Wednesday, 30 April 2014
Saturday, 26 April 2014
I'm going to split this piece into 2 parts. The first being why it's terrible as a game and the second being why it's a terrible story.
The GameI remember when I saw the first trailers for Outlast, it originally looked like it was going to be some kind of Mirrors Edge but with a horror setting, which sounded radical. When I played the game I was a little disappointed that the final product was a slow, plodding, shit excuse of a survival horror game with a crappy chase mechanic
Granted you can sprint and vault over things every now and again but this isn't used well enough for it to be at all enjoyable. Ideally, the enemies should have ALWAYS been coming at you and you'd have to parkour through the facility to survive but instead we got a bunch of uninteresting hallways and a few obstacle courses for you to parkour through when they decide it's time for a chase sequence.
Speaking of corridors, the game is FAR too linear. There is barely anything to explore and the designated hiding rooms are far too obvious. Also there are plenty of places to hide from enemies but not enough enemies to make the majority of them worth using. Most of the crazies in the asylum are non combative and once you realise this it kind of kills any tension because you know that chances are they are just going to sit there and spout nonsense.
The game is also formulaic and predictable which thus makes it extremely boring. You can basically describe Outlast as follows
1) Go through some corridors
2) Come to a thing that needs to be activated but it's broken
3) There will be 2 valves/levers/buttons, one down a left path, one down a right path.
4) Hit these buttons while avoiding ONE enemy
5) Go To 1
The game also has a habit of treating you like an idiot to the point where it becomes annoying. For example, there was a part where I came to a broken generator control panel. The panel read something like "Pressure valve 1 and 2 non operational" and as soon as I approached it a big fat yellow message popped up saying "FIX THE PRESSURE VAVLES". No fucking shit game, thanks for your obvious hint.
The last thing I have to moan about with the game itself is the control, it's garbage. The character moves far too slow at walking speed so there is no need to not have your pinky locked down on the run button. There is absolutely no need to never have the camera readied since it doesn't limit your view and you need it half the time to see in the dark. Finally, jumping is bollocks because the character jumps like he has ankle weights on and the auto grabbing of ledges sometimes doesn't work because of reasons.
The StoryThe story to Outlast is one of the stupidest things in gaming history. However I did take long breaks between each session so if I'm wrong about any of the points I'm about to make regarding the plot, please leave a comment and tell me how I'm wrong. I'm willing to admit I forgot/misunderstood some things if you can give me a good reason. It's still shit though.
I'm going to take a few characters from the plot and explain why they are dumb. Doing this should cover all the major problems I have with the story.
1) The Wistleblower
The Whistleblower is the character we never see or really hear from. The only thing we know or at least the only thing I remember is that he is the guy who tipped off the main character about what was going down at Mount Massive Asylum. But think about all the things we see inside Mount Massive over the course of the game.
1) We see and hear about lots of other freelance journalists that entered the asylum and were killed by the inhabitants
2) One of the first encounters in the asylum is with a dead SWAT team. The guy on the pike telling you to flee with his last breath
3) This means that this Whistleblower guy possibly tipped off the SWAT team, and then after they failed sent in ONE freelance journo with a camera and somehow hoped he would do better.
A fucking SWAT TEAM was taken out by probably one man with no weapons or intelligence (Chris Walker). That means that the Whistleblower is a bit of a fucking moron. But whatever, more stupid shit happens inside the asylum.
2) Chris Walker
His very existence doesn't make any fucking sense. He is a big hulking tosser with no sense of tactics or stealth and is completely unarmed, yet somehow manages to take out a bunch of dudes with fucking rifles on his own and comes out of the whole ordeal completely unscathed.
But let us assume that he did/could do that. It's assumed by some people that the reason Chris Walker is trying to kill you is because he's trying to stop a new host for the Walrider. This doesn't make any sense because how would he know the Walrider could do that? The doctor in the wheelchair seemed pretty surprised when he discovered that it had taken over the protagonists body so HOW THE FUCK would a big hulking moron like Chris know that?!
Also if he is trying to stop a new host for the Walrider, why aren't all the nutters who are on the side of that priest guy trying to kill him? The whole reason for the priest being there is to worship the Walrider, so why would he not be trying to take down an enemy of his faith? I know he's a big strong guy but the priest had a fucking legion of nutters with shivs at his disposal, I'm sure they could have taken him down, he's not invincible.
3) The Walrider and Billy Hope
I'm going to bullet point these ones because this side of the story is so stupid it makes my head spin
- The Walrider is a swarm of NANOMACHINES controlled by some dudes fucking lucid dreams. This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard.
-If they are controlled by Billy, how the fuck do they continue to function AFTER the protagonist killed Billy
-If the Walrider can function without Billy, why does it need to "infect" or "possess" the protagonist? It could have just killed him
-But let's assume it needs a host and the last point was done as a last ditch effort at self preservation while Billy was dying. The protagonist is gunned down by a team of dudes right at the end so surely it would shut down because A) The new host is fucking dead and B) I'm going to assume that the protagonist can't lucid dream
-Finally, if it is fucking nanomachines (a thing created by SCIENCE!) why does it need a traumatised host? Couldn't they just work on the nanites to make them less awkward to fucking use.
So that's it, Outlast is a shit game. I'll be doing another post soon about survival horror at large so watch this space.
Thursday, 24 April 2014
Don't forget that you can send a charity donation to the Alzheimer's Society and request a playthrough or put something towards one of the donation incentives on the right hand side of this page!
Wednesday, 23 April 2014
You see, if you get hyped for a game and follow its development and look up all the information you can on it then you are setting yourself up for disappointment. If the game that you've finally been waiting for comes out and it ends up sucking great deals of ass, then you are going to feel pretty crushed. This has happened to me on numerous occasions and maybe that's why I'm a little jaded when it comes to new releases.
On the flip side, if a game comes out and you weren't really expecting much from it but upon playing you realise it's actually really good, then that's a really nice feeling. That's not to say that you should go around hating on any release that gets any kind of press in the name of avoiding disappointment, but not getting too caught up in the whirlwinds of hype will help soften the blow a little if a game you were hoping to enjoy sucks.
But building excitement for a title is what's done for any entertainment medium, it's how sales are generated. But for me, when certain games start getting a lot of hype or a lot of praise on release, I instantly start raising eyebrows and it causes me to judge a game a lot more harshly that I would have done previously.
Halo is the best example of this that I ever experienced. Halo (the first one) was a good game, I enjoyed playing Halo on my friends Xbox when it first came out, it's a well polished FPS experience. However, Halo got a lot of praise and I mean A LOT of goddamn praise. It was being given perfect scores and hailed as one of the best games fucking ever made in the history of games.
However during the time of Halo's peak popularity, I couldn't help but find all the praise to be very silly. I really enjoyed playing it but I had a lot of problems and quite frankly it felt like a massive step back from a lot of the FPS games that I played during my youth. When faced with a Halo fan I would start to nitpick every little thing because of all the hype it received and in doing that I ended up kind of convincing myself that I didn't like it. It was only when I got over myself and popped it in again that I realised that is IS a good game, it's just not the 10/10 supergame that everyone made it out to be.
It sounds really petty I know, but if you throw down a 10 I'm going to pull out the magnifying glass.
Monday, 21 April 2014
Seriously though, I like trading card games like Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh but the idea of having to drop large amounts of money on little bits of paper really turns me off. That's why this kind of thing in video game format is so appealing; I get to play the game but don't have to drop as much money on it. However Yu-Gi-Oh games tend to be full of stupid crap and I find the Magic: The Gathering games to be extremely limiting.
Then Hearthstone comes along, which to most TCG snobs may be rather simplistic but it's fast, fun and best of all completely free. All you have to do is download some Battle.net thing and you're pretty much good to go from there, just log in and get playing.
The game of Hearthstone is rather simple. You pick a character based on a class from World of Warcraft and use your deck of minions and spells to drain their health from 30 to 0. Each card has a mana cost from 1 to 10 and each hero has a special skill that costs 2 mana to perform. For example the Mage can cast a fireball that will deal 1 damage which is great for a little DPS boost if you have some spare mana at the end of your turn.
Every single card available in the game is available for free, there is no jumping through pay gates to get more cards in Hearthstone. For 150 in game gold you can buy a booster pack that contains 5 cards. If you want to buy more packs at the same time it costs money, but the game doesn't limit you to how many packs you can buy. It's a little annoying that you can't stack gold purchases but it's a small inconvenience. You earn this gold by just playing the game, there is no way to buy gold from the in game store. Every 3 wins in normal play mode, ranked or not, nets you 10 gold. This sounds like getting a booster is a slow process but the game gets around this by providing the player with "daily quests". A daily quest may be something like "win 2 games with X class" or "Kill X Minions" and each completed quest nets you 40 gold.
On top of that you can spend 150 gold to enter The Arena to get even better prizes such as more gold, boosters or dust for crafting. You keep playing games until you hit either 12 wins or 3 losses, whichever comes first and you have to do it with a deck built out of randomly selected cards. Even if you don't own the card you can use it in arena mode if you get lucky with the drafting, so really it's up to luck but your rank or anything like that is unaffected and the prizes are really good so it's worth doing.
Finally you can craft cards using some weird crafting system that I've not really used much since I started. Basically you can disenchant cards you don't want into dust and then use that dust to craft new cards that you do want. I've not yet played the game long enough to know what specific cards I want for my deck but I imagine this system will become very useful to me later.
So if you like card games I'd absolutely recommend Hearthstone. Even if you don't like Warcraft, the game itself is fun to play so if you can get over the theme there's a good game here. Best of all, you have absolutely nothing to lose. You can play the game for hours and hours and spend 0 money like I have or you can drop a few bucks and get a nice handful of extra cards, but don't be disappointed if those cards don't give you much of an advantage.
Easily one of my favourite games of the year so far.
Friday, 18 April 2014
As you can tell from the title, bridges and boats are quite possible the dumbest cliche in all of RPG history. It's just a crap excuse for the developer of whatever game to throw some stupid crap enemy at you, split the party or bring the plot to a screeching halt.
Take Eternal Sonata for example
Eternal Sonata isn't the only game that does this but if you see a big ass bridge in an RPG, you can bet your ass some bullshit is going to follow.
However I can't think of so many games with bullshit bridges, but boats are on a whole different level of arse. Final Fantasy X is a great example of everything wrong with boats in RPGs
Then, for reasons, Sin (the big bad) just shows up and you have to fight him. The boss fight isn't even remotely challenging and he can't even really attack you. He just throws stupid little grasshoppers at you and you have to fend them off while Wakka kills the big fin with a beach ball. What's even worse is that if you have some time to kill, you can really fuck the rest of the game by farming AP off the little grasshopper things (yes, I know they are called Sin Spawn, shut up)
But every RPG boat section is like this. You do a bunch of shit on the boat that no one cares about and then you fight some kind of crap aquatic enemy like a giant squid or a big crab or some shit. If no that, then a ghost ship turns up and you have to run around ANOTHER boring ass boat filled with stupid ghosts and other cliche undead nonsense.
Fuck big ass bridges
Come up with some new terrible situation for a party to go through.
Wednesday, 16 April 2014
Monday, 14 April 2014
First take a look at the trailer, it's rad
I still remember back in my early teenage years, going over to a friends house and playing the shit out of Gauntlet Legends. Raging over who was getting all the food and gold and eventually overcoming all the big bads the game had to throw at you. It was a time filled with both extreme amounts of anger and extreme amounts of joy.
The reason I can let myself get so hyped for the new Gauntlet is because it's the kind of game that's very hard to fuck up. All you need is 4 classes, a lot of baddies and co-op play, if you have those 4 things then you have at the very least an acceptable Gauntlet experience. Add some polish, maybe some online functionality to bring it into 2014 and some well designed dungeons and the new Gauntlet will be something really special.
The only thing that pisses me off is the name. Why is it called "Gauntlet"? Now everyones going to get confused when you say Gauntlet because they won't know if they mean the 1985 arcade game or the 2014 game.
I'm going to be watching that space with much excitement.
Friday, 11 April 2014
Wednesday, 9 April 2014
For the longest time people have claimed that because these games show violent imagery the people who play them become violent and will eventually hurt someone or shoot up a school or whatever stupid bullshit. Usually when they say this, they mean impressionable kids but if you let your kid go around hurting others just because he/she saw it on a video game, then you're just a shit parent and that's all there is to it.
But then, the BBC come along with this article
Now I'm being unfair to the BBC because it's not really them that did the research but whatever, it wouldn't be as snappy if I put "The University of Rochester" now, would it?
Anyway, some twats in the UK apparently did some "research" and discovered that aggression is linked to bad game design rather than the content itself.....
NO FUCKING SHIT
Have you ever bought a thing like a microwave, toaster or flat packed shelf unit? You go home and take it out of the box and you THINK it's going to be easy to set up but it's not. The piece of shit wont work properly or fit together properly or it's too big or some other bullshit and it makes you mad. You start cursing at everything in the house and cursing the very life of the person who came up with this monstrosity you're trying to make work, the very thing that was supposed to make your life easier.
Games are the same.
The very thing that you were supposed to be able to just sit down and chill out with doesn't fucking work properly and ends up making you frustrated in the same way. Having a character not do what their supposed to do or having the game just crap out on you because they are a badly coded buggy mess is the EXACT same thing as the above example. You end up squeezing the controller as hard as you can and cursing the very life of the person who developed the piece of shit that is clogging up your gaming system.
So well done BBC and everyone involved in that "research", you discovered something that anyone with half a functioning brain worked out back in 197 fucking 2.
Monday, 7 April 2014
NUMBER 1! THE SEWER LEVEL!
You may have gathered from the image at the top of the page that I dislike sewers a lot. I'm not the only one to have this view on sewer levels, it's an opinion held by any person who has enjoyed games for any amount of time, these things are the fucking worst. But why are they the worst?
Is it because they are hard? No
Is it because that they are full of bullshit puzzles involving levers and keys and other crap? A little but not really, we can deal.
It's because that when you include a sewer level in your game it screams "WE RAN OUT OF IDEAS!". Every sewer level ever made is the same brown or gray series of bland corridors with a stretch of water running down the middle. It's always the point in any given game where the fun comes screeching to a halt and you have to just deal with a shit boring area for anything between 10 minutes to an hour.
Silent Hill does it kind of right by keeping it short and simple but there are games like Legend of Lagaia 2 that have really long and stupid sewer sections that make me want to kill myself. Doesn't matter if you do it "right" or not, the sewer level needs to fuck off out of gaming forever.
NUMBER 2! ESCORT QUESTS!
Can anyone on Earth name a single game that has an enjoyable escort quest? Every single time one of these things pops up it makes people just want to put down the controller and never touch that damn game again. Doesn't matter how good the game is, an escort quest WILL make people rage quit as they just don't want to have to deal with terribly programmed AI and having to restart because your partner walked themselves into a group of enemies and got their dopey arse killed.
The worst game for this example off the top of my head is Dead Rising
The game that did it "best" was Resident Evil 4 because Ashley had the decency to sit in a bin for long stretches of time, but this just made the whole thing feel pointless and was just a stupid preparatory step you had to take before engaging in combat. Either way, escort quests need to just fuck off forever.
NUMBER 3! EXCESSIVE BACK TRACKING!
There are two kinds of back tracking to be found in games. The first kind is the kind found in games like Metroid.
This is an OK form of back tracking because it's kind of exciting. You get your new toy and then you get all this build up as you make your way back through because you know for a fact that there's going to be something new after making the short trip.
But then there is the terrible kind of back tracking, forced and samey.
Devil May Cry 4 did the same kind of thing, where you played through a bunch of levels are Nero and then AGAIN with Dante but backwards. It was crap but at least the game was good so we could focus on that but there are plenty of games that have this kind of thing but not the good gameplay to make it worth suffering through.
Give a decent reward for having to back track or don't include it. Making me replay through half a game I already played is a thing that absolutely needs to fuck off.
So yeah, 3 things that piss me off about games and that ain't all of them so maybe I'll do another one of these another day.
Friday, 4 April 2014
Reason #1: Game Longevity
With some games people may complain that replayability is an issue. They beat the game once and then have absolutely no desire to go back and attempt to beat it again because it's just not as fun as second time round. What speed running does, for me at least, is makes games that have that issue a lot more fun to play over and over again. For example, Hotline Miami is the kind of game that originally I had no interest in playing through more than once. I'm not the kind of person who is interested in high scores or anything like that outside of the shmup genre so after I beat it once I didn't have much desire to go back and play. But since discovering speed running I've played the shit out of Hotline Miami, just because the idea of beating my own time to the end of that game is really fun to me.
Reason #2: Knowledge of the title
I think that one misconception that people have about speed running is that it's JUST "getting to the end as fast as you can", but really it's a little more than that. Let's say I go and pop in Metal Gear Solid 3 right now, I've played that game A LOT but there's no way I could do an effective speed run. That's because the knowledge required to simply beat a game and the knowledge required to speed run it are 2 entirely different things. Usually speed running will require quite intimate knowledge of the title and not just the route through each stage. You have to know basically every little thing there is to know about not only the game itself, but all the technical things surrounding that game such as how many frames of animation something might take or how the hit boxes function. It's something that I find fascinating to "study" and kind of goes hand in hand with the whole game longevity thing that I mentioned before
Reason #3: The community
It's weird, I've entered quite a few gaming communities over my many years and I'm sorry to say that the vast majority of them are filled with complete twats. This isn't true for 100% of them though, and the speed running community are one of those few groups that aren't heavy on the twats. One thing that people worry about when they are new to speed running is that "oh I'm bad, it would be embarrassing to even try when there are already so many good players". But this is a load of crap because generally speaking people who speed run stuff are really nice. I'm terrible at Megaman X but when I've done races on Speed Runs Live for it, people don't come into my chat to mock me, they come to give me advice and help me to improve my times and that level of friendliness is hard to find when it comes to strangers on the internet.
So, that's the big 3 reasons why I love speed running so much. I know most people reading this probably don't care about why I love speed running so much, but it was something I thought I'd share so that maybe I could inspire a few others to take it up.