Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Race for the Crown Has Begun!

Fable 3, Lionhead Studio's third installment to the Fable franchise. The game takes place 50 years from the events of Fable 2. In the years that followed, the Hero of Fable 2 united Albion and formed it in to a industrial aged kingdom. When the Hero passed away the throne was bestowed to the eldest of his two children, Logan. Over time Logan became a tyrant and his rule seemed to be cruel and unreasonable. This is where your story begins. "Live the epic adventure of a revolutionary leader, fighting alongside your people to seize the crown. Through out your journey, the actions you take will change the world around you, for good or ill. Who will you become? The tyrant you rebelled against, or the greatest ruler to ever live?"

So if you read my previous post you will know that I have been a fan of the Fable series for quite a while. Although I was not pleased with the outcome of Fable 2. I felt the story line was weak, the co-op camera was horrific to use which ruined the experience, and for the most part the game took a step back in progress from the original Fable. I am glad to say that is the exact opposite about Fable 3. The story line was interesting and a great improvement compared to Fable 2, the revised co-op camera and feature was greatly improved which made the playing experience two times better, the newly added weapon morphing feature was amusing and for the most part it took a step forward from Fable 2. Lionhead's mission was to make Fable 3 everything Fable 2 was and better and that's what they did.

Some of the things I didn't like in Fable 3 was the new progression/experience feature. Instead of gaining experience for the three separate categories of strength, skill, and magic you now gain experience by collecting general experience orbs after completing a quest killing an enemy, or developing relationships with villagers. These orbs accumulate towards earning a guild seal. With so many guild seals you can unlock abilities and upgrades such as combat proficiencies, magic spells, expressions, and job skills on the "Road to Rule." The "Road to Rule" is basically a progression mark. For every follower you gain, a new gate is unlocked on the "Road to Rule." Each gate contains chests which holds unlock-ables and upgrades. It really isn't that bad of a new feature I just find it a bit cliche, unpractical, and I prefer the original Fable experience progression feature better. Another thing I didn't like was the not so great graphics and the bugs/glitches. During the game there was two types of cut scenes. The first type is what I like to call "In game cut scenes." This is where the not so great graphics really showed. The characters were rough and their texture and such was like plastic almost like a doll. Then there was "movie cut scenes." Character texture looked smooth and almost realistic which made them looked totally different from in game (a good example is Logan). But over all the graphics were not that bad to view during game play. As for bugs/glitches, for the most part the only time I experienced them was during co-op play and when it did happen it didn't really affect game play. Although a bug that I found to affect game play was during the job mini games. As you completed each round, increasing your gold multiplier the game would start to lag to the point where you would break the multiplier and start from one all over again. I found this to be highly irritating. Perhaps downloading the game to the hard drive would make this run better. In addition even though the weapon morphing feature creates a vast amount of weapons with different abilities there is still a lack of types of weapons(i.e. no cleavers, axes, katanas, cutlasses, and such). Also because of the morphing feature they removed the attachable augmentation feature . Finally one last dislike about the game was the sudden and unexpected ending during the second part of the game. Without giving an spoilers away let me just advise you that it would be wise to not rush through the game (so make time to complete a moderate amount of side quests) and to build a very large fortune (especially if you plan to be good and meet with the promises made.) Also it seems once the entire story is complete you can no longer make royal decrees like raising or lowering taxes again or make ordinary judgments.

Besides those dislikes (and don't let them discourage you) Fable 3 was an admirable game. There were many things I enjoyed about it. To start off Fable 3's story line was a nice improvement, definitely not a disappointment unlike Fable 2. Something that I was glad to see was the return of boss battles. Although not quite as grand as the original Fable boss battles, the several boss battles in Fable 3 were still entertaining. On a separate note once again Fable 3 lacked a little on the final boss aspect. The story line has about 24 hours or more of game play (twice as much as Fable 2). Of course assuming you take your time, complete all side quests, build up a large fortune to aid yourself in the game (which you'll need to do), unlock all the achievements, find all the demon doors (which sadly there is only 6), find all the silver and gold keys to unlock all the key chests, find all the legendary weapons (which some of them you'll need to trade with others to get), hunt down all the gnomes (the equivalent to gargoyles in Fable 2) and play the game from both evil and good perspectives. In Fable 3 Lionhead removed practically all the hassle of menus and HUD in the game which I found really unique and amazing. Not only did it remove the clutter on the screen but it gave the game a nice atmosphere. To access your weapons, stats, clothing, spells, game management, the map and the multilayer feature you press start on the controller which teleports you to the sanctuary which is the equivalent to your own personal lair. From there you can access the armory, the treasure room, the Live room, and the dressing room. Additionally the spell gauntlets was an interesting new feature because instead of using spells from a menu, you equip on spell gauntlets. With the spell weaving feature (unlocked after the 4th gate) you can equip two different spell gauntlets at a time to create a combination of your choosing (for example fire and shock). Furthermore the new improved interaction feature with NPC's is something to note. The only problem is because they removed all menus and HUD when you choose to interact and you don't like the expressions for that interaction session (represented by floating corresponding buttons) you have to cancel out and try again for a new set of expressions. Also a counter part of the new interaction feature is the dynamic touch feature which allows you to press the left trigger to hold a villagers hand. With this feature you can lead a villager on to a date or drag a beggar off the streets and lead him or her to a factory. Also the revised co-op multiplayer feature is a major improvement compared to Fable 2. No longer are both players tied to one screen. When a player joins your game he or she brings in his/her hero character along with everything he/she owns including the dog. Although unlike Fable 2 you can't decided what percentage of the gold and what percentage of experience you both get, everything is divided by the game itself. A new feature in co-op is that you can form a business partnership with your co-op guest which allows players to split the costs of purchasing items and real estate as well as split the profits gained by it while playing. You can also marry your co-op guest and have children whether your the same sex or not. With the new co-op feature the Fable 3 experience was really enjoyable to play with a friend or guest.

In conclusion, Fable 3 was a great addition to the Fable franchise and it definitely redeemed its unpleasant predecessor. The major cons of the game was the sketchy graphics, the lack of different types of weapons, clothing, and hair styles, as well as the abrupt ending. The major pros of the game was the greatly enhanced/revised multiplayer co-op feature, the interesting and enjoyable story line, the extended game play, the weapon morphing feature, the new interaction feature, and finally the removed menu and HUD feature. If you enjoyed both Fable and Fable 2 without a doubt you'll enjoy Fable 3. If you enjoyed the original Fable but not Fable 2 give Fable 3 a try it honestly wasn't that bad of a game. For those who are new to the series I do recommend Fable 3 but perhaps you should check out Fable and Fable 2 first to get a better appreciation. My final verdict of Fable 3 is a 7.5 / 8 out of 10. The game did have some potential that Lionhead Studios just didn't meet up with.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Destiny is What You Make of It


Hi there,

Today in some what “honor” of the near release of Fable 3. I thought I’d post a quick informal review on Fable 2 and what to expect from Fable 3. Although I’ve been a fan of the Fable franchise since the 6th grade this will definitely not be a post full of praise. Fable 2 in my opinion did not meet up over all with the original Fable. One can only hope that Fable 3 will redeem its previous predecessor and restore honor to the Fable franchise.

Fable 2 takes place 500 years after the original Fable. The land of Albion has transformed in to a colonial/ early modern setting. You take the role of a young child nicknamed "Sparrow" who is a penniless street beggar with his/her older sister Rose. Over all to make a long story short (and this is kinda a spoiler) the main
antagonist Lord Lucien kills your sister and attempts to kill you because you are the hero foretold to be the down fall of him. After getting shot out of a 80 ft castle and being rescued by Theresa you are told that you must find the Hero of Strength, the Hero of Will, and the Hero of Skill in order to defeat Lucien.

From that brief synopsis Fable 2 doesn't sound like that terrible of a game. But for those who played the original Fable you'd agree with me that it had so much more to offer story wise. In Fable you face a giant bandit king named Twin Blade (who ironically had twin blades),you duel your childhood rival/friend in the arena, you take down an army of warrior skeletons, you kick the mighty kracken's ass, you defeat your Hero mentor, and then you go one on one with the legendary hero Jack of Blades. Plus for those who purchased Fable:The Lost Chapters you face Jack of Blades reborn in his dragon form. In Fable 2 the only supposed boss battle is at the end with Lord Lucien but even that can't be really called a boss battle because it ended up with Lucien ranting and me accidentally shooting him in the toe ending his life. Over all Fable 2's story wasn't as challenging and or interesting/enjoyable compared to Fable. Another notable dissatisfaction was it's co-op feature. Not only could you not migrate your character to your friends game forcing you to become a generic henchman but the co-op camera was so horrific that it ruined the enjoyment in co-op by its self. Also the lack of various weapons, clothing, and hair styles was a major disappointment. But with all complaints put aside (and there is a lot) I must say I did enjoy the feature where the actions you made as a child decided if Bowerstone would turn in to slums or a crime free city. Also the dog companion feature was cool (even though after a while the constant barking of treasure and such got highly annoying) as well as I enjoyed the ability to purchase every property in Albion, the color dying feature, and the mini-game jobs. My final verdict for Fable 2 is a 6 out of 10.

So Fable 3, will it redeem its predecessor or just add to the shame. The game continues 50 years from Fable 2. The land of Albion is now in a industrial kind of age. With the Hero of Fable 2 dead, the throne of Albion is now handed to the tyrannical king Logan. You take the role as the sibling of Logan. It is up to you to gather followers, become a revolutionary leader and overthrow your brother. Once you overthrow your brother the second half the game begins and as King of Albion you must decide if you keep the promises you made to your followers or turn your back on them and become what you sought to end.

From what I've read, viewed, and heard, Fable 3 is supposed to correct what Fable 2 failed in (
which is a lot) although I remember them saying the same thing about Fable 2. Fable 3's game play should be longer than both Fable and Fable 2. Some new features worthy of mention would be weapon morphing. Not only will your character morph depending your actions but also your weapon will morph too. For example if you kill lots of innocent people your sword shall morph in to something dark and dripping with blood. Also with character morphing depending on your alignment your character can supposedly turn in to a full demon with wings or a holy angel. Other features include location morphing, which depending on how heavy you tax a location will decided if it becomes nothing but poor or rich. Another feature grants you the power to choose whether the citizens of Albion shall be thrown in to jail for bad deeds or executed by an army. The co-op featured is also reformed. No longer will both players be tied to one screen. In addition you are now able to migrate your character to your friend's game along with everything including your dog. Your even allowed to marry a co-op partner and have a child. They've also included a new feature called dynamic touch which allows players to embrace NPC's in a new way. An example they gave was using dynamic touch to carry a child out of a burning house. The menu system should also be a lot smoother. A final few mentionable features would be a treasury room which gold will pile depending on the players wealth. Lastly the Sanctuary, a room accessed by pressing start. This is where you will be able to access your wardrobe room to change clothes , your personal butler for in game advice, and your gauntlets. Gauntlets is the way you will be able to cast magic.

So over all, I cross my fingers giving hope that Fable 3 will redeem the Fable franchise. Being a loyal Fable fan I was disappointed at the outcome of Fable 2 and was skeptical about getting hyped for the release of Fable 3. From the look of it does seem to have potential and worth purchase but only time will tell. Fable 3 will hit stores in the United States, Tuesday, October 26th and for The European Union the 29th. Be sure to follow us to be aware for the release of our review of Fable 3. Until then...


Introducing an additional writer! And other stuff.

Alrighty! This week I would like to introduce another writer to this blog, which in turn should turn out more reviews/articles per week. (which is WELL NEEDED). His name is Soldier X94 (ironically is XBL name also), he just happen to write the last review on Halo:Reach because he wanted to give this a try.

 Also, I'm thinking about starting up a twitter/facebook fan page to see if would turn out mroe visitors, any of you guys who might have one, what where your results on this? Would it be profitable to have/maintain a facebook and twitter page to go along with my blog?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ending with a Bang! Halo:Reach Review

Halo:Reach, Bungie’s supposed final farewell to the Halo franchise. The game takes place in the year 2552, just before the events of the game Halo: Combat Evolved. You take the role of Noble Six, a member of the Spartan super soldier squad known as Noble Team. Your objective is to prevent the invasion of the planet Reach against the alien Covenant. Reach is the heart of the United Nations Space Command’ s military power, home to the Spartan super soldiers, and home to a human colony. “ If Reach falls, little will stand between the Covenant and the complete and total annihilation of the human race.”

So now the question stands, did Bungie really go out with a bang with Halo Reach or was it just another Halo game? The answer is yes and no. In an open point of view Bungie didn’ t really go out with a bang with Halo Reach but at the same time they did. An example would be Halo Reach’ s campaign. The campaign contains eleven total missions. On the difficulty of legendary and in a party of two through four the party could complete the campaign in an estimated eight to ten hours. Since Halo Reach is Bungie’ s “ grand finale” they should have made the game have more missions than any other Halo game out of the entire Halo franchise (which would be more than Halo 2 which had 15 total missions.) However even though the Halo Reach campaign was a bit short, its story line was exceedingly interesting and enjoyable to play. Things I would praise from the campaign would be of course the plot, the challenge of difficulty on legendary, the space combat mission, and the polished graphics.

Another example of how Bungie didn’ t really go out with a bang with Halo Reach but at the same time did would be matchmaking/firefight. I must say after a few hundred games it does become the same Halo matchmaking from previous Halo titles but at the same time Halo:Reach does introduce a few new matchmaking features which make its matchmaking quite impressive. For example one of my new personal favorite matchmaking features is the social settings. This allows the server to pair you up with players who have the same social settings as you. You can choose from options such as chattiness (chatty or quiet), motivation (winning or having fun), teamwork (team player or lone wolf), and tone (polite or rowdy). Now its debatable if this setting efficiently works or not because I still get a reasonable amount of disrespectful, annoying t-baggers and trash-talkers during a matchmaking session. 

Another new personal favorite matchmaking feature would be the credit system and huge armor customization feature. In Reach after completing a game or forge session you receive credits depending on what you did and how well you did. For example you can complete daily and weekly challenges as well as commendation challenges which will reward you with sometimes big amounts of credits. Unlike pervious Halo matchmaking where you got one experience point per winning a game and it took over a hundred points to annoyingly rank up, you receive up to quadruple digits of credit points. These credits accumulate towards your rank and also act as a currency to purchase new armor permutations.

Other new matchmaking features in Reach would include weapon loadouts (which mimics the Call of Duty weapon loadout feature except there is no personal customization), armor abilities (which can be found in loadouts or across the map and used like perks for a limited time), the new voting feature (which gives you various maps and game types and allows you to vote for what game type and map you want to play during that session), and finally a new vast and diverse playlist (this includes one of the new game types called Invasion, a versus variant consisting of Spartans vs. Elites with one side attacking, the other side defending. As the game progresses and map objectives are completed, each opposing squad of six can access more powerful loadouts). Also Bungie brought back a newer version of Firefight, a game variant where you and three other players can take on waves of Covenant enemies.

Lastly, a final example of how Bungie didn’ t really go out with a bang with Halo:Reach but at the same time did would be forge, custom games, theater, and player custom content. The forge feature has been greatly enhanced in Halo Reach. Techniques such as “ merging” and “ floating objects” have been made in to actual tools players can use by pulling up a menu. Also no longer will forgers spend countless hours trying to align two walls perfectly together. In forge the player is now able to use a ninety, forty five, and etc degree snap tool as well as a coordinate tool which allows players rotate and move their objects point by point. With these new tools the limitations of creativity have been greatly expanded. To go with these new tools Bungie designed a big new feature for forge. “ Forge World” a map designed specifically for forging was portrayed as this huge forgeable area where the sky was the limit. But after seeing it, that wasn’ t the case. Even though the map is extremely big there was found to be annoying limitations to where you can and can not forge. Also you are given a huge amount of objects and budget but yet there is a limit to how many certain objects can be placed on the map even if you have enough budget and the count of that object isn’ t depleted.

For the most part custom games and the theatre feature haven’ t changed much since Halo 3. Also player custom content for the most part has not changed except for the new feature where instead of going on to look up player custom content you now can look up most downloadable custom content straight from the Halo Reach menu itself. Although for the most part, the only most downloaded custom content you’ ll find screen shot wise are screen shots of Kat’ s ass or of nude anime chicks made out of forgeable objects.

For those who are fans of the Halo franchise I would definitely recommend adding this game to your collection. For those who are new to the franchise or sketchy of it at least rent it and give it a try. Although it didn’ t exactly meet up to its hype nor did it really reach its full potential Halo Reach was a great game. The game’ s story line was exceedingly interesting and enjoyable to play even though the campaign came out to be a bit short. I am disappointed that unlike the previous Halo games, Reach’ s final mission did not involve you driving in a vehicle while total chaos was around you but the space combat mission did make up for that. In addition the matchmaking system is definitely something new for the Halo franchise and is fun for a while but afterwards it does dull down to being your typical Halo matchmaking. Also the new forge features were a big enhancement to forge but the small amount of forgeable maps as well as the over hype of Forge World was also a dissatisfaction. Over, all my final verdict of Halo Reach is 8 out of 10 stars. Though only an 8/10, still definitely worth its sixty dollars.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Stuff. And Red Dead Redemption.

Sorry I have not been keeping up on the posts guys... A lot of stuff just suddenly came up, personal stuff, Anywho! This blog entry will be rather short compared to other as seeing that my Chem class is taking over my life!

I would like to talk today about Red Dead Redemption.

OK, from the start I saw the "Rockstar Games" Logo and immediately saw that this was going to be a western version of GTA, and who guessed it? I was exactly that, Hell it was probably just a re-skin of the GTA series itself.... Because I swore I saw somebody walking around with sneakers on. Anyway, the game is also pretty bad. The campaign is very, very repetitive (basically going from Armadillo to Macfarlines Ranch). And it doesn't even end well, predicted ending...... Don't even get me started about multi-player! When the game first came out, all you could pretty much do was a Western style GTA shootout with the cops, and then maybe some actually skilled player comes in and hits you with a six shot revolver and you die when your only like 5 kills away from being most wanted! The only thing that actually amused me before the multi-player campaign came out was killing bears in tall trees, or making other people rage hard at the fact you killed them and their buddies. Then the first multi-player campaign came out, which provided only 2 hours worth of fun. The missions where easy (even in expert) and there was only 4-5 of them. Also, Multi-player had a lot of missing features that where in the solo campaign. Like roping wild horses, that would have been pretty boss to do in a multi-player environment. Lets just say I traded in this game while it was still worth something, hell, took $20 dollars off the cost of my Halo: Reach!

Overall, if you're into Westerns, and GTA style games. Go for it and try it out, thats the reason why a lot of people bought it, On the other hand, I would say this game is not for the casual/intense gamer. I would personally give it 4/10 stars.