All About weedman1985
Activision ****ing me right in the anus so many years after I bought MW1 from them. You must be wondering what happened, so here is the story:
I bought MW1 almost on the first week when it was launched here in my country. I played the hell out of that game back then - possibly for a whole year before tucking it away. Ever since that day, it's been sitting in it's case for what could be the around 4 years, undisturbed and inside my desk drawer - safe from the elements which could potentially harm the game. Just a week ago, I decided to replay the game for the sake of old times. After all, I love shooters and while MW1 isn't the greatest game of all time, it's still nowhere near as awful as all the other ones and to be honest, it was fairly innovative and interesting for it's time. Even the story was well written, which is shocking.
Anyway, after I inserted the cd into my drive it refused to read it. It strained so much trying to read it, that it started making some really loud noises so I pulled it out in case it might explode or something. A few dry flannel cleans later, it still doesn't work. Now I'm ****ing pissed off. So I try it on my second PC and lo and behold - it doesn't ****ing work. I check for scratches or cracks on the CD - it's in god damn mint condition. And why wouldn't it be? I always take really good care of my games. I never leave them out in the open for too long and I always put them in their respective jewel cases. No bloody plastic sleeves for my CDs, oh no!
**** it, I thought to myself. Third time is the charm. I bet my laptop can run it. After all, it's fairly new in comparison to my other PCs. So I pop it in and guess what? it doesn't ****ing work. At this point I was about to blow a gasket from all the rage that accumulated inside me. How ****ing dare this CD not work after only 5 years after production. I got original CDs from the god damn stone age that still ****ing work. In fact, the only ones that don't work are not the original CDs. They are just backup disks I have of old games that got lost or ruined by other people to whom I was stupid enough to lend them. My 1996 copy of Diablo still god damn works, for god's sake.
This is ****ed beyond belief. It's only been five years, what the hell happened? it's not like I was playing Frisbee with it. It sat in an almost sterile environment and yet somehow, Activision had managed to deprive me of my game. But here comes the real kick in the balls:
Usually, when you a buy a game that's also supported on Steam, you have the option of registering it on the service and then simply downloading the game from Valve's servers. It's convenient in case you might lose your CD or in case you travel a lot and don't want to carry a large packet of them. It's convenient and reliable, and you only need to find a wifi connection to download the game on any PC and start playing it. The only problem is that you can't register MW1 on Steam because **** you, that's why. Oh, but you can register MW2 and so forth... but not the first one. My guess is that Activision either couldn't be bothered to come to an agreement with Valve or maybe it's because they KNEW THAT THE CDs THEY BURNED THE GAME ON WERE ****ING DOG **** SUCKING, so why miss an opportunity to sell the game again to the same people after their CDs inevitably break? ****ING ARSEHOLES.
So now I'm stuck with a useless cd that sits there on my desk, taunting me like the corpse of my favorite dog. I'd like to break that cd to pieces and shove them up the ass of whoever thought this was a good idea.
And they wonder why some of us turn to piracy. Well, guess what? I paid for that game and now I can't ****ing play it. Time to go download it from a torrent website or something. I don't endorse piracy, but in this case I think I have the right to claim my game back. God knows Activision wouldn't ****ing fix it for me.
It's that time of year again, when the shitty games flood the market like a tidal wave of ... shit. And what better way of celebrating is there other than talking about what could possibly be the most overlooked game of all time!?
It is most assuredly not because games these days are increasingly difficult to review to the point of either "I fall asleep on my laptop and managed to fry the circuitry by drooling all over the keyboard", or so incredibly poorly made it's just depressing, like watching a quadruple amputee try to commit suicide.
It's none of those reasons, obviously.
Incidentally, I want to talk about a game I actually liked, like Clive Barker's Undying, for instance.
Undying came out in a weird time when games were still slowly transitioning to consoles, so the process of making this game wasn't without it's problems, most of which originated from their publisher - EA. I remember reading an article quite a long time ago, about how EA was trying to put a damper on every creative idea Clive Barker had for the game. Although unlike every other game published by EA, this time the reins of power were in the hands of Clive Barker and thus every bad idea that came from EA was immediately shot down, which I presume, didn't go down well with the publisher. For example, the main hero was supposed to be called Count Magnus Wolfram, who possess super human strength and powers. Clive Barker shot down the idea and instead we got Patrick Galloway - A seemingly ordinary (Irish)man with a mysterious past - a much more down to earth and therefore infinitely more relatable character than Magnus would ever hope to be. The ultimate irony behind the making of Undying is that it's one of the very few games that was not meddled too much by EA, and as a result, it ended up being exceptionally good.
In fact, Undying is considered by many as a classic and for good reason, too. It had a few things that most games would not dare to do these days. One of which was the fact that the main character is a normal human being, just like you and me. He has no heroic qualities and no super powers to speak of. At least not at the start. In a way, he is just like James Sunderland - A clueless berk caught by forces much greater than himself, often put in dire situations and witnesses supernatural events that are outside of his comprehension. Yet despite fear for his life, he proceeds in his investigation because he is bound by his loyalty to his friend, which already makes him an infinitely more likeable character than all modern protagonists combined. The same protagonists to which moldy cheese would seem more charismatic and appealing, in comparison.
In addition, Undying is full of documentation and lore about nearly every item in the game. It's origin, properties and usage are all documented with great attention to detail. The characters are all fleshed out with tons of back story that is sadly mostly told by the medium of written documents you find throughout the game, but It's never a chore to read mainly due to the fact that it's very well written, thanks in no small part to Clive Barker himself. The documentation reminds me a lot of the original Alone In The Dark, which often contained books with various tangently related short stories and insights on the origins of the monstrosities you see in the game. They were often written by hand and had torn/worn out pages that further convinced the player of how ancient the evil he is faced with. The aesthetic design really accentuates the horror atmosphere and the way these documents are written will often send chills down my spine when trying to imagine the horrid events that were described in them. Undying takes inspiration from AITD right down to the bone marrow, by which I mean it "blatantly rips off without shame", but it's so well done that I can't help but applaud them for doing so.
As for the gameplay - It's straight old-school first person shooting with the added spell casting flavor. The game offers a wide variety of magical spells, both offensive and defensive, as well as the ability to upgrade and enhance their effects throughout the game. In fact, there is a wealth of usable items rarely seen in any video game, let alone an FPS. The most important part though, is that this game came out way before the Halo generation truly took off, so there is no sign of QTEs, regenerating health, cover mechanics, limitations on weapon slots, shitty support characters and every other thing that's crow-barred into games to make them even remotely playable on consoles, this also includes no save functions and a "piss easy" gameplay mode active by default, which is a good thing for anyone looking for a challenge.
As if this isn't enough, the atmosphere is superb and the pacing is great for the possible exception of the last sequence in the game, where it soils itself a little. For the rest of it however, the game maintains a steady horror inducing presence that will make even the bravest men quake in fear of what is to come. Considering the game doesn't contain too much blood and gore, it manages to convey a constant sense of dread by forcing the player to tread through dark corridors, dungeons and ruins infested with all manner of horrible creatures that can literally spawn out of nowhere, often unexpectedly and sometimes infinitely until the player triggers some sort of event, although surprisingly, none of it feels like arbitrary gameplay padding. And while the game is fairly short for it's time, which roughly clocks at about 10-12 hours (as opposed to the 5 to 6 hour standard nowadays), it doesn't feel short at all. It's punctuated by the fact that you will be visiting many varied and interesting places, so the frequent change of scenery ensures that you will not be bored at any stage in the game.
Were this a normal FPS, I would have stopped my blog right here. After all, aside from the combination of spell casting and shooting guns, it doesn't differ so much from a normal old school FPS. Mind you, It's a pretty damn excellent game, but the real stand out feature here is the Scrying spell, which is something I have never seen in a game before this one. When activated, your vision becomes brighter while your eyes are able to witness past events as they've transpired many centuries ago. This feature is useful since not only does it provide some interesting back story at times, but also because it is a key element in solving certain puzzles in the game. In addition, it pulls double duty as a truth revealing tool, often uncovering things that are otherwise hidden to the naked eye. It's up to the player to decide when to use it though, as the whispers from the past don't always tell you where the secrets lie. And yes, the game has ghosts that sometimes whisper in your ears, in case you thought the game wasn't creepy enough.
I'll be honest: when I first played Undying, I really wanted to hate it. The scrying spell felt like a blatant gimmick to me, while the story was a bit too familiar at first. The cheap scares at the very beginning didn't do much to further my satisfaction, either. Though the more I played, the more I realized that there is something greater here than just bells and whistles. In the end, I simply could not find it in myself to hate it. It's superb production quality and wonderful pacing, superb storytelling, thick horror inducing atmosphere and Patrick's sexy Irish accent (not gay), had won me over rather quickly. And what little criticism it gets is immediately thrown away for the simple fact that I know only of one other game that managed to blend horror and first person shooting together so well.
Some refer to Undying as the unofficial sequel to heretic (bonus points for anyone who knows what that is), since Heretic 2 was a load of arse biscuits. I personally don't see it that way, but whatever it was, suffice to say that Undying is one for the history books, although sadly the sales figures begged to differ. Presumably, the game was a massive commercial failure because EA "forgot" to advertise it, as they do to most niche games they publish. It's a damn shame that no one actually played this game, although thanks to GOG.com you can set your mind at ease, because it has recently been added to their catalogue. If you're already considering picking it up, then I recommend setting the game on a slightly higher difficulty than the one you can handle, if you want a true survival horror experience. Though keep in mind that the highest difficulty is pretty unforgiving, especially towards the end of the game.
The media buzz around Bioshock Infinite is quite astonishing of late. The industry has been dancing around the game like the last source of heat on a planet engulfed in a nuclear winter, prompting me to delay my usual plans for the sake of un-hyping the population (or at least the good folks who read this blog) before the damage becomes too extensive. In other words, will try to provide a significantly more critical approach towards the game because it seems like I'm the only person on earth who thought that it wasn't very good.
This is most assuredly not a review, since I'm only about half way through the game, but I've done enough research to reach a conclusion in regards to the game's mechanics. I will not be talking much about the story due to the fact that I haven't experienced much of it.
Some might ask why am I doing this now, instead of finishing the game first? the simple answer is this - I will probably not be coming back to it, ever again. Here is why:
One major bugbear of mine is the combat. I always said that for a shooter to be fun, the gunplay must feel satisfying, i.e the sounds should be indicative of the weapon's nature. The hunting rifle should make a deafening sound and kick like a mule, for instance, while an electric zapper gun should bloody sound like the god of thunder just slammed his car door, and produce roughly the same particle effect. Sadly, this notion has completely fallen out of the game industry somewhere in the transition between fun fast paced FPS, to boring slow paced run-of-the-mill military shooter parade you see today, and with it any semblance of variety between guns or any decent sound effects, had evaporated as well.
Bioshock Infinite therefore completely fails to grasp what makes FPS fun by forcing the player to use your standard loadout of Pistol, shotgun, assault rifle.... you can sing along if you know the tune by now. One would expect that game that takes place in a fantastic sci-fi inspired world would make the effort of including at least one stand out gun. No such luck, I'm afraid. It's a huge step back even from the days of Bioshock which had a fair share of unique weapons.
But this isn't the worst part. The guns sound like ass and the real kick in the gut is the fact that there is only two weapon slots. Now, I know that the usual argument for two weapon slots is that it adds more strategy to the game - i.e it forces the player to choose the most effective weapon for the next encounter. This argument falls flat on it's face for a number of reasons - one is the fact that you can't possibly foresee which enemies you will be encountering next, rendeing it pointless. Secondly, any gun is suitable for pretty much any situation apart from very specific encounters which don't happen very often at all. And thirdly, the guns you get are the guns that happen to be laying around in the area and are the only ones you are allowed to use, breaking any strategic importance the two slot mechanic "supposedly" has like a god damn twix bar.
There are so many things that are wrong with the combat I feel like it will take me forever to recap them all in detail. The lack of bullet types, the lack of decent sound effect from guns, the lack of recoil, the boring particle effects, the slow cover based combat, no ability to carray extra medpacks or salts like you did in all other games... the list goes on and on.
But I think the biggest travesty is that it's no longer a horror game. Even going back to the days of System Shock, the series has always tried to maintain a persistent atmosphere of loneliness and despair. Not so in this game. One of the sole defining features of the series, along with the non-scripted encounters and expansive levels full of opportunities to explore, are gone forever, it would seem. And what a travesty it is. Also, I'm sad to report that 1999 mode doesn't fix any major problems with the game, aside from the challenge, which is still a bit on the easy side for shooter veterans like me.
I will say that on the plus side, the story is interesting and the banter between Elizabeth and Booker is endearing. However, just how well written the rest of the story is, depends on the viewer. I won't go into full detail about just how bloody stupid the setting behind the game is, or how many blatantly contrived sequences there are, but suffice to say that the only good thing about this mess so far is your support character - Elizabeth. Sadly, she feels like a missed opportunity, as she doesn't speak or do anything interesting outside of scripted events. Her sole purpose in combat is to presumably to break it, as she is the most helpful NPC support in the history of video games, to the point of insult. I would call this a bad move on Irrational's part, but since I'm convinced this entire game was a bad move on their part, I will simply conclude by saying that I had more fun watching re-runs of Top Gear, or to better phrase it - boring old games suddenly feel a lot more interesting in retrospect.
Alright, I didn't hate it that much. And I will commend them for at least trying. It's just that trying was sadly put into the wrong area, somehow. bioshock infinte smacks of a game that sacrificed a lot of its gameplay for the sake of the story, and that's one of my top ten "video game design deadly sins" you simply do not do. And even though the story might be mind blowing, it doesn't distract from the fact that you will be spending most of your time shooting the same boring guns while wondering where you've gone wrong with your life to deserve this.
What I'm desperately trying to strain like a kidney stone, is while series like Bioshock traversed all manner of human orifices, travelling through one company's digestive system to another, like a great big human centipede before finally getting poo'ed out of Irrational Games' butthole to the collective dinner plate of the industry and massive rounds of applause, truly sophisticated FPS like System Shock and Deus Ex will be pushed aside by the public for their various quirks and outdated graphics in favor of newer, shallow games, who's only remarkable feature is a great story, collectively forgetting that games with both great stories and great gameplay existed since time immemorial. It's just a shame that no one seems to remember them anymore.
My Recent Reviews
May 15, 2013 12:14 am GMTweedman1985 gave Silent Hill: Book of Memories a score of 2.5
May 13, 2013 11:35 pm GMTweedman1985 gave Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon a score of 7.0
May 12, 2013 1:15 pm GMTweedman1985 posted a new blog entry entitled You know what's Bullshit?
Apr 27, 2013 9:36 pm GMTweedman1985 gave Doom 3 BFG Edition a score of 5.0
Apr 26, 2013 3:36 am GMTweedman1985 began Following Zeno Clash II
Apr 21, 2013 8:05 pm GMTweedman1985 posted a new blog entry entitled Criminally Underrated Games Part One: Clive Barker's Undying
Apr 20, 2013 5:37 pm GMTweedman1985 reviewed The Graveyard and gave it a score of 1.0
Apr 18, 2013 2:16 am GMTweedman1985 gave Burnout Revenge a score of 10.0
Apr 14, 2013 10:48 pm GMTweedman1985 began Following Age of Wushu
Apr 9, 2013 7:27 pm GMTweedman1985 posted a new blog entry entitled On Bioshock Infinite