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I'm thirty-six years old and have been extremely passionate about video games daily since the first time I played one at the age of five. It's rare for me not to like a game in particular.
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Steam ID:Germaximus
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Dusty Revenge was released today on the OnLive (<— click to demo in your browser) service. Super awesome! Hells yeah! Dusty Revenge is now a part of OnLive’s optional PlayPack subscription plan. The PlayPack costs $10 a month and has almost 300 games in it.

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Elizabeth Is The Star

She is so full of life. She stops to look at everything. She loves life even after being trapped in a tower for most of it. Being free allows her to express her love for life. You can really see it in the way she interacts with the world. Twirling around while admiring the sky, or jumping into a crowd of dancers. And you could hear it in her words, her awe of the beauty in the world. Knowing these things about her, she still remains mysterious which was pretty cool. I knew enough about her to like, and still wanted to know more.

I cared about her throughout the whole game. I wanted to know what she would do next. I was anticipating every single new insight into who she was. I loved how she would react to NPC's in the game that smoked cigarette's by coughing. She also has a great sense of humor.

She's full of tricks and knowledge because she read a lot of books while trapped in a tower. Beauty & the Beast anyone? Still, it gave her a lot of character, and I fell in love with her. I wanted to protect her, but instead, she protected me by supplying me with ammo, health, and salts (mana); all of this while mid-combat. She'd even give me money she found, and picked locks on doors.

Elizabeth reacts to the gruesome deaths of your enemies. She resents you for being a murderer, but she also understands that you're a protector, that this is what you have to do, maybe just not so violently.

The World

Everywhere I walked in the game had me gaping and saying aloud, "Wow!" To me it was magical to see all the different buildings floating in the sky. Beautiful statues made of gold, also seeming to float in the middle of the air.

Of course, there's also lots of really beautiful statues that aren't made of gold. Floating waterfalls where the water rolls over the air and just drops down through the clouds. The game eventually explains how the city floats in the air, it's pretty neat and I won't spoil that; just letting you know that it is explained. It's all so beautiful, and it felt alive. I think that's mostly due to all the non-player character's that speak to you as if you were there. When you walk in front of someone they address you as they would anybody walking near them.

Characters that you fight against are strange and wonderful looking. Some are dressed up as minotaur looking creatures, others are dressed as a cupid mixed with a centaur. The whole atmosphere is amazing.

I really love the graphics style. It's like you're wandering through a painting. I was very happily pleased that the PS3 version wasn't a super toned down one. A lot of games lose great graphical fidelity when put on the consoles. I imagine the PC version has some details that are better, but it is definitely gorgeous on the PS3 and I give big props to Irrational Games for making that happen.

"Because it does. Because it has. Because it always will."

Gameplay

First-person shooter. Really cool power choices. My preference was to summon crows on the enemies, watching them peck out their eyes and swarming their bodies, stunning them as I finish them off with my shotgun. I didn't really play around with the other powers, I just stuck with what I liked.

The ability to summon up a decoy for enemies to attack was also pretty cool. They're all cool but the mechanic of the decoy stood out to me. When you select the power, a green colored clone of yourself appears in front of you and allows you to place it wherever you want. It then takes form and looks like an exact replica, without the green color.

The game had noticeably smooth controls. Another thing that was noticeable was when I would collect items from Elizabeth. She would call out to me, I'd hit the command prompt to collect from her, the game automatically turned my character in her direction to collect the item, then it automatically turned back to exactly where I was previously facing. This way, I never got confused by which direction I was facing before. I really loved this small detail.

Another cool thing is that while Elizabeth travels with you everywhere, she stays out of your way. She won't get you stuck in a doorway by standing in front of you. If she does end up in front of you at some point, as soon as you think "get the f*** out of my way" she's already moving. It's kind of funny, and definitely cool.

A noticeable bad thing was having to run back and forth in the same level repeatedly. That always just drives me nuts. While I do appreciate being able to experience the glory of these beautiful levels, I just don't like running back and forth for tedious tasks that don't really add anything to the gameplay or the story. This doesn't happen often though.

Another thing I was annoyed by were parts in the game where you open a tear in the fabric of time and space or whatever. Elizabeth would keep saying "If we go through this, I don't think we can come back" as if you had a choice. You don't, you need to go through in order to progress through the game. I suppose it's a reminder to go loot up whatever treasures you want before moving on. I just thought it was a little silly.

Story

The story is really cool, but it did not drive me through the game. I thought that was pretty disappointing. I was bored through most of it. There's a mystery behind what your actual goal is, maybe too much mystery. You're trying to save a girl that you apparently already handed over to some bad dudes as a means to clear a debt. A very interesting aspect of the story is dealing with alternate time-lines, but it never really fully develops. The whole point of the story is to be unknown until the end. But that's why I was bored by it.

Over-hyped

With how much hype there is over the game I was definitely expecting more and I think that kind of ruined my overall experience. I was expecting the game to be amazing throughout its entirety, but instead it was pretty generic. Kill bad guys over and over with awesome extreme violence.

Much like Halo, by the time I played it I couldn't believe people were acting like it was the best game ever. It always makes me sad because it really does have an affect on how you experience a game. Expecting it to be as amazing as everyone says it is, then finding out the only thing that sets it apart from other games like it is the scenery. Please, stop this over-hyping madness!

Final Thoughts

I wouldn't have cared about the game if it wasn't for Elizabeth. I probably would have been even more bored if she wasn't at my side adding in her thoughts on what was happening, and her self discovery as you learn her story. Not that the game isn't super cool or anything, I just didn't have anything to care about for a very long time besides Elizabeth. Most of the game was just killing bad guys. Why this matters to me is because the grander scheme had a really great story, it just wasn't told. You have the basic idea but you never know anything until the end of the game.

Totally Worth It

I'll tell you this though. If I was a rich gamer, I'd pay $60 just to have experienced the ending of this game. The finale was a decent duration (I believe at least an hour long) and it blew my mind. Mind you, I did not go reading spoilers and reviews for the game. I had read maybe tiny pieces on it, mostly just opinions, and seen some screenshots. I played this game with a completely fresh look that was only ruined by hype. I hope you can do the same. If anything was spoiled for you, you might be even more disappointed than I was.

The worst thing that stood out the most to me is that there is no New Game Plus. I mean seriously? Come on! Bastuds.

"City at the bottom of the ocean? pfft Ridiculous." -Booker








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This Is Not About How Or Why Graphics Make A Game Better


I'm An Artist

I am a "graphics whore." I think that may be partly due to the fact that I spent many years as an artist. I loved to draw, rarely still do, but for years now I spend more time playing video games than I do drawing. And when I did draw, I would copy stuff, not trace, but copy. So I don't have enough motivation to draw my own stuff because my own stuff is quite horrible. I notice the finer details, I love them, I appreciate them, and I want more finer details. It's like the first time I ever finally learned how to add shadows to my drawings, that small extra detail made such a vast improvement.

A problem I run into because of my love for the finer details is that I simply cannot afford a PC to get the best out of it, dangit! But I will push my PC to get everything I can out of it even if I have to run at lower frame-rates, which is actually pretty normal for me. =p

If you're curious about why I'm talking about PC and not consoles, it's simply due to playing more often on my PC lately than my consoles, that is all. A huge reason for that is the price of games. If you want, you can read more on what I think about the price of games and my buying habits here: http://www.destructoid.com/blogs/Germaximus/being-a-cheap-gamer-new-game-sales-not-used--255082.phtml Graphics still matter to me even on consoles. =p

Why I'm A Graphics Whore

The main reason to being a graphics whore, I believe, is just simply due to the evolution of video games. I started with Atari, moved to nintendo, genesis, super nintendo, sega cd, skipped over a few consoles that my mom couldn't afford to keep up with. I did play every single system, if I didn't have it, my friends did, and being the little greedy gamer that I am, I played everything I could get my hands on. I had played the Turbo GFX16? I think that's what the name was. Out of all my friends and all the people I ever heard about, one single kid had the Neo Geo. lol Man that thing was expensive. Who remembers the CD-I? I wanted that just for the Zelda game! Never did play it tho. I think that was probably the one system I never actually touched.

I Agree, Graphics Do Not "Make A Game"

So, back to the whole "graphics whore" thing. Since I've played all these old games and been through all the advancements of video games through the years, I care about graphics. Do I think graphics "make a game?" Of course not, but that's far from the same thing as if they matter or not. They do matter. They might not matter to someone who's just started gaming and doesn't actually see the difference because they haven't spent the time going through all the stages of video games evolution. But to someone like me, they very well matter.

I enjoy games like Hotline Miami and They Bleed Pixels and those graphics look old to me, I do consider them "bad" compared to today's standards of course, I think it's silly not to. It's like going back to the Nintendo. Some people are into that, I am not, I've already been there. If I'm in the mood to "go retro" and play some of my favorite classic games, then I'm going to play my favorite classic games. I'm not going to look at a game made in the 2000's that looks like something I played twenty-plus years ago and be like "oh wow!" That does not mean I don't enjoy them. However, they certainly won't be at the top of my play list. This does not mean I think it's a bad game, I cannot re-iterate that enough.

I'll use Renegade Ops as an example. This is a top down view where you drive a car and blow stuff up. Real simple, this is a classic style game, this is stuff we played on our Nintendo's and Genesis's. The graphics are today's though, they are absolutely gorgeous. If I'm going to have a choice between a beautiful game of today and a game that looks like something I played twenty years ago, there's simply no competition. I'll likely ignore the game with graphics like that. Not because it's bad, but simply because I have hundreds of better looking games I'll enjoy just as much and probably more-so.

"Graphics Don't Matter"

When gamers say "graphics don't matter," not only can I not help and think to myself "a real gamer would not say that" (while I know some people think the opposite) but it's also an insult to the game designers and artists. These people are artists, they whip up these incredible gorgeous looking games and then you want to say "graphics don't matter?" lol I'll be honest here, every single time I see anybody with an opinion of that, they're opinion is meaningless to me and I simply don't care what else they have to say.

I don't mean to be rude tho. It's along the same lines if someone doesn't like a game that I really, truly enjoy, then their opinion means nothing to me. Am I going to listen to someone's recommendation of a game right after they just completely trashed a game I love and called me an idiot for loving it? lol No. But that's where I seem to be different from so many gamers. I just love almost every game I play. So that seems to be a problem when I'm dealing with the gaming community. If you're interested, here's more detail on my general passion for video games: http://www.destructoid.com/blogs/Germaximus/my-deep-passion-for-video-games-255712.phtml

Impressive Indie Games

Here's a list of Indie games that show me these designers and developers really put their heart and soul into the games and obviously far more time and effort than someone that put together a game that looks like it belongs on the Atari. Or they simply have more experience and it shows. Please don't get me wrong, I don't mean to say that games with "bad" graphics are made by people that don't care. To me, those are people that are testing themselves and getting into the line of work. Keep it up guys, you freakin rock! This is my opinion, I'm not offering it up as fact.

In alphabetical order, these all stand out to me:

Afterfall
Alan Wake
Anomaly 1 & 2
Bastion
Deadlight
Dear Esther
Dreadout
Dreamkiller
Forge
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams
Kung Fu Strike: The Warrior's Rise
Limbo
Mark of the Ninja
Orcs Must Die 1 & 2
Sanctum 1 & 2
Shad'O
Shank 1 & 2
Sine Mora
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing
Trine 1 & 2
The Showdown Effect
The Swapper
Whispered World (not my kind of game but beautiful graphics and art)
Zeno Clash

That's not counting the one's I probably forgot (these are off the top of my head) or haven't discovered, and also ignoring Free2Play games.

Graphic's Options?

I don't know any technical specifics. When I talk about graphics for video games I'm not talking about SA, AA, PhysX or whatever that stuff is... I don't even know what any of that means. I just hope my computer will pull it off. I am interested in learning the technical stuff but then when I try to it's just so boring!

Basically good graphics to me is this, "ooh shiny!" But I definitely notice the details, the small intricate details that show off the beauty of these illusions and dreams, these creations. The way sunlight beams down through tree's, glimmering deep colors that splash... I see it all. I often talk to other gamers that continue to insist that they don't need those extra details and this is why "graphics don't matter." Not for me. They do matter and I truly appreciate the work that the designers and artists put into these games.

An Example of Immersion

As I've said, I don't know the technical stuff. I don't study the science of games, I just love playing them. Another argument for "graphics matter" is one I do come across from other gamers. They seem to be in the vocal minority, makes me laugh. The argument is immersion. You are dang right, my friends. Of course, you don't need high end graphics to be immersed into a game. You certainly won't be immersed into a game on graphics alone. Story is a huge deal, but not only that, music and sound effects. 

Battlefield 3: I'm not a huge fan of shooting games, I love them just like I love others but they're not on the top of my list of favorites as far as genres go. Some of them stand out, and this is one of them. The graphics and music of Battlefield 3 had me fully immersed, and I give a lot of credit to that musical score. It was beautiful, soft yet hard, and put me in the freakin mood! And the graphics are gorgeous! The story wasn't super great, but I did like it enough. 

I completed this game around at least four months ago if not longer and I can still picture my first time on the aircraft carrier in the game. I didn't realize I was on one cuz I think I was distracted by something else in real life at that point in the game. Walking along talking to my superior or whoever, getting my orders, getting to the door and it opening into the top deck of the carrier. The sunlight, the surrounding battleships, jets taking off and flying by. The wind, the epic music along with that wind. Climbing into my jet, checking my flaps, taking off. I was freakin nervous man. I seriously got nervous. I don't know if I'll ever forget that experience, it was incredible. Would I have been immersed just as much in an older looking game? Maybe, as long as the music and sound effects were just as good and the way the game took me through all these actions still happened, but the graphics sure do help make it an even more incredible experience.

And as I've said before, if I have a choice between a game that has worse graphics or better graphics but offers the same experience, there's no competition, graphics win. I'll still play them both tho. =)

If Graphics Didn't Matter...

Even the developers wouldn't bother improving them. I mean come on now. Over all these years of playing video games if graphics didn't matter they wouldn't have gone through this amazing evolution over time. This is art, and its beautiful. I wish you would appreciate it more. 

Game on! =)
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I was a couple of minutes late to the live stream. The reason I watched it is because this is a game I simply don't mind spoilers for. I hate spoilers! Even the small ones, for most games that is. Shooters? I'm usually ok with spoilers, especially when it's one that's part of a very long series of familiar games.

Shooting Underwater!

So I jump into the stream and what's the first thing I see? Swimming underwater. Even I was like "How many times are we going to see this opening?" They're really cool but I mean come on.
But then bullets started flying! Or swimming? Ok, it's not super unique or anything but that was damn cool! Definitely better than just watching your character in a scuba suit start underwater and come out of it as an opening scene.
Actual interaction while under water? Nice! Thank you! A lot of the underwater scenes were so incredibly gorgeous that I can't help but think a lot of them were cinematics but the in-game scenes that were shown were beautiful. 



Riley, The Dog

I don't really care about the dog too much but I do think it'll be a cool element. I'm not quite sure if you actually take control of the dog but that's what it looked like. I do think it's silly to take control of the dog, cool gameplay aspect, but then he might as well just be a drone. I did think it was cool that the dogs barks will pull enemies out of hiding to investigate or distract them.

The dogs name is now confirmed to be Riley. Congrats to the winner of that guessing contest! What was really cool was to see Riley bursting through a door attached to enemies.



The City At Night

I loved the skyscraper scenes, just gorgeous. Nothing new with the whole bursting through window action but it was definitely pretty and still totally badass. I loved the part where the building is tearing apart and falling over and the Ghosts (I assume) are sliding down the inside of it and then out! Again, nothing original but still super cool. I wish I was able to snag more screenshots of the scenes.



It Looks Cool

I'm not a super major fan and follower of the series or anything but I enjoy all video games. I really liked the campaign for Black Ops and Modern Warfare 3 had some pretty epic scenes but the story wasn't as good as Black Ops to me. The multiplayer is fantastic of course. The graphics are looking pretty impressive. I really love the lighting effects. =)

These are my own screenshots that I took during the live stream. =)
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This is another PvP game with action combat. It will be free to play and is currently in Beta for Europe but also playable from the U.S. I was hoping there would be more games like this after playing Archeblade and Forge. As I suspected they seem to be "coming out of the woodwork" now. =p

I've only played for about an hour and a half so far but I liked the game so much I wanted to recommend at least trying it and telling you how it plays out and such.

The first thing I noticed was the graphics.

They are really freakin impressive for a free to play title. I mean they're seriously "AAA" quality in my opinion. It's beautiful.

The combat is very simplistic which makes it fun and easy to jump into.

Your left mouse button is your basic and very low damage attack. The right button performs a strong attack which is slow and requires Energy to perform. Energy regens over time and is also drained while sprinting. Then you have special abilities you can use on the 1-0 buttons.
Health potions, mana potions and energy potions are on the F1, F2, F3 keys.

I played the Sapper class to start off, it just sounded neat. He can teleport, lay traps, put up a totem that buffs your teammates within its radius. The thing is if you want to lay down a totem you can't lay traps so it's based on your playstyle and what you want to use at the time. To start off I'm leveling up my trap ability. Oh did I forget to mention you can level up your skills and make them more powerful? =p
You can also upgrade your weapons and armor through the Forge system which is similar to crafting in your typical MMORPG's but more simplistic. Although, I haven't put a single second of time into the Forge so that's just the impression i got from the tutorial.

The combat is chaotic! which to me is a ton of fun. Being chaotic as it is would normally make it very hard to tell your enemies from your allies but these guys did something really cool to make it pretty obvious and helpful. The enemies have a flag behind their backs, your allies do not. It works very well and while the screen can still get very messy from so many players kickin butt all over it, I found it very easy to tell where I was and who I was attacking.

The maps I played so far were all objective based.

I was happy about this because my favorite mode in mulitplayer games are where you capture and hold bases or flags and such. So of course the issue here will be if you're on a team of players that are just simply running around trying to get kills and not helping you actually win the game. The game is very much focused on the objective itself and working together to hold that point and kill your enemies! Basically you wont miss out on any awesome fun PvP action if you play the game properly which is go for the capture point. I mean the whole system is set up to bring all players into one spot for all out warfare.

The scoreboard at the end of the game only shows how much XP each player got.

I thought that was a little strange. I expected to see kills and deaths and such. Hopefully they'll add a bit more statistics to the scoreboard. When I first saw that my initial reaction was "I'd like to see how I actually contributed." But then you get another screen after the game is over and you exit the scoreboard showing you your own personal stats: how much damage you did, how many kills you got, how many times you died, and how much damage you took. It's pretty neat.

There are several classes to choose from and they all seemed interesting but I haven't played them yet. I read a few of their descriptions and it looked like there was a lot of variety in their styles, pretty neat.

If you're in Europe or America go sign up and I believe you get instant access just for signing up to the beta right now.
Main site/sign up at http://www.panzar.com/
Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/PanzarEU?fref=ts

I wouldn't have made this long post about it if I wasn't impressed. This game rocks!
For a beta I didn't even encounter any bugs yet after playing 3 different maps, the controls were solid, the game is just really damn polished up.
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"That Game Sucks"

I often end up in arguments with people over video games. Mostly over whether or not they "suck." This is something I find myself getting into more often than I'd like. I didn't realize what was happening, I never understood why I kept finding myself in this predicament, why everyone wanted to argue with me or of course vice versa.

I know I'm a stubborn person, or can be anyways, but I was still very confused. After years and years of this kind of interaction with fellow gamers I think I've finally come to a small understanding, I hope so anyways.

Self Discovery?

My problem is I love video games. lol It's silly but that's what it is. I don't just play a game and immediately hate it. And if I do, that is an incredibly rare occasion. Of course there are things I might not like about a game. Maybe the controls are bad, maybe the graphics aren't as impressive as I think they should be, maybe a level was tedious and boring, maybe the story is bland. There are many things I might not like about a game, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying it for the good things it has and loving it for it.

Fanboy

I can't even tell you how many times I've been accused of being a "fanboy" just for saying how much I enjoy a game, a console, or a service. What makes me laugh every time is that often it's coming from the same people who know that I say "I love this game" to almost every game they mention. Yet the only time they insist on calling me a "fanboy" is when it's about something they don't like in particular.

Yes, I am indeed a fanboy. I'm a fan of everything involving the video game world. Some things I like less than others, that's usually all it is. Some games I have absolutely no interest in, not because it sucks, I just simply have no interest in it at the time. My preferred game tastes do change from time to time. That doesn't mean I always refrain from saying "that sucks." lol It does happen sometimes. Usually if I say "that sucks," I'll tend to follow it up with "compared to..."

I enjoy puzzle games and social games but those are the last types of games I will ever play, and I mean dead last. I won't play those unless I'm incredibly bored, have absolutely no way to access a different type of game or possibly see one that looks a little bit more interesting and I'll give it a chance. Or maybe on another rare occasion if a good friend I haven't seen or talked to in a long time wants to play. And possibly an even rarer occasion of actually being in the mood. =p

The Casual Gamer

That said, I do not consider puzzle games and social games "real" games. These are casual pastimes. People seem to get offended when I or other gamers make this kind of reference. I'm not attempting to insult you if casual games are your thing. That is wonderful! That doesn't make you a "gamer" in my eyes. A gamer isn't somebody that only plays Farmville or Angry Birds, I'm sorry. Now, if you play games like Uncharted, Tomb Raider, and then Farmville, I will consider you a gamer. =p I do not mean this as an insult. Of course, that is just how I see it.

Already Done Before: So What?

This is something that never bothers me. People are always insisting on "innovation" which is practically impossible. They complain about sequels being "more of the same." I do not understand this. Of course its more of the same, it's what we loved about it in the first place. It's a sequel, do people really expect a hack and slash game to turn into a first-person shooter or something? There's nothing wrong with hybrids of course.

Every time I see gamers making ridiculous demands, they almost never offer up suggestions and if they do, they're usually absolutely terrible and the developer might as well make a completely different game. I'm often shocked when I see a public suggestion that's actually decent.

I don't mind that sequels are similar to the previous games. That's why I like them, new story, almost always improved graphics, some new elements, upgraded UI's and controls, I mean that's what it's all about. It's not the same game. I can't tell you how mad I get when people say "it's more of the same." Gameplay yes, but the story is completely new and usually offers more insight into the characters, a continued story that we wanted anyways because we didn't want the game to end. I mean it completely confuses me how weird gamers can be. Demanding things that make no sense and crying if they do get exactly what they asked for.

I am not saying I don't like innovation. I also don't blame gamers for wanting it. I just think they are often unrealistic in their demands.
Multiple games in the same genre too similar? I can understand that complaint. I just enjoy them for the new characters and different takes on the story and of course different or better graphics style.

It's Time To Try And Turn My Hobby Into My Dream Life

After finally deciding to follow many of my friends advice over many years, I've already started writing what I think about my experiences while having played particular video games. It's way more fun than I had expected. I'm a "noob" but I can already tell I've gotten better. Thanks to some game sites (like GameSkinny) editors and my sister I've gotten tons of advice and help on how to write better. I look forward to learning more and getting better. Now that I've started I have absolutely no intention of stopping. Video games have been my life, and I can finally try and give a little bit back even if it's only in the form of more detailed feedback than "this game rocks!" =)

I read an article that made me realize me how bias I am. It's not on purpose ok? lol I promise when and if I give a score rating I will try to be more impartial to a fair score. That may take me awhile though, and many more practice runs before I finally have a better idea on how to score a game more reasonably. That being said, I like saying how I feel about a game. I don't care if others won't give a game a 10 when I will, it's my 10, not theirs. =p

I hope you enjoy my "reviews" and if you find the time please comment! Please give me feedback!

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