All About Perth2008
Gaming ... before computers (above).
"People don't quit playing because they grow old.
They grow old because they quit playing."
[Oliver Wendell Holmes]
"The game is afoot!"
"History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it."
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional
to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."
[Red Adair (1915-2004)]
My gaming system specs:
o CPU: Intel Core2 Quad Q9400 @ 2.66GHz
o GPU: Nvidia GeForce 9800GT [Galaxy brand]
o PSU: 700W Thermaltake
o RAM: 4GB
o Windows XP (SP3)
o Optiarc DVD RW AD-7200S
Completed Kane and Lynch: Dead Men (K&L) over the weekend. This is one of those games that defied expectations. Most reviews I had read panned this game, but apart from some quibbles about the cover system and narrative structure I found little to fault. The story is a little confusing as most is related via inter-mission loading screens, which if you do not sit through and listen to carefully will leave you wondering what's going on.
Regardless, there is action aplenty and most missions are challenging and ultimately enjoyable. The main characters, Kane and Lynch, probably won't make your Christmas dinner invitation list but grow on you. It's kind of strange being on the wrong side of the law and I think you end up shooting more virtual police in this game than any other I have played. The ending(s) of the game leave you, as Kane, feeling somewhat empty.
Anyway I posted my review today. Keen to hear what others may wish to relate about their K&L experience, good or bad. Also keen to hear thoughts about the sequal Dog Days, should I buy it?
Now heading back to the streets of Miami to continue (and hopefully finish) the saga of Tony Montana in Scarface. Probably restart and play Gun to its conclusion as well. So it's third person shooter month for me.
Just finished playing the rather excellent 3rd person "tactical squad shooter" Freedom Fighters. Looks very good with graphical settings on the Nvidia control panel cranked up, despite its 2003 vintage. Great story of liberating the city of New York City from the Soviet invaders/occupiers.
There is great tactical gameplay with some strategic elements as well because the sequence in which you complete the maps in each mission will either ease or complicate your progress. Your character, Chris Stone, a plumber by trade, can recruit fellow citizens as he earns "charisma points" during raids in Soviet controlled parts of the city and destroy installations. As the game progresses the number of recruits increases leading to some challenging combat situations.
Combat can be quite tough and taking out helipads early is critical as Soviet gunships are lethal. Soviet NPC AI is pretty good as cover and flanking is utilised. Eventually as your team of recruits builds up you can send them out ahead in small groups to scout ahead or to defend certain locations. AI is pretty good with only the occassional glitch.
The game tone is also fun with its stereotypical characters, both Soviet and American. Particularly funny is the Soviet propaganda on the nightly news that skews the truth. The Soviet news bulletins occur at the end of each mission and it is interesting to listen to how the story of your escapdes are reported.
Lots of challenging missions, many with multiple maps and objectives. Alas the ending seemed to come too soon ... either that or I just wanted another mission. The game save system won't please everyone, essentialy you have to complete a "map" before your progress is permanently saved. There is the option to do interim saves at sewer access manholes but these are lost if the game is exited. Later missions have no mid-mission save system at all, but health packs are seemingly more prevalent. Chris is a likeable hero and the story, irrespective of how far fetched, in the style of Red Dawn, is most enjoyable. Certain missions in the game are tough to beat but the overall experience is very rewarding. (Score: 9.0/10)
A bit of time off from work recently allowed me to wrap up three FPS games.
Three games, three different genres of FPS and three different experiences.
FEAR Extraction Point ... I thought this was the sequal to FEAR but although the story follows directly from the end of FEAR it is not considered a sequal per se ... go figure. Well not apparently an official "Monolith" sequal, whatever that really means. That said it's cracking good fun and very much an "expansion pack" or extension to FEAR. Essentially its more of the same moody experience in the horror/survival genre of the original FEAR. My score of 8.5 is only slightly less than FEAR, as while it's "more of the same" in terms of look and gameplay it does not grow stale as quickly as other FPS games which have sequals (official or otherwise). The scares are still effective and enigmatic. All the good elements of the original FEAR are retained and there is development of the relationship of your nameless character with the spectre-like Alma and her son Fettel. Sometimes the action is so intense and the health upgrades seem so far apart that you just seem to make it to the next transition point. Oozes tension and the eerie visitations by Alma and other spectres make this a game to play with the lights on ... well, it's not a game for the young ones.
The ratings of FEAR2 and FEAR 3 (the official sequals) tend to suggest that they are not as good as FEAR and from what I have seen and heard on the GameSpot review videos both are still excellent FPS games but less so on the creepy horror scale. Not that I was a horror/survival genre fan (at all) before, but I did enjoy FEAR and Extraction Point lots. Anyone care to let me know of their experiences (good or bad) with FEAR2 or F3AR?
Red Faction ... this is essentially a journey back to FPS 101 and indeed not a bad sci-fi journey. You play as a miner, pushed too far by the harsh overseers, that becomes a key player in a workers' revolt on Mars. The game is very much mission-centric and it is relatively difficult even though you can carry a veritable array of weapons and can find numerous health boxes. Essentially you are a one man army/operative who needs to complete sabotage and other missions to assist the revolt. The game is very much a corridor shooter, although there are some open areas you do spend most of the time under ground in tunnels or facility corridors. The final part of the last mission of the game ... defusing a bomb is somewhat painful unless you have a good short term memory.
Graphics are quite good for the era ... which brings me to a very important point, namely getting the game to run on newer PCs or recent (post-2003) graphics cards. There is a "patch" (or add-on) called Pure Faction which replaces certain key files, including the executables, in vanilla Red Faction (and which additionally must be set to Win95 compatability if using XP or more recent). Without Pure Faction you will get a graphical mess on your screen (feel free to YouTube and see for yourself). You can find Pure Faction readily on the internet and version 3.0c seems to be the latest. I'll be playing Red Faction II and Guerrilla in a short while to see the story unfold further.
Hell in Vietnam ... I have no one to blame but myself. I had read the reviews and even looked at YouTube videos and decided that this was probably one to avoid. But alas my eBay alert indicated that a pre-loved copy was available so despite misgivings I bought it, being somewhat of a completeist. As some of you will know I enjoy the Vietnam-themed historical shooter and indeed am the proud owner of two of the best Men of Valor and Vietcong (plus sequals). These are two ofmy favourite military FPS games despite the passage of time as the narrative and gameplay were exceptional and after playing you felt as if you had learned something about the Vietnam war.
Alas, Hell in Vietnam, despite eight (rather short) missions, fails to deliver any sense of immersion ... this game could be set in the jungles of central America, like other City Interactive titles using the same graphics engine. While the game looks reasonably OK, it is essentially another Terrorist Takedown (Colombia or Covert Ops) in gameplay and seriously flawed AI (yes, another case of whack a mole appearances of the enemy). The voice acting is as with other CI titles of the era ... very lame indeed. The game itself is highly scripted, though a better script is sorely needed. I can think of no redeeming features in this game which ends with a whimper. If you have any interest in the game at all ... play the demo, which is set during the battle for Hue. It is the longest mission in the game and its depiction of Hue as a (very small scale) version of Stalingrad with conrete and steel buildings is at odds with the look of Hue in 1968. Much seems incomplete the last part of this mission you clear the building of VC /NVA, ending up in a great vantage point and find a sniper rifle and then ... mission ends. The very first (training?) of the eight mission can be played in under 2 minutes, no ... seriously! Anyway this is now the holder of the equal lowest ranking (5.0/10) of any game I own, incidentally both CI titles. AVOID or play the demo and stop there. A blessing is that the missions are indeed very short and the pain/embarrassment is over quickly.
Yes, City Interactive has improved, as indicated by Sniper: Ghost Warrior, but Hell in Vietnam suggests this is a relative improvement from a very low base. Still their Code of Honor: French Foreign Legion remains a guilty pleasure.
So that's another wrap up of recent gaming. Currently playing Freedom Fighters and the odd click & point adventure game.
I now have the entire STALKER collection and will play, starting with the original with the Stalker Complete 2009 (2012) upgrade/mod referred to in Azghouls recent review, after Freedom Fighters is completed. I installed vanilla STALKER and gave it a go for a look (very open world, "bizzaro world" that is), then added the mod and indeed it looks much better.
Tony Montana (Scarface) will just have to wait before I tackle the streets of Miami again.
See you around!
My Recent Reviews
Jun 19, 2013 4:09 pm GMTPerth2008 reviewed Red Faction II and gave it a score of 8.0
Jun 19, 2013 3:53 pm GMTPerth2008 added Red Faction II to their owned game list
Jun 18, 2013 3:37 pm GMTPerth2008 added Red Faction II to their now playing list
May 25, 2013 3:33 am GMTPerth2008 added Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier to their owned game list