Sunday, August 28, 2011

YDCBITYA: Deus Ex Human Revolution

I tried to play the first Deus Ex when it came out.  Quite honestly, I never got what all the praise was about.  It's consistently hailed as the greatest PC game ever made, and it seems to be that it only has that distinction because of the element of varying choice the game provided.  While that's all well and good, that alone really doesn't complete the picture for me.  

Part of the problem for me, I think, is that I played the game after it was a few years old, and thus pretty dated.  The game didn't look all that great to begin with when it was released, and a few years time certainly didn't help matters any.  And for the record, yes, graphics do matter to me in certain ways.  Games like Minecraft don't have to have great graphics because that's not why you're playing.  But for something like Deus Ex, where you're supposed to be immersed in a fictional, science fiction heavy world, yes, it matters quite a bit.

All that being said, we come around now to DXHR.  It's natural to make comparisons to the original, so let's do it this way:  Eidos took it, and updated it to 2011.  This is important, because a lot of times this isn't really done all that great.  When id Software did it with Doom 3, they basically made a technological showcase for their new graphics engine.  Nothing wrong with that, of course -- I quite enjoyed Doom 3 and still enjoy playing it today.  But, something like Doom 3 isn't game of the year material.

DXHR is different in that regard.  A lot of the common mistakes that are made today were not made here.  When they looked at what needed to be trimmed out from the original game, they didn't cut out what made the game so great in the first place.  (Because despite what I may think, yes, it was a great game.)  You still have that unique inventory system, the upgradeable weapons, and naturally, the massive amounts of choice in anything that you do.  Additionally, in adding in the things that have become commonplace in games of today, they didn't make the game clunky.  They knew what wouldn't work for their game.  And the things they did add in, they did correctly.  The cover system is probably one of the greatest I've ever seen in a game.  It's so easy to use, and you actually get so used to it that eventually you don't even realize you're in cover.  And the regenerating health is bar-none the best I've ever seen, mostly because of how very fragile Adam Jensen is.  It works, and it works very well.

So, I suppose it's quite obvious by my gushing praise here that I loved this game, and you're right.  I did.  It's game of the year material, and it's one of the greatest games I've ever played.  Everyone knows that I consider the stories of Half-Life and Max Payne to be some of the best written in the gaming industry, and this story is right up there with those.  The mystery and conspiracy that the game pushes you through really makes me reminisce about the original Max Payne.  A lot.  I loved it.

For these YDCBITYA articles that I write, I needed a way to summarize my thoughts without relying on a percentage or numbering system.  I don't like those.  So, I developed a way of telling you what I thought about a game in a simple way:

1.  Everyone should play this game:  It's one of the best, and anyone who has ever played any kind of video game should play it.

2.  Fans of the genre should play this game:  It's one of the best of the genre, and anyone who enjoys the genre will enjoy this game.

3.  OH MY GOD MY EYES ARE BURNING:  I didn't like it.

So, of course, my final verdict of Deus Ex: Human Revolution is that everyone should play this game.  Get to it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Second Impressions: Deus Ex

I'm now six hours into the game.  I was getting a little bit frustrated last night, and have only myself to blame.  It all worked out, though.  See, I was doing this one mission that had several main objectives and one secondary objective.  It was that secondary objective that was killing me -- Infiltrate the area and complete the mission without being detected.

Now, stealth in games has never been my strong suit.  I was barely able to pull it off in the Splinter Cell games -- games designed to be all about stealth!  I pretty much failed at it in the Crysis games.  So stealth and I really don't have a good record, y'know?  But I was bound and determined to finish that mission and complete that secondary objective.  It became more about principal than about enjoying myself, which I realize is counter-productive in a game.

But, I will admit I got a tremendous sense of satisfaction out of actually doing it this way, so it wasn't a total loss.

Aside from this self-inflicted torture, I have only one other thing to complain about.  As anyone who's read my previous posts, or is at all familiar with Deus Ex knows, there are multiple ways to do any mission.  There are many different paths to take.  What I ran into last night, though, showed me that these multiple paths aren't always open to you.

I found this really cool path to take, and I really wanted to go that way because it was clever, and it was sneaky, and it arguably looked like a pretty easy way to go if you were doing things stealthy.  But then I hit a roadblock:  There was a wall in my way.  Ok.  I can deal with that.  I went into my augmentations -- I had one point available to spend, so I threw it into the "Punch Through Walls" ability.  (That ability is BADASS, just for the record, especially when there's someone standing on the other side of the wall.)  So with that handled, I punched my way through the wall and continued on my path.  Then I hit another roadblock:  An elevator shaft.  And now I was stuck.  I didn't have the Icarus ability yet, which allows you to fall from any height without taking damage, and I had no points left to purchase it.  I had to turn around and go a different way.  It was very disappointing to me.

The thing that bothers me is that if that path had only ONE augmentation requirement, I wouldn't have cared.  But needing two that early in the game?  Bleh.  Bad design, in my opinion.

I didn't let it change my overall opinion of the game, though.  I went a different way and still got through the mission without being detected.

And so far, everything else has been gravy.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First Impressions: Deus Ex

Oh yes, I know that everyone and their mother is talking about Deus Ex: Human Revolution.  The hipster in me in screaming at the top of his lungs right now.  "DON'T TALK ABOUT THAT GAME!  EVERYONE IS PLAYING IT!  STOPPIT!"

Damned hipster alter-ego.

So despite that, I'm here to offer my first impressions of the game, after having played approximately 2-3 hours of it.

First I will share with you one complaint that I was going to have, but that is no longer valid.  I feel it's quite interesting and worth explaining.  I was very early in the game, only a few missions beyond the prologue-slash-tutorial.  I had two or three side quests to do, all of which were behind locked doors that I couldn't hack because I didn't have the proper skill to do so.  At first I was annoyed, thinking the game was pigeon-holing me into having to upgrade my hacking augmentations first in order to make any progress through the game.  But then I remembered that I'm playing Deus Ex.  Dur.  Oh look -- a manhole. Oh look, it leads to an alternate entrance to the building.  Oh look, boxes.  I can stack those up and jump over this fence.  Basically, what I'm trying to say here is that if you don't want to hack a door, then don't.  There is ALWAYS another way, and that is fantastic.

Next:  Bugs.  I've seen only one so far.  I was in the middle of a dialogue in a police station, and the audio went into an infinite loop.  I had to re-load an auto-save to fix it, and it didn't happen again.  Minor, but begs mentioning.

I've avoided reading any type of reviews for this game.  You know me and game critics -- we don't get along.  But I did stumble across a few snippets of information regarding the graphics, and how they seem just a bit dated.  Now having played some of the game, I will agree with this to an extent.  Some of the character models look pretty bad.  The receptionist up in Sarif's office barely looks human.  Others look fine though, to include Jensen, and the environments look fantastic to me, so I've no complaints there.

The flagstone of Deus Ex is the gift of choice, and it's not lost here.  Big breath of relief, everyone!  As I touched upon in my story with the hacking situation, you are free to solve any mission however you want.  But it goes so much further than the simple choice of either running in with guns blazing versus stealthing in all sneaky-like.  In one mission, I started out deciding I was going to be stealthy.  I took down guards with my silent non-lethal dart gun, hid the bodies, and sneaked around like a half-robot ninja.  The next room I entered, though, was a big large open area.  It begged me to start a gunfight.  And so, start a gunfight I did.  Because I could, and it worked just as well as sneaking around worked for me in the previous room.  That is what makes this game special.

Other complaints?  Not many so far.  The loading screens are noticeable, but I've also noticed they speed up after you've been to the area once in a sit-down.  What I mean is -- let's say I just walked into the police station from the city.  The city will load faster for me than it did the first time when I go back outside, since I'd already loaded it once before during my current session of playing the game.  So that's not bad, but y'know, we all hate loading screens.

Aside from the incredible feeling of freedom and choice, there are some other moments that have thus far stuck out to me.  Watching the take-down animation never gets old, whether you're using the lethal or non-lethal variety.  There're more RP elements in the game than I had expected, and it's a pleasant surprise.  Also, the cover system is exceptionally slick.  Diving behind cover and moving from cover to cover has really never been easier, I think.  They kept it simple but extremely effective.

All that being said, I only have one other complaint:  I'm not playing the damned game right this moment.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


So we had this earthquake here on the U.S. east coast.  That's pretty newsworthy.

Apparently, it was very shallow (thus felt further away than usual), was 5.9, and was in central Virginia.  I felt it here at the office -- my computer monitors shook and the floor was vibrating a little bit.  I probably wouldn't have even considered it an earthquake if other people didn't start asking me, "Hey, did you just feel that?"

So there you have it -- the most powerful earthquake we've had in over 100 years.  Fortunately, it seems it only caused minor amounts of damage, and no injuries to speak of.  That's a good thing.

Help Me Understand

There was a big snafu earlier in the week regarding the game From Dust.  It was published by Ubisoft, and during pre-release they had made a forum post stating that players would not be required to have an internet connection in order to play the game.  (So in other words, the game would not have DRM.)

The day after the game was released, that forum post was edited several times, and I think eventually deleted all together.  And lo and behold, the game had DRM and required you to be constantly connected to the internet in order to play.

As you can imagine, this started a huge flame fest.  Players who concern themselves with such things, or players who feel the need to act as the RIGHTEOUS DEFENDERS OF THE CONSUMER AGAINST THE EVIL CONSPIRING GAME CORPORATIONS pounded their chests and gnashed their teeth together in rage.

Meanwhile, I played the game.  It was all right.

Today, Ubisoft announced that they would be patching From Dust to completely remove the DRM from the game.  You would think this would cause those RIGHTEOUS DEFENDERS OF THE CONSUMER AGAINST THE EVIL CONSPIRING GAME CORPORATIONS to actually be happy for once.

Well, you'd be an idiot if you think that, actually.  Everyone knows gamers are never happy.


And I've lost faith in humanity.  I guess we're even!

(As a side note, I have never used "I've lost faith in..." seriously.  And I want to backhand anyone who does.)

Monday, August 22, 2011


It seems like most websites that specialize in reviewing computer games have some type of fancy name for the title of their review posts.  PC Gamer uses a simple "Game Review", where "game" is replaced by the title of the game.  Rock, Paper, Shotgun used "Wot I Think" as theirs.

I'm not a computer game review website by any means, but nonetheless I've decided I need a moniker for when I review a game.  Therefore, I have decided I will be using "YDCBITYA".  You Don't Care But I'm Telling You Anyway.  I was going to go with "YEASRPTG".  (You Elitist Assholes Should Really Play This Game)  But, I figured the elitist assholes are too elitist to read my blog anyway, so that's a bit of a moot point.

And so, I will christen YDCBITYA with a Bastion review.

The first exposure I had to Bastion was the sale ad for it on Steam about a week before the game's PC release date.  My initial thought was, "Oh, it looks like an anime.  Ew."  If ever there was an example of never judging a book by its cover, there you have it right there.

I didn't buy the game right away, and I didn't really know anything about it.  I heard a couple of mumblings from game critics that it was rather good.  But lately, I've been ignoring most game critics and reviewers.  Mostly because I don't like them.  But that's another story in itself.

Anyway, the day before the game was set to release, I was in the mood to play something new.  Not necessarily different -- just new.  Bastion was still there on my Steam sales page, so I decided to just get it and try it out.

The first two things I noticed about the game were the art and the sound.  After reading about the game, I learned that all the levels were hand drawn, and it provides the game with this unique and charming design to it.  Add in the style of the levels forming themselves as you walk through them, and you're left with an experience unlike any other.  The soundtrack amplifies this even further.  It is one of the greatest computer game soundtracks I have ever heard.  To go along with the soundtrack, the voice acting is excellent as well.  The narrator adds so much to the game while you play.

The gameplay itself is rather basic.  Anyone who has played Diablo, Torchlight, or any other hack-and-slash style games will feel quite at home.  There's nothing new here, and nothing new is needed.  If you're playing this game solely for the combat, you're doing it wrong.  All of the things mentioned above -- the soundtrack, the narrator, the art -- it all enhances the game as you play.  Groundbreaking gameplay simply isn't necessary in a game like this.  The combat is NOT boring -- it's just basic.  In any other game, that would be a detriment.  Not so in this one.

The story is top notch as well, and there's little I can find to complain about here.  One thing I will mention is that there could have been more story-defining moments of choice.  To avoid giving any major plot points away, there are basically two occasions near the end of the game where you, the player, must make a choice.  I think it would have added a lot to the game if there were more cases like that throughout the whole story.  For example:  During the battle on the Bastion, all the little creatures you saved help you fight.  Well, I think it would have been interesting if you were given a choice when it came to saving each creature.  Or, alternatively, each had its own mini-challenge, and if you failed then the creature didn't come back with you to the Bastion.  The results of those would determine how many creatures you had during that fight, making it easier or harder depending on what you did.  That's just ONE simple way they could have added depth, just off the top of my head.  I'm sure someone a lot more clever than me could come up with many other ways this could have been accomplished as well.

To round things off, the upgrade system added much needed depth to the basic combat, making it fully tolerable.  The constant supply of new toys to play with coupled with the aforementioned details above, and you have this lovely little game that keeps you interested all the way to the end.  And with the addition of a New Game+ mode to add a bit of replayability, and you have quite the solid game.

All that being said, it begs me to mention this is an Indie game.  If it doesn't win Game of the Year, I hope it is runner-up to only Portal 2.  I say this because big name game developers need this kind of wake-up call, when you really get down to it.  This game is only $15, and it's a hell of a lot more enjoyable then many mainstream games that have come out this year for $50 or even $60.  Perhaps if we continuously put games like these up on top, where they deserve to be, then maybe the big companies will take notice and be much more willing to stray away from their guaranteed successes and money-makers, and we'll see more gems such as Bastion.  Maybe.

Friday, August 19, 2011


There are a lot of new games on the horizon.  I really don't remember ever having so many different titles to think about, to the point where I'm actually forgetting about some of them.  I'll see a news article or snippet and go, "OMG that's right, someone is making THAT!"

Before I get into that a bit more, I have two observations to share with you first.  These are things that I've found quite amusing.

First, I always find it amusing when people get SO INCREDIBLY excited about a sequel to a game where they felt the first installment was mediocre.  Sure, the developers have a chance to improve upon what they did the first time -- but chances are if you didn't like the game the first time around, you're not going to like the sequel!

Second, I've learned that it is inevitable that every game will "fall from grace". Every.  Single.  One.  I personally do not believe it's because game developers make bad decisions.  (Sometimes they do.)  I think it's because the gaming community, and perhaps human beings in general, just want to be miserable and will thus latch onto any little negative thing they can find about a game.

And now, let's explore all these new games coming out, shall we?

Let's start with the ones coming out very soon.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution
The original Deus Ex was brilliant because of how much freedom of choice it offered the player.  The new game looks set to repeat that brilliance.

Dead Island

I'm not sure about this one.  It looks like "Left 4 Dead on an Island".  Though, that's not necessarily a bad thing.  The appeal of this game to me will depend on how well the multi-player is executed.

Space Marine
I've never been a huge fan of the Warhammer series.  But, I will try this.

A bit further out, now.  These games are more than a couple of months away.

id Software has never disappointed me.  They know how I like my shooters.

Mass Effect 3
Sheperd's conclusion will be an epic event, there's no doubt in my mind.

Borderlands 2
I played the HELL out of the first one (and sometimes I think I'm the only person in the world who did).  But apparently I wasn't, because a sequel is on the way!

I will play it, but the whole denying thing bothers me.

Assassin's Creed: Revelations
I have never finished an Assassin's Creed game.  Maybe this one will be the first!

Prey 2
I liked the first one.  Solid game with some cool mechanics.  The sequel looks like an utter departure, but in a really, really good way.

Star Wars: The Old Republic
This is probably the game I am most excited about.

Far Cry 3
I enjoyed the first, and I sort of enjoyed the second.  We'll see which way this one goes.

Bioshock Infinite
An interesting departure from Rapture, this has some great potential.

Batman: Arkham City
Oh god yes.  Open world Batman!

I don't think there's any possible way this game won't rock my world.

Aliens: Colonial Marines
This needs to be better than AvP.

Guild Wars 2
I just want to roll a Charr.

There's a bunch more -- Torchlight 2, The Secret World, Wildstar, Scrolls, and more.  But you get the idea.  There's a LOT of game incoming!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


If any one out there ever doubted that games can be art, I offer you Bastion.

You're welcome.  

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Extra Content Rocks

A lot of people don't like downloadable content.  You'll get complaints ranging from, "That should have been in the game in the first place!" all the way up to "Gaming companies are greedy fuckheads who nickel and dime their customers to death!"

I disagree.  Mainly, you're still paying a certain amount of money for a certain amount of content in the original game.  And these games released today aren't any shorter and don't contain any less content than games released 5-10 years ago.  I could understand your argument if you weren't getting full games from the start.

I had spent over 50 hours in Fallout: New Vegas before I even touched the first DLC.  That's more than I spent in all of Fallout 3 after I had played all of the DLC packs!  So, to me, that argument is invalid and it seems to me that anyone who tries to make this argument is just being cheap and wants something for nothing.

For me, if I'm offered a few more hours of enjoyment out of a game I love for around $10, you bet your ass I'm going to go for it.

That brings me around to some DLC that I've been playing recently.

To start with, I played through the Arrival DLC for Mass Effect 2.  While I missed having my team with me, the entire experience was very enjoyable and a nice tie-in to Mass Effect 3.  I highly recommend playing it before the third and final installment of Bioware's epic space RPG is released.

I've also played through two of the three (soon to be four) DLCs for Fallout: New Vegas.

I played through the most recent one first:  Old World Blues.  I enjoyed it the most out of the two.  The story was interesting, the dialogue was funny, there were some incredible moments, some great new weapons, and I have a lovely place to now call home.  That's one thing I really missed from Fallout 3 -- having your own house with a British accent butler.  And now I finally have that again!

Dead Money was the other, and I didn't quite like it as much.  The exploration in this one was much better than OWB, admittedly.  There was a LOT of area to explore and a LOT of new items (and old items!) to find and collect.  Also, the ending of Dead Money was more satisfying in it's conclusion.  However, there were a few annoyances that really had me frustrated.  The main one was that blasted exploding collar.  So.  Fucking.  Annoying.  Never do that again, Obsidian.  EVER.  The other annoyances were quite minor, and if it weren't for the collar I would probably rate this DLC just as high as OWB.  The areas were sometimes very confusing, and I ended up getting lost quite a bit.  Specifically, the Villa outside the Sierra Madre and the Suites inside were the worst.  The monsters that could only be killed by dismemberment, which basically forces you to use melee weapons, just seemed like a silly gimmick and took the fun out of killing.  Lastly, the holograms were very annoying.  Creating something that can't be killed that does more damage to you than anything else in the game is plain stupid.  However, aside from the collar, these annoyances only make up a very small part of the DLC, and therefore don't have a significant impact on the enjoyment.

I still have Honest Hearts to play through.  We'll see how that one compares to these two!  

Monday, August 01, 2011

Duck and Cover!

It's going to be incredibly difficult for me to speak about Blizzard's recent Diable 3 announcements with an unbiased tongue.  Actually, it's probably impossible for me to do so, and therefore I'm not even going to try to play the part of the good reporter.  Fuck that.  Let's make people angry!

My thoughts on the topic:  So?

Oh my, can you hear it?  So many nerds are gnashing their teeth at me right now!

All right, so I suppose I should actually go into a bit more detail, hm?  Okay, so PC Gamer visited Blizzard over the weekend, and got a bunch of details on three very volatile decisions that Blizzard has made regarding Diablo 3.  Those three things are, with proper links:

1. Diablo 3 will be an "always-online" game.

2. Blizzard prohibits the use of mods.
3. There will be a "real money" auction house.

I really don't want to even get into the topic of all the nerdrage.  Most of it is ill-informed blather, anyway.  So I'll only ask one question:  Will any of this effect my main reason for playing the game?  The answer is no.  Therefore, my original response, which is a response that seems to make the majority of the gaming community want to inflict violence upon me, still stands.  And that is, "So?".

By the way, in case you're out of touch with reality, the main reason for playing a game is to have fun.  


Holy smokes.  The last post I wrote for this blog was on October 18, 2017.  Through the little more than  two years since, this blog has be...