E3 2017 – Bethesda Press Conference

E3 2017 – Bethesda Press Conference

It’s been ages since I made a post, and I am more than glad to get back in the game with a Bethesda E3, of all things.

Pete Hines , VP of Bethesda Softworks on stage, gonna be announcing them games we are all going to devour like maniacs.

  1. DOOM VFR is the first on the list, followed by Fallout 4 VR.
  2. Elder Scrolls Online : Morrowind announced, is out already,
  3. Introduction of Creation Club, for creating new game content for Fallout 4 and Elder Scrolls : Skyrim.
  4. The Elder Scrolls Legends : Heroes of Skyrim coming out on June 29, 2017. An addition to their CCG which released quite a while back.
  5. Dishonored : Death of the Outsider coming out on August 15, 2017, probably a DLC, unless they’re making it an 8-10 hour long game.
  6. Quake World Championships will be taking place at QuakeCon on August 26, 2017.
  7. The Evil Within 2 has been announced at last, and the game will be releasing on October 13, 2017, which happens to be a Friday, because why not.
  8. Wolfenstein 2 : The New Colossus has been announced, with a release date of October 27, 2017.

And that’s it for the Bethesda conference folks!

To The Moon

To The Moon

Ever since I started twitch streaming, I’ve been on the lookout for some awesome indie games because let’s face it; my laptop is nowhere near good enough to play the latest games, let alone run a livestream on the side. During this search, I came across To The Moon, a 2D exploration game(sort of) made by Freebird games.

To The Moon puts us in the shoes of Dr. Neil Watts, one of the duo who go to visit Johnny Wyles, a dying man with a wish to go to the moon. The wish is made even more inexplicable by the fact that even Johnny doesn’t know why he wants to go there, in the first place. However, that wasn’t something that Neil and his partner, Dr. Eva Rosalene, should worry about. As employees of Sigmund Corp., their job is to fulfill Johnny’s dying wish by implanting memories into his mind using some revolutionary technology. So no matter how weird they found Johnny’s situation, it wasn’t something they had to overly worry about; just accomplish whatever they came to this rural settlement for, then leave the man to die in peace. And on to the next job.

But when Eva and Neil go into Johnny’s memories and cause some alterations to push him towards becoming an astronaut, they find out that no matter how much they tried, their attempts ended in failure. And amongst all this was his deceased wife, River Wyles, who had an eccentric habit of making paper rabbits during the later stages of her life. What was the relationship dynamic between River and Johnny, really?  And what is with that lighthouse? Most importantly, why were they facing these unanticipated difficulties in altering Johnny’s memories? Telling you more would only end up spoiling the story for you guys, so just play it and find out for yourself.

                                             If you don’t make this too hard, then of course…

The plot of To The Moon is rock-solid, I must say. The way it progresses from the present to Johnny’s memories over his life time was done really well, and some events threaten to bring tears to your eyes. However the gameplay itself is uninspiring, to say the least. We just go around collecting a certain number of interactable objects, then find a memento, solve a small puzzle and use the memento to get further into Johnny’s past life. Not so great gameplay-wise. However, this mechanic works well in establishing how certain objects have left an indelible impression on Johnny. The soundtrack is amazing though, I must say. A game like this needs an appropriate soundtrack to set the mood of the player, and To The Moon, I’m glad to say, has done the job well. And wait, I almost forgot to say this : the dialogue is awesome. The banter between Neil and Eva often will make you laugh out loud, and serves to establish not only their personalities, but also their camaraderie.

So, do I recommend To The Moon? Hell yes I do, especially if you’re a fan of indie games and story-driven games. Just go for it already!

RATING : 9/10

PROS :
– great story
– awesome soundtrack
– main characters’ conversations are so funny

CONS :
– gameplay itself is uninteresting

SUPERHOT

SUPERHOT

As I was checking out new indie games which I could play on my dying laptop, I came across SUPERHOT, supposed to be one of the most innovative game of last year. Of course I was intrigued by this description, and decided to try it out myself. So, is it worth playing?

When you first boot into SUPERHOT, you are greeted by what is supposedly another player of the game[in the game world], urging you to try out the game. Once you boot up superhot.exe from the  game menu, you are thrown into a few random situations where the game’s mechanics are explained to you, in what is ostensibly a tutorial. Here you are introduced to how time works in the game. Basically, only when you move, does time also. This lies at the core of SUPERHOT, and the most important thing to keep notice of, is how you’re going to utilize this mechanic.

Because even though the game is a first-person shooter at the outset, you absolutely have to be on your toes trying to figure out which ones among the red guys you have to focus on. The one who’s firing at you with a shotgun, or the one who’s right next to you and will punch you in the gut? Or is it the location from where you just heard a pistol pop off? All the varied possibilities and choices one can make, make for interesting dynamics. This game is essentially a puzzle where the pieces move as you do.

Not to say that it doesn’t have a story as such. We start off by just trying out this game at a friend’s recommendation, but the soon after everything goes sideways. At the start, we cannot get into the full game because the later game levels are password-protected, but then we manage to somehow get in due to some glitch. Soon enough, the game turns into something else entirely.

All of this is neatly packed into a short but satisfying 2.5-3 hours of the game. Yes, SUPERHOT is pretty small, but is totally worth every second of it. And the fun doesn’t end once the story is finished; you can try out the Endless Mode which gets unlocked after the story completion.

In the end, I’d like to say that this game is nothing short of marvelous, and is worth trying out. Anyone who is even remotely into indie games would find this a worthy buy.

RATING : 9.7/10

PROS :
– innovative mechanics
– great concept
– story

CONS :
– campaign is too small
– frame rates were occasionally bumpy[maybe because I was streaming]

Watch me play SUPERHOT on my twitch channel flamenfeed.

INSIDE

INSIDE

It has been some time since I’ve played any games, let alone indie games. So I myself wanted to try out something new, and picked up Inside. So, how was the game?

Inside starts off with the player being in control of a red-shirted boy who’s trying to get away from some facility of a dystopian world, where people are being turned into some sort of machines and mind-control is an extremely common occurrence. We, as the boy, have one objective; to escape from whatever horrors could be perpetrated upon us. The game is pretty dark and feels like a monochromatic game; I was actually trying to turn up the brightness of my screen to increase the visibility of the colors, before realizing that the game itself was being presented that way. It is pretty dark most of the time, in both form and character, and is a silent game throughout, save the occasional musical cues we get whenever we complete a part of a puzzle, or something on those lines.

                                                 Probably the most thrilling part of the game…

The puzzles of Inside are some of the most creative ones I’ve seen in some time; I mean, what would you expect if you haven’t played any indies in some time? But that notwithstanding, I must say that the puzzles did make me think quite a bit. And the bleak atmosphere really suits the game. Not just that, some of the incidents that take place over the course of the game are really thrilling, the kind of tense situations where you know that just one wrong move is enough to get you caught or killed. Which was exactly what I liked about Limbo, made by the very same Playdead. Whereas some of the scenes are just flat out disturbing in their far-reaching implications, yet more reason to love this game. The plot is a bit vague except for the escaping part, but in this case the ambiguity actually works in the favor of Inside, because of all the player interpretations which can kick in and add unique flavors of gameplay to each individual. And the best part? Minimal backtracking!

In the end, I would say that this is one game any indie/puzzle-game lover should definitely not miss. Do yourself a favor and play this already!

RATING : 9.3/10

PROS :
– great setting
– bleak atmosphere interspersed with tense moments
– creative puzzles
– minimal backtracking

CONS :
-I dunno man, you guys tell me.

 

The Lion’s Song : Episode 1

The Lion’s Song : Episode 1

It has been some time since I’ve played indie games, more than four months I’d guess. So I wanted to check out something different, after the mainstream fare I’ve gone through recently like Call of Duty, Battlefield and Dark Souls. The Lion’s Song is a recently released indie game on Steam, and is free-to-play. Let’s check it out.

In The Lion’s Song : Episode 1, you play a musician named Wilma, whose first composition was a roaring success. Her fame skyrockets and the prominent people in the music field want to see more of her compositions on the big stage. Her mentor Arthur, sends Wilma off to a place in the middle of the Alps, so that she is away from all the hype and expectations, and work on her music in peaceful solitude. The first episode chronicles the effort Wilma puts into composing her music.

The Lion’s Song is a point-and-click game and the episode lasts only about 45 minutes or so, but don’t be fooled by its length. The game also takes into account the decisions you make as the player to influence the outcome, and as such the replay value is pretty high for TLS. And the decisions are supposedly going to make an impact on what kind of ending the player receives. For an indie game that is free of cost, this is pretty awesome. The game’s animation is pretty meh, but it is only to be expected, again because of  its free-to-play nature. But the music is brilliant, if I must say so. If you’re a fan of classical western music like Mozart, Bach, Chopin etc., you’ll most probably like this music too.

Overall, I would say that TLS : E1 is a pretty good game, and those who want to try out some indie game should definitely play this, as well as those who like music in general. I for one, am waiting eagerly for the next episode of what seems to be something special.

 RATING : 7.5/10

PROS :
– brilliant music and background
– choices impact outcomes
– high replayability

CONS :
– pixellated animation is nowhere near great

Call of Duty : Black Ops III

Call of Duty : Black Ops III

It had been more than some time since I’d played a first-person shooter, let alone a CoD game. Advanced Warfare I found to be one of their more innovative efforts, although Ghosts did feel a wee bit on the generic side to me. Bit more importantly, I found the second iteration of the Black Ops games to be really good, with our choices making some impact on our playthroughs. So how is Black Ops III?

On first look, the plot seems somewhat generic, with the regular fps-style of using a futuristic world and high-tech weaponry. But closer observation over the span of its 8-9 hour campaign will show you otherwise. In the very first mission, the player goes on a rescue mission, but gets grievously injured in the ensuing firefight. But we are somehow saved by our comrades, then inducted into an elite team who can more or less time-travel. The objective : stop the terrorist attacks from ending in tragic losses, by preventing them from ever taking place. That’s how it starts off, but in traditional Modern Warfare-style, betrayals abound; it gets to the point where we cannot even trust our own team-mates, that’s how deep it runs. Up till now, the game seems to run in the traditional  CoD style of explosions and what feel like random plot twists, but get to the end and your mind will be surely blown. When there are entire threads devoted to discussing a CoD single-player story, it means something epic has happened.

Shooting in Black Ops III is as fluent as it has always been in previous CoD games. There isn’t much left to talk about the game’s shooting mechanics that hasn’t already been said by most other fps-players. But the real change is in traversal and the introduction of something called DNI [Direct Neural Interface]; similar to Advanced Warfare, Black Ops III also offers the players multiple ways of approaching our objectives; you don’t always have to do the guns-blazing routine to get to the next checkpoint. And BO3 goes one step ahead of AW in this regard; it has wall-running. Weapons are all linked to the user’s DNI, so no picking-up dropped weapons here. These abilities add a new dimension to combat. Has the enemy soldier hunkered down behind an impenetrable object? Just wall-run to a location behind him and gun him down. Maybe use your DNI to hijack an enemy turret and kill him with it. Or maybe let loose a swarm of nanobots which will devour him in seconds; the possibilities are all varied and incredibly exciting.

The environments in BO3 are diverse; you fight in places as varied as Munich, Singapore and Cairo, among others. And as expected from CoD games, the set-pieces are pretty cool, although they aren’t as bad-ass as, say, a somewhat well-known tower in Paris crashing headlong into the advancing army.

The fun doesn’t stop with the completion of SP campaign, though; you unlock a new mode called Nightmare, where you get to play through the campaign once again, with zombies as your enemy this time. And apparently the story has also been tweaked to suit the zombie apocalypse setting. I haven’t played it myself though, so I can’t really say much about it.

The game looks pretty good, maybe. I don’t know because BO3 wouldn’t run smoothly on my PC until I lowered the graphics settings to medium. Considering BF:Hardline, Witcher 3 and other games ran on Ultra without any hiccups, I found this somewhat irritating. Another niggling point for me was fighting those ASPs [you’ll know what they are about two hours into the campaign]; it’s annoying to do the same old routine over and over again to dispatch them. And I fought them way too many times for my liking.

I never thought I’d say this, at least after the first MW game that is, that you could actually play a CoD game for its story; well, this may be an exception to the rule. Treyarch has done a fantastic job in making a CoD game which actually has a good story to back up its shoot-em-up formula we’re all so accustomed to.

RATING : 8.4/10

PROS :
– multi-layered plot
– modified traversal system
– DNI abilities are awesome

CONS :
– fighting ASPs is annoying
– frame-rate issues [at least on my PC]

 

 

Pokemon GO : Getting Pikachu as your starter

Pokemon GO : Getting Pikachu as your starter

So, it has been barely two weeks since Pokemon GO has been released, although it has been only a week or so for the non-US users to get the app officially. But one thing no one can deny is the impact it has made worldwide. But cool things first; how do you catch Pikachu for your starter?

When you start up the game for the very first time, after the sign-in and stuff, you’ll be greeted by a middle-aged geezer named Professor Willow.

After finishing with your character’s attributes, he’ll explain some of the game’s features to you, and then will give you some items and sets you, the trainer, on your journey. First thing to do; get your starter Pokemon, of course!

First up, you’ll be surrounded by the three Pokemon, Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle. You can catch any one of these as your starter[just like the Red/Blue days]. But wait, what about Pikachu, huh?

Ignore the three Pokemon if you want Pikachu.

When the three Pokemon appear on your radar for the first time, DO NOT try to catch them, instead walk away from them all. They may repeatedly try to get back in your radar but ignore them. After three or four rounds at this, you’ll at last be greeted by, you guessed it; Pikachu[Easter Eggs hell yes]. Go ahead and catch it. You just got your very first Pokemon.