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9:13 PM on 11.20.2012

A Modest Proposal (To IO Interactive)

Hitman: Absolution was released today and I've been playing a shit ton of it (despite impending coursework deadlines). Despite the fact that I've been really enjoying it, I've noticed that it only feels like a successor to Blood Money in a few parts of the game; mainly the big open levels such as China Town.

The controls are decent, in my opinion, and it looks really good. The AI is a bit off, but no more so than previous iterations of the series. The fundamental problem with the game, is the stupid decision to abandon the level designs and mission structure of previous series entries. I know I'm repeating what many critics and actual players have said, but as a long time fan, I'm trying hard not to feel disappointed with what is a pretty good game.

Knowing full well that future paid DLC is pretty much a standard for all big releases in this day and age, my proposal is this:

Produce some missions where Agent 47 is working for the ICA murdering scumbags!

Even though it pains me to say it, this is the only way the game can fulfil some of its potential. The basics are there (other than the disguise system which needs an overhaul) for a great game, but I can not stress enough how the mission structure is bringing the experience down. There are flickers of brilliance in this game which can be replicated relatively easily by sticking to the known formula.

- Sandbox Level
- One or more targets for assassination
- A variety of creative ways to kill said target
- Freedom to discover these ways on your own

I appreciate IO trying to make the series more accessible to entice new comers to the series, but I can't see Hitman doing especially well outside of the existing player base this side of the Black Ops 2 release date.

If the game does get DLC, I'd much rather spend my money on something like this, rather than dismissing further suit packs like the ones available now.   read

12:05 PM on 05.25.2010

Hunter or Hunted?

Recently, I've been having problems playing Source based games on my computer. I have no idea why this has happened and how to remedy the situation. The whole problem has made me realise how much I actually want to play these games, mainly, The Ship. For those not familiar with the title, the premesis is you are on a cruisliner of some sort and are tasked with tracking down and killing another person on the ship. However, by the same merit, your character is being hunted by another player, unknow to you, and you have to do your best to avoid them while tracking your own quarry.

Playing the game made me think about the lack of games that put you in the shoes of the hunted as opposed the hunter. Now, some may argue that stealth games actually allow you this perspective. With games like Splinter Cell, none of the enemies try to find you until you start snapping the necks of their mates, effectively making them act out of self preservation and making you the hunter once again. The same goes for survival horror games, as more often that not, the enemies are just as disposable as the ones within a shooter, for instance. Games that pit you against hordes of enemies looking to kill you, also do meet this criteria as there is no sense of your character being without the means to defend themselves and easily slaughter a few hundred NPC's in the name of survival.

The whole point of being hunted is having the constant fear of death coming at any point and becoming paranoid because of it. These are emotions the ship brings to the player extremely well, especially for a predomiantly online game. I found myself constantly checking out every person within a room for odd behaviour that would indicate they were after me. These experiences were on par or even better than the satisfaction of tracking down and expertly executing my target.

To put it bluntly, I'm looking for a video game version of No Country For Old Men where you play from the perspective of Llewelyn Moss. You would move from place to place optional objectives that would aid you in avoiding or even fighting Anton Chigurh. However, what would make the game special would the constant uncertaintly and paranoia that accompanys being hunted by a very persistent hitman.

Of course this would be no easy task, especially since the tension and atmosphere need to be exceptional as well as needing gameplay to match. Despite this, it is a premesis I would like more games to utilise as it is a really interesting concept in my opinion.

If anyone can shed a light on the problem inolving games running the Source engine it would much appreciated. Basically, when I launch the game through Steam, the usual game launching window opens, and then closes. hl2.exe is not running within my processes either.   read

8:15 AM on 01.17.2010

Modern Warfare 2: My Love and Hate Affair

I bought Modern Warfare 2 on release day (although I didn't go to an opening like some people). I played the campaign for about five minutes, then the online until I realised I had to be up for college in 6 hours and finally went to bed. Without repeating what most other people think, it is amazing. The campaign has captivated me to the point that I made sure I completed it 100% and the online is everything I expected it to be with some extras, like being undercharged or getting the last potato at Sunday lunch. I loved this game, and was glad I didn't wait to get it. I still am, otherwise I'd be well and truly behind my friends online. Then Christmas rolled around, and I got a little game called Borderlands. I wasn't too fussed about it after playing it earlier that month, and left it idle for about a week while I continued to rank up on COD.

However, I came home from work on New Yearís day, still slightly hungover and a bit taken back that people actually came to the store despite the icy roads (I live in England and snow is a massive deal here, everything goes to shit), fired up the Xbox and it struck me. I didn't play Modern Warfare 2 for fun anymore. It was like having a second job that didn't pay, or some sort of addiction. I simply played to rank up, and it was a bit depressing, considering this was a game I truly enjoyed. I ignored my invites to my friendís game and ejected the disc. I put in Stories from Liberty City, which I had started, but then COD came out. As sad as this sounds, I felt like a new man. I stormed through the game, having so much fun as both Johnny Klebitz and Luis Lopez. And then it ended. Just like that.

I then played through Uncharted 2. I couldn't put it down. Its story mode was more captivating that anything Call of Duty could offer me. It was full of wit and charm, and reminded me of simpler times, before online play was something a game could fall back on. I found all of the treasures and completed the game on Crushing. I played the online a few times, but it seemed to lack a certain something the single player did. However, it too ended. And I filled that hole with Call of Duty. After an extended break from the game it became fun again. In Lobby banter with my friends and knowing that I had absolutely rinsed everyone on domination. However, once again it became stale.

Then, a game in its shiny sleeve, with its colourful and appealing cover art was sitting on my shelf almost calling out to me. I opened it up, downloaded my pre order bonus and I was away. Quite frankly Borderlands is the most satisfying title of last year (next to Batman of course) and I started to play it in 2010. Everything about it drew me in, being a big fan of games like Fallout 3 and Deus Ex. It was a breath of fresh air, when every game is now bland and generic; something I see happening to COD in the foreseeable future. After about 10 hours of play, before I'd even got halfway through the story mode, I took the plunge and purchased the DLC. Something I'd never done with any game before.

However, my enjoyment wasn't the only thing I'd lost to Modern Warfare 2. I lost my friends who used to play other games. A mate of mine had bought Borderlands when it came out, and was no way near the level I was at. I figured it'd be pretty good to play a bit of co-op and so I invited him to the game. I just got a message instead saying, "Play COD instead." Bearing in mind that he was a gamer of varied tastes and was more of a geek than I was this took me as quite a shock. Usually he'd be up for playing something that wasn't a shooter, and we used to play a lot of Street Fighter. I let it lie and just continued to sink hours into the game. When I went into college, all my mates were saying, "Why weren't you playing COD" and when I said I was playing something else, they looked at me like I was saying I'd killed someone. It was odd at best.

I appreciate where they're coming from in that COD is an amazing game, and I do play it again, but in small doses. However, it surprises me how addictive it actually is. Needless to say they've given up inviting me to game unless I'm actually playing it, and I've given up suggesting we play something else. Hopefully, they'll get bored by about August, or when they hit tenth prestige and start playing other games again.

Borderlands can only last so long though, and we all know what I'll be playing once it does end.   read

8:29 AM on 11.22.2009

Ban Nukes

Why, because I was hit by one today. Those wounds will never heal.

This is the definition of adding insult to injury   read

8:11 AM on 08.31.2009

Batman: Arkham Asylum Collectors Edition... what did you expect?

Theres been a lot of stigma recently regarding the quality of the assorted "crap" in the collectors edition of the new Batman game. In response I wanted to ask the community at large, 'why is this suddenly a big deal?'

Ever since developers realised that they could make money from creating a piss poor excuse for a bonus featurettes disc, or a flimsy plastic figurine (in this case the batarang), or a book full of concept art, they've been doing it; especially if the game is hyped enough and predicted to sell well. Batman: Arkham Asylum is just another classic example of trying to cash in on a games infamy before it's even been released. People still seem to be stuck in the notion that if a game is meant to be good, the quality of it's bonus items will match. And so we're stuck in this endless cycle of emptying our wallets further in the hope that this time, the collectors edition of a game will be have the a decent set of goodies.

Frankly, if Rocksteady's marketing crew thought the company could afford the time and money to make ceramic or metal Batarangs, or even better quality ones in time for release I'm sure they would have. But at the end of the day, the content for Collectors Editions are almost an afterthought. I'd be more annoyed if a company whipped up plans for a collectors edition straight away and then it affected the quality of the game. And at the end of the day, we're all paying for the game and the extra paraphenalia is a bonus and nothing more. I enjoy the novelty of collectors editions, but am always prepared to recieve a bit of crap. It's never going to be full to the brim of featurettes, or ultra detailed. On top of that, it's an optional extra, so if you don't want to risk it, don't bother making that purchase in the first place.

I'm from the UK, and while you got a leather bound journal in your collectors edition, we got a poorly made paper version that look likes it will fall apart after a few reads. Hell, our box wasn't even as impressive as the American version. So if any of you need comforting about the fact you wasted your money on a piece of crap, you can seek consolation in the fact that us Brits got a crapper version of that crap.   read

3:54 PM on 07.15.2009

Why I Can Now Never Replay Fallout 1 and 2

Now, I love both of those games. They give me a warm sticky feeling , like when I'm playing with my d... Well, not in that way, because that's just weird, but I basically like them, a lot. There was nothing more satisfying than pottering about, the west coast putting making super mutants wish they hadn't got out of their oversized bed that morning, all while seeing the top of my little vault dwellers head.

However, all that changed when I played Fallout 3 last october. As soon as I stepped outside the vault, I realised that I was going to town (specifically Megaton) on a huge new world in proper 3D, in first person. I realised that, while fallout let you make your character and then do whatever the chunk you wanted (sort of), I still felt detached from him. These characters were meant to be you to a certain extent, but yet, looking at the my little blue jumpsuited man, I was just looking down at him, watching his every move. I didn't feel like I was that little man with his flamer. In Fallout 3, I was the Lone Wanderer, I was seeing the capital wasteland through his eyes (except in VATS). I think it was the best thing Bethesda could've done with the much loved franchise. There is so much to see in the Capital Wasteland and I wasn't restricted to only seeing them from a birds eye view. If this badboy was located in California, I would never have seen it.


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