The Lost Reviews – Infested Planet

20 10 2016

Infested Planet (Rocket Bear Games - 2014)

If Alien movies have taught us anything, it’s that guns do not work against Aliens! That statement has been proved over and over again from films such as Aliens (where an elite team of Marines were wiped out in near seconds), Starship Troopers (where legions of soldiers were killed in less than an hour) and Independence Day (where the human race was nearly wiped out in 3 days). So, with this knowledge in hand we know for sure that if Aliens invade Earth, we should not use guns in any shape or form as they simply do not work; it seems however that some people have to learn the hard way.

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Infested Planet (produced by Rocket Bear Games) is a game about a squad of soldiers invading a planet infested with an alien species, and whose job it is to try and wipe them out. Each level begins with your elite team of soldiers landing in an area, with a small base set up. From here it is your duty to guide them through a maze of tunnels in the hope of destroying all enemy bases to win the level. As soon as you land however, the Aliens are on top of you and you will need to plan wisely and prioritize where you can as the aliens descend in swarms around your base.

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Each level is set in a nicely rendered 2D plan view map, and there are no tricky images to understand as everything is nice and clear. The games visuals remind me of one of those planet invasion flash games. You know the ones that feel more like a maths exam, where there is a planet with a value of 10, and so you need to send an army with a value of 11 to conquer it. Well, the maps look like that, with nice near circular bases for both you and the aliens, and as the swarms of alien monsters begin to descend on your bases and men, they even begin to look like those sorts of games. The aliens and soldiers feature a wonderful colour palette, with your soldiers changing colour as they upgrade and even the aliens get a nice patchwork of colouring too.

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The main way you play is by guiding your soldiers around the map, attacking bases and taking them over, bit by bit extending your reach. You will be offered times to upgrade while in the battlefield, upgrading your soldiers to different classes, while also being offered opportunities to drop supplies in and even call in helicopter strikes. It’s kind of similar to opportunities offered in Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (which I have still yet to play). These upgrades however do not make the game any easier as the aliens can mutate as their bases get destroyed, and just because you have claimed a base does not make it safe, as the aliens can and will attack them, destroying them and converting the land back to their side. They will even take control of you gun turrets given half the chance.

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The AI in this game is brilliant. The aliens attack in well-designed swarms, and don’t just rely on being small, because as the game progresses, and bases mutate, other larger and more fearsome species come out to play. It’s actually kind of fun, yet stimulating-ly terrifying as you see these swarms just appear and attack out of nowhere. Yes, you can put up defenses, but spots can be over run and you can’t help but look back at your bases, just to check if they are safe for the time being. Meanwhile, you have to keep a sharp eye on your team as they come under attack, and have to defend themselves not just from aliens, but the alien’s own defensive capabilities also.

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What this game provides at its core details plus in game specialties is really nice, and it’s good to see a game that even when it does provide you with upgrades, it does not necessarily mean that it gets any easier. It does not necessarily have a learning curve, more a steady playing field, and one that requires you to strategize rather than burst in all guns blaring. The game though for all its wonderful inclusions does have some short comings. There is an in game shop system which allows you to purchase new items and upgrades from cash you receive from winning (and even surrendering) a level. When you go into the shop though hoping to get much-needed upgrades, you discover that most of them (although at a fair price) are temporary and are only really available for no more than the next three levels. That is pretty annoying especially as some of them can be pretty expensive. You would think that something that cost that much, you would get keep wouldn’t you? The story does not really seem to be needed either. The game’s plot is provided in a similar form to an old shoot-em up game, where there is a lot of written text, no voice over dialogue and when it actually comes to a level, you don’t really know why they gave you any plot. But then things get weird as the game provides you with random missions and the story just appears to well: disappear…altogether. But the crazy thing is, is that you don’t really care about the plot, as there is so much fun in its gameplay you just want to get past the written word and just start shooting aliens. It’s a bit wasted if I’m to be honest.

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Altogether I think this is a fun game. Yes its shop is convoluted and un-usable and its story is pretty much not wanted and at least a bit wasted; but everything else that this game provides is on the surface near perfect. It’s not overly long, you can play it in long and short bursts, it’s relatively easy to pick up and play, and its design is really nice and colourful (compared to say a mysteriously abandoned ship in space lacking a carpet). Overall I would say this is just a nice little game if you fancy a break from a heavy laden triple A game or if you just have a little time to play something diverse, in-depth, but also very light.

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GENEPOOL

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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








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