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Impromptu, Because, Why Not?
How's it going Dtoid, I don't normally do much (if any) posts in the fashion of just sharing random thoughts on random things,, but after finishing Hotline Miami, and with so many things having gone by. I was considering giving Miami a review, but I tended to agree strongly with Alistair, hence I opted for the less formal style, and just to share my thoughts on what's happened in the last month or two around here. I decided this is a good choice, as i've had plenty of thoughts, but haven't felt they warranted a full blog on their own, or that the effort was worth the result I was probably going to get. So enjoy a random spiel of miniature reviews, complete absurdity, and criticisms, because we're about to get started.
Starting, off, those site updates
Don't you mock me foe
Ah yes, the new site, still slightly eye-burning, and not quite a fan of the gray gradient, hence I keep it white, it's grown on me, but I still miss the old toilet-toid. There's nothing inherently wrong with the new site, and part of my fault is the refusal to turn f.lux on again, under penalty of laziness. Yet that's more minor, still, the site update has taken me aback a bit, simply so I can scope out how the scenery has changed, and to see when it would settle down and become more like home again. We're pretty close to there, although, I still dream of having a classic Dtoid skin option, or at least toilet-toid classic. But these are petty wishes, and I enjoy the new ease of adding images to comments, and the blog function has been nicely improved. Over-all good functionality, slightly dislike the new coat of paint though.
Dishonored, First, Among Others
I hear they're casting in the Sound of Music Remake
Dishonored was quite the fantastic game, although I was originally a tad skeptical (but still quite excited) I was glad to see it met, if not exceeded my expectations, to be honest I found Dishonored quite the experience, and I loved the detail payed to a very interesting, stylized, yet colorful version of the art, which keeps having me come back for more. But, despite the quality of the game, and the reasonable nice controls, I can't help but feel, while fantastic, it's replay value is a bit over-hyped, if you happened to do the pacifist run on the hardest difficulty for the first playthrough.
Still a fantastic game, and quite the good story, what I was disappointed with slightly, was despite all the effort they put into making the beautiful environment of Dunwall, I was disappointed at some of the attention to detail, which in games like this, complete the experience for me. I loved how they did the immersive environment, I just wish there had been more incentive to explore, tiny things, jokes, easter-eggs, posters, those are what I live for in games with such great art and environment direction as this, Minor details besides power-ups or more coins for power-ups. One of the things which I do feel a bit shameful of, but have quite the respect for is the sheer amount of lore written into the game, it's honestly quite surprising, considering the games scale.
Then we have XCOM:EU
Energy, how does it work?!
Being someone who had never played the original XCOM, I had heard many good things about the upcoming one, while there was skepticism, the propoganda had got me sold, and more importantly, the legend of it's replay value length. When XCOM finally came out, I was extremely excited to finally play it, as I had been waiting with it pre-ordered for almost a week at that point and couldn't get it off my head, needless to say, I had certain expectations going in, and mostly, felt these were met, and more importantly, there was many things that both surprised and impressed me. What impressed me the most is the art-direction in XCOM more specifically for the aliens, the aliens aren't made to feel disgusting or like macho-machines of death, but they carry a certain, creepy, charm about them, and I can only call it fantastic character design, of my particular favorites are the Chryssalid, Cyberdisk, and Muton Elite. Likewise, while slightly over-used, the cut-scenes are pretty high quality, the only complaint I have with the game in regards to the audio and visuals is that certain voice actors, clearly sound of a lower quality then others, and some just don't fit in, what comes to mind specifically is the escort missions where you have a soldier who's been in a Alien Warzone, with the most nasally, and upbeat way of talking you would never expect. Although I still must give credit to whoever voices the council, they are, although rather comical of the reasons I bought XCOM, their voice simply sounds like Optimus Prime.
Hello, Commander (I love that, I really do, it's just so epic)
XCOM's gameplay itself is quite top-notch, but what frustrated me extremely, is, as others have said, but been disregarded, I wouldn't necessarily say you can call it true "tactical strategy". Frequently, when playing on Classic, and to a certain degree on normal, the number generator just feels, (and is) biased against you, while this wouldn't be a problem, in addition, frequently even if you used something like the Archangel Armor for a sniper who missed the shot the first time with a 87% chance to hit, and now it says 95%, you will miss, every, time, while the Aliens hit using pistols and get 10 damage criticals across the map from the grunts, needless to say, it's even more frustrating when if you get a jump on the aliens, they will immediately move, and more frustrating is how the aliens can sometimes use their turn to move, then be detected, and move again.
Finally, while XCOM still comes off as very fresh, and I doubt that I won't be giving it a second playthrough when I finally finish the long campaign, I do feel, that more should have been done to prevent the gameplay getting a bit "stale" while free aim keeps it fresh for "tactics" I feel more should definitely have been done, instead of having the game rely so heavily on the number generator for most normal combat.
Hotline Miami(Big Thanks to Destructoid, Andy Dixon, and Devolver Digital)
Hotline Miami is one of the most pleasant surprises to come my way in the last 2 months, and more is that the developers were so kind to give us Dtoider's a chance to get copies of it, simply for submitting (albeit, rather bad) fan-art. While i'll share my thoughts, I will say that Alistair's review about my grievances with Hotline is about on par, I shared the same frustrations as he did in my playthrough (only through the main story)
Being honest though, i've never actually been a massive fan of "retro" games, I enjoy watching them, and I wish I had the knack to enjoy playing some of the classics more, but my eyes tend to disagree after a period, but Hotline Miami, thanks to a weird, yet fitting stylization of Retro, wins me over in this case, of what I have the greatest praise for is the music, it's quite simply fantastic. I found that the top down sprite shooters, are often not all they chalk up to be, and sometimes sub-par, but in part thanks to the masks, and more importantly the scoring, Hotline Miami makes it quite fun, with quick loading after a death, Hotline doesn't just say, "enjoy" but it actually encourages you trying to be as reckless as possible to win in as many ways possible, there's nothing quite like the feeling after-all of taking down Russian Mobsters with m16's and shotguns by running into a room with a katana blindly swinging, while wearing a giraffe mask.
Strange, I swear I saw you yesterday, working every shop in Miami
Of slightly humorous but interesting to note, was Jasper Byrne I noticed in the credits contributed to this game, and more was that Edmund Mcmillan was a playtester, not massive things, but still, I can understand how a game could be so twisted, into a beautiful form. While I did glaze over the story for the most part, it was understandable, and I probably will, if eventually, revisit the game, and pay more detail to the wording used as to truly get the gist as the character is always one-foot into insanity one foot out. Ironically, despite the praise Dishonored gets for the complexity of it's freedom of choice, I feel Hotline needs to be commended, for the freedom of choice it brings, in its medium of choice. If you have the 10$ regardless to spend, your money is well spent on the soundtrack alone for Hotline, the game however, makes it just so sweeter.
The Failures and Disappointments Corner
That expression sums the situation up quite well
Finally I bring you to my rage, the boiling blood, and the pure disgust of which i've been witness to on my end, the first although perhaps (we will see but for now) slightly unwarranted at the moment backhand goes to Prototype, for which I recently bought on sale during Halloween for 5$. While I respect the now debunct makers for their tenacity with a new IP, upon loading up the game, I was quite enjoying the cut-scenes, but then upon seeing the game switch to the actual game, was appalled by what I consider, development no-no #1, when making a game, nice cut-scenes are always appreciated, but if they don't fit the true graphical quality of your game, then don't use them. It feels, speaking plainly, like making a new friend, only to promptly have them turn around, and give you a quick kick to the gems.
The second offense of which I was upset with however, was the flaunting of how Prototype is, for all concerned a console port, for when trying to play with a Mouse and Keyboard, as is typical, the lack of refinement or care, was evident. The third, of which I feel was over-hyped is how amazing Prototype is to kill and destroy stuff, now if I had not played The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction as a kid on the gamecube, I could have let it slide. But from what I could tell, this feels fairly close in play, to just a watered down carbon copy, of a far more enjoyable original. Now yes, I will admit, I was so disgusted, I turned it off only about 5 minutes after I had started playing, but at the same time, first impressions mean a lot, and this was not a good one.
Finally, Life Itself
Life has been an interesting one, grades and classes have intensified, or perhaps, gotten more random. Naturally, i've been devoting my time to this work, and more specifically to my hobby(ies) outside of videogames, so I haven't gotten in as much play as I normally do (although it sorta feels nice not to have the embarassment when a school friend looks at your profile and you have 72-100+ hours of gaming in the last 2 weeks)
On a more flip-side, didn't do much for Halloween, just chilled, I did buy into the Bundle of the Damned, which seems to be quite an interesting deal, and I have picked up the Penumbra Collection and re-bought the Bioshock Franchise for my PC.
I suppose the only interesting side-note is going to be how contacts are going to feel as opposed to the standard eyeglasses next week, hopefully it'll be a change for the best. Anyway, that's all for now Dtoid, if you read this congratulations, I give you my own fapulations, hand delivered at that. I know it's long, but I appreciate it in all seriousness.