Showing posts tagged Alyxandor
There’s going to be a backlash against Dishonored. It can’t be helped: when a game makes big promises, a justice squad will quickly arise to loudly demand that it accounts for not meeting them to the very letter, and in this case I suspect there’s an additional flock of people who have been led by marketing to expect an all-out action game. I can predict, even sympathize with, some of the complaints, others I suspect will be absolutely mystifying to me. It’s the finest hour in what we might loosely but inaccurately term ‘blockbuster shooters’ in years – I’d feel petulant were I to demand it give me even more. But there is one complaint that may reach a crescendo in short order, and that is the issue of length. For me, Dishonored was a deliciously long game, clocking in at about 25 hours even without the total replay I intend on having very soon. For someone else – someone who has a lot of numbers in the name they use when playing Halo 4, say – it will be insultingly short. It may not even make a double figures quantity of hours. That’s not the game’s fault, it’s theirs (or, perhaps, the fault of the marketeers who sold the game as an action opus). They gobbled the onion up whole, too greedy or too lazy or too accustomed to inflexible fare to peel apart its layers.
When you start a mission in Dishonored, your main objective/target will, if you not deliberately deactivated it on option, appear on the HUD as an ever-present marker. In most cases, the objective will be under 300 meters from your position (though will require a transition from an outdoor space to an indoor one). You can take out your gun, your crossbow, your grenades, your sword, your razor mines, perhaps your windblast power if you’ve been minded to acquire it, and you can run towards that marker.
You will have to do some jumping, you will probably have to do some fighting, and you’ll almost inevitably need to do some saving and reloading, but with a bit of skill and a bit of luck you will make it to that marker in a matter of minutes. This is certainly the case if you play on Normal, though expect a need for greater caution and precision on Hard. I have tried it myself on a couple of missions, and lo, it can indeed be brief.
If that is your Dishonored, your Dishonored will last but a handful of hours. You will have followed a cursor and you will have shot some men, and you will perhaps be questioning why there was so very little of it. Dishonored does contain that game, but Dishonored is not that game.
My Dishonored was largely spent in a crouch, in the shadows, killing no-one, collecting everything. That is not the necessary way to play it to get more out of it, but it’s certainly one way to do so. Dishonored’s levels always appear, at a quick glance, as straight, albeit lavish, runs across short distances with perhaps a couple of dozen enemies to contend with. You can do this, if your skill at shooters so allows, but by God you’re denying yourself so much.
Power upgrades, vignettes that flesh out this broken world, capsule puzzles and magnificent sights are hidden away to the sides and most of all under the skin of the map. Events and choices with some pretty huge repercussions on not just plot, but the contents and nature of later levels. What looks, superficially, like a small area is dense with layers, both of possibilities but also architecturally – maze-like buildings with satisfyingly inconvenient access points and hidden rooms, tragic notes from plague victims, books from lost authors, references to the unseen monsters which pull at destiny’s strings, and even requests for lengthy assistance from the occasional damned survivor. Things that change matters, things that flesh out a world that largely avoids open exposition, but also things to be seen for the simple joy of seeing.
Ignore the objective marker. Turn it off, ideally, but if you must have it on because otherwise you feel too unfocused, don’t even look towards it until you’ll teased open all the layers, scoured every corner whether for loot, for context, or for spectacle. Creeping around the back entrance to an enemy-occupied townhouse, I stumbled across a narrow, flooded street stretching off into the distance. Dunwall’s metal-plated walls towered at either side, suggesting something massive, fortified, impregnable. In the water below floated rubble, bodies, misery, but the light played across one iron face of this artificial valley in a sharp white beam, bleaching out the dirt and death, turning this bleak scene of ruin and oppression into one of stark, unblemished beauty. It became a hint of the gleaming metal-Victorian metropolis Dunwall once was on the way to becoming, before the plague, before the death of its beloved ruler, before man’s awful hunger for power laid it so low.
It wasn’t a scene to do anything with, or in. But it was clearly hand-crafted, put there by someone proud of it, who wanted to describe Dunwall in a single scene. Had I run from A to B, I would never have seen it – never even have known it was there. It was put there for people like me, who will play the game not to complete the objectives, not to get the end and kill anything that moved, but to explore for the simple, pretension free pleasure of exploring.
I want, with perhaps unhealthy compulsion, to see everything that’s there, everything that’s been made for me. It’s not just that I want to find all the Runes, Bonecharms, paintings, side quests and money (I do though – oh, I really do. Even though, as a non-lethal player, most of the things I can buy with this loot are of no use to me), it’s that I want to know that I have not missed anything. It agitates to me to even suspect some stone was left unturned. If the level results screen shows I’ve missed something, it burns me. This is nothing to do with kleptomania or achievement-hunting, and everything to do with the knowledge that something was created and I didn’t get to see it. I don’t know why it matters so much, but I know that Dishonored is a game designed to meet this strange, silent, selfish need.
In almost any game, should I encounter a hallway with one staircase going up, towards my target, and another going down, towards nothing obvious at all, I will go down. In the vast majority of shooters – and I lump Dishonored into that category even though I shot no-one in it, bar the occasional emergency stun dart – that stairway will end abruptly, in a fallen bookcase, a crumbling sofa, a pile of bricks or a mysteriously damage- and jump-resistant Closed For Maintenance sign. In Dishonored, it goes somewhere. An alternate route to your objective, perhaps. A path to a different objective. A letter or character who will reveal how to neutralize your assassination target non-lethally. A Rune, a nest of maddened plague victims, a key that won’t serve a purpose until the next level, or just a new perspective on part of this infected, drowned, proud, painterly world.
So fearful of missing anything was I that I felt compelled to knock out or stun-dart every guard I saw, purely to ensure I could then explore unfettered. Even once everyone was sleeping their bruised-necked sleep, I would creep and Blink about the place, possessing rats and fish, combing every corner. The maps felt palatial to me. The idea that that they contained just 200 meters or so of space ludicrous. Because they didn’t They contained kilometers of it, folded in on itself, braided, shielded, but all there to unravel for those willing to do so.
If you want to rush around with a gun, shooting anything that moves, don’t buy Dishonored. It has put those things in there for you, and it offers slick, brutal, varied permutations on how to use them, but they are not its all. If you’re looking for 10+ hours of shooting men, or even stabbing men, you are well-served already and forever by games that do that, do it well, and do it for a long time. You and those like you are the victor of the great games race, and you have the spoils, many times over.
So let us have Dishonored. Let us have this one expensive, luxurious game that only truly works, only sings a glorious tune, only becomes a 20+ hour game if met by those who treat it in the spirit with which it is offered. Don’t tell us it’s too short and too slight just because you don’t find combing through its many layers, peeling back every last millimeter of artfully subdued skin, of interest. Because you want to rush to the conclusion, and you don’t believe anything that doesn’t explicitly inform reaching that conclusion is worthwhile.
As for me, I ignore the objectives. I wait, I watch, I wonder. Eventually, with a working knowledge of guard movement patterns, I run a careful knife across the surface, make myself a way in to what’s underneath. I start peeling and that deceptively short 200 meter sprint sprays open, exploding into a sprawling, handmade world of navigational puzzles, short stories, unspoken character studies and bespoke beauty spots. Dishonored’s Corvo has bullets, blades, bolts and black magic to call upon, but it’s Blink that is the game’s bedrock. The power that lets you reach more places, because, underneath all the distorted Victoriana styling, that showy skull mask, and the artful violence, Dishonored is a game about going places. And there’s no hurry.
Check out more great articles like this at Rock Paper Shotgun.
Sleeping Dogs is the latest in a series of games that at one time was the True Crime series. It is an open world sandbox game in the vein of Grand Theft Auto but offers a certain charm that other sandbox games don’t. One of the major draws for me to this game is that it isn’t all just run and gun.
Melee combat is majorly emphasized in Sleeping Dogs and they did a great job making combat feel fluid and fun. It has a similar combat feel to the Batman Arkham games with a nice counter system. Combat is also challenging but not infuriatingly hard. I always welcome street brawls at every chance I get.
The driving and shooting mechanics are solid and it is a joy to navigate the beautiful city of Hong Kong. Characters may be your standard stereotypical asian gangster types but they are entertaining to watch.
One great thing that sets this game apart from GTA is the leveling system. You have two classes to level up and they are your affiliations with the Hong Kong Police Department and the Triads each with their own abilities to unlock. Also the fact that you have consequences to your actions sets this game apart from other sandbox games. If you drive like a lunatic and break the law during missions you will lose experience points in the police class.
Guns are not as commonplace in Sleeping Dogs due to its setting in China where guns are not legal at all and are only owned by criminals or cops. So constant shootouts are not present and you will likely settle most matters the foot/fist way.
All in all it is a very fun game to play through if not just for the entertaining combat and beautiful city.
I am a major fan of the original Darksiders with it’s sexy blend of Devil May Cry and The Legend of Zelda with a touch of Metroid thrown in for extra tangyness. It is an orgy of action, puzzles, beautiful artwork, and big muscley men punching one another in the face. Hell even the way War opened chests was by literally punching them in the face.
Darksiders II is coming out August 14th which is this coming Tuesday and that day cannot come fast enough. DSII will feature massive levels to explore and on top of the masterful combat system they even included a loot system to satisfy my need for shiny new equipment. So if a game with the artwork of Warhammer, combat of a Devil May Cry/God of War, puzzles and dungeons of The Legend of Zelda (but on a much grander scale), loot collecting of Diablo, platforming of Prince of Persia, gadget based progression into new areas throughout the world like Metroid (or for younger players the Batman Arkham games), and the best of all sweet ass horses doesn’t get you giddy as a school girl then you might want to take up a new hobby like golf…
We know it’s all about the horses!
So it would seem that all of us old-school Shadowrun fans (i.e. Fans of the series before the FPS on 360) are getting one of our wishes and that’s a new game based on the cyber-punk universe we love. Only 28 hours ago there was a Kickstarter project started by the original creator of the Shadowrun universe Jordan Weisman and after that amount of time they have already raised enough money to start making the game. What’s even better is that now with the more donations they receive more features will be added such as co-op and PvP deathmatches. So open your hearts and your wallets and give, give, give! Here is the original Kickstarter project video and to visit the site CLICK HERE!
Here is a small amount of info released by the developers…
Aliens: Colonial Marines begins with an ostensibly abandoned ship, the U.S.S. Sulaco, recovered in orbit around LV-426. Players lead a group of highly trained United States Colonial Marines as they board the deserted craft to uncover the fate of the crew. They will have to fight to survive unspeakable horrors and their own anxieties as they chase down the truth behind a galaxy-spanning deception that places humanity at the mercy of the most murderous and deadly species in the universe. Aliens: Colonial Marines features authentic environments, such as the surface of LV-426 and Hadley’s Hope, weapons inspired by the film series and is designed to
Enlist in the Marine Corps
Bringing you a true sequel to James Cameron’s classic Aliens, get tooled up with classic Marine weapons including pulse rifles, motion trackers and flamethrowers.
The most authentic Aliens experience ever!
Using authentic environments inspired by the film series including Hadley’s Hope, the Sulaco and LV-426, you will be immersed in an eerie, atmospheric world where any moment could bring your death.
Drop-in / Drop-out co-operative gameplay.
The masters of co-op bring their expertise to the Aliens universe. Xenos getting too tough? Call up your buddies so they can drop in with extra firepower. The whole campaign can be played with a squad of up to four players, dropping in and out as necessary through self-contained missions within an over-arching narrative.
Loadouts and upgrades.
Create your perfect killing machine. An extensive upgrade system allows players to customise their characters to play the way they want. Earn experience to get perks, new weapons and new looks for your squad.
And now a video:
Here are two dev diaries for a gorgeous mech combat game in development called Hawken. Check it out!
I must start out saying I am a huge Hellgate London fan as I did the beta and played it until the day it went down. I even still play the single player campaign of it just because it is that good. For those of you unfortunate enough to have not experienced this gem of a game, it was made by the same team as the Diablo series which at the time was Flagship Studios (now named Runic Games, yes the guys who made Torchlight) and was essentially a futuristic Diablo set in London with the ability to go into first person view to shoot.
It is a glorious game! Anyways, the Korean company Hanbitsoft is reviving the game as a free to play which has a beta starting up in June!!! I am eagerly awaiting the beta servers going up as I am one of the lucky chaps fortunate enough to test it. I do hope that Hanbitsoft has not ruined a beloved classic by changing too much. I have already noticed that they removed it’s DX10 capabilities and went with a lower end DX9 setup instead. I guess only time will tell.
The Estherians tell stories of brutal snow-beasts that ravage the Estherian Steppes, leaving behind little more than the crushed and mangled corpses of those unfortunate enough to encounter one. Part mountain yak, part yeti, the Yakotaur is a towering behemoth with a vicious disposition. The Estherians claim they are fury-filled nature spirits, and that their bellowing challenge is a cry of rage from the very mountains themselves. But those who have survived their savage attacks say that they are all too solid—particularly their ram-like horns.
As immortals, the Zeraphi and their armored counterparts, the Ezrohir, fear very little in the Mana Wastes. But even they quail before the might of the dreaded Manticore: one part lion, two parts dragon, and altogether savage. Manticores lair in the darkest caves and caverns, sheltering from the blistering heat of the desert sun—but emerge frequently to sate their ravenous hunger. Although they mostly prey on beasts of burden and the like, from time to time they pounce upon an unwary traveler—and, the hungrier the Manticore, the more savagely it mauls its prey…
Long ago, in the fetid Blightbogs, a cult of demon-worshipping primitives made a dark pact with the diabolical Netherim, gaining power undreamed of with which to inflict cruel suffering on their enemies. They sacrificed anyone and everyone to power their foul rites, including, ultimately, their own humanity. And now, with souls forever blackened by corruption, Witches are horror personified. As their bodies succumb to the taint of their evil, they build makeshift limbs to animate. And when their hands are no longer up to the task, they fashion malevolent little puppets to do their awful bidding.
Who can say they have never looked up at a grotesque statue, perched upon a parapet, and wondered, just for a moment, if it weren’t looking back down? And who, looking into those baleful eyes, hasn’t felt that same primal dread that prey has when gazing upon a predator? The Gargoyle is that stony fiend, brought to perverse parody of life by ancient magic and an enduring malevolence that has seen centuries of blood-soaked carnage pass by. Their harsh forms line the walls of Grunnheim’s eldest ruins, peering patiently down, ever waiting for a fresh victim to pass below.
When the dwarves ruled the land, they built armies of Ember-powered Automata to act as servants, and sentinels, and even armies. Their clockwork armies helped them conquer and enslave countless other races, who they then forced to mine more Ember, to build more Automata, to conquer even more races. The Automata were the dwarves’ most efficient tool for building their world-spanning empire. But today, the Automata continue stumbling and clanking along, still following commands given thousands of years ago, still guarding the crumbling bones of their masters … with a murderous efficiency.
The dragons are all but gone from the world. In the waning days of the dwarven empire, when Ember became scarce, the noble beasts were hunted, enslaved, and harnessed, so that the dwarves could siphon off their energy to power their machines. Then, after the dwarves died out, an ancient cult of Estherian zealots found the enchained dragons, and worshipped them as captive gods, feeding them tainted Ember, until they were mad with corruption. The dark Estherians slaughtered the dragons when they became too dangerous, but it was too late: Their Ember-fouled spirits lingered on as Spectral Dragons—maniacal, feral spirit-dragons, with an insatiable hunger for magic … and for those who use it.
Here are some of the other races you will encounter during your travels through Torchlight 2!
In the far north of Vilderan dwell the Beornen: a race of bear-men who have developed a primitive culture built around exploration and trade - and, from time to time, plunder. These raiders, or “Sturmbeornen,” cross the northern channel and ravage the coastline settlements, pillaging and slaughtering in their quest for power, glory, and battle.
Most of these raiding parties consist of a few dozen bear-men, but a veritable army of Sturmbeornen has recently arrived in the Estherian Steppes - far outside their usual range. Led by the fearsome warlord, General Grell, the Sturmbeornen push ever nearer the Enclave, the last city of the Estherians, and not even the might of the Vanquisher Corps can stop them.
Although the Zeraphi finally recognized the dangers of Ember and gave up their war over the Estherians’ Ember, one faction refused to lay down arms. The Ezrohir pursued the retreating Estherians, seizing their mines. With the Estherians’ Ember, the Ezrohir eventually perfected their own process for encasing souls in suits of armor.
But the process was flawed. The Ezrohir gained immortality - but the corrupted ore burns out over time, and the Ezrohir die unless they can procure more Ember. Their insatiable need for Ember led to a disastrous war with the Zeraphi, and the Ezrohir were driven out into the Mana Wastes, forced to hide in their ancient fortresses. For centuries they have waited, and plotted … and their vengeance is finally at hand.
The oldest myths of the creation of the world always mention the dwarves: Short, stout beings who discovered the secret of Ember-powered clockworks, and, with it, conquered all of Vilderan and much of the rest of the world. But their lust for Ember led them to make war on the dragons, and, ultimately, brought them to the brink of destruction. As the dwarves’ power waned, the races they had subjugated rose up and decimated them, sacking their glorious cities and plundering their precious Ember-powered machines.
All that is left now of the once-mighty dwarven empire are their dead, grotesquely animated by the corruption of Ember, and their wondrous machines; all still steadfastly defending their deserted mines and ruined cities from invaders who never come.
After dwarven civilization collapsed, their oldest enemies, the Varkolyn, crept from the shadows, claiming the ruined keeps and palaces as their dominion: the Kingdom of the Dark. For centuries afterward, the Varkolyn ruled over the dwarven ruins, making war on their neighbors and preying on anyone who strayed within their territories. Ultimately, they failed to grow their civilization: The First Great Varkolyn Empire was also the last.
For all their pretense of civilization, for all their glorious plans, the Varkolyn lack the expertise to carry them out. Those on the fringes of Varkolyn society have a tendency to backslide into barbarism, splitting into feral clans and even going to war with their more advanced cousins. All that still unites them is their utter contempt for other races.
You will understand the headline after you watch my first ever videos uploaded to Youtube. I completely understand that they are rough and are most likely complete rubbish, but hey at least I started making them. I will be doing a series of Let’s Play videos of the various games I enjoy. If you love, like, or even somewhat tolerate my videos then do me a great service and like or even if you are so bold, favorite my videos. Hell if you really want to see more videos I would greatly appreciate having you guys subscribe to my channel. I promise it will be worth it. Just click the Minecraft Explorer image above to go to my Youtube channel!
SO as you might have figured out form the headline this is either about making art from dust or the art of From Dust. Well if you were hoping for cheap hobo art then you will be sorely disappointed. Here is the new Dev Diary for From Dust focusing on the games art direction, environments, and atmosphere. Enjoy!