REUS

13 08 2014

REUS Logo

Have you played Godus yet? I haven’t. Why? Because it’s still in early access and I don’t quite fancy playing a buggy game until it is supposedly finished to a point that it isn’t so buggy. It’s also why I have not played Folk Tale, MAIA, Prison Architect and War for the Overworld. All these are games I am eagerly anticipating to play, just not yet. But why am I talking about said games if the title suggests a 2D game with Giant Monsters in it. Well it sort of looks like games like Godus and Populous.

REUS World

REUS is a game about a world, a world that currently nothing exists, except for a group of Elemental Giants who each have the power over a certain type of land and abilities. One makes mountains and can create deserts and mines to mine (obviously) minerals. One can create oceans and sea life while another can create grass lands and fruit. Then finally there is a swamp giant who can create swamps and technology and sciences. What is basically a God Game where the giants are such entities and can create life and resources for the humans down below and provided the humans stay loyal to them, and not get to greedy, the giants and humans will stay in happiness together and some humans may join the giants unlocking new abilities for them. Although, the player has no direct control of the humans (a lot like Evil Genius) and if the humans get too greedy, they may declare war on each other, or even on the giants themselves which are not invincible. But if a race of man gets too powerful you can just destroy them, provided that you still have a giant that can?

REUS End

REUS is nicely designed and has a nice cartoony look about it and is also very colourful which is always a bonus. So even if the humans decide to go to war with each other, or sometimes you, at least it’s not all gloomy and horrible. The games mechanics are in the ability to give the peaceful/war like humans the things they need in order to survive/kill. So each giant while having maybe some similar abilities, each one does something different, and on top of that different types of region and the people that live on them require different kinds of resources. Grasslands initially require food, desert initially requires wealth and swamp initially requires Technology/Science. What do they require these resources for? Projects. As soon as a town is settled they begin building something which usually starts off quite basic and if accomplished thanks to the help of your giants, they grow in prestige (I think, it’s been a while since I last played it) and then may decide to upgrade that building into something better. By that point though, they require more resources and of different types. It is through this that they can get greedy and if you give them too much, equally so. But in order to achieve even these potential accomplishments the game introduces a system of multipliers. These are basically points in the resource system where combining certain things together will cause more abundance in those resources, and seemingly the strongest way of doing this is through the buildings themselves as they cause larger multipliers than the actions of the giants.

Reus Water Giant

The game while fun, colourful and perhaps playing in a more arcade style game than the standard RTS is also quite difficult as you need to inspire and provide for the humans, but also need to control them in some respects. But the game is very addictive and on your part you want to see the projects completed and do things to see them completed, but the multipliers aren’t as easy to complete as you think they are and can get quite frustrating as you try to use them to provide, but there is a real sense of accomplishment though when the projects are completed. And it is through such things that make me think of Godus as in that the humans create their own villages and building, and the same goes for this. And even when the humans decide to go to war, it is interesting to watch them do so. The world is beautifully animated, from the giants, to the humans, to even the plants and animals that live in the world and it is great to see so much diversity in the game, particularly from the animals themselves to the projects and if you are able to accomplish bigger ones, they lead onto even bigger ones. And if you are a game who likes accomplishments, there is an in-game accomplishment/trophy like system where in the lifespan of a single game you are able to accomplish a group of tasks you chose at the beginning of the game, that sense of accomplishment returns.

Reus Mountain Giant

REUS is an extraordinarily fun game. Addictive with a lot of replay value in a beautifully crafted, animated, colourful and even sounding world with lots to do and achieve while also trying to survive and do all of that within a predetermined amount of time with lots to unlock too, it is seriously good fun. Give it a try, I highly recommend this game (it’s both available on Steam and GOG.com, I have the GOG.com version).

GENEPOOL





Payday: The Heist

30 07 2014

Payday Logo

Fancy robbing a bank but don’t want to go to prison for a long time? Want to steal gold bullion, jewels and maybe the odd hostage without spending time in the big house? Well now you can do all that from the comfort of your very own home (and by that I don’t mean that ridiculous Secret Agent Laser Obstacle Chess or Secret Agent Laser Obstacle Lunch game from The Big Bang Theory) with Payday: The Heist.  (Turn off inner advert accent) Payday: The Heist is a four player co-op game for PlayStation 3 and Windows (and Steam) by Overkill Software where you the player play as one of a group of armed robbers who have obviously decided to go the way of the Judas Priest song, Breaking The Law by breaking the law in hope of making their millions that way. The four robbers have cool nicknames (aliases) too. They are Dallas, Hoxton, Chains and Wolf and are armed to the teeth with an assortment of weapons. But what looks like an arcade game, is actually a lot cleverer.

Payday 3

The game keeps to its arcade look, but instead of a mass shoot and rob for all, is also a tactical shooter. Going in all guns blazing and nicking as much loot as possible is not so easy when there are lots and lots of police officers out there who want nothing more than to take you in, or in most cases just kill you. So you will need to get into cover to prevent being killed, and much like Left 4 Dead, the game does heavily rely upon co-operation as if you go down, your buddies will need to rescue you, or if you end up getting arrested, your buddies will need to grab a hostage to trade. The game also comes with a levelling up system which means that you can specialise in a special skill to unlock new upgrades, equipment and weapons. But that is not all, not every mission has you robbing a bank. Levels range from diamond heist’s, armed raids, stealing entire safe rooms and setting prisoners free (and raiding a hospital if you so wish). But on top of all this good stuff, the police have specialities too. While there is the occasional group of standard police officers, as your siege gets more and more deep, specialised units will come in to deal with you ranging from Taser people, massive heavily armoured shotgun wielding people called Bulldozers (sadly no real bulldozers), Swat Teams and Snipers.

Payday 2

I really enjoy it, however I do think that the upgrading feature could be done differently. It can take quite a while to upgrade equipment and weapons and so I think it would benefit to have an experience system like that of Borderlands to allow more skills and upgrade such skills and allow weapons and equipment as well as upgrades for them done through a shop based system like Far Cry 2. This would mean that the player could get new weapons and equipment sooner rather than later and upgrade them as they go along using the money they have stolen. So in a co-op game the money would be split between players and to use as they wish. Also, I do think that there should be levels of difficulty where the player can choose to play a game that is too easy and would just pit the player against the normal police officers but would pay less and gain less experience, but it would mean that those who are just beginners could have an easier time of it. From then on, each new level of difficulty would introduce a new specialised law enforcer and pay more and give more experience.

Payday 1

Payday is a lot of fun and is a nice alternative to co-operative games as thanks to its arcade style it means that people who just want to have a quick single player or multiplayer game can and don’t need to get caught up in a massive story driven game and can just get stuck in. The novelty of Payday as well is also really good as it is very contemporary and has been featured in both Films and Television for quite a few decades now. While I do think that the game could be improved by a great detail by what I have said above, I really do enjoy playing this game, both cooperatively and singularly. If you like games like Left 4 Dead, you’ll (probably) like this as well. Give it a try, it is so much fun, and if you do get arrested, just restart.

GENEPOOL





The Annoying Little Book

19 02 2014

ZP

I love reading (something that becomes abundantly clear to my regular readers). I like to get lost in amazing worlds and connect with the characters that you meet and greet as you continue to read. I even have ideas of what I think I will read next, I have just started reading The Fire Within by Chris d’Lacey for my bed time reading, while my main reading at the moment is of course the final book in the GONE Series; LIGHT by Michael Grant. As well as both of those I am also reading Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder. While all of these books are very enjoyable, there is one book that has cast a shadow over my reading.

Mogworld

This is Mogworld by “Internet Sensation YAHTZEE Croshaw”. I have been a fan of Yahtzee for almost five years now and while my consistency of watching Zero Punctuation has waned over the years, every now and again I get back into watching it, and continue to enjoy it. When I heard that he was writing a book, the moment it was released back in 2010 I picked up a copy of it and instantly began reading it.

Mogworld is a very funny book with a weird bunch of characters and settings and situations. And as the chapters go on things get even weirder, but the one thing that stays consistent is the high level of comedy, no matter what happens in the chapter, there is always room for scenes of laugh out loud comedy. But it’s not just the laughs, the book delves deeply into the world that the book is set in which (this is not really a spoiler as this has been well documented before the book was released) on this occasion is a video game and delves deeply into the culture including in-game finance, politics and how zombies are not as stupid as they look.

So you may wonder ‘what does the above title mean if the book appears to be relatively good?’, well thank you for asking. The problem is that the books in-game structure is very hard to read. The books type text size is very small and there is hardly any spacing, ok for many people this may not be a problem, but it is for me. Due to this it can take almost 5 minutes to read 2 pages. Each chapter has 13 pages and when it can take a while to read them, it does get annoying and I do get very despondent, which after almost four years does begin to get at you. Which is a bit of a shame, because there are roughly less than 100 pages to go until I will have finished reading the book.

While at the moment it is not my main read as such, I do hope to finish reading the book at some point, I am too far in to just stop because it will niggle away at me. In the meantime though, it will be nothing more than a book on my goodreads ‘currently reading’ profile with no end currently in sight, but don’t let this put you off from reading it or YAHTZEE’s second book Jam.

Jam

GENEPOOL





MotorStorm: Pacific Rift

4 12 2013

 MSPR5

When the PS3 was launched, it started that age-old school tiffle taffle about which console people were going to get. By this time I already had a Wii, but most people’s attentions were drawn towards the successor to the highly successful PlayStation 2. When the launch games were first revealed, I got the distinct impression that it was all the same and that despite the consoles extreme power, nothing would live up to it, and none of them had me interested in the least bit, except for one, the one that everyone had an eye on as it was the only game that as yet showed what the new console was capable of, that game being MotorStorm. While at the time I did not want a PS3, I did want to play MotorStorm, and I did, at a branch of Curry’s. A couple of years or so later, a sequel game was Launched in the form of MotorStorm: Pacific Rift. About less than a year or so later, I bought my PS3 and about a month later, got MotorStorm: Pacific Rift.

MotorStorm Pacific Rift (produced by British Studio Evolution Studios) in Essence is a Racing game, but is different than any other. The game’s setting follows on from the previous game where an annual motor rock festival takes place and drivers from all around the world come to celebrate. You play one of these drivers as you race across the landscape in a variety of vehicles on a variety of courses. The gameplay is different to that of other racing games as others such as Gran Turismo, Project Gotham Racing, Need For Speed or Forza Motorsport usually take place in a city or on a track in a stadium. In MotorStorm the racing takes place on a deserted island in the Pacific Ocean, an island with many hazards including, abandoned buildings, volcanoes, rivers and trees. So as the player is racing on this island, he has several different elements to look out for and avoid, but it’s not as easy as that.

MSPR2

There are 8 vehicle classes to choose from when in a race. Motor Bikes, ATV’s, Buggies, Rally Cars, Racing Trucks, Mud Pluggers, Big Rigs and Monster Trucks. While it is technically possible to use your vehicle anywhere on the course, different vehicles prefer different areas of the track, and there are usually 3 type areas that most vehicles prefer. The lower areas such as large amounts of water and mud suit the bigger vehicles such as Big Rigs and Monster Trucks while the higher areas of the course such as hard ground and less room between obstacles suit the smaller vehicles such as Bikes, ATVs and Buggies, while the areas in between those are more suited for vehicles that need fewer obstacles so they can go faster such as Rally Cars, Racing Trucks and Mud Pluggers.

MSPR1

Each vehicle has other particular strengths and weaknesses. Smaller vehicles are very fast, but are very easily bullied by vehicles such as Monster Trucks (And also, ATV and Bike Drivers can punch each other off their vehicles). Rally Car’s are also very fast, if not the fastest cars, but are very fragile and if they took a hit, it would be game over pretty much for them (If it wasn’t for the re-spawn tool in the game where your car magically is restored and can continue in the race). Racing Trucks are possibly the best all-rounder, strong body so it can take a beating, but is also very nippy. Big Rigs and Monster Trucks meanwhile are pretty much unstoppable, while not being the fastest vehicles on the circuit, nothing gets in their way and can easily, just run over the competition.

MSPR4

Tactics in racing is always important and in Pacific Rift, it’s the same. You need to know what land is best for the vehicle you have chosen, but you need to remember a few other things also. You get a nitrous booster on your vehicle allowing you to speed up, but if you use it too much, you will blow up. If you are on a course with a lot of lava, the booster will heat up quicker and you could blow up sooner, or if not watching the road clearly, accidently drive into the lava, don’t worry, you’ll re-spawn (But I can not help think that there must be some cloning conspiracy behind this whole festival). If you drive through water though, you can cool yourself down, and the boost will last longer, however it is not advisable that you drive through water if you are a bike or ATV (please do so if you want to, but you won’t win the race).

MSPR3

MotorStorm: Pacific Rift is amazing fun. It is great to play a racing game that does something different. Instead of being on a track it is in the wild or in the middle of a lava flow or torrential river. Instead of being tied down to certain classes (at least not for the most part) you can choose a whole load of vehicles. You can drive really fast and dodge all others, or you can just drive right up and over them. It’s also a great multiplayer experience as you don’t need all that skill to play it, compared to other racing franchises. Much like ModNation Racers and Mario Kart, MotorStorm is very easy to pick up and play. Give it a go, its brilliant fun.

GENEPOOL





Talking About My Generation

16 10 2013

GameCube

This past week, I reached what was possibly a sad milestone in terms of my love and interest of Video Games. I bought Beyond: Two Souls for the PlayStation 3. I have been looking forward to the release of this game for a long time, even before it had been announced or known about. Why?, it was produced by Quantic Dream who back in 2010 released Heavy Rain which remains one of my favourite games on the PS3. But you may be asking, why am I sad about a game I have been excited so much about. While my love of Video Games has flourished over the last 7/8 years, I am reaching a major stage in my life. For about the last couple of years I have begun to play less and less video games and do more things of different kinds. If you were to look at me in 2010/2011, Video Games were my main hobby and had been that way since 2001. But now, due to new interests, it no longer is my main. While I continue to love Video Games, I don’t have as much passion as I used to, new interests such as Board Games which I have loved since being a boy as well as my new-found interest in books again which was something that had laid dormant in me for a number of years now, has begun to flourish.

Beyond: Two Souls (Quantic Dream - 2013)

Purchasing Beyond: Two Souls is sad for another reason also, it represents the end of lifespan as one of the main consoles. The 8th generation has already begun, but it will enter full swing in a few months’ time and the PS3 will no longer be one of the main consoles on the market, and for me that feels sad. The enjoyment I have received out of it and will continue to receive will begin to die out as the new consoles take centre stage. But for me, this is not the first time this has happened.

PS3 Controller

Since being a boy I have loved playing games. Games are fun, exciting, enjoyable experiences. During my early youth I have played on many game consoles belonging to friends and family members including Sega Master System II and Sega Mega Drive. My first personal console was a Game Boy, an original one and it was big and yellow and I had a couple of Mario Games for it. However this got stolen (along with my copy of Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins) when the house was ransacked by a bunch of thieving burglars which is pretty self-explanatory but several weeks later I got a replacement in the form of a Game Boy Pocket which was Red and a lot smaller than my nice chunky Yellow Game Boy. But I still had a great time playing games with it. I loved making movies with my Game Boy Camera, took on pirates in search of a treasure in an attempt to build my own private castle in Wario Land and I hunted, caught and trained several pocket-sized monsters in Pokémon Yellow. I even got to smash-up boulders and punch monsters with a Godzilla Game Boy Game. Those were great times when I could lose myself in a personal game and go on adventures and even have little projects to myself with my Camera. Those were great days and while other Game Boys were released such as the Game Boy Colour, Advance and Advance SP. I was pretty much content with my little handheld.

Pokémon Yellow

In late 200 when just starting at High School I received a Nintendo 64 from a friend of my Brothers. With it I got several games including Star Wars: Squadron and Goldeneye 007. My collection of games for it grew and grew with purchases of games including F-Zero X as well as presents at Christmas and Birthday’s with games including Pokémon Stadium 1 and Pokémon Stadium 2. I also was able to borrow games for the console from Blockbuster. It was a great multiplayer platform with a lot of fun crafted into the games produced. I went on a shooting spree in games like the Brilliant Goldeneye and The World Is Not Enough ( starring the unkillable Ape Face). I whizzed past my rivals in F-Zero and Mario Kart 64, and I battled Tooth, Nail and Electric Shocks as well as try powerful Sushi, learned how to dance, chopped logs and delivered Christmas presents in Pokémon Stadium 1 and 2.

It was during my play time on Nintendo 64 that rumours started appearing as to Nintendo’s Next Console, the Nintendo Dolphin. I had no idea what it was going to be like, but it was appearing at a time that other new consoles started to appear. In late 1999, Sega released what would be their last major console in the form of the Sega Dreamcast which while it was short-lived, has been regarded by many as one of the greatest game consoles and it introduced and pioneered many elements that would become standard with in the industry including online gameplay. Around about the same time as the release of the Dreamcast, the long-awaited PlayStation 2 was released which became the number one bestselling console of its generation. The Nintendo Dolphin eventually arrived in the form of the Nintendo GameCube in 2002. I asked for a copy for the following Christmas and received one with a copy of Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee.

Dreamcast Logo

This was the point that Video Games would become my main hobby. I would come back from school wanting to play some more on it over and over again. Soon after getting one I got an extra pad, memory card and some shelves for games for about £25. My game collection for it grew over time with me acquiring copies of games like Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Sonic Adventure 2 Battle. I got to try out games from Blockbuster and sometimes bought those that I like a lot. Over the 4 years that I had the console my collection continued to grow more and more. My multiplayer experiences were very enjoyable with games like the amazing 007: Nightfire. I was whizzing around tight bends and almost crashing cars in Need For Speed: Underground, Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and F-Zero GX. I was going on adventures in Sonic Adventure 2 Battle and Sonic Heroes. I was battling to stay alive in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, I was fighting on the frontline in Battalion Wars, I wrestled to become World Champion in WWE Day of Reckoning 1 and WWE Day of Reckoning 2, I collected Stars and Coins in epic multiplayer duels in Mario Party and I was even milking Cows in Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life. While there were those at school who said it was stupid to have, I did not care; I was having fun, lots of fun. Not only that, but the GameCube did have some things over its rivals. The Memory Cards were small and cheap but had plenty of rooms for games and the pads had built in Rumble Packs meaning a cartridge did not have to be bought for them to feel like you were in the heat of the moment. And even after the Xbox was released and had built in memory and had games on it like HALO: Combat Evolved, I was still satisfied with my little GameCube. Others could play DVD’s on their consoles; I didn’t really have any DVD’s so I saw no point in having that feature. I remember a time when I played for hours on F-Zero GX (My Favourite GameCube Game) including not realising the passage of light or time as it was once 11:00pm when I finally stopped playing it, did I mind, no, I was happy.

F-Zero GX (Nintendo - 2003)

At the time of all this I used to collect CUBE Magazine which sadly ended in the blink of an eye in 2005. CUBE magazine offered many in-depth news of Games coming out in the near future and easy to understand reviews. It was when reading it in about 2004 that I heard about the Nintendo DS. What I thought was going to be the next home console turned out to be a hand-held that would take the world by storm. In mid-2005 I first heard about the Nintendo Revolution. This would become the next home console for Nintendo when released in late 2006.

My enjoyment of the GameCube still continued, but over time, its oncoming end was apparent. I could see it particularly with how hard it was to get new games. By June 2006 my concentration had now turned its eyes to the Nintendo Revolution, now known as the Nintendo Wii. As the excitement grew to this new console, the more and more I could not wait for its arrival. However, being a Nintendo Console, the criticism came in thick and fast before the consoles eventual release (which still happens to this day despite the company’s illustrious career). But most of everyone’s attention was more on the release of the Xbox 360 and the soon to be released PS3. How wrong they were when the Wii started breaking all records. Its appeal came from its more casual gaming approach allowing more people to play games, different groups of people too, older people, mums and dads. Whole families could play games together. The Wii became a must have toy for everyone. It became a party tool for when numerous people were round. Whole hosts of games were developed for it from Party Games for the whole family, to shooting games for the more hard-core gamer. And this came from the Wii’s pioneering Motion Control feature meaning that games were no longer about causing thumb seizures and more about being part of an experience. Nintendo opened up the Games Market to a whole new world, one that the competition did not even notice or think about.

Nintendo Wii

I was one of the people who felt the benefits of the Wii. I had a great time Boxing and Playing golf with friends in Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort as well as drive around corners in Mario Kart Wii, take on the Yakuza in Red Steel, lead a Nation in Little King’s Story, take on Savage Rabbits in dancing contests and played with them in rock bands in Rayman Raving Rabbids and attempted to keep fit with Wii Fit. It was a great time to be a gamer.

But part of me wanted to play other games too, games that were not as available on the Wii, games like Motorstorm or the upcoming MAG. So in 2009 I bought a PS3 with Killzone 2 and Far Cry 2, eventually getting Motorstorm Pacific Rift for my Birthday. The PS3 would eventually become my main console as while the Wii was fun, it did not have much for a solo gamer. While I did not have much of a Multiplayer Experience with the PS3, it was like playing my GameCube all over again, getting lost in the game, in the story. While Shooting games like Killzone 2 and Killzone 3, Battlefield 3 and Far Cry 2 were mainly my favourites. I thoroughly enjoyed a range of other games too. Adventure Games like Brütal Legend and Fairytale Fights gave me new worlds to experience and Heavy Rain showed that games could be more than just games. But there was always some room for some racing with games like Motorstorm Pacific Rift, ModNation Racers and Test Drive Unlimited 2. It was still a great time to be a gamer.

So what changed, how did I go from being so incredibly happy playing games, to games no longer being my number 1 hobby? 2012, in March 2012 I saw The Hunger Games at the cinema, I loved it so much I bought the book and got back into reading, I got lost in an amazing world and over time I began to read more and more. At the moment I am reading the Incredible GONE series by Michael Grant. In turn I began to write more and recently entered some writing competitions. But it wasn’t just books and writing. I started to play Board Games more and more. Board Games was mainly a thing I did once, maybe twice a year at Christmas and on Holiday, but after finding a group at a local café in my home town, I started playing them week after week and still do. I spend less of my pocket-money on games, and more on Board Games. But another reason is that in 2012, there was hardly anything that I wanted to get. The Wii was on its last legs as there was hardly anything worth getting, particularly with more attention on the upcoming Wii U. I only bought 2 new releases in 2012, Twisted Metal and Far Cry 3. Even in 2013, there was hardly nothing I wanted with most of the games I bought for the PS3 being old second-hand games. Beyond: Two Souls was really the only new release I got. Most of my attention on Computer Games I want to play turn to the PC with Games on Steam. Nowadays, when I walk into a GAME Shop, I just look at old stuff that I could get cheap. I spend more time looking at Board Games, than I do at Video Games. When I was studying Video Games Development, I always assumed that Video Games would be my Major Hobby, but now, it isn’t. It still is a hobby, but not my major one. When you are young you don’t see how you change as you get older, it is only now I see this change.

Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft - 2012)

Video Games will always be a part of me, this blog started as a result of my Interest in Video Games. I look forward to games to be released on Steam and GOG. I play some games multiple times; I still look at Games I want to play and continue to look forward to and enjoy E3. I have a Nintendo 3DS which I play Pokémon SoulSilver on every now and again, I even want to give Ouya a go, as for any of the other consoles, well it depends on whether or not a game comes out on one that I really want to play, maybe a Wii U or a PlayStation 4, probably not an Xbox One though, unless I am extremely desperate to play Titanfall. For over 10 years, Video Games have been my interest, hobby and passion. While I feel like that this part of my life has now ended, I am thankful for experiencing it and having so much fun in the process. But this is not the ultimate end as I will continue to play Video Games, have fun with friends in multiplayer, experience stories and great characters while also getting involved in these amazing worlds and experience the escapism and involvement that they include. I love gaming, and a part of me always will.

GENEPOOL (Don’t forget to have a look at my article celebrating the 5 year Anniversary of the Nintendo Wii).








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