Steam Sales Review #74: Prince of Persia

Ten years ago Ubisoft bought the rights to the Prince of Persia franchise.  They hired on the original developer of the game and got to work on a master re-imaging of the series.  The result was overwhelming praise from everyone.  Everyone who played the game loved it and bragged about how great it was.

Despite this, the market reported something really different.  Despite being one of the greatest games ever made, it only saw 3.5M sales.  To compare Halo: Combat Evolved saw 6.5M sales.

When Halo 2 came out their sales doubled.  When Prince of Persia: Warrior Within saw almost half as many sales as the original game.

The Prince of Persia “Sands” franchise saw roughly 1,000,000 devoted fans which was enough to keep pushing out titles, but not enough to improve the series.

Eventually they decided that they would “refresh” the series again and in 2007 we saw a re-imagining with a brand new art style.

I have to say this new art style is absolutely breathtaking.

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So why did this game overwhelmingly do so poorly?

This review is a list of gaming defects that stop the game from being the greatest puzzler that ever lived.

#1 Difficulty

One of the major design elements of this game that has made massive waves in the industry is the idea that death was a mechanic designed to get children to throw quarters at an arcade machine.

So this game removed the sand dagger that would give you one chance to re-do what you just screwed up and gave you Elika, a Princess who had magical powers that would save you every single time you died.

This mechanic is excellent.  Ever played I Wanna be the Guy or I Wanna Be the Boshy?  These are really cheap looking indie titles that are hyper difficult but always set you to automatically re-appear every single time you die.

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By having no death it means you can scale up that difficulty to ridiculous ways.

But Prince of Persia (whose franchise is known for hard games) didn’t scale up the difficulty one bit.  The whole game you were being slow pitched and when you get to the difficult part of the game… it is very very short.

This was a huge lost opportunity here.

#2: Non-Linear Puzzle Game

Ask yourself this question, how many non-linear puzzle games are there out there.

If you’re left scratching your head the answer is, none.  There are none… at least not successful ones.

The reason why puzzle games are linear is because they are supposed to scale up in difficulty over time allowing you to sequentially make things more complicated and make the solutions that much harder to get to.

But when you have a game that isn’t linear it means you have to slow ball pitch all the content to the player.  It means there is no reasonable point for you to adjust that difficulty rating until you get to the end of the game.

There is a hipster gamer boogie man that cries how bad linear games are.  In truth, many game formats just fit as being linear.

What can be non-linear is puzzle design and puzzle solutions.  It is possible to have possibles that have multiple solutions.

HOWEVER, puzzles with multiple solutions tend to be easier and thus less fun for a puzzler.

#3: Lacking Puzzles

A puzzle game should have puzzles.

At first looks it would appear this is a jumping puzzle game.  Almost all puzzle platformers involve getting in somewhere or getting out of somewhere.  This game at its core should be a puzzle platformer in which you have to get somewhere.  But it’s not.  When you hit your magic button a path is revealed to you telling you exactly what path you have to use to get somewhere.

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The pathing indicator was REALLY cool and really well implemented… but it took away from the solving bit.  It meant that the actual puzzles which involved moving parts became the only puzzles.

And this game had three puzzles total.  It just needed to have more puzzles and more stuff for people o try and solve.

Just having three puzzles wouldn’t have been so bad… if it didn’t only take me 2 minutes to solve each one.

#4: Dat Story

The most notorious thing about this game on PC is the story.  If you play on console you get all this lovely DLC that makes the story better and expands it.

But if you played the game on PC, you are likely to just hate the story.

The game runs about 10 hours long.  The story goes like this, 30 minutes in you find a man with his donkey named Farah (a throwback because Farah was the name of the woman from the original reboot).  The man runs into the princess, saves her, and is enthralled in an adventure to stop an evil god.

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9 hours take place in which nothing is really happening except for random shots of what is happening and a few back story elements to some villains.

And then you get to the end of the game in which the awful ending explains away everything in seconds.

It was just really really bad.  On top of that… you are very likely going to be upset about the ending which was designed entirely to make DLC viable…. and there’s no DLC.

#5: No DLC

One of my biggest complaints about this game is… it’s actually a great game.

Yeah you didn’t see that one coming, did ya Internet

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No it’s a really spectacular game that has no bugs, is really smooth, and the parkor and art style is amazing.

But with that being said the fact that there is no DLC on PC is very bad.  The single DLC pack on console was really unpopular because of how difficult it was.

But had that DLC pack been tagged on to the game or given for free, the main game would have been far more worth playing.

But without the DLC available on PC, it’s not worth the time.  If the entire game can be solved in less time than it takes to solve an average puzzle in another game… there’s a serious problem.

It’s a real shame that so many great game mechanics are gone to waste and that there couldn’t be another 30-40 hours worth of DLC available.

But that just ends up being the case.

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Why do Reviewers Hate This Game? My Arkham Origins Review

With a 6 From Gamespot and a 7 From IGN Batman Arkham Origins has seen some pretty bad reviews all basically saying the same thing, a lack of innovation.  Keep in mind this same comment doesn’t stop games like COD from getting 9s and 10s.  It’s this kind of  odd inconsistency that has kept people away from mainstream review sites and forced to go into the sea of blogs and Youtubers.

I decided to wait a week before I reviewed this game because a lot of the stuff that happened was the most common online stuff.

WB login servers crashed (WBID) after the launch of Arkham Origins which saw a little over a million people unable to log in.  Now like everyone else WB decided to go with always on DRM which meant that people were unable to play the single player campaign because they couldn’t log on to WB.

As well people had their eyes opened on the first boss fight (Killer Croc)

Turns out that a graphics card update goes out roughly the same time as the game’s launch and everyone pumped up their graphics only to find out that there was something wrong (all fixed by updating your cards).

There were also all sorts of problems with Enigma puzzles.  People indicated that after finishing the puzzles they’d be stuck in various rooms, and some were completely unobtainable.  The funny thing about the stuck is the Enigma puzzles actually activate a fast travel… so they could have just fast traveled out.

So rough start for this game.  But we’re now one week out and they’ve deployed a single patch, nice and ripe to judge.

1. Multiplayer

So first… the multiplayer.

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To my surprise people actually played it… a lot.

This is largely in part because… it’s actually pretty good.  It’s not perfect, but it is pretty good.  It’s also pretty damned unique.

It is kind of similar to Aliens vs Predators in some way.  In the original Aliens vs Predators game it was a three-way smash between the humans and aliens (in equal numbers) and the Predators in lesser numbers.  The Predators had more abilities and strengths to make up for their lacking numbers and could sneak around.  The humans and aliens however had higher numbers and could flank predators and each other pretty easily.

In this you have Joker Gang and Bane Gang with Batman and Robin being the predators.

The multiplayer has some balance problems that make it a mostly unfun game for some.

The first is that it is almost impossible to win as Batman and Robin.  Most people opt out on being Batman and Robin because of how hard it is.  While Joker and Bane only have to lower the enemy numbers, Batman and Robin needs to gain points.  Points are obtained by getting kills in different manners.  The more different kills, the more points.

However obtaining this is insanely hard and not all of the gadgets are exactly easy to use.  As an example if you want to use a remote detonation you have to camp an area and wait for someone to go there… the maps are huge.  I was in a game in which a Batman and Robin team got 2/5 of all the kills (there are three teams remember) and were only 75% to getting to the objective.  It’s almost certainly impossible for a Batman and Robin team to win.

Because of this no one really finds them all that threatening and no one makes an effort to hunt them.  Getting Batman or Robin kills means you get more reinforcements which means you get a competitive edge… but even killing them can be done one on one.

The second major problem is balance of weapons and gadgets.  In a game like Call of Duty a person gets gadgets by getting a kill streak.

In Origins however all gadgets are available immediately.  If you have not played 20+ games… you will have no gadgets.  Worse yet if you play a lot as one side (say Joker) and not the other (say Bane) then you will have a very different experience.

One gadget in particular is pretty problem some, Joker’s flying grenade and Bane’s UAV drone.  These guys can be deployed immediately and require you to expend 50% of your total ammo supply to kill.  If they explode on your team when the three of you are trying to cap a point…. it’s over.

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But like I said, it’s pretty good.  It has a few small things.  The imbalance problem can be resolved by actually playing it and the Batman and Robin thing is only minor and can be fixed with a balancing patch.

The gameplay style is cool however.  There are tones of map elements that will stop you from camping.  Capturing points will slowly grant you extra lives if you have dominance long enough.  There is also the Joker/Bane door.

Randomly a Joker/Bane door will become available and whoever can get to it first will become Bane or Joker (depending on the side you’re on).  It takes about 5 seconds to open the door so your team mates have to be able to cover you as you open it.

Once opened, you get Bane or Joker.  Bane is a juggernaut of unimaginable strength.  He mostly charges people slams them and throws them.  But he also has a rocket launcher he can pull out to deal with grouped long distance threats.

Joker has a shotgun that one shots.  He also has a few gadgets he can pull out for situations.  Given Joker’s ability to hit range he can kill targets faster than Bane and end a game faster (but doesn’t have as much health).

This last minute addition means you really can gain a serious advantage later in game.

Overall the multiplayer is good.  Probably about the same value as COD but probably not as good as say Battlefield.

2. The Story We Got, Not the One We Expected

One of the big problems with the plot of the story is it’s not exactly what people were expecting.  People were expecting the same tired Batman origin story we hear every single time.  You know a random gang member kills Bruce’s parents, the gang member goes on to be some mega criminal and Batman arises while training with Ra’s al Ghul to stop him.

But that just didn’t happen.  This is an Origins story to how Arkham Asylum was started and how this particular adaption of Batman came to be.

A lot of people hated it simply because they were expecting a story about Batman starting out.  This is about two years in as Batman and Gordon are starting to realize that a new super criminal is emerging and old police methods and old prisons simply won’t cut it.

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If you play the whole game through you will enjoy the story.  You are always given hints of what is to come.  My favorite little “egg” is the voice of Harley Quinn in the Gotham Police Building telling the troops about a possible break in.  But the evidence is all across the city showing how things will be and how things will come and unfortunately if you didn’t play the other games, you will miss it.

The story is linear in nature.  You dash across a large open world city with the choice of solving one of three possible criminals (Ex: Anarchy), stopping gangs on the street level, responding to police calls, or collecting data packets.  You literally have to explore every single nook and cranny of one of the largest cities ever made in any video game ever in order to find everything.

There are also tones of mysterious plot points that you can simply miss if you’re not paying attention because the things people say has to do with the story.

As an example many people complain about how violent Batman is.  An intro clip to the game shows Batman tossing a gang member into a Christmas tree to his death.

Batman doesn’t kill people.  He will break their arms.  Break their legs.  But he doesn’t kill them.  When you are about to jump two guys they will talk about how they ran into The Bat before and he broke his arm.

The story will flow well and you will enjoy it.  The only downside is it is a slow story.  It really only starts to pick up at around 2 hours in.

Right off the bat you assume there’s some fishiness here.  When you look at Bane in Batman lore you see him as a huge crime boss that controls a legion of thugs.  He’s marked as an assassin.  Even Batman looks at him and says “huh, what’s Bane doing in Gotham”… as if to say Bane had never stepped foot into Gotham before this point.

3. Gameplay Improvements

What worked really well in the Batman Arkham series was what I refer to as beatemup porn.  Every single punch slows down so you can see great impact, everything has to be timed perfectly to hit crits, and you have so many ways of engaging that it simply doesn’t become about mashing buttons… but about understanding the situation and responding very fast and effectively.

Arkham Origins improves on the formula by adding in a lot more gadget based tricks you can use while in combat.  If you are fast enough you can use a zipline creating gun to throw a fire hydrant or explosive barrel into an enemy.  You can pull an enemy into you with the bat gun and give them a clothesline.  There are tones of explosive options and ways of dealing with a large number of weapons.

In conclusion, battle is more pornographic than ever.

Much like in Arkham City the game’s based around gliding through the city and moving from location to location.  You enter a single building and have to get to a boss-like area.

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Unlike Arkham City however it’s not all that clear who you will meet.  In Arkham City you might go after Penguin… and then you have a fight against The penguin.  But in Arkham Origins they really throw you off.  You might go after The Penguin… and then Deathstroke shows up out of nowhere to try and kill you.

Overwhelmingly if you enjoyed the gameplay from Arkham City, you will enjoy the gameplay from Arkham Origins.

4. Bugs

If you play Batman from beginning to end you are unlikely to encounter many bugs… if any.

If you run around the city and do your own things… you’re likely to find lots of bugs.  So far there are 59 official bugs reported.

The campaign is 30 hours long and most people will be able to get through it without any problems.

5. Final Thoughts

This is not the game people wanted, but it is the game people got.  It didn’t add any massively innovative concepts and didn’t build much on the original game.

But chances are if you felt that Arkham City was a 9/10 you will also probably think this game is a 9/10.

The developers of this game (Warner Brothers Montreal) have hired on another 150 employees after releasing this game (usually you fire employees after releasing a game) and are working on high quality DLC and the next sequel in this series.

Steam Sales Review #68: Titan Quest

You’ll have to forgive the graphics because the game was made in 2005…. 2005….. 2005!

WHAT TEH F@#*!

Diablo 2 was released in 2000.

Why does a game made in 2005 have crappier graphics than one five years previous?  I’m sure people asked this very question at the time.  For those not in the know check this out.

Item exists but is not selected:

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Item selected:

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Like I’m really sorry but that’s just terribly odd.  Diablo had already established that you have to give names to loot dropped on the ground and it is just a standard that every single game out there used.  I’m sorry but this is unacceptable.

Oh wait…. Titan Quest was made by downed company THQ… wasn’t it.

Well as it turns out this game was picked up by Nordic Games (makers of Painkiller) as well as were most of the THQ properties.  It’s actually rather bizarre how much of THQ’s shit they picked up.  They’ve actually created a full forum asking people’s opinions on what THQ titles they should develop first.

The popular IPs people want to develop are Red Faction, MX vs ATV, Destroy All Humans, and Supreme Commander.  The Red Faction discussion is definitely worth checking out because anyone who indicates a plot driven RPG with any depth are immediately silenced by the mob of people yelling I WANT A DESTRUCTION OF THINGS SIMULATOR!!!

But I digress, we’re here to talk about Titan Quest, especially in light that there might some day soon be a sequel to it.

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The game is based in Greece and so everything is bright and shiny… unless you are in a cave.

This can be compared to Torchlight which is fantasy-cartoony and Diablo which is very dark… this game is very bright.  I’m not entirely sure whether or not this is good or bad.  I know dark works really well in Diablo and I know fantasy works really well in Torchlight…. but I don’t know if sunny really works in a titan slaying game.  Personally when I think of Greece I think of this:

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Its dark its epic and the minions of Greece are coming upon you!

The game has some other ‘hits’ against it.

The major one has to do with the class system.  After one level you get to choose your class.

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I chose archers.  So all of the weapons I pick up that aren’t bows are useless and I have little to no choices of things to invest into.  Most RPGs tend to go with allowing you to get a little bit of each.  This game starts you off with a dagger and then offers you up eight random trees.

As an archer I realized the game has a fault… everything leashes.  By this I mean there is an invisible leash on them and once they hit that point they will turn around and try and run away.

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I did this through the entire game and realized i never actually needed any skills at all.  I just invested in passives the entire way there.

This proved to be very boring.  This can be compared to a game like Diablo in which you mix and match different features from different trees because if you don’t have some magic you will just get overwhelmed and die.  But this game was trying to go for the multiplayer experience in which different styles mix and mash…. but it doesn’t and probably never had such a community.

In the end the game made for a pretty poor single player experience.  The great co-op games of our time (Borderlands and Diablo) were amazing single player games that just got that much better when you add in people.

Steam Sales Review #64: Saints Row 2

For whatever reason I felt a need to purchase Saints Row 2 to catch up on my Saints Row for Saints Row The Third.  I never bought Saints Row 1… I’m not sure why.

But both of these games purchased on sale (2 and 3) were never played and here I am finally jumping into Saints Row 2.  Let’s call this the Saints Row 2 review with the tag line “before they were hitting each other with purple dildos… they ruled the Row.”

So I load up and I’m immediately shown a character creator.  My challenge is to make a character that closely resembles me.

So let’s try it out.

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Just kidding!

In real life I look like this:

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These days Im’ rocking shorter hair.  I think I got pretty close to myself.

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Okay minus the sports bra.

So you are in prison and you have to break out.

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Annoyingly any time you have a friend with you you are either about to “Abandon him” or he will get stuck in a door that he won’t let you pass.

After you break out the first order of business is getting dressed.  Now they have this status called “Status” or something.  And the higher statused items happen to be women’s clothing.

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All I’m saying is this is the second time my girlfriend walked in on me wearing girl’s clothes in this game and it’s just not looking good.

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Not quite the badass we envisioned from seeing the commercials of pimps.

No less than 20 minutes into the game I’m walking down the street and this pimp is beating up one of his girls.

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She stabs him to death and all is fine.

Next up they remind you how bad they are at driving mechanics.

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Honestly it’s like Grand Theft Auto had an aborted baby and called it Saints Row…. because as always driving is terrible.

The game quickly makes you pull up the mini map and show you all this stuff.

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Every icon is something to do…. there is a lot to do.  Alternatively you can just do the main plot line.  But dear god are those a lot of boxes for me to do (I’m a completionist I can’t help myself).

Of course it’s not optional. In order to progress the storyline you’ll have to complete so many of these.  Alternatively you can run around killing gangs, cops, and being a badass.  A bar will rise and you will be told when you can continue the story based on how much you have done in this world.

Most of them however are definitely worth checking out.  My favorite so far is “Fuzz.”

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In Fuzz you pretend to be a police officer for the TV show Fuzz and get bonus “points” for settling disputes in suggested manners.  In the above image it was suggested that a chainsaw is standard police weapon and it would increase ratings if I used it on a bunch of homeless people.

Well…. I couldn’t help myself.  I did it.

It’s similar in fashion to the timed group activities type quests in which you have to chain together a bunch of events as fast as possible.  It keeps you active and you’ll probably do all of these in one bunch because of how addictive they are.  They could have honestly made an entire cops themed DLC and I’d be fine paying $10 for that.

My least favorite mini game is um…. this.

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Basically you have to spray your “gang sign” on the wall before you die from rival gangs kicking your ass while you are spray painting.  Spay too far out of the lines and you lose.

It’s kind of lame because it’s a very complicated image he’s painting with a single paint can.  I feel as though this was s lost opportunity instead of the Paint by Number that it ended up being.

Another mini game worth mentioning is your standard zombie survival game.

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In this one there is limited weapons in an arena and you have to survive as long as possible with a group of people.  Just an added co-op bonus… if you have friends that own Saints Row 2 and want to play it…. that is.

A lot of people complain about the latest two games that they are just quirky and weird and that the series used to be at some point serious.

I just don’t see it.

This entire play has been joke after joke after joke with my girlfriend walking in the room from time to time as I’m trying on a bra, or slicing a cop with a chainsaw, or beating up homeless people, or stealing a car with a tow truck.

This game is excellent and definitely worth buying.  However I will caution people who hate Grand Theft Auto type games… it’s obviously not going to be for you.

Steam Sales Review #61: Transformers – Fall of Cybertron

Some days when I start criticizing a game I feel like I just might be asking too much.

In Transformers – War for Cybertron I felt the game was really really short with pretty shallow gameplay elements.

Now I’m looking at Fall of Cybertron and I have roughly the same things to say about it.

Maybe you can review me in this article, maybe I’m the picky one.

So let’s start with multiplayer.  In the short term until the next game comes out this will exist.  If there is another Transformers game however…  don’t expect to see any action here.

Well first and foremost the games are hosted so get used to seeing 5 minutes of this:

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I played about 8 hours of multiplayer.  About 4 hours of it I was looking at this specific screen watching Host Migrate.  It really does take longer than any other game I was playing.

In all this time I was doing pretty badass

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Problematically is with all my time playing I was never playing anyone particularly high leveled, which means it was being populated with newer players… because of the recent sale.

The multiplayer was pretty good.  It was insanely customizable, you could literally transform into ANYTHING.  You have four class types of which each has to be leveled up independently.  This can be compared to something like COD in which you level up all of them simultaneously.  The game comes from Activision… honestly how could they have not thought about this?

You get two weapons and cannot change them out.  The maps are filled with bonuses including regenerating health, ammo, and shields.

The downside is that it is all level based so a higher level person is going to be very hard to kill because of their improved perks and higher powered weapons.

Huge imbalance, but if you’re willing to grind it, maybe you’ll enjoy it.

But let’s talk about the campaign, the legacy of this game beyond this part of the game.

Catching up Optimus is promoted to Prime (leader of the Autobots) as Zeta Prime is destroyed, the core of the planet is turned off and the Autobots are on the run.  Megatron is running strong and dominating.

This game features a smaller sphere of the engagement.  While the previous title tried to cover all of the events of the war of Cybertron this one only covers the events of The Arc flying into outer space.

So the game goes like this.

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Oh oops, you didn’t want Bumblebee to die? Shit well that’s not really a spoiler or anything because well… it’s the opening scene of the movie.

It tells us that Bumblebee will not be present in any future games.

Either that or he just gets re-built and re-activated like every single Transformer always does every single time (*cough entire 80s movie dedicated to bringing Megatron back to life*)

From here on out it’s less of a game and more of a  movie.  Oh look an amazing scene

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Yep hit that X button and you get to watch it happen.

Oh look another amazing scene.

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Hit that X button and you can save this Transformer!

Hurry hit X!

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Otherwise you won’t be able to do… whatever you are doing.

This man needs help, hit X!

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Yeah you probably get the idea.

It’s an odd thing that game developers think is amazing… but in reality is dumb.  I’d rather watch a cinematic from the game with my bag of chips open while watching it.  Instead I get to hit the X button with a bag of chips in the other hand… great improvement.

Another massive “improvement” to the game is the ability to switch hands.  Your gun will move from one hand to the other.  The idea is that you can shift into cover better… but it doesn’t really do anything.

Another “improvement” to the game is an ability.  As an example when you are Optimus you can call down an airstrike.

You plant your retical on whatever you want to kill…

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And then

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BOOM!

Other abilities include stealthing (think Splinter Cell), tether jumping (think Assassin’s Creed 3), and flying (think HAWX 2), and pure melee.

And despite all of these criticisms… it’s a fulfilling game.  The only weakness of the game is that the campaign is only 4 hours long.  That is about within line of most modern shooters however… so in light that there is currently still multiplayer it’s not something that can be taken to heart.

The game features amazing voice acting recruiting all of the whose who if voice acting.

This game rarely goes on sale and honestly always stays pretty expensive.

I will say as a cautionary tale that if you have never watched a Transformers TV show, really just watch one first.  If you are not remotely interested in the TV shows… this will not be the game for you.  Unfortunately you have to be someone who really enjoys fighting as mechs to like this game.

But, to me this game gets the badass Steam seal of discount approval!

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First Impressions: The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot

Ubisoft is pumping out the free to play titles like mad.  With three browser based games, a co-op RPG, a free to play shooter, they now add in this free to play dungeon siege game.

Maybe a rant about dungeon siege games.

I think one of the failures of dungeon siege developers is that they’re always trying to make and re-make classic dungeon sieging games like Stronghold and Lords of the Realm.  What you end up getting is crappy half done games like Citadels and Stronghold 3.

Instead these studios are afraid of innovating and giving us something new.

Leave it up to big corporate Ubisoft to be the innovators.

The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot is a twist on the dungeon builder genre.  Instead of building a castle you just get one.  You simply design the shape of it.  You deploy traps and minions to defend your keep from people.

This makes it closer to a Tower Defense type game, a perfect fit.

People will show up in your castle and have to get through your traps and minions.  The better designed the harder it is for them to beat your castle.

Here’s the kicker.

Let’s say they get through.

They get 10% of your total gold.

To be fair it’s done on a timetable and if they can’t get through in time they don’t get the money.

It means that you can design your castle simply around slowing people down, as opposed to beating them outright.

There’s a flip side to this of course.

It means you invade other people’s castles and steal their gold.

With the gold you can invest in new gear, items to use while sieging, level ups, traps,minions, and walls.  You level up, you level up your castle and you progress to get bigger and stronger.

The more gold you are earning the more you will need to spend to protect it.  Every time you die in their castle you give them 100 gold.

The revenue model of the game is purchasing premium coin in order to get bigger badder minions and traps to make your castle more secure.

But Ubisoft also announced they will be rolling this system back because it ruins the game.

The game has a weird app on Facebook.  It counts how many chickens have been slain and the numbers are ridiculous.  The top chicken killer of this week has 82,000 kills… that’s insane.

But it makes a lot of sense.

My daily morning routine is I wake up, turn on my computer, take the dogs out for a walk, feed the dogs, make breakfast for me and my girlfriend, walk the dogs again… and then I play games.

Well the morning I got this game I decided  I would play this game for a few minutes, just turn it on and I’d make breakfast shortly.

Well 30 minutes later I realized my girlfriend would be eating cold cereal.

Completing people’s dungeons takes about 3-20 minutes depending on how difficult they are made.  But you always feel like going going and going.  The idea that your castle can be raided by people really hurts over time.

They can take a maximum of 10% of your fortune per day… meaning that if you don’t play for ten days you will be broke.

Ouch.

The game is definitely fun and you’ll get tones of value out of it.  The downside is it uses Facebook-like hooks to keep you playing… which doesn’t entirely make sense without a mobile component.

Steam Sales Review #58: RAGE

Well I thought with my new AMD video card and it now having been 2 years they’ve probably had times to fix the graphics card problems.

RAGE went on a Steam Sale no less than one month after launch.  The game was given poor reviews all around.  This love child of Id Software (makers of Doom and Quake) was seen as uninspiring by the Quake and Unreal Tournament crowd.

It turned out for them to be, just a crappy average game.  And the game got average reviews, roughly 80s. An amazing game gets 90s.  So it wasn’t received poorly, but not nearly hitting the expectations of Id Software’s core fans.

If you have an AMD card made before 2011 don’t even try this game.  For you this game is a 0 stars and a thumbs down.

But for the rest of you who have mustered up the cash to buy a video card created post 2011 this review is for you.

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RAGE is a post-apocalyptic first person shooter.  You know, like Borderlands.  It seems to be the sort of in-flavour right now to make post-apocalyptic wasteland games.  I guess that could also be like Fallout 3 too… which is also from Bethesda.

So a group of people are sent off into space to re-populate the Earth after the asteroid is about to destroy the planet.  They’re set in a time pod for 100 years until the potential radiation has worn off the face of the Earth.

Of course like these stories go when you land there are in fact people on the ground civilization seems to have continued… in a manner of such.

You run into this guy first

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He sounds a lot like John Goodman.  Wait a minute… holy shit… HE IS JOHN GOODMAN.  Could be the most overpaid voice acting of all time right there.  Some of the hype for the game was around the fact that this was John Goodman doing voice acting.

John Goodman starts explaining about what is happening and what the civilization’s justice system is like… when he decides not to explain anything about it at all.

He just jumps around the fact that things had gone to all hell.

But he informs you that you are some sort of special person who is in fact a superman type.

So he sends you off to do some chores.  So off you go on your bike.

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So off you go to fight the same sort of people who always show up in this game.

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Note my scope.  It’s not actually a scope.  I bought half a binocular from a vendor to look through and use as a scope.  I thought it said monocle and I was going to be a futuristic badass pimp with a monocle.  Actually it read monocular and so I was sorrowly disappointed.

After I finish about 10 quests for John Goodman I’m introduced to Scooter.

I’m sorry it’s not Scooter it’s this guy

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Scoot’s fat cousin.

And here’s Scooter:

borderlandsscooter

Yeah to say that there was an inspiration here… is a little bit of an overstatement.

Unlike Borderlands and Fallout which has tech trees you can invest in this is a straight out action game.

So Scooter Jr sends you off to do some quests.

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And that’s the whole game.  You travel around empty zones into dungeons to gather quest materials and the game never seems to go anywhere.

But there’s a little more to this game of course.

The game features a crafting system in which you combine three items together to make something useful.

The problem is it becomes hard to tell what is useful and what isn’t when it comes time to go to the vendor and sell for cash.

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Honestly that sounds useful… but I just don’t know.

As well you can also do mini games.

The first is a gambling game.

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It looks kind of neat until you realize how it works.  YOu put a bet down for money and roll dice.  You get four rolls and three turns.  Each time you get crosshairs it kills a mutant, every time it doesn’t the mutants step forward.  If the mutants reach the guy in the middle, you lose all your money.  You get paid a multiplier based on when you kill the mutants, 10x for first round, 4x for second round and 1x for third round.

Yeah it’s a pretty boring mini-game.

Also feeling like Rockstar Games here because we get a….

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RACING MINI GAME!

This will be hit or miss for people.  I’m personally not a fan of racing games, mostly because I suck at them.  To me this sort of mini game can be fun, but only for the right people.  For me it’s just easy to generate content that doesn’t really add anything to the game.

This mini-game ends up being particularly annoying because without it you cannot upgrade your vehicle for actual game content.  On the plus side there is more variety in their races than in most actual racing games, so it doesn’t entirely get stale too fast.

What game would be complete without a random… card game.

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This one plays like Pokemon or Magic the Gathering.  Just like them each card has health and attack you use cards to attack and some cards have a functionality.  Winner is the person with cards left over.

It’s the super simplified version of it all though so don’t expect something very exciting.  Of course the game forces you to buy good cards from people so you have another gold sync.

Then there is your delivery mini game.

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I think it all begins with the Pony Express from Gun.  It was the best part of the game.  Now they’ve included it in every game.

Yep just like in Borderlands it’s a race against time to get to a red drop box.

Normally it’s not a mini game as it’s an active part of the world.  But in this game it is completely 100% scripted and instanced, so it’s a mini game.

They also have specialized missions which are in themselves mini games.

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Some include the sniping mini games, the arena style games, and the scavenger mini games.

I’ll be honest the packaging of non-story related things is much better than Borderlands.  If you’re into all of those little extra non-game things in the game… this is really the game for you.  There is about 1.5 hours of racing alone.

The main problem with the game is that it is really missing story.  A lot of games try to keep you in the dark as part of its story telling element and then blow you away with an epic ending explaining everything that has been held in mystery.

By comparison this game dangles some story in your face and then makes you do your paper route for a few hours until you finally come home in order for them to tell you a little itty bitty bit of information.

If you are going to purchase this game make sure you buy the DLC.  The game was clearly designed to have DLC as it is very short, however the one DLC package doubles the length of the game.

The core game is 10 hours in length, the DLC will add about another 6 hours.

Big thumbs up on this game, very good value.