Friday, 28 February 2014

The February Retro Haul

I made a video of all the retro stuff I bought this month! Enjoy!



Monday, 24 February 2014

Jamestown

The top down shooter and the side scrolling shooter are both genres that I really enjoy.  Yes, back in my day when you said "shooter", you weren't referring to a silly semi-realistic military game, you were talking about driving in a spaceship or something and blowing the FUCK out of everything on screen.

However in recent years, the "shmup" as it's now known has kind of died a bit.  Very rarely do you see any of these kind of games get released anymore, and when you do they are almost always small downloadable games that aren't very good.  Either that, or they are Japan made ports of arcade games that are so niche that the only people who play them don't want them for a console or PC because they are too busy in a game centre enjoying it there instead.

Jamestown is part of the small downloadable title camp, but instead of being sort of rubbish it's actually rather good.  To sum up the whole review of the game for those in the know, it's kind of like Donpachi.  For those that don't know I'll go on a little further to explain what that means.

In Jamestown you play as a ship and you are tasked with blowing up anything that moves.  At the start of the game you have access to one ship that has a standard rapid fire button and a slightly stronger beam move but firing this makes you move slower.  As you play you can buy other ships that are all slightly different but if you have ever played a game in this genre before then the selections are going to blow your mind; however the favourites are all there.

Now every shmup has a gimmick to set it apart from the rest and in this game we have something called a "vaunt".  As you blow stuff up, you collect little gold cogs which fill up a gauge and when it's full you can activate your vaunt.  This causes a circle to appear that cancels out all the enemy shots for a short time and during the vaunt you're damage goes up and you get twice the points.  Once the metre drops to 0 you are given a point bonus and you start all over again collecting cogs or you can cancel it early to deflect a few more shots so this whole system does add some strategy to each stage.

In Jamestown there are 5 stages and you can play them all individually or back to back in what the game calls Gauntlet mode.  On top of that there are some bonus stages to play that task you with fulfilling certain goals and some unlockable difficulties for those who enjoy a bit of the old bullet hell.

The game also comes with 4 player co-op which is nice but if you're like me and don't have any shmup friends then there are also online leaderboards to keep you entertained.

So if you're a fan of shmups I'd give Jamestown a go, it's not going to set the world on fire but it's a fun game and it's a good break from a lot of the harder games in the same genre.  If you DON'T like shmups, then give Jamestown a go anyway, it's a good entryway into the series and clearing the higher difficulties will make you feel like a complete boss.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Paying to NOT Play with World of Warcraft

Well I didn't think I'd ever be talking about this game again.  I still remember back when I was in high school, just after I finished my GCSE exams, coming home and loading up WoW for the first time.  I remember back during Burning Crusade, when I said "fuck it" to study during my A Level study leave and just whittled away the hours on this game.

Now, World of Warcraft is a completely different beast.  From what people who still do play have told me and from what I've read, it's been dumbed down a great deal and it's only a mere shell of that game that I once had rather fond memories of.

I suppose this post is a kind of extension of the money grubbing rant I made a while ago, so before I even start talking about this stuff, if you want to know how I feel about cash shops and microtransactions, then you can get a general idea from this video.

Now, World of Warcraft isn't exactly new to the idea of nickle and diming its customers.  I remember just after I stopped playing Blizzard released some kind of mount that looked like a bunch of stars in the shape of a horse or something.  People were laughing at it and calling it a piece of shit because there wasn't any way to earn it in game, you had to BUY it from a cash shop.

The reason it was met with such negativity from the player base is because the whole reason you play subscription based MMOs is so that you don't have to deal with this cash shop dog shit.  You buy the game and pay £7/month or something and you get access to everything for that.  In a genre like this where the developer is CONSTANTLY expected to create new content for an ever expanding world, then I won't begrudge them for a subscription fee, but a cash shop is taking the piss.

But times have changed and by the looks of things it seems like all the smart players have fucked off to other games because recently THIS happened.
That picture is from the in game cash shop and is giving players the option to BUY a max level character for $60!  Why would anyone do this, really?  You could buy a NEW game for that much money but Blizzard expect (and people will) people to shell out $60 for a max level character, I mean Jesus Christ.

But I'm not mad about this, why would I be? I don't even play the game anymore.  I'm genuinely confused as to why this is even a thing though.  Part of the fun of playing an MMO is the journey to the end game.  Levelling with your buddies, doing quests and learning the lore of the land as you go, it's great fun.  But instead Blizzard are expecting people to just cut ALL of that shit out and just jump straight into level 90.

I get that people want to PVP and stuff, but what's the point of playing an MMO if you're just going to skip the levelling?  Especially when your skipping out on this much content, it's like your paying to not play the game, I'm genuinely confused as to why anyone would want to skip it when they are already paying a pretty sizable amount of money just to play.

Maybe one day someone will explain what the appeal is, but until that day I'm just going to blanket label you all as nut jobs with more money than sense.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Electronic Super Joy

How in FUCK has it taken me this long to talk about this game?  Well probably because it's really good and I can't stop playing it.

.ESJ is an indie platform game on Steam created by a guy called Michael Todd of Michael Todd Games.  In it's story you play as some guy who has had his ass stolen by a disco wizard or something insane like that but fuck the story just shut up and start jumping!

Yes, ESJ doesn't give a flying fuck about plot and instead it just has 3 worlds worth of really solid platforming to enjoy.  You can jump and you can also do a sort of ground pound move as your most basic methods of getting around a stage but as the game progresses it adds other little things such as double jumping or flying or even one very short level where you pilot a ship and shoot at a guy in another ship.

One thing this game has in absolute spades is variety with almost every level having something unique about it.  It prevents the game from ever becoming stale because you know as soon as you jump through the end of level portal you're going to get another level that's vastly different on the other side.

One of this games strongest points by far though is it's sound design.  It's kind of a weird way to phrase this but right now I can't think of a better way to describe it. It sort of feels like ESJs world is made of music;  If you play it you'll know what I mean by that extremely stupid sounding line.  The sound track is fantastic consisting of all these thumping electronic/techno tracks that get you all fired up and then on top of that you have the slightly sexual "oh yeah" sounds when you hit a check point which are both satisfying to hear and rather funny.

I can't really do this game a decent amount of justice with words, I implore you to go and play it.  Playing Electronic Super Joy is like having a really nice burger.  The appealing visuals are like the bun while the sound design functions as the trimmings with the core gameplay acting as the delicious juicy patty..........that didn't really make much sense either, just fucking play the damn game.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Outlast Part 6

I'm going to be blunt....I don't like this game really.....still, I don't want to leave a playthrough unfinished!   Hopefully the ending will be so crazy good it makes my opinion do a 180.



Monday, 17 February 2014

Serena (Plus Small Rant About Gone Home and The Stanley Parable)

Every month I try to play at least one game released this year to add to my list of Awesome 2014 releases so that I have a nice pool of games to choose from when it comes to picking my top 5 in December.

This month I went with free Steam indie title, Serena and let me tell you, it won't be making any "best of" lists any time soon.

Serena is a very strange game, just because it's a free game that is never announced to you.  I saw it on Steam one day and when I clicked it to get more information, it said "You Already Own Serena".  This confused me since I hadn't bought it, or pressed any download button and it wasn't sitting in my library, but I went with it and gave it a download.  Checking the store now it's clearly labelled as free but I'm sure it wasn't when it was on the front page, but whatever.

According to the blurb on the store page for steam, Serena is an adventure game but that couldn't really be any further from the truth.  Serena is one of those "games" that keep popping up recently.  Absolutely 0 gameplay to be had, just story, more like interactive fiction than a game.  So that must mean the story is pretty good right?  Well no, it's not

The game starts out and your character is sat at a table.  The first thing you are presented with is a photo of him and his wife, but his wife has a scratched out face and he comments about how he can't remember anything about her.  You then walk around his log cabin, clicking on things and listening to him ramble about fond memories of her.  The next few paragraphs contain spoilers, I'll mark them and then you can skip past them if you actually give any kind of crap (you shouldn't)

SPOILERS

As you find items, he starts to remember some kind of argument they had and his ramblings go from fond memories to rants about how much he hates her.  You keep clicking around and in a pretty predictable twist you find a dead body in a cabinet which I think is the protagonists body (you're playing as his ghost or something, who fucking knows), then you get a scene with his (ex) wife and her new lover burning down the log cabin to hide the evidence of her killing you.

END SPOILERS

It sounds like an interesting premise to be honest with you, but it's so poorly presented that it failed to really grasp me.  Straight away I have no idea who anyone is, where I am or why I should care about this guy and his fucking problems.  He can ramble all he wants about his wife and how much he loves her whenever I click on a chair or a dinner table but at the end of the day I just don't give a flying rats arse.  The game presents me with no reason to care about these characters and there isn't really any conflict to resolve, I'm just listening to memories and watching events play out and I have absolutely 0 input.

So, it's a badly presented story with 0 gameplay, puzzle solving or brain power required so calling it an adventure game is a bit of an insult.  If you want to play a real adventure game with a vague plot about a man who can't remember a person who may or may not be his lover, play fucking Anna

http://identitygaming.blogspot.jp/2013/10/anna-extended-edition.html

Now, what does Serena, Gone Home and The Stanley Parable all have in common?

They aren't fucking games.  Now Gone Home and Serena are complete dogshit on a stick, but The Stanley Parable proved that you can have a game like this and make it entertaining at the same time, but I think the definition of "game" is a bit stupid.

Another title that proved you need minimal game play to be enjoyable is the Silent Hill Play Novel, a Japan only book version of Silent Hill which tries to expand on the game by going into great detail about Harry Mason's thoughts and feelings during his adventures through the haunted town.

But in Japan, people KNOW this shit doesn't really qualify as a game, and thus has been assigned it's own genre title of Sound Novel or Visual Novel.  I would stop getting so upset about Gone Home or Parable being praised so much if they weren't praised as being games.

The derogatory term I keep seeing get thrown around for these games is "walking simulator", which is kind of funny but a little unfair.  Give them a name fitting of their content, like interactive fiction or something then maybe I'll stop being so upset when they keep winning awards that they don't fucking deserve.

Interactive Fiction award?  Sure I can handle that
Adventure game award?  Get fucked and go play Monkey Island or Beneath a Steel Sky and learn what a REAL adventure game is you brain dead bag of shitty tissues.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

"Games Are Art"? Piss Off!

There seems to be this big ongoing debate between gamers that games are art or whatever and before I explain my reasoning behind wanting this debate to just fuck off forever, let me at least acknowledge that they have a point.

Gaming as a medium is quite artistic, you can't really debate that.  You have 4 different mediums coming together in the form of writing, music, artwork and then interactivity on top of all that.  Slamming all that together to make a game is no easy task so to say games aren't artistic at all would be a bit silly.

But should games be considered art?  Well fucking no because art is fucking terrible.  I'm aware that made me sound like some kind of uncultured swine but hear me out.

One thing you may have thought when you first opened this page is "why did he put a blue (it looks purple thanks to blogger, whatever) rectangle at the top of this post?"  Well that's no ordinary blue rectangle, that's fucking ART!  I'm not even joking, that this is a piece by a bloke called Yves Klein and is titled "Blue". 

I took a page from his book and made my very own piece of artwork

I call this one Red, I'll be sure to get it hung the Tate Modern Art Gallery soon, I'll be expecting millions in my back account within the next few months.

Sarcasm aside, art is a load of toss surrounded by complete tossers.  I'm aware not all art is like this, there are some very skilled people out there doing very skilled work, but they are buried under the droves of tossers making crap and somehow getting large amounts of recognition for it.

So no, games shouldn't be considered art because art is a load of fucking bollocks.  I saw a video of a woman at some kind of art event rubbing shit all over herself in front of a large group of tossers and she was APPLAUDED FOR IT!  Games do not belong in the same category as this so called fucking "art".  If I ever find that video again I'll update this post.

The games that people want to call art, like Ico, Silent Hill 2, Dark Souls and all that stuff aren't trying to be art, they are trying to be games.  However, they use their given medium extremely well and as a result produce something that could be seen as artistic, I get that.

But do you want to know what happens when you TRY to make art within the medium of video games?

Yeah, this pile of stupid bullshit happens.  Badly written stupid bullshit made to pander to a certain section of brain dead pricks who think they are being either "progressive" or "deep". 

What's funny about Gone Home is that 100% of the people I've encountered who said Gone Home was a good game are tossers......so maybe it does have a place in the world of art.

Make GAMES, not ART!  When you make a GOOD fucking game, the artistry that went into making that game will shine through.   If you try to make art instead of games, you end up with shit like Gone Home and Dinner Date........so yeah, Art can go fuck itself.


Monday, 10 February 2014

No February Marathon.....sort of...

Some things have happened to me this month that means I went and accidently put myself into a position where I can't really do a marathon this month.  Sorry about that, but it's not all bad!

Whenever I'm streaming Final Fantasy, the one thing I get asked constantly is "when are you playing 6?" or "when are you playing 7?".  Of course I plan to play these games but I'm doing things in order and I'm currently up to Final Fantasy 5.

So, at the end of the month on the 27th and 28th, I have some days off work so assuming I don't get called in to do another thing, I'll be doing super long Final Fantasy streams so I can get to 6 a bit faster.

I'll make sure I set some time aside for a proper marathon next month, so if there is any specific game you want to see, go get a donation in for it!

https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/identitygaming2

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Industry Money Grubbing Rant

I go off on one about the games industry being filled full of twats who don't want to deliver quality products but damand great deals of money anyway...IN VIDEO FORM!



Thursday, 6 February 2014

DotA2 New Year Event Roundup

New Year?! BUT IT'S FEBRUARY!  Well this event was in time for the Chinese new year, hence the picture of the horse and the dirty big dragon.  It should be obvious except with some of the shit I see people writing on the internet it wouldn't surprise me if there was a certain group of people who may stumble on this post that didn't know these Chinese New Year wasn't Jan 1st.

Anyway, what happened in this event? Well lot's of fucking NOTHING, that's your answer.

Well...that's a harsh evaluation.  There was a patch with a cool new Ability Draft mode, that allows you to pick your skills from a big pool made up of all the heroes in the match which were picked at random.  It's an interesting mode made to be played for fun, but almost every game I've had of it contains one super try hard tosser moaning and just spoiling the silliness for everyone else.

Then on top of that there were two new heroes.  Phoenix, a big fire bird that heals shit and explodes a lot.  Then there was Terrorblade who is a big glowy eyed demon that makes clones of things and swaps health bars around.  I've not had a chance to play them yet because I'm on a huge winning streak with Zeus and I'm a very boring individual who hates change.  Maybe once I start losing I'll give them a spin.

But then there was the event itself....holy shit what a let down.  From the kickoff there was this big timer that was counting down from 7 days.  During this timer, playing normal games of DotA got you a form of currency called Flamesalt Ingots, that the game said would be used to fight "the year beast".

So I cut off EVERYTHING to grind out a load of ingots.  If you were wondering why I've not been streaming or producing videos, it's because I was grinding ingots on DotA.....yes I'm that sad stop judging me.

Anyway, once the timer ticked down, the year beast appeared! A huge dragon thing where the damage you dealt to it was converted into prizes.  Now, the gold you were given to buy items with against the dragon was based on how many ingots you got, and even though I had over 1000 ingots (I'm not paying for favour, go fuck yourself), it didn't last very long.

I managed to get a couple of prizes but once my ingots were gone there was literally NO point in playing anymore.  All those games of DotA for a short morning sessions against the year beast and I was done, what a fucking letdown.

Finally, I still have no idea what the fucking offering thing does in the item menu, I just put shit on there and nothing happens, so that's another feature that can go royally fuck itself.

SHITTEST. EVENT. EVER

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Enclave

Enclave is a game is an action game that was released in 2002 for Xbox, but just as a testament to how long my backlog is, I only just beat it a few days ago.

Enclave, despite getting quite good reviews at the time of its release, is a game that I think went under the radar of most people.  It's a title that isn't bad and is sort of fun to play but at the same time manages to feel a bit boring and stale if that makes any sense at all.  Plus the thing hasn't aged well at all since 2002 so playing it today feels a bit clunky, but that didn't stop me from having an OK time with it.

At this point I'd usually take some time to talk about the games story but I forgot it because it's one of the most pointless and stupid things every written with lots of silly fantasy terms in it just for the sake of it.  From what I do remember there was some kind of war and the lands were split in 2, a good half and a bad half, over time the lands started to come back together and the bad half started attacking the good half.  Your bunch of heroes have to enlist the aid of some people and put an end to some demon that controls the bad half or something....who cares just fucking cut some orcs already, jeez.

Gameplay wise, it's nothing really special.  You pick a character and you click the mouse in a monsters general direction and hope it dies before you do.  Over the course of the adventure you gain access to new characters like a Knight, Ranger, Druid, Wizard etc. but I beat the whole game with the Knight with the exception of a single level that was filled with archers so I have no idea what the other classes are like at all.

While playing you are given gold to spend on items and equipment and it seems at the start like the general idea is that you have to explore and find the gold, but you get craptons of gold just for beating a level so there really isn't any need to spend time exploring like I did but it does make things a little easier I guess.

One nice thing about the game though is that it has 2 story modes.  A light campaign and a dark campaign, so once you beat the game as a goody goody protector of the lands, you can replay the game as a huge arsehole.

Also Enclave has the WORST Final Boss I've ever seen.  I'd call spoilers but the following video is just 1 minute of me shooting a monster in the face, so I don't really think it counts....

What a well designed boss battle....

It must sound from this post that I don't like Enclave at all, but quite the opposite, I actually really enjoyed playing it.  It's strange, as I was playing and as I reflect on the game I only have bad things to say but do believe me when I say Enclave is rather fun somehow.  I really enjoyed my time with it despite all my griping.

So if you want to give it a go based off my glowing review, then head over to Steam and pick it up pretty cheap.  Failing that, you can dig out your old Xbox and try and hunt down a copy in a used game shop or something, maybe the console version plays a bit better, I have no idea.