Welcome to the latest fix for all your gaming needs, and by all I do of course mean none. This time I'm gonna open with Terminator Salvation, follow it up with some Puzzle Quest and then delve a little further into my adventures into the world of MMOs (Aion and Guild Wars, also apparently Guild wars doesn't count as an MMO but yeah). Of course my aptly titled 'stuff' will be making it's usual appearance.
Three words, movie based game. As a rule movie based games aren't so great, they seem rushed or an easy ride on the cash cow that is the movie franchise. There are, however, a couple of golden exceptions to the rule , and I can 100% honestly say, that out of all the games I have ever played in my entire life, this Terminator game was one of them... It's more or less another everyday FPS, but this time you get to play as John Connor. I can't say how much this game does tie in with the movie but I honestly don't think it matters. It plays a little differently to a lot of games, not in a 'how unique' way, but more in a 'well that was different I guess' way. You heal automatically after progressing through a certain amount of a level, so although there's no worrying about how an earth a medpack just removed the bullets from the inner workings of your digestive system, there's just no reasoning behind healing. It's a game though so try as I might i can't fault it for that, but it does also mean that when faced with enemies the only choice is just to stay in cover and wait til you get a safe shot. Slow and steady wins the race, and although this isn't my preferred play style, it gives me a reason to try and get around the back of enemies. Unfortunately getting around the back of enemies is literally just moving from cover to cover, and you have no control over your team either so you never really feel like you're pulling off an awesome flanking manoeuvre. It felt to me that I was just following the obvious line of cover around the side of the enemy infested area, and hoping that your AI team have the common decency not to follow you and make it all pointless anyway.
As well as the cover shooting, there's some level segments where all you have to focus on is shooting thing. Good example of this, near the start of the game you will be shooting off the back of a car at what I believe are called Aerostats . These are probably the harder parts of the game, or at least they were when I played through on hard. The aiming system is okay but it doesn't allow you to destroy enemies as easily as I'd like and with your cover ability taken away, it's pretty easy to get shot to pieces. If you die on the car part I just referred to, you also get the joy of rewatching a cutscene and listening to them yammer on about sh..tuff I barely cared about the first time I heard it. Most cutscenes are skippable, but apparently not for the parts where you may actually die. There's no better punishment for dieing than watching the same freaking thing over and over til you either succeed, or throw your controller through your new HD monitor. In this case perseverance won the day, allowing my monitor to breathe a sigh of relief as nothing is forcefully inserted through the picture.
Becoming tired of paragraphs, here are just a few other things that made me facepalm during the game:
Being shot randomly even though I was in cover.
I actually timed one particular area, and I was running through the mostly mundane scenery for 70 seconds without meeting an enemy and without any 'story' progression either. Did they just forget to put enemies in that section?
You can carry 5 grenades but only 2 pipe bombs, simply because pipe bombs are more damaging and the game doesn't want you stockpiling them.
Sometimes the AI will not shoot an exposed enemy simply because, apparently, to try and kill the distant and invulnerable enemy is tactically the best choice.
Overall the game was a bit meh, it wasn't horrendous, but it certainly wasn't good. If you're an achievement hunter it's a full 1000 in 4-6 hours though. Took me about 5 and I wasn't slacking, but unfortunately I'm not a gaming God...yet. If you play games strictly for fun, I probably wouldn't bother. If I can take an opportunity to play the numbers game for once, I'd give this a 5 out of 10.
Puzzle Quest is available on several platforms, but in this case I purchased it on XBLA. It's really hard to explain quickly, but basically it's bejewelled plus turn based strategy plus role playing elements. If you're not familiar with Bejewelled, it's an object matching game. In Puzzle Quest, depending on what objects you match in the puzzle, you will get different things. Red diamonds give red mana, blue diamonds give blue mana, gold gives gold, skulls do direct damage to your enemy etc. Collecting mana is important as depending on your character and your level and such, you will have a variety of different skills to unleash during your turn, like dealing 10 damage to your enemy at the cost of 15 red mana, or causing your opponent to miss 2 goes at the cost of several blue, yellow and red mana. Your enemy is playing on the same board as you too, so you can purposely take mana he needs, or just make it awakward for him to ever damage you. There's also variations on the puzzle game where you have to clear the board to capture an enemy, or collect anvils on the board to forge a new item and so forth. It takes a very simple concept and gives it a ridiculous amount of depth, too much for anyone to care about in a review anyway.
So that's a very brief look into gameplay, but gameplay needs to have a purpose. The story goes that you are some hero and you just love running quests for everybody in the country. There are several side quests but there is also a main quest line to follow, about the recent incline of monsters roaming around and generally monstering things to death. So you can quest, usually via puzzles, I'm no rocket scientist (although the physics of rockets is some pretty straightforward maths actually) but I'm assuming this brings about the name of Puzzle Quest. As well as puzzling and questing you can siege the cities for fun. Don't worry if you fail because apparently trying to seize controls of cities by force is all fun and games in these lands and nobody will think any different of you. A heroes gotta invade what he's gotta invade.
So two paragraphs about the game, and you kind of understand it, maybe. I've been so busy trying to explain the game I have yet to really comment on anything, so here goes. It's ADDICTIVE. No lie, sometimes when I shut my eyes I have pictures of Puzzle Quest boards on the back of my eyelids and I will start deciding the best move to do before I snap out of it. It's not quite as life destroying as the infamous Peggle games, but it's certainly not easy to put down. "Just one more quest...okay I'll just siege this city now I'm here...well now it's my city I may as well train my mount a couple times...well now he's levelled I should go test him out... " and so it goes on. Luckily, I do enjoy the game. It's something anyone can just pick up and play, and it's never too frustrating. Occasionally the enemy gets a ridiculously lucky streak and I get destroyed at the last minute in a fight, but there's no penalty for dieing, you try and try again until you kick some puzzle ass. The gameplay does get repetitive though, and there's very little story to keep you entertained, mostly comprising of 2d screens with some speech bubbles. Generally it will only be a few hours until you feel well rested enough to continue your questing though. To get any enjoyment from this game you HAVE to like the puzzle and strategy style or you will get bored of it after a day. If you just aren't sure, get the trial, get the trial, get the trial. I don't mean download it 3 times there, I was just trying to use emphasis to get across the importance of tryingbefore buying. How's my emphasizing? Call 0800- I'mnotaprofessionalwriter and let me know! Point is, I am pretty certain after 10-15 minutes of trialling, you should have a very good idea of whether or not it's worth a buy for you.
Overall I have to say it's good game, it was half price this week too so yay for me. There's also multiplayer thrown in, and in the unlikely event you decide one complete playthrough to level 50 isn't enough, firstly you're insane, and secondly you can always start over as a different character class. I can be a title for the casual gamer, you can win some fights without really knowing what you're doing, but if you really want the most out of the game, you wont be disappointed either. There is a ton of things to do, strategies to discover, and quests to puzzle. If you only like FPS, then you'll probably hate this...but you already knew that from the moment the word puzzle was expelled from my mind onto the screen, so if you only like FPS and you STILL read this far, then I have just taken a few minutes of your life that you will never get back. Ha.
MM OH SNAP SON! (AION AND GUILD WARS)
Did you see what I did there, I took the o in MMO but made it oh and then...yeah. Anyway, I ventured further to investigate this phenomena recently. Firstly I downloaded the Aion beta, 9.12 gigabytes! Took me 8 hours, and it was hardly downloading slowly. Once I finally got it installed it was another hour before I could play because it took me a while to figure out the server refused to let me play because I have a USB modem. How does that even work? I had to connect the Internet to the other PC, then link to my actual PC via Mr Ethernet cable, and then all was fine. Sheesh.
I'd love to give you all the low down on how it plays, but if you do the whole MMO scene you've probably played it anyway, and I have no idea what I'm talking about :P The character customization seemed pretty good, I spent 10 minutes on that until I was happy with my Mage, and then I could even select his voice type. I also liked the fact there were proper cutscenes at times, even if my computer refused to run them properly. I didn't play for too long in the end, despite the hours of preparation, because I knew that I'd lose everything once the beta was all said and done, but nevertheless I did do a couple of quests and run around impressing the locals with my clever fire, stun, fire technique. No doubt I was the first person with the tactical superiority to try this, the likes of which Aion may never see again. Admittedly I had to run the game at low low graphics for the sake of my frame rate, but it still looked like a pretty game.that's also because my graphics card is 128 mb of onboard graphics, not that the game is a graphics whore. I also liked that all the characters had a little voice clip or something when I clicked them as well as the usual 'read their story' technique.
After deciding MMOs could be cool, but still wasn't sure, I got the Guild Wars trial. I then got angered by my own indecisiveness and spur of the moment purchased the Guild Wars trilogy from Steam. As a sidenote I like Steam, being able to overlay the chat over my game without breaking things with alt tab is actually really helpful. back to the game. Guild Wars is, Guild Wars? I'm sorry people, I really have no idea how to discuss these kinds of games :P There were character classes and I quested and killed some things. Things happened, people talked. I can't say that I'm addicted to this game, and I'm still putting a lot more time into my xbox 360 related adventures, but the MMO scene is a nice change of pace. I'm enjoying it more than I thought I would.
If you read this section I think we can both agree that there's not gonna be many fact filled and content full reviews coming from me on this matter. Maybe once I've played more I might get a feel for it, but right now I'm just wandering around noobishly trying to learn how everything works. Maybe a year from now, Jimothyjim's Adventures in Gaming 97 will be all about the delicately balanced classes in the latest Aion Expansion, but in Jimothyjim's Adventures in Gaming 5 we will have to make do with a load of tripe ^_^
That's pretty much it really, I tried a couple demos just because I had Steam, namely Aaaaa! A Reckless Disregard for Gravity, and Audiosurf. Both were okay, but I didn't feel compelled to buy them. I'm aware some people love Audiosurf so, don't hurt me please. My adventures are probably gonna get held up now because I'm moving back to Wales to continue my Degree, not because of all the work, but simply because I'm relocating and have to set up the Internet and blaaaaah. Hopefully it'll all go smoothly, but it won't. Means I have to hold off renting until I know the address of where I'm living too, games that get delivered 3 hours drive away are always hard to play
I'm a complete noob but if anyone cares my Guild Wars main character name is Gedrich Arkansanth. Awesome name right? It was the most Guild Warsy name I could think of. He's a Monk, but don't let that fool you into thinking I'm useful :P He's on prophecies, but if you add him I do have another character on Nightfall who is a Devlish, I think...
So to wrap up, keep on gaming people, but most importantly, keep on talking about it. I for one like talking about games maybe even more than playing them, does it show? :P Jimothyjim signing out. Well we all know I'm not signing out, I'll still be lurking gDNA. Just felt like a very gamey way of saying bye I guess. What I am trying to say is that I'm done talking at this conjuncture.