Category Archives: PC

Batman Arkham Asylum

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Unfortunately when it comes to PC games — and this review is based on the PC version of the game — there are much more than the actual game to comment on. Sometimes it’s sad to say that the complex structures of PC builds aren’t up to the task of handling ports, in the case of this title however, there’s pretty much no technical problems standing between you and the caped crusade’s quest to save Gotham once again. Not much though not necessarily absent.

Any PC moderately decent should take care of this on mid or high settings. Those addicted to pixels on-screen can power up their NASA supercomputers for the ultimate graphical experience. Since the atmosphere is phenomenal, it’s at least worthwhile when experienced, much more than the “next-best-thing” first person shooter to up a few frames per second just for the sake of it. From a technical standpoint, the graphical settings are pretty optimal. From a artistic standpoint they’re even better.

If you don’t you should probably get your hands on an Xbox controller. Any version will do, the 360 or the One controller. It has reached a point where it’s basically the unofficial controller for PC gaming. That’s actually great news because of two main reasons: the controllers are great and it deals with the problem of support. The configurations aren’t really perfectly implemented for PC so the controller should prevent a few headaches. The mouse sensibility is way too high and there’s no options out of it, except the dodgy fixes you find around the internet at your own risk.

You’re “stranded” in Gotham City’s nearby island that holds none other than the most dangerous super criminals from the made-up world of Batman and the player needs to get things back on track after Joker takes over the place and decides to take over the place and create a big “party” for Batman. The eccentricities inherent to Joker back up most of the flow the story tells. People getting murdered, lots of innocent civilians and medical staff getting kidnapped, hostages being hold with gun in hand; chaos with the expected dose of demented humor.

The story is pretty well made when all gaming things are considered. I’m not exactly a comic books number one fan so I can’t comment on how deep it all goes in main storylines or how much “true” it keeps on a universe that has been thoroughly exposed in so many medias, including video-games. For a Batman-newbie like me everything was pretty self-explanatory, and when not, they kept a data info as unlockable prizes stating information about characters that made the cut in the game as well as those who never even had the chance.

You get to explore the island taken over by criminals in nifty little ways using the gadgets Batman has in store. The sense of improvement is ever so present, from not being able to get certain unlockable from the get-go only to find that an item acquired midway through the game will do the trick just fine to reach what was once unreachable. There are many stuff to collect, from The Riddler, a villain that is not even present in the game itself, but has scattered charades all over the place. Getting them correctly and inspecting the item it mentions unlocks new bios and hands out percentage in overall completion — it’s up to you to decide which one is more important.

Controlling Batman was one of my biggest fears. Games based on popular non-gaming franchises serve more often than not as simple cash-ins for whoever holds the rights to said franchise and generally skips a huge part of a game, be played. It certainly had potential, Batman is a human after all, his accessibility to near alien technology coupled with a side-story that elevates his physical endowment to some kind of super human without super powers is too good to be passed.

The best aspect this game offers is the ability to grapple to basically any ledge that offers this possibility, both within reason and game-design. Frail structures won’t give you this opportunity requiring Batman to, on his own words, “climb the old-fashioned way”. Grappling around the island feels awesome. Other items in Batman’s arsenal offer the good amount of freedom to be executed. In the end, it just works amazingly well.

Hidden beneath its shell, Arkham Asylum offers two types of gameplay. One of them is the combo-based combat system. The other is the logical usage of the terrain, items and AI to offer a stealth system based on shadowy advances. The second one is the better choice. I might sound bias when I say that stealth is always better but the combat system just isn’t all too interesting. It borrows some ideas from button-mashing action games to deliver a system based on punching, countering and executing some odd mixture of lethal moves or items.  You can manage just fine by attacking relentlessly while keeping track of when an enemy is about to attack you to just counter-attack.

Doing things slowly is a whole other beast of a game. Most of the time you’ll have to face off enemies by comboing them out but when you have the option to use the environment to your advantage, planning out every attack to get the most from them, dealing with armed thugs knowing that any wrong move could be your last is just more suited for Batman. You have a detective system implemented in your bat mask that gives out every type of information about your surroundings, including people around you, weather a foe or ally. It even tells you their mood at the moment. Guards that were once in a group which was eliminated to the point that only one person is alive will become terrified, which results in them freezing upon seeing the lofty stature of Batman in front of them or shooting out of sheer fear as his mind plays trick on them..

The detective cam is integrated with heat sensor that shows everyone in the room so you can plan your movements pretty well in advance and show the best positions to transition using the grapple to gain advantage over you enemies. The AI works spot-on on most occasions, though sometimes enemies kind of refuse to be lured in no matter how many batarangs you throw at their general direction. It really should at least hint them that something is not right.

The island is divided in sections that are available as you progress through the game. The medical area, the penitentiary, the mansion, the botanic area. We could argue on why an island created to hold the most dangerous crime masterminds of Gotham would have a botanic building but the only conclusion would be to allow certain character to have its share on the story. Still, one of the most beautiful places in the island. They had to work around the clock here to offer variety in such a gloomy, mysterious place.

After a while you’ll backtrack enough to feel like home in the island but not so much that it feels contained, small. The exploration offers a decent level of freedom for the sake of not losing the grip of storytelling and design. It wasn’t meant to be Assassin’s Creed in the dark, but it deals the right amount of mystery to make stuff worth revisiting.

Several rivals of batman do make the cut in the end and the glue that holds this type of universal antagonist fan-fest is pretty clear, the Asylum itself. The ones that never appear have still received proper care of having cameos as collectibles from the puzzles scattered around. Other decisions should make longtime fans satisfied with voice-over cast made up of familiar faces like Mark Hammill that made quite a cult following from his dub in the Batman Animated Series and replays the role of Joker as nicely as ever.

Aside from the main campaign you have the challenge mode which is also a two-faced coin. You have the combo challenges where you need to keep the combos going to reach a certain amount of points to earn the maximum number of 3 batarangs depending on how good you do. And you have the stealth challenges that focuses on following objectives based on strategies that revolve around certain aspects of taking enemies down, like hanging them from a vantage point or using explosives to take down 3 guys in one single detonation. The combo challenges are boring to a point of being useless but the objective-based stealth missions are pretty fun. At least you don’t have to unlock the subsequent one by beating the previous, everything gets unlocked via the main game. You can choose whatever suits you and forget about the rest.

Batman Arkham Asylum is a  game that deserves to be played. It might make you wonder how they would manage gameplay with a full concept in hand that needs to be addressed at all costs and still please the majority that might not even be big fan of games; whatever the challenge was it has been achieved. The game is dark and portrays the overall story of Batman in a meaningful way so as die-hard fans and people who are completely oblivious to it can all share a great time. The combat is always something problematic when you have a formula and needs to create a way for it to be played. The system can be improved upon but even in its current stage it’s pretty manageable and stands on its own. The game is as solid as Batman’s batsuit taking bullets from armed thugs.


















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Picross Touch

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What do you expect from a lighter? Fire? Bring peace to the Middle East? Resolve math problems? There’s some things which are simple because they don’t need to be any more complexity. Picross Touch is one of those games. It’s so simple it’s hard to judge. Does it do its job well? It does.

You have Picross which is some one type of game made incredibly easier in electronic formats. You’re given clues about which block you need or not to fill and try to resolve the entire puzzle by grouping right clues together. The thrill is that if you get something wrong in the beginning you’ll probably carry it until a point of no return. Each move must be made with absolutely zero second-thoughts.

This is what you get here. The environment is stripped-down to basics while puzzle-solving is taken to the extreme. You’ll probably never run out of puzzles to solve since it features an ingenuous sharing system that anyone can create a puzzle and send it over. The initial set of puzzles can be completed in a few dozen hours while the rest is there to fulfill any need you might have in the future for Picross.

A while back the game offered up to 25×25 squared puzzles to be solved and submitted. The game came with a set of 5×5, 10×10 and 15×15 originally — which can be called the base, or main game. Now people can submit not only the 3 original sizes and 20×20 and 25×25, it’s possible to create 30×30 and 35×35 puzzles. There’s a whole lot already submitted so the meta is made and running. When you try to create a new puzzle the game automatically tries to solve it and if it’s impossible you won’t be able to send it over. So if its in the system, as hard as it might be, it’s still possible — presuming the computerized system isn’t prone to errors, of course, which generally isn’t.

This is probably the be-all-end-all of Picross puzzle since it’s a pretty basic principle that doesn’t really need a whole bunch of graphical extravaganza — here you can choose the color you wish to see along with the full range of grey shades. Unfortunately it doesn’t feature keyboard controls. The mouse works the way it should, you can actually opt for a more complex approach in which pressing the screen will start filling every square it touches while you might think it would become too unwieldy and stay in easy mode where only the specific axis fills squares.

Some options are available to better suit the needs of those more willing to delve into the wonders of Picross but overall the basic principle is the same, click a square with the right button to fill it, click a square with the left click to cross it out. Use the same button to erase any action you which to undo and solve the problems. The only way to make it simpler would be to make it so you could fill squares with the power of the mind.

Picross is as simple as any other kind of paper game, sudoku, crosswords, etc. If you enjoy to pass some time solving these kinds of puzzles you’ll have a blast with Picross Touch. The game is free so even if you’ve never heard of it it’s still worth trying it out. If somehow it’s not your thing, there’s not a single element of this game that would suffice to change your mind. Because there’s only one element that needs to be there, and it’s Picross.

Toki Tori

Some games can easily fool you into thinking they’re something else. Take Terraria for example, one might think it’s just a stylish platformer about going from point A to point B when it’s so much more than that. Toki Tori might be a cutesy, simplistic feat at first glance, but in fact it’s a pretty brutal puzzle experience.

The levels are basic and the movements aren’t that fancy either. Most monsters just go right and left endlessly until something happens that chances their direction. You have to take them in consideration as much as any other aspect of the stage. Something stands there just for the sake of being there? Chances are it’s got some important role in which you haven’t gotten the grasp of yet.

The movements are precise but they’re profoundly limited. You occupy one square unit of existence, per say, and when you move any direction you notice you moved half the distance away from this initial territory, by repressing the same direction you had pressed before you’ll be in the adjacent block. This helps the developer create very specific puzzles that need to be absolute the only way to pass the level. It’s easy to replicate because you don’t have much room for imprecision.

To succeed in this game you just have to go around a levels and collect all the eggs for Toki Tori. After reaching the last one of them you get warped and finish the level. If it sounds simple it’s because it really is. The problem is, getting these eggs might become impossible in just simply by getting one of the eggs too early for example. A chain of events happen and you won’t notice the level has become impossible until you reach the end.

If you had to restart each time you screw up in something it could become tedious, so they implemented a system of backtracking in time. It may sound cheap at first but when later levels are reached you finally understand why this is such a big deal. Made a move you regret? just hit backspace to rewind the game and redo whatever you did wrong. Want to rewind until the movement you spawn right in the beginning? No problem. You just can’t redo time that was overwritten, whatever you did after agreeing on time-travelling back will be lost. It shouldn’t be a problem because if you’re back-tracking it basically means something went terribly wrong and you need to redo, no questions asked.

To help the player out during the quest you have stuff like platforms, blocks or freezing guns at disposal. Depending on the world you’re in some special ability might be available, like in the water levels which you can become a bubble and float around, while in the sewer you might have a slimy-sucking weapon to get rid of some nasty snails that roam these waste-filled depths.

At first whatever ability that is presented to the player might be used at will, but right next to this demo level you will instantly face what this game does best. It severely limits the usage of whatever skill you have. I’m not talking a magazine of bullets to dispose of 3 enemies; I’m talking three bullets expecting three headshots. Some levels are ingeniously crafted to trick you into making the hasty decision, the easy move. Always doubt what’s too clear, it probably isn’t, this game has taught me that.

You’re basically trying to find all the places you absolutely need to spend resources in to proceed, if you reached a dead end and there’s still 2 eggs to go, you might need to rethink your last couple of moves, you might have to rethink a move you made in the beginning, you might need to completely rethink your route. It makes some later stages absolutely hell compared to the easy “just walk and beat the level” of the first few stages.

Toki Tori is also a lovable character, always doing funny stuff in-game when you suddenly feel the need to stop and start using your brain to crack that nut, weaving at you, taking off his underwater goggles while still underwater to clean them up and putting them back on like nothing happened. Toki Tori is awesome and it invokes the attention of kids. Though Toki Tori might please easily, the very nature of this game is absolutely brutal. Breeze through the first world and face the real danger of later stages so you get a real impression of how hard this seemingly lighthearted adventure can become.

Yes, it’s a hard game, everyone should have gotten that by now, but is it the kind of challenge we can get something out of? Absolutely. There’s a certain joy in finishing a harder level by realizing what you were doing wrong all along. There’s also a certain dose of frustration when you give in and notice you wouldn’t have noticed that even if you played for 300 years straight. Some challenges just have an overwhelming number of possibilities.

Hidden inside this cute cover, easy bulky controls and incredibly charismatic main character lies a morbid core indeed, and is it hard! Toki Tori is a puzzle game made possible with 2-dimensional platforming, but this is not platforming, at least not in general terms. When you think about it, it’s made of two very distinct characteristics that could easily become a problem for the uninitiated. It’s a cute game with a harsh gameplay. Generally you have stuff like cute/fun or core/challenging. The only difference here is that the cover hides what you’re actually getting completely, be aware.

Deus Ex

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At the time Deus Ex was released I used to play few games on PC, not many but the eventual ones I got from specialized magazines. I rarely got games from stores to play on a PC, mainly because at the time I considered the PC a strange gaming device. It had its moments but I was so used to playing with a joystick and the fact that not everything was plug-and-play at the time always kept me at a distance. Some games might function right, some games might not, some games might run on my weak system, some games might not. The PC has always (still is) less user-friendly than any console, and for a kid of my age along with my lack of understanding toward PCs, it never really caught me.

Still, the few games I played at that time still have a place in my heart, some are still amongst my favorite games of all time, even though I never considered a great fan of PCs and most games I played came from CDs attached to PC magazines. Deus Ex on the other hand never reached my hands, and having heard a lot of talking about how good this game is I decided to give it a go. Of course Steam and their weekly discounts on games gave me a little push on that and was actually one of the first games I ever bought from them.

Quite a while after having bought it I decided to try it out — isn’t that how Steam’s supposed to work anyway? You buy dozens of games hoping to live long enough to have the will and the time to play them all. First thing I always notice on these older games are how the resolution works, most older games don’t support the high resolutions possible now, if not all of them. And bear in mind that Deus Ex is no exception to that rule, the game has problems with resolution but it has much bigger problems when it comes to wide screen monitors. Getting a chopped off image is the price we all should be willing to pay to play this great game.

What I didn’t know back then (when I started playing the game) and what I know now is that there are user-created mods that should give you a hand on those problems. Actually, there are mods that completely redesign the games to look sharper and much better. I don’t feel bad about only knowing about this mod after I had beaten the game, I probably would have played it with chopped image and uglier scenery since I’m such a purist. Every time I play a game I like to enjoy the game the developers intended me to play, if it’s a game made in 1990, then let’s party like it’s 1990, as crude and archaic as it might look.

That’s exactly what I experienced, Deus Ex in all its glory, no graphical mods, no gameplay mods. I must admit I tried mods after and they’ve certainly done a hell of a job. I hope someday I’ll have the guts to play through it all over again. It wasn’t just graphical problems thwarting my fun, like the game strangely not accepting 32 bits as it kept switching back to 16 bits. I also had sound problems, but fortunately every problem I had was manageable after a quick search on the world wide web.

The first thing you should know about it is that it has one of the best opening theme songs on all video-games, it’s simply that amazing. As a game it is a perfect mix of first person shooter and RPG. The RPG elements show themselves in the form of stat upgrades and augmentations. As you advance your character gathers experience which can be exchanged to upgrade stats you choose. Though some stats are incredibly useful, after a while playing you’ll realize that, some of them are clearly not worth taking into account, especially in exchange for those costly points.

It is possible that many types of character might emerge from that freedom in building, most people will first get the job done for the more emergency stats, and most of them are the same for everyone. You might want to get better at using sniper rifles, but won’t you be using your handgun a lot more often? That’s a question everyone should consider. Maybe for advanced players who know what to expect, not so much. Hacking computers can always be useful, unless you’re quite the trooper and will go writing down every code there is in the game, but won’t one single upgrade suffice? After all, it will only require more skill and swiftness, and that’s never a bad thing.

As for augmentations, now we actually have something more differential all around. During the game you’ll come across upgrades known as augmentations, they give the character some corporeal boost, each one you find will have to be applied to a specific body part but you’ll have to permanently choose an effect. To clear that up with an example, picture this: eventually you’ll come across a leg augmentation (actually one of the first augmentations you’ll find if my memory doesn’t fail me) that will leave you with a dilemma. You either choose to be more stealthy or faster. If you choose the speed enhancement you’ll make a lot of noise while running through enemies, but you’ll be quicker and more susceptible to take less bullets. If you choose to be more stealthy you’ll be able to go unnoticed through enemies and avoid gunfire altogether.

When you choose an augmentation it’s a one way thing, and with the huge disparity between the two choices it’s recommendable that the player think it through before making any rushed decision that will affect the entire playthrough. The augmentations can also be upgraded by finding small canisters. Every augmentation you attach to your body starts at level 1 and can be upgraded up to level 4 if enough small canisters are used. The evolution is pretty clear, let’s say you used the Aqualung augmentation in your torso which upgrades your lungs letting you stay longer underwater, at level 1 you’ll be able to stay underwater for a few seconds more, as you upgrade the amount of time increases, and if it ever reaches level 4 JC Denton will have the ability to stay underwater indefinitely.

Now that I mentioned our playable character let’s know a little bit more about him. JC Denton is a nanotechnology augmented soldier who works for an anti-terrorist organization called UNATCO. He’s in his first day at work when you start the game. He has a brother called Paul who also works for the same organization. Deus Ex story stands as one of the deepest, most complex and engaging to ever grace video-games. In truth, let’s just say that Deus Ex story revolves around JC Denton’s struggle to uncover a web of corruption and lies spread around several levels of power. The story unfolds in such a deliberately methodical manner, everything evolves as the events happen, everything changes suddenly. New twists happen all around, one time you’re operating near an UNATCO base, then right after you find yourself at the other side of the world pursuing information, which might prove useless as facts develop.

The story is complex, there’s no point in describing an abridged version since it feels like many plots mashed into one big story. One can’t exist without the other, and the amount of information you get in each of them is so crucial that you better not miss a single conversation at all. Everything changed abruptly, and the changes are mostly steep. There’s certainly great skill in writing such diversity and still make sense. Most games today only dream of achieving this level of depth, the lack of attention in graphical detail certainly contrasts with the absurd level of quality the plot showcases.

It’s strange really. The huge variety of locations used in the game strangely gives the player a weird sense of immersion, even though most of them look too crude, and it did even at the time of launch. The good job must be done mainly by immersion caused by plot. I believe most of the familiarity you’ll find in levels come from the fact that JC Denton is a relatable character, even if taken in consideration the blandness of the voice-overs or the general lack of empathy. JC Denton is a very strict man, a man of logical thinking and “by the book” actions. Of course, the player’s actions will determine how Denton deals with the world around him, but the general feeling dies hard. And as JC Denton tries to understand the strange occurrences surrounding him, the player will do the same, creating an interesting bond character-player. Levels become much more important when you actually care about what you’re doing as a mean of understanding the situation.

Deus Ex is quite an achievement. I can understand the cult popularity. As any game that tries something huge, it comes off making mistakes along the way, more because playing safe wasn’t gonna cut it. I respect that a lot. Even a decade after launch this game impresses for its story depth, its excellent blend of RPG elements with stealth/action FPS, and general concept. In a time when developers simply try to emulate what’s successful, release new installments to established franchises with little to nothing new, or when it’s hard to remember (or care) about a game’s plot 20 minutes after you turn off the video-game console (or PC), playing a game like this certainly puts a smile on anyone’s face.

Dishonored

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Lately I had the urge to play a stealth game, I often have this urge but end up replaying stuff like Team Fortress 2 anyway. This time I was going to hunt down some game that had me slow-pace through it as a main objective, nothing meta prepared like getting any famous action game like Half-Life 2 and try to low-profile it. I wanted the real deal, something that resembled what I experienced back in the day when I had to safeguard my physical integrity while advancing in Goldeneye 007. believe it or not it’s one of my fondest stealth memories.

Dishonored had made a stir in the community when it came out and was basically the number one choice anytime I tried to search for a game that matched my requirements. The price was right so I went for it. The fact Bethesda was involved had me less fearful of what I might be getting.

The first impression wasn’t all that great, I seemed to have trouble understanding what the game meant with staying out of sight. I had hoped for some kind of meter telling me how aware the enemies were of me, something the very same Bethesda had done so well in the latest installments of the Elder Scroll franchise. The eye opening and somehow you knew you were about to get into trouble.

Later I got used to how the lightning bolts over the heads of foes worked and realized it wasn’t far from what Oblivion or Skyrim had in mind. The enemies are just way too aware of you at the slightest showcase of presence. When the bolts do appear it’s just mere moments away from having your cover completely blown. Again, everything needs time and practice to finally get used.

The combat is not all that fancy and you might just wield your pistol and go through the game like a post-apocalyptic Rambo for all we care. The joy however stands in covering your actions and slow-pacing through the levels. The game even prizes the player that chooses the low-profile instead of guns-blazing. Hell, it even prizes players that choose to go through it all without killing a single person. Not the easiest thing to achieve I must say, especially since games rarely rely on that sort of thing, it feels like going against your very own nature.

I wouldn’t be Bethesda if the story wasn’t complex and full of little details scattered around. I must confess I was less inclined to go through readings than I would playing something Like Skyrim, but still, it’s quite apparent that they put real effort in making everything interesting for those seeking to enrich the adventure. The story deals with a guy that bodyguards the daughter of an empress. This empress is killed while caught up in political non-sense and Corvo, the bodyguard and your main character, is charged responsible for the murder and the girls disappearance. It’s pretty obvious the path from here, with that extra spice Bethesda has learned to put into their games.

To help out you’re visited in dreams by some strange guy that seems to simply be “helping” you for a few laughs in the end. Some sinister-looking fellow that teaches a few special abilities to Corvo like how to stop time for a few seconds of how to detect enemies from behind walls. This comes at a price and it’s paid during the game with collectibles. There are several techniques that can be learned but the most important of all is certainly the Blink.

The Blink is an instantaneous dash that transports the player from one place to the other without being seen. It’s quite essential to the adventure and it’s the only one you can’t skip. It helps not only to bypass enemies without being seen, but also for climbing high places making use of the high-speed dash.

Managing how you take on the surroundings is important. Depending on how you choose to advance you could always go through the front door or find your way using Blink and other techniques to raise little to no suspicion. Most places have several ways to bypass, both lethal (involving killing) and non-lethal (which involves only decisions and lessons to be learned).

The production does Bethesda justice, it’s a beautiful game graphically and in practically every aspect it does a fine job. The voice-over might not be top notch but which Bethesda game is? It also has a perfect length. While I’ve seen some people complain about it having only 9 missions, the fact that every mission doesn’t overstay its welcome is a sign of good things to come. In fact, the game overall is just about the size it needed to be. Something like 15 hours for one first play-through, which will almost instantly demand a second one in whatever opposite profile you in the first one; low or high profile.

Dishonored does a fine job in its storytelling and gameplay mechanics. It’s funny to see Emily (the girl you bodyguard) turning into whatever your actions in the game were. Kill everyone in sight and she turns into a vindictive little brat that dreams of absolute power and mass killing everyone under her command. Save everyone and she’ll paint rainbows and tell how you’re an important part of her life. You almost feel like a bad digital parent to her when your actions are dubious.

Anyone interested in trying a stealth game should give this one a go. Sure it gives you the opportunity to be a killing machine but the real fun of playing this kind of game is overthinking your actions, one by one, and dealing the right amount of chaos to complete your objective. It’s certainly a game that sets itself apart from the bulk of mindless eradication of anything that dares to move your way. It might not be your cup of tea but It’s hard to deny it’s a breeze of fresh air at least.

Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection

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What you get from this collection is simply the first three games ported to recent generation hardware and put together. We all know them well, all great games that might appear better in our nostalgic mind than what they really are today. As fighting games they’re simple but effective; as single player game they’re disastrous; as multiplayer online it’s pretty cool, though not so hot as it used to be.

They play like they played in the old days, with MK1 being the simplest of the three, MK2 the most elegant and UMK3 being the most dynamic. They follow Mortal Kombat’s formula of simplistic approach and insanely memorable scenarios and fighters. The snappy finishing moves that made the series famous are as kool as they used to be. Plus, every move from every character is shown in the moves screen from the pause menu, both specials and finishers. I remember the laborious days browsing magazines while attempting them and now things are much easier.

Playing multiplayer, online or local, is a blast. Especially if both players don’t differ much in skill, the matchmaking tries to put together players with related skill-level so even playing strangers over the internet is shouldn’t be too drastic a change. Though I believe most people who play this religiously aren’t casual buyers, unfortunately. A curse every games that’s not insanely popular has to endure.

Single player game is awful. As a port from the original arcades it simply lets you win the first two fights or so before the CPU enters god-mode and will absolutely destroy the human opponent guessing basically every move. Even with the difficulty set to very easy these games are painfully hard, unless you manage to come up with some nifty plan to overcome the destructive powerhouse that is the CPU you won’t have much of a change, especially on Ultimate MK3.

There’s not much else to be done except choose the game and play it. In the old days we used to have so much fun unlocking secrets on the start screen, now we don’t even have one. At least they didn’t port the bad version of Ultimate MK3 from the Super Nintendo where animalities were removed. The mercy move wasn’t, so we spent hours upon hours trying make what was impossible come true, perform animalities. Since this is from the arcade version you can perform every finisher available on the version.

All in all it’s pretty decent for people with good memories from these games but it lacks a punch that other compilations had with bonus features and game modes. It’s a simple port that does nothing at al to solve old problems that seem to have grown bigger and worse during the years. It’s worth a few bucks in a sale if you ask me.

Crysis 2

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The first Crysis, as I’ve written about in a previous review, is much more than an average first-person shooter. The fact you had at your disposal the possibilities of your “super suit” actually made it a much more dynamic experience than what we were accustomed. Things haven’t changed much, FPSs maintain the “all flash, no substance” unofficial motto, so clear in much of today’s games. The fact that it’s probably the most mainstream game genre in recent times just made it all worse.

The stale state of the industry when it comes to FPS is in no way breaking news. The last time I was actually excited about a new release for the genre was back in 2012 when Valve decided to give its second complete revamp on the Counter-Strike series. Absolutely nothing new there, extremely fragile characters in endless rounds which 50% of the time was being held in Dust2. Old formula redone, at least redone right.

When you leave the more competitive side of gaming aside, you’re face to face with lots of graphically advanced on-rail shooters equipped with online multiplayer as some kind of marketing ploy. No matter, in a few weeks everyone will have decided the multiplayer is useless. On the other end of the spectrum there’s online multiplayer on steroids which, for the sake of argument and old habits, feature a depressing single player mode. Devs, if you want to release a multiplayer product which will undoubtedly deliver the online experience of people shooting other people for kills, so be it. Nothing else is required, focus on what you think your game excels.

Crysis is a single player game. It’s so obvious that since multiplayer is capable of prolonging your product for years and maybe decades — Counter-Strike 1.6 is still one of the most played games on Steam (and the planet), ranking ahead of its direct remake Counter-Strike: Source. That’s longevity. — everyone wants that, but it’s not easy to build a fanbase, several types of aspects must be taken in consideration.

When the first Crysis was released they reused all the work done with the CryEngine to craft a cousin game called Warhead. Basically a whole new point of view of the approach taken by Nomad in the debut; which was cool and all. Then they decided to release a stand-alone game just for multiplayer which had “failure” written all over; and it indeed was a failure. The mechanics weren’t bad at all, but nothing that could hook players in and form a faithful player base. Since the stream of new players would diminish at each passing week due to hype wearing off the prospect for Crysis Wars was doomed to fail.

It did fail. Recently there has been news about matchmaking official servers being shutdown for several games ranging from PC to handhelds like Nintendo DS. Sad but necessary. Crysis Wars was something else though, most games would lose their multiplayer option but Crysis Wars was purely a multiplayer game. There’s nothing more to it than pitting humans over the internet to control pixel characters and wreak havoc in deathmatch or any of the gaming modes available. The game itself was obsolete, not a problem of technology advancing, it simply needed players and it won’t get any.

Sure, the modding community will still have a blast with those and try to figure out a way to make community servers possible, maybe P2P connection for friends to have some fun or simply see how Crysis would react in a multiplayer deathmatch scenario. Still, there’s no denying that the original idea was flawed and served only as a selling point. If that’s all you can offer, then don’t. Players can easily choose Counter Strike for multiplayer and be sure that Valve will keep it updated and relevant for at least a long time.

The second installment in the Crysis franchgise was met with imediate hype. The reason was basically the same as the first, are the graphics the best thing seen on a PC? Do the graphics surpass the original? Sometimes people forget the reason Crysis was a blast wasn’t because of graphics, it really wasn’t. It was a selling point, it was a gimmick most gamers today would find amusing; sure. There was more.

Crysis 2 is stripped of some features present in the first game, sometimes you can sww why that was the case, sometimes you just wonder why they took it off. The suit mechanics are simpler this time. The speed mode was taken off and the strength mode was merged in a simplified “power mode” that is turned every time one of the two main modes aren’t enabled.

In power mode you can super jump, sprint and slide. This makes everything easier since you don’t have to actually enable strength mode to super jump, just hold space bar to grab ledges and stuff. The speed you used to reach in speed mode is no longer possible and a regular sprint is done when running, draining suit energy every time you do so. In fact you can run with any of the other two main modes turned on, the energy will be drained rapidly but can be done.

The armor mode is made for those who seek direct combat. The primary source of health drained will be energy from the suit, after that your own health will go down. This increases your chance of survival by a great margin especially in harder difficulty levels, where you’ll actually have an excuse to use one or the other.

The stealth mode makes the character invisible for as long as your energy allows. Any damage taken will go directly to your health so if you choose to be stealthy you need to take things slowly, or else you’ll probably fail. The faster you move the faster your energy will go down. A bar showcasing the awareness of your enemies toward you might help deciding when and how to stealth.

The health bar was scrapped off and I can only imagine why they would do something like that. Health in the first Crysis was regenerative but at least you could see how much you had or how long you should wait. In Crysis 2 it works like Gears of War for example, the overall HUD starts to change when you’re taking damage, to a point where you know you’re in trouble. It takes a while to get used to it but I still think it wasn’t necessary. Your health regenerates faster but you’re somewhat much more fragile than in the predecessor. Any action badly thought out in higher difficulties will result in instant death.

Another feature not present are quick saves, or any type of saving system for that matter. No need to worry, you don’t have to beat the game in one sitting, it simply works with automatic checkpoints rather than free saving. One might argue that it’s better when it comes to challenge, you can’t chop hard moments in several quick saves. Still, people often forget that they don’t necessarily need to quick save, so a system that pleases both worlds would be much better. It’s sad when someone uses arguments like feeling inclined to use just because it’s there, have some mental strength and play the game the way you see fit.

Graphically the game doesn’t seem as incredible looking than the first Crysis. It’s still amazing but the insane level of detail that used to rip computers to shreds is not so abundant now. It’s actually surprising how optimized this sequel is. My computer is not necessarily above average and it ran like heaven. I increased the level of detail twice in the beginning because my guess wasn’t spot on at first. I still had a fluid gameplay almost at the highest settings.

So what’s the main problem with Crysis 2? Compared to the first one this is practically an on-rail shooter. The first one had its world spanning way too much, this one you just need to hit “w” to find the right way to go. The collectibles make a fair point when it comes to a second play-through. Also, when you shoot down aliens you can collect some kind of currency called Nano Catalyst, you can use it to enhance your suit with stuff like less stealth energy drained or faster switch between modes.

Another letdown is the story, or the fact it tried a little too hard to be relevant. I lost count on how many cutscenes I just couldn’t skip and how boring they were. On my first play-through I was just overwhelmed with military tactical jibber-jabber thrown at my face. I just couldn’t keep up with all the ramifications the story had to go through. A game like this could do pretty well with a story like: “aliens have arrived, be a bad enough super-suit dude and save the president”. I would applaud that.

On my second play-through I could see some sense in everything but it was all too unworldly for me still, I just wanted to shoot stuff and apply what I had learned about the suit in tougher encounters with people/aliens. I’m sure it had something to do with saving the planet and the entire human race though.

With Crysis 2 you get an extremely linear game with simpler yet functional game mechanics than its former installment. The soul that made Crysis something spectacular is still there, it’s just buried beneath a bad attempt at story-telling, map crafting and less resources available. It’s not a bad game, just more like anything else than something that thrives to go beyond.