Sunday, March 29, 2015

Screenshot of the Week #31: Avatar?!

                Pillars of Eternity was released this week (finally!!!) and I have been playing it like crazy. I have spent over 50 hours in the game from Thursday until today and I think I completed about 65 - 70% of the overall progression. Pillars of Eternity is everything I wanted it to be and I rarely say something like this about a game. The nostalgic design made specifically to look like an Infinity Engine game with beautiful 2D graphics and the captivating gameplay and smartly presented story, make this game feel like a memory from a different time for RPGs when the genre was more about the value of role-playing and less about marketing and how much a game would sell. I could write a lot about this game, but there is no point in doing that since my next review will cover it (another gigantic review I bet).
                Besides waiting for Pillars of Eternity and playing it, I haven’t done much else in terms of gaming this week and this doesn’t come as a surprise for, as I haven’t been so hyped about a game in years. It is common for me to take time off work to play the titles that I expect to be the best of the year, but it is uncommon to get so anxious about an upcoming game. Being hyped is not a good thing as most of the time it leads to disappointment (and pre-orders…), but not this time!
Jake Sully, is that you?!

                As I was expecting, if I couldn’t get my articles done in time before Pillars of Eternity release, I won’t have a chance to finishing them after, so I had to postpone a little the last two parts of my article about best male characters in video games. I promise I will recover for these couple of slow months in April with more reviews and a new type of articles (!!!).

In the meantime, please share my articles and follow me on Steam and on Twitter!!


Monday, March 23, 2015

Best male characters in video games Part III

Lee Everett – The Walking Dead Season One

            Lee Everett was the protagonist of Telltale’s The Walking Dead Season One. Lee was an African American history professor teaching at the University of Georgia. Prior to the outbreak Lee was convicted for murdering a state senator who had an affair with his wife. He was on his way to serve his sentence when the police car he was in crashed. He survives the accident and escapes the zombies chasing him and then finds himself in a ghost town (zombie town). Searching for supplies and answers in the first house he finds, he stumbles on Clementine, a young girl hiding in a tree house which saves his life when fighting her babysitter now turned into a zombie. Lee promises Clementine that he will take care of her until they find her parents. The action of the game evolves with Lee at the center, underlining the growing relationship between him and Clementine.
                Lee Everett’s personality is mostly defined by the actions taken by the players, but he is an independent and intelligent person that acts as a leader for most of the groups he is part of and shows paternal feelings for Clementine. The bond between the two main characters is probably the most important thing in the game and the effect he had on Clementine and his teachings can be seen in the second season.
                The Walking Dead Season One is an emotional game from the beginning to the very end, but what makes the game stick in the memory of the players is the ending which is extremely sad even if it was something expected by many. Lee keeps his promise until the last moments and takes care of Clementine no matter the cost. He fights to his last breath so that she can be unharmed. Even if the emotional scars will probably last forever, Clementine walks forward stronger and more confident ready to face the challenges of tomorrow because of everything Lee taught her.
Like a family!
Always fighting!

Bigby Wolf – The Wolf Among Us

                Bigby was known as the Big Bad Wolf before the Fables seeked refuge in our world, now he is the sheriff of Fabletown, in charge with protecting the Fables from themselves or humans. Bigby is the main protagonist of the game and like Lee Everett he has some predefined personality traits, but many choices are left to the players controlling him.
This character is based on the main antagonist from the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood and while he tries to suppress some of his old habits, he doesn’t always manage to fully control his animalistic nature.
                During the events from The Wolf Among Us, Bigby has to put up with lots of problems in the Fables community, but what triggers the action of the game is the murder of Faith, a fable, by one of their own. While running the investigation to uncover who was behind the murder, Bigby stumbles on the larger problems of the community which go deeper than the crime itself.
                Since he used to be a terrible being back in the day, Bigby has a hard time connecting with most of his kind, many of them resenting him and the rest fearing him. This results in an isolation from those around him. Despite all these things, Bigby has a more soft side proven by his feelings for Snow and by how he does everything possible to protect Faith from the Huntsman despite not even knowing the girl. The player can alter his personality making him more aggressive or peaceful, but there are several things that the player has no impact on, one of them being the constant swearing.
                As the Big Bad Wolf, his combat abilities are some of the most developed compared with most of the characters met in the game. He can transform in a wolf (shocking!) in three different stages (super saiyan style!) in the last stage taking the form of a gigantic wolf. Compared with the rest of the Fables, Bigby can transform into a human, without using the special potion named glamour, due to his lycanthropy. Bigby is extremely agile in both human and wolf form and this is proven many times throughout the game as he dodges hits quite fast and has the ability to jump large distances. Another awesome power of his is the extreme resilience to life threatening damage, as he is able to survive being shot 40 times and all the powerful blows he takes during the game.
                Bigby is a well rounded character with an interesting background, a well defined personality that can be adjusted by the players and some incredible combat feats. With his constant smoking, careless and distant attitude and his dangerous mood swings, he is one of the most awesome characters in video games. Hopefully Telltale will continue the series as the first game was great!
Old pals!
Phase one!

Thrall – Warcraft Universe

                There are so many interesting characters in the expanded Warcraft universe that I will need a whole article just to briefly mention them, but for this article I had to pick the one that I find the most representative from my favorites. The top choices were Arthas Menethil, Ner’zhul, Medivh and Thrall, but I picked the latter because he is the best presented character on this list, mostly because he lived long enough so that his story develops further than that of the rest.
                Thrall is an orc shaman, the son of Durotan and Draka of the Frostwolf clan. As a baby, he was found between the dead bodies of his parents by Aedelas Blackmoore which gave him the name Thrall, another word for slave in human language. He was raised in Durnholde Keep to be a savage warrior as orcs should be, but was also trained to have the strategic mind of human leaders. He served as a gladiator and used his physical advantages of being an orc and his cleverness to stay alive. Blackmoore’s treatment towards him was brutal, beating Thrall with every occasion he had. With the help of Blackmoore’s daughter which he befriended during his studies in captivity, Thrall escaped Durnholde and through a series of adventures and more captivity he found out what happened with the remanants of the Horde after the Second War and learned about Grom Hellscream, the only uncontested leader of an orc’s clan. He reached the Frostwolf clan where he learned about his true parents and started to communicate with the elements, becoming the first non-corrupted shaman since Gul’dan’s pact with Mannoroth. Here he met a stranger orc that taunted Thrall into fighting him. After an honorable battle, Thrall disarmed his opponent which turned out to be Orgrim Doomhammer, the Warchief of the Horde.
Thrall joined his Warchief in battle against human camps in order to liberate the orcs they held captive and for the most part succeeded. But humans became aware of what is happening and during one battle Orgrim was gravely wounded, with his last breath he gave Thrall his hammer and armor and named him the new Warchief of the Horde.
                Later on Thrall met Grom Hellscream and together they searched for the dispersed forces and united them under one flag. Guided by Medivh, during the fall of Lordaeron in the Third War, Thrall drove the horde into an exodus to Kalimdor. When demons invaded Kalimdor, he fought side by side with Grom to kill Mannoroth , the demon responsible for the corruption of the orcs. Grom sacrificed himself delivering the last blow to the terrible demon and left Thrall leading a free nation of orcs. The horde under Thrall’s command stood side by side with humans led by Jaina Proudmoore and night elves forces during the battle of Mount Hyjal where Archimonde, the leader of the demons, was killed putting an end to the invasion.
                Under Thrall’s command the Horde prospered expanding all over Kalimdor and even in the Eastern Kingdoms. Trolls, Taurens, the Forsaken and even blood elves joined his cause. After years of leading, Thrall handed over this burdening task to Grom’s son, Garrosh Hellscream, which proved to be a mistake as Garrosh was bloodthirsty and didn’t miss any chance to engage in a war with the Alliance. Thrall continued to serve the greater good and tried many times to put an end to the conflict, he helped the world with his powers to fight one of the greatest evils that ever existed, Deathwing, the dragon aspect of Earth which was driven insane by power and Old Gods. After all the blood spilling and terrible things that happen, Thrall fought Garrosh in a one on one battle that he won using the power of the elements.
                Over the years Thrall had shown his incredible qualities, by being calculated, tactical and not letting himself fully driven by the moment’s impulse or emotions (something that many characters in this universe can’t do, leading them to their doom). He is a very skilled warrior in both physical and magical combat. He wields Orgrim’s hammer with great agility striking hard and swift, but also has the power to call the elements to aid him. Thrall is a natural born leader and is never alone, people of both factions follow him in battle and respect his decisions and actions. 
                There are many great leaders in this universe, but few have served his people and the world as good as Thrall did. Always searching the balance and attempting as much as possible to avoid conflict, Thrall is one of the few characters that never let himself to be corrupted by power or any of the superior forces that threaten the world. His actions made Azeroth a better place and it is hard to imagine this universe without him.
Lok'Tar Ogar! For the Horde!
A wise orc!

Arcturus Mengsk – Starcraft Series

                The son of Angus Mengsk, Arcturus was a terran from Korhal. Initially, he joined the ranks of the confederate marines, but at the end of the Guild Wars his father started a rebellion against the Terran Confederacy, declaring the planet Korhal independent. The Confederacy killed his mother, father and sister and driven by hate and vengeance Mengsk turned against the system and became the new leader of the Rebellion of Korhal. By gaining troops at an impressive rate and signing secret alliances, he determined the Confederacy to strike the planet using a thousand nuclear missiles, killing millions of people in the process. Mengsk wasn’t on the planet at the time and used this opportunity to rally the people against the barbaric leadership promising a brighter future for all the terrans. Using his leadership skills and mischievous plans, Mengsk started to win the war. He liberated Sarah Kerrigan from a terran research facility and used her immense powers at his advantage. He also got the veteran Jim Raynor to join his ranks and help him in this crusade. Mengsk destroyed planets in order to win the war by using advanced technology that could manipulate the zergs to come to a location. Ultimately, he used this technology on Tarsonis, the capital planet of the Confederacy, where things got out of control and the zergs outnumbered any forces present there. Mengsk abandoned even his own troops to the zerg swarm, including Sarah Kerrigan, which was probably the biggest mistake he made in his entire life as she was transformed by the zergs into a monster later known as the Queen of Blades, the future leader of the zergs and the biggest threat to the galaxy.
                After he won the war, Mengsk put an end to the masquerade abandoning any idea of democracy and all the promises he made. He became a dictatorial emperor in the newly formed Terran Dominion. Raynor quit the cause after Tarsonis and started a slowly evolving rebellion against the new leadership, while Kerrigan swore to take vengeance for his trickery. Mengsk is one of the best characters of Starcraft and Brood War. He has a charismatic personality and is a natural leader, these two traits helped him gather the people he needed to drive the rebellion forward. He had a way to impose his will on others without having to say too many words. But one of the things that gave him the edge was his ability to read people, knowing exactly how to manipulate them to his own advantage. Mengsk has been in many battles as a fighter, but being a leader is what suited him the best. His intelligence and strategic thinking helped the insurgency win impossible battles and bring down an entire political and military system against all odds. But as any great men, he had flaws. Mengsk’s lust for power and quickness to discard those around him brought his downfall at the hands of those that once believed in him and helped him win the war against the Confederacy, turning even his own son against himself. Even so, he always thought in advance, preparing the terrans for the upcoming battles with a threat far beyond everything that they have ever seen and having a backup plan even in the last moment.
                Starcraft II didn’t make Mengsk justice as he was a mere shadow of his former self. But his actions during the first two games and the books that expand his story show the greatness of this villainous character that changed the face of strategy games forever. As he, together with Sarah Kerrigan, shown that strategy games can have interesting characters and great villains like any other genres.
Imposing leader!
Relaxed and calculated until the very end.

To be continued...


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Screenshot of the Week #30: To the beach!

                I’m counting the hours left until the release of Pillars of Eternity (96 to go!). I know it is not ok to be that hyped, but I have been waiting for this game for years. Obsidian Entertainment is one of my favorite studios and probably one of the few of which I’m almost a fan. RPGs are not rare these days, but classic RPGs with tactical combat and a complex dialogue system are quite rare and knowing the experience and dedication of the people at Obsidian I’m almost sure Pillars of Eternity is a game I will enjoy (in before bugs!).

                I’m quite a dedicated gamer and I keep up with almost everything related to this industry so it comes as a shock I don’t know about the existence of a good game, especially after it was in development for almost four years (I am ashamed…). The game I’m talking about is RUNNING WITH RIFLES (yes, with capitals) and is a combination of Hotline Miami’s combat, ARMA series tactical gameplay and a progression system that is common for online shooters nowadays. RWR is an absolutely lovely indie game with long and engaging matches, awesome shooting and overall fun gameplay. The one thing that probably bothers me is the lack of production value. With physics and some enhanced graphic effects this game could be epic, but even so is awesome. RUNNING WITH RIFLES is currently available through Steam’s Early Access with full release scheduled for April 4th and I’m planning to write a review about it then.
Vamos a la playa?!?!?

                There are at least three more parts for the Best male characters in video games article with part three coming tomorrow and the fourth one later this week. I will fully dedicate the end of the upcoming to Pillars of Eternity. I’m trying to write a review for the game in the first week of April and to manage this I will need to play as much as possible (I also want to play the game as much as possible!).

In the meantime, please share my articles and follow me on Steam and on Twitter!!


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Best male characters in video games Part II

The Joker – Batman Arkham Series

            Voice acted by Mark Hamill and well written by the people at Rocksteady Studios, the Joker is the embodiment of madness and chaos. He bears a cartoonish clown appearance with green hair, white painted skin and red lips, underlining with his style his insanity. He doesn’t have any super-powers, but has a keen mind for deadly plans, good combat skills and an unsatisfied taste for violence. He is Batman’s archenemy, but he also considers him his best friend, not being able to imagine a world in which Batman doesn’t exist. The Joker possesess a disturbing and sick sense of humor and he constantly puts it to use in his evil plays. He manages to seduce and corrupt Arkham’s doctor Harleen Quinzel, turning her into his pawn and a new villain for the city of Gotham by the name of Harley Quinn.
                Arkham Asylum is a place for the criminally insane but Joker is their leader, rallying everyone against the staff of the facility, the police and Batman. He is always helped by his almost equally insane girlfriend, Harley Quinn, to drive Batman and commissioner Gordon up the wall.
                There are many great (probably not the most appropriate use of the word great) villains in Gotham or the video games industry, but the Joker is one of those that stand out. His disturbing behavior, appetite for destruction and chaos and his twisted relation with Batman, make him one of the greatest villains of all times.
Team Insanity!
Thugs with make-up!

Chris Redfield – Resident Evil Franchise

                When I wrote the article about the best female characters in video games, I’ve picked Jill Valentine as the female character that I liked from the Resident Evil franchise. Now the time has come for her partner, Chris Redfield, to join the counterpart list.
While Leon is probably the fans’ favorite, I always felt that Chris Redfield is a more emblematic character for the series, despite not being as cool as Leon.
                Chris Redfield served as a pilot and marksman in the US Air Force and after leaving the army he joined Raccoon city’s STARS, an elite unit of ex-military personnel. As a member of STARS Alpha team he came in contact with the results of biological weapons for the first time during the events of Resident Evil when investigating the disappearance of Bravo team in the outskirts of the city. Chris and the members of his team including his partner Jill and the captain Albert Wesker were chased by mutated dogs and were forced into an abandoned mansion. It turned out that the mansion was serving as a secret research laboratory for bio organic weapons and Wesker was one of the researchers. After destroying the mansion and escaping alive from this entire mess, together with Jill and two other members of the team, Chris dedicated his time investigating the Umbrella Corporation discovering gruesome things about their experiments with G-virus.
                Chris is one of the co-founding members of Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance alongside with his good and longtime partner, Jill Valentine. He is a true warrior, fighting to defend a world that took a turn for the worst. He has been fighting biological terrorism all around the globe and he put an end to Wesker’s terrible plans in Resident Evil 5. Chris values his sister, Claire, and friends and is ready to give his life in order to protect them. He protects the innocent, which he has defended his whole life.
As an ex-military and part of an elite Special Forces division, Chris has developed proficiency with a wide variety of weapons. He fights the threat of zombies extremely well using hand guns and shotguns, but he is also an expert sharpshooter with fantastic accuracy and great focus. When the bullets run out or the firearms can’t help, Chris can use his unarmed combat skills to defeat his enemies.
                The Resident Evil series has a lot of tough, independent and awesome characters, both male and female, but for me the team formed by Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine is the most representative for the series and I hope I will get to see them fighting together in future games.
Resident Evil superhero!
Most iconic team in the series!

Vaas Montenegro – Far Cry 3

                Vaas is the main antagonist in the first half of Far Cry 3 and one of the craziest characters ever seen in a video game. He constantly quotes Einstein about the definition of insanity which is elementary in describing Vaas’ screwed up state of mind.
                Vaas is a pirate lord from Rook Island. He is an extremely dangerous person with an unstable personality with unpredictable actions making him feared even by his own men. He is sadistic, violent and reckless when it comes to everything. Vaas has no remorse for his actions and kills mostly for sport and usually in the most inhumane ways possible. The encounters with him make for some of the most entertaining moments in Far Cry 3, building up for that moment when the player can actually beat him and put an end to his reign of terror.
                This monologue made the character famous even before the game release as it described in the best possible way how irrational he is and why he has to be feared:
"Did I ever tell you what the definition of insanity is? Insanity is doing the exact... same fucking thing... over and over again, expecting... shit to change. That... is crazy; but the first time somebody told me that...I dunno, I thought they were bullshitting me, so boom — I shot him. The thing is, okay... He was right. And then I started seeing: everywhere I looked, everywhere I looked, all these fucking pricks, everywhere I looked, doing the exact same fucking thing... over and over and over and over again thinking: "This time, it's gonna be different; no, no, no, no, no, please... This time it's gonna be different." ...I am sorry, I don't like the way you are looking at me... Okay, do you have a fucking problem in your head? Do you think I am bullshitting you? Do you think I am lying? Fuck you! Okay? FUCK YOU! It's okay, man. I'm gonna chill, hermano. I'm gonna chill... The thing is... alright, the thing is: I killed you once already... and it's not like I am fucking crazy. It's okay... It's like water under the bridge.
Did I ever tell you the definition... of insanity?"
                If Vaas wasn’t part of the game, the experience of Far Cry 3 would have been less memorable as his presence and the terror that he inspires through his actions drive the story of the game to an interesting point.
I won't go down!

Gordon Freeman – Half Life Series

                If you wonder why a character that never talks is on this list, you almost answered half of the question. The main reason I put Gordon Freeman on this list is because he’s such an emblematic character, despite never saying a word. This might be in part of the huge hype surrounding the Half Life series, but it is also because he’s a character that speaks a lot through actions.
                Gordon Freeman is the main protagonist of the Half Life series and worked as a scientist for Black Mesa in the original game. During an experiment with his research team a dimensional rift in spacetime was opened allowing confused aliens from Xen dimension to invade Black Mesa’s facilities. Trapped in the middle of a conflict between humans and aliens, Gordon manages to survive and drive out the alien threat. With the help of a few scientists, Gordon is teleported to the Xen dimension and through heroic actions he puts an end to the alien invasion by defeating their leader. After saving the planet, Gordon meets the mysterious being known as G-Man, who has been following his actions. G-Man offers him a choice of either working for him or remaining on Xen to die. Gordon Freeman is kept in statis and returns almost twenty years later during the events of Half Life 3, without aging at all, in a world now enslaved by another alien race. He joins the resistance to fight the Combine Empire in an attempt to save humanity one more time. But he didn’t manage to do so, because Episode 3 or Half Life 3 never came out.
                This character is viewed as a symbol of freedom by people and his name can’t be a coincidence, yet it is ironic that he’s not free at all, in fact he is probably the most enchained person on the planet (ask G-Man). Not much can be told about Gordon’s personality, as a silent protagonist his actions are on par with the ones of the player. The fact that he is a scientist with no prior experience to war situations sets him aside from the common heroes for this type of games. Gordon hasn’t used a weapon in combat situation in his entire life until the events at Black Mesa, yet he managed to adapt to the situation and get out victorious. He is an inspiration for those around him and no matter what plans G-Man has for him, Gordon Freeman is still humanity’s highest hope (talk about the one!).
Unnoticeable 20 years difference. 
Weapon of choice.

To be continued...


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Screenshot of the Week #29: The explorer!

                Not much to say about this week. I started playing ranked games in Heroes of the Storm and so far it doesn’t go as I wanted. I can say that I make some mistakes, but I’m pretty confident and comfortable with my usual heroes (Uther, Arthas, Stiches). The problem with ranked games in HotS as in any other MoBA comes from the fact that many players who don’t handle the game that well are playing ranked games and make horrible mistakes that cost their team the match. This issue comes up quite often because there are players who think they are masters of the game after 100-200 public matches and start playing in the more competitive area of the game. There are players who don’t even read on the theoretical part of these games to learn better tactics and more efficient ways of playing their heroes. The more competitive games will always have problems because of the issues mentioned above, especially at the entry point in ranked matches, but if someone plays well enough, it can get past this problematic area and advanced to less chaotic and more entertaining games.
                Besides Heroes of the Storm, I have been playing some Guild Wars 2, continuing the preparation for the expansions and I’m having a lot of fun with the game.
                I also played some Elite Dangerous, to test the new features introduced patch 1.2, and I can say that these new features are quite welcomed. But after reading on Braben’s interview for RPS, I don’t think Elite Dangerous is going in the right direction. It seems to me that Frontier Developments is focusing more on random generated content when the players (including myself) want something more meaningful. A better functionality for the interactions between the players and a world that is more driven by the player’s actions with controlled corporations and solar systems would be amazing for the game. Content that is more interactive with ideas borrowed from EVE will increase the life span and popularity of Elite Dangerous by a lot. The paid updates will probably add more depth to the game with features like landing on planets or boarding other. These updates will increase the longevity of the game, but I don’t think many of the players will wait that long.

                The first part of my article about best male characters in video games is up with many more to follow. There are quite many male characters that I find interesting and I’m writing a lot about them. Things have been going pretty slow lately, but hopefully I will also manage to finish and post a review this month.

In the meantime, please share my articles and follow me on Steam and on Twitter!!


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Best male characters in video games Part I

                After my article last year about the best female characters in video games a counterpart for male characters was bound to happen, but I never found the time to finish this project until now. The following articles from this series contain some of the best male characters I’ve seen in video games, being protagonists, playing a support role or just an NPC, it doesn’t matter. I based my decisions on the character’s personality, charisma, skill, personal story and contribution to the respective game’s story and many other criteria. Keep in mind that this list includes a good dose of subjectivism as these are characters that I liked and my opinion may differ from yours. Also, I’ve chosen only one character per franchise and only from games that I’ve played, so some popular heroes might be missing because of that (no Snake!).
                Without any further introductions, these are some of the best male characters I’ve had the chance to see in PC video games:
(Warning this might contain spoilers!)

Sam – Serious Sam Franchise

                Sam might mean serious business when fighting Mental’s hordes of enemies, but as the last man living he is not serious at all. Sam was written in such a manner to entertain the player in a video game series that has little to no interaction with other characters (there are no other characters!). His jokes, snappy comments and monologues are extremely welcomed to take some of the focus from the only goal of this game: slaughtering everything that stands in the way.
                Sam is an expert with any weapon he can find and can handle some huge and ridiculous arsenal designed to kill out of the ordinary monsters. With his macho style and dynamic but carefree personality, Sam blends in perfectly in a caricature of a world which seems designed just for him. The best part about this character is the fact that he never gets bored as he is either entertained by the endless waves of bizarre enemies or he can easily entertain himself with a joke which makes him a win-win from the player’s perspective.
                Sam might not be one of the greatest characters, but he makes a good start for this list. He is funny in an old school fashion with many cheesy lines and it can be quite entertaining to hear some of his jokes. The first couple of games in this series were great and Sam made them even better.
“WOHOO! They’ve made guns even BIGGER since the last game!”
“All right, now I’m seriously serious!”
So serious!
You blind?!

Sander Cohen – Bioshock

                Despite the game’s length, Bioshock is riddled with interesting characters, especially male characters, and it seems unjust not to mention one of them. The only problem when it comes to this game is the fact that it is so hard to choose a character that stood out more than the others as they all have a pretty short but explosive appearance in the game. Being Frank Fontaine, Dr. J S Steinman, Sander Cohen or Andrew Ryan, all of them are almost equally impressive and go out of the stereotypical type of male characters seen in the year to year generic shooters, but for me the one that stood out the most and passed the test of time is Sander Cohen.
                Sander Cohen is an artist, writing poetry and plays, composing and even sculpting, he represents the true artistic heart of Rapture. But after the fall of Rapture into chaos he descended into madness and became ignorant to the death and destruction around him. He is now just a grotesque image of a once talented artist, filling Fort Frolic, his main location, with disgusting and disturbing images of what he perceives as art now. Splicers have become the subjects to his new artistic vision and their mutilated bodies garnish the place.
The best way to describe this character that appears in very few areas in the game is by quoting one of his audio logs which characterize his mental state in a way I might not be able to do.
The Wild Bunny by Sander Cohen:
“I want to take the ears off, but I can’t. I hop, and when I hop, I cannot get off the ground. It’s my curse, my eternal curse! I want to take the ears off, but I can’t! It’s my curse! It’s my fucking curse! I want to take the ears off! Please take them off! Please!”

Kyo Kusanagi – The King of Fighters Franchise

            The King of Fighters might not be the most popular fighting franchise in the west compared to Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter, but it sure does have some amazing characters and an interesting story spaning over sixteen games. From the many playable characters, for me, Kyo Kusanagi is the most representative for the series.  He was introduced in KoF ’94 as the youngest member and the leader of Japan’s fighting team together with Benimaru Nikaido and Goro Daimon.
                Kyo Kusanagi is one of the main protagonists and probably the most emblematic character in the series. His name and abilities are designed specifically to fit the legend of Orochi from the Japanese mythology. Kyo is a high school student, overconfident and with a devil-may-care attitude, but he has a strong sense of justice and fights to do good. He is able to use pyrokinetic powers which allow him to wield fire as an element of his attacks and combines this with his clan’s martial arts style. Kyo is the heir of the Kusanagi clan, one of the three clans that sealed Orochi in the past and fights against those that try to bring him back into the world. He has a rivalry with Iori Yagami the last member of the Yagami clan, the long lasting archenemy of the Kusanagi clan, but this doesn’t stop him from fighting alongside with Iori during the climax of KoF ’97.
                Due to his popularity and the evolution of the story, Kyo was even cloned, with different versions of him being playable in KoF ’99. His look has changed over the years, but his motivation and good will still drive him forward to fight against stronger adversaries and those that put the people he cares for in danger.
                Kyo Kusanagi didn’t miss a single game in the franchise and has been seen in many spin-offs as well, always being voiced by Masahiro Nonaka. With SNK Playmore registering a new trademark for King of Fighters, for what seems to be a 3D game this time, it is safe to assume that Kyo will return in the upcoming title and probably more to come after that.
The endless rivalry!

War – Darksiders

                War is the youngest of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse and the main protagonist of Darksiders. He is a Nephilim, a race derived from both angels and demons that is nearly extinct. In the past, War, alongside with his three brothers, destroyed worlds under the command of Absalom, but the four changed sides swearing allegiance to the Charred Council to preserve the balance in the world. The four became known as the Horsemen and were sent to destroy Absalom and the remaining of their kin as they were threatening to destroy Eden.
                When the End War between angels and demons was erupting on Earth, War found himself in the middle of it attempting to find answers for what was going on. His powers were mysteriously drained while he was fighting one of the demon’s commanders and was called back to the Charred Council which accused War of starting the Apocalypse before its time. Stripped of all his powers, including his mount and sword he was sent to the Abyss for a hundred years. However, War wants to prove his innocence and persuades the council to give him a chance to clear his name. War returns to a devastated Earth with the human race being extinct and fights demons and angels alike in order to find those responsible for this mess.
                War resembles a human in aspect, with long white hair, lighter skin tone and white glowing eyes. He has a tough personality, incredible combat skills and a great voice suited for a Horseman with him being voiced by Liam O’Brien (Ukitake from the anime Bleach, the English dubbed version). War’s body is covered in a strong and awesomely looking armor with red textile and silver colored metal and he wields a gigantic sword. His mount is Ruin, which is a beefy horse smoldering with fire and smoke from his hooves and tail.
                While the future of this franchise is uncertain, the games still stand out through their unique setting and action and the captivating main characters. War is a character to be remembered and it will be quite a shame if a studio doesn’t take over this franchise so the fans can see the Four Horsemen fighting side by side.
Even the apocalypse can't stop war!

To be continued...


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Screenshot of the Week #28: Epeen!

                With GDC and PAX East, this was a good week for gaming fans. The announcements made in the last days point to a brighter future for PC video games development. Unity 5, Unreal Engine 4 and the newly announced Source Engine 2 will be available for free with all features included. This opens up loads of options for all developers, but especially for indie devs which never had the resources to create or acquire the license for powerful graphical engines. Maybe after this, we won’t have to endure all kind of crap from developers that deliberately don’t show us video footage from PC versions of their games just so the sales for consoles are not affected. Now all developers will have access to powerful next-gen engines with huge potential and can add up easier to the production value of their games, without having to cut on the development budget for graphics as they only have to pay a percentage after their games actually sell.
Since the initiative with VR, this is the next best thing which has happened for gaming industry, especially for PC, and I have huge hopes for future games.
                Half Life 3 didn’t get announced, to the disappointment of many, but with Source Engine 2 announced the game could become a reality now more than ever before (still, don’t put your hopes too high!).
                I haven’t been playing anything lately except Heroes of the Storm, mostly because I have been craving badly for a PvP game and I have lots of friends to play with. There are many upcoming games that I would like to check out, but the end of this month and probably half of April I will dedicate to Pillars of Eternity which gets released on 26 March (expect a review!). The footage shown at PAX East for Pillars of Eternity was absolutely amazing. The Keep feature looks brilliant and will probably put Inquisition’s Skyhold to shame. One thing that bothers me is the fact that Obsidian seems to have abandoned the idea of vegetation animations in their game which is a bit of a letdown, considering that Temple of Elemental Evil had this extremely well done in 2003. Still, I can’t wait to play it, I took a few days off work to have the time I need to focus on this game (hopefully I won’t be disappointed).
Pew pew!

                I’m going through some writing burnout at the moment, which is intensified by the fact that I’m quite sick and I haven’t had at all the motivation or focus to write. If I get better I think I can recover by finishing some of my incomplete articles.

In the meantime, please share my articles and follow me on Steam and on Twitter!!


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Screenshot of the Week #27: Bounty!

                Not much happened this week, I’m continuing my training for Heroes of the Storm ranked games. I almost unlocked the ten heroes required so I can start playing ranked matches and from the eight I own so far I play quite good with five or six of them. I purchased Nova and I love her, she is incredibly strong if the team plays at least decent. Nova does give me a feeling of a real sniper something I haven’t had in a MoBA before. I’m quite curious how the ranked games go in this game, because in LoL the lower leagues were hell and making it to higher leagues could be tedious and require a lot of patience.
Kill me if you want to win!

                My The Secret World review opened up discussions everywhere and I’m quite glad about this, because is one of the few articles I wrote which got more attention from the community (TSW community is great!). Hopefully this becomes a trend with all my reviews!
                I was thinking for a while to write an article about the scoring system in video games and why I think Metascore can be a false standard and I finally managed to get it done this week. I did address some of the issues that bother me (a lot) when reading journalists reviews about video games, but I didn’t manage to cover everything related to this.
                 With me playing a lot of Heroes of the Storm and being sick in the past days, I’m quite behind on the articles and I’m not sure if I can recover for the upcoming week. I’m thinking of starting a new section on the blog and write some beginner’s guides about Heroes of the Storm (and maybe guides for other games as well). I want to expand the variety of articles and this could help tremendously with that.

In the meantime, please share my articles and follow me on Steam and on Twitter!!