The Downfall of Far Cry 3

Far Cry 3 is a fantastic game, and is by far my favorite game from 2012 that had a big budget release. The gameplay flows very well and makes you want to explore every inch of beautiful island on which you are located. The skills that you gain as you level up only work to make already fun gameplay even more seamless; it feels like you are getting stronger while you play, without making you feel hindered during the outset of your journey.

The first half of Far Cry is an incredible compliment to this gameplay, but the ending is such a disappointment. I am going to be as vague about story points as possible, but if you still have not played Far Cry 3 and want absolutely nothing spoiled, I suggest you stop reading now.

So another great part about this journey is the villain you are introduced to at the beginning named Vaas. He is a very well rounded antagonist that sends chills down your spine every time you encounter him, and his voice actor does incredible work making the character believable. He is an amazing character that the game unfortunately decides to squander halfway through the game by replacing him with a random new drug lord that the game claimed was so much scarier than Vaas.

He wasn’t. At all. Not only was the new villain was boring and completely uninspired, but he had none of the fear factor that I was struck with every time I heard Vaas’ voice. It might have been cool if Vaas took over the new drug lord and you got to witness his rise to prominence as he became even stronger, but that did not happen. Instead you are stuck with a bland villain that might as well have just shown up to tell you to stop playing the game.

I've been rambling on for awhile so I guess I'll split this into 2 parts. The next part will be posted on Monday and will focus on the story elements and the protagonist rather than the villains.


Rockstar's Past

With the recent news about GTA and another installment in the Red Dead series, I began to recall my experiences with the most previous games of both franchises. Unlike most people, these memories are not very fond. I had similar experiences in both GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption, and it consisted of me forcing myself to trudge through both experiences. During the early hours of RDR I found the experience very tedious and not that enjoyable, despite the fact that I loved the western motif. I was going to stop playing until I noticed the review scores.

Normally I do not allow reviews to influence my opinion, but the Red Dead reviews were so overwhelmingly positive that I assumed that I must have missed something or that the game must have gotten better. So I made myself go back and continue the play-through. I continued through the annoyingly constant on-rails missions as well as the many mini-games like herding (one of the most aggravating mini-games ever, but the rest were decent enough) and pushed through until I finally beat the game and I still do not see the appeal. No matter how hard I tried I just could not convince myself it was an enjoyable game.

GTA was slightly different because I did have fun playing through the story, but it was still just sort of sub-par in my experience; this is why I was astounded when websites were throwing perfect scores at it left and right. I could not believe the amount of praise it was receiving, and I did not go back to the story. I still dabbled in the multiplayer and once in awhile would do whatever I wanted but I did not spend much more time in the game.

I do not see the appeal that other people apparently find in these titles. In all honesty I found L.A. Noire to be better than either of them. I am obviously in the severe minority, but while the worlds are very fleshed out I did not have fun during the time I spent in them. GTA is a cool sandbox to run around and wreak havoc in but to me it is not much different from how I spent my time in San Andreas. Similarly, RDR was alright if you went around and did whatever you want but the story was not enough to keep me interested at all.

tl;dr I do not love these games as much as everyone else.


Indie Gem

Indie Gem

As many of you know, the Steam Summer Sale is going on right now. I bought the fantastic deal that was the Indie Bundle I mostly for the title ”Lone Survivor” which I have been very interested in for a while (it is very good by the way, might post about it later). What I did not expect was how much I would enjoy another game included in the collection called “Cave Story+”.

I had heard about this title back when it was a flash game but had not noticed it much before now, and had never played it before, but I am loving the experience so far. I was skeptical at first but the more I played the more I came to love the atmosphere, art style, and gameplay. Even the music is great. The hub world track is so enjoyable that every time I returned I found myself getting lost in its melody. The puzzle-solving aspects are fun, the boss battles are great; hell, all the enemies are cool. I enjoyed the multiple weapons and their basic leveling system where you lost experience as you were hit. It is overall a world where I just want to spend more time.

I know I am late to the game and pretty much everyone has already played this title, but if you are like I was and have not given this game a second glance, I cannot recommend it any more highly.

tl;dr Cave story is awesome.


Oh Come On FPS Genre

With the announcement of Battlefield 4 being released a year after the new Medal of Honor game, I cannot help but be furious. It seems they are going the Call of Duty route and releasing a new shooter every year, and if Call of Duty is any indicator this is going to be a kick square in the nuts of innovation. After Call of Duty 4 revolutionized the series it seems like Activision has done little to push the genre forward because the developers only have two years to put out the next installment.

I understand that they are two completely different companies and surely DICE is too conscious of the fans to let something like that happen to their series, but it comes down to a matter of time. Two years just is not enough to update the graphics or come up with new game mechanics because all the time must be spent developing the story and making sure all the new weapons, maps and leveling systems must be balanced and functional for the online world.

Also in all honesty, Battlefield 3 was pretty much just a more expansive version of Medal of Honor. The graphics were very similar as well as the weapons and based off the similarities I am just worried that it will continue with Call of Duty down the path of mediocrity. I am tired of our beloved first person shooters being downgraded into yearly map-packs with a sixty dollar price tag. The added story mode is not normally much of a help because for the CoD franchise the storylines have been in shambles since Call of Duty 4, and while Medal of Honor had a decent campaign Battlefield 3’s was very lackluster as well which does not leave much for the next game to build from.

All I can say is that it is a great shame that all these FPS games are being shoved down our throats with little improvement and yet we have to wait forever to receive games like Half Life 2: Episode 3 or Kingdom Hearts 3. I realize these are completely unrelated, but I’m just saying it would be nice if developers could find some middle ground that allows them to improve and innovate on a title while not taking an eternity to be release the product.


Please Don't Make Me Do Twitter

I don’t hate Twitter. I think it is a great application that allows people to interact with celebrities and companies, and I love hearing what Neil Patrick Harris and Sarah Silverman have to say on a daily basis. What I hate is that it has become a necessity. Everyone expects you to follow them and everyone expects you to post daily. I have enough trouble pretending that I care about what you got at starbucks and how you want to get a haircut but don’t think you should when I am speaking face-to-face. I definitely will not even start to care if I have to read it every minute of the day.

This makes it even harder for me to tweet personally though, which seems to be expected from others nowadays. I know how it feels to not give a shit about anything anyone posts and just be completely tired of it all, and I feel it would be the most hypocritical thing to do the exact same thing with my unoriginal life. I am the type of person that prefers fleshing out my ideas anyway using a medium such as a blog like this. It allows me to expand on my ideas and make myself understandable to others, while learning about myself In the process. With 140 characters all you can talk about is unintelligible tiny excerpts that do not expand on anything or link to something that is more mind opening on a separate website.

I do kind of understand where people are coming from, and perhaps the majority of people want to listen to the mindless dribble of their weedhead friend every five minutes. That is fine, to each their own. Just don’t make me become a part of it, because I could care less about the miniscule sentences of nothingness continuously posted.


Halo 4 Coverage

Major League Gaming has released a fair amount of coverage of the multiplayer for the new Halo 4 game, and I am quite surprised. The rumors I had heard about the game had made me very skeptical, such as the game being more like Call of Duty, but 343 studios have been handling the project quite well from the looks of things and if they keep tweaking things there may be another enjoyable Halo on the horizon.

The main problem I had with Halo: Reach was its lackluster set of maps. While it did have the vast "forge world" it did not do enough to make sure that forged maps would show up in the multiplayer, making a less-than-enjoyable experience. The two maps they showed looked better than any of the Reach maps, but it is still only two maps. Based on the incredible level design, though, hopefully 343 is able to create a good amount of maps that are of the same quality and polish.

Reach also had a big problem of overpowered armor abilities. Playing Slayer was absolutely frustrating due to the inane use of jetpacks and armor lock. Jet packs made for tedious and contrived gameplay, while armor lock slowed the gameplay down a ton and both just made it feel less fun. The bad news is that it seems that armor abilities are still a problem, but this time it is a single powerful armor ability. The Promethian Vision is essentially a sonar that allows you to see players through walls. I understand the developers are still workshopping the whole production of the game, but the radar is way more powerful than anything I wanted to see from the game. I do not think many people will be enjoying the multiplayer if this perk stays the way it is because it looks like it would absolutely ruin any attempt of a tactical performance and overall just hinder the fun of the game.

Other than that, I have liked what I've heard. The idea of weapon drops not only happening on map, but as kill-streaks is one I find intriguing, and I will be excited to see what it becomes. Overall, it will be nice to see what a studio other than Bungie can add to the wonderful universe we know and love.


Star Wars: 1313 Comparisons

I had heard many observations told about the new Star Wars IP, with the main statement being that it was kind of like Uncharted meets Star Wars. Many news outlets had made a statement similar to this, which normally bugs me. Traditionally, news sites compare new projects to games that have previously been released as a way of describing the game with as little work as possible, and often it is not a very accurate description. A good example of this is people comparing most open world games to Grand Theft Auto, when in fact the game being released is a very different experience. In the case of Star Wars: 1313, though, these statements are absolutely accurate. It does not even look like "Uncharted meets Star Wars" as much as it is Uncharted with a Star Wars skin. While I was watching the preview, I could have sworn I was watching the Uncharted 2 demo from a few years earlier. The takedowns from behind cover, the shooting...actually the whole combat system looks exactly the same. Heck, the whole scene where the protagonist is hanging off of a ship looks like it was taken right out of Uncharted 3.

I am not trying to say any of this is a bad thing. The Uncharted series is made of wonderful games, and by the time they were done the third iteration Naughty Dog had third person combat polished to a sheen. I would much rather have a Star Wars game that copies Uncharted than Dance Central. That being said, it is a shame that Lucas Arts could not go the same route as the Batman games and make a great game that was all their own.

With the past few Star Wars games not turning out so hot, I can understand why this is the path they chose. I just hope the game has a decent story to go with it.

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