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One game that I would love to see the light of day

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This is just a brief overview of a game that I would like to be made in the future. There are probably games like it somewhere but this is mostly about what I would like to see all of in this game. The general premise of the game would be dinosaur survival. I'm a big fan of the Far Cry series and while I've been roaming the dense jungles in FC3 I can't help but think about a game where it's pretty much the same sort of geography but with dinosaurs. Below I'm just going to list the kinds of features that I think would be great in this kind of game. I choose a listing system because I think it would be easier than just trying to type it out in prose. Just to warn you, my spelling of dinosaur names may be atrocious but I'll try my best.

- One or two large islands with jungle terrain similar to that in Far Cry 3. If one island then it should be divided into territorial zones. For example, the T-Rex's inhabit the centre of the island near a large lake whereas the Raptors live in the more dense jungle to the west. Brachiosaurs roam the plains in the north along with Triceratops and Stegosaurus'. In the waters you can find various creatures such as Icthyosaurs, Pleisiosaurs and, if you are unlucky, the Liopleurodon. Pterosaurs inhabit the mountainous regions. Then there would be the more general dinosaurs that would live in all areas like Dilophosaurus, Hipsilophodon etc. This doesn't necessarily need to be restricted to Cretacious or the Jurassic periods. While I like things to be realistic, the very act of ramming humans and dinosaurs together to create this game could be explained in a way that would also allow dinosaurs from different periods to live together. Basically, a kind of Jurassic park kind of set up but instead as a reserve like Isla Sorna in the later movies.

- Lots of craft-able equipment such as bows, daggers, clothes, arrows, fire, tents etc. I'll provide a list of equipment along with their uses, even though some of them would be quite obvious.

- Plenty of Dinosaurs. A no brainer really.

- Either a good back story or none at all. I'm kind of torn up between this. I'm not sure whether I would prefer a good back story to keep the narrative going but with a large survival element taking place or whether there should be little to no story at all and the player is just thrown onto the island for little cause, kind of like what happens in minecraft, space engineers, rust, that kind of thing. Two concepts for stories that I've come up with are Ranger station and breadcrumb trail.

- Ranger station: The player is a ranger at one of the few ranger stations scattered across the island. These rangers are responsible for the welfare of the dinosaurs and frequently patrol the island looking out for injured or ill dinosaurs and try to help them. While the player is helping some dinosaurs people start arriving and trying to steal them or set up labs for unethical research on the dinosaurs. While they do this, mercs hired by whoever is doing it try and destroy the ranger stations, introducing the survival element where the player has to survive in the wild with the dinosaurs as well as ambushing merc patrols for food, medical supplies, weapons, ammo etc. The player could also decide how they were going to go about it, whether they were going to attack the patrols by luring dinosaurs in, stealthily steal what they want or just go in guns blazing. This could combine a little animal care kind of mini-games along with some standard shoot 'em up gameplay with the mercs. However, if this concept were to be followed then the devs would have to be careful not to spend too much time on either of these ideas and stick to the core concept of survival on the island. I'm not as fond of this idea as my other one but I think with some serious brainstorming and throwing some ideas around, a group of people could probably come up with something really great.

- Little to no back story: Sometimes the simpler angle works the best and while the previous concept might have some good stuff to play about with, particularly the raiding of merc camps, stealth etc, it might drift too far away from the survival aspect of what I would like to see in a game. In this concept, there could be no back story at all which would just leave the player in the wild on this dinosaur inhabited island, maybe in a location where there are very few of the more dangerous dinosaurs like raptors or rex's. You would start with maybe a couple of tools to get you going and you just have to build, hunt and hide to survive the vicious jungles. Quite a simple concept but I prefer the little back story variation. In this one the player would be dropped on the island, maybe through a plane crash or something that would give the player a reason to be there, but not enough so that the character is written for the player. This way the players can decide who their character is. One the island/s would be small abandoned research bases (maybe in the more dangerous parts to prevent players from just camping there all the time, at least until they are more established) which contain things like files, disks, recordings etc that paint a picture of what scientists were doing by creating these dinosaurs (Jurassic park esk).This way, the back story is there but the game isn't forcing the player to experience it at particular points and allows the players to form their own story. I think I like this concept the best because it doesn't completely remove humanity (although you'll still be alone), gives a reason for both the dinosaurs and the player to be on the island without a huge in depth storyline. It also allows the player to experience the story at their own pace.

- Needs. I think this is one of the more important features in a survival game. The player needs to eat, drink and sleep to stay alive, as well as avoiding the hungry nasties in the long grass. Obviously, we're not trying to rebuild the Sims in a prehistoric world (although that would be pretty good too) so there are limits. The system that was used in Fallout: New Vegas for the eat, drink and sleep was pretty decent but in that game it didn't work so well due to the ease in which one acquire the necessary items to reduce the meters. Also, they increased a little too slow.

- Food has to be harvested from plants such as berry bushes, fruit trees and some vegetables growing about the place. Make it so that there are also some poisonous foods that, while not going to far to kill you, can have some pretty disastrous effects such as increasing the food meter, lowering health or stamina, decrease damage or a number of other effects. Food can also be gained from the hunting of dinosaurs and other small animals that may inhabit the island. A dagger is a necessary tool for this as it would be required to cut the meat once the prey has been caught. There could also be a small element of scavenging, for example the player walks by a half eaten corpse that an Allosaurus left there and can cut away small bits of meat before the carnivore returns. Cooking can also be a feature. Meat needs to be cooked before it can be eaten and while the player may only have basic recipes to begin with such as grilled meat or plain fruit, later the player can unlock recipes which allow the cooking of meals like stews where meat, root veg and water are cooked in a pot to provide benefits to the player beyond merely filling up the hunger meter.

- Water is essential for the survival of the player. Water from the coast can be salt water and therefore either cannot be drunk or make it so that it can be gathered but needs to be purified through some tool technology acquired later in the game before it can be drunk. Water inland from streams and lakes can be collected with bowls or flasks to drink later. Later tech can allow water to be collected from rain and barrels to be made to store large amounts of water.

- Sleep isn't as essential as the previous two features but a lack of sleep can be represented by a reduction in strength, stamina, maybe even reduce the effective levels of technology the player can access. Eg. The player has level 3 of the tools tech tree unlocked (tech tree is entirely hypothetical at the moment in terms of levels etc.) and the player hasn't slept in two days and sleep deprivation has reduced concentration thus lowering the technology the player can actually use to level 2. Longer periods of sleep is even more detrimental to the levels of tech accessible. Sleep can be recovered through the use of beds and tents. The better quality the resting area the more sleep meter is lost per hour of sleep. eg. a leaf bed that you can make at the beginning of the game reduces the meter by 5 per hour whereas a bed roll in a tent reduces it by 15 per hour. This is to represent better quality sleep, if you are sleeping on rough ground you're not going to be as well rested as sleeping in a tent and sleeping bag.

- Dynamic weather that has an effect on the player. As well as having weather patterns such as rain and sun there is a form of temperature scale. Hot days with clear skies could make the thirst meter decrease faster and thus causing dehydration unless the player can get water regularly. Cold temperatures come with rain and can appear at night which is warded off with the use of camp fires, clothing and being inside buildings. Rain could work in conjunction with water collection tools which collect safe to drink rain water for putting into a flask. More rain = more water storage.

- Skills. Various crafting skills could be available. I've vaguely mentioned tech trees before and I don't really want to have an actual levelled tech tree which is unlocked by earning experience. I would prefer if the player either has to find recipes for tech designs in the world through either plane/boat wrecks or the abandoned research labs. However, the technology could still be graded on complexity (unseen by player) which works with the sleep deprivation feature.

- Stats/skills. Health and stamina are two things that should be there but I also think that stats/skills such as intelligence, strength, crafting, fishing, hunting, cooking etc, should be present that can be levelled up based on the actions of the player. These skills could be the determining factor for the tech tree. For example, the player does a lot of cooking and as a result their cooking skill increases (slowly, I don't want the skills able to be maxed out within a few hours of the game beginning. They must take time) which allows them to cook more ambitious things. Or crafting, as they get better they craft things quicker and can build more complex tools.

- Hard dinosaurs. I don't want a game where the player can suddenly become a master of death and can kill T-rex's with a bow and arrow. By all means, the bow could do serious damage if the player is very accurate and hits the right spot. But I would like that the player would have to use things like traps and poisons to be able to bring down the bigger beasties. The same with smaller creatures like Raptors. I don't want the player to be able to just heft a large stone axe and just walk into the middle of a raptor pack and bash them all on the head with little effort and loss of health. I want encounters to be exciting, tense and very dangerous. I want the player to be scared when they come across a T-rex stomping its way through the forest or to pause suspiciously when rustling is heard in the undergrowth. I want the player to feel that their next step could be life or death and it's their ingenuity, not sheer brawn, that will keep them alive. That said, I don't want it so that there is no way to kill a T-Rex without sustaining huge amounts of damage. The player still has to be able to kill the dinosaurs eventually, just with skill, luck and using their noggin.

At the moment, that's all I can think of but I think it would be brilliant if a game like this can be made. We know that the farcry engine can support dinosaurs because of the blood-dragons in the Far Cry 3 expansion game of the same name. The blood-dragons were basically T-Rex's with laser eyes. It is this kind of survival intensity that, even if it's not dinosaurs, I would like to see in games of the future.

Change in Halo Covenant Species

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This is going to be more rant/discussion like than just plain discussion because it's the only thing of Halo 4 that I think they did wrong (although the knights are proper buggers). Each member of the Covenant have been with the series since Halo 2 (since that was when Brutes, Drones and Prophets were added). This is when all of them are present and they are very well represented in the game. Throughout the sequels following that the Covenant have had very minor changes to their physiology, the Drones being the most noticeable with change with their head. However, none of them had any significant change in their appearance to the point that they could be regarded as a different species. Take the Grunts for example, the Unngoy, they used to be quite cute with their high-pitched voices crying for help and waddling about the place. They were always quite ugly. Since Halo 3 their voices got deeper. This annoyed me at the time but I got used to it and since it wasn't a big change I didn't hang myself up on it. The voice was still fairly squeally. However, in Halo 4 the grunts seem to have taken on some kind of robot voice. A really deep and metallic gurgle that isn't even understandable. It would always make me laugh when the Grunts would run away screaming things in the Human tongue but with the advancement of the Covenant language they don't really do that much any more. The voice is the worst change that has been done to the Grunts but it's not the only. The physiology of the Grunt has changed enough that it looks like a different species. They seem to have gotten a lot chunkier than the previous games and more resemble frogmen than anything else. No longer are they cute ugly, they are just ugly. Second, and this is the biggest peeve of mine, are the Jackals. They go from being bird-like, very thin and relatively weak to being, as someone once described it, resembling a small dinosaur. This is a very drastic change and while possible, because people will of course point out the similarities of dinosaurs to birds, they can't have changed that much in a space of a few years, even a few decades. Their entire head structure has changed from a mouth designed for carrion meat to hunting out small animals. Their jaw looks designed for snapping bone with the large jaw bone. I mean, the change is just crazy. Look at this comparison. Original Jackal: http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20090914050152/halo/images/a/af/JackalMajor.png Storm Jackal: http://images.wikia.com/halo/images/9/9c/Kig_Yar_Storm.png As you can see, the change is ridiculously drastic and there is no explanation or even notice by Master Chief. He's been fighting them for years and doesn't notice the change. The only explanation I can think of that sounds even remotely valid is that the Jackals used by the Didact came from a different planet where the Jackals colonised many years before the war and evolved enough to be seen as a different subspecies. However, why they haven't been seen in the Human-Covenant war is unexplained. Why? Because the developers are trying to pass them off as the originals. I get the whole "We need to bring in some new stuff to keep people interested in the series." Yes, I get that but you pulled it off with the new guns, the new enemies, the new locale, and the Spartan IV's but you don't go mess around with the designs for the covenant. They have had five games to establish themselves, five games in which they fought their way into the memories of many gamers and then they are changed for seemingly no reason at all. If you couldn't make the change work with the rest of the game then you shouldn't have done it at all. That's my advice to you. Unfortunately, now that you've started with these retarded looking covenant, you have to continue with the rest of the trilogy otherwise it would look even more retarded. However, you could salvage this with the addition of some explanation of WHY the covenant are so different. Even the excuse of that they were all put into a nuclear reactor is better than silence. Well, almost. I'll just finish up with the Elites, not much for these guys and I wouldn't have thought much about them if someone didn't point it out to me that the Elites themselves seem to have had their muscles made smaller and that their armour is the thing which gives them the bulk. This isn't much of a problem but if one noticed, others will have too and the Elites are supposed to be naturally at least as strong as a Spartan II. Anyway, I'm going to wrap that up now before I start repeating myself. Good day to you all.

Crysis Story part 2

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Thanks to the wonderful microsoft epic sale going on at the time of writing I have now got a copy of Crysis 1. If only I had delayed my other post a few days and I could have added better intel to the thoughts. However, I would have loved that to be true. First I will comment a little about the game itself then I will jabber on about the storyline. I have noticed that many Crysis fans have said that the first Crysis is the best one of the three and that they all went downhill after C2. I can understand why they would think that. I cannot, however, place the game in the same light at the next two. It's too different. As well as a few functional aspects of the game, the entire plot is different. More on that in a minute. Part of me thinks that my difference in opinion about the first game compared to the second two is because I joined the series quite late. While I had seen a couple of videos and such my interest was not piqued until I played the C3 multiplayer demo they had going for a couple of days. So I got C2 (at the time I didn't know there was a port for the 360 and when I did, I didn't want to pay the £15 for it. Thinking back on it, it was more to do that I didn't trust digital only copies.) and then, as you might know from my last blog, I got C3 last week when it dropped in price. However I still think that they are very different games despite both being a part of the same series, so I cannot judge them together, it would seem unfair. The game has a wonderful setting, a tropico esk like island (guess what I've also been playing recently) with beautiful tropical beaches and lush jungle filled with angry Koreans. The animation was done well and I've not come across as many bugs as the later games, which is good. The HUD is very limited to what I'm used to but it was easily adapted to. A very nice island warzone to fight in. I've quite enjoyed the games that have very beautiful scenery work and considering that C1 is fairly old in the sense that tech evolves really fast, the graphics still stand out incredibly well. Now, onto the story. As I said in the last blog, I had no really idea about what the storyline was like in C1 apart from what I could rustle up from various wiki's and such so I did point out that any issues with the story were made without a real knowledge to the prior game. Now that I've played it, I can (not so happily) say that it make not a single bit of difference. All I said before still stands and C1 -> C2 has actually added way more inconsistencies than C2 -> C3. I am aware that anything I point out here is mostly from knowledge of what the later games hold and could have been something that could probably have been better revealed until the later games. The overall idea that I'm getting from this game is that the dev's didn't know what they had made until it made big and they realised that they had to now make a story for it. The story starts out well. Dropping into the tropical jungle to root out the archaeologists who had been captured by Koreans and held hostage. Fair enough. The large map and the ability to attack most area's from any direction is great. The devs made a big deal about being able to do that in C2&3 but those choices were far more limited, merely being take the high or low road, left or right. I'll skip past much of the earlier part of the game since I had no problem with that and they were some pretty good bits. There are two (possibly three) pretty large problems I've got with the plot of C1. The possible one I'll get off my chest straight away as it's a fairly short point. The ending in very abrupt. If I had not played the later games I would have thought it a wonderful ending with a cool cliff hanger. However, since I've played that later games first and even if I had played C2&3 afterwards, I think the ending is pretty dire. For starters (and this is a fault for C2->C3) we have no idea what happened to Nomad. We have to assume he dies. After a bit of searching I find that his fate was revealed in the comic. I don't like it when that happens. I find it really annoying when devs continue the story with critical points through another medium to the game. Everything should be at least explained in the game even if it's only a reference to what happened. Someone without access to comics or even know they exist will miss out and I don't like having to look up plot points that should have been covered in the games. The release dates of the comic add further annoyance to that. It's after the game so it's not like they are even carrying on the story after the comic being available to people. It seems like they released the comic to appease annoyed players who wanted to know what happened so they knew that they left nothing explained and still pushed the game out. Anyway, enough about that, I might go on a rant otherwise. So, Nomad dies through means not explained in later games. That's quite a jump from playing a character who you come to like for him to be completely absent later. I also notice that the comics cover the other point I was about to make regarding the ending (yeah, guess who's looking this up as he's writing). This point was about what happened to the alien dome thing. Nomad returns with Psycho and Helena to rescue Prophet but that's all you see. I seriously can't see why the dev's decided to not mention what the hell happened in the dome, what happened to Nomad and what the outcome of the fight was. As far as I could see, the true battle wasn't even done yet and I'm only talking about the Lingshan incident! The fact that they had to release a comic after release just to explain it doesn't sit well with me at all. it seams like a cheap shot. Couldn't they have just had a prologue level where you fight in the dome or something? Was that too much to ask? The skies were filled with flying aliens, the Japanese fleet was an hour away from the site, there could have been loads of more content following that game. It seems too much like they set the game up for another to follow directly onto it but then somehow they ended up doing something different. I've just finished reading the plot synopsis for the comic and most of it really does seem like a bunch of lame ass excuses for questions brought up by gamers, as though they were tailoring the comic specifically to answer questions rather than tell the story. I found out that the comic answers one of the big points I mentioned before (yes, I'm only onto the second point :P). This is the issue of the Koreans having a bunch of Nanosuits. The excuse the comic gives is that Prophet and a Korean Captain accuse each other of stealing Nanosuit tech but then come to an agreement that maybe both the Koreans and Hargreave came up with the suit at the same time. This is probably the most bogus excuse in the comic that I can see. Hargreave, along with Rasch, is a scientist and have founded a very large and profitable company revolving around scientific development. They have also had a good hundred years to develop the suit, their seeming immortality thanks to Ceph tech. Not wanting to piss any Koreans off but I think that it's highly unlikely that some military general is going to have the funding required for developing Nanosuit technology, let alone enough suits to equip a small regiment. He would have to have the majority of the funding his government can provide providing he's from South Korea in order to pull it off. Also, the suits would look very different since they have access to both different Ceph tech but also the difference in funding and cultural style. It's most likely just a technical thing so the devs don't have to develop two different suits but still, it's an excuse that doesn't really hold up. The third point, and biggest, is the Ceph themselves. They look completely different. Still cool but they look like a completely different race! They have a blue squid like appearance and their vehicles look like the robots from Matrix 3. They also have things which wouldn't look out of place in that let down of a movie Skyline such as that nifty ship at the end. They were very blue focused in their colour scheme. However, in C2&3 the Ceph are completely different. I can imagine how disorientating it must be for a player used to C1 going into C2 and the aliens look very different and the tactics required etc are also different. The Ceph in the later games are still very squid like (being likened to Cephalopods, hence the name) but they are red. As well as that, instead of flying about as they did before they place themselves inside mechanical suits to give them the basic two legs, two arms humanoid look. That way they seem more menacing than these almost spectre like Ceph. We also see the addition of proper gunships and the Pinger walker acting as a tank. Had the Ceph in C2 invaded Earth instead of coming out of hibernation from underneath New York then I could have put it down to the Ceph from C2 were much more evolved, having the few millenia between the Ceph going into hibernation under Lingshan and present day. But since nearly everything maintains that they awoke from under New York then either they had a massive technology change or they were of a different species. Since neither is likely to be true, what is left is a very confusing mess that mostly rationalises itself as "It made the game better." I agree, but it doesn't explain the inconsistency. Looking over what the wiki has to say about the Ceph all seems very logical but I want to know where they got the information from. Also, if the Ceph were coming to colonise Earth and the ones at Lingshan were stage one, why did they instead decide to bunker down and hibernate? A theory mentioned by a friend says that maybe they needed to absorb energy from electrical sources and without any electricals on Earth they couldn't harvest the energy. A sound theory but doesn't seem logical to me. I can hardly imagine any species thinking "Oh, this planet doesn't have electric. Oh well. Let's just sleep here for a few million years in the hopes that something will evolve and develop technology." Also, the wiki says that Ceph can harvest energy from any source, not just electrical. The wiki provides a good explanation as to why the Ceph look so different between the two games but it lacks in the most vital area's such as the sudden tech change that the underground New York Ceph have. To be honest, it even looks like they are two different species. Maybe like when Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis lived side by side these Ceph had a similar situation apart from that they didn't have one of the species die out. I'm sure there were a few other inconsistencies and there are a few more I would like to rant about with the enlightenment of some of these wiki pages that I read today but regarding C2->3. The main one being that we missed an entire war with the Ceph. C3 seemed to imply that New York was the only fight, or at least the only large one, but the wiki goes on to say that there were many battles around the world and there's the chaining of the Alpha Ceph. I personally think that this was a story that shouldn't have been rushed but Crytek wanted to put it all into a trilogy so they had to skip large sections. Unfortunately, they should have stopped at least for a bit to explain some of the stuff that went on. Now, it's late and I'm too tired to think of any more reasons and I've been typing for nearly 1 1/2 hours so I think it's time to wrap that up here. I hope you found what I was saying enlightening and open up avenues for discussion. I hope that if you like the blog then you comment to let me know and if there are any other games you would like me to make a plot review on then please check my games collection on gamespot and let me know which one. Thanks for reading. :)

Crysis Story

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Crysis 3 reached a low enough cost for me to be able to buy it so over the weekend I got it and played through the campaign a couple of times. I have a few thoughts that I would like to share about the continuation of the story from C2 to C3. While C3 has a good story, it doesn't seem to follow on very well from C2 so I'm just going to talk about my thoughts on what didn't work very well, in my opinion. That bit is key because I'll probably get some people who, rather than enjoy a polite discussion, will try and ram insults and "C3 is best/you don't know what you're talking about" down my throat. Now, before I begin this isn't a review of the game. I might consider doing one but at the minute it's not on my mind to do. Also, I will note here that I've not had any experience playing Crysis 1 (due to it being a PC game and my dislike of buying off xbox arcade) so I will be focusing mostly on 2&3 but anything I say in regards to 1 it's researched from various sources online, but this is just to let you know that this blog is lacking a bit of first hand knowledge. I will begin with a summary of what I understand to be the story though out the games. Oh, and a final note before the start. If it looks like there should be a new paragraph somewhere then chances are there should be. Gamespot blog is very temperamental when it comes to making new paragraphs. There needs to be no space at all at the end of a paragraph or it won't count. I've spent about 15 minutes trying to sort it so hopefully it's ok. In C1 an elite team of soldiers field testing the Nanosuits designed by the Hargreave-Rasch Corperation landed in Lingshan and inadvertently awoke an ancient alien race called the Ceph (likely due to their likeness to Cephalopods in Earth fauna). The Ceph then proceeded to blow the hell out of the Army. A Ceph ship comes out of the mountain and the protagonist, one of the Elite Team called Nomad, goes into it to find out information about the aliens. Things get big and there is a large battle near the end where the Ceph ship fighting the USS Constitution and Nomad ends up blowing them both to hell. That's the bare basics I've gathered from Crysis Wiki etc. We then continue the story as Alcatraz sent into New York to rescue a guy named Nathan Gould who has info on the Ceph who have, out of nowhere, attacked the city. Prophet trades his body for Alcatraz's and inhabits the suit while Alcatraz finishes Prophet's mission which was the same as the Marine's. CELL, a private merc company working for CryNet start gunning Alcatraz down thinking he's Prophet, although it's not really explained within the game as to why they start shooting him. I just assumed that they don't like the suit and it makes them nervous. Anyway, long story short, Alcatraz fights the Ceph throughout the streets of New York, assisting Gould and Col. Barclay in evacuating civilians, finding out about the suit evolving into a bio-weapon against the Ceph, killing Lockhart, meeting Hargreave who explains some things and escaping before the house explodes. To finish the game we have Alcatraz destroying a large ship that surfaced from Central Park (Yeah, we just happened to put that park there exactly over the ship and make it big enough so it just fits when it comes out) and hovered over the city for a bit until Alcatraz blew it up and turned the bio-weapon it was going to use on the humans against the Ceph, with the aid of the suit. This is where the story starts to go a bit askew. We learned throughout C2 that Hargreave developed the suit from alien material he found in Tunguska, Russia, after the event that blew down a load of trees (the actual event is full of speculation but most people agree that it was a meteorite that exploded in the atmosphere and the shock wave flattened the trees. There are, however, people who believe it was aliens). We also learn the Hargreave developed the suits with his partner, Rasch, who helped build the Hargreave-Rasch corporation. What isn't explained is that this corporation is the mother company of CryNet, and therefore, CELL. Hargreave mentioned that Rasch was already dead or, at least, couldn't possibly be alive any more since he refused to use the pickled in a tube method. At the end of C2, when Alcatraz/Prophet is getting out of the crater he snoozed in, we hear Rasch and he introduced himself to Prophet (easier to call him that now). This sets up for the next game to have a very good conspiracy sounding sub plot/main plot to unfold but in C3 they really let that down. Rasch became a simple guy in the resistance that really didn't do anything for a long while until he disappears only to reappear at the top of a tower (and I must say, it's odd that Psycho and Claire managed to get up the tower considering Prophet had to wade through an army of corpses to get there himself) and mutter something from the Hive mind before being killed. I think that his role in C3 was a wasted opportunity. They set up a great base to have a conspiracy to show some of what happened between Hargreave and Rasch but and have Rasch take control etc. While we're on that section of the game, this is the first proper appearance by the Alpha Ceph and I have to say, it does look a bit stupid with those rotary drill bits on the sides of it's head. For it's hands, should it have them, they might have worked but on it's head, just looked silly. I was expecting some badass looking thing to be the Alpha Ceph. To be honest, until it appeared after destroying the Subject X facility I thought that the awesome Ceph Mothership coming through the portal would be the Alpha (Something which looks very similar to the Tyrannid Hive Ships from Warhammer 40K). There are a good number of things that aren't properly explained, at least not easily locatable, such as what the hell happened to Alcatraz. I had to look up what happened to him on the net! I would have thought that would be an obvious thing to put into the game near the beginning. It's all well and good leaving it up to the players at the end of C2 but it would have been better for some proper confirmation and recognition. Alcatraz wasn't even mentioned in C3. All I found on the subject was a footnote in a piece of intel about Prophet himself. I think he deserved a little more mention. Also, other characters weren't mentioned. What the hell happened to Gould, Strickland and Barclay? We are just to assume they're dead or what? They were good characters and I liked them. It's a shame they were just dropped in favour of a new cast and even they aren't all that new with Psycho being a recurring character. According to the Crysis Wiki Gould is apparently missing and Tara is a Senator. Barclay has nothing as does Chino. But this information is definitely not obvious and I think is an injustice to the characters and players to not mention them more openly. Its almost like they were trying to make a stand alone game that you could play without much prior knowledge to the other games. Mind you, I had prior knowledge but I was lost for a good few levels. History wise, we know very little of what happens between C2 and C3 except that CELL took power and rule the planet with free energy that they charge a arm and a leg for. Despite everyone in the game calling the foes CELL and such, isn't it technically CryNet that is in control since CELL is the military arm of that company? I gather that the Hargreave-Rasch corporation fell apart but CryNet would still have been able to continue. I would hypothesise that CryNet was assimilated into CELL using the latter's name but all the CELL equipment pretty much has a "Made by CryNet" written on them. It would have been nice to not be landed in the middle of a very different setting of the world compared to that of C2. C3 had you lost for a few levels while you had to piece together what happened. While I get that Prophet was pretty much in the same predicament, waking up to a different world with no info, I'm sure he would have tried to find out a little more than what we got. Finally, for the bad points, I would like to address the behaviour and portrayal of the Ceph themselves. From what I gathered during the games is that the Ceph were originally on Earth before humanity evolved and populated it. It's not mentioned whether the Ceph colonised Earth or whether they evolved on it but I would lean more towards the former since the latter would have left more similar fauna in the oceans than what we have now. While I get that the Ceph are linked via a Hive Mind (another link to the tryannids, along with the Ceph's fondness for tentacles, the game's emphasis on DNA incorporation and evolution and the many varying forms of Ceph), as we have seen with the Stalkers at the beginning, when the link to the Hive Mind is severed the remaining Ceph essentially go feral. But that's not what happened at the end of C3, oh no. Instead they explode. Simple as that. Why would they do that compared to going feral as before? As seen with many other Hive Mind alien races, when the big one dies and the connection is severed, the others don't die, they just become very animalistic. Another thing which isn't explained is why the Ceph are attacking. Sure, as I mentioned before, the Ceph on Lingshan were awoken by the alien tech within the nanosuits but what about New York? We have no context as to why they popped up there and no-where else despite Prophet saying they were all over the planet. I believe we were also treated to a global hologram showing Ceph bases at some point in C2, near the end I think. Hargreave talks about the Ceph coming back to Earth (as being the original owners and thus implying they may have evolved there, but why wasn't there much else to show that they have? A couple of underground spaceships/bases doesn't explain that.) and cleaning out the metaphorical fridge. But where did the Ceph attacking New York come from? Did they wake up from their underground ship or did they arrive from another planet? Hargreave's words do imply that they arrived from space in that invasion but looking at events it's more logical to think that they woke up from their underground ship. An excerpt from the Crysis Wiki mentions that the aliens only have a scientific interest in Earth. To quote "In Legion, however, it is speculated that the aliens' interest in Earth is on a purely scientific level; that is, they could be looking for unique, surprising proteins that evolved in Earth biota. If this is the case, the transported human tissue could be used as research material." That is a good and logical explanation since it would confirm that they have research bases all over the planet and why they came in such a small number. However, the Ceph themselves seem very well armed to be scientists and the insides of their ships don't really look like they could be labs. All we have to go there are the little Ticks that harvest people infected with the virus. There's a lot that has either not been included or hasn't been thought out that this bit has been found wanting. The excuse "Oh, we just wanted to make a video game where you just shoot aliens. We didn't bother with the logic". I can both agree and disagree with that. True, the games are just there to entertain us and there are many people who enjoy a good alien invasion. But in our current gaming generation it is vital to make the story work, to have them make sense. It's not enough any more to just give a player a gun and line up some enemies. You need reasons and it's not that hard to get the reasons if you think about it. The Ceph in C3, after the Alpha Ceph woke up, still seem very focused on wiping out humanity and again, they concentrated their efforts on New York. Although this was partly due to the Alpha Ceph being there but how did it get there in the first place? That's not explained either. If it was in the original New York invasion then why didn't we see it then? If they just dug it up, that's a bit of a random thing. "Oh, we just found this big ass Ceph when we were cleaning up New York after that invasion. Don't think he woke during that war." And the Ceph invasion fleet that I assume was coming through the portal created by the Alpha, was that already waiting for the portal to open? I would have thought that it would take longer than a day or so to prepare an invasion fleet fit to take out a planet. The portrayal of the Ceph didn't really give them a good reason for being on Earth other than the "oh, they're just the big ass bad guys" excuse. The reasons given contradict and the only one mentioned within the games was the least logical of the two. Now, I've been typing for a good while now and if there is anyone still reading this then I thank you for sticking with it. Often when I talk about stuff like this I can be long winded and talk a lot but I think that's both Uni training and that I get very excitable about games, especially the plots and back stories. Now, I don't like to end with negativity so I would like to just point out for those who might think I hate the entire story the things that I did like about it. What I absolutely loved was the dome around New York. While this isn't really story related, more of visual, I feel that it would be good to mention it. I have a thing for abandoned cities returning to nature kind of thing like in I am Legend, Crysis 3 etc. I think the scenery is very beautiful and I love the mix of civilisation and nature. It was a very good setting which I think the developers did a fantastic job on. I liked Psycho and Claire. I've heard some people complain that Psycho is an annoying character but I think he's good, quite funny at times but he can also quite rude and bad tempered. He's more realistic than some characters in other games who tend to be one thing and stay that thing. For example, some characters are happy but stay happy all the time even in times they shouldn't really be. Or they are permanently in a bad mood. It's not usually realistic. Obviously, it would depend on other aspects of the characters but I hope you get my drift. The plot-line up until the Alpha Ceph's release was really good. I liked the idea of the Dam producing the power. As soon as Psycho filled me in on the task I was immediately like "Hang on a minute, they have unlimited power and yet they power their defences with a dam?" I think my favourite level is the second one when you're in the long grass and the stalkers are hunting you and your HUD is disabled so you can't see them. It reminded me of the scene in Jurassic Park: Lost World where the hunters are in the long grass being stalked by the rapters. When I stealth killed a stalker and got the achievement "Clever Girl", that had me geeking out for a good while. (For those that are unaware, that is a reference to the first Jurassic Park where Robert Muldoon, the hunter, tries to hunt rapters in a forest where he basically gets stealth killed by them. Clever girl is the last thing he says before the rapter pounces him.) Anyway, I think I've talked enough so I'm going to wrap this up here and if you survived the blog until the end then I would like to thank you again for taking the time to read it and I hope you enjoyed it. (I would like to think so since you reached the end.)

Aldmeri Dominion

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This is a short description I wrote on the 25th August, 2012 on my thoughts about the motives of the Aldmeti Dominion in Elder Scrolls. Let me know your thoughts on the subject. (Note: For some reason, no matter how many times I alter it, the editor seems to want to mash all the pasted stuff together so please bear with it.) "So, to start. The Aldmeri Dominion are reformed and attack the Empire with the aims of destroying it. This starts the Great War which both sides take heavy losses. Eventually, the Dominion sign a peace treaty with the Empire called the White-Gold Concordant. One must ask themselves, why would a nation bent on destroying another sign a peace treaty when the Empire looks to be losing? Simple, the Dominion couldn't maintain the fighting themselves. But, because they are still the stronger of the two sides they can negotiate terms in the peace treaty that are in their favour so they decide to remove the status of God from Talus on grounds that as a human, he can't be powerful enough to be a God. While this is also crapping on the humans they were warring with (the Dominion are Elves) they are also demoralising the Imperial citizens and causing unrest in the provinces. I think that the Aldmeri Dominion made that peace treaty with the Empire because they couldn't maintain their attack the way they had before and while they had the strength to defeat the Empire, they would destroy themselves in the process. This treaty would grant the Dominion a break in which to rebuild their forces and prepare for another attack. To make sure that the Empire struggles to do the same they outlaw Talus worship and this demoralises the Citizens and the troops and with it causing the unrest it distracts the Legion and limits their rebuilding capabilities. Furthermore, the War in Skyrim would be further detrimental to the strength of the Legion because of the fighting between the Legion and the Stormcloaks and that Civil War can only aid the Dominion so they are content to let it stew over and, if possible, poke the two sides in the right places to keep them fighting (which is what I think the Dominion agents pottering about Skyrim are doing). I think in the next Elder Scrolls game the War with the Aldmeri Dominion will have restarted and the player will be able to choose which of the two sides and fight for whoever they wish. I'm looking forward to what the studio will do with it."

Game reviews

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This is just a short blog on my thoughts about whether I should start writing games reviews. I mean, I play lots of games all the time and I do enjoy writing so why not combine the two together? It would be a slow start, I think, but hopefully I could become a valuable (or maybe just another voice) member of the game community. I have written a few short reviews in places like amazon where I've bought the game but nothing really substantial or even longer than a couple of paragraphs with vague phrases like "It's a good game if you like [insert random genre/similar game here]." So I do hope that I can write something that someone will read and think "That's inspired me to get that game." and then become a fan of the series. Well, until get into the swing of things I guess that'll be it for now. Cherrio.