“Historically speaking” I always loathed escort missions. I don’t remember exactly what game put me on this road. Probably an RTS, where some transport always got killed, no matter how hard I tried to keep it alive. Usually these game-”AIs” are so bad, that they run towards their doom without hesitation and only a very frustrated player is left behind. Even co-op games aren’t often that much better, although the so much smarter human players could do wonders. Usually one of them tries to do his own thing and doesn’t care for the game’s objectives or something. BioShock Infinite is NOTHING like any of that. I never felt like I was escorting Elizabeth through this game, but even so it took me quite a while before it hit me: actually it’s Elizabeth who is escorting the player. It was like this moment in Lost season 1, where Locke lies on the beach after the crash and suddenly moves his foot in this scene you’ve seen before, but this time you’ll understand what it actually means, that he couldn’t walk before. I don’t think any game has ever done that. It becomes unmissable – after first teaming up with Elizabeth and then being separated at some point, it’s quite the difference to be alone again and I was only pressing on to get towards Elizabeth again. This is THE thing about this game and as far as I’m concerned they succeeded.
What players got here is still so worthwhile, that I can easily forgive all the wasted potential. I mean they had to release the game at some point. And it certainly was expensive enough as it is.
Directly after I finished the game, I bought the season pass, which was the first season pass I bought in my life. I don’t hold those in very high regard (ouch, understatement), I think they are much worse than any Kickstarter project (both collect money before delivery), because those at least describe very carefully what they intend to do. Future DLCs promised by such passes are usually entirely unknown and could be the worst crap ever. Right now I’m just a little sad that it’s not even known when the first DLC can be expected. In the meantime I’m planning to play the game again, but I’m still delaying until more patches come out, because finishing right before major improvements become available will only make me mad. :)
Whoever is capable of acting like the horrible ending disaster (sadly some seemingly out of touch folks are still acting like they don’t get it) never happened and doesn’t exist (and this is key here) will find enormous amounts of fun here, nothing else is seriously weighing this DLC down. It takes off as a light-hearted, humorous mission followed by the party I already missed at the end of ME2 and offers a new area on the Citadel that can deliver several hours of amusement, if everything is explored.
The whole thing bursts with cool references and is very rewarding for the fans who know everything about this series inside out (this is definitely the audience which will be able to get the most out of this). I had to wonder the whole time why they didn’t create content like this right away, since they obviously can do it…
Realizing this DLC is a successful fanservice through and through, there are only few things missing. Kelly Chambers is now officially the most neglected (of the bigger) characters in ME3, given that she is never added to the memorial wall if she dies (although unknown crew members who never had a line are – weird) and even in this elaborate DLC she won’t be invited to the party. Legion (or some sort of legacy of his) is also completely absent, I felt like a backup/message (he had prepared just in case) wouldn’t have been any more unrealistic than the messages from Mordin or Anderson – I expected something like the files the Shadow Broker had on him. Given the massive amounts of great content in this huge DLC, it’s still surprisingly easy to forgive. Oh, and I was a little bit disappointed that the historical scenes shown in the council archives were all rather boring, none offered new revelations – disappointing because it’s hard to believe that there weren’t more interesting events that could have been utilized here when there really had to be tons of those.
Citadel left me quite happy, finally fans got something they really wanted even without BioWare giving us the finger like they did in the refusal ending that was added with the extended cut. It’s pretty damn close to the goodbye, long-running series (like this one) deserve. If I ever play ME3 again, it will be because I’ll be looking forward to this part of the game the most.
- +Improved getting new discipline and keeping the .38 in the tutorial.
- +Restored Confession turnstile, King’s Way animation and six decals.
- +Made Pearl of Dubai Charisma powerup again and fixed Mercurio money.
- +Restored discipline crosshair, tutorial graphic and some particles.
- +Improved Presence dialogue options and raised haven bum cash to $10.
- +Added new idle animations, some with whispers, thanks EntenSchreck.
- +Restored Dominate Command instead of Trance, thanks to EntenSchreck.
- +Added Humanity losses and gains to SM blueblood and tutorial guard.
- +Removed Toreador and Ventrue stat bonuses and fixed library details.
- +Restored embrace and discipline hud particles, thanks EntenSchreck.
- Returned Steyr AUG Sabbats to Hallowbrook and Zulo fire sensitivity.
- Made Beckett invincible at the pier and updated walkthrough issues.
- Corrected XP and restored log for unravelling Knox and Bertram plan.
- Fixed Phil and Vandal dialogues and raised Well Educated penalties.
- Moved possible Gimble’s entrance block and fixed minor text details.
- +Shortened library level cutscene and killing actions at Ground Zero.
- +Improved library riddle, boss navigation and fixed bookcase issues.
- +Added and fixed some last library textures, thanks to burgermeister.
- +Fixed idles with Imalia and Mitnick and changed horror tape titles.
- +Made Nosferatu break Masquerade easier and Romero return once again.
- +Restored Ocean House valve, sprinkler, cans, doors and some sounds.
- +Fixed Danielle and Gimble problem and a misplaced Ocean House spark.
- +Moved easter eggs hint from note to restored laptop at Luckee Star.
- +Restored two menu effects and unused Pisha eyes for LaSombra female.
- +Repaired Blood Shield light effect and updated Presentable history.
- +Removed Domination’s mass suicide to add sleep, thanks EntenSchreck.
- +Restored Malkavian disciplines Veil and Voice, thanks EntenSchreck.
- +Fixed Thaumaturgy disciplines not working again after player frenzy.
- +Changed Jian into broadsword and armed Chang brother with a katana.
- +Restored ten scenery props into sewers and Hallowbrook Hotel levels.
- +Improved Bloodheal sound and restored HUD sounds and botch message.
- +Added way to get a new discipline from Beckett, thanks EntenSchreck.
- +Restored water, steam, fire and vomit effects, thanks EntenSchreck.
- +Fixed dead guard acting at Skyeline Apartments and stuck headrunner.
- +Restored character creation questions and a sewer-cabbie animation.
- Improved tutorial popups and removed forced Andrei speech subtitles.
- Prevented Tommy Flayton from writing restaurant review when killed.
- Restored Heather before talking to Prince but referred to new haven.
- Removed hatch reflection and updated and restored model sewer maps.
- Deleted computer restorations from basic and restored two passwords.
- Removed getting poster from VV in basic and fixed guard bodies bug.
- Fixed double business card, clinic guard, Damsel and Isaac problems.
- Repaired warrens and boiler pipes and reconciling sisters extra XP.
- Added SweetFX to Extras folder, thanks for the tip to Caner Özdemir.
I was very surprised by Far Cry 3, I’m in general not a big fan of open-world games like Skyrim* (except for stuff like GTA IV, Saints Row The Third, Sleeping Dogs… an open-world is really great for THAT type of game) and the sole game in the series I had played was Far Cry 1, which, I thought, had great graphics for the time but was otherwise quite dull (and it was the reason I never even thought about playing Far Cry 2). So when I started FC3 I got the great graphics I expected, but pretty much everything turned out to be a delight as well and I was hooked pretty soon (little annoyances like hunting animals so it’s possible to carry more money etc. couldn’t spoil my fun). The story itself certainly isn’t the most original (that’s not meant to be interpreted as a negative connotation), but the story missions ARE quite unpredictable throughout, many games don’t even try to pull this off.
FC3 doesn’t have many characters, however, the ones it got are kinda memorable enough, first and foremost Vaas. Of course. I guess there’s been said enough about him, he IS as awesome as everyone is saying but I don’t necessarily agree that the game could have needed a lot more of him. Maybe his scenes are so powerful, because he’s not overused. It’s also unexpected AGAIN (:P), most other games with such a character would have done exactly that. It’s great that someone could finally resist the all to common urge to squeeze the last out of a good idea (consider this being void if they are already working on a game titled “the vaas chronicles” or somesuch :P).
The gameplay has a lot going for it, the skill system, loot sack, crafting [...] is on par with what some games are offering that outright call themselves RPGs. So for a straight up action game this is quite something. The same is true for the game world, the 2 islands in the game are really big (although the second island is smaller on the map, it always felt longer to get anywhere than it did on the first one, what’s up with that? :P) and yet both of them offer tons of stuff to discover, even outside of missions there is no stumbling around for hours without SOMETHING happening (at least). Combined with the stunning graphics, which are almost photo-realistic at times, it could be the game that pulls off the open-world mechanics better than most others so far. It was fun to explore a bit for once, it wasn’t just about running towards the next story mission as fast as possible. Every player who ever jumped into the water and was attacked by a shark knows what I’m talking about. That’s FC3 for you.
As great movies always have great music too, FC3 comes with a noteworthy soundtrack (available WITHOUT all the, at least 8, licensed songs of the game – of course…). It easily succeeds in reinforcing already intense situations during the story missions. The ending credits took like 30 minutes to finish, but because of the music alone I didn’t want to cancel it. After those it’s back to the island without the story. For me this was the first time I started doing many of the different activities, I didn’t even try earlier. There’s seriously a dozen of them, at least.
I guess it’s about time to mention poker, which they implemented really well, it’s more than just a little gimmick. Players could learn poker from FC3, if they don’t know the rules yet. I didn’t like such a mini-game in a game that much since KotOR had Pazaak… I played all (side-) missions, activated all communication towers, freed all the outposts (an activity I enjoyed especially), collected all “letters of the lost” (and once again I still don’t understand all of the island’s secrets :P) but only half of the relics and I doubt I’ll go get the rest. :P
Although it is about time, it’s kinda hard to move on from this game, because the island and exploring it is so damn beautiful, every time I think about uninstalling it, thoughts cross my mind like taking one last flight over the island with one of the many hang-gliders, that just wait for action on lots of vantage points.
PS: In the cave, where Jason’s saved friends are gathering during the course of the story (btw: why are they trying to fix an old boat for their escape, when there are new ones standing around everywhere? :P), there’s the option of having some flashbacks focusing on them – I had like 2 or 3 of them and then it stopped, it felt as if there was supposed to be a story there, but if there was, I must have missed it. I guess this would have been worse in an RPG. I would have wanted more story for the too abrupt/short ending as well… :(
*Not to mention that I hate it, that now everyone seems to be copying Skyrim as much as possible, simply because this game sold lots of units (as if that would guarantee the same sales for their game…). BioWare already talked about making Dragon Age III “open-world” because of… SKYRIM and now there are even rumors CD Projekt RED is gonna give The Witcher 3 the same treatment. Ugh! It doesn’t make sense for every kind of game! There must be a compromise between large, empty and boring worlds and narrow tunnels… There is, in fact – many games used to find it.
The Darkness II has/is one of the best (ego-shooter) campaigns I played in a long time. Pretty much everything in this title is clearly above average. The graphics aren’t just generally good, they are also interesting, engaging art. I like it. I never read the comics, which were apparently used as inspiration (some are lying around in the game), so I have no idea how it compares.
Many games that feature gameplay elements above the genre typical stuff, often end up having some or even many the player will never use. That’s not the case here. The Darkness powers, the PC commands, are really useful, fun and necessary. It’s great, when such options turn out to be more than mere gimmicks. Good design.
The story isn’t necessarily oscar-worthy (are any? :P), but works well for game and scenario. It all fits. That’s, at least, the next best thing. The few recurring characters are distinctive, the girlfriend (for example) is portrayed well enough, to make it believable, why the protagonist was into her – something that is quite rare.
The ending almost demands a sequel, but it’s not the kind of cliffhanger that keeps tormenting the mind until some resolution is presented. In this case it’s all about seeing more of a really cool game, which was, tbh – quite short. I started and finished it in one session. But as I usually surmise, rather short and good than long and crappy.
BD is a total blast! When I first started the game I was not impressed. :P Everything seemed just grey and boring, the handling annoyed me because I didn’t have a microphone and had to turn off voice control for squad mates for the game to work properly without one… and don’t get me started on Big Bo. He was getting on my nerves right away. :D I didn’t think that the start of the game with this tutorial was exactly winning hearts and minds. But maybe that was just my problem. After this IMHO less-than-perfect start, I was completely unprepared for what happened next, the game made a full U-turn. BOOM! The scenery changed, lots of new characters showed up, I could kick Big Bo out of the team (:P) and fighting the enemies became a lot of fun real fast. The game picked up a fast, light-hearted (yes, despite the basic setting being pretty much the opposite) pace and managed to keep this flair going until the very end.
The player is showered in huge enemies and boss fights which always require a little trick to succeed. It has probably as much boss fights as 10 other games combined. :D
I liked playing the game so much, I even made the effort to find the necessary patience within me to not shoot team mates that (because of their stupid AI :P) continued to run into my line of fire. :D Doing so results in the loss of influence with them and I can’t have that. There are some minor differences throughout the story if you are cool with the gang, up to who might survive or die in the end.
My only real regret is, that an RPG in this very interesting setting could have been even better, but that’s no serious reason to play down what gamers did get here nonetheless. Few games feel as fresh, creative and uplifting as this one, after all.
I can’t say I really looked into it, but from what I figure, this game wasn’t a huge hit sales wise – as usual I don’t get it, because it can’t have anything to do with the actual content of the game. So the chances for a possible continuation in the future might be a little bleak (I hope I’m wrong!). All the more reason to enjoy this game though!
The biggest, most important difference, for me, between Omega and LotSB is (they like to give the impression it’s gonna be at least as good as LotSB because everyone knows this was the best ME DLC they ever made), that I was curious and wanted to find out who the Shadow Broker was and what was going on there. Omega has no such elements. From the start it’s clear that Aria will retake the station and regain her old position. One thing happened that surprised me and that didn’t even get any further elaboration.
Nyreen somehow was afraid (?) of Adjutants and it sounded like there would be a reveal at some point (concerning the why), but that never really happened. This character could have been very interesting, but… There are a couple things like that, that are introduced, seemingly to make the player wonder, but then they are ignored/forgotten. Adjutants, btw, are kinda oversold, they are described as these super-tough enemies, but once they attack, they are a joke compared to e.g. Banshees. It’s great that they built them at all, because after Mass Effect: Invasion everyone had to expect their presence AND it’s always cool when they make the effort of bringing new enemies into the game, but a little less exaggeration before their actual appearance certainly wouldn’t have been the worst choice.
Omega is, for the most part, a long shooting corridor. I would have expected a more narrative approach, I do like their combat system a lot (and I usually have nothing against interesting fights), but if I just wanted to shoot things, I can always play multi-player. So this base is certainly already covered… Nothing except the single-player campaign can deliver something else. So it’s a little sad, that most of the narrative can be summed up by just saying “Aria retakes Omega”, without leaving anything vital out. It’s disappointing enough, that the way the story is presented, it doesn’t make much sense anyway. During the whole fighting, even during the arrival on Omega, Aria looses lots of troops, so some war assets would have to be smaller after this DLC. It’s stated several times that Aria lost many people. It looks like a fools errant to start another front during such an important war, without the necessity to do so.
There’s also no clue whatsoever, as to why this General, who was in control of Omega, is now the sole operative in Cerberus who’s not indoctrinated. Why was he allowed to remain normal? Why would TIM allow that? He even seems to be a somewhat level-headed guy (all things considered), why would he still serve Cerberus, considering the state it’s in at this stage? Only few things seem to fit and make sense.
At the end Shepard simply walks through the Afterlife exit and is back on the Normandy. Nothing remains (except General Petrovsky‘s chess set in Shepard’s cabin – can’t be activated), it’s not possible to return to Omega and walk through the place you just helped to liberate. Doesn’t even show up on the galaxy map. Aria herself is not removed from the Citadel however, she sits in the same place as before and the answer she gives, when asked about Omega, has changed.
The DLC is roughly 2.5 – 3 hours long, if everything is explored. The only thing left for me to wonder, is if they’ll now add the Adjutants to multi-player. The fact that Reapers were the sole faction to not receive a new unit during the last DLC seems to allow it.
I liked it more than Leviathan, because at least it had nothing to do with the Reaper-stuff (ugh), but I don’t think it’s as good as some of the DLC added to ME2. That doesn’t make it bad or anything, but I hardly think it’s “mandatory” to play it (go for it if one of your friends has it :P). Unless someone is a die hard ME fan, of course. The best part is the level design/art and atmosphere. They always nail that part.
+Recreated library, thanks for beta testing to vladdmaster and Stosh.
+Unrestored library props elsewhere and fixed warform missing model.
+Fixed dead beachhouse dog doing damage and getting extra gallery XP.
+Added Humanity loss for killing Ash or Johansen at Leopold Society.
+Improved warehouse boss perception and swapped model with bartender.
+Removed Giovanni sarcophagus shortcut and added missing Bertram XP.
+Restored two spiderchick and fatguy animations, thanks EntenSchreck.
+Made Kiki leave Red Dragon and corrected original music at SM pier.
+Modified Potence and Thaumaturgy animations, thanks to EntenSchreck.
Improved TV and radio state consistencies in SM and downtown havens.
Fixed Humanity loss of Hollywood thugs and missing Heather options.
Prevented ways to break hospital, Mandarin and Romero quest scripts.
Fixed Cabbie’s seating on some maps and people not giving jewelery.
Restored Johansen dialog Humanity changes and cut-off Beckett lines.
Fixed Venture Tower cameras and restored one Asylum elevator sound.
Added magazine quest state for killing Flynn and aborted getting it.
Corrected Hallowbrook Hotel door opening at and moved two spawners.
Fixed Isaac/Gargoyle quest state bug and adjusted several histories.
Removed bad sentence of Mercurio and one of Isaac’s two “evening”s.
Fixed Ocean House double ghost encounter and moved elevator buttons.
Corrected floating Mercurio and passive guard inside Venture Tower.
Added newpaper for stealth Glaze and changed Fu newspaper condition.
Corrected King’s Way details and a Hollywood Asian theater trigger.
Fixed Ash, Jack, Vandal, Romero, Mercurio and Therese dialogue bugs.
Restored unaccessible Prince, Damsel, Flynn, Hatter and Ming lines.
Decreased Fu Syndicate’s cross guy timeout and fixed a bad doorknob.
Disabled buggy spawner in warrens level and fixed Noir cop problem.
Never played it, UNTIL NOW. I started with Icewind Dale, Heart of Winter and Trials of the Luremaster and paused it for a really long time (like 2-3 years – seriously). But now I finally finished it and started II right away. In II I didn’t fall into the same trap, IWDI wasn’t bad or anything, but it’s heavily focusing on fights. It’s quite the grind at times. After besting an x level dungeon, the only thing that will happen, is the start of the next x level dungeon. That really wore me down. Every time I thought about continuing it, all I could think of were these masses of minotaur lords in the dungeon I was stuck in and that they would surround me immediately (maybe I started Trials of the Luremaster too early). Given that there are much more community support files for IWDI than for II, I always thought it probably meant, that IWDI was the better game somehow too.
To my delight, I discovered the exact opposite (I could have spoiled myself by reading up on the games beforehand, but I don’t like to do that). II has much more quests (often with several possible outcomes!), characters, dialogs, shops… And they really made stuff matter. It’s a big deal to have a Paladin in the group for instance, even much more famous Baldur’s Gate didn’t have that much material for such classes IIRC (okay they had extra strongholds instead…). Returns to familiar places, such as the Severed Hand are so much more fun this time around. Actually this is a prime example to illustrate the differences between the two Icewind Dale games. In IWD the Severed Hand is this dark place full with enemies and it takes lots of running around to switch between all the different floors. There’s still a story attached to it, but except for maybe 2 characters there’s not much else than fighting. In IWDII this place is full with characters, (often optional) quests and this rich backstory that now spans 2 games – just lots of stuff to do besides merely grinding through hordes of enemies.
It’s often funny too, in the first city there are some mercenaries standing around, who complain a lot that all they get to do is stupid fetch-quests and similar tedious tasks. :D This attitude was what kept me easily hooked and made it a pleasure to play through the whole thing. It’s not a short game after all (it took me about 8 hours to finish the prolog!), so without proper motivation any attempt at finishing it, is surely doomed.
Playing both games not too far apart is a good idea, since it’s not just called IWDII merely for using the name of an already known franchise. It’s a true sequel and many characters, even places, are referred to in one form or another, if they don’t appear again outright (like the Hand pretty much always clearly improved). There were even some connections to Torment thrown into the series. :)
I very much would have liked an epilog here, like Arcanum or Dungeon Siege III had, to reflect the outcome of some of the more interesting optional side quests, it would have been more satisfying than “just” gaining additional experience points for doing them, but hey…
There was just one situation were I almost felt punked, it was when I finally got my favorite spell but my mage never leveled up far enough to gain level 9 spells… In Torment Meteor Swarm had the best casting animation of all the Infinity games EVER. BOOM! Once I got it I used it on everyone! :D Every time! :D The thing is, that most of these D&D games, don’t even have Meteor Swarm. I think only Torment and IWDII do. So it’s all the more painful. I’m confident I did all the quests…
Playing this made it even easier for me to back Project Eternity, because – what could possibly go wrong? Having pretty much the same folks who did this behind it? There’s no way this could end up being entirely bad. I’m guessing. :P
Anyway, IWDII was the last of the Infinity games I hadn’t played yet. Now I know them all! :) MUAHAHAHAHA! Next stop will be the BG overhaul. Just in time. Wouldn’t have wanted these two (playthroughs) to conflict with each other.