Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dead Island Review

Game:  Dead Island
Year (s):  2011
Company:  dev.  Techland
pub.  Deep Silver
Engine:  Chrome Engine 5
Type:  Survival Horror, RPG, Hack 'n Slash
Viewpoint:  First-Person
Metacritic Score: 80
My Score:  Like Fallout 3 with less guns

Price (as of January 30, 2013)

Regular list price on Steam:  $19.99 (GOTY edition)
Lowest Buy-It-Now on eBay (new, with shipping):  $20+

Game Time: 30 hours, more if desired

Obligatory Trailer:


Resort island + zombie outbreak + you're immune = you're the preferred go-getter.  You help pckets of survivors with an end goal of getting off the island.  This game can be done co-op with up to four players, so cutscenes show all four immune people interacting.


Yet another graphics engine that looks like everything else.  I hit glitches occassionally that hid waypoints or created invisible walls, but these were fairly minor and there were no crashes.

Save System

Manual Save?  No
Quick Save?  No
Area Load Save?  Yes
Checkpoint Save?  Yes
Other:  Respawn on death, with killed hostiles removed


There are firearms, but usually only when you're fighting other humans.  Ammo isn't found very often anywhere else.  For the most part, you'll fight with whatever you can find, buy, or build.  Boat paddles, butcher knives, machetes, molotovs, and so on.  My favorite weapon was a baseball bat with a powered circular saw attached to the end.  Any weapon that you swing or throw at an enemy will degrade, so repairs and upgrades are important.

There are four different characters to choose from.  Each can use any weapon, but excel at one in particular (blunt weapons, edged weapons, thrown weapons, and firearms).  Much of the game is done on foot, but there are vehicles and fast travel options to get around faster.  After completing the main story, you can start the game over at your current level, with all your gear and everything.

Expansions / DLC / Sequels

I have the Game of the Year edition, so it includes all the bonus content.  Two DLC are worth mentioning.  The Ryder White DLC's short adventure takes place concurrent with the base game, and does an amazing job of adding several plot twists to what had been a pretty straight plotline.  Nice job.  Bloodbath Arena is exactly what it sounds like: plotless waves of enemies in arenas.  Unlike the rest of Dead Island, these two DLC are single player only.

Final Thoughts

There are several things I like about Dead Island (aside from a memorable trailer).  The game time couples with choices of different characters, the choice to play cooperatively, and the option to start over at your end-game level to offer a lot of time.  The Ryder White DLC did a superb job of making an average plot rather interesting.  And of course, there's some satisfaction to be had by smashing zombie heads.  All in all: not stellar, but definitely good.  If you catch it on sale and want to play through as all the characters, you'd have something to keep you occupied for a month.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Awesome Fateful Hour Deck

Fateful Hour
60 Card Format
Black, Red, White

4 Fire Covenant
4 Phyrexian Processor
1 Heartless Hidetsugu
3 Repay in Kind

4 Gather the Townsfolk
4 Thraben Doomsayer
4 Death's Shadow

4 Phyrexian Unlife
4 Pariah

4 Seething Song
4 Jalum Tome


Multicolor lands
Basic lands

WIN METHOD: Damage- Creatures, Loss of Life- Repay in Kind
INHERENT WEAKNESSES:  Direct damage and flyers.


It's a rare deck in which the player wants a low life total as quick as possible.  In this case, it's effective.

Form of the Dragon, Sign in Blood, Minion of the Wastes, and a few other cards were experimented with, but ultimately failed to make the cut.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Dishonored Review

Game:  Dishonored
Year (s):  2012
Company:  dev.  Arkane Studios
pub.  Bethesda Softworks
Engine:  Unreal Engine 3
Type:  Ninja!
Viewpoint:  First-person
Metacritic Score: 91
My Score:  I liked it.  Something different..

Price (as of January 5, 2013)

Regular list price on Steam:  $59.99
Lowest Buy-It-Now on eBay (new, with shipping):  $31

Game Time: 

About ten hours the first run. The second run was half that.  NOT a completionist.

Obligatory Trailer:


Dishonored is set on a steam-punk world, in an empire ravaged by the Rat Plague (think of the black plague paired with Hitchcock's The Birds, well, except it's rats).  You take on the role of the bodyguard to the empress.  The empress is killed, the princess heir kidnapped, and you are blamed.  Imprisoned.  DISHONORED.  The goals are to 1.  Escape from prison  2. Punish the ones behind the coup and 3.  Restore the heir to the throne.  

Save System

Manual Save?  Yes
Quick Save?  No.  I found this a little strange.
Area Load Save?  Yes
Checkpoint Save?  Sometimes


There are essentially two ways to play this game, with each resulting in a different ending.  The first time, I fought my way through hostiles, and a lot of people were killed in the process.  This in turn led to more guards in the streets, and more deadly rats.  This play style ends in the "bad" ending.

Alternately, the player can sneak around, knock people unconscious, and only kill if there's no other way.  I played this way my second time, and it was more fun.  It turns out I suck at stealth, so I lowered the difficulty.  This ending was much more positive.

Your arsenal include different ammo for a gun and a crossbow, as well as a sword.  Ammo and upgrades can be purchased.  The player also has a variety of available magic powers that can be unlocked.  If the player wants to unlock many powers or buy much, exploration is highly recommended.  Different choices in powers enhance the play style you're going with.

Expansions / DLC / Sequels

Dunwal City Trials adds more content, but it's not plot related.  Further DLC has been promised.

Final Thoughts

I haven't played very many stealth games, but Dishonored was still very accessible because I didn't have to play stealthy if I didn't want to.  The Victorian era, steam punk environment was a breath of fresh air.  I also like having more than one ending, and the powers were enjoyable.  I wouldn't call this THE BEST GAME EVER, but it was cool, and different than the stuff I usually play.  I wish it was longer, but I can say that about lots of games.  If you want to try something new, check this one out.