Medal Of Honor Review

Video Game Review – Medal of Honor

This game is another modern military first person shooter that is a reboot of the established series which began on Playstation many years ago. Back then it was a great WWII console shooter which relied heavily on atmosphere, because it commissioned by Steven Spielberg to coincide with Saving Private Ryan. The Gaming Historian just did a recent episode on it, and you should check it out over at RetrowareTV. As for this game, well it’s about as cookie cutter as you can get. In a market already oversaturated with modern FPS titles anyway.

Sightplay – The visuals in this game are disappointing. I could talk about the color palette blending together in a mix of grays and browns that plague the modern FPS genre. I could talk about the lack of character models (checkout Red Dead Redemption for an incredible amount of character models) making the game feel like a shooting gallery.
     The real reason this game looks ugly, is one very specific thing. It falls into the uncanny valley. Characters are made to look realistic, which throws off the vibe of everything. Perhaps I have a personal vendetta against realism in video games, especially since this is a setting so mired in the “present”. Things look too real, but not real enough to be interesting. Like I mentioned earlier there are only a handful of “enemy combatants” to face up against. So when you’re in a hyper realistic setting, surrounded by ten men trying to kill you, but 3 of them look the same, it completely ruins the realism. Unless the Taliban make it a common practice to hire triplets or twins and dress them exactly the same, which I have to wonder if they do. They don’t I bet.

Soundplay – The gunfire in this game sounds fantastic, and there isn’t much music. What little music there was seemed like generic orchestral fanfare and was entirely forgettable, but didn’t get in the way. I have a HUGE problem with the realism that was used for the dialogue however. It seemed too authentic. Allow me to explain.

     If you are a civilian, and have ever been around a group of military people who are talking about the service, you aren’t going to understand most of the things they are talking about because of the heavy use of acronyms and jargon that only people in the service would be able to follow. This creates a disconnect with the player, assuming he or she is a civilian (and even then) because you simply don’t understand what the fuck they are talking about. There isn’t accessibility in the dialogue, and that is not okay. I’ve no doubt in my mind that each acronym meant what it was meant to, and was used as it should be, however that still doesn’t illuminate what anyone is talking about, and forces you out of the conversation. For instance, if after one of these exchanges, the objective marker didn’t update, and you had to figure out what to do next based on the conversation, you’d be shit out of luck!

     Also, when you’re going for realism, why would the enemy speak accented English? It just doesn’t make sense. I couldn’t get over this while playing and it really kept this game grounded firmly in the uncanny valley.

Gameplay – As far as first person shooters go, the control are tight. Which is essential, so kudos there. Sadly, you don’t need any other guns except for the ones you begin each mission with. Sure there are a few segments where you need to pick up a sniper rifle or rocket launcher to propel the mission forward, but those aside, there isn’t any reason to not to use the guns you start with. They are the ultimate well rounded rifles that are nearly perfect for every single scenario the game throws at you, and the other guns are used primarily as an excuse to change the tedium of the firing the same omni-gun you start out with.

     The single player campaign is short. Like, a few hours to completion short. Multiplayer is boring, in my honest and esteemed opinion. It’s an old game you’ve already played basically. The online mode feels more like which players can sneak up on the others better to determine the winner. When the player models and maps have the exact same fucking color palette, which forces you to really squint to notice hints of movement. Then littering that area with bullets and seeing your kill streak rise, now that sounds like an exercise in tedium. Oddly enough it feels like one too. And when you are forced to play against the level 50 juggernauts with the best gear, it feels even less fun.

     To its merit, I will say that Teir 1 challenge is a great addition. It is essentially a “Hardcore Mode” where you have to tackle the single player missions without checkpoints or ammunition refills. It’s a lot of fun to be challenged, and adds to the realism in a good way.

Replay – Aside from Teir 1, there isn’t any. No unlockables. No alternate costumes. No special guns. Not even other graphic filters. Nothing.

Score – 1 out of 5. This game is meant to honor the members of our armed services, but I feel it does them a disservice of sorts. The story is lame, and getting to play as the most elite soldiers who kill hundreds of enemy soldiers without sustaining any causalities is about as unrealistic as you can get, and I feel it paints an unfair picture of the scenario our troops are actually involved in.

     There isn’t an exploration about why we are at war, only that America is awesome! There isn’t information about why we’re sending troops to die overseas, only that we’re human and the enemy isn’t. Since this is dedicated to our service men and women, THERE ISN'T A SINGLE WOMAN IN THE GAME! For a game touting its realism, this game is about as realistic as, well, a video game. This is to say, not realistic at all.

Atom Zombie Smasher Review

Video Game Review - Atom Zombie Smasher

A great little game on Steam that just got added to the Humble Indie Bundle 3, if you are willing to pay a certain amount, that is loads of fun and should not be passed up. Especially if you enjoy puzzle games or strategy games, or both!Steam often has incredible sales on games, so if you can't get this game now, I'd beg for you to keep an eye out for whenever it goes on sale again. It's a great buy.

Sightplay - This game's visuals are incredibly simplistic but retain a degree of charm as well. They set out exactly what they aim to do, and that's represent cities needing civilians in need of extraction from zombies hordes. These are represented by yellow squares for humans, and purple squares for zombies. There are a few different colors here or there to represent special types of humans or zombies, but you'll never get them confused. The menu's are simple enough to understand, and being able to rename each unit you have control over is a very welcome option. There are great comic book panel videos in between missions that show the people struggling against the apocalypse. They're confusing but purposefully so, and are eccentric enough to be humorous. Atom Zombie Smasher keeps things simple, and it's probably better off for it.
Soundplay - The excellent mix of surfer tunes mix well with the the 60s theme that the game is going for. Rainfall makes the endless zombie grunts somehow more menacing, especially when thunder crackles over head. The voice over could have been a bit more varied, as most troops under your command have only two confirmations which you'll hear over and over. They went for simple and concise, which doesn't leave any room for misunderstanding. You know which units are which, and are thankful for the clarity in the midst of a chaotic evacuation.
Gameplay - This is where Atom Zombie Smasher really shines. This game is fun, challenging, and addicting. Having to manage where to direct the flow of panicked survivors is exciting, and each city offers a new layout which requires serious plotting and strategy. The various different unit types level up as you use them, and some are on "away missions", rendering them unavailable during certain scenarios. This means you have to manage the changing offensive/defensive resources each time you tackle a stage. You'd be amazed how many people you can rescue with just a few road blocks placed in the right spots. Sometimes you're given a bevy of destructive missiles and cannons, but must balance their usage carefully as destroying buildings kills anything nearby, civilians included.

The game essentially boils down to two things. You're ability to control the movement of both zombies and civilians. This means managing your greed. Sometimes you want to get every single survivor in the map to head towards the epicenter of the map, but those on the outskirts simply wont follow orders because nearby zombies send them into an uncontrollable panic. Other times you'll want to wait until the maximum number of zombies have swarmed your dynamite before detonating it, only for them to disperse in favor of greener pastures, so to speak. I could go on about the unit types at your command, or the zombie types you're pitted up against, but trust me, this game is fun.
Replay - This is where the game falls a little short in my book. I'm told you're able to create and play mods, but I haven't really  had a chance to check any of them out. There is only one ending, whether you win or lose the campaign, which is positively baffling. It's very possible to fail one or two very essential missions that will give the zombie hoard such an advantage that winning becomes impossible. There are various difficulties and gameplay rules you can mess with, which is a welcome addition. However a few more modes would have been appreciated also. Despite the lack of endings or any unlockables, this game still retains a great amount of replay value, if only to see just how good you can get at not only saving civilians, but stomping out the zombie hordes.

Score - 3 out of 5. This game is fantastic and was really a lot of fun to play. If a sequel is developed, I would hope the gameplay modes get a little more attention, as well as the number of outcomes that come at the end of the campaign. An offensive mode where killing the most zombies before the timer runs out, without any concern over civilians sounds like it would be fun. Or a mode where you get to control the civilians instead of the safety zone, and have to herd them like lemmings into the indicated zones sounds like a nice change of pace. Also, and I can't stress this enough, a mode where you get to play as the zombies would be an incredible kick in the pants (in a good way). Atom Zombie Smasher is not one to be missed!

Duke Nukem Forever Review

Video Game Review – Duke Nukem Forever

This game has been twelve years in the making (sort of) and with each passing trailer, Duke became more irrelevant each time. And yet somehow he attracted crowds. After playing the game, I have to admit even I was curious to see how bad this game was going to be. Like passing a car crash on the freeway, you slow down to try and catch a glimpse of the abject horror like everyone else. Only this is worse because you have to pay full price, only to hurt yourself.

Sightplay – This game looks awful. Seriously, it resembles an Xbox (not 360) game. The texture pop in takes days before correcting itself, and even then some objects stay unfocused. The intro sequence to this game looks like an absolute joke. I’ve seen better flash animations on newgrounds five years ago. The character models look like undead marionettes and move so unnaturally that it’s eerie to see so often. Even the strippers, which pretty much made this franchise in the 90s, have only ONE character model. There is a strip club with a dozen of the exact same stripper walking around! Palette swapping thongs and hair color just makes the sequence all the more embarrassing. They don’t even dance, they just swivel around, and after seeing motion captured dancers in GTA4, this is outright impermissible (if you play games for that sort of thing I mean).

Every design is uninspired beyond words. The guns are entirely forgettable, yes even the “ripper”. The aliens are updated version of the monsters from the early entries in the series, but they are absolute jokes. Even the Playstation Duke Nukem games had more enemy variety, by which I mean pig cops wore cowboy hats. 

So essentially what I’m trying to say is this game is ugly. Very, very ugly. There is a gallery of all the different stages of this games development over the years, and anything from the 2008 build of this game looks better than the one we actually got.

Strafing > Enemy AI

Soundplay – The only song you should expect to hear is the “theme” of Duke. It should be applauded that they’ve made the world’s most forgettable heavy rock theme of all time. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if it was composed by someone named Gene Eric (this could also be the head developers name also). The aliens are a boring handful of grunts and growls and really do seem like monsters, not aliens. Am I to understand that this species, capable of space flight technology, can’t muster more than angry shouts? It should be noted that the “twins”, who upon being kidnapped spur Duke into action, have the most annoying voices ever recorded in history. When they wind up dead I cheered in my seat, before realizing that I was still playing Duke Nukem Forever. 

It’s great to hear John St. John again, but have to admit that he is not enough to save this disaster of a game.

Gameplay – This game required nearly 5 gigs to install on my PS3, and yet each load time took nearly a minute! Are you fucking kidding me? This is a rough beta, not a finished game! The first person shooting is breathtakingly tepid and the controls are stiffer than a petrified tree. There are mini games, sure. However these actually have worse controls than the rest of the game. Try playing air hockey against the computer and you’ll realize how incredibly easy it is to score against yourself. 

You can pick up a few objects and throw them with great lethality at enemies however the game is rather inconsistent in this regard. Certain objects, like weights or trophies, can be hurled with the power of Zeus. Yet items like barrels or basketballs fall from Duke’s hands more limply than you’d expect. To put it in terms Duke Nukem would understand, he throws like a girl (insert humorous nudge here)! Angry Joe pointed out in his review, how Duke Nukem drinks a beer, as one of the games power ups for damage resistance, and gets drunk right away. He only drinks one beer! Duke Nukem is a lightweight, especially since he can only hold one beer at a time. 

This brings me to my next point, and that is the fact that you can only hold two weapons at a time. What is this, 2002? Duke Nukem is a relic of the old school PC days where an FPS character could run around with a dozen different guns and never be slowed down. Suddenly he’s only able to hold two weapons, and can dual wield none of them. There are turret sections which made me wretch, puzzles which were devoid of any intellectual challenge, and boss fights which were so unimpressive that the obligatory quick time events were a relief (because I didn’t have to play the game for a few seconds).

Replay – There is none. In fact, there isn’t even an ending to this garbage. They make Duke comment on this when the game abruptly goes black like its funny, but self referential humor this is not. Every single “joke” in this game is devoid of punch lines, and is just a series of gross-out gags. There is even literal toilet-humor, which makes me feel like this game was meant for twelve year olds who still giggle at “poop”. 

As sad as this may sound, I played this game until I received a Platinum Trophy after earning each achievement the game had to offer. I must have spent more time loading, than actually playing this game and its not even that long. Beating this game on the “Insane” difficulty setting proved impossible on a few occasions. If it weren’t for invincibility exploits in the games design, this game couldn’t be beat on its hardest settings, proving just how incredibly incompetent the developers were. And come on, it’s not like they didn’t have enough time to finish the game right?

Score – 0 out of 5. This game is pretty much a fail, all around. Avoid purchasing this game for more than $5. This is one of those rare games, that in a year or two you and a group of friend will get a few drinks and sit around to play together so you can all laugh at how bad it is. Like watching Undefeatable, which if you haven’t, must rectify as soon as humanly possible.

video nonsense to buy me time!

I swear the duke nukem review is coming. in order to buy me some time i've decided to post a video of me mouthing off about stuff using my friends webcam. hope you enjoy it, and don't resent me too much for lagging it.