Extremely Exciting Event

Or maybe Elth is Extra Excited? I dunno come up with your own hilarious E related aliteration.

So E3 has come and gone despite being criticised for being a year of sequels there were a lot of gems on show if unlike me you could stop watching the Halo 4 footage on repeat. Said footage has been deeply analysed by the good folk over at dust and echoes and flawless cowboy has been on the ball over at the little English halo blog so I highly recommend checking both out because we are not here to talk about the Master Chief today.

Five games really stood out for me at this years show, without further ado onto the list.

Image

The last Guardian 

Those of you following the progress of this game starring a small boy and his giant dog, bear, koala, griffin thing, may have been as miffed as me by its absence at this years show and the noises coming out of Sony right now are not necessarily good ones as Worldwide president Shuhei Yoshida reassured fans that the game is still in development, but has been experiencing “technical difficulties” he goes on to state that the title will eventually see release but only once it is completely ready. I for one admire such an attitude and fully believe this game will be a rewarding experience well worth the wait. We have all seen what can happen if a game is forced to be released before it is ready <*cough* dragon age 2 *cough*>.

I promised the next four will actually have made a showing at e3.

Image

Beyond: Two souls

Quantic Dream rule the roost as far as cinematic style scripting goes so it’s little surprise that the latest creation from David Cage and co features Hollywood talent. Starlet Ellen Page plays Jodie a young girl somehow linked to a mysterious entity known only as Aiden. The game promises to deliver all of the depth and cinematography of Heavy Rain and Fahrenheit but it appears as if it will be more action packed than Quantics previous offerings.

Image

Tomb Raider

Yup Our favourite desiccator of crypts is back but this time things are different. That’s right it’s an origins story we join a 21-year old Lara and a group of unlikely survivors struggling to escape from a gang of unsavoury types. The game has spouted something of a shit storm in the media in the last couple of days after executive producer Ron Rosenberg passed comment suggesting Lara would escape a “would be rapist” causing an out roar among the usually entirely rational, pro video game British media…… erm, let’s be fair though it’s not as if you ever see that or worse in a film right….. right?

Image

The Last of Us

You could be mistaken for thinking this is another game starring Ellen Page but I’m reliably informed (by sources other than my eyes) that this is not in fact her and that chap on the right is not Nate Drake with a beard either. Naughty Dog are the studio behind the aforementioned Nate Drakes trilogy of adventures on ps3 and they have not disappointed thus far, from the looks of it this title is set to impress. Looking even more graphically impressive than the Uncharted series with an added layer of brutality this action adventure meets survival horror has an epic feel to it throw in a city setting that looks like something straight out of I am Legend and we are looking at a game of the year contender right here.

Image

ZombiU

Maybe …. just maybe I’m getting a little over excited a little to early with this one but watch this video and see for yourselves just where Ninty are going with this survival horror. Now I freely admit I am a zombie fan boy but it’s not the monsters on show that impress here the control system and real time scan, hack, snipe and inventory features which could really add a new level to gaming that has never been seen before. Nintendo may have been criticised for a lack of software at the show for the new console but this effort proves (to me at least) that they have not forgotten the hardcore gamers that made them who they are today.

Anyway that’s five so I’m going back to Dragons Dogma for the night  if there’s anything you think I’ve missed hit me up in the comments, alternatively feel free to tell me you think these games look pants.

Cheers

Elth

Pawn to raise Hell

Hi folks,

If you’ve read Dossers latest post then you’ll probably be asking yourself “what has elth been doing whilst dosser was splattering heads all over the shop in Max Payne?”. Well with my Spartan teammate otherwise occupied and the Woaf temporarily out of action I’ve been making the most of my free time exploring Gransys in Dragons Dogma.

image

I know what your thinking I can totally see Japanese rpgs are a bit of an enigma at times, I do love the traditional turn based, story driven, visceral experience you get from a final fantasy, Dragon quest or Tales of .. game, whilst I equally understand peoples frustration at the slow pace such titles can take at times. This game should not be confused with any of those titles though. With DD Capcom targeting a market that has been swamped with western offerings of late the Japanese giants have the likes of Bioware, EA and Bethesda firmly in thier sights with this offering.

So how does this adventure of a hero and his/her pawns stack up against the western giants? Well it doesn’t have the fully immersive world of Skyrim nor does it have the epic story of Dragon Age, the visuals are not quite as vibrant and exciting as Kingdoms of Amalur but what it does have is pawns.

One of the really impressive features of Capcoms very own western world style of rpg (W-rpg?) is the character creation system.

image

Here are four good examples of what the system allows you to do. What it doesn’t show is the level of detail you can go into (Capcom even used the the same system to create all the additional characters) allowing you to make anything from a tiny stooping, shriveled sourcerer to a bulky, behemoth, bruiser, creating a character that’s as hilarious as another is imposing or anything inbetween, its delight to use. Then you get to do it all over again for your own custom companion (pawn).

image

An a-typical ranger and his ramshackle gang of pawns.

Now we have our hero and a loyal supporter game on right? Not quite you also get to hire in two further pawns created by other players all over the world. This method of team building is at the heart of this journey and you will find yourself becoming increasingly attached to your artificial allies, resulting in grave disappointment when your pawn returns with a negative review from another hero in another realm.

The right combination of pawns can really make or break any journey and as you level yourself and your trusty pawn you’ll find that the others you are hiring become more useful and effective, even offering handy tidbits of information for the quest you are trying to complete, but the main job of a pawn is combat and lucky for you they can prove pretty capable under pressure.

image

Battle in Dragon’s Dogma can be tough at times but work with your pawns and you can vanquish even the most powerful enemies. Shadow of the Colossus proved that there is little more satisfying (out of Mjolnir armour) than felling a beast more than ten times your size and this proves equally true here. Scrambling up the back and onto the head of a fearsome beast and unleasing a series of strikes to the head or face before leaping and rolling out of the way before it crashes to the ground is made all the more fun when a beast is being set ablaze by a mage or peppered with arrows from the bow of a ranger.

image

Story never really seems to be the focus of this game the world is driven far more by the beasts that inhabit the plains, woods, valleys and dungeons outside the walls of Gran Soren, the bustling capital city at the heart of Gransys.
The creatures on show look great but also move and act intelligently meaning even repeat encounters don’t feel like a chore, you can never tell what a wild animal will do.

There are issues with the game of course, in particular the constant desire of the pawns to describe anything and everything you come across “look master a bridge”, “watch out, dragon!”,
“does this chainmail make my bum look big?”.
It gets pretty annoying at times and it isn’t helped by the utterly appalling voice acting which is standard practice for any translated video game now.
The graphics are decent but not beautiful, the animations aren’t slick more Resident Evil than Bayonetta.
But if you like a chunky combat system like those found in Dark Souls or Monster Hunter and want your rpgs to be more about adventuring than politics this game is a must play.

But remember kids a pawn is for life, not just for Christmas.

Elth.

House of Payne – Story Mode

It has been another lengthy time between posts, surely we will get the hang of this eventually right? I would like to promise that our frequency of posts will increase to keep all 11 of you readers happy, but that would lead to the inevitably awkward situation whereby we don’t pull our weight, then the whole pressure of running a barely read blog will get to us and the ‘inner underachiever’ will take the reins and we will shut this whole show down. Basically just be grateful you only have to stomach these posts on a monthly basis.

With that said I do have a couple of things to say regarding my gaming life so I have a couple of posts to put up so there will be plenty of bullshit for you guys to read (and hopefully comment on?)

So first things first, Max Payne 3. For those who don’t know the rather disheveled gentleman above is the protagonist in the aforementioned game. As the ‘3’ suggests this is indeed the third installment in the Max Payne series but the first one made by the digital juggernaut Rockstar Studios, which for the record I am a bit of a Rockstar fan-boy because to me I really don’t think they can put a foot wrong, prepare to witness my nose become considerably browner as I pucker up and praise their fine work.

Click Here for The History of Max Payne

;

Hopefully you now have a better idea of what our ‘hero’ is all about we can move onto this latest title. Now Rockstar with each passing game have really upped the ante when it comes to presenting a cinematic experience, with LA Noir pushing those boundaries to their limits, until now. From the moment that disc tray closes and you have got past the all too familiar Rockstar logo this game does everything it can to immerse you and cast you in the role of Max. From the first cutscene to the menu system which reflects where you are in the game, it all makes the experience that much richer. I do somewhat hesitate to label them as just cutscenes as this suggests a disconnect from the gameplay, in fact these moments are interwoven so frequently and liberally throughout each level and in this way help drive the story. Couple this with the constant inner monologue Max is having, Rockstar really do illustrate the dry humoured tormented character that Max is.

As you would expect from any games developer of this stature the score to the game is well executed, heightening the desperate gun battles and accentuating the tension in between each encounter.

As for actual gameplay the AI are pretty decent although so far haven’t demonstrated a vast repertoire of responses. Difficulty wise I have no complaints, I stuck to the suggested settings which is no walk in the park (unlike 50% of GTA missions) as I have died a number of times but it’s never provoked one of those ‘rage quit’ moments, my controller / television / sanity are still intact (though there has been one or two frustrated neanderthol shouts, but again this is minimal).

Like GTA there are collectibles to be found and like LA Noire there are clues to be inspected, this offers some replay value if like me you didnt google it before hand or check the achievements and start getting these on your first play-through.

Before I move on to the good stuff there is one personal drawback I would like to highlight, which I don’t think really takes away from the game but every so often I wish was there. If you have played LA Noire and marveled at its face capture technology and want more don’t expect it here because you will cry a bit if you do. Since that was the last Rockstar game I played I set the bar as “that surely must be what they are going to do on every game”, I was wrong. I can understand why they haven’t done it with all the resources and how many discs the game would end up being etc but on the odd occasion when looking at the faces of the characters I obviously felt they were a little on the stiff side.

Right moving on, sorry to have bored you with, lets face it, a bit of a dry look at this game so far. Blah Blah Cutscenes – Bullshit about Music – yada collectibles who gives a fuck. What you want to hear about is this game’s massive gonads and thats when you get to shoot the shit out of bad guys. In Their FACES!

So if you have played pretty much any Rockstar game then you know the score; take aim, fire, watch the bodies drop. It’s a pretty fluid and effective auto aiming system although does occasionally suffer at locking on to the wrong target, something which has improved on previous games but does cause the odd headache. Cover system is fairly standard procedure too and works well enough but hang around too long and your cover can be blown to bits fairly quickly, when that happens you know you are being a bit of a pussy and you need hurry up shoot those fucks.

So this all sounds fairly run of the mill but its the incorporation and combination of two other features which amp up the awesome levels here. Firstly the ‘Bullet Time’ feature as seen in previous Max Payne’s and more recently Red Dead Redemption whereby you can slow down time and lay waste to your enemies is always a welcome feature, especially when there is a dedicated button (I call the ‘gives me a bit of blood flow button’) which initiates this slow motion whilst you dive sideways and allows you to blast your foes in the style of any number of 80s action heroes.

The second feature however really makes the expenditure of life worth it. Again its a function that has been in seen throughout the GTA series, you may remember the slow motion camera angle drive by you could initiate when cruising in your stolen vehicle of choice. Now take that feature and instead of a vehicle its a bullet heading toward the last poor sap standing, passing through him in an almost lazy manner, followed by vats of blood-spray just hanging in the air in globules for an eternity as the poor nameless henchman’s body slumps slowly to deck. When you get your first headshot you will we wish you could do it with every man you down, its pretty damn satisfying and extremely brutal and I should probably revel in these moments a lot less than I do.

Undoubtedly alot of the stuff you see in Max Payne 3 you will have seen before in other titles, whether they be Rockstar produced or from another developer, however what I think defines this game from those that have come before it is the painstaking polish that seeps from it’s every pore. You can forgive the odd aiming issue and the occasional cardboard facial expression because this title oozes a special kind of authenticity. It’s been whittled into something beautiful to behold and it makes you want to know more about the protagonist in such a way that only very few games (not made by Rockstar) accomplish.

It may not be a revolution in the way Rockstar make games by any stretch, but why change direction when these are the results.

 

Right well the got a bit long and I haven’t even talked about  arcade or multiplayer. There may or may not be a part 2, depends if I can be arsed, thanks for making it this far.