Life – May 2015

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Pretty stressful/depressing month and a half, almost half way through the year already and I feel i’ve hardly accomplished anything. Feels like i’ve just fallen into a slump – not making much progress at the gym, haven’t studied japanese in a ages, no real progress while looking for work..

I did have a few interviews with some good looking companies, but failed at interview stage, the last of which declined me on the basis of ‘I didn’t seem that interested in IT’ – which is truly a bizarre and alien concept to me.

Really not much else to document, my brother came back home from his first year of university yesterday – crazy to see what a whole year has flown by, even if my own university years similarly flew.

As far as video games go, have just been cleaning up some old games I never got round to playing, and as you can probably tell, gave some indie games a try as well, majority of which were awful, i’ve also gotten addicted to Clicker Heroes, which is basically cookie clicker but with more RPG elements and deeper upgrade/rebirth paths – give it a try if you enjoy these sort of idle/afk games.
I had to stay away from online gaming for a while because for whatever reason, my internet was being janky and laggy, just the other day I ended up dropping £55 on a new router and putting my virgin media superhub into modem mode, which seems to have resolved the issue somehow, im still not sure if it was just a signal strength issue or something else, but it was awfully bizarre – showing 30 ping but then spiking and rubberbanding constantly.

On a lighter note, Holiday in literally one week, and I can’t wait! One whole week in Hong Kong, followed by a week in South Korea! I got a new SD card for my birthday too, so expect a shitload of pictures.

Invisible, Inc (PC) Review

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Invisible Inc is turn based stealth game by Klei Entertainment, who are on quite the streak of good games latety (Shank, Mark of the Ninja, Don’t Starve)

The game can rather quickly be summarised as a cross between metal gear ac!d and the Xcom series, featuring a roguelike blend of randomly generated levels, permadeath and grid style turn based movement. A full game takes place over an in-game 72 hours, where you have to prepare for the final mission. Your goal then is to survive until then, and acquire as much money and equipment as possible to give yourself the best chance of success for the finale, you do this by travelling to locations (which costs ingame time) and then playing a level and hopefully absconding with whatever it was you came for. Some examples of sites you can target are weapons facilities (weapons), prisons (characters), augment labs (character perks) and some others.

invisibleinc

So you reach a site, you then have to slowly work your way through the level, find the objective, then get all of your agents to an exit point in the level to escape – sites are of course littered with patrolling guards, cameras, locked doors, lazer walls, drones… but thankfully, you have a little help from above – access to hacking tools which can be triggered at the expense of power, which you’ll siphon from hacking terminals in a level (or generated through items or other hacking tools). Using Incognita (the hacking system) is pretty core to the game, and deciding which programs to bring, and when to use them, is likely what will save your agents from a horrible death out on the field – gaining access to cameras can let you bypass them and simultaneously scout areas you have no vision of for example. Later on, the enemy start deploying countermeasures to hacking known as daemons – which basically act like malware that triggers upon successful hack, this could mean guards are dispatched, or you are drained of power or money.

invisibleinc

The game is fantastically tense, and very well paced. Individual missions rarely seem to drag on, and the difficulty level ranges from ‘still anxious’ to ‘holy shit i’m so fucked’, with easier levels allowing turn rewinds and easier guard AI, and harder levels bringing in the big guns faster (and raising the alarm consequences and firewalls). The 72 hours aspect also works well, allowing for multiple playthroughs at higher difficulty levels, this is coupled with an overarching exp system which will unlock new agents and programs for use on start of your next playthrough. (i’m a big fan of agent Internationale myself). The game also likes you to play fast, there is an ongoing alarm system which never decreases, it increases rapidly upon being seen or caught or detectors, but will still increase slightly at the end of every turn, and each level is bad news, bringing reinforcements, or stepping up firewalls to prevent you from hacking. Passive play isn’t really an option, you need to get in and get out.

Plz no.
Plz no.

Graphics are nicely stylized 3d from an isometric viewpoint (you can actually spin the camera if you want), and the music is minimal yet impactful – progressively getting more intense as the alarm raises, or if being chased by an enemy.

There wasn’t really anything I disliked about Invisible Inc, which is a nice change, everything seemed well thought out, though there could maybe be a little more variety in how to play. However I still look forward to my next few playthroughs, though I don’t think i’m looking forward to expert mode, the final mission in easy was already pretty hard :X

invis4

 

 

Verdict:

Invisible Inc is a fantastic stealth roguelike, if you love Xcom, check this out for sure, for everyone else, you should probably still check this out because the stealth genre is seriously lacking these days.

Approximate Game Length : Around 5 hours for a full playthrough
Actual Worth / Steam Price: £12 / £15 = 0.8
Should you play it :Yes

Rating: 5 / 5

Apparently 'Experienced' difficulty is nothing to fuck with.
Apparently ‘Experienced’ difficulty is nothing to fuck with. RIP agent banks.

Action Henk (PC) Review

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Quickie Review time.

Action Henk is a speedrunner / time trial style game by RageSquid (who have yet to make anything of much note). The gameplay is about as simple as it gets – get to the end of the level as fast as possible.

To my surprise, the game doesn’t tend to play out like Meat Boy or even the Trials series, but more like a 16bit era Sonic the Hedgehog game. Levels are pretty short and sweet, but are filled with ramps, jumps and loops to throw yourself round. Key mechanics other than the basic jump is the ability to slide which will let you accelerate downhill or slide off slopes (including those above you), wall jumping, and on some levels a Hookshot which is very similar to the rope weapon found in Worms.

ActionHenk 2015-05-12 21-05-57-82

So you run from left to right, cool. Anything else of note? Well… not really? you slide and jump around, and it’s sort of fun I guess, but that’s pretty much it. Unless you are really shooting for best times or competing against other people, there’s very little to hold your attention. To it’s credit the game does support steam workshop for custom levels (thank god) but i’m still not convinced the game does enough to warrant it’s price tag.

Graphics are clean and pretty easy to read, though there could definitely be more detail in the environment. The music wasn’t really my cup of tea either, especially as you’ll typically listen to the same track over and over for the entirety of a ‘world’ which consists of around 6 stages. I ended up listening to the Sonic Colours soundtrack after world 4 or so.

As mentioned previously, there are leaderboards and online races, as well as custom level support – so if you do get into the game (probably more likely if you are competitive and have a few friends) there is some fun to be had there.

ActionHenk 2015-05-12 21-11-20-05

Verdict:

Action Henk is probably the best Sonic game i’ve played in years, however it’s lack of depth makes me reluctant to really recommend it to anyone but genre fans. It’s also surprisingly expensive for it’s content.

Approximate Game Length : Few hours
Actual Worth / Steam Price: £4 / £11 =
Should you play it :No

Rating: 3 / 5