Archive for the Video Game of the Week Category

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Posted in Video Game of the Week with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2011 by Jackal

This is one sexy sexy elf...

So I replayed Oblivion mostly because I never actually beat it despite sinking about 60 hours into (due mostly to dawdling around) and because Skyrim is coming out.

It looks pretty wicked.

But anyway. I didn’t restart the whole game cause that would be ridiculous. I simply reconnected with a previous character (I made a couple) that was my favorite. I made a dark elf named Kila that was born under the Thief sign and didn’t stray much from that path. When I restarted it she was Listener of the Dark Brotherhood, the Grand Champion of the Arena and high ups in all the others. You might notice that I wasn’t the Grey Fox in the Thief Guild… well its a long story but it pretty must has to do with the fact that the last quest is a bitch and requires hours inside a sewer filled with zombies. I gave up… I was like 16. Not exactly the most focused age ever.

errr... I swear I had nothing to do with this.

I also had only closed like 5 Oblivion gates… there are like 50. So what exactly had I been doing for those 60 hours, you ask. Well apparently not much but I was a Master in quite a few skills like Athletics and Blade. So I guess I had just been wandering around doing side quests for like a really really long time. I did become a vampire and then cure myself within like 15 days so that was sort of productive.

If only this could be cured.

But you aren’t reading this to hear Kila’s life story. This a review, dammit. Oblivion is a good game if you like sprawling, sandbox RPGs. If you’re more of a Modern Warfare kind of guy (fuck you, man. Its not actually realistic.) then you will scoff at the 10 playable species and the ridiculous amount of customization options. There are kind of a lot actually. I had to just ignore the spell customization cause I couldn’t handle that kind of responsibility and Kila wasn’t really a spell kind of person. She was more of a stab in your sleep kind of girl. And when that failed, hack-and-slash was fine. Anyway, there are a lot of spells and levels and you can make your own and your own potions and its nuts. I focused on the quests and finding the weapons I wanted rather than making them or changing them. The soul stones do something with that but at this point I’m using them for paperweights cause I hate customization and I like a challenge.

Something tells me he would be a sore loser.

As always, these things have the weirdest fighting gameplay. Its messed up and awkward and I hate the wild swinging. On the bright side, when I dive out of the way and the other guys sword misses me, it actually misses me. On the cloudy side, sometimes it refuses to let you hit the enemy that is held up by a helpful rock formation. Its glitchy, kind of odd and its not the game’s best feature. But its an RPG, its not supposed to be. The magic is cool and useful but sort of hard to aim.

I swear I was aiming for that deer right there.

The most annoying thing is the darkness. You go into a cave and you can’t see shit. Yes, they give you a torch but it only gives you the illusion that you can see the monster coming straight for you. Honestly, I just knew an enemy was coming when the music started. I even jacked up my lightness but it just made everything washed out. So I relied heavily on the light detecting spell and saving a lot. It made me really avoid caves and since like 95% of quests are in some sort of cave, this naturally led to a lot of ignored quests. I did, however, buy every available horse in the game and like 5 houses so I must have been pretty good at making money.

Items are pretty varied and it gets a bit overwhelming but maybe I’m just too simple for so many choices. I tend to straddle the line of Halo and Oblivion in that I like to shoot things and I love the fucking Battle Rifle but I also like to create a character and watch them grow into horrible, pickpocketing monsters. I suppose Fallout 3 would be a good game for me, and I’ve played it and really liked it, but it doesn’t really have Halo or first person shooter-esque shooting mechanics.

Boom! Headshot.

Alright, well I have to get to bed cause I have an early class tomorrow but I’ll give my final score.

Overall grade: A-

Interesting game with lots and lots of quests, customization and choices but has bulky gameplay and is too damn dark!

Next game: (well Dead Island is out but I have yet to get it cause of school) Fable 3

Let there be suck!

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Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

Posted in Video Game of the Week with tags , , , , , , on August 24, 2011 by Jackal

Out for a mid-morning stabbing, are we?

This game came out like a year ago and since the new one is coming out soon (with the same character… sigh) I figured I would review it. And I’m poor and cannot afford a new game/am saving up for Gears of War 3 and Dead Island.

There really is nothing better than zombies.

But anyway, I love the Assassin’s Creed games but Ezio has always been a bit of a sore spot for me. He’s like wicked noticeable as an assassin… he wears like frills and blends in with absolutely no one. Altair may have been kind of boring but he was badass. He just stabbed you in the fucking face and that was the end of it. Ezio runs around and deals with politics and things that aren’t killing people. I suppose it does make a better storyline and a more complex environment. But the title has Assassin in it, not politician. Altair just kills people on the death list and then kills the dude who betrayed him. That was all. Ezio’s a fucking queen.

Though he does grow a rockin' beard.

About the actual game: gameplay is the same but with more add ons and more moves which are, obviously, awesome. Riding is different. You can jump off your horse onto another one or onto a building and assassinate someone directly off its back. But you can’t…er sprint your horse. The button that did it before (A on the Xbox360) now makes you stand up on the horse so its slower. Desmond gets the actual plot development and the Scooby Gang is still kind of annoying.

Lots of hijinks occur.

The most significant update is the assassin recruitment option. You can save various people from soldiers and they offer themselves to you (some are massive assholes and others are inexplicably blonde) and you can train them to send them off on their own missions. It is not even close as exciting as it sounds. You use like a drop down menu to send them on missions and it reminds me of the Text Adventure games where all you got from it was words.

I can definitely see why I paid $60 for this game.

On the bright side, you can call them to help you in fights later but it feels kind of like cheating since they just kill the enemy automatically. Apparently if they aren’t well trained, they can die but I started sending them out immediately and I didn’t have one die (well except for the one I purposefully sent on a mission much too difficult for him. Asshole). Not my favorite part of the game and I was a little disappointed by it.

Apparently, I also bought this game to watch other people having fun.

Overall grade: B+ (mostly because I expected it to be so much better)

Next Game= Oblivion: The Elder Scrolls IV

Time to replay!

Half Life 2

Posted in Video Game of the Week with tags , , , on August 15, 2011 by Jackal

Let's do this!

So I finally got around to rating this game and even though I’ve played and beaten it before, I was still blown away by how good it was.

Yes, unicorn good.

Since I don’t like spoilers I’ll try and keep them out. This is the 2nd installment of the Half Life series and even though I enjoyed the first one, this was better. What stands out is the storytelling. There are no cutscenes and things are never explained simply.You are living as Gordon Freeman and you are experiencing the story through him. The story itself is complex and interesting and it draws the player in. This is the kind of game that wants people to like it because of its characterization and its events rather than just flash. The beginning is a bit hazy at this point but I remember arriving at what looked to be an immigration center surrounded by miserable people and guards. Things weren’t explained so I messed with the controller till I figured out what the buttons did, throwing random objects and bothering anyone who would talk to me. There was a brief tutorial when you meet the main characters and get your sweet suit but its pretty “figure it out as you play”.

I would wear this all the time if it were socially acceptable.

So Gameplay: its a first person shooter and its not quite as conventional as the Modern Warfare or Halo games and saying that, its not as good. Half Life 2 doesn’t really strive to be a first person shooter but rather a portrayal of a dude that happens to carry around a gun and uses it occasionally. It’s also nice to be able to carry around a shit load of weapons whether or not that is realistic. Ammo is nicely scarce so the game isn’t too easy and its sweet to be rewarded with machine gun rounds after you’ve mowed down the special forces team that has been chasing you for like an hour. The suit (mentioned above) is a Half Life staple and it acts like an energy shield but I feel like it was usually at 0% for me because there were less recharge stations. Maybe I just sucked at it. You get injured quite a bit but there are usually plenty of health packs around so its not too difficult or particularly frustrating.

Healthcare would be so much cheaper if this existed.

There are some driving parts and I won’t ruin them but they’re pretty fun and expansive. They’re each whole levels and were longer than you’d expect them to be. Not gonna lie, I got a bit tired of the level by the end and was pretty ready to get on my two feet again. They did help break up any monotony that has managed to creep up on you but between the crawling in dimly lit sewers and hopping on train cars, I was feeling pretty fulfilled at that point. The driving was a little difficult to get used to for me though I did eventually manage it and enjoyed it. But sliding out of control gets just as old as missing a dearly needed health pack.

I’m not going to go into plot and I’ve already talked about storytelling and characterization (sort of). And honestly, I don’t have that much more to say.

Grade: A

I’m going to go back to school so I’m not going to be able to play games that often so I might rate some games I’ve already played or just talk about ones that I’m excited for.

Next Game= Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

I know it came out a while ago... shut up, I'm poor.

Video Game of the Week

Posted in Video Game of the Week with tags , , , , on May 31, 2011 by Jackal

I like video games. I enjoy playing them by myself and with friends and (pretending this is Monday) every week I will be playing a new one. I have decided to announce which one I will be playing and then the next Monday, report on it.

Since this is the first one, I decided to get back to my roots and play Half-Life 2 from the Orange Box. The Orange Box is a compilation of 5 games: Half Life 2, HL2: episode 1+2, Team Fortress 2 and Portal (best game ever). And I’ve played the original Half Life 2 but I recently stole the Orange Box from a friend so I’ll probably be playing those games from it in the weeks to come.

He's pretty much the biggest badass ever...

But the game I just finished is Dragon Age 2, a fantasy epic with fewer dragons than the title implies. I’ve played Dragon Age: Origins, which I sort of liked better. The character development is better in 2 and there are more character quests and your relationship with them is more complicated. But you are also set in like one city, Kirkwall, and the surrounding area. It just gets really repetitive with the same dungeons over and over. Sometimes they use the exact same area and just change the name of it, which is very irritating.

Sorry Dragon Age 2, these are the same dungeon...

This complaint is double-edged cause I appreciate a bit of complexity in my storyline but some of the choices you get are a bit ridiculous with both choices causing mass chaos and a lot of killing. As a side note, I made myself a diplomatic character but I still seemed to solve almost all my problems by killing the person I disagreed with… Anyway, back to the storyline. Sometimes you find yourself in a bad situation that has a diplomatic solution but the game doesn’t offer it for you and even though I am loathe to looking up solutions that’s what I ended up doing. They informed me that in a lot of these situations there is no way to avoid mass murder…¬† You have to kill the poor mage driven to blood magic by the Templars. I should probably state that I sided with the mages and Fenris deserted me cause he’s a little bitch and I didn’t get his rivalry high enough (there is rivalry and friendship: doesn’t really matter which one you max just as long as you do) Fenris is an awesome character but it annoyed me that he didn’t really evolve as a person throughout the game. He goes through all these life-changing events and I took him with me during all my adventures and he still comes out hating mages like nobody’s business. The other characters change… maybe its cause I couldn’t bring myself to kill random mages but I’m still kind of a dick so he didn’t always disagree with me.

He's kind of fucking awesome

It was a good game but very long especially if you like completing quests cause there’s a fuck ton and I ended up just ignoring some by the end of the game. Also, word of advice, don’t ignore¬† Isabela. I pretty much never used her cause Varric was funnier and I was a dual weapon rouge and 3 rouges would’ve been ridiculous. Without spoiling the game, make friends with Isabela before the end of Act 2. Cause I didn’t do myself any favors by never talking or interacting with her.

I'm pretty sure you can romance her too...

The game also uses an interesting story telling device with Varric retelling the tale to this crazy woman trying to figure out how Kirkwall got so fucked up. It intersperses game-play with beautiful illustrations and the occasional lie from Varric that adds some humor.

Final grade: B+

Its a good game with intricate story telling and character development but suffers from repetitive dungeons and a lack of diplomacy.