NaissanceE (PC) – Review

posted in: Games Review | 0

NaissanceE is a beautiful abstract maze filled with interesting architecture, though at other times it can feel like a confused first person journey through Autodesk Maya… perhaps I should explain.

UDK 2014-02-16 13-12-29-74

NaissanceE is a game with no narrative, no clear objective, no hand holding… You start the game waking up in god knows where, and the entire game is pretty much you just walking through… god knows where. You journey through abstract structures and deserted city geometry just taking in the sights and continuing down the (often hidden) path to the next space.

UDK 2014-02-16 13-15-55-28

The lack of objectives and guidance in the game serves as both a strong asset, as well as its worst feature, at it’s best, the game turns into a puzzle of sorts, encouraging the player to find the right path and navigate through the abstract mazes the game presents, and at its worst you’ll become stuck for huge periods of time, only to find out you missed a corridor because everything is the same colour (this happened to me. I had to watch a lets play to find the corridor.).
Becoming stuck in NaissanceE appears to be something which increases in frequency over time, I found the first chapter of the game fairly straightforward and mostly enjoyable, but by the end of the second chapter I had become lost enough times to quit the game twice, resorted to watching a lets play twice, and somehow become stuck in an endless loop of staircases akin to mario 64 (except I couldn’t even descend out to normality anymore).

UDK 2014-02-16 13-11-45-59

NaissanceE also seems conflicted as to what genre of game it wants to be – combining platforming, art, light puzzles and exploration, but paired with a soundtrack and sound effects that vary from calming revelation music to that from a horror game. It’s not clear whether the game is intended to be scary in any way, but the developer’s use of music made me incredibly anxious through extended periods of the game, something which isn’t helped by the game’s monochrome colour scheme and broken gamma settings (the game defaults to ‘hilariously dark’, and putting the gamma up to the maximum results only in ‘dark but just about visible’).

UDK 2014-02-16 13-27-41-53

The game isn’t without its charms however, giant environments await the explorer and seemingly everything you can clearly see may turn into your next destination. The architecture of many of the structures is beautiful and interesting.  Dynamic lights are also handled very well in the few sections that properly use them, I wonder if NaissanceE was originally intended to be a light based puzzle game?

UDK 2014-02-21 20-15-57-41

Admittedly, the game was a little bit too boring and confusing for me to finish, the total lack of direction or way for myself to orient myself just left me stuck too many times and the game didn’t seem worth looking up a letsplay video every time I got lost.
I’ve heard this game get compared to Antichamber, but it isn’t as interesting or novel as that, perhaps it’s more like Dear Esther – but without the narrative and vibrance… hm…

Verdict:

NaissanceE is a mixed bag, and whilst not a bad game by any means, it’s distinct style of gameplay means it isn’t for everyone. I personally would find it very hard to recommend for the price of £13, however If literally getting lost in an expansive abstract world sounds appealing to you, then by all means give this one a shot.

Approximate Game Length :  2.5 – 5 Hours (depending on how lost you get)
Actual Worth / Steam Price:  £4 / £13 = 0.30
Should you play it : No, Despite spending a few hours on this game, I can’t say I enjoyed my stay, sure there are worse ways to spend your time and money, but then there are much better ones too.

Rating: 2/5

UDK 2014-02-16 13-28-33-08

Titanfall Beta opinions

posted in: Games | 0

So ive been in the Titanfall PC closed beta for a little while and played enough to get a good feel for the game, and my initial thoughts are… that it’s pretty damn good.

TitanFall 2014-02-15 13-39-52-63

From what ive heard the game is more or less done and they are now just optimising netcode and tweaking numbers so I would hope that the beta is a pretty good indication of what the game is going to play like at launch – and I mean, that would make sense considering its coming out in under a month now and presumedly went gold ages ago.

Movement:
Movement in Titanfall is bliss, you can twitch all you want, you can double jump and wallrun to reach some crazy places, and parkour feels easy and intuitive. There are a few occasions where you’ll wallrun unintentionally and it’ll cost you a second or so, but its really no big deal.
While pilotting a Titan they opted against the typical sluggish nature of giant robots, and instead have given 1:1 aim as normal, so 360 noscopes are totally possible in titans, they cannot jump however, which limits them slightly but at the same time makes sense, the boosting is great and makes for skill fights depending on what other titan’s loadouts are (it is probably possible to win a 1v3 duel against titans with the quad rockets with good use of reflect shield and boost)

TitanFall 2014-02-15 13-45-47-88

Combat:
It’s basically call of duty with parkour, you okay with that? because I am. Then after 5 minutes the titans start dropping in, and it turns into call of duty while being hunted by giant robots if you go outside, that said, you can totally fight the Titans 1v1 if you play your cards right and use your stealth to rodeo (ride on top of the titan and do damage in its blind spot) or bombard them, every pilot gets an anti-titan weapon so while you’re always outgunned, you can still outplay.
Everyone also gets access to cloak (as an option) which is super effective against titans, which can really help if you feel helpless against them, it’s great at giving yourself a little extra edge in firefights as well – though an odd side-effect of using the cloak is that you cant see your weapon model anymore, naturally this extends to gunsights as well, meaning snipers can’t cloak and snipe easily.
Many people were concerned about the lack of big team battles, with the game only sporting 6v6 and some AI bots, this turns out to be fine, and I think the main reason for it is because of the titans and how powerful they are, I don’t want to imagine a game where I might have to fight against more than 6 titans, because they refuse to die when im fighting them. The ‘minions’ act as cannon fodder and help reduce the cooldown on your titan, as well as pad your points and give you something to shoot at, my only complaint is that it’s often hard to distinguish players from AI minions and so you’ll end up wasting ammo on some robots, only to have a player appear from the group of minions and gun you down while you are reloading.

TitanFall 2014-02-15 13-11-30-90

Audio/Visual:
Despite some low res textures (which you wont notice unless you’re looking at screenshots) the game looks fantastic and runs at a pretty good framerate on my rapidly ageing setup. The HUD is filled with some useful information but never clutters too much which is nice, the voice information is handy telling you how the match is going, and when your next titanfall drop is ready, it’s useful if you are like me and paranoid of taking your eyes off the centre of the screen.
There are some really cool digital effects when in the titan, having lightning grenades thrown at you for example distorts your vision in what is similar to an extreme version of watching youtube at 144p.

TitanFall 2014-02-15 13-48-07-17

Matches:
Pretty standard affair here, though they do have a very cool epilogue at the end of matches where the losing team needs to ‘get to the choppa’ and the winning team gets to hunt everyone down, its a fantastic final piece which lets both teams have a final rush, I’ve found theres nothing more exhilarating than parkouring across buildings while being chased by players, before jumping on the evac ship with 0 seconds to go before it warps. On the other side, there’s nothing more satisfying than beating the losing team to the evac point and standing there with your titan or sniper rifle, ripping them a new asshole as they desperately try to scramble onto their ship before it leaves.
Matches seem a little on the short side, or rather the interval period between matches is too short (currently at 90 seconds when a game probably takes around 10 mins).

TitanFall 2014-02-15 13-52-00-78

Meta:
Tons of unlockable challenges and equipment, majority of the weapons have unlockable attachments which are gained in similar fashion to MW2, awarded at X amount of kills or time spent using the weapon, the obvious upgrades are things like extended mag, and weapon sights, but im sure there will be other unlocks in the full game. Of special note are the titan weapons which can also be augmented, with things like a weapon spinup added to the titan assault rifle, or burst fire added to the cannon. Titanfall also introduces something called Burn Cards, which are probably easiest described as an extra perk slot which runs on consumables, cards will be acquired during gameplay and have a variety of effects, from minor things like increased movement speed, to massive changes like ‘enemies revealed on minimap’, you can even get a sonar which acts like a wallhack. These burn cards are used when you are dead, and the effects finish when you die, so they really are temporary and as such makes dying somewhat depressing if you have a good card on. I can already see myself hoarding all of the good cards and never actually using them, similar to finishing an RPG with 99 max revives.

TitanFall 2014-02-19 20-21-48-55

TitanFall 2014-02-19 20-22-43-91

Verdict:

Titanfall is looking solid, really solid.
If you enjoy the fast paced gunplay of Call of Duty but wish there was less camping involved, Titanfall may very well be your game.
If you enjoy a sense of power roaming around in a giant robot and firing rocket salvos at other players hiding in buildings, Titanfall may very well be your game.
If you think that gunning someone down while running along a wall is cool

I’ll probably be buying it, hopefully i’ll have people to play with.

Jazzpunk (PC) – Review

posted in: Games Review | 0

Jazzpunk is the funniest game i’ve ever played.

There, did I get your attention yet? Seriously though, I’ve played way too many games to count, yet there are only a handful of games which have properly made me laugh out loud, Jazzpunk sits at the top of this handful, championing a golden wrestling belt, a medal and a tiara.
What makes it so good? The sheer unpredictability of it, mixed with a ton of curveballs and a giant dose of funny writing and puns, the world of Jazzpunk is never quite as it appears, something you’ll understand from the very first 5 seconds of the game.

Jazzpunk 2014-02-16 18-06-50-92

Jazzpunk 2014-02-16 18-10-53-59Lets dial back to some more normal review talk, in Jazzpunk you play an agent sent out to complete ridiculous missions in ridiculous fashions, the game doesn’t really hold your hand at all in this regard, just giving the occasional hint to push you in the right direction – the real meat of the game however arent the missions, but the worlds they are in, wandering 5 feet off the metaphorical beaten track is an absurd world of side missions, short sequences, and even games. The game itself is fantastically self aware and uses this to its advantage, borrowing from pop culture and other games when it needs to, and using them to full effect rather than the borderlands 2 style of just throwing memes at you at any given opportunity (the street fighter noises in the map stage had me in tears).

Jazzpunk 2014-02-16 18-51-15-90

The graphics are odd to describe, they are essentially shitty, yet at the same time complement the style of the world so well that after playing, you’d have trouble imagining the graphical style being any other way. The environments themselves are bright with strong outlines, the characters are simple yet quirky and everything has just enough detail to be clearly understood, without having so much that the cel-shaded style becomes cluttered.
Music and sound are used to fantastic effect through the game, with noises straight out of cartoons and stock sound packs, along with sounds borrowed from other sources. The voice acting for most characters is also fantastic (and im thinking in particular of a certain waitress at kai tak resort).

Jazzpunk 2014-02-16 19-47-19-95

This is a game that does almost nothing wrong, I did have a minor graphical glitch, and a crash upon trying to DJ with a record player, but other than that and the games short length and relative high price (game runs at around 90 mins for the core experience) this is a fantastic game. Also worth noting that it’s rare for a game to get the humour so spot on.

Verdict:

Jazzpunk is a comedy masterpiece. Though it’s length is short and it’s price high, you can be sure that every minute spent playing will have a stupid grin on your face.

Approximate Game Length :  75 mins – 2 hours
Actual Worth / Steam Price:  £8 / £12 = 0.66
Should you play it : Definitely, consider acquiring through other means if the price is too steep for you, but you this is a game which deserves to be played.

Rating: 5/5

Jazzpunk 2014-02-16 20-02-15-31

Guise of the Wolf (PC) – ‘Review’

posted in: Games Review | 0

So in a futile attempt to try and breathe some life back into this blog, as well as occupy myself for a bit, today I will be looking at a game called ‘Guise of the Wolf’, which has a metacritic user score of 0.7. Now granted most of this hate will likely be because the creators issued takedown notices to youtube videos which talk badly about the game, including someone called totalbiscuit who is apparently a big deal.
I care not for such drama, however upon playing the game, it quickly becomes clear why they were trying to censor game coverage because holy shit, this game is on an entire other level of bad.

Guise Of The Wolf 2014-02-16 08-56-05-72

It’s hard to properly structure a review around a game which is so universally bad at everything, that I thought I would just take the easy way out and detail everything wrong with the game.

1. Barren level design

Guise Of The Wolf 2014-02-16 09-06-19-29

2. Textures which only slightly more detailed than that found in minecraft

Guise Of The Wolf 2014-02-16 09-01-09-41

3. Input Lag

4. Lack of video options, or options in general. Game forcibly runs at 1280×768 with black bar letterboxing to give it that movie feel (lol.)

5. Everytime you find something, a jingle plays which sounds so hilariously out of place compared to everything else in the game

6. A Map screen which was probably made in MS Paint

Guise Of The Wolf 2014-02-16 09-20-25-69

7. Lack of direction combined with shit level design, the game doesn’t really tell you what to do or where to do it, you have to just stumble around and click everything until something happens.

8. Unskippable dialogue

9 Combined with these character models and flappy mouth when talking, which looks like something out of a badly dubbed chinese film.

Guise Of The Wolf 2014-02-16 09-04-42-33

10. This guy, whose mouth is as wide as from the centre of each eye, it somehow stretches horizontally when he talks, because that’s how mouths work.

Guise Of The Wolf 2014-02-16 09-24-51-14

11. Doors which seem to require a certain point to be clicked to open, yet sometimes the point changes.

12. This guy’s missing cheeks, and visible nose polygon.

Guise Of The Wolf 2014-02-16 09-26-49-47

13. This guy that encourages you to burgle the castle he is supposed to be guarding

Guise Of The Wolf 2014-02-16 09-28-29-31

14. Them textures tho.

Guise Of The Wolf 2014-02-16 09-29-25-96

15. These incredibly tedious lock puzzles which are about as fun as dipping your face into acid.

Guise Of The Wolf 2014-02-16 09-31-52-3216. I actually think Goldeneye on the N64 might have had better graphics.

Aaaaaand thats about all I could stomach. Eventually I hit a dead end, in a castle full of locked doors and no idea of what im supposed to be trying to do or where im supposed to be trying to do it, the shitty map at my side which offered little guidance in terms of direction or even where I was.

After closing down the game and having a look, apparently the game at points wants you to put an amulet on a random statue, and pickpocket a key even though it never mentions you can actually pickpocket.
This game is just a mess. I’m not saying work didn’t go into it, because clearly it did, but when you try to charge £10 for a piece of work which is as bad as this, it’s kind of inevitable that you’re going to get some awful reviews.

Verdict:

A first person adventure game without the adventure, if you enjoy wandering around a shitty looking environment looking for god knows what then maybe you’ll find this interesting, then again, maybe you need to have your head checked too.
Guise of the Wolf is every bit as bad as people say it is, stay well away.

Approximate Game Length :  As long as you can tolerate it
Actual Worth / Steam Price:  £0  / £10 = 0.0
Should you play it : God no. I paid nothing for the game and still feel ripped off.

Rating: 0/5

Pid (PC) – Quick Review

posted in: Games Review | 0

Pid 2014-02-08 12-15-59-49

Pid is made by unknown developer ‘Might and Delight’, and is a basic platformer with some anti-gravity beam stuff thrown in.
The game visually is very nice, and is somewhat similar looking to modern day CGI films, the developers clearly are adept at modelling and graphical work, however they forgot to add a crucial element into their game, fun.

According to steam I have been spent an hour or so playing Pid but honestly it feels like i’ve been at it for hours, the game is a slow paced gauntlet of environmental traps which are often easy to both complete and execute, it is likely this ease that makes the game drag on like it does – the player knows what they have to do, but executing the moves and getting yourself from A to B is hindered by the main character himself, who runs slowly, and floats along at his own pace. Not once in the time i’ve spent playing have I found myself actually entertained to any extent, rather just forcing myself to play through to see if it gets any better.

Pid 2014-02-15 17-29-40-57

Granted for all I know the game might magically transform into something actually fun after another hour or so of gameplay, but i’m not prepared to force myself through any more of this ‘game’ to actually find out.

Verdict:

Pid should serve as an excellent reminder to game developers that art, direction and gameplay mechanics can only carry a game so far, if the game isn’t actually fun or interesting to play, your game is trash.

Approximate Game Length :  As long as you can tolerate it
Actual Worth / Steam Price:  £0.20  / £7 = 0.03
Should you play it : No, if you are looking for indie art shite, there are better games for it, if you are looking for a platformer, those are around in abundance too.

Rating: 1/5

Emergency Couple

posted in: TV | 0

So after speeding through 180something episodes of Running Man (and these episodes are like 90 mins each mind.), It was almost inevitable that I would end up eventually dipping my large disgusting feet into the gigantic world of Korean drama.
Now this isn’t a post to say i’ve turned into some Kdrama buff, nor am I a fan to the level I watch Japanese animation, but I’ve started watching one, and goddamn is it good.

Of the thousands out there, I went for currently airing medical drama ‘Emergency Couple’ (응급남녀), and while I kind of wish I had picked one that had already finished airing (because cliffhangers suck), there is something oddly satisfying about being up to date with a show, and knowing that everyone else in the world is on the same page and seeing it at roughly the same time as you.

Emergency_Couple[1]

I initially started watching it based purely on synopsis, and the knowledge that Song ji hyo (from Running Man) is starring in it, the storyline is pretty easily grasped from just watching the first episode, but the TLDR is that a divorced couple are forced to work together in ER.

To say that the series is better than I expected would bean understatement, I kind of watched the first episode out of curiosity and instantly ended up marathoning the series up to the current episode at the time (which was only 4 episodes, but i mean, still 4 hours worth of TV). The show is full of characters you can sympathize with, along with some characters which arguably play their role as villain too well (I never thought I’d hate a television character more than Joffrey from Game of Thrones but ‘oh chang mins’ mother is on a whole other level of infuriating)

If you have a spare hour or two, and aren’t bothered by the whole foreign TV thing, give the show a shot, I fell in love with it, maybe you will too.

Links:
English wikipedia page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_Couple
Online Stream w/ Eng subs – www.dramago.com/korean-drama/emergency-couple

Southend on sea

posted in: Photography | 0

Was scheduled to do a store in southend today, went there and apparently the work had already been done, So instead I walked around the beach for an hour or so. Not a bad day of work?

20140207-IMG_0268 20140207-IMG_0273 20140207-IMG_0278 20140207-IMG_0282 20140207-IMG_0283 20140207-IMG_0288 20140207-IMG_0296 20140207-IMG_0299 20140207-IMG_0301 20140207-IMG_0302

Life – January 2014

posted in: blog, Photography, work | 0

Life

So after a nice relaxing christmas holiday with lots of time off, i’m back in the saddle travelling around the country for work. Have clocked up about 800 miles over the last two weeks if thats any indication, and then this Sunday im off once again to Leicester for a week, and then back to Manchester (stockport) for a week after that.

My Samsung Galaxy S2 had been playing up for quite a while and it was getting to the point where almost everything I wanted to do,  it wouldnt. Some examples of things that were wrong..
– The GPS stopped working
– The volume would randomly start go to minimum (very VERY annoying for using it as a walkman)
– Signal would occasionally be at 0, would have to restart to regain signal
– Battery would occasionally display 40%… then shut off and when I reboot it would say 2% remaining.
– constant ‘Phone is running out of internal storage’, taken up by files I am unable to find or delete, no solution aside from wiping the phone, but it would be back within a month…
– Microphone wouldnt work properly in speaker mode
– Would randomly boot up the android siri thing while im trying to use it for other things..

Honestly that shit was just a mess, but It lasted me a good few years so I guess I can’t complain too much. I just wish I knew why it was going haywire.

The result then…

20140124-IMG_0223is a sexy new phone!

It’s very weird using a phone without that extra ‘menu’ button, and im actually not too keen on the placement of the lock button, but other than that, very very nice phone. But then I suppose you would hope so for the money, which we wont get into.

Games

Really havent been doing a whole lot of gaming recently, I played some of Valdis Story the other day while I was stuck in the hotel, and that game seems really good aside from a few design niggles which i’ll probably go into when I eventually review the game.

I’m also still addicted to Puzzle and Dragons on android, and after stoning my way through the Friday dungeon, finally managed to evolve and then ultimate evolve my Bastet at last, yay!
Now I just need to finish off my team with.. a bunch of other incredibly rare droprate healer monsters :X I’m still stuck on Satan, not sure how I’m supposed to deal with 66666 damage every 6 turns.

Loadout came out yesterday, which I will be having a go at shortly, but that game looks really fun. Just in time too, as there aren’t a whole lot of games that have come out recently which I am interested in. I want to play Octodad but honestly £10 for what I hear is an hours worth of gameplay is a little bit steep.

Other

I took my camera to Manchester with me thinking it might cure some boredom, on Day 2 I went to the Trafford Centre which turns out is this gigantic shopping centre, tons of shops and then a gigantic food court and tons of themed restaurants above. It really reminded me of the shopping malls in Malaysia or Singapore and is honestly probably the best mall ive seen in the UK so far.

20140129-IMG_0225

20140129-IMG_023520140129-IMG_0244 20140129-IMG_0247 20140129-IMG_0248 20140129-IMG_0249 20140129-IMG_0251 20140129-IMG_0252

Oh. And I took this from a services on the M1

20140131-IMG_0260much art.