Saturday, 27 August 2011

Looking Back through the scope with Cynical Hunter: planned look backs over the next few weeks

This is more of a note to my self, but it shall act as a I.O.U for you dear readers of what older games I'm planning to review due, these will mostly be because a sequel is out soon or has been announced. That being the case here's my planned list.

Batman Arkham Asylum.
Torchlight 1 and 2 when its released
Borderlands 1
Left 4 Dead 2
Killing Floor
The serious Sam series.

These are of course just the game reviews I plan to do, i do intend to do a quickie on the Imbetweeners movie.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Looking Back through the scope with Cynical Hunter: OverLord

Before you read this review of Overlord 1 I should make a few things clear about its origins and who it was aimed for. I wrote this review for a forum called "Midlife Gamer" a wonderful site whose podcast "Midlife Gamer Podcast" is very funny and informative on the world of gaming, ever month at MLG as it is known by members there is a game of the month, a old game that may have fallen off the radar of most gamers but is still worth at look at for a few hours. Over Lord by Codemasters was a game I had played along time ago a so decided to look at it again and review it in order to get used to writing reviews in general, so please enjoy this and do take a look at midlife gamer of which i'll leave a link to at the bottom.

My Looking Back Through the Scope will be my series of reviews of older games, these will usually tie in with the release of the games squeal.

rOverlord Game of the month review by Cynical Hunter. Grammar
First things first this is my first ever written review of a game so please allow all sorts of mistakes in terminology and such. Any criticisms and comments on my review are more than welcome seeing as everyone in our community is so nice (not like those angry trolls over at Gamespot) hope you enjoy this.
Overlord is a 3rd person action RPG with elements of RTS thrown in to confuse you, all these elements are stripped down to their bare essentials so you will never confused this hybrid as a pure breed of or the other, the RPG elements are sparse when it comes to Loot due to their only being 3 tiers of items and the only restrictions of this these is finding the forge needed to make them, you can customise them to a point by adding a few souls to change the armour or weapons abilities, On the RTS side of things your abilities begin and end with the ability to tell where minions they should go, whom to kill and whether they should not be drowning or not, more on the minions later
The game takes place in a fantasy world filled with hobbits with eating disorders, elves suffering from a horrendous case of narcolepsy, dwarves with drinking problems and homicidal unicorns.... so typical yeah? That’s the way with Overlord setting and story; you are presented with the expected and the unexpected jumps you and steal your wallet which is to be expected due the writing of Rhianna Pratchett (yeah Terry Pratchett’s daughter, the apple never falls far from the tree) the games story is and I’ll try to be spoiler free here is a typical revenge quest at its core with the Overlord being raised from the dead and then setting out to kill the seven heroes who beat him last time they meet, however during his time as worm food the seven heroes have become corrupted by wealth and power and so you raise your army of minions to show these heroes how to be properly evil.  You won’t feel emotional invested in the story but that’s fine as the story isn’t what carries this game what carries it are the little balls of joy and petty vandalism the minions.
The Minions are the heart and soul of this game, they do everything you could want them to do they kill peasants, loot villages, ride sheep and generally be unpleasant to the world at large. The Minions come in four flavours, Vanilla is your basic brawler, this little feller is with you from the start and does the lion’s share of the work when it comes to you conquering the world, they can be brutally effective at killing enemies when sent in a swarm but are weak on their own, they will equip any weapons and armour they find so your army with start to look very strange (the rat hat is a interesting piece of head wear)any gold, souls or anything else useful to your cause will be brought to the overlord followed by some grovelling that really makes you feel like a god. The second class of minion is the little red bugger the archer, the archer throws fire and has the ability to absorb fire meaning you can then go places you couldn’t before. The 3rd class is the assassin and this little feller would in a personal ad describe himself as “green and homicidal with GOSH” he likes to jump on peoples backs and start slashing, he is immune to poison and so can destroy pods puffing out toxic fumes that impede your progress. The 4th and final class you get is the little blue healers who are the only one able to kill magical enemies and are able to revive the recently deceased  they are also the only minions who can walk in water. Controls over the minions is simple to learn but difficult in the late game when things get hectic and you need to control several groups of minions but to be honest the tactic of sending everything at one target can often work out just fine. Combat as the overlord himself is just bad, you don’t feel like an all powerful overlord swinging at battleaxe over the poor whelps but instead you feel weak and feeble who could only beat up a sleeping kitten with its paws behind its head. Combat it greatly improved when your magic supply grows and you can unleash some pretty darn spectacular magic spells my personal favourite is the good old Inferno that just looks fantastic when invoked a cowering peasants.
Being evil is the second main selling point to this game after the minions and you are given many opportunities to choose whether or not to be a douche bag to the plebs, civilisation and girlfriends,  the problem with this could be said is that due to the light hearted nature of the world you live in none of the really evil choices have any moral guilt attached to them so the evil option becomes your go to for choices in most cases since playing through the game as a nice guy will leave you poor, bored and sexual frustrated (at least one of these symptoms may be exclusive to me) as is often the way with being good you will often find yourself restraining from pillaging and since that can often be the most fun you can have. Any of these problems I had are tempered with the fact that this game was not meant to be serious and the story was never going to be Dragon Age quality (insert other game that personally got you).
To Sum up Overlord is nice game and has some great ideas in terms of game play but some control issue, the main character being silent (not in the Gordon Freeman badass way). The games true heroes are the minions charm and the moments of chaos they can unleash in full flow are divine to watch. Out of 10 I would give this a above average 6 and i felt it was certainly worth revisiting from when I first bought it when it came out.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Bastion Review on PC

The a masterpiece in any art form is something that all Artist strive to have associated to his or her name and its incredible unlikely to be your first even 50th attempt that gets you recognised as a genius of what you do, In the form of Bastion Supergaint games showed all other game developers how to make a game not just a fun game but a totally cinematic, emotional engaging and game that will act as a reminder gamers for many years to come why they play games. Bastion is a hack n slash at its core with finely RPG elements that complement how you play the game. The game was first released on Xbox arcade but that does not mean the PC port was a after thought, the controls have been totally mapped so the game works well on QWERTY key board but mouse control can be a bit fiddle in terms of aiming if your not used to how a isometric view point works, that said after a few minutes with your chosen weapon of choice you will be dispatching evil do'ers as a pro.

The games story is a simple one, your character "the Kid" (you never learn his true name) wakes up and finds that the world around him has been destroyed in the event know as the Calamity and his choice now is to seek out the last safe haven known as the Bastion. The story is told by a honey voiced narrator whose smooth tones keep the story engaging, especially since the narration system is based exactly on what the kid is doing at that moment in time, for instance the kid may have just been engaged with a boss but left before dealing the finishing blow and the narrator will comment on how all that hard work has been wasted but if you had instead  killed the beast he would instead remark on the Kids prowess with the weapon used to dispatch.  No narration is ever repeated so you may find your self playing the game several times just to hear every word the narrator says. World around  is a key player in any game worth its salt in today games and the world of Bastion is simply breathtaking in both its simplicity and its presentation, the world is filled with watercolours that look as though they have been painted by a true master of the art. As the Kid travels around the world, pieces of the old world before the calamity fly up to meet your feet and guide you towards your objective, the game could be said to be very linear it's nature but there are often points you will leave the beaten path and explore the fascinating world around you and you are often rewarded for this with new items to upgrade your weapons.

The RPG parts of the game are simply to pick up but have lots of room for customisation of your characters personal fighting style depending on your preferences, for Instance I used a Dual Pistol and Rifle build for my Kid so would invest heavily into upgrades for these two weapons. for each weapon there are 10 potential upgrades but you must choose only 5 of these to make your weapon truly unique, aside from guns their are hammers, blade, rocket launchers, machine guns, bows , flame-throwers, grenade launchers, spears and even a battering ram, alongside this large selection weapons you can also choose a special skill that requires black tonic to use so you are limited in your use of these (one of these skills is a loving nod to the portal series) with the weapons available their are also passive tonics and ales the Kid equips at the Bastion to give him passive bonuses and new abilities, alongside the tonics the Kid can pray at a shrine and can make the game harder for the reward of extra experience.

As a Game Bastion is head and shoulders above most of the top selling games on the market and I do hope that Quality of this calibre will go rewarded and from initial reports the game is selling remarkably well for a new IP. So if you fancy a change from multilayer camp fests and want a truly artistic single player story driven  experience I whole Heartedly recommend Bastion.

I feel obligated to mention that you can buy the game on Steam and other digital distrubution sites over the coming weeks for £11.49 in the UK but I would recommend buying the soundtrack edition as the soundtrack of this game is simply the best I've heard in a game.

Editorial notice: my Next review will be either of the a older Death Spank Game or of the newest one "The Baconing Please check these guys out and stay alert for any new projects in the future.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Welcome to My Blog

Hello and welcome to what I believe my become my internet thought bin, for my blog I will be writing and reviewing Films, video games, CDs, books and just be generally putting my thoughts into public domain. Very rarely will I be totally serious as i will try and inject my own brand of comedy into the proceedings. I do hope you find my blogs over the coming weeks, months and maybe years as entertaining and maybe even informative.

When I am reviewing games they will most likely be indie or less demanding on hardware due to my low powered laptop so don't expect me to review Battlefield 3 or anything visual pleasing, i will on occasion i will review older games that may have been forgotten by most but that I feel are worth a look.

In terms of films I'll review some new releases and maybe some older films i've caught on TV or recently bought that I think are worth a look or just avoiding, same deal with music and books, these reviews will be a little sparse compared to my film or game reviews as those are two of my passions.

Any way I'll most likely be updating this blog every Sunday or so. In the mean Time have a nice week and hope you keep reading.

Any comments are more than welcome, I will ask that if you plan to criticise please be constructive and not just abusive for the sake of it.