forgettable. While the concept of it is good and why I decided to pick up the game, they really don't do anything with it. There are some good story beats every once in a while ( I thought Mel Senshir where the commander you helped gets killed was pretty good myself) but all and all, it was pretty boring to be totally honest. I really thought they were going to do something interesting with the fate thing, but other than a couple of times, they really don't do much with it. Yeah, your character is the fateless one, but honestly that means nothing, that really just an excuse to give you the fateshift power and really that's it. They also never quite explain who you used to be before you were killed. They tell you that you used to work an organization sworn to keeping Tironic dead, but they never explain why or who was the organization in the first place. What the organizations name? Were they a good or bad organization? Why do they need to keep their identity a secret? And who was I as a person? Was I good or bad? Have I changed or am I the same? All these were never really answered and left me a little disappointed.

The questing is subpar as well. It really does feel like an mmo where there's a town hub with people with exclamation points over there head and they give you a quest. While some are better than others, they all amount to fetch quests basically and it gets kind of tiring to play it. At least with an mmo, you can do them with friends and make it fun, here you have to do it all by yourself and it just gets boring. I think that's why this game got thrown into the backlog. It just became some tiresome to have to deal with the sidequests that I just would rather not play it than play it and get bored in 5 minutes. I say that,that faction quests were pretty good. I did the travelers, the warsorm, and the house of sorrows. They were interesting but they still basically had the same questing structure as many of the side quests which kind of took away from some of the more interesting aspects of the story of the faction quests.

The Ugly:

The fateshift mechanic totally breaks this game. This shouldn't be in the game. Its just way too overpowered and they didn't take the time to balance it out so it wasn't so overpowered. Its basically an " I win" button they've placed into the game and it really breaks the gameplay because all you have to do is hit L1 and R1 and basically everything on the screen will die almost instantly (this includes bosses).You also get extra xp for using it so there's more incentive to use it than to not use it. I found myself not using that that because I felt it was overpowered and didn't want to use it ( also the game isn't that hard, even on hard so you don't need it) but that's besides the point. Building a game based on this mechanic which basically makes an already really powerful character basically a god is a silly idea from a gameplay perspective. It makes the game boring and not challenging in the slightest. The blacksmithing and stagecrafting is also broken. You can make armor and weapons and place sockets into them that are better than anything that would drop off of an enemy or you would find in a chest. This is also why doing the side quests are pointless because your never gonna get anything better than what you can craft. For example, I crafted gems that allowed me to steal 15 health every time I hit an enemy plus regen 3% health and mana at the same time. That's just overpowered. You also will have a ridiculous amount of gold by the end of the game. I think I had almost 1,000,000 gold and there's just nothing to spend it on.

Conclusion:

I think this game would have been better and more enjoyable if it was harder and not just a little harder, significantly harder and if there was no fateshift mechanic as it just breaks the game. I think this title is just medicore with an ok but ultimately disappointing story, a ridiculous amount of fluff and padding with the never ending side quests that are all essentially the same, and a good combat system that is broken by the fateshift mechanic.

Start the Conversation

TES V: Skyrim Dragonborn thoughts *Spoilers*

I was really excited to play Dragonborn once I learned that we would be going back to Morrowind. Seeing as Morrowind was my first TES game, once I got to Solstheim, I got an instant rush of nostalgia. Morrowind looks amazing on this new engine. From the houses and cool looking armor, to the creatures that inhabit it was amazing. It makes me wanna install morrowind and go play it and experience Morrowind again.

The main story is really, really, short. I haven't played Dawnguard yet, so i don't know how long it is, but the Dragonborn main storyline is only 3-4 hours max. I think there's only 5 main quests another you get to Solstheim. That just seems a little too short to me. I think if they made you find all the black books before you can get to the end of it. That way you would also experience everything else in the dlc so that you can't beat it in 3 hours. Either that or put more story into it. I thought it was really interesting until i got to the end and was shocked that was it. I really wanted to keep playing through it but then it was over. It was disappointing to say the least. You spend most of the time in realm of Hermaeus Mora, which honestly was really cool. I've always been a bit of a sucker for the lore behind the deadra and so i thought the highlight of the whole dlc was being in that realm. There are new enemies like seekers which can be tricky to deal with because they can transport and make multiple copies of themselves. The realm is actually really well done and its not just the same old go into dungeon, kill 5 draugrs, get word wall or a shitty sword.

The reward is really interesting, it basically allows you to respec at any time. You can reset any perk points you have in any tree if exchange for a dragon soul, which shouldn't be a problem if you've played this game for any length of time. So its a nice reward, for what is honestly a pretty disappointing ending . There's also dragon riding which is also really disappointing. Your not actually controlling the dragon, its very onrails and the only thing you get to do is control who the dragon attacks. You also can't attack while on the dragon unless your a caster so since i was an archer, i just had to sit there and click l3 over and over again. The ai pathing on the dragons is pretty horrible also. They basically circle around in a predetermined path which i guess anyone knew who's played Skyrim for any length of time but you really notice how bad it is when your actually riding the dragons. I sure there will be some mod on the nexus that will fix this and actually make dragon riding fun, but if your playing this on the ps3 like i am, your going to be stuck with the horrible ai pathing that the game has for the dragons.

There are a lot other quests you can do like the rest of Skyrim. One quest will get you a house. I've also found two followers. One is a caster and the other is a mercenary. But i haven't tried them out yet. I've found two other black books but i think there are 5 so there is some more exploration you can do. There's also new armors you can make as well as new ores.

In the end, I think there is a lot of content in the dlc, I guess the question is whether the content is worth your time. I would say that if you can get it for $10 like I did, then its worth it but i wouldn't pay $20 for it.

Start the Conversation

SL 1 Blog #2: In the Beginning...

So I've gotten through the gargoyles and kellog. Nothing too hard, the only issue i had was the battle axe was only doing 67 damage per hit 2 handed. So kellog took forever to kill. Then I killed ceasless and now i think i'm probably going to farm shards to get the battle axe to +10 and the hand axe to +5 so that they can be ready after for enchantment after I'm done with Anor Londo.

Dammit i just remembered as i was writing this that i forget to get power within. Man its going to be a bitch going up to get power within. Maybe i'll just do the depths anyway ( I skipped it with the master key) so that i can get power within and then homeward bone out. Goddamit i hate when i forget to do stupid stuff like that. Oh well, i guess after grinding i'll do it and be done with it. I still haven't figured out what the armor will be. I'd like to keep the fast roll b/c that's my preferred play style, but that may not be viable for some cases like O & S and gwym. Right now, I'm still rocking the pyro gear and don't need to change at least not until anor londo which is a ways away. I'll probably go do the forest and havel but I'll probably skip the hydra since she doesn't have anything i want. I'll just suicide run in for the knight gear.

So that's the plan for right now. Whenever i get time to update, i'll do so and let everyone in on my progress.

1 Comments

Sl 1 blog #1: Pre game prep work

So after playing Dark Souls for about a year straight, I've decided to start a sl 1 run. I think i can do it but the beginning should be interesting since i haven't played dark souls in a couple of weeks. I think i'll have to use the fap ring for the extra stamina. I haven't decided if I should just wear cloth armor and use the wolf ring or put on the elite knight armor (well some of it since there's no way i'll be able to wear all of it w/o doing a fat roll) and wear havel's. I'll probably use the heater shield b/c of the light weight and its actually pretty good stability once you upgrade it. I'm going use a lightning battle axe +5, and make the hand axe a +10 fire hand axe. I thought about using the reinforced club but i really hate the move set so i probably won't use it. I'll probably use a little bit of pyro. I think getting great combustion for sif and use power within for O & S and 4 kings. There's really only three things I'm concerned about, O & S, 4 kings, and gwyn. Usually i won't be so worried about gwyn but w/o poise, I'm a little concerned about not having enough poise since i wanted to use the hornet ring and parry him. I guess i could use iron flesh but i really hate using iron flesh. I just feel so cheap when i use it. Maybe flash sweat? I dunno, i guess i'll figure it out when i get there. So this is my tentative plan as of right now. I'll update when i get a chance to actually start this.

1 Comments

Backlog review: Hunted: The Demon's Forge

So i figured out what I'm gonna do with this blog. I think I'll review some of the games in my backlog and do updates of games that are newer. Kind of like a first impression or ql but instead I'll continue to update it. Anyway, onto my FIRST REVIEW!!

So i was digging through my backlog looking for something to play and noticed that for some odd reason i had a copy of Hunted: The Demon's Forge. Honestly, I have no idea when i bought this but i popped it in and noticed that i had apparently gotten about halfway through it. Quite surprising considering i can't even remember buying it let alone playing it, but i figured i had a couple of hours and i could blow through it. Looking back, i wish i had played from the beginning since it took me a while to figure out what was going on story wise. The basic story is your a mercenary (either E'lara or Caddoc) and you stumble into this mysterious lady named Saraphine when you go looking for an ancient relic and she promises you riches if you help her save her people or something like that. Its not very compelling and found it really hard to pay attention to the story until the end. There's a twist that comes at the end that would have been interesting if the story up that point would have been interesting any way. They tried to add this element of exploration by hiding deathstones which explain the lore but it was still kind of boring. It kind of reminded of the way Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning laid out its lore with the lorestones but I just find that method of giving lore kind of boring. I prefer the way the souls games do it where the lore is essentially there right at your fingertips if you wanna learn about it but isn't necessary to enjoy the game. The way Hunted: The Demon's Forge presents it, it feels like something i need to do b/c you get rewards for it instead of it behind something i genuinely wanted to know about. I think only cool thing they had was that when you go into the dungeons, there are little puzzles that if you solve them, will give you some cool rewards.

The gameplay was a little hit or miss for me. You have the choice of two playstyles, a melee tanking type style and a long range archer type playstyle. I just HATED the melee. It felt a little unresponsive and I had trouble blocking everything even though I was blocking the dudes in front me. The hit detection seemed a little off as well. Sometimes i would miss my attack because the enemy would be in the middle of his attack animation and for some reason i would miss him. So i basically stuck to the archer which is fine since I tend to like playing that way anyway. It kind of felt like playing gears the way the you would take and move to cover. There are two things that this game does that I really don't like. One, there are too many turret sequences. I must had to do a turret sequence at least 6 times in the 6 chapters and that doesn't include the optional turrets in the game. I don't see any need for more one these turret sequences. The other thing it does that is highly annoying is that it throws you into a room and throws tons and tons of guys at you. MY GOD I HATE THIS. Why do devs feel the need to do this? Its not fun, its just annoying. This adds to the problem of this game feeling really uneven gameplay wise. At certain times, the game is really easy and at others, its ridiculously difficult. And to make it worse, is this game you actually get punished for it by getting a bad ending if you drink sleg which is basically an invincibility potion during this horrible designed section of the game. Its really really annoying and stupid mechanic. Other than that, I liked that magic you get use but i do wish there was a better way to level it up. I know was designed around co op but i think there needs to be some practicality in how its implemented. Saying i can only level up at certain predetermined time just feels a bit too restricting but its not an overly big deal.

Graphics/Art Style

Now I'm not a graphics whore usually, but the graphics are really bad in this game. First, its really dark. I had to turn the gamma settings all the way up to be able to see anything somewhat clearly but you couldn't see anything once you went into a dungeon which also would have been fine if they would have given you some kind of reliable light source like a lamp or a torch but instead they give you E'lara's arrow which does nothing to help you see. Your basically running around in these dungeons blind which means you'll miss out on loot. NOT COOL. Second, a lot of the environments looked washed out and bland. Even the forest areas had a sort of brown tint to them. The character models don't look that great either. They look rather generic and boring. The art style is really bad imo. It barely looks like a dark fantasy setting. It looks like a medieval setting with elves and orcs thrown in.

So now I know why this game was buried under a stack of other games. This game just really isn't that good but I have this need to finish all the games I purchased so I slogged through it(and it only took me a couple of hours). I don't feel too bad about the purchase though b/c I'm sure i bought it for $15-$20. But I probably would've been pissed way the hell off if I bought this for $60. I'd say if you can find a copy for like $5-$10, it would be ok to buy and play through the co op with a friend but its a no go for single player.

4 Comments

Totally Random stream of consciousness blog post

Hey guys,

My first blog post. I'm not sure what to do with the blog. I'm not sure if it should be just restricted to games or just whatever I want to talk about. I was thinking about reviewing games but i'm terrible at doing reviews so maybe they'll just be impressions but i've finished them so that doesn't make sense. IDK guys i guess i'll make some sort of hybrid between reviews/impressions since most of the games have already come out and people have already made up their minds about it. Whatever, i'll figure it out. I'm also not sure if I should name this blog or not. Is that what people do? I've seen some people name their blogs, while others don't. Anyway, I just finished three games over the holiday break and i think i'll review/impression those and i guess we'll see were it goes from there.

A little bit about me. Been a gamer for about twenty years now. My first game was the original super mario brothers on the nes. I remember owning all and playing the hell out of the super mario games on the nes as well as an absurd amount of time playing battletoads, double dragon, and contra. Now i mainly game on the ps3 and the pc. I tend to play rpgs and action adventure games. Not really that big into shooters but i do like a few like resistance and uncharted. Well i think I've rambled on for quite a while. Anyone who could give me any tips about the blog or the anything else would greatly appreciated.

5 Comments