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.

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.

The First Hours of The Cat Lady

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The Cat lady is an adventure/horror game created by Harvester Games, an Indie developer that focuses on delivering old school style adventures with a horror twist. They mainly want to appeal to core gamers and one must agree that they successfully do.

In this game, you play as Susan Ashworth, a protagonist that feels real and whose view of life is grim and overall negative. She lives alone in her apartment and kills herself right at the beginning of the game. After a strange yet interesting turn of events (which I won’t spoil for you) she finds herself again in the land of the living. Armed with the knowledge that 5 people will enter her life, 4 of them with ill purposes and 1 who can bring the true happiness she’s sought for years, she has been tasked to cleanse the world of the 4 who allegedly do not deserve to live.

You play this point and click adventure in a 2D perspective and it basically consists in walking and interacting with objects around you, as a true adventure game. Exploration is non existent since you’re completely restricted to moving left or right and the objects you can interact with aren’t that abundant…

It is a linear experience but one very good at that. It looks purposely ugly and gives a strange puppet theater feel to the characters, which enhances their unappealing look and gives the game a personal style that you’ll probably come to love the more you play. There are puzzles to be solved and people to interact with and although there is text to be read, all conversations are voice acted.

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The voice acting is all over the place… Some actors are good enough while some are very weak, there even were one or two times I could notice the poor quality of the actor’s microphone! One thing I find very important to make a videogame successful is its soundtrack and I can proudly say that this game has got you covered, from the music itself to the eerie sounds that will make you want to think twice before moving to the next room.

I’m still on the third chapter of the game (there are a total of seven) and I feel compelled to just go at it and finish it in one sitting! If it keeps up this level of overall quality it might even turn out to be one of the best horror stories this year…

I recommend you all to give this game a try! It is not available on Steam albeit being on Greenlight waiting for approval. For more information you can visit the developer’s website by clicking here.

Good Ol’ Days

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How many of you remember the Amiga 500? Considered the first “low-end” Commodore Amiga 16/32 multimedia home/personal computer, it was released in 1987 and discontinued in 1991, the year I was born. Funny thing that I got an Amiga around 93 or 94, that might explain why it was given to me at the time since I wasn’t very wealthy and the system had a hefty price while it was on the market!

I have so many fond memories about that computer, it was the Amiga that brought me to gaming, with games like Mortal Kombat 1 and 2 and Dice’s Pinball Fantasies and Pinball Dreams and a ton more!

My father loved to play Sensible Soccer with me and we would play for hours and laugh because of the silly coaches that randomly started pointing at the field as if they were mad as hell… I still vaguely remember when I used to go out on Sundays to have a walk near the sea and then just coming back and playing one of the aforementioned pinball games with my parents and big sister, good memories, great gaming…

Both pinball games were actually the first games made by the Swedish games developer Dice, the producers of Battlefield and Mirror’s Edge (and the next Star Wars Battlefront)! I was very surprised when I found that out. They were called Digital Illusions back then and after a quick search I found out that Dice actually means Digital Illusions Computer Entertainment! I was so happy those guys are still around, although I’m believe that few if any members are still working there since back in the day…

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I believe it was Mortal Kombat 2 that took 4 floppy disks and it constantly asked to change from disk to disk, and I would gladly do it, but thinking back it was kind of a pain having to do that all the time. I primarily used the Amiga 500 as a gaming console, my father did use it for working purposes but for me it was all about the games! Another one that just came to my mind was SuperFrog, created by Team17, the guys that went on to create the beloved Worms franchise. SuperFrog was a platform game where you play as a frog (obviously) and had to save a princess from an evil witch. The game had solid gameplay mechanics and a neat soundtrack too. It was even brought back not long ago to the PC by the hands of Good Old Games.

That’s about it… I just wanted to write about my experience with the Amiga 500 without much of a purpose than mere writing about it. Did any of you, readers, have an Amiga? If so, share your experience with me, favorite games and found memories are also very welcome. I just want to point out that if I didn’t answer you in the past is because I had a few troubles with a spam filter. If you want to hear some nostalgic Amiga 500 music, be sure to watch this youtube video compilation!

Until next time, Good Gaming!