Multiplayer Month: Week 4 (Borderlands)

Borderlands Co-Op

And so I end Multiplayer month with a game which is still one of my favourite multiplayer experiences of all time and that’s Borderlands. Why is this so special I hear you ask? Well, it’s one of the very few games where you can actually play the story mode in co-op play, not only that but you can play the entire game in co-op mode! This means if you find yourself stuck at any point, friends can join in and help you out of sticky situations. The not so good is that I have experienced difficulty connecting to my friends (Seems to be a problem when I’m using an ADSL connection but not a cable one) and have witnessed bugs such as freezing or being kicked out of an arena event. These can be incredibly frustrating but are thankfully rare.

The good parts though are the characters are very different, and you can customise to your own play style and specialise in areas that your counterparts do not, so a team really is a team in Borderlands.  Loot drops are a free for all, so those clever people amongst you will divide and share loot depending on character strengths.

Sound design and graphics aren’t this games strongest point, the focus is on fun and individuality, it has an amazingly awesome and unique artstyle. The UI is quite in depth, as skill points and mods are involved in levelling up, but it’s simple enough for those not accustomed to this type of gameplay to quickly get up to speed on. There is in game voice chat, and people can be invited to join your game at any point, although not seeming like a game you will pour hours into at first, I’ve racked up a significant amount of time in here, and still drop into beginner games to help guys out occasionally. Competitive multiplayer this is not people, but co-op multiplayer wise, this is some of the best you will experience on current gen consoles.

So that concludes my Multiplayer Month, I’d like to thank everyone who joined me on PSN for a game or two, and to those who didn’t make it this time, at the requests of a few, I shall be repeating this theme later in the year, post summer, with different games. I’m also going to introduce “MultiPlayer Mondays” because, Mondays really do need a little something to make them slightly more bearable on occasion, so on random Mondays, I invite you to join me in a game or two of something on PC or PS3, any suggestions guys? Leave them in the comments please.



Preview: 2012 Games

A slightly delayed post, but one I would love to hear your thoughts on, as everyone has a few games that they start the year looking forward to owning in later months, here’s my top 5 most anticipated games of 2012 so far. As usual, let me know yours in the comments section below.

5) Tomb Raider.

Tomb Raider 2012

The previous games infuriated me greatly, but in a good way, I simply wasn’t smart enough to solve the puzzles and often got lost, this series reboot looks to be taking the games in an “Uncharted” direction, with what looks like more adventuring/action elements than previous titles, but there isn’t a great deal of info out there yet, so only time will tell. For me, a female lead is very appealing as it makes it slightly more immersive, the trailer has quite a depressing /struggle vibe about it, which also leaves me curious and wanting to know more about this title, I shall be watching closely for more info.

4) Borderlands 2.

Borderlands 2

The first Borderlands game is, in my opinion, one of the most underated games of this generation. If you haven’t experienced it yet, you can pick up the game of the year edition for a very reasonable price. (Trust me the DLCs are huge, add a lot of content and so, are well worth it.) By the looks of things, the second installment is looking just as crazy and just as fun, but with new classes, weapons and locations to explore. I’m hoping the story mode is as co-op friendly as the first game. Cannot wait to jump online with this with friends.

3) The Last Guardian.

The Last Guardian

From the makers of Ico, (which to me is a must play no matter what age you entered the gaming world in) comes The Last Guardian. I love games with an atmosphere, and this title looks to be as much of an experience, as it is a game. I feel this will be a pull on the heart strings epic adventure, the world is beautiful, and what I have heard of the soundtrack is too. Lots of drama and rumours regarding the finishing of the game, I just hope it’s not delayed by too much, it’s an absorbing, play after a hard day at work, classic in the making I think.

2) Guild Wars 2.

Guildwars 2

Why on earth would you say no to exploring that world pictured above? Ok, so don’t tell anyone, but this isn’t a console game, it’s a PC game, and it’s of the MMORPG variety, but before you go, bear in mind, there is no monthly subscription, and me, as a “not really a pc gamer type” put hours into the first one, and still play it years on. Guildwars made me better at games, all games, the game doesn’t freeze, I am yet to find any bugs, the quests are varied, the story lines are long and interesting, and character skillsets/customisation is unmatched in other games. This is a must buy for me.

1) SSX.

SSX 2012

Because it’s been far too long since an amazingly awesome snowboarding game came out. Shaun White was disapointing, even SSX3 didn’t live up to the standards set by SSX Tricky. Because it’s the only sports game I will play, and because it’s just something very different, for us all to enjoy. The game promises something for seasoned SSX’ers with the return of some familiar faces, as well as plenty for newbies. I’m loving the fact that they have mapped actual mountain ranges for me to explore, without the costs, injuries and chilliness. (I will try it for real someday though!…Not the stunts, that would be rather silly.) History also points to an excellent, and varied soundtrack to this release too, I literally cannot wait for this one, see you all on the virtual slopes.

So that’s my must buys for this year, what are yours?



Review: DC Universe Online

 

This has been requested by many of you on Twitter, but I wanted to have some time to play through the majority of the story and different skill sets before reaching my verdict, so after hours and hours of play, and some time spent as a “Legendary” (paying) member, here’s my thoughts so far.

Firstly, DC Universe online has recently become a free to download and free to play game on the PSN store. (It’s for PC too, but here I am reviewing the PS3 version).  It’s an MMORPG of sorts, having you create a superhero or villain from scratch (or modelled on your favourite from a selection) choosing things such as your mentor, skill-set, weapon and of course outfit/style and  name.

After fighting you way out of the tutorial level, you are free to run, fly or glide around the cities of Metropolis and Gotham, battle against other players in PvP mode, complete quests, level up and unlock more items and powers and missions.

So what’s good about DCUO? Well I must say the graphics are far better than I had imagined, characters look very different, move quickly and have countless numbers of moves and all look good, lighting is well done and the huge cities are rendered nicely, it’s not amazing to look at, but its pretty impressive.  DCUO’s biggest strength is perhaps in it’s variety, the nearly unlimited character creation options, and the many quests and objectives open to do is great, I think there’s something here for everyone, even those who aren’t comic book hero fans. In addition it’s important to acknowledge that this game is currently free to play, there isn’t much on the EU store that one can download gratis, so this is a very good thing indeed.

What’s not so good about DCOU? First and foremost before you rush to find it on the store, is the download size, this is a huge game and you will be downloading in excess of 16gb worth of game file for your playing pleasure, be warned, on the fastest of internet connections this will take many hours.  And for all the trophy hunters out there, you only unlock trophies as a Legendary member paying £10 a month (see paragraph below). However, I can personally confirm that as of this moment in time, if you upgrade at any point, any trophies you have achieved are rewarded retrospectively, which is nice.

Lets talk money for a moment too, meaning membership, because although DCUO is free to play, you can also pay to play, buying a DLC gives you premium access which means more character and inventory slots and less queuing to play. (A warning to UK free players, the queue to play from 5pm onwards can be up in the 5000, meaning a hour or so wait before you gain access to the universe, this isn’t always the case, but can happen) For £10 a month you can gain Legendary access which means even more character and inventory slots, no queuing and access to all DLC content for as long as you remain a legendary member. Legendary also grants you the ability to create leagues so that you can join with friends to complete objectives. So the richer amongst us may have the better gaming experience.

Finally in the “I don’t like this part much” section is the difficulty spikes and issue of balance in the game, due to the vast number of character options, this is a challenge in any MMORPG, but I feel the need to note this here. Having been a Legendary player for a month, I can confirm that choosing Green Lantern as your character skill-set makes the first 10 levels and associated missions pretty easy, as opposed to other skills and weapon options.  (If you play the game and are initially unimpressed. I strongly recommend you hold out till level 10 when more play options, quests and better perks unlock.) With regards to other character types, hitting level 15 was challenging but achievable, but I can honestly say, the quests given from levels 15-20 are on occasion, what feels like, nigh on impossible to complete solo.  There is a strange part of me that enjoys this sort of challenge though, as players are rewarded for learning the game mechanics and trying out different skill combinations.

So the verdict is I would say that DCUO is worth the large download, and was pleasantly surprised by how much fun I have in the Universe. Here’s some scores for you all.

General Scoring

Gameplay 8/10 Great fun, huge variety but the controls aren’t friendly to new players, takes a while to master.
Graphics 9/10 Impressive given it’s an online game, and a well populated universe, but not astounding.
Sound 9/10 Great punchy sound effects and a variety of voices.
Music 7/10 Epic superhero themed music, but it’s a few songs repeated over and over unfortunately.
Story 10/10 Excellent and varied, depending on which mentor, and path you choose.

Wildcards

Variety 9/10 Biggest strength of the game, so much to do and explore.
Trophies 6/10 Challenging and repetitive, and not available unless you pay for membership.
Network 9/10 Have not witnessed any downtime in my hours of play, great so far.
Multiplayer 7/10 Very difficult to form leagues and stay close to your friends in battle, this needs improving.
Character Customisation 10/10 Truly impressive and importantly, quite easy to use and navigate.

Total Score: 84%  I warn you, if this game sounds like the type of thing you may enjoy, it becomes incredibly addictive quite quickly! Those looking to join a league tweet me (@kezla)



Exploits: Fallout New Vegas

Sam the Kitten attempted the mammoth read but fell sleepy during chapter 1

ex·ploit/Verb: Make full use of and derive benefit from (a resource)

As the game I have put the most amount of hours into out of any I have ever played, I see fitting for the first in the exploits series to focus on Fallout New Vegas. As seen above the official guide is a pretty hefty read, so here I offer you a “litter bit of help” in your voyage across the Mojave. So here’s my 3 top tips for Fallout New Vegas;

1) Save frequently and across multiple files.
Unfortunately this game has a few bugs in that cause the screen to freeze and a reboot is often needed, there are also quests that require a timely response.  In addition, quest completion may change faction loyalties in ways you had not anticipated and thus, having a few save points to choose and re load from when necessary, may prove incredibly useful for you trophy hunters and completionists out there.

2) Repair!
So simple, yet so easy to forget, when you find yourself over-encumbered; bring up your pip boy and repair any items you can, this will bring your carry total down again, to make room for even more sunset sarsaparilla/toy cars/coffee cups. (Credit to my boyfriend for this tip)

3) Don’t neglect your Speech skill.
The main difference I noticed from playing New Vegas after Fallout 3 was the emphasis New Vegas puts on speech, not necessarily a good thing, but it makes for a different kind of game I guess.  This is the first tip I often give my friends about the game, as none of us are “speechy” types, usually, in games.  Don’t neglect to put points in this skill from early on in the game, you will thank me for it later.

Happy Trails !