Spec Ops The Line

Spec Ops: The Line and my quest for Dubai

Before I try on any new game, I always try to read a review or two before investing in the game. If I am planning to buy something that still has not hit the racks, I take in the previews. This has always been how I choose my games, and it helps to make an informed decision. So when I was reading the previews and reviews of Spec Ops: The Line, all I read was how mindless this shooting game was. In the face of such uninspiring reviews I had almost decided not to get myself a version of this game.

However, when I did, I was happy I hadn’t relied solely on reviews. Yes, on the face of it, it is just a shooting game, with a military shooter sent to Dubai to rescue survivors of sandstorms, where even the main man leading the evacuation has gone missing for months.

Though our hero Capt Martin Walker finds that this wonderful city has turned into rubbles and there are wild men who have taken over this city of the dead. It is up to our three man team to rescue what is left of the ruins.

The one thing that makes this game stand apart from amongst thousands of other shooting games is that though there are hundreds of enemies being gunned down, our hero and his assistants never do it mindlessly. The moral dilemma of taking a human life always hunts them, and time and again it raises philosophical questions. This contrasts with the killings that take place in bizarre ways and places.

I used my PC to play the game, and the designs and graphics are one of detail and hit you hard. Probably because of the PC the resolutions looked better and more life-like.

The relentless and endless shooting might not go down well with some people, but I am a fan. Bite me!





Red Orchestra Me and Rob play the game

It was one of those Saturdays when you don’t want to go out and get wasted. Sometimes you just want to stay home, mend the leaking sink in the kitchen, or polish the chipped table. Yes it might sound girly, but we men need to tend to housework too. Last Saturday, Rob called me in the afternoon to see if I wanted to grab a beer in the evening with the other guys and him. I had stayed home that day, and had planned to do the rest of the weekend too, but the evening beer seemed quite beckoning.

He dropped by to pick me up and I challenged him to a game of Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45. He doesn’t care much about games but when I said there was a practice session he could play to get accustomed, he threw down his car keys and sat down to play.

Now this one is a WWII game and is set on the Eastern Front. A first person game, this I learned could also be played online. One good thing about this game is that it is a lesson in teamwork, and it actually rewards those players who show teamwork.

It is a battlefield needless to say, and there are thirteen maps. All the levels and settings are large, where your teams can move around without bumping into each other. What I love about these games that they are bringing out these days is that the environments are detailed and on a high res screen, they are almost life-like.

It is realistic and gave me a technically detailed experience, with its teamwork modules.

We ended up playing well into the night, and ordering takeaway. The beer in my fridge came in handy and next morning I had to rush for refills.

Rob now gets what I do when he needs a wingman!




Max Payne with Minimum Effort

Yes they said it was violent. They said there was gore. It is a man avenging the murder of his wife and daughter, a man who has not let his wounds heal and who has hit rock bottom in his life, waiting for someone to take his life. He is drinking at a bar when the game starts and his old friend walks in and offers him a job. Payne won’t take it; he won’t work as private security, but the turn of events force him to take up this job. Here too his sorry state does not end, and he finds it hard to even keep his job; a sorry state of affairs for a kick ass police man of yore.

The graphics are pretty great, and Max hasn’t forgotten how to shoot at all. He still can shoot at his adversaries mid air, while he himself is ducking for cover. What is interesting about this game is that the Shoot Dodge scenarios are pretty awesome. Max has made the Bullet Time move his signature move over the past two series and here you can really work your way through to mastering these moves.

I love the way how the scene slows down and you can take in the bullets spiraling towards your opponents, the fractured glass coming at you and other small shards flying around all over.

Your health does not regenerate and like Batman jumps successfully over the death well in Arkham asylum without the safety of the rope, Max Payne 3 too makes you play like a desperate man.

I have played the Max Payne series from the very beginning, and have been privy to his pain all along, and all I can say is that this series does not disappoint.




In the mood for some baseball

I am a self confessed shooting game freak. I have played various versions of the adventure and shooting games that have been released over the years, and till date whenever I have come across a first person shooter game or even a third person shooter game, I have been prompt to pick it up. I am yet to get my hands on Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and am desperately waiting for Far Cry 3.

2013 I know is bringing more goodies. Yay!

Given my passion for these games, I found it a refreshing change when I found myself reaching for Major League Baseball 2K12 at GameStop on Canal Street. I hadn’t gone game-shopping (though it is one of my fav hobbies) but browsing through their catalogue, I wanted to pick up this baseball game and give it a shot.

It was with great hopes that I started playing the game on my Playstation. Year after year Take Two Interactive has been bringing out this Major League Baseball game with superior versions every time, but I would say that MLB 2K12 could have been much better. It is a standard game of baseball, good in most parts, but the graphics and the animations fail to inspire. The changes in graphics could have been much more superior; there was no overhaul as one would expect and though the characters and their movements are lifelike, the camera jerks a few times, making the shots pretty wonky. Thumbs down to that!

But yes, I was blown away by the stats that the developers loaded into the game. Presentation and commentary were also very real life, and the hardball action was some of the finest I have seen.

They have also taken pains to make the presentation very TV style, and this gives you an opportunity to experience a baseball game without even walking into a stadium.

All in all it was a good game, but it definitely could have been better, given that this is an advanced version of the game.

Dyad creates magic

Of late I have discovered that I love playing any kind of game. Some time back, I would swear by the action and shooting games, and no game was game if it didn’t have some kind of action in it. But I find my taste for different genre expanding. Am I getting old?  What the heck, age is just a state of mind.

I ordered a Dyad online sometime back, and I have been meaning to play it. But my other games always win in the pick-me contest and Dyad has been sad and lonely, sitting on my shelf, patiently waiting for me to pick it up. Sunday afternoons are lazy, and I generally catch up on some sleep on Sundays, but last Sunday I picked Dyad up and fired up my PS3 for a hardcore chase.

What stumped me at first sight was the festival of colors in the game. Dyad since its release this year has earned a reputation for being a transcendental play of colors and sounds, and these senses grappled me when I first fired up the game. Racing through endless tunnels and vistas, I was dimly aware of my fingers maneuvering me through the light points and flashes of laser and neon played havoc with my senses.

The game began with me playing on one button, and as I reached different levels the complexity added up. But it was never hard to follow of course. What elevates Dyad from being a mere racing game is that there are stages in which you deal with your enemies too, hooking or grazing them. You always know what to do as you build on the difficulty level and the rules always build up as you swish thorough the levels.

Dyad left me with a lot on my mind, and to refresh I am going to play some casino flash games online, when I am in the mood for something slower. (Did I mention online casino games are my second love?)

Once I have recovered from the carnival of lights and sounds, I will also be awaiting the release of LittleBigPlanet Karting!




Commander Shepard picks up from where he left

This weekend Commander Sheppard returned with his army to restore order in the galaxy. This time the Reapers are causing havoc and the protagonist with his proven commitment to the order of the galaxy has come to rescue.

For a change, this weekend I was ready to go out and grab a beer or two with the guys. Nick from work was also supposed to join us; going for a drink after work has been long overdue, and this weekend we all planned to go for the elusive beer.

When we arrived at the local watering hole, it was closed. At 7 in the evening, the blasted thing was closed! We stood there like a bunch of fools for a while, deciding where to go, and then we all agreed that moving the party back to my apartment would be the best thing.

Commander Sheppard went about disciplining the truant Reapers, Krogans, Salarians and many more of the inter-galactic enemies who all come at Sheppard. He has to weave his way through the maze and he does it oh-so-perfectly!

Mass Effect 3 I must say far surpasses games like Diablo III and Metal Gear Solid: Rising in the technicalities. The anticipation it builds up and the excitement is hard to contain when you play this game. This game also brings to a completion the trilogy of the Mass Effect saga, and the first two games now have become great contributors to take the story forward. Very successfully the story is brought to its fitting end.

This game was easy to follow, and though none of the guys are as big enthusiasts as I am, the Saturday evening went down well. We raided my fridge again, and in the morning there were beer bottles and cans lying all over the place and some great guy-bonding memories!




Breaking the ice

A lot of people out there do this blog thingy, and I never understood why. There was a journal I had and occasionally I wrote a thing or two in there, but the thought of having a full blown ‘web log’ per say. But recently I had to swallow my own beliefs and think about starting a blog when I realized I need to share my feelings and emotions about video games with fellow gamers.

I have been playing video games since I was a child, and even before I moved to Chicago from Bogota, and this you can say is as important a part of my life as are eating and brushing. Not one day goes by when I do not sit at my PC or use my X360 to beat the stress. Not saying I have a lot of stress, but if there is, then I resort my games. When there is no stress I go to my games to celebrate my stress-free life, and when a day goes by with a little bit of everything, I still go to my game room, and say hello to the babies.

Also there are times my friends (Rob, I’m talking to you) don’t understand why I won’t go down to the local pub on a Thursday night to grab a beer. Just so Rob reads this blog, I am going to send him the link to every fresh post I make.

If you are in need of a wingman, and I am not there you will know I am with my wife dude.

Yeah so to cut to the chase, I am going to talk about my love for video games in this blog, and try to get in touch with fellow gamers and game lovers, so we can share and exchange ideas and news for our common passion!

Gamers, here I come!




The guys and the Expendables

Rob has been trying to get this lady to go out with him for ages. She is his neighbor he says, and every time he wanted to go out with her, she asked if any other friends were also coming along. I being his wingman had to be of service, and so I wouldn’t feel like a fool, I asked my best friend Clara to join us. She didn’t mind when I told her we were planning to go watch The Expendables, and later on may be catch a bite.

So off we went the four of us, to watch some hard action, 80s style. Our unanimous choice was the AMC River East 21, for the place is good and there are multiple screenings whichever time of day you turn up at, and their popcorn is good too!

Stallone’s Barney Ross this time is back for war with his aging team, and this time the mission is personal. Though the CIA agent played by Bruce Willis assigns them something apparently easy and not-so-dangerous, the whole mission quickly spirals into something much more venomous than they had anticipated.

This time the oldies get some fresh blood on the team, and going by Clara’s oohs and aahs I figured Liam Hemsworth fits the role of newcomer Billy to the T. He flexes muscles, both of his arms and those of girls’ hearts.

Stallone manages to keep his expressions stoic and applies them to whichever mood he is in, but the girls seemed to love the testosterone and the muscles. I would prefer something more realistic, but then who am I to judge?

Rob got his date and we all had a good time! Movies with friends had become such a thing of the past that revisiting old days turned the clock back for once. Felt like I was back in school again!




Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure Starter Pack for my nephew

My little nephew turns 8 a few days from now, and I as his sole uncle have been very kindly invited to his party. Well my sister wants me to handle the food section, and I think it is the only reason she will let me in into her son’s party. The son on the other hand is excited to have his uncle around when he cuts his birthday cake. They are hosting the party outdoors, and there will be some performers to entertain the kids.

My sister is leaving no stone unturned to make this party a success. With all this preparation going on and I being actively involved (remember I ordered the food at Al’s Beef), I should be buying my nephew a birthday gift.

I have zeroed in on the Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure Starter Pack, which I think will be perfect for a kid his age. Also this one is a multipayer game, so if the kids get bored of the magician and the clown, or whoever my sister is asking to perform, they can easily start playing the game.

There are thirty two characters in total which you would need to play the game, and though you don’t need all of them, I am buying him the entire set. The game can be played with three starter characters, and what I liked best about the game is that it also allows physical collection of toys. This would make sure the kid does not get stuck in the virtual world.

There is also a handheld version of Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure, and a player of any age group can play.

I am probably more excited about my nephew playing the game than he is about his birthday. I forget everyone is not a game freak like me!




Playing some soccer with PES 2012

The PES 2012 is not one of the newest, but I still think it deserves a post dedicated to it in my blog. Since I am writing about only some of the games I play — I would have to write an omnibus if I had to write about all the games I try — I am going to write about PES 2012 though it is a little old. It has been around for almost a year now, and needless to say that I played it right after it was released, it still has to be mentioned now.

The PES has always had a loyal group of fans who have withstood the good times and the bad, and I wouldn’t be ashamed to say that yours truly can be counted in the fan club.

The PES 2012 provides for levels of control that is quite unrivalled in its own field, and you can also pick a player when you want, even mid match and can turn a dead ball situation around. It was heart-warming to see that this version picks up from where it left last year in terms of animation, gameplay and off the ball controls. The sense of speed this version offers makes for an exciting game, without any hitches, and the game of football becomes something that you can really enjoy despite the repetitions that you can see from the previous version of the game.

Thankfully for online entertainment, I resort to online casino flash games, for the online modes of this one leaves a lot to be desired. But the improved AI makes the team game more believable.

All in all this is one game that could do much better, but looks to me as a predecessor for better things to come.