Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Witcher

Here is gameplay footage from The Witcher, which was released today in America.

Personally, it looks way too cluttered to me. I was pretty excited about this game, and it's not to say I'm not anymore, but between the clumpy UI and the apparently overly linear gameplay let's just say I'm having doubts.
That aside, The Witcher is still a very promising game that won't hold back on violence, sex, and very real world themes.

Monday, October 29, 2007

An Ode...

To a system I'll never play.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Crysis Demo

My hunger for Crysis has not in the littlest been quenched from the thrilling demo I've played through multiple times this weekend. In fact, I'm wanting this game so much more. Crysis presents innovative gameplay in an expansive open world. It can be played as fast paced and action packed, or as slow and stealthy, as you so choose. Personally, I mix the two to suit my style.

If there is anything to be be spoken badly of in Crysis thus far it is the high demand on graphics, and that's only bad if your rig is bad. The world is beautiful, highly detailed, and pushes the limits of the very best video cards. I myself am running on dual 8800 gts and struggling with very high setting all around. The game takes place in the near future on a lush, tropical island, but videos of later parts of Crysis show snowy areas. The developers really captured not only the look but the feel as well of these different climates, and you may find yourself feeling like you really are creeping through the jungle or trodding through snow at times. This game is beautiful.

As Crysis starts there is a short cutscene foreshadowing what's to come, followed by a black screen with the words Seven Days Later... Thats where you come in. You, and four other members of your elite and and top secret squad. The leader is a man named Prophet, and your three other teammates are Aztec, Psycho, and Jester. You go by Nomad. Prophet quickly briefs you all on the mission, which is to find the person who set off a distress beacon on an island occupied by the Korean military. You then jump out of the plane deploying you over the island, and that's when the first of many things goes wrong...

Your chute is missing. Prophet tells you not to freak out because you're over water and your suit will absorb most of the impact. Luckily he's right. You land roughly and your suit gets out of whack, and this is where you learn about all its neat features. Prophet quickly updates your suit somehow, restoring all of its features, and gets the location of all the team members: you're all scattered. From there you get to fool around with the neat tricks and modes of you suit, which include a defensive mode, hyper speed, super strength, and cloaking. The learning curb is extremely short and simple, yet the varieties of gameplay offered from the different modes is very encompassing.

After getting the hang of the suit, which is done partly by taking out your first three Korean soldiers, of KBA, or by avoiding them all together, you meat up with Jester and together you go look for Aztec, who got stuck in a tree. Unfortunately for him you two arrived just seconds too late, only to find him and four KBA mauled, bloodied, and dead. This was not the work of humans.

As the game proceeds you and Jester split up, and Prophet tells you where to go and what your objectives are. Although you arrived in the dead of night dawn raises shortly and adds nicely to the scenery. You'll likely spend at least an hour doing several sequintal main and secondary objectives at this point, as well as exploring the combat options, vehicles, swimming, killing crabs, shooting down trees, blowing up cars, picking up and throwing random items, and trying to climb on rocks. At least that's what I did. But either way you'll eventually meet back up with the remainder of the crew, which is everyone except Aztec, at an icy boat stranded no where near the ocean. Psycho and Jester start arguing with Prophet, who clearly knows something the rest of us don't, but is cut short with a large mettallic looking squid like alien bursts through the ship and grabs one of your partners...

And that's where it ends. To recap, Crysis has first and foremost BEAUTIFUL graphics and scenery. It's not just the texture on the rock, it's the way the sun reflects on the ripples trailing behind a KBA piloted boat. The combat offers new and very exciting ways to play that suit the style of just about everyone. The story is also interesting with cut scenes that effectively draw you in. All together, Crysis is a beautifully put together game that is only contending with Assassin's Creed for number one on my Christmas list. It's going to be a must have.

Crysis Official Page

Friday, October 26, 2007

Manhunt 2 Leak

In september an early PS2 build for Rockstar's upcoming game Manhunt 2 was leaked to the internet. If you played Manhunt 1, you know that it can be gruesomely graphic. In fact, Manhunt 2 had to tone down the visuals enough to avoid the nearly inevitable AO rating, which means no releasing it for the Wii or PS3. This leaked version of Manhunt provides a glimpse of what the game should have been, were it not for Sony and Nintendo and their firm restriction of AO games.

Manhunt 2 was leaked by a former member of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) who had access to the code. Obviously, he was fired. This is where the debate comes in. There are a thousand places one could take this, but I want to stay strictly withing the arguement of freedom of speech, and was this guy in the wrong. Nintendo and Sony are hampering with Rockstars freedom of speech by not allowing AO games, and they can legally do that. But should they be able to? And what of the fired employee, who let the freedom leak over the internet? Should he still be fired?

Personally, console companies shouldn't be able to limit what goes into their systems. It is not that way with computers, and games are judged more harshly by the ESRB than movies are. And as for the employee, yes, he should be fired. Whether he did the right or wrong thing, he disobeyed his company and Rockstar by doing so, and should not get off scots-free.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hellgate: London

Although I never played Diablo, I can imagine the awesomeness it must possess after beta testing Hellgate: London, which is made by many of the core founders. Known as Flagship Studios, they are releasing this game come halloween! Unlike most mmo's, HGL really can be played all the way through in parties or by the lone wolf type (like me). It offers both online and offline play, and is free after the original purchase. However, if you so choose you may pay a monthly subscription (of I believe 12 bucks) and will have access to more content as well as three more classes, on top of the already accessable six.

These six are divided up into three archetypes which are the Templar, Cabalist, and Hunter. This game offers FPS style gameplay and is equally fun from the POV of a Hunter and Cabalist as from a Templar. The Templar is further divided into a Bladesmaster, who is capable of high melee dps and is always in the forefront of the action. Likewise, the Guardian is always in the forefront but rather than dealing damage, he takes it. This class is much more inclined towards a group. The Cabalist archetype can be divided into the Summoner and the Evoker. The Summoner does exactly as it sounds; it summons. Your first choice of summons include a fiery ranged critter, and a more viscious hound like creature. The Evoker on the other hand, while still magical, does not rely on summons. He is the mage of HGL and is fragile but very powerful. The Hunters are the Marksman and the Engineer. My first class was a Marksman, and it was fun but didn't give me all the flexibility I enjoy playing with. Although I greatly loved the grenade skill... On the other hand, the engineer fights much like the Marksman, shooting from afar with a variety of guns, but comes with various drones to aid in battle, from healing me to equipping guns or swords and being just like a companion in battle, except I don't have to listen to him talk!

The controls of HGL are very simple and very fun. You may assign items and skills to numbers 1-0, as well as Q, E, and the left and right mouse buttons. For example, my left click is assigned to fire both weapons I have equipped, or just one (I'm using a beastly rocket launcher), my right click enables a healing drone, Q summons my customizable drone who does a noticeable amount of damange, and E summons my rocket pelting drone. From there I have less used but important skills and buttons on my number bar.

While only time will tell if the highly debated subscription of HGL is worth it, the game is very promising. It's one of those that you play all night, only to think about all day during work or school the following day. One reason for this, besides the addictive gameplay, is that unlike many games styled this way, the story line is actually one to boast about. You really get the feel that you're in an apocolyptic earth and the remnants of humanity are on the defensive for their own home. You'll find yourself actually reading what quest givers have to say, especially for the main story. Hellgate: London, due in stores October 31, is going to be one of the best games of this very competitive gaming year.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction

This is a gaming series I refused to follow after being very disappointed with the first game of the series. Since then I have not done so much as read a single review of another R&C game, until now. It is still no suprise to me that the newest R&C game out, Tools of Destruction, was nothing but a mediocre game. It was rated a 7.5 by gamespot, and all that says to me is don't but it 'till the price goes down. This game, like the first, is definately veered towards a younger audience, and would make a nice christmas gift for my nephew. Apparently one of it's weak spots is the storyline, and he wouldn't care much for that. As for anyone preteen and up, don't buy this game. You will only be disappointed.

However, faring quite the opposite of the gamespot review is the Critic score, which so far consists of 22 probably-too-stubborn-to-accept-the-flaws votes, sitting at a nice 9.4. This only shows that children are using the internet more and more these days...

Review on Gamespot

Official R&C:ToD