Thursday, 28 April 2011

Spyro The Dragon

So, today I pulled out my old Playstation and plugged it into my old 9 year old TV set and turned it on. It worked! (surprisingly). I put Spyro the Dragon in and started playing.

Suddenly, all the sounds and the environment turned me into a little child. Playing through the game, there were parts which I didn't remember but the parts that I did, I felt like I was a child again.

I played it for an easy couple of hours until one memory of where I was in the game suddenly hit me. This was the last level. The part I was stuck on and couldn't get past as a child. I remember failing the same part of the game over and over.

As I was chasing Gnorc (last boss) through the map, I turned a corner and saw him standing on a platform by himself. I just couldn't do it. I couldn't finish the game which created my childhood.

I turned off and packed away the Playstation. Maybe one day I'll finish it, but not today. I just think it's better if I left it incomplete.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

HoN & LoL

Now, from a quick play of both League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth, they both seem like the same, DoTa type game. DoTa, HoN and LoL all include the same main game-play elements, killing creeps and heroes along lanes which allows you to progress through hostile towers which defend the base. Although the games are the same in a way, they both have positives and negatives which can make a decision in choosing one to play quite difficult.

League of Legends is a free-to-play game with micro-transactions which allow you to buy many champions and their skins. Note that you can get the characters through playing the game as well.

Heroes of Newerth is a $30 game which, unlike LoL, comes with all available heroes. There are 'Goblin Coins' though, which you can purchase with money. These let you buy a wide range of cosmetic features.

Both LoL and HoN are based on DoTa, although HoN is a much closer clone to it than LoL is. In LoL, you cannot deny creeps, which in DoTa would give the enemy less gold and experience. LoL also doesn't allow creep blocking to occur. Creep blocking is when at the beginning of a match, you block your creeps so they move slower, thus forcing your enemies creeps farther into your side of the lane and allowing the tower to attack them. In HoN, both these mechanics are implemented. HoN also has graphics which add more realism to the environment than LoL does.

HoN is mainly based around more competitive style gaming, attracting players from DoTa, which in turn created a community which rejects players who are inexperienced. Since stats are put on public display, most players are out to achieve the most kills and least deaths to show they perform well, which causes the players who aren't that great to be avoided.

LoL has a more laid-back community and allows users to be more social to each other. However, due to its less-competitive nature it allows champions to be unbalanced, causing many problems for the 'serious' gamers. LoL doesn't have the best ability to reconnect to matches either. If your game closes for some reason, you cannot rejoin the game you were in and you will be forced to have a +1 leaver status to your name.

HoN and LoL both have a similar nature in play-style, yet they both attract their intended audiences, HoN being the serious gamer and LoL being the laid-back, casual gamer. Both games are made incredibly well and I would suggest that you try one, if not both of them.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

TF2 Throughout History

I don't know about you, but there's something fun about cartoon people running around and shooting each other.
Team Fortress 2 is a game where the RED team and BLU team are in a war for some odd reason. There's 9 classes to choose from, each with their own customizable clothing and weapons.

When I first played this game, 3 years ago, there were only 3 weapons for every class plus a a couple of weapon packs for Pyro and Medic. Even with this small amount of uniqueness in the game, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I mean, what wasn't there to love? You could do anything you wanted to. The two weapon packs released were really awesome too. The items were sidegrades, they both would have a negative and positive of similar value.

Rating at the time: 9.5/10

Now, I really expected the following weapon packs to be of similar quality to the two previously released. It was obvious from the next weapon pack (Heavy), that weapons were no longer suitable as a sidegrade. An example is the Killer Gloves of Boxing, easily more powerful than fists. This resulted in everyone just swapping out to them, making fists useless. Every other weapon pack following had this similar problem. Either the weapons were awfully more powerful or disgustingly worse than the originals.

I thought, once all the class updates were complete that I could enjoy a game with slightly different gamplay than what I originally bought it as. New strategies were being created and new game modes were being added. Once all updates were released Valve would probably balance the weapons, right? I mean, what else could they do?

Even thought I played in competitive a lot more than I did in public servers, I knew the game had still the same feel of when I bought it. It was still a great game, even in public servers.

Rating at the time: 8.5/10

Now, the next update is when the game changed a lot. Originally, when backpacks were released everyone suspected TF2 to turn into a FPSRPG, which made me extremely excited, as that idea blew my mind away. Crafting weapons was the beginning of a total overhaul of changing the design of the game. It was no longer a simple game, where you enter a server and kill idiots, it was more about sitting in the corner of spawn creating new items.

Then came the idling system. Valve wanted more people to play the game by introducing these new concepts to the game but they created a game which rewards standing in spawn (or an idle server) afk for hours on end. OK fine, I'll admit that I did it too, but it was only due to the massive craze at that time. The rare items some people possessed, more known as 'hats' were the thing that every player saw in their dreams.

Now, once Valve decided that they reached a minimum profit of TF2 sales, they decided to try something different. TF2 item store. It was amazing how Valve did this. They didn't force anyone to buy anything, but they made players do it by offering them an item (crate), which is useless, unless you buy a key which allows you to open it and have a very, very small chance of getting a hat with added particles on it, called unusual hats.

Instantly everyone was buying them. I recall someone I knew who bought 50 keys and unlocked 50 crates. He recieved no unusual hats. This perhaps shows you the small gambling element that Valve introduced. With this drop chance, it caused unusual hats to peak at a cost of $500 US. Crazy if someone bought that right? Well people actually did, a lot of people.

So you might think that all my hate goes out to unusual hats being hinted as something magical to the community, but that's not where my hate is aimed at. THE WEAPONS.

 I opened TF2 last week and entered a server to where I saw people running around when I first played the game, only with hats, socks, beards and guns which do not even suit the 1950's theme of TF2. I went scout, I ran outside my spawn and got killed in one hit by a charging scottsman who hit me with a grenade on a stick (god knows what it actually was). Anyway, I decided to play on until the point where I couldn't take it anymore. Then I remembered why I don't play the game anymore.

Playing time: 0.6 hrs past 2 weeks
Total hours: 2463.7 hrs  (including idling)

RATING: 4/10

Well that was a hell of a writeup. Just wanted to share my opinion of the game as it progressed throughout the years. I might be a bit too tough on Valve :P

But Why?

I play games quite a bit. Ok, fine, I won't lie. I play a lot of games. Anything from RPG's to FPS's to RTS's I play. In this blog, I'm going to discuss, review and compare games to help you select which game would be the best for you. I'll be going through recent games, as well as classics just for fun :)

I hope you enjoy.