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Tag: Game Review

Hello, fellow readers.

After a while, I’m back to talk more about games. I played a couple of games in the meantime with my “wonderful computer” and decided to pick one that reminds me of my childhood: Scary and dark. LOL 🙂

When I first played Doom 3, it was back in 2005. I didn’t play much at the time because I was into other games and also because my machine wasn’t so good (it never is as you can see). Years later, I was looking for a FPS game where I didn’t have to think much about what to do instead of just shooting what it moves and explore places and remembered seeing Doom 3 at Steam for 75% off. Yep! That’s my tip to buy it alongside Very Positive reviews overall.

Sure, it is an old game, but still, you can have some fun playing it and especially if you don’t have an amazing game PC like me. Sure, now I can play Fallout 4, but not as good as I was expecting. Anyway, back to Doom 3, the game was released in August 3, 2004 and it was developed by id Software and published by Activision. Further on, the game was adapted for Linux, Mac OS and Xbox, probably due to it’s success.

About the Game:

You start as a marine who doesn’t know how to use a flashlight with a gun at the same time (I’ll explain later). The year is 2145 and the game is set on Mars. Some scientist are trying to improve the teleportation technology, biological research and advance weapons design but they ended up opening the games of hell (oh, crap…). Now you (the marine-against-flashlights) have to fight through the labs to find your way out, meet with other survivals and prevent the demons from attacking the Earth … from Mars….(? … okay).

The game itself has no puzzles or real challenges. Most of the time you’re running around, shooting monsters, trying to find your way out, falling into traps and opening rooms with monster inside. And they all want to kill you. Apparently, you are one of the lucky ones that survived in a place full of monsters that don’t like hell and no way to go back home (you and them). Lucky you!

Now, different from the previous Doom games, this one has NPCs which you can talk and interact. They will give you information about what is happening, gossips, pieces of the story or will just tell you to f* off because they are working on some pixel thing. The start of the game is just you running around to meet some people and get to know a part of the lab, duties, what you will do, etc. Later on, after someone screw up with something, you find yourself looking for a way out of there. (won’t give any spoilers if you haven’t played the game yet). Still, enemies will jump from a lot of places and if you see a dark corner, flashlight it and shoot it (not at the same time… We’ll get there).

My opinion about Doom 3.

Flashlight: Yes! As the game tries to keep the horror environment, you have a flashlight to use on dark places (duh!). However, you cannot use the flashlight and a gun at the same time. As a Marine in this game, apparently they don’t teach you how to hold a gun and a weapon at the same time. Due to that, the beginning of the game can be a little frustrating because you want to SEE what you’re shooting at. Still, if you get used to it, it’s something that you can work around. TIP: Equip the gun you want to use and press F (shortcut for flashlight once you get it with your PDA). This will equip immediately your gun from the flashlight instead o using the roll mouse button or the numbers to find the gun you’re looking for. I found this the best way so far to work around. Furthermore, you will find yourself in the game like: Flashlight, shoot, flashlight.

Graphics: It’s 2004. For the time, the graphics were okay, especially when comparing to the old Doom games. Still, sometimes I got confused with green lights blinking in the background – which I thought could be button I could push open something.

Controllers: Nothing to complain much here except that, as a FPS, some people are used to a default set of controller like left CTRL to crouch or right mouse button to focus. Doom 3 allow you to modify of course the buttons and you have to go around to check what is best for you. Still okay. Another thing I had to get used to is to use the roll mouse button to get my weapon fast. Sometimes I scroll too fast and ended up changing to my fists to fight a 3 meter monster.

Music/Sounds: Everything there follows the spooky environment and keeps you in the survival/horror game mood. You can hear pipes breaking, sparks, fire, etc., and all will keep you immerse and sometimes scaring you a little bit. Eventually you will get used to it or pissed with it as in the beginning of the game all you can hear I people screaming, asking not to get kill, and eventually, dying. I have to admit, it was a little bit annoying for me and one time I tried to find a way to turn it off. Why people have to scream so much when getting kill by hell monster?!? geez…

Interested to comment is that to finish a level you have to get into an elevator and to do so, you have to find a specific access card. Any resemble to the old Doom games?

Anyway, So far on the levels I played, ammunition is everywhere and health is also all over the place. I tried to save some ammo but kept leaving some behind all the time so I decided to use my best weapon first. I’d say it was a bad choice because the game is balance on how you use ammunition. In other words, you have to use it wisely, or you will ended up without any or just a little of it. The idea of having a PDA – Personal Data Assistant for yourself and NPCs is quite interesting. It’s an option menu in the game but without losing the game environment feeling. Sometimes you have to go over other PDAs people to get access to codes, general information about what happened or just to read their e-mail and notice that they don’t like someone. There’s even a request from the HR for a volunteer position to test something. Terminals and places you can interact in the game changes the cursor so feels like you’re “tapping” the screen. It’s a nice way to tell you what you can interact and what you cannot.

AI in the game is not really smart, but they don’t miss a shot! If you’re on the way, hide instead of trying to duck and shoot. Eventually they will follow you – if they see you. That’s also something nice. You can shoot them on the back! That means their vision is limited to their front and, trust me, that requires some nice attention and programming. Anyway, Demons, if you find one behind a door (and you will) jump at you right away and it’s hard to escape, unless you open the doors from the side. Also, be careful not to get stuck on a corner by one of them or they will suck your life and armor pretty fast. Enemies with guns will also make you lose your aim for a moment if hit, so don’t try to shoot as crazy as you go. Think! And aim for the big area. Trying to hit the head does not affect them differently as the torso.

Another feeling I had (as mentioned) is that the programmers kept putting specific “lines” in the game so when you cross it, a monster will appear, something will fall from the ceiling or a part of the scenario will fall/open. It’s nice to have that, but I felt it was too much and all the time I kept walking and stopping, walking and stopping, just to make sure I didn’t open a secret door with a monster inside. Some people would say that this is part of the game, of course, but for me felt like things happened automatically as I walk or not naturally as a real environment. You are the trigger for the environment, and not the environment itself.

Overall, it’s not a bad game and I’d for sure recommend for people who doesn’t have a powerful computer or just want a game to explore-and-shoot with no loosing head puzzles. It’s also really nostalgic to play again Doom and to have that feeling from the first game.

So, what are you waiting for? Go after the game, but wait for the discount… or not if you have $7 available. 😀

Game Review – Slender – The Game

Inside the diversity of games, fantasy environments, guns, vehicles and everything else that you can imagine within the actual technology for the electronic games creation, arises a game whose principal objective is to survive. However, different from so many other survival games, on this one, the player is provided of a flashlight in the middle of a forest, at night of course, and his courage.

Based on an urban legend created in a competition where the participants had to produce, with common photos, something scary, Slender Man is about a paranormal creature, without face and dressed in black social clothes. Among his abilities to captures his quarries, Slender can stretch his parts, getting really deformed and, with this, be masked amid the threes. Also, according to the legend, he has the capacity to cause paranoid to whom he is after in addition to transport himself to anywhere in the map.

With all this information, creativity and simplistic vision of the games, Parsec Productions created Slender Game, a typical game of cat and mouse. Inside a scenario of forest with environments as bathrooms, gasoline tanks roofless, cars, houses, etc, the player has the objective to collect 8 pages scattered around the world left by the children that Slender got. A simple and really short game which has gained fans all over the internet; leading to the creation of a several number of videos of people playing it. The interesting of this game is the used of the surprise factor and psychological terror. The player, unable to use any gun, spend the entire time listening to his own footsteps and, when it is necessary to run, the breathing gets more and more purse.

As the player develop the game collecting pages, the music gets higher increasing the suspense, the breathing of the character also changes and the appearances of Slender Man gets more frequency – which causes greater panic to the player. Nevertheless, in case of player couldn’t see the enemy, the screen helps on this item getting dark and with interference – situation caused by the presence of Slender. Just the same, Slender Game leaves an open door for possibilities of a sequel or an update which could include other items in the game like maps, higher environments, different number of pages to collect (with a save option), etc.

Over the end, what is really interesting about this game is to put one of your friends to play and watch his/her reaction inside of a scary and quite simple ambiance, the one that Slender Game can provide you or, if this is not your case, a suggestion would be to play it at 3:00am, alone, with your lights off; only you, your headphone and a lot of metal sanity.

Originally posted in 04/12/2013

Review – Hospital Tycoon

Companies like Codemaster, BullFrog and Deep Red Games are famous for many games that probably we all know. By Codemaster, for example, one of the oldest companies in England, we can name Collin McRae and Overlord, The Lord of the Rings Online and Toca Touring Cars. By BullFrog, we have Populous I, II and Populous: The Beginning, Theme Park, Dungeons Keeper, Theme Hospital, Theme Park World and Inc. just to name a few. Deep Red Games, on the other hand, has the all known Tycoons as SeaWorld Adventure Parks, Tycoon I and II, Vegas: Make it Big and Monopoly Tycoon. However, we all have a stage in our lives where things are not going so well and, trying to launch something bigger and much more interested in the market, we ended sinking our own ship. In this case, we are talking about the game Hospital Tycoon, which all the three named companies had the pleasure to give their contribution.

Released by Codemaster and produced by Deep Red Games, Hospital Tycoon seeks one really different way to mix famous Medical Series with a Real Life Strategy Game and some kind of The Sims mode. Still, here comes the question that you may be asking: What about Bullfrog? What is it doing in the middle of this? From the many games with the same objective and theme, we can say that one was used the most: Theme Hospital. Released by the quenched company BullFrog and, according to many critics, is it possible to see great similarity between the two games, both when talking about the mechanic and social interaction, playability, graphics, etc. We can also underline the frustrated attempts of the companies to include in the Tycoon games a few of theatral creativity, unfortunately with no outward success but fun.

But let’s dig a little bit more into the game itself.

To start, you can find two modes to play. The History Mode and another one know as Sandbox Mode. The goal of the Sandbox is supposed to be and have fun. The player starts with an amount of money and enough space to build the hospital the way he wants without worry about winning or losing. The main idea here is to have play a lot and enjoy everything. Now, the History Mode works almost as a soup opera or a TV series. Here is where the trouble starts, as it were. The player has the opportunity, or not, to participate in the cut scenes between one stage and another, enabling an “interaction” with the characters and theirs plot as documents theft, controversy, lethal virus inside missing containers and more. Unluckily, you cannot wait too much from this tangle. A little few or almost nothing has anything to do with the player or the action that you do during the game, besides of little outcomes that may had come from TV series like House M.D., Grey’s Anatomy or even Scrubs, which are really boring to follow in the game. Why is Doctor Buffman hanging out with the hated one Nurse Dakota? Why Professor Brahms and Nurse Daisy are fighting in the research room? Why care about all these stuff if any of them will really interfere in your game? These are just for fun…or the attempt of it.

Another negative thing realized in the game was how the missions unfold themselves. The patients simple arrived at the hospital with a variety of diseases that should be treated. On this case, when the player understands the mechanism of how the game works, the actions are almost always the same. In other words, we have a patient that register, goes to a medic analysis, routed to treatment and go out of the hospital. Ok, it is not that different from a real hospital and more, but they should include some creativity in here. This is the reason that games are made for, to escape from reality and put some imagination to work. The player is taken, on this point of the game, to be considered as a real administrator that should solve all the many problems that every other hospital has. Now, to top everything, the greatest problem of all is that, at each scenario, you have to start all over again. Is it like you are a traveler administrator and have to fix all the hospitals in the country. For a game that you have to spend a lot of time to build something, that is actually really frustrating.

The interaction with the characters, when the objective of the game was a game like The Sims, got somewhat flaccid. The game allows you to do it, yet, the lack of goals at the proposed actions ended taking the user to nowhere. It doesn`t matter what you do, or who you talk to, it won`t reflect on your work in the game. Though, it is possible to create jobbery between the personages, hugs, talks, give heroic kisses, pokes, intimidate, but nothing of this at all is directly related to the playability as it should be. Making the long story short, it does not poke the game, being a waste of time really good planned. And the same interaction can be related to game-player development. The way all the individuals of the game speak, “Simlês”, is really annoying and repetitive, being possible to hear all the conversation in the game and even your own “conscience” which, in the beginning of the game, is reflected as the old owner of the hospital and he is passing on all the shores to you. Going further in the game, the secretary of the old man gets his place to help you out, with the same annoying way of talking and, time after time, she comes to tell you which are missions that you have to go through.

And, as we are talking about the playability, practically everything already comes prompt and pre-established. Rooms come with changing room and desks and the size of them are also specific for the equipment. You do not have to plan the space and where the room will be located. The furniture is also predestinated to be fixed. It doesn’t matter what you do, it is all the same and with a not so high variety. At the most, everything has already been 50% build it out (or even more) being only the player job to locate a few places as research labs of new diseases which, by itself, identifies alone the new disease on the patient only by testing him on the Diagnostic Machine. I mean, where is the challenge in that, but only to put the patient inside the machine. (Be careful not to go wrong on the unique machine). For sure an easy thing is, for the ones that are not so familiarized with the “God view” kind of game or real time strategy, they will find this really interested, because it gets really easy to move on the game.

Also, talking about being easy, we have the money issue which, on the sad hand, is not a problem for the player. Actually, in some parts of the game, it is almost impossible to forget that you have money to spend. Everything that you do to build your hospital does not reflect in how much you earn. There is no need to worry about money, at all. You don’t have to count the outgoing, fire employees, sell machines or other desperate thing to make money and save your economies (except when the main goal of a specific mission is to do that).

Talking about graphics, we can say that, in some way of the path, something good was added. The game is really simple and clean. The rooms, machines and characters are in a cartoon style which brings an animated air to the game, extremely colorful and physically unique. Also the treatments are funnily exaggerated taking the doctors to use, as example, giant needles, large machinery and even a chair that prick balloons for a scare treatment (?). The diseases are also treated with a comedy air when comes to name, necessities and a variety of physic symptoms which gives the player a lot of fun. What about taking an acid shower or a treatment in the sample odor machine? At this point of the game, we can say that the creativity was absolutely great and we should give them some credits. But, as everything good, this was too good to last. The game sound was practically a shot in the dark. The theme, besides interesting, does not fits perfectly in the game and all the music are an infinite loop with pauses between them. You rarely pay attention to it and, for some times, you may prefer to put your own playlist going then to listen to the music; or the annoying voice of your helper.

Overall, what we can say about Hospital Tycoon is that the game is practically semiautomatic, which drives the player to be more a spectator then a real player itself, not being necessary a real strategy to have success in the game or saving money. It virtually plays itself because of the many automatic items that were included in the game by Deep Red Games. Still, if you don’t have the skill to play a Real Time Strategy Game, this is the one for you!

One way or another then, here goes the tip: Do whatever the game asks and you will have no chance to lose! Ever!

Originally posted in 04/12/2013

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