Friday, July 29, 2011

Thank you games

I've read many blogs about why games in general make you a better person, so I think it's time i gave myself an honest answer.
How games made ME, specifically a better person? What skill-set did they have an impact on?

Well the first one , and most obvious one is the language.
Since I'm not native english speaker, they familiarized me with a vast amount of words, not to mention the middle age English used in some of the old RPGs. Also, I remember playing some of the old adventures with a dictionary next to the keyboard :) Sigh , those days ( nights also )...
Thank you : Every game.

Second one is the sense of orientation and navigating a map.
The allmighty TAB ever since Doom (as one of the first game I've played) many of the games had it, and in pretty short time it comes natural to locate the vital points of the map, recognize the surroundings and discern my next course of action. Also , in cases of multiple routes to get to a point, to calculate the most effective(usually fastest) one.
Thank you : Every game with a map.

On to the pragmatical math skills and resource management.
Ranging from the basic buy/sell mechanics in many games to calculate the profit or the amount of funds needed to gain a certain item , the calculation of damage/hit-miss ratio to the more complex resource management in many turn-based strategies which enhanced my planning skills and also time management.
Thank you : Heroes of Might and Magic 2/3, Civilization 1/2/4, Colonization, Command and Conquer, Starcraft ...

Of course all the things that impact directly the character traits , like : Patience, Persistence, Reflexes, Problem solving, anger management :) ...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mass Effect 2

I totally agree with many of the reviewing sites out there when they say that this is one of the most highly praised titles in the last couple of years, or perhaps of all time.

The storyline is a continuation of the original mass effect saga, which in it's own is not something that stands out: adventures of a space crew, peril to humanity/lifeforms, intergalactic councils, space battles and many of the Sci-Fi cliches , BUT what does stand out is the way these things are presented to the player. The voice acting, the narrative, the personalities attributed to the characters - pure perfection.Sure some of the characters are more bland (especially the ones in the DLC packs..) but there are more than a few that shine. I won't spoil it for you but this could easily be a great movie/book material. Only, a video game offers more interaction than a book/movie so it makes it even more awesome.

As for the game mechanics, it's a rather interesting approach.
First , experience is gained solely from the completion of a certain mission. There is no +XP for play style(stealth/diplomatic/forceful) nor play skill (killing a certain enemy, or headshots). This eliminates (IMHO) one of the most boring parts of a RPG , grinding, at the cost of not rewarding , or at least not rewarding enough the skill of a player. The only reward for playing good is that you'll be able to finish the mission easier/quicker. Certainly an interesting approach.
Second, no reusability of the weapons that enemies drops. The crew has it's own weapons and through upgrades improves their performance. There are several weapons grouped by type and that's it.
Third, the character improvement is very simple. A few skill talents and assigning skill points gained through leveling up. Personally I preferred the Mass Effect 1 leveling system.

The combat is third person action, and is pretty dynamic. The AI routines for your teammates are up to the task, and in the later stages of the game can even turn the tide of the battle. The enemies are also great and they use the environment to their advantage well, so basically the variety in combat benefits from the level design, and also from the play style. There are some occasional bugs on the PS3 version but nothing dramatic.

Also, this is one of the games that makes playing a "bad boy" as equally rewarding as playing the good guy (if not more) unlike most of the RPGs. It's no Witcher, but the morality system is pretty good. Maybe it could use a bit from the Star Wars : KOTOR/Dragon Age , especially the part where the teammates disagree with the choices you make because of their own beliefs , but maybe ME 3 ...

Anyways, a MUST play.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gamer's meme

Yeah I know it's old, but still I laugh every time i see it.

See it here!

One of my personal favs:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Heavy Rain

One of the things being a gamer is the constant search for ways to entertain youreself, games or otherwise. Heavy Rain, when it first appeared was certainly a novelty in the way it tells it's story and having people interacting with it.

Speaking of genres, I guess adventure fits the most although it's something completely different at the same time. The game mechanics relies solely on Quick Time Events (QTE) - which means there is no inventory , collecting items , combining them and the sorts, Instead, depending on the timing of the buttons pressed the story progresses. And I think it's pretty interesting. Especially that the developers went one step ahead and introduced non-linearity into the mix, by adding some key events/situations that influence the overall ending. It's the first time I've played a game like this and it's pretty awesome. And I'm not decided on QTE in games (I've read numerous complaints from various gamers that they ruin the game etc). If they're not your cup of tea, this one's not for you.

The story, on the other hand offers several playable characters and is IMO mediocre. Classic detective/find the killer drama, to be honest I change the channel when i see them on TV, but strangely I was very curious as to the end of this one. But still, there was no wow-effect. Also, the inability for skipping scenes can be a little irritating if you re-play the game to see a different ending. Also, it's relatively short, 5-6 hours I think.

All in all, If you're into new experiences of playing a game I recommend this one, but it's kinda niche so you might end not liking it.