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Seriously though, at the end of the day, Thief is ok. But fuck that game coz I could have been playing something else. Or drawing..
So as it often is with new generations of gaming, the offerings on the PS4 and Xbone are limited. And while the game I’m reviewing is technically Cross Generation, if you’re able to (as with any other cross-gen game) get it on the PS4 or Xbone. I’m talking, of course, about Thief! So, did the first person steal-em-up manage to steal my heart? Or did it trip every alarm and run away from the scene with empty hands. Let’s find out!
Our story follows master thief Garret as he steals his way across a Victorian/Steampunk City after a job gone wrong. After said incident, his partner/rival is mysteriously missing, and in the year since, the City has fallen further into ruin and poverty, and while the authoritarian Baron and his guard keep control with an iron fist, a sickness known as the Gloom is tormenting the less fortunate. It’s up to Garret to uncover the secrets of his missing year, and maybe even make a profit in the process.
The story is schizophrenic to say the least, and Garret often seems more concerned with lifting all the valuables from a place than the task at hand.The mix of magic and technology is interesting, but so many ideas are brought to the table and then dropped that it’s hard to get invested. The concept of the Gloom skirts around the edges of the narrative but it’s never truly explained, which is disappointing. As far as characters go, they’re all generally bland or cartoonishly evil, though Garret is surprisingly likable as a cocky asshole.
The game looks adequate enough, but considering it’s on the Ps4 and Xbone, there’s nothing truly “Next Gen” about the graphics. In fact, the pre-rendered cutscenes look TERRIBLE! They’re grimy and the camera is janky as fuck! My eyes hurt looking at them. It was horrible.
The music is mostly forgettable, as is the voice acting. Garret sounds suspiciously like Hayden Christenson. Which is truly upsetting.
The entire game looks confusing, particularly it’s Hub-World, which is confusing as shit. Travelling is never as easy as A to B. It’s always A to C to B, and it artificially stretches the game length out in the worst way.
The main objective in each level is to locate and steal a specific item whilst trying to stay hidden, with the side objective to lift everything that isn’t nailed down. Garret is a serious kleptomaniac, and nothing is safe from his sticky fingers.
Stealing shit comes in a variety of forms, most of which involve unlocking different mechanisms, and seeing these different methods is neat if nothing else. Finding secret switches in bookcases and paintings is neat, but there’s no huge variation in gameplay to be found here.
Combat is clunky and it’s difficult to take down later enemies without taking any damage or alerting more guards, which I suppose is the consequence for getting your clumsy ass spotted in the first place. The bow combat works well enough, but the inability to kill people with headshots is just plain old baffling. It’s crazy!
Speaking of the bow, you have a bunch of trick arrows to get through certain paths. You have blunt arrows for hitting switches, water arrows for putting fire out and rope arrows for accessing higher areas.
Traversing areas can be fun at times, but more often than not, it’s just frustrating. It takes the Assassin’s Creed approach of free running where it just takes one button hold to move and climb. Unfortunately, having a single button means that sometimes you’ll drop down instead of jumping a gap and vice versa. It lacks a certain sense of control which makes the confusing Hub world even worse.
Being stealthy in this game can be a challenge. The rules by which AI can spot you are so inconsistent sometimes that you could be standing 4 feet from a guard in the dark, and won’t be seen, and other times you could be over 10 metres away and be spotted almost instantly. So damn annoying.
Late in the game, there’s a very horror game vibe which is cool, but kind of a massive tonal shift. Very strange. Speaking of late game, the only boss fights are interesting ideas but poorly executed. I won’t spoil anything, but my major gripe is being able to get one hit killed when the boss doesn’t even know where you are. Bullshit.
To it’s credit, Thief has a lot of collectibles to steal, as well as a multitude of side heists, so there is a decent amount of game here. Especially when you consider how long it takes to navigate the world, so for those who invest in long experiences, this is one for you. There are also challenge maps, and mid-mission challenges.
Thief is a functional game, and it appeals to the side of me that feels the need to not only take everything valuable in a room, but to also keep the more interesting pieces on display. That said, the game feels unfinished with its (frankly) poor cutscenes, multi-loading screen hub-world and schizophrenic story. It’s gameplay works, but frustrating AI can sometimes make it annoying. In summary, it’s playable and can be enjoyable, but wasted opportunities and poor design choices make it hard for me to actually recommend.
Next week, I’m reviewing South Park: The Stick of Truth!
WAS SO GOOD! Seriously!! I love video game music and nothing compares to seeing and hearing it performed live by a symphony orchestra and choir. Selections from Portal, God of War and Zelda were excellent, but the standout was definitely the Metal Gear Solid IV performance. So damn good! I’M PUMPED!
The Wii U is over two years old, and has no shortage of haters in the gaming community. Part of the problem is it’s library of games which, while existent and pretty good, alot of the titles are new IP that so many aren’t willing to buy. So when Nintendo finally gets an established IP on the console, it’s a big deal. So is Donkey Kong worth all the hype?
It’s party time on DK Island as we join our simian heroes who are about to chow down on some (surprisingly cool looking) banana cake. The party is soon crashed by an armada of viking ships, “manned” with penguins and walruses who swiftly take over Dk Island, freezing the land and sending the Kongs flying to a completely different Island.
The game follows your efforts to guide the Kongs back home, and as far as old-school platformer stories go, it’s decent. I think the theme and design behind the enemies is really cool, but the actual “Tropical Breeze” part of the title doesn’t really come into effect until Island 6. Which is weird…
Once again, Nintendo is proving with their flagship franchises that the Wii U is not a console to be scoffed at. Visually, the game looks really great; the colours are vibrant and varied, the fur textures on the Kongs (Specifically Funky) is surprisingly impressive and the animations are fluid and fittingly cartoonish.
The sound design is catchy, as expected, with generally very tropical sounding beats accompanying you on your journey. The design of each Island seems to jump all over the world, which doesn’t really make sense, but it does lend some nice variety to the game. I especially like the African inspired level. Really reminds me of the Lion King stage show..
For those who played Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii, this will be a familiar affair. And as such, for those who played the original games, this will also be pretty familiar. Gameplay generally consists of your standard running and jumping, with some climbing and swimming thrown in for good measure. The game handles fairly well, assuming you’re using the Gamepad or the Pro Controller. If you happen to be using a wiimote, be prepared to shake that fucker, and prepare to get immensely frustrated.
While the gameplay generally follows standard platforming conventions, there are a few things that differentiate it. The minecart/boat/jet barrel levels are short but entertaining efforts in mixing up the gameplay, but there’s generally little tweaks from level to level that make things a little different.
Silhouette levels add a nice visual flair as well as changing the gameplay, and dynamic, changing levels that raise stress levels like crazy.
Breaking up each world is a fairly standard boss fight. They’re generally quite challenging (much like the rest of the game), and they’re all very cool, conceptually speaking. My personal favourite is the owl boss. He/she is pretty great.
If I had to find one thing to complain about (and I kind of have to), the controls do feel quite slippery. There’s a little less precision than your standard Mario game, but it still manages to be barrels of fun.
Something else to think about: If you are playing Co-op, player one is handicapped out of the gate. The other Kongs (Cranky, Diddy and Dixie) all have jumping assists such as double jumps and hovers, but Donkey only gets a single jump. In single player, you can get these Kong’s powers as Donkey Kong, but yea, there’s a strange balance issue in Co-Op.
As veteran DK players would know, finishing the levels is only half the fun. In each level, there’s a set number of puzzle pieces and KONG letters to collect, as well as secret relics that are unlocked in the end game. Adding to the replay value is the fact that not all the levels are unlocked in a straight run of the game. You’ll have to do some exploring to see everything here.
With Wii U reviews, it’s hard not to say “go buy it now” because there’s so few games there, let alone exceptionally good ones. But rest assured, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Breeze is definitely a solid reason to buy a Wii U. Couple it with Super Mario 3D World and Rayman Legends, you already have a lineup that equals, or even beats the next gen competition so far. So yes. Buy it.
Next week I’ll be reviewing Thief!
Another week, another downloadable Next-Gen game to review! Funny enough, it’s also been developed by Double Helix. So if your next gen console is starved for good games, will Strider satisfy?
This game is essentially a retelling of Strider (the Arcade game) where the clan of assassins known as the Striders send their most talented member, Strider Hiryu to infiltrate the (extremely Russian) territory of Kazahk, and put a stop to the evil Grandmaster Meio’s plans.
The story is conveyed in barely animated, subtitled conversations, and it’s fairly forgettable. A lot of the characters a well designed but lack personality beyond that of a one note character. Strider himself is very silent and stoic, which is cool to an extent but not much beyond that.
Strider Hiryu seems to follow in the Bionic Commando’s footsteps with a game that follows the original down to the letter. The character designs are very much true to the original, but are animated perfectly and while they aren’t EXACTLY the same, the updates they’ve received don’t overstep the line. Everything looks perfectly 80’s futuristic and it’s a very cool tone.
The music pumps away constantly in the background, but won’t have anyone harping on about it for days on end. The same could be said of the voice acting. There are some decent Eastern European accents in here, and the main evil dude sounds sufficiently, ridiculously evil, but at the end of the day, it’s all a bit bland.
Unlike the original, Strider 2014 isn’t a straightforward, linear affair all of the time. It maintains the fast paced hacky-slashy action of the original, but super charges it by giving you upgrades in a very metroid-vania style. Your progression often relies on the gaining of certain powerups and gadgets, and once these are unlocked, there’s a whole bunch of secret upgrades to get as well.
After I had finished my playthrough, the game gleefully told me I’d only beaten 45% of it, meaning there is ALOT of hidden upgrades to collect. I only collected less than half, and I felt sufficently powerful, so Imagine if you found EVERYTHING.
The core gameplay itself is that of an action platformer, and the controls are about as tight as you could want them. In any other game, four or so hours of hacking away at cannon fodder enemies would get repetitive and boring really quickly. But the look and feel of hacking cyborg soldiers apart with such ease is the same sort of satisfaction as mowing through enemies in Dynasty Warriors.
The variety of different forms of the signature Cypher weapon do change up gameplay every so often, with explosive, reflective, freeze and magnetic varieties available, each with their own pros and cons for taking on your foes. It’s insane how much fun that this gameplay can actually be. Seriously. It’s so basic, but so satisfying.
There are also some excellent boss battles to undertake, and while the difficulty curve overall isn’t steep at all, it provides a nice little challenge.
As I mentioned, there are plenty of hidden, non story essential upgrades and items to collect, which means plenty of backtracking and exploring to do. On top of that, there’s a few achievements and trophies as well as a challenge mode. A fair amount of game here for 22 bucks.
At the end of the day, $22 is a little more than what people would normally pay for downloadable titles, but if you’re going for completing it in total, there’s enough game here to make it more than worth it. Even if you don’t want to do that, playing Strider feels so satisfying that despite it’s repetitive nature, it doesn’t get particularly boring. So at the end of the day, if you want something to play on your X-Box One or your PS4, you can’t go wrong here.
It’s also on PC.
Next week, I’ll be reviewing Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze on the Wii U. Until then..
So later on I’m going to post a review for Strider (Downloadable title for X-Box One and PS4), coz I managed to finish that off this morning. If you don’t come back later, I’ll give you the abridged version. For 22 bucks, you can do a lot worse.
I also got Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze and have been playing around with that a little bit. It’s good. Seriously, with Rayman Legends, Super Mario 3D World and ZombiU, the Wii U is building a high qualithy (if small) library of games. It’s still early days on that one though, so I won’t sing it’s praises just yet.
So I’ve gotten into a bit of a rut when it comes to Let’s Plays on my channel. The 3 bros I play Castle Crashers with are all busy, and so am I, so coordinating with them is difficult. Hopefully we can get that on the move again soon.
I also really want to start a series of Let’s Plays with my lady friend, Lauren (Gaming Bucket List curator), and some more RaptorProof Let’s Collaborates with my beard brother Jake.
So if anyone is actually wondering where the hell my Let’s Plays are, it’s not that I stopped caring, it’s that organization is hard when you work full time and have to organize other people too. So yea…
Look out for stuff!
I feel like I’ve been pretty productive as far as gaming goes this week…
Sad to say that any productivity (as far as what I WANT to play goes) will halt come next week. So many games coming out.. So many reviews to do… Uuuuuuuuuuuuugh..
Ok.. Time to tackle the Elite four…
Well, that leaves us at the end of this Nuzlocke Journey. I wasn’t expecting to feel as attached to my team as I did,
but at the end of the day, I have four champions still with me, and half a box of pokemon to go to. But the sacrifices of
my fallen comrades will be remembered, especially Zabini and Ellie, the two Post-Humous Hall of Famers.
To anyone who was keeping up with the liveblog/Nuzlocke, thank you and I hope you enjoyed it. I’ll be looking into making
video Nuzlockes in the future for anyone who’s interested (and I may even try a Wonderlocke run now).
For the champions in my party, they will live on as legends (as I trade them to my main game in Pokemon X).
Hall of Famers:
Anita, Peppy, Terra and Errol
Post-Humous Hall of Famers:
Zabini and Ellie
Rockington (Graveller), PabloEscobar (Lotad), Pym (Durant), Rapetree (Trevenant), Humfrey (Ursaring), Jaws (Carnivine), Fugu (Seaking), Davey Boy (Granbull), Savage (Machoke), Longhorn (Tauros), Jack (Lucario), Slippy (Poliwrath), Sting (Drapion), Pumbloom (Exploud), Chomps (Garchomp), Albert Snorlax), My Squishy (Reuniclus)
RIP: Fawkes (Fletchling), March (Bunnelby), Krool (Sandile), Groot (Ivysaur), Titania (Floette), Babe (Spoink), Monarch (Butterfree), Ridley (Aerodactyl), Yetree (Snover/Abomasnow [Abomasnowver]), Chuck (Throh), Linus (Pumpkaboo), Erik (Magneton), Slick (Goodra), Gwaihir (Pidgeot) and Heidi (Zweilous)
Gotta Catch Em All
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