All About Bamul
[MY TOP 30 GAMES]
Here is a list of my top 30 favourite games of all time - with the names of the gaming platforms I played them on and the scores I gave them, on a scale of 1 to 10. This list has been edited, games have been added on and knocked off (not to mention that this started out as a top 10 games list) and it is obvious that, given time, it will keep changing as it always has.
30) BioShock 2 (PS3) – 8.5
29) Heavy Rain: Move Edition (PS3) – 8.5
28) Star Wars: Republic Commando (PC) – 8.5
27) Dragon Age: Origins (PC) – 8.5
26) Killzone 3 (PS3) – 8.5
25) Resistance 3 (PS3) – 8.5
24) Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (PC) – 8.5
23) Mass Effect (PC) – 8.5
22) Fallout: New Vegas (PC) – 8.5
21) Gothic 3 (PC) – 8.5
20) Call of Duty [Deluxe Edition] (PC) – 9.0
19) Crysis (PC) – 9.0
18) Far Cry (PC) – 9.0
17) Halo: Combat Evolved (PC) – 9.0
16) Civilization [Whole Series] (PC) – 9.0
15) The Witcher [Enhanced Edition] (PC) – 9.0
14) Batman: Arkham Asylum (PS3) – 9.0
13) The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion [GOTY Edition] (PC) – 9.0
12) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PC) – 9.0
11) S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl (PC) – 9.0
10) BioShock (PS3) – 9.0
9) Mass Effect 3 (PC) – 9.0
8) Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad (PC) – 9.0
7) Metro 2033 (PC) – 9.0
6) Batman: Arkham City (PS3) – 9.5
5) Red Dead Redemption (PS3) – 9.5
4) Mass Effect 2 (PC) – 9.5
3) Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven (PC) – 9.5
2) Aliens Versus Predator 2 (PC) – 10
1) The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings [Enhanced Edition] (PC) – 10
On March 6th, 2013, I missed my fifth anniversary of being a member on this once glorious gaming site. It's been a few months since I logged on here to write a blog post and I see nothing has changed. I see the content from the UK branch and Kevin VanOrd's reviews are still stellar, but the website doesn't seem to be under any of the promised overhauls. The communities I used to be a part of are still dead. It's a shame.
What's up with me? Not much. I'll be leaving school in about two months - off to college and then university. Can't be bothered to talk here about non-gaming related stuff, so I'll say I finally got a proper gaming PC and leave it at that. What's everyone else been up to?
MASS EFFECT 3: LEVIATHAN - (DLC) For PC - Review by Bamul
Once again, we are presented with some stellar downloadable content but not enough of it.
Time Spent: 10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line: "Too short"
Ever since Electronic Arts acquired the Canadian RPG developer, BioWare has become known for supporting its games post-release with DLC of mixed quality. They tested the grounds with Mass Effect first by providing players with two uninteresting downloadable content packs, each of lackluster quality - especially so when compared to the capacity of the original game. Then came Dragon Age: Origins and BioWare flooded it with optional DLC packs, most of which were equally dull. Mass Effect 2 stepped up the game by offering more free downloadable content and additional paid options. However, even that wasnt perfect, as the free things werent of the best calibre and even though Lair of the Shadow Broker was stellar stuff - It was too short for its price. Mass Effect 3 had a very poor start with the shocking on-disc DLC From Ashes, but BioWare has otherwise been keeping the game updated with a lot of decent and good quality content for free ever since. Leviathan is the first of the promised storyline DLC packs delivered by the company, so lets see how it fares.
After the ending of Mass Effect 3, many players were left underwhelmed and unable to make sense of what happened. Everyone wanted to know more about the Reapers, their origins and what came before them - if not just to understand what the last 5 or 10 minutes of the game were all about, then simply out of a fans curiosity to learn more about the fascinating lore of the series. What Leviathan does marvellously is give players more insight on these issues, without spoiling too much and still managing to keep much of the mystery, and doing so through a superbly written and well-designed story. Leviathans plot starts with a message from Admiral Hackett, who has been running black ops on the pursuit of an evasive creature, known only as the Leviathan, recognized for killing Reapers.
Everyone in the Systems Alliance command who has been informed of the subject is well aware of its potential strategic value in the war against the Reapers, but no one has been able to track down the Leviathan. A human scientist, called Dr Bryson, has been investigating the matter for years and has recently come across something that could lead him right to the Leviathan. Hackett requests that Commander Shepard meet with Bryson and assist him in any way possible. Upon your arrival at the scientists lab on the Citadel, the situation takes an unexpected turn of events and leads Shepard on an exciting journey across a new part of the galaxy in search of the elusive Leviathan.
As we have come to expect from BioWare and the Mass Effect franchise, the writing here is stellar. Any fans of the series will likely find themselves hooked into this DLCs plot from the beginning, and it only gets more interesting after that. In traditional RPG fashion, the player is given plenty of choice during dialogue throughout the entirety of the adventure. Unfortunately, this choice does not affect the outcome or direction of the plot - which is understandable due to the importance of Shepards objective (though still a bit disappointing) - but it does affect the characters around Shepard and their fates. Speaking of which, all of the characters are well-voiced and an exceptional performance is given by Anthony Skordi. Even though the story content of Leviathan is brilliant, it is quite surprising that so much important game lore has once again been kept secret in order to later become available as paid DLC. Leviathans story really is great, but this should have been in Mass Effect 3 from the get-go and available to all for on additional cost.
From a gameplay perspective, Leviathan doesnt wander too far into the uncertain territory of novelty. The combat missions are fairly standard fare and match what youd normally expect from battles with Reaper forces after playing Mass Effect 3. There are some interesting detective like sections of gameplay where Shepard (with a bit of help from EDI) has to examine a safe area for clues and leads as to where she or he needs to head next in the search for Leviathan. These unusual gameplay segments are interesting, but it does seem like BioWare should have explored them further and in greater detail, so they end up being slightly disappointing in the long run. A very brief fragment of gameplay takes place underwater. Its a joy to play through and should have been longer, but excess length would have likely diminished its effect.
Even if Leviathan doesnt add that many new features to the already exciting gameplay of Mass Effect 3, it does create atmosphere exceptionally well. During the three main missions included in Leviathan, we get a chance to see some really spectacular environments. A mining colony on an asteroid protected by immense force fields, a desert wasteland with skies dominated by Harvesters or a planet covered entirely by oceans - all of these environments are created with fantastic attention to detail and highly impressive visuals, as well as a lot of jaw dropping dynamics. Each is also backed up by a stunning soundtrack and characters with convincing voice acting to create an amazing atmosphere for all of the locations in this DLC pack.
Lets summarize everything Leviathan has to offer:
GAMEPLAY - 8.5/10 (Great)
Leviathan doesnt add a lot to the gameplay formula, but it tries enough new approaches to keep things fresh and interesting.
STABILITY - 8/10 (Impressive)
My computer crashed once whilst playing this DLC, but this could have been just a random error with my hardware instead of the game. Other than that, there are no bugs beyond the usual, occasional glitches of Mass Effect 3.
STORY - 10/10 (Marvellous)
The plot answers many questions and creates a dozen new ones; it is well-written, well-presented, important to the series lore and backed by good characters.
GRAPHICS - 9/10 (Outstanding)
Each environment seen in this DLC looks spectacular, the visual style of Mas Effect 3 is further refined with new atmospheres and many new creative ideas.
SOUND - 9/10 (Outstanding)
The soundtrack consists of thrilling and diverse music that fits the action, the characters are all well-voiced and the audio effects are of a great standard.
LONGEVITY - 4/10 (Unsatisfactory)
This short DLC can be completed in a substandard time of 2 to 3.5 hours of gameplay and dialogue, depending on just how much you do in each area. Technically, this does double or triple if you plan to play through it with more than one character, but not everyone will.
BioWare has repeated the same mistakes that they have previously made with Lair of the Shadow Broker. Once again, we are presented with some stellar downloadable content but not enough of it. Leviathan can only last for a maximum of around 4 hours on the medium or higher difficulty settings from a completionists point of view, and that really isnt enough for the price of 800 BioWare points (around 6 UK pounds or 9.50 US dollars). If you are a big fan of the series, if youre dying to know more about the Reapers and their predecessors, then Id say go ahead and buy it when you have some spare money. Leviathan is a very well-made DLC and its worth it for a hardcore fan. However, there is very little content in it for such a high price, so if you think you can resist - then perhaps its best to avoid BioWares DLC altogether.
OVERALL RATING - 8/10 (Impressive)
I'm really finding it hard to sit down and write these reviews lately. Once I'm into it and writing, it's a piece of cake and I enjoy it but it just takes a bit of time. And finding the time, then the will, to sit down and write a review is becoming increasingly difficult for me. It's pretty much become almost like a chore, which is a shame - but I'll keep writing them, because I'm usually happy with the result and it helps to develop my reviewing and writing skills. I might need those in the near future, especially since this is my last year at secondary school.
Anyway, if you liked this review, please give me a thumbs up at:http://uk.gamespot.com/mass-effect-3-leviathan/user-reviews/806762/. As always: thanks very much for reading and have a nice day!
HEAVY RAIN: MOVE EDITION - For PS3 - Review by Bamul
If you're searching for an emotional, thrilling, deeply involving, truly unrestricted, interactive movie - this is it.
Difficulty: Just Right
Time Spent: 10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line: "Underappreciated"
When Heavy Rain first came out for the PS3 in early 2010, I was not sure what to think of it. Some praised it, while others nefariously dubbed it "Quick Time Event: The Game". Whatever it appeared to me as at the time, it was definitely different to anything I've ever seen before in gaming. A supposed psychological thriller that really made the player think about the plot and her or his actions in the game. I watched a few videos showcasing some of the gameplay on YouTube, but I still wasn't entirely convinced whether the content of the game was worth the expensive price tag of a new release. When the game was updated to support PlayStation Move motion controls in late 2010, it made no difference to me. Finally, when I got Move as a present during Christmas of 2011, I realized that Heavy Rain: Move Edition was a great opportunity to try out this new peripheral. When the price dropped considerably, it was time to test my theory.
The first thing that you notice when looking at a game are its visuals. Heavy Rain's visuals could have been a mixed bag, but there are some very strong redeeming qualities that bring the whole product into the territories of greatness. The graphics themselves are good for a 2010 console release, but there are some technical inconsistencies that sometimes disrupted my experience with the game. It's no secret that the PlayStation 3 holds some immensely powerful technological prowess for a console that was first spotted on store shelves in very late 2006, but due to the difficulty of coding for the platform - few developers have the ability and experience to tap into that potential. Usually, it is the developers of Sony exclusive games that manage to do this best (such as Naughty Dog or Guerrilla Games), but unfortunately the team at Quantic Dream is not among them.
Heavy Rain is, from time to time, plagued by serious screen-tearing issues. At times, the problem was so persistent and severe that it almost completely broke the immersion for me and distracted me from the core experience of the game. Fortunately, tearing does not occur at every step taken in the game's world and - bizarrely enough - sometimes it is completely absent from the screen. Even with this occasionally infuriating visual anomaly, the good qualities of Heavy Rain's visuals remain triumphant over their hindrances. The attention to detail in each and every environment seen in the game is striking and the facial expressions of characters are almost lifelike (which makes me all the more curious about what the game could have looked like had it utilized the incredible MotionScan technology that debuted in L.A. Noire).
However, even Heavy Rain's good-looking graphics come at a price. In almost every scene (especially at later parts during the game), the textures of environments, objects and characters take enough time to load that the delay and texture pop-in becomes noticeable, sometimes even annoying. It's not a major problem, but also something that should have been fixed. Even so, although Heavy Rain may not appear as visually amazing as Killzone 3 and can be easily classified as a console game from a technological point of view, it still looks great - especially considering the fact that the over 30000 unique animations used in the process of its making manage to keep the whole experience looking fresh and always impressive, except for a minor hiccup here and there.
With games that rely almost completely on narrative to engage the player, it can be difficult to overcome the looming problem of ludonarrative dissonance; the problem when there are conflicts between a video game's narrative and its gameplay. Thankfully, Heavy Rain shelters itself from this exceptionally well by linking story aspects with how the game is controlled. It is not an open-world game, but it's also not linear. You can't go wherever you want, but you are given a lot of freedom when it comes to the decisions that characters take during difficult situations. It is this choice, this open-ended plot that keeps the player immersed and emotionally involved, whilst the unusual controls keep you engaged and physically involved with the entirety of the experience.
The vast majority of movements and activities done by the protagonists of the game have to be carried out by the player through specific button presses and analog stick actions. This works even better with PlayStation Move controls, where the player has to literally push and pull doors, twist keys and wave their hand about with the motion controller, just as you would do those actions in real life. Moreover, and more importantly, these prompts are always designed in a way to make the player feel what the character on the screen is feeling; fast button presses represent effort and strain, sections where the player has to hold down multiple buttons at the same time in awkward positions represent anxiety and disorientation, and so on.
Many of these are timed and thus can indeed be dubbed as "quick time events", but it is the time limits on these situations that add to the tension and authenticity of the experience. When a man armed with a gun is chasing you, you wouldn't take your time with the running and evading, would you? In addition, quick time events in games are used as tools for linear progression and to mix up the action by providing the player with something different to do - a break from the normal gameplay. With that said, Heavy Rain has less quick time events as most of its button/action prompts do not appear individually, but in numbers to give you choice. Also, the PlayStation Move motion controls can't really be classified as "quick time events", because they require direct movement of the player's arms. This adds to the immersion.
The plot of the game itself is non-linear and quite complicated. Without spoiling anything, all I can say is that it is about a murderer called the Origami Killer, who kidnaps ten-year-old boys. Their bodies are later found dead from drowning, with an orchid on the chest and an origami dog in the hand. The player is given control of four main characters: Ethan Mars (an architect that lost his first son in a car accident and now has to complete a series of trials in order to save his second son, who has been kidnapped by the killer), Madison Paige (a young photojournalist and insomniac who becomes involved in the latest Origami Killer case), Norman Jayden (an FBI profiler sent to support the local police force with the investigation) and Scott Shelby (a former police officer and marine - now working as a private investigator employed by the families of the victims).
Each of these characters is a believable persona and their stories often intertwine with each other to form one grand tale about love, death, murder, depression, sex, drugs, romance, crime, family and life in general. Of course, its main theme is also the game's message; the impending and frightening question: "How far would you go to save someone you love?" The story is obviously very well constructed and, at times, even emotionally touching. What makes the experience so outstanding and personal for the player is the freedom of choice offered to you - be it the actions during an intense scene or choices during dialogue. Just like it's written on the back of the box, "your every move can make a difference". Your choices will directly and/or indirectly affect the direction of the narrative, the lives of NPCs and ultimately the outcomes of the whole story. Even the protagonists can die during the plot on a number of occasions, but the plot will keep going regardless and evolve accordingly.
In this kind of game, music and audio are very important. They make up at least 50% of what the player is feeling and add a lot to the emotion that is expressed through visual images on the screen. Heavy Rain's soundtrack is memorable and does everything that it should excellently - be it a quiet, mellow tune on the piano to highlight the emotional value of a sequence, or the use of frantic bowing on the violins to fuel the player's energy during a chase scene. Actors specially selected for each role have also done their jobs well, providing each character with the feelings and persona they need by excellently speaking their well-written lines of dialogue with no excess drama and performing the required actions using motion capture appropriately.
Now that you have a general idea of what this game is like, it is time to summarize its best and worst points:
GAMEPLAY - 9.5/10 (Incredible)
A combination of gameplay mechanics interwoven with narrative works exceptionally and surprisingly well, especially so with PlayStation Move controls.
STABILITY - 8.5/10 (Great)
There are no apparent graphical glitches or bugs; the game runs smoothly and the motion controller failed me only twice, but there is a bit of screen-tearing.
STORY - 10/10 (Marvellous)
The pinnacle of interactive storytelling, emotionally gripping narrative, character development and freedom of choice in gaming.
GRAPHICS - 8.5/10 (Great)
Heavy Rain's visuals are great, but they suffer from some minor inconsistencies which make it look more like a multiplatform game rather than a PS3 exclusive.
SOUND - 9/10 (Outstanding)
Admirable performances from actors, a fantastic soundtrack that enhances the experience and sound effects that make all of it feel authentic.
LONGEVITY - 8.5/10 (Great)
The game takes around 5 to 15 hours to complete depending on how much you do, but the open-ended story offers hours of replayability along with the bonus content included with the Move Edition, as well as trophy support for completionists.
Heavy Rain is the definition of non-linearity and open-ended gameplay in a mostly small-scale and heavily-scripted environment. It affects the player (especially if she or he is a parent) on an emotional and personal basis. It tells a story and puts YOU - the player - in the middle of it all like very few other games have ever done before it. It shows that motion controls can be used in ways that have never before been possible, in ways that never get repetitive and annoying even for hardcore gamers. Obviously, if all you want to do is shoot more faceless enemies, then this game won't appeal to you. On the other hand, if you're looking for something completely different - an emotional, thrilling, deeply involving, truly unrestricted, interactive movie set in a real world with no supernatural aspects, then I doubt you will find a better candidate released before this game.
Either way, Heavy Rain: Move Edition is a great package with more than enough bang for your buck and plenty of unique content to offer. With PlayStation Move controls, this really is a brilliant game with no equal in its genre.
OVERALL RATING - 9/10 (Outstanding)
I know, it's not the review of Red Dead Revolver that I promised. But hey - things rarely go according to plan. I bought a lot of indie and older titles from the Steam Christmas Sale, gotplenty of games (for PS3 and PC) as presents and I also have started playhtroughs of Red Dead Revolver and Demon's Souls. I honestly don't know what review will come next.
Anyway, if you liked this review - please give me a thumbs-up at: http://uk.gamespot.com/heavy-rain-move-edition/user-reviews/805332/ Thanks very much for reading and have a great day!
My Recent Reviews