Farcry 3 PS3 Videogame Review

Far-Cry-3-face-your-insanity

WARNING: SPOILERS, SARCASM & WRY

A potential Girls Gone Wild video shoot gets captured by a group of pirates. The main characters wake up in the middle of a slaver camp and try to escape. Two of the college bros manages to escape, uh, kinda. Later he meets up with the local resistance on the island that tries to end the drug/slavery cartel. He learns of their heritage and they recruit him. They then send him on a series of missions to make him into a warrior, and to get really stoned. OK that’ll make sense once you play the game. Along the way he helps the people of the island with various problems, explores the island, hunts a lot of animals and people.

The story works out like any standard action movie. Jason Brody, is a average US American kid that somehow becomes a super killing machine by the end. He delivers standard “I’ll lead you underdogs to victory” speeches and belts out cliches lines like the script writers hadn’t seen a action movie ever! He’s probably the most uninteresting main hero I’ve see in YEARS. Anyway he seems compelled to go out and save his friends from the slavers who boarder between irritating, broken, or just not all that interesting. Don’t get me wrong his stoner friend (Oliver) is funny and adds a weird relaxing morose feeling, like the only reason he’s happy is because he found natural hallucinogens on the island, but he isn’t too terribly useful. Daisy is probably the only useful one, but seems to gain abilities out of fucking NO WHERE. So his job to save the island runs into hiccups due to the very well laid out bad guys and their very vicious and strange way of doing things.

Like Vaas is one of the more interesting villains I’ve seen in years, even if he lacked some development. He seemed to know your every move and attempt to save your friends. This was the neat part, because it seemed this villain broke the 4 th wall, read the script for the game, and said to himself “I won’t let him fucking do that.” So the entire time it I was trying to fight, or find, him was a giant mockery of every action movie ever made. He knew you were coming for him. So he set up a trap. He knew you might survive something. So he set up another trap. He, despite all his cocaine use, was scarily weird and vivid to the point where if I had to pit him against another villain in video game history it would be Trevor Phillips from GTA V. He’s mostly known for being a serial killer and cannibal and openly mocked anyone who questioned the ‘edginess’ in modern video gaming. But that might be a bad idea since they are so insane they might go into business with one another, or go into one another considering there are a lot of homosexual themes in the game.

That brings us to Willis “Buck” Huntley. Another villain I’m taking time to mention because it’s rare you see this kind. First off Buck is hella smart. He seems to be a redneck Australian version of Indianna Jones. I thought it was interesting because you don’t really see anyone Australian in anything, much less being smart. If they are they’re a 100% stereotype that we’ve all learned from a Crocodile Dundee movie and drinking lethal doses of beer. Secondly he seems to be a implied rapist. This I thought was well done, since most mediums now-a-days seem to shove whatever negative trait a villain has in your face. This is only IMPLIED and it he may have very well just been a shithead to someone rather then a rapist.

Sam Becker, again another interesting ‘villain’, falls under something different I notice. He’s a German-American who not only isn’t blood thirsty, but he wants all of the madness on the island to end. Sure betrayal isn’t anything new in any story EVER, but the fact that it breaks so many stereotypes it isn’t even funny. Most times you see a German in a game he/she’s perpetually stuck in the 1940s swearing allegiance to Hitler or wanting to kill everyone. This guy seems a little more put together realizing that killing is only a means to a end and once Hoyt (the main slaver and antagonist of the game) is gone everything has the possibility of being hunky dory on the island and he’s totally OK with that. Really. He doesn’t want to take over Hoyts business after hes dead. He doesn’t want to go killing anymore. It genuinely he seemed like he just wanted to sit down and drink with the locals, and hopefully not be strung up by them. So in all honesty he had the possibility of being the vile stereotype of either nationality he belongs to and they wrote him like somesort of Kelly’s Heroes hippy. This was weirdly refreshing.

One of the major things I hated about the story is the ‘love story’ subplot. I don’t know if you can call it a subplot considering it mostly consists of one lady (Liza, because apparently you can’t fucking spell Lisa and not attract the main demographic for this game) bitching about how Jason isn’t giving her enough time, or something, and doesn’t want him to get hurt. Its suggested that they were together before they decided to announce to a island full of blood thirsty pirates that they were young dumb, stupid, and full of money, coincidentally. Then after some time she says some crap like she’s finally seeing the man she wanted or he was meant to be.

I think this is ironic that A) she’s playing a stereotypical angst ridden woman (ie damsel in distress) who seems to think it’s a good time to ask someone who’s training to be a murder God to reevaluate their relationship whilst a civil war is happening on the island and their friends are in danger of being sold off as sex slaves. I found myself screaming at the TV, like some Jerry Springer fan, a few times telling her to SHUT THE FUCK UP. Not to say she’s completely selfish, but complaining about their relationship is the only thing I can remember that she did the entire game. Also B) it seems she to only gained interested in him after he saved a few people, killed a dozen bad guys/animals, and woke up out of a drug fueled dream with a dozen or so tattoos on his arm. This doesn’t give a good impression of what women want to the young people who might be playing the videogame. Seriously we don’t need any sailors going on drunk fulled murder and tattoo rampages and then expecting people to fall madly in love with them.

The gameplay is a vast improvement over the first Farcry videogame that I played. I ran into, at first, what I thought was glitches. It seemed every enemy could sniper you with any weapon through any wall, tree, house, or mountain from any distance. This annoyed the fuck out of me and I gave up on the game. It was one thing to be able to see someone and they’d be in visual distance and then they’d attack. But with my experiences, and the original, you could be in a shack with no windows and if you briefly fart or gasp for air and the guy on top of a mountain three mountains over would hear it and somehow be able to blow your head off. This was freaking unrealistic. I don’t know about you but most peoples eye sight is limited to 100 yards or so and can’t get shot upwards of 100 times. They shouldn’t have the abilities of Superman! Also, for the record, it was a legit copy for the PC.

This one has far more balance then that. If you can see them through a sniper scope, they can see you. If you shot them more then 5 times, with certain kinds of guns/distances/etc., they die. Simple enough, right? Well, ya, it’s just that simple. However, unlike most games where you can run through a base kill a few people either run off or kill everyone there effortlessly, the AI has a few smarter things going for it. Like once you make your presence known, anywhere, they continually search for you. If you run away, they’ll still be on the look out. A few times I’ve had to fast travel to a different location and come back in an actual REAL TIME hour or so so they’d stop looking for me. One time, when I first started, I ran into a heavily armed base and got destroyed because they called for back up, multiple times. So I had to build my own strategy on how to take out the base and that made this aspect of the game rather fun.

The only thing I get infuriated with is the stupid AI. Sometimes the drunk Molotov cocktail throwers would set themselves on fire, often. Other times when I would try to take over a base and a random lion or bear would wonder in the base whipping out EVERYONE there. Those damned animals shits even did that to bases I had conquered. Anyway these baddies are suppose to be trained militia. Like a guerrilla version of the Roman Legion but with better weapons. Why they seemingly ignore a large growl, followed by a terrible screaming sound, and then sudden silence and not decide to hit the alarm or have all forces focus in and kill the thing is beyond me. Also other times they’d literally WALK PAST the leopard or whatever that was attacking the base and it would then kill them.

Sometimes it seems like they were highly organized and you pretty much prayed to make it out alive or hope they didn’t hit the alarm, which seemed random, to signal for backup. Other times they’d do all of the above and get attacked by local wild life or the local resistance that just happened to drive by at the time you decided to attack the base. It’s entertaining, but frustrating because I wanted to play the game, not have AI play the game for me. It did add some immersion to the game, considering I can see this happening in a war torn country, but it often ruined my strategy on how to infiltrate the base. Also the local resistance didn’t help with the other 90% of the game, so why show up now?

This has some RPG elements that are almost not worth mentioning. The game, as said, depends on how you fight, the guns you use, and how well you fight in tight situations. With that being said, you can gain skill points for abilities after doing whatever to get xp, but the abilities don’t open up until you complete various parts of the main story. So I went out and annihilated half of the islands baddies, and took their bases, with nearly none of these power ups that that they wave at you in the beginning of the game. So I didn’t get the point of leveling up when you can’t use the points when needed or when the perks aren’t that useful.

Yes, you can do cool things like jump on top of someone and stab them to death, but if you’re like me you’ll shoot them with a silencer, or a bow, from a distance. Now this DOESN’T make any sound and it DOESN’T draw the attention of everyone when the guy screams for his life as you stab him to death. So why should I buy these abilities when everything else is already at my disposal? Aside from the few that help the character swim sharks or shoot better, there isn’t a point to many of them. On top of that, and as said before, you can use these ability but they’ll attract attention to you, very quickly. Now since it seems that they only decide to organize themselves to find you after finding you, then you can wind up dead very fast with said power ups. So having power ups that encourage you to go Rambo in a game that PUNISHES the living shit out of your for being a loud turd isn’t too terribly productive or practical.

Also the crafting system is a bit stupid. It requires you to get animal hide for special ammo upgrades, or it helps you carry more guns. Sure that’s fine, but it required the hides of seemingly random animals that shouldn’t exist on the island at all. Its like they asked a 5 th grader what animals he liked and then said “fuck it” and lumped them all on a island. It, like most tropical islands, are either hot or wet. If you listen to the local islanders in the game they complain about the weather A LOT. So why the hell would this island have a North American Grizzly bear on it and a few miles south packs of Dingos. The Grizzly would die from heat stroke due to the huge amount of fur it has and how it’s body naturally insulates heat. Dingos on the other hand live in EXTREMELY hot weather. So anything below 90 degrees or so could kill them since their bodies are made to resist HEAT and not cold. If you look at the map they’re technically already in areas where they should be dead. This also hurts the realism of the game and the whole immersion thing. Some the upgrades requires hides of super rare animals. Wouldn’t PETA be super pissed you were going off killed rare animals for your selfish upgrades? Sorry, Winne the Poo I need your hide so I can carry a extra gun. Also these super rare animals have no difficulty to them what-so-ever. They are essentially the same damn animal, but slightly reskined. If they’re that special why not make them harder or smarter? Other wise it’s just cheap.

The graphics show a good bit of what the PS3 can offer. The cut scenes are damn near movie quality. The facial structure and movement on most of the characters is life like. On top of that the water effects when swimming or sailing are interesting since it all seems to bump and sway like a real ship. Also the lighting and fire really help with the immersion of the game. Many times at night I saw light in the distance and it gave that same ugly glare that lights do in real life when trying to focus on something. This helped make it all that much more realistic when trying to take over a base and being half blinded by the lamp lights that are surrounding the base.

The only thing I can complain about is the rain effects. They are neat, but not fully developed. Nothing really seems to get wet. Also you can look at the houses and plants and not see anything drip off of them. It’s just weird. Besides that the only major glitches were random scenery glitches from time to time. I’ll be walking somewhere and there’ll be a thin discolored line that runs across the screen. So I’ll back up and it’ll disappear. Then there are some areas on the map where your character starts a swimming motion, makes a splash sound, and the water either A) failed to render or B) he’s randomly doing that on some hillside for no reason. Regardless just move some and the glitches go away completely.

The story is aching of a cliché action movie, but the real reason to play it is due to the vast colorful characters, both good and bad guys. The graphics are at their peak with little to no glitches. The game play is great, but gets repetitive due to the similar quests and wonky structure. All in all this is a worth while action game, despite it being considerably over hyped and my griping. If you can find it for cheap, or the new Farcry compilation, then I’d recommend buying it. It’s a quality FPS game.

7.5/10

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Zafehouse Diaries PC Video Game Review

Zafehouse

Something has caused a Zombie Apocalypse. A group of people are stranded in a random town somewhere on Earth. They have secure their home of their choosing and put their petty differences aside in order to survive. In some scenarios they have to figure a way out of town. Other times they just have to not kill each other long enough to get a helicopter ride out.

I know a lot of people praise this game, but I hated it. I found a lot of this to be appallingly unrealistic or it felt like the game set itself to GOD mode. For example: there isn’t enough of any kind of supplies, EVER. So people either bleed out due to wounds or die of starvation. Now with the obesity rates around the world climbing this is a little difficult to believe that NO ONE has food other then ‘snacks’ half the time. The town, no matter where its rendered, seems to have a zombie population the size of New York City, even on ‘easy’ mode. Then the main mission, which is escape the town, is virtually impossible due to the incompetence of your crew.

The people you control are randomly generated, but are woefully utterly useless nearly 60% of the time. No one seems to be competent in anything remotely useful. So there’s a good chance that the game will give you 5 people who have 5 out of 5 star rating for watching zombies, but no one has higher then a single star for building a barricade to prevent the zombies from getting in. Other times I’ve encountered scenarios that no one knows how to make traps or they have really poor hand to hand combat skills. So unless I want to use a gun and attract even more zombies the ENTIRE TEAM would died within 5 days. Even then they’d all die once they ran out of ammo anyway.

Other times they all seem to hate each other for petty stupid reasons. This absolutely doesn’t make any sense at all. Sure humanity is petty and stupid and kill each other for just about any reason. However, everyone seems to know really intricate details about one another regardless of actually establishing a dialogue or back story. So apparently all AI in this game are physic knows everyone else likes, dislikes, skills, financial background and much more. Now I’ve seen some pretty miraculous things in my life: like how tragedy can bring enemies together. This displays the EXACT OPPOSTE to extreme and unrealistic perspective.

On top of that their actions are completely unrealistic. One time a huge hoard of zombies broke into the house. Sometimes it takes a few days for everyone to fight off the group and then rebuild. Instead two women who hated each other decided to break into a fight, during the zombie invasion. You’re reading that right: as the zombies were tearing everything limb from limb these two morons decided to fight each other. The saddest part was that they were the best fighters of the group. Oh and guess what? They all died! Another time someone snuck out during the middle of the night, FOR NO APPARENT REASON, and then came back bitten. Another time a guy went for a walk, who wasn’t known for his athleticism, and got killed. Now the game does a great job on who does what and it was noted he didn’t take any means of defense despite the fact that we had a few machetes and guns and that little fact that THE TOWN IS SURROUNDED BY ZOMBIES!

The graphics are kinda standard for a indie game. It feels more like you’re playing a board game or a zombie version of Dungeons and Dragons in some respect. That’s cool and all, but after a while it gets a little stale. Instead of seeing your characters full body you give a description of everything. It just gives a ugly mugshot like picture of the character. Then the profile is usually disappointing. Instead of stating anything useful it gives very generic information. Like “Steve loves poodles and grew up in a rich family. He ‘secretly’ hates the middle class and circus midgets.” Now any negative things stated in someones profile you are pretty much guaranteed to have. You’ll have a middle class circus midgets in the group somewhere. Anyway it’s next to worthless information. Sometimes it’ll have a footnote up in the upper right stating a large negative or positive quality, but it rarely is fruitful in any way.

Due to the game play mechanics it feels like a spreadsheet sometimes. But don’t get me wrong: this is actually the neatest part of the game. They tell everything through a journal or how you can command your group through quick commands on the right side of the board. However, it felt like a windows prompt that helped you do maintenance on your computer rather then playing a game. Since the characters have no sense to do things on their own you have to tell them to do everything. Also in order to help them progress on whatever you click a watch to speed up time. It’s neat that it’s the “Go” button, but you have to pay attention to everything or else the jobs you assign them or you can easily send the group to their death rather then just scout a area.

Out of all the zombie based games I’ve played this was the most frustrating, short lived, and possibly worst gaming experience I’ve had. It isn’t impossible to play, but it certainly isn’t possible the way the game randomly generates some groups. It does require strategy, but in order for any strategy to be effective the people participating in it have to be competent and not behave like 4 year olds. While I do applaud them for their game play design and simplistic graphics I’ll have to say nothing excuses them from this poor of a experience with such stupid AI.

2.0/10

Tomb Raider Video Game Review

Vamers-Tomb-Raider-2013-Lara-Croft-Poster-Launch-Date

Format: Playstation 3

Difficulty: Normal

Some spoilers ahead folks!

Lara Croft and a team of her friends sail to Yamatai based upon a hunch she has for lost treasure. On the way there the ship rips in half due to a freak storm. Everyone has to evacuate and somehow makes it to the island. The unfriendly natives capture most of Lara’s friends. So Lara is left alone to discover the mysteries of the island and save her friends.

This game is fantastic. It, unlike the other Tomb Raider games, has character development and a really decent plot. The plot is almost akin to the old adventure movies. In comparison to the few other Lara Craft games this one has vastly improved. Unlike the others Lara has a semi-steady line of character development where in others she was either a mute or what she said wasn’t really important. In one game she was particularly cold and turned into a complete bitch by the end of the game. This took the ‘happy adventure’ spirit of the game and flushed it down the toilet. This one she becomes a well rounded action hero and the rest of the surviving crew of hers develops with her.

They’ve restarted the story line, and character development, about 2 or 3 times before and now they finally decided to stick with her character and background. Which is nice since everything is a lot clearer and develop with each other. With this reboot Lara Croft is thrown into a horde of crazed worshipers of a unknown God. She eventually comes into contact with other members of her wrecked ship and slowly uncovers the story behind the cult. She, despite some of her apparent frailness, learns to kill, and rather quickly. Which is fine by me. In drastic situations it is a “flee or fight” kind of thing. Either you flee the scene, fight them, or break down into a sobbing mess and become whoever’s latest murder victim. So the quick transition for the character made complete sense to me. So unlike other action/adventure heroes there’s something soothingly tragic about this reboot of Lara. Her character kinda keeps a happy poise to her while things continually get WORSE around her.

As for the story itself: it reminds me of the OLD Indianna Jones, which is awesome! The one where it made both science and supernatural elements completely plausible to exist in the same universe. Also it teases you with those elements all throughout the game that really develop into a fantastic finish. You’ll see a snip-it of some sort of monster here and there and then you see what the God of the island at the very end of the game. Also the scenery of the island, and various locations further adds to the depth of the story elements. Although some just don’t make sense.

The characters are all underdeveloped except the 5 main characters, including the bad guys. So when something important happens the emotional impact is significantly less then what it should be. Like with The Walking Dead game that TellTale developed. You could talk to the characters and get to know them, before anything happened. Here everything is rushed after you crash land on the island, which happens in the first 5 minutes of the game. So there is ZERO time to get to know many of the characters. Yes some slowly develop through notes and snip-its you find throughout the island. However, collecting them is completely optional. So if you decide not to you only get half, or less, of the story and characters development. Also there was one scene that made me HATE Lara. Her friend went adventuring for some tool they needed. He gets stuck and she offers to help. He refuses and blows a hole in the ship he was on, sinking it, and killing everything else that was on board. So she killed a more then a 100+ men by then, been in tighter spots, but she gets into one cramped room where her friend that needs help and she abandons him and lets him kill himself. It just baffled me and didn’t make any sense. It was needless drama for the sake of having drama in the story. However, despite these two gripes they did significantly better then the other Tomb Raider games story wise.

Also the title of the game is TOMB RAIDER which is weird since there is very little tomb raiding. There are about 6 complete tombs and all consist of 1 main puzzle. There are no enemies in the tomb and there aren’t any additional puzzles in the room. For me most of the puzzles were easy to figure out and basically consisted of climbing, shooting, jumping on whatever was in the room. So they aren’t too hard. This is fine, but the rest of the game consists of less puzzles and traditional adventure element then it would need to be a adventure game. So it kinda feels like a better, and well rounded, Uncharted game, except she isn’t a handsome douche. You spend most of the time shooting things and running away then solving any kind of puzzles. This is a drastic difference between this edition to the Tomb Raider series.

Does it bring down the game any? Well kinda, because with all the exploring you do you’d think you’d find MORE treasure then other stuff. Amongst the collectibles for the game you can find journal snip-its (the character development device I mentioned earlier), GPS distress beacons, some treasure, maps, and challenges designated to a particular part of the map. In all honesty with all the collecting you do you’ll find more crap then you do treasure. Even with the treasure you do find some of it is old toys or junk basically washed up on shore from the other ships that wrecked there. Now SURE it adds to the story of the island and does add depth to the atmosphere, but sometimes it’s like I just climbed 7 stories and solved a platform puzzle for this crap?! Now don’t get me wrong, it helps give you massive amounts of experience points to add points to Lara’s RPG system, but if it weren’t for that it would have made the experience a little irritating.

The graphics are stunning. The constant change in the weather adds depth to the current mood of the story. The lighting is beautiful, even though the rare glitches ruin the immersion. The rain effect gives the island a soothing wet feel during the beginning of the game which is really fuckin’ cool. Lara’s clothes even look completely soaked and when she starts shivering and shaking you kinda feel sorry for her. Even the loading doesn’t really disrupt the flow of the atmosphere or story. Also the death cut scenes are some of the grossest I’ve seen in a long time, and I’ve played Manhunt. This, despite late in the life of the system, really shows of the power of the Playstation 3.

The game play is great, with a few exceptions. The jumping and climbing is rather smooth. Although she seems sluggish sometimes when she runs. It’s more like a light jog then running. Most of the time the jumping and aerobatic display of the adventure is almost hypnotic. The tense moments really come in when jumping from edge to edge and it’s a fun thrill. The shifting thought inventory is on the screen is really smooth rather then going to a sub-menu, which is nice.

Also the RPG style of upgrades is rather neat. For every abandon piece of hardware you find, and scavenge, you can build better weapons. And for everything you discover or how you kill your enemies you get more XP. However it lets you max out everything while still feeling a little helpless. There are some areas that if you go too far into and start a fight it doesn’t matter what level you and your weapon are: you are going to die. Also since the villains can call more people to attack you as well then it adds to some realism in the fights.

However certain aspects don’t seem fully developed yet. Like the problems with some of climbing is that it seems like she should be more able when she still has some draw backs. First off she can’t free form climb (i.e. without the aid of something). Secondly there’s a special colored board that helps her jump up to a higher ledge. It protrudes from the wall by a complete inch or more. Anyway one would think that she could grab on to it by the sides and it would help pull herself up it, but she doesn’t for whatever reason. Another thing that holds her back from being a amazing display of aerobics is the awkward environment. Multiple times I’ve run across a house or stone and could climb up it on one side, but on the other side was completely impassible. This wouldn’t normally be a issue except the surroundings were completely the same. It was level on both sides. The surface was the same on both sides. There wasn’t any reason I shouldn’t have been able to climb up it.

The glitches in this game are completely forgivable, but ruin the submersion. There are a few quick glitches and then others that LINGER. I’ll give you a example, a few quick glitches I’ve run into are mostly from the fighting. Sometimes it looks like Laura’s hand goes through the bad guy or the weapon she uses hangs above them, before the moment of striking them and then goes back to letting you have control of Lara again. Or her lower body will move and her upper body will be stuck in the reload animation of her gun. Another was that there’s one collectible near a mountain cliff on top of a roof of a small building. When I picked it up she did a backflip THROUGH the top of the building to the ground, was temporarily upside down, and when I pushed forward to walk it fixed itself. The bigger glitches are usually aerial. One time, when it was during the heavy storm part of the game it stopped raining, for hours. Then another time I was near one of the older bunkers and the inner lighting of the area looked like it was daylight. However when I climbed to the top the MOON was out and everything else was dark. It was just weird.

This is a quality single player game. The multiplayer is great, but limited due to the fact that it feels like you’re playing a 3rd person Counter Strike game with a unbalanced RPG system of upgrades. The graphics are some of the best I’ve ever seen and add to the immersion of the game’s atmosphere. This is probably the best relauch I’ve ever played and makes many of the other Tomb Raider games look weak in compairson. Buy this game if you love adventure games

9.0/10

9.6/10 – IMDB

87/100 – Metacritic – Critic Score

8.6/10 – Metacritic – User Score

EDIT April 1, 2013 at 3:09 am

I was going to post more, but I wrote it for 3 days and then got heavily involved in another game. So I might add more later.

I figured out what I wanted to add. This game has terrible sound. It only has two options: one for sound and fx and one for music. In the cut-scenes Lara damn near whispers everything, just like during game play. So either you turn it up and risk getting a ear-sploshion and if you don’t you’ll miss a good part of the story. If you don’t you’ll at least save yourself some defining explosions.