Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas from Feral Entertainment

Hi all, Just wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Plus as i don't want a 14 word post so  not only am i writing in on this post but so will Witty and JJ (and maybe even Maria). Also for my part I'll be talking about what I'm planning for the next year and my person favorites of this year.

Well if you've been following me on my twitter account (follow me!!) you know I'm going to be doing more Interviews and first impressions. Also I'm planning to branch off from just game reviews, to other products, however his will be miner as I'll still be sticking with Game reviews in general. Now on to my personal favourite games of this year.

As you may expect, Metro 2033 is on this list and no it's not because I've reasonly played it, no it's because of the immersion and story that I rarely see in a game. Now I won't go into detail because I've spoken about it in my review (which you all should of seen) and I'm just going to leave it there. Oh I should say that I've bought to the book for Christmas and I will be reading it... when I get it.

The games I'm looking forward to this year (and there's allot more than my favourite games of the year) are Portal 2! Not only was Portal one of my favourite games ever and when i herd that the the sequel will have bigger and better puzzles I was hooked then i herd about the co-op then... well just say on it's release you won't be able to get me out of the house for a week.

Another game I'm looking forward too is Dragon Age 2.  Not only doing what most successful sequels do is use the last game as a jumping off point to expand the game and improved the game's mechanics. However the one thing I'm most worried about is that it's only been one year in development which could effect the game.

Now I know I'm not very good with these sort of posts, also I'm rushing this because IT'S CHRISTMAS!! Anyway I'll you may here from me before new year but I'm doubting it so I'll say to you Happy Christmas and have a Happy New Year.

Liam Hacket

Well everyone, it's been a wacky old year. And gone by quick huh? The anime season has been kinda dull but hopefully it'll pick up next year. I also hope to churn out a few new game reviews between now and next Christmas so keep an eye out for those! Anyway, between no and New Year I'll be writing off my Top 5 Anime of 2010 anime list, look out for it.

In short, a Merry Christmas to all and to all a Happy Wintertime. Looking forward to next Christmas already.


 Hey guys! For anyone that doesn't know me, I'm JJ, I did a few things on Liam's site every once in a while, and we worked together. This year I'm not sure I can get any reviews out until summer because it's really busy during the school year for me. I will be reviewing some old games during the summer (Call of Duty Black Ops will be old by then), as I usually do, as well as maybe some new ones. I wish everyone out there a Merry Christmas, and a great New Year!! And remember, keep gaming.


Sunday, 19 December 2010

Metro 2033 Review

So last week I picked up Metro 2033 for...around about £4 (I think). I had heard of the game but I never played it, so I was pretty shocked at what I found when I was playing it. Now before start I have never read the book however I will if I find it in English and not Russian! So before you go on about how the game doesn't stand up against the book (I think that's how you say it, anyway) I haven't read it. So before you think of anything else to complain about (and good god do I know) let’s get into the review.

Story: The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world in a destroyed Moscow where radiation and a yearly winter makes the outside world an almost inhabitable place to live. The survivors of Moscow live underground in the Metro stations living a constant battle against the creatures that live there to each other. You play as Artyom one of the young survivors of the war. The story begins at the end of the game... well sort of it's sort of disorienting as you heard one of the characters talk about events you haven't even played yet...which when you think about it is sort of cool as well.

Anyway it's not the main story that's what I find the best thing in the game in fact it's not really an engaging part of the story. One person takes on a epic quest to find a man who could save your people, I've seen better. It's the atmosphere and symbolism the world portrays it's believable. Let me explain; when walking around everyone is doing something from conversations with one another with believable animation to playing a guitar. Also there are all sorts of human models from Caucasian to blacks to old people to young children. All made in a way that they don't stand out and you don't see two of the same and yes if you look hard you probably will but I didn't. However this does shoot them self's in the foot when some characters I didn't recognise from passed interactions.

Now to the symbolism, this is probably where I over think some things. The story symbolises the battles that we go through against nature for better and for worse, and the battles we bring against the things we don't know/understand this is symbolised through the dark ones which you can see as the almost neutral as they never attack you, you (humans) attack first so there could be something of self defence and sometimes you could say that the dark ones are helping you. Also the towns if you can call them that are full of life concerning the circumstances. The engine is based on the X-Ray engine ( S.T.A.L.K.E.R Shadow of Chernobyl) which as you SHOULD know that the X-Ray can make some truly great atmospheric worlds and the A4 Engine (Metro's Engine) has kept it to the full amount bring a truly believable world (but yet so alien).

Back to the main story. As I said you play as Artyom and your station is under attack by the supernatural beings called the Dark Ones. Your farther the chief (or whatever he's called) has called for help! A friend of your Father's "Hunter", at first he comes across as a little over confident as he thinks the threat is nonexistent however later you see the character change into in a cold serious character, THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE A CHARACTER PEOPLE! You know what this is only the first ten minutes of gameplay and already I've found something I can praise! Plus the set up is perfect, it's all done in a Half-Life 2 style where you can see what you want and exploration of the area's give you little blemishes into the world. Anyway Hunter goes to sort out the problem on his own and tells you that if he doesn't return to go to Polis Station and ask the rangers to help you.

This sends you on your epic quest to find your way through the Metro (thank god there not going through the London Underground or else you'll be really screwed). Anyway you find yourself going through many areas which I'll get to in a minute. Anyway as I said the Story itself isn't that great but it's when mixed with everything else you get a brilliant story which is unmissable, in fact I can say that this is what most games are missing. I realise now that I've written six paragraphs and I haven't even got to gameplay yet (I think the Editor is having a run for her money... I think I'm going to get murdered soon).

Gameplay: OK here we go let’s start off with the gun play. There are two types of ammo, there's the pre-war ammo which is more powerful however it's used to for money and is hard to find... sort of. When I say that I mean that I think the developers wanted it to be rare but they could strike a balance so they just said "screw it" and put one pre-war bullet in most crannies. This sort of asks for exploration however it’s a very cheap way of doing it. The other type of ammo this dirty and not as powerful as the pre-war stuff, however I found myself finding more pre-war stuff than the dirty stuff, so I'm constantly searching for dirty when I'm constantly picking up pre-war stuff. However being a precocious bastard I hardly ever used a single clip of pre-war bullets. This does reward you with getting better weapons quicker and near the end of the game you get the opportunity for better armour but I didn't see the difference between the old armour.

The levels are vast and somehow unique even though you’re only in one place the metro. Well that's a lie you do go to the surface about four or five times. These levels involve little shooting and more platforming and exploration with one exception where your next to a Nazi Checkpoint and have to speed (or fight) your way through. These levels give you a break from all the shooting. The metro levels are filled with shooting and sometimes stealth sections. I think there maybe too many levels on the way to polis, however for people who have played the game I'm not talking about the level called "ghosts". My least favourite level hast to be where your fighting through front lines against the Nazis and the Soviets, where it's forced stealth and if you get spotted (which you will) then the A.I. will be able to pin point your position even if your just showing a toe nail. It's very annoying.

This brings me onto the A.I. which has a split personality. One personality is dim and can't see two feet in front of them and the other is a bright, smart and can see miles in front of them. This becomes a big problem when playing stealthily. Also throwing knifes (yes there's throwing knifes woopty doo) have a tendency of not doing a think! A leg shot shouldn't kill instantly while a head shot just gets deflected. This would of been fine if there was a mechanic where when that happens they get thrown to the floor while they struggle to get up giving you get the chance to get another shot in while they scream and alert everyone else. Anyway I would stay away from stealth.

The monsters are distinctly menacing and a blurring effect on them gives a great evolution of maniac. The monster look almost alien however you can still see an origin to them. However the rag doll physics just ruin this elation with strange death posses (that doesn't make sense but still). Humans can eat lead and not even fall even when there's nothing left but there skeleton and a his cheese sandwich, while you die as easily as scaring the Editor with a bacon butty (which is extremely easy). This may remind you of S.T.A.L.K.E.R which is true however in S.T.A.L.K.E.R you where basically tripping over ammo which made it balanced. However in Metro ammo is hard to find except for the pre-war stuff which is used for money which is not balanced.

All in all despite its big floors Metro is still a fantastic game and a must buy for any PC player. It's just a shame its repetitive gun play and messy A.I. keeps the game from greatness. However if you can see past these problems you'll be in for a treat.

Liam Hackett

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Poker Night at the Inventory

When you think of poker, what do you think of? Texans, gamblers, cartoon rabbits? Telltale try to remove the whole Texans and gamblers part of poker (mostly), and replace it with a pinch of insanity by adding four of the...strangest people ever. Now before I start, I would like to add that I am in no way a gambler. Why? Because I've never seen the point of putting money on a game where you have a 25% chance of winning (that's poker not slots, which I'm also not a fan of). Also I'm below the betting age... of sorts, but even so, I do not bet on anything. So what do I think of Poker Night? Well I'm getting there, I'm getting there.

Gameplay: Being that this is a poker game, there is no story of sorts. You're at the inventory, a place where video game characters come together and play games in secret. These characters include; Strong Bad, Max the Rabbit, Tycho and the Heavy from Team Fortress 2. All these characters come together to play games of poker. There are some characters in the background, like Sam the Dog. There's also a big cameo from Reginald Van Winslow (the captain from Tales of Monkey Island), which hints towards another series of Tales, from what he's wearing and what he says (which I sort of look forward to). Talking of characters, there is one character I would of loved to see in a game like this, which is Guybrush! I know he's not the maddest character, but with his witty lines he would of made a great character to include. I would of preferred him over Tycho, but no. This just proves how much Lucas Arts have changed over the years... *sigh* I miss the days where Lucas Arts was a company who made original games and didn't puke out a Star Wars game every year... hmmm. Oh sort of got distracted, where was I again? Oh yeah gameplay.

Well as you expect, everything from the real game of poker is in the game. You all start off with £10,000 each, and you must get everyone's money to win. A simple game really. However, sometimes characters will put down special items, like Sam will put down his gun and badge, and when you get them out, you get their item to use in Team Fortress 2, and if you don't have TF2? Well tough. And why the hell don't you own TF2?! Anyway, the items don't really give you any bonus, they're just re-skins of old items. There are other unlocks, such as different sets of cards and tables...not much excitement there but still. There are some nice nods to other Telltale games, which is nice I suppose.

The writing is top notch here, from the lines that the characters say when making their moves, to them talking to one another about random stuff. This is probably one of the main reasons to buy the game. However, there is one problem with this. When you knock someone out the game, they just walk off into the background and you never hear from them again. This later becomes bothersome when you are left with one person. It slows down the game tremendously, as there's no funny chats between characters, so it almost becomes a bore to finish the game (remember what i said at the beginning). The witty puns are still there, but they don't match up really. Another thing is, after a few games you've basically heard all the dialogue in the game, and then it becomes repetitive and a rarity to get new dialogue.

One of the biggest problems, and for some people a deal breaker, is the multi-player... There is none. No LAN games and no online. I can't see a proper reason why they didn't add one. I can think of a way to add one; like single play, where no one plays the characters but you pick avatars to play, which don't talk but you have text boxes to chat to the other players while the madness goes on in the background. There. Simple. I came up with a concept in two minutes. Because there's no multi-player, the game has little legs and extras don't cut it these days. Now I know I've always gone with "A game must always stand on it's single player" but still, with a game made for lots of people having no multiplayer seems very odd.

All in all, the game doesn't have much substance, however, what's there is very good, a lot of Polish to hold up for what you pay WHICH IS £4! The game just rubs me in the right way, and as every woman knows rubbing me in the right way gives great rewards. My final thought is if you're the type of person who loves playing games with good writing, who likes betting games or can get hooked on games like club penguin, then I recommend them to pick up this game. It's funny, addictive and well crafted. Everything wanted from a game like this.

Liam Hackett
Maria Matthews (Editor)

Friday, 19 November 2010

I think it's time forrrr... an actual blog post!!

Right, as my Tales of Monkey Island Review went down the drain, (more like cyber-drain but still) I thought I would do an actual blog post! I mean it's not like there's anything good that could of come out recently, (put my Anti-Activision visors on) and I'm not planning to do a new game review until Super Meat Boy finally comes out on PC. So... as I was saying, I'm incredibly bored, (or trying to get out of revision) and I'm just going to talk about some news, thoughts on a few recent events, what I'm up to and stuff like that. Isn't this exciting?! ...Don't answer that.

Okay, as some of you may know I may have gotten a little addiction to a game called "Killing Floor" an indie game that came out in May 2009, and I've heard about it here and there, but I never picked it up because well... for some time I wasn't very interested in it; one game mode and it reminded me of Left 4 Dead and another game that is a type of fish. So I passed on it for quite some time, until one day, low and behold, it was on one of the many fantastic sales on Steam, and so I picked up the game and all the DLC for the minor price of £5.99. As you may expect, I quickly pounced on the sale, devouring its body and obtaining the juicy red meat of the game and let me tell you it was well worth the wait and stalking of the pray for the best attack! As I will not do a review on the game, I'll just tell you some information about it here.

As I said before, I didn't buy the game before the deal because of it looking like Left 4 Dead and a fish game beginning with C. Well let me tell you that it isn't at all! It's kind of a misconception that the game carries around like a 10 ton weight, when in fact it's almost a completely different game. An example of this would be in Left 4 Dead the normal zombies run and do very little damage and only pose a small threat, with Killing Floor the "normal" Zombies walk and are now a much bigger threat, you may not think that when playing, but when they catch up to you they will grab you and make you a quick and easy snack for the "special infected". Also there are alot more "special infected" in Killing Floor, in fact there are so many it almost seems like every sort of infected zombie... things, are normal (as hinted by the quotation marks). Now I'll cut this short but to be plain, Killing Floor has more guns, maps, mods (I'll get to that in a minute) and enemies. However, is it a better game? No. Left 4 Dead just has more balance and is more... polished (for lack of a better word) than Killing Floor, however I do recommend a buy even at it's full price at £15/£19.99.

From Killing Floor to the Engine it's using, the Unreal 3 engine. I may not be the biggest fan of UR3, in fact I dislike it, I'm more of a Source engine fan (more news on that coming up... God, it's like a chat show here). Even though it may have its problems and big problems, I've always preferred it from UR3 (UDK) the reason; a clean and simple interface. I don't care about all this crap clotting up my screen, I like the shortcut keys and smaller viewing windows. Gives me more room to think and be able to find and apply what I want. Now I'm not saying that UDK is bad, far from it, I'm just saying it's not what I want and I know some people are different. For example, I prefer Softimage XSI for modelling than any other type of modelling tool. Why? Because it has writing on the buttons, not pictures I can hardly see without buying a massive HD screen for my PC (however that would be nice). But that's not what I'm here to talk about. I'm here to talk about the mod support for Killing Floor. (Why did I just spend a whole paragraph on how I dislike UDK... I don't know.)

As you may know, Killing Floor started out as a mod and became an indie title, so you would of thought that the mod support would be good wouldn't you? Well it is! It's much better than Left 4 Dead's, for example, Killing Floor actually has some of the best maps on the disc/cloud (if you've got Steam) when you buy the game, so there's no waiting around on Moddb or, you just pick up and you can play the custom made mods straight off from the geco. However, the best mod support for a game so far is Garry's Mod with it's Toybox feacher. So that got me thinking, why doesn't Left 4 Dead have a service like this? I mean, half their Developer team are modders so why haven't they got something like Killing Floor? Actually come to think about it, lately the Left 4 Dead Devs have made alot of stupid and bad choices over the last few months. So that's one of my questions I leave with you. Why haven't there been better mod support for L4D?

Okay, from L4D and Neatly, to my second to last talk...thing. As I was saying earlier, I prefer the Source SDK and because of that I am now working on two maps for it, one being a contest entry for Roofville on, and another being a Left 4 Dead 2 mod (a sort of mutation of a game mode in some ways). So as you may guess, I've being pulling my hair out with some of the gigantic issues with the two SDKs (Left 4 Dead 2 and Half Life 2 episode 2). Let me go through some of the problems I've been having (you may need to be a Dev to understand some of what I say). Okay, the big problems I've had issues with is geometry disappearing in Hammer and it's not because of too many entities, in fact, at the point I am with the maps, I haven't even started putting entities in my maps. However, this is a big issue, especially as one of the maps, (not saying which one) is huge and is just annoying when going through the 3D view, and finding missing walls and floors. It's very irritating and I think they really should get this fixed AS QUICK AS POSSIBLE! Another problem I had was my Vis Groups joining together to make this one super Vis. Now I've absolutely bored you with my constant blabbering about game engines and nattering about VisGroups and disappearing geometry, I just want to go over one more thing... Just after I've trimmed my new bucked teeth, removed these big glasses that have appeared on my head and have washed my now greasy hair.

Final thing, and if you want to hear more stuff about games... Well you're not, so leave. But for those who want to know about why I've not been as active as I normally am well listen up (wait I could have made a sex joke there. Oh SH*T my opportunity ruined). Well as a matter of fact, I am currently in my final year of GCSE's at secondary school, so as you may know for anyone who's been through them, it's extremely stressful and takes up alot of my time in the day, so as you can guess, I'm going to be very silent for the next few weeks/months. So I would like you to stick with me now, as I'm working on school work which comes first, understandably, Game Development comes a very close second (if I could do it all day I would), and writing which I'm afraid comes last, for the reason that I have the opportunity of getting some extra cash with level design, not like I can't with this however I don't think anyone wants to buy mis-spelt reviews from a dyslexic. However, I'm working on that, and have got myself a personal human spell checker (which unfortunately comes with the action of hitting me per mistake, but it's a step up). I don't think I can put her name up, however if she misses one of my mistakes, (which is very unlikely) you can call her the evil editor and tell her where the mistakes are, but only on my posts as she doesn't cover witty's reviews (hey that's a... what do you call it... a pun that's it!). Okay, I think I've covered everything. I do have one more big thing to announce, however I can save that for another time.

Liam Hackett
Maria Matthews (Evil Editor)

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Wittyreviews: Soulstorm

An action packed thrill ride in the making folks!

Now, allow me to say this before we continue: I don't like all. I understand that some people do and the first obvious thing people will attack me with is "But Witty! It's exactly like the other games, what's the problem?". And that's a fair question, I liked the last 3 so what's wrong with another right? Well, it's not so much the ENTIRE game I have a problem with, it's little aspects that really get my goat.

First off, a little history. Soulstorm is the last game in the original Dawn of War series and, consequently, the last one I played. Supprisingly, it's also the one I took longest to finish taking an entire month the first time I played it through, why? That can be boiled down to one single race: DARK ELDAR.

The fabulous Eldar
Seriously, Dark Eldar are cheating bastards! But allow me to explain. Again, we have a new plot, this time focusing on an entire system rather than one planet; the Kauruva System. This time, the stakes have been upped slightly. A warp storm has hit the system and thusly all space travel is impossible (except for the Tau of course if you look at Games Workshop logic, but moving on). To this effect, all of our favourite races must travel with ancient Eldar warp, I'm not kidding, the racist zealots are actualy using alien tech to get to where they're going. All of the races from Dark Crusade are back, along with 2 new additions. The Sisters of Battle and the Dark Eldar. Now, let's get down to brass tax here, the Sisters are useless and the Dark Eldar cheat! Now, ok, that's probably unfair so let me elaborate a little bit. When you get down to it, the Sisters are some sort of ballance between the IG and the Space Marines. For instance, the Sisters use bolters but lack access to alot of other Space Marine weaponry. One of the things they use alot of however is fire, lots of fire. Seriously, almost all of their special weapons are fire based from Flamers to Multi-Meltas. They also have very strange tanks, they have the usual fare of Rhino's and the like but they also have combat walkers right out of the Matrix and a tank which is specifficaly designed to shoot fire in wide circles while playing organ music. For some reason, the Sisters are even more zealous than the Space Marines in some ways, how does that make sense? They're combat nuns and the Marines are the freaking Angels of the Death! Hell, even the Sisters buildings are church shaped for the most part! Their ultimate unit is a fucking Angel!

She kicks ass for the lord!

Oh but it gets better, let us speak of the cheaters that are the Dark Eldar. Now, they're pretty much just corrupted Eldar who are in to S&M so most of their units are pretty weak. But, they have one large advantage: Their builders don't need to stick around to build the structures. You see, the builders plant a 'seed' and then the building builds itself, they can go off and do other stuff. And for some reason, the AI insists on building on over half the map! You will end up with a near constant wave of attacks if you're not carefull, unlike the other races which take a breather. And this is where the game REALLY messes you around.

Gameplay is almost entirely unchanged from the previous titles with two exceptions. The first is that you now have air units, a single one for each race, does this make a difference? Not really, they all suck unless you use them with an escort of en masse. And the seccond difference is the victory conditions, remember in Dark Crusade when the only condition was destruction of the enemy's HQ? Well, now you have to destroy every one of the enemy's buildings. Yep. Every. Single. One. You have no idea how tedious that is, especialy when faceing the Dark Eldar! I know the idea was to give a feel of total domination of the enemy or maybe make the battles harder, but imagein if you will this scenario. You've been fighting for a good 20 miniutes, you finnaly have the enemy beaten BUT a single builder made it out alive, maybe he was off building a listening outpost or something. He builds a new HQ and the cycle starts over again. Now, yes, some buildings are exempt. You don't have to destroy the plasma generators or the listening outpost things but the rest of them have to be. The only time this condition does not apply is during the main base sieges which, thankfully, are back. What saddens me the most about the game though is the total destruction some of the races felt. For a start, the Space Marines are being lead by the most retarded, idiotic commanders they could muster, Indrick Boreal. This guy is so stupid he took half the chapter with him and STILL lost, TO THE IMPERIAL GUARD. I'm not kidding, canonically the Imperial Guard win this game. All because Boreal was too busy yammering about how awesome his Spess Mehreens are and how they are the Empra's Fureh.

The only time they're ever awesome

Oh, and Gorgutz returns again, awesome right? Well, yes, except they changed his voice actor to a deeper, gruffier version who has no funny one liners.

Oh but wait! I'm leaveing out an entire section from the games, the multiplayer! It's exactly the same as every other RTS multiplayer known to man. You build things, you train dudes, you kill the enemies dudes and repeat. The popular tactic to the zerg rush the hell out of the enemy leading to some very funny lines of anger from them, but it never happened to me....honest.

To say Soulstorm is bad is not really a correct statement, a better one would be...different. Which is technically the exact problem, it's different but not in a good way. Fundumentally it's no different to the last game or even the first game, but with poorer voice acting, a rediculously unfair at times victory condition and cheating AI it feels more like a chore than a pleasure to play through. Oh and why do the Imperial Guard win? They're cannon fodder! After Soulstorm, Dawn of War would take a little break. Next time, we'll take a look at Relics latest attempt at the franchise, Dawn of War 2, yes, a direct sequel. Wherein the game gets a complete overhaul and it pretty much just says "Screw Soulstorm, it didn't happen!"

Final Score: 3/5

By: Wittyreviewer

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Wittyreviews: Dark Crusade

"Hi players!"

Gone with the narrative, gone with the character development and in with the gameplay style that will continue for the rest of the series. Not to say that the game doesn't have a plot at all, it does, it just doesn't drive the story. Indeed, the characters have very little dialogue. The only lines they have are the ones they say when you click on them to move. It should be noted that Dark Crusade is the DoW game that convinced me to buy the box set. This was back in the days when the only time I'd seen Warhammer 40k was on shelves in my local Games Workshop so when I trotted into HMV one day and saw the Dawn of War boxset next to the new releases, I was intrigued. The first 2 did nothing to fire me up really but that image of a Necron on the Dark Crusade box sealed it.

So todays installment of Dawn of War follows a slightly different style. Instead of playing as 1 maybe 2 races now you have 6. That's right, 6. Be very afraid. You pick 1 and stick with them for the rest of the game. So now it's turning into Total War except it goes into real time. But before I get into all of that, let's cover the story...what there is of one. In this installment the opening and various other texts are read by the Epic Voice, you know, that guy with the deep voice who reads everything overdramatically? Yeah, him. Our tale takes place on the planet Kronus. It's no stranger to war, as the various images tell us, and now 6 factions are trying to take it over. The Imperial Guard and Space Marines make a comeback, though strangely fighting against eachother, along with the Eldar, Orks and Chaos Marines. Added to the mix are the newly playable Necrons and Tau. Yes, I'm going to assume you finished Winter Assault and remember the Necrons don't you? You can play as them now! Go forth and kick some ass as a slow moving, robotic dude. Now, personaly, the Tau are my favourite race. They don't fight for their deitys, like the Imperium of Man or Chaos, they don't fight purely for violence like the Orks nor simply to shut stupid people up ala Eldar. They just do it to make people happy and protect them. Plus, they have laser weapons, floating tanks and stealth suits. All the things that make me happy really. But anyway, back to the plot. Each faction is there for their own reasons. The only real story of interest is the ongoing arguements between the IG and the Space Marines. The IG got their first, you see, and rebuilt the old Imperial city of Victory Bay, even uncovering an old Titan weapon. The Blood Ravens, of course, land to help but request that the IG retreat. The Guards general refuses and so the Blood Ravens decide to wipe them out along with everything else on the planet. Yet again the Blood Ravens have the cannonical story in this game, as their ending is the one that is mentioned in Dawn of War 2. From what we can gather, the planet Kronus was a battlefield during the Horus Heracy and several Blood Raven relics still reside on it. That said, the fact that the Space Marines are so eager to get to them does suggest they may be a little incriminating.

I'll let this speak for itself
The gameplay hasn't changed in the slightest for the past races, though a few additions have been made. The Space Marines now have new infantry known as the Grey Knights. They're spear wielding, psy power wielding paladins who run around swinging their blades in wide arcs. Personaly, the only paladin I trust to get the job done is Alexander Anderson. The IG now have access to entrenched, 50 cal machine guns, gauss cannons and just general tank cannons. The Eldar can now train Harlequins, dancing death clowns who jump around stabbing people with small blades. No really, they're clowns. The Orks have upgraded shoota boyz for you to use, who wield heavy machine guns that sound like rapid fireing staple guns.

Someone make this game!

Chaos has...more evil looking stuff. The real gameplay changes come in the form of the new races. Running and gunning with the Tau will only serve to get you killed faster, instead I suggest using them in moderation. Fire squads make perfect take and hold units to entrence positions with, especialy if they have a sheild drone for emergencies. The Kroot are usefull for hit and run amushes, especialy when fighting the Orks who's close range specialty can take the Tau off guard. Tanks are really only good on buildings and just about all of other Tau warfare is based on infantry, keep this in mind when deploying them into front line combat. The Necrons are robots, that pretty much sums them up right there. They walk, they kill, they blow up. Every part of their use is that in a nutshell. The only noteable thing about them really is that they don't use resources like the other races, instead they use power. Takeing points only really serves to put up sentry turrets and denying the resources to your enemy. The objectives differ this time around aswell, now all you have to do is destroy your opponents HQ building. There's nothing more satisfying than being able to walk through your enemies buildings and then just kill their HQ and still win, great fun.

Finnaly, it was around this time that the moding community got it into their heads that messing around with the game was a good idea, to this date however I have not been able to play any but here's a joke for your viewing pleasure.

Final Score: 5/5

Not a perfect game, but pretty enjoyable. If you liked DoW and Winter Assault, you'll like Dark Crusade. Next time, I tackle the black sheep of the franchise: Soul Storm.

By: Wittyreviewer

Monday, 25 October 2010

The Ball Review

Here's a history lesson for all you people out there. "The Ball" started life as an Unreal Tournament 3 mod last year, it was nomonated for Best Art Direction and Best Single Player mod by MODDB in 2009, it won FIVE TIMES in the UT3 Make Something Unreal contest and was used to promote Epic Games' UDK. So as you could expect the team who made the original "The Ball" turned into an Indie Developer and started to make a full release of "The Ball". So this game has alot going for it now, not only are the fans of the mod looking for more content to dig there teeth into but to see if the concept of "The Ball" will work outside the Modding Scene. So here we go.

Story: Right...ummmm... there isn't one! OK there is one but it's not very good, you play an archeologist, who has a thing with Indiana Jones. He is digging in Mexico (probably looking for E.T. the game) when he goes down a hole, the crane breaks and you decide to explore (or you could throw down a rope and pull him back up...Just saying) when you find... the secret Apature Science Lab testing fercility!!! Anyway that's the basic story of "The Ball" there is another strory about an achent race of people but I didn't really find it intresting, the plot points where too spred out so I didn't really connect to that story till the very end. In all the story isn't very good at all, in fact it's almost non-exsistance.

Gameplay: The meat of the game... the gameplay. So here we go, the only weapon you have is a sort of gravity gun that can only control one thing...a ball. With your Ball you can throw it or call it, as you may think it's very ferminual however the puzzles used are unique and are not used from other games in any way. For example here's a puzzle; you must find a way to complete a puzzle to get a pole down to open a door, to do this you must fill the room with water to get to a diffrent floor and to get your ball to remove a pole to finish the puzzle, however when you fill up the room you ball will sink to the bottem meaning you can't remove the pole to finish the puzzle thus your puzzle is born. This may not be the best puzzle in the game but it is a good example of what you go through, there are also diffrent types of puzzles like helping your ball through a maze and finding ways to destroy enemies when your ball is across the room.

Talking of enemies, enemies can only be killed by your ball, you have to squeesh them this can give tention when you get to areas where your ball is taken away from you, however there is a big downside in the difficulty. As I said earlier about the puzzle with the water, yeah that's an easy puzzle, well not really it just felt easy like I did little to nothing to complete them. Like me give you another example you know that big monkey boss seen in the screenshots, it looks like a awesome boss however it's underwelming when fighting him because defeating him is SOO easy, the way you kill him is fireing big cannon balls at him, I won't spoil it any more but it's really easy. This is not just at the start of the game, oh no, I go through the whole game at the same diffaculty.

Another bad thing is that the puzzles have no reasoning and connection to what your doing, for example most the time the puzzles are just set up infront of a locked door and completeing them make no sense on how the puzzle makes the door open. Infact when I complete a puzzle I'm almost expecting a Zelda chime to start ringing.

All in all I'm reminded of Portal when playing this game, however Portal had two things that made it great; a great story and difficult puzzles, also I halt you now writing a hateful email telling me how wrong I am I would like to say that I'm actually recommending this game...just. You see there is just something addicting to the game that it just becomes...mytsic even thought the game is so easy it flows really well and though the story is disconnected and almost nonexistant, I don't really care. The game just has this kinda addiction to it making you want to see the next creative, however easy puzzle. I do recommend it to castle puzzle players however looking for something difficult or even challanging you'll be deeply dissapointed. I feel sorry for this game because it's being released so close to Portal 2 which will almost definantly over shadow "The Ball" what ever it does.

Liam Hackett

Friday, 22 October 2010

Grotesque Tactics: Evil Heroes

So here's a game where Western RPG's with abit of  JRPG's and RTS are thrown together to make a mish mash of the two genre giving a very strange but yet very addicting game. However is this game the good type of addiction like...ummm... well like something or the bad type of addiction like well everything!!

Story: The story is about taking on a cult called "the Dark Church" (with a name like that how could they be evil?), how do you do this? Well you gather an army of criminals and women (that's my kind of army), "but Liam!"you may ask "what about the normal army that should be dealing with this" well there kinda dead. Yep killed, every single one of them.

The game starts out as you, Drake, decides to kill himself after failing to pass the academy exam to get into the army. However this is seen to be a godsend when he finds out that the whole army has been anihalated by the Dark Church. So he teams up with a spoof of Duke Nukem (you heard me) as you gather your army. The Characters are very well made and the Duke Nukem while being abit like (but I can see a whole lot of other characters being like this soon) and his line are well made and are exacuted well (when I mean well exacuted I mean writen well because there is not voice acting) so I don't really have many problems whith them... well that can be said about all the charicters there have good lines are exacuted well and don't bother me, yes most of the jokes are a flop but there did get a small little giggle out of me at least.

Gameplay: Well think of a mix between DOTA, Final Fantasy and well any western RPG that has ever come out over the last 10 years, that's a loose comparisont to Evil Heroes. To be honest it's more a new genre than a mix of them (I may be wrong becuase I don't play JRPGs). The combat is more on a turnbased structure where you can move anywhere you want if it is coverd by a blue tile, From there you can choose to attack and eneme if close enough wait till the enimies have had there tern or do into a defence position (more end turn than anything). Combat is OK can be a bit bland at times but does get spiced up when abilities and a sort of rage meter get incorporated. Battles are exciting when battleing more than 3 enimies, the difficultly curve takes a big bend at the second "level" if you can call them areas (there more cohesive and attached so I would rather call them area's) which can be a big shock when all of a sudden you find that running in guns or in this case swords blazing will give you a quick death as a reward, the game wants and rewards you by thinking battles through and it's highly satisfing when distroying a whole army with little damage.

However one of the biggest annoiences is the broken camera that will frequently annoy you by running away from the character and focusing on some random tree (or hedge) in the background. What I can't get my head around is how come we're still having problems with stuff like this I thought we finished with bad cameras 5 years ago,(Tomb Raider dude -Witty) but no this problem is very big because it can throw you out of the emertion and screw up your game and you constantly fight the camera to be in the right position. This will probably be patched by right now it's a big problem, may not be game breaking but a problem non the less.

All in all Grotesque is a unique game to say the least it's bright enviroments and witty lines give the game a charm of which is dying these days. So should you buy it...well sort of if your a RPG fan then yes pick it up but don't expect the next Dragon Age becuase it isn't but it fills the void till it comes out. 

Liam Hackett

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Wittyreviews: Winter Assault

Why does this cover remind me of C&C 3?

Could it be called an expansion or a sequel? Technically neither. It was it's own seperate game, but equaly it has nothing to do with the original Dawn of War game. There is only one reference to the original and that comes in late. Nether the less, Winter Assault is the second DoW game, so let's take a look. (And yes, I am aware it says "Expansion Pack" on the box, I'm just makeing a point)

So Winter Assault takes place at...some point after Dawn of War. For the first time in the DoW you are able to play as more than one race. Either the Imperial Guard (or IG), The Eldar, The Orks or Chaos. Each has their own story to unfold, though they intertwine at points. Playing the Order campaign for instance means you will be following the IG and Eldar while the Disorder follows the Orks and Chaos. The plot is practically the same though, just told from different perspectives. The plot circles around one of the Imperiums greatest weapons: The Titan Dominatus. A massive war mech that once was the pride of the Imperiums fleet, along with the other Titans. During the Horus Heracy (one of the many great conflicts within the Imperium) many of the Titans defected or were destroyed. And, since building just one takes alot of time, men and resources, they were scrapped. Thus, the recovery of the recently found one out in the armpit of space is important. Thus, General Sturrn of the Cadian Regiment is sent to recover it.

Don't forget your stick, George
Before him he faces the Chaos Legions protecting their conquered works and the full Ork Waaagh. Also keeping a carefull eye on events are the mysterious Eldar, who have their own agenda as always. In detail, the Order campaign begins with General Sturnn landing on the planet and attempting to take a fortress from Chaos to use as a firebase for his assault. The Eldar, while lurking, realise that the IG are about as intelligent as the average bee drone and decide that they have to do everything for them. Thus follows a plot of IG and Eldar on a systematic race to the Titan, all the while trying to work out how best to bump eachother off. Disorder follows the great Warboss Gorgutz (TM) as he sets out to crush and kill everything in his path, thus proving he is the best. Meanwhile, the Chaos lord Crull is annoyed that he's running out of stuff to kill, just in time for the IG and Orks to arrive! Fun times. Gorgutz really just wants the Titan so he can smash it, while Crull wants it to, yes, prove he is the best.

Ladies and Gentlement, the Beatles!

As this is the first game where you can play as the IG you'll quickly learn something, they blow...hard. A single squad of Chaos Space Marines can wipe out a Guardsman squad with realtive eas most times. The properly upgraded Guardsmen can handle it, but be prepared for heavy casualties. I suppose that's why they're so cheap to produce. The other problem with them is that they suck in close combat too, so orks can overrun. That's only the rank and file though, you also have other units at your disposal. The Karaskin, or as I call them "The Uber Guardsmen" can be pretty handy at Take and Hold duty. The beefy dudes with the huge ass bayonetes can handle the Possesed Marines easily and the Imperial tanks can pretty much hammer an enemy into destruction before even haveing to fire a shot from a lazgun. The Eldar are also pretty soft, but make up for it by being freakin' awesome in close combat. Their main tactic is strikeing hard and fast and then running away, use this wisely. Their Howling Banshees can hold their own in close combat for a while, but once one bites it it's time to run. Guardians are another story, ignore them completely. They suck in all aspects, even by IG standards. The other units are pretty much the same deal as eachother, just hit hard and run. Orks and Chaos works similiarly to eachother, they're both designed to hammer you untill you cave in under the combined preassure. Orks have numbers on their side, and it makes them formiddable in force. Chaos can toast an IG army quick unless you have a good number of tanks to bolster them. The only real worthwhile tank the Orks have is their Squigoth, Yeah, that one thing you killed in DoW? They're back.

Winter Assualt also introduces one of the most awesome, funny and scenery eatingist villans ever! Warboss Gorgutz. There isn't a single moment when he isn't chewing some part of the scenery, being it talking with Crull the Chaos Lord or yammering to his Boyz about how awesome he is. His reason to be fighting is simply so he can get more heads for his pointy stick. Something else of note, is that Gorgutz and the Eldar leader Taldeer are the only recurring characters in the series from now up untill DoW2. Sadly, however, Taldeer will be leaveing us next game. It would seem she forgot the Eldar golden rule: Lurk moar.

Winter Assault is, in a few words; pretty damn good. It's worth a play if you liked DoW and a worthwhile entry in the series. Strangely, this is also the last time there will be a story driven narrative untill DoW2. Next game, it follows a sort of Risk type play style in the last GOOD game in the original DoW series: Dark Crusade. (Soulstorm can blow me)

Final Score: 4/5

By: Wittyreviewer.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Wittyreviews: Dawn of War

Dawn of war: GARbat evolved

Ah Games Workshop, one of my favourite haunts when I go out to the mall on occasion. I used to bring out the box of models, crack the player handbook and wile away the hours conquering the plains and retaking them from hordes of Orks, Eldar and the occasional Necron invasion. As you can probably tell my favourite part of Games Workshop is the Warhammer 40K series. It's...well grim and dark. My favourite races are the Space Marines and the Tau, both I happen to be fairly decent with. Hell, in ages past I was known as One Shot for never missing a combat dice roll for an entire week, dunno how I managed it. And since the film based on the series is right around the corner I think it's a good idea for me to look back on one of the best series of games to come out of the Warhammer 40K name, Dawn of War.

Featureing Sir Not Appearing In This Film

Before I get into the meat of it though. Allow me to explain the plot of the Warhammer 40K universe in some detail. As the old addage goes, "In grim darkness of the 40th Millenium, there is only war". Earth has been renamed Terra and all of mankind is now ruled over the a man simply known as The Emperor. The Emperor has ruled for over a thousand years and he revered as a God. This 'Imperium of Man' now stretches through most of the known universe. Unfortunately, it's nowhere near that simple. All of mankind may be united, but they are under seige from all sides from aliens and heretics. The Eldar, one of the oldest races in the universe (though now heading towards extinction) view humans as an arrogant race who have no idea what damage they do to the worlds. The Orks, battle hungry green aliens who, as their more famous warboss Gorgutz puts it, only enjoy 3 things: Fighting, fighting and banners. The Necrons, machines who's only goal is the complete eradication of all life and the arch enemies of the Eldar. The Tyranids, alien beasts who devour everything in their path, without number and without mercy. The youngest race of all, the Tau, who somehow are technically advanced though only recently heading into space. And the forces of Chaos, fallen humans who turn to demons for power and corrupt the land around them. These races all fight for undisputed supremecy in the universe for their God, for their people of for da great waaaagh (yeah, Orks don't have war, they have waaaagh).

Orks: There are NEVER enough

The Imperium of man, in particular, has many branches to it's nature. Apart from their usual rank and file soldiers they have the Space Marines. They are bionically enhanced soldiers who are split into 'chapters' which go off fighting the various enemies they have. Dawn of War in particular focuses on one of these chapters known as the Blood Ravens. Canonically the Blood Ravens have a very mysterious past, as very little of their history remains even aboard their capital ship and even who their founder was is forgotten to them. Sadly, this doesn't come up in the series untill Dawn of War 2. In the first game, the world of Tartarus is under attack by the Orks, and the Blood Ravens third company are dispatched to help the Imperium soldiers stationed there. At first, it would appear to be rather straight forward, however as the game goes on it is revealed there is far more to the invasion than meets the eye and an even stronger force is pointing the Orks in the right directions. Betrayals, plot twists and OP'd tanks abound, but you don't wanna know about all that, you want to get the bear grit. Well let's see.

It plays exactly like every kind of RTS game ever. Make a squad, move a squad, kill enemy squad, rinse and repeat. But it's pretty fun to do so, praise be that it's not an annoying grind of a play through. The enemy AI never really tries to out 'think' you but it certainly tries to out 'fight' you. Often you'll find yourself faced by a massive force that's pretty hard to beat, especialy late game. Although sadly, with the objectives being more than the simple 'capture and defend this point' it's hard to fully exploit the Blood Ravens battle potential and often you'll find yourself going for the simple infantry rush to hammer at the enemy untill you reach the objective. There are no aircraft, and there won't be untill Soulstorm, so get used to ground only combat. APC's are pretty much useless unless you're going for a bull rush to the goal, which I don't personaly recomend as often the enemy will follow you even when you're speeding away. And lastly, keep in mind that the enemy CAN and WILL go after your base. Don't think because you're battleing at the other end of the map that the enemy isn't sending something after your base. Often simple objective turrets help to ward them off but if that doesn't work keep a squad or two back, just incase. One thing to note is in this game the Imperial Guard (the rank and file of the Imperium) do NOT suck. In every game from then on they only act as meat shields unless they attack en masse, but more on that next time.

Considering the already established canon the game had before it, it does a very good job of sticking to it. Indeed, it keeps everyone in character and delivers what could possibly be....a good performance?

Final Score: 4/5.

By, Wittyreviewer.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Wittyannouncement: An Official Touhou Anime?

Wow...I called it

Well, it's actualy happened folks. Information is sketchy at best, but from what I can gather this really is an official Touhou anime series. Noteable features from the poster include that anime store manager guy from Lucky Star. Whether this series has been squared with the venerable ZUN is yet to come to this humble reviewers ears, however, I'll certainly be keeping an eye out. So will this meet with the same fate at the Touhou Anime Project? Quite possibly, the word 'official' has been used spareingly with all the information I can gather.

According to the always semi-reliable Sankaku Complex the anime will be produced by ufotable. It is intended as a celebration of the 10 year anniversary of our anime store manager friend from the poster. Why the hell he warrents such admiration beyond being awesome is beyond me, but then again, it isn't my branch of Otakudom. That being said Sankaku also mentions that a whole series has not, as of yet, been announced. As we know, ZUN has stomped on doujin anime in the past, and bassicaly saying "No Touhou for you".

Despite the sketchy details and the questionable information presented to me, I'll certainly be keeping an ear to the ground during this whole affair. If it does turn out to be real you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be reviewing it.

By: Wittyreviewer

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Wittyreviews: Highschool of the Dead

Warning: You have been warned

Hell yes! I frickin' love zombies. I dunno, there's something about carveing up leagues of zombies that just makes a man feel powerfull, you know? As a long time fan of Shaun of the Dead, Left 4 Dead and the Ultimate Zombie Survival Guide, I present to you my review of Highschool of the Dead.

I'm gonna go out on a limb here, I actualy think this was the best of the summer anime line up. I'm serious, I saw quite a few I think I enjoyed this one the most. True the competition is very, very close but this one just always left me smileing. But before I get on to what makes me it good, let me point out a few things. Yes, some moments do leave you facepalming and wonder what the hell they were thinking, yes Rei can be a bitch and yes, there is alot of talky plany. Don't like those things? HoTD isn't for you, plain and simple. But enough of that, let's get started.

So the plot centers around a group of Highschool students (duh) in the middle of a zombie outbreak. Supprisingly, hardly any of the series takes place in the overrun highschool, instead the survivors leave the area pretty soon. The survivors themselves are the spear master Rei, the leader type Takashi, the genius Saya, the insanely manly gunman Hirano, the sword wielding Saeko and the total and utter moronic school nurse Shizuka. Eventualy, through strength of arms, they escape the highschool unscathed and what follows is a slow decent in the chaos the world is thrown into and their own journey to find Takashi's and Rei's parents, the rests parents either in another country or dead. Along the way they are joined by a little girl they rescued called Alice and her dog Zeke and thus the group is complete. Already it sets itself apart from the usual think you'd expect in a zombie anything. They aren't holding up inside one building waiting for resuce, they aren't trying to 'kick ass' and they know full well rescue isn't coming. Instead, their main priority is the safety of their loved ones and eachother.

Well, ok, they 'kick ass' a few times

In a clever little nod the series makes clear it knows what it's takeing inspiration from, in episode 1 one of the tracks that plays sounds like it's right out of 28 Days Later. Also in that episode they say more than once that it's just like the movies. One thing the series never draws mention to however is how the outbreak started, or indeed who's behind it. Takashi is the first to see the zombies when a lone one bites a school teacher. Also, they never refer to the undead as 'zombies' or indeed the undead, instead they are simply refered to as 'them'.

Now, get ready to be shocked, these main chracters actualy have DEPTH. I know, shocking, right? Well, sort of depth anyway. They go through character development at the very least in their own small way. At first, of course, they're all seperated and wondering not only what the hell is going on but also what the hell to do. Hirano is probably the one who exercises this best as his first suggestion is going to the teachers or the authorities, though Saya is quick to point out they couldn't do anything anyway. As the series goes on, however, they each come to terms with what's going on and act less like people trying to escape a plague and more like that the horde is just a part of their life now that needs proper attention. Hirano, fucking badass that he is, is the gun master and seems to score head shots every single time. Takashi is the leader and strangely enough is also argueably the weakest fighter, he can't shoot properly at all and his only real talent is hitting things hard with a bat. Rei is the spear expert and is also one of Takashi's many love interests. Her father is in the police force and it is him that they first set out to rescue. Saya is Takashi's childhood friend and self professed genius. She can't fight, and that is made clear throughout, though she is the brains of the group. Saeko is the sword wielder and is also the one with the darkest past, that's revealed later on in the series so I'm afraid I can't accurately convey it. Shizuka and Alice don't do jack and only there to be awesome and/or sexy so...there you go. Oh, and there's the orgy bus, can't ignore that. Yes, you read that right, the orgy bus. You see, there's this real dick teacher called Shido. He talks like a cult leader, kicks a student in the face when he asks him for help and allows his students to have mindless sex in his bus during the zombie apocolypse! Thus it was dubbed the Orgy Bus, for a good time call.

Hirano: Bringing logic to zombies since 2010

Visualy, the series meanders from good to average. It's hard to say 'things go on in the background' when the place is meant to be clear of the zombies so what can you expect there? But the fight scenes are pretty graphic at times and just fun to behold. There's one scene where Takashi ride in on a motorbike. Takashi throws a revolver to Hirano who kills two zombies with an instant double tap while Rei does an elaborate spear to the head move and Takashi throws Saeko through the air who does a spinning sword strike. Holy freaking shit it kicked ass!

As you can tell, Hirano is my favourite

The music is something to mention, it adds a good amount of atmosphere and it suitably creepy and awesome when needed. The series had no ending theme, instead the song that was playing in the scene before carries over the credits. And now, something I probably should mention because no doubt someone will bring it up to me, the art design does suffer from something I like to call 'Eikenitus'. If any of my readers have seen Eiken you might be able to guess what I'm talking about, but if you haven't, allow me to explain. You see, I'm yet to count a single female except for Alice who has a small chest. Every single female, zombie or human, is amazingly busty. I, however, have an explanation. From my 'highly informed source who wishes to remain anon' I have discovered that the artist of HoTD was also a hentai artist, that's a supprise right? But anyway, if you got a think about large chests then stick away too I guess.
Boob smothering: Well, if you were gonna go... :/

I really enjoyed this series, sitting down every Monday morning to watch it was a pleasure and I, for one, really look forward to season 2. Next up for the show is the infamous mall arc, wherein Hirano gets a girlfriend, people die and things only get worse from there.

Final Score: 5/5

By: Wittyreviewer

Oh and by the way, the Elliot quote at the end of the final episode was funny.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Amnesia Review

Yes I'm finally reviewing my mental health, well I could but unfortunately it ran away when playing Amnesia The Dark Descent which is a a fantastic new take on survival horror. It does what survival horror needs and it may take some liberties with gameplay but it shines through, well for some people. Let me tell you what I mean.

Story: You play as Daniel a guy who has plot point syndrome Amnesia (the title of the game). The story is told in a bad way, through letters this reminds me of another game F.E.A.R. .(?) F.E.A.R 1 had a great story but it was told in a awful way, so does Amnesia but I digress in Amnesia I can't see another way it could be told, what is the story well let me get to that bit.

Well as I was you play as Daniel who is suffering Amnesia, when you start the game you find a letter from yourself saying you must kill someone in "THE INNER SANCTUM!!!". Yes I may be making fun of the story but it really is a great story. Another problem with the story or in other words the way it's told is that it's never consitant for example some letters are fully voice acted, however others aren't in the slightest they have no life to them and just become well... boring and there is some important infomation in of the non voice acted letters so it's a hassle to read them. Yes I know that's sort of a nit-pick but still it stands out.

Gameplay: Well... where do I begin? Well let me say that if you are a survival horror you know that frictional games had made a name for them selves and Amnesia proves it by going us one of the best survival horror game out there I'm not joking, in the first 30 minuets there mostly jump scares which don't really scare me I've played hundreds of games with jump scares (F.E.A.R. and so on) and they hardly ever work. No I love the atmospheric scares  one of the only reasons i play survival horror games, for the scares that come after you play the game. The scares that are almost primeval to us and linger  with us till the next day.

Amnesia does deliver it and deliver it, it does. There may be shock scares threw about 30 minuets threw the game but when you get past that part you will be scared. The game almost perfectly balances the reality (as perceived by the game world) and the more hidden horrors, what i mean by that is that nearly everything is your enemy, for example the darkness is your enemy, why well you have this sort of metre where you sanity is, it starts of as normal, but the more time you spend in the dark you sanity will soon go down to small headache to head pounding and hands shakeing and so on. This means your always going around with the constant fear that your going to run out of tinderboxes (which are used to light candles and so on) or your lamp will slowly run out of oil.

This brings a whole new dimention to the gameplay, but it does bring one bad thing to the table, your always collecting tinderboxes and oil, which means the game becomes more of a scavenger hunt than collecting. However this just ties into the games mechanics so I'll let it slip. One of the biggest things that'll spilt people into buying this game is that you have no way of defense ageist anything, which means that you will be very afraid of the next corner. What makes this even more atmospheric is that nearly every object you interact with is with your mouse (ie your hand), so doors are a optical not but the controls but by your force of will. You have no idea what lurks round the next corner so it soon becomes harder and harder to open doors due to fear of what's round the corner.

Most of the issues I have with Amnesia seem to be graphical for example, your hands seem to be missing when opening doors or draws which have some effect on emersion but only a little. What this game does is what other games can only dream of, that to make you so scared that you turn off the game uninstall it and leave for fear of a mental breakdown, after you've paid £12.99 for the game (something microsoft is looking into but remove the horror part).

If you're a horror fan in any way you MUST buy this game, it scares you in ways that you would never think possible. A must buy.

Liam Hackett

Monday, 13 September 2010

Wittyreviews: Recettear - An Item Shop's Story

"Capitalism ho!"

This will come as a supprise to some but I don't play that many JRPGs. Not because I don't like them, I do, but I just can't ever find any. Now I know what you're all thinking, "There are plenty of JRPGs out there", and yes there are. The problem is that most of the major gameing consoles past me by, either because I was too young or too poor to afford them. I'm probably the only one in the world who grew up in the 90s and never owned a Nintendo64, Gamecube or a Dreamcast. I know, heracy, right? The first games console I ever owned was a Playstation 1 and even THEN most of the games passed me by, I heard of Final Fantasy 7 of course, most people did, but I didn't care about it or play it. Not to say I don't play any of course, I've played a few if they can be called JRPGs such as Star Ocean Last Hope, Infinate Undiscovery and the new Final Fantasy, but this was the first anime style JRPG that I've been able to play. But you don't wanna know all of that, all you want to know is: Is it any good?

Well, yes...and no. It's pretty obvious to anyone with eyes and at least one braincell that this game is an aquired taste. It's much more animeesque than most games people will be familiar with and this is only bolstered by the fact there is no English voice acting. All of the voices are in Japanese, and they do very well I might add. Considering my huge raveing Otakudom this didn't bother me but for those of you alergic to anything anime you might find it grinds you after a while. The game itself is sort of like a mix of the Sims and and Zelda, you run an item shop so you can make money. How do you do that? Well you gotta buy stock from the market or the guild which you sell so you can make money so you can buy stock which you sell. So on and so forth. That's not the only way you can get stock though, you can go adventureing through large dungeons by hireing people to go down there and collect stuff. This is one of the hardest but most rewarding way to get stuff to sell. True odds are you'll fail spectacularly the first few times but you go get some of the 'phat lewts' more quickly. If you die in the dungeon, however, you'll only be allowed to take one item back. You don't go out empty handed sure, but considering it will most likely take you from morning till night to do all that it's not worth the excursion most of the time. Note I say MOST of the time, if you're doing pretty well with your profits it might be worth the effort to go in there and kill some dudes. Gameplay in this game is simplistic but that's pretty much what makes it fun. It's not over complicated and you won't find yourself getting confused any time soon. You buy, you sell, you buy, you sell. The fun is trying to work out what to sell and who to. Adventureing is where things get strange, you won't control the main character but the person doing all the fighting. You swing your sword, hit the enemy, collect EXP and slice chests to get moar lewt. Some of the chests have enemies in them so keep an eye out for that though. By now you're probably wondering why you have decided to open up such a venture, well, let's start from the begining...

You play as the young, adorable and slightly airheaded Recette (who bears a strikeing resemblence to Ink from Moetan).

Ink, the Socialist Recette

Her father disappeared three months ago shouting something about being a hero and Recette hasn't heard from him since. One day, a loan shark....sorry, 'debt collector', knocks on her door and explains that her father owes a very large sum of money and bassicaly demands that it be handed over or they lose the house. Recette quickly goes into panic mode as she barely has enough money to keep herself going let alone pay off a substantial debt, all it not lost however! The 'debt collector', a fairy named Tear, offers to help her open up an item shop as the house is in the perfect spot for one and the town gets alot of adventurers. Haveing little choice Recette goes with the idea. And thus, in the name of the partnership, the item shop Recettear is born!

Recettear: NOT Racettear

But is it ever that simple? Hehehehe NO! For a start, Tear refuses to tell Recette just how much her father owes since 'you would faint' but she does suggest paying in weekly installments to chip away at it since paying it off in full would be close to impossible. That, coupled with the fact the first weekly installment is 10,000 pix the debt must be massive. There small catch though, if you miss a single payment it's game over and getting to the amount owed with enough to spare is pretty tricky. The only real way to do it is to pick a way of makeing money and stick to it. But then! Incase you thought you had it down, a rival appears! The 'oh ho ho ho ho'ing form of Ado...Alou...'rival #1' appears. She is the heiress the big item shop chain known as Big Bash. In short, they make more money than you, they are better than you, prepare to fail. We can only assume she will plague you and your efforts to do business for the rest of the game. Oh, and she's related to Solid Snake apparently.

Take my word for it, she's trying to sneak in using a cardboard box

When it comes down to the wire, Reccettear is a good game. It's hard to fault that. But it just comes down to personal taste really. If you like JRPGs you'll like Reccettear most likely, if you don't then..this won't change your mind. The art style is nice and there's always something going on in the background, even in your shop you'll see people walking around outside and the art design is amazing. The graphics are a little pixely but that's not too much of a bother unless you're a graphics pureist, which I am not by the way. The voice acting is pretty good and actualy very natural sounding and Recette does say some pretty cute stuff occasionaly like "Yayification", I have no idea what it means but it's going into my dictionary! The only small problem really is the difficulty. You'll most likely fail again...and again...and again. Haveing 7 days to make huge ammounts of cash is difficult but not impossible, which is good and it should provide a challenge without alienating anyone. As for me? I remain pleasently supprised at how good the game is. And I am happy to give it:

Final Score: 4.5/5

By: Wittyreviewer.