Monday, October 24, 2011

Research and Development

Here is another entry into my Half Life series of articles. This one is about the Half Life 2 mod Research and Development (Indie Elitist review), which uniquely is a action FPS puzzle adventure, set within the Half Life universe (Half Life Universe, The Story Thus Far). In Research and Development you are are not given any weapons and you solve a lot of logic puzzles, but that does not mean that it is without action, explosions, death, combine, and zombies; in fact you encounter all of these in large quantities and dispatch more then a few of them though interesting and unique means.

Definitely worth a playthrough, so if you are interested check out its homepage.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hard Reset

Just finished reviewing Hard Reset, a cyberpunk FPS, over at The Indie Elitist.
Summery: I liked it.
So if you like the occasional FPS you should check this one out.

Excerpt from the article:

Hard Reset is a very enjoyable game with some great high definition graphics, and as such is a unique entity in the world of indie gaming. If this was just one more FPS produced by mainstream gaming I would be talking about this game with decidedly more style then normal with some interesting game mechanics that at the very least makes it somewhat unique and worth a try; But it is not just one more FPS, it is one of the only original indie high definition FPSes.

Graphics wise, Hard Reset has a lot of attitude. The game is completely full of explosions, electricity, bright signs and lights, huge structures in the distance, and large and small hovercraft going by at all distances. These high definition graphics are replaced with a comic book style story between the levels, which overall was just OK. There are a few parts that don't look fantastic, the main menu for example, but overall it is quite high definition and beautiful.

And the gameplay is almost as interesting as the presentation. While it is a FPS, it plays very much like a top-down shooter, with a huge amount of the environment being destructible and it being very important that you use at least some of it to help take out the hordes of enemies. It is very important to have a good sense of where you are and to be constantly mapping out the environment so that you can use it to its fullest. This is simply a necessity and even playing on normal difficulty (with the difficulty going from easy, through normal and hard, to insane) it would be near impossible too make do without it.

The biggest problem with the game is its short length, hardly explained story, and abrupt end. The game simply ends and credits role with no absolutely no warning. You are not quite in the middle of combat but you have not really accomplished anything when it is simply over (you are literally in the middle of a objective); And bundled with its short length it feels more like a episodic game then anything else. Which I really believe that the company should of been more forthcoming about; Because buying Hard Reset the game that might feature sequels down the line, but not necessarily, is a lot different from paying for Hard Reset: Episode 1 which is at most only half of a game, with only a fraction of a game's plot.

But I liked it, and while it is pretty short it is not that short and very replayable because of the weapon upgrade feature that makes every character come out quite different.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Half Life: (Blue Shift, Opposing Force)

There were two expansions too Half Life (review, story synopsis) made, both by the outside developer Gearbox Software, Blue Shift and Opposing Forces. Both games are moderately short and take place at the same time as Half Life and like Half Life as set within Black Mesa and the alien world Xen. Additionally, they both have negative and positive aspects and while they overall hold the same Half Life feel play very differently.

Blue Shift added a High Definition pack that upgrades both Blue Shift and Half Life, if you so desire (note: it is not the default and it actually rather tricky to get Steam to even do it). But other then this it pretty much relies on content from the original Half Life set within new levels and challenges. In this game you play the security guard, Barney Calhoun and what I loved the most about it was the how tactical it often got while you were fighting groups of enemy soldiers, requiring intelligent use of grenades and remote controlled bombs to prevent you from being overwhelmed (which I found was not necessary in the original Half Life).

Opposing Force adds a bunch of weapons and removes a few others from the original Half Life, overall making your entire arsenal usable and far better then the original. In it you play Adrian Shepard, a US marine and one of the enemy characters in the original game (though not specifically). The best part of this game is, by far, the new and powerful weaponry, but one of the bigger features is the addition of the ability to control a squad of soldiers, engineers, and medics who help during battle and in the case of engineers are sometimes needed to progress. Unfortunately, these squad controls are also the worst implemented aspect of the entire game and are not even adequate in simply getting all of your squad to follow you around.

Both of these games were a pleasure to play and both are great in there own way and I would recommend them to anyone.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Adventure Lantern Issue (October 2011)

That right, another Adventure Lantern issue has just been released and it is a Halloween/horror themed edition. And if I may say so myself I think it is one of our better recent issues.

In this issue I contributed the last review in my Dracula series featuring a completely new review of Dracula 3: The Path of the Dragon, which is a very memorable game and I think in generally overlooked far too often, with a fantastic and unique plot. Secondly, I also reviewed a new game and the first by its developer Baron Wittard: The Nemesis of Ragnarok, which is just crammed full with many many challenging logic puzzles that often require you to explore all over to find the solution to them.

There are also reviews for Alter Ego and Blood Ties by our esteemed editor Ugur and a interview with one of the developers of Asylum.