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Lucien21 Gaming Journal 2015

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Joined 2004-01-18

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Until Dawn

A new adventure game in the style of David Cage and Telltale. Branching storylines, QTE’s and lots of character moments and choices are the theme of the day.

Until Dawn allows you to control the lifes of eight teens who are reconnecting in a remote cabin in the mountains, one year after the tragic dissapearance of twin sisters curtailed their winter getaway.

The brother invites everyone back to the scene of the tragedy, hosting a party to remember his sisters and get everyone back to being friends again.

Unfortunatly for them, as most horror fans know, a group of teens, an isolated location in a snowy storm and mysterious disapearances are perfect Horror movie fodder.

The game take influences from everything from the Shining & Saw to Cabin in the Woods as it puts each of them in grave danger over the space of one night.

How many survive Until Dawn is up to the way you play the game and the choices you make.

So control wise it very like a Quantic Dream game with some PS4 gimmicks thrown in. Use the sticks to move the characters or the semi fixed camera position. Investigate glowy objects in the environment to find clues and the occassional item to use. Talk to and interact with other characters to gather info, all of which effects you character profile. For example, be nice to one of the girls and maybe your romantic or brave stats improve, get caught snooping in their bag and your standing with that character will go down.

Other mechanics include QTE button pressing for the action sequences, pressing triangle to jump over a bed just before the slasher takes your head off with the machete type of thing. Using the swipe pad to turn pages on items, shoulder buttons to grab objects and pull open doors etc and in some really effective scenes keeping the light bar still by not moving the controller for a few seconds when hiding from the bad guy.

Each and every teen in the game can and most probably will die a gruesome death in the game if you miss clues or fail in any of the gameplay mechanic events. Play wisely as exploration could bring rewards later in the game (i.e finding a basball bat early in the game will mean it’s available for use at a critical moment later) or lead to potential death. Do you really want to go into that dark corner to look for something when there is a monster chasing you.

Although after the game you can replay any of the chapters and change the outcome I did really appreciate that in-game there is no rewinds or try overs and having this potentially kill a character you like becasue of one small cock up, really adds to the tension. Personally Sam was my favourite character and I was gutted that I fecked up a motion still event right at the death of the game and lost her to a fist being rammed through her stomach.

Everything in this game comes together very well to sell you this experience, the graphics and lighting are above par excellent, the voice acting and motion capture makes for very believable characters that vary the range of slasher movie stereotypes from the geeky to the queen bitch and the dialogue and story are well written.

The only issue I had with the story is that it is very predictable to a point and while there was a couple of interesting twists to what I was expecting from the outset the main thrust was suprisingly in line with what I knew was going to happen. WARNING SPOILERS TO THE KILLER*Even before playing the game it was obvious that the ultimate villain was going to be the brother seeking revenge for the prank that got his sisters killed, or that one of the sisters survived adn was doing the revenge. And while both of these plots are true to a certain degree, I didn’t predict the Wendigo angle.*

So overall this is a very good game that combines the gameplay of Quantic, the consequences of Walking Dead Telltale and a good old fashoined Slasher pic into a game that could be played over and over to see how the other scenes work out.

4.5/5

P.s The game is very stingy with the trophies. I only managed to get three out of nineteen.

     

An adventure game is nothing more than a good story set with engaging puzzles that fit seamlessly in with the story and the characters, and looks and sounds beautiful.
Roberta Williams

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Joined 2004-01-18

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Uncharted : Drakes Collection

Part 1 - Drakes Fortune

A collection of three of the best games released last generation. Up rezzed for PS4 and bundled together minus the multiplayer parts that came with later games.

Drakes Fortune was the original game that shot Naughty Dog to the top of the PS3 tree. Commonly refered to as “Dude Raider” when it was first released in 2007 it was the game that broke Lara Croft’s hold on the 3rd person tomb exploration genre.

While there are obvious benefits to staring at the rear of Lara rather than Drake, the Uncharted series had a lot going for it.

The series hit the ground running at the time with Drakes Fortune which saw you and your companions hunting for the lost city of El Dorado.

The game alternates between a cover based shooter and areas where you are jumping, climbing, swinging and hanging off precarious drops to solve puzzles to get to the next area. These sections are pretty clearly defined and seldom do they mix. Walk into an area with knee high walls and you know bad guys are on the way, see some handholds on a wall then it’s puzzling time.

All of this is held nicely together by a decent story and fantastic characterisations. The interplay and dialogue between the rougish Nate, the beautiful and independant Elena and the not to be trusted father figure Sully is the main reason for the success of this first game.

Without the story and characters it might have just gone down as a fun game but nothing outstanding. The climbing is intuative and easy to do and the cover based shooting is adequate, but nothing new.

So how does it hold up. Well to be honest the series really hit the pay dirt in the second games and while the new graphics are very nice it is covering over the cracks of a game that is showing it’s age in the 9 years since release.

I remember loving the hell out of it when it was released and the game is still fun, but it’s not new anymore and we have seen better since.

3.5/5

     

An adventure game is nothing more than a good story set with engaging puzzles that fit seamlessly in with the story and the characters, and looks and sounds beautiful.
Roberta Williams

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Joined 2004-01-18

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Part 2 - Among Thieves

Bigger, brasher and more cinematic than the first game. The step up in graphical quality and set pieces was huge when the game was released. It won numerous Game of the Year awards in 2009 when it was released.

This time Drake is on the trail of Marco Polo and the fabled city of Shambhala. The game start with you hanging off a snowy cliffside on a wrecked train that you have to climb up. It then flashbacks to how you got there as you traverse the world via Borneo, Turkey and Nepal.

This time around you are joined by Chloe, an Ex-girlfriend (voiced by Claudia Black) and Harry Flynn (ex partner in crime) as you chase and be chased by Zoran and his army. Zoran is a ruthless war criminal who is searching for a stone that supposedly grants power and immortality to it’s holder.

Gameplay is very much like the original in that there is a lot of cover shooting interspiced with lots of climbing and puzzles. This time however they tightened up the flow of the game making it a rollicking rollercoaster ride from start to finish. It’s like a summer blockbuster that you can control. The set pieces in this game are thrilling and a wonder to play. From the train sequence to the gunship battles, the falling buildings and a heartstopping tank sequence that will have you on the edge of your seat.

The characters from the first game are back and just as well rounded and realistic as before. The interplay between the characters is great and it has one of the best romantic triangles in video game history. Elena is the goody two shoes blonde and Chloe is the bad girl you are never sure is on your side. Oh to have Drakes problems…sigh.

The shooting is tighter and more versitile with a greater array of weapons, better targeting and control over grenades and improved hand to hand skills. All in all it makes for better more exciting fight scenes.

Naughty Dog took the frame of the original and dressed it in new gorgeous looking level, turn the crazy up to 11 and pushed out one of the best action games ever made. It’s a thrill ride from start to finish, with characters that you will love to be around and gameplay that is seemless and a joy to play.

The only issue I had with the game was the bloody Blue Guys who were annoying as hell.

5/5

p.s The multiplayer and Cooperative modes that were in the original are not available in this collection.

     

An adventure game is nothing more than a good story set with engaging puzzles that fit seamlessly in with the story and the characters, and looks and sounds beautiful.
Roberta Williams

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Total Posts: 2581

Joined 2004-01-18

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Part 3 - Drake’s Deception

The jump in quality from one to two was remarkable.so when the improvements were not as remarkable to the third game people were disappointed. However seeing as the second game was one of the best games around then the third game still stands over most other games.

The action is just as epic and cinematic as the second one. From a burning building to a sinking cruise liner and hanging out the back of a crashing cargo plane the set pieces are fun to play and spectacular to watch.

All the characters from the previous games return and the banter between them all is a great as it ever was. We even get some Young drake flashbacks which made me hanker for more. Naughty Dog really should do a young indy type game with the adventures of Drake and Sully.

This time around Drake is hunting the “Atlantis of the Sands”, an adventure that starts in London with a mysterious organisation headed by a Helen Mirren type character trying to get Nathan’s ring to find the fabled Sandlantis. From there you go to Syria, France and the middle of a desert.

Gameplay is virtually identical to the last game. Lots of cover shooting, climbing and puzzling. The shooting is just as tight and fun as before however some bad guys towards the end need too many bullets. The melee combat has been refined to include some new moves and you can throw grenade back if you time them right.

The third game may not be as memorable as the second game, but it is still top quality entertainment and a thrilling adventure game.

4.5/5

     

An adventure game is nothing more than a good story set with engaging puzzles that fit seamlessly in with the story and the characters, and looks and sounds beautiful.
Roberta Williams

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Total Posts: 2581

Joined 2004-01-18

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Halo 5

Finished the Campaign mode in Halo 5. Took about 10 hours.

This time around you mostly play as John Locke and his three Spartan IV teammates as they chase down the Master Chief who has gone after Cortana.

Both Locke and MC missions can be played in Solo or Coop mode. In Solo mode the other three are controlled by AI. Helping you out in a firefight (they are actually not bad as a distraction) you can give them limited orders like go there or concentrate fire on certain enemies, but to be honest I never used it. Mostly it was the revive when I was down skills that got used most.

Halo 5 is an extremly good looking game, from colony planets to ancient ruins to space ships everything looks great. It also moves smooth at 60fps. Playing it is a pleasure. Seeing the Guardians is awesome if a bit Reaper like.

Gameplay is a typical Halo experience. Constantly switching weapons as ammo for your weapon is very limited so you end up scavaging Promethean or Covenant weapons. Luckily there is a big range of types from Needlers to Plasma weapons. Grenades and melee still play a big part as well as a couple of new moves. Hovering in the air you can do a ground punch, you can boost in any direction to dodge and sprinting can give you a bash move that can go through certain walls etc.

Vehicles are still available and the occassional Scorpion, Warthog and Battle tank can be used as well as a Mech suit that is pretty powerful.

Plotwise is probably the weakest part of the game. Not that Halo plot have been any good up til now, but the whole Cortana storyline has been used before in the likes of Mass Effect. Sidelining Master Chief for most of the game was a mistake, I expected a 50:50 split of missions and was disappointed. The whole Spartan against Spartan plot illuded to on the cover is a damp squid and lasts about 5 minutes.

Overall it is fun to play, the shooting is tight with the 60fps the buddy AI’s are ok (Buck is Nathan Fillion so can be quite funny at times) and it is beautiful to look at.


4/5

     

An adventure game is nothing more than a good story set with engaging puzzles that fit seamlessly in with the story and the characters, and looks and sounds beautiful.
Roberta Williams

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Total Posts: 2581

Joined 2004-01-18

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Rise of the Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider is back and this time it caused a lot of hoodoo on the old interwebs by being an Xbox One console exclusive until this time next year.

A direct sequel to the 2013 reboot see a more seasoned Lara seaching for the Divine Source. An artifact of biblical proportions that is supposed to grant eternal life. Searching the Siberian mountains she is being pusued by a shadowy sect called Trinity, she is out to restore the name of her father who died searching for the same artifact.

They have taken all the best bits of the first came and twisted it into something greater that what was there before. The first game had next to no Tombs and a lot of set pieces in the Uncharted vein.

This time around they have slowed the story down and fleshed out gameplay to more exploration of the story and surroundings at your own pace. Each area is a self contained mini world with tons of challenges, items, hunting, crafting and side-missions to keep you occupied. Hidden Tombs and crypts are liberaly scattered around to be explored with extra skills and weapon parts as rewards for your efforts. Some of the Tombs cant be accessed until you get skills or items later in the game making the fast travel between camps actually worth it this time.

The game makes it fun to want to do all the silly resource collecting and hunting. There is a ton of customisation in the game that can be accesses through running down all the maps to find coin cashes, documents that expand the back story, resources that allow you to make the weapons better, points that help you level Lara’s skills up etc etc etc. It’s addictive and time wasty, but a lot of fun to while away the time in between the main missions. (It explains why my play time is 1D 10hours or approx 35 hours.)

There are 4 basic weapons in the game Bows, Shotgun, Rifles and pistol, but each of them have 4 or 5 varieties that can each be upgraded differently or with alternative fire options. The bow is the most versitile weapon in the game and the one I spend using 99.5% of the game as the main weapon. Headshotting bad guys with the bow became second nature and once you started getting poision, flame and grenade arrows it was the deadliest in the game. It didn’t help that there was plenty of trees arround that could be collected to make arrows on the fly so running out was never an option.

Once you have finished the main game there is still challenges to await you. Go back in and 100% the main game, get all the weird achievements like throw a chicken in the air and flame arrow it to get the rotisserie achievment. OR you could do the mode where you can replay the missions in a Score Attack mode, or a Card based mode that allows you to buff out Lara with Card bonuses (Is this year of the card modifier?) or even to design your own missions by crafting the objectives, enemies etc.

Overall this is a stuffed game full of playability. It has taken the gameplay and basic structure of the last game and refined it into something greater, something a HUGe amount of fun to play, georgous to look at and with a satisfying story that will keep you coming back.

Highly recommended.

5/5

     

An adventure game is nothing more than a good story set with engaging puzzles that fit seamlessly in with the story and the characters, and looks and sounds beautiful.
Roberta Williams

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Total Posts: 2581

Joined 2004-01-18

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Stasis

Stasis is a 2D isometric version of System Shock 2 or at least the story and atmosphere exhudes that kind of vibe. That isn’t a knock at the game, SS2 is one of the best games ever. Where SS2 is a First person RPG this is a traditional point and click told from an isometric point of view.

Like SS2 you are brought out of Statis with little memory and on a spaceship that has gone to shit. Creepy dark corridors, lots of blood, flickering lights and creepy sound effects are prevelant making this game ceriously atmospheric. The graphics and sound design are great. Play this game in the dark with headphones for maximum effect, if you dont mind nightmares.

The puzzles fit seemlessly into the world you are exploring, they all make sense to the plot it is pushing. For the most part they are sensible and logical, perfectly doable with a little thought. There are only a couple of times I was stuck and managed to get through it by checking I hadn’t missed anything obvious to pick up or hadn’t tried the right combination.

There are a couple of tricky ones that had me stumped, mostly the stasis pod puzzle to wake some guy up which seemed a bit of guesswork for some of it.

You have to explore carefully as there are some gruesome deaths around the corner, thankfully most of the time it restores you to just before you were eviserated and get you to try something else (I.e Don’t light the lighter near the gas line). However there is one annoying sequence where everytime you die at this part you have to sit through about 5 minutes of unskippable dialogue.

Plot is told mostly via written diaries that you find lying around so get used to reading a LOT of text, but you can get the gist of what is going on from the couple of voiced characters that you do meet via the comms system. Don’t expect it to break new ground, like the setting it is mired in nods to other science fiction and horror properties. It certainly takes a turn for the dark end of the spectrum towards the end, expect gruesome discoveries and heart tugging bleakness as you uncover the monstrosities that occured.

So overall it is a very enjoyable horror game, great atmosphere through the graphics and especially the sound design, decent logical puzzles that utilise the setting well and a plot that will chill your bones.

On the other side the dialogue is unskippable, the setting etc is not overly origional and a couple of the puzzles are frustrating.

4/5

     

An adventure game is nothing more than a good story set with engaging puzzles that fit seamlessly in with the story and the characters, and looks and sounds beautiful.
Roberta Williams

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Total Posts: 2581

Joined 2004-01-18

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Life is Strange - Episode 1(Xbox One)

You play as Max a student of photography who is returning to her home town after five years to study under a famous photographer. She starts having weird dreams of a tornado/hurricane and discovers she can rewind time.

This skill comes in handy for impressing people with your knowledge, playing tricks on the means girls and of course saving somone from getting killed.

The game is played in a 3D Dreamfall type fashion as you move Max around with the gamepad and look at hotspots to interact with. In the vein of a Telltale game there are also choices that will have consequences, i.e do you let some guy draw your portrait or not, do you snoop in peoples drawers or not etc etc. Unlike the Telltale games this game allows you to rewind time and pick the other option if you change your mind.

The graphics are excellent and have a slightly painterly look, animation and characters seem well done and it has an excellent soundtrack if you are into the Seattle indie or punk scene.

This was an excellent start to this episodic series.

It seemed to be a chance to give you hints of a bigger mystery, teach you the time rewind mechanism is a decent fashion and get you aquainted with the characters (Most of who seem to need help in some way). However the main thrust of the first episode seemd to be about reconnecting with an old freind who seems to have changed a lot since you last saw each other and is no longer the BFF you remember as kids and is now grown up with issues.

Very enjoyable and I look forward to see where this goes.

     

An adventure game is nothing more than a good story set with engaging puzzles that fit seamlessly in with the story and the characters, and looks and sounds beautiful.
Roberta Williams

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Total Posts: 2581

Joined 2004-01-18

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King’s Quest (2015) - Episode 1

Growing up I was always on the Lucasarts side of the adventure game map. So the resurgence of remakes and remasters has been a great time to play those old games again.

They tried a couple of times to do the same for the Sierra games, Telltale had the licence for a little while and then it was announced that a relatively unknown game company would be putting out a new game under a new Sierra label.

They made a big deal of trotting out the Williams at big events, but we were all still skeptical at initial footage made the game look like a platformer or action game.

Well the game is free this month on PSN so I downloaded it and gave it a shot.

First perceptions were that it looks georgous and the voice work and pun-tastic script were top notch.

The story is told in a flashback manner as the old King Graham (Voiced brilliantly by Doc Brown) in his sick bead is telling his granddaughter tales of his adventures. It’s a good setting that worked well in The Princess Bride and the way the story goes, and with one of the other voiced character being familiar with that movie, it’s obvious that the movie was a big inspiration.

So it starts off telling the story of how Graham rescued the magic mirror from a dragon. It was a great way to introduce the controls and some basic puzzles to ween you in. I particularly liked how it kept the death scenes from the original games and used the flashback mechanic to justify the do over. The story then opens up quite a bit with a typical knight tournament to strenght, speed and wits that have to be defeated. You can solve most of the puzzles in multiple ways based upon the three merchants in the town that represent brawn, brains and heart.

THe puzzles in the game are all fairly logical and old school adventuring, exploration and inventory usage. There are the occasional action sequences and QTE’s that bring the series into the 21st centuary.

So this series has a lot of good things going for it, Episode one is smart, extrely pretty to look at, filled with professional voice talent and challenging puzzles.

Probably the best King’s Quest game in decades.

Can’t wait for the rest of the episodes.

     

An adventure game is nothing more than a good story set with engaging puzzles that fit seamlessly in with the story and the characters, and looks and sounds beautiful.
Roberta Williams

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