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Friday, January 20, 2012

Video Game Review - Deus Ex: Human Revolution

  • Graphics  10/10

  • Sound  9.0/10

  • Gameplay  9.5/10

  • Replayability  9/10

Deus Ex is a tactical/espionage shooter similar to the Metal Gear Solid series.  You play the role of Adam Jensen, an ex-SWAT turned head of security working for Sarif Industries, one of the world's leaders in human augmentation.  The game takes place in the year 2027, where bio-mechanical augmentations (cybernetic enhancements to the human body) are readily available to those who can afford them.  Jensen survives a shot to the head after attempting to secure a break in, prompting David Sarif (Sarif's CEO) to turn him into a robocop via augmentation.  This serves as a prelude to the game, and after a 6 month recovery Jensen returns to Sarif and the real action begins.  There is a main plot you must follow to progress, but there are often multiple ways to go about completing your assigned tasks along with a fair amount of side quests that can help you in numerous ways, such as rewarding you with equipment/experience or information relevant to the plot.  The weaponry is varied and very satisfying to use, with most weapons having optional attachments you can find throughout the game, such as a laser sight or silencer.  The pace was quick enough to keep me really engaged, I played for hours at a time often without realizing it.  There are several minigames such as hacking and convincing people through conversation which determine how you proceed through the game and/or reward you with equipment/experience.  I had a bunch of fun just messing around in the open-world environments, exploring and seeing what kind of shenanigans Jensen could get away with (think Grand Theft Auto but less absurd).  The customization system is simplistic but offers a bit of variety, you gain XP by completing tasks and and downing enemies, with bonuses rewarded for masterful execution.  Upon gaining enough XP Jensen will level up and receive a praxis point, these then can be used to upgrade augmentations or unlock new ones.  You can also purchase praxis points at LIMB clinics and find them scattered throughout the world.  A complaint that I must make note of is how repetitive and obvious the AI voices are, if you are suspicious that a spy or similar is in the immediate vicinity, why would you alert them?  The graphics are sharp, fluent, and awesome.  There are a several boss battles that vary the pace of the game on top of being quite a challenge, especially on the hard difficulty.  I had a good amount of fun with Deus Ex, and would recommend it to anyone that enjoys single player games.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Top 5 Indie Games

5.  Super Talking Time Bros - A fan made homage to Super Mario World.  The engine and physics are nearly identical to the original, with a wide variety of over 100 stages to complete.

4.  La-Mulana - A non-linear adventure/platformer that features 16-bit graphics and sound.  The objective is to explore a tomb, collect various power ups, attempt to stay alive and reach the end any way you can.  It's fairly challenging with quite a bit of trial and error, but once you get into the game it becomes a lot of fun.

3.  Within a Deep Forest - An odd platformer that revolves around the player (in the shape of a ball) traversing around an open world looking for additional balls that can be selected that all have different properties.  For example, the glass ball can accelerate quickly and has a high top speed but if it collides with terrain while moving quickly it will shatter, resetting you to where you were before attempting the obstacle.  The soundtrack is very relaxing and provides good atmosphere, you should all check this one out.

2.  Cave Story - Brilliant.  Vibrant visuals, good sound effects, a great soundtrack, and an engaging story to boot.  I don't want to spoil anything about this game so I will leave it brief, but EVERYONE SHOULD PLAY THIS AT LEAST ONCE GOGOGO.

1.  Touhou (Series) - A series of SHMUP games that follow the exploits of witches roaming through a ghost world.  Ok, so I really don't know the story or what's going on, but the games are ridiculous and a blast to play.  Just about everything from each game was created by one guy, who goes by the handle ZUN, which is astounding to say the least.  The games are fast based with little downtime, throwing waves of bullets and enemies at you with a plentiful amount of bosses and little intricacies that change from game to game to keep it fresh.  The music is epic and stands alone, as in ZUN basically created his own music genre through the soundtracks of these games.  There are also other games in the series that aren't shmups, for example Touhou 12.3 is a 2d fighting game that focuses heavily on projectile attacks.

You can find all of these games through a simple Google search, so go enjoy the free entertainment.  And remember to support those whose products you actually enjoy!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Video Game Review - Stoked: Big Air Edition

  • Graphics 9/10

  • Sound 9.5/10

  • Gameplay 7.5/10

  • Replayability 7/10

What we have here is a snowboarding simulator that favors realism, similar to the Coolboarder series, as opposed to the unorthodox physics and gameplay of the SSX series.  The game features 7 mountains to board down, with about 8 drop points per mountain.  You start the game with only 2 unlocked, and obtain the others by completing challenges and gaining influence points.  The main objective is to collect as many influence points as you can, which allow for photo shoots and sponsorship deals that unlock new gear and increased fame.  Stoked features a stellar soundtrack with a jukebox feature, allowing you to toggle on which genres of music you enjoy while leaving the others off.  You can also pick your own "theme" that will play when you complete a challenge or land an important trick, which I thought was a neat addition.  The gameplay is fast and fluent, though the physics engine can be a bit unpredictable at times.  Overall I would say this isn't a bad game for the cost, but unless you are into snowboarding or similar games I wouldn't recommend it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Video Game Review - Skyrim

  • Graphics 10/10

  • Sound 10/10

  • Gameplay 9/10

  • Replayability 10/10

A sandbox RPG with a relentless amount of quests, in depth and varied character customization, toting visuals and a soundtrack that until now have been solely reserved for high budget blockbusters?  Yes Please.  Slight exaggeration, but the graphics and sound really do offer a level of immersion I have yet to experience in a game. The quest system is fluid and dynamic, there is the main quest line and a whole slew of quests relating to factions, assisting people, attaining wealth, exploration and so on.  While attempting to complete a quest seemingly random events may occur resulting in the start of another quest, such as meeting travelers or finding an unusual item.  How you speak and act around others has an influence on how they will interact with you, this is a feature in many Elder Scrolls games but Skyrim portrays it more subtly than Bethesda's past titles.  Coming from Morrowind and only having played Oblivion a few times, I was disappointed in finding out that you could no longer create custom spells, though the removal of athleticism and acrobatics (I always thought these were silly) and the extended customization through perks and crafting more than made up for it.  With the options available on how to specialize your character, the game essentially becomes as easy or as hard as you want it to be.  Dragons appear sporadically after the beginning of the game, resulting in many impromptu boss fights that add excellent atmosphere to Skyrim's non-linear style.  I strongly recommend this game to everyone, go try it!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Welcome to the Jungle

Hi, the name's GG Wentz and some hobbies of mine include getting up and getting doooown.  I'll mainly be posting up video game/movie reviews, along with some real life stories and whatever else I feel like at the time.