Posts Tagged ‘Video Game’

Syndicate Trailer: Pros and Cons

Syndicate Agent

I very rarely find myself at a loss for words but when those moments come it typically means one of two things. I’m either in love or I’m very nervous. This was the case with the latest trailer for Syndicate released earlier this week. With a video game that I spent most of my early teen years playing Syndicate by Bullfrog Productions holds a very special place in my heart. Maybe it was the trench coats, maybe it was the flamethrower, maybe it was the ability to amass an army or walking, talking bullet shields.

The trailer that was recently released met with some mixed reviews from many people. Some people loved it, some hated it, however the majority of people saw it with more hope than anything else. In case you haven’t seen it yet go ahead and check it out below.

Now what we see is a typical trailer. They aren’t going to skimp on the action. They want you to buy this game. They want you to fall head over heels in love with it. They want you to watch the Syndicate gameplay trailer and say “You are gorram right I’m going to buy the crap outta this. SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!” But did you say this? If you’re like me you overanalyzed the heck out of it and you’ve arrived at a few conclusions.

Syndicate Announcement Trailer Pros

A Syndicate is nothing without good agents; they are what make the really nasty stuff possible. So when the trailer starts off saying that you’re taking the role of this agent we can chalk this us as a big plus. The nice aspect of this is that agents are upgradable however the extent to which you’ll be able to play is (as of yet) being kept under wraps, but this does give us some hope.

Still has the mission clock and more importantly we get a much better voice than the one in the first Syndicate game. This is a vast imrpovement over the overly mechanical voice from the original Syndicate. However I can’t help but shake the feeling that it sounds like an attempt at a seductive GLaDOS. It is for this very reason that I will refuse to trust that it is not ultimately going to turn on me and test me in some way.

Sydnicate Announce Trailer Ocean Scene

Just look how outside I am!

It is also very apparent that we are fighting rival syndicates. Now this is not really news since that’s really the entire point of the video game. However we do know that they still aren’t getting along. Ultimately this is what leads us to hope that in some way we will have some form of territory management akin to the original video game. This is something that will, again, remain to be seen.

Now 40 seconds into the Syndicate Announcement Trailer you see someone lose control and do the agents bidding by killing the other person in the room and then turn the gun on their own head. This leads us to one logical conclusion. This can only be the work of the persuadetron? What else could allow a Syndicate Agent to gain access to someone and force them to do their bidding. While the ultimate capability of the persuadetron has yet to be released, knowing that it’s in there makes us happy.

Face stomp at 1:03. That’s all we really need to say about that.

The scale of Syndicate looks rather large. Now it’s not large on the scale of Fallout 3 or New Vegas but it does look like the missions may be slightly more grandiose than Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Now before people get angry with me allow me to explain what I meant by that line. I am not saying DE:HR was small. I’m not saying it wasn’t amazing. What I’m saying was that the missions held a certain claustrophobic feel to them. While it was perfect for Deus Ex: Human Revolution it’s nice to see Syndicate stepping up and saying “Here’s a minigun on the side of a vehicle. Have at it. See that window you’re dangling in front of in the open sky? Yeah just whoop that window’s ass.”

Syndicate Announcement Trailer Cons

syndicate-shotgun

Aaaallll byyyy MYseeeeeelllfff

Only one agent. Part of the fun I had with Syndicate and trying to set up traps. Lining up multiple agents with a brutal mix of flamethrowers and miniguns was a simple pleasure to a thirteen year old boy. With only one agent the trapping and luring aspect won’t seem quite as possible. Okay it won’t be at all possible. But I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that what they lack in agent quantity they make up for in agent quality.

While I stated above that the world seems more grandiose it doesn’t (from what we’ve been shown) look to be as open. We see no hint of the aforementioned territorry management that we are hoping it keeps up, nor do we see anything as remotely open world as Deus Ex: Human Revolution. While we’re not looking for them to lay out the entire story in a quick 2 minute trailer it would be nice for a tad more information on what we can expect when we’re not stomping on people’s faces while making others shoot people for us.

While it looks like a very fast paced FPS, it still looks like a fairly standard FPS. There is not much in here that really blows our skirts up. It’s still early though, but since Syndicate is scheduled for release on February 21st, 2012 they should be showing us something to get us excited. However a great game is not always great because it brings something new to the game. Sometimes they do something great by taking pieces of what’s worked before and combining them in a way that is simply mind blowing.

Additional Syndicate Information

syndicate fight

Does his thumbs up mean go for the gold?

Now what good is a video game announcement without a little pre-order information to go with it. If you were so inclined to preorder Syndicate you would get The Executive Package bundled right with it. What is the Executive Package you may be asking yourself? Well let me shed a little light on it for you. It’s enough co-op gold to make Trump jealous. You get solid gold version of all loadout weapons, something called “golden dart vision” and gold Syndicate logos during co-op missions.  They seem to be touting the gold angle.

While “fancy pants gold weapons” are interesting I am more intrigued by these missions themselves. Will they be more akin to the old school Syndicate game where a team of agents work to achieve a goal? That would certainly be an interesting angle to the multiplayer.  Looks like we’ll have to wait to find out a little more though.

What we do know from the trailer is that Syndicate looks like it should be fun to play. We’re pretty anxious to find out more about it on our end. But we’ve given you our take on the the trailer, what about all of you?

VN:F [1.9.11_1134]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Dark Souls Trailer: I already want to break a controller

Dark Souls Image

If there is one aspect of Demon’s Souls that appeals to everyone it’s just how easy it is. Once you pick up the controller you begin to breeze through the game without ever breaking a sweat. It’s almost like they designed the game to appeal to the casual gamer who just wants to kick back, relax, and enjoy a good story.

Yeah we all know that paragraph was a giant steaming crock. Even thinking about Demon’s Souls gives video gamers chills. There are nights I wake up screaming. My wife asks me why and I whimper out between big blubbering sobs “Bolataria…I was there Meg, I was there.” Knowing this From Software’s Hidetaka Miyazaki has come right out and said “Yeah we’re not making Dark Souls any easier. In fact we are making it harder.” This is enough to make the most hardcore of video gamer both shudder and get a surge of adrenalin.

Yes, Dark Souls may be the first video game to ever trigger both the fight and the flight responses simultaneously. Don’t believe me? Watch the trailer below.

It begins with a giant, screaming, pike wielding dragon and from there it just looks nastier. Things are bigger, harder, and angrier in Dark Souls. Just admit it that you can’t wait for it’s release. It’s going to be fantastic. While video game trailers are nice and all, but more often than not they don’t stack up to real gameplay footage. Yeah well keep scrolling. The folks over at GameTrailers have some interesting gameplay footage from Gamescom.

Dark Souls Gamplay Trailer Part 1

Right from the onset we’re struck with how similar the interface looks to Demon’s Souls. As our wayward hero pillages a nearby copse he escapes his jail cell. The prison is then overrun with giant blue squid like creatures. If I had to imagine based on the players equipment we aren’t dealing with a Dark Souls level for beginners. This makes it all the more surprising when we find our hero flee up a ladder. It’s at this time that we find him getting kicked in the face. This limits his options.

Now what we ultimately take away from this is that you have to explore. This is not going to be a “Point A to Point B” affair. Dark Souls is going to be a hunt, find, “I’m sorry you must have the right key,” kind of video game. So while Demon’s Souls will beat you with a brutal onslaught Dark Souls seems to be saying “Yeah we’ll do that too, but then we’ll turn you around and get you lost trying to find hidden away items.”

Dark Souls Gameplay Trailer Part 2

Dark Souls once again stresses something that was vital in Demon’s Souls. Know your environment. In seeing that these squid creatures won’t enter into the jail cell we find ourselves in a safe haven. Once exiting they choose evade the creatures rather than engage since they are of a level that our player can’t seem to handle. Did you catch that? You don’t fight every enemy in Dark Souls. Sometimes you have to know when to run.

Exploration is once again said to be an important factor of Dark Souls. They seem to be going out of their way to say “You have to find what you need, it’s not going to pointed to you by a giant flashing yellow line” which is nice. Dark Souls isn’t going to hold your hand. Suddenly we see it. The scene all to familiar to players of Demon’s Souls: a death. But in this death we gain a certain wisdom. Yes it may be as simple as don’t do that again, but with each time something doesn’t work we know that we have found one less way to do something.

Dark Souls Gameplay Trailer Part 3

Suddenly we see just why we were met with an enemy that was too difficult to take care of. To remove the threat you had to find a different way. Just like that we find another way Dark Souls will challenge the video game player. Your battles will be difficult. You will have to locate hidden items. You will have to pay very close attention to almost every detail to solve the puzzles and problems the lurk within. Then they come out and say they’ve been cheating.

They made a character who was tougher than normal. This is understandable given that they want to make sure people can see what you can do in the demo. However it will be interesting to see how much stronger this character is. Granted the fact that he says that we’re supposed to “die a hundred times” before we figure out what we’re supposed to do is rather disheartening.

Dark Souls Gameplay Trailer Part 4

Then the real point to Dark Souls comes out. From Software isn’t making it gut wrenchingly difficult to be dicks. Okay maybe they are a little bit. But they want to give the users a sense of accomplishment. This is what Demon’s Souls excelled at and you can bet that it will be just as gratifying if not more come Dark Souls. This is what makes them so fun to play. Yes they are brutal. Yes they are painful. Yes they strip of of social connections as each hour passes away while you continually struggle with the same level for days on end. Oh man, I can’t wait!

Dark Souls is going to be released on October 4th so I can expect my blood pressure to rise and be considered unhealthy by my doctor during my physical a few days later. When they ask why I’ll just respond “Dark Souls”. If they ask any more questions I will direct them to the internet.

Did anyone else find themselves yelling “HEALTH! YOU NEED HEALTH!”

VN:F [1.9.11_1134]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Lollipop Chainsaw: I’m slightly obsessed

Juliet Starling Lollipop Chainsaw In Game Shot

We’re seeing an absolute torrent of news come out this week and one piece has me more interested than anything else. Call it a mild obsession but Lollipop Chainsaw has grabbed my attention since it was first announced by Grasshopper with creative director Suda51. For anyone who is as of yet unfamiliar with the premise, you follow the adventures of Juliet Starling. A lollipop loving high school cheerleader with a chainsaw and a zombie problem. Released this week at Gamescom was the following trailer:

As you can tell this is not going to be your regular run of the mill zombie affair. Lollipop Chainsaw is quite literally a merging of the minds that brought us No More Heroes and Dawn of the Dead. The game appears to look like just that.  With Juliet and a disembodied head who’s purpose is of great interest to me at this stage, and a chainsaw made for zombie killin’ we can expect something outlandishly over the top.

As of right now details about Lollipop Chainsaw are still fairly sparse. We do know that it is a video game for the PS3 and Xbox 360 and it will take place in a California high school in San Romero, where Juliet was a cheerleader. We also know that they wanted to heavily play up the pop aspect of the entire affair stating that blood and gore will be bypassed in favor of light and rainbows. I think it may be that this is what ultimately caught people’s attention. With the multitude of serious zombie games out there, not even including the apparent coup de gras of Dead Island, it’s refreshing to see that Lollipop Chainsaw will show a tongue in cheek lighter side of a zombie apocalypse.

We are most definitely looking forward to what new information comes out about this in the near future.

VN:F [1.9.11_1134]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Portal 2 Review: Is This A Triumph?

Portal has come a long way since showing the cake, in fact, was not a lie.  Ever since the success of the first, Valve has meticulously planned a sequel to the franchise.  The initial fears of the sequel were apparent.  Sequels in the video game world have not been doing quite well to hold to the original (Call of Duty, Dragon Age, BioShock; all with their corresponding reasons).  However, this was different….this was Valve.  If anyone could make an awe-inspiring sequel, it would be Valve.

POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT.  I say possible because there are a lot of jokes and actual story elements in this iteration.  If you do plan on playing the game, some of the jokes might be spoiled.

 

 

Gameplay (5 out of 5)

Right out of the gate, the game assumes you are a new person to the Portal series (or video games themselves).  This means you will have to go through the initial tutorial levels once again, with loading screens after each simple test.  Fear not though, once the game ramps up the difficulty, and you travel deeper into the Aperture Science Laboratories, the loading screens become less apparent.  After playing through the entire Single Player campaign (and parts of the co-op so far), veterans to the series will come across some new found difficulty.  The new additions of a Hard-light bridge, Excursion Funnel, and 3 different types of gels give you a whole new sense of trying to think outside the box.  I found myself pouring over every corner of rooms before having that “oh…..duh” moment.

The addition of the co-op campaign adds the most unpredictable variable you will come across in this game…a 2nd player.  The co-op campaign is completely separate from the single player campaign (so do not feel like you are cheating yourself out of any experience by going with one or the other).  With 4 portals now (instead of 2), puzzles become even more mind-boggling than before.  Thankfully, Valve introduced gestures to help players (who might not be able to speak to each other).

There are non-mission gestures and mission.  Non-mission gestures include waving, playing rock paper scissors, teasing each other, and even hugging…awwwww.  Quite frankly, after figuring out some of these tests, you mind yourself hugging the other out of sheer excitement that the test is finally over.  Then there are mission gestures.  These act as more notifications for the other player to follow, like if you want the other player to look somewhere, or put their portal in a specific spot.  It also include a 3sec timer for times you need to complete an action at the same time.

Make sure you are a close friend with someone before playing co-op.  You might find yourself yelling at the other because they deployed the wrong portal FOR THE 1 BILLIONTH TIME KILLING YOU BOTH.  sorry…it does get frustrating if communication is not made a priority.  You will find yourself dying over even the simplest puzzles if both of you are not on the same page when navigating through these.

 

Story (4 out of 5)

Believe it or not, there is an actual story to be told in Portal 2.  You start the game where you left off from the first,  still captured, and doing exercises to keep your body and mind in shape.  However, something goes wrong, and you are not waken up for many years, until a new AI called Wheatley comes to free you from your slumber.  From there, you must once again, battle the over powering AI GlaDOS (who does not feel the emotion revenge for you killing her at all….you monster) and escape from Aperture Science.  Without giving away too much, you learn much more about all the characters, including the foundations that Aperture Science was built on, and even get to see some of their early experiments (which are quite hilarious to explore).  The narration by all the characters makes for very interesting conversation between tests, that I even looked forward to.  I was always looking forward to what was going to happen next or who would say what.  The reason I do not give this a perfect 5, is because in the end, the story elements do feel short.  With basically only 3 main characters,  there is not too much to explore.  Valve instead crams as much personality into them as possible…and it works quite well.

 

Controls & Graphics (5 out of 5)

Valve goes again with the Source engine to power the game.  This leads to the familiar feeling of swinging the view around to get your bearings correct.  For any people new to the series, the game will still give you hints as to what a certain button press will do (and sometimes, what control will help you in a situation).  Overall, the controls should not hinder your performance in any way (coming from the PC version).

Graphics wise, the game has made some improvements since the last iteration.  It adds many more moving parts and higher resolution textures to compliment the setting of the game.  You quickly learn that every square of a test chamber is hooked up to an actuator arm that can modify the room in any given way.  Seeing this in action gives a new sense of awe.  Environmentally, Valve does a great job of showing that the center has not aged well over the years.  With plants growing out of control (including those damn potatoes) and random floor sections missing or failing, it keeps the sense that the building feels alive.

 

Audio (4 out of 5)

Random dialog moments make up the bulk of this score.  Between Wheatley’s random moments of stupidity or one of GlaDOS’s retorts, you find yourself stopping so you get to hear the full dialog (so it doesn’t get cut off by entering another room and triggering another scripted event).  Included in some of tests are some music points (whether its smooth jazz or 8-bit retro sounds) that will ramp up as you progress through the test.  It is not overpowering and is a nice touch.  There is a new final song after you beat the game.  It does not match the awesomeness of Still Alive, but it is still enjoyable.

Overall (5 out of 5)

I’m making a note here: Huge Success.  Portal 2 is an excellent sequel to the original.  It adds enough new elements to challenge veterans of the series, while bringing in some new players.  With co-op, you can now share frustration and anger with a friend (just make sure you do not share violence.  Violence is not part of the test and will not help you along).  Valve has outdone themselves by making a very respectable sequel.  They did not hang around memes created by the first game, and set off to correctly expand the game and its horizons.

P.S.: One note though, co-op store for hats/skins that do not help and only have one other person see at a time….really Valve?  I forgive you for wanting more money….but really?

VN:F [1.9.11_1134]
Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

Dragon Age 2 Review

Here’s a little known fact: Polish the Console was essentially founded because of Dragon Age: Origins. We spent so much time having random conversations that stemmed from Dragon Age: Origins that we said “Hey, lets make a website out of it.” Dragon Age quickly became a series that we knew that we were going to follow closely and with much excitement. When they announced Dragon Age 2 we all felt that it seemed quick but we didn’t care. We couldn’t wait. It was more Dragon Age.

Dragon Age 2

That's a man on a serious mission

The more information that we heard about Dragon Age 2 the more we couldn’t wait to play. It’s very existence had us brimming with excitement. We counted down the days until its release like giddy school children count down to spring break. We even considered using up our sick days at the office to camp out in our basements and do nothing but play Dragon Age 2.

Dragon Age 2: Controls

While the controls aren’t revolutionary they are still quite good. Bioware chose to keep their tried and true Dragon Age scheme but give it an added punch. When playing Dragon Age: Origins the presence of an actual player wasn’t always needed. You could just set it to attack something and go make a sandwich while the game took care of itself. You took care of using talents and spells but overall it was an experience steeped in the command mentality of “Go kill that. Okay now go kill that.”

They chose to step up the game a bit by making it more action oriented. Instead of letting the game play itself they gave direct control to the user. No longer to you select who to attack, you attack EVERYTHING. Every swing of the sword / knife / staff is dictated by the user. For me this makes for a more solid and interesting method of gameplay. It makes the user feel as if they are really in control and not just making decisions for someone else.

Ass StampAss StampAss StampAss Stamp

Dragon Age 2’s controls get a 4 out of 5

Dragon Age 2: Gameplay

Dragon Age: Origins was absolutely epic. There were long stretches spent attempting to accomplish one goal. Hours were spent in the Deep Roads and a Fade. You moved from area to area amassing a large army to fight an impending threat. You were picked to save the world from being overrun by evil and quite frankly that’s not something you can wrap up in a weekend and still have time to have dinner with the family.

dragon age 2 races

Does anyone else find the Qunari to be really attractive in this Dragon Age?

Dragon Age 2 takes a different approach. You are not fighting a horde of darkspawn on your way to stop the Archdemon. You have fled Ferelden during the blight and are now trying to create a better life for you and for your family. You get caught up in numerous political problem in the grand city of Kirkwall. You begin to amass a sizable fortune as a business man and because of this your status in the city is elevated and people begin to look up to you and your accomplishments. As you venture through your time as Hawke you really get a sense that Bioware has matured in their story telling for Dragon Age 2. It’s not just about questing and killing. You’re helping a city mired in political problems elevate itself and depending on how you play you can assume the role as it’s leader. Your actions bring about large political changes and ultimately seal your fate as a savior or a villain.

But it is because of these problems that you also don’t ever really leave. That’s a big change from Origins where you went quite literally all over the kingdom of Ferelden to get your job done. In Dragon Age 2 you spend you time either in Kirkwall or in the surrounding area. There’s isn’t much in the way of exploration.

When you do finally get the chance to explore and go cave diving you begin to see some of the problems when you release a game a little too quickly. Literally every cave and every house are exactly like every other cave and every other house. Some have doors that cannot open and start you in different areas but that is the only difference between them. They are literally exactly the same. This does a great deal to completely remove any sense of realism in Dragon Age 2.

While there were epic battles there were no epic quests. Bioware seems to be going after the casual gamer by making everything short and sweet and able to be wrapped up in 15 – 20 minutes. While this helps keep the game churning along at a decent clip it does very little to give you sense that what you are doing is really important. Important things take time. The take great effort. They take more time to complete than I take in the shower in the morning.

Ass StampAss StampAss Stamp

Dragon Age 2’s gameplay gets a 3 out of 5

Dragon Age 2: Graphics

Dragon Age: Origins was not known for being the prettiest game at the party. In fact it was quite the opposite. It was known for being ugly, graphically underpowered (on consoles) and more or less visually unappealing. While it’s still not going to win any awards for being stunning they did definitely improve on what they had. This is most evident with the cameos of past party members. Textures are a little more realistic than they previously were and this is something to applaud, especially given the short time frame between releases.

dragon age 2 flemeth

My dog gives me this same look when he steals my shoe

That being said it has not elevated itself to a level where playing it will make you say “Wow that’s beautiful”. It will make you say “Okay that looks better” but it just doesn’t open up the way it could. When you look at games like Mass Effect 2 that are visually amazing and compare them to Dragon Age 2 you notice that things just don’t look quite right.

Ass StampAss StampAss Stamp

Dragon Age 2’s graphics get a 3 out of 5

Dragon Age 2: Story

As we said before this isn’t a tale of fighting. This is a tale of growth both personal and political. It’s a tail of rising from your station to help a city regain it’s storied magnificence. It is a tale of a man (or woman) who finds their family name sullied and tarnished by a “black sheep” that you must work to rectify.

dragon age 2 hawke male mage

Just look at how awesomely brooding Hawke is

It’s a story that is more grown up and seems to reflect a mentality of “not every problem needs to solved with bloodshed”. That’s not to say that you won’t be throwing down and picking fights you do in fact do this. But you’re drawn into the middle of an unwanted Qunari presence as well as a violently growing schism between mages and templars.  You don’t get to sit on the sidelines or straddle the fence this time around. You witness injustices on both sides but still have to make a choice as to where you stand.

But Bioware is never just about the main story. The side quests in Dragon Age 2 are very interesting as well. When you start to engage your companions and learn more about them you find very interesting stories of kidnapping, hatred, fear, and avarice. You watch their stories unfold and in some instances you come to see that they are responsible for a great piece of the mess you find yourself in. When you’re not interacting with your companions you’re helping others to solve their problems but on more than one occasion this is not a one time quick fix. Their problems stay with you throughout your 7 year journey. The people you help or hurt in year 1 will pay you a visit later on your journey and they are going to have a fairly strong feelings about you. This idea that decisions have larger outcomes is something that I personally always enjoy seeing played out in a game. It makes the decision that much more nerve wracking to the point that I actually sat there thinking “what the hell should I say” for five minutes on more than one occasion.

Ass StampAss StampAss StampAss Stamp

Dragon Age 2’s story gets a 4 out of 5

Dragon Age 2: Overall

Overall Dragon Age 2 is a solid game that is a step up in very many ways from its predecessor. The main story is more interesting and even the side quests are engaging and interesting. However there are a great many flaws that take place that cannot be overlooked. The entire game feels rushed and hurried and just not finished. Because of this the entire game suffers and what could very easily have been one of the greatest games of the year falls short. However it is still a very solid game that was wildly fun to play and fantastically interesting to watch unfold. For this reason we have to give Dragon Age 2 a 4 out of 5

Ass StampAss StampAss StampAss Stamp

VN:F [1.9.11_1134]
Rating: 3.3/5 (9 votes cast)