To Kill a Chicken

22 05 2012

So today I thought I’d update you with a little article that would kind of give you guys an insight into what I actually think about when I’m not screaming at creepers or fearlessly charging head first into a patch of tall grass. That my good friends, is chickens. Yes, you heard me, chickens. You see, I have noticed over the past week or so whilst playing several games, that I have some sort of vendetta against chickens (not the real kind, but the pixelated kind)

Personally, I think that this all comes down to me playing the Legend of Zelda games far too much. As many people will know, chickens, (or cuccos, as they are known in Zelda games) are somewhat of an often sight in the land of Hyrule, appearing in no less than 10 different games. This is not my reasoning however, it is more that these are creatures of extreme power, and when set off, they have no mercy, give me a Gannondorf over these guys anyday.

Enough to defeat 4 links at once

 

You see, ever since A Link To The Past, Link can be trotting around Hyrule (or wherever else he may be), only to see a gathering of cucoos ahead of him. Being a curious little boy, Link tentatively walks up to these intriguing creatures. However, this being Link, the havoc wreaking punk of all Hyrule, decides that it would be a great idea to turn this beautiful moment into a bloodbath, drawing his sword and swinging wildly with no remorse. Little does he know however, that he has just messed with the wrong guys (and probably would have been better sticking to breaking everybody’s pots). Without a question, the Cucco calls for help, and before you now it, a hurricane of Cuccos are flying around your screen, invulnerable, and on a rampage. Swooping down with hits worthy of multiple hearts of damage, Link quickly realises his mistake and runs for the hills, but it’s too late, and before he knows it, his bottles, once filled to the brim with fairy dust, are all empty, and a short lived life comes to an end with the sight of a game over screen.

This is not the end of it however, as much as I know how bad an idea it is, to this day, not matter what Zelda game, I continue to attack any Cucco I see on sight, in the hope that one day, I will find a weak spot in their defences, and fell one of the foul beasts. To this day, I have not found one, but I am a patient man, and I may not win the war, but one day, I vouch to at least win a battle.

Unfortunately, this mentality has spread over to other games as well. For example, in Minecraft, I cannot see a chicken and let it live, it must pay for all of its ancestors wrongdoings towards me. The same goes for Gears of War 3, as soon as I see a chicken in that game, I drop whatever objective I had, charge headfirst no matter what lies ahead of me, risking life and limb, all so I can kick that bird into a sweet puffy ball of feathers and blood.

Peter knows the true evil of chickens.

There are even more games I could rant on about, however, I may be here all day.Long story short, if I see a chicken in a game it dies. If it can’t die, I at very least make its life a living hell, just ask any chicken-like residents I have ever had in Animal Crossing, their mail boxes are full to the brim with letters about how I plan on killing them for my next meal…

Thankfully, I am still at the point in which this horrible mindset has not bubbled over onto the path of my reality. I can see it now, me laughing in a restaurant, mocking the dead chicken as I devour it, screaming insults at it and claiming my revenge whilst the public stare at me, wondering why I am not in a mental asylum yet. If, (or more like when) this day comes, you will all know where to find me, in the local farm, striking down chickens as they come at me with terrifying fury screaming “feel the wrath of my wooden sword! I knew it would be dangerous to come here alone!”. Then as I was escorted away by the police, I would feel happy inside, as deep down, I knew I’d finally won…

Wow, well, it’s a very good thing I’m not crazy just yet. You win for now chickens. Your move.

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Keeping you up to date.

22 05 2012

Hey guys. Well, just thought I would bring you up to speed with how my stuff is going. I am currently working on my review for Trials Evolution for scottishgeeks.com, and I have changed my mind on the ‘InRETROspect’ idea. Not that I am not going to do it anymore, but, because Killer 7 was rather creeping me out, and turning out to be much more frustrating than I remember, I have decided to play through the original Devil May Cry for it now, because I can. 

I have also recently bought another copy of Zelda: Wind Waker, as mine broke a few years back, and have made it my mission to get the four zelda games I don’t own (note, I have actually finished them all already) and play a marathon of them over the summer when I finally get the chance. So, all I need now is link’s awakening, Oracle of Ages/seasons and Four Swords Adventure, and my collection will be complete. If I’m not wrong, I can pick up Links awakening (at least) on the virtual console on either Wii/3DS, so that should be easy enough. Soon, I can proudly say I own every zelda game (and it will be about time too).





Oh my! heaven smiles!

20 05 2012

Right, so I have been playing through Killer 7 as I said in my previous post, and I think I have left myself mentally scarred for life…God knows how my younger self managed to wash away those mental images, and the noises…oh the noises o.O

On a couple of other notes, I finally got round to buying Double Dragon on the Master System today. I have never played it properly before, and truly look forward to it. Oh…and here is my minecraft review…enjoy 😀 http://scottishgeeks.com/minecraft-360-review/





My Pixelated Pickaxe

19 05 2012

Hey guys, just to let you know, I have just finished my review for Minecraft, and although I said I would be posting my stuff up on here. I have decided that I will be writing reviews for scottishgeeks.com, and posting you guys the links through here.

However, I have also had an idea to do something which I call ‘in RETROspect’, now, I know it isn’t very original, but I will be playing through some of my favourite games of previous generations (and possibly very early this-gen too, depending on my mood) and seeing if they a) hold up to the test of time, and b) if I would still class them as one of my favourite games ever. So prepare to see some of my fondest gaming memories either rekindled, or torn to shreds. I personally cannot wait 😀





Into The Unknown

16 05 2012

Hey guys, basically, I have not posted on here for ages, so for that I am sorry, basically, to cut a long story short, it has ended with me now writing for scottishgeeks.com. So although I will still be posting whatever I write for them on here, I am going to recommend that you start going to there for all of my articles instead, as not only will you be able to read all my stuff, you will be able to read all the other cool stuff that my fellow writers will be posting too…it’s kind of a win-win situation 😀

Right, as I want to keep this site strictly about games, I will post any other type of review up here for you to have a look at. So here is my review for RockMelt, a new browser based on Google Chrome that is very cool: http://scottishgeeks.com/rockmelt-review/





Nocturnal

1 02 2012

Well, it’s gone 6am, so naturally, I’m wide awake, when I should be sleeping. :/ In these late hours of the night, I have been searching the internet for my usual gaming fix, naturally, I came across more articles about the recent piracy issues, however I came across two that sparked my intrigue more than usual (http://digitalbattle.com/2012/01/21/the-hypocrisy-of-pc-gamers/ and http://digitalbattle.com/2012/01/31/letter-from-an-indie-pc-developer-regarding-piracy/) and quite frankly, I am disgusted with what these articles are claiming.

Personally, I am against the whole SOPA and PIPA nonsense, however these kind of articles do make me think sometimes that we could very well do with an act like SOPA or PIPA, but just a toned down version, which wont shut down the internet as we know it. So with all that in mind, I have decided to write about what we could do to stop this stupidity.

How to save the modern world.

Firstly, I am going to level with you all, and tell you that I did at one point actually support piracy. This was several years ago, when I was young and never really thought of the consequences it actually has, to me, it was just free stuff. However, I now write to you as a much more mature man, with an (albeit slight) understanding of the workings of the world. I have gone from never buying a thing (that includes music, films, TV and games), to occasionally pirating difficult to acquire items, to being against piracy in full. Just as a side note, I am also, for the same reason against buying used, however, I consider this a necessary evil, as otherwise, trying to buy anything more than a couple of years old would become near impossible/insanely priced.

Now although I realise that all this piracy malarkey has an effect on many industries, I am, as usual, going to take this down the route of gaming, as this is what I know best, and what is most relevant to me. Originally, (as I’ve been planning to write on this for a while) this was going to be an article about how piracy should still be allowed, and that publishers and developers should be finding better ways of distributing and marketing their games, however, after reviewing many articles lately, my mind has become much more opposed to piracy than it used to be. However, that said, they could still try.

The future is steamy

Now really, this is what started my switch from pirate to …ninja? well, I’m not really sure what I am now, apart from not being a pirate. Steam is a superb way for us to buy games, and for developers to sell them. With cloud based saves, a profile linked to all our game purchases (so no hassles when changing to a new PC) and insanely good sales, it’s more than fair to say that Steam is a great example of how to distribute games.

The logo of the future

You may also want to read this http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/114391-Valves-Gabe-Newell-Says-Piracy-Is-a-Service-Problem. So, me saying that distribution is a way to solve the issue means nothing, but it certainly holds a bit more weight when we have massive gaming icons like Gabe telling us. Yes, I would be stupid to think that just putting every game ever on steam would solve piracy, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt. I mean, Steam is by no means perfect, but it is still a work in-progress and continues to receive constant updates from valve, keeping it the best way we have to get out games.

Whilst I do not believe that games should ever go fully digital, I do think that the next-gen of consoles could also do with taking a page out of valve’s book and greatly improve their digital distribution services. Whilst Xbox Live and PSN to an acceptable job at bringing us add-ons and ‘arcade’ games, there is a huge lack of retail games for sale on them, they continue to be overpriced, with very few sales. They are also very cumbersome, proving only useful at getting us to places we know we want to be, discovery clearly isn’t a word in their vocabulary. In short, they need to get more developers behind the services they are offering, so that we can get a much greater mix of indie and blockbuster games, at better prices, from the comfort of our couches. I’d love to see what the three next consoles have to offer us in the future, and it is clear they at least need to match up to steam’s mighty standards if they want to lay the foundation for the next 5-10 years worth of their online services.

Basically, my theory is that, if we get given the tools to easily find, buy and play our games, no matter the platform, for a good price, then there will be much less piracy in gaming. Sure, the developers will be getting less money per game, but some money is better than none, right? One big thing on my wish list would be a cross-platform service, where we could buy games for play across several consoles, like portal 2 (buying the ps3 version got you a steam key, and saves were shared across the cloud). However, this will likely never happen, as Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo will probably never reach a point in which they could work together to make this happen, as they all want their product to be better on an individual basis.

Show some respect

As a potential future games developer, it strikes fear into my heart that the PC has a 90% games piracy rate. I mean, it is difficult enough for a developer to make profit on their console games, let alone on a platform which shows a 9x higher piracy rate. Games will need to be selling millions more copies on PC for the studio to see a blockbuster worthy return on their games compared to console games, no wonder the developers more commonly choose consoles as their main platform.

What could have been 😥

Really, us gamers need to buckle up, we need to start showing some support for these guys, I mean, if we truly love their work, and want it to continue, we need to ensure they have a job. We can do this very easily, start buying our games (they also have to be new, not used). I mean, really, I can honestly say that I have paid more on going shopping for sweets than some of my games have cost me (especially when looking at my steam library). If we start being more open to spending a few more pounds here and there on games (and DLC etc.), then the industry will start looking much better for it. It might just mean fewer trips to the sweet shop for some of us. Of course, this is under the assumption that we get met half way, and getting access to these become easier, because most of the time, the reason I buy a game used is because I can’t find anywhere to buy it new (at an anywhere near reasonable price anyway). We scratch their backs, they scratch ours…simple

We don’t want a treasure hunt

Simply put, marketing needs to become bigger, better and smarter. I mean, I realise this doesn’t have too much to do with piracy, but it will help. In the past few years, countless people have lost their jobs due to games just not selling, and yes, although sometimes this is due to realising a poor product, but probably just as many times, it is just due to nobody knowing about the game. Many people claim that if a game is good enough, then it will sell no matter how bad the marketing is and whilst this can be true (look at minecraft for example, a game sold almost entirely from word of mouth), you also have to get lucky, there are clearly more games that this theory didn’t prove true with than those that did, making this tactic a little bit more than foolish to rely upon.

Yes, I appreciate that indie developers may not have the resources to pull out a call of duty style marketing campaign, but why not think outside the box, and design an innovative way to catch the interest of the gaming community. For example, Dead Rising 2 marketed itself with an odd cross-over between game and demo. Dead Rising 2: Case Zero provided a few short hours of Dead rising 2 gameplay, but with a unique prologue story, set in a location outside the main game. This was all offered a couple of weeks in advance to the full game, and for a fraction of the price, meaning any gamers wanting to get their hands on the game, and anybody unsure about whether to purchase the full game or not, could pick up this and get their hands dirty. This went down great with the community, and quickly became one of the fastest selling arcade games on Xbox Live, and (probably) boosted the awareness, and therefore sales, of the final product.

Admit it, you loved the dress.

Whilst this is only one example, it is probably one of the best, with the developers giving us a much better idea of how the game plays than our typical, stupidly short demos, and gaining some money for their efforts in the process, everybody won. Other, smaller ideas are things like a new promotion for Soul Calibur V (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_TLUJlhxrs) in which they painted a promotion for their new game right across a London wall. Whilst it is not quite as big a step as with DR2, it still raises awareness of the title, in a way that isn’t just a banner lurking in the corner of our monitor screens, it still does more than nothing though, and (at the time of writing) over 30,000 people have watched it on youtube, which is still a possible 30,000 extra customers for the game, every little helps, right?  

Shut down the pirates

Yes, I said it, we need to sink all those pirate ships before all this stops. Whilst the developers and publishers need to improve, I would have to think that, for us gamers to really show a big improvement, we need to stop the pirates. Sure, we can tempt them away with sales and easy access, but many people will still always go for the free option, so long as it is still an option. Whilst I still clearly disagree with the acts of SOPA and PIPA, it is not the fact they are killing piracy for me, more the fact that they would destroy the internet entirely, shutting down anything they want, whilst backhandedly claiming some sort of stupid (and possibly made up) breach of copyright, and we would be able to do nothing about it.

The good type of piracy.

So, we need to find a way to shut down the pirate sites, or at very least, all of the big ones, as searching the entire internet for every pirate copy would become a bit more difficult. If we make it almost impossible for people to pirate, they will have no other option but to start playing the honest game. Sure, many people will just not play the games, but I know that I’d much rather have a game with 2 million players, that all bought the game honestly, than a game with 4 million players, but only 20% actually buying the game. Makes pretty simple sense doesn’t it? 😛

Rounding it up

I believe that to solve this crisis, and ‘save the modern world’ we will need an effort from all parties. I think publishers and developers should make an effort to find a simpler and cheaper way of getting the games to us gamers, as well as stretching their imaginations as far as the marketing process. At the same time I expect the option of piracy to be shut down, or at least reduced to a point of becoming obsolete. Finally, us gamers need to step up and take responsibility, buying our games (new), and embracing the digital services and what they offer us.





All that news

29 01 2012

Hi there everybody. I come to you today with pretty much no news, apart from maybe I should do more with my saturdays other than work and play games 😛 So with all that, I’m going to just jump right into things and give you my review of Gears of War 3. Enjoy your read and please comment below 🙂

Gears of War 3 Review

The Gears of War franchise has established itself on the grounds on great, fast paced, cover based shooting and plenty of ways to paste our enemies across the walls. Gears of war 3 is no different, adding a couple new weapons and modes into the mix, aswell as bringing the lambent into the spotlight of the story, offering us even more types of enemies to get caught on the wrong side of our shotgun.

The story kicks off roughly two years after Jacinto, the last human stronghold was flooded in an attempt to wipe out the locust at the end of Gears of War 2. It would seem that humanity’s plan didn’t work, and the loscust are still the scourge of humanity. The story picks back with Marcus Fenix and his buddies living on a colony cruise ship, and big surprise, it gets invaded by the lambent. At this point, Marcus learns that his father may still be alive, and have important information about the locust. From then on this game is all about finding Marcus’ father, and hoping he has found a way to rid the locust threat once and for all.

The story gives us plenty enough motivation to keep on gunning through the (roughly) 6 hour campaign. Plenty of set piece moments and boss battles keep the pace up and the action high. This is the ending of a trilogy, so expect deaths, on both sides of the battle, and the death scenes were some of the best bits of storytelling the trilogy has seen to date. However, I still found the story to be little more than a reason to just blow things up. This is no reason to fear buying this game, because the rest of the game is really where the game shines through.

Firstly, the addition of an arcade mode to the campaign is a welcome addition. Adding a level of competetive play within the co-op story mode, as all of the players fight together against the locust horde, but at the same time compete for the most kills in an attempt to rack up more points than their buddies. It works great for the most part, however there are times when, if you’re not playing with players you don’t know, there may be moments, like in all games, where selfishness occurs, and opponents will leave you to die. Luckily however, players will respawn 30 after death, so long as one player stays alive, leaving frustration to a minimum.

The multiplayer mode is also now much improved, with dedicated servers working away behind the scenes, the lag is now almost non existent, and matchmaking speeds are hugely improved from the other titles. Not to mention the great new team deathmatch variation, which gives the whole team a pool of respawns to share, meaning that teamwork becomes even more important, if anybody just continues to run into no-mans land and die, then the whole team suffers. This new variation of the classic Gears gameplay is possibly the best so far, and the new best way to play multiplayer in Gears of War 3.

Then there is the new take on horde mode. Horde 2.0 adds fortifications and upgrades to this fantastic mode, and the game that defined the horde mode has now redefined it, making it harder, better and a whole lot more fun than ever before. Not to mention the boss wave on every tenth wave, pitting us against the likes of berserkers and brumaks. This then manages to destroy all your fortifications, and also, all of your plans, sending you and your buddies into panic mode as you scramble around the battlefield trying to wear down those big beasties. With fences, turrets, sentry guns, decoys and silverbacks all at your disposal, there are plenty of ways to keep back the devastating horde invasion. It’s a fresh a wonderful take on the much imitated mode, making it the best around yet again.

Finally, there is the all new beast mode. Beast mode is essentially a horde mode, which puts you in the shoes of the locust, letting you play the part of wretches and tickers, all the way up to bloodmounts and berserkers. This mode can be fantastic fun, giving us even more variation in gameplay, and who would have ever thought that playing kamikaze as a little ticker would ever be so much fun. Unfortunately the downside to this is that it really doesn’t last long enough, with only 12 rounds before the end, the fun ends almost as soon as it begins, with many players only unlocking the higher tier locust to play as right before it finishes, it leads to many wishing they had a bit longer to play around with all those bid baddies we’ve been crushing all these years.

Now with all these modes to play through, plus the ability to play through all of them with at least 3 other players at once, it’s easy to see why there is plenty of bang for your buck here in Gears of War 3. Plus, with an experience and unlock system that runs through the whole game, rewarding you with character and weapon skins, executions and mutators (e.g. infinite ammo and big head mode), there is plenty of reason to see it all here, and give everything a go, and many reasons to keep coming back for more.

That doesn’t mean however that there aren’t disappointments. Although there are many changes to the modes, trying to find the changes made to the core gameplay starts to become a little bit more difficult. Yeah, alright, they have the new mantle kick, allowing you to kick enemies into a stagger if they are in the way of you mantling over a wall, and yeah, they have a couple new weapons like the digger, and sawn-off shotgun. However, other than that, it feels pretty much like playing a very extensive Gears of War 2 DLC pack at times within the game.

You may have noticed however that graphically, this game has certainly had a nice bump up, this game is beautiful, and once again finds itself  being one of the most fantastic looking games of the year. Running at a smooth frame rate that never lets up, even when there are dozens of locust baring down on you. In fact, the whole presentation of the game is nothing but stellar, with a great soundtrack, wonderful, varied environments and an overall polish to the whole game, it’s clear to say that plenty of time and effort has been put into making this the best sounding and looking game of the trilogy so far. Also take note that the sound of a mans head being trampled into the ground has never been so satisfyingly crunchy.

So while not having a bunch of brand new content, there is still no denying the awesomeness that is Gears of War 3. With really tight and focused gameplay, some of the finer moments in the story so far and plenty of modes to play, this is definitely Gears at its finest.