Skully's Gaming Blog

I’m really surprised at this move by Sony. I was sort of enjoying the thought of the next karting game from sony’s studios being a cheeky Uncharted spin of (following Naughty Dog’s previous game IP paths)

But LittleBigPlanet Karting? We’ll have to wait for more details, but I don’t see how this doesn’t directly kick United Front Games square in the balls. The main concept for ModNation Racers is that it’s a Kart racer mixed with LBP’s create.play.share. philosophy.

Some are speculating that this is Sony killing of the MNR IP, but I can’t see that being the case given that MNR is one of the launch titles for the PlayStation Vita, so Sony must still see it as a viable IP.

However, while MNR had a very intuitive and robust creation mechanics, given the scope of LBP2, one can only imagine where Media Molecule will take their own kart game and what they’ll do with it to give it their unique spin.

Review - Uncharted 3

I’m in the Citadel level. There are 6 guards dotted around the level. After 2 unsuccessful runs on ‘Crushing’ difficulty, I am determined to stealth through them all. I take out the nearest guard, run upstairs and take out another one. I then drop down and take out another guard, it was sloppy but the other guards weren’t alerted. I then ran at the guard nearby and snapped his neck. I double backed and took out the guard on the furthest edge of the area. All the while my buddy was following me, unable to help while I was in ninja mode but there for if it goes wrong. But it wasn’t to go wrong; I run along the wall stealthily and manage to take out the final guard who is tactically standing in the part I needed to get to, I snap his neck and wait for my buddy to catch up to trigger the event that moves the story along.
I wait.
I look around and see my buddy is also waiting out in the courtyard. I wonder if I’m supposed to be the one to initiate the event and so I got to the door. No button prompt. I jump at it like a retarded cat would at a bird that’s behind patio doors. Nothing. I spend 5 minutes trying to work out how to tell the game I’ve managed to kill the fucking guards stealthily even after Nathan Drake's lack of confidence (after previously uttering “now how am I going to do this quietly”) well I fucking did it quietly. They're all there lying dead. See game; I'm running around happy as fucking Larry…
But I realised the game didn’t care that I’d managed to stealth through the scene. It expected me to fuck up and so was waiting for the other guards to be alerted.. the ones who run in when they hear trouble. This really pissed me off. I knew I’d have to fire my weapon to alert the guards and then kill all them off before I could continue. But if it was to be that way. I was going to take my annoyance out on my buddy that refused to come up to the door.
Except firing is disabled when the reticule is over a team mate. A team mate who can’t fucking die. I just want to shoot the smug cunt Naughty Dog. So even more resentful, I fired into the air. Low and behold, a dozen more guards come in. This time with automatic machine guns and armour that can take a bigger beating than a Liverpudlian wife.

This is an example of the nit picks I have for Uncharted.

Uncharted 1 was a black horse for me. I originally wasn’t too interested in it, but being that it was being developed by Naughty Dog (creators of my beloved Crash Bandicoot series and Jak and Dexter series) I gave it a shot.
I was blown away, for a 2007 game, it was amazing. Needless to say I was highly anticipating the sequel. That somehow managed to blow it’s predecessor out of the water. The graphics were unbelievable, the changes in settings were ridiculous, the level of detail that went into it’s environments, it’s characters, it’s story, unprecedented in my experience. So then comes Uncharted 3. I expected a similar outcome, but was let down.

It’s quite possible that Uncharted 3 is my favourite game of this generation. However, it is followed more closely by Uncharted 2 than I had predicted. It was perhaps outlandish to believe it was possible to have the same impact that U2 had (that is, the abbreviation of Uncharted 2 as apposed to the band ‘U2’, the abbreviation being a way of avoiding unnecessary elongation of this article, although this anecdote renders such an abbreviation void).

Uncharted 3 is, like it’s prequel, a masterpiece. Somehow expanding on the amazing things that U2 brought. However I think I hyped it up for myself too much. The graphics didn’t have as big of an impact that I expect, which is a shame because that had a knock on effect of dampening the impact of U3’s large amount of variety of environments. Had I not yet enjoyed the delights of the Uncharted franchise (because I was either demented, too poor to afford light electronic entertainment, an Xbox fanboy, or just an eluded call of duty player who believes the only true game is a cod game) then this game would have blown me away.

After my first run-through, my stats for the game showed that I had actually been stood around doing nothing for longer than I had been climbing. Which is interesting given part of the genre that this game falls into is a platformer. But this is due to parts in the game where I couldn’t help but stop an admire the level of detail. In the citadel (when I wasn’t getting my ninja skills put under question) I had to stop and look at the beautifully rendered night sky, and couldn’t help but smile at the cheeky inclusion of a shooting star or the fact the clouds move, but at a believable pace. Another place I had to stop and admire the technology was in the Chateau. It gets set on fire (oh yeah; spoiler alert) and I just stop and watch how the fire spread along surfaces slowly deteriorating it. As wood splintered and collapsed. As wall paper began pealing. This was however, abruptly interrupted as I remembered that my character was in the fucking blaze and was supposed to in the process of escaping, not admiring his inevitable demise.

The train scene in U2 was amazing, Naughty dog clearly enjoyed this as they included a similar scene where the environment is continually generated however it was more subtle and more believable this time around.

The story is alot more believable this time round, no zombie nazis or overly powered guards this time around (more spoilers or something) which was a bonus for me as I felt the previous two stories got cheap. The melee is greatly improved this time around, with many different options and animations keeping it alot more interesting to play.

With vast improvements, there were some cut backs. The blood doesn’t look as believable as it does in U2, similarly the hit response seems down graded. While it’s not a game breaker, it is a shame as I enjoyed how it felt like my bullets actually had impact. The explosions too aren’t as good looking as they used to be, and in addition (I’m assuming off the back off multiple complaints) explosions near you don’t create a ringing noise, which while slightly distressing, was a great addition in my opinion and so it’s absence is a sad one for me. The AI is also stupid as fuck. It’s very hard to know when you’ll be spotted or not when trying to be stealthy, and when you’re up shit’s creek and there’s enemies running all around, there will be multiple moments where they will run and hide in cover… facing away from you, only for them to turn around and realise their mistake. Not that it’s a problem for them, the majority of enemies will easily brush away multiple AK47 bullets to the head; even the ‘weak’ ones. Not to mention the brutes and heavily armoured enemies who will just soak up the bullets unhindered, not even flinching; just constantly shooting. So while the majority of the game is a breeze due to dumb AI, there are points in the game where it’s quantity over quality as you are heavily outnumbered. The inclusion of the ability to throw back grenades is a brilliant one, but it’s not so great when 5 have been thrown your way.

The multiplay is fucking great. The only shame is… Just about every game has fucking multiplayer. It’s difficult to attatch oneself to a game when your mates may be stuck on something else. Fortunately, U3’s main point; singleplayer, is fucking solid.

95/100

Video - PixelJunk 4am, initially PixelJunk Lifelike, I was already really interested in earlier footage of PixelJunk’s latest project, especially given their track record, and Baiyon’s music is amazing, so much so I bought his soundtrack to PixelJunk Eden. This trailer has solidified me desire to purchase it. It looks like a quite soothing game, one to get you in the mood for drinking, or to carry on making a tit of yourself at a party drunk/ after a night out.

well I saw that one coming…
Except unlike PlayStation Move, Sony actually have Nintendo’s next console’s capability possibly even before the console will be released.

I’m interested to see if the graphics are more capable or on the same level as the PS3 and Xbox360. If it’s still lower than I’m deeply disappointed in Nintendo

Spy party

An interesting game I came across a while ago called Spy party.

This is a sniper/spy game where two players compete. One player has to mingle in a party of AI characters and complete task while tricking the other player (the sniper) into thinking he’s not the controlled character. The sniper must hit the right player before they complete the spy tasks.

It isn’t much to look at, but it looks like it could be one of those rediculously fun games that get over played and must be played when mates are over.

There’s currently a beta that can be signed up for if you’re so inclined.

Review - L.A. Noire

Off the back of the LA Noire dev news, I thought I might as well supply with my review off the game.

It’s awesome.

Thought it’s there was something missing as I was playing it to stop it being my favourite game. I couldn’t place what it was until I read of the conditions that it was created under and I believe it was the love for games, that geeky pathetic dwelling inside gamers, that was missing. A game like Uncharted 2 is made under an atmosphere surrounded by games passionate about games. LittleBigPlanet is made by people passionate about games, it’s clear to see in their interviews. Gears of War is made by people who want to make a ‘bad ass game’ and the result is what American’s crave, so works, but works because there’s some form off passion and I think that’s what’s missing from this game.

Originally a PS3 exclusive, information about the game was scarce for ages with rumours popping up about how the developers were looking up genuine case files from the 1940’s. It sort of lived up to that however I don’t think the cases are factual, more used as a basis.

Story

The game won’t win any awards for it’s over arching story (or if it does, I’m going to spit at SPIKE awards yet a-fucking-gain..) however what works is the fact it’s more of a series of mini stories based off the cases, this helps create characters you can believe. Well most of them, which sadly doesn’t include the lead character who the developers, for reasons beyond me, decide to *spoiler alert* fuck over and create some sort of dark image for him that just leaves the player, me, thinking “wait what the actual fuck, why..”. On top of that, the ending *if you’re still reading and don’t want spoilers, fuck off t’ next paragraph* is shit. Killing him off needlessly. It feels to me like developers just can’t seem to get a jist of how to end a game no matter if it’s awesome throughout (infact this usually makes the effect worse) For example Uncharted was amazing and then through zombies into the mix out of nowhere… Condemned 2 was the best horror game I had played, the gameplay was awesome and the story was interesting… up until the point when the writers had to explain all the stuff they’d built up.. only for them to fail miserably at it and introduced a retarded ability.

The characters are pretty awesome, due to the badass tech behind it, the faces are usually spot on, with some convincing acting most of the time though can sometimes be exaggerated. Unfortunately, this can highlight how robotic alot of the body movement is.

Gameplay


Having Rockstar slapped on the box can make it hard not to pick up this game and try to run people over and blast old ladies away with shotguns. This however is restrained in the game by having pedestrians who are scarily ninja and avoid cars faster than a Jew avoids charity buckets and you can only use guns in limited parts of the game and even then you sometimes get told off for shooting old ladies. It took me a second play through to learn that the reticule with a filling circular bar that displays when hovering over a fleeing suspect isn’t actually a time limit that you have to shoot away their spine within, but actually a time that you have to keep hovered over until it fills where you can then fire a ‘warning shot’ which was a relief after I racked my brains trying to work out how to fire a warning shot. Apparently sacrificing someone’s dearest gran to show I mean fucking business isn’t the encouraged form of a warning shot.

While running people is a challenge, the driving itself is very convincing, it feels like you’re in a 1940’s car where you can’t go a ridiculous speed, but man is it fun trying. I do miss cars blowing up but it feels satisfying when you land a crazy jump only for your car to struggle to hold itself together.

Shooting when it comes about is fun, I found out it’s possible to disarm a suspect by landing a clean shot on his weapon hand and instead of sending him in the coroner car, an ambulance is called. This however only happened once, shooting them in the head’s much more satisfying, and while Cole doesn’t have a satisfied smirk as the bodies being wheeled away, I do it for him.

The cases do a good job of trying to avoid being repeats, and while it would be easy to moan that they’re just a combo of chases, interviews, inspections and shootouts, in actual fact the game manages what no other game has really managed and the actual detail of each of the sequences manage to keep it constantly engaging. Not least the fact that working out if a suspect is lying or telling the truth is harder than one would originally believe. However, the interviews aren’t flawless, there are many times when there’s evidence that you’ve gathered, such as a statement, which doesn’t appear and would have been hard evidence and you instead have to go with their answer, or even worse, you accuse them of lying, then they laugh and as for evidence, you then show them evidence that proves they’re lying, but the game doesn’t believe it to be evidence and instead slams you as in the wrong. This can make it frustrating at times, however thankfully no matter the outcome of an interview, you’ll eventually solve the case.

There are a surprisingly large amount of cases, I believe 21 in total, and they’re usually quite long and strung out making for a game worth the money. On top of that there’s a few more cases being released as DLC.

Graphics

Not the best in the industry, but it has some strong points. The map’s fucking huge and the detail that has gone into it is staggering, there are a multitude of building that you can go in, not to mention the amount of highly detailed objects slapped onto crime scenes to be inspected. While overall it’s not as pretty as some recent games, the foliage is surprisingly amazing, not only convincing in appearance, it also reacts believably to contact, and it’s not sectioned to a particular plant, most plants have this.

Running people over is hard, and so is getting run over (I know, sucks right!?) but when you manage it, it’s a laugh thanks to the ragdoll physics employed, similar to what was used in GTA IV. The use of hats in this game are the icing, I love being in a gun fight, having my hat shot of, killing the son of a bitch culprit, then casually placing the hat back on my head. A small but neat addition.

overall, the game looks really good, not least as it’s an open world game, a type of game that doesn’t usually set standards in visuals.

Overall

It’s one of the best games I’ve played in a while, in my opinion (and that’s what this blog’s for, if you don’t like it, fuck off) it’s well worth the asking price as there’s a long amount of gameplay to be had from it (and it doesn’t even have multiplayer in it - thank Christ!… more on that at a later date) and doesn’t force them hours from you by holding them off for a certain amount of time… I’m looking at you “Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 2”

Score

87/100

L.A. Noire was a fucking amazing game. The amount of detail throughout makes you wonder just how much work went on. This has been brought to light recently however as Rockstar announced they “will not publish Team Bondi’s next game”. The reasoning behind this is that Team Bondi’s managers had been having it’s employees slaving away with lies about the release date to get the employees to work rediculous hours for ‘crunch time’ as well as pay freezes. The link provides more infromation on GamesIndustry.biz where emails from management are showns as well as ex-employee’s views.

An article describing 6 glitches that accidentally made (gaming) history

Next Naughty Dog Title?

Tim Moss, the director of technology at Santa Monica studios made an interesting observation.

At first it sounds rediculous to my ears but then I thought about how ND had slipped racing into their previous titles and how they managed to make it fit. I mean fuck: Crash Team Racing was one of my favourite titles on the PlayStation1. Hell, I still play it, more than some of my PS3 titles.

Maybe they could pull of an Uncharted cart racing game.

EA take on Valve - Origin vs. Steam

"For us it’s really about, we’re the worldwide leader in packaged goods publishing, we’d like to be the worldwide leader in digital publishing." - EA

They’re actually going to try and take on Steam?

The way the see it, they publish alot more games than valve chug out and as they hold the publishing rights, they can decide where it’s published. As such, Crysis 2 has been moved from Steam to Origin… EA may think this is a grand move to get people to come over to Origin, but in reality it just makes them dicks. Which is a shame, because against Activision, EA looked rather genuine and likeable.

Crysis 2 was branded “only on Origin” which suggests more EA titles will sport such a brand.

Of course, as a console gamer, this neither effect nor truley bothers me, but I feel for the PC gamers out there. Well the ones who aren’t fat, greasy, ugly, spotty, dorky and just outright pathetic… So high five for the two of you.