Friday, 17 February 2017

Sniper Elite 4 - "if it looks good, eat it"

All roads leads to Rome so is said. Well these roads sure do.
Sniper Elite 4 moves to Rome and it looks good. I'm not a pro reviewer. I write about the things I really like that's why is rare (am quite demanding).
I'm not dissecting games with technical thingies as in fps, high tones, low tones, resolutions and whatever.
As Andrew Zimmern says "if it looks good, eat it". This is the guy with the Bizzare Foods show which I liked because unlike others it was not just a show-off, as in "look at me I can eat grubs" it really showed that you can eat everything.
Now back to our game, Sniper Elite 4 is with no doubt from my part, the best of it's series. You can see that it was made by people who cared and enjoyed doing it.
First noticeable thing - it's big. And I mean seriously, the maps are giving you a vast area with a satisfying feeling of exploration that usually only on open world RPGs and adv games is found. The areas are completed with detailed set-ups, enchanting elements - like bushes that waves in the wind, and pretty flowers, amazing sunlight and tricky shadows. It's wow, for a moment you can forget that you are playing in the middle of the war, and you have to kill.
As all these elements are not just pretty, are also efficient. The game is a lot more tactical. There are various routes options, multiple places to hide and take on the enemy which gives you time and means to strategize.
Customization went to a bigger scale too allowing to manage you gear and enhance your weapons the way it suits the best for you. Therefore each mission can be accomplished by trying various combos of elements, is not a straightforward path. And there are plenty of missions with all the specific goals of the real war very professional implemented. They documented well. Yes this comes accompanied by extremely visual modes of killing so if is not your cuppa better stay off. 
And the game handles smoothly, it makes an easy fluid and natural transition of movements, from jumping, crawling, sneaking, shimmy-ledge (this is one thing I wanted to see how well it goes) and running.
Multiplayer brings all these elements to an even higher level of strategy especially in co-op. All you have to do is get some friends that are open minded and knows how to communicate to each other. Avoid show-offs, this is a candle-light dinner, not a sacrificial meal. Even when you're counting nuts. :)
The best of this game is that is not the typical run and shoot everything that moves like a high-score chaser. It allows you to play in your own rhythm. It makes you think. It brings a different scenery and approach than the latest, fantasy / sci-fi, spy / modern combat games (I do like those but I also like to see something different).
And for the fans it has collectables and plenty of achievements to go for it. If you care about these things.
It doesn't mean that the game is flawless, but the minor glitches and whatever technical thingies escapes me, well you got the picture "escapes me". Those disappears on the sheer satisfaction of punching, shooting, crushing and blowing-up, all garnished with the Italian charm brought to us by some nice Brits. 
So, yes again, "if it looks good, eat it."

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Battlezone PSVR - arcade blues panic

Needed some time to dive in this game for a proper review :) as haven't really played in VR before. VR is the future that just became the present as usually happens and is not just for games. But when it comes to games it's still and expensive gadget. Well, if you read that it sell massively in Japan, it did. But if you're not from Japan or never been there know that: half of the things they have there are still your future.
Now back to Battlezone PSVR this is, and in the same time is not, the game to start the VR experience. I'll explain. It brought an old game from the past directly into the future by skipping the present. And if you think Battlezone 98 Redux, no, that is an old game refurbished for the present and there are 2 different games. And I'm not gonna say Tron also. Whoops I just said it :). Ok it does have some Tron-ish elements, but is not Tron. It has many other "ish" elements, after all with so many games on the market you ain't gonna play one that doesn't have anything "ish".
Being an arcade game with roguelike aspects, where you have to get bigger and better, it feels right for a VR noob choice. But is not very forgiven, and it doesn't hand much baby-steps for learning, which makes it not really noob suitable. 
In regards with the background, the graphics, sounds and special effects are a great built perfectly assembled to provide with an adrenaline rush amazing experience. It feels so right, so natural.

The tank inside is my all time favourite, it makes you believe like being there and it looks awesome. And it handles very well and quite smoothly after you've learned the controls.

The missions are getting progressively hard. There isn't a high variety and basically all are based on taking over and over your enemies, invaders style. But it gives exactly what I was expecting, the joy of a true arcade shooter. And as you progress, and unlock the goodies, it goes more and more catchy. Destroy the objective is my personal favourite mission type. My first defense mission gave me a reminder of the Starcraft - Desperate Alliance panic moments (yeah that Terran mission where you have to survive for 30 minutes)  I like a bit of a challenge, I mean it has to be challenging to prevent becoming repetitive boring. But it does require patience and mastering the tank.

The co-op is a tricky business. Yes is fun to play, it makes everything better, bigger, and more rewarding but it requires a good understanding and a certain level of trust. I've read about players that are abandoning their teammates in the middle of the mission. I only played once in a private host and was awesome but am not sure I want to dive into the unknown with random players. Important note don't go in co-op before you learn to master the elements as you will ruin your teammates VR life. Unless you can play with friends and learn together. Then it will be a nice, useful and pleasant going.
Overall to make a sum this is an arcade blues, with panic moments, that provides with the sheer satisfaction of blasting a gazillion of enemies into pieces. And if you can get into a trusty team the co-op is worth every moment. If you expect more than that, then it's not the game for you.
As a final note tho - the game should go playable on other VR systems. As said is a quite expensive gadget and there aren't many willing to buy more than one. Someone who already has another VR system will very unlikely buy PSVR too. A cross-platform would give this game a better perspective. But for me is an almost solid 4 out of 5 stars (some flaws but nothing critical and, except the players common sense in regards with the co-op courtesy, all patchable). Worth playing.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Pathfinder Adventures another card game that ... no

There is quite some time since am trying to find a CCG that really catches me. And I've tried a lot of games.
I like real card games am playing with my siblings and parents since I was little. Wist, Canasta, Poker, and many others. But the video games somehow not.
There are good games out there but none as said got under my skin. Not even the most played, most acclaimed still trendy Hearthstone. I don't think is really the game's fault. I like RPG games for 2 main reasons: I like the stories and the action. And when I say action I mean the actual moving, jumping, slashing, whatever combat requires. This brings us to my biggest problem with the RPG card games. Most of them are very much static. Even the ones that are featuring fighting scenes are more of skills deploy then actual fighting. Example The Gate features some quite nice combat scenes.
Newly released Pathfinder Adventures should have hit it's target with ease considering it has a solid base to launch from.

 Yet it fails. It's a quite good game except that should change it's name into Glitchfinder.
I've read mixed reviews tho most of them stating about the glitches there were some saying they played with no problem so I decide to try. The game installed fine and connected to my Google account with no problem. There is a very nice tutorial and tho may sound a bit tricky at start you can quickly learn the game mechanics. Which I liked. Yes the playing is static type - card skills deploy based on sheer strategy which is not exactly my preference but still enjoyable. 
First time the game threw me out and closed at the second tutorial location. Well it could be an internet hiccup of my connection so I relaunched. It connected and offered the option to continue and I could go from where I left. Finished the tutorial and up to the most mentioned glitch the drag the hero onto your party. Well after fiddling a bit I managed and quite quickly. Now am sorry for the game defenders but is still not right. Yes there is a solution as in you have to softly lift the hero avatar drag it a bit upwards and then drop it down into the party slot but one of the main requirements of a game is easy handling not fingering skills for a simple drag and drop operation that should be flawless. There is a reason is called "drag and drop" and not "lift and drag slightly upwards and drag then down and drop". And I played on a tablet so no excuse as this is meant for tablets not for phones.
As the game is interesting and I liked the multiple card choices, the strategic thinking, the different mechanics, the design and even the story I could overlook this minor glitch. But unfortunately after getting the party and playing the first mission location the game closed again. No internet hiccup as I had a game opened on my phone and one on my laptop for control. And I do have a good wi-fi. Anyways the biggest problem was that after relaunch tho the Continue button was displayed it did nothing. The only option was to make a new party and start all over. Imagine if this happens after you have played for quite a while and you have to start all over. Unfortunately as I read in the reviews it does happen.
Too bad because otherwise it is a game worth playing that could get me really interested. It has well defined characters and well drawn cards, clever mechanics and cards powers and skills but it's glitched.
Everyone to it's choice but for me the 2 main requirements to keep me playing are: great story/gameplay and playing flawless. Not the case here. But if improves I may reconsider. Will keep an eye on the updates.
Rating goes 4 stars gameplay/story but 2 stars for the play going. So overall 3 stars. Not bad if your goal is to float in the lukewarm of the games market.

No Saturday roundabouts this week as busy with real life but next time. :)
See ya around and happy gaming.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

The Saturday 5 Roundabouts 23-04-16

Good morning.
After some consideration I decided to bring back the Saturday 5 Roundabouts of the now out in the blue closed Underground blog. Why 5 - well there 5 working days on week aren't they?
What was worth looking at this week? - from my point of view again, you may disagree at your will :)

Number1. In a short but enlightening Monday Twitch stream Rebellion team launched the remaster of Battlezone 98 Redux - a blend of strategy and shooter that was with no doubt one of the best games of 98. Is it one of the best games of 2016? Well that depends. From a nostalgic perspective most of the opinions emerged from the week's reviews are positive to very positive (to use the Steam criteria). Some small voices of disappointment have been heard but many of them with arguments from odd to hilarious. To be noted tho is not a perfect game, it's ok to criticize. It has some minor flaws but it's still a great game to play. From a newbie perspective it's not a game in the current trends of the market so it may be either a nice surprise either a "it's not my cup o' tea". I really liked it (you can read my complete review) and is a job nicely done. WTG Rebellion.

Number2. Gamezebo brings back the casual PC games. After being bought by iWin and as expected, considering the buyer basics, GZ brings back that part that brought them in the market attention at opening. Casual PC games like HOPAs (hidden object puzzle adventure for newbies) strategy, board and M3 (match 3) were and will again be reviewed and most likely also getting walkthroughs on the site. We will still have consistent info from the mobile world  is just a new or renewed if you prefer addition. According to the info at this point GZ will continue to refurbish but it seems a long term goal. It just gonna be bigger :) Wishing them all the best.


Number3. Fallen London from Failbetter Games, one of the most interesting interactive browser-based adventures has landed to iOS. Considering the mechanics of the game, with the gazillion of options in hand, multiple paths and choices going with a mobile version was a very natural step. It is the kind of game you would like to carry with you. I'm not gonna make a review of the game as there plenty on the web but it is a game really worth playing. It requires a sense of adventure and feel for intrigues and noir-gothic thingies and is a text based also, so maybe not on your taste but give it try. there's nothing to lose.

Number4. Amazon has "extended its "Prime-Exclusive Items" initiative to block non-Prime members from being able to purchase certain video games" - source Games like Assassins Creed Syndicate, or GTA V will be available to purchase only by the Prime members. Or doesn't, or does, or ... well in the end I supposed we will know. If you are a non-Prime you will know for sure. I hope Amazon realizes that we can buy games from elsewhere.

Number5. Magicka: Wizard Wars closes on July 21. That's sad. After quite a nice time of playing in Early Access and just about a year after it's market release, based on numbers the game doesn't seem to do well enough to be sustainable. It's quite a surprise considering that f2p MOBAs are in the market trend. I don't know what went wrong as others agree to quote "it's an unfortunate conclusion, because Magicka: Wizard Wars showed real promise" (Andy Chalk on PCGamer). The game just didn't get to the public heart from some reasons. Thank you Paradox Interactive for the good moments anyway.

Well that's about it. See ya next week and happy gaming.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Battlezone 98 Redux ... reMASTER

I'll start by saying that regardless of my title my favourite reviews are the ones that are not starting with "what has this brought new compared with the old one". I hope you realize that are many players that never played the other one.
So at the question: what is Battlezone 98 Redux? there is a simple answer: it's a really good game. Atta moment thus you should stop reading and go buy it. Not enough, oh well, then here we go.
BZ 98 R it's a nice blend of building strategy and shooter perspective fighter. It combines 2 genres that requires tactical skills, patience and good coordination. If you ain't have that is not for you.
If you are new into it would be a good idea to read the strategy guide on Steam. No really, seriously, do it.
Generally the controls are easy handling and with the exception of some minor glitches (most of them quickly patched) you ain't gonna have trouble running away. Err, I mean flying around and shooting the enemy.
And you are in space. Picking bio-metal. And yes you can pilot a space tank.
You can put your men on the Moon, or Mars, or Titan, or wherever. Who doesn't want that?
Just build your base and go take over the enemy. The missions are gifted with a lot smarter AI so the level of challenge will keep you busy for some time. You ain't gonna build the world in one day.
You have to learn how to handle your resources and your units like in any strategy game but the single player missions are there to train you on that. You get assault units, and defense units, and carriers, scavengers and mines layers (I really like those). My favorite hunter tho is Grendel :) And of course you have factories, and silos, and hangars and so on.
The visuals are updated to the XXI century of your current being (not on the plot time being which is a '60 alternative future ... well past, well doesn't matter). It is a real pleasure to admire the graphic interface, the newly painted skins, and the visual effects - boomer can an explosion look better?. Hats-off to the video design team.

And it has obviously added the online multiplayer (as on Steam).  Once you've trained the strategy / assault+defense tactics and chasing /shooting skills go play with your friends. It will be fun if you are into this. I'm not much of a multiplayer fan but each to its own.
Overall it is obviously that someone who appreciated and cared about this game worked on it.
It's a fulfilling experience that hits the shooting-strategy spot right on target. It's not perfect but a worthy 4 stars out of 5 for bringing or more precisely re-bringing this type of games into the modern era.
Still reading? ... shoo ... go buy.
Space Cadet Ogre to report ... happy gaming and see you soon.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

The bank of games ... why you should impress me :)

To start with the ... "I am the gamer you want".
No really, seriously, I am because I like buying games and investing in games.
The "bank of games" (just a name by the way not a true real bank with safes and employees),  is a pretty neat idea that came to me out of the blue and started with a jar. To make a jar into a "bank" requires close, reliable, trusted friends. So I'm not posting it here to promote it but maybe others will adopt the idea.
Tho I like buying game I can't buy all of them, I can't play all of them, as I have a life. A quite busy one lately.
So it may happen to overlook some good games and only notice them when on sale, or if the promos are becoming more frequent, or it just pops under my eyes.
As so the "bank" idea came to me one day when I bought a game on sale. It was a very good game for which I would have payed the full price with no regrets. And then it hit me. Well if I would have payed the full price why not use the difference to buy another game, or something like that. I haven't had anything planned at that time . I just tossed the money (the price difference from the sale cost to the full price) into a jar. It wasn't a large sum to begin with but I repeated that every time I bought a game that I really liked, on sale. Even better 2 of my games friends I have told about my "games jar" decided to join in and do the same thing. So when the jar was full it was quite a nice amount of money - nice enough to count for someone. We searched for games that needed support, on funding platforms, media promos or other internet platforms like this and picked the one that looked the most interesting and promising. And we backed it.
So it went on and it extended in a larger environment (yup it's not a jar anymore) with a larger bunch of friends. It goes on the same principle it started with. Every time one of us buys a game on sale and is that good that we would have payed the full price, the difference goes into the "games bank".

It was a bit of work in the beginning to establish what and how we vote for. All projects related to making a game, making a games related site, games events, are eligible. As long as involves games :)
The "bank" members are searching for projects on the internet and then those are submitted for approval.
When the sum is big enough the project with the most votes gets the money.
Is as simple as that, but again, as said - you need close, trusted, reliable friends to do this, and it works.
With that being concluded this is just an info to give you the idea, please do not send requests. 
Happy gaming and keep in mind, you have to impress me if you want my money :). I am the gamer you want.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

A view on Twitter games world ... that may be wrong :)

I started this after reading some opinions less and more to the point and less and more exaggerated about Twitter. Where have I read those? On Facebook of course. :)
Nowadays everybody has an opinion about everything. So point to note this is may view on Twitter and it resumes to games world am not floating on internet every area every day I have things to do.
And it may be wrong but it's my wrong so ... you don't have to agree :)
The most often seen criticism about T is the shortness of the posts the 140 limit. Actually you can say a lot in less than 140 characters. Here are some famous quotes of history in less than that:
To be or not to be
My kingdom for a horse
Cogito ergo sum (I think therefore I am) *note to FB :)
And so on, you got the picture.
Back to games posts on T my notable "there's something wrong with this picture" is the absence of criticism. In fact is not absent is just not very visible. And there 2 reasons why.
Number 1 - is hard to criticize in 140 characters. Why? Praising is easy.
"Oh this is great, fabulous, amazing, fantastic, yada yada yada blablabla "
People are ready to accept that at any time. You don't have to argue, it's the human nature we are ready to accept the compliments with no further explanations. Which doesn't go for criticism. That you have to explain. You need arguments and is hard to put that in only 140. "You stink" now that's not constructive, that's more like trolling. "I didn't like the gameplay". Ok,why? See, and it can on and on. Consequently the solution is to review the game, blog, vlog, personal site, whatever and put the link there. That goes for praising too. But what if you're not a blogger, vlogger, Twitcher, Youtuber and so? You are a gamer.
Point to FB you can write a review there with no limits. But not on T because they like to gather those links. It's the foundation of leaks and gossips like it or not. Ok that goes for FB too but we are on T now. The question is - do the games developers and games reviewers want to really here us the gamers? I like to think they really want. Am sure that almost all of them if not all don't want to be lied nicely? Right? And that brings us to:
Number 2 - am not expecting that the developers and the rest of the media people to RT a criticism. I haven't seen any I would be utterly impress to find one such RT. Am sure they are reading the critics and assume the constructive ones because it helps them to make better games (that's why Forums exists). So the negative point doesn't go to the developers and the media people but to Twitter. It's not a constructive thing, is just a showcase. Don't get me wrong there is useful info there on events mostly, conferences, games releases. But most gamers prefers the dedicated sites and one of the main reasons is because they can largely comment about. That makes Twitter more into a showcase as said, than into a dialogue. It is funny at time but it has a lot of "meh" too. I still like to "fish" for some clever "tweets" and I have some "fellows in fun" there that makes me to appreciate the ingenuity of the human mind when it has to stick with the 140. And there are some criticisms posted you just need to dig in deep.
Therefore I offer my ultimate respect to the one game developer that will ever RT a criticism. If you know one let me know. :)
Happy gaming,
The Ogre
PS constructive criticism, trolls not allowed.