Tag Archives: pc

GKick Review: The Stanley Parable

the-stanley-parableFACT SHEET
The Stanley Parable | Available Now
PC | Publisher: Galactic Cafe | Developer: Galactic Cafe

Admist the regular release of AAA titles, high budget games, and next-gen graphics, occasionally a little gem of a title sparkles it’s way through. We saw this back in 2007, when Valve released The Orange Box, featuring two major titles in Half-Life 2 Episode One and Team Fortress 2, but also with a little unusual game called Portal. As we all know, Portal turned out to be far more than a tech demo and gave one of the most entertaining experiences gaming has ever seen. The Stanley Parable is the kind of game that, while not like Portal in the sense that it is a puzzle game or anything of the sort, delivers a narrative-driven experience that - quite frankly - is something everyone should experience.

Created as a Source engine mod back in 2011, the game’s developer Davey Wreden set out to create a storytelling experience within a game world. The stand-alone version featured here is an HD remake of the original mod featuring a plethora of changes and additions. The game is not a traditional game, but it’s also not a typical narrative experience. Some narrative-driven titles such as Gone Home or Dear Esther are essentially experiences for the player to explore, and The Stanley Parable at least has that much in common. There are no true gameplay elements to this, no puzzles to solve or enemies to shoot or anything like that. But alongside the narrative delivery of Kevan Brighting, the experience is unlike anything else.

While it’s a challenging thing to review this game without spoilers, I think I can pull it off. The Stanley Parable is a game about choice, both the choice you think you have and the choice you actually don’t have. You play the part of Stanley at what would seemingly be a normal day at the office, but it turns out to be anything but. After venturing from your office, you’ll encounter dozens of twists, turns, and a massive amount of potential “endings”. However, the game never truly ends, it just restarts and you take it all over from there. It’s simple, it’s complex, it’s full of surprises, and it’s one of the most worthwhile purchases I made on Steam in the last year.

GKick Review: FTL - Faster Than Light

ftlFACT SHEET:
FTL: Faster Than Light | Available Now
PC | Publisher: Subset Games | Developer: Subset Games

This review is long, long overdue and I owe some apologies to the folks at Subset Games and appreciate their patience. However, I’ve been able to take a lot of time to dig into FTL and really play it, and I can safely recommend to the rest of the game-playing world that you just might dig this little indie game, too.

In FTL, you’re put behind the controls of your own personal spaceship and are tasked with making it from one end of the galaxy to the other without dying. The catch of it all is that you will die - a lot - but you’ll be able to upgrade and improve your strategies the more you play. FTL keeps it simple with a 2D top-down perspective on your ship and simple sprites for your crew. Your duty is to manage not only the health of your crew but also their composition. Most importantly, though, you need to keep your ship running and upgraded. This is done by increasing the amount of power your ship has, adding on new weapons, and carefully strategizing not only how to spend your scrap on upgrades, but also how to distribute your energy when you get into a firefight.

It sounds complicated, and on some levels it can be, but FTL is extremely intuitive and it doesn’t throw the world at you and expect you to figure it out. It does take a lot of playthroughs, however, and you aren’t going to be saving your progress through a map. You play ’til you die or you win, and that’s the beauty of it.

In this game, not only will you engage in dogfights with opposing spaceships - albeit from a stationary, point-and-shoot style of play - but you’ll also be able to beam your crew onboard other ships and attack it from within. And this isn’t just “fire until your opponent blows up”. You need to choose your targets well. Do you take out their shields or their weapons first? Do you disable their engine so they can’t escape, or do you shoot out their cameras so they can’t see your crew come onboard? Maybe you target down their oxygen so their crew suffocates. Each fight is a different tactic and it all changes as you improve your own ship over time. It’s a very rich, very fulfilling game that doesn’t get old.

GRAPHICS:
Visually, the game is simple. It uses very clean sprites, low-fi effects, and a really clean 8-bit style UI. However, this does the game well. It looks simple so it controls simple, but it is a very deep and strategic game. Any additional visual elements could prove distracting, and it isn’t what this game needs. FTL is clean, simple and a lot of fun - even if it can be a bit frustrating, just trying to learn it.

AUDIO:
FTL has a tremendous soundtrack by Ben Prunty, which always seems to be the case with indie titles. The effects are pretty simple, standard, and even have a bit of character to them especially in the signature FTL Jump effect. But with Prunty’s great music as your guide, the entire presentation is just as clean and simple as the game itself and completes this package entirely.

FUN FACTOR:
Yes, FTL is fun. A lot of fun, as a matter of fact. However, it may not be your kind of game. That’s not a slight at the designers, of course, but FTL is a very challenging strategy game which involves more thought and planning than just clicking wildly around. Some folks will really appreciate that, some folks may not. However, if RTS games are your thing, FTL deserves a place in your library.

REPLAY VALUE:
FTL is a game that not only do you WANT to play more, but you HAVE to replay more. I’m not sure if you can beat FTL in a single playthrough, but probably not, but the beauty of the game is that it’s quick. Despite the amount of time and energy you’ll invest in your ship and your course and your crew and everything, a playthrough is a generally quick experience, especially if it’s one of your first times through.

GAMEPLAY:
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: FTL is simple. Not in depth of gameplay, but in control and mechanisms. It isn’t complicated to fire a weapon, to redirect energy, to move your crew around, to buy upgrades, to place upgrades, to repair… None of it. It’s all very easy to do. The depth, the strategy, and the MEAT of the game is in putting it all together, which is another thing FTL does exceptionally well. The game can be a bit unforgiving, of course, but it’s designed to make you EARN a win. This is a game that will not give you anything, you need to deserve it, and hopefully you’ll have the patience to see it through.

OVERALL:
When it comes down to it, FTL is a brilliant game for a smaller audience. Strategy buffs will love it, fans of space games may enjoy it, but your typical action or FPS gamer will be turned off by this game if they aren’t ALSO into titles with a strategic flair. However, for those of you who want to give it a chance or like similar games, you can’t go wrong with FTL. It’s one of the best indie games of 2012, and despite the fact that this is a late review, it could be one of your favorite games of 2013, too.

OVERALL SCORE: 9.0/10

LEGO: Lord of The Rings Available to Buy

I appear to have gotten myself some kind of a reputation around these parts for being the ‘LEGO Guru’. Yes, I’m a fan. Yes, I own most of the games (all the Star Wars, Harry Potter and Batman LEGO games *whistles nonchalantly* ) and I grew up playing with the famous plastic bricks, as is now my daughter. So yes, you could say I’m some what of a fan.

So when I did my first piece about the Lord of the Rings trilogy being immortalised in brick form, my heart leapt in joy while my stomach flipped like some tumbling acrobat. Happy days! Watching the trailer a few months ago, this game seems to break a few of the usual LEGO rules which TT Games started in the second Batman game. The tongue-in-cheek humour isn’t there so much, it’s a lot more obvious now. But the main thing is voice actors. And it’s actually pretty cool. As usual, TT Games came out fighting and it looks like they have another smash-hit in Lord of the Rings. Does this mean that there will be more of the game like Harry Potter and Star Wars? I assume so, but we will just have to wait and see.

For those of you out there chomping at the bit for this game- you can buy it now in the US and on November 23rd in Europe. Ah, you were attempting to buy Christmas gifts this year? Pfffft. I don’t think so…

Primal Carnage Officially Launches

From Lukewarm Media and Reverb Publishing comes the launch of Primal Carnage, the Humans Vs. Dino’s multiplayer FPS that takes the class based shooter formula we know and love and turns it prehistoric.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=86jkE_6K7Mk

Each team offers completely unique styles of play, and the tactics change even more dramatically depending on which class is chosen. The Scientist specializes in eliminating threats from afar with the sniper rifle, while the Pyromaniac wants to get up close to give the Dinos that warm, fuzzy feeling.

The Carnotaurus bull rushes its enemies, breaking up formations, making it easy for the swift and agile Raptors to separate and devour their prey
Primal Carnage key features include:

* Rendered in stunning beauty using the Unreal Engine, players will wage war between man and beast in five large, open and varied environments
* 10 playable classes (five Human, five Dinosaur), each with unique skills and abilities
* Play from both first-person (Human) and third-person (Dinosaur) perspectives providing a contrasting gameplay experience for both teams
* Multiple achievements and an extensive DLC roadmap

The game is available now on PC through various distribution platforms and costs $14.99 U.S.. Click here to choose the best wait to get the game for you.

Assassin’s Creed III Breaks Pre-Order Record

Ubisoft announced today that Assassin’s Creed III has passed last year’s Assassin’s Creed Revelations as the most pre-ordered game in the company’s history. According to Ubisoft, Assassins’s Creed III has already sold more than 40 million copies worldwide. This shatters the previous company record held by Revelations, which had over 20 million copies pre-ordered. From Ubisoft’s Geoffrey Sardin,

“Assassin’s Creed III is one of the most anticipated games of the year, and this impressive pre-order mark is just a hint of the game’s potential. When players discover the new features, historical period, characters and gaming experience that the development team has worked so hard to create, we’re confident that they will agree that this is the biggest, best Assassin’s Creed game yet.”

For pre-order details, visit the ACIII Website.

Mass Effect Trilogy Announced

Get all Three Critically-Acclaimed Mass Effect Games for One Low Price this Holiday and Join BioWare in Celebrating Commander Shepard on November 7th for “N7 Day”

This Wednesday, BioWare unveiled the Mass Effect Trilogy, a compilation of all three award-winning Mass Effect games in one box. The Mass Effect Trilogy will be available in stores beginning November 6, 2012 for only $59.99. This release coincides with the kick off of Bioware’s first annual “N7 Day,” a “a worldwide celebration of the Mass Effect franchise on November 7, 2012.”

Stay tuned to http://MassEffect.com for updates and announcements for a variety of in-game, online and live events which fans can congregate and fly their N7 colors.

 

From BioWare:

The Mass Effect trilogy follows the rise of Commander Shepard from Alliance Marine to becoming the galaxy’s most elite soldier — the only soldier who can lead an all-out galactic war against an ancient alien race known as the Reapers. Heart-pounding action meets gripping interactive storytelling as players decide how their unique story unfolds over all three games. With a team of loyal soldiers at their side, each player decides how they will save the galaxy, from the weapons and abilities they utilize to the relationships they forge or break.

The Mass Effect Trilogy will be available on the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system and PC on November 6, and will be available at a later date for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system. “Mass Effect, the game which started it all, will be available on PlayStation 3 for the first time through the Mass Effect Trilogy and digitally as a standalone title via the PlayStation Network.”

I’m currently playing Mass Effect 3 on my PS3, and I would love to be able to play the series in its entirety on my favorite system.

PlanetSide 2 Alpha Squad Package Boosts Early Adopters

Get your drop-pod queued up and ready to go when PlanetSide 2 goes live!

SOE is offering the Alpha Squad Package to players that want to show their support for the game early, and get some perks along the way.

Essentially a pre-order for the new MMOFPS, buyers of this package will get a number of sweet bonuses:

-4000 Station Cash ($40.00 in-game value)
-an exclusive decal
-an exclusive title “Founder”
-an exclusive camo set
-a 6 month 10% experience and resource boost
-three weapon unlocks for each of the three empires
-instant Beta access

That’s a nice haul! If you’re interested in getting the Alpha Squad Package to set yourself up for the official launch of the game, or are itching to get into the Beta so you’ll have all the intel you need to get a head start on the competition, then click here!

Ubisoft Finally Ditches DRM

Remember that terrible draconian DRM system that Ubisoft had in place? Don’t have an internet connection? Tough. You can’t play the game.

Maybe, after listening to so many people complain about their idiotic system and watched so many other companies fight their customers against the system (*cough* hello, Blizzard)- they finally backed down and decided to ditch the retarded technology. Ubisoft received much criticism about the system after many complaints about the piracy of their games catalogue.

Stephanie Perlotti, Ubisoft worldwide director for online games is quoted as saying:

“We have listened to feedback, and since June last year our policy for all of PC games is that we only require a one-time online activation when you first install the game, and from then you are free to play the game offline.

Whenever you want to reach any online service or multiplayer, you will have to be connected, and obviously for online games you will also need to be online to play. But if you want to enjoy Assassin’s Creed 3 single player, you will be able to do that without being connected. And you will be able to activate the game on as many machines as you want.”

Other Ubisoft DRM-on games available to buy also include:

  • Anno 2070
  • Assassin’s Creed 2
  • Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood; Offline mode available without registering/updating the game. Use parameter -playoffline.
  • Assassin’s Creed Revelations
  • Driver San Francisco
  • From Dust
  • Might & Magic Heroes VI; Required for activation and online features.
  • Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
  • The Settlers 7; Connection required at ALL times.
  • Silent Hunter 5
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier™
  • Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2; Connection required at ALL times.
  • Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction

So, it’s good to see that Ubisoft are now going to be freeing up all these titles for offline play. Other companies will hopefully drop DRM in the near future, as no one enjoys having to be constantly connected to the Internet for even just the casual amount of gaming. It’s frustrating, especially for gamers like me that find it difficult to stay connected with a shady Internet connection at the best of times. This reason alone is one of my reasons as to why I am more of a console gamer these days over a PC gamer. I do love my PC games, but constantly having to be connected to the Internet is a ball ache- honestly. So I welcome this change by Ubisoft and hope for a change across the industry.

What do you think? Are you happy to see this change?

Gotham City Impostors Now on Steam!

Are you a fan of first person shooters? If you’re one of the many Batman fans out there, but you’re a little bored with Arkham Asylum or Lego Batman 2- there is another game out there for you to play. Released by Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment, developed by Monolith Studios and previously released for PC, XBox and Playstation 3 in February 2012; players battle for control of an unhinged Gotham City overrun by impostors inspired by the DC characters Batman and The Joker.

As from today, Gotham City Impostors is available to play for free on Steam. It is available to download from the client for no extra cost and is Steamworks enabled. For those of you that download it via Steam, you’ll have access to the original game as well as all the DLC packs which include new maps, weapons and more.

The maps in game include the Ace Chemical Plant, Amusement Mile, Arkham Asylum, Crime Alley, The Docks, East End and Gotham Power. Also, you can choose from several gameplay modes; Team Deathmatch, Fumigation, Bounty Hunter or Psych Warfare. From there, you can choose to engage either in all-out combat or the Challenges Mode, a single-player mode that allows players to safely explore the different maps and practice using different weapons and gadgets.

Hit up http://www.gothamcityimpostors.com for more info!