Monday, November 28, 2016

Screenshot of the Week #104: Dishonored 2!

                Dishonored was not a good looking game, not from a technical standpoint, but it used a pretty cyber-steampunk art style to hide that and it worked quite well. One would say that a visually improved version using the same concept would have worked the same way and that’s probably true if Dishonored 2 wasn’t an unoptimized mess. The game is built on Void Engine which is a modified version of id Tech 5, an engine designed for console games that can’t compare with its smoother and much better looking younger brother, id Tech 6 (DOOM). Like with Mafia III, I’ve been waiting for performance patches to play Dishonored 2 and as with Mafia III even after patches I can’t say this game is playable, which is quite a shame. Performance problems aside, Dishonored 2 is quite a good game.
                Starting almost the same way like its predecessor, Dishonored 2 has its two protagonists put in a situation where they have to become assassins and adapt to a situation where they aren’t at the pinnacle of society anymore, but are hunted by it. This time around players can choose between Corvo Attano and the daughter he trained, the Empress Emily Kaldwin. The two use different skills, but play the same way in a slightly different narrative that goes through the same levels and has a mirroring final objective. The story wasn’t a strong point in Dishonored and sadly it is the same case with the sequel. A hilarious and rushed intrigue, few characters to interact with and a bunch of rather predictable plots are what you’ll get playing this game. But anyone who played Dishonored knows that at the base of this game stands the gameplay.
                The gameplay follows the same mix of stealth and a much more improve combat, using a slightly smarter and more annoying AI to challenge players mostly through achievements than anything else. It’s entertaining through the variety of improved options and mechanics which work so well with a level design that at times reaches masterful quality.
                As a PC gamer I’m repulsed by what happened with this game, it feels like an Early Access that still requires heavy patching to provide a playable performance for everyone. Yet I can’t help but feel a bit sorry for Dishonored 2 which, like Arkham Knight last year, would have been a good GotY contender.
Like father, like daughter.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Silence Review!

                Daedalic Entertainment is part of the last stand against a gaming trend that has left adventure games behind. Deponia, Night of the Rabbit, Anna’s Quest, The Dark Eye and The Whispered World are some of the best point and click adventure games of this generation. But the tides are shifting and adapting to them is merely a matter of time. Silence is the latest expansion in Deadalic’s adventurous portfolio, but what kind of game is it really?
Silence is a world so beautiful that it can take your breath away, yet stands at the crossroad between life and death. Here, a boy goes into an adventure to find his little sister after the bunker they were hiding in was hit by a bomb. Noah is separated from Renie and finds himself back into this world where reality and dream converge. A world filled with hallucinogenic mushrooms, talking rocks and magic; where devilish creatures hunt the last human survivors between the ruins of older and newer civilizations. This is the setting for a bed time story about brotherly love, regained bravery, rebellion and sacrifice.
This view...

Monday, November 21, 2016

Titanfall 2 Review!

                Every time a multiplayer FPS launches with a singleplayer campaign everyone makes such a big fuss about it like there isn’t the possibility that they will spend dozens if not hundreds of hours online. Titanfall’s sin was that it was so shallow in content that it couldn’t justify its AAA price and the community splitting DLCs didn’t help one bit killing the game before its turn. To make up for this haunting mistake that’s probably going to keep a lot of people away from Titanfall 2, Respawn Entertainment has slapped on the game a singleplayer campaign. And slapped would be the right term if this was one of those generic singleplayer campaigns that have plagued shooters for years, but to my surprise it is not.
                The story follows the generically named rifleman Jack Cooper, a volunteer in the Frontier Militia who’s day dreaming of becoming a pilot. He is taken under the protective wing of Captain Lastimosa, who trains him into the art of pilotship. When the Marauder Corps are sent on a mission on the planet Typhon, the space ship that was carrying the unit is met with heavy resistance by the IMC, crashing on the planet’s surface. The emergency evacuated soldiers are scattered around the crashing site fighting the overwhelming IMC troops and the hired mercenaries of the Apex Predators organization. Jack Cooper is injured in battle and saved by Captain Lastimosa, which together with his vanguard class titan, BT-7274, make their last stand. Jack Cooper awakes to be rescued by BT’s last efforts from some indigenous animals. As Cooper walks toward BT, the hatch opens revealing a near death Captain Lastimosa which gives BT the order to link with the rifleman. The two form a neurological and friendship bond on their mission to rendezvous with Major Anderson and assist him in stopping the IMC from activating a weapon of mass destruction.
Hello BT!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Screenshot of the Week #103: Visiting Silence!

                This week I’ve begun my adventure into the world of Silence. Unlike most of the games coming from Daedalic Entertainment, Silence isn’t a true and true old school style adventure, but a game that shares many similarities with Telltale’s titles. Silence follows the story of two brothers, Noah and Renie, as they venture into this imaginative world that stands at the border between life and death. For what is worth, this Limbo like place is more beautiful than one would expect, but it’s caught into a civil war between the few remaining rebels and the seekers, the False Queen’s monsters. Noah and Renie land into the middle of this conflict as they try to make their way back to the real world, which presumably involves the destruction of Silence.
                The gameplay is simplistic with puzzles that don’t require much effort and a pixel hunting that can be avoided through configurable hint button. There are choices and consequences based on dialogues options and actions take, but I haven’t experienced many possible outcomes and I’m not sure how they play in the greater scheme of things.
                Even if the world of Silence is plagued with more loading screens than puzzles, I’ve been enjoying my journey thus far. And as I’m closing in to the end of this story, I still don’t know what to expect.
This world wants to keep you here...


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Screenshot of the Week #102: Only in Squad!

                Dishonored 2 was launched this week and like many of the AAA games released lately is a technical mess on PC, so I put it on the back burner until it’s fixed. I also can’t seem to get myself into a mood for RPGs despite my repeated attempts, so Tyranny’s release didn’t come at the greatest moment for me. So how did I spend my weekend in which I ignored the two biggest titles of the week? I played Squad.
                Squad had a free weekend short after Alpha 8 was released which was intriguing enough to bring me back. It was also a good opportunity to convince some of my gaming buddies to get into this amazing game made by an indie studio that seems to deliver on their promises. It took me one match to get hooked again and the gameplay bears the fault for that with its depth that puts to shame the last military shooter I played. Squad has come along nicely with a ton of new content including vehicles which have completely changed the tactics used on the battlefield. Even the performance has been greatly improved since the last time I played and the game runs smoothly without the fps drops which used to ruin the immersion for me. There is a lot more work to be done to this game and it's far from release, but as it stands now, Squad delivers a war experience that you can find in few other games.
                I’m glad that Squad is evolving into a fully fledged game and a real competitor for ARMA 3. Shooters have been tremendously streamlined in the latest years and it’s good to have a few games out there that aren’t afraid of complexity.
Teamwork can't beat physics!


Monday, November 7, 2016

Mafia III Review!

                I’ve never been a fan of movies, TV shows or video games about the mafia. So, despite the extreme quality and attention to details, the Mafia series never clicked with me. But I’ve played and appreciate both games as much as I could, considering the fact that they have a setting that didn’t interest me. So, when Mafia III was announced, it wasn’t such a big day for me as it was for the series’ fans, but I was intrigued to see how the extreme changes made to the story and the series will play out.
Was this really necessary?

                Lincoln Clay, a young black male, returns from Vietnam in 1968 to the fictional southern hometown of New Bordeaux to find his foster family in debt to the capo of the Italian mob, Sal Marcano. Set on helping his family get out of the mess and unwilling to stay away from trouble, Lincoln finds himself fighting the local Haitian group and robbing the national treasury. Celebrating the successful hit, Lincoln together with his partners in crime and his family are doubled crossed by the mob, leaving everyone dead and Lincoln shot in the head and unconscious. Saved by the family priest and friend, father James, Lincoln beats death and calls for John’s Donovan help, a CIA agent and his buddy from Vietnam, to tear apart the Marcano family. The two’s operation starts by obtaining the support of three influential people in New Bordeaux’s underworld, including the man himself Vito Scaletta, which is hunted by some of Marcano’s men. With the information provided by Donovan and the resources of his three underbosses, Lincoln goes in a full out war against the mob, tearing down their dominancy district by district.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Screenshot of the Week #101: BT!!!

                I’m not into the action packed campaigns of this generation of first person shooters, which usually are more dramatic than they need to be just for show. And as I said numerous times before, I don’t think an online multiplayer shooter needs to justify its price with a singleplayer campaign, it just needs content (you know, that stuff that usually makes it into a Season Pass instead of the actual game). What this means is that my acquisition of Titanfall 2 was strictly for the multiplayer and the campaign is a bonus that I started playing because my curiosity was triggered by people’s excitement about it.
                I’ve always been a fan of AI companions and after I read Speaker for the Dead my fondness for this kind of characters has grown. So, having an artificial killing machine to fight alongside with and chit chat when things are peaceful was a big plus for Titanfall 2 campaign. BT-7274, the vanguard titan and now companion of Jack Cooper was given to him during the dying moments of his original pilot, the Frontier’s hero captain Lastimosa. And while BT doesn’t possess a sense of humor nor has a proper understanding of sarcasm (kind of like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory) he’s a great companion in and out of battle, providing the firepower needed to get the job done and some hilarious comments to fill the silence during the jumping puzzles (that’s right, this FPS has jumping puzzles). Titanfall 2 has a fairly clicheic story, which is usually the norm for the genre, but it’s easily saved by relationship between the two main characters and their adventures through some fantastically designed missions that are perfect for this game’s excellent gameplay.
                It turns out that you can have a good singleplayer campaign and a quality multiplayer (without Season Pass) in the same game. Some of the established franchises out there could learn something from Titanfall 2, probably just not the art of sale.
I'm coming bro!