Category Archives: Hack N’ Slash
Well, hello once again my fellow gamers!
Today I sit here in a feverish state battling my flu and my withdrawal symptoms to force myself to write about my most recent addiction. The newest leg of the epic High Fantasy RPG from those masters of the grind at Bethesda Softworks, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
Now let me be perfectly frank and say that I have never really played Oblivion, the previous title on consoles. And the last Elder Scrolls game I sank hundreds of hours into was Morrowind. And I have to say… I have missed this series. I love the depth of the games, the open word nature and the intrinsic fuck aboutyness of the size of the world.
As the game opens you start out, as is becoming a recurring theme in many games, a prisoner. You don’t know why, you don’t know where exactly, but you are a prisoner. And then the shit hits the fan and all hell breaks loose. Now as this is going on, you get to make your character. Be it male, female, human, orc, elf, cat, iguana… I shit you not, if you know anything about this franchise then you will know there is a feline species for the cat lovers out there. (What I wonder though is if this race, or the Iguana’s for that matter, can contract lycanthropy.)
And you become the hero of Skyrim’s legends… THE DRAGONBORN! The dragonborn are essentially non dragons with a dragon soul, and this gives you the ability to learn words of the dragon language and literally shout your opponents to death… I honestly wonder if the developers had been to my street and heard some of the shouting matches to come up with that idea… seriously I do.
The gameplay is very much like Fallout 3 and New Vegas… which is to say big expanses of world, first or third person perspectives and a helluva lot of visceral killing to do in between the rather loosely connected overarching storyline… and you know what… I don’t care that this game is that loose. I don’t care that whenever I talk to my brother in arms, Codename Valeforia, that we always end up comparing glitches. His best being a giant taking a swing at a bear and sending it flying high into the skies of Tamriel (the world Skyrim is a part of), mine being a random dragon skeleton spawning mid march and killing all of the NPC’s for about a mile.
The combat play of the game is actually very well made, too. You can dual wield spells, you can dual wield single hand weapons, you could opt for weapon and shield or a double handed weapon or alternatively you could be a sneaky bastard and use a bow (it does come in handy). Personally I switch between spell, weapon and shield, and bow depending on the situation. You can bare knuckle fight too, and employ a beast form if you become a werewolf. Which is totally worth it just for some of the throwaway dialogue lines… NO YOU CHEEKY FECKER I DO NOT SMELL LIKE WET DOG! Why is the that dragon humping that building… Oh wait I killed him before HAHAHA glitch.
I don’t care that there are unexpected frame drops or myriads of tedious enemies before one overly challenging one. And I don’t care because there is so goddamned much to do in this game. Sure before the patch that came out on Nov 30th I had problems with texture rendering on my Xbox but I’ve still ground hour after hour into this game. It is that entertaining. I laugh at the glitches but to be perfectly honest, it’s a Bethesda game. I’d be worried if there weren’t glitches in their game on release. I’d be worried if this game was perfect.
Visually this game is stunning. Not in the Final Fantasy, I’m gonna fap over all the pretties way that Japanese RPG’s are pretty. But pretty in the OMG THAT SPIDER IS GONNA MUNCH MY NUT AND I’LL BE ABLE TO SEE THE LIGHT FROM THAT TORCH REFLECT IN HIS EYE NOM NOM NOM ARGH SPLARGH DIE kind of way. The world is gorgeous, the dragons are beautifully rendered. And the skybox… oh the skybox… it melted my face on my first in game night.
Now I can’t actually tell what satisfaction that there is to be had by completing this title because I haven’t even made a dent in it. Honestly it is that big, there is that much to do. It has, before expansions, an estimated 800+ hours of gameplay. So ladies, parents, boys… Please, bear that in mind before you buy this game for your geek… did I say geek? I’m sorry, I meant significant other/child… it will become their life for a while… Like, a long while… I’m sorry, baby.
But seriously, hand on heart, I 100% recommend this game if you like good roleplaying. If you like losing yourself in a world that takes about a week to walk from point a to point b. It is immense. Yes there are a lot of glitches and problems with this game just they, rather than being annoying, make the game even more playable because they provide comedy gold… I’ve never seen a full grown grizzly bear soar through the air before. Have you?
Well, my dear bookworms, today I am finally getting around to a review.
I know that it’s been a while since I have reviewed a book but life happened. Anyway I’m here to talk about the novelisation of the Zombie RPG I reviewed last month… That’s right it’s Dead Island.
The book itself follows the same 4 characters as the game, and it actually makes them seem more human than the story of the game does. The writing style is a little bit sloppy but it is far better than some books I can think of, some aren’t even game adaptations. You don’t believe me? Allow me to list a few:
Assassin’s Creed Renaissance
Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood
The Twilight Saga
Now considering how well the AC and Twishite books sold, I’m surprised that this book has not sold as well. It’s far from perfect but it is a satisfying zombie story. It’s intriguing that an ulterior motive from an overarching organisation seems to be in play in the lives of the four protagonists.
The violence in the book is of a suitably… squishy nature. The detailing is visceral enough to be slightly disturbing but not graphic enough to stop your imagination making it some of the nastiest zombie violence I’ve read in a while.
Now from what I’ve said above, you could quite easily be fooled into thinking that I loved this book… I didn’t. I enjoyed it and it was an OK read but there was something missing. I just didn’t care about the lives of the characters. I didn’t feel as invested in the stories of the zombie survivors. I didn’t care when people died, I didn’t care that families have been decimated by this outbreak. I felt detached… Yes, I’d read it again, and I would probably enjoy it, but honestly… I just don’t care enough for me to gush, which is odd.
It has everything I look for in a zombie book, it’s got humour, it’s got gore, it’s got stressful situations and a blood smeared paradise. But I’m still feeling a little meh about the entire book… and for the life of me I don’t know why. It just didn’t scratch that zombie infested itch that I needed scratching.
I’d recommend it for gamers or people who want an insanely easy read, but don’t expect to be drawn in and enthralled. It’s average… which is a pity because it had the potential to be a true gem.
Well, hello there, my fellow gamers!
Recently I have been on an involuntary hiatus, and for that I apologise, but money and adulthood demand that bills be paid and that groceries be bought. But away from such seriousness today I am writing about a game that takes one of my favourite things to kill to the very bloody, very violent extreme. This is of course Dead Island, and let me say whilst is has been 5 years in the making (first announced way back in 2006) for the most part it was definitely worth the wait. Yes that’s right, my ever sinister readers, I said it was worth the wait.
As I’m sure you’re no doubt aware by now, Dead Island starts it’s epic story… seriously it’s long… in the holiday resort on the tropical paradise of the island of Banoi. So put down Left 4 Dead and its superior sequel. Let Dead Rising and its far inferior sequel (shut up it was, Chuck was a bitch, the zombies were boring and the weapon mods were just plain meh…) and take note of this game from Techland. That’s right this master class of frantic melee combat comes from the Polish developers of the Call of Juarez series.
Aesthetically the creative little tinkers over there in Poland seem to have taken Fallout 3’s FPS mechanic, thrown in a little of WoW’s colour coding for rare items and cross bred it with Zombieland to make a new tale of undead juiciness with a hint of Lost in the scenery and conspiracies woven in the narrative. The visuals of Banoi are, quite simply, stunning. Honestly, when in the resort, think of a blood-smeared Maldives, when in the City of Moresby think of a ruined Kingston in Jamaica, and as for the jungle picture the rainforests of Hawaii. I mean seriously… It is that gorgeous in its blood-spattered nastiness.
The zombies have a blend of shamblers and runners. The ones that shamble are a bitch to kill but easily outrun… but where’s the fun in that when you can just time your machete swing and watch their head fly away as their body becomes yet another fountain spewing so much red jam? As for the undead masses themselves… these are probably the best built zombies I have ever seen in a game… and I’ve seen a lot. These monsters boast a layered flesh body. Which is exactly as it sounds. Their skin removes, and then the muscle, down to red/ivory coloured bone. They show real time injury progression, which I haven’t seen since the X-men Origins: Wolverine game, which was then massively impressive because you could watch Wolvie regenerate before your eyes.
However, as much as I am in love with this game, there are some serious issues that I had hoped Techland would get around to patching and doing a day 1 title update for… but they didn’t (reaches for smiting stick and beats the crap out of the Polish development team… JUST BECAUSE YOU GREW UP BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN IS NO EXCUSE FOR LAZY BUGGY BUILDS… NO VODKA FOR YOU!). And some of them are just that lazy that there really is no good excuse for it. I have personally experienced every single one of these issues and they annoyed the crap out of me, and I’m relieved to find it wasn’t just me who has been plagued.
I had issues at multiple points with my inventory being randomly deleted. No not deselected and sent back to my bag, actually deleted from the game. So when I was at a section where I was facing not 1, not 2 but 5 “boss” zombies (a fine selection of thugs and butchers) and I go to select my higher weapon to find it is non existent in the game any more (wipes off smiting stick and beats the already beaten forms of the Polish developers… I FUCKING DIED BECAUSE OF A GLITCH IN YOUR SUBSTANDARD PIECE OF SHIT ENGINE… AND WHEN I SAY DIED I MEAN A LOT BECAUSE THERE WERE NO RANDOM WEAPONS LYING AROUND… FIX IT… or in Polish… kurwa, by działało to poprawnie!)
There are also some severe clipping errors where the undead fiends, and the human psychopaths who try to shoot you, can pass straight through walls to munch your nuts AND shoot around corners… again Techland, kurwa, by działało to poprawnie! Seriously, other developers can stop that from happening, if you made your Chrome Engine work properly then you could too. For your own sake, fix the bugs and repair the engine and you’ll be sorted.
I even fell through the jungle floor to land in the water by the resort, get munched on by a horde and reappear in the jungle as if nothing had happened. I swear, you can’t make this up it is a very broken build. But in spite of all that, oddly, I love this game. The story line of 4 survivors, Oh… SPOILER ALERT! (see I can put them in where they belong), who happen to share the same blood type and who are all immune to the virus that makes the mad zombies is truly enthralling when you get into the main quests. The side quests… and there are many, are good gory fun.
The heavily melee based combat is addictive and is of a fast and frenetic enough nature to get the adrenal glands of even the most seasoned zombie hunter flowing. And it goes to make this pretty much the only true action RPG to come along since Fallout. As the characters grow stronger they get new abilities and these new abilities help them kill the stronger zombies that now populate the world. It really is a masterful way to incorporate RPG into FPS (having grown very bored of Borderlands for being not enough RPG to the action I know what I think works)
In all, this game is a must for any fan of zombocalypse-flavoured games. And for fans of action RPGs, survival horrors, Left 4 Dead and Dead Rising. Even though on paper, with all its faults, I should loathe this and rage with the impotent rage of the western consumer, but I don’t and I don’t care that I don’t. This game is so much fun that those problems only make it more of a challenge which is actually refreshing in survival horrors. If you like any of those games, this game is definitely worth checking out. I promise, if you give it a chance with the lights out and the surround sound up, you won’t be disappointed.
Happy gaming, and keep an eye on the shadows and a weapon handy