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Review: Age of Mythology Extended Edition (PC) ~ And on the 7th day he gamed.

ageofmythologyextendededitionSteam store page

Ah, Age of Mythology. I got introduced to this game when I wasn’t able to understand English. It was at a co-worker of my mom’s house. I was playing the games on the PC I didn’t own. The first time, I played with the Egyptian culture, since I have quite a fondness for the old Egyptian culture. A few years later, I found Age of Mythology in a garage sale. It was a French version, but I didn’t mind. I was finally able to play that one game I played for myself. Back then, my French was better than it is now. It didn’t take long before I found a copy of the Gold Edition with the Titans expansion pack. I played the game quite a lot back then. I even dabbled in online play. Fast forward to 2014 and Age Of Mythology Extended Edition releases. Overjoyed, I start it up and have a nostalgic wave. But, is the game any good and does it still hold up. Let’s find out. 

Tale of the Dragon

To my surprise, in 2016, the game received new content. This new content isn’t too well received if you read the Steam reviews. But, I’m running ahead of myself here. First, let’s take a look at the story of this game. In this game you play as Arkantos, an admiral from Atlantis. Something strange I have to point out is that the Atlanteans were added with the expansion pack “Rise of the Titans”. 

Anyways, Arkantos gets a mission where he has to help Agamemnon in the Trojan War. Things go south right away and Arkantos’s fierce enemy Kamos tries to boycott him. The story of this game is quite long. It has over 30 missions and it will take you 30 hours to finish the main campaign. If you decide to play the additional campaign the DLC brings, you get an 10 hours additional playtime.

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During the story, you come across various allies and go on a big adventure. The writing in the game is good. Personally, I prefer the stories in this game more than the stories that were told in Age of Empires I & II. The way how they used the mythologies and stories to create one huge story is just amazing.

Something that still holds up from the original is the voice acting. During the story, you come across Greek, Egyptian & Norse missions and each character feels and sounds unique. My favorite missions were the Egyptian missions. The reason for that might be because I’m really fond of the Egyptian mythology.

But, would I say that the voice acting is actually good? Oh, no. The voice acting is cheesy and over-the-top. And to be honest, I love it. It adds to the craziness of the story and atmosphere. I get the impression that the voice actors had an amazing time in the recoding booth. The voice acting just clicked with me and actually made me laugh out loud sometimes.

The two base campaigns of the game are a blast to play through. I’m also glad that the downloadable short campaign “The Golden Gift” is also added in the Extended Edition. This was a 4-mission long campaign you were able to download from the official website as a short of update/free expansion.

So, I also played a bit through Tale of the Dragon for this review. While I can understand the negative reception of this DLC, I would still recommend it. Now, there are some balancing issues and the multiplayer with the new Chinese civilization is sometimes quite unstable. But, it provides some new and fresh challenge in the game. I have to admit that I haven’t experimented with them too much, since I love playing with the Egyptians the most, but from what I have played; the Chinese look like a lot of fun to play with. If you want a more in-depth review of the DLC, I would recommend that you read Moshfish’s review on it. It’s an amazing summary of what’s good and what’s bad with the DLC and I agree with a lot of it.

I want to add one thing to the Tale of the Dragons review. I don’t know if it’s just me or if other people experienced it as well, but in some missions I didn’t have background music. Also, I found it a missed opportunity to add additional Asian tracks to the soundtrack.

Something minor that I experienced as well is that when you use a God power, usually a name is display who uses it. In the main campaigns, that’s Arkantos. In Tale of the Dragon, it’s nobody… No name is displayed.

God powers and such

age-of-mythology-extended-edition-windows-screenshot-arkantos

This game plays like your typical RTS game. If you have played games like Age of Empires II or Rise & Fall – Civilizations At War, you will feel right at home. Your main goal is to build your civilization. You do this by assigning villagers various tasks to collect resources or create buildings. With these resources you can create more units to improve your economy or create an army to defend from enemies or attack them.

There are, including the DLC, 5 different civilizations to play with. The Norse, Greek, Atlanteans, Egyptian and Chinese. Each civilization has it’s unique units and quirks. For example, the Norse has a special cart, the Ox cart, that is a sort of movable drop off point for resources. The Greek need to have villagers praying to great favors while the Egyptians need to build statues of their gods to create favors. 

The best way to learn how to play with these civilizations is to play through the campaign. By the end, you will know the basics and some advanced mechanics with each civilization. But, if you are totally new to RTS games, there is a “Learn To Play” map where you get the basics of RTS gameplay. You learn how to play with the Greek civilization. The unique elements for each civilization are explains in a cinematic. Now, there is no Greek one and in the Chinese one, some bits take a bit too long.

If you ever want to know more about an unit or a building, you can just click on the portrait. You get a very detailed screen with a lot of information. This information contains the unit’s or building’s things like: strengths, weaknesses and uses. You can also click on “contents” to read a full in-game Wiki. Too bad it doesn’t have a search feature or a better menu system. If this was expanded upon, this would have been an even better tool.

You can play through the campaign on 4 difficulties. I mostly played through the campaign on the normal (moderate) difficulty. I would recommend that you play the game on the normal difficulty first and decide if the game is too easy to too hard for you and switch if needed. Overall, the game is quite balanced and I rarely had moments where I found the AI was quite unfair.

There are few unique mechanics in this game. First, let’s talk about a new unit class. Besides your typical triangle of sword, bow and horse; there is a 4th unit class. Myth Units. These units can be trained in temples and are effective against human units. Each civilization has unique to the mythology of that civilization. For example, centaurs for the Greeks and sphinxes for the Egyptians.

The second unique mechanic are the Titans. When you reach the last age, you can start building a Titan Gate. When this gate is completed, a titan unique to that civilization is summoned. These are huge and powerful units that can be used as tank units to attack the enemy. Now, you can only place this Titan gate once, so if it’s destroyed, though luck. Also, the Titan is quite weak to Hero Units and siege units. So, be careful if you use the Titan.

Now, if you have played Age of Empires III, this mechanic might be sort of familiar. When you advance to the next age, you can choose between various advisors who give you a certain reward when you advance. This isn’t different in this game. When you advance to the next age, you can choose between two minor gods. The god you choose decides which myth unit you can create at your temple and which god powers you can use.

Yes, the final unique mechanic are the god powers you can use. Each civilization has it’s own unique god powers which range from offensive to defensive powers. You can summon earthquakes, spy on the enemy for a limited time, summon a healing spring, have a moment where nobody can attack… There are a lot of them. Most of them can only be used once during gameplay. Some can be used more than once, but they all have a limit.

If you want to read more in-depth about how this game works, I recommend that you take a look at this website: http://aom.heavengames.com. It’s a huge website containing very detailed information and strategies on how to play this game.

Most of my time has been spend in this game playing random matches versus the AI of this game. In the past, I was quite skilled in this game. I knew most of the keys to quickly and efficiently create my base and build up my army. While I love the economic play in this game, I’m horrible when it comes to balancing my army. Since I played a lot with the Egyptian civilization, I don’t know a lot about the other civilizations.

If it’s not clear by now, I think that the gameplay in this game is excellent. The campaign has quite a lot of challenges but just playing on a random map versus the AI is quite a lot of fun as well. There are some things I would love to change about this game but there is a very active modding community providing a ton of mods in the workshop fixing bugs and fixing most of the issues I have with this game.

Let’s dance

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The soundtrack of this game is amazing. The soundtrack is orchestrated and uses an amazing mix of various instruments.

Each civilization has it’s own unique theme and unique tracks. Also, the developers enjoyed themselves way too much with naming these tracks. The main theme of this game is called “A Cat Named Mittens” and one of the most relaxed and chillest tracks is called: “Eat Your Potatoes”.

Together with very good sound effects, the audio of this game is a hit. To this day, when I listen to the soundtrack casually, I remember how the villagers sound and other sound effects. Something I really like is how the sound effects are played in stereo. So, if you move an unit from the left to the right, you will hear your unit in your left speaker.

Now, the rest of the presentation of this game isn’t that great. Don’t get me wrong, the game looks great and the theming is very well done but some character models look out-dated. While I personally don’t mind that much, I feel like this extended edition could have done a lot more than just a simple wide screen support. The additional visual polish isn’t much to write home about. Just look at this Imgur library created by NecessaryDerp from 2014 where the graphics from the original are compared to the Extended Edition: https://imgur.com/gallery/L8WEE

Am I saying that the game looks ugly? No, I’m not. Like I said before, the game still looks great. The improved visuals for the liquids like water and lava are quite pleasing to the eye. And to be honest, the only moment I find the graphics dated is when you are extremely zoomed into the map. Also, thanks to the magic of Steam Workshop ingratiation, you can use a lot of mods to improve the visuals to your liking.

In the past, the online community of this game was quite alive. There were a lot of people playing this game. I remember that were at least 100 different lobbies. Now-a-days, the online community of this game is dying. The day I publish this review, there were only 5 lobbies. It’s a shame, since I played some great game mods online. From King of the Hill to a sort of Dota clone.

There is one thing I really dislike in this game and that’s the save and load menu. Now, it works fine but I wish it displayed more information. For example, if you were playing a random match or if it’s a save in a mission/scenario. I haven’t found a mod that’s able to solve the issues I have with it.

A nitpick I have with this game is with the map. I love how you can rotate the map holding the CTRL-key down, but there is no identification on what position it was originally in. It’s a minor thing.

Something that frustrates me the most is that this game doesn’t receive additional patches. The updates stopped in 2016. Yet, the developers keep updating Age of Empires II HD. This game could use a lot of minor polishing updates but the focus of the developers is on their other products.

So, that’s everything I wanted to say about this game. I think it’s time for a conclusion.

Conclusion

The bad:

-The visuals are just okay.

-The Tale of the Dragon DLC misses some polish.

-The in-game wiki could have been so much better.

-The save menu should display more information.

-Dying online multiplayer community.

The good:

+ A lot of unique mechanics like Titans and God Powers.

+ You can use mods.

+ Amazing and addictive RTS gameplay.

+ Amazing soundtrack & sound design.

+ Cheesy and over-the-top fun voice acting.

+ Good story.

+ …

Final thoughts:

I might be blinded by nostalgia and quite biased while reviewing this game. But, I think this game still holds up well. Yet, I fell in love with this game the first time I played it. I have a lot of fond memories with this game and reviewing the game just makes me want to replay the game some more.

This game isn’t perfect and could use some polish to fix those last bugs and improve some models, especially the human units. Yet, the charm of this game is something else. The over-the-top voice acting and endless replay value make this game a must play for every strategy and RTS fan.

The original reception of this game was poor, but thanks to the patches, this game has improved quite a lot already. If only Skybox Labs kept updating the game, then I would give this game a higher score.

Now, that’s everything for this review. Thank you so much for reading 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.

Score: 70/100

 

 

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First Impression: The Elder Scrolls V – Skyrim (PC) ~ Where do I need to go next?

skyrim.jpg

Official site

Skyrim, a game like Minecraft that’s being ported to every system under the sun. Now, this game has been reviewed to death. I know that I’m extremely late to the party. Skyrim is one of these games that has an extremely big and loyal fanbase. Otherwise, people wouldn’t be too excited for a portable version on the Nintendo Switch. Now, if you wonder, I play as a Khajiit, a beast man. Yeah, I play as a cat-man. Currently, I’m level 9 and I have started the first missions of the main story. Most of my time spent in this game is wandering around. Also, the three official DLC’s are installed. Also, there are no mods installed for this review. Now, that the context is set, let’s give my first impressions of this game. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the article in the comment section down below. 

Where do I go next?

Now, you start off with your character being transported to a village with other prisoners. It doesn’t take long before you realize that you are on death row and you are about to be executed. Right before your execution, a dragon attacks the village and you manage to escape. Then, you discover that you are a Dragon Born. Somebody who can use the power of the dragons. What happens next, is for you to decide. If you play this game, you can create your own story like in Minecraft.

 

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The biggest complaint I have about the story of Skyrim is that in my opinion, you are a bit to free to explore around. What I mean with this is that every time I come around a new village or ruins, I’m afraid of defeating attackers. I don’t know if they are essential for a quest or for later in the game.

The story of this game is good but I honestly don’t like the overload of exposition in some areas. When some people are talking, I never know for sure what they are referring too. Maybe I need to get used to the world more, but honestly, I found the open world of Breath of the Wild easier to get into and learn the world.

Now, why do I feel so lost in this world? I love the exploration system in this game. Only the areas you discovered appear on the map. Areas that you discover through conversation and books do too, but you can’t fast travel to them. So, you would think that even with a map system, I wouldn’t get lost or confused where to go next in the world?

Well, I do. I find the compass pretty difficult to use. A mini-map would have solved this issue. I really like the minimap system in Breath of the Wild. Or, if a minimap is too much to ask, a button to get more quickly to the map screen would be very welcome.

The UI is something I really dislike in this game. I find it very annoying to use. This could have been streamlined a lot more. The inventory is a mess in my opinion too. I would have loved a screen where you can equip spells or weapons easier. Now, I have to go through various menus to get that equipped. So, if anyone who is reading this and knows some good UI-mods to make it easier to manage your inventory or have more map functionality, I’m all ears.

Click to fight.

20180506154416_1Now, let’s talk about the gameplay of Skyrim. The freedom in this game is amazing. But, it’s also a downfall of the game. To be honest, this game is a bit overwhelming. In my opinion, there is a bit too much going on from the beginning. I think it would be better if the game introduced all it’s main elements to the player a bit more before it threw you into the big world.

Now, at the other hand, it’s quite fun to discover and learn the elements of the game. How crafting and magic works for example. Or how cooking works. How you can optimize the whole system to easily get the best weapons and armor and how to get the best healing items.

It’s a balancing act, where you need to think if you would be able to go to a certain place or you need to find more items to progress.

Exploring the world is great fun too. Now, during the exploration, a lot of enemies will cross your path. The fighting mechanics could have been improved as well. The combat mechanics are fun, but the big issue is that if you want to switch between bow & arrow or magic or 2hand combat, you have to go clicking through those pesky menus.

That’s why I mainly focus on 2-handed combat weapons which make the combat unfair in some situations when you are up against some heavy magic users and they burn you alive in oil.

Now, I’m playing the game on an easy difficulty. This is my first time playing Skyrim and lets me tell you, I’m glad that I’m playing this game on easy for the first time. The game still is challenging in some areas but it’s an ideal way to learn the ropes of the game and later restart the game with a higher difficulty setting.

This game’s replayability is through the roof. So, if I replay this game on a higher difficulty setting, my playthrough will be completely different. This will be interesting. You can change the difficulty settings whenever you want in the options menu.

Speaking of the options menu, something I really like is when you run Skyrim for the first time, the game sets the most optimal visual settings for you. I notice the difference between playing Skyrim on my laptop and on my gaming desktop, but it’s a very helpful feature to have.

As well as the cloud save. Yes, if you play Skyrim on different devices like me, you don’t have to move save files between computers. You can download Steam, then Skyrim and voila, you can continue playing Skyrim.

One thing that I would add in terms of the save files is “save slots”. It would be amazing if I would be able to have different playthroughs with different characters without having to juggle between my save files of which character is which save file…

Mods and such

20180506164810_1.jpgVisually, this game is great. The world of Skyrim is detailed and very well made. There is even an HD-texture pack for people who want more details and better textures out of the game.

So far, I have seen only the tip of the iceberg in this game. Almost literally, since I have been mostly exploring the snowy areas of the game.

The controls of the game are great. I have been playing with a mouse and keyboard but I have played this game with a controller as well. It doesn’t matter that much, this game is optimized for both input devices.

Now, one thing is clear. This game asks to be modded. So, dear reader, I have a question for you. Should I mod my game before or after I have beaten it? Which mods do you recommend?

The music in this game fits the atmosphere as a glove. Together with the sound effects and great animations, it helps me to immerse myself in the world. The things that stop me from immersing in the world is the tricky UI like I talked about at the beginning of this article.

I really see the potential of this game and I really think that this game is something for me. But I feel that the UI is holding it back for me. Ever since I got interested in open world games since I played Breath of the Wild, I feel that some features in that game spoiled me. There are some features that I wish I could bring over to Skyrim.

Now, do I think that Breath of the Wild is a better game? Well, no. They are both completely different games and I think it’s unfair to compare them.

But, one thing is for sure. Ever since I started playing Skyrim, I want to give Oblivion and Morrowind a second chance. I got Morrowind years ago for my birthday and after playing it for a bit, I quit playing it. Oblivion I found at a garage sale.

That’s saying something. If a game makes you want to play the previous games in the series. This game makes me want to play more, even with its various flaws. I totally see where the high praise is coming from. Maybe if I continue to play this game, I might get more into it; but for now, I’m quite happy in playing this game between other games when I have the time.

So, that’s everything I wanted to say about this game for now. I’m leaving some things for the review if I ever finish this game. There is a 40 hours adventure waiting for me and I have only beaten the first act.

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 a future article but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day.

First Impression: Iubes 2 (PC) ~ Death To All Cubes?

iubes 2Official website

For this game, there is a death counter on the website that keeps track of how many iubes were killed in action. What are iubes? Well, these are intelligent cubes fighting against other intelligent cubes. So, you will start in one house without any allies and you will have to fight for yourself in this interesting online strategy game. It’s a game where you can’t micromanage your party, but you have to macromanage it. And if you defeat other players, you can become the new king. Interested? Good, I’m too. So, let’s dive right into my first impressions after playing a few matches in Iubes 2. As usual, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section down below with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article.

Survival of the cubes

Iubes 2 (1)So, this game doesn’t have a story to speak off. Well, if you can call the fact that there are 4 factions a story, then there is a story. But each faction has the same abilities compared to the others, so the color you choose only matters to which color you are fighting for.

Something I really like about this game is the UI. The humor put into the UI is really great. Especially the menu system. I really love the design. Also, I really love how there is a button to switch between windowed mode and full screen. This is a really neat feature.

There is one bug I have to mention, that might be fixed when I release this article but switching between monitors in the options menu crashed the game for me each and every time I tried. But, when I launched the game again, it displayed on the screen I had chosen.

The first thing I have to warn players about is the fact that the camera system is something you need to get used too. Since the world is spherical, the camera system is special. At first, it might be a bit disorienting. But don’t worry, you will get used to the camera system after messing with it for a bit in the tutorial.

The tutorial can be replayed whenever you want by going to the help menu and clicking the “tutorial” button. Also, the tutorial helps you get through a basic round of this game and explains everything in detail. But, it only has one opponent. So, you learn only the basics in this tutorial. The help feature isn’t far away if you need it.

RTS with a twist!

iubes 2 (2)At its core, Iubes 2 is a hybrid game between RTS, Strategy and an action game. The game plays like an RTS, but the benefit is that you don’t have to micromanage everything. Unlike games like Age Of Empires and Rise Of Nations, you don’t have to create a boatload of villagers to gather stone, food, wood… for you. The cubes are smart enough to do that for themselves.

This means you can focus on building the right buildings and preparing yourself for war in defeating the other players. While the gameplay is more focused on online play, there is also the ability to play this game offline.

I’m going to come clean and say that I haven’t played this game online yet. Since I’m not the best in online games and I enjoy playing my games more offline, to be honest. I did test out the online game for a bit and I have to say that I haven’t experienced any major issues. So, for this review, I’ll focus more on the offline side of things. If that’s fine with you.

After beating the tutorial, I played several rounds on the easy difficulty. I do have to say that after playing various rounds of other RTS games, this is something you need to get used too. If you enjoy RTS games and you want to play another RTS with some unique mechanics, look no further then Iubes 2.

The fact that I don’t have to micromanage is a godsend. This makes the game fast paced and fun. After I got used to the camera system and the gameplay, I was defeating the AI on easy without any care in the world. It’s true what they say in the Steam reviews and in the game itself. Matches between experienced players can last up to 25 minutes or less.

Visually round

Iubes 2 (3)So, the game is a very pretty game. I really like how the world is designed. The polygon graphics really pop due to the chosen color scheme. While all worlds are randomly generated, I really love the effect that you get when staring down the tube and seeing the hills and trees in the distance. It’s really impressive how optimized the game is too.

The game doesn’t require a lot of resources so it can be played on low-end devices. This gets a thumbs up from me.

Together with the amazing visual design comes an amazing soundtrack. For real, I wish I could buy this soundtrack. Sadly, that isn’t an option right now. I really love the techno-style soundtrack that this game has to go. If I was able too, I would love to add this to my day-to-day playlist actually.

The sound design is good. While I wish there were a bit more sound effects for when thunder would strike or your warriors would attack, I think that the sound effects that are already present in the game do their job pretty well.

So far, I have only been saying praises about the game. Are there any negatives about this game? Well, yes there are. The biggest complaint I have is, there is no save feature in the single-player mode. Yes, you can’t save a match and come back later. So, if your game crashes or automatic updates happen… tough luck, you will have to restart. I understand that this isn’t present since the games are pretty quick to finish, but an autosave from your latest games would be helpful to have the two example situations I talked about earlier.

A second complaint I have is that the tutorial doesn’t explain everything. Don’t get me wrong here, the tutorial is short and to the point, but only explains the usefulness of three buildings. I wish there were more tutorials to explain the other buildings. Or the tutorial could be expanded just a little bit longer to talk about what each building is used for. I feel that this is a missed opportunity. Like, the game has so many features but the tutorial only explains so little. On the other hand, I’m happy that the tutorial isn’t forced upon the players so you can explore and experiment with your heart’s content.

My 3rd complaint is something that can be fixed in a future update. A button to quickly go to your tower when you are either lost or you need to defend it.

And that is all my complaints really. I think that this game is pretty well developed. The game actually feels finished and polished up. I said it before, if you are a fan of RTS games, give this one a go. It’s RTS but with an interesting twist. If you are a fan of strategy and action games, this game is something for you. The game is currently 19€ on Steam. The game only works on Windows and MAC. Surprisingly, this game can run on Windows XP. Oh well, that’s just my nostalgic bone tingling.

In any case, that’s everything I wanted to talk about for this game. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care!

Review: Halo – Combat Evolved (PC) ~ Not On The HaloBox

Halo-Combat-Evolved-Cover-Art-wallpaper.jpgWikipedia entry

If you would ask my friends and old class mates what the best shooter is, they would reply with a game out of the Call Of Duty series. But for me, that was Halo. That changed when I played the Bioshock series. I have already talked about the Bioshock series, so it’s time to talk about the original Halo game. The game that started this whole franchise. One series I can’t finish sadly since I don’t have a XBOX or XBOX ONE. So, I have only played this entry and the sequel. In any case, enough introduction! Time to talk about the actual game. And as usual, feel free to leave your opinion on the content of this article and or the game in the comment section down below. 

Cortana

halo1

In this game, you play as a very iconic character in the video gaming world. The name is Master Chief. So, you get woken up from your slumber and go through some basic tutorials before your ship gets attacked.

You crash land on Halo. And things happen from there. The story isn’t that much present in the game. But, that’s because the game is only 10 hours long. The base game is really short, but it’s a whole lot of fun to play through. But don’t worry, if you don’t have enough Halo, you can either go and play the multiplayer or download one of several single player campaigns made by fans.

In addition to that, Bungie released in 2004 a special version of Halo with mapping and modding tools. Called, Halo Custom Edition.

The story itself is good. It’s not great since it ends with a big cliffhanger so you have to buy the sequel to know how it continues. I wish that the story got a bit more development. Since we got amazing voice acting. I love the voice acting in this game. Also, we don’t have a silent hero for once!

The writing itself is also good. But again, shame that the game is over so quickly. I do have to admit, that I played over 100 hours on Halo. I have played a lot of multiplayer and I got okay at it. I’m terrible at playing shooters online, but I enjoyed my time on Halo. Mostly with the Capture The Flag mode. I’m also surprised that after 16 years, there are still people playing this game online.

What I was even more surprised about, this game still gets the occasional update. Something quite handy is that when you have an out-of-date version of the game and want to enter the mutliplayer, you get a message to update your game and the updating tool automagically launches.

Multiplayer and such

halo 2

Like I said in the previous paragraph, I rather enjoyed my time in the multiplayer. There was also a possibility you could have edited maps, and you didn’t have to download additional mods to play on them. I rarely got lag issues.

But, for the sake of this review, I’m going to focus on the single player. The only other thing I’m going to say about the multiplayer is that it’s difficult to find the same server to play on with friends sometimes. I had several Skype calls lasting over 30+ minutes of me and my friend(s) trying to get into one server.

Visually, this game still looks pretty great in my opinion. I wouldn’t have changed one thing at all when it comes to the visuals. The animation is also very well put together. You visit various inside and outside locations. Something I really like is the consistency of the visuals. I don’t mean that every area looks the same, but I mean that a lot similar building styles return over the whole game. But, I think you will better understand that statement when you have played the game.

Actually, now that I think about it, there is one thing that I would have changed. It would be awesome if this game had a bit more enemy variety. Since this game has the “recolor but stronger” issue you find in a lot of RPG’s. It’s such a shame. But, the campaign is such a wild ride, it didn’t bother me that much.

Something I really enjoyed in this game is the difficulty. The further you get in the game, the more difficult enemies and situations get presented to you. Another big plus in my book is that the differences between the difficulty settings are not only the amount of damage you take from enemy hits. Oh no, I have the impression that the enemies are also more aggressive in the harder modes of the game.

There were a few things I would have changed in the single player. First of all, I find it disappointing that the plasma swords can’t be used in the single player nor multiplayer without mods. This is a shame, since you can use every other weapon that your allies and enemies use.

I can’t sign.

halo 3

The controls of this game are excellent and very responsive. I also like that during the tutorial section, you get the option of selecting which camera control you would enjoy more during gameplay.

Something I didn’t always like were the controls for the vehicles. They lack just a tiny bit of weight to them.

While there aren’t a lot of different weapons to use in this game, I don’t mind it a whole lot. Since each weapon can be used in it’s own situation and it’s so fun to master a certain weapon.

Honestly, I wish I could sign along with the chanting of the soundtrack. Since the soundtrack for this game is amazing. It sets an amazing mood and I love listing to it. When I hear the main theme, I always get so nostalgic.

Speaking about that, the sound design is amazing as well. Also, your enemies use the right balance of speaking just a little bit of English, but the sounds they make when being hurt are great as well. The atmosphere the music, sound design and the visuals make is so great. I get pulled in every time. Even when I was replaying parts of this game for this review, I always played longer than I intended.

This game is that much fun and addictive. You go from place to place shooting down loads of enemies. With the help of your radar, you navigate through some various terrains.

For those who don’t know, this game has a quite unique mechanic. It’s the regenerating shield feature. When you get hurt, it goes off from your shield meter. When your shield meter is down, your health goes down. But, when you don’t get hit for a moment, your shield meter refills again. So, skilled players can beat this game without picking up one health pack if they want too.

But a feature I liked the most are the sticky grenades. They were so fun to use. Too bad, that there wasn’t anything you could do during multiplayer matches when you wanted to get them off. Well, it’s a risk you had to take.

One nitpick, I have is that the sections where you could use the enemy vehicles were a bit too short. But don’t worry, you can use these a whole lot in multiplayer. Just like the shield mechanic. This made multiplayer matches that more thrilling to play. Since you can’t easily kill everybody. You need to have more than one shot to kill somebody. Apart from fall damage, there isn’t a way to one shot kill somebody in this game as far as I know.

So, that’s all I wanted to talk about this game. I think it’s time to wrap up this article and give my conclusion (or my TL;DR for the lazy people)

Conclusion

The bad:

-The main game is way too short.

-It’s difficult to find the same server or game sometimes.

The good:

+ Fun story, writing & voice acting.

+ Great visuals.

+ Amazing soundtrack.

+ Great multiplayer.

+ The modding community.

+ …

Conclusion:

This game still holds up after being over 16 years on the market. When you want a more updated version, you could play the Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition that came out in 2011 for the XBOX360 and XBOX ONE. But, I don’t own either of those consoles.

The biggest flaw of this game is that it’s way too short. Yet, due the vast amount of mods, maps, campaigns and such you can download and even an editor that’s released free of charge, you can download a lot of additional content for you to enjoy. Apart from that, the flaws in this game are so minor, they would be all nitpicking. This game is a fun ride from start to finish.

I do have a lot of nostalgia for this game, but I replayed it recently before I started writing this review. And all the nostalgic memories come flooding back. It’s quite a fun game to play and I think I might go and beat the game again when I have the time.

If you are a fan of shooters and haven’t played this game yet, you owe it to yourself to play this game. If you aren’t a fan of shooters, well, I think you read the wrong article. If you have played this game, I hope this was an enjoyable trip down memory lane.

On that note, I think I said everything I wanted to say about this game, I thank you so much for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I enjoy 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.

Score: 90/100

My wishes for future updates of Minecraft

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Website of Minecraft

It’s no lie that I like MineCraft. But as a player since Minecraft 1.4 Beta, I think there are a lot of things lacking. In this blog I tried giving my better idea’s a chance. Dinnerbone or Jeb, if you read this, feel free to take my idea’s and use them in whatever way you want. I just placed them here to share my idea’s since I felt like it. Anyways, feel free to write in the comments what you guys think about my idea’s. Are they good  or are they bad? And what idea’s do you guys have to implement in the vanilla Minecraft game? 

Idea #1: Better durability bars.

o0IuWIn one of the recent updates of Minecraft you can see the durability of an item by pressing F3 + G. Yet, you only can see this in the inventory. What would be extremely welcome is that if you also press that shortcut, the durability is displayed above the bar.

In my original survival let’s play, I had a mod enabled for this. It’s sadly discontinued now.  But it was a welcome mod to see how much uses there was on my pickaxe or sword left. It was buggy when it had the unbreaking enchant. But in the Durability 101 mod for Minecraft 1.5.1 everything works just fine.

Idea #2: More stuff in the ocean or less ocean.

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When I was gathering idea’s for this article, a convention happened where Jeb told us that they are going to revamp the ocean biomes. Finally, since  there are simply way to much oceans in one single Minecraft world.

But also, only squids in the ocean? What’s wrong with some ocean life? Some coral plants would be lovely to have. But like DocM77 on the MindCrack panel said and I agree an awful lot, is that there should be some sharks or more ocean life.

This might not really be my original idea but it’s a much requested feature in Minecraft. But thankfully in Minecraft 1.7 it’s going to happen. Or that are at least the plans.

Idea #3: Make the Creative mode more complete.

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There is a petition on the Minecraft forums and mods like Too Much Items include this. Mobspawners in the creative inventory. They are missing and that is a sad thing.

The new Minecraft creative inventory was a very welcome change but enchants like Sharpness I aren’t in the creative inventory. Why?

Also, the big mushroom blocks aren’t present in the creative inventory. Which I think it would truly benefit from.

And why isn’t the command block in the creative inventory? It would truly benefit from being there.

Also, a feature where you can create fireworks thanks to looking to a list and enchanting the same way would be welcome addition to the creative mode of the game.

Idea #4: (Let) silk touch (keep the color).

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Why does grass or leaves change to the default color when you pick them up with silk touch? I can understand that a block need to change from color when placed  in a certain biome but what if I wanted some darker oak leaves in my build? It would give more freedom.

Like Infinity, I would remove the “I” after Silk Touch. It’s simply extremely silly to have that number there. But as amateur Java programmer, I can understand why it’s easier and more efficient to put the number there. But I think it isn’t useful at all to have it since it confused some (not that bright) players before.

Idea #5: Potion arrows

brewing-05-add-glistering-melonImage being in a PvP battle and you create a potion of poison. But you missed throwing it. That sucks so much. But also, when you want to give a potion to one person in PvP, you need to have some distance and that’s not helpful in tight combat.

But what if there was a special bow that could shoot arrows together with a random potion from your inventory?

In PvP this would make things more random and challenging. Since you might shoot off a health boost for the other player instead of a damage potion.

I talked this over with a few of my friends and they thought it would make for some new gamemodes or open a whole array of new possibilities.

There are several mods already with ice, fire or electric arrows. While this is also a good idea, I still doubt about the crafting recipes.

Finally, the end of the article.

That are all my idea’s that I currently have. To be honest, I have more idea’s but I thought they weren’t good enough to make the cut. It’s possible that I might write another article on this here, so I hope to see you next time here.

 

Review #002: Minecraft (PC) ~ Virtual Lego’s with a twist.

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Link to the game’s site.

Under which smooth stone are you sleeping if you never heard about Minecraft or Lego? This game exploded on the indy game scene and it’s the big hit of today. With over 10 million copies sold on computer and mobile devices, many many positive reviews, this game has to be good. I play it myself nearly daily and went to MineCon last year. But wait a minute, am I actually playing a good game or a messy torturing? Let’s look at the blocky world of MineCraft and let’s check how good the game actually is. 

The graphics suck? No, they look retro!

minecraft-castle-ruinsMany rant video’s how say that MineCraft sucks will tell you that the graphics suck. Or that it looks bad. The defenders say that the game looks retro. And while the game looks indeed retro, it gaves more the impression of Lego blocks in pixel form to me.

Honestly, this game can’t be reviewed in graphic style. Yes, you can comment on the vanilla graphical looks, but there are so many texture packs which can change the look of the game that it’s impossible to review the graphic side of the game. And I’m not counting the mods to make the game look like “HD” and all the shaders.

If I needed to rate the vanilla graphics, I would praise it. Since all recent games actually go for a realistic look, this game stands out with it’s blocky and pixelated graphics. The vanilla look has never really bored me and I actually barely play with a texture pack. Saves me the trouble of updating it whenever the game updates. Also, I am a retro gamer so I feel right at home in this blocky world.

I don’t get why people bash so much on the graphics of MineCraft. They give me the impression that whenever something doesn’t have proper fingers, the game looks ugly. The people that mostly hate MineCraft are the people who like shooter games. It’s silly how their reviews are always negative. They aren’t really objective and they rip the game apart. As the MineCraft addicts praise the game. Anyways, I’m repeating myself here. Let’s continue.

Goal of MineCraft

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Another big complaint is that the game’s story line, wait, what story? Well, the thing is that in MineCraft you make the story yourself. The game is a sandbox game and has virtually no limitations. There isn’t even a goal in MineCraft, as there is never a real goal in simulation and sandbox games.

The developers can give the player a goal. Like in the Sims, you need to keep your Sims happy. In MineCraft, the main goal is Survival. If you play in the Survival Mode that is. You also have the creative mode where you  get all the blocks handed to you.

In the survival mode, you could mine ores, make a farm, build a home, fight mobs… You can do a lot. Exploring the randomly generated caves is in my eyes a lot of fun. There is actually many things to do in MineCraft, too much to talk about in one review.

There are people on the internet who always make new games within Minecraft itself. Minecraft isn’t going to get boring quick. You have PvP games, Survival games, shooting games, CTF…. With MineCraft you can always make a goal or find a goal to spend countless hours within the game.

The combat is actually a limited part of the game. You can fight mobs, where I think the skeletons are in 1.5 a bit too strong for my liking, and you can fight players. Your only weapons are a sword and a bow. You can enchant your weapons with various enchants, but different weapons in vanilla would be welcome. Thankfully there are mods who add more weapons when you need it.

On the subject of mobs, there are way to few enemies to fight. You have your explosive dude, slender man copy, dead archer, spider and zombie. Let’s not forget the mutated pigs, the siverfish, blazes and ghasts. That are all enemies in MineCraft. You have two bosses in MineCraft, one is the Ender Dragon, the other is the Wither. Both give you a challenge if you don’t have good enchanted equipment. But with the enchanted equipment the battles can be a breeze. The Ender Dragon gives you loads of XP when killed and the Wither gives you a Wither Star to create beacons.

So much to talk about

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It’s obvious that this review isn’t complete. And it never will be. The game keeps updating and changing. Which is a lovely thing. New blocks are added, new mobs, new ways to play the game and bug fixes. The game can be very buggy and very complex.

Things I haven’t talked about in this review are the different dimensions for example. There are at the version of writing this review only 3. The End is the worst of them all. Other things I haven’t talked about are Redstone, multiplayer, custom maps, skins and various other elements.

I have been praising MineCraft for the whole review now, let’s get to the negative side of MineCraft.

The AI of the passive mobs are sometimes a joke. The villagers are a great example. They give so many Youtube LP’ers so many trouble that some even rage when they need to work with it. Trying to get an passive animal to follow you is annoying and sometimes very irritating. If you go too much blocks down or when you are in a crowed area, the animal can loose you and just do what it wants.

MineCraft asks a lot of your computer. It’s coded in Java but on computers with a bad graphic card the game can lag and often have frame drops. It’s playable but with tiny render distance, the game gets a whole lot less fun quickly.

Online, there are way to much hackers. It destroys the fun for people. Griefers, raiders and various other trolls are on servers and sometimes bullying people. It breaks the game and really makes some people sad. Myself included.

Installing mods was difficult, but with custom launchers, it’s a breeze. I’m not going to go in depth about mods since otherwise we will be here for six other reviews.

My final point in this game is about the music. It’s amazing. But it barely and rarely plays. It’s a bit sad, if only an option existed where you can get the music playing non-stop.

Conclusion

The good:

+ Amazing freedom. 

+ Has so many things to can you make come back multiple times.

+ Very cheap: 20 bucks.

+ Pretty game.

+ Very customize-able.

The bad:

– Herobrine is still in the game.

– The AI of the passive mobs needs to improved.

– The game can sometimes be very silent.

Results:

Like I already said, I can get talking about this game for ages. I try to keep my reviews around this length and I know that I have skipped over a lot of the game elements. The mods that expand or change the game, the various online servers, online mini-games, the big community… Or even the big yearly event MineCon. I went to MineCon in Paris last year, video’s are on my Youtube channel. 

Let me know in the comments what you guys think about this review and MineCraft. I enjoy it, very much. But it’s not perfect. Thanks for the updates Mojang and the great game.

Score: 90/100