Saturday, January 3, 2009

Left 4 Dead - Fizzles out!

Overall Score - 7/10
Gaming Experience - 5/10; Video - 9/10; Audio 7/10;

A promisingly attractive looking game - comes from Valve's Source engine. I bought it with high hopes. But the pleasure lasted for just a few minutes. What looked like a great game quickly fizzled out.

As the name would explain 4 people are left stranded in a city full of infected people who have turned into zombies. With the graphics engine of Valve one can be assured of a smooth seamless gameplay and I would incline to believe that the only major task the game makers would have had is to build up an intuitive and impulsive storyline. 

That is exactly where they terribly disappoint you. There are totally 4 types of weapons you can play with. That is all they have got to offer in the weapons section. Oh of course there is the option melee.

The zombies themselves are of 5 kinds:

1. The Hunter - the guy who crawls and pounces at you and grabs a few pounds of meat from your torso
2. Boomer - the burping overweight zombie who bursts when shot at showering with toxic yuck. Shoot at him from a safe distance to avoid some disgusting screen distortions.
3. The Smoker - the zombie who has the Mr.Fantastic tongue, I think, but whatever it is he uses that to grab you from a distance. He turns into some poisonous smoke when shot at, hence the name.
4. The Tank - The Behemoth but surprisingly fast and even more surprising can be killed pretty much easily by 4 the people put together.
5. The Witch - the weeping witch - just avoid her or else she scratches you and leaves incapacitated on most occassions.

Besides these guys, there are normal zombies to fill the time who rush at you when they see you but can be killed quite easily. The most freaking and initially interesting aspect of the game is the way a horde of zombies attack you.

The sounds are made real creepy and adds up to the aura, but the game as such gets TOO predictable and repetitive. So much so that you exactly know there is a hunter or a smoker to be expected next. There is no improvisation as the game progresses and no great challenges except killing ravenous zombies running up to you.

You cannot miss to see the resemblance of the Half Life environment, but then that is good. Only bad thing is it is not as much fun as Half Life was.

Left 4 Dead - starts well, after a while it is just dead.

Update 1:
After I got totally bored with this game, I decided to show it the exit and get rid of it from my PC - that is when I encountered with this problem - The uninstaller messed up the default Windows XP fonts and totally messed up everything. After a few irritating minutes, i got it resolved by fixing up my registry. If you encountered this issue, try the solution provided here.

That adds up one more reason for me to dislike this game and shows the sloppy work of the game developers.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Quantum of Solace – PC Review

One word – Fantastic! This is probably one among the really few movie based games that actually does justice to passionate game fans. Before I bought this game, I read somewhere that it uses the Call of Duty 4 engine and I said to myself - that was good. And it was too. The scenarios are so colorful and lively and the weapons are perfect and the style and charisma of a bond movie is so well depicted in the game.

In recent times, the only few games that I really enjoyed playing was CoD4, GRAW2, Conflict Denied Ops, COD5 and to a small extent Left 4 Dead. And certainly COD4 and 5 were the best and QoS matches CoD in pretty much everything. I already know that this is going to be one of those games which I will surely play again just to use different weapons and probably try out a stealthier approach.

The graphic engine is flawless, excellent cut scenes, bond style and fast, movie style pacing of the game is a real pleasure. I felt like this was a mix of Max Payne put on Hitman put on CoD with a few elements of Indigo Prophecy (not sure how many of you have heard of this game, but that was one cool game). There are small interactive stunt sequences where you have to click on the right spot for the character to perform the right moves; hack an access code by hitting the right combination of keys as displayed and so on.

Videos are cool, made as stylish as the movie. Audio is great and game play is seamlessly smooth. If you have played Kane and Lynch, you would have got used to the cover switch where players can hide or crouch behind walls or crates or any object. QoS does that too and that is nice, once you get used to that style of combating. You can right click to aim and nail your enemies mostly while you are covering up behind a wall.

The AI is good – smart and clever. They take alternative routes to reach you wherever possible and they cover and duck too and blind shoot at you – making it a real time experience.

Great work – Great Game, I have not completed it yet – want to savor every second of its game play, but could not wait to write about it till I complete.

Audio – 9/10
Video – 9/10
Gaming Experience – 9/10

Overall Score – 9/10

Update 1
Completed the game yesterday - a total gameplay of less than 12 hours. This is one such game where I will surely re-play certain specific missions. Great work by Activision and Treyarch!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe - Release it for PC Please!!!

I loved playing Mortal Kombat 4 some years back - it was real fun with all the combo moves and the various Fatality finishes. I particularly loved the characters and the storyline - Raiden, Sub Zero, Scorpion and the 4 handed Goro!

When I saw the ad for Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, I was thrilled since I am a BIG fan of The Justice League cartoons as well (Batman is my all time favorite!).
I was closely following the press releases and stuff and was hoping to play it sometime. I am a PC gamer, I do not have any gaming console nor do I intend to buy one. IT is a big investment, besides I also need to have a decent television as a display panel which is a bit complicated for me to get at this point. I am not sure if I can use my LCD desktop monitor to connect an Xbox, I would probably think of buying it then.

Anyways, in one of the releases Midway announced that the game was not planned to be released for PC, and broke my heart! I am now watching all the videos available in youtube and hoping to wake up some day and see them release it for PC.

I was surprised that they went against a PC version, because the game uses the Unreal engine, which I is PC based. Also I am sure, there would not be a dent on the margin if they want to convert it for PC either by means of profit.
I doubt if there are any emulators at all and in a way I think it would be absurd to have an emulator for an XBox 360, since it is by itself a PC.

Almost all of the Superhero games I have seen are dumb and are more like puzzles, and I am sure nothing else can be as brutal as this game, simply because of its plain fighting console style approach.

PLEASE Midway release it for PC too!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Reasons why I hate Fallout 3

First let me tell you why I bought this game –

• The cover looked great and reminded me a lot of Half Life.
• I saw some of the screenshots and they looked stunning.
• A quick search for game ratings showed a 9/10 and I paid no further heed to thought and bought it.

I never knew Fallout before, still don’t. Don’t even know if there was an earlier version of it.
Whatever, but it is not the type of game I would love to play. I don’t have the time and unfortunately I have trained myself to play faster paced games. At least, if it had some stealth element in it, I probably would have liked it a bit.

Anyways, coming to exactly why I came to hate it:
1. Slow Gameplay – It was testing my patience to beyond limits.

2. Interaction with other characters – I was never a big fan of choosing from a list of options. It is real boredom to keep selecting what to say from a list of lame options.

3. Clunky action sequences, no matter how you play it, whether in first person view or the different 3rd person views, combat is still very clunky.

4. Shooting sequences has this VATS option, when enabled you can select where to hit the opponent based on some statistical information on the damage caused. It would then execute your selections in slow mo. Though it is cool, still it steals the thunder from you. The actual pleasure of shooting is lost and it adds up to the slowness of an already slow paced game.

5. Objective – There is absolutely no direction or any immediate objective. Left in a vast environment to “find your father” is surely not going to be fast enough. There are side quests you can get yourself into but for that again you’ve got to do all the talking to many different people.

6. Weapon Selection – you are given this “pip-boy” a kinda futuristic PDA that shows a lot of information including how many you have killed and your SPECIAL parameters. And every time you need to select a weapon, you have to use this “pip-boy” items section. LAME!

7. Confused Approach – Some of the displays are made in comic style and WW2 time drawings. It somehow really does not settle in correctly with the “futuristic” theme. Wish the makers of this game saw how Half Life was done.

8. On top aof all this - I had Call of Duty World at War - inviting me the same time and Fallout 3 stands no chance against that!

I am sure there will be people who would love the game for exactly the same reasons why I hate it; Well, then it is the game for them.

All said and done, I made the mistake of buying a game of a different genre and I am kicking myself for it. The next thing I am going to do is search the internet for cheats and walkthroughs and spoil the game but at least get something out of it before I fling it into trash.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Max Payne - The Movie - Totally Fulfilling!

There could not have been a better tribute to the path breaking, trend setter in the video game world. I am simply stunned by the sheer amount of closeness the movie makers have made with the actual game.  

I am one of the many millions of people who got hooked up to shooter games after playing Max Payne. The main force that drove me to keep playing the game was its cinematic approach. The game had excellent cut scenes and wonderful narration with some great dialog.   

To watch all that as a movie starring one of my favorite – Mark Wahlberg was just amazing.  
You would not believe the level of attention to detail given to each and every aspect of the game. Be it the camera work, or the lighting or the sounds, even the way Max limps when he is down in health – Everything! Every Single Thing!  

I seriously don’t know how this movie would mean to anybody who has not played the game, but for Fans of the game – this would be a real treat. 

I was waiting to watch each and every feature which made the game such a great hit and when they come up they just leave you in awe.   

It has everything used so cleverly - The Bullet Time mode, the puzzle sequences in between chapters, the weapons – and they used my favorite pump action shotgun the most! You should watch the scene where Max takes a dose of the Valkyr drug himself – simply superb.  

And for people who are wondering why the movie finishes with just the end of BB, wait till after the credits roll.  

The bottom line is – this is a terrific movie with great action, music and style. I would give it a straight 10 on 10 and would strongly recommend this movie to all.  

Monday, November 3, 2008

Conflict Denied Ops

Conflict Denied Ops – Review

Overall Score - 8/10
Gaming Experience - 9/10; Video - 9/10; Audio 7/10;

An Eidos production – Conflict Denied Ops is a fast paced FPS game. You get to play as Lincoln Graves and Reggie Lang – yes you can toggle characters at any point in time. I am writing this review mainly after reading a lot of mediocre to poor ratings given to this really good game.

I had just recently completed Call of Duty 4 – Modern Warfare and Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 and was desperately searching to play another war based shooter game. Conflict Denied Ops fully satisfied me with non stop action and a clean issueless game play.

I knew there were a lot of FPS games released past 2007, which I could not get at, but now since I had all the time, I wanted to play every one of them.

Key points about the game:

  1. You get to play as both agents, Just “Tab” to toggle between them.
  2. Primary weapon for Graves is a Sniper Rifle and Lang has a Machine Gun
  3. Primary Weapons ammo is unlimited
  4. Graves is the Stealth Guy – creeping and crawling and with a suppressor to his rifle, he gets real cold blooded.
  5. Lang on the contrary is the loud mouthed mean killer – who likes to just blast his way through.
  6. Great scenarios and maps that render really smooth on my pretty decent GPU environment.
  7. Missions span across three continents – all of them are explosive and extremely realistic.

The overall game play is fast and AI is so smartly built on most missions. The Pros would be:

  1. Unlimited ammo. I am more of the stealth attacker – and Graves is my man. Silent Sinister. A guy like him to play with unlimited ammo! What more can I ask for?
  2. The objective map pointer is just too good – you can never get lost. When it points up, it means you are in the right direction.
  3. AI combat skills – Once your location is known, AI characters duck, hide, dodge and shoot blind. Basically they do everything to keep you distracted making the combat realistic and tense.
  4. The environment is maintained in the exact same way – the enemy dead bodies do not disappear.
  5. Great Music – aptly matches the state of the game. Intensifies along with your combat.
  6. Since you get to play both the agents – you get to enjoy the merits of both.
    For instance when you have to take down a tank or a chopper, only Lang has the heat Rocket launcher. You can order him attack OR if you want to be part of the excitement, just tab on to him and do it yourself
  7. Cleverly placed resupplies – Resupplies are only for your secondary weapons, grenades and rocket launchers etc. And they are placed at areas pretty close to where you might need them. Just search a bit and I am sure you could find it.

The cons:

  1. Voice characterization is a bit too loud - even when game play requires you to not reveal your presence. Lang simply does not seem to know the meaning of whispering.
  2. You constantly keep a tab on the other agent, especially Lang, to stay in a position and not to run blatantly on every corner.
  3. You cannot pickup weapons left behind by enemies. Would have been great if we just had one slot to store picked up weapons.
  4. Very rarely (actually in just one mission, to be exact), the AI behaves stupid. Three enemy characters standing right beside each other and Graves takes them one after the other with his suppressor sniper rifle, and there was no reaction on the remaining.
  5. The Agent you play does not seem to make use of corners much like in Kane and Lynch Deadmen, another Eidos production.

Overall, I was pleased to have bought this game and found it worth every penny spent on it. Not caring about what others say, I would give this game a 9 on 10 rating for game lay, graphics and sound.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Came across this really funny newspaper comic strip and immediately wanted it in my blog!