Alan Wake (PC) A Casual Review

I found myself installing a game.  A game I had only read a few reviews for.  No matter how hard I tried I had to experience it.  I began my quest confused and lost, stuck in a dark nightmare with no way of returning unless I somehow rescued Alan’s wife, Alice.  I ran through the woods, flashlight and revolver in hand battling dark entities know only as The Taken but the darkness was overpowering.  My flashlight burned the darkness away and revealed the weakness these entities had.  I fired round after round at the hoard around me, the beam of light highlighting the cold black eyes.  It was to much .  I had to reach a safe place.  In the distance there was a single beacon of light shining down like a sign from God.  I had to run.  I had to escape the darkness.  I was running, my hands numb and sweat on the mouse.  I made it just as The Taken had reached me.  As I entered the light The Taken dissipated before my eyes like a wavy mirage but i was safe.  I had found my safe haven. ” – Vitosal’s own manuscript page

Playing Alan Wake was a breathe of fresh air and a nice break from the more commercial releases that have plagued my desk recently.  While it did take me a while to get through it i found myself almost addicted to the simplicity of it.  This is not a great game, and it’s not bad.  It’s a decent take on an old tale spun in a slightly different way.  Progressing through the game is like watching a series.  It’s full of twists, turns, gasp moments and cliff hangers and the fact that each episode starts off with ” previously on Alan Wake “ is a nice little addition to the formula.  I wish more games did that.  The only other game i know that does the whole previously thing was Driver San Francisco which funnily enough was a game I enjoyed as well.  The game reminds of something i have read or watched or seen but i can’t put my finger on it.  It’s like a Stephen King book only better with exception to The Shining and Silver Bullet because those were cool books and movies.

You play as main protagonist Alan Wake, a successful thriller novelist from New York who journeys to the fictional town of Bright Falls, Washington, with his wife Alice for a relaxing vacation.  But then the shit hits the fan when Alice disappears and events from Alan’s new book start unfolding in the town although he has no recollection of even writing it.  Intriguing isn’t it?   As the story moves forward you learn the history of Alan and Alice which adds a nice depth to the character and you might even start to sympathize with him.

The graphic’s are pretty much what you would expect from a game like this.  Nothing really fantastic to report on visually considering that this is pretty much a dark and light game.

E.G. 1:  When it’s night time, it’s dark….enough said.

E.G. 1:  When it’s day time, it’s light…….enough said.

Based on the complicated mathematical examples I gave above the only difference between night time and day time is that in the night time you need a flashlight and all the crazies come out to play while in the day time the town is completely normal. (well, except for a few characters)

The controls are simplistically easy.  Left click shoot, Right click focuses flashlight beam, E interact, Shift to dodge and sprint, Q to replace batteries and Middle Mouse button to use flash bangs and flares.  As simple as that is it can sometimes be gimmicky.  When i want to sprint I first dodge and then sprint.  And when you actually do dodge an enemy i found the camera to be annoying because it focuses on you  dodging the guy and you can’t see where you’re running.  ( I manged to run off a freaking cliff)

The story is pretty good, a decent plot mixed with an intriguing character that would journey to the bowels of hell in order to save the world.  While this is something we have all seen before I enjoyed this character more because i can relate to him.  ( Except for the part where he was willing to fight the darkness, where I would curl up into the fetal position, waiting for death and wondering why God is punishing me)

I really think this probably the most under rated game I have ever played.  Granted it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but If you have the money, enjoy dramatic, creepy thrillers and need something to play before the bigger releases come out, I recommend this.

Happy Hunting

Back to the Future-The Game (PC) A Casual Review

I love the feeling of nostalgia and I am swamped in it immensely at this particular moment.  I’ve just completed the Back to the Future game that was developed by Telltale Games and all I want to do right now is watch the movies again.  My God, even while I’m writing this I have the theme song playing in my head which goes to show what an impact the game had on me and yes it probably is because I’m a fan but that’s besides the point.

The game kicks off a few months after the third film.  Doc’s house and lab are getting sold off by the bank.  Obviously, cherishing his memories of his friend Marty goes to Doc’s place to find some things to remember him by.  (I’m not going to mention details of the story) He comes across Doc’s notebook with all of his crazy inventions and notes and such when suddenly those three very familiar sonic booms echo in his ears.  A DeLorean has appeared outside.  Marty investigates the DeLorean and finds a tape cassette with a recording of Doc telling him that the time machine was set to return to Marty if Doc ended up in trouble.

AND THE ADVENTURE BEGINS…

This was a fantastic way to continue the adventures of Marty and Doc and i have to say that TellTales pulled it off.  The game does start off kind of slow but by episode three it really picks up momentum and before i knew it I was like a kid watching the movies again.  I had to see what would happen next.  They’ve kept the characters true to their roots and on more than one occasion i got goosebumps at the heart warming moments and there a few of the them.  The voice acting was solid from Christoper Lloyd reprising his role of Dr. Emmett Brown and A.J Locasio playing the lead as Marty.  While I did notice that it wasn’t Michael. J. Fox’s voice in the beginning of the game I was pleasantly surprised at the end when I heard M.J’s voice.  🙂 While the 1930’s to me are a little bit “bleh” it does grow on you especially seeing Doc as a young teenager wrestling with what he wants to do in his life at the same time trying to get out of his Dad’s shadow.

This is strictly a point-click puzzle game although you can use the keyboard to control your character which I honestly preferred.  The puzzles in the game aren’t necessarily difficult to solve but there a few that might make you stop and think for a bit.  You interact with multiple characters through out the game by way of a dialogue tree.  I found myself clicking on everything that i wanted to say because all the characters in the game seem to have a bit of depth to them.  The controls aren’t the greatest and i did find that all characters were very “Limpywith regards to movement but it didn’t take to much away from the overall experience.

This was a great game for me personally because i grew up watching and re-watching all the movies and having a chance to go on this adventure was like traveling back to my childhood and reliving those moments all over again.  I’m a big fan of M.J Fox for all that he has accomplished and all that he’s had to go through and it was because of this movie that i became obsessed with the possibility of time travel.

So thanks to TellTales for doing a remarkable job and allowing me to be a child again for one glorious day.

Sorry had to add my favorite quote from the first film

Doc:     “One point twenty one jigawatts!?  One point twenty one jigawatts!?  Great Scott!”

Marty:  “What…what the hell is a jigawatt?!”

 

 

Spec Ops: The Line (PC) A Casual Review

Just finished playing Spec Ops:  The Line and I think I read to many positive reviews on this game because i was left feeling slightly underwhelmed.  Don’t get me wrong, this is by no means a bad game.  In fact it’s one of the better new games that I’ve played in a while.  While at first glance this game might seem like any other shooter, this game actually delivers a very decent, different and emotional story.  When i say emotional i don’t mean that i felt disgusted at the things that were happening (like so many other reviews I’ve read)  i simply mean that the developers have actually put the consequences of your actions into the game so that you can truly see what you’ve done and are responsible for.  While it didn’t get my heart strings pulling to tightly there were a few moments where i did feel guilty but it was soon washed away when i started shooting people regardless if they were American or otherwise.

You play as Captain Martin Walker, leading his Delta team into Dubai on a recon mission that turns sour really quickly.  As you progress through the story you will make decisions that effect certain parts in the game but the beauty is when you see the consequences of those decisions.  You’re team mates might not agree with a decision that you’ve made causing a bit of tension and it’s really interesting to see how it plays out between these emotionally developed characters.

The game play is solid with maybe a few gimmicky controls that will irritate you like wanting to vault over an object but then performing a melee attack.  But it’s not enough to distract you from the overall experience.  While this does play out like a 3rd person cover shooter, shooting hoards of enemies wave after wave, the game does give the violence a reason.  Your squad mates are probably the best AI team I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with.  They know when to strike, they give you warning and they saved my life on more than one occasion without me even realizing it until after the dude’s head blew off.

The voice acting is great and it truly does immerse you into the story but the one thing i really did love about this game is the emotional story of Captain Walker as his character changes through out the game coming to terms (or not) with all that hes done.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Give me a game with a decent plot and character development and I’m all yours.

 

Assassins Creed 3: New Cinematic Trailer

Not much to add folks, but this is one of the best AC trailers I have ever seen. The animation and CG is beautiful and it really gives a depth as to what can be accomplished with the right amount of talent.  Not to mention seeing a guy shoot an arrow in slow motion after he’s jumped over a few Red Coats.  (How is that not stylish) 🙂

Assassin Creed 3: Game Play Demo at E3

N.b.  If you start drooling or have frothing of the mouth, or your mind gets blown away, don’t be alarmed, I think it’s normal.

Oh Wow.  There are so many and too little words that I could use to describe how utterly fantastic this game is going to be.  Granted I am biased.  I am on of the biggest Assassins Creed fans out there but still as a gamer who loves new technology this is a fantastic combination of the two.

Yesterday at E3 Ubisoft released for the first time, the game play demo and boy, does it look great.  Connor looks right at home from traversing the frontier to battling Red Coats, jumping and swinging from tree top to tree top and kicking the crap out of anybody that looks for trouble.  The animations are all new, super sleek and it looks oh… so pretty.

You get to see Connor hunting, defending himself against wolves and going all “Arnie” on baddies.  From the footage, accepting new quests seems very easy as there seems to be no option to accept one.  It looks like it just automatically updates your objectives as a quest becomes available, which is quiet a nice addition.

Best part for me though, hats off is the combat.

While in a tree, surveying the area, a bunch of Red Coats happen to be patrolling nearby.  Connor uses his Rope Dart on a Red Coat at the back of the group. Red Coat soldier goes up as Connor descends to the snowy terrain below.  The other soldiers turn around while Connor battles a soldier with his trusty Tomahawk.   As he duals,  the rest of the Red Coats draw their weapons and prepare to fire.  In an instant Connor has his opponent in a grip and uses him a as a human shield as the rest of his comrades open fire on him.  The soldier slumps to the ground.  Connor prepares to battle the leftovers”.

Keep in my mind this is all happening rather quickly but just by watching it you already feel powerful.

Other additions that I took note of was that while sprinting you can take down opponents much more quickly.  Stab them and then chuck them aside.  Horse riding is also back so I’m expecting a few race challenges which means, Yay!

I could go on and on describing this to you but maybe you should just see for yourself.

Nothing is true, everything is permitted