Saturday, 2 March 2013

Specific tips for playing video games: Part 1 - Shooters

1. Use cover wherever and whenever possible.
This goes without saying, in cover you have less chance of getting shot, and getting shot obviously will kill you. Watch out for grenades though.

2. Learn where else to go if you are flushed out of cover by a grenade.
If there is a particular spot which you really like to go to take cover, DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO USE THAT SPOT FIRST. If you're struggling, then you can move to your preferred spot, but remember, the other team will then associate you with that spot, whilst if you are doing well in the first spot and then move, you can easily keep the pressure on the opposing side.

3. Learn where all the medkits and ammo supplies are.
This is very important in fast-paced games such as Team Fortress 2, as often your main weapon will run out of ammunition very quickly. Knowing where the aids are will ensure your survival for a longer period of time.

4. Crouch.
Crouching will make you harder to hit when behind cover, will often steady your aim and will lower your walking speed so you can position yourself with both precision and accuracy.

5. Gauge the distance between your current cover and cover up ahead/behind you.
Use single player to work out where you can get to from covering areas you use without running out of stamina, and at what time you run out of stamina and thus become vulnerable when you run further.

6. When sniping, wait for somebody to come out of your target spot first, and aim as close to where their head was as possible.
This should make it so that whenever another player comes out of your area of choice you can get a headshot and kill them instantly. If not, then you should only need minor adjustments.

7. Give 'friendly' advice.
'Ooh, that looks like a very dangerous tree that you just shot'. and so on and so forth. Putting people off subtly can give you the edge. Try to play with their mind a little.

8. Don't hack, exploiting is A-OK though.
Hacking generally means you're a bad player and that you need the game to play itself. Exploiting a bug, however, is clever thinking. If you can shoot someone without it hitting them and just hitting their hitbox, then so be it. If you can cancel animations, then so be it.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

My tips for playing Video Games

1. Don't start on easy.

Never start a game on easy unless the game forces you too, many games have extra content in the harder difficulties as well as delivering a more complete experience. Not only this but most games aren't designed around the easier difficulties, and some even punish you for doing it. If you're struggling with higher difficulties stick with it for a while, if after a time you simply can't get the hang of it, feel free to knock down the difficulty untill you get your bearings.

2. Learn what the hitboxes are

How are you going to survive well if you don't know where you and your enemies do and don't take damage? This is especially helpful in bullet hell games, hitbox based shooters, and older games.

3. Slow down and use bombs

Many bullet hell games have the ability to move more slowly for a reason, it allows you to more accurately control your character and move around deadly projectiles. They're also commonly designed to take as much money from you as possible in arcades, meaning there are times when avoiding the projectiles is simply impossible, so don't be afraid to use a bomb here, they're not as valuable as lives.

4. Really struggling with this one part? Take a break.

Being in the zone is a great feeling and you tend to find yourself stomping through the game, but then suddenly you hit the wall, or you run into that one guy, nothing you do seems to work, and you're getting worse each time you try. What do you do? Take a break, wearing yourself out won't help you, and taking a while to refresh yourself with something else, say another game, and think about where you're going wrong can help a lot.

5. Look at the move list every so often

Learning to play a game can be great fun and once you get the hang of it and start styling all over your enemies there's no better feeling. But then you watch some youtube videos and.. wait. I didn't know you could do that! That's just the kind ofmove I need to perfect my technique! Looking at the move list will remind you of moves that you've neglected to learn and encourage you to add more variety to your combos.

6. To kill Red Arremer, jump and shoot backwards.

Pretty self explanatory.

7. Explore

Exploring the game can net you so much stuff, from fun side missions to otherwise unseen enemies, to easter eggs and that one weapon you really needed. Not to mention its fun as hell.

8. Get in touch with the the fanbase or community dedicated to the game

A game's fanbase is usually your best resource for helpful hints, explanation, and discovery of gameplay mechanics you wouldn't have found otherwise, not to mention it can be great to talk and speculate with them.

9. If you want to get invested in a series, start with the first game

Regardless of whether or not the game has aged well starting with the first will have a few benefits, you'll get to see the game's roots  you'll understand the storyline and the lore of the universe that much more, you'll get to see how the gameplay has evolved, and you'll probably get to play a pretty good game.

10. Talk to everyone. EVERYONE.

Everyone has something to say and its usually helpful, insightful, or in some cases (like earthbound) downright funny. Talking to some people will trigger sidequests and further plotlines, and there's really nothing to lose by talking to them. Talk to everyone.

11. If you're emulating a game with a lot of grinding, abuse the fast forward button

Because really, who likes grinding?

12. If you're emulating, try to avoid using savestates

Savestates remove almost all challenge and immersion from a game, and should really onlybe used for reasons other than progression.

13. Not that I'm endorsing emulating games

14. When in doubt, hit all the buttons

one of them's bound to do something, right?

15. Don't open it

16. If there are multiple endings, go for them all!

Many games have different ending depending on your actions, choices, or gameplay methods during the game, and they're all there to be enjoyed, though some cases are an exception to this (see: Shadow the hedgehog, Mass Effect 3, Silent Hill:Homecoming)

Saturday, 19 January 2013

DMC series is outselling DmC

As a show of outrage towards how the fans have been treated by Ninja Theory and Capcom, Devil May Cry fans have struck back against the release of DmC with the initiation of "Operation Crazy" with great success.

The aim of Operation Crazy was to buy the DMC HD collection when DmC was released in order to ensure it outsold DmC, and if Amazon and GMG are worthy examples, then it's safe to say that the fans are succeeding in their mission. The only question now is whether or not Capcom will listen now that sales numbers are involved.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

What I hate in video games and why

In no particular order because I'm pulling them out of my head as I go along, here's what I hate in video games, and why.

Regenerating Health:

Just look at all that immersive and not distracting jam.

It's everywhere these days and it's a damn shame, regenerating has become a staple in modern games, particularly the FPS and TPS genres and I absolutely cannot stand it, unless it has good reason to be there (see: Halo). There are a few reasons I hate it, the first is that it completely breaks realism when you stop and wait behind some barrels for the jelly to fall off of your eyes after being shot. But on top of that it makes games excessively easy, and challenge is negated by the fact that if you take your time it is impossible for you to die. Remember when in games like Doom and Half Life you had to keep a check on your health? Remember how being hit meaning something added to the difficulty of the game, and made it feel almost more alive? I miss that.

Unnecessarily Overt Fanservice

I don't mind fanservice, as long as it isn't shoved in your face to the point where it just becomes unpleasant to behold, this may be a personal thing, but there are times when it just feels embarrassing when it's especially obvious and prolonged, Bayonetta (as much as I love that game) and Ivy from the more recent Soul Caliburs come to mind.

Press x to jump

I hate this in all of its forms, from unnecessary QTEs, to "here's how to play the game you stupid shit", when it's instructions of a game for something so simple as "we don't think you can figure out how to jump" or "we figured you'd forget how to reload everytime" it get's very obnoxious and very demeaning pretty great, we didn't need it in Castlevania or Megaman, we don't need it now. I have no problems with instructions pages, that show you the different options, but when it comes up saying "here's how to do things" it not only robs you of the chance to figure things out for yourself, but it makes it unmemorable. 

As for QTEs, I don't really get the point to them, instead of sitting back and enjoying a cutscene, or enjoying some more action, I have to half watch a cutscene while I press whatever buttons it tells me to so I can't enjoy it, meanwhile the only thing going through my head is "wow, it's like I'm really pressing X to Jason!"

If you complain then it means your entitled

This isn't a problem with video games per se, more a problem with the attitude of publishers and certain people surrounding them, so many times I see people handwaving away genuine criticisms and feedback with  "you're just being entitled." What they don't seem to realise is that the intelligent ones of us aren't going to buy into this "fuck your opinions give us your money" bullshit.

Luigi's Mansion 2 is set to release on May 24th

yup, that's about it.

I'm honestly quite happy about Dark Moon, we haven't had a sequel to luigi's mansion yet and it makes a nice change from the main New Super Mario Bros series, which quite frankly, is becoming something of a case of just rehashing the previous game. Not that I don't like the series. Now all we need is a Super Mario RPG sequel. We miss Geno. Oh, and a Yoshi's Island without the baby would be a nice treat too.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Review: DmC:Devil may Cry

Devil may Cry:Devil may Cry is a game I've had my eye on for a long time. As a huge fan of the original series I was very interested in what direction the series was going to be taken in after 4, what was the deal with Nero?  Maybe we could have a game where we play as Sparda, Does Dante ever escape from Hell after DMC2? (as god awful as DMC2 was.)

One thing  I never thought about where one could take the series as: "maybe we could play as an insufferable brat while shooting foetuses and taunting the fathers, getting the highest style rating without being stylish in the slightest, both enemies and  bosses pose no threat, the controls are clunky and the gameplay is slow and broken up by unskippable cutscenes."

That's what we got.

That's not to say the game doesn't have any redeeming features, aside from the character models the visuals can be very pleasing at times, with interesting environments that morph around you, and bright colourful areas to explore - though the design flair tails off towards the end, and Vergil's voice actor, David De Lautour, delivers an excellent performance.

The game starts off with the opening sequence showing Mundus securing a business deal, and stating that he has complete control of the world through debt, but expressing concern over the "loose end" Dante. Lilith, his female counterpart of sorts, assures him there is nothing to be worried about, and Mundus agrees and shows his anticipation of the protagonists death. He seems to be an interesting villain, his motives are clear cut and there is an air of dominion around him, you feel like he's a threat and like he is a foe worthy of respect. The game so far seems interesting, then we cut to some strippers pole dancing. And the introductory credits start to roll. We see out protagonist Dante, drinking in a nightclub and watching pole dancers do their thing, while throwing around bottles before taking them to his trailer for a night of what one can only assume to be very expensive sex. Our hero ladies and gentlemen.

The protagonist, Dante, comes across as immature and juvenile, delivering one-liners that are more embarrassing to listen to than funny, and throwing profanity and insults around that would probably appeal to teens who have just started puberty and think "your mum" is a brilliant response in an intense debate. His design appears sloppy and unclean, and it matches his attitude well since everything about him screams sloppy and uncaring, although towards the end his character arc shows him starting to care about his cause (more on "the cause" later.)

The female lead, Kat, seems to serve mainly to point out the obvious and provide someone for Dante to deliver his painfully bad one liners to when there aren't any bosses or main characters around, and even she recognises the vulgarity of Dante's behaviour on occasion. While she does serve some role in the plot, it's not a role that couldn't have easily been done by Vergil, and she feels like an unnecessary character, it doesn't help that the devs justify her existence with "she's there to remind Dante of his humanity" when Dante very literally has no humanity in his new iteration. Oh, and she uses squirrel cum. This is canon and even mentioned in the game's dialogue.

Vergil is by far the most likeable of the protagonists, he has clear cut motivation, he's not as juvenile as Dante, yet is still worth noticing, unlike Kat. While he, like Dante, does commit some god awful acts for no real reason other than to make someone angry (he shoots a woman and her foetus for one), he is dedicated to the cause and is clearly motivated, and while his dialogue with Dante can occasionally cause him to stoop to Dante's childishness ("I have a bigger dick[sic]"), he seems to have a level of class, similar to that he had in the original franchise. His design is also probably the best in the re-imagining, aside from his laughable fedora he looks respectable and his clothing, again aside from the fedora, reflects on Dante's with a higher level of class just as his dialogue does.

Mundus, the villain, is the most likeable of all the characters. He's mature, he has clear motivations, and he  seems to have everything under control, ruling humanity in a way that allows them to live their lives in a relatively safe manner. You find yourself actually feeling sorry for him as the story goes on and the brothers tear his world to shreds, and he often seems more like the good guy than the bad guy. He has a powerful personality that demands respect, and, while he seems very 1 dimensional, he at least shows a level of maturity and seriousness throughout.

"The Cause" that the three of them become so passionate about is to essentially do the impossible, see the invisible fight the power and destroy the evil demons ruling corporations  thereby liberating humanity from the slavery of being able to freely purchase things you want in a relatively safe environment. Throughout the game the main characters kill the antagonist's significant other and her foetus, they leave the city in ruins, and they cause demons to run rampant, killing humans as they see fit, if anything it seems like they've made things infinitely worse, and like Mundus was the one keeping everything in control, The self proclaimed Shakespearean storytelling in DmC ultimately ends up with you hating the good guys, thinking they're really the bad guys, and feeling horrible for what you've done to the bad guy, knowing that you destroyed his life and killed him for no real reason, fucking up humanity in the process. Good job.

The game runs at 30 fps, which is all the engine, UE3, can handle, even while heavily limiting the
amount of enemies. It seems a bizzare choice on the part of Ninja Theory to use Unreal Engine 3 when Capcom offered to teach them to use MT Framework, guess they just didn't want to put in the effort. Note that DMC4 and the special edition of DMC3 ran at a perfect 60 fps, and the PC version of DMC4 had instances where the screen was literally filled with the character and enemies.

The control layout takes heavy inspiration from Heavenly Sword and the game has no lock-on which affects the game in a multitude of noteworthy ways. Launching now requires a dedicated button (B) and stinger now requires a double-forward+attack input (which makes the attack slow, clunky and hard to consistently pull off)

Lock-on lets you keep an enemy in your sights as well as letting you know what you are going to be swinging at. In DmC, you can only guess. Furthermore, it changes how you move. Locking onto 1 enemy gave you a central point that you could strafe around. It made directional inputs easier and allowed you to dodge into specific directions. It also created a pseudo 2.5D field between you and the opponent, allowing toward, from and strafe commands to be implemented into attacks and combos, which is now impossible.

Styles have been completely removed from the game, these added a heavy amount of depth to Devil May Cry 3 and especially 4 with on the fly style switching. It allowed you to choose how you played and customize your play even more than the different attacks alone did. Do you want to focus on being a swordmaster or a gunslinger? Do you want to focus on dodging and teleporting from enemy to enemy or do you want to be use RoyalGuard and reduce all damage to 0 if you were good enough? Do you want to use your Devil Trigger meter to slow time? Or to create a Doppelgänger? 4 gave you 5 different styles at once that you could switch between on the fly, which provided years of replayability for Dante and is still regarded by many as the best combat to exist in an action game to date. New ways to use this system are still being discovered years after release and integrated into pro-gaming True-Style Tournaments.

While we have a variety of weapons and attacks in DmC, they are severely limited in comparison to DMC3 and 4, and it shows in the distinct lack of challenge to be found in the game.

Weapon switching is gone, instead, you equip a different set of weapons by switching stances
The Angel Stance gives access to the Scythe Osiris and the bladed throwing weapons Aquila.
Osiris is worthless. It lacks the damage, lacks the speed and the control to make it a worthwhile weapon. It's supposed to be used in mid-air, but everything Osiris does can be done better by the other weapons.
Aquila is hilariously broken, rendering groups of enemies useless.. Once thrown, it darts between multiple enemies, dealing damage and subsequently stunning them in place as every attack in the game tends to. The amount of hits it delivers can be upgraded as well. It also deals massive damage to bosses due to hitting them multiple times as a result of their immense size.

The Demon Stance gives access to the Axe Arbiter and the "HIT THE RED SPOTS WITH THIS" Hands Eryx.
Arbiter is without a doubt the most overpowered and broken weapon in the game for solely one attack: Tremor.
Tremor has a quick start-up  has a fairly large impact and destroys everything in its way, furthermore, having the damage bonus from a perfect demon dodge allows a Tremor that hits just 2 targets to catapult the style straight to SSS while instantly killing the enemies. Without Devil Trigger.
Spamming the attack can get the player up to a SS rank while crushing everything in its way without any danger, leaving you unsatisfied at your undeservedly high style rating.
Eryx is a worse version of Arbiter. It's in the same vein, slow but heavy hitters, but it's slower than Arbiter, doesn't hit as hard, and doesn't hit as large an area. The game often forces you to use it to progress and stun bosses in scripted boss fights, but it has little actual application outside of that.

Combat puts heavy focus on two different things, grappling and aerial combat. There are two grapples, demon pull and angel pull, demon pull will move the enemy to you or tear of shields, angel pull will pull you to the enemy. Use of these allows to you stay in the air indefinitely  completely removing the need for the jump cancelling they added to try and appease fans of the old style of gameplay. Aerial Combat is easy to do, incredibly easy to uphold, and the safest way to fight in this game. Almost every mellee mook will be completely helpless once you take to the skies, as they are stunned untill they hit the ground, meaning they cannot hit you, and you can hit them indefinitely.

The Devil Trigger is a huge missed opportunity, it could have been an opportunity to truly allow you to get some fast varied, stylish game-play  instead it just launches the enemies in the air for you to wail on untill the very slow draining DT gauge runs out. Thrilling.

Time no longer affects your style rating, and you can increase it without switching up styles to look stylish, just deal lots of damage and you can easily get a SSSavage rating, you don't earn a high style rating as you did in previous games, it's just given to you.

Enemies are incredibly passive.  demons will now wait for 5 minutes to give you a chance to kill them before attacking. And anyone who wants to attack will politely ask for 3 seconds with very loud
noises and a glowing weapon before actually proceeding to attempt to hit you. Even ranged enemies give you a blinking laser between the both of you for 3 seconds before attacking.

as a result, the game is very easy. This does not noticeably change with a higher difficulty setting. All that changes is the spawn setup of enemies and their damage output. They still have the same moveset, the same timing and the same weaknesses, they just spawn in different groups and hit harder, not that it's difficult to not got hit.

The bosses aren't satisfying to fight and beat, they all have incredibly easy to avoid attacks and are constantly interrupted by unnecessary cutscenes, not only this but the all die very, very quickly, taking insane amounts of damage from every hit, Mundus in particular was observed to lose more than half his health when he exposed his "hit here to hurt me" spot once on DMD mode.

Many of the levels consist of more platforming than fighting, platforming having already been deemed to be possibly the worst area of the entire franchise. You pull of awkward angel dashes and angel and demon pulls in a QTE like experience while the world morphs around you, which sometimes makes it difficult to gauge distances, and leaves you unable to rely on the prediction as the distance can simply change as soon as you jump.

At times the game will force you to use specific weapons for specific enemies. While this seems like an interesting way of adding challenge at first, it ultimately just limits how you can play the game, going against the experimentation aspect of other games in the franchise. Instead of being able to play it your way that you like and enjoy playing, the game forces you to use a certain weapon which you might not enjoy using. The night club stages even feature ground tiles that will damage you if you don't have the right weapon equipped.

Overall the combat feels slow and clunky, partially because of the unresponsive controls, and partially because the combat is very slow compared to the old games, and lacks he finesse and style the franchise is known for.

The game is sub par, The combat, while more in depth than say god of war, is far inferior to that of the previous games, the characters are unlike-able  and the writing is god awful, the only area this game really succeeds in is visuals, and even they start to turn for the worse towards the end of the game.

The worst part of it is, this may be the last Devil May Cry we get, we may never see the original Dante or experience new contributions to the original game-play style again, instead, when people think of devil may cry, there will always be the awkward moment when they remember that this is what we got instead. Unlikable characters, a laughable story, and gameplay that instead of leaving you feeling satisfied, leaves you wondering why you aren't playing DMC3 or 4 instead.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

War Z permabans can't be appealed?

Rumours have been flying around the internet regarding accusations that bans from WarZ cannot be appealed, meaning that people who are banned for hacking even if they don't hack (and if the game's assistance ticket system is to be believed, that's most of them) are unable to get their accounts back, meaning if they want to play they'll have to buy a new one.

WarZ has become infamous for having an openly dishonest development team, some claiming the game is nothing short of a quick money grab considering the game itself was completely unfinished when released, yet in-game micro-transactions worked perfectly, and bans are only account based, meaning banned players can regain access to the game - for a fee.

The thread wherein these claims originated was locked with the admin claiming no such emails existed, but many players backed up the accusation, saying they had received the same response. I attempted to find the email to send such an appeal to, to check it for myself, but I could only find the support ticket system, I look at the tickets that had been submitted and found 2 things of note. The was that there were a lot. A LOT of people appealing unjust bans. The second was that I could not find a single ticket that had been answered by any staff, not one, including ones that related to the game itself and were nothing to do with bans.

It seems then that the support system is something of a red herring, something to point to when people say "why aren't you doing anything to help people who need it, for example the people you're unjustly banning and forcing to pay you more money to play the game."

Between the fact that the game isn't even finished, the plethora of hackers attacking the game and the site, and the awful way devs have been treating their small fanbase, its a miracle anyone is still playing this game.