Posts Tagged ‘open world’

I’m sure this wasn’t the vacation Jason Brody saw on the brochure. After jumping out of a plane, the quasi Jersey Shore opening sequence, and some crazy partying at the nightclub, I found myself tied up and at the mercy of the psychotic Vaas who pretty much told me that we were now his bitches. Well that’s not going to sit well with me. Only one thing left to do…escape. Well I almost got there only to watch my older brother die by the barrel of Vaas’ gun. Then it was “Run Forrest Run” all the way to a new path…The “Path of the Warrior.” After some training it was payback time. Time to rescue my friends, and put a bullet in the head of the man who said I was going to be his bitch. “Eye for an eye mother fucker!” Welcome to Rook Island and the masterpiece that is Far Cry 3.

Now I’ve never played the previous games in this series. For my first dip into this franchise I must say that I’m very impressed. Far Cry 3 is a fans that’s got some depth making it more than just your average first person shooter. Most of all Far Cry 3 is a lot of fun in psychotic paradise.

PROS:

Skyrim With Guns
Well that’s what some people are calling Far Cry 3. At first I thought that was a major exaggeration, but after an few hours of playing I was starting to agree with them. I found quite a few similarities with the Bethesda juggernaut except for the fact that there are no dragons or shouts to learn. Everything else is pretty much intact in terms of earning experience points, looting, learning valuable skills, crafting, raiding camps, and so much more. Far Cry 3 doesn’t have the hundreds of hours of role playing depth that games like Skyrim possesses, but for what the game does offer will still provide plenty of hours of memorable entertainment.

There’s So Much To Do And Explore
Like any open world sandbox game Far Cry 3 offers so much more than just the main storyline. Exploration is key and Rook Island is your playground. There’s so much to see and do which can be a bit overwhelming at first, but most sandbox games are pretty much like this so it wasn’t something that I’m not already used to. My initial thoughts were that when I think of islands I think rather small, but once I started climbing radio towers the island began unveiling itself ala Assassins’s Creed and that was pretty cool. Getting around the island is also quite striking with vehicles, or maybe even taking a hang glider for a more arial tour. I found myself wanting to hunt, craft, and explore even more than completing the main story which is a big plus. Plus there’s also all the side missions, outpost clearing, and so much more.

Hunting Animals
One of the more interesting things to do while on Rook Island is hunting the various wildlife that populate the landscape. Now Far Cry 3 is nothing like the Cabela’s hunting games, but Ubisoft Montreal sure made it fun. Hunting down animals is more than just killing and skinning them. Their hides are also used to craft useful items including ammo pouches, healing items, and so much more making things a bit easier on myself. Now when it comes to hunting animals let me just tell you that nothing felt more satisfying then killing a shark. Oh and there’s the part where I was punching him too which was really awesome.

Survival Instincts
Saving my friends meant doing everything I could just to stay alive. I am a warrior, and death is not an option. Through my adventures on the island I cut various plant life and used it to create healing items beyond just bandaging myself up when I got a little too shot up or mauled by animals. The game does feature regenerating health (bummer), but it has to be activated and if works through segments. Overall, I liked the fact that it made me think twice about running and gunning into an enemy outpost and employ some sort of strategy instead like tagging enemies so that I can utilize a more stealthy offensive. Sometimes being more like Sam Fisher is better than Rambo.

Multiplayer
The developers at Ubisoft Montreal could’ve just mailed in some average multiplayer to tack on to the game, but they didn’t. Instead what they did was put together a multiplayer experience on par with dare I say Call of Duty to appease to the fans. Killstreaks are found here in the competitive gameplay as well as a unique reward for the highest scoring player of the winning team. Not only is there a competitive arena, but a co-op campaign is also available complete with it’s own separate story adding another layer of depth to a pretty solid game. Overall, Far Cry 3 has a strong multiplayer option with a large community of players putting itself with the elite multiplayer of Halo, Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Gears of War games.

CONS:

Far Cry 3 is a pretty solid game, and throughout my adventure I can’t really find anything negative to say about it. I’m not calling the game perfect, but it sure is close to being one of the better offerings I’ve played on the Xbox 360 to date.

IN CONCLUSION

Far Cry 3 is an open sandbox game that’s full of action, adventure, and thrills. It’s also an all out attack on my senses especially when I’m dealing with Vaas, or maybe when I was on some serious mind-altering drugs (yes, you can take drugs in the game, and the effects are more than just staggering around and a blurry screen). The game has exploration, hunting, punching sharks, awesome weaponry (check out the bow and the awesome flamethrower), and hours upon hours of entertainment both in single player and multiplayer. Far Cry 3 is of the best games of 2012 and a must buy. I think I might also have to buy the previous games as well.

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platform: Xbox 360
Players: 1-14 (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 partĀ  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

Pros:
Fantastic presentation
Excellent combat system
So much to do and explore

Cons:
Storyline is a little bland
Voice acting is pretty bad at times
Not really an open world

Now before I get deep into this review let me just state that I’m not a big role-playing junkie. I don’t gather around a bunch of nerds who have no life and play Magic: The Gathering or even Dungeons and Dragons. However, I’ve been known to partake in some good addictive experiences like Final Fantasy, Phantasy Star, The Elder Scrolls and Fallout. Skyrim has been my big RPG as of late, and I’m still trying to finish Fallout: New Vegas. Now it looks like I have another addiction to add to the growing collection, and it’s name is Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.

So here’s the story…abridged of course so that I keep it as spoiler free as possible. You’re dead! No really…you died. The game starts with your death as your carried off by a pair of gnomes discussing exactly who and what you are. This is where you begin character customization with race, basic looks, and your name. Then your body is dumped into the Well of Souls where all of a sudden you are miraculously brought back to life, fight your way out for the well filled with corpses, and begin your quest. What exactly is your quest? Well that is all up to you because you’ll begin to find out that you have no fate. Your fate is all up to you. Know thyself. It’s what you choose to do that determines your ultimate destiny. I really like that about a game.

For your typical Western RPG, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning features a fantastic presentation of role-playing goodness. However, I will tell you that the storyline is quite bland. After he opening moments and my eventual rebirth I found it hard to concentrate on the story because I was really focusing on the gameplay (which I’ll talk about later). Rest assured that most casual RPG players aren’t really going to care. The story is mostly told in text format as you talk to various NPC characters, and your given a bevy of responses to choose from which can determine whether your character is a do-gooder, or in fact an evil badass. Remember, you have ultimate fate. You can choose your own damn destiny.

Speaking of the NPC characters, some of the voice acting actually sounds pretty good. The other characters however sound terrible which will have you quickly pressing the skip button. Although, I do have go admit that one character in the opening village that was supposedly ill actually had me contemplating what was wrong. During an NPC conversation, I couldn’t tell of she was dying or about to have an orgasm right in front if me. I definitely had a good laugh on that one.

Now just like any RPG, your first thought other than combat has to do with exploration. Getting to know the lay of the land opens up what the genre does best. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning features some amazing looking scenery along with the various castles and villages filled with tons ofĀ  vibrant colors bringing the world to life. I love to explore to find new places as well as a few secrets sprinkled around the world. The world in Amalur is huge which might take you a long time to get around. The world map also allows for quick travel to previous locations you visited. While the world map is huge, the bad news is that it’s not as open like any of the Elder Scrolls and Fallout games. Rest assured this is not a deal breaker whatsoever, because the scenery is well done even if there is not much land to tread through.

Ok, so I might have sounded a little negative with a couple of things, but these small nitpickings pale on comparison to how great this game really is. So what makes it great. It’s the gameplay. Anyone who loves third person action games like God of War, Darksiders, and Devil May Cry will fall in love with Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. The fast paced, hack and slash, combo driven, real-time combat featuring plenty of swords, daggers, magic staffs, bow and arrows and more makes killing enemies and earning valuable XP isĀ a lot of fun. By the way the finishing moves are also a sight to see. Magic also plays a role as you use fire, ice, lightning and more to destroy enemies. By the way magic works great when you mix it in combos. The combat system is great and found myself addicted into wanting to kill everything in sight. Sometimes I got so addicted that I would forget to heal myself if my health got too low and I ended up dying. The combat is that good.

With all the killing and questing that your completing, the XP will come in bunches. As you level up the customization of your character rises to new heights. Now if your familiarĀ with games like a Borderlands and Dead Island, you will find the level up menu system easy to navigate and work as you spend points to use for upgrades. These class specific upgrades include extra damage with specific weapons, defense, and magic abilities. The usual RPG stuff. As I’ve leveled up I could really tell the difference my attacks were making along with the damage I took. Not many games can display that as well as Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning can.

Throughout the course of my adventures with Kingdoms of Amalur I found myself immersed in it’s unique world of adventure and fantasy. It was so hard to put down the controller, because I kept telling myself that I wanted to finish one more quest, gain one more level, or just make if to the next town just to say that I was there. From small basic enemies, to boss-like juggernauts, to making potions and forging weapons,Ā Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning will hold you in it’s grip for long gameplay sessionsĀ making questing fun and entertaining (even if the storyline qualifies as “meh”) for all no matter how much of a fan of RPGs you are.

Let’s face it Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is clearly no Skyrim, but it’s solid gameplay and role-playing mechanics make it a worthy game that everyone should play. In my honest opinion, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is better than all three Fable games combined. After the first weekend I played the game I was hooked, and it’s hard to take me out of it’s fantasy world even if I want to go slay dragons and explore the open world of Skyrim. Role-Playing junkies should definitely give Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning a run because your clearly going to like it.