Yeah, I particularly love when you crash into a wall; metal skewers, glass flying, paint scratches off … I stared in awe. I thought that Flatout is the best destruction game, and love it, but Paradise nails it.
These days am playing The Punisher game. True, the graphics are dated, I believe even for 2004 and sound effects are lame, I can’t but not to give a vast credit to gameplay. And since most games are typically a washed copy of the original, the same cannot be said about The Punisher VG. This game really does justice to the Frank Castle. And while it’s brutal as hell, (I am playing AO uncut version) but if you ask me, the ratings got loosen (just look at the carnage in Doom) and this would easily pass M by today standards.
I finished Thimbleweed Park today. I think, overall, it was very good. It does rather remind me of the Veronica Mars movie though, in that it’s a Kickstarter project that is first and foremost serving its backers and anyone else second.
Initially it appears to be an adventure game that breaks the fourth wall and is full of knowing references for humour and fan-service, just as its LucasArts forebearers did as standard, but it eventually reveals itself to be an adventure game about adventure games. Fortunately that turns out better than the Veronica Mars movie, but it does have me hesitating to recommend it to anyone who isn’t already passingly familiar with Monkey Island, Sierra games and Maniac Mansion (especially Maniac Mansion). There is an option to turn off in-jokes, which probably neuters some of that but given the ending, not so much.
And the ending is reminiscent of Monkey Island 2 and, looking around online, I can see it’s just as controversial. Your characters discover that they’re living in a video game and basically go into the engine (sort-of) and turn it off. It’s actually pretty much the ending of Pony Island, but I think Gilbert and co were aiming for Blazing Saddles, which they flag up with a red herring inventory item that is a betamax copy of the film (if you look at it, all the characters will say they like it but aren’t sure about the ending). It’s an interesting concept, but I’m not sure I wouldn’t have preferred the game to actually stick with the tone and story it sets up initially - murder and conspiracy in a weird small town - rather than let that drop away partially unresolved for a bit of a meta-commentary on the genre.
Still, that aside, it’s a really well put together game. Visually, it’s stunning, taking its late 80s aesthetic and subtly improving it with modern techniques. When the game was first kickstarted, I didn’t bother backing because I thought it looked too knowingly retro, but the result they’ve achieved is really great. The gameplay - or rather the puzzles - are really good. There were a few points where I had to take a break to think things through to progress and only two bits that really stumped me and had me (sort of) resorting to hints (one was a hidden location I hadn’t considered, another was a puzzle solution that had completely passed me by and is a bit arbitrarily set-up frankly). It’s pretty much inventory and dialogue based though, there’s nothing more directly interactive like you might find in a WadjetEye game.
Hopefully Terrible Toybox will come back with another adventure game at some point (though Gilbert seems to be damping down expectations on that by openly saying it’s probably not financially viable) but I can see that they might have said all they need to about the genre now.
Yay! I can’t do wingsuits and there’s now a Rocket Wingsuit - I don’t have those sports as yet. I love the way it does the mountains, they’re huge, vast and just going down them is amazing. Then there’s the night / day options - if you want a new definition of terror, snowboarding in pitch-black darkness is it. Then there’s the crashes, where you can torture your skier up to 100G, at which point the game takes pity and KOs you.
I’m hoping they’re working on new moutains to add to the Alps, Alaska and Asia combination.
OK, second time around:
Managed to get through the stealth bit that stopped me last time. Ended up killing half by stealth, then by chance drew them all to the rock corridor by the waterfall and massacred the lot of 'em, including their wolves. Bit of jumping and platforming and then had a gunfight where Lara again kills about 20 guys, then it went into a very well-executed escape sequence all the way down to the beach.
Then the curse of Uncharted struck once more, with a load of guys on a supposedly deserted wreck and like everyone else on the island, they’re hostile. So they died too, but were still akin to zombies. I shot you with an arrow, it’s going to hurt, you’re going to scream - not these guys. Nope, they’re feckin’ zombies.
Got to the wreck. To my surprise managed to do a QTE Boss kill, then did a bit more killing, more puzzles, then more killing.
Did the final section before the endgame, which had it’s fair share of total arse moments. Like the ‘survival instinct’ showing me two enemies, when it turns out there’s six on this tiny platform. Section ended with another slaughter-thon. In the course of all this a bad guy finally expressed the view of ‘oh shit, she killed them all’.
Granted, it’s a 4-5 year old, spruced up visuals game but I still find some of the aesthetics amazing. Will try the endgame at some point too.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
How did they fuck this up so badly? Unlike Tomb Raider where there was some new tricks to use and apply, which I was able to use successfully, this game assumes too damn much. It assumes you wiill somehow work out a combat system it doesn’t explain, not even in combat, it just flashes up icons and expects you to know what it means. Now, that worked fine in the Arkham games because, mostly, you hit the button and stuff happened, here it does so randomly. He may kill a guy, he may not - if he does, you can start a killstreak, which is very cool, but at no point when I did those did I understand the why and how of it. The game’s mechanisms are appallingly murky.
This also comes to the fore on the other half of the Treasure Fleet section when you get the Jackdaw and it does again, a really bad job of explaining of how you’re supposed to do anything. The ‘rogue waves’ are terrible because, guess what? They look like any other wave. I got through that whole accursed, useless, total bullshit section that would have been far better as a cut-scene with the ship on practically on zero health. And then? Turns out hitting an island is instant death but they give no ability to gauge your relative distance.
By all rights, a game where you sail around as a pirate, looting ships, fighting the crew by boarding, should be awesome. Instead Black Flag does its level best, with its opening sections no less, to royally fuck it up. And yeah, in combat, enemies are also zombies - slash them loads of times, it has no effect. This wouldn’t be so bad if the game wasn’t called Assassin’s Creed, where you expect the person you’re playing to have the killing part of the skillset covered, but not the case with Edward. He either doesn’t kill anyone or he kills everyone in seconds but you don’t know how.
I’m now at Nassau and exploring and getting viewpoints remains as good as ever, as does the recreation of history but I’m not certain how much I’ll bother with this. It’ll draw me back every now and again but that’s probably. I don’t feel I can engage in combat and have a realistic idea of the outcome, it’s random.
They are a series of crazy challenges, mostly timed. But the final one was to beat a character to the bottom of the course, easy, except the course sprouts brightly coloured poles directly in your path as you descend. There doesn’t appear to be a clear line to follow that doesn’t have obstacles in it. After a few tries I quit through pure frustration.
The rocket wing suit is very useful for scouting new locations. You only need to fly near them to unlock them.
Started getting a bit better at the combat in AC: Black Flag, but still don’t feel up to taking on groups, especially when one brute can half your health and, unlike Ezio, you have no heal ability.
Running around getting manuscripts and chests are fun, except when the game puts a chest on a cliff and goes full Malcolm Tucker: It decides that no, you can’t climb it. Why? Because the game fucking says so, that’s why.
Having returned to this a few days back, it was a fiver on PSN, I tried the endgame and to my surprise, did far better than I expected to.
Turned out the Stormguard really, really don’t like napalm arrows. Nor do the Solarii - though, I confess, setting the psychos on fire and listening to them scream and die was immensely satisfying. They truly merited it. It was also quite fun when I hit a grenade cache or something that sent an entire tower up in flames. On the final Solarii battle, out came a pair of shield guys. Shields guys, say hello to grenade arrows!
The big Oni boss fight was nowhere near the pair in the arse it could have been - and likely is on higher difficulties. The problem is it has a weak point on its back, but that weak point is, more-or-less grey on grey, you dodge his attack and then have to re-orient the camera in time to blast him. Do that a couple of times and lo, it is time for QTE harm, then after a couple of them, QTE death where, no joke, Lara rips his skull apart with her axe pick!
The final sequence with Mathias is, disappointingly a QTE and it’s not even a satisfying one as you shoot him off the cliff, so you don’t get to see the fucker die.
Afterwards you can revisit locations to track down the various collectables. What really makes this post-game section work is that they’ve also thrown in a few Solarii. So if you didn’t get all the upgrades for Lara, this is how you do it. You get to use your fully upgraded arsenal and abilities on killing more of these bastards. The levels also show that they were designed with this in mind, as there’s certain bits that use far newer abilities.
Weaknesses? Sometimes the signposting on platforming sections of instant death can be appallingly vague. Other times it has the strangest physics you’ll ever see and I’m damn sure being shot with either bullet or arrow should have far more debilitating effect than it does on the enemies in this game. (Although, I somehow pulled off 50 headshots across the course of the campaign which was a surprise.) They did go a tad overboard on the deaths in those platforming, chase or escape sequences - that said though, pulling off a big escape run is very satisfying. The big weakness is far too many QTEs, the game only had three bosses and all were death by QTE. They don’t add anything to the gameplay, if anything they detract from it.
Graphically, it may be a 4-5 year old game but it looks damn good. It may not be the largest game world but it’s a distinctive and well designed one and that counts for more than size.
The real big success is the story. Despite it throwing loads of homicidal psychopaths that Lara slaughters, there was always that pull to see what happens next.
Once it’s cheap enough, I’ll give its sequel, Rise of the Tomb Raider, a look. Will also likely look at Uncharted 4 now too, as my prior experience with this put me off action games of this kind for a while.
Still having a hoot with Burnout Paradise. The crashes really are visceral stuff. Really make you wince at times as your car is reduced to a wreck in crunching slow mo. There are plenty of light hearted moments to give you a laughtoo due to the occasionally cartoony physics.
How the hell did this shite get so fuckin’ praised? It’s complete crap that relies on crappy mechanisms, off-screen enemies and, of course, King Ponce, who has a sword and a gun but who you have to really push to get him to actually kill anyone!
I have been playing a lot of PUBG recently. It really is a testament to the game and the challenge that it presents that you can play an entire game and see only a few other players but still enjoy it. It does a brilliant job of keeping the game tense and not boring. Being able to hear distant gunfire gives you a good idea of what is going on and the ever decreasing combat zone keeps everything moving and driving towards the end goal. My biggest issue is more to do with my own playstyle. I like to start as far as possible from the drop plane but this can mean having to travel a long distance to get into the play zone and sometimes that means travelling the whole map and transport is few and far between.
I am currently doing quite well at getting into the top 10’s but no chicken dinners yet.
It is YouTube videos that made my mind up about getting it, on the Xbox however as my laptop definitely won’t run it. Although I did rue paying £25 for a game still in development.
Whenever people ask about it I describe it as “battle royale the video game”.
This is after about 5 fuckin deaths from ships I can’t kill, that I don’t have the tools for, that have more fuckin health than is believable and are never, no matter what the game tells you, are on their feckin’ own. Doesn’t matter if there’s one ship indicator, as soon as you fight, it’ll spawn at least two more.
And then the final insult. ‘abort memory’ doesn’t mean, return to free roam with all the stuff you’ve acquired - no, it means, erase it all. Something else the game can’t be arsed to make clear.
I’m done with this shit.
p.s. On the same screen it says ‘you may need to upgrade the Jackdaw’ - yeah, that’d be nice except I’m not allowed to access those upgrades until I’ve done this fuckin’ mission, am I? You retarded pile of silicon crap.