Friday, 25 January 2013

Top 10: Underrated Games

So I made a list of the top 10 games I find overrated. So I figured I might as well make a list of the games that I personally feel don't receive as much recognition as they deserve. Here's my top 10 list of underrated games!

10. TRON 2.0

While this game sort of branches on being underrated since it's actually sort of a cult hit, just like the movie it's inspired by, I feel it doesn't really receive as much recognition among FPS fans as it should. For one, the graphics, which were incredible back in 2003, are still pretty sweet today and with some fan made mods, you can run this game in full HD glory on your PC and it holds up incredibly well. It also felt like a better sequel to the 1982 movie than TRON Legacy was and in terms of style, keeps more in continuity with it too. As a movie-licensed game, it's one of the best I've played and as a game on its own, the gameplay just feels deeper and better than other FPS's of the time like Doom 3 or Half-Life 2 which relied far too much on gimmicks like horror and physics, whereas TRON 2.0 feels more like a proper FPS RPG hybrid set in the TRON universe. Multiplayer is also a lot of fun and if you ever dreamt of having a lightcycle match or disc game with your friends, you can do it here. If you're at all a TRON fan like me, you OWE it to yourself to play this game at least once and it still has a pretty active fan community.

9. Wario's Woods

When talking about puzzle games, you often mention games like Tetris, Bejeweled or Bust-A-Move. But rarely do I hear people talking about Wario's Woods on NES/SNES. It's definitely one of the most addictive puzzlers I've played and I remember playing it a lot in my childhood. You play as toad, going from tree to tree in Wario's Woods and the goal is pretty much to blast away rows of 2+ monsters either vertically, horizontally or diagonally using bombs given to you by Birdo. Birdo has a timer though and once it's run out, Wario will take over and start spamming more monsters to blast away and knock the tree to make a giant Thwomp at the top to fall down, each knock making it fall further and further down, making the game feel increasingly claustrophobic. It's a pretty good puzzler and can get quite hectic on later levels. Highly recommended!

8. Conduit 2

When talking about the Nintendo Wii, it's not often you talk about what First Person Shooters were good on it. Sure, the Call of Duty ports might have been decent if very stripped down and you did have Metroid Prime Trilogy on it which added a good amount of FPS action. But one of the franchises that I think did best on it was Conduit and Conduit 2 is definitely my favourite of the two games. It feels kind of like a mix of Halo and X-Files and does a good job getting the most out of the Wii hardware, even supporting surround sound and running in 480p mode. One of my favourite things about this game and that makes me prefer it over the original is that the protagonist is voiced by John St. John, famous for portraying Duke Nukem himself and he definitely adds a big cool factor to the hero. Conduit 1 and Conduit 2 are must-play games imo if you own a Wii.

7. Gunman Chronicles

When talking about Half-Life, I often feel like the game is kind of overrated. Sure, it did a lot of cool things and it is a good FPS but there is one game I actually feel is kind of superior to Half-Life and also used the exact same game engine. In fact, it started out as a Half-Life mod. Gunman Chronicles does a lot of really cool and actually quite inventive things that in my opinion made it a totally unique game and so much more than just a HL mod. For one, it gave you guns that you could customize, like customizing the spread and amount of shells to fire with your shotgun, or customizing your rocket launcher so you could make it into a grenade launcher if you wanted to, and use your grenades as trip mines if you set them correctly. Also, the setting of literally having cowboys in space makes it even more unique and I don't think I've ever seen a game have such unique and diverse levels before with such an interesting cast of characters. It's a really awesome mix of western and sci-fi and even cyberpunk that I think is incredibly cool. Definitely worth checking out if you can find a copy.

6. Syndicate

Syndicate is a game that sadly fell completely under the radar last year. Sure, it might have been a disappointing reboot to the fans and the heavy use of bloom might have thrown a lot of graphics-oriented people off, not to mention the PC port was kinda shoddy but this remains one of my favourite games of 2012 and favourite games of all time. It nails down the cyberpunk aesthetic and really made me hooked on the multiplayer. The more I play this game the more I just love how cool it looks and how well it makes me feel like part of a cyberpunk universe and I just can't help but think that I might be one of the few people who are still into this game. So yeah, I consider it kinda underrated.

 5. Eradicator

When you talk about mid 90's First Person Shooters, a lot of titles come to mind. Duke Nukem 3D, Doom, Quake, but I don't think I've ever heard anyone but me remembering Accolade's Eradicator. I remember playing a demo back in the day and just totally being sucked into it and since then I've just watched it fade into obscurity while better known games get all the credit. At the time, Accolade didn't have a good credit and granted this was probably their last really good game. It didn't help either that it used the Build engine and came out around the same time as Quake and failed to gather any audience since those who weren't into Quake were into Duke or Doom. Still it's a pretty solid FPS with a really good sci-fi atmosphere and worth looking into if you're into old FPS's.

4. Starfox Adventures

For some reason, Starfox Adventures is pretty much universally despised by the majority of gamers, especially Starfox fans. And while I guess I could see why since it doesn't really play like a Starfox game, actually it has more in common with Zelda than Starfox, I definitely don't agree that it is a BAD game. There is a LOT I love about Adventures, especially the whole atmosphere of adventure it has, that it takes time to set up a compelling universe and that it greatly expands upon the characters and mythology set by Starfox and Starfox 64. I remember reading about this game back in the day and actually being really hyped about it. I wanted to play a different Starfox game and to this day, I would still claim this game is pretty good. So screw the haters, it's worth at least one shot and you can get it cheap on ebay these days.

3. SiN

Oh... boy... you wanna talk underrated? Talk about fucking SiN. It's one of those games that I would like to call "Half-Life casualties", simply because it failed because it came out at the same time as Half-Life. Even though in many ways, SiN was a lot more groundbreaking in ways that Half-Life couldn't touch. SiN had actual missions where the outcome decided how your next level was gonna be like. You could enter it from another area, you could sometimes even find entirely new levels depending on how your mission went and for the time, this was mindblowing. Another thing that SiN did, WAY before games like Doom 3 made a huge deal out of it, was interactive in-game computers. That's right, in SiN, you could use computers. You could even go into a cute little DOS prompt and dig through the files to find passwords and hidden easter eggs and again, for the time, this was INCREDIBLE. I cannot even begin to state why I think SiN is probably the most underrated shooter of the 90's but there are lots of them. It's only sad that Half-Life stole the glory because I think SiN could really have taken it if it had gotten a bigger fanbase. To this day it remains one of my favourite games and I am still amazed at how much groundbreaking stuff they did back then. It also helps that unlike Gordon Freeman, John R. Blade actually talks and has a wonderful Duke Nukem esque attitude that just makes this game really awesome and in many ways, it feels like a lost Duke Nukem Forever. In fact, rumors has it that it started as a Duke Nukem game but grew into its own thing. Ironically, it got a sequel around the same time as Half-Life 2, using the Source engine. SiN Episodes: Emergence was the first of several planned episodes but sadly Ritual Entertainment got bought out and no further installments are planned in the series. I highly recommend checking SiN out because it's definitely an underrated classic in so many ways. It's so good, it's a sin.

2. Super Mario Bros. 2

SMB2 is often referred to as the black sheep of the original SMB trilogy. And why? Because when people found out that it actually is just a reskinned version of another game, they felt deceived. Thus, SMB2 is considered a bad SMB game. But hang on a sec, just because it's a reskinned version of another game, why does that automatically make it bad? I want to disagree here. I think it's actually a pretty good game and I've had a lot of fun with it. And for once, it was a game where you could play as several different characters, each with their own abilities and the difference between Mario and Luigi was much further established here and almost completely ignored in further installments were Luigi was reduced to a mere palette swap. It also introduced several other characters that are now canon as well as Birdo, the first transvestite in Mario history. Almost kinda fitting she comes from a game that is considered the freak of the franchise. Definitely an underrated game by all accounts.

1. Daikatana

With an ad campaign stating you were gonna become Romero's bitch, and with the hype train going insanely off track and with a development cycle that can only be described as total chaos, it's a wonder Daikatana even got released. And when it got released, it was an underwhelming game that looked really dated in comparison with other games of the time. Thus, Daikatana is widely considered one of the biggest failures in gaming and also one of the worst FPS's of all time. But personally, having played through the game and even writing a review of it, I would have to disagree. What Daikatana did at the time was simply mindboggling, it was trying to establish itself as a co-op FPS experience, something nearly no games to that point had tried. It was extremely ambitious and in a lot of ways, it sort of failed but this is definitely a game that I feel is incredibly underrated as I simply love how much variety there is in level design and weaponry, and how the RPG elements makes it feel like a deeper experience than Quake for instance, and how you build comradery with your companions. I really got immersed into this game and simply loved it and to me, Daikatana is the most underrated game of all time.

- Alyxx

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

PC Game Review: DOOM 3: BFG Edition

Platform: PC (Steam)
Released: 2012
Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: id Software
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Buy on Steam

The first person shooter genre is without a doubt one of the most prevalent game genres in the industry today and one of the games that truly popularized the genre and brought it into the mainstream was Wolfenstein 3D (of which you can read my review here). However where Wolfenstein 3D made the genre popular, DOOM was the game that for many years to come would define the genre for good and set the standards not only for the paradigms upon which single player shooters are made, but also the rules for how it would be played on the internet and being released with a much more open structure than its predecessor, DOOM was one of the first game to encourage its players to modify the game's content, to create not only their own maps but even their own games using the game engine. DOOM was in many respects id's first open game engine and it didn't take long before DOOMers all over the world started posting their own modifications to it. This practice was later perfected by id's game Quake, upon which the extremely successfull game Half-Life was based and the rest is history. With such a strong history in the PC gaming market and with such a strong connection the mod community, it is therefore weird to see id's focus shift towards a console audience and while this was definitely evident with their previous title RAGE which had probably the worst launch bugs I've ever seen with any PC game, rendering it pretty much unplayable the day I picked it up, and while DOOM 3: BFG Edition thankfully didn't suffer any launch bugs, it is evident that DOOM 3: BFG Edition is not aimed at the PC gamer crowd. What DOOM 3: BFG Edition basically is, is an excuse for id Software to release DOOM 1-3 in one package onto the XBox 360 and PS3 console, and thus the PC version ends up feeling a bit superfluous. This review will mostly focus on DOOM 3 although I will touch upon DOOM and DOOM 2 briefly.

The story in DOOM 3 is told quite efficiently. Similar to Half-Life, the game starts off like just another day at the job. You're an anonymous marine sent to Mars to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a worker, however you quickly notice that your employer, the Union Aerospace Corporation, are up to something fishy, diddling about with teleportation technology to some kind of unknown dimension, bringing back specimens and so on from this dimension. When you find the person you're looking for, who seems rather stirred up, all hell literally breaks loose as a portal to, you guessed it, hell opens up and lets in Satan's unholy offspring into the base. People start turning into zombies before your eyes, the base structure starts changing to resemble hell itself and all kinds of demon spawn are also popping up. It is pretty much a straight up rewrite of DOOM actually, although taking place on Mars instead of Phobos. The man responsible for the mess is Malcolm Betruger, who early on pretty much has a look that screams "badguy" a long way and you don't believe for one second he's not some kind of Satan worshiper so naturally, and this shouldn't be any spoiler to anyone since it's glaring obvious, it doesn't come as a big surprise when you realize he's in bed with the Devil himself and is responsible for all the experiments and teleports to hell and the whole invasion thing going on.  

DOOM 3 is still a pretty atmospheric shooter and light and dark plays a huge role in creating it.

DOOM 3 was originally released in 2004, to rather mixed reviews. While the id team had crafted a polished and stunning engine that powered a game that in all respects holds up well today in terms of graphics and atmosphere, it felt like the game tried almost too hard to stay true to its roots but also mixing in some modern survival horror elements. For instance, you were forced to use your flashlight as a separate item, and even if Half-Life already in 1998 had established a way to use a flashlight and weapon simultaneously, DOOM 3 did away with this and forced you to swap between the flashlight and a weapon and a lot of people, including myself, felt that this felt like more an annoyance than creepy as the game was dark, quite literally pitch black in certain places and I was probably not the only one who promptly downloaded a "duct tape" mod as soon as I noticed its existence. This is one of the key changes in the BFG Edition, as the id team has realized it was a mistake and now you have a shoulder-mounted flashlight you can use any time you want, although it has a battery, quite similar to the game F.E.A.R. (a game I plan to review later) which I personally think implemented a flashlight much better than DOOM 3 did as by having a battery, it does create suspense but it doesn't end up feeling as contrived as it did in DOOM 3. One reason I prefer the shouldermounted flashlight is that it makes DOOM 3 feel more like an action-oriented game, which it is at heart, being a remake of the original DOOM and the lack of a proper flashlight doesn't get in the way of the intense action. The BFG Edition also does a good job remedying the pitch black darkness that plagued the original game as DOOM 3 had quite an intense contrast filter that made everything either light or pitch black and with an updated engine, the BFG Edition has more soft lighting that makes the game overall feel a bit brighter, although it is still quite dark.

Another problem that gathered a lot of criticism was that you were more or less forced to listen to PDA's lying around in order to get codes for some lockers and such, and while I think it's usually not much of a problem, it does tend to get quite annoying, especially when I am in the middle of an audio log and there's suddenly an enemy attacking. I dunno, it often tends to feel like the game wants you to stop up and have a break but forces you to continue on and you get this conflicting nature of whether you should stop and listen to an audio log or continue fighting. The game is after all at its core made as a remake of DOOM and especially in the BFG Edition there is a bigger focus on non-stop action and more than often, I end up not listening to audio logs unless I absolutely have to.

Cacodemons are back, uglier than ever. KILL IT WITH FIRE!

A lot of people also criticized the game for being, well, a little too simple by today's standards. Where other first person shooters like F.E.A.R. and Deus Ex had incorporated a lot more functions than the average FPS, DOOM 3 does away with a lot and feels almost oldschool in execution. None of the weapons have any alt fire, there is no way to lean left or right, and there is no melee function (you have to manually switch to your fists or chainsaw in order to do a melee attack) or ironsights. While I do enjoy how simple and straightforward DOOM 3 plays as a shooter, I can see why this would annoy people who are used to more advanced shooters where you have more options. It is this reluctance to stick with modern standards that makes DOOM 3 feel rather dated today and it felt dated when it came out but if this is not a problem for you, you will definitely have a lot of fun with it.

On PC and the consoles, the BFG Edition adds Steam achievements and trophies not only to DOOM 3 but also to the original DOOM 1 and DOOM 2 games and this adds a little added incentive to play through the games again, at least for me. Another thing I love about the BFG Edition is that the original DOOM 1 and DOOM 2 games don't run in a simple DOS emulator but uses a proprietary emulator that runs a lot smoother. The controls on PC are similar to modern FPS games so you'll probably have no problem getting into the old DOOM games again.

DOOM is still a classic by all means and here's one of the iconic scenes: You, a shotgun and a room full of pinkies and barrels. A recipe for bloody awesomeness.

In terms of graphics, there is little reason to buy the BFG Edition if you already own the original DOOM 3 on PC. Like mentioned earlier, the BFG Edition is clearly aimed at console gamers and there is a notable lack of customization options in the menues for anything but the most basic stuff like windowed mode and resolution. Hell, in-game the textures definitely look a bit worse than they did on DOOM 3 in Ultra mode and the slightly brighter lighting does not help. If you are a total graphics whore, I strongly recommend getting the original DOOM 3 as the BFG Edition comes without any mod support too so there is no way original DOOM 3 mods work with it. It's sad that the game has been so heavily "consolized" that it's borderline impossible to make it look as good as possible. However, one good side to this is that the game runs at a guaranteed 120 frames per second and it feels delightfully smooth so personally, the graphics work fine for me as I care more about the gameplay, and the gameplay definitely comes first in this version. A huge update to the BFG Edition is support for widescreen HD resolutions and stereoscopic 3D so if playing DOOM 3 in 3D sounds tempting to you, this version is a must-buy. I haven't had a chance to test out the 3D yet since I don't own a 3D card but I hope to try it out some day.

Graphics: 5/10
Nothing groundbreaking, you can get much better graphics with mods and source ports on PC, although the stereoscopic 3D and HD support is pretty cool.
Thick atmosphere and a well integrated soundtrack makes DOOM 3 an intense sonic experience. DOOM 1 and 2 still have great MIDI soundtracks that are as awesome today as they were in 1993. The only downside is that the DOOM 3 weapons still sound a bit unsatisfying and lack that certain "oomph" they need.
Gameplay: 8/10
The addition of a shoulder flashlight definitely helps make the game feel smoother and more streamlined, without taking away the suspense. Otherwise, DOOM 1 and 2 are still more than playable and fun to pick up any time. DOOM 3 does feel a bit dated though in comparison with other shooters, but is still a lot of fun to play.
Story: 6/10
Nothing groundbreaking. It's still DOOM just with more depth. These are not games you play for the story.

Final score: 7/10

So, is DOOM 3: BFG Edition worth buying? Well, DOOM 3 is still a rock solid FPS that, while it isn't really that scary or frightening, is very atmospheric and really fun to play. It's very hard to recommend if you already own DOOM, DOOM 2 and DOOM 3 on PC as those games still have somewhat mod support (DOOM 1 and 2 can be played with ZDoom or similar after all), especially DOOM 3 and would look graphically more impressive with mods, but if you don't and want the ultimate DOOM experience on PC, PS3 or 360, I'd say buy it. If you're a total id Software whore like me who HAS to have a complete DOOM collection then yes, by all means get it! In my opinion it's totally worth the 15 bucks! The third "Lost Mission" and the ability to play the original DOOM 1 and 2 games WITH the additional DOOM 2 mission that used to be XBox exclusive, without the need for DOS emulation or any source port and just having it all in one place is so convenient and I think all the additions and good things about the BFG Edition, the updates I've mentioned, more than make it THE version of DOOM, DOOM 2 and DOOM 3 to own for any self-respecting gamer. However, if you like mods and want mod support, then I'd say get the original DOOM 3. I own both though and that works fine for me.

- Alyxx

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Update 1-7-2013

Hello, readers! Your game girl Alyxx here with just a little update to let you know what is going on with the blog and so on...

So I've just written a review of the new Call of Duty game: Black Ops II which you can read here:
The review is quite big and indepth so you might wanna put some time off to read it. I hope it's a fair review although I'm a huge fan of CoD so it might be a bit biased.

I've also updated the Mega Drive/Genesis collection with some new games and a more recent photo:
I will continue to update my collections as I get more games and stuff. I've recently gotten hold of a Sega Dreamcast and I'm working on playing some games on it and building a collection for it as well.

I also encourage all people at the Accursed Farms Forums to vote in the "Best Game of 2012" poll as that game will receive the Accursed Award for Best Game of 2012  as voted by the Accursed Farms fanbase. You can do so here:

More reviews are coming. I'm currently working on playing through some new games although I might review some older games if I have no new games to write about. You can definitely expect a review of the F.E.A.R. games at some point as I have just played through F.E.A.R. 1 and 2 and I am now playing through F.E.A.R. 3 with Thadeus. Like I said though, I also have a lot of older games I could review as well so more reviews are definitely coming.

- Alyxx

PC Game Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Platform: PC (Steam)
Released: 2012
Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: Treyarch
Publisher. Activision
Buy on Steam

When playing MW3, I thought the series couldn't get better. While MW3 had its flaws, it felt like a really addictive and polished title that I played a lot for about most of the first quarter of 2012. However, when I first saw the trailers for Black Ops II, already from the early trailers of the game, I could tell it was going to be something I had always wanted to see from the Call of Duty series: A future warfare game. It was almost on gut instinct alone that I preordered Black Ops II and the game more than surpassed my expectations. What I expected was MW3 set in the future. What I got was even better than I could imagine.

Starting with the story campaign, an aspect about Call of Duty games that often tends to be called the weakest part of them, this is the first time I can put my hand on my chest and honestly say the campaign is worth playing more than once. So far people have bought the CoD games mostly for the multiplayer and I can't blame you. After playing the MW3 campaign I felt little to no incentive at all to replay it other than to try it again when I bought MW3 for my Nintendo Wii. However, with Black Ops II I can honestly say that the campaign is one of the best aspects about the game, easily outshining the story from MW3 and even the original Black Ops. We are treated to great cinematic cutscenes that feature believable and relatable characters that thanks to great voice acting feel alive and human. The main problem with MW3 was that you never really built any close relationship to the characters. Most of them were just there to drive what little story there was forward and more than often, the story was not based on the characters, but more on political situations. Black Ops II attempts successfully to break this trend by limiting the amount of characters you play and centering the story on a handful of main characters that you grow to care about. The story feels a lot more personal and engaging in Black Ops II mostly because the villain for the first time is someone you can relate to. While he's an American-hating bastard in his own right, his reasons are more than understandable as his family has been ruined by American forces on several occasions and they've driven him to near insanity and he has nothing left but pain and anger, taking it out the only way he can, by forcing his pain on the US. While this is of course unforgivable, it makes him a really memorable villain in his own right and very fun and interesting to watch and I actually felt really invested in taking him out. 

Black Ops II features high tech weapons and gadgets in a futuristic warfare that spans several decades and countries.

The story goes back and forth between the near future and the 80's and the campaign does a pretty good job tying these different time periods together in such a way that makes sense as the game's past serves as a backstory to the game's present and explains a lot of motivations for the different characters. One of the main reasons the campaign has replay value is because you're given several key points during the campaign where you can choose different actions and paths you wanna take, giving each playthrough something different. This is something I feel added a lot of needed replay value to a campaign that can easily feel repetitive on repeated playthroughs due to its linear nature of going from set piece to set piece. However, the set pieces are at times quite spectacular. One standout moment I remember fondly is riding a horse while taking out helicopters with a missile launcher.

Gameplay-wise the single player is what you'd expect from a Call of Duty game, however you can choose the loadout for each mission, giving you freedom to have different weapons each time you play them, and story missions are often interspersed with special Strike Force missions where you take control of an entire squad of soldiers and bots in a sort of RTS-mode where you can see everything from a bird perspective and also control each individual unit in FPS mode. It's a fun little mode that adds variety to the gameplay when you feel bored of story missions, and while these RTS squad missions are not required to be completed, they offer some rewards.

Strike Force missions offer a nice change of pace during single player and feel like a mix between FPS and RTS.
The multiplayer mode is a lot better than it was MW3 and I really enjoyed the multiplayer in MW3 so I didn't really think they could improve much on it. Thankfully they did and Black Ops II in many ways feels more rewarding and fun to play than MW3 ever did. The first thing you'll notice is that Black Ops II offers a new game mode called League Play where you will be pitted against people of your own skill level so you can compete in worldwide leaderboards. This not only makes it easier to find people of your own skill level to play with so you avoid playing against uber players, it also gives newcomers a place where they can shine. Otherwise, Black Ops II has a custom emblem creator that gives a lot of freedom to create your very own logo or emblem that shows in multiplayer matches. You can also apply a clan tag in-game rather than applying it to your profile name like in MW3. Getting into the game itself, one thing you will notice is that you no longer have killstreaks. Instead, you have scorestreaks that in a bigger way gives players with a support role more of a chance to shine as streaks are given based on score rather than number of kills. In MW3 this was often a problem as the players with the most kills would get the best killstreaks and those who only played a supportive role was left in the dust and was a big reason I chose to just go as a Specialist and use perks and not give a fuck about killstreaks. However, in Black Ops II, scorestreaks makes the game much more fair to people with a different playstyle and therefore feels a lot more balanced.

The class creation system has been entirely revamped too. You no longer have the option of playing with support streaks or offensive streaks or playing specialist. Instead, you just have 3 scorestreaks to choose that fit your role, and you have basically 10 points to spend on what you put into your character slots, giving you a lot more freedom in class creation to create a class that is tailored to YOUR specific playstyle. While MW3 DID offer this with the different streak rewards, BO2 completely destroys the need for these rewards by simply giving you the freedom to have if you want it, just one gun but lots of perks, or few perks but lots of guns and attachments. It's essentially a dream to play and fun to play around with. While I haven't prestiged yet, you can already prestige your guns when they reach their max level, making it more fun and rewarding to stick to your favourite guns.

Otherwise from that, multiplayer is pretty much near identical to previous games although Black Ops II offers up a few new game modes. In the Core matches you now have multi-team matches where 3 teams can duke it out instead of just 2. The Combat Training mode offers you the chance to play against bots and is a nice option for those who are new to Call of Duty multiplayer. You also have party modes which are essentially Free-For-All modes with some new twists to the gameplay and unlike Free-For-All aren't limited to non-parties. Gun Game is a mode where you start out with just a pistol and for every person you kill using your gun you get a new one, getting increasingly powerful weapons. One In The Chamber is another twist where you get only one bullet, a knife, three lives and instant kills and receive a bullet for each kill. Sharpshooter is a mode where the guns cycle every 45 seconds, and killing several people in a row offers perks, similar to the Specialist killstreaks in MW3. Sticks and Stones, the final mode, offers you nothing but a Crossbow, a Ballistic Knife and a Combat Axe, where Combat Axe kills reset enemy scores. Another option added to multiplayer is CoD TV where people can post videos from matches and share them with others and vote for the best videos, a community feature that while I personally haven't taken advantage of, adds a nice way to watch how others play.

And of course, it wouldn't be Black Ops II without a Zombie mode and while this is the mode I have played the least simply because I am not a huge fan of it myself, it does offer a nice co-op mode if you have some friends to play with. Basically it's all about survival, killing zombies and getting more and more powerful weapons and perks so you can kill them more efficiently. You will have to work as a team to survive and reviving fallen team mates is often a chore you will have to do whether you like it or not as when everyone are dead, the match restarts. There are often Survival modes that take away perks and such that are way more sadistic and are definitely meant for more hardcore players. That being said, while I am not a huge fan of the Zombies mode, it is fun to blast some zombies with a shotgun now and again and it offers yet more content in addition to the excellent campaign and multiplayer.

A common scenario: Surrounded by zombies and slowly running out of ammo. You WILL be frustrated.
Graphically Black Ops II looks miles better than Modern Warfare 3. Cutscenes feature a lot of great facial animation thanks to mocapped actors that definitely add to the cinematic nature of the single player. It also has a very fresh palette compared to MW3 which often looked like someone threw dust and shit all over your screen while playing it, where in Black Ops II it is much easier to spot enemies since they no longer blend in so much with the environment thanks to a bad palette. The futuristic warfare style that pervades the game throughout is absolutely sexy and this is definitely my favourite game style-wise. There are thankfully tons of graphic options on PC you can use to make the game rival a lot of modern games, even Battlefield 3 and with a powerful PC, the PC version of Black Ops II looks almost a generation ahead of anything that's on consoles. I get a bit of lag with the shadows turned high though so running the game with shadows set to low doesn't really impact any of the graphics but makes the game run a lot smoother.

Soundwise the game doesn't disappoint either. The music is done by Jack Wall who many will recognize as the main composer of the Mass Effect soundtrack and here his blend of electronic sounds and orchestral score really fits the futuristic sci-fi feel of the game and it is by far the best score in the franchise so far in my opinion. The main theme was done by Trent Reznor who many know as the man behind the industrial rock group Nine Inch Nails and who famously made the music and sounds for the classic FPS Quake from 1996. To see him returning to the gaming industry is great and his theme does a great job capturing the game's futuristic suspense. Even Skrillex has a little track in there during a club scene and the ending credits, featuring a previously unreleased track "I'mma Try It Out" featuring OWSLA label mate Alvin Risk, and the band Avenged Sevenfold has a little surprise in the game for those who are patient enough to sit through the end credits... ;)

The voice acting is outstanding in this game and did a great job making me feel engaged in the plot and characters. Sam Worthington does a great job portraying Alex Mason, Hollywood star Michael Keaton takes over for Ed Harris as portraying Jason Hudson, and doesn't disappoint, James C. Burns reprises his role as Frank Woods and is definitely the most enjoyable protagonist in the game. I fell in love quickly with his attitude and his way of telling the story of past events. However, compared to these, Kamar de los Reyes completely steals the show as Raul Menendez and his portrayal is filled with so much emotion that it's hard not to feel his pain and anger and he's one of the best villains I've seen in any Call of Duty game just because Kamar does such an excellent job voicing him.

Story: 8/10
Giving replay value by adding path choices and shifting the focus more towards characters than international political warfare, Black Ops II does a good job with the story campaign, better than any CoD so far. It's still not perfect however and I felt a lot more could have been done with it, especially since quick time events often end up feeling a bit too cinematic and not really that interactive and these could use some improvement. The set pieces felt great though and it's a great ride from beginning to end.
Gameplay: 8/10
Taking what has defined the Call of Duty franchise so far and fixing what didn't work, Treyarch show they have been listening to fan feedback in order to make the most playable Call of Duty game so far. However, I simply feel that this is not going to win you over if you're not a fan of the games. It still is miles ahead of Modern Warfare 3 and keeps the polished gameplay steady.
Graphics: 8/10
Easily the best graphics of any Call of Duty game so far and with a great style that fits the sci-fi theme of the game. However the shadows does make the game lag a lot on my computer and on consoles, the engine is starting to show its age. This is still the best looking Call of Duty.
Sound: 7/10
While the score is excellent and the tracks by Trent Reznor and Skrillex and even Avenged Sevenfold help mix up the variety of styles, the soundtrack just isn't that memorable and I can't really remember any standout tracks. I would've prefered more memorable themes in there or even variations on the title theme. The atmosphere created by the music is great though.

Final score: 8/10

If you don't like Call of Duty, Black Ops II won't win you over, but if you're into these games, Black Ops II is a must-buy for any self-respecting soldier who wants to go into the Call of Duty of the future.

- Alyxx

Top 10: Games of 2011

Originally posted at Accursed Farms Forums on November 18th 2011.

It's late November and the year is finally coming to an end, and what a year. Though we haven't seen Gordon Freeman doing any return as of late, a lot of other heroes have been doing comebacks. Keep in mind though that I am almost 100% a PC gamer by heart, so don't expect to find any console exclusive titles here. And if your game isn't on the list, please don't whine about it, I can only really recommend games that I've actually played. So without further ado, let's get started!

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While it may seem like an outright Gears of War clone at first, Warhammer 40k SM is actually a very solid third-person shooter and personally it's my first Warhammer game as well. It has some good voice acting and solid gameplay, but a disappointing story and just the fact it becomes boring quickly keeps it from getting higher on the list. Definitely worth checking out though!

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A.R.E.S. is a great scrolling shooter in the style of Megaman and Metroid, and won't set you back much either as it only costs about 10€ on Steam and XBL. It features very nice graphics and has a delightfully oldschool feeling to it, reminiscent of the 16bit era games. The main reason I love this game is the music, an outstanding piece of electronic rock, which you can hear here:

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I have a soft spot for over-the-top action games and movies, and Bulletstorm delivers in LOADS. It has a very oldschool feeling to it and brings back some much needed humor into the otherwise serious FPS genre. If you want to hear memorable quotes while finding more and more inventive ways to finish badguys, this is THE game for you. The only thing bringing it down a bit is that the campaign is WAY too short and the multiplayer leaves a lot to be desired. Otherwise, I highly recommend this game as it's really fun to play.

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There's no denying it, the Sonic franchise has gone downhill steadily with the years. But lately we've seen it going up a bit again with Sonic the Hedgehog 4 and Sonic Colours. And Sonic Generations might be the climax we've all been waiting for. Dripping with nostalgia for all of us who grew up with the blue-fur blur, Sonic Generations gloriously remakes a suite of classic stages in HD and features probably the best music I've heard in the franchise so far. The controls feel spot on and, well, the game is FAST AS FUCK... like it should be. This is probably the definitive Sonic title of the later generation, bringing some much needed blast processing back to the series.

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While we didn't see Gordon Freeman return to our computers this year, Chell makes her delightful return in probably the best sequel ever. Portal 2, while clearly not as groundbreaking as the first game, not only continues the story of Portal 1, it also expands on the universe of the game and the story behind Aperture Science as a company. Delightful voice acting by Ellen McLain, reprising her role as GLaDOS, who gets a much bigger role in this game, Stephen Merchant as the seemingly helpful Wheatley and of course JK Simmons as Cave Johnson makes this game a very memorable sequel that greatly overshadows its predecessor. The music is also as great as you may expect, even taking part in the gameplay. And I don't care what anyone says, I still think "Want You Gone" is a better song than "Still Alive". The only drawback about Portal 2 is its linearity. There aren't really many ways to complete the test chambers and once you've played through the story once, there's really not much incentive to repeat the process. And while the game comes with a suite of co-op missions, you need a friend to play them. But otherwise, this is a must-have for people who want a different FPS experience.

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Probably one of the most anticipated games of all time, nobody believed we would ever see Duke Nukem Forever actually come out. But after 15 years of development hell, it's finally here. Love it or loathe it, Duke Nukem Forever, despite its flaws, is probably the game I've had the most fun with this year. It feels raw, unadulterated and over-the-top as hell and everything that Duke is supposed to be in my eyes. While it may have disappointed a lot of people, and it may not live up to Duke Nukem 3D's reputation, it's good to see Duke back in action. Hail to the king, baby!

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Wow, talk about a comeback from the guys who single-handedly popularized the FPS genre on PC's. Despite a lackluster launch with numerous issues on PC, RAGE is probably a game I will be playing far into 2012 if they release any DLC for it, which I strongly hope they will after the abrupt ending of the campaign. I love the attention to detail in this game, all the secrets, and not to mention the weapon selection. In many ways I also prefer RAGE to Fallout 3/NV because it actually has cars in it and has more of a Mad Max feeling to it. It's a great shooter that really shows that id still can create stunning engines as I would definitely call RAGE one of the prettiest games this year and also one of the smoothest as despite using enormous textures it runs at a smooth 60 frames per second.

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Well it was either going to be MW3 or BF3 this year, so I chose to go the CoD route. I can't really say much about this that hasn't been said in my review, so I'll put it short. It's an insanely polished shooter with a gloriously cinematic campaign and probably the best multiplayer out there featuring a ton of customization options and GUNS AKIMBO! While it may not be worth the hype it gets, it's easy to see why this is the best selling game this year.

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GREAT SCOTT! This must be a paradox! A GOOD BTTF game? Yeah actually. While technically released in december last year, BTTF is still a solid contender for best game of 2011. I really can't find ANYTHING negative to say about this game. The writing, the voice acting, the graphics, the music, the gameplay, EVERYTHING is solid gold here. I dunno what to say. Just play it. Now.

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I never thought it was possible to make the perfect stealth shooter, let alone a good Deus Ex sequel. However, Eidos Montreal clearly proved us wrong. The reason this is my number one game this year is... well... it has something for everyone. It's a RPG with a solid storyline that lets you customize your character, if you are into that, it's also a shooter with plenty of guns to keep you satisfied if you like THAT, and if you are into stealth games, then it has you covered too. Despite a few minor flaws, I would say this is the best game I've played this year and I give it my own "Game of the Year" award.

Update 1-6-2013

Phew, been working hard lately so here's a little update and summary of what has been added to the blog as of late.

So my little blog is growing fast. I've added all of my top 10's and reviews and such from the forum I originally posted them at and you can easily find them on the tabs above. For those who are interested in reading reviews and such by Thadeus Lorefield, a good friend of mine who I invited to have his little corner in my blog, you can check out his page here.

Otherwise, I will be posting my own reviews in the other tabs and more are coming, so stay tuned.

- Alyxx out.

Top 10: Pokémon

This list was originally posted by Thadeus Lorefield at Accursed Farms Forums on December 25th 2012.

So, since I'm in a pokemon mood and the site seems to not have enough pokemon for my taste, here's a post where you can post your favorites, I'll start things off with my own list, so without further ado, here are my Top 10 Favorite Pokemon:


Scolipede is one of the many bug-type pokemon introduced in the 5th generation of pokemon, and I'll admit that I haven't used one in combat... yet. It's here purely because I love its design, I think it looks cool as well as adorable and I want to use one in a future playthrough.


Ninetails is here because of my love for kitsune (magical foxes in mythology), I simply think ninetails is graceful, pretty and it just looks awesome, though its battle potential is fairly low, so it doesn't have a high entry on the list.


Arcanine, the canine pokemon of the first generation. I like it for similar reasons that I like ninetails, it's graceful and looks cool and it has a aura of power.


Floatzel is the first water type to make it onto this list as it is quite frankly adorable. They are also helpful as they help carry people and pokemon who fall into the water using the inflatable 'inner-tube' on its body.


Kangaskhan is a unique pokemon in that she has a large maternal instinct, and i think she simply looks badass, combined with the fact that I love pokemon who care for others.


Lugia is more or less one of the few legndaries I actually like, I like that it looks like a bird without actually being a bird as well as it being flying/psychic which is a unique typing for legendaries.


I like lucario for it's aura related powers, which I relate with my childhood as I could sense peoples aura, combined with its typing (fighting/steel) being unique among non-legendary pokemon.


Espeon is on this list mostly because I used one and raised it from an egg to the high 90's as well as being adorable. It is also a pokemon that can sense the emotions of those around them.



Miltank. I picked up a miltank after Whitney's miltank wiped the floor with my team for a few days straight, I figured I would try out miltank for myself, so I caught one and raised it and! Angel as I called her was a powerhouse on the battlefield, not to mention I find miltank adorable and I love milk.


Ampharos is a pokemon I decided to raise at random once from its Mareep form and found that I really liked it, so much in fact that it became my favorites as she was adorable, reliable and had a nice move pool.

There you have it, my top 10 favorite pokemon, what do you all think? Do you have a list of your own? If so feel free to share it as I would love to hear it.

RPG Review: Gamma World

This review was originally posted by Thadeus Lorefield at Accursed Farms Forums on August 26th 2012.


Gamma World

I recently found this game fairly cheap at a local gaming site, and to be honest, I really like it, here is a little more in depth of why.

Gamma World is a RPG akin to Dungeons and Dragons, anyone who have played D&D will almost instantly be able to draw several similarities between them, however, Gamma World does a few things very differently, for instance it is more technology based while D&D is generally more magic focused.
It's also a plus in my opinion that you can play it without any prior experience with D&D.


The setting is very interesting, as it doesn't really have any limits beyond the DM's imagination, even more so then most RPG's, the basis of the backstory is as follows, in 2012 experiments involving the Large Hadron Collider, causing all possible realities to merge into one, for instance in one reality various wars might have had different outcomes, or never happened at all, or a scientist takes over the world with machine men. 150 years has passed since this event and as a result, the earth is now a very different place, mutation, anicent ruins and jungles of never before seen plants have appeared everywhere, even humanity itself has changed after over a hundred years of exposure to radioactivity, mutagens and other such substances.

Character Creation

Now here is where I expect options to be vastly separated, because the character creation is pretty different from standard D&D with no set races or classes to choose from, instead what you do is rolling 2 twenty sided dice which choose your primary and secondary origin, these origins decide what you look like and what your abilities are.
The reason i like this system is because it puts emphasis on creativity, as your origin doesn't give you an exact look for your character, for instance: you might have a character who has the origins Android and Seismic, so combining the two you might get a android mole for instance, or how about the origins Plant and Radioactive, you could be a big plant who's mutated and achieved sentience through mutation, or a human who merged with plants upon exposure. It's all up to your imagination.

So lets go through the process of creating a character, so you can see how it would work.

Character creation is a lot simpler technically in gamma world, but more creatively demanding then, say, D&D, on a technical stand point you just roll a few dice and fill in the abilities, which leaves more time to think about the actual appearance of your character, your back-story etc.

So, without further ado, let's take a look at generating a character, first off I'll show you the character sheet for gamma world and we can go through it step by step. ... 0Sheet.pdf

Alright, Name, is obviously your character's name.

The next we have are origin 1 and origin 2, for this you need a 20-sided die and the table with reference to what numbers are what origins, I'm just going to go ahead and roll twice and tell you what we get: 6 (felinoid) and 7 (giant), putting these together are fairly easy, felinoids are humanoid cats, and giant speaks for itself, so you are a huge humanoid feline. So we fill those in on the sheet as the origins.

Next is traits, which are basically the abilities you get from your origins such as skill bonuses and other such abilities.

The next part of the sheet are for your powers, at 1st level you get the novice power for both your origins and more later.

Now, here's a major difference between Gamma World and D&D, for ability scores you get a 18 in the ability score of your primary origin (in this case dexterity) and 16 on your secondary origin's ability score(in this case strength) and if both origins have the same ability score you have a 20 in that one ability score, the remaining ones you roll 3 6-sided dice and add them up (for instance 2+5+1=8) for each ability score in order (excluding the ones you have a value for though your origins).

So for this character, it's ability scores might look like this:
Strength:16 (+3)
Dexterity: 18 (+4)
Constitution: 12 (+1)
Intelligence: 8 (-1)
Wisdom: 15 (+2)
Charisma: 7 (-2)
This system ensures that you have at least some good stats for your character, which in my opinion is a good thing.

Next we have skill bonuses, when you create your character you add the skill bonus your origins give (here we get +4 on stealth checks and athletics checks) as well as on chosen at random using a table in the rulebook using a 10-sided die, let's say in this example that we rolled a 5 which gives us a skill bonus to interaction checks.

The 4th part of the sheet is pretty self explanatory, it's simply what gear you're carrying, which brings me to another thing I like in this RPG, weapons only have generalized stats, what do I mean by that? Let me explain:

Any weapon of a certain type has the same stats, so any light one-handed melee weapon has the same stats, meaning you (or the DM) are free to imagine what your weapon looks like freely, it can be (in the case of a light one-handed melee weapon) a club, or a wrench, or a piece of rebar.

Next up we have determining your HP, the way we do this is as follows: 12+ constitution score and you gain 5 max HP per level.

Your bloodied score is half of your max hp score (rounded down), in this case 12+12=24.

A quick explanation of what bloodied is, is that once you are down to half your HP, you are bloodied, hich might activate certain abilities in either you or your opponent.

Speed is 6 plus or minus any modifiers from your origin, in this case +1 from felinoid (while wearing no or light armor)

Your defences are chosen as follows:

AC (Armor Class): 10+ your level +armor bonus +shield bonus, if you are wearing light armor or no armor you add the modifier for whichever is better of dexterity or intelligence.

Fortitude: 10+ your level + strength or constitution modifier, whichever is better.
Reflex: 10+ your level + dexterity or intelligence modifier, whichever is better
Will: 10+ your level + wisdom or charisma modifier, whichever is better.

The next part is explained on the sheet, so I will skip repeating it here.

Finally when you begin play you draw 1 alpha mutation card and a omega tech card from a special deck the DM has, alpha mutations being more or less a one usage special ability your character can use and the omega tech item is a weapon you can use.

As I'm sure you've gathered by now, I really like this RPG personally and would recommend anyone who are interested to check it out.

That's more or less what I'm going to cover in this review, so I don't sit here for days writing this one review, if you have any feedback or questions, drop a comment below

--Thad out

PS3 Review: Journey

This review was originally posted by Thadeus Lorefield at Accursed Farms Forums on July 16th 2012.


Platform: PlayStation 3
Released: 2012
Genre: Adventure
Developer: thatgamecompany
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

The reason why I love this game is very difficult to explain, but I will give it my best.

You start out in a desert with a mountain in the distance, it is clear that this mountain is your destination, why? That is up to you as there is no story per say in the game.

As you travel you see many different places, including a gigantic expansive desert, old ruins and ancient catacombs, all of which have their own feel.

You may also find other people as you travel, others who like yourself are on a journey, for you see this game has 100% smoothly integrated multiplayer, in other words, you won't get a large flashy message saying "XXX HAS JOINED YOUR GAME!" or any loading screens, you simply see someone else in your world (or are you in their world? No body knows).

Now then, let's get into the more technical parts of this review.


Wow, just... wow... I'm usually not too fond of the realism of most modern games, but the graphics of Journey still has me awestruck.

When you travel you will see the grains of sand as you walk, and the general look of this world is amazingly beautiful in my eyes.

The way every new area looks different and varied is also a good thing.



The soundtrack to Journey is, simply, amazing in my opinion, the music is emotional, mood setting and very nice to listen to in itself.



The gameplay is simple, all your controls are moving with the thumbstick, jump with X and using your call with square (or was it circle? I never remember the layout of the playstation controller).

As i said before, the multiplayer aspect of the game is completely seamless, and you don’t have any way to directly communicate with the one you're traveling with, though for some reason that adds to the experience in my opinion.

That about sums it up, I realize that on paper it sounds boring, but for some reason this game really stands out to me, the feeling of traveling alone actually makes the world feel big and scary, and seeing someone else in the world feels... indescribable, you feel... safe... knowing someone else is there with you.

The game doesn't take long to play through, maybe an hour or two tops, but that hour feels more fulfilling to me then the 100 hours I've played of Skyrim.

I HIGHLY recommend checking this game out if you have a PS3.

--Thad out

GBA Review: Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga

This review was originally posted by Thadeus Lorefield at Accursed Farms Forums on December 15th 2011.


Platform: GameBoy Advance
Released: 2003
Genre: RPG
Developer: AlphaDream
Publisher: Nintendo

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga is a typical example of a game that you haven't heard of but has a huge following of fans as well as it's fair share of people that dislike it. So without further ado let's dive into this review and see what this game has to offer.

One thing that many people will notice very quickly as they start playing is that it's very similar to Super Mario RPG and Paper Mario in that all three feature a big overworld that you explore, battles are turn based and you collect equipment over the course of the game to improve the bros attack, defense and grant them special abilities.

Another thing that deserves to be mentioned is that this game is.... well... weird for lack of better words, only the first few minutes takes place in the Mushroom Kingdom, after that you go to the BeanBean Kingdom, a neighboring kingdom where everything is a bean much like how everything in the Mushroom Kingdom is a mushroom.


The graphics in this game are pretty solid over all, the characters are well animated and usually entertaining to watch and the backgrounds are generally pleasant to watch as well, while not breathtaking by any means, they do their job and have a kind of charm to them.


The music in this game is generally alright, some of the tunes are catchy and memorable while others just kind of play in the background setting the mood, I'll post a few links to some of the tunes so you can judge for yourself if it's any good.


Now, the gameplay is where most people either love or hate this game, the gameplay is a lot slower then mario games tend to be.
Since it's a RPG it has a lot of story and dialog, though not nearly as much as the stereotypical RPG's like Final Fantasy and the dialog tends to be humerus.
In typical RPG fashion you will spend most of the time in this game when you aren't reading dialog in battle, thankfully the battle system is easy to grasp for fairly deep.

While in battle you have multiple options for what you wish to do, you control both Mario and Luigi at once, Mario with the A-button and Luigi with the B-button and each turn you can choose to take one of several actions which include but aren't limited to: jumping on the enemy, hitting them with your hammer, using an item, both bros. attacking together in a stronger combo attack or running away.

All attacks in the game, yours and the enemy's alike, rely on timing to strengthen the attack or avoid damage, and different attacks are more effective against certain enemies for instance enemies with spikes cant be jumped on without hurting the bro, so you need to use your hammer, or a furred enemy can have it's fur burnt off by fire to make it run away from the fight.


The game starts out with a offering of peace being offered between the BeanBean Kingdom and Mushroom Kingdom, however as the representatives approach Princess Toadstool it turns out this was a trap and the attackers do something to the princess.
After some mischief bringing the bros to the castle it turns out Toadstool's voice has been stolen and replaced with explosives and you have to go to the BeanBean Kingdom to get it back and find out what they possibly would want with her voice.

To find the answers you will have to play the game for yourself, I hope you enjoyed this review, feedback and comments are welcome.


Personally I love this game, it's one of my favorites on the GBA, I highly recommend it if you like RPG's, Mario games and puns.

--Thad out

PC Game Review: Cave Story +

This review was originally posted by Thadeus Lorefield at Accursed Farms Forums on November 25th 2011.

Platform: PC
Released: 2011
Genre: Platformer
Developer/Publisher: Nicalis
Buy on Steam

Cave Story, or Doukutsu Monogatari, is one of the more famous examples of "games you never knew existed that has a huge fanbase", the game is a 2D platformer with a big emphasis on exploration and defeating enemies, a style often refered to as Metroidvania due to its similarities to the metroid series exploration and the castlevania series focus on learning how enemies move and act to best beat them.

The game is available for free on the internet, however, an updated version of it is available on steam with added features, new graphics and new music.


Personally I love the graphics of Cave Story, they are basically a love letter to anyone that grew up in the 16-bit era of gaming, it's simple but charming at the same time with a lot of varied environments and the areas are memorably designed so you will most likely never really get lost because of things looking similar.

The version on steam has the option of switching between the new graphics or the old, so you can really pick whichever you prefer and for once to me the improved graphics have managed to keep the charm which is pretty rare in these kinda games.

Here is a quick comparison between the original graphics and the improved graphics:


Music and Sound

The music is also very similar to that of the 16-bit era and are alright and some are pretty catchy, however I dont like the improved music much, though that isn't a problem as you can choose between the new and original music independently of the graphics.
The reason I don't like the improved music as much (don't get me wrong, its not bad by any means) is that they lack the charm the original music have in my opinion, I'll use the title theme as a example:

And yes I know it says Wiiware version, but it's the same.


The gameplay of Cave Story is, as mentioned before, like a hybrid of metroid and castlevania, you control your character in a 2D world and have to use the small but varied arsenal of guns you gather through your adventure to beat enemies, bosses and anything else that stands in your way.


The game have quite a bit of replayability, more so then one might expect, for instance there are multiple endings to the game (three if memory serves), some weapons and items you can only get if you do certain things, such as trading in one of your guns to a NPC for a different one.


This game is a gem in my opinion and I urge anyone who haven't tried it to give it a go, especially if you grew up with 16-bit games.

That wraps up my first ever review, feedback would be welcome as well as your views on the game and if there is anything I've forgotten to add feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Top 10: Games of 2012

2012 has been a great year for gaming with several great titles coming out. What were your favourites?

Either way here's my top 10 games of 2012.

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While it barely makes the list for a lot of reasons, mainly because it's a very easy game and relatively short, The Darkness II was a blast from start to finish. The feeling you get of being a total badass, all the quirky and interesting NPC's you build a connection to and not to mention, the search for your dead girlfriend, all wrapped up in an epic story of light versus dark, makes the game an unforgettable journey. The multiplayer is also fun if you're into L4D-style co-op and each character feels well thought out and interesting. The comic book style also makes the game stay true to its source material.

9: Image

I love arcady racers and Ridge Racer Unbounded is one of the best I've played in that genre. The main gimmick here is that you can pretty much destroy parts of the course to gain extra points. You also get points for ramming into enemy vehicles and performing takedowns Burnout-style. With awesome graphics and a really good soundtrack, this is definitely my favourite racing game of 2012.

8: Image

Terrible ending aside, Mass Effect 3 is in my opinion a pretty good third person shooter with a lot of cool RPG elements and it feels like it takes elements from both ME1 and ME2 and brings them together in a good way. I really enjoyed the weapon customization they brought back and the dialogue feels a lot more natural in this game as characters are more active and don't just stand there talking for several minutes. Here they actually move and they feel more like people, making the conversations more engaging as a result. I also really liked the multiplayer, it makes for some frantic co-op action at times.

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Blacklight Retribution is honestly one of the best free-to-play games I've played. It offers graphics and gameplay that both rivals and surpasses the Call of Duty games and the try-before-you-buy model in the game lets you find your favourite loadout before spending money on anything. I'm also a total sucker for the cyberpunk feel of the game and the visor which reveals enemy positions more or less eliminates camping issues. A fun and enjoyable multiplayer shooter that offers a lot for very little to no cash at all and a viable alternative if you want a good modern FPS experience but don't wanna spend 60 bucks on the latest Call of Duty game.

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The Doom games remain some of the best FPS's ever made in my opinion and Doom 3 BFG Edition brings all 3 of them together in one rock solid package. Being the hardcore id-whore I am, this was a must-have this year and I am not disappointed. With Steam achievements, widescreen support up to 1080p, 3D support, a shoulder-mounted flashlight that makes the game suitably action-oriented as I always wanted it, a brand new third mission for Doom 3, and ultra-smooth gameplay at 120fps, Doom 3 BFG Edition to me is THE ultimate edition of Doom 1, Doom 2 and Doom 3.

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When I heard that a remake of Giana Sisters was coming out, I was pretty skeptical. Giana Sisters is one of my favourite 8bit titles and probably one of the most popular Commodore 64 games in existence and a cult classic among a lot of people. Though after having played Twisted Dreams, I can easily say that this is actually an improvement. The controls are really tight, like they should be in any platformer, the graphics are really cartoony and colourful and feel reminiscent of classics like Rayman at times, and the music are mostly rearrangements of the original Giana tracks, performed by the always awesome Machinae Supremacy. The main reason I really recommend Twisted Dreams is because it truly feels like a Giana game and not just a Mario ripoff.

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Let's face it, MW3 might have been a good game (at least it was in my opinion since it was my first CoD game) but it's obvious the series was beginning to stagnate. One of the most common complaints I hear about CoD is that none of the games stand out enough and don't feel engaging enough. This is where Black Ops II gets things right. Black Ops II I think might be the best CoD game because it takes everything that was bad about MW3 and just improves it. The single player campaign feels engaging because it focuses on making the characters memorable and having a more engaging story than MW3 ever did. Of course you still go from set piece to set piece, but the set pieces here are definitely more awesome than they were in earlier games, mostly because the game has a new setting, taking place in the near future and if you've ever wanted to fire a missile launcher while riding horseback, this is the game for you. Another thing they did with the story was giving you multiple choices at several points, adding actual replay value to the campaign as each campaign has a possibility of being really different from the previous one!
The zombie mode is also a really fun mode where survival is the key to unlocking new guns and various rewards that make fun and interesting changes to the gameplay. The zombies actually feel rather threatening and the mode is pretty challenging and will take serious teamplay to be completed.
The multiplayer also has received a much needed upgrade. The killstreaks have been replaced by scorestreaks, giving supportive players a bigger chance to contribute as the rewards are no longer based on the amount of kills you have, but how big your score is and it definitely makes the game a heck of a lot more balanced. The class creation system has been entirely revamped and you now have a "10 slots" system that allows for almost complete customization and you can make a class that fits YOUR playstyle to an even greater degree than MW3 offered. The maps are also much better designed and I think they did a splendid job with the graphics.
The major difference here is that MW3 looked like shit mixed with dust, and Black Ops II actually looks more realistic because it has more colour. Add the option to make your own emblems, the League play which lets you play against people in your skill range, and you have easily the best Call of Duty ever!

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Syndicate is a FPS set in the near future where the world is no longer divided into countries, but rather huge corporations known as syndicates rule the world. In the single player campaign you play as Miles Kilo, an agent for EuroCorp who uncovers corruption and conspiracy within his own syndicate. The game's main gimmick is that in the future nearly everyone are implanted with computer chips. As an agent you have the power to hack into these chips and you can pretty much force people to commit suicide and you can also use this hacking ability to dominate computer systems etc. The chip also gives you an overlay that highlights enemies and volatile objects. It makes for a very fun and engaging FPS that has a very strong cyberpunk aesthetic and the cool factor is pretty much through the roof. The single player campaign is pretty short though and feels like it doesn't offer enough replay value. The game could really benefit from a New Game + option. The multiplayer is pretty fun and engaging though and at times really challenging, and highly recommended. Also helps that the first bossfight has background music by Skrillex. Definitely one of my favourite games this year as I am a complete sucker for cyberpunk games, and I was definitely eager to play Syndicate as a FPS, and I can't help but feel Syndicate is terribly underrated. We can has sequel, EA?

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I'll say it right now, I'm a sucker for humor in games. A lot of the time it can really help a game stand out from the crowd as most games today take themselves way too seriously. It's this reason Borderlands 2 is a fresh breath of filthy air and it's really a unique experience that has to be played to be understood. Borderlands 2 takes everything that made the original so great and improves upon it to the f*cketh (that's a word now) degree. Also helps that the characters are really memorable, especially Handsome Jack, who I'd say is one of the most memorable villains as of recently. His constant taunting and teasing makes him a villain you get to dislike from early on in the game and when you finally get to take him on, the satisfaction is incredible. And guns. SOOOO MANY GUNS! There are really just two words that conjure up how I feel about Borderlands 2: Awesome and badass!

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F*ck Skyrim. If I want a huge open-world first person RPG with animals to hunt an items to craft, I'll play me some Far Cry 3, thank you very much. While I haven't completed this game yet, mostly because I spend far too much time running over animals with my car and putting pirates on fire with a flamethrower, this is easily my favourite game of 2012 already. There is just an insane amount of content here and so much fun to be had, and it's probably the most addictive game I've played lately. The multiplayer is also really well made, although it can be a bit glitchy at times. It's fun when it works though. The co-op missions are also really fun and add a side story to the game rather than just sending you from objective to objective. Add a very good single player story where you actually care about the characters, and lush graphics and you have probably not only the best FPS, but easily the best GAME of 2012 on your hands.