Monday, February 28, 2011

Viva Piñata: Final Words

I've been playing this game quite a while now -- about a week longer than I thought I would be -- and I have to say, I'm actually starting to get addicted to this game.

This game is a lot like the Sim's -- except instead of babysitting people, you are babysitting cute, little pinatas.  The game has no real goal, so what you do is entirely up to you.  Maybe that's why I like this game, because I can work at my own pace and accomplish my own goals.

For those of you who don't like simulation games, this is definitely not for you; but, for those of you who enjoy cute, fuzzy pinatas, I'd definitely recommend this game.

Rating:  4/10

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Infographics: Contest Time and the USA

My Infographics: Contest Time and the USA: "In celebration of hitting 100 followers, I am hosting a contest. The winner of the contest will receive a $10 USD Amazon Gift Card. A..."

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Email to the Support Team of CoD Black Ops

I was so mad after playing Black Ops again (after a month long break), I decided to email them:

To Whom It May Concern:

I'm not usually one to complain, but holy crap, who ever was in charge of designing the maps for Black Ops needs to either:
a).  Be killed.  Immediately.
b).  Go back to school, preferably in a different focus.
c).  Be fired.
I'd suggest the first or last one.  Seriously though, do the designers even play video games?  Or are they blind?  If they are blind, I'm glad that you employ handicapped people, but maybe you shouldn't have them designing game levels.  

What's wrong with the maps?
1). No choke-points.  I know some little kids complained about Modern Warfare 2 having chokepoints, but those are needed for being able to hold a position.  With out them, we've got people spawning in the worst possible areas. Players need to constantly turn around in circles because -- wouldn't you know it -- people spawn behind them constantly.   Here's how you fix it:  add choke points.  Simple.
2). Color scheme.  Who ever picked the color scheme for the levels is a complete idiot.  Let's not even try to water it down.  You can spot a soldier a mile away, not matter what his camouflage is.  I swear, if I'm playing again and I snipe some one from across the map one more time, I'm going to lose it.  Here's how to fix it:  certain things just need to be similar colors to camouflage.  I'm not saying make the buildings the same color as the camouflage, but player's shouldn't be able to spot each other a mile away.  Modern Warfare 2 did a good job about this, especially with the use of fog (which I guess your development team completely forgot about).
3).  Some levels are too small.  Nuke town.  Nuke town.  Nuke town.  Who ever make Nuke Down deserves to be castrated, because he (or she) should not be creating offspring.  Get rid of this map completely and never talk about it again.  You can't fix this map, its simply awful.

Thank you for your time.  If you actually read this, +2 points.

And no, I'm not the one that always dies.  I'm usually the one that gets 29 kills with a 2:1 k:d ratio.  Why do I get such good ratios?  Because the guns are overpowered as fuck.  I've actually started "quick scoping" (using the L96A1 with a ACOG scope) so that the game is actually challenging.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Viva Piñata: First Impressions

#1.  This is a kids game.  Let's get that straight.  However, there's quite a few adult themes that are watered down, such as mating and breeding pinatas (yes, you breed pinatas in this game).
#2.  There's this tutorial bitch in the beginning of the game that almost made me destroy the disk and never play it again.  There should be some sort of "skip the bullshit" button, because I had enough for one day.
#3.  Once you get past the overly exaggerated childish tutorial and colors, the game has the potential to be fun, since it's an open "world."

We'll have to see where this game goes next time I play it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Viva Piñata: Mail Delivery

Viva Piñata just arrived in the mail today.  After shipping and handling, it was approximately $10.  Let's find out if it was worth the money!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Viva Piñata

Ok, so this game isn't a year old (it's about 5 years old). But I ordered it anyway. It's shipping today, so expect a review of it in about a week. Until then, I'll be reviewing some other games I own that have come down considerably in price.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Alan Wake: DLC

Yup, still reviewing Alan Wake. But this time I downloaded the first extra episode since it came free with my purchase of Alan Wake. I have to say, if it doesn't come with your copy, you should buy it, because this episode really brings out some new gameplay. The story gets more intricate (and I personally see it as backing up my previous analysis of the plot). All in all, I have to say it was well worth my time. It offers about an hour of extra game play and really touches on some emotional issues.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Alan Wake: Review

Game Review of Alan Wake: 8/10

For those who are looking to pick up a good cheap game, Alan Wake might be what your are looking for. The game offers a great plot and plenty of downloadable content to keep you busy. I know I'm going to be playing it again. The graphics look great and the characters feel real. It's a shame that the game's release date fell on the same day that Red Dead Redemption was released.

However, there are the downsides to the game: the action feels slightly repeatative. You have to use your flashlight over and over and over again. You pretty much use the flashlight constantly. That would be ok, except most of the time, the auto aim tries to help you out by pointing at one enemy -- which makes your flashlight only hurt one enemy at a time.

The other downside of the game is how scared the developers were at having the player try to figure things out. The message "they can only be defeated in the light" is repeated like a commercial slogan. You'd think I'd understand that they can only be defeated in the light after, oh, I don't know... The first level?

If you can look past those two downfalls, then Alan Wake might just be the game for you to pass the time with. It offers some great gameplay and leaves with a great story.

Alan Wake: Episode Six

Spoiler Alert

Well, its all led up to this moment. The hero must complete the journey on his own -- the Hero's Path is near an end and the archetypal path must be completed without help from his friends.

Thus, Alan Wake leaves his friends behind to go back to the lake in order to complete the manuscript; and let me tell you, this isn't a short trip.  It takes about 30 minutes if you speed through it, or about 1 hour if you keep dying like I did.  At one point I accidently glitched a car into a path I needed to walk through and had to restart from my last save point.  My stupidity aside, the level felt really long and had very little story development.

Many questions were left unanswered -- such as why the hell was the F.B.I. agent Nightingale there in the first place?  What service to the plot was he?  All he did was keep Alan Wake running every time he thought he found someone who could help him.  Nightingale pissed me off hands down.  Even when you find his hotel room (if you want, it's a bit of a side mission), all you find out is that this guy was a chronic drinker and wasn't very clean.

But, back to the main story:  Alan Wake is trying to save his wife from the darkness, which was apparently created by a writer named Thomas Zane.  This idiot lost his wife and attempted to write her back into life.  However, though a series of shotty writing mistakes, he pisses of the lake or something, creates the darkness, and pretty much dooms every one.

So, Thomas Zane, in some sort of last ditch effort, creates a new character: Alan Wake.  He writes Al into life and gives him "The Clicker." Alan realizes what he must do: he has to finish the story, without cutting any corners.

Alan learns something very important through the development of the game: not every story can have a perfect ending.  He must make a great sacrifice in order to bring Alice back.

The ending has a lot of different interpretations, but here's my detailed analysis:

The whole game is a dream.  This game is as much about Alan Wake as it is about writing.  Early on, we find out Alan was having writers block.  What better way to work through this writer's block then construct a story through a dream.  Hell, the first level is explicitly stated to be a dream.

What consequences are there if the whole game is a dream?  Players might ask themselves: why even bother?  Why should I care what happens in a dream?  I think that's the whole point. We become attached to these characters, even though they don't really exist -- just like we do for movie, book, video game, and other characters.  Just because the whole thing didn't really happen, doesn't mean the emotions weren't real.  Take Inception for example, when Maurice Fischer says: "No, I'm disappointed you tried" and Robert Fischer starts balling his eyes out. Those emotions are real, even if the actual event never happened.

So, if the game is a dream, we can assume it's Alan's dream.  Which means the whole game is about him trying to break through this writer's block by creating this nightmare.  There's a line in the beginning of the game... something about how good stories write themselves (?) [I'll definitely be playing this game again and I'll be looking for lines like this].  Which means Alan is trying to break through this writers block by living through a nightmare.

Full game review will be available in the next post.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Alan Wake: Episode Five

The Clicker

So... Boy did I get frustrated by this episode.  The first half was pure awesome, but there was not enough ammo during the second half, which meant I kept dying over and over again since I would have to hope to God the next light was within running distance.

Besides that, the plot hit its major rising action as we learn something really important:

Spoiler Alert.

Oh yeah, and the most memorable moment of this episode has to be this picture:

Alan Wake: Déjà Vu Déjà Vu

So, those remember those manuscript pages?  Remember how I said they sometimes foreshadowed events?  I was wondering what would happen when someone read something that was foretelling that they would read it... well the result is:

"He took out his hip flask when he reached the page that described how he reached the page that made him take out his hip flask."


Thursday, February 10, 2011

End of Episode Four

Yup, the fourth chapter/episode is done and gone, and boy was it a level to remember.  With a title like "The Truth," you'd think you'd get more answers than questions, but I'm as confused as ever.

With the close of the fourth day of playing the game, and the fourth chapter done, I feel pretty good about how much gameplay Alan Wake has to offer.  For one, there's a harder mode I'm going to want to beat once I'm done, and second, there are manuscripts you can find and pick up.  So far, I'm finding about 75% of them per episode, but I really want to know the whole story -- and that's what the manuscripts provide.  Each manuscript contains a bit of the story that either foreshadows what's going to happen, or provides background into something you didn't experience.

Anyways, I've still got the next level to go: "The Clicker."

Alan Wake: Float Like a Butterfly

Yup, still here playing Alan Wake. Currently almost done with Chapter 4. But there something about this game... something I'm going to miss when I'm done.


Dodging has to be the most badass thing about this game.  Ever.  Period.  I'd buy this game for $20 just to keep dodging shit.  Why?  Take a look at this video, and you'll see that dodging is a cinematic experience:

Alan Wake: Chapters 1 - 3

[Spoiler Alert]
Courtesy of Toy TMA

So, I just finished Chapters 1 through 3 in Alan Wake, and so far, the game is pretty interesting.  The plot line is fairly decent, but what I was really interested in were the fighting dynamics.  Your flashlight is your main weapon in this game.  I know what you're thinking: That's super gay.  Hold on though, hear me out.  In order to kill enemies, you have to destroy the darkness that surrounds them first with the flashlight.  Thus, light becomes your main weapon (along with flares, flare guns, flashbangs, revolvers, shotguns, and hunting rifles).  Most of the game takes place in a dark forest, so that flashlight serves a dual purpose: literally to be used as a light, and as a weapon.

That's all well and good, but how's the actual game?

Good question.  If you think gore is what makes a movie or game scary, then you need to spot being 12 years old or a girl or both.  Let's get one thing straight: gore does not equal scary.  This game has little to no blood.  So how does it scare you?  It creates believable characters, spends very little time explaining itself, uses common fears (such as the fear of darkness), and a stunning soundtrack to delve you into the situation.

When I got the game in the mail, I immediately began playing it on Hard, which guess what? It's hard like trying to tie your shoe with one hand.  I constantly run out of bullets, enemies try to attack you from your blind spots, and right when you think: Oh thank god, a hunting rifle, you find out that you've only got 7 bullets with it.

|Overall, this game is rocking my expectations, I can't wait to find out how it ends.

Alan Wake

So it's been almost a year since the game Alan Wake came out, and you can find it for $20 if you look hard enough.  I recently purchased it through Amazon, and am still playing through the game.
Image courtesy of Gossip Gamers

What's Alan Wake?  It's a psychological Action Thriller -- my type of game.  When it comes to video games, I like getting as scared as possible, and while Alan Wake isn't a gore fest, it manages to keep you on your toes.  With stunning graphics, the whole game feels like a television show -- and your the protagonist.

I'll be updating my progress through the game on this blog, and will give my final decision on whether you should spend money on this game.  Until then, I have to say, I'm loving the concept.