The First Hours of The Wolf Among Us Episode 1 – Faith

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Now there is a funny title, the first hours of a game that is 2 hours long…

Responsible for last year’s The Walking Dead videogame (the good one) TellTale has brought us a game in the same vein as the acclaimed zombie title but this time the subject at hand is completely different.

Based on  Bill Willingham’s Fables comic book series, you play as Bigby, the big bad wolf from the old fairy tales and you are the sheriff of a small town where all the fables live. You’ll encounter snow white, the beauty and the beast and a few more well known characters in your quest to find a serial killer; that is the basic arc of your story.

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Where the game shines though is in its gameplay, its just like The Walking Dead game where you’ll spend most of your time choosing dialogue and searching the scenery for clues and things to click on (an allusion to the old adventure games). While simple, dialogue is masterfully presented along with great voice acting  that trully makes characters feel real and alive.

Just because you’ll be dealing with fables, do not presume this is a game for children as it touches on strong themes such as prostitution and foul language, making it a mature game and setting meant to be enjoyed by adults.

The visuals are also very appealing as they maintained the cell shaded feel of The Walking Dead game but also added a comic book touch, making it look a tad different from what we’ve previously seen. It looks better, in my honest opinion.

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As in their previous titles, you’ll be changing how the story unfolds as you approach each situation, principally in dialogues where it is up to you to act as a “big bad wolf” and smack people around being as rude as you can, or to be friendly and trying to avoid conflict altogether; albeit some of these changes tend to feel superfluous some look like they can have a strong influence in future episodes forcing you to make decisions such as arrest one guy and letting the other one get away.

The full game will feature 5 episodes total, released one at a time. This is merely a quick look at the first one, “Faith”  and I can proudly say it is a great experience that you should definitely try for yourself.

I’ll continue to follow this series and post articles on future episodes when they are released and i can I get my hands on them, until then, be sure to check this one out, especially if you liked TellTale’s previous games.

Innovation is Needed… Fifa 14

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A sports game in the blog? Yup folks, a sports game. I have played soccer games since I was a little boy when I played them on the Amiga 500, games and names I can’t even recall but I loved nonetheless, and it was always fun to enjoy them with my father.

Fifa 14 is a game that despite loving to play it, made me mad. With next gen right around the corner they decided to give PC players the “old” version, the one present in the PS3 and the XBOX 360. Why would they do such a thing I do not know, maybe the next gen version won’t be as good or maybe because they’re just dumb;  I didn’t forget what Fifa was on the PC up until the 2011 version (where they ported the 2010 console version with updated rosters), it was nothing more than the 2004 iteration of the game with slightly enhanced visuals… An insult to the franchise’s fanbase is all those games were up until 2011.

This year, EA Sports presents us with yet another entry in the famous soccer franchise, do I like it? Definitely. Then why am I complaining? Because the game is, at its core, the same as last year. I am aware that when you make one game per year in one franchise you can’t take the time to do something special and end up with a game that is essentially the same with a few tweaks and minor quirks… This is far from ideal and is destroying the Industry bit by bit. Sports games have been doing this since the dawn of videogames but I’m going beyond that and looking at games like, you know it, Assassin’s creed and Call of Duty. Always the same with little to no innovation…

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But if there is one thing I love is that Fifa is so much fun when you play it online, its utterly different to play against human opponents than the AI, I find myself wanting to try the career mode as a coach but the Seasons online mode is so much more compelling… Its way more simple than the single player career but there isn’t anything more rewarding than besting real opponents online by knowing what you’re doing.

When all is said and done, it saddens me to see the Gaming Industry going this route and although Fifa is a great game, it lacks any sort of innovation and ends up giving players the same experience as Fifa 13, with only a few new animations and a smoother experience overall. It surely isn’t enough and players should speak out against this plague in the videogame world. If you want to make sports game each year, don’t, make them biennial and in the year you won’t release a new entry just make a roster update and sell it as DLC for half the price! You would end up making less money in that year but you would have 2 years per game to work on new things and explore new possibilities… And we all know Electronic Arts has the financial structure to support something along these lines. 

The First Hours of Faster Than Light

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After a month of forced vacation (my gaming laptop died on me) I’m back and boy have I got things to say!

Faster than Light (FTL) is another one of those games I bought in the amazing Indie bundles around the Internet, its a real time  strategy game, developed by Subset Games and sold only via digital distribution platforms such as Valve’s steam.

The game was released in September 2012, was met with good reviews and it swept the internet thanks to the popularity of websites such as YouTube and its millions of followers. It features some rogue like elements and stands as a great example of a successful Kickstarter campaign.

The first thing I want to mention is the game’s beautiful soundtrack, as soon as I’ve heard it, I knew I had to buy it online! Its soothing and has a particularly simple yet charming tone to it, invoking the wonder of traversing the unknown perfectly. A huge shout out to Ben Prunty, the game’s composer who did such an amazing job.

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For the record, I didn’t manage to beat the game (yet) but I’ve manage to reach the final level and got obliterated, on easy mode none the less… I’m working on it though, cof. The game’s mechanics are fairly simple, you start off with a small crew that you can build up to a maximum of 8 members, and your only purpose is to escape your pursuers and reach safe haven. You go through several star systems, some friendly, some not as much and then you die… Yup, in this game you’ll die, A LOT! And I don’t mean the game is difficult, it’s just unfair. Luck is a factor than albeit being present in most things, governs the greater part of this game. You’ll be seeing a lot of text boxes (Random Events) that in themselves constitute the game’s backbone, in these events you will have to choose an action to take such as helping a ship that is under attack or just let them be and avoid a fight altogether, each having their own advantages, do you prefer to be the hero and maybe die trying to save a few strangers or just continue on your merry way and live another day? Maybe you need supplies and that enemy ship that hasn’t spot you has a lot of them just waiting for you… It’s up to you to decide how to tackle each event. 

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When you get yourself in trouble, and trust me, you will get into a lot of it, you’ll be presented with strategic space battles where have to control your crew by using the mouse, have them man their stations and choose what systems to attack in the enemy ship and what weapons to attack them with; there are missiles, lasers, bombs and beams  that you can use to take your targets down! If you want to take the battle to your enemies, you can teleport your crew into their ship and eliminate the threat from the inside (you can also be boarded though). There is also an assortment of droids that can do anything from attacking your enemies to repair your ship during battles!

Despite being easy to understand, FTL has a lot to offer and a lot of little things you’ll find out the more you play it, it is very unique and if you like strategy and sci fi be sure to check it out!

The First Hours of Prototype 2

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Yes, I know this is not a recent game, but I recently bought it and I must admit say its been quite fun.

I have to admit the game is a sorry excuse for a console port, jenky and laggy its gameplay wasn’t really optimized for the PC… But it is still a fun time!  For those who don’t know what the Prototype series is all about, think of Sony’s Infamous titles and now make them M rated and make it a little less refined in all aspects. You get the prototype series!

Both the first and the second games are sandbox titles, you get a city and you go on your marry way to the mission markers and watch a cutscene followed by a mission, standard stuff… The thing that sets this game apart from the previously mention Infamous, is the gruesome combat system, which is, in my opinion, better than the one we got in Sony’s iconic franchise.

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The thing I most like about this game is its fun gameplay, where you can run up buildings, glide through the air and the overall freedom of movement. Unfortunately the missions themselves are very uninspired. You will spend most of the game looking for individuals and then stealth your way to them and “absorb them”, and by that I mean literally consume them! You’re a mutant infected with the same virus the character from the first game was, and as so, you’ve developed inhuman abilities such as claws (wolverine style) or a giant blade on you’re arm that can cut through most foes like butter. Normally a mission unravels as follows, you go from point A to point B, you either consume an enemy soldier and use his body to sneak to your target or you go in killing everyone and destroying every tank and helicopter in sight. There are also secondary missions where you’ll have to do the same but then enter a building while disguised and then eliminate a certain number of enemies inside (mutant or military) or consume another individual, rinse and repeat.

This can become tedious really quick for some players were it not for the fun factor of the game’s mayhem! It feels really satisfying to blow everything and everyone up with your mutations, consuming or ripping apart creatures with you blades or tentacles and just destroying your foes while trying to unravel the conspiracy beyond the spread of the virus that is infecting and decimating the population.

You play as James Heller, a soldier who blames the protagonist of the first game of something I won’t spoil for you, and wants to destroy him and the Blacklight virus. If you’ve played the first game you’ll be glad to see its main character, Alex Mercer, once more but this time your quest for vengeance may reveal some “interesting” facts about Mercer’s true intentions…

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You can probably find this game very cheap nowadays for either current gen consoles or the PC and as so I recommend you pick it up and give it a try sometime, you’ll have some senseless fun and get to experience one of the most fun open world exploration mechanics. Even Saints Row IV is getting clear inspiration from Prototype’s traversal system!

On a final note I would like to link you to another great Humble Bundle and I urge you to spread the message! 1$ for Dead Space 1 and 3, Mirror’s Edge, Medal of Honor, Burnout and Crysis 2 Maximum Edition is pretty sweet!

The First Hours of DeadPool

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Today I’ll be covering a game that I expected to be either bad or mediocre, one that was going to have it’s own review, until I started playing it for a few hours and realized it wasn’t worth the time and effort. I do mean to beat it sometime and maybe talk a little more in depth about it but for now I’ll just share with you some of my opinions regarding the game.

As most of you probably know, Deadpool is a Marvel character that first emerged in 1991, it is known to be a mercenary schmuck who started as a villain and later became an anti-hero. As I’m not here to provide you with the history of the character, let us delve into the game itself.

The game is basically a brawler where you fight human and mutant enemies in waves while moving from point A to point B, that’s it… After a couple of hours, the only thing that may keep you engaged in this game is Nolan North’s superb job at portraying the “merc with a mouth”. As always the talented voice actor makes the character come alive and is one of the main reasons you’ll want to play this game, which doesn’t bode well for the game’s overall quality, does it?

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High moon studios, the people responsible for the title, realized the limitations of the game and during gameplay you can even hear Deadpool himself poking fun at the game’s (lack of) budget. It all just feels cheap, very dull and repetitive. Even it’s attempt at  humor isn’t for everyone… There are a lot of “dick” jokes and silly things like that. I personally love when they break the forth wall in games, especially in this case, where the main character is known to do it even in its natural habitat, the comic books. There’s something really entertaining in having the character you’re playing as directly interacting with you!

As any brawler, you’ll have plenty of upgrades to buy and a (small) selection of weapons to choose from, but unfortunately it won’t really matter as you’ll be grinding most of the gameplay just to get to the next cutscene and consequent jokes. The lack of enemy variation is painful and most of the scenarios you’ll be visiting are uninspired and boring… As mentioned previously, voice acting is where this game shines the brightest, and I don’t just mean Nolan’s work but also the other supporting voice actors in the game.

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It is rather unfortunate that this mercenary didn’t get a full blown AAA title dedicated to him, but I still have hopes he’ll be served justice in the future. As a final note, I would advise you NOT to buy the game unless you’re the most avid fan of the protagonist. There aren’t many reasons to go back to it once you complete it so just rent it if you’re curious or wait for its price to drop!

Oh Deadpool… Maybe Rocksteady will pick you up if you ask nicely. Until then… Blah…

Humble Deep Silver Bundle

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As some of you might know, there is a website that sells weekly bundles of games in a “pay what you want” model. The best thing is that if you pay 1 dollar or more, you get steam keys for the games they sell which is very useful as you don’t need to rely on the website whenever you want to download the games, just add them to your steam account and voilà! It’s forever available to you on Valve’s digital distribution platform.

There are usually 3 tiers of bundles, one if you pay the average price everyone is paying, other if you pay less and a last one if you pay a required amount (more expensive than the rest).

This week, Deep Silver has made some of their games available in an appealing bundle. Pay less than 4.92$ and you get Saints Row: The Third; Saints Row 2; Risen 2: Dark Waters and Sacred 2 Gold. If you pay more than 4.92$ you get the same games plus Dead Island Game of the Year Edition and the full package of Saints Row: The Third DLC. Finally in the last tier, where you must pay 25$ or more you get all the things from previous tiers plus Dead Island: Riptide!

As you can see, a bunch of quality titles for whatever you want to pay, its a chance difficult to pass by unless you’ve already bough these games in the past.

On a last note, it is important to let you know that when you buy from Humble Bundle you choose (using sliders) how much of your payment goes to the company that developed the game (in this case Deep Silver), to the maintenance of the website itself and how much goes to charity.

Even if these games do not interest you, be sure to check the website out as their sales are weekly and provide great value for your money.

Bring Syphon Filter Back

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Back in the PS one era there was an action game by the name of Syphon Filter. In it you controlled Gabriel Logan on a journey to stop the spread of a deadly virus that threatened the entire world. It was an interesting yet simple plot that fitted the modern spy theme of the game.

There were 3 PS One entries on the franchise, 3 good and fun games that were criticized by being very similar to each other, which they were. Syphon Filter 2 is by far, my favorite and the worst rated one, it required 2 cds (mostly due to the use of long cutscenes) and had the best moments. Truth be told, the games were released in 1999, 2000 and 2001 and were basically the same game with new missions, even the menu’s, sounds and overall feel were the same! Both the second and third game were almost considered mission packs for the first game, but damn were they fun.

From stealth missions to the run and gun shooting mechanics you would never have a dull moment while playing these games. Always looking for the perfect headshot and the opportunity to tase (podes usar electrify porque tase nao é mesmo uma palavra mas usa-se) someone to death (you would be amased by the quantity of people that have found memories of this game due to the silly air taser that allowed you to tase(ver acima) someone from a distance and just let them burn as long as you continued to hold the square button down), there were guns for every taste and a military themed plot where you found yourself in the middle of a conspiration revolving around your secret agency turning their back on you and branding you a terrorist and the journey to clean your name and bring them to justice.

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By today’s standards, the game might sound very generic but when it came out it wasn’t, and it didn’t aim for realism, just having fun rolling around and killing hundreds of  “baddies”. There was a Syphon Filter game released on the PS2 but it relied heavily on online co-op and we all know that most people did not experience the online world until the current gen of consoles, unless you had a Pc, but then you wouldn’t be playing the game as it was a Sony exclusive. Later, the former developer of the series Eidetic, was renamed to Sony Bend after being bought by SCEA and since then they produced 2 new entries on the franchise for the PSP, Resistance Retribution also for Sony’s handheld and their most recent game Uncharted: Golden Abyss for the Playstation Vita.

All of the titles mentioned above were well received and had decent scores, which makes me wonder why isn’t this once beloved franchise brought back to life? It would be great to see a proper sequel to the third game. It would have to be handled either by Sony Bend or some other FIRST party company, it would be a shame to see some third party making this a PS4 or Vita shovelware game… They could take a more realistic approach or just make it a fun third person shooter. Some people enjoyed the series because of it’s fast style and over the top missions, but whether you were running through the top of a fast moving train or fighting a helicopter head on, there was always a sense of realism, something that managed to make you feel like a badass without making the game so over the top to the point of silliness.

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Even if we don’t get a proper PS4 version, there’s a big possibility a new entry will eventually come to the Vita, hopefully with the quality we’ve come to expect from Sony Bend. Despite it not being a title capable of selling consoles in and off itself, it could be a great game, especially if they looked to more successful games for inspiration, like Splinter Cell or even Metal Gear Solid… They could take the franchise in any direction as long as they did treated it with respect, improved on its story and ramped up the gameplay. Online could also be something to look forward as long as they didn’t make a game solely based on it, but rather making it a solid complement to the single player campaign!