Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hi Tech Hate, a Black Ops II Review


Recruit 

...and the next November is here! Another COD fish, right on schedule! Now these games just got to be getting worse and worse. A Call of Duty every year? There is not enough time to make a good game. Only spending a year, what a joke! Well, realize that each of two developments teams that switch off making a game with two different story arch's get 2 years to make their game. A lot of 2's, huh? Is two years enough to make necessary changes to game that has been the same for 9 other games? Let's get our barrings first.

Treyarch has made Black Ops II, not the automated shell of Infinity Ward, oh sorry, that's the truth. I will admit a have overrated a game during the course of my reviews, and I think we know which one that is. Anyway, World At War was Treyarch first good COD game and Black Ops and Black Ops II have followed in the same wide story arch, heh, I guess you could say Tri-arch. In Black Ops II we hit the future and now everything is automated and computer controlled and which case, is hackable. Black Ops II also makes a commentary on the development of new technology for destruction and death. The game also wants us to realize that something like this could happen in real life! No, not the zombies, the threat of turning our machines for our protection against us, hence the title, Hi Tech Hate, a song by Fear Factory. Does Tryarch's game make a bold enough statement to be meaningful and have a positive improvement on a long overdue series? Will I ever stop asking questions and review this damn game?

This image gave me the first impression of the graphics. An improvement, but meh...

Regular

This word above, to show progression in the review, and pretty much describes the art, graphics, and music of Black Ops II, just regular. Well, Call Of Duty is no Halo and certainly no Crysis, graphics and art is not always a strong point in any Call of Duty or even a Battlefield type game. The graphics utilize the MW3 graphics engine, not physics; we know how outdated that is. A grand improvment over the first Black Ops and even a little from MW3, but it's not as nearly as good looking as Halo 4 or any new retail game for the current consoles. I will give props to the designs of the Colossus ship (floating city Sci-Fi enough?) and the drones. This stuff looks very believable and realistic to come out in the next ten years, but that's all I give credit to.

The music is also a "meh" in my book, or I mean in my music player. The music was composed by Nine Inch Nails front man, Trent Reznor and he knows how to make some good sounding epic action movie-esque music. One issue with me is it does not really stand out on it's own. I mean he's no Hans Zimmer, but the music by Zimmer can sound grand and epic, yet still being very recognizable and unique like the music in MW2, which was by Hans Zimmer. The games sound effects have a realistic, well sound to them. I feel that the explosions and gun shots sounded too realistic, but that maybe preference  I do like when different guns sound different and explosions go off with more than one salable. So meh, it's all regular, nothing great.


Hardened

Is exactly the word to use for the overall gameplay of Black Ops II. It still feels and plays all like COD should: 60 fps, great controls, easy to play and hard to master. There is really nothing to say about the general gameplay, except that s feels just as good as should and has before. Nothing to improve and improvements where still made. The only way to review the gameplay of a game like this is to look at the changes and if it still feels the same. The campaign's story can change with the objectives you chose to ignore or complete. The game gives you choices that affect the ending! Now kids, that's what we call a non-linear story-line, can you say that? Yes really! I still can't believe it. You can also drive and ride  a wide assortment of vehicles including any drone, jet, car, and even horse. The campaign is the easiest it has ever been, and like that these additions and level challenges will actually keep me coming back to the campaign again and again.

Black Ops II's campaign also features what are called Strike Force missions, that are essentially a mix of FPS and RTS games. What the? I don't even... In these missions you can either pass or fail to affect the continuing story-line. The player can use the a overhead view and play it just like a RTS game and/or go into the view of the other units and control them in first person. Unfortunately these missions can be almost impossible on Veteran and just possible on Recruit. Thanks to the stupid AI in the RTS view you might as well gran the MG guy and Walker thing and blast your way to victory. It's very bold and cool, but Treyarch has got something here if they polish it up a bit more. The gameplay of Black Ops II is hardened and bold, but is not amazing and game changing. It's is good enough to keep COD more fresh and actually a bit interesting.



Veteran

The more recent COD games have been renowned for a having a good story, and non have disappointed  except MW3 was a bit too predicable. Going from the 60's to the 2025 was a huge freaking jump and how could anyone pull that off? Well, it was done. Woods did not really die in Black Ops, he survived and thank God, he was so awesome! In this story you play as Alex Mason's son David who is obviously Black Ops for the US Government. A guy by the name of Raul Menedez is the bad guy who is known as a messiah to millions of his YouTube subscribers and Twitter followers. I can't remember if he had tumblr or not. Anyway he is really a terrorist leader who has plans to hack the US Defense Network to turn it against us. Of course he does not to do it alone, he's got some gooks helping him. Like I said the game also has it's own commentary of our dependence on technology that has never been in a game before. The story is gripping, emotional, action-full with some commentary, just like Taken. It is one of those stereotypical looking action movies that is very, very good.



Later in the game, you will learn and understand both sides of the game of the good and bad guys. Raul Menedez is just angry at the world for being a crappy place for him and wants to make it the better place he thinks it should be. David is fighting for what he thinks is right and those who have feeling they are "protecting" the world before. You soon see where these two characters come together and how big of an impact they have had on each other's lives, Like in Spec Ops: The Line, the barrier of morality gets so effed-up and blurred, it's just fantastic. The story is great, the characters are great; Treyach really knows where to find and work with some amazing writers to make an equally amazing storyline.



Original (Difficulty)

For most current COD gamers, the mainstream absorption began with Call Of Duty 4's multiplayer. The exact smooth feeling of the campaign was right in multiplayer with the fun of messing around with customization to be your own soldier. Without competition, COD4 was and still is the best COD multiplayer ever and I believe ever will be. Black Ops made a very bold move by removing the Stopping Power perk and the certainly changed the way most of us played multiplayer. During that time there was a distinction between Infinity Ward and Treyarch's multiplayer games and both good and bad in some ways. Black Ops II tries to get an even more statement by creating the "pick ten" system that let the player choose, at most, ten items in each class. You can also choose to put "wild cards" on; these allow more additions to certain items, like another perk of the same tier, two primaries, or adding an extra grenade. Although bold in appearance, I was overall not really impressed by this new class system. It's different and interesting, but still is not the great enough change to bring the freshness back to the best old days of COD4. It's still very fun for the veteran and teh noobs, but nothing too fresh.


Easy (Zombie Difficulty)

All a board the zambie bus, one and only stop to Hell! It's a free ride! Zombies was a joke back during the first year of World At War. Now it's some serous business and has it's own story arch too. Not an amazing story, but a cool action-horror-scifi story to it. It was a zombie surviving adventure, trying to find all the clues and Easter eggs scattered across the maps. Now we get the ride a bus with a driver oddly like the Johnny Taxi service from Total Recall, but damaged and burned up. So the robot did survive the explosion and is now a bus driver. Cool! Anyway, Tranzit, as it's called, has small areas that act as stops for the bus and you could find all bunch of stuff to survive and/or find out the story. I would say that this first map is just like Nacht Der Untoten, but on wheels! In fact, you could say there is a little bit, I mean, a big part of the original Nazi Zombies map in Tranzit. That's for me to know and you to find out. I did hear some rustling about how the first map was not that good. I agree only when you choose to Survive in each little area (the bus stops) smaller than Nuketown. Play the way it's meant to be played. I also got a Counter Strike Zombie Escape Mod vibe from this map too, except it's COD Zombies and there is no escape! Overall, I am impressed and I can't to ride the bus to hell and shoot some zombies on the way down. I don't see many more ideas with the bus, but I still can't wait for a new one.


Uh, last part?

MW3 was not the last oily fish and it wasn't to great with the aftertaste. Even COD is trying to cloud my biases. MW3 was a stinker for me personally, but don't let this review either hinder or hate the current enjoy-ers of the newest Call of Duty games. Just take some of my notes into cosideration. I'd say most anyone would know if they would want another one of these or not. So, just to say, you like COD, rent it for now; you will know in a short time if you enjoy it enough to buy. If you like Treyarch's COD's, definitely get it. You don't know, I can't tell you what to do. Black Ops II is a game that gives the much needed improvement to COD, without scaring off any veteran and new players. The story and gameplay are what makes COD so enjoyable and immersive and Blacks Ops II certainly delivers. Although mutltiplayer is still much the same, it still can be fun and zombies is so fresh it is to die for.  Call of Duty Black Ops II scores a 4 and half out of 6 eggs.


We are losing, weapons controlling
This is the hour of your reckoning
No more arsenal threatens all
Heading for a downfall
Mass destruction, mass destruction
Mass destruction for all

-Hi Tech Hate by Fear Factory


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Legends Never Die. Halo 4 Review


Awakening...

After taping the start button, we all remember the famous Gregorian-like chants in the epic music composed by gamer favorite Martin or Marty O'Donnell in a game called Halo. In laymen's terms, remember that Halo game that had those monks chanting at the beginning? That must have been the most outspoken, ha, part of the Halo series. Sadly for that, some people missed this game and a lot loved it. Halo Combat Evolved was a, in some ways, the first hugely epic FPS game that could appeal to a large audience , and that it did. Halo 2 was a major leap for online gaming and featured the continuation of a great immersive story. Halo 3 was an amazing way to top off the franchise. Halo ODST, was, well, alright. Reach took a step back in story, but jumped forward into gameplay. Bungie then stepped down as Halo's creators and the world did keep turning.

The torch that was set down has now been passed to 343 Industries who made the decent, Halo HD remake a many of us saw coming (Me). Does this no name company who made a HD conversion would be able to carry such a hot fire in the Halo shape? Well, lets carefully take a yander at renewed Halo series and the story of Master Chief.


What We Do Best

Everyone who plays Halo either experienced or watched the Halo 3 Legendary ending and you saw the Forward Unto Dawn floating near a "alien" planet-like structure. That's it, now 343 has to decide what happens next. Everyone then saw the teaser trailer for Halo 4, so then the anticipation and speculation began. We have the game. After much time of playing and procrastination, I have a review! That start of Halo 4 is just as expected, get off of what's left of the Forward Unto Dawn, nothing much. Then other events that were a cause of the time going by while the Chief was sleeping goes underway and makes the player worry about the Chief's future. You soon find an "ancient evil" that "awakens" and you got some new enemies. So then you find this bad guy who looks a bit like an Engineer from Prometheus with the same temper.

The story is well played out and predicable in a very good way. The game may even bring you to tears at the end, but no real man cries! Maybe a little. The new bad guys make the story more interesting, again like Prometheus, it asked many new questions while answering a few. One question I had that was never answered was, Why are the Covenant attacking us? I thought the Sangheili were good now... Well, that was never answered. One more thing, I felt that the evil guy (aka the Didact) was not very developed, it was like, "I am bad guy. [violent poetic stuff] You will lose" *goes away* Maybe who he was will be answered. Alright, this has gone on far enough. The story was good, but there was a plot hole and the antagonist was not very developed. Oops I forgot. The story was also the most emotional Halo of all. I enjoyed it very much. For players looking to be badass and kill some alien goons; that's in this game, but to don't be afraid to get into a story too. Great story-line with a plot hole and little bad guy development, but managed very well.


Asking Is Not My Strong-Suit

To shoot first and ask questions, is always the way of the shooter game. It's kind a odd that the first Halo was originally going to be a Mac Exclusive RTS game. EEEEEEWWWWWW Anyway, it's a shooter much like Doom, running around blasting bad guys only from the hip in a 7 foot tall, super solider in high-tech armor. The most deadly weapon was, of course either your arm or a warthog tire. In this game, it's not smart to run out and whack aliens anymore. This game got harder, a lot harder. I was playing single-player Heroic and I was beating my head like it was Halo 3 Legendary, now I want the Achievement for beating it on Legendary, aloooone.... I feel like it's good because we all know how to beat Halo or most of us vets do. I feel like the beginners are gonna need a class on playing this game, and the vets will be wanting to take it on!

Other than the challenge of Halo 4, nothing else is new and why should it be? Mostly the rest is just tweaks here and there. Grenades arch sooner, more guns were added, different types of enemies to fight, and new armor abilities. Changes in weaponry are much like a Treyarch vs Infinity Ward and differences in gameplay of the CODs each has made. It's fine and really it is more of preference  I personally wanted a machine gun and the BR to make an appearance in Halo 4 so, yay! The new enemies certainly added to the overall challenge. Here is a plus, NO FLOOD!!! I'm happy because three types of enemies would be a plain mess. Also the enemies kind the game interesting and re-playable  I still feel that there is an easier way to defeat them. I'll be on YouTube.


You Knew This Was Coming

I don't even have to introduce this. Does it keep Halo 4 alive? Halo 4 vs Black Ops II, you will have to wait a bit for that. Halo 4 using a a very COD-like player system. What you can do is get three slots: One is for an Armor ability, one for weapon ability and one for a player ability. Perks, they're perks, okay? Just like Call Of Duty and it fits just as well. The game even awards support packages that can let you choose from three items the game may offer you. Speed upgrade, over-shield, and ever power weapons can be teleported to you and used until either death or expelled otherwise. I especially like that for there is a pesky Ghost or screaming Banshee eating kills. Get some stuff done, receive a Rail Gun and shoot that Flying Fraidy Cat out of the sky. Multiplayer is fun and intense. You can actually feel like you can do something to win! That's until you get a lobby with a bunch of idiots that just quit or can't even defend themselves. That is not 343's fault, but it was their fault for making a fun multiplayer. ADD CAMPAIGN MATCHMAKING!!!


I Can't Really Fully Review This

From the name, Spartan Ops, it's a blatant rip off of Call of Duty Spec Ops. Right? Wrong! It's a separate, full-length story that you get to take your own Spartan from Multiplayer on for the ride. It even features fully rendered CGI cut-scenes for each Episode. I can't fully review it because 4 and 5 have not been released yet. I do have one complaint though, the levels are mostly so far, cut and past of the others levels or more like maps. Remember, this so far and I haven't even played Episode 3 yet. If they went so far with the cut scenes, why not go the extra for the actual game play. Other than that, it is very fun and also very challenging. You can even use your multiplayer classes and "perks" in Spartan Ops. So there is more fun to be had with changing up. So it's fun and interesting, but feels a bit oddly cheap, only in gameplay, for now...




Where Is The Purple?

Whole lot of blues and yellows. 343 wanted to make a push away from purple because that's Covenant style, not the "new guys". Change is and was good. Still coloring with purple would have been a killer, for sure. The game looks wonderful. I really got nothing but praise for the visual style. Some times the visuals may be a little too bright, but it's so real looking, so it looks surprisingly well. In tradition of the epic style of Halo, this game just times the epic-ness by 50! This easily the most amazing looking Halo game ever and the best looking game this year. Now the most ridiculous part. I swear those CGI cut scenes are most realistic and most awesome amazing speechless-ly jaw dropping real looking renderings. I am not exaggerating either, maybe a little. The cut scenes look the same if not better than of all Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. So real, is this real? Yes! Halo 4 has got them! Astounding.

I could have written that in two paragraphs, but I have to talk about the music. Marty would be proud. Oh, the guy who did it Halo 4, his name is Sotaro Tojima and he just happened to compose the music for Metal Gear Solid 4! Now he did the newest Halo and he does not disappoint at all. In fact, I should actually get the soundtrack. You will have to experience for yourself. Even if you can't get Halo 4, listen to the music anyway, it is way too good. It sounds and feels just like Halo, but not Martin O'Donnell's Halo, it's a new era of a Halo musical masterpiece.



The Legend of 117

This game is a new ride that runs smooth, but has a few clinks in it. It is overall an attraction to return to again ans again. The story is gripping and emotional with a blah bad guy to knock around. The gameplay is not needed for too much change and the changes seem like rip-offs, but take the game to better level than before. The art and music is the best it has ever been and it is so awesome. Halo fans, get it! Casual Halo fans, get it! FPS fans, you played Halo, get too! With some points of improvement to make and questions to answer. Not perfect, Halo 4 is still amazing. The Legend of 117 will continue for two more games and I can't wait to see were we will fly like a brick to next. Halo 4 sticks 5 eggs out of 6.




Monday, November 12, 2012

Halo 4 and Black Ops II

I will write reviews for both, but wont do videos for them. Instead I will do a Halo 4 vs Black Ops II video, taking different aspects of both games and comparing them. Know this, I got into Halo waaaay before COD, but I like them both the same for different reasons. I will give a most unbiased comparison to tell you which game I feel is overall better, and NOT why one is worse than the other.

Out.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

This might sound stupid

But I'm not going to post up what videos I plan to complete. I will still do the video review for AC III, but for whatever else I do, I wont really post much about it. I know I have not been writing updates and what not very much, but when I get done what I get done I will post about here after upload. I hope you know that my YouTube channel exists. This just crossed my mind, but here it is: http://www.youtube.com/user/OstracizedGamer
Don't think of this as a negative post, but I got school and my own constant personal issues to put forth. I am at such an early stage in all of this to make any promises, at least to myself, that I might not keep. So, for right now I'm just trying a whole bunch of things and seeing what can work for me. So keep checking here or my YouTube channel and maybe you could subscribe too! :) That's all for now cya later friends!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Just an update

I almost blacked-out earlier today and I was going to have a video review for Assassin's Creed III out tomorrow, but that will be pushed to Wednesday or Thursday. I will be doing the Experience videos again seeing as Ty is effing with me and I got their nuts in a twist. Those won't resume until at least next month, because of Homework and the fact that I will work on a video review for both Black Ops II and Halo 4. So that's whats up for no, cya later friends!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Unoticable Assassins Creed III Review


Start Session

 Let's start it this way. Okay, we all know the Assassin's Creed franchise. I say "franchise" instead of the faster "series", because these games have built such a large and wide open fan base over time. In the short seven years since the Assassin's Creed was formed, it managed to stealth capture the fingers of the hardcore, softcore, and the casual gamers. Even one such as myself was captivated by these games, but never found time to try them, until now. It is surprising that a game like this never made it out long ago. A very badass and immersive game that puts you up as an Assassin part of guild type thing. Really quite a marveling and dynamic series over a very short time.

We mustn't forget the main story line, taking place sometime in the future from our present. If you don't know what I mean, be so kind as to pause right here and wiki the story line. We have seen the first part of these games set in "pre-firearm" eras, just blade to blade. I would say the time of firearms is a pretty big point to pull out of the changing of history. Time will keep rolling by, but does Assassin's Creed III fair up as well as the previous titles or are we looking at the next Call of Duty franchise?


In Session: Sequence 1 Story

That is not a Revolutionary war era image! This is the wrong game! Like I said, look up the plot on Wikipedia. For those who don't know already. You really play as Desmond Miles who enters something called the Aminus and is able to live through the eyes of his Assassin ancestors. He fights the Templars, who had previously forced Desmond to help them, but now he needs to save people. Putting that vaguely, I don't know what is a spoiler to this game or not. At least the game does a very good job of telling the newbies, like me, how the story went and goes around. The game's concept is very nicely presented and well played out. Some parts at the beginning are very strange and almost laughable, but the narrative pushes past that without hesitation and manages to deliver two unified and unique story-lines.

The characters are also well developed and detailed. The first guy you play as will deceive you and pull a different plan than you originally thought. He does that again too. You could say that the Native American Assassin, Conner, may seem like a stagnant character acting much like Hayden Christensen in Star Wars, but remember, English was not their native language. I would say it was a great portrayal of a Native American dealing with the "white man" and having to know the language. To wrap this up, great writing  acting, detail, and development. Game writing is getting better and better, like books or more so!


I didn't even know you could do that!

In Session: Sequence 2 Gameplay

What is it to be an Assassin? I don't know, just stab people that something tells you to. Like the Dark Brotherhood! The Creed is much more than get contract, get paid. The Assassins kill who needs to be killed, for the good. For those who don't know how to play, the game does a fine job of telling the player how to play, but then it drops off in the middle. It's like they thought anything that was new should be explained, not every gameplay mechanic from before. I got two more points to complain about before we go on to the good. This game has just about as much annoying glitches like Red Dead Redemption. These glitches don't render the game unplayable in the slightest. Though it sure takes away some of the immersion and is very aggravating.  One time, I used 2 rope darts during a chase scene and I reloaded the checkpoint to the time before I used the 2 darts and they were still taken away from my count of 5. Same thing when I dropped my Tomahawk from a knife disarm. I reloaded the checkpoint so I did not do that again, but I still had the knife a disarmed after the reload. You can tell that bug fixes where rushed in development, not good.

Sorry about all that, but I had to get my point across. After getting over that, the game is very fun and it's very challenging to pull off the full syncs. To finish my complaints, the game features the ability to furnish your home and build objects. Maybe to get the 100% completion, it might be wise to build and sell items. I found no need for it, if your going just to play the game just for the story. It's no Skyrim home, Ubisoft! Don't even try. I just found it unnecessary to have. Assassin's Creed III also has a multitude of side missions and chores one can do to earn money. Some points in the game feel like working, but it is still very rewarding to hunt game, and save the 13 states in the same course. I see this game having much replay-ability for the storyline and the fun, smooth gameplay. Red Dead Redemption is very similar to this game in terms of continual play after main completion. Expect many more hours of play than your first intentions. 



Sequence 2: Memory 2 Naval Battles

Let's take a look at the only really new and, on so many levels, awesome game mechanic. The Naval battles. Yes, you can use ships to fight other ships like in the movies! An interesting tid-bit here: The Naval battles were practically broken to play testers, but thanks to the Ubisoft company in Singapore (really? there?), we can enjoy this cool game play mechanic in our very copies of the game. To say it plainly, these battles are so fun and realistic looking, you will not be able to cease sailing and battling on the high seas. There is also a few missions you can go on with the ship that's not directly part of the story. I hope to see something more like this in future or even a DLC pack with more Naval missions. Truly some great work you Frenchies! Oh, and, uh, Singapor-ians!



Sequence 2: Memory 3 Multiplayer

Now I never thought of Assassin's Creed as having amazing multiplayer games. I played the Revelations multplayer beta and thought it was okay, I wasn't really into it. Especially in lack of my Assassin detecting skills. I was never good at surviving in this kind of multiplayer, so I moved on unimpressed. Now that we are in the firearm era, you would think using guns would be an option. But, no, they don't let you use guns at all. Other than that, it was the same and I again, was not all for it. Sorry, just my opinion on how it felt. Not much was added except different looks for everything. Good news is that you don't have to even touch mulityplayer if you don't want to. The main game gives you way plenty of stuff to do over again and complete. It's really no loss, just try to add something new and interesting next iteration Ubi.



In Session: Sequence 3 Art

During the "show room" promotions of Assassin's Creed III, you could tell that this game was going to look and sound utterly epic on a one to one level. None of these trailers and gamplay videos enhance the truth, they just muttered it. This game is huge and glorious, with many different locations to explore and potential fights to pick and loot to find. It's not nearly as big as Skyrim and it may even seem smaller than Red Dead Redemption. For a stealth adventure open-world game, it is absolutely gorgeous and perfect in almost every way. Some of the graphics and textures lag a tad on render, but nothing too serous. One ugly visual is what I called the "memory boarders". Those boarders are the barriers where game does not allow you to go in. It seemed to just make the world look totally fake and straight out of dream. Just don't go too far off the trail, literally.

Here something I don't go over a lot: the sounds and music. The music adds a very rush-y tone, much like chase music from Pirates of the Caribbean, but none of the eerie music. Because the main character is a Native American, the game has some traditional sounding music place in appropriate areas to add more dynamics. The sounds of the environment and actions of the world around create the ideal atmosphere for the game and the locations. Everything from the artistic standpoint, other than the above, feels so real and exciting. Plus, beavers sure sound so weird!



End Session

Assassin's Creed III feels and plays great for both the veteran assassin and the greenhorn. With a few minor easily fixable bugs and texture slowdowns, it's a great experience for any gamer. For a first timer like myself, I felt very invited to kill... people, heh, I meant, to play the game. I also had a great, different experience in a game that doesn't need too much change from time to time. Multyplayer is not very moving, but single payer gives you a lot to try again and complete. Not to mention the beautiful music and atmosphere this game contains. If you're a big fan, get it, no get the super-dee-duper specially edition-al  collector-efic package of the best version of Assassin's Creed III and love it like the rest of 'em. For the newbies, take some research notes down, because you're in for something really different. Assassin's Creed III slices up 5 eggs out of 6.