*This review tied for 1st place in VideoGameGeek’s monthly video game review contest for June 2013. The theme was Over 18.*

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      Hydrophobia was released on the PC, and later for the Playstation 3 with an enhanced version. This is a review of the Playstation 3 Version (it is digital only, and has no physical edition). Note: This game was not used with a Motion Controller.

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Start Menu

      Hydrophobia takes place in a city where you are an engineer with the night off. The world is celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the Queen of the World (a giant ship that houses an entire city), with advertisements of NanoTech in the background (a group who wants to make food for everyone). This immediately reminded me of Journeyman Project, where you roam around your room before a big event, only for a huge catastrophe to happen. Of course, said catastrophe does happen.

      You play as Kate Wilson. You start in your apartment and can explore as much as you like, and even find some hidden objects. All are useless for the game, but they all have a story, which lets you learn more about the character before you begin, such as a picture of her graduation, a letter from her dad, as well as a book with a brief summary of this future world. Your character’s electronics suddenly stop working, so you set out to see your co-worker, Scoot, and fix the problem, only for an explosion to happen while you are on an elevator. You find nothing but chaos on the floors below; everything is damaged, and you find terrorists (Malthusians) have invaded. The story of who they are and the world you are in itself is actually really clever, and is more exciting in the game to experience as they unfold (even though, technically, your character knows this already).

      The game starts out with you running around a ship’s deck in 3rd person, and your co-worker Scoot will talk to you to tell you where you need to head to get out alive and where to manually alter some doors (someone on the inside gave the terrorist’s the computer codes and they have all been reset). There is a 3 dimensional map to help you find your way. This map can be flipped in every single direction and zoomed in and out to find the path you need to take. You can also convert it into a ¾ perspective map.

      The explosions around the area have unleashed water around you; the visuals of the water are the best I have seen from any game, and the mechanics of this are very well designed, also. Sometimes, you will open a door, which will only partially flood the room. Then, another door will flood the room entirely. The water even leaves the room if you open a door to a room which held no water in it. The water effects and the reality of it make for a very fun game, but also terrorize you, because you never know when, at any moment, the entire room will flood while you try to find the exit.

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The room is only partial flooded here, enough to leave flammable gas vents to tend with.

      Once the room is flooded, you have 15 seconds to find an exit, or you will drown. What is great about it is, before the water comes, there will be music, and sound effects of creaking pipes and electrical problems; but once the water engulfs you, you hear it all stop, and the only thing you can hear is your arms swimming through water and the ship creaking. This immerses you into the game, immediately tells you something is wrong, and you start to associate the complete removal of all those sound effects and music with “Oh crap; I need to find an exit before I drown. Where is it? Where is it!” It gets creepier; as you drown, it gets harder and harder to see where you are going , and you start to hear voices toward the end which sound like a little kid calling for help. This is made to make you panic and realize you are about to die, and you feel very relieved when you find land just a few seconds before death.

      Because of what I stated above, the game really draws you into the experience and makes you a part of the game. This is all your doing for an hour or two; no enemies in sight. Eventually, you find the terrorists and have to hide.

      Then, you find a gun, and the 2nd part of the game begins. This gun is a force gun, and pushes the enemies away. A few light blasts and the enemy falls over unconscious. If you charge it, however, you can unleash a large blast that can stun an enemy unconscious instantly. Shoot them while they are down and you will kill them (as they can get back up shortly). At times, you will be going from room to room, killing enemies. Also, you will be swimming in the water, killing enemies while under the water and trying not to drown (They will normally have underwater gear; you won’t). Luckily, your gun works the same under water as much as it does above it.

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Quick, hide behind the…glass?

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A better hiding place

      Later, you will find other weapons, but your default weapon is much better. The only things you will want to use are the grenades. The grenades that attach to the enemy and count down from 10 before exploding are really fun to use. You can ONLY use weapons, as Kate has no experience in hand-to-hand combat. To avoid enemy fire, you have a cover system to hide behind a wall, then release a button to appear briefly out in the open to take shots.

      Throughout the game, you will need to pull our your computer table (that is see-through) and use it to find hidden keycodes on the walls to get into other areas. In addition, the philosophical works of the terrorists’ inspiration are also hidden on the walls as well, and are just for world-building and getting 100% completion.

      Finally, you combine with a virus that doesn’t kill you, and it gives you complete control over water. This starts the 3rd and final part for the game. You can cause water to rise very high, and lift boxes with it. Yes, this means puzzles attempts; you must bring a box over electrified water so you don’t die of electrocution, for example. But, it is also useful for pushing back the enemies, and you can also slam boxes and explosives at them.

      There is a downside to your powers; the virus is slowly killing you. Occasionally, you must collect inoculations to keep the virus at bay; you suddenly become very sick and can only walk, the screen covering up with the virus to prevent you from figuring out where to go. You must find the inoculation quickly or die. Luckily, these are in exact scripted locations, and not on a timer, otherwise you’d be trying to speed through the game the whole time.

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Kate Wilson after being infected with the nanotech virus

      Unfortunately, I feel this part of the game is over too quickly, and I wanted to play more with these powers. There is a mini-game you unlock after beating the game where you are in a watery arena below and a metal grate upper level around the corners, and you must complete different challenges with your water-based powers. It’s a fun diversion after the game is over; though it can be frustrating until you learn a trick you can use on the AI. While on the catwalk, simply use your water-based powers to bring a box toward you near the corner and block one direction of the walkway completely off. Then bring another box to block the view below so no one can see and fire at you, leaving a medium sized hole on the other corner. Now, there is only 1 direction most enemies can fire at you, and you have a hidey hole should combat not go your way (as you will still need to go out and find the enemies sometimes due to the time limit).

      Another aspect of the game is hacking. This is done by putting your computer tablet (that doesn’t ever stop working from all the water) near a door and playing a mini-game. Here, you can the control the left axis to increase or shrink a wavelengths size, and the right button to change it’s distance between waves. You must make an exact match of the wavelength already on the screen. It’s not a bad mini-game, actually, and doesn’t overstay it’s welcome.

      Along with the same tablet you carry, you can see the world on a different frequency; the backgrounds look a different color, and there are words and graffiti from the terrorists, as well as arrows you can follow to the key you need. You can even find the entire teachings of the man that the terrorists follow. In addition, there are arrows and hidden key codes written on the wall. This serves two objectives, a way to find keys, and a way to show through the story that this was an inside job to leave clues for the terrorists once they got on board (a pretty good combo, I’d say).

      The game is mostly linear, and has a pick up and play at anytime feel to it, as all you have to do is see where you have to go on the map (if it wasn’t there, you could spend a long time backtracking the entire game for no reason).

      The only problem I had with the game were all the hidden items; and they were mostly memos (I found a bottle of depression pills I couldn’t use for some reason). I like the house items, as it reveals most of the character and is optionality if people want to skip it. However, the problem I have is looking for small hidden objects in a game that is hugely immerse and life-threatening at any moment. These collection items can completely kill the mood and bring you back to reality. When I realized I was running around an entire wall and every single computer to look for memos, I had broken out of the experience and just stopped collecting the items altogether.

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      Story: 10 out of 10

The story is told in pieces as you uncover it, through your characters room, the memos left my other employees and the terrorist themselves, books on the history of your world, the ship, and the terrorists, plus the hidden keys that actually tie into the plot of the game. The world around you is introduced slowly so it feels surprising. It gets more points not just for the original story, but for how it’s told.

      Graphics: 8 out of 10

This is an independent game, with pretty decent graphics. The water is the best part. However, since you are on a ship for most of the game, I was surprised at how different each room was from the other; with only 1 room being a copy of another. Also, the water tosses on your screen as you move, as if your TV was a real video camera in the water.

      Music: 10 out of 10

I don’t remember the music. Do you know what I do remember? The sound of nothing as I scourge a ship looking for survival from explosions, electricity, and fire as they all crackle around me. The sounds of my feet trashing through the water, the slowing down as I try to silently sneak up on someone, hoping they don’t heard my footsteps. The total abrupt silence of nothing but the ship creaking around me while I drown, my breath getting quicker and quicker the more my character thinks they will die, the screen getting brighter and thicker as my mind enters a hazy fog of death. No, it’s not just the music, it’s the combination of music absence, and sound effects, and how they are used, that make this work.

      Challenge: 8 out of 10

This game is really hard in some places on the Hard difficulty. On Normal, it is also fairly difficult. There is one part near the end that I think many people could have a problem with; the 2 symmetrical large rooms (separated by a middle underwater hallway). You have to contend with around 20+ people underwater shooting at you, and people on the balcony (who can hide in cover) shooting at you, twice.

      Fun: 18 out of 20

I enjoyed the hell out of this game.

      Controls: 9 out of 10

You scale pipes to climb to higher places. You pull out a gun to shoot at people. You also have some fun grenades you can throw at people. To switch guns or select grenades, you have to pause the game. Though I found that even in hard mode the Force Gun is still the best weapon.

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Climbing up pipes to get to a room on the floor above you; never has a video game done this before.

      Replay Value: 7 out of 10

Aside from going through the game again for the collectibles and medals/trophies, the game is still fun, but might lose some of the immersion when you know what’s coming and what to do.

      Extras: 3 out of 10

There is mini-game where you use your water control powers in a challenge room. It’s fun and frustrating.

      Bonus Points:

      + 2 / – 2 – Collectibles

I’m torn here, because on one hand, the collectibles really add to the world of the game, but on the other, they ruin the sense of immersion that this game is good at producing.

      +10 Immersion

Seriously, how often do you really feel a part of the game. You always feel like you’re going to drown, you’re on edge from falling and fighting enemies.

Total Points: 83 out of 90

      Hydrophobia: Prophecy, is a very entertaining game, and can be yours for a very cheap price. It’s also not very long and doesn’t need that much of a time commitment. I recommend it for people who want to know what it’s like to feel really immersed in a game.

      I really hope that Episodes 2 & 3 in the planned trilogy actually getting made.

      It’s hard to do the game justice with still pictures, even with a trailer here; you should skip to the 1 minute mark: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZceJsTwdcg

      Samuel leaves me at the dock to the Lighthouse, and says Martin, Pendleton, & Havelock have turned on each other. Can’t say I’m surprised. Then he says he is disappointed in me because of my actions. Well excuse me for trying to save my own life. I knocked out many guards, and I never killed any Weepers. Was it not enough?

      I then feel the Outsider’s protection against Samuel gone. I ready my bow, ready to kill Samuel as he leaves, but then realize that he is one of the few that didn’t betray me. Plus, he also saved my life. I watch him go away, remembering what he said; we’ll never see each other again. I then remember I didn’t say goodbye to Cecelia and wonder if I will see her again, too.

      Realizing my actions of killing only partially have created a bad outcome, I don’t really try to knock anyone unconscious anymore. My psychic text powers alert me to the fact that I’m still a bad person even for killing a few people. I alert myself to some guards and then Stop Time at the exact moment they shoot their gun. I then possess another guards body and leave him right in front of the bullet. I watching as Time returns to normal, and the bullet flies right at the other man, killing him instantly. I possess one guard and take him into the water, killing him instantly. They all live on an island, yet never bothered to learn how to swim. Upstairs is a metal walkway that leads to a door, and I hear and guards above, but start firing my gun to get them down here. I quickly rewire an Arc Reator and it kills 3 of them slowly, meaning I have to run around them as it kills all of them in a few second. I possess the next few and walk them into the reactor.

      My wave of destruction is cut short when I enter the Guardhouse and find Martin and his men (a combination of city Guards & Overseers) are attacking Pendleton. They have already blow out a hole in the fort. I approach the guards and Martin while Martin is yelling at Pendleton, only to find that they are not interested in fighting me. I stand directly in front of Martin’s face, and he just stares at me; NOT A SINGLE PERSON OF THE 7 PEOPLE IN THIS OUTDOOR AREA TRY TO ATTACK ME! Martin must realize that I’m here to kill him, right? He shows no emotion and just stands there, dumbfounded at my resurrection. I decide to let him live, as it appears he is waiting for me to kill him for the guilt he must feel.

      I search all around the complex, going along the rooftops, the middle areas, and the ground, in what is a very large circular Guardhouse. With so much cliff and water below me, I start knocking guards unconscious and throwing them off the balcony, where they smash against the rocks or fall into the sea to drown below. Sometimes I see their small, lifeless bodies floating in the water around the island.

      When I eventually find Pendleton, atop the guard tower he doesn’t talk to me, just stares at me like Martin did. So I kill him for setting me up in the duel to die all that time ago. I was expecting something more epic. Maybe an apology. Maybe a final death threat. Why just a vacant stare and no dialogue? I don’t have my closure. I didn’t hear you suffer and scream as I watch my spring blade cut you to pieces. Then I climbed to the tallest tower and chucked your body into the raging rivers below. May your soul be damned to hell, Pendleton.

      Upon returning to different areas, I find that guards are magically returning in areas I already cleared (No one else ever attacks me in this outer area, and continues to stand still ignoring my footsteps and obvious facemask that matches all wanted posters. I leave to explore the other dock, but find absolutely nothing other than a few guards and a health potion. I do see two large, empty boats, so perhaps that is where the reinforcements that populated my cleared areas came from.

      The Lighthouse towers in the distance; who knows how high it is? There is only one way to the Lighthouse, and it’s through one small metal platform holding one guard and an Arc Reactor. I can see a small metal walkway under it where a re-wire weapon is housed. I possess the guard then take out the Whale Oil. Now there is nothing stopping. I gaze up at the tower and wonder how it was built is the could only only carry a few pounds at a time across this very small walkway. They had to have hauled the parts by ship and used pulleys…somehow. I’m just going to assume the Outside helped them.

      I see Lightning crack in the distance over my town of Dunwall. But, then I turn toward our city, and it’s on fire; I see nothing but smoke. What is happening to my city while I am gone?

      I climb down and explore the Lighthouse’s bottom, but there is nothing there. I then return to the elevator to begin my accent. As I rise, I wonder why there was only 1 guard here; if I know there was only one way into my house and someone wanted to kill me; I’m pretty sure I would have placed at least 10 guards around this elevator.

      I start by going up the steps and Blinking behind a guard, who I knock unconscious and throw off a balcony. I watch him fall for what feels like a minute. I follow him with my zoom eye until he vanishes from site; that’s how far up I am.

      I Blink behind the walkway the opposite direction I’m suppose to go, walk around the corner, up an air conditioner, and find myself on top of the Greenhouse. In the distance, I hear Emily and Havelock arguing. He is struggling with Emily, and tells her that I’m a bad person. Emily says that I am her friend and that I am coming to kill him. She is right about that.

      Instead of helping her, however, I go down the stairs and find a maid that Havelock has killed. I toss her over the balcony and continue downstairs and find…the maid hanging straight down off the balcony railing. Her toes are hanging on the edge, supporting her entire weight as she flows with the wind.

      I walk into the Greenhouse and find Havelock’s notes. He says everyone in the conspiracy must die except people with something to lose. He also wonders if Emily is my child. I wonder about that , too. I also find a mattress on the floor that I can tell is where Emily was kept.

      I finally decide to save Emily and Blink over to where Havelock is, and accidentally knock him unconscious when I wanted to kill him. Emily thanks me for saving her, then asks if I killed them all. I tell her yes, and she says it’s a good thing, as she’d have them all killed anyway. I have just saved the future Empress of Dunwall, but how will she rule now that she has been surrounded by death and betrayal? I killed for her so she could take the throne; all she has learned from that is that you must kill to get what you want. The future is bleak, and Dunwall will most certainly suffer under her rule.

      The Outsider does not say hope is completely lost; for he can give me the ability to turn back time to when I first arrived in Dunwall, and try again. I accept the Outsider’s gift, but now I can only think of how angry I am that nothing went the way I wanted. I had tried to be equally punishing and forgiving, only to find no middle ground. There is only one thing to do now. Now, they will all pay; everyone in Dunwall – I will kill them ALL!

The End?

Continue To “Kill Everyone Playthrough Stats (In the Near Future)”

Return To: “Mission 8 – Hound’s Pit Massacure”

Viking - Cover
Cover For All Countries / Watch the Trailer Here

      In Viking: Battle For Asgard, you are a Viking warrior who is nearly killed by undead Vikings, only to be saved by Freya (Goddess of beauty and love) from near death to be her Avatar. Hel (Goddess of the Underworld) has raised an undead Viking army to take over Midgard and free Fenrir (the wolf god) from his chains. This will start Ragnarok, which will destroy the gods and cause a long winter over the Earth; for the first god to set Ragnorak in motion will be the only god that lives to rule over what is left.

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Hel seeks to conquer all of Midgard & Asgard with her undead horde.

      The opening prologues for each world have dark and gritty comic book inspired panels with a very good voice over. They are entertaining to watch, and two describe the back-story of Drakan (Hel’s Avator) and Hel herself.

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Prologue to the game

      You start off in your own village, having brought about the end of the zombie siege on your town. One thing you’ll notice, is how lively the area is; there are people fighting with a group of other watching & various people will occasionally stop and sit on the ground to rest. There are around 50 people or more in this town, and you can only talk to 5 of them; you only talk to who is necessary. In later areas, with larger towns and a group of 200 or more people, random people will tell you where the important people are (so you don’t get lost; or, maybe you don’t know how to read a radar), but these people are never on your radar.

      Your radar in the upper right hand corner actually has a story purpose. It is a glowing amulet from Freya that allows you to see what is important near you (such as people), and if you select a place on the map, it will allow it to become a dot on your radar so you can find it without pausing to check the map all the time.

      The best thing about the map is that every time you find a settlement, town, cave, or important event, it will be marked on your map so you can always find it; which is a really good idea. In addition, the symbol will become blue when you haven’t finished that ‘level’, and red once you have conquered it. Sometimes, these levels need requirements, such as freeing two towns before you can attack the castle.

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Here you can check all your objectives and your current position.

      The world outside the town is large, and you want to search everywhere for captured Vikings, as this will increase your army. You see, in Viking, there are 3 type of things you do; attack, sneak, and go to war.

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WAR!

      In the beginning, you will find some random undead that you need to kill that charge at you. Every time you attack, that enemy makes the sound of sword cutting bone, immersing you into the battle. In addition, when you attack an enemy long enough, they will get a Square above their head. This indicates they are dying, and if you let them die, you will get 1 pink enemy to fill your elemental attacks. But, if you kill them quickly before they fully die, you will get a slow-motion cinematic kill, along with 3 red energy balls. Each cinematic attack varies so it never gets old. Plus, you won’t be doing it all the time, as in large groups, doing this will most likely get you stabbed in the back; enemies do not wait in line to attack you.

      Regarding the combat, you had better pick your fights carefully; it is hard to run away. If you run from a battle, every 3 seconds you will be attacked in the back because the enemies runs faster than you do. This is also why stealth plays a large element in the game.

      In the first captured settlement, stealth is figuring out that attacking lone warriors when they walk away from their captured human will limit the number of enemies by half. When you attack an enemy, every enemy near them within a certain radius automatically knows where you are, and when they know, they create their own radius, resulting in a quick death as they all charge and pile upon you. You can take out only around 4 enemies at once in the beginning, but by the end, with the variety of attacks you can purchase and the fast movement, I was able to take up to at least 10 at once.

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If you select ‘X’ your character will perform an instant kill; but this only happens
when the enemy hasn’t discovered you, or they are dying

      The game gets more fun once you purchase the stealth kill. The best part about it is, you don’t have to be really close to an enemy to use it, but make sure that no enemy has spotted you. Later in the game, you will find large patrols of marching guards. You will need to be in a good place so they don’t spot you while roaming the land. After the first island, it gets harder, because most groups will always have a horn blower that, if he spots you, will call every undead near and far to come and attack. In addition, there are 5 cities that must be snuck into to do a secret objective. These towns have hundreds of undead Vikings, and you must study their movements, know when you can attack, and find out how to sneak around, or you will die quickly by alerting the entire city.

      Your health regenerates, but only in open areas, and never when a single enemy is still looking at you. You must run away (if you can) or kill everything on the screen before you can heal again, which is why choosing your battles is important. I like this mechanic, as it forces you to be smart about when you engage the enemy.

      The attacks in the game seem simple. You press X to attack quick, and Square to attack hard. Square you can hold down for more damage. You can also press Square after X for a combo. Later, you will buy attacks such as X, X, Square, and selecting X while in the air to attack from the sky.

      Every time you connect with the enemy, you will receive a small disc shape under your life bar. You can have up to 5. Now, you can hold L1, and chose to attack with X or Square, and your attacks are now more powerful (if you have bought them), but depending on what move you use, you will extinguish 1, 2 or 3 discs, then have to use normal attacks again to build it up again. This is a very interesting idea. It keeps you from being overpowering all the time, and gives you nearly double the additional attacks when fighting the enemy. Plus, since you are using only a few new moves at a time, you are given time to learn each move as the game progresses (and you can practice using each specific move in the arena). Your move set by the end of the game is so large you will learn to fight and improve better, despite the fact your character never gets any stronger or gains any Experience Points; it is you who is getting better.

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Cinematic Kill With Bone Crushing Sound Effects

      Later, you can buy elemental attacks (which has a power bar that fills when you collect red energy from fallen enemies). When you chose to activate an element, it becomes imbued to your sword and you can attack with Fire, Lightning, or Ice. Fire and Lighting make you cause more damage, but Ice will actually freeze enemies in place, and if you attack them again, they shatter; this feels much more powerful than the other elements, since it even works on shield and armor grunts if you bypass their defense. You can also chose to use an extremely large amount of energy for a massive attack, but I never found it helpful for Fire and Ice (Ice & Fire always missed, even when I was surround by people). Only Lightning is useful, as it target locks on 1 foes; but only 1 foe; it’s wasted on most regular enemies unless they have shields, or are wearing spiked armor. In addition, you can use your elemental powers near your army, and every troop in certain radius will also get elemental sword attacks.

      Finally, is the war. Along the way, you can find and free captured Vikings. When the war finally begins, you will have a large army, and you will want to empower them with your elemental attacks. The map will show you things only you can do to turn the tide of battle. It actually feels like a massive battle (there is never any slowdown), and knowing it’s coming and increasing your army to decimate the enemy is incredibly fun.

      Later, you will unlock dragons to aid you in the war effort. When you kill a boss on the battlefield, you will get a dragon medallion (you can only ever have 3 at one time). You can then summon the dragon as an air strike to attack a boss (for 2 dragon medallions) or a group of archers that your army can’t get to quickly, or at all (for 1 dragon medallion).

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Dragon Strike

Viking - Dragon Strike 2
Dragon Owned

      There are some video games that make you think just a small tweak here and there would make you not annoyed or angry. Viking seems to have addressed all of those minor problems that current video games still do not on occasion. I noticed these:

1) You start over at the beginning of the settlement when you die. You can do each one in less than 5-15 minutes, so there should be no complaining, as you should be smart enough to sneak around on occasion.
2) All Vases, Treasure Bags, & Chests glow; you can even see them in darkness and far, far away.
3) Every vase you destroy automatically places the money in your inventory; you don’t have to let the gold fall to the ground, then wander to pick it up.
4) Every single piece of treasure (no matter how minor) is auto-saved, so that even when you restart a mission, you don’t have to collect all the treasure in one play session.
5) Every conversation you’ve had is saved so you know what your missions and objectives are.
6) Once you talk to someone; that’s it, you can’t physically talk to them again (except with a few exceptions). This is easier because after a major event, you don’t have to worry about talking to everyone just to make sure something else has opened up.

Viking - Impale

      Story: 10 out of 10

You never speak a single line of dialogue. This brings back the older ways of video games where they make the character not talk so you can put your own feeling into the game. Freya starts off in a loving and nurturing tone, but as the game progresses, she get more and more angry at different sights that have been conquered and destroyed, that she commands you to destroy the undead army sa if their veyr presence is an insult. you slowly realize you are just a tool for her, and nothing more.

Story Cons: The one story flaw is that I predicted the twist (not in the story, but in your heritage) in the first 5 minutes of the game; this is because the first person I talked to (a shaman with visions) stated too much of a hint. Another is Draken’s back story. You get it in the beginning of World 2, then he taunts you in the middle of the game. But, when you finally meet him, you go straight to the fight with no dialogue; and nothing happens after the fight; he vanishes forever. This is missing buildup and tension; this was a missed story opportunity.

      Music: 8 out of 10

I don’t really remember the music too much, but the one thing I love, is that I don’t need a single subtitle. Every word is vocally recognizable, and nowhere does the music make it hard to hear what anyone is saying.

      Challenge: 10 out of 10

The mix of hardcore battle attacks, logical stealth, and massive wars make a polished game that is also not too hard (I only played Normal mode so far). You have unlimited tries at each settlement. I also seemed to make the challenge on myself harder. If you free the Vikings from their cages, they will fight the undead with you, but any lone undead too far from the battle will simply disappear. I would make it a point to kill every enemy myself before opening the cages.

      Fun: 20 out of 20

Nothing prevented me from playing this game, and only this game, until I completed it.

      Control: 10 out of 10

The controls are varied, but they start small and build up; plus, you can practice all of them and get a feel for how they work. Nothing ever felt off or unbalanced about the controls.

      Graphics: 6 out of 10

Eh, what do I say. The graphics look good outside, but you’ll be looking at a lot of the same characters again and again; even the end boss, though she looks different, has the same attack as most of Giants you encountered.

Viking - Giant
Hi. I’m the Giant you will fight so much that I will cease to be a Sub-Boss and become just a
common enemy because you’ll have memorized by attack patterns.

      Extras: 0 out of 10

Sadly, there are no extras to this game, not even any codes. There were some hidden skulls in 3 towns that you are forced to sneak into that are hidden as to make the stealth hard, but they don’t register. In fact, there are no trophies on the PS3 version of the game even though the XBOX game had Achievements.

      Bonus Points:

      + 5 Making Video Game Mechanics / Cliches Actual Story Point

The vases you destroy with gold in them are the villagers that escaped before the undead Vikings attacked, and hoped that one day they would return home to start their life anew. The radar is actually an amulet given to you by Freya to find your way, in addition to pinpointing important people to talk to, treasure, and major locations. The undead Vikings still hoard gold even though they cannot use it because their greed follows them into the afterlife.

      +10 Making Stealth Work

The game isn’t entirely stealth based, but the times it is, it feels realistic and it isn’t out of place. You wouldn’t go straight into the enemies front door and fight 100 enemies by yourself would you? You can try.

      -2 Forgotten Game Mechanic

At one point you will find yourself stuck and unable to progress (at just the first world, no less). It is not stated anywhere in the game or in the manual, but you can actually climb vines that are covering a wall.

      Total Points: 76 out of 90

Nothing else to say. I think this game has been vastly underrated and not given enough chance. I would love to see a sequel, or at least a spiritual sequel.

Fun Glitches

There are a few small glitches here and there, but they never do anything and are mainly just fun to seek out. Once, I waited for a traveling group of 60 undead to wander into town at the exact moment I freed my captured Viking breather. However, the Vikings went straight into standing and walking mode and did not help me fight; I was immediately killed. On my next life, I found that you only had to free the city for the entire group to just disappear.

Another glitch is rare, but you can make it happen. When an enemy is dying if you wait until he is about to disappear, and attack him with the death kill as some of him is still on screen (right before the Square button vanishes) you will initiate a slow-motion cinematic death attack against absolutely nothing.

Viking - Freya Profile
Freya

Viking - Hel Profile 2
Hel – You can tell she’s evil because she has less clothes

Here, watch another trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBPM-iqAzxQ

      Outside the Boyle home, I find many Tallboys, and tons of Weepers. I play along the rooftops and evade patrol routes, but I don’t kill anyone today; not even Weepers. Maybe I’m in a good mood today, but I make it my goal that no one dies tonight.

      After exploring every house I can, I look for ways into the manor. I posses a fish to get in the basement, walking through a door which leads to the kitchen. I eat the food they are cooking then go into the locker room and steal some coins. I then realize that I just stole the meek amount of money that the maids get paid by the nobles; I am a bad person.

      Going upstairs, I can see the party to my left, but the stairs continue upwards. Unfortunately, when I try to go up, a guard blocks the stairs and pushes me away. I only have to wait a minute for him to walk down stairs, at which point I make sure no one is looking, and quickly make my way upstairs.

      I run into the White Boyles room, only to find out from the first room that I’ve searched is the Boyle that I am looking for. In her bathroom I make a great discovery; she has a key to the Dunwall Castle. At one point, guards start walking through her room to the hallway; you must go through White Boyle’s room if you want to go to the 2nd floor hallway? This is some messed up design. I would hate to live like that.

      I leap off her balcony and run into the man Pendleton wanted me to deliver the letter to. I follow him to the field and a guard starts talking about me being Pendleton’s proxy for what I realize, once they open a box of pistols, in a duel. That lying sack of shit. Pendleton wants me dead! But doesn’t he need me to overthrow the Lord Regent? He’s also a coward, getting me to fight a battle for him; but I think he knows I can win because he needs Lady Boyle gone, also. I’ll kill him when I return.

      I go around to a guard station and steal some gold while a guard is looking. He does not care. I then eat an apple on the desk, to which he exclaims, “Hey, my apple.” I start laughing in his face. I return to the party and start talking to everyone. At one point, I bother a guy who says he doesn’t think I’m on the guest list and reports me to a guard. When he asks who I am, I simply tell the guard I work for the Outsider, and he just believes I’m drunk.

      All 3 Boyles are in masks, and playing a game with their guests in which they must guess which is which. I already know from the notes I’ve seen upstairs. I talk to all the Boyles, and once I’m sure the White one is my target, I seduce her by making it look like I am after her, but not because I’m trying to win this game. I don’t tell her I know which Boyle she is, or show her who I am.

      She escorts me up to her room, and as I follow, she says she is with someone powerful at the moment, but she can’t name him. She says she doesn’t like him, and just needs him to help her family survive in this city. This is not a villain. I knock her unconscious then freeze time to get her body through the maids in the kitchen so I can take her downstairs. The man in the mask says that she’ll be fine, and I sort of trust him, until he says she’ll have all her life to love him. I’m going to try and not think about that, I just ran through the house and it’s streets without killing a single person for the first time, and this is how it had to happen.

Continue To “Mission 6 – Revenge: Anticipation”

Return To: “Mission 4 – Kidnap Sokolov: Kidnap & Interrogate”

Mission 2 – Kill The Religion: The City

   &nbsp  One of the first things I see now that I am released from prison, and it’s the City Watch dumping bodies from a bridge into a boat below. One of them says “I think that one moved,” but they toss it over anyway. “Well, it’s not moving no more.” Great. I’m so glad I used to work with these type of people.

   &nbsp  I see a Wall of Light, which is a wall of electricity that will disintegrate anything that walks in front of it. I instead go the other way and find two guys just walking about. I don’t know why they are here when the City Watch is just a few paces away. I point my heart at one of the men and it says he reports his friends to the Lord Regent.

   &nbsp  I make my way into a house and find Granny Rags, an old woman who has her house suddenly attacked by the Bottle Neck Gang. She says if I help her, she’ll give me something, so I place a springwire trap on the ground then open the door. It kills one, and then I quickly make short work of the others with my sword

   &nbsp  Granny Rags gives me a bone charm, then asks if I can help her take care of the street gang itself by poisoning their illegal elixir they make. I think about it as I make my way through the city. I walk through the city streets, avoid people, and end up accidently saving a shopkeeper, who gives me some good deals; even the heart agrees with me on that one. I further explore the city and find two thugs having a disagreement with some other thugs (they think one of them is stealing money from a City Watch corpse), who then kill each other. This city has gotten so disgustingly evil since I’ve been gone. I decide to end the lives of the 2 people remaining.

   &nbsp  I make my way to a scientist’s house who has some rat poison I can steal to poison the elixir supply of the street gang. There are also questions about how the rat plague appeared, since most rats seem to have started in the inner city instead of the docks.

   &nbsp  Leaving the scientist’s house, The Blink power comes in handy when jumping around out of view, but I still take the time to enjoy the scenery and look for any possible wall I can mantle and climb over. I constantly look for other ways to walk, jump, fly, & yes, even fall.

   &nbsp  I make my way back to the Distillery. I am told that I should not enter, and retract my steps. Luckily, I find that I can walk on the pipes above and sneak past them all (no one ever looks up). I hear people talk about someone who could move very fast and wears a mask; but I haven’t been here yet, so I don’t know who they’re talking about. The Outsider has given many people these powers before, but for what purpose? I quickly find some secrets inside, steal many valuables, then search for the elixir to poison. I finally do the deed then quietly escape without being noticed.

   &nbsp  I return to tell Granny Rags the news, and find she has built a totem to the Outsider. The Outsider suddenly appears out of nowhere. Is he following me everywhere and watching me non-stop? Is he tracking everything I do to make sure I complete a task for him? In Thief, the Trickster watched over Garrett for a while so he could get him to steal an artifact for him (both creatures are enemies of the church and considered the true evil by them, mind you) so I am suddenly worried he is keeping tabs on me for a reason. But, he speaks so calmly it’s almost like he cares about Granny Rags when he says she used to be very famous, so much so that many people vied for her hand in marriage.

   &nbsp  I have fun knocking out guards in the middle of the street, and then I reprogram the 2nd Wall of Light and purposely cause a commotion. Two guard runs toward me and are quickly vaporized. Another guard looks at me and tosses a grenade, but it evaporates. He walks slowly, then stops, slowly, then stops, slow, then stops. Hello, you’ve seen 2 friends and a grenade vaporized; do you really want to come after me? Finally, after his 3rd stop, he growls impatiently, draws his sword, and runs directly at me in a rage. I watch his body explode into ash. These guards are not very smart. Anyway, with the street now mine, I make my way to the Overseer property.

Continue To “Mission 2 – Kill The Religion: Corruption”

Return To “Mission 1.5 – Secrets & Stealing”

Photobucket
X-Men Arcade Cabinet (6 Player)

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X-Men Arcade Start Screen

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X-Men Playstation 3 Start Screen

      X-Men: The Arcade Game was released into Arcades in 1992. It was released on the Playstation 3 & X-BOX 360 in 2010. For me, it was available only at the local Putt-Putt Golf in the Arcade section. Nothing was as cool as playing with 6 friends, and even other strangers, all while fighting various marvel villains. I remember sometimes our group would wait for some players to play a bit, then continue where they left off once they quit so we didn’t have to always start at the beginning and spend so many quarters.

      This review will cover the Playstation 3 version and it’s various special feature. First, there are 2 Cabinets you can play; 4 Player (Full Frame) and 6 Player (Wide Screen). The 6 Player is better in either game, as in the 4 Player game you will occasionally be shot by the armored men with guns before you can even see them, while the 6 Player version gives you more room to move. However, the 4 player allows you to get to enemies quicker.

      When the game starts, you will see a strangely out-of-place screen with the Marvel villains. It looks out of place after watching the 1990’s graphics of the original opening before it.

      You can chose 1 of 6 different X-Men from the comic books (however, all the designs for the characters are based off of the failed 1989 TV Pilot: X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men). You can chose from Cyclops, Wolverine, Dazzler, Nightcrawler, Colossus, & Storm.

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Come, Cyclops, Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Storm, & Blond Woman.

      Now, onto the controls. Your options are Punch (Circle), Kick (Up + Circle [but only while near an enemy]), Jump (X), and Mutant Power (Triangle). There are no weapons to pick up, but none would really match X-Men anyway unless you were playing as Cable or Bishop. Each character also has a sort-of screen clearing move (Cyclops uses a wide beam that destroys everything in front of him, but not behind him). That’s it. The controls are very basic. As such, it can get repetitive if you want to play through the game as every single character, but for a short 30 minute session with friends it’s a fun experience to beat up Sentinels and X-Men villains.

      Your main goal is to stop the Sentinels (controlled by Magneto) from destroying the city; then it’s to save Kitty Pryde, then to save Professor Xavier. In the comics, Sentinels kill mutants, but you just assume that, being robots, they are Magnetic and Magneto can easily alter their body and/or processors.

      You start out in the streets of an unknown city that has been devastated by Sentinel attacks, then go to a Factory, Island M (I assume this is Muir Island or the Savage Land), and then Asteroid M.

      Along the way you will fight Pyro, Blob, Windigo (?), White Queen, Juggernaut, 2 unknown Super Sentinels, Mystique, & Magneto. Over the course of the actual levels, however, you mainly only fight 2 types of enemies; re-colored Sentinels and re-colored armored men with guns. There is the occasional addition of moving lasers, fire generators, Reavers (comic villains), and monsters that grow out of the ground.

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Are these the Reavers? Or just a random coincidence by the developers?

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You must beat all the bosses again in the final level.

      Some of the enemies are severely underutilized, such as the mechanical bugs, the flying bat robot, killer plants, and the killer bees (though the bees are the most annoying). Why make so many villains if you’re only going to use them once in the whole game, but keep using the same two enemies over and over?

      There are also 2 country versions; you can play the Japanese or the American version. The Japanese used the English audio, but has Japanese subtitles in cut-scenes. There are only 3 differences between them that I could tell.

      1) In the American version, when you want to use your mutant power, you must use it from your own life energy first. You have a mutant power glob that you can get every time you start a new life, but you can only use it when you have 1 or 2 energy bars of life left. In the Japanese version, you use your orbs first, then once depleted, you start using your own life energy.

      2) The Japanese version is also easier, as it removed the grated lasers on the ground that you have to avoid throughout the entire game. They are fun in the America version because you can also knock enemies into them.

      3) Finally, the Japanese version has power-ups that give you more mutant powers, however, this is not present anytime you play with just a Single Player.

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      Story: 10 out of 10

The X-Men (Nightcrawler, Cyclops, Storm, Colossus, Wolverine, Dazzler, Kitty Pryde, & Professor Xavier) must fight Magneto and his army (Pyro, White Queen, Juggernaut, Mystique, & Sentinels). You start out trying to stop sentinels, then the story actually does change as people get kidnapped, you fight people from the comic books, you play as people from the comic books (with appropriate power), and you even go to locations from the comics (Asteroid M).

      Music: 7 out of 10

Most of the time, you would not hear the music in the Arcades. But now on your home console, you can hear the music, and it’s actually pretty enjoyable. It never gets repetitive or boring, and it’s just plain strange to me for some reason, but a strange I enjoy.

      Challenge: 5 out of 10

Since this is an arcade game, I have to just give it an average score. X-Men gives you unlimited quarters to beat the game. Though this removes the challenge, it simply means it’s meant for a multi-player game to relive the entire game of your youth without having to spend tons of loose change.

      Fun: 10 out of 20

X-Men is fun in short bursts, but when I tried playing 2 playthroughs in a row, it got boring. I usually went 2-3 weeks between picking it up again to play with another character.

      Controls: 10 out of 10

The controls are simple to use; anyone could play this game. However, just because it’s really simple does not count against it.

     Graphics: 8 out of 10

The graphics are really polished, and you can tell all the character and locations look as they are. The graphics and cut-scenes give it a comic-book / cartoon look (a serious one), and the character sprites and enemies actually match the cut-scenes (the openings and endings). It seems they only re-colored many Sentinels, but they designed a lot of extra enemies that appear very briefly, along with missiles, lasers, etc, so an effort for extra graphics was made.

      Replay: 5 out of 10

It won’t be getting any single player usages for many years, but if any friends are over and we want to play a video game that supports 6 players, I can start X-Men for a quick gaming session.

      Extras: 4 out of 10

The Trophies are pretty lame, and completely unnecessary, with one that says to Not Jump at all on Level 4. Three of them require all 6 Players playing throughout the entire game; if they leave for any reason, the trophy will not work. The choice of 3 difficulty settings (Easy, Normal, Hard), the Japanese and American versions of the game, plus the 4 or 6 player cabinet from each makes for a pretty good feature.

      Bonus Points

      +5 for 6 Player Game

      + 5 for Cheesy Dialogue

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“I am Magneto, Master of Magnet.” (Yes, that’s what he says)

Seriously, how many 6 player games did you know of back in 1992? How many do you know of in 2012 that don’t require internet only co-op?

The dialogue here is the most fun to listen to, just for its awfully cheesy dialogue, especially from Magneto. It’s not just the dialogue, but also the delivery.

Magneto surprises you in level 3 and says, “X-Men, Welcome…To Die.”

Magneto shouts at you randomly: “X-Men, you shall meet with my wrath.”

You die while fighting Magneto: “You Are/Dead.” The tone is abruptly cut as if it’s two different voice samples together without a space or pause

Sometimes when you are punched by Magneto: “X-Chicken”

      Total Points: 69 out of 90

Overall, this is a fun game to play with friends, and it requires no long term commitment. Single player is fun, but only once or twice, and not worth a huge investment. If you enjoy the X-Men, you will enjoy this game with its representations of many characters from their world and it will make for a fun game session with friends.

This Review is also available

      VideoGameGeek / RetrowareTV / GameFAQS

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Shawn