Detroit: Becoming Human, The David Cage Game

Zack Layton "The New Hire"

David Cage’s games from Quantic Dream have a special place in my heart. With their first game Indigo Prophesy, being the first game to introduce me to narrative driven content within gaming, I’ve been keeping a close eye on these guys.

59121784ae653a11af48016e

Known for creating interesting “walking simulator” type games, their intriguing writing has decreased over time. Their last game, Beyond: Two Souls was sort of a let-down as it didn’t follow a linear story, which threw the players out of the game.

Their answer: Detroit: Becoming Human. A game where we have been promised legit multiple endings with a script that was reportedly longer than 2000+ pages.

I was skeptical to play it at first, but with all the hype surrounding it, I bought it on day 1 to try it out.

Famous for David Cage games, there were definitely moments that moved me with memorable scenes that I will probably remember for a year or so, but it was also littered with cheesy lines that may throw some people off.

Detroit-become-human-demo-555x328

STORY

Detroit: Becoming Human, takes place in… you guessed it, Detroit, where the player controls three characters.

Kara, the at home android, that is subjected to abuse by the stereotypical abusive father, who ends up killing him, in order to free his daughter from the terrible living conditions. Throughout the game, you play as Kara trying to find a safe home for the daughter, while running from the law.

Connor, the detective android who is partnered up with the stereotypical brooding human detective who recently lost his son. Throughout the game, you play as Connor who must solve crimes regarding new deviant androids and why there are so many happening all of a sudden.

Marcus, played by “McDreamy” from Grey’s Anatomy (don’t ask me how I know that). Marcus who lived in a peaceful home who was treated with respect by his owner is thrown in the dump after his owner died in an altercation with his son. Once Marcus risen from the ashes (so to speak), he becomes the new leader of a rebellion for the androids and the player must decide if they want to have peaceful or violent protests.

DetroitFI-755x425

The main goal of the game is to find a solution where the Androids become free from slavery and racial violence, however your three characters may not make it to the end of the game. If they die, they are gone from the story.

I went the peaceful approach in my first playthrough and thankfully all of my characters survived. I do have to say, that as much as there were so many stereotypes, I still felt a connection to each of the characters.

GAMEPLAY

Essentially Detroit: Becoming Human, is one big walking simulator with choosing specific actions using the right stick to select the appropriate action. Interactive cut scenes are used heavily as well.

Detroit-become-human-numbers-1-555x328

Just like in Indigo Prophesy, you face situations where you might have to hide evidence playing as Kara to keep the daughter safe, but at the same time choose to find the evidence as Connor that you first hid as Kara, to keep his captain happy with his performance.

These situations that occurred throughout the game made me more invested with the characters, as I wanted to make sure all of my characters lived at the end.

Besides that, nothing new gameplay wise was created. The graphics were good, but I’d expect that for any PS4 game.

detroitbecomehuman-747x309

As much as I love walking simulators, I can admit that they are starting to get a bit stale. It’s time we see some new concepts involved. At least Detroit: Becoming Human had a decent story.

LASTING IMPRESSION

All in all, even though there was nothing new that this game brought to the table, I do have to say that it did everything good that we’ve seen before.

The world that was built was believable and the struggles that each of the characters went through were relatable in some way.

The one issue that I had was that it was too “in your face” at times. Where most games show and not tell with their themes, this game pretty much spoon fed you with the race, sexual, and violent issues.

I plan on doing a second run through where I play evil characters so I hope I learn new and exciting things about these characters.

Detroit-Become-Human_03-22-18

Advertisements

Fallout 76: What and Why?

Darcy "Editor in Chief" Selke

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve probably heard about Bethesda’s announcement for a new installent in the Fallout franchise.

My first reaction was an incredible “YESSSSS”, I love the Fallout series and Fallout 4 was the first game I ever wrote about.

Within hours though internet users started putting together pieces of the mystery like, “why is this not #5, why 76?” The answer it turns out (or is rumoured to be) because this game is going to be different than other games. This one is going to be an Online Survival game?

I haven’t had a chance to discuss it with Zack further but I’m sure he’ll make a post about why this is dumb. Zack didn’t like Fallout 4 and he has some legitimate reasons, first among them being that they simply didn’t have enough vaults, which is totally fair.

Here’s my reasons for cautious optimism:

Something New

So as much as I love the series and gameplay of Fallout I always try to support a studio for doing something new.

It’s one of my most common criticisms with Nintendo (until recently). Ever year its Zelda, Mario, Kart, Smash, rinse and repeat. So I want to support a franchise for trying something new, so long as they keep the essence of what made their games enjoyable in the first place.

Granted this is all rumoured and if it it a “survival” style game like Rust, I can see the connection. The only thing I ask is for the love of god keep crafting to a minimum. It’s the bane of my existence in a survival game when I have to look through endless menus to make a new crappy item.

Online Play

Fallout seems like a series made for single player. My favourite moments have been wandering around until you stumble on a location you’ve never heard of or seen before.

I’m not sure how well that dynamic will translate into an online game where if you have other people on your team you have to convince them to come with you but the idea of stumbling on a Vault that is mid-way through being pillaged by other players is a cool thought.

Plus with the popularity of people streaming Fallout runs I can see why Bethesda thought to try this.

Time to Worry?

There are definitely things that could go wrong here. If you’re constantly trying to fight off trolls or other players while investigating some ruins it’s going to probably hamper your ability to read through documents and really dive into the world they’re trying to create. Imagine trying to hack a terminal as some asshole dabs next to you? Yuck.

The combat is the thing I’m worried about the most. Fallout combat is built around being cinematic, you can set up VATS and then just sit back and watch. Fallout 4 seemed to get a little more FPS friendly so maybe they’re going to jump down that rabbit hole but Combat has never been Fallout’s strength so I’m worried about what this will look like.

Lastly I’d be worried that this is a new direction for the entire franchise.. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ok with trying something new but there’s a lot more stories you can tell in Fallout, a lot more locations, etc. From what’s been rumoured we’re going back to the Capitol, and I’m a little unimpressed. I’d like to see some different places, maybe Fallout London? or Hell Canada?!

Cautious Optimism

I know a lot of people have already decided this game is going to be crap and I understand why. Fallout 4 was not as good as Fallout 3, some people don’t even think it was as good as New Vegas. So for those people it looks the series is going downhill, but just wait. I think Fallout 4 was solid, and New Vegas was a fine addition to the series.

The appeal of Fallout is in the wandering, I don’t know how well that will translate to an online experience but I can see it working.

I guess what I’m saying is let’s give it a chance before we collectively write it off.

 

 

 

 

God of War – My Final Thoughts (Spoiler Filled)

Zack Layton "The New Hire"

After 50+ hours with the game, I have officially completed 100% of the game, which I also unlocked the platinum trophy.

God of War is a game mixed with superb writing and subtle hints/nods of foreshadowing throughout the story, but it is also an extremely fun game to be played over and over again.

Most games have one/two specific moments that occur throughout the story, which really impact the player and if you were to ask them about their favourite parts of the game, they would probably talk about those popular moments. For instance, in Last of Us, with the Giraffe scene or in Mario Odyssey with the Metro City dance number.

god-of-war-kratos

With God of War, there were multiple little scenes that had massive impact with all of the characters and this made you sympathize for every single character in the game. My favourite moment in the game however, was when Kratos finally opened up to his son Atreus, and they were in elevator rising up after completing Tyr’s Vault. Kratos shares some of the Greek wine he found in the vault and he let out a big “ahhh” after drinking. This was so memorable for me because not only was it a common moment that most sons experience with their fathers, but you really see a side of Kratos that we haven’t really seen before.

Sure, we saw he was starting to be more caring and sensitive towards Atreus throughout the game, but to me it was the first moment that we saw his “goofy” side when he was trying to connect with his son. These things are what make this small moment so powerful within the narrative.

god-of-war-digital-deluxe-edition-555x328

STORY

The story starts off with Kratos and Atreus preparing the burning ritual for their wife/mother, while having her identity and how she died a complete mystery. Throughout the game as you play more of the side quests and main story, you find out more about her character.

God of war

The goal of the game is simple. Bring her ashes to the highest peak in all of the realms, while avoiding the Norse gods as much as possible. In the middle of the game, you then find out that the mountain that you thought was the highest peak, wasn’t and that you need to travel to a different realm to achieve this.

While searching for the realm with the highest peak, the player witnesses Kratos change as a father. First, he’s cold and has trouble communicating to his son, but as the game progresses you see him change and you understand exactly why he’s changing. The relationship between Kratos and his son strengthen and it actually became a therapeutic session for me since I have had father issues in the past.

The reveals in the game are incredible. The fact that they brought back the Blades of Chaos (his old weapon) and that it wasn’t in a gimmicky way, was very impressive. I’m sure that sequence will be popular within the fans, with a sequence that lasted more than 15 minutes full of tension and intensity.

The most jaw dropping moment to me was the ending. Throughout the game, players were fighting Baulder (Thor’s brother), befriending Freya, which was revealed to be Baulder’s mother, and kept hearing stories about Odin.

god_of_war_e3_2017_screen_8

However, before reaching the highest peak in all of the realms, the player, Kratos, and Atreus find out that their wife/mother was a Giant (not all Giants are massive in the Norse lore), and she had foresight of their journey throughout the game. We learn that it was actually her planning of when she died, that would set them on this journey.

You then see a drawing prophesizing Kratos and Atres’ future…and it doesn’t look that happy to say the least. At the end of this sequence you find out that the mother named Atreus a different name. Atreus’ true name is Loki.

I’m so excited to see the implications of how they are going to weave the Norse lore with the fact that Kratos’ son is the one and only Loki.

god-of-war-intro

The beautiful thing about the writing of this game is that if you were to go back and replay it, you will see the little nods to show who Atreus really is!

GAMEPLAY 

As I mentioned in my first impressions article, the gameplay is so much fun and it evolves as you play the game. The axe is fleshed out perfectly and I caught myself throwing/recalling the axe every time I entered a new location.

The Blades of Chaos are incredible in the game. They are definitely the best we’ve ever seen them. The one thing that impressed me is that there is a whole set of upgrades for the weapon and it isn’t just a side weapon to use when you can.

GameofWar

Specific enemies can only be killed by the Blades so it made them even more of a necessity in the game.

I also loved the one-shot style of the game. I think I’ve played one or two other games that had this structure, but for this game, it really added more intensity within particular moments of the game. As long as it stays not a gimmick, I would love to see this implemented in other games in the future.

Another thing that needs to be said about the gameplay is the intuitive gameplay structure that makes you understand when it is a “cut scene” vs a playable scene. I never had a moment where I didn’t know when I was supposed to sit back and watch and when I had to start playing. Hat’s off to the developers of this game.

LASTING IMPRESSION

So, God of War has only been out for a month and it has officially become the number one selling PS4 exclusive game of all time, with over 5 million copies sold in the first month.

gow_screens_review_03

I’m really glad the game director for God of War took the risks that he needed to take to make this game so different and fresh from the other games currently out right now.

Game developers have a ton to learn from this game, whether it’s the brilliant writing or the exciting gameplay that never feels monotonous.

God of War has officially become one of my top 5 favourite games of all time and it has actually made me think of fatherhood differently. It’s added new concepts in my head and has helped shape the kind of father that I want to be in the future.

I wanted to thank you for reading this post and if you haven’t yet, go pick up God of War. This is a journey that I really do suggest you take.

god_of_war_photo_mode_kratos_seagull_1920

God of War – My First Impressions

Zack Layton "The New Hire"

I first wanted to start off this post with apologizing on the delay. Some unforeseen personal situations occurred in my life, which caused some time constraint on my work.

When God of War was released on April 20th, it was welcomed with open arms to the gaming community. It may have been the fact that the reviews were released to the public a week prior to the release of the game, but I also believe that the community was excited for a mature take on the character Kratos.

The hype for this game was incredible, with over 25 popular gaming journalist sites boasting a 10/10 review. However, thanks to past situations, (cough cough No Man’s Sky), I was still nervous to play it, especially after shelling out $250+ for the game.

162332b.jpg

I’m currently around halfway through the game, maybe a little more and I can confidently say that this game is one of the only games that not only matches the hype, but also accedes it. I’m taking my time with this game because exploring every nook and cranny of the game feels incredibly worth it.

I’m going to write one more blog with my final thoughts of the game, but I wanted to share my first impressions halfway through the experience.

STORY

The story is extremely well written with the main intent of making an unredeemable character, redeemable. So far, I can really see how Kratos is not only developing as a character in this story, but how he has grown before the events of this game.

Essentially the main driving force of the story is that Kratos and his son Atreus, must take their recently deceased wife/mother’s ashes to the highest peak of all the realms in Midgard.

god-of-war-2-100725744-orig

Of course, shit hits the fan that intersects with the other roaming gods within the Norse mythology and Kratos and Atreus try their best to avoid these characters, with little success.

So far in my playthrough, the story has been an extremely mature narrative take, that not only makes me care for these characters, but it actually makes me want to be a better father when I’m older…and I don’t even have children yet.

One thing that this game succeeds in (more so than any other video game before it), is that I legit care about every character involved in the story. For instance, in Last of Us, I cared mainly about Joel because not only was I just playing as him, but I connected with him the most. For God of War, I’m only playing as Kratos, but each character has an emotional levity to them, which anyone can connect with and it makes me really care for each one of their stories.

253887

GAMEPLAY

I want you to picture a game that you think has the best gameplay. What’s the first one that comes to mind? Let me guess, Dark Souls or Bloodborne?

I truly believe God of War has successfully combined traits from the Bloodborne/Dark Souls series, but also from The Witcher, and even Breath of The Wild. God of War has been able to successfully take these cornerstone gameplay types and make it their own.

God-of-War-4K-gameplay

I have to start off by saying that the main weapon for Kratos, which is the Leviathan Axe, is so darn satisfying. You can literally throw it anywhere you want in the game and then recall it at your disposal. This can even be used as a strategy to fight enemies.

I know everyone has been saying this, but I literally have spent hours just standing in different parts of the map and throwing the axe and recalling it back. Santa Monica Studios has really nailed the feeling for when you throw the axe, to when it comes back into your hands.

Besides gushing about the axe, the other characteristics of the gameplay is so satisfying. Dodging is exciting, swinging your axe and hitting your enemy is worthwhile because you feel every hit on an enemy, and the fighting is extremely strategic. You have to plan out how you are going to engage each type of enemy with their strengths and weaknesses.

GoW_04-02-18

I was lucky before I started because I played Bloodborne for the first time (I know, I’m a noob), but it really helped me practice before God of War to approach enemies in a strategic way, instead of just rushing in and killing anything that moves, like in the old games.

LASTING THOUGHTS

I know I haven’t been very detailed in my explanation, but it’s because I want to avoid spoilers for you. I am going to come back next week and post a full spoiler blog about my thoughts for the game. For now, I just want you to enjoy the game just as much as I have.

I really hope the ending is worthwhile because this is definitely an early prospect for one of my favourite games I’ve ever played.

511f792d29453386-600x400

 

I’ve been into the series since day one when it released on the PS2 and I can honestly say that I feel like the series has grown with me.

I know I’m not done yet, but I want to applaud everyone at Santa Monica Studios, the cast for doing an amazing job so far, and the direction by Cory Barlog. I can truly see the blood, sweat, and tears that were involved in making this game.

The Return of the Grab Bag

Darcy Selke "Editor in Chief"

 

I didn’t have anything specific to write about this week even though a pretty big game dropped last night.

This will just be a grab bag week, and Zack should have a post next week as he’s going review GoW!

 

Crusader Kings 2: Electronic Cocaine?

So a while back I saw a post about how the best Game of Thrones game is a mod to another game.

it was free last week so I grabbed it on Steam and Holy Hell this game is addictive. It’s essentially a Medieval Europe simulator but with the most amount of detail I think I’ve ever seen in a game.

Here are some highlights:

-You breed your court and vassals (and family) like they’re cattle in order to give your court stat boosts and set up marriages with other rulers.

-You play as a Family not as a character so if you die you continue the game as your heir.

-I ruled all of Ireland, went on a Crusade and won the the Kingdom of Jerusalem but then my scum bag half brother led a revolt and robbed me of it. Took me 150 years but I’m back to ruling Ireland.

-I was trained by a japanese warrior who sounds suspiciously like Mr Miagi.

Xbox Games With Gold: Assassins Creed

The last Assasins Creed game I actually enjoyed was Black Flag. After the trainwreck of Unity was released I gave up on Ubisoft for a while. Syndicate was available (again for free) so I’ll give it a quick playthrough and have a review up for anyone who cares.

Games with Gold is tough because for the last four weeks it’s been a lot of really bad games that should’ve been free anyway. Things like Blood Dragon and Shadow Warrior. 

I really like what Games with Gold is about but if all of the games have that little thought put into them, or if they’re just poorly made then you feel like Games with Gold isn’t really giving you anything.

Call of Duty Doing What We All Expected

No one will think COD games are single-player master pieces but still this news is still upsetting if only as a marker of whats to come for more brands.

Games like Fortnite and PUBG have shown creators that they can get eyeballs and money on their side more without needing to treat their games as anything more than viewing experiences.

I know a lot of people are upset by this but to be honest of all the brands, COD doing this surprises me the least. the Zombies mode went from a side gimmick to an actual reason people play the game.

I’m not here to tell people they have to play Single Player games, two of my favourite games in the past five years have been Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm.

It’s somewhat sad considering I remember this franchise as a place where my Dad and I shared moments together playing through historical campaigns. Sure, it was usually me playing and him watching but there’s an effect that I can’t see a Multiplayer game having.

 

That’s it for this week. Thanks again if you’re still supporting Replay Value. It’s gotten a bit harder to post now that I have an actual job but I’ll keep trying my best!

 

Game Review: A Way Out Is Like a Cheesy Crime Movie and I Love It

 

Feature

I grabbed A Way Out recently on Xbox Marketplace and I have to say the game has some incredible moments. Anyone looking for a co-op game should absolutely play this game.

Zack recently wrote about how EA is ruining games and I can tell you this game absolutely proves him wrong.

The game was developed for co-op, and I don’t mean like Gears of War or Army of Two co-op where an AI can basically fill in, no no this is dat real shit.

While the story and writing is sub par at best, it boasts incredible game mechanics that I hope more studios copy. It’s really tough to get over the dialogue in the game, but if you can manage to do that, the game is a must play.

Story

You and your co-op buddy play as Leo and Vincent, two convicts in a prison that looks suspiciously like the one in Shawshank Redemption.

Both characters want revenge on the same mob boss and so Vincent cozies up to Leo and they must work together to escape prison and kill Harvey to steal back the “Black Orlov”, some sort of legendary gem.

So each guy has a stereotypical background:

Vincent is out for revenge because Harvey killed his brother, it’s driven a wedge in the relationship he has with his pregnant wife and he’s REALLY torn up about it.

Leo is a classic bad ass jewel thief who Harvey betrayed. He also has a wife but his wife love and supports him and just wants Leo to have time to spend with his basketball loving son, oh and they live in a trailer park, even though I would imagine if you’re a good thief you would have some better options but hey that’s none of my business.

Drive

Characters

Oh boy, this is where the game shines. You and your buddy have to pick which guy you’re going to play as before you know anything about them.

I got stuck playing Vincent and my buddy took Leo.

Turns out Vincent is the biggest wuss I’ve ever seen grace my television screen. This man is a giant marshmallow. He is constantly complaining, he’s soft spoken and always is looking to not hurt people.

Leo on the other hand, is violent, sarcastic and has that whole “I’m a bad ass cool guy” thing going on. Leo’s problem is that he’s described as a joker but NONE of his jokes are even remotely funny.

It’s probably my favourite dynamic of the entire game. These two are Polar Opposites and they’re meant to be, but they just sound like dysfunctional lunatics. Like I think at one point Vincent says something like “You always try to shoot your way out” and Leo responds with “Well you know me” and then Vincent looks at him lovingly??

The voice acting is so hilariously off it ends up making the characters sound so wooden it ends up being enjoyable.

Game Mechanics

This is the part of the game where I actually hope more studios try to steal/copy.

The “split-screen” is dynamic, meaning it actually gets bigger when one person is doing something interesting while another is say…washing a floor (another of the game’s very weird decisions). It’s a really cool way to tell a story and I end up watching my buddy’s screen because some other convict is trying to bash his head in while Vincent is just walking around.

The game is padded with mini-games, anything from playing horse shoes to tarring a roof. I’m not saying it’s not fun to play basketball with Leo’s son when you’re on the lamb but it’s so weirdly out of place I kind of love it.

The game has amazing driving sections where I drove and my buddy shot out the back, or a scene where I had to stealth my way out of a hospital while Leo went into a Brawler mode and had to fight nine guards.

It’s like the game is actually just 18 slices of different genres merged together but it ends up being such a ridiculous thrill ride. You literally never know what to expect and it was just such a cool experience playing with someone else.

Random Observations

-I want to avoid spoilers but holy the twist at the end is my favourite nonsense logic ever.

-The game was incredibly short, I know the game wasn’t full price but value-wise I got to say EA, you did it again you greedy bastards….

-So the developers and writers have to be non-english speakers right? From the Wikipedia Page of Hazelight Studios “usually to reference the 2003 movie The Room, as many people compared him to the movie’s director, Tommy Wiseau.” If ever there was a way to get me to like someone it’s comparing them to Tommy Wiseau.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 – The Game That Made Me Hate LucasArts

maxresdefault (3)

Zack Layton "The New Hire"

If everyone remembers the first Star Wars: The Force Unleashed game, it was revolutionary. It took popular gameplay elements for its time and added their own flare within the Star Wars universe.

For the first time on the PS3 and Xbox 360, you were able to take the reins of a new character within the Star Wars universe and unleash (apologies for the word pun) massive combinations of the force on your foes.

The first game sold over seven million copies, had an incredible original story that explained underlining narrative within the original films, and it was also the fastest selling Star Wars video game ever.

We as fans finally rejoiced for having an original gaming story within the Star Wars universe and we were excited that they would hopefully be able to expand and play with more sequels and prequels within this lore.

However, thanks to LucasArts, they failed us in an incredible fashion.

maxresdefault (4)

STORY

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 is the direct sequel from the original game and it continues where the story stopped in the first game. However, since the main character died at the end of the first story, LucasArts uses the “it’s a clone,” story ark to bring him back.

b474ad746769d28655bf05785c0a46ec4fb747f8-194282

The clone of Starkiller, (who himself was a secret apprentice to Darth Vader in The Force Unleashed), embarks on a quest to find his identity and to search for his love interest, Juno Eclipse.

Insert the predictable “who am I,” quest and the “am I real if I am just a clone of someone else,” existential crisis and there you go. I’ve pretty much summed up the story.

Might I also add, that the game only takes place across 5 mediocre levels/maps. It was definitely one of the shortest full priced games I have ever played.

LucasArts totally dropped the ball on originality and it felt like the writing was rushed throughout the development of the game. I honestly couldn’t believe that I was playing the sequel of a game that was probably one of my favourites of the year.

GAMEPLAY

maxresdefault

The gameplay of The Force Awakens 2 was definitely the saving grace of the game. Just like the first game, it’s a hack and slash type of gameplay with the opportunity of upgrading your force powers and changing your lightsaber colours.

The only issue to this was that it was too similar to the last game. All the force powers were the exact same from the first game, including the ones that you obtain when you upgrade your character further along in the story.

I would say that the one thing they did add, was the ability to use dual lightsabers which could dismember or decapitate enemies. Sure, this was fun at times, but as a long-time fan of the original game, I was really looking forward to new and powerful force moves.

I do have to say though, the boss fights were really cool. It felt like the game developers put most of their “creativity” within these scenes. The player was able to execute interesting and fun move sets and made you feel like a real badass when beating the living pulp out of Darth Vader. The issue is, the boss fights didn’t last very long as they were super easy.

maxresdefault (2)

The fact that there was little to zero original material for this game or even after upgrading the powers from the last game, it just showed how little the game developers cared for this project.

LASTING THOUGHTS

The lasting impression that the first game achieved was that it made me truly feel like a bad ass Jedi warrior, able to control the force, and take down the Emperor in a single night!

The original game had an extremely memorable scene where the main character had to use the force to destroy an attacking empire spaceship, which was entering the planet, that was going to kill him and his team.

The Force Awakens 2 had zero memorable moments and the story was way too short to even reconnect with the characters once again.

I remember after beating the first game and the slow realization that they explained how the rebellion logo came to be. I was shocked to my core and it made me want to learn more about the lore and story. However, when I beat this game, I remember simply shrugging and realizing that I did not connect to the story on any emotional level.

 

rebel-symbol

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 is on my list for the worst games we’ve played, not just because of how terrible the game was, but because it was probably one of the biggest let downs I have ever experienced (pre No Man’s Sky Era).

Fable 3 and The Story of Disappointing The Ones You Love.

Trailer

Darcy “Editor in Chief” Selke

Continuing our March foray into the worst games we’ve played, I wanted to look at one that wasn’t “bad” as much as it was “disappointing”. Disappointing was like that one word my parents always said which was worse than any punishment.

“We’re not mad, we’re just disappointed” these words encapsulate how I feel about Fable 3.

After both 1 and 2 built some solid foundations of a franchise, 3 came down and totalled it like a bully knocking down a sandcastle.

Story

This is perhaps the defining failure of the game. Fable games have never compared to the likes of Bioware games or the Uncharted series but they did a good job of creating a world you could run around and have some fun in. The first game had the whole “Hero Academy”-thing and the second actually had a pretty compelling revenge plot.

The third game starts out not bad. There’s another revenge plot mixed in with a revolution as your character leads a rebellion against your brother, the King.

This all stems from your brother being basically a giant Knob and Tyrant and abducting people, shutting down orphanages and basically just being a cartoon villain.

Logan.jpg

Then it’s all revealed that he was only being an ass to try to protect the citizens! To raise funds against a mysterious darkness that wants to kill everything on Albion. For some reason your Brother doesn’t mention this to ANYONE except himself.

So now it’s your job to make the “tough” decisions except again the game acts like A) You’re making these decisions for fun and B) The citizens will hate you for them

As an example: one of the “tough decisions” is that to fund your defence you have to destroy the pretty lake the people like to cottage next to so that you can mine it for resources. The game acts like in any way you should be expected to NOT destroy the lake.

Put simply the game struggles with it’s own internal logic, you’re making these decisions based on trying to save more lives down the road except characters like Reaver come along and act like they’re doing it for fun.

Characters

It’s almost not even worth it but here goes:

Your brother LOOKS evil, I know that shouldn’t matter but the guy has a hooked nose, a sneering grin and looks like a childhood story villain. He’s a super big jerk to you and almost kills your romantic interest for no other reason than because he could. The game wants you to change your opinion of the guy but there’s a difference between a ruler making decisions that are unpopular but necessary and a guy who just likes being a dick. 

Your side-kick is your old Butler, played by the wonderful John Cleese (of Monty Python fame). Funny story, my Dad LOVES John Cleese so when he heard his voice while I was playing the game he actually sat and watched for a bit only to be severely disappointed with how boring a game it was.

The villain is a blob of darkness that wants to kill everyone. It’s pretty stupid that in a game that’s trying to say “hey you never know why bad people are bad” they just have this one dimensional villain with no end goal. Jack of Blades and Lucien were both good enough villains for the franchise, this is like when Spider-man went from Green Goblin and Doc Ock to Sandman…yuck.

Gameplay

Like most Fable games, it feels overly concerned with new mechanics. There’s the “Good Decision/Bad Decision” thing which is so binary that Bioware looked over and said, “hey guys maybe add some Grey once in a while.”

The idea of a game with a ticking clock element is sort of neat. You have to raise this much money in this amount of time in order to defend your people but again it sort of boils everything down to money. Like, sure people don’t like to pay taxes in the real world but when you can show them what you’re spending it on they’re at least a little less angry.

The Combat is simplistic, just like every other Fable game but that’s not a bad thing. I think the mix of sword and pistol allows for some neat fight scenes but there’s not much more to say about it.

Everything in this game can be fixed by characters explaining things. It’s like when you watch old Mystery movies and EVERYTHING can be fixed in five minutes if they had a cell phone. Except in this case the “cell phone” has been arbitrarily taken away to give you a moral dilemma.

Fable games have never been super complex but I think this was the final nail in the coffin. The franchise never really got back on track and seemed to just double down on getting rid of story, characters or anything else you expect to find in single player games.

Stray Observations

-Having a dog in a game is always nice

-Reaver is almost a completely different character in this one. I always had a soft spot for him because he was an evil jerk but like he looked cool. Now he’s some sort of weird Elton John knockoff?

-Look up Peter Molyneux’s view of Henry VIII, according to Peter, history doesn’t see Henry as that evil an guy, just a jolly chap who was quite infatuated with six women. Maybe they see him that way in England but I know we all looked down on Henry here.

-Lionhead has always been pushing the boundaries and trying new stuff, but Fable 3 was the first time the game hinted that I shouldn’t be doing side quests. I know the point they’re trying to make, “Real Monarch’s don’t go adventuring blah blah blah” but I’m playing a game I want to actually play it.

-I want to thank Zack for his article last week. He actually touched on a few serious issues like LGBTQ representation in games. Replay Value has so far been sort of silent on bigger issues like that or even Racism in gaming. I’d like to talk about this stuff more but as a white straight guy I think my voice isn’t really the one we need to hear from.

-Thanks again for reading and come back next week for our final instalment of March Malady (a name I just came up with).

Mass Effect: Andromeda – The Worst Game That You Should Play, But Not For Enjoyment

mass5

Zack Layton "The New Hire"

As introduced by my co-worker Darcy, I am adding my thoughts to our month of the worst games that we’ve ever played.

Right off the bat, the first game that comes to mind (as I’m sure it does for many other people) is Mass Effect: Andromeda. Not only was this game the final “spit in the face” to fans, but it was also the proving point that EA will fail if they try to make narrative based games.

As a long-time fan of the series, I was shocked at how “unfinished” the game felt and it was clear that there was no love or passion blended in the game. It pretty much felt EA seeping into another series, trying to suck out all the cash possible, before it’s imminent demise. I probably put about 15 hours into the game, before I decided to stop playing it and traded it in.

STORY

Essentially, it is an action RPG and Andromeda is the fourth in the series. The player controls a character who wakes up from the Andromeda Initiative, which is a 634-year journey through space to find and populate new worlds that can sustain life.

For a Sci-Fi nerd, this story sounds like it could be a great set up right? Well, EA fails with this beautifully because they were too lazy to put real time and effort into the narrative.

There are tons of plot holes throughout the story, but one that stands out for me the most, is in the first three games, we are introduced to this enemy that “no one can escape from” and that you can’t hide from them anywhere in space. Except, we are now playing as characters who escaped them and “secretly” journeyed through space, before they attacked Earth.

Mass4

Another weak characteristic about this game is that even though we have just travelled 634 years across galaxy, there were only 1-2 new alien species. The rest were ones that we met back at our old galaxy.

It’s a shame because EA could have had a great excuse for a reboot with new characters and life, however they took the easy way out and just wanted to make another cash grab.

GAMEPLAY

mass 2

Very much like the older games, you choose either a male or a female at the start of the game and if you beat the game, you can unlock New Game+ (however, I don’t know why you would want to waste your time).

I do have to say, the action and combat has been updated, which made me enjoy the first half of my play through. Some moments really had me into the game, however once it slowed down, I started remembering the story.

mass3

They brought back the mechanic of driving around in a Warthog halo like car, which was a once hated mechanic from the old games, with the promise of making it better for this game. Spoiler: they did not improve it at all!

END THOUGHTS

All in all, Mass Effect: Andromeda is a game with tons of empty promises. The developers promised the fans with a rich story, exciting gameplay, and new and improved mechanics. Unfortunately, what we got was an unfinished, rushed, poorly written with embarrassing dialogue game.

This was also the most bugged out game that I have ever played before, which is saying a lot because I love the Fallout and Oblivion series and they are usually plagued with bugs.

mass6

There was one moment on a planet where if I drove close to a house, it would cause the game to freeze and shut off my PS4. Turns out, this was a bug that thousands of people faced, and we now had to wait for EA to release a patch before we could complete the game. (This took weeks for them to release and if I remember correctly, this is the reason why I stopped playing).

There were also embarrassing moments where you could tell EA was trying to diversify their characters by including LGBTQ characters but failed because they had straight writers, thinking they know their struggle. It’s games like these that make LGBTQ people not feel well represented in the industry and that needs to change.

As you can tell, I’m not a fan of EA at all. They have destroyed another beloved series of mine, but I do think people should play this game. Only for the sole reason to prove that EA shouldn’t even try narrative based games and that we need to stop buying into their empty promises.

Thank you for reading this and I will keep my fingers and toes crossed, that somehow, somewhere a new Mass Effect game is made without the help of EA.

mass7

 

 

Bladestorm The 100 Years War: The Worst Game You’ve Never Played

Bladestorm Cover

Darcy Selke “Editor in Chief”

We decided to do something a little different for the month of March. I wanted to talk about the worst games we’ve ever played.

Now “worst” game is subjective of course there are disappointing games, or games that miss their mark but Bladestorm The Hundred Years’ War was literally a game I played mouth open, aghast that anyone who calls themselves a gamer could have created this game.

I don’t know the history of the game or how it got developed so if I’m being an asshole and it turns out there’s a huge backstory behind this let me know because I’d actually be interested to know that but for now this game is the worst game I’ve ever played.

Story

It’s a “historical” re-telling of events similar to what KOEI did with the Dynasty Warriors  series, so it’s sort of an inflated account of historical events. The Black Prince is a larger than life figure, Joan of Arc is like almost magical, that sort of thing.

I won’t go in depth about the historical story because for the most part you can’t change it. The “story” of your character however is easily the most laughable part of this game. You’re a mercenary who is using the war to make your fortune. There’s barely any dialogue or back story to this, it’s very clear your character is as generic as they come.

bladestorm2

Pictured Hero: Mercenary Hero Guy

So the weird thing about the story isn’t that you’re a mercenary, it’s that you literally can choose which side to fight for before each battle and all the characters act like this is both normal or even weirdly…celebrated?

It’s like they forgot these mercs are killing your friends for money and everyone acts like the Mercenary is like this amazing inspiration, instead of like a cutthroat, don’t mess with me kinda guy.

I think it’s just an issue with all of these KOEI games (like Dynasty Warriors) is that like characters in war don’t seem to realise they’re in a war and not playing a game. Maybe it’s the voice acting? I can’t put my finger on it, but it comes across like they all treat war like it’s fun.

Gameplay

There’s two mechanics that define Bladestorm for me. The first being the idea of swapping between different units by joining them and controlling them like a squad. It reminded me of playing Age of Empires but in Third Person. It’s super interesting running around finding the right squad to take over but it can also be super frustrating when your stuck in a squad that’s useless.

The other annoying feature with the squad mechanic is the attack animations. It seems like for a game like this it should of been a little more action heavy, like Dynasty Warriors but instead it almost feels like an RPG. You have attacks coded to your keys but once you use them you’re just stuck there waiting while they’re on cooldown. Once you figure out a good combo you end up just running around pushing those same buttons in the exact same pattern for every fight until you swap unit types.

The second mechanic is HP. Again, this is a KOEI staple, your character starts with a full hp bar and your job is to finish the level before he dies. There’s no way to get HP back, which is silly so if you have 10% of your hp left you end up doing almost nothing because you don’t want the last 40 minutes of your life to be a waste.

Graphics and Art Style

I am not an artist, I will say that upfront, so we all know the people who worked on this game are 10x more talented than me. That being said, I found this game ugly as shit. Each map looked really similar, strongholds seemed tiny and poorly designed. Like some of the “castles” were basically just a tower that you couldn’t even enter. Then like the trees are sparse and the water looks gross. I guess in a game like this the graphics aren’t a big draw but it just felt like the french country side was bleak and desolate.

Maybe I’m not a fan of the Japanese Anime looking art and that might be colouring my perspective of the game but it just feels weird to see a name like “Maurice” and the picture is a Japanese-style-anime-looking dude. The heroes are “pretty” I don’t know it just bothers me. Then later character models/weapons start getting way more cosmopolitan, like people running around using Chinese Hook Swords and I’m pretty sure camels show up at one point?

Stray Observations

-The voice acting in these games is just brutal, I think you have to be under 16 to enjoy characters shouting this kind of crap.

-It feels like a game built around mechanics. Choosing what side you’re going to fight for, swapping between units etc. With like nothing tying this game together in any sort of narrative.

-There is something to be said for how cool it is charging or riding along with a full unit of Cavalry, I’ll give you that.

-I get that this is the time of Joan of Arc but if every battle has 6-7 female commanders in it, it makes what Joan of Arc did a little less special. Like…that’s sort of the WHOLE POINT OF HER STORY.

-I think since I’m somewhat of a European History buff I maybe take this game a little too seriously. It feels like this is an Asian game studio that made a game on a concept they knew nothing about. No disrespect, just how it feels.