The Lost Reviews – Arms Dealer

21 10 2016

Arms Dealer

Tutorials are a major importance to Video Games, without them, chances are we would have no idea how to play the game. It would be complete guess-work as we play the first level over and over again hoping for a hint as to what we are supposed to be doing. Thankfully, that’s why we have Tutorials. Tutorials though don’t have necessarily spoon feed you with information, they could either present just the core details to you or let you work it out from there, or they could be simple prompts at the side of the screen, and rely on you to implement them and discover them yourself. Tutorials themselves could even be a part of the game, and when effective enough could become one of the most memorable parts of the game; a good example would be Age of Empires II for instance. Recently I have been playing another game that too has a memorable tutorial, but all for the wrong reasons.

Age of Empires 2

Arms Dealer (produced by Case in Point Studios, LLC) is a game about buying, selling, trading and shipping weapons around the world to some less than reputable characters. As a new person to the gig, you have some money to which you can begin to build your empire, but to start with you need to buy some guns, make friends and maybe build some form of transport. You start in a country, and from there can buy weapons, while also buying intel on countries to get the prices up and down during buying and selling as well as get involved with auctions. As the game progresses you will need to watch your back as agencies from around the world are looking to bring you down, so while you are earning cash and reputation, you will also be building up your prison sentence should you get caught. Well that’s the theory of how the game works or should work, just depends how much you age by the time you get past the tutorial.

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The game comes with a nice clever interface. It provides you with a map similar to DEFCON and Pandemic 2 to which you can plan where you want to go, buy weapons from, and who to sell them too. The game also comes with an intuitive scheme of windows, much like your desktop; which you can move around willy nilly to your heart’s content to get the best input system possible for you to play the game. It’s sort of like that snap feature on Windows 7 (just without the ridiculous advert). The game controls and input are pretty basic as the only real control you will need comes from your mouse. You just simply click what you want to click, while moving the in game windows around to suit your comfortably.

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The in game map and windows are nicely made, and the images of weapons and vehicles are nicely detailed, and the in game text is nice and easy to read. It’s just everything else is pretty terrible. Some of the in game buttons don’t look like buttons, so you don’t know how to press them, or if you can press them. Some of them are actually pretty small and hard to click on and some of the text is not exactly helpful as you are trying to find an action and you don’t know where it is or how to find it either.

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The real issue with this game for me though is the flipping tutorial. Now most in game tutorials will try to restrict the amount of writing it puts on-screen, other than of course direct and intuitive information, the information you need and want, in order for you to play the game. Sometimes a tutorial will even have some form, of spoken dialogue, so you don’t cause yourself any un-required eye strain. Here though the dialogue boxes have no spoken word, and contain nothing but tiny text, in a small window, and guess what, there is a lot of it. Some spoken word would be a great deal of help here just so you can get a touch more detail, without hurting your eyes. But that is not the worst of it. Due to the amount of windows and text boxes you will be opening during the game, there is a lot of reading involved, and unnecessary moving of windows because the tutorial window demands the centre screen, and so always moves itself back into place, which is not helpful. Worse is still to come, as the text is not descriptive enough and asks you to press buttons you can’t find but according to the tutorial…..’EXIST!’ So you start looking around for the button it tells you to press, but you just can’t find it. And then the windows start to throw a sissy fit, as if you accidentally close a window (but more likely do it on purpose just to get it out of the way), it sort of reverts back to an original state, forcing you to start all over again (not to mention; the lag).

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The windows feature is a nice add-on, it’s a general shame that it just does not work properly. How are you supposed to see this wonderfully detailed map when sooner or later the whole screen is just going to be filled up with in-game windows! How a game like this, which in fairness should strive, like all games, not to create a nuisance is supposed to work is beyond me. Why can’t the windows work like the windows of an installation screen? Instead of you opening up windows to complete an over the top action, why can’t the screen change automatically, by pressing a continue button or something. When you purchase an item off Amazon, you don’t need to open several windows to complete the action, because the window changes automatically to the next step. It’s simple, very simple, so why does this game then thrive to do the exact opposite and be a nuisance.

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I have to mark this game down sadly, which is a shame because overall I really wanted it to be good. I held high expectations and hope that this would be a fun game. I like economic/trading games like this, because generally they are games which don’t require you to complete in one sitting. It’s not Call of Duty; it’s a nice small game which could either be played in short bursts or long periods. It’s like Evil Genius: you don’t have to play it for a long time if you don’t want to, you could play a quick snippet, and play more when you wanted too. The game has some nice points, a wonderfully detailed map, and some nice pictures of guns (which if that is all you want, then great, perfect game for you), but if you want more than that; I am afraid you are going to be disappointed. I hope this game can be salvaged, because I feel that it is a wasted opportunity full of potential. I think that this game could have been really good; a proper enjoyable little gem with plenty of hours of game-play; But right now; I feel like I wish had not wasted my money on it, even if it was a cheap purchase!

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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.

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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.

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








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