Red Faction: Guerrilla

With each post the time between them doubles. Huh.

I’ve got a treat in store for you!

I got this thing ages ago for 0.99€ for the same reason as I got F.E.A.R, even though I had completed the campaign. But goddamn, this game is just too amazing.

It’s a third person shooter with an open world, which is fully dynamic to the player’s actions, and not in the classic story-driven “choose __ or ___” style.

This is the 3rd installment in the Red Faction series (RF1, RF2, RF:G). I haven’t actually played the first two, so I can’t compare them.

Anyway, here’s the deal.

The Story

I can honestly say that the story in this game is the weakest feature. While it isn’t anything bad, it’s pretty forgettable. The protagonist, Alec Mason, is a demolitions expert who has come to Mars to make an honest living. His brother is already on Mars, but he has joined the local rebellion, the Red Faction, which fights against the occupying force known as the Earth Defence Force (EDF).

When Alec arrives, Dan shows him around and explains the situation. Shortly after, the EDF rain down upon them, Dan dies and Alec almost gets executed, but is saved by a Red Faction ambush. And from there on out, you do missions for the rebellion to liberate Mars.

I must also say that the “twist” in the story is… meh.

 

The Game

In short, it’s a third person shooter with cover mechanics. The AI is pretty decent, however mostly they end up killing you by outnumbering you, rather than with actual tactics, but that’s not always the case. I recommend playing the game on Hard/Insane for more satisfaction.

The arsenal of this game has a nice variety. You have 4 weapon slots, one of them is locked to your trusty sledgehammer. Everything else is a ranged weapon (one exception, the Marauder Gutter, which just looks fucking badass and brutal). They start with the classic pistol, the standard assault rifle and shotguns. However, it gradually builds up to more devastating stuff, like improvised rocket launchers and thermobaric rockets. Mid-game you also get a very fancy Nano Rifle, which is the best multi-purpose weapon there is.

1370049-rfg_2010_01_25_23_09_13_93
Just look at that. Nathan Explosion would be proud.

The enemies are pretty standard. You have the early game goons who are total pushovers, the more competent drones who are there for the whole game and end-game heavies who can withstand a few sledgehammer blows to the head. There are also the Marauders, who are basically the descendants of a lost martian colony. Much like Japan, they’ve gone weird living in isolation and are very xenophobic.

The Mechanics

This is where the game shines. Everything that isn’t terrain can be demolished. Everything.

It’s just so glorious. The EDF have a certain amount of control over each sector of Mars. To bring it down, you have to undo their buildings in the sector, and goddamn if that isn’t fun.

The Fun

Most of the time when I played, the following scenario plays out:

I’m just driving somewhere and, oh my, an EDF high-value building happens to catch my eye. I swiftly change my course and crash through a wall. The alarm sounds as every EDF goon in the sector is heading to end me. In the little time I have, I unleash the fury of my sledgehammer and demolition charges on anything EDF nearby. Soon the message “EDF Property Destroyed” displays and their influence decreases.

It’s just so, so fun and satisfying. I’ve played through the game about 4 times now, and it still hasn’t gotten old.

Back to the Mechanics

Everything else is pretty standard. The in-game currency is salvage, which you get by destroying EDF property or completing (side)missions. Every sector also has its own morale, the higher it is, the more help you get from your fellow rebels. You get more ammo from hidden ammo caches if the people believe in the cause, same goes for reinforcements.

You have the cover mechanics, which can be nullified by your sledgehammer or explosives. Your health is regenerative. There isn’t much else to say. I guess you also get a jetpack later on, which makes controlled demolitions a bit easier.

(Also, a quick tip : while bringing down bridges is amazing fun, it’ll bite you in the ass later when you have to take the loooong route. Trust me.)

The Environment

I quite like the sound design. The OST is also very spot-on.

Having this play in the background while gunning down EDF, dashing from cover to cover, all the while planting demolition charges on their buildings? Just makes it very… immersive.

I would love to share my opinion about the graphics and whatnot, but I’m afraid I can’t because I play it on low settings.

I dream of the day I get a proper rig.

Recap

A third-person shooter where you can blow everything to hell with improvised weaponry or be a man and wreck anyone and anything with your trusty sledgy.

Be careful not to go in a bloodlust driven frenzy, as the EDF will gun you down should you stay out of cover for too long.

I haven’t felt the game become repetitive, and I’ve played it through 4 times. It’s that good.

So, the question “Should I get it?”

If you like to undo massive buildings, YES. ABSOLUTELY.
Even if you don’t like destruction so much, it’s still a great game. Get it!

Until I find a game I can write about.

Advertisements

F.E.A.R

Hey, look, only a month between posts!

Here’s the stuff.

maxresdefault

The game, bundled with its two expansions (Extraction Point and Perseus Mandate) was on sale a while back. Being the sucker I am for somewhat older games which I’ve tried in the past but never finished, I got them.

Absolutely no regrets.

As the title F.E.A.R might have given away, it’s a horror FPS game. While I wasn’t exactly horrified, I was pretty tense during all the quiet segments and it did manage to make me flinch with its few jumpscares. However, the FPS aspect of the game is spot on and just glorious.

In the original game, you play as a part of the F.E.A.R (First Encounter Assault Recon) team, and a damn good one at that. You have reflexes like no other, allowing you to use slow-motion to help you during the numerous, non-horror firefights when you encounter baddies. You are sent to capture Paxton Fettel, a military test subject for a psychic commander, who has gone rogue. Soon after deployment, everything goes to hell as anomalous things start to happen around you and to your team.   That’s pretty much the story without spoiling anything.

Also he’s backed up by the girl.

The game

My favourite part of the game is the enemy AI. They can actually aim and instead of just blindly rushing your position, they take cover! (Pretty amazing, right? Looking at you, BF3 campaign.) Also, they know when to switch cover or when to flush you out with grenades. In short, the AI cooperates like an actual team and WILL make the players life hell.

There are a bunch of different weapons, starting from the standard pistol (which can be DUAL-WIELDED!), going to assault rifles to guns which shoot what seem to be railroad spikes (ouch) and finally, rocket launchers and plasma rifles (gotta love ’05).

I guess there are also the “heavies” who have bodyarmor which could probably withstand a few nuclear wars and robots which seem to be, for the first time in a video game played by me, designed to be able to soak in some damage and still exterminate anything in its path.

Now, that’s the “normal” enemies covered. But what’s a self-respecting horror title without ghosts or invisible enemies?

The invisible guys are what seem to be high-tech armor wielding martial arts masters who like to hide on walls (???) and dropkick your teeth in should you run into them unaware, not concerned about your precious jawbone.

Asconcept
Screw you and your dental plan.

And the ghosts who pop out of portals which appear from absolutely nowhere just fly at you, not giving the slightest damn about any walls in their way to spook you to death.

Oh, and the girl in the picture before?

She really likes to **** with your mind. Sometimes fatally so.

To the mechanics and whatnot.

The aforementioned heightened reflexes work as slow-motion. You can activate it at any time to slow the world down, giving you more time to make enemies helmets fly right off their heads and hear those who still have their protective headgear yell “HE’S TOO FAST” and other ego-boosting cries for help. However, it doesn’t last forever and needs to recharge, which takes quite a while. You can boost the duration of how long you can use the reflexes by finding the creatively named “Reflex-boosters” scattered among stages.

And like just about every game from that era, it has a traditional health bar meaning you’d better stack up on health kits or you’ll be kicking the bucket harder than the cloakers kick your face. This means you don’t have regenerative health. There are also boosters for your health bar, so, look for those.

Oh, let’s not forget the kevlar vests. While they kind of act like an extra health bar, it only soaks up some damage, softening the blow to your actual health and just maybe letting you live to be shot by another bloke.

And now, to the feeling.

So, as with every game, the soundtrack plays a vital role in what you experience during playing.

And goddamn if they didn’t know that.

While this isn’t anything intense, it really works to keep you on the edge of your seat, preparing for that damn girl or dropkick-fanatic to pop out of nowhere.

Just about every track in the OST is like the embedded one, just this creepy ambience. It isn’t anything so good I’d listen to it outside gameplay, but there it gets the job done well.

Now, the looks of the game do show their age, but let’s just imagine we’re back in ’05.

“Woha, this is mind-blowingly awesome!” I don’t hear you saying still.

The environment is dimly lit almost always,  a staple of the horror genre. Not much can be said for the aesthetics, as in my opinion, there isn’t much to comment on. It certainly isn’t bad or anything, but it doesn’t stand out either. The majority of the creeps are achieved thanks to the OST, not looks, anyway.

 

To recap, I’ll say that gameplay-wise this is damn well done. Smart enemies who can aim, take cover and force you out of cover, an actual challenge when playing on harder difficulties. The learning curve is good, weapons vary quite a bit and so do the enemies.

The stages have a plentiful enough variation, doesn’t feel very repetetive (although there’s alot of office-warfare, but that doesn’t bother me too much).

And the looks n’ all are okay, they get the job done, no more, no less.

I  guess it’s fairly scary.

“But Psüh,” I still don’t hear you asking “should I get this game and play through it and its expansions?”

If you don’t mind dated graphics, can handle a few jumpscares and like a good FPS game, abso-goddamn-lutely. While I haven’t mentioned the expansions, they’re pretty much extensions of the story (which is non-canon) with some more enemies and weapons.

Until I can muster enough concentration to write again.

 

 

Run With The Hunted

Album art

“… a meld of down-tempo electronica, Euro house, and alt/indie rock …”

After listening to Dan Avidan and Peter Lennox‘s new single “Firefly”, I figured I should give writing about music a try. The reason I’m picking the album “Run With The Hunted” is due to the aforementioned single and because, thus far, it is the only album I’ve found with every track feeling like it really belongs there. Too often when I find a song and give the album it’s from a listen, most feels… off.

Anyway.

The selling point for this album is Dan’s voice. It fits with the genre so goddamn well. It’s so smooth and soothing, and it has a kind of uniqueness to it. I can’t really put my finger on what it is, but no other artist I’ve listened to has this quirk to their voice. Every band or project he has been a part of, same story.

The instrumentals by Lennox are also just spot-on, always. Like I said in the beginning paragraph, usually every album has atleast a few songs where something feels a bit off or missing entirely. But not here, all thanks to Peter.

The stuff.

I’m picking this as an example simply because it’s my favourite of the bunch. When I said that every song of the album feels just right, then this one takes the cake. It’s hard for me to put into words, but the jolt of cold going down my spine when I first heard this, just … woha. I know that this whole time I’m sounding like a total fanboy, but just trust me. If you haven’t already, give the embed song a go.

Everything about it feels so natural, the keyboard, the beat, the voice. All of it. My personal favourite is when Dan simply goes ‘ooh’, it just feels so damn good on the ears.

So, as one could conclude after reading this, I love the album. I genuinely hope that the recently released single won’t be the last I hear of “serious-singing-Dan”, because, goddamn. Just listen to him.

Until I write again.

Bastion

So I’ll just start this blog off with my impression of a game.

I’m also going to keep this spoiler-free, so fret not.

Bastion

The picture in Steam store

So, first off, this is my first time playing an ARPG of this kind, meaning I had no idea what I was getting into. All I knew was that the game has received massive praise and has an even more loved soundtrack.

Thank goodness nobody spoiled the story for me.

The protagonists of the game are “The Stranger” aka Rucks, who acts as a narrator to everything that is happening and explains what is going on, sometimes in a cryptic manner, with a wicked good rough voice, and “The Kid”, who is the character you play as. I really love the fact they didn’t give a name to him. Kind of gives the same feeling like “Doom” did with having no name for the guy you play as, meaning it could be you. It makes the immersion to the story much greater.

The Kid wakes up, with the world being missing for the most part. As you move around, paths start to emerge, being built out of tiny bits of just about anything. It is fairly weird, but crazy cool still.

The initial mission is to gather things called “Cores” and use them to charge something called “The Bastion”, which is essentially a bunker built incase of an emergency, in this case, the Calamity. The calamity is an event which destroyed the world as the protagonists knew it, and they hope to undo it with the Bastion. I won’t write more about the story, because I really urge you, dear person who somehow stumbled upon my blog, to play this magnificent masterpiece of a game. Even if you don’t dig it, you can get a refund, right? (If you’re on Steam that is)

So now I get to the part which made this game so goddamn enjoyable for me. The soundtrack.

This is my favourite track right there. It’s so … good. The vocals, just pure pleasure for the ears. The instrumental, just … so enjoyable. And the time and place it is played just adds SO much to its magic, it’s just unexplainable. Chances are that you might not like it as much, but somehow this song just found a special place in my heart and entrenched there, refusing to leave.

That goes for just about every track in the OST aswell. They are presented at such perfect moments, they feel so natural there. I couldn’t imagine the game without them.

The gameplay is really fun aswell. It has an interesting combat system, full with a shield, melee and ranged weapons. I found it very pleasant, because there was always a new weapon with new mechanics introduced every few levels, making the combat always feel fresh. There are many possible combinations. (you get to pick 2 weapons to bring to a stage, plus a special abilty. You always have the shield.) It awesome getting to experiment with different weapons (A machete and a mortar? Yes please!).

If you’ve played through the game (or for any other reason), feel free to share your thoughts. I’d really like to see if everybody enjoys it so much, or if I’m just too easily impressed.

Until next time.