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ulkas Blog

Halo Combat Evolved finished

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I had played it a long time ago, but couldn't finish it due to a crash when on the spaceship.Now I succeeded to get past that point and finished it.

I also played some multiplayer, wyhich was a lot of fun. I understand why it was such a success due to all the different vehicles with very different behavior.

The biggest flaw in singleplayer were the repetitive levsls and tiresome onslaughts of foes. THe library was dreadful, and I've never had to fight so many foes in such a short time. Other levels were really good though.

Bioshock 2

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Some spoilers ahead.

Just finished this game. It was rather short, but frustrating enough to still give a feeling of length. Without the Vita (revitalization) chambers I would have abandoned the game for the following reasons:

  • You die, and die, and die, and die, often a few seconds after leaving the Vita chamber. In the beginning of the game I almost gave it up due to this, but I took a chill pill, and just accepted that it's close to impossible (read: really impossible) to play this game without the Vita chambers or constant reloading.
  • The attack effects are sometimes so startling that it's almost impossible to see where attacks are coming from and at all seeing anything to shoot at. Also, audio gives few cues as to where attacks are coming from. Seems like a real design flaw.
  • After I had saved the game maybe 20 times, opening the menu and the Load screen took forever, almost a minute for each, so I had to exit the game and move away older save games to be able to continue.
  • The constant chattering from the splicers made playing confusing, as it was completely irrelevant to the game play. If I compare with F.E.A.R. 2 I played right before, everything said was relevant somehow.
  • The AI sucks, as splicers just attack as soon as you are seen. No tactics what-so-ever.

It is especially frustrating at the beginning, when you are almost powerless, but it improves, and at the end I could start using tactics to have enemies fight each other, blow them to smithereens etc.

Luckily the idiotic and malplaced boss fight at the end of Bioshock is gone, and instead the ending is very fulfilling, leaving a noticeable mark.

Advice:

Don't give it up too early, you'll be rewarded for staying put, yet don't think it's anything other than a shooter with a few perks.

Before entering a room, always equip the weapon you want to go in with and then equip the camera. By taking photos of every foe you'll get very important benefits. After taking a photo the game falls back to the previously chosen weapon, so then it's just to fire away.

I didn't listen to any of the tapes or read any of the notes, except when there was a door code in there, knowing how irrelevant the tapes and notes were in Bioshock. Rather I went for a speed run through the game, so I would finish it in roughly a day.

So is it better than F.E.A.R. 2? No way in hell.

F.E.A.R. back to back

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I played Perseus Mandate (PM) and F.E.A.R. 2 (F2) back to back during this weekend.

PM didn't add much new and looked more drab than the original game (F1) for some reason, but was still a fun experience.

F2 looks much better and levels are quite clever. In my opinion a very good game, better than the original, and the first one to play if you haven't played any of the F.E.A.R. games yet.

Gamespot's 7.0 for F2 was surprising. What did the reviewer compare with? F2 challenges e.g. Bioshock in level design and the scary parts of the game are way better than both BioShock and F1.

F2 is a game almost without any boss fights, which is a big plus (compare e.g. with the dreadful ending boss level in Bioshock, or the bosses in Prey or Quake 4). Rather it's quite realistic in its fighting and very fast-paced.

I initially disliked the lack of a proper save system, and in cases I had to re-play the same section a few times, but it worked out quite nicely as in most cases I survived on the first round.

Started playing Dead Space

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Not happy with the controls and the "lead me around" approach. I wan't to have full freedom to move anywhere, even if it game-wise doesn't make much sense, as I want to explore.

F.E.A.R., again

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Played F.E.A.R. for the 3rd time. Still good, and still looking good. On my rig I could play it with everything on max. I've ordered one of the expansions and F.E.A.R. 2. Eagerly awaited.

Microsoft should have focused on PCs

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We all know the Xbox business of Microsoft is not profitable, so here's a suggestion slightly "after the fact":

Microsoft should focus on making Windows and PCs the optimal gaming platform by integrated game server, pinging, marketplace etc support, and possibly even sponsoring nVidia and AMD to make the best possible 3D chips and related software.

Benefits:

  • It focuses the investments on a platform that is very profitable for Microsoft.
  • It's a competitive step to take versus Apple.
  • It makes it more worthwhile for consumers to buy powerful PCs, which will benefit Dell, HP, Asus and all the other PC manufacturers as well as the chip makers, and secondarily Microsoft as well.

This of course requires that PC manufacturers are willing to make media center and gaming oriented PCs. Those bulky desktops we are used to won't do. Not even laptops are interesting for this application. Rather the PC should be a small timid box (a la Mac mini), with all the features needed to connect to HDTVs etc: 1080p, HDMI, 5.1+ accelerated audio, advanced 3D support etc.

Makes sense?

Lost Coast, again

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Not much of a game. It's really just a demo of HDR, but it's still fun to play through for the 15 or so minutes of game play.

Portal, still going strong

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Played through Portal again, for probably the third time. This time it went rather fast (maybe 2.5 hours) but it was still fun, as I had forgotten several of the puzzles. Eagerly awaiting Portal 2.

Steam, ever so over-priced

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I generally find that buying games on CD/DVD is cheaper than buying them as DLC through Steam. That's wrong.

When a package costs more than the individual games, that's even more wrong and kind of funny (a la "take 2, pay for 3").

Deus Ex package price

Personal game information

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I'm a devoted PC game player. I don't have any console, and I never use a gamepad while playing, always keyboard and mouse (for precision etc). I've got over 140 PC games now, most of them purchased at a low price, but the really good ones I've bought for full price right after release. I bought e.g. Half Life 2 and Oblivion the first day they were available in shops or online. I order a lot online, sometimes several at a time, as it's more convenient, there are more games to choose from, and prices are lower.

To be more specific I'm a fan of single-player games where I have full control over one character. I don't like squad games (the only exception being Project Eden), and I don't like multiplayer games much, except for max 30 minutes at a time. I especially like fantasy or sci-fi themed action/adventure/stealth games. I played pure adventure games a lot when such were made.

I'm a big fan of the newer Elder Scrolls games, so I've made tribute pages about them:
www.abiro.com/lab/oblivion.php
www.abiro.com/lab/morrowind.php

For a game listing with reviews of sorts and indication of favorites, see www.abiro.com/lab/games_my.php. The list of games should be the same as in My Collection, but I haven't checked in detail.

For more silly/funny things: http://www.abiro.com/lab/indexpp.php.

For more serious things: http://www.abiro.com. This is what I'm supposed to do during day-time.

I own a PC with a Core 2 Duo 2.13 GHz, an nVidia 8800 GTS, 2 GB of RAM and 1 TB of hard disk.

I apologize for the NOLF review. I was very angry at the time, as I simply couldn't progress in the game (and still can't), and now I can't remove the review. Instead of trying to write reviews I now provide ratings to the games I've played.