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Category: Video Games

Video Games

Hanzo: Play Of The Game

When you start getting as old as I am, you kinda loose those twitch reflexes that you had when you were in your teens and twenties. So when you pull off the occasional play of the game in Overwatch, it gives you a warm fuzzy feeling inside. So, behold me in my glory …

Because it very likely won’t happen very often.

Video Games

Overwatch: I finally get Tracer

Was playing Overwatch for a few hours tonight, switching between Hanzo, Reaper and Tracer. Hanzo and Reaper I’ve played with a lot, but Tracer I never really got the hang of until tonight. It finally clicked, being able to move in close, shift position, move around your enemy without them being able to keep a beed on you, I get it now. I’ve got a clip from one of my games.

And now I am going to bed!

 

Video Games 2

Overwatch: A Reaction

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I’ve purchased and played Overwatch, but I just feel like something is missing.

The gameplay is fast, fun and furious. It is well designed for casual players with a set of support class characters that don’t require twitch reflexes and dead on aim to be successful. Matches are short so it’s easy to plop yourself down for a quick game in your hectic schedule. The set of unique characters and abilities are interesting, we’ll designed and balanced.

Sounds great, right, but it’s the characters and the effort Blizzard had put into fleshing them out with the release of CG movies and filling in the back story. It’s too good for a multi-player only shooter.

I want more. I want a single-player, story driven campaign for each one of these interesting characters. The CG movies made me think they should release a Netflix Original series covering the history of Overwatch and the war they won before being disbanded. I want more, and because of this it makes me feel like the game they delivered is a little hollow, missing something a lack of development of those characters. A missed opportunity, both to learn more about this world, and to introduce some unique gameplay which would not work within multiplayer. Consider for a moment the animated short “Alive”, which pits Widowmaker vs Tracer.

In this video Tracer falls through a cloud of gas and is disabled, Widowmaker’s has her dead to rights, until she uses her suit to roll back time and let her replay the momenent and avoid trap. This type of ability couldn’t work in multiplayer, but it could definitely be leveraged in a singleplayer campaign. At the very least I hope Blizzard release more animated shorts for more of the characters as the ones so far released have been excellently crafted and fully entertaining.

Here are the other animated shorts released by Blizzard, combined its about 35 minuts of premium CG animation. Enjoy!

Dragons

Hero

Recall

Are You With Us?

Video Games 2

Mad Max – Review

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INTRO & STORY

Mad Max is a post-apocalyptic open world 3rd person perspective action game that feels like a cross between Grand Theft Auto and Fallout. The main story of the game all starts with Max taking a chainsaw to the head of a warlord named Scrotus, being captured by his marauders and left in the desert to die. Max is on a mission to reach “The Plains of Silence”, but the marauders have stolen and striped his car. Lucky for him, he meets a Quazimoto-esque blackfinger (mechanic) named Chumbucket who decides it is his holy mission to build Max a new car, the Magnum Opus so Max may complete his holy mission. He just needs to get Chumbucket the parts, thus beings the journey.

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ENVIRONMENT

The world of Mad Max is sand, oil, steel and death. Though one would expect that a desert only game might get a little boring to look at after a while, each of the territories of the map are beautifully rendered and have their own unique character. All signs of civilization has been wiped away with the exceptions of the bones, rusting steel, cracked wood, torn and tattered cloth, the scraps of the past. Instead of me trying to poorly craft descriptions of how it looks, check out these screenshots.

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Along with the sand dune sunsets, you will find a variety of camps and forts cobbled together with rusty steel plates, leftover cars, crashed planes and boats. These locations will definitely have a number of enemies, things you can blow up, scrap to collect and resources such as food and water.

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MISSIONS & LEVELING

Ever since Max gave Scrotus a lobotomy, a number of the smaller warlords are looking for help in reducing the influence of the dead man’s faction that is still running things. Territories have a threat score that starts at 5 and decreases as you complete missions. Decreasing the threat level unlocks new quests from the faction leader, upgrades for the Magnum Opus and reduces the number of marauders patrolling the area. The more missions you complete raises Max’s legend (his level) in the wasteland, which corresponds to which combat/survival abilities are unlocked and how many Griffa tokens you can spend to improve their effectiveness. Like most open world games there are a number of repetitive mission types which you encounter in each area, along with an Assassin Creed-type, top of the tower, bird-eye view balloon ride in each area to locate and set missions on the map.

Vantage Outpost
These camps are usually deserted, but there can sometimes be one or two marauders guarding them. You will find a hot air balloon at each of these camps which you can go up in to scout the area. This lets you mark you map with the local missions.

Scarecrows
These giant metal totem poles with fire represent markers of Scrotus’s territory. You can destroy them in a number of fun ways such as crashing your car into them, pulling them down with a grappling hook or blowing them up.

Sniper Nests
Watch out, they have a gun. These are basically like Scarecrows but with a guy that can shoot you from a few hundred meters away. You know there’s one nearby when you start seeing J. J. Abrams lens flares on the screen.

Convoys
In each territory there is one or two convoy’s, it’s a fuel truck carrying crude oil with between 2 and 5 guard vehicles. Your mission if you choose to accept is to bash, crash and grind the fuel truck into scrap. The reward is a cool hood ornament which enhances the Magnum Opus.

Minefield
There are a number of minefields in each territory, if you use Chumbucket’s buggy and the dog you found you can scout and disarm the minefield to complete these missions.

Death Race
The death race is pretty much what it sounds like, you enter a race, they strap explosives to your car, if you don’t win the race, and they blow you up.

Oil Pump Camp
These are slightly larger camps, they generally have several encounters with half a dozzen marauders. The goal is to destroy the oil pumps at the location, cutting into Scrotus’s oil production.

Transfer Tank Camp
These are mid-sized campus, generally with a few encounters with marauders. The goal is to destroy all of the oil tanks, cutting into Scrotus’s oil reserves.

Top Dog Camp
These are fairly large camps, usually large structures with multiple encounters and then a boss encounter at the end. Sadly, it’s almost always the same looking guy with a big maul like weapon and the same fighting style.

Scavenging Location
These missions usually entail a small camp site with 1 to 3 average level enemies and 1 to 3 scrap pickups.

The last thing to know about finishing missions in the wasteland, this is how you get scrap. Scrap is the currency of the game, and is used to pay for upgrades to Max, the Magnum Opus and to the Strongholds in each area. This includes some special scrap for Stronghold upgrades. Collect it all, you’ll need it.

FISTS OF FURY

There are two ways to fight in Mad Max, with your fists and with your car, lets talk fists. Don’t get me wrong there are knives, clubs, guns and other weapons but they are window dressing. Most of the time you are using your fists to communicate. The hand to hand combat in the game is similar to the Batman Arkham games. You are punching and blocking, blocks can turn into counters. You have a shotgun but it has limited ammo and you usually want to save those bullets to destroy specific out of reach items on the missions. You can also carry a number of shivs based on your level which will allow you to do quick kills and finsih moves, useful when fighting a whole bunch of guys at the same time to thin the heard. As you fight it tracks your hit count, if you attempt to block when there is no attack it will reset your hit counter so make sure you don’t just mash your block button. If your hit count gets high you’ll go into fury mode more often. When this happens, time slows down, your attacks do more damage and you can do special finish moves. As you level Max up you can unlock finish moves and increase the amount of time he can wield weapons he picks up before they break from use.

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MAGNUM OPUS & THE ROAD WARRIOR

The other main character in our story is the Magnum Opus, Max’s car. As you help the smaller warlords to reduce the threat in their territories and increase Max’s legend you will unlock upgrades for Chumbucket’s masterpiece. Improvements such as engine power, traction, suspension, armor, defenses, weapon systems and appearance will allow you to customize your car. Some of the challenges such as the Convoy missions will become difficult if you don’t keep on top of your upgrades as enemy vehicles start getting armor and increasing in numbers. Car combat is fairly strait forward, if you smash into them they take damage, if they smash into you, you take damage. So the faster and more maneuverable you are, the greater your advantage. One of the most rewarding moments in the game is when you pull off your first full speed head-on collision with a nitro boost and you watch the car you hit deteriorate in a fireball of destruction.

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CONCLUSION

I’ve successfully cleared all the missions, convoy’s, scarecrow, sniper and scrap locations in Jeet’s (the first) territory and started working my way through Gutgash’s. With those territories cleared I will have eliminated Scrotus’s influence from The Great White and I will have Pink-Eye’s territory in the Dead Barren’s to look forward to next. I grew up with the original three Mad Max films, and driving around in this game and getting my fists dirty fighting with the filth of the wasteland has its nostalgia. The game is well executed, it faces all the same challenges of open world games like quest repetition and a limited variety of enemies but does so in a way that is still enjoyable. It has a criss cross of different game play mechanics from a number of popular games and captures the essence of George Miller’s world. If your a fan of open world, or just Mad Max, this is a game to consider.

Video Snippets from Convoy Hunt

Video Games

The Division: Progression

Was thinking about what I wanted for my first post with my newly revived blog, and decided to take a look at “The Division”.

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This was a pretty fun open world game, I enjoyed the look and feel of New York and the game play was in general satisfying. I, by nature like single player games, want to be immersed in the telling of a story, and the combination of the simple main story line along with the scattered stories of individuals surviving (or not surviving) a pandemic was interesting. This is not a deep game, it faced all the same challenges of open world games such as the limited variation of enemies/quests and at times a general sense of “grind” to clear an area, rinse and repeat. It has fairly well devised multiplayer, the few times I had a chance to really get in and run around with a group of friends it was a blast. The abilities each individual gains can be used tactically as a group, and can lead to some interesting team dynamics when facing boss’s and clearing missions.

As I worked my way through the game I took some screenshots of my character, the equipment and gear allows for a decent variation from one player to another. So you can feel like you are somewhat unique when running into other players in the world. I’ve included a progression of my character as I worked through levels 1 to 30.

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The core of this game was interesting, but once I reached level 30, and other games started coming out I found myself less and less interested in jumping in to run around NY. I never really became invested in the multiplayer, the “Dead Zone” and the grind for equipment levels to keep me in the game and I moved on. I am interested to see how the first DLC “Underground” is when it is released next week on June 28th. My hope is that between Underground next week and then the 2nd DLC called Survival, they flesh out the single player story content and find a way to make the Dark Zone more than a PvP kill box for those of us who have not invested the time (casual players) to max out our equipment.

DLC 1 : UNDERGROUND

DLC 2 : SURVIVAL

The true progression of The Division will be seen in how the DLC expands on this pandemic ravaged world, multiplayer modes of play and hopefully a little deeper dive into the backstory.

For now I am going to fire up my Xbox , jump in my Magnum Opus to drive around the wasteland and crash haphazardly into scarecrows and raiders on my journey to Gastown.

PS: That was a hint, my next post will be about Mad Max