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Berkut666 Blog

Franchise reboots

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The following games are the stand out ones from my youth

- Syndicate

- Xcom

- Freedom Fighters

- Dungeon Keeper 1 & 2

- C&C

- Goldeneye

- Dues Ex (yes, I even liked invisible war!)

My most recent game purchase was the new Xcom: Enemy unknown. It got me thinking about game re-boots. There seems to be a lack of big companies churning out new IP. Dont get me wrong, Indie and Kickstart projects make some great new IP. But the imagination is gone from the bigger companies in my opinion.

Out of the above games several have had recent reboots and the only ones I like are Dues Ex and Xcom. (I havent tried Syndicate to be fair but the move away from squad shooter to an FPS means I am avoiding it)

I think the reason for this is that while they are re-boots, and have elements of their parents that you will recognize, they are new games in their own right. Sure Xcom you cant build a base anywhere you like, and the research, base building and missions are a bit more scripted. But I truely love the new Xcom and thats hard to admit because I loved the original. I played it for months non stop, and still never managed to win a game. But that didnt matter to me! But the new one has some nice new features that I really enjoy. Same with Dues Ex. I hope both of these get great follow up games.

Whats you thoughts on game re-boots? Have you got any games you would like to see re-done?

Army Of Two - What a waste

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So the new AoT game is out. I feel I need ot vent some anger on the issue, but first some back ground

The first AoT got mixed reviews and wasnt that great a performer commercially. However I personally love it. It was one of the few games at the time that had a decent one console Coop (ie you didnt need to be online and you and a buddy could have a few beers together and play on the same console) OK it had its issues, but the Bromance portrayed in the game and some of the game features made it worth while. I played it and thought "yup, its good, some good ideas but needs polished"

The second one came out and me and one of my buds who I had played the first AoT to death with eagerly bought a copy. The storyline wasnt as good as the first in my opinion, infact it was down right idiotic. But the game play had been polished a bit and the bromance was still strong. We never completed it though as it had some frustrating elements to it. Specifically an area in one level where it was a huge open area with no cover, that was surrounded by building that had the enemy mercs with rocket launcher in the windows. That combined with the "saving civilians" mechanic put us off.

So when the 3rd one was announce we thought maybe they will have it right this time. Nope, they have gotten it even more wrong. In an industry where big publishers are really struggling to come up with new IP and fresh ideas, using this to make a cookie cutter 3rd person shooter is just a waste. It really angers me that they churn out this dump knowing that a certain % of people will buy it anyway based on the fact that they are fans.

My time in Skyrim part 2..

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Warning - This contains some very minor spoilers

So I have now spent around 100 hours in Skyrim. Only about 2 hours of that has been on the main quest (I have visited the Greybeards ad learned more about my shouts) and while I realise that alot of you will have way more playtime on the game, I just thought I would share a few thoughts.

Just for the record I am currently level 43 (again I am sure some of you are way higher!)

Weapons and armour - I am using light armour and single handed weapons, combined with magic. I also use the bow alot, soften targets up from a distance before moving in for the kill. To be honest I have very much stuck with the same weapons and armour for the last 15-20 levels as I have not found anything much better.

Smithing, forging etc. I really have no interest in this. I cant be bothered improving this skill or improving my weapons. I will occasionally use a forge to refine ore but not often. Occasionally I will make a bit of jewelry to sell, but again not often. There is no real increase in value over the raw material so I dont see the point.

Guilds - Still not all that impressed by them.

Dragons - A bit common. I get attacked by these all the time. All my shouts are unlocked and I still have a couple of Dragon souls to spare.

Combat - On the whole it seems easier than oblivion. There are no real enemies so far that I worry about taking on. Not even in groups. Occasionally I will run across a tough enemy but these tend to be Foresworn.

Thoughts guys?

My Time in Skyrim

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Me and a couple of guys at work all got Skyrim on launch day. At lunch today we were discussing our experiences in the game so far. They are both well further on with the main quest and their completed number of side quests. However I have found and cleared way more locations/Dungeons than they have (I keep getting distracted by locations) So we have all played for around 20-30 hours so far each.

My thoughts on it so far compared to Oblivion (which was my first game of this type but lead to me buying Fallout 3, FO New Vegas, Fable 2 & 3, and a few other RPG type games) are as follows:-

The World Size - Initially I felt like it was smaller than Oblivion. But on reflection this is caused by two main issues. 1) the game world is far more hilly and less open than Oblivion. 2) there are far more locations to discover and things to do. This made it feel slightly claustrophobic at the start.

Side Quests - Far better selection and more variety. Although some of the quests are a bit harder to find. However this adds to the joy in my opinion.

Moral decisions - Join the Storm Cloaks or the Imperial. Help!!

Things I miss - The guilds are not quite as obvious/powerful as they were before.

Games that take you a LONG time to finish

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I have finally finished Zelda Twilight Princess. Now this would be ok if I had only got the game a short while back but I have had it since about 2 weeks after launch day (way back in 2006). Its nothing against the game, it was a brilliant game. I got stuck at a bit which I thought was about half way through and got so annoyed with it that I gave up. I came back to it 2 nights ago mainly due to having nothing left to play before BF3 and Skyrim come out.

Turned out I was only about 2 levels and a couple of Boss Battles from finishing it. Its done now and as much as I have loved the Zelda games I dont think I am going to bother getting the next one, or indeed the one on the DS which came out a while back.

So its taken me about 5 years to finish the game.

What games have you guys taken a while to complete and why?

Fav games of all time

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Inspired by several other blogs (including ojcroveda's excellent Game log #001) I thought I would share my top 5 games of all time so far. I am sure that in a few years time this may change! Please note that this is in no particular order and the games may not be to everyones taste. However they are the 5 games I remember most fondly and spend a large part of my youth playing. In some cases the games may not have been that popular or indeed that well received by critics.

1) Freedom Fighters (IO interactive, released 2003. I played this on the PS2)This was a gem of a 3rd person shooter. I loved everything about this game. The idea that each level had several differnt objectives that you could choose to complete or just go for the main objective. This meant that the each level could be played long and tactically or short with a brutal gun fight. I loved the story, the way the game handled, the characters. I especially loved the multi player -one of my friends and I had just moved into our first student flats when this game came out and we lost days trying to beat each other in the multi player. Part of me wants to get a copy of it and try it out now but I am scared it would feel so dated I would hate it. IO said as late as 2007 that a sequel was on their to do list. Although after how little I enjoyed Kane & Lynch I dont hold much hope for it being any good (or ever finished)

2) Dungeon Keeper 2 (Bullfrog, 1999, PC) I never played the first dungeon keeper but loved this one. Basically you built and ran your own dungeon, collected gold and killed any "hero" who tried to get into your dungeon. I remember the second day I had it I started playing it at about 3 in the afternoon.After a quick stop for some food at around 6 I was still on it at 3 in the morning. The commentary by "the Mentor" was so funny. On the day I played till around 3 in the morning it made some comment like "Even supreme evil dungeon keepers need sleep. GO TO BED!"

3) Syndicate (Bullfrog, 1993, PC) I think this was the first game I ever played on a PC. My father had just bought a couple of all singing all dancing PC's for his business and I was lucky to be allowed to use one for games. An isometric squad based combat game, you play the head of a business empire trying to take over the world. Whats not to like! The bit I loved best was researching new weapons and gadgets. I played this game to completion over and over. However for some reason I just hated the sequel.

4) Dues Ex: Invisible War (Ion Storm Inc, 2003, PC) I got this game free with a PC I bought for Uni. A FPS with RPG elements and an open(ish) story path. Having never played the original but heard so many good things about it I was stocked to get a copy of this.Now I have still never played the first one, but this one I played through so many times to get all the endings and try and do each factions missions. I am looking forward to the new one but have a funny feeling I wont hold it so near and dear as this one.

5) Transformers (2004, Melbourne House, PS2) this was a 3rd person shooter but it was not based on any of the films (I think I was based on the Armada animated series) you could play choose to play as any of 3 transformers (including Optimus Prime, Hotshot, and i cant remember the 3rd!) Each level was relatively open world, with different objectives to achieve. You also collected mini-cons to upgrade your abilities and weapons. This game probably slipped past alot of you as it wasnt a great success but I loved it. I loved the upgrading, the fact you could transform at the touch of a button, and that you got to battle with massive robots. class.

Thats all for now, I may do another some time soon.

Duke Nukem Forever

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I have been waiting on the new Duke game for some time now. I, like many others, have such fond memorioes of Duke Nukem 3D that I was quite intrigued by the potential of a new game. Dont get me wrong, I am no major fan boy howeverI had made my mind up that if the reviews were semi decent then I would buy it for a laugh.

However this begs the question. WHERE ARE THE REVIEWS?? The few I have seen (IGN etc) give it very average scores. I expected this as people are too use to the slick COD's and MOH's of the current gen. They also focus on the fact its been 15 years in development. While we have been waiting this long for it, it can hardly be claimed that it was under development the whole time.

They have slated its one liners, it old school game play, it ultra macho character, its smutty game play and its ridiculous weapons. They seem to miss one important thing. That is the point of a Duke Nukem game!

I hope that this Duke is successful enough to persuade Gearbox to make another. This time with a bit more push on the modern aspects of it. However lets not lose sight of the fact that Duke is supposed to be about mindless fun - much like watching an Arnie/Sly/Bruce Willis action film. Rather than some action film with a story to tell about the horror of war.

Video game and movie Sequels

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Its is very rare (although not unheard of) that the sequels to a film is better than the original. This is a well know and recorded phenomenon. Look at the newest 3 starwars films, or Gremlins 2, Ice Age 2,Starship Troopers 2to name but a few. None of these are bad films, just not that great when compared to the film that spawned them.

However with games it seems to be the other way around. Sequels are often better. Take MW2. Sure we all get misty eyed about MW1 and remember many hours playing it to death,but in my opinion MW2 is better. Againthere are exceptions to this, where the follow up game is worse, but on the whole they are normallybetter thanthe original. You only needto look at the progression of the GTA gamesto see this. Developers take the original, look at what made it great and what people liked then improve on it.

With films it seems to be a case of "it worked last time, lets just turn the handle and churn out another" Look at the pile of dung that was Blues Brothers 2000. Yeah the first Blues Brothers didnt do that great in the Cinema but it is a cult hit with high video/DVD sales. But nobody in their right mind could honestly say that BB 2000 is better.

I wonder if its the fact that the film industry doesnt care that makes it behave this way. Aslong as the Hollywood marketing machine gets behind the sequel is will still be a commercial wonder, even if the critics pan it. Maybe Hollywood should take more care at what they do, and this would mean less crappy sequels are turned out.

Please note that this is just my ramblings, and you are welcome to comment. There are some great sequels in the film industry. Aliens, Die Hard 2, erm......

What I dont get about games with Zombie enemies

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Before I get into this properly I would like to point out that I am not against Zombies being used in games. Infact I have enjoyed many games where you use Zombies as bullet sponges (RDR Undead, Dead Rising, Uncharted, COD Zombies)

However I always find it odd in games that have Zombies as an enemy isthat they have normally managed to cause such utter destruction, wiping out Police forces, armies, goverment agencies etc but thecharacter you play as (who is often not a trained soldier, just some unlucky Joe stuck in a bad situation) seems to be able to man up and wipe most the Zombie hoard out on his/her own.

I fully accept that this is not always the case but when Zombies are used in the media (this is not just games, but TV and films also)however they are often subject to several rules

1)Its a country wide/worldwide event that causes 99% of the population to turn into Zombies in a very short space of time

2)To become a Zombie you must be bitten by one or get their blood on you

3)Your character wakes from a Coma/Hike in the Country or some other lonely event to find the world in ruins

4)The Zombies are normally slow moving, dumb creatures that shuffle towards you drooling while trying to eat your brain

Now taking these rules into account surely a well trained modern military with all the hardware it has would not have any trouble dealing with the Zombie threat. Surely all that would need to be done is dig in, set up landmines, machine gun nests, flamethrowers etc and let the Zombies come to you. OK you would run out of ammo but just get into a tank and drive to somewhere with more. Zombies wouldnt be able to get you in a tank. Plus a large mass of Zombies moving towardssaid army basewould be a very easy target for a modern air force to deal with. Few runs with a gattling gun, then drop in a fuel air bomb, job done!

However the military is normally over run and it is left to you to plow through wave after wave of the Undead with your Baseball bat, until you find a Chainsaw/Shotgun?Flamethrower at which point you ramp up the level of Zombie death.

Is there a Zombie game where you can be the military and smash the undead hoards? Maybe an RTS/Tower game like this would be a great downloadable title? I mean my 10 year old Nephew can defeat using only some plants for crying out loud!!

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