Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Deus Ex : Human Revolution

It's funny how some games drop the price more than others and there is no significant difference in quality (Yes I'm looking at you L.A. Noire). Before i continue i must say that i was a bit late for the original Deus Ex party, and hence i only have played for like 6-7 hrs or so, so all the comparisons to the original Deus Ex in the mixed reviews out there were kinda meaningless to me, but generally I knew what they were refering to.

With that said I want to point out a few things about this game. First, the game mechanics - It's really nothing new. The missions are resolved basically by a combination of several basic actions - disable guards and hide their bodies, hack computers, and look for air vent ducts. I know it looks limited and repetitive but in reality (okay, game reality) it's very well implemented. The buildings infrastructure is always different so the basic mechanics is complemented with substantial variety in enviroment, which requires quick switching of tactics and approach to the task at hand. Kinda like my first encounter with Tetris. A set of 2 actions resulting in so much fun. Well done.

A few short remarks about the story. I never got the impression that the player makes actual impact on the way things happen. It's like you always get from point A to point B in the story, but which route you take to get there is up to you. So the freedom of choice applies only to the methods but never the world itself (maybe a few different dialogue content but that's basically it). While I'm on the subject, the various dialogs based on person's character type was a fun thing for me. You get different responses by choosing the same dialogue options based on person's character traits (ex. if he's impulsive the chances are bigger that he'll respond with an outburst but then again he might not). So yeah, no walkthrough for these :)

I've heard tons of hate-speech about the boss battles, and though i must agree that they are a strange fit into the picture, for me, they were just the kind of variety I needed to break through all the hiding and sneaking.

All things considered, I enjoyed playing it. And I think so should you.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Fallout stories

What i really want to talk about this one is actually the plausability and yet the huge diversity of the world depicted in Fallout 3. To be honest I’ve never experienced such a variety of situations you can stumble upon. That’s due mostly to the brilliant scenario, IMO. The choice of the setting is allowing practically limitless directions of development. Before I indulge, I just want to briefly describe the state of the world the game’s main storyline is taking place.

USA is engaged in war with China, and in the war reaches it’s escalation point when nukes start to fly destroying all, irradiating the entire Earth’s surface with massive radiation. People were forced to retreat to Fallout shelters that were built all over USA. After a certain amount of time they’re opened and people resurface to find entire new situation on the surface. The player is put in a role of one of the guys who comes out of the shelters.

First, this scenario offers a world of possibilities. People who stayed are suffering severe radiation symptoms (decay of the skin) and are shunned by the people who were not affected by the radiation. This actually makes a lot of sense, since the people who could not afford/couldn’t get to the Vaults were mostly farmers and in general people with low financial standing so in the chaos that followed the bombing they called upon their primal survival skills and employ unethical methods to continue their lives. Most of them, anyways…

The pinnacles of power are always formed around the money wells. The Enclave , who are self-proclaimed descendants of the US Government , (basically politicians and part of military) who are using the current situation to perform multitude of testing for their variety of agendas (creating super soldiers, silencing the speakers of the people or everyone with a potentially harmful opinion, eradicating their failed experiments with mutation) and the Brotherhood of Steel , which are essentially well organized technology scavengers ( formed also by part military/scientists) with an honor code embedded in their beliefs. There is also the mutants, who were actually humans infected with a virus developed by the Enclave, and a lot of other fractions - various AI’s and androids/robots , aliens, Raider gangs and groups  and whatnot. Add that to the fact that the world is on a crossroad, there are ideals and there are tools so basically everyone forges the world in his own direction.

So, back to my original point, basically just by providing a fruitful setting for the storyline quests and various situations the player can get himself into is tremendous. Every “what if” idea can sprawl a city/encounter on the map when that idea is brought to life ( and there are pretty awkward ones , like “What if I make my own state and name it after myself , where everyone does what I say” to the utopian ones like “What if we organized to defend people everywhere” ). To make the situation more real, every idealistic commune (a city or an organization) has individuals who think differently on the idea which they themselves are a part of. So you have a human-loving mutant, anti-slaver fighter with a knack for monetary, Brotherhood of steel member who does not share the zeal and enthusiasm of his fellows (a.k.a. he just works there) etc, etc..

All of the ideas implemented make sense and not seem “made up”.  But what’s more realistic is the painting of the humans as individuals in that big picture. For I think that in every human is the desire to be unique and at the same time the desire to be a part of something.  A game trait which for me (and whole lot of other people) is a solid base for building an immersive experience.