A Dishonored 2 Essay

A Dishonored 2 Essay

Posted by on Nov 25, 2016 in Commentary, featured, PS4, Reviews |

Overall, Dishonored 2 is a proper sequel. The core gameplay from the original is kept intact so if you loved those mechanics then you’re in for a treat. If you didn’t then there’s nothing in this installment that will make you change your mind.

Dishonored 2 is the sequel to 2012’s stealth action game about a man falsely accused of assassinating an empress. The new installment follows the footsteps of the original so closely that they’re within arms-reach of each other.

Similar to the first Dishonored you can cast spells, use weapons and tools to traverse the environment and fight your enemies. Corvo and Emily have different powers so there are incentives for at least two playthroughs. There’s also the option to play with no powers, giving cause for a third. Some of the spells are usable in lethal and non-lethal ways, so those who prefer the latter won’t feel too restrained in their restraint. The high/low chaos system returns and, thankfully, not only affects the ending and the environment but NPCs as well.

The plot is unimaginative. It’s a rehash of the original: you are removed from your position of power and then you go out to set things right. Even the false accusation of murder is back, although this time you’re allegedly responsible for several deaths instead of one. And similar to the original, you take out a key target per level with the option to do it lethally or not. From a plot and gameplay standpoint, Dishonored 2 plays it very safe. You get more of the same—a lot of it.

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A Quick Review of Divinity: Original Sin

A Quick Review of Divinity: Original Sin

Posted by on Jul 15, 2014 in Commentary, featured, PC, Reviews |

Divinity: Original Sin is the latest game in the Divinity franchise, setting itself up as a prequel to the previous titles. You play as a pair of Source Hunters and it’s your job to save the world, I think. I haven’t been paying attention to the story very well so don’t expect a lot of that in this write-up. I’m going to focus on the gameplay—the glorious, bloody gameplay.

The important thing you need to know about Original Sin is that it’s like a modern version of Baldur’s Gate. Combat is turn-based with an action point (AP) system similar to classic Fallout. Actions such as attacking and spellcasting cost points. The more points you have, the more actions you can do per turn.

What makes Original Sin’s combat stand out is how it plays around with elemental and status effects. For example, you can drop oil on your foes to cause Slow, reducing their AP, then light that oil on fire, causing Burning, a damage-over-time effect. Fire plus poison causes explosions in this game, so poisoning a target that’s on fire often yields impressive results. The variety of things that you can do removes the act of simply hitting the other guy repeatedly until he dies. Crowd control abilities such as knockdowns and stuns are also present, contributing further to the large amount of options that you have when you fight.

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Review: Shadowrun Returns

Review: Shadowrun Returns

Posted by on Aug 18, 2013 in PC, Reviews |

Shadowrun 2013-08-18 09-26-19-91

Shadowrun Returns is a tactical role-playing game set in a future where magic, technology, humans and meta-humans co-exist. You are a shadowrunner, a professional body-for-hire doing jobs for whoever pays the most.

Gameplay

The core gameplay of Shadowrun Returns is a throwback to the isometric, turn-based tactical strategy games of old like Fallout 1 and 2. Plainly speaking, you and your opponent take turns trying to kill each other using a combat system that’s a bit simplified compared to games using similar mechanics. For example, turns are on a per team instead of a per individual basis, magic is cast with no resource/mana restrictions and ammo is unlimited. To balance that, there are cooldowns for the more powerful spells and reloading will usually cost a turn.

Shadowrun 2013-08-18 22-33-42-95 Shadowrun 2013-08-18 22-33-44-73 Shadowrun 2013-08-18 22-34-10-14

The gameplay shines when it comes to variety. You can fight using conventional methods like shooting, punching and kicking. Or you can go medieval fantasy and cast spells or summon creatures. There’s also the option of going high tech and use drones to do your bidding. Bottom line, the game offers several viable options for combat so it deserves more than one playthrough.

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Review: Remember Me

Posted by on Aug 4, 2013 in PC, PS3, Reviews, Xbox 360 |

I first heard of Remember Me by accident. I was browsing for wallpapers and found a couple of futuristic cityscapes that I liked.

The pictures eventually led to looking up where they came from and that’s how I found out about the game. I chose it over Deadpool when it came out, deliberately ignoring reviews about both games so that I had no external influences. If I was going to regret the choice then I’d rather discover it myself.

The early impressions I posted about the game persisted until the end so I’m just going to summarize them. The graphics are very impressive, providing immersive environments that just beg to be explored. Unfortunately the linear level design prevented me from doing so. To make things worse there were times when I was fighting the camera. Fine, I can’t explore. Then I find out I can’t even look?

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Review: Dishonored

Review: Dishonored

Posted by on Oct 27, 2012 in Commentary, PC, PS3, Reviews, Xbox 360 |

Dishonored 2012-11-03 11-32-07-59

Dishonored is a stealth action game developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. You are Corvo Attano, former Lord Protector-turned-prisoner, framed for the assassination of the very Empress you were supposed to protect. With the assistance of allies who arrange a prison breakout, you are tasked with uncovering the truth, finding the real perpetrators and enacting justice.

At the heart of Dishonored’s gameplay is the idea of choice. You are informed very early on that taking a more violent approach will result in a darker ending. This is but one of the many decisions that you will make as you play. Similar to Deus Ex there are often multiple ways to solve the problems the game throws at you. For example, to open a locked door you can kill a guard and take his key. You can also knock him unconscious and achieve the same result. Would you forgo the door altogether and try to find another way in, like through a window? Or maybe possessing a rat then finding a hole to run through is a better solution? You are rarely left with a single route when it comes to getting to what you want or where you need to be.

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Review: Dragon’s Dogma

Review: Dragon’s Dogma

Posted by on Sep 6, 2012 in PS3, Reviews, Xbox 360 |

Dragons_Dogma_Logo

Play video games long enough and you eventually associate companies with specific titles and genres. 2D fighting? Capcom’s Street Fighter. Japanese RPGs? Square Enix, Final Fantasy. Western RPGs? Look up games from Bioware.

So when something like Dragon’s Dogma hit the shelves it’s bound to raise a few eyebrows. After all, it’s an RPG by Capcom. Aside from Street Fighter, the company is also known for Resident Evil and Devil May Cry, all of which are action-oriented titles. It’s not completely unfamiliar territory though. They’ve ventured into the genre before with Megaman X: Command Mission and Namco X Capcom. Both games received mixed reviews, meaning they were good enough to be bought pre-owned back in their day. This less than impressive track record was what I had in mind when I dived into Dragon’s Dogma.

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