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Tuesday 28 April 2020

Review : Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter - Is Not that Serious

First person genre which makes PC gamers as the pinnacle of its niche and designed to play on the platform, there are some historical and iconic FPS game franchises from the dawn of gaming such as Doom that gave the influences of modern FPS gaming today. And there is Serious Sam that spawned in the early 2000s and is regarded as the best fps game of its time. We can thank the effort of the game developer for bringing the game into a new generation with the latest technology such as tweaking and remastering the game so it can be playable today. 

So Serious Sam The First Encounter HD is my next pick for digging some “old but gold” PC games that need to look up to, the result is not far disappointing. Its extremely fun and hard in same time where the game play is not so complex to comprehend since you are literally is being placed in an area where you can shoot hordes of freak mutant alien in order to hunt some artifacts in the desert of Egypt which the levels consist of vast yard of Pyramid and inside ancient building. 

The game has a humble start where the player is given a simple handgun and the job is simple, go run forward when a bunch of enemies from any sides attack you and don’t give you a space to breath. Its fast paced shooter and there is no mercy, never make enemy close to you or the will f** you up to death. Its long journey of level design with a simplistic route and puzzle to figure. More weapons will be added in the next level and the more players progress, they need to think not to waste the bullets and use specific guns to crush any enemy. 

Despite the fact this game is remastered version, the visual is pretty pleasing with graphic of the environment with ancient Egypt as the only setting, it's like visiting the virtual reality world of Egypt and having a tour there, it has a blend of old 3d model with new hyper-realistic background. You can find the audio design is dated but not making the game less fun. Don’t expect any serious dialogue here instead campy voice acting or head-aching plot to grasp. 

This game is something I agree when it's regarded for the best fps game of its time when the time was about just go and wield your gun and find a way to complete the level either you have challenge your strategic agility shooting skill or just my luck find you whenever you try to escape enemy and go to end level, also saving games constantly is obligatory. 

Rating : 8/10
Difficulty : Normal 
Finished : 27/03/20 
Written : 07/04/20

Reviews : The Bureau XCOM Declassified – A Simple Perfection of Tactical Real Time Strategy Third Person Shooter

X-Com franchise is not something I am familiar with, my first impression for the franchise is that game where you shoot against aliens with real time turn based strategy game play. The franchise has the biggest fan base and the newest game has good reception among the fans but not for me since I don’t have any idea catching up with the franchise appeal. So, I look forward and fond of games with 60s setting and The Bureau: XCOM Declassified caught my attention and decided to try to play the game. 

The basic premise is simply about alien invasion scattered around the U.S.A and as agent Carter, a detective who has military skill and gloomy past must involve himself with the bureau of secret government organization that deals with advanced tech from space. And then the game revolves around tracking and investigating some places in the U.S.A where each place is kind of a hallway where the game progress needs to advance by dealing various alien enemies in each phase which is divided into walking simulators as the story reveals into bigger threats. 

I think I can give my appreciation on how the third person shooter element mixed with real time strategy which the option is not only shooting enemies, players need to cooperate with two AI teammates with different classes that can be assigned in the first game that has a leveling system. The shooting scene is more interesting by trying some skills to defeat certain enemy by using special ability that regenerates itself but need to be more cautious and attention when its used in the right time and particular enemy. It’s a game that is hard to deal first but more easier later when players discover how things work. 

Actually I don’t expect the game to become more exciting to play since my expectation is the background and setting that is my attraction toward the game not the game play when I decide to try. The story is kind of a placement holder and since its prequel for the later installment, new players like me will get the idea on how to understand the lore of X-Com franchise. It's not complex to grasp and the character dialogue is not filled too much with mumbo jumbo of science stuff. It's basically you are about the discovery about the invasion and how the main character has the biggest role in the game setting. One thing I am taking note from the game on how dialogue has branching of choice but in the end has the same aftermath. 

One last thing I need to add, the game has a leveling and upgrade system but not too focused on collecting stuff to trade, literally in each level is easy to find some ammo and that’s it. And there are some items to discover to reveal the additional plot like audio recording from the survivors which break the immersion but its minor because in the emergency time, people on the past have little time to record their voice *wink* to Bioshock. 

Rating : 9/10
Difficulty : Normal
Finished : 25 March 2020 
Written : 7 April 2020

Review : Crysis - Finally My PC Can Run Crysis

There were the most popular PC games for the mid 2000s that the Internet made for meme material especially among the gamers. Crysis is one of them with the phrase “Can it run Crysis?” for every single PC gaming existed as the standard for high-end PC gaming at the time. Can it run nowadays? Of course we can if there is a graphic card attached on the pc with an amount of capable ram and good processor because as the most stunning video game graphic that ever existed and most demanding hardware ever. Nowadays so called PC gaming is barely able to run and play the game.

Crysis is the first person shooter game that is remembered for the graphic but how about the game play? Is it fun or is it good? For a game which has a setting in the real world that simulates the real environment with another military theme shooter where a special ops U.S army is assigned in tropica island facing the North Korean army to investigate mysterious alien phenomena. This special army as the main character has a power suit that adds the gameplay element as the gimmick where players have the ability to use super strength, super speed and super armor and also super cloak to help balance the game play. 

The game has open world-like world design with the stunning graphic which the level design consists of a tropical island as the beginning where the majority to progress the game is just going from point A to B and occasionally need to wipe clean an enemy. I think the most lack luster of this kind of gameplay is players don’t even bother to fight against all enemies, just run across passing by the enemy using the ability as long as they don't alert them and you get the objective and auto-save with finishing the chapter. There is a small part the game becomes shooting gallery like airborne chapter and later becomes more frustrating in one certain level that has nothing to do with shooting, mild spoiler its involved with alien stuff and personally it's one of worst level design ever. 

The story and characters are typical U.S saves the day trope, nothing really special since the game needs the player to follow orders to complete the objective but still have freedom to enjoy the game taking a different approach like going full shooting or becoming stealthy. Weapons do not lack luster and instead bullets are not really hard to find since the game is only full of typical fps without any additional elements like rpg or strategy. And one thing about the weapon system that it has a pre-built setting on customization of weapons like attachable items like scope, dampener and flashlight. 

As the closing the review, this game reminds me of playing Far Cry 1 where the plot is the same and probably is the tamer version of gameplay because it has additional gimmick like weapon and armor system. And turns out the developer is the same one who worked the installment. So if you enjoy the more challenging version of Far Cry 1 with the great graphic that made my 1060gtx stutter in the gameplay, try Crysis and then question everything Can IT Run Crysis?

Rating : 7/10
Difficulty : Normal
Written : 19 March 2020
Finished : 19 March 2020

Crysis 19/3/20 = 7/10

Review : Just Cause 2 - Action B-Movie meets Open World Game set in Malaya

There are too many ambitious open world action games already on the market that sub-par with the formula of typical one big city or island where usually consist of action movie elements such shooter and driving around as the player doing mission for people or group in order to progress the story line. Just Cause 2 exists and gives a new look about open world game that has anything to offer new touch in its uniqueness such playing as playing field US Agent who explore the vastness of Panau Island that is probably one of the biggest map ever made in video game ever made.

Players can do any mission with three different political faction that is already done with many open world games where the main character doing the work for them by attacking government official and building, fetching the item, and shoot the military bases by using any limited weapon. It’s a 3rd person shooter game where players use can us his grapple ability to transport anywhere faster and also various transportation to get the place they want to visit by buying any vehicles or hijack them from the residents of Panau. 

The game consist of main mission where players need to overthrow the regime of Panau Island by investigating what is the plan of new president will do that threaten the world and in order to progress the story, the chaos blank need to be filled in order unlocking new mission which means players need to do blowing any government building across the island to make chaos, and that is the interesting part of the game. There are various missions from three different faction of group who are bad people, and we play as questionably bad person here. There are native gang groups, criminal warlord, and revolutionary person who want to take control of the island and their mission are mostly consist of being a person who need to explode things, assassinate military officials, and steal their properties. Its just GTA-type game but here we fight against government militaries instead criminal gangs. 

Playing Just Cause 2 is like watching late midnight action B-movie where at some points feel like doing a chore and you don’t need to take attention to the story and enjoy certain parts that are interesting to look. The characters are hilariously “bad” and too caricatural which means something you can find any cheesy action movies, but this time you face against Micronesian government which I rarely found where it has kind of local touch with the Malayan setting and language. 

I think what I really like from the game is the setting instead of story, driving around in the tropical island with various location such cities or village and also nature such mountains and jungle to explore is the enjoyment because there are comfiness to look around the scenery. It has biggest map to explore but its not cramped type of map so expect long travel journey to takes more time than actual finishing the mission. 

Just Cause 2 gives new experience playing open world game, its probably one game you look up not for the story but something rather doing chaos by blowing anything you want and fill up the chaos bar, doing the mission are same like other open world games, and expect you are here is not superhero for a day, instead an asshole who is actually no need to do bad things for bad people to throw the regime of government. 

Rating : 7/10
Difficulty : Normal
Finished 16 March 2019 
Written 15 March 2019

Review : Saints Row 4 - A Great Direction of Franchise that break its Monotony

Open world with criminal theme has the major connection on how to be memorable franchise of decade. There is GTA franchise as the main success of formula of being criminal who can do anything we want in fictional open-world city as setting, and there Saints Row that every one look up as the knock off GTA where since the first installment the theme focus on criminal and gangster culture that is probably remembered as GTA San Andreas long lost friend. 

Oddly, I played the game with random pick with the third as my first introductory for the franchise that makes me really like the game direction with more humoristic approach and silly tone but still it has the gangster elements like taking over the entire map of Steel Port City which the premise just doing mission to defeat three different gang just like the second installment but with here I don’t play as unbearable main character a—hole attitude and surreallism the stereotypical gangsta crime depiction that makes a borderline with unrealistic physic and edgy story-line in previous installment.

So Saints Row 4 is my third pick to continue the story that has new things to explore like that has non-sense storyline about the world is blow by Aliens, and Saints Row gang who becomes a presidential and government force now instead gangster group becomes the survivor and they need to take down the invasion through simulation program on the space to defeat Zinyak, an alien overlord who just want to play along the characters. It just like the game creator probably don’t know what to do next about crime open world they used to make and then experiment things with zany and ridiculous theme that has nothing to do with previous installment and yet the game itself has self-awareness on how the storyline make connection with previous game and try to settle things what made the main character relate with the support characters which still the gameplay element is not far from typical open world mission element but there are bunch of addition that makes the game great such as kind of leveling system and super power to upgrade in order to defeat enemies, its combination of shooter but the main character are basically has super power such firing elemental attack, telekinesis and force field to stomp any enemy. It also enable to do travel faster around the city by having super speed sprinters and higher jump to fly around. It defies the physic of the game which I consider its really fits and what Saints Row no need to be more realistic game. 

What I really love from the game that they don’t have to serious with its missions that has references to many video games as the variation to break the rules of open world mission cliché. There are things to do involving with blowing the entire city as side mission that just like typical Saints Row side-mission. Guns are necessary with two different side like using real guns or alien guns which is additional for the gameplay. Say goodbye to use vehicle because its not car-jacking game anymore and its not necessary to travel across the map using car since super power is the saving grace to save times from the exploration. 

There many critics and hate from the fans who think that the game went too far from its root and the truth that the open world games has reach its peak with same boring formula, the Saints Row 4 exist as refreshment for the mundane stuff you can find for many open world games that was phenomenal with big open world and things to explore and yet people aren’t impressed anymore with the open world because what really matters are the fun game play and new ideas to dig for breaking the monotony which open world are already over-saturated games. 

Rating : 9/10
Difficulty : Normal
Finished 16 March 2019 
Written 15 March 2019

Review : Remember Me - That Nobody Remember Me?

What if everyone have a chance to trade their memory in order to gain personal or company profit in the near future, and there are contrarian who oppose the idea and want to eradicate the memory corporatism by becoming errorist that manipulate someone memory. That’s the premise about Remember Me, an interesting concept for a story background to explore with modern beat em up as the main game play. Play as Nilin, an errorist who are commanded by mysterious figure who want to stop the corporate tyranny of memory manipulation which lead and connect for her past connection.

Remember Me has stunning visual with the neo Paris scenery and building where the majority of game play consist of easy platforming from the city into building indoor as the game story progress that makes the game lost its identity and interesting point. Nilin as the main character who have martial art ability have to fight bunch of robot, soldiers and memory zombies with simplified quick time event button which players need to push the button precisely with predetermined five combo that seems repetitive but still great to have abilities which players need to concentrate between beating the enemy and avoid their attack at once. 

The game is not only about beating em up session only, it has chapter break session where player use Nilin ability to manipulate her target memory, players need to see the dialogue and rewind the story to change the way story progress by manipulating object. Its interesting at first but becomes too boring and time consuming to do. There are also some mini puzzles to figure and its not too hard to solve beside in some part, players will face some boss who are too trivial to beat, but its not wrecking the enjoyment of game since its not really hard to finish because the only thing players need to do is having great combo combination, reflex to avoid enemy and know what ability to defeat certain enemy. 

Story-wise its easy to follow with its chapter break, there are not so many complex twist to follow and personally I think the open world and outdoor building as the background has the potential to make this game looks more stunning and too bad the more I play, the setting becomes more grounded and limited setting. The visual itself its really stunning, I love taking the screen shoot of Neo Paris buildings while doing plat forming, the camera movement know how to pick good angle for the setting. The music score is describing the memory corruption by manipulation by giving the glitches music here and there, the dialogue and voice acting is not so bad but also not so good. 

Concussively, Remember Me has the title that leaves the impression for people who thought this is kind of drama wise or heavy story of video game at first, but its actually decent beat em up games with its potential with the theme and world building, it leaves a sour but still great feeling for one shot game to pick and finish at once. 

Rating : 7/10
Difficulty : Normal
Finished 1 March 2020 
Written 16 March 2020