Roadblog

Roadblog

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This is where I moan about stuff. Mostly music.

An open letter to BEAMDOG (Baldur's Gate)

RantingsPosted by Roadbloc Mon, April 11, 2016 10:09:25
 

I love Baldur's Gate. My cousin and I play the multiplayer extensively. However, recently, the developers who go by the name of Beamdog have simultaneously updated and ruined this 18 year old classic. So this is an open letter to those employed there.

RETRACT THE APPAULING UPDATE! FOR THE LOVE OF SHIT PLEASE JUST DOWNGRADE BACK TO THE OLD VERSION THAT WORKED!

Thatwillbeallthankyou.



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Alien Isolation- Don't fuck this up Sega/CA

RantingsPosted by Roadbloc Tue, September 30, 2014 12:51:28
 


I like the Alien franchise. Even though it has been milked to death, it doesn't make the first two movies (the first one especially) anyway bad at all. Actually I respected the movies until Alien Resurrection and even that looks good in comparison to the two shit stains on the ground that are AVP and AVPr.

Unfortunately, in the video game world, Alien never got the treatment it deserved. Even the AVP games, something that actually sounds like it should be really cool, sucked badly and were simple cash-ins for 20th Century Fox. And don't even get me started on Aliens: Colonial Marines other than I hope Gearbox, Sega and the million other outsourced morons a painful bankrupsy for their constant hype and lies that surrounded the game until it's release, whereupon they served every player a fresh steaming dog shit and hoped nobody would notice. Not that Gearbox or Sega are about to go bankrupt anytime soon, Gearbox have Borderlands or as I like to call it, Shootsomestuff and Sega own the publishing rights to the Total War franchise, their last an only relevant card, one that they pretty much pissed on themselves with the infamously awful release of Total War: Rome II.

In my mind, the perfect Alien video game hasn't been a hard concept. One you, one Alien, one spaceship, maybe some rudimentary weapons that can be crafted in the aid of defense as you attempt to make it from one end of the ship to the other unnoticed. I have never been a fan of the idea of gunning down Aliens on mass, something Colonial Marines struggled to provide since Gearbox thought shooting Weyland-Yutani mercenaries would be a much more fun enemy in an ALIENS game. Having more Aliens means they have to be easier to kill. And making them easier to kill dilutes the fear factor, something that I feel would be quite important in a video game. If you have one impossible to beat Alien that stalks you throughout a game, the fear factor is much greater and plays off for a climatic boss battle at the end of the game as you escape or manage to kill the Alien. That to me would be the perfect Alien game, and it is certainly something that other developers have picked up on. Frictional Games made a masterpiece called Amnesia: The Dark Descent which plays off on the one enemy idea superbly as you attempt to navigate your way out of a castle and kill this one guy who's supposedly at fault for your predicament.

Anyway, it turns out some smart person at Creative Assembly (Total War franchise developer) or Sega had pretty much the same idea. One you, one Alien, one spaceship, good luck motherfucker. And now we have Alien Isolation on our horizon. I was delighted when I first heard of it, after Colonial Marines I had given up all hope on a decent Alien video game. Now, just maybe, at last, we will have one. I'm pumped.

But at the same time I'm skeptical. Also furious. Also confused. My problem is, this time last year I was the first to be yelling out to the world how awesome Colonial Marines was going to be and how pumped I was for the first decent Alien video game. But it turned out Colonial Marines was a fucking disaster of a video game, a complete afterthought when it came to Borderlands 2. And these are the things I'm getting really fed up of in the gaming industry. Really fed up.

First one, pre-rendered bullshit 'gameplay trailers.' I totally fucked off E3 this year, wasn't even interested. Because all that is there are big corporations telling us how awesome their unfinished video games are, acting like they're already going to be a huge hit with players as they show of content that literally doesn't exist! It isn't just Sega that do this shit, it is near enough everyone. Especially the extremist turd burglars that we call Electronic Arts and Ubisoft. Every year that Australian cunt from EA Sports jumps on stage with the personality of a tub of Vaseline and tells us how FIFA <insert year here> is going to be a huge step up from the last one with advanced AI and all sorts of other bullshit he spent the morning at Burger King making up and scribbling down on his napkin for the show. In my opinion it is a downright criminal practice. You cannot jump on stage and tell everybody what the game is going to look like, if you have no real material of the finished product. Show us actual gameplay, not made up bullshit! Because when everybody finds out you made it all up, which they do, most people are not that stupid, you look bad. If Sega hadn't chatted so much pure SHIT about what Colonial Maries was going to be like, honestly, the blow that it was a bad game wouldn't have hit so hard. It'd still be a bad game, with it's retarded plot, clueless AI, dull level designs and insultingly easy boss battle, but I wouldn't have cared so much. Because I wouldn't have pre-ordered. Because I wouldn't have been looking forward to playing something that doesn't exist. And honestly, I'd have probably bought it sometime after release and had better things to say for it without the cloud of deception and betrayal surrounding it.

And this moves me onto the next thing I hate. Pre-order culture. I'm a sucker for it, admittedly. It means I can pre-load my games so I'm not waiting three days after release for my louse internet connection to download it and often there are some other cool bonuses and discounts for pre-ordering. But when you're separating parts of the game off to pre-orderers only, that is where I draw the line. Motherfuckers I don't even know what this game is like, it isn't even out yet, and yet you're suckering me in what is essentially exclusive DLC for them who have pre-ordered. There was a time, before Steam and digital downloads, that pre-ordering was simply about securing a copy of the game upon release day if it was excepted to sell out. Now it just appears to be 'give us your money early and you'll be able to play the full game.' Now I understand that Alien Isolation is meant to be a new plot to complement that of the first movie, BUT WHY THE FUCK ARE THE ORIGINAL ALIEN CREW LIMITED TO THEM WHO PRE-ORDER ONLY? That is a dick move, because Sega knows full well that I'm going to pre-order now, even though I said I wouldn't because Colonial Marines was dire. Meaning if Alien Isolation is shit, I'm going to be super mad with both Sega and myself for being suckered into this. This 'give us your money early and you'll be able to play the full game' attitude of publishers is pure crap.

Wait, did I say the full game? Well, even if your pre-ordered, you won't be able to do that because, guess what? Day one DLC. The 'season pass' is already available for an extra £20 and the 'deluxe edition' of the game is available for an extra £12. But I have no idea what either of these entail other than they're planning on selling off the game in chunks unless you pre-order the entire thing right now for £45. FOURTY FIVE FUCKING POUNDS FOR ONE VIDEO GAME!? Fuck you Sega. Fuck you. DLC is becoming a huge issue for me since it is getting to the point where it is pretty much expected in video games nowadays. Once upon a time, there was the expansion pack, which was essentially the DLC of its time, a few extra missions or a new campaign to complement the game. That I'm fine with and I'm absolutely fine with developers and publishers releasing extra content for the game after it's released. But a few years ago it began to get abused. Chunks of games were stripped out for sale on DLC, such as weapons and characters and (fuck you Total War: Rome II) blood. Not extra content, but now content that should be in the game stripped out and put for sale for more money. It’s a practice that EA relish in and its one of the reasons I don't buy EA games anymore. And to think that one of the most promising Alien games is also practicing a similar thing doesn't fill me with confidence.

Don't get me wrong. I like DLC. Some developers, such as id Software, have got it right. Their RAGE DLC is an entire new campaign with new enemies and weapons and its very cheap for what you get too. Red Barrel's Outlast: Whistleblower DLC is also a brand new campaign to complement the original plot. Civilization V has seen some fantastic DLC that really improve the game. These guys get DLC right and I'd love to see more of this practice.

Well, I'm a sucker. I pre-ordered the entire game. The pre-ordered, deluxe edition with season pass for £45. Quite a price but no doubt nothing close to the price people who don't pre-order will have to pay. And I can't exactly complain, that much, it is kind of reasonable, just at the very steep end of reasonable when I have my fanboy goggles on. I'm usually happy to pay £20-£30 for my video games and rarely pay over that. But when I see Ubisoft put Far Cry 4 on a £60 pre-order with one exclusive DLC as a pre-order bonus, it doesn't seem so bad after all. I wonder what Ubisoft think people earn. Fuck that game and that company and uPlay and their inability to make decent PC versions of the games. FC4 is not worth £60, especially if its going to be an incomplete version of the game, no doubt all the cool stuff behind the DLC paywall.

I just want Alien Isolation to be awesome, even if they've suckered me into an expensive pre-order just to have the benefit of being able to play the entire game. Well no, especially now they've suckered me into an expensive pre-order just to play the entire game. If this turns out to be a Colonial Marines 2, I'm condemning both Sega and Creative Assembly. Don't fuck this up. This your last chance for my custom and it doesn't help that you've held the entire game hostage to pre-orders only so I can't even wait for the release and a few YouTube videos before I make my choice if it is for me or not. I'll say it again fuckers, DON'T FUCK THIS UP. FUCK THIS UP AND YOU'RE WITH THE LIKES OF EA AND UBISOFT.


Alien Isolation will be released on the 7th of October.

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The Walking Dead: Season Two

RantingsPosted by Roadbloc Wed, September 03, 2014 12:01:26


I loved The Walking Dead. The video game that is. And the TellTale one, not that piss poor excuse of an FPS that some video game company and AMC squeezed out of their butt cheeks in the space of a week. The awesome masterpiece that was based on the comic books, which saw the player take on the role of general nice guy Lee and his struggle to keep himself and a small girl called Clementine alive in the chaotic world of zombie apocalypse and social tension. It was perfectly executed with the right amount of pacing, subtly and shock moments that forced the player into making quick decisions that changed the entire outcome of the game. And the ending, that ending, oh wow, I have never been so moved before with a video game, or any medium for that matter. The ending really touched me. I had to force the tears back into my eyes.

A second ‘season’ of this game was always no doubt on the table after the huge success of the first. And to be honest, I wasn’t keen on the idea. I’m always in favour of leaving a masterpiece just that and the last thing I wanted TellTale to do was turn their perfect little adventure game into another Aliens franchise, where most of the modern releases are utter garbage (fuck you Colonial Marines, fuck you SEGA, fuck you Gearbox). Some things are just better left as is since a sequel often tries too hard and makes it all stupid, or simply just repeats themes and gets boring quick.

That said, I was still excited for it. And like a true little fanboy I pre-ordered and then waited for all the episodes to be released before playing them. Just to let you know, I’ma keep spoilers at a minimum but if you don’t want to ruin any of the game for yourself, do not continue reading. I’ll repeat again, SPOILERS MAY FOLLOW.

I found the game’s beginning kind of disjointed and slow if I’m honest, the opposite of what was achieved in the prequel. It seems to jump from time period to time period, annoyingly so, as though it is trying to quickly fill in details. Anyway, some stuff happens and finally the game seems to get underway. The player assumes the role of an eleven year old Clementine, a Clementine who is slightly more independent and ready for the world of zombie apocalypse. Still, it isn’t easy with everybody treating you like a child, something you can happily take advantage of, although there are some characters that see right through you for what you really are, an independent survivor no matter what the cost.

To my delight, the game takes your Walking Dead Season 1 save into account, logging all of the choices you made in that game to help shape and mould the plot in your direction. Clementine remembers what Lee has taught her, even drops a few memorable lines to other people and bases a lot of her decisions on what you did in the last game, which is a bloody fantastic idea and is one of the things in the game that is perfectly executed. Another thing the game undoubtedly did right was the characters. They are all still as vibrant and different as ever, nobody really feeling wooden or half thought out, each character holds an important place, no matter who ends up surviving and staying with you. Just like the first, the character animation is very lifelike despite it being done in a comic book style.

Onwards to the plot. Season 1 undoubtedly had a great plot, but also had some very predictable bits, mainly the end where Lee dies just after saving Clementine. Not that it wasn’t a good ending, it was, it was bloody good, but I knew what was coming from a mile away. Either way, when it happened, it still really moved me and was the perfect place to end the story.

Season 2 is unpredictable throughout, to the point where I’d say it was almost rambling, but maybe not in a bad way. There are themes that I thought would fall into predictable realms. Without wanting to give too much away, there is a part early on in the game where you meet a lone dog. I automatically assumed that Season 2 would do a Call of Duty: Ghosts on me and have me build a ‘meaningful relationship’ with the dog before it assumes the role of a zombie chew toy, but what actually happened was very far from that and I ended up having to kill the poor thing myself. And this is what the game still remains very good at, forcing you into making horrible choices really fast, knowing full well that there will be someone pissed off at what you’ve done. Like the moment in Season 1 where you have to escape from a zombie infested forest real quick, but some arsehole has his leg stuck in a bear trap and you just so happen to have an axe. It took five or six horrible blows as far as I can remember, his face screaming at me throughout, and then the poor bastard dies from lack of blood anyway. And Season 2 continues this great trend of having to make difficult snap decisions.

There are some disappointments. I hoped the game would have more in the terms of puzzles than the first, which were all very basic, use key with door, use ladder with wall and the like. But unfortunately it doesn’t, which I guess is fine, I shouldn’t have expected anything like Monkey Island 2, but I did hope they’d have something that would have me baffled for at least a minute or so. At least it isn’t at the Wolf Among Us stage which is pretty much a game of quick time events with a plot woven in it. But more and harder puzzles would have been a welcome addition to Season 2.

Now for the ending. It wasn’t as good as Season 1’s ending, but it still really stuck with me none the less. I was impressed on how shocking it was, how bleak it was, how it left me with my mouth open as to what had just occurred and what I’d decided to do. I was also impressed on how they hadn’t tried to replicate what had occurred in Season 1, all of the themes and overall message were different. I just wish they hadn’t tacked a small sequel-baiting section on the game end afterwards. The game didn’t need it, it just needed to end on the part where my mouth was wide open with shock and on how fucked up the situation was. The section that comes after the ending takes away from the ending overall, and is clearly passing the plot onwards to a Season 3, which will no doubt hit Steam within the next couple of years. Which leaves me in two minds on the game overall.

Not saying that I didn’t enjoy it. I’m just concerned how many seasons of this I can enjoy. TellTale obviously have a good mind where to take the plot, I just hope they take it in the right direction and decide to draw a line under the plot at some point instead of doing what everyone else seems to do and release endless sequels until the franchise is worth about the same as a steaming pile of dog shit. With the knowledge that there will be a Season 3 (its in the works according to Wikipedia), Season 2 feels like filler. And where as there are some important lessons and messages learned throughout, knowing that there is indeed *more* to come takes away from the experience. The ending would have been so much more powerful leaving it in such a disjointed mess that would have the player thinking, “well what the fuck happens now?” The last sequel-baiting scene regretfully takes away from that.

Season 2 is not a bad game. In fact, I really enjoyed playing it. There are so many things it executes perfectly. TellTale are one of the few companies that appreciate pacing and subtlety in their plots, unlike others who think by throwing everything that the game engine can handle at the player is a good way to get to get people hooked. So despite the disjointed beginning and that last scene, it is a fantastic play. I liked the plot, I liked the game play, I liked all of the dilemmas and challenges for Clementine on the way.

It isn’t as good as the first season. But then again it never was going to be. But I like where TellTale are taking this franchise and look forward to Clementine’s next adventure. I just hope they won’t eternally release sequels and treat this franchise with the respect it deserves, unlike Terminal Reality and AMC did with The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct.

An definite must play if you loved the first season like I did.



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Rise of the Tomb Raider

RantingsPosted by Roadbloc Fri, August 22, 2014 13:46:01

I like Tomb Raider. In fact no, I love Tomb Raider. Lara and I have been on many an adventure over the years and even if her early, more triangle iterations were horribly clunky to control and I’d have to accept that leaping from one ledge to another whilst running away from a dinosaur would take at least ten tries before I’d be able to cross without Lara’s shriek during her bone-crunching fall.

Regretfully Core Design lost the plot after four awesome Tom Raiders and a kinda okay fifth instalment, and their sixth attempt, ‘The Angel of Darkness’ was a downright tragedy. The publishers were that unimpressed they pulled their own creation from under their own feet and passed it onto new developers. Regretfully, Crystal Dynamics didn’t start very well either, ‘Legend’ and ‘Underworld’ being very ‘meh’ in my heart.

Then there was the reboot. Everything I could have dreamed of. After years of plot stagnation after Core Design ran out of ideas, Crystal Dynamics decided the best way to attach jump-leads to Lara’s well-formed chest was to reboot the entire franchise. A smart idea. Renders the first cannon redundant, a shame for the first four games but a blessing for the four released after. With a new plot, Tomb Raider was back in my heart. The puzzles returned, the exploration returned, the levels were open world, the game was most certainly the Tomb Raider I knew and loved. And they had managed to make the controls simple enough so you no longer have to control each one of Lara’s limbs individually, making leaping from ledge to ledge from a dinosaur was possible on the first attempt. Despite a few questionable plot twists and an initially wussy Lara, it had been the first Tomb Raider game I loved since ‘The Last Revelation.’ I was excited for the new series and where Crystal Dynamics would choose to take it next.

WELL FUCK YOU CRYSTAL DYNAMICS BECAUSE IT TURNS OUT I WON’T BE ABLE TO PLAY IT AFTER ALL.

For some reason, Crystal Dynamics, considered 3 million sales of the reboot in the first month A FAILIRE. Motherfuckers. If I had sold 3 million copies of my book in a month, I WOULD NOT FUCKING COUNT IT AS A FAILURE! IT IS A GOOD THING! 3 million in one month is a fucking dream! But no! To the corporate twats at C.D it’s a failure and when Microsoft turns up with a huge sack of money one day, they drop their pants, let Microsoft lube up their first and *pound**pound**pound*. AND NOW THE SEQUEL IS A FUCKING XBOX EXCLUSIVE.

I game on a PC. I’ve only ever gamed on a PC. Fuck consoles and their lack of backwards compatibility and underpowered hardware, they’re lame. Not that I have anything against console users, use whatever is best for you, but for me that is the PC. Meaning if the Rise of the Tomb Raider (wtf C.D? I thought the last game was the ‘rise’ of Lara) is an Xbone only game then the Tomb Raider franchise is dead to me. Fucking dead. I didn’t buy an Xbox for Halo and I won’t be buying one for Tomb Raider either.

Now the best to be hoped of this situation is that it is a timed exclusive, meaning PC/PS4/WiiU(lol) will get to play it six months after release or something. That is now my only hope. And if it is a timed exclusive, it still isn’t welcome news since I’m such a big fan of the franchise.

I guess the biggest slap in the face is the statement Crystal Dynamics released on the issue. Never before have I read such corporate bullshit in my life.

“As you may have seen, we've just announced that Rise of the Tomb Raider, coming Holiday 2015, is exclusively on Xbox. We consider all of you to be the lifeblood of Tomb Raider and the work we do at Crystal. I'd like to give you some insight into this decision, and why we feel this is the very best thing for the Tomb Raider sequel we're creating at the studio.”

The best thing is to demolish two thirds of your audience? BULLSHIT. This is not the very best thing for the franchise. This is the very best thing for your wallet.

“Tomb Raider in 2013 was a success due in large part to your continued support. Our goal has always been to deliver something truly special with Rise of the Tomb Raider.”

Yes. Tomb Raider was a success because of continued support. Support from players on all systems and consoles! Not just Xbox users!

“Our friends at Microsoft-“

That bit will always make me laugh. Friends? BULLSHIT. They gave you £££ and let them stick their first up your arse so far they could use you like a puppet.

“This doesn't mean that we're walking away from our fans who only play on PlayStation or on PC.”

Yes it does. And don’t use some next game as excuse or proof. For Tomb Raider fans, this is you walking away.

“We know that there are probably many more questions and concerns. Please do send them to us, and we'll answer to the best of our ability.”

Okay. Question number one. IS THIS A TIMED EXCLUSIVE!? A simple yes/no answer that their best ability probably won’t be able to answer.

Fuck with Tomb Raider and you’re fucking with me Crystal Dynamics. I thought your bullshittery with this franchise was over. I thought we had started a clean slate. DON’T TAKE A SHIT ON YOUR CLEAN SLATE FOR FUCKS SAKE!



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