Horizon: Zero Dawn

Now, since it has been a while since I have blogged about games I will start with a game I am currently playing.

Horizon: Zero Dawn released on 1st March 2017 by Sony Entertainment and developed by Guerrilla Games. Already a critically acclaimed game by big reviewing companies such as IGN, giving it a 9.3/10 and Gamespot giving it a 9/10. They have a good reason to give it such good ratings as from my first impression from playing it that it ticks 99% of what I like in a game.

Lets start with the storyline, you start the game as it builds around the protagonist “Aloy”, can’t help but think its a weird play on words of Alloy, I won’t spoil the game but there are similarities between her name/personality and backstory that strikes me that she is indeed a mix and match of materials, in my eyes the onomatopoeia fits. You learn that she is an outcast for reasons unknown and your guardian Rost is also an outcast again for reasons unknown. Even as I am half way through the main story I still don’t know why. I NEED TO KNOW… please tell me.

You then learn that this is a post-modern world setting where the “old metal world” was reclaimed by nature and reset the balance between ecosystems in an attempt to reverse the damage humans had caused. Humanity has been reduced to tribalistic ways and some animals have been replaced with machines. Strange right? I found it very intriguing and it compelled me to try to find out. Already a great start for me, its gripped me from the beginning and it is not like most of the modern games of today it doesn’t tell you everything you want and need to know in the opening cutscene, the game pushes you to explore and figure out the story for yourself.

You end up discovering what seems like a facility of the old world complete with futuristic computers, technology and complete with the charred remains of some of the inhabitants of that particular civilisation. You notice what looks like a handsfree bluetooth headset but as its a game its a lot cooler and obviously has a lot more going for it than meets the eye. I won’t spoil it for you but its tech becomes vital to the whole game.

The graphics are what you would expect from a Triple A game of the gaming boom. The detail is impressive and in parts it shows the natural beauty of the reclaimed lands and even shows the detail in the old derelict builds of the past civilisation. No two areas are the same in detail and you will find yourself in awe of the amount of detail of your surroundings before being jumped by a vicious Sabertooth Machine making visceral work of your body before you know it and then turning your body to dust, then having to start back from your last save point, frustrated that you got lost in the graphics of the game. To be fair despite the fact it is aesthetically pleasing the detail in damage is very limited if there is any your body doesn’t show damage and your health bar is the only indicator of damage you have received. Finally, the constantly changing weather adds to the overall aesthetics of the game adding to the gameplay and some of the tactics you apply to your gaming experience.

The gameplay is complex and interesting, you learn very early on that you need to make use of all the resources you come across. As it is based on a world where money is redundant and everyone has been reduced to trade. You do have a currency but it doubles up as a usable material for ammo for your weapons among other objects you either pick up or loot from dead humans or destroyed machines. You fight in real time with primitive and futuristic weapons however skill modifiers can assist and mix up the combat system quite effectively. The only negative thing I have to say about the combat system is how it works with the camera, I’m not overly sure this is intentional but owing the viciousness of the machines and their power they tend to either rush over towards you to tear you limb from limb with erratic attacks or blast you to dust with fireballs/lasers or plasma balls. The camera cannot keep up with the erratic behaviour of hostile targets and you can find yourself spinning around aimlessly getting ripped apart as you try and locate an enemy to take it down. I tend to dodge roll until I see the enemy again so I can make decision of how I want to attack.

Overall, the game is very good and definitely worthy of all the accolades it has received being the beginning of a new franchise. Including its difficulty level which you can choose at the beginning of the game allowing the bravest of gamers to attempt a very masochistic experience. I would recommend this game to mostly anyone who is a fan of RPGs with an intriguing storyline concept.

Anyways, I’ll stop rambling. I hope you enjoyed the read!

Dec

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Football Manager 2012

It was one of the most highly anticipated games by sports fans
around the world, apart from the obvious battle between PES 2012’s Konami and
FIFA 12’s EA Sports. A non conventional game that has you within a database with
your favourite teams, leagues and players; pushing you to buy players, support
your team and fight tooth and nail for your job and in most cases as losses
anger the board of directors, the media decide to black list your name and
computer generated fans judge your managing skills. Do not be fooled by the set
up of this game, from the outside the game seems unappealing and needlessly
complex, but once you take up the reigns of your football team, you feel the
power to bring back trophies, and the addiction starts.

One of the most time consuming games of the century, due to the size of the game, it can go on endlessly, generating more and more youngsters with capabilities to put our
famous football stars to shame. However, this is where the game loses its replay
value as you watch people such as Christiano Ronaldo and Messi become coaches or
even managers you consciously decide that it is time to retire from the game.

Eventually, the gamer becomes furious over stupid results as
the games mechanics randomly select an outcome that ruins that gamers day. For
example say Inter Milan lose to Torino in a cup final, because the game has
created a dark horse and becomes childish and stops a world class team from
beating a second rate one, that gamers day is ruined till another match ends in
the gamers favour and again restores the gamer and game relationship once
more.

However, the game is always replayed, creating new seasons with
other teams to replicate the challenge of achieving top flight football. My mate even created a server in which we could all play
simultaneously in the same league. It was much more time consuming, and when
playing against a person with triple the amount of football knowledge as
yourself, your chances of securing an actual victory is nil. However still
fun as you could interact with the media and insult your fellow Managers as
their careers spiral down the pan.

In conclusion, the game itself is good but giving oneself a job as a
game, where the main aim to keep your job whilst achieving an ulcer in process I
give the game 6/10, and the only reason I rate it at that and not lower is its
replay value, you can continuously do different seasons with different teams
and if it goes wrong, you have a trusty ‘Load last save’ option that always
helps with reducing a gamers blood pressure.

Thanks for reading!

Dec

A New Start!

Hi all, as previously mentioned in the “About” section this is a rebooted blog about gaming and potentially anything else gaming related. Once I get an idea of where I want to start I will start posting, hopefully on a regular basis, the only that may hinder me will be my shift work and how busy I am on a day to day basis. Don’t judge me.

I will likely start with games I am playing at the moment owing to the fact that they will be fresh in my mind and I will most likely know what I am trying to talk about instead of relying on nostalgia to guide me. But as I go further I will expand and mention games I have played in the past and eventually organise the website to look somewhat professional.

My main aim is to write some “compelling” “non-biased” reviews that will help in your decision making when buying consoles or games. Now, I am not the most seasoned of gamer but I have played my fair share which, I hope, gives me an edge with my reviews.

While I have your attention have a look at some of my old reviews from back in 2012/13, albeit not great in number but will give you an idea how I write and what to expect to learn from my reviews.

Hope you all enjoy.

Dec

Heart of Darkness (1998)

A game created by Amazing Studios, and published by Interplay,
onto both the Playstation 1 and PC. Retro, I know. However, it was one of the
most difficult games to complete by any child; one of the games I remember from
my childhood was one of the few I couldn’t complete till I relived it 14 years
on. The game starts in a classroom with a boy named Andy asleep in class, who is
awakened by his teacher, who reprimands him and decidedly throws him in a
closet… (That would be illegal nowadays, that teacher would be sacked ha-ha
^.^) Andy then escapes and meets his dog called ‘Whiskey’(You can’t help but
think he will grow up to be an alcoholic) who then run to a park and eat a picnic.
Everything turns bad as a Lunar eclipse occurs randomly and Andy’s dog is
kidnapped by unknown beings. Andy overreacts and runs home, ignores his mothers
shout for his dinner and goes to some Tree house/Laboratory, gets in his flying
car (its 1998… :/), picks up a weapon and helmet and flies to what looks like the
Grand Canyon or Death Valley, crashes and then the game starts.

The graphics are in the context of its era, large sprites with
CGI pre-rendered cinematic during cut sequences of the game, mimicing the emulators
of today. However, it stood above the rest in my eyes in its difficulty, from
the very beginning the computer decides to throw everything it has at you,
without explaining what is dangerous and what is friendly. Well from the first
couple of scenes you realise everything wants to kill you, and it can in ways
that will irritate to the brink of insanity.

As a side scrolling game is has its trademark, enemies
can attack you from their screen but you can’t attack  them,
which comes at a delight when your hit from a firebolt from an enemy three
screens ago. However, the puzzles are semi-intellectual for a child’s game, not
giving you any hints until you’ve died 102,344 times, not on par with Portal
mind you, but difficult and bizarre, puzzles that relate to the storyline do
baffle but once you solve one, you will know for the next puzzles.

Well I recently decided to take this up a day ago, after taking a
lifetime to install it, choose the right compatibility settings so that it would
play on my PC and not warp on me. Took me and my housemates 6 hours to complete,
which in great scheme of gaming, is nothing, BUT, back in the day to the
untrained eye and to these modern puzzle games, this took weeks of dying,
retrying, restarting and controller throwing to complete. However, one term you
will say over and over again is ‘FOR F**K SAKE, I PRESSED DOUBLE JUMP!’, which
you will find delightful.

The difficulty does increase tenfold after the first area as your
best weapon is eaten by some massive lizard creature and the game becomes a race
against time to not get eaten by anything that has a shadow, whilst avoiding that
shadow because it also wants to eat you. You do eventually stumble across
another power/weapon in the game which helps in solving puzzles and removing
obstacles, which is helpful, and towards the end it gives you back your old weapon.
In addition, you gain a race of allies, whom look similar to flying
goblins, who smoke pot and have pictures of naked ladies (:S This game just
jumped up a couple of PEGI ratings.), you then team up against the big scary
‘Sauron’ looking character and to save your dog. Oh and enjoy the ending, not
saying anything…

To conclude this review I will give this game a 5/10, mainly
because of the difficulty and because of the genre of games it has joined. It’s
a game that deserves to be relived, it’s not like the new puzzle games that
take two attempts and the computer does it for you, you actually have to think.
The storyline lets it down; the main linear one is a standard hero versus army
led by an ultimate being that by chance has chosen to kill you (I never
understood why?), the storyline fillers are ridiculous but does add a small
hilarity factor. It does lose rating due to the lack of replay value, once
completed you will feel satisfied for another decade until you feel the need to
spring clean and stumble across it and decide the time is right to complete it
once again. However, it does have a difficulty changer, which I have not attempted to change yet worried about the consquences. Overall a ‘deffo’ for the retro gamer, for those who don’t like to delve into the past, it wont be your cup of tea.

Thanks for reading!

Dec