Doom 100% completed!

•February 18, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Actually there is still a little bit more multiplayer leftover…another 2 or 3 prestige levels to unlock all the multiplayer content, but all the achievements are completed.

The double XP weekends helped a lot with the multiplayer achievements. The single player trophies honestly weren’t all that hard, especially after you had unlocked the armor perk that shows secrets on the map. Thankfully they didn’t make Ultra-Nightmare a requirement.

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Fallout 1 Mini Review

•February 9, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Mutated rats, laser pew pews, 98% criticals (you missed and dropped your gun), and Nuka Cola. Even though very dated it’s also very famous and it still retains a lot of its charm even 20+ years later. I found it brutally hard but any post apocalyptic fans should definitely have a look and consider this because it is a classic. See how much you can stack on your followers before they complain and you have to start storing stuff in tiny crates and bookcases. Dogmeat for best buddy!

 

Fallout 1 Overview

•February 9, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Fallout 1 takes place in a post apocalyptic world set after the events of World War 3. The world has gone boomala and the only people that were safe where the ones that went below ground in the vaults. There are people topside but many of them are rather unsavory characters. Something along the lines of wretched hive of scum and villainy. You are sent out to find a essential part for your vault’s survival. I remember this was really big when it first came out but I wasn’t really interested in it back then, although it still retains a certain kind of charm. I saw it on my best friends pentium II playing it but at that time I was more interested in Blizzard games like Diablo, Starcraft, and Warcraft. I guess Fallout is at somewhere near the same level of legendary as the original baldur’s gates, or the first Diablo/Starcraft/Starcraft games.

The gameplay design in Fallout is turn based so it feels kind of like a Final Fantasy JRPG but looks like a sci-fi version of Diablo 1. I thought it was incredibly hard and the game does very little hand-holding. It barely tells you how to do anything. Most of it you have to figure out for yourself although certain points I just had to look up because it was pretty much impossible to figure out how to complete that area. This is one of the rare cases where you kind of had to read the manual in order to figure out how to play the game, but I didn’t really read it because usually you learn most of the stuff you need to just by playing it (which i did) but it would have helped me a lot if I had read the manual for the game first. I went through 3/4th’s of the game without even knowing how to change the kind of ammo for my gun or how to drop an item. The Fallout 2 manual is an even bigger help than the Fallout 1 is. You get stuck in the game sometimes and it barely gives you any hints at all on how to proceed. Some of the things just flat out aren’t explained at all though so unless you had known how to do it beforehand you probably wouldn’t figure it out. (especially that final military base radio computer jammer thing).

There are a couple of different characters you can pick from for the story with prebuilt character sheets. Each of these characters specializes in a certain few skills that they are extremely proficient in. Some are more oriented for fighting, some for thieving and sneaking, and some for persuasion and chatting. I found chatting to be the most helpful because you gained additional speech options during dialogue that often allowed you to get better bonuses or escape the situation altogether but there is something to be said for the warrior/fighting specialization and something to be said for the sneaking one as well I suppose. You can also pick between genders although it is mostly male characters. Gender has a much higher role in Fallout 2 I found. I picked a male character with high charisma.

I struggled a lot with most of the enemies earlier on (partially because I didn’t have any knowledge of how to use the VAT targeting system) and partially because I was mostly just doing the story missions. Admittedly once you get the power armor the game is a lot easier, but the mutant enemies are still extremely overpowered (rocket launchers and miniguns). Without the power armor they can decimate you with a single shot, and they can still make very quick work of you even with the power armor. I can’t emphasize enough how useful it was though.

Much like later Bethesda games you have a weight limit for your character, and while you can store things in any random shelf or box as you fit in the levels, you don’t have a dedicated storage stash really. Plus it is a rather time consuming process to get (some of the best items imho) from the military base to practically anywhere else thanks to that stupid time limit. You can store items with your followers who will often have a higher weight limit than you, but getting your items back from them can be a bit tricky as they require you to give them something of equal value. Fallout 2 did away with this system thankfully. There are a few characters who can join your party, but I didn’t see a way to upgrade any of their stuff. You can trade with them but there is no guarantee that they will use any of the stuff you give them or that they pick up. Fallout 2 also fixed this and allowed you to tell them to use different items and control their default modes.

It is quite rare that I play games that have a time limit on it. The last game I can think of that actually had a time limit was Majora’s Mask. Fallout 1 has them.There is the initial time limit for the water chip, and then after that there is the hidden 500 day time limit which apparently has been patched out but in the steam version it is still there. I think the GoG has the newer patched version without the time limits.

Much like most other RPG games there is the standard rpg ability and skill sheet. Everytime you level up you gain a certain amount of points that you can use to increase your skill percentages. But when you level up you aren’t able to add additional points to any of the core stats (like in Diablo or Dark Souls) you can only give points to the secondary skills that are on the right side of the screen. These oddly go far above the normal 100% limit and go up to a maximum of 300%. You are given 17 points per level up so it will take a long time to get to 300. Thanks to the D&D chance mechanics you can still fail on…pretty much anything no matter your level. There are also specialized perks that you unlock later on for every certain amount of levels you acquire. The perks range from neat additions to genuinely helpful perks. Thanks to the D&D dice mechanics you can succeed at unlocking something even though you only have a 38% chance to lockpick and you can fail to hit an enemy at point blank 98% chance with 110% stat on small guns. Talk about a fun system lol.

You can pick from your skills and attempt to interact with the world using them. Things like lockpick, science, first aid/doctor for healing, repair. Using these skills can often unlock things that you wouldn’t normally have access to. You can steal items from other characters (and hopefully they don’t notice and kill you). You can also specialize in different kinds of weapon sets like unarmed, small guns, big guns, laser guns etc. But as you don’t really know what kind of weapons you will encounter in the wasteland on your first playthrough I thought that was a bit confusing. I found it was better to only level up a few core skills and not try to spread out too much. You cannot respec a character so pick carefully. And don’t forget laser weapons for endgame.

Fallout 1 has a pretty straightforward story. You are sent off by your vault to try to find a water chip, and after that the story advances a little bit from there but not by too much there actually are only 3 main quests total. (although they are actually very long quests don’t be fooled). There are plenty of people with problems to solve scattered around the post apocalyptic world along the way.

The second and third quest come as a bit of a surprise after the ending of the water chip quest but that’s how it was written I guess. There is a timer on the first quest, but it doesn’t mention any time limit after this although I read there still is a 500 day one that isn’t mentioned until you hit it. There are multiple endings but only one good ending. If you save just before the final boss you can experiment with the endings.

As Fallout 1 is quite dated I can’t really say much about the graphics. They are about on par with what RPG games on PC looked like at about that time. It looks sort of like a sci-fi cross with Diablo 1 or Baldur’s Gate. It scales incredibly well honestly, and allowed for much higher resolutions than were supported at that time (I think 800 x 600 would still have been considered somewhat high at that point) and it will reliably render at whatever resolution your monitor offers. Surprisingly it has no problems handling resolutions all the way up to 4K, although if you do set it to 4k you will end up with a really small screen and a tiny UI menu lol. I think it wasn’t really meant to go beyond 1920 x 1080 as thats the last resolution where it still covers full screen. It’s a super old PC game with requirements so low that I would guess pretty much any PC can run it easily now because it only required 16MB of ram and a 90hz Pentium.

I am sure that there are plenty of easter eggs present in this game that probably went over my head. I’m also sure that some of the easter eggs I missed completely. The jokes were probably related to news and lore from around the time that the game was released (1997) and I wasn’t exactly very internet savvy (no reddit or wikipedia lol) nor did I pay attention to much news so a lot of it is probably missed on me. They are probably American specific easter eggs as well which makes it even harder for me since I didn’t grow up there. The only easter egg that I noticed was a Dr. Who one. When you are exploring the deserts on the way to the military base you might unexpectedly get stopped in one of them. I feared it was one of the dreaded mutant expedition soldiers that had been destroying me while wandering around the desert but in this case it was an almost entirely empty map save for a blue UK telephone booth at the north end of the screen. I was confused about it for a moment but the second I stepped towards it, it disappeared in a flash of light and was gone so I didn’t have time to take a screenshot and I wasn’t prepared for it either. It dropped a motion sensor. Odd things happen when you wander around the desert in fallout. The random encounters outside of the towns and cities can lead to all kinds of interesting things.

I’m aware that I am extremely late to this particular game. While I’m sure this game deserves its legendary classic status and it definitely was advanced for the time of release, I would be a little hesitant to recommend this to someone unless they were fully aware of what kind of game it is and how the mechanics work as it can be quite hard honestly. I’d suggest taking a look at some videos of the gameplay before deciding if it is something you’ll enjoy. There is a significant learning curve involved with Fallout but once you have figured out what you are doing exploring the apocalyptic wasteland can be extremely fun as well even though you can get your butt handed to you by a mutated rat ^_^. It was a milestone in sci-fi RPG games and I would definitely suggest it to anyone who is a big fan of the apocalyptic genre. People who don’t like turn based or the RPG aspect of it might take a look at ID’s R.A.G.E instead. It’s a classic alright, and while I don’t see myself revisiting it, it certainly was a unique experience and even though I had a very tough time with it I was also drawn to it as well and I had a lot of fun with it figuring out different conversation choices that could lead to disastrous consequences.

 

RE7: Not a Hero DLC overview

•January 28, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Not a Hero is DLC for Resident Evil 7 that was supposed to be released soon after RE7 came out, but it was delayed for over a year and was released at the same time as the gold edition upgrade (GOTY essentially) for RE7 which contained all of the DLC for the game. It is the only free DLC that is available for the game.

In Not a Hero you take control of Chris Redfield who is sent in by Umbrella (lol) in order to rescue three other members who were sent to investigate but never returned. Chris is a veteran of the main Resident Evil series and it’s nice to see him back again. It takes place after the events of the main game, Chris enters the abandoned mines in order to chase down Lucas Baker…who remains at large following the events of Ethan, Mia and Evie. Lucas has set up all kinds of fun traps waiting for Chris in the abandoned mine. It reminds me a little bit of the Saw movies. Chris means well but we all know Lucas is a pyromaniac psycho.

You won’t really see that many new weapons in this DLC, the biggest change is the introduction of Thor’s Hammer (no not that hammer). It is a powerful shotgun which has interchangeable scopes that modify the power, agility, or aim of the weapon. Aside from this shotgun Chris has what appears to be the Samurai Edge pistol from the older games with the same muzzle as Wesker’s pistol which Chris drops at the end of the main game. Instead of enhanced bullets like the main game had, there are special RAMROD bullets that are specially designed to kill the more powerful mutated enemies you will encounter in this DLC. There is also a different dagger but it is mostly just in looks that it’s different (although Chris can hold the knife in a different position and either stab or slash). A neat addition to the game now is that Chris can punch already weakened enemies for a critical finishing move. Lining up the shot can occasionally be tricky however.

There are some new items. There is the filter that you use in your mask which helps against the airborne virus that Lucas spreads, but the basic filter has a time limit on it. There is an upgraded filter later on that grants infinite protection against the virus. There is also night vision. These are the only two upgrades that are available in the game but they both have their uses. There is also the Neuro-Grenade and the Flame Grenade. The Neuro grenade will stun any enemy it hits…which comes in handy on hardcore when you only have the knife and are surrounded by enemies.

Many of the enemies that appear in the DLC will be incredibly familiar as they are taken straight from the main game, but there are also a bunch of new more powerful enemies that cannot be killed with normal guns (like the regenerator that reminds me of RE4). These enemies have to be defeated with the new special bullets that are only found in this DLC, the RAMRODS. Luckily the RAMRODS are instant killers for these special mutated enemies but there are few bullets.

You retrace many of the areas that you explored in the main game, but there are also a large number of new areas to explore, like the vaults where you find mummified remains in the tunnels beneath the original mine and there is also the lab where Evie appears to have been kept while she was being studied, and there is also the tunneling machine. The lab where Evie was kept has some interesting additional data on Evie herself and the progression of her condition. It also gives some details on the creation of the special enemies that you encounter in the DLC. There is the main shaft which people who beat the main game will certainly remember, and then there are an additional 3 new areas each located behind colored metal shutters. Each of these 3 areas has some special atmosphere to it but typical of Lucas there are explosive traps and plates aplenty. You will also encounter some duct taped guns that feel like they came out of Portal.

Once again there are some antique coins to be collected. There are two permanent upgrades that you can collect, two of them on the normal difficulty and then there are another two of them that you can unlock on the hardcore difficulty. On normal you get improved health and improved aim/recoil same as you would in main RE7, but on hardcore you get an improved health and an additional scope for the shotgun.

Not a Hero DLC isn’t really all that long. The final runtime for the DLC on normal comes in at just a bit over 1 hour. It is additional story DLC which ties up Lucas’s story, and it is free so I don’t have any complaints about it really.

The hardcore (nightmare) difficulty of this DLC really is rather punishing though. You start off with just the knife, and that first section where you have to get the crank and gear for the lever was incredibly hard to pass.There were also way too many enemies in the main area for you to beat with just the knife so I wasn’t able to save the game until I had a gun and was able to clear out that area. Thankfully it wasn’t like Doom and the checkpoints were still saved even though the game itself wasn’t. The power went off halfway into the playthrough and I probably would have left it for some other time if it hadn’t autosaved.

I really really wish I had unlocked the improved health powerup instead of deciding to push on through and try to find all 10 of the coins in order to unlock both of the upgrades. You cannot go back to get either of the upgrades once you have gone through the tunnel machine part and it has exploded. The final boss was a huge pain on normal, but on hardcore it took me almost as long to beat him as it did to beat the main game honestly. He is ridiculously overpowered and has a set of very far ranging attacks as well as an insta-kill attack if he manages to hit you with it. The best tactic I learned with him in the end was just patience. The hardcore final tally took me somewhere around 5.5 hours.

Once you beat the DLC you are awarded some items, but they are the same items that you can unlock in the main game (faster shoes,infinite ammo and improved block) but they don’t carry over into the main game. The only thing that is new is the additional scope for the shotgun that you get by beating the DLC on normal. I’m a little disappointed that the new weapon doesn’t carry over into the main game.

Getting it to download can be a little tricky. Initially it said I had to go to Steam store to buy it, then it said I already had it but when I tried to install it nothing happened. I had to restart a few times and keep trying it until it downloaded the content separately. I had downloaded RE7 again after the DLC was released so I suspected that it would already have been included in the copy I downloaded but it seems not.

If you have Resident Evil 7 and are craving to find out what happened to Lucas, then definitely check this out.

 

Happy 2018!

•January 17, 2018 • Leave a Comment

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Castlevania Dracula X Chronicles overview (PSP)

•December 11, 2017 • Leave a Comment

This is a castlevania game that keeps fairly close to the roots of the series and provides a short (albeit very tough) challenge for anyone who desires a Castlevania experience on the go. Castlevania: Dracula X is a remake of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (also known as Dracula X for SNES). Much like Castlevania 1 and Castlevania 3 you follow a rather direct path through a series of levels as you guide Richter Belmont towards his inevitable confrontation with destiny.

It is a 2D platformer that is much in the style of a classic SNES game (like Super Mario/Actraiser or Donkey Kong Country). On the DS side you will find Metroidvania type Castlevanias very much in the Symphony of the Night style as opposed to the Castlevania: Chronicles of this one. Both game styles are appealing in different ways, it depends on whether you want more of an action game or if you prefer backtracking and level ups more in the RPG style of game. Even though it is a remake of the classic action Castlevania there are surprises scattered around Dracula X which give you some variety in what kind of game you want to play.

Similar to the older Castlevania’s, at the beginning of each level you start off with a set amount of health, hearts, and weapon which contribute to your final score if you make it through the entire level without using a continue. Credits build up on your main profile but I actually still don’t know what they do. These levels each have their own boss at the end of the level which drops the orb needed to proceed to the next level. You have a standard set of levels leading up to the final boss, but to make things interesting a lot of these levels also have alternate versions of the levels which can be unlocked by completing special tasks in the level and fighting a second different boss within the same level. You can beat the game without unlocking any of the bonus/alternate levels although if you want to see the true ending to the game you will have to venture out and find them.

Richter can save numerous characters along his quest (including one bonus playable character who has her own unique fighting style and powers) which will grant him additional abilities that allow him to cross certain barriers and access secret parts of levels or unlockables. As with the alternate levels if you want to see the true final ending you must rescue all of the maidens trapped in the castle. In a neat touch they will appear on the main menu screen after you have saved them. Some of the levels can be incredibly frustrating (that clock tower), and the bosses as well can be very overpowered (a ship mast boss comes to mind) but it is very rewarding when you do finally manage to beat them. Often you will have to replay the levels so many times that you basically memorize them, but thankfully it is not that long of a game so you won’t have to memorize that many.

In addition to the main game and all the fun alternate levels and maidens to find, the game also has two other unlockable games included in it which add a significant amount of content. There is the original Rondo of Blood which is unlockable and there is also Symphony of the Night unlockable as well which is sure to delight fans as there is now both a metroidvania style Castlevania and and action one to choose from both on the same disc.

Brave explorers can also find OST songs littered around the levels which can be played from the menu and there are songs encompassing all of the games with remastered versions of their originals. If you still want more after unlocking all of the things above then you can venture into the optional Boss Rush mode.

For a psp game it is a perfect 2D platformer companion if you want something to keep you busy but don’t want to worry about a long and complicated storyline or tons of upgrades and powers to keep track of. When you consider the additional games that are also included in the game along with Dracula X the amount of content altogether is quite impressive and will keep you busy for a long time. I would definitely recommend this to all fans who are looking for a fun Castlevania experience on the go.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Ultimate Chibi

•November 24, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Whipping, chains, golems, belmont and curses…probably you know where I’m going with this. Lords of Shadow was the first Castlevania to be released for HD and it doesn’t disappoint. It might be a terrible night for a curse but the scenery along the way is truly gorgeous. Patrick Stewart narrates a tale of whipchains and thorny paths to gothic castles. Castlevania returns in glorious high definition and Kojima adds his special touch making man a miserable pile of secrets indeed.