Category Archives: Action
I suppose there’s no harm in admitting I was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan as a kid. I watched the cartoons, collected the action figures, had the PJs and bedclothes, went to see the movies, collected the comics, and of course I had to have the games when they released. As with anyone who played it, the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the NES was a matter of finding workarounds and ways to game the system considering its difficulty level. The sequel was a little more the right tone, having been taken from the arcade version of the game.
With the release of the much anticipated Grand Theft Auto V, opinions have been diverse and hotly contested. And with good reason. There’s a lot to consider. The size and detail of the map, for instance, versus how much of it is you actually use. The social commentary on police, what with having a wanted star granting the police in game the right to shoot you dead. Skyrocketing cost of healthcare. And the inordinate difficulty in making enough money to survive let alone thrive. I can spend the entire day hunting and make maybe $1,000 for my trouble, but if getting mauled by a mountain lion at the end of the day nets me $1,500 in medical bills, then I’m in my pocket for the day’s work. And, for the danger they present, illegal ventures don’t necessarily pay much better. So we’ve put together a little guide looking at ways to make money, how to maximize your profit, and what to ignore.
What we’ve been seeing with video games over the course of the last few years is a sort of event horizon where there ceases to be a dividing line between a movie and a game, as evidenced by such emergent titles as Heavy Rain and Indigo Prophecy (with a new title to be soon released from the same studio). Back when the processing capacity of a computer or console was so very limited, a short cut scene or static image upon completing a level would be the player’s reward. The opportunity for storytelling has increased manifold as computer technology has advanced. But the compartmentalization of the game development process has brought about a pitfall which unfortunately many titles fall into.
Good video game development involves incorporating puzzle-solving and skill elements into what can seem to the player to be an open-ended narrative, but what all too often ends up happening is that you’re directed by a series of arrows to complete an obstacle course and fight a couple of monsters in order to trigger the next cut scene and advance the plot a step. The game and story should be seamlessly interwoven into one another, but regrettably in the case of Remember Me, I’d probably be better off watching a compilation of the cut scenes on Youtube.
For what it’s worth, Remember Me has some excellent ideas, the core concept being that a future company in Paris has discovered a way to digitize human memories, allowing them for download, upload, transfer, manipulation, and even theft. This is brought about by the Sensen, a sort of holographic implant sprouting from the back of the neck which allows memory transfer through thin air, ineptly thinking to avoid all the plotholes associated with the biology and technology that might be needed to make such a thing a reality, taking what could be a concrete and visceral concept and making it too nebulous and airy-fairy for most people’s liking. Sculpting a perfect past by means of buying new memories becomes an addiction of the social elite and trickles down to the lower classes, who bankrupt themselves and create a new sub-human underclass of memory addicts who don’t even know who they are anymore.
It hits the mark well as a dystopian cyberpunk game because it emphasizes the militant order imposed by the corporate powers that be while at the same time showing how utterly little they care for the core concept of one’s humanity. We as both the character and the audience get a strong sense of helplessness and weakness in the face of this vast, overgrown, corrupt machine which eats people up and shits them out. But whoever planned it doesn’t have a good grasp of storytelling, as they fail to set the scene properly by showing us the whole of the city in its decrepit splendor. Consequently, while I know I’m running around through Paris, it’s not like I would’ve recognized it unless I’d been told that’s where I was. The location adds nothing to story. The same goes for much of the gameplay and scenery.
And who on earth decided to rip off Star Wars for the soundtrack? With the sharp clatter of drums, hailing of trumpets, and shriek of violin strings surging up at the slightest notice, the only thing that was missing was the familiar and somehow calming beeps of R2-D2.
And whoever wrote the character’s dialogue needs to go to a corner bar and listen to the drunks for a couple of weeks so he can figure out how real people talk. I’d prefer leetspeak over the ham-fisted soap opera-ish twaddle the game’s characters trot out. As the player, you are Nilin, a French-born British-accented revolutionary-turned guinea pig-turned revolutionary whose memory has been taken, and you must find out who you are while being guided by the only other active member of your cabal, with the ultimate intention of bringing down the company responsible for establishing this pseudo-new world order. But we’ve yet to identify the bad guy behind it all, or even identify an evil plot. The company is a world power with its own military. What it could want to obtain through evil means that it couldn’t obtain through perfectly legal ones boggles the mind and leaves me thinking that the game’s writer just couldn’t come up with a decent goal for the bad guys to get involved in an actionable plot. Consequently, you fight the company because of its unethical but perfectly legal business practices, and I feel a bit stupid conducting industrial espionage trying to take down the futuristic equivalent of Wal-Mart just because they’re not nice people.
I would call it a saving grace were it worth the 10+ hours of work, though it’s not, but the one innovative approach to gameplay is memory remix, where Nilin dives into a person’s mind, replays a given memory, and then alters it as if one were editing a film in order to make the person think something that didn’t happen did. Aside from this, you engage in many hours of parkour which would feel like Assassin’s Creed if you had an open-world environment to roam instead of being told where to go constantly, taking away the spontaneity that’s the entire point of parkour. And occasionally you also get into fistfights superficially reminiscent of the 10 on 1 fights from Sleeping Dogs ala Bruce Lee. The developers tout their combo lab combat system as revolutionary, in which you can mix and match attacks to create your own attack combinations which do damage, heal you, or create status effects. What you’re really doing is putting pegs into holes. There are five combos that you unlock over the course of the game and will be carved into your soul given the mindnumbing frequency they are used. But with a limited number of attacks you can plug in, one combo becomes your damage dealer, the other heals you, the third establishes status effects, and the remainder are never used because they are too long and you are always interrupted before you can complete them.
True dystopian cyberpunk titles are few and far between, meaning I really had my hopes up for Remember Me. But the combination of high-tech low-life isn’t there, nor is there the cast of supporting characters and corporate intrigue one needs to show the many shades of grey inherent in a world where money is all that matters. This is what happens when each department in a development company is given a job and a deadline with no one who has the vision and leadership capabilities to keep everyone working together and all headed in the right direction. The compartmentalization of responsibilities in game production has led to the deaths of many titles in the past; Remember Me will not be the last to fall to bureaucracy. What it sought to achieve should indeed be remembered, but what it actually managed is best left forgotten.
|Pros:||Excellent premise. High quality graphics. Sweeping soundtrack|
|Cons:||Poor storytelling and execution. Boring gameplay.|
|Game producer's website:||Dontnod Entertainment|
|Official website:||Remember Me|
|Game available at:|
War of the Roses is not the simplest game out there. It’s on the level of Mount and Blade, which makes it a mildly difficult game when it comes to PvP. Aside from directional combat and blocking you also have types of armor, different weapons, Perks and more. In other words, you have countless different possibilities but that does not always translate into effectiveness. You could have a bowman in heavy armor, but a bow might be less optimal than a crossbow. You could have a a longsword for a sidearm but that does not mean that you will kill enemies in heavy armor. There are many different tid-bits here and there so the purpose of this short guide is to help you a bit, if you need the extra help. Some of this knowledge might be “common” to experienced players but if you are new this will help you greatly.
In case you never heard of it before, Payday (and Payday 2) is a game about four criminals performing a number of different Heists. The aim? Money. Everything does not always go according to plan, sometimes a few heads have to roll but from the point of view of the player it’s action packed and FUN! I was a fan of the first Payday. While each level could be similar small things could change each time. The position of the objectives, when and what cops show up. Sometimes you had some influence over how a missions would proceed. You could take the silent approach, or guns blazing. The game was surprisingly good, and with its leveling system you could design the equipment setup that most suited you.
I’m rapidly beginning to feel like Resident Evil has taken the place of the Mega Man franchise of my youth: There’s a new one out every month. Following quickly on the heels of the moderately innovative yet flawed Resident Evil 6, Resident Evil: Revelations is an effort by developers to fill in and piece together some of the more obvious gaping holes in the Resident Evil canon, particularly the ginormous nothingness between Resident Evil 4 & 5 where our cast of known characters went from lone, wandering, outcast, underdogs to a group of world-class badasses melded together by a sense of purpose and a world-spanning counter-bioterrorism organization bankrolled by the UN.
During the most recent Ubisoft Sale on Steam I got around to buying I Am Alive. Before it came out I was intrigued by one of its Trailers, which was fancy and it gave me the idea that we would be playing a highly demanding Survival Game. The Trailer started off by showing your average Office Worker walking down the street, drinking what I assume was a Starbucks Coffee. Suddenly the world around him crumbles in an instant. Buildings topple over and the streets are engulfed in an ash cloud. Fast Forward some time into the future and we see the same Office Worker, now chased by his co-workers, cornered in some spacious hall. They demand his water and he throws them what might had been a water bottle, only for the glass to crack under the assailants and they plummet to their deaths (as it turns out, I remembered the Trailer in reverse order). That trailer made me think, “This game will be awesome.”. After the game’s release I heard the opinions and read the reviews, it wasn’t that good. Since I could buy the game for petty money due to the Sale I went ahead and decided to see what this specific Survival Game had to offer for itself. I was both pleasantly surprised and very much disgruntled.
You wait your habitual long count of twenty after the door slams, staring up at the crazed ceiling with the odd bullethole and the deep, scorched scar leftover from the Maiden Handgrenaten case. Licksy’s signature mélange of BO and nicostix still assails your nostrils when it’s done. The air exchanger where the lower lobe of your left lung used to be does its job finally. You’d been mentally willing it not to wheeze while the dwarf fixer was in your office—for someone with such delicate feelings you’d think he’d do more to keep in clean clothes.
Cold, hard nuyen in the bank. Time to celebrate.
You tip your size 25 boots off your pre-fab desk and reach for the bottom drawer. The creak that erupts from your straining chair is echoed by the creaking of bones. Goblinization hit you harder than most. When the other juves in school were worrying about getting hair on their wedding tackle you were worrying about hiding the tusks and 80 kilos of extra muscle. Humanis policlub had ties with Shatogunda Corp back then, and the best you could hope for was Dad’s contract being terminated when they found out. That didn’t much matter when Dad turned out to be an ork too. You’d think a megacorp headed by a millennia-old dragon would be more willing to tolerate those caught in the fallout of magic returning to the world.
No synth-drek for you this time. Real bourbon. The hard stuff, still in the vacuum-sealed cylinder, is your reward. It glistens like red gold as it eases into the shot glass. That glass is smaller than your yellowed thumbnail, but the night is still young, the fires out in the Sprawl and gunshots closer to your little stomping ground have only just begun—take your time savoring it.
“Seems a little out of your price range,” a wry, feminine voice says.
In a flash, your Ares roomsweeper is out from under the desk, the bottle protectively in your other hand. Only then does the shot glass shatter against the bare ferrocrete floor. A willowy figure is standing in the corner, inspecting the hung pictures and clippings that are all you have to show for twenty years beating the harsh pavement as if the fragging mammoth of a battle shotgun isn’t even there. Long, silky black hair sweeps down a synthleather overcoat. High-heeled jackboots and slender, delicate hands are all you can see protruding from its folds. Too stiff to be decorative. Too scarred to be a corp-brat slumming it. Armored.
You hadn’t heard her come in. And that just didn’t happen. Not good.
“Dish,” you rumble, and set the bottle back in its protective sheathe. It’s meant to be disarming, but the smile out of the corner of her high-boned face tells you she knows you’re freeing your hands for action.
Blinding fast, she turns. Wired reflexes. You flick the shotgun into full-auto mode and let the ominous hum it emits speak for you.
“You’re Jack Hardt? Private investigator?” she asks, moving her hair out of her black, almond eyes. The chrome of a datajack glistens at her temple, but you’re more wary of the chrome peeking from the end of her left fist. Flick razors. She’s too high tech for a lowlife razorgirl.
“And you’re no five nuyen and a hit street samurai,” you return.
You stumble over your chair to keep her out of blade range as she sweeps forward to drop ceremoniously in front of your desk. Her eyes are looking for weakness, laughing and roving over the beaten up 2.5 meter rawboned body that fate deemed fit to bless and curse you with. She tips her head slightly in respect when she finds none.
“Feel free to speculate on what I am not,” she says, then switches to Navajo, a language from a past no one living knew of. “But it would be better for us if you did not think on what I am.”
The words sink in, and the controlled tension eases from your frame just as your heart grows heavier. The roomsweeper is placed carefully on the desk between you two, and you right your chair to sit down.
“So you’re putting together a run?” you sigh.
Her graceful head dips, and you see the tips of her ears peeking through her hair for the first time, confirming your suspicions.
“How much?” you ask.
When I found Hacker Evolution Duality on my desk(top) my first thought was, “Modern Uplink?”. Uplink is a Video Game where you start as a member of the Uplink corporation. Imagine a company that acts as a hub for people in need of hackers. You are an aspiring hacker and you begin with a Windows 95 Computer (well, not really, but it is crappy), a bit of cash and a whole world to “rob”. Before you reach the top you will be at the bottom. And by bottom I mean some dirty mud pit, with just two forks to climb your way out of there. Uplink is a fun game, a challenging game. It takes a lot of thought and preparation. You have to connect to a target server through different other servers, get past passwords, firewalls and proxies, gather, delete or change some data then get out. Depending on who you ended up facing you might have to delete any traces of your presence. What is so fun about Uplink? It feels like you are part of this strange corporation.
Your pulse is pounding, sweat chilled on burning skin that still prickles from the branches and brambles. It was just a few seconds ago, but your head is miles away. Your mind is trying to protect you from the things you’ve seen, from the snarling of dogs and screaming of the victims that were once your friends and comrades-in-arms.
The emergency call. Your downed chopper. The mad dash through the woods.
The old mansion seemed a godsent protection from the hellhounds. But now the door has slammed shut, snapping off the pandemonium behind you as if someone flipped a switch. And you’re starting to wonder if the dogs weren’t preferable. The foyer is empty. Your calls seem sucked away into the void. No help is coming.
All other doors locked, you check the dining hall. A crackling fire in the hearth at the far end adds a random counterpoint to the monotony of an ancient grandfather clock slicing fine the seconds of your life. A knot of anxiety forms in your gut. The house is dead, but you can feel presences all around. You pace down the length of the old mahogany dining table spanning the room, your flak-heavy tread muffled by years of dust covering the marble tiles.
You redouble your cold, clammy grip on your Beretta at the realization that the crackling fire is covering an all too familiar noise: the guttural crunch and squelching of something feeding. It’s just beyond the high-backed chair heading the table.
A pool of steaming red comes into site as you advance. You take a moment to steel your nerve. You swallow the acid scorching its way up your throat. Then you spin past the chair, gun braced, expecting one of those damned dogs.
And what you behold is a sight that has changed video gaming since 1996.