Posts Tagged ‘Customization’

After the disappointment that I suffered through in Modern Warfare 2, I said to myself that I was officially done with Call of Duty. Javelin glitches, speed skating glitches, negative XP glitches, idiots who rather not complete objectives and just boost for the damn tactical nuke. I think you get the point. At that point I started hating the game and the series as a whole. As a result I eventually caved in and bought the Hardened Edition of Black Ops that next year. I loved the campaign and the awesome zombie mode. The multiplayer was still “meh” to me even though I liked spamming the RC car. The following year Modern Warfare 3 was released. I stuck to my guns and skipped it, because of the disappointment of Modern Warfare 2. So here I am today deciding about Black Ops 2. Sure I’m sick of Call of Duty compared to other shooters on the market, and the E3 demo sucked, but I eventually decided to give it a chance. In the end I’m glad that I did.

PROS:

It’s Like Being In An Action Movie
I don’t know what it is with Infinity Ward and Treyarch, because every year when a Call of Duty game is released I feel like each developer is trying to out Michael Bay one another. Basically, Call of Duty plays out like a huge summer blockbuster with tons of carnage, cussing, guns, destruction, and plenty of explosions to keep me hooked in. No need for an epic story. Just give me “shock and awe” along with plenty of body bags for the virtual dead and everything will be just fine. Well Black Ops 2 provided all of that in it’s unique blend of Cold War and Future War eras and it was pretty cool. I just wish they had a better plot like the first Black Ops game had.

Improvements In Multiplayer?
Did I just say that? Well yes I did. Black Ops 2’s competitive multiplayer is a big step up over over the first Black Ops game. Score streaks now take the place of kill streaks making other players work a little harder to get that special attack they crave. There’s also a heavier emphasis in completing objectives in certain gametypes to help curb away the wannabe snipers who just sit around and camp out waiting for kills to come to them. Seriously guys, let me just rant by saying that being a sniper in a Call of Duty game is just plain stupid. Complete the objectives! We don’t need an eight man team with seven snipers and one person trying to win the game. In other words…Play Smart! Just keep in mind that I’m only here for the fun of the game, or until everyone starts cheating. If that happens I’ll go back on my hating spree.

Endless Customization
Black Ops 2 has tons of customization options that had me busy for hours deciding on what I want to do with each of my custom loadouts for multiplayer. What type of kickass guns do I want? How about perks? Do I want more or less. More perks come at the expense of less weapons, but I can be faster and more like a ninja as I knife randoms with ease. Of course I can go the other way and be more like Rambo. The best part is that using these customizable options allows me to tailor a multiplayer experience to my liking as well as having the tools to conquer each game mode.

Zombies!
The main reason I purchased this game. The zombie mode has been fleshed out a lot more to include some new game types along with the traditional Survival mode. Tranzit allows me to travel to each map via a bus. While traveling I had to beware of hitchhiking zombies coming along for the ride as well as trying to kill me. Grief is also pretty badass as two teams of four take on the zombie horde. Last team standing along with winning the round wins the game. Grief does add a lot of fun and strategy to the game. Sure you can’t hurt the other team, but you can always find ways to screw them over giving me the advantage. Zombies is where I’m spending most of my time playing, because it’s addicting and fun. With that said I once again raise the question to Treyarch. Why not make a stand alone zombie game?

CONS:

Strike Force Is A Bit Of A Letdown
So what is Call of Duty. A First-Person Shooter or a Real Time Strategy Game? The RTS missions called Strike Force sound like a good idea, but they come off as rather retarded. The idea was for me to control the actions of unmanned vehicles to complete various objectives. Sounds great and all In theory, but what it really boiled down to was me taking control and doing everything for myself since my unmanned attack grunts are not very helpful in the long run. Each vehicle and deployment look very kickass, but in reality they kind of suck. Going through these missions is more of a pain in the ass, because all I want to do is go back to the action.

Missing That “Wow” Factor
Black Ops 2 is a pretty good game, but what the series has been missing lately has been that “Holy shit! I can’t believe that happened” type of moment. The main example that I can think of would be the nuke scene in Call of Duty 4. I thought that moment was crazy when the nuke went off and my main character during that mission died. The first words I had after that moment was “What the fuck just happened!” Since then the Call of Duty series hasn’t had anything that would even measure up to that moment. Sure Black Ops 2 has branching paths based in my decisions and tons of action, but I want something that I’ll remember for a long time. Since Call of Duty 4, I feel like the developers just mailed it in and said to Activision “Here’s the new Call of Duty game. Now let’s release it and collect our millions of dollars.”

IN CONCLUSION

So I actually liked Black Ops 2. Does this mean that I’m officially back with the Call of Duty franchise? Well…I would have to say “No.” The game does pack in plenty of fun and tons of replay value in the multiplayer department, but I still believe that the developers need to add that extra punch that made Call of Duty 4 the benchmark of the series to date. The Black Ops games so far have been a positive step in that direction. Maybe what Activision needs to do is stop milking the cash cow and watering down the series with yearly installments. This will make the games more fresh and entertaining as well as generate less hate from some of the internet trolls out there. Just making a suggestion for the better. Overall, Black Ops 2 is a good game making my purchase well worth the money.

Developer: Activision, Treyarch
Platform: Xbox 360
Players: 1-16 (online multiplayer)
Price: $59.99

Master Chief Is Back!

It’s been five years since the last appearance of the iconic Master Chief in Halo 3. The Halo rings were destroyed, 343 Guilty Spark was destroyed, and Earth was saved. The Chief and Cortana however were last seen drifting in the far reaches of space on the fractured UNSC ship Forward Unto Dawn. The Chief has gone back into cryo sleep and tells Cortana to wake him when he’s needed. Now after more than four years in space a new threat along with Covenant called the Prometheans has arisen. Add onto that Cortana’s AI is deteriorating. What does the Chief do? Kick ass, take names, and once again try to save the day. It’s time for me to take part in a brand new Halo trilogy. The Reclaimer Trilogy.

PROS:

The Story Drew Me Right In (Spoiler Free)
343 Industries sure did their homework because Halo 4’s story was amazing right from the start. I was hooked right away as the action ramped right up after the awakening. I was able to really feel the tense drama between Master Chief and Cortana throughout the campaign. Then again I’ve taken quite a keen interest in the adventures of the duo since the original Combat Evolved game more than a decade ago. At no point did I feel lost, bored, or wondered what the heck was going on. Halo 4’s story is gripping, intense, and kept me interested in between all the gunfights with Covenant and Prometheans forces.

The Visuals Are Absolutely Stunning
It’s not very often that I talk about a game’s graphics. Actually I never do, but I need to comment on the visual eye candy of Halo 4. It’s amazing. The sheer amount of detail is awe inspiring. I had to pause for a moment, pull out the disc, and put in previous Halo games just to see all the differences in both character design and the overall environment. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. While the graphics look impressive on my 1080p HD television I’ll bet that it still looks just as good on any standard television as well.

Amazing Sound
What makes Halo so unique is the amazing soundtrack. It’s almost tells a story in itself with tones that spell out the drama along with energetic beats when the action heats up. I absolutely loved it. Along with the music comes with the sounds of the weapons themselves. 343 Industries did a complete overhaul with weapon sounds making them sound even realistic than ever before. Now It really feels like I’m here to kick some ass with some awesome weapons.

Spartan Ops
Along with the thrilling campaign 343 Industries replaces Firefight with a new episodic campaign entitled Spartan Ops. The new campaign has weekly episode updates bringing me a whole new story taking place after the event s of Halo 4. Featuring both solo and co-op play Spartan Ops is quite addicting giving me even more Halo bang for the buck. It’s also great to play in between all the competitive multiplayer action. Sure I’ll miss Firefight, but all I’ll have to do is change discs to Halo: Reach and everything will be just fine.

Multiplayer Is Still Awesome
Besides a well done story, Halo is also known for some of the best multiplayer action online on Xbox Live. Yes, I said it. No, I’m not bragging. I honestly seem to enjoy Halo’s competitive multiplayer a little more than Gears of War, Battlefield, and Call of Duty. Halo: Reach made some radical changes in the multiplayer formula, but still kept it’s fun factor. Halo 4 continues that tradition by making a few tweaks here and there, but still keeps the core mechanics intact making me want to put on my Astro A50 headsets and kick some ass online. Forge mode is also back allowing me to create new game types along with making a tweak, or two, in popular maps just to change things up. Finally, there’s the customization factor allowing to create my own unique Spartan along with loadouts catering to my competitive needs.

CONS:

Honestly, throughout my gameplay time with Halo 4 I really couldn’t find any nagging issues that brought the game down for me. Maybe I was too hooked on the epic story and action to even care. It’s extremely rare for me not to have some sort of negative about a game, but I’m at a loss with this one. I’m not saying that Halo 4 is perfect, but I will say that this game is the closest thing to a near perfect experience.

IN CONCLUSION

Bungie handed 343 Industries the keys to the palace, and clearly they didn’t disappoint. Sure I had my doubts in the beginning, but they were quickly dashed once I got underway in the campaign. Combat Evolved was the bar in my opinion when it came to Halo games. Halo 4 has clearly surpassed that bar, and now sets the standards for what a first person shooter should be. I didn’t think that the Halo series needed a new trilogy, but this new Reclaimer Trilogy is a welcome addition. I can’t wait to see what 343 Industries have next up their sleeves with Halo 5, but I will say that the expectations will be at an extremely high level. Hopefully they’re up for the difficult challenge that lies ahead. Until then it will be more of the campaign, Spartan Ops, and multiplayer for me. Welcome back Master Chief!

Developer: 343 Industries
Platform: Xbox 360
Players: 1-16 (online multiplayer)
Price: $59.99

Welcome to Horizon! A festival celebrating the love of automobiles. Oh, and there’s plenty of music and a lot of hot girls showing off their assets (preferably on my car please). For years, the Forza Motorsport series gave me the opportunity to race in some of the hottest cars on the most popular tracks in the world. Horizon takes a completely different approach and delivers one of the best driving experiences alongside Test Drive Unlimited. Yes, the game is that good. For a time I had my doubts about Horizon, but those doubts were quickly dashed once I got behind the virtual wheel of my Dodge Viper and started driving for the first time. I love this game.

PROS:

Open World Driving
Turn 10 Studios and Playground Games take the Forza we all know and love and moved if out to the open world. Colorado becomes my new racing playground with tons of events to compete in and plenty of hidden treasures to find. Of course there’s also those times where I just want to drive on the open road and explore allowing me to enjoy the experience of driving rather than forcing me into race after race. Forza Horizon lets me do what I want whenever I want and I like that.

I Want Cars…Lots Of Cars
Now I’m not going to find the hundreds of cars that I would have in Forza Motorsport 4, but what Forza Horizon offers in terms of badass rides definitely suits me just fine. Horizon features some of the best muscle, sports, and exotic cars on the road, or dirt, for me to race or just cruise around the countryside with. There’s also the opportunity to restore older cars (found in hidden barns) to use as well. Cars also show real damage from crashing and hitting walls making for a sense of realism in racing which is a huge plus for me.

Wide Variety Of Events
There is always something to do in Forza Horizon. Your GPS will point you to upcoming races to advance your status in the championship, but there’s also other events to take part  in. PR Stunts, rally races, illegal street races against random drivers on the road, and even speed challenges from random radar cameras. Better yet, how about racing against an airplane. I kid you not. Just the mere thought of that type of event channels my inner Doug Masters from Iron Eagle. I got a real kick, as well as an adrenaline rush, doing these showcase races taking in planes, helicopters, and even hot air balloons. Sure it’s a novelty, but being told that your faster than an airplane is pretty damn cool.

CONS:

Lack Of Customization Options
The one thing that the Forza Motorsport series is known for is endless customization. Paint jobs, vinyls, aftermarket parts upgrades, and tuning so you get the most performance and handling out of your cars. Forza Horizon is more like Forza Motorsport Lite. Sure you get all the exterior goodies as well as some upgrades, but the tuning is missing. That kinda sucks. The upgrades can also be one a double-edged sword, because most races will not allow you to use your upgraded vehicles meaning that I’ll have to downgrade or pick another ride.

Opponent AI Can Be A Little Too Easy
If you want the biggest challenge that this game can give you then I would suggest setting the difficulty to “Hard” because anything lower is just too easy. Yes, I like to finish in first, but I felt like the opponent AI wasn’t putting up too much of a fight especially towards the end of the race. It was like they were begging me to pass them just to make me feel better. Another suggestion is to not stay with the default options. Customize your racing options so that you can score as many bonus credits as possible.

SO HOW DOES MY 2012 CHEVY CAMARO ZL1 HANDLE:

Once I acquired enough credits I went right to purchasing my car. The 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1. I kept the car in my actual Victory Red color and changed out the rims, and painted them black to look exactly like mine. Keeping the car in it’s original stock I took it out in the open road and it was fantastic. Driving high speeds was exhilarating and the handling was brilliant and responsive. I could really see the sense of speed coming from the supercharged engine delivering 580 horsepower and 557 pounds of torque. I also switched into cockpit view and the look was absolutely authentic. It really felt like I was driving in my car.

IN CONCLUSION

Forza Horizon sticks to the roots that made the previous Forza Motorsport games fun to play. Add on a spectacular multiplayer experience to the fun and engaging single-player game and what I have is racing gold despite a couple of flaws. Horizon makes me feel like I’m at an over the top car show, and that’s pretty cool. This game has a lot to offer making it great for if I just want to have a casual drive to balls to the wall hardcore racing just to show off how badass I am behind the wheel shouting out “Move bitch! Get out of my way!” The big question I ask myself is if Forza Horizon is better than Test Drive Unlimited? I would have to say “Absolutely!”

Developer: Turn 10 Studios, Playground Games
Platform: Xbox 360
Players: 1-8 (online multiplayer)
Price: $59.99

GAME STATUS: Quest Completed
ACHIEVEMENTS EARNED: 45 out of 61 (875 Gamerscore)

For my original review of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Click HERE.

The realm is safe once again. Tirnoch has been destroyed (quite easily I might add), Dead Kel is no longer a threat, and the Kollossae are free. The people can rest easy once again. Well not too easy considering the fact that there are plenty of baddies still in the woods, and there’s that part where I’m not in the good graces of the Warsworn. So I killed all the heads of the guild. You would think they would’ve forgiven me by now. Besides, the townspeople all forgiven me after constant looting, pickpocketing, and the occasional mass murder. Just another day in Amalur.

Resurrected from the depths of the dead sure worked out for me in this game. Throughout my adventure I felt like a death dealer as I destroyed everything in my path sort of like Kratos from God of War or even Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden. No enemy was safe from my hack and slash combo attacks along with some badass magic to boot. This was my favorite part of playing the game. No matter how tough an enemy was (couldn’t find one four levels higher than me to get that achievement) they still met the end of my blade or the blunt of my hammer making for some satisfying moments.

While I really enjoyed kicking ass on the screen, I did have a few problems. One has to do with all the bland dialog. Maybe I’m not too big on the whole fantasy angle, but the storyline at times really had me bored which led to me falling asleep for short periods only to wake up hoping that the dialog ended and the combat begun. Amalur is a loooong game, and when sleepiness started setting in between all the constant grinding that led to a big negative in the overall picture. Good thing I could press the “X” button to skip through the boredom faster.

I also had a problem with the game’s literally easy difficulty. I never met an RPG that was so light on the difficulty, and no I wasn’t playing on “easy” if your thinking that. Sure disposing a group of six to seven enemies at one time led to frustrating moments of being hit in all directions before using my “Reckoning” ability making everything super simple along with lots of XP. Even the bosses like the super-screen sized slug Balor met his end pretty quickly with no challenge whatsoever. That was really disappointing when all you have to do is hack the long nails when he sticks them into the ground. Even the final boss Tirnoch was no challenge. Sad.

AMALUR’S FINAL FATE

While my character had no fate, this game certainly did. After spending what felt like a few hundred hours traveling, discovering, committing crimes in front of a small audience, and easily dispatching foes in the heat of battle I felt that my time was done. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is fun, but I can’t see myself going through another quest. I might end up sleeping all day. My copy of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning will now lie on the used game shelf for someone else to play. The ending was left open for further expansion, but due to the layoffs of 38 Studios and Big Huge Games (now a part of Epic Baltimore) we may never get to see a sequel.

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Big Huge Games, 38 Studios
Players: 1
Price: $59.99

Pros:
Seamless Ranged and Melee Combat Work Very Well
Endless Character Custimization In Multiplayer

Cons:
Not Enough Multiplayer Gameplay Modes

Call me a noob to the Warhammer universe. I never knew much about Warhammer other than it was catered more to the PC crowd. For some strange reason I connected Warhammer with World of Warcraft, but I’m sure that these are two completely different beasts. About a month ago, I got my first taste of the world that is Warhammer with Kill Team on Xbox Live Arcade. The game was awesome and helped introduce me to the series. Of course Kill Team was just a tease for what was to come with the release of Space Marine. After playing the game I feel like I’ve welcomed a whole new franchise to the mix.

Warhammer 40k: Space Marine, from THQ and Relic, takes players into the heart of the battle. You’ll play as Captain Titus of the Ultramarines as you spill countless amounts of Ork blood all in the name of the Emperor. Sounds like a lot of fun right? Well it sure is. Captain Titus wields a variety of swords and guns to make sure that each Ork that invaded Forge World does not survive. Along for the ride in this action packed adventure is a pair of other Ultramarines to aid you in your bloody quest, but don’t expect much help because your mostly a one man army.

As you step foot on Forge World you’ll see that it’s a planet that has been ravaged by war. Buildings are destroyed and carnage lies everywhere. Even the NPC characters that you meet have the heartache of endless conflict on their minds. You can honestly tell that the developers at Relic got the whole vibe down to a tee. One thing that I can’t help but notice is how Warhammer’s battle hardened Space Marines have a style to them that is very familiar to another franchise. Gears of War perhaps? While I might have “Gears on the brain” due to the soon to be released Gears of War 3 let me assure you that this is the only similarity. Everything else is completely different.

If you like combat, let me tell you that you’ve come to the right place. Warhammer seamlessly blends both melee and ranged weapon combat into an artform. Captain Titus starts out with a basic Bolt Pistol which is good for taking out an enemy or two, but when the action really heats up then it’s time to wield the steel. The melee combat is fantastic as you control the hardcore Ultramarine in battle. Sword controls are handled with the X and Y buttons. X will swing away while the Y button is used for stun. Once you stun your Orks, then you’ll notice a caption to use the B button. This will allow you to kill with style with a gruesome execution filled with tons of blood. Executions are also used for gaining much needed health because there is no health packs or regenerative health here. There is armor regeneration though.

Other than the swords (I suggest the chainsword for some good fun), the guns also are fun to use as well. Ranged weapons include an assault rifle, sniper rifle, and even a grenade launcher with your own detonator which is great for when a herd of Orks are close together. Each weapon serves a purpose in the battle field. The Bolt Pistol and Assault rifle are good for taking out ground troops Sniper rifles are great for Orks who might just be a little out of range or a higher elevations. Finally, The grenade launcher is great for Orks who like to attack in herds. I must also direct your attention to all the red barrels that you’ll see in your quest. Everyone out there knows that red barrels equal explosives. Surprisingly, you’ll find a few of these well placed barrels right by a group of attacking Orks. I think we all know what must be done. Shoot them!

Other than the single player campaign, Warhammer also includes a multiplayer component that is pretty damn good. The first thing you get to do is create your own space marine. Here you’ll find a great blend of customization that is a lot of fun to use. There are trillions of combinations that in the end will make sure that your character will differ from everyone elses. As for the multiplayer game, there are only two game modes to choose from: Team Deathmatch and Domination. I wish there was more game modes to choose from because this is lacking. As you play you’ll earn experience for kills, completing objectives and challenges which allow you to rank up. Those familiar with Call of Duty will find things like perks to help balance your character as well. I will say that the multiplayer is fun, but with the multitude of other games soon to be released, Space Marine’s multiplayer could be short lived.

Warhammer 40k: Space Marine may not be on a lot of players radar, but it should be. In a season where there are a ton of great titles on the way, Space Marine could be one of the year’s biggest sleeper titles. If your on the shelf about this one then I strongly suggest downloading the demo. However, the demo surely doesn’t do the game justice because the man game is a thousand times better. The single player is fantastic! The multiplayer is so-so and may b e short lived, but Warhammer 40k: Space Marine is an action packed adventure that is definitely worth your gaming dollar.