RAGE – The darker, grumpier cousin of Borderlands

Logo 01I snagged myself RAGE for $5 on a Steam sale a couple weeks ago or so. I’d heard some mediocre reports about it, but one buddy enjoyed it and recommended getting it, at least if it ever came on sale. So I snagged it and installed it. And for 3 days straight it crashed the moment it started. Talk about truth in advertising; the crash bug gave me massive NerdRage. Nothing worked! I tried everything, from re-installing the game to updating the drivers. On the fourth day, it just suddenly worked fine. No idea why, it just did. I’m just glad I could finally play the game, and it really was worth grabbing.

2013-11-27_00025The game has an interesting opening premise, one I actually liked for the most part. The premise of arcs and survivors of an extinction-level event is definitely interesting. The initial cut-scene was well done, and the graphics throughout the whole game are impressive. Gameplay, I must admit, is nothing terribly new or innovative, but still fun and very solid. I think this game got a bit of a mediocre reception purely because it stuck to tried and true gameplay rather than trying to break boundaries by doing something new and unique, but a game doesn’t have to push the industry forward or advance tech in order to be fun and worth buying. RAGE is definitely fun and worth buying. It has a lot of similarities to the Borderlands games in some ways, but some major differences as well. Where Borderlands went with a cell-shaded, colourful, somewhat cartoon style, RAGE went with more grit and realism. Where Borderlands 2 went with upgradeable skill trees, RAGE went with craftable consumables. Where Borderlands 2 went with a bazillion different guns, RAGE went with a set number each with 2 or 3 ammo types.

2013-12-08_00004Honestly, I like some of the directions they went with gameplay. One thing that was, to me, both very cool and very annoying about Borderlands was the variety of weapons while at the same time the limit of weapons you could carry. The variety of guns the game can create is daunting, and can sometimes be overwhelming trying to figure out what to keep and what to store in the vault and what to sell. RAGE doesn’t have that issue; you’ve got a much smaller number of weapons, and can pretty much access them all at any time. To make it feel like there’s more weapons than that, each has multiple ammo types that can be used. The only weapon that is a bit of a pain to swap ammo types with is the nailgun added in the DLC; it doesn’t have a default key that it’s bound to like the other weapons do, so the only way to swap ammo types is to open the weapons menu and manually equip the other ammo types. At least doing this pauses the game, so you don’t have to worry about being pummeled while you do that.

2013-11-27_00018I personally think the vehicles in RAGE are far better than Borderlands 2, and I much prefer their control scheme. Vehicles can be upgraded and tweaked with better parts and weapons, and the races are a nice touch. Personally, I’m not that great at racing games in general, but I don’t mind the ones in RAGE that much.I’m still getting the hang of drifting and using the hand break, but it’s coming along. The vehicles of the Borderlands games are nice, but not at all very customizeable; the most you can do is chose between 2 secondary weapons and various paint jobs. In RAGE, you can tweak the engines, the tires, the boost, etc. They also have more than just 2 vehicles to choose from. Now, here’s where one of my few gripes comes in. I like upgrading my rides in this game and I like driving around, but I’m not a huge fan of some of the race types. Unfortunately, you can’t go back and re-race anything you’ve already finished, and a lot of vehicle upgrades are only available with racing tickets that are given as prizes for the races. The only other way to get those tickets is killing bandit vehicles, which does not earn you much per kill, so that route will take a long time.

2013-11-27_000122013-11-27_00014The characters are…. definitely interesting. I actually like the design of the majority of the female characters around the towns, they’re neither voluptuous nor skinny supermodels. All the character models are very detailed, and the voice acting is pretty well done as well. John Goodman makes a cameo appearance at the start of the game, giving you a few of your first missions and weapons. I like how the voice actors say things clearly and somewhat slowly, without sounding like they’re purposefully trying to say them slowly; a lot of games have that, and it annoys me when they sound like they’re trying too hard to speak slowly

I haven’t gotten to check out the multiplier yet, mostly because I don’t know anyone with a (official) copy that would be willing to give it a run-through with me, so I’ll have to update here with my impressions of that when I get a chance to give it a go. What I’ve read about it, though, doesn’t really thrill me so far. This game would be incredible with co-op features, but it looks like there’s none to be had. What little multiplayer there is does seem kinda fun, though, so I’m interested in giving it a try.

All in all, I’m definitely enjoying RAGE, and definitely feel it’s a great game worth having in my collection. I’m hoping more DLC is made, especially if they can add some classic multiplayer options and perhaps even a co-op expansion.

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Nintendo 3DS – New joys, old gripes

Recently, I finally got my hands on a Nintendo DS – a 3DS XL, to be specific. I’ve wanted to fool around with one of these bad boys for a long time now, though I was not sure about the whole 3D effect thing. I’m playing Legend of Zelda – Ocarina of Time 3D and Pokemon Y on it, and I gotta say I’m loving it. (cue cheesy McDonald’s music.) Ocarina of Time 3D us as awesome as the original, and better. The texture and modeling improvements are beautiful. It brings back memories… Not the happy memories of playing it on the N64 that you might expect, though.

When the game first came out on the N64, my twin brother and I shared an N64 system that my mom had gotten us. My brother had somehow been given the game AND a strategy guide, and though they were his, he was told to share with me sometimes and let me play. Well, his idea of letting me play was to bully me into reading out of the strategy guide for him when he wanted me to, and otherwise just sitting there watching him play. If mom needed help with something or I had chores, I was SOL; he kept playing, and I’d miss huge chunks of the story, and I was never allowed to play it myself.

Well, after all these years, I finally get to play it myself, and it really was worth the wait. This game was what really made the Zelda series something I could be passionate about. The story, the characters, the puzzles, they’re beautiful. Being able to play it in 3D is just badass, though it’s honestly tough for me to find and keep just the right position of the 3DS to get the 3D effect to stay clear. Honestly, though, I couldn’t care less; IT’S F’ING ZELDA!

“Dafuq did you just give me, bish!?!?!”

There’s a couple things that are a bit confusing to me, design-wise. When they updated the texture art for Link’s face, the one they chose to use whenever he receives a new important item just seems… Out of place. I have to wonder if Link has Asperger’s (before you jump down my throat, I have Asperger’s so I know for a fact that body language and facial expressions I make can be a little off and not what people think they should mean). He jsut seems more disturbed than intrigued. Maybe I’m just reading the facial expression wrong.

I hadn’t previously understood why so many people complained about Navi talking so much that it became annoying; when I played through the Deku Tree dungeon at the start of the game, she didn’t seem to be overly excessive in her notifications. Then I got into the main world of Hyrule, and began my quest to search for the sacred stones. And that’s when the little bitch wouldn’t shut up.

I totally see how it gets old very, very, VERY fast. And it’s rarely anything new or useful. For example, I’ve just arrived at the Zora Kingdom and am supposed to meet with the King of the Zora people. When I first arrived, Navi suggested I ask Seria knew anything about the sacred stones… Then proceed to make the same suggestion over and over and over every 5 or 6 seconds. Then, once we got to the King, I tried talking to him but he just moans that he doesn’t know where his daughter is. Navi popped up with a brilliant deduction – that he’s upset about his daughter being missing. Then proceeded to say that and ONLY that every few seconds as I tried to figure out why I can’t get him to say anything else and where I need to go to start looking for his daughter. “Hey!” “Hey!” “Listen!” “Hey!” “Listen!”

Suffice to say, it’s getting old fast.

Pokemon Y is the first Pokemon game I’ve gotten to play since LeafGreen, and it’s fantastic so far. Honestly, I wanted X, but that was purely because dammit I like blue. But X was selling more when I asked the staff at EB Games, and there was a cheap used copy of Y, so I went for it. There’s some things I’m liking much better than previous versions of the games, especially the new more 3D world, even without the 3D feature of the system turned on. The redesign of the basic aesthetic to something more akin to Pokemon Stadium and Pokemon Colosseum is beautiful. Which reminds me: Nintendo, PLEASE remake both those games for the 3DS! The addition of roller skates to make traveling in the early areas before getting a bike is wonderful. The story revolving around the new Mega Evolution is interesting, though the primary antagonists seem… Well… Seems their goal is to get rid of anything in the world that doesn’t have style or isn’t beautiful. Which explains why brains wasn’t one of the job requirements.

Another thing I gotta honestly admit is how many times I’ll be wandering around and a wild Pokemon will attack… and all I can do is look at this thing and ask myself, “Dafuq is that?!” I honestly don’t know what they were thinking with some of these designs. But hey, it’ Pokemon; they aren’t supposed to make sense.

Now, this brings me to one gripe I have about both these games, and it’s a gripe I have about most games. Player’s guides. Or, rather, lack thereof. Don’t get me wrong, I love that these games are so complex and detailed with so much content. But it’d be just nicer if there were options to buy the game already with the player’s guide, and releasing a game without a player’s guide available is just ever so slightly masochistic, in my mind. I especially think more collector’s editions of games should include the official strategy guide in those collections. The three things I think should be a standard in all collector’s editions of any video games:

  1. Official soundtrack,
  2. Official art book, and
  3. Official strategy guide book in at least paperback if not hardcover.

Now, I’m not saying we all need strategy guides; but a lot of us do, and even if it means paying a bit extra I’d rather be able to purchase the game and guide as a set or package together. Especially for RPG games, like Pokemon or Legend of Zelda. Honestly, online walkthroughs just aren’t the same. Especially for PC games; not everyone can be reading the guide on a website at the same time they’re actually playing the game. And, honestly, sometimes it’s nice to be able to just flip through the guide and read little tidbits of extra lore and info and artwork without being on the computer or an electronic device. Heck, some games I’d like the guides broken up into sets of smaller ones; games like Skyrim. Which reminds me of another thing about guides; I would like to see a lot of them made just a little smaller in size; they’re tall and wide, which I admit looks great in the interior layouts, but it’s a bit unwieldy to carry around.

All in all, I recommend both these games, and am definitely open to suggestions of other games to try out on my 3DS. Also, if you’re interested in exchanging DS friend codes, give me a shout; I’d enjoy more people to connect with on there 🙂

Remember Me – More forgettable than promised.

I just finished playing Remember Me. I’d heard a lot of really great things about the story and the gameplay and combat, so I was stoked and ready to be blown away. I gotta say, now I’ve finally completed my first run-through, I could only say one thing…

WTF was that crap?

I have to say, I’ve never been more disappointed with a AAA game that I had been that excited to play. WARNING: There might be spoilers to the story. Read ahead at your own risk.

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