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23rd August 2017: Using My Little Grey Cells

Today I finished Agatha Christie - The ABC Murders, a game based on the book, and featuring Hercule Poirot as the main protagonist. I thought I'd like this, not only because it looked like a puzzle game, but because I used to like watching Poirot in the early 90s with my folks. Alas, unfortunately, this game was pretty bad.

At heart, it is a point and click adventure game where you, as Poirot, have to unravel the mystery of the ABC murders. These are a series of linked murders where the killer is choosing victims and locations in alphabetical order. I was hoping for way more puzzles than what I got, or at least, for way more thinking and putting clues together. But there was very little of either. Even the puzzles that were in the game were pretty crappy and in most cases made no sense. For example, at one point Poirot wants to play a record on an old gramophone, but you have to go through this whole mess of opening secret panels and entering codes to get the thing to work. It left me wondering if that was needed every time someone wanted to use that gramophone, and if so, why? Made no sense at all.

The character animations were pretty weak and basic, especially for Poirot who had this weird, awkward walk. I guess good animations aren't really necessary for a game like this, but they would have been nice. What is needed though is good voice acting, and this game fell way short in that regard. Whoever voiced Poirot, while getting the accent pretty much right, kept pronouncing words wrong by missing out entire letters. It was strange. I guess he might not have been a native English speaker, but wow. Where was the voice director for those cock ups? The worst actor though was whoever voiced Inspector Japp. If you've ever seen Richard Ayoade's portrayal of Moss in the IT Crowd, imagine that type of voice, but by someone who has no talent or interest in the job he's doing. It was awful.

Overall, it was a pretty clunky thing to get through, with constant fade-outs not only to transition from one scene to another, but even within the same scenes. A good job it was such a short game, and as such it didn't waste too much of my time.

Mon ami, Mr. Moustache

Mon ami, Mr. Moustache

Putting some clues together

Putting some clues together

Time heals all things, except these crazy eyes

Time heals all things, except these crazy eyes

The killer strikes again

The killer strikes again

Poirot's observation skills seem to be lacking

Poirot's observation skills seem to be lacking

I didn't realise Jenny Agutter was alive in 1935

I didn't realise Jenny Agutter was alive in 1935

There is a murderer amongst us

There is a murderer amongst us

Naughty boy

Naughty boy

24th May 2017: Goblin Up Some Games

Recently had a bash at two games that were all about the Goblins. Up first was Trine 2 with Scoob, where the main enemies throughout the game were Goblin runts. Then, when we got to the end, I did not realise my version of the game also came with the add on, The Goblin Menace. So we ended up going through several more levels, culminating in a big fight with the Goblin boss riding some big mechanical thingy.

So how was this one? To be honest, pretty much have the same feelings about it as the first one. I mean, it's essentially the same game with a few different skills. One thing we didn't like was how all the skills were reset. It might make sense from a gaming stand point, but did the characters just forget all the things they could do before?

Once again, a lot of the platforming elements were weird. Sometimes you could jump up to a ledge, and then a few moments later you could do the same jump again and you wouldn't make it. Stuff like that just kept pissing us off. A lot of the puzzles were also awkward, especially if you try to get all the little skill pickups. Quite a few of them we only managed because there were two of us, and it left us wondering how the hell you got them when playing solo. I guess maybe you can go back after finishing it when you've got more skills, but I don't know why anyone would want to.

An advantage over the first one was probably the addition of more combat. Both the main game and expansion have boss battles, whereas the original end fight was in a cutscene.

But we weren't all that fond of what they did to chests and the inventory in this game. If I remember right, in the first one, chests contained extra skills or items that boosted your characters. But in this, there were no items at all, and chests only contain little collectibles like pictures or poems. Pfft.

Overall, it's a playable game that's fun in parts, and annoying in others.

Let me touch your face

Let me touch your face

Too many balls!

Too many balls!

Spider slicing

Spider slicing

Scoob deals with a big bugger

Scoob deals with a big bugger

Hey. Bloody pilot fish. You evil pilot fish. I know your dad.

Hey. Bloody pilot fish. You evil pilot fish. I know your dad.

Pontius is not fazed by the giant swinging axe of death

Pontius is not fazed by the giant swinging axe of death

What are you looking at?

What are you looking at?

WTF is going on here?

WTF is going on here?

Things hot up in this boss battle

Things hot up in this boss battle

Time heals all things, except these crazy eyes.

Time heals all things, except these crazy eyes.

Pig bomb

Pig bomb

Beating on the end boss

Beating on the end boss

21st September 2016: Witch Way Should I Turn?

I can't believe it's been nearly 3 years since I finished the first Witcher game. How time shifts as you get older. Anyway, as the third game has already been out for well over a year, it seemed time to finally install Witcher 2 and push on with the series.
I actually installed this and played it for a short time right after playing the first one, but I had a lot of problems getting it to run right at the time, and as I hadn't really enjoyed the first one, I got put off from playing it until recently.

Now all's said and done, I definitely prefer this to the first one. In my opinion, the original game had a lot more wrong with it than right. But this one flips that around for the most part and has been more pleasant to get through. However, I still feel that this series is probably not for me, as there were still many things that pissed me off about it.

Firstly, the mouse delay/input lag problem. Holy shit this was annoying. If I ran the game without vsync, the mouse would behave properly in the game and in the menus, but the game would run very jittery. With vsync on, the game graphics ran smooth, but there was an obscene amount of mouse lag, especially in the menus. This made certain quests, such as the arm wrestling, impossible to do. Eventually I was able to use the Nvidia control panel to tinker with things and got rid of most of the mouse lag, but not all. Not ideal, but it was the best I could get it.
The other problem concerning controls was how you had to wait for the previous animation to finish before you could give Geralt a new command. The amount of times I went to cast a spell or roll out of the way only for nothing to happen, just because he hadn't quite finished twirling his sword from the previous animation.
Moving around the world could also be a pain. There were times when Geralt wouldn't even jump down a 1 foot drop, or would not be able to run over a tree root. I also did not like the camera changing every time you climbed up to or jumped down from a ledge. It was kind-of sickening.

However, the improvements over the first game were gladly received. When I rocked up to the first town and picked up the contract quests, I was originally horrified when it looked like finding and reading books would be necessary again, just like in the first game. Later on I discovered this was not the case, which was a boon, even though I had already wasted some money.
The combat is definitely better than the previous game, other than the problems mentioned above, that is. It just felt way more action packed, and being able to cast significantly more spells was great.
I also experienced far less bugs, though there were some. The game also hard crashed to desktop on several occasions, which had me saving like a crazy person at every opportunity.

I'd like to say I enjoyed the story, but while it is filled with intrigue, plot twists, and cool characters, I simply had no real idea of what was going on in the world at large. There seemed to be so many countries, kings and advisors all arguing with each other, and backstabbing each other, that I couldn't follow it all. It doesn't help that I've never read any Witcher books, or that it's been so long since I played the first game, as I can't remember anything about it. Hmph. Politics.

I do really like how the games give you several important choices to make that can really change what happens afterwards. I've just read about all the choices you can make in the games and their repurcussions. I can't really remember what I chose during the first game, except I definitely chose Triss over Shani, and I know I did not side with the Order. Whether I remained neutral or sided with the Scoia'tael I can't remember. I'm also pretty sure I saved the werewolf guy, but I can't remember if I killed or cured Adda. Though I remember saving Abigail.
In this one, I killed Aryan (though this was right at the beginning and I didn't really know what I was doing), I helped the troll to stop drinking, I sided with the Scoia'tael over the Blue Stripes, I saved the elf women from the burning building, I did not let the mob kill Stennis, I decided to save Philippa/Saskia rather than Triss, I let Síle die, and I killed Letho at the end.
Many of these choices can really change what happens in the game, particularly depending on who you side with.

It could do with certain tweaks to make it much more playable, and it also needs a much better tutorial, as the one provided was tosh, and not really all that helpful.

I should really crack right on with number 3, but I'm still not sure if I have the motivation for that yet. Which is a shame. If I found these games as good as others seem to, I'd already be diving headlong into it.

Geralt baffles them with his dancing

Geralt baffles them with his dancing

Run away!

Run away!

Villain shows off his yoga skills

Villain shows off his yoga skills

I don't want to know what they are doing in this dark outhouse

I don't want to know what they are doing in this dark outhouse

Battling some wraiths

Battling some wraiths

Arm wrestling is almost impossible with the game's shit controls

Arm wrestling is almost impossible with the game's shit controls

That's an interesting name you have

That's an interesting name you have

Oh crap

Oh crap

Geralt's squad of ultimate badasses

Geralt's squad of ultimate badasses

Burn harpy, burn!

Burn harpy, burn!

Time heals all things, except these crazy eyes

Time heals all things, except these crazy eyes

Geralt interrupts some kinky shenanigans

Geralt interrupts some kinky shenanigans

Stabby stabby

Stabby stabby

Don't make Saskia angry...

Don't make Saskia angry...

...you wouldn't like her when she's angry

...you wouldn't like her when she's angry

Sorry Adalbert, you need to die...

Sorry Adalbert, you need to die...

...so that Geralt can bang Cynthia

...so that Geralt can bang Cynthia

Referee!

Referee!

Not the kind of ride Geralt usually enjoys

Not the kind of ride Geralt usually enjoys

Dealing with the Kingslayer

Dealing with the Kingslayer

1st June 2015: Let's Have A Butcher's

So I just got done with a game I didn't initially realise I even owned. Quite a while ago now I bought Assault On Dark Athena from GOG, and when I came to play it a couple of months back, I finally saw that it was bundled with a remake of an earlier game called Escape From Butcher Bay. Made sense to play the first game first, so that's what I've done.

You play as Riddick, the main character from the Pitch Black and Chronicles Of Riddick movies, in a story set before those films. Riddick must escape the eponymous prison after being captured and delivered there by Johns, another character that is in the Pitch Black movie.

I found this quite challenging in places, especially early in the game when I didn't really know what I was doing. At times, I was further hindered (though sometimes helped) by the very poor A.I. of the enemies, especially the Riot Guards, who are dudes in massive powered armour who can only be killed if you shoot them in the back. The worst incident was when a Riot Guard came down an elevator in the corner of the room, then refused to get off said elevator, keeping his back to the wall. I kept trying to lure him into the room by sticking my head out of cover and letting him shoot at me, but he'd take a couple of steps forward, do a weird stutter, then take two steps back. It took ages for him to finally wriggle free and start chasing me around the crates in the room, finally allowing me to take him down.

There are sections of straight up FPS action, but most of the game leans towards being stealthy and hiding out in shadows, which is not usually the kind of thing I like. The more I played of this though, the more I got into it. It was quite cool to pretend to be Riddick, especially after you become able to see in the dark. Vin Diesel's voice acting also helped, as it really would not have been the same if someone else had done it instead.

The story was freaking bonkers, as Riddick sneaks and kills his way through a prison which must be bigger than most cities. There were also quite a few weird graphics bugs, but they were easy to shrug off, and just made me laugh.

Douchebags unite

Douchebags unite

How long is Riddick's arm?

How long is Riddick's arm?

You'll have someone's eye out with that

You'll have someone's eye out with that

Behold, the magical floating gun

Behold, the magical floating gun

What is this dude doing?

What is this dude doing?

Never saw Riddick as the cuddling type

Never saw Riddick as the cuddling type

Time heals all things, except these crazy eyes

Time heals all things, except these crazy eyes

About to fight Kryten from Red Dwarf

About to fight Kryten from Red Dwarf

Playing some Star Wars Arcade

Playing some Star Wars Arcade

Enjoy your trip

Enjoy your trip

Gun grows some tentacles

Gun grows some tentacles

I just climbed through a closed hatch

I just climbed through a closed hatch

Behold, the magical floating man

Behold, the magical floating man

Urf The Manatee attacks

Urf The Manatee attacks

These guys are bad shots

These guys are bad shots

Ha ha, bad guy killed by his own guards

Ha ha, bad guy killed by his own guards

12th December 2013: I Shall Smite Thee, Super Villain!

I normally don't play games until they come out of beta testing, but with very little LoL going on at the minute Scoob and I decided to try the sort-of similar game Smite. The tactics and gameplay are quite similar, but whereas LoL has a top down camera, Smite has a 3rd person camera like most MMORPGs. This camera style instantly fixes one of the problems I have with LoL, concerning line of sight when looking all the way down a lane from one end to the other. Which is good.

I'm always nervous doing team PVP as I expect to get moaned at a lot, which is the main reason I've stopped playing LoL so much. But here, in a seemingly more friendly and less serious community, I was gonna enjoy myself.

After some practise matches alongside Scoob just to get used to the game, we dove into some PVP where I chose to use Thor. We did three games, one each of Arena, Joust, and Conquest. Surprisingly, we kicked total ass in every game, even if I did struggle to kill anybody, going 4/4/39 across all three games. I kind-of let the team down in the Joust game, as we forced the enemy right back and were winning 29-0 when their minotaur killed me about a second before it fell itself. Punk.

So far I've quite enjoyed it, even though it's not the easiest to get your skills off while trying to move around in combat. Probably need a multi-button mouse to get to the highest skill level here.

Release the Kraken!

Release the Kraken!

Get off my horse John

Get off my horse John

Blowing chunks all over a bot

Blowing chunks all over a bot

I have the power!

I have the power!

Time heals all things, except these crazy eyes

Time heals all things, except these crazy eyes

For Demacia! Oops, wrong game

For Demacia! Oops, wrong game

Going ham on Hades

Going ham on Hades

So long Sobek

So long Sobek

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