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Review: DooM (PC – Steam) ~ Let’s Give Hell, Hell!

doom-2016Steam Store pageWikipedia EntryOfficial website

Since I upgraded my graphics card late last year, I wanted to play a game I wasn’t able to play before. I had a GTX 660 in my machine which was just not strong enough to play DooM 2016 at a decent framerate. So, when I installed my NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti, I bought myself a copy of DooM 2016 and started playing it. Ever since DooM came out, I wanted to play it. But yeah, 2016 was jam packed with other amazing titles I wanted to play. Rise of The Tomb Raider, Rayman Legends, Stella Glow, Zero Time Dilemma and Bioshock Infinite to name just a few. So yeah, I’m sorry that I haven’t played DooM when it came out but let me make that up by reviewing the game right now. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article in the comment section down below. But now, let’s give Hell… Hell.

Those pesky demons.

379720_screenshots_20160513232709_1So, in this shooter, you play as the slayer. The Doom guy that took down all of those demons all those years ago. Like the original two Doom games, you are a silent protagonist. The story itself takes a back seat for the gameplay. Most of the story and exposition is told through runes and the environment. This made me few scripted cutscenes tipping on the edge of immersion breaking for me. 

The voice acting in this game is pretty well done. But, that didn’t save the story of being predictable. I was able to predict the ending from a mile away. Around the mid-point of the game, I was able to call out the ending. I wouldn’t consider this a negative if the game didn’t take it’s lore so seriously. So yeah, the story didn’t click with me at all. 

Yet, the voice acting in this game is just amazing. First of all, there are just a few voice actors for this game but they did their job almost perfectly. While hearing the same voice line from the intercom for the 20th time was a tad bit annoying, it didn’t make the line have any less impact. It started to feel a bit calming to hear the ending when all the demons where dead. Couple that with amazing grunts of the demons and the voice acting is something that actually kept me interested in the story believe it or not. 

Before I continue this review, I do have to mention that I haven’t spend any time with the multiplayer. That’s because I’m not that fond of playing multiplayer games in general. So, I’m sorry but if you want a review of the multiplayer component, you will have to look elsewhere. 

Fun in repetition

DOOM-1If you want to know how this game plays, well, then just think of the original Doom games but now you are able to jump, double jump and preform way more brutal kills. This might sound harsh but the core gameplay of this game is basically just that. 

You go from monster room to monster room, where you have to defeat all demons before you can move on. Of course, the difficulty ramps up with every monster room you encounter, but I have to be honest… I was so glad that there were moments of platforming and exploration to give some diversity in between the shooting or I would have called the game too repetitive. 

This game divided into several levels, called missions in this game. You can always go back and replay those missions to try and find the collectibles you have missed. There are also hidden classic Doom maps that just pull on my nostalgic strings even more than the nostalgic gameplay. I do have an issue with the collectibles though. You can find these vinyl figurines of the Doom guy scattered everywhere. Most of these give you access to models of the demons. That reward would be worth it if only I would have been able to see them. For some reason, they are completely transparent in my game. 

Anyways, I might be riffing a bit on the gameplay here. But please don’t get me wrong. While the core gameplay loop is quite basic and repetitive, I don’t mean that it isn’t fun to play. The game is an enjoyable ride from start to finish. The shooting feels just right with the various amount of weapons and abilities you have and the amount of various demons you have to fight. Also, in this game, there is a lot of variety in the ways that demons act. 

Some demons charge at you and stun you, others climb up walls to try and get an advantage. You have to keep moving and be aware of your surroundings in order for you to survive. Also, people who play a lot of modern shooters will have to get used to the fact that you don’t regenerate health automatically. 

There are two ways to get your health back up. You either find a medkit or you preform a glory kill on a demon. Now, glory killing a demon doesn’t 100% guarantee you health drops, but the chance is quite high. Now, what is glory killing? Well, that means you have wounded the demon enough to put it in a stun. At that moment it starts flashing blue for a while. When it starts to flash orange, your time to get a glory kill is almost up. 

So, when you press the button when you are close to an enemy that’s flashing, you finish said enemy with a rather nice animation. The first few times, seeing this animation is pretty satisfying. But, I felt that it got old nearing the end of the playthrough. Since there are just a few animations that it could be, so after seeing it 50 times, I just wanted an option to be able to skip it. 

Now, speaking of options, I want to take this chance to talk about some strange design decisions that were taken for this game when it comes to the menu design. First of all, you are only able to access the options menu when you have loaded a save file. The reason why this is an issue is that I recently got a new monitor that can handle a resolution that my GPU and CPU can’t handle to output this kind of game on the higher graphic settings. The lag was just extremely annoying and took a lot of time to change. 

Secondly, why is there no apply button in the settings menu? I get the impression it’s there somewhere since when I change a setting the game asks me that if I’m sure about my new settings since I didn’t save nor applied them. 

And finally, and this is something that isn’t 100% UI related but… There are these rune missions that you can do to get new abilities. When I have finished a mission and I find a new rune challenge, I get kicked out of the mission. Why does this happen? Since that doesn’t happen during the first time I was playing the mission. 

And before I talk about the abilities, can I mention how annoying I think that autosaves can be? Image this, you want to stop playing after you finally defeated a challenging room. So, you quit the game, saying “Unsaved progress will be lost.”… That’s fine, but when was the last autosave again? Oh, and you can’t manually save. Oh, fun for the whole family! With that rant over, let’s talk about abilities. 

Too much red and brown.

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So, you do have different abilities. These can range from weapon abilities to abilities of the Doom guy itself. Now, I’m not going to spoil them but they are quite worth looking for the ways to upgrade them. Since they will help you during your quest to slay the demons. 

I especially loved the weapon challenges. The pistol one was a fun one to do, since I only found out of this mechanic near the ending of the game. And that’s killing demons with a charged headshot and take a wild guess how few weak enemies there were in the later levels. Yup, close to zero. 

Most of this game is quite linear. You go from room to room with platforming sections in between. You do have the radar at the top of the screen to guide you in the right direction when you don’t know where to go next. But, the map in the tab screen can be a great help as well, especially when you are looking for those missed secrets. 

Now, I do have to mention one thing. If you want some challenge and you have played games like Tomb Raider or any other shooter in the past, do yourself a favor and don’t play on the easiest difficulty setting. When you are fully powered up near the end, the game just becomes a cake walk then. Most of my playthrough was on normal and I didn’t had a lot of trouble with it, so I don’t dare to think how easy it will be on the lower difficulty settings. 

So, I do want to talk about the audiovisual design that is presented to you in this 10 to 12 hour adventure through hell and back and on Mars. There is too much brown and dark early evening colors used. But, that isn’t such a big deal in my opinion. You can paint it red with the blood of your enemy demons… 😛 Anyways, visually the game looks amazing. One minor detail is that I often had moments where I had a ton of loading issues. Not that the game loaded slow or weird, but that the details loaded in way slower then models. I think that the technical term for that is calling issues, but I’m not too sure. But that might be an issue of my slightly older hardware I used to play this game, so when you are running a more modern computer, you might not run into this issue. If you are wondering, I’m using an i7-4820K, 16GB of 666MHz DDR3 RAM and a GTX 1050Ti, so it ain’t that bad of a machine. It’s a shame though, since the visual design of this game is really well done and detailed. 

Anyways, I loved the visual design of Hell the most. I can’t explain why but I really enjoyed the design of the scenery. Maybe I’m a bit burned out on seeing abandoned factories or ships with broken walls and wires hanging everywhere and then the overload of blood on walls, I think it was the breath of fresh air I needed. 

On top of that, you have the amazing visual design of the demons you can fight together with their amazing animation. In some battles, I really felt the adrenaline pumping through my veins. The game can get that intense. Especially during the boss fights, those were great. And those were puzzles in itself and as soon you had solved them and found the weakspot of the boss, it felt so amazing to finally kill them with an amazingly animated glory kill.

That brings me to the music and audio design. Let’s talk about the music first. The music is a mix between electronic and metal music. The main focus is on the metal in the soundtrack. While I prefer electronic music over metal music, I do have to say that I enjoyed this soundtrack quite a lot and I’m quite happy that I was able to get the soundtrack on Steam as well. I have already added it to my music library and my writing playlists. 

The audio design is equally as great. The monster grunts, the sounds that you make while jumping or shooting… Man, it’s gratifying. The sound effects are the perfect tool to aid you to do the right thing admits the chaos of fighting hoards of demons. The only weird thing I want to mention is that, when I got out of range to hear what a rune was saying and I came back, the rune just stopped playing it’s voice clip. Even when it wasn’t fully finished. 

Anyways, I have talked about almost everything I wanted to say about this game. If I would continue further, I would either start rambling or start nitpicking and I think it would be a better idea then to go on to the conclusion of this article. 

Conclusion

The bad:

-The story is a bit meh while the lore that’s there could have made it so much better.

-The gameplay is a tad bit repetitive sometimes. 

-Some strange UI/menu decisions. 

-Some calling issues that quickly fix themselves. 

-The easier difficulty is a tad bit too easy.

The good:

+ Even when the gameplay is repetitive, it’s still a rush to play. 

+ Amazing locations to shoot through.

+ A ton of nostalgic throwbacks. 

+ An amazing health system that rewards players to get close to dangerous enemies. 

+ …

Final thoughts:

Was Doom 4 worth the 4 year wait I had to do to play it. Let me put it this way, I’m glad I play it but it isn’t the best game I have played in recent years. Most of it has to do with the sometimes repetitive gameplay. For some reason, I want to compare it to the Tomb Raider games. While those games are completely different, I still felt that they are somewhat similar in structure. With the ability to explore around, fight enemies in closed spaces and find secrets to upgrade your gear or find additional lore. And once that comparison got into my head, I just wanted to play more Tomb Raider since I enjoyed those games more than Doom 2016.

Now, does that make DooM 4 a bad game? Oh heavens and hell, no! The game is still a rush to play through from start to finish. If you enjoy shooters or games in the style of Tomb Raider or Bioshock, I think it would be a shame to skip this game. But, I do think that this game is a tad bit overhyped. It’s not THAT good since I could have done so much more especially in terms of exploration. 

Maybe Doom Eternal fixes a lot of the gripes I have with the amazing DooM 4, but I do have to upgrade my rig first for that. So, maybe in a few years you might see a review of the sequel from me. 

But in all seriousness, Doom 4 is a really good game. While it wasn’t always my cup of tea and it didn’t always pull me in like I expected it would or compared to other games, I’m so happy that I played this game and I’m even considering replaying this game in the future like I did with all the Bioshock games and Tomb Raider games recently. 

And with that said, I really said everything I wanted to say about this game. I want to thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another one but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care. 

Score: 80/100

First Impressions: Suicide Guy (PC  – Steam) ~ How Do I Die This Time?

Suicide Guy 1Steam page

In most games, your goal is to accomplish a goal alive. Yet, there are a few games that challenge you to do the exact opposite. This is one of these games. Your goal is to try and die in your dream to hopefully wake up and catch the beer you dropped. So, will this guy be able to drop his beer before it hits the ground? Full disclosure, I got a review code for this game. So, with that said, it’s time to talk about this game. As usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion/thoughts on the content of this article and/or the game.

Note: for this review, I haven’t fully beaten the game, that’s why it’s the first impression. Also, I have played v1.2.1 released on September 18th.

The tavern hub

Suicide Guy 2Like I said in the introduction of this article, the goal is to die in each dream to try and wake up so you can catch your falling beer. The story is basic but it fits the theme rather well. This game is a hybrid of a puzzle, action, adventure and platform game. The story takes a backseat for most of the game and honestly, I’m glad for that.

I expected much worse things when I heard the title. I expected the story to be about a highly depressed man who wanted to die as quickly as possible. But the story is lighthearted and that makes the game even more enjoyable.

So, after the first dream that acts like a tutorial, you get sent to the hub world. The hub world is a big tavern with all the tables a separate level. The level you have to beat will have a light shining on it, all the beaten levels will have their icon without said light. I really like the hub world since on the monitors you still see your main objective, wake up and catch that beer.

The hub world also helps build the character you play as a bit more. I’m under the impression is a somebody who owns his own tavern at the side of the road who is on holiday watching TV. Or perhaps, I might be looking way too much into this.

The icons you see on the tables is also a quick representation of what the level is going to be about. You can also see if you have collected the statue of that level. When you have found the hidden statue in the level, it will be displayed on the table. I really like the design of the statues, since the pose has always something to do with the level theme.

I have two issues with this hub world and that is the in some occasions, the sound effect for the level doesn’t start playing when you quickly walk between levels.

The second issue I have is with the placement of the levels. Levels 1 to 7 are placed in such a strange order; levels 1,2,3 and 7 are placed on one row and 4,5,6 are placed on the other row. I personally place them in a more linear order. The reason why I talk so much in-depth about this is that from level 7 to level 25, it’s all placed in a linear order. So, why not the first few levels.

How shall we beat this level?

Suicide Guy 3The goal of each level is simple. Find the end of the level to try and commit suicide. Like I said before, in each level, you have a statue to find too. This is optional as far as I know.

Once you collect the statue, it stays collected. So, if you didn’t find the statue the first time, you can enter the level and find it. You don’t have to beat the level to keep the statue. Most of them are in plain sight and if you explore just a little bit, the statues are easily found.

I really love the theming of each level. Some levels are even a reference to other popular games or movies. There is even a level based on Indiana Jones, my favorite movie series!

Visually, this game is very pretty. I think it’s a quite impressive display. The only thing I don’t like about the visual presentation when you crouch and you look up, you see what I think are the tops of the arm models. I have seen this for the first time in the 8th level.

The animations are also great. You can see a big visual difference between the graphical settings. I ran the game on high settings since the normal settings had some elements that I didn’t like too much. The shadows for example where too blocky. If you can avoid it, don’t use the lowest graphics settings. The lighting engine goes banana’s then and makes the levels too bright. The game has rather low system requirements, so I think not a lot of modern computers will have trouble with it.

There are a few areas that could some polish visually. Some parts of decorative walls aren’t solid and sometimes the skybox is shown in-doors. Most of the times, these problems are quite minor and will only annoy you if you look for them. I have notified the developer of all instances I found.

Shall we catch that beer?

Suicide Guy 4This game has controller support. I haven’t tested it out with my controller, but I have played the game using a mouse and keyboard.

One annoying thing about the controls is that you can’t rebind them. This isn’t such a big issue if you use QWERTY-keyboards. Sadly enough, here in Belgium, we use AZERTY keyboards so I was annoyed that I had to change my keyboard language to QWERTY to easily play the game. If this could be fixed, I would be a very happy camper.

The UI of this game is pretty good. I have only one complaint, I think that the “select level” button in the main menu is not needed. The hub area covered that already.

The biggest problems with this game are the awkward items and jump controls you must get used to. The problem with the item controls is that the “pick up items” button is a physical button and the “use items” button is the left mouse button. I think it would be better if either both are buttons or both actions use the mouse.

The problem I have with the jumping is that you don’t always know if the character is going to grab and climb up a ledge or not. Maybe a bit more of a visual indicator would be helpful. In most levels, there isn’t a lot of jumping that you must do. So, it isn’t that big of a problem since you get used to it quickly.

Each level isn’t too long. If you know what you are doing, some levels can be beaten in 1 or 2 minutes. In addition to that, if you screwed up and got stuck somewhere, you can easily restart the level without losing too much progress.

If you commit to it, you can beat this game in an afternoon. The game doesn’t take longer than 2 and half hours to beat. This makes the game ideal for speed running. I think that this game would be better if there is a “speed running mode”, where there is a timer in the bottom of the screen and after you have beaten the game, you see a results screen that you could possibly share online, on how fast you beat each level and the entire game.

One thing that I missed in this game is a sort of hint system. One time, I was really stuck on the Mario level. I didn’t want to look up a walkthrough, but I did want a hint. It took a bit too long to figure out what I had to do to climb up to the second ledge.

The soundtrack of this game is excellent. You also can get the soundtrack for the game data folder. If you enjoy the soundtrack, you can listen to it everywhere you want. Something quite unique is the fact that the music plays through the radios scattered around the level. You can pick up those radios to take the music with you or shut them off if you don’t want to hear the music. Pretty great mechanic.

This game isn’t too difficult, once you figure out what you should do, it’s straightforward. This game can be challenging when you don’t see the solution, but overall, it’s quite simple.

There are also Steam Achievements and Steam Trading Cards for those who are interesting in those.

So, that’s everything I wanted to say about this game. I can’t wait to fully beat it myself. Currently, I’m halfway done. If I had to give a score of what I played so far, I would give the game a 7/10. This game is a very fun game but it’s rather short. It’s ideal for casual players or gamers who want to play something quick and different. Also, for the cheap price tag of 5€, you can’t complain. This game has a lot of polish and soul put into it and it’s a bargain for that price.

Thank you so much for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article, but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day!

First Impression: Fire Emblem Awakening (3DS) ~ Tactics Galore

PS_3DS_FireEmblemAwakening_enGBOfficial website

So, the start of 2016 brings a boatload of amazing new (3DS) titles. But one game got me addicted to my 3DS lately. It was that one game I wanted to try out but never gave a fair chance. I always thought that strategy games like these weren’t my thing. But why, does it bring me so much enjoyment? And is the game a guilty pleasure or something I could recommend to anybody. Well, it’s time to take a look at this game and what I think of it. As usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or of the content of this article in the comment section down below. 

Tactical RPG

Fire_Emblem_Awakening_gameplay

After hearing so much other content creators (bloggers and YouTubers I watch) talk about this game, I decided to give it a chance. First, I played the demo, and almost right after finishing the demo, I bought the full game.

The first thing the game does right is the character creation. You decide how he or she looks and how his or her voice sounds. Finally, you can play a character that isn’t a silent one. A character that actually is a part of the story.

About the story, you can play this game in two different ways. Classic and normal mode. In classic mode, when a character dies, it’s gone for good. In normal mode, you can keep the character. It returns after the battle is over. This is something I really like. I’m not that good in tactical RPG’s. I’m afraid that one or two stupid mistakes might screw up my progress and put me in a battle I might never win. That’s why I love the normal mode so much. After I finish the game, I might give classic mode a try since I honestly feel that I’m missing the entire point of the series.

So, the story I have seen until now is quite decent. I finished the first part of the game and I’m having the impression that it’s structured in a sort of anime show format. Like each battle is a separate episode of an anime. And a good one at that. But where the story really shines is that you can influence parts of it, yourself! How you fight your battles will decide who marries who. Oh yeah, that’s a thing. Shipping is totally a thing in this game.

Different and unique

FEA_322_2

So, thanks to the “shipping” mechanic, each playthrough of this game are pretty personal. I might pair up my characters differently than somebody else. But enough about that, let’s talk about the gameplay.

And in this game, it throws in so many options for you… I’m amazed at how accessible this game is. If you use only your powerful characters, you don’t level up your weaker but very useful characters. I’m now in a situation where I have to be very careful with my archers since I haven’t used them a lot. This makes me very weak against certain units and is my current weak point of my army.

In this game, you are the tactics master of the kingdom. So, you decide who runs where on the battlefield and when to attack or fall back. This game also works in turns. So, after you moved your character, it has moved. After you moved all your characters, your turn ends and your opponent’s turn starts.

Once your unit has moved, you can’t undo the move. I wish I could do that sometimes. But the game has a solution for that, it’s the dancer. They dance to motivate your warriors to give them one additional turn.

Explaining how this game works could take me a while. But compare the battle system a little bit to how the battle system in Pokémon or any turn based RPG works. Only two differences, your enemy attacks back when it can in YOUR turn and weapons can and do break after repeated use.

While I haven’t played many tactical RPG’s, I want to try out more. Thanks to this game. The gameplay is a lot of fun when you like planning ahead but sometimes changing your strategy to get out of dangerous situations. If you like to play games like Age Of Empires or Advanced Wars, this is game for you.

The Fire Emblem

3ds-24

So, there are still a few things I want to talk about. First of all, the voice acting is something I have a love-hate relationship with. It’s extremely well done but it falls short sometimes.

When a cutscene plays, only some of lines are spoken. And sometimes, a random line is said to give the emotion more meaning. This can be distracting for some people when the voice acting is saying something completely different than the lines on the screen. While it annoys me here and there, I don’t mind it that much personally.

Visually, this game looks amazing. Graphically this game is really nice done. A good example is that the character portraits change depending on how they are doing in battle. Or better said, how much health they still have left.

But what I love the most about the visual presentation is how the game is animated. When your characters level up, they do different moves. It’s something I can’t explain and you should see for yourself to understand. It really helps to immerse me into the game.

The sound design and music is something… well… It’s one of the best soundtracks I have heard in quite a while. I actually want to buy the soundtrack to add to my collection. I like it that much. It really helps to set the mood.

I think I’m going to wrap up my first impression here. While I have some minor issues with the menu design, they are really nitpicky. In any case, I feel that I can fully recommend this game to any person who likes to play strategy games, RTS, Tactical RPG’s… This game is something I wish I tried sooner. Since it’s a series I’m becoming a fan of.