Read more “Call of Juarez: Gunslinger”
Developer: Techland | Released: 2013 | Genre: FPS, Western
Finally I arrived at the third in this western series – the best of the trilogy.
This western FPS was significantly improved in most departments. The almost cel-shaded graphics and the sound effects were both outstanding, the dual and concentration modes refined even further, and it now sported an excellent level-up system. I lamented the loss of the anti-heroes of the first two games, but it was made up for by a charming tale of a new gunslinger meeting the legends of the Wild West.
Stealth and jumping was dialed down even further, mostly focusing on pure shootouts. The cover system no longer glued me to the crates and wall corners, but I still found it to be an improvement on the second game. Objects used for cover were now always easy to see and usually in abundance, and the few shots I received (shown as bullet damage to the screen) was easily shaken off while reloading in cover.
Together with easily spotted enemies, this made the game easier in the beginning.
Read more “Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood”
Developer: Techland | Released: 2009 | Genre: FPS, Western
I actually didn’t like this much at first. The game threw me into the trenches of the civil war and pushed me from point to point with little time to stop and smell the roses. The static HUD was also gone, replaced with temporary UI elements whenever a key was held down. It felt like the developers wanted it to be Call of Duty: Bound in Blood rather than a proper sequel to Call of Juarez.
Also, it was a prequel – telling the story of the three McCall brothers.
I did eventually get used to the different style and the game was indeed much more slick than the first one. Both loading and saving was now very fast, the Chrome Engine looked competitive, and the cutscenes were now much more cinematic. The troublesome stealth sequences of the first game were gone. Instead, shootouts now pretty much dominated the game.
But I must say, I never really liked the HUD-less UI with no health bar or action slots. Having the border of the screen glow red, perhaps with a squirt of blood sprayed, has always been way too ambiguous to me. Call me old fashioned, but I’ve always wanted to have the vital information displayed at all times.
That’s what I really liked about Wolfenstein: The New Order.
Read more “The Call of Juarez Series”
I’ve always wanted to try out the trilogy of the Call of Juarez western FPS games by Techland. It’s sort of another leftover from when I was deep into video games many years ago. I’ve had Gunslinger from 2013 in my Steam library for quite a while, and last week I bought the two oldest games from 2006 and 2009 cheap on sale. So with all three games in hand, I decided to try them out back to back.
I won’t be playing The Cartel since it’s not a western. Besides, it received a lot of negative reviews.
Call of Juarez
Developer: Techland | Released: 2006 | Genre: FPS, Western
Quite an old FPS by now, it’s the first in the series in Techland’s in-house Chrome Engine. Steam started the game in DirectX 9, but a tech site recommended I started an executable file for DirectX 10, since it would look a lot better in that. They were right – the lighting was much better, and the grass more dense.
When I published the first version of this blog post, I actually didn’t want to complete this game.
It’s not because the gameplay scared me away. Sure, it had its share of annoying features such as forced stealth, time limits, excessive reloading and bullet sponge enemies, but it didn’t seem too unfair and I still wanted to experience the game. However, there were issues of a more technical nature.
Read more “Gemini: Heroes Reborn”
Developer: Phosphor Games | Released: 2016 | Genre: FPS, Adventure
Time for something I haven’t played in a while – an FPS. The ironic part is the third letter in the abbreviation as there wasn’t much shooter about it on my part. Sure, I had powers, but I still missed a rifle like crazy.
The game took place in the Heroes universe but was its own story. I played Cassandra, a young girl entering an abandoned structure together with a male friend. Soon they discovered it wasn’t that abandoned after all. Her friend was kidnapped by a couple of soldiers, Cassandra discovered she had time shifting powers, and off I went searching for her friend – as well as some information about her past.
It was one of those game with powers getting more diversified and powerful as the 15 levels went by. In the beginning I could only shift between two time periods – the past (2008) where the facility was new and undamaged, and now (2014) where it was in ruins. Think Soul Reaver, only without any color filtering. Also, time shifting was not possible if the location was inside solid stone in the other time period.
Read more “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare”
Developer: Infinity Ward | Released: 2007 | Genre: FPS
This is a post in a nostalgic series with transcriptions of my diary sessions of the games I played from
2000 2011 and onwards, translated and adapted from Danish. There will be spoilers in these diary sessions.
I’m back with this series again after quite a long hiatus. The previous entry was Outcast, a game I played and wrote about in 2001 in my diaries, and then translated to a blog post in July 2017. Originally I decided to abandon the series mainly because I was convinced I didn’t have any other readers but myself, but also because I wasn’t really sure the diary sessions of 2001 would be up to par. This was a point in time where 3D games was still a novelty to me and thus a lot of the session texts were somewhat naive.
Now I have this idea that I will jump past about a decade of diary sessions, up to 2011, and continue from there. There are several reasons for this. It would close the “hole” between my first failed blog attempt in 2011 and the revitalization in 2015, and it would have session texts from a considerably more experienced gamer, an older me with more games under my belt to compare with.
Dropping the blog in 2011 was followed by going from MMORPG back to single player games, with sort of a brief digression with Portal 2, and then this game – Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. This game was special at this time because it managed to kickstart my single player hobby.
But what is even more interesting is that it almost failed at that to begin with.
Read more “Deadfall Adventures”
Developer: The Farm 51 | Released: 2013 | Genre: FPS, Adventure
This was an FPS from 2013 with puzzles to be solved by an ancestor of Alan Quatermain. It took place in 1938 in Egypt, Arctic and Mayan ruins, and usually together with Jennifer, a female partner. It was all very Indiana Jones. Together with waves of Nazis, it made it feel like Wolfenstein meets Tomb Raider.
It was also an unremarkable game in many ways, with a B-movie plot featuring cliché-riddled dialog and stereotypical characters. The fights were simple and predictable, but luckily also not quite as common as I expected. There were a lot of calm moments solving puzzles or finding treasures. The latter could upgrade my health, marksmanship or my flashlight, but it honestly didn’t feel like it mattered much.
At the bottom line there were a lot of flaccid elements of this game to give it an equally mediocre score, but at least the level design was almost worth the price of admission. It wasn’t phenomenal – get up close and some circles were octagons – but from a distance, the environments actually looked quite nice.
But the game design wasn’t always solid. There were a lot of cutscenes without interaction for many levels, then about halfway through I suddenly had to hit keys and mouse buttons in what the game considered a typical QTE. That was late for this change of heart. Most puzzles were easy and took only seconds to solve through, but there were confusing exceptions where the solution was pretty obscure.
Same thing about finding the treasures for upgrading my abilities.
Read more “Consortium”
Developer: Interdimensional Games | Released: 2014 | Genre: RPG, First Person
This was an FPS+ on a big plane promising to be somewhat akin to Deus Ex, with multiple paths and dialog choices. I pledged $20 for its failed Kickstarter back when it was announced in 2014.
It turned out to be sort of a virtual reality game where I inhabited the body of a soldier on a hi-tech plane in the future, already flying high above the ground. Everything took place on this plane and it took me just over 4 hours to play through it, making it feel like a DLC for another game. In truth, the game is to be construed as an intro for a trilogy of games – the next one taking place around a big tower.
But truth be told, I’m pretty sure I’ll stop after this introduction as there were quite a number of things I didn’t like about it. The ironic thing is, bugs are actually not on that list. Playing this game so many years later means patches must have ironed out most of them.
Read more “Diary Games: The Beginning of the Millennium”
This is a post in a nostalgic series with transcriptions of my diary sessions of the many games I played from 2000 and onwards, translated and adapted from Danish.
In fact, this is the very first one with the first play sessions in 2000. As is the case with so many hobbies just like this one, it started in a casual manner and only gradually became more serious. It wasn’t like hitting a switch and suddenly I was writing hundreds of lines in each session.
I started writing diaries about my life in 1996 and have kept it up since then. Games were rarely mentioned as something I played one evening. I wasn’t really into gaming until I had sort of an epiphany with Gunman Chronicles, as you can read here below. In the end of the 90’s, it was mostly about coding and composing. I did complete Rama, Sanitarium and the first three Tomb Raider games in the end of the 90’s, but their sessions were sometimes months apart and the comments very brief.
Although better for the following ten games, the descriptions are still plain and the details few. However, it gets a lot more interesting in later blog posts as I dig deeper into my diaries. Later I also started grabbing my own screenshots, but for this blog post they are all courtesy of MobyGames.
Read more “Alien: Isolation”
Developer: The Creative Assembly | Released: 2014 | Genre: FPS, Horror
As a first person horror action/adventure, this game was quite true to the first movie and really managed to exude the same atmosphere. Especially the prefabs and corridors were an amazingly close call. In the beginning it also felt like a spiritual successor to System Shock 2, in part because of the ominous graffiti on the walls. And it was quite a looker. Lots of details, all high resolution textures, and a solid lighting style with small whiffs of smoke here and there.
The gameplay was mostly sneaking around, avoiding androids or the alien using various tools for opening doors and a bit of crafting for e.g. creating distracting bombs and health syringes. I could hide inside lockers or crawl through vents. Weapons were weak and ammunition sparse, and most of it would barely scare away the alien anyway. The androids in the game were also tough bullet sponges. Fighting one felt just as absurd as when Ripley fought Ash in the movie, just as it should be.
The levels were quite linear to begin with, but the later areas got bigger and with adjoining corridors. If the area felt particularly open with lots of options for moving around, chances were that the alien would be tagging along there as well. There was also a lot of backtracking, either to get back to a hub (such as the tram stations) or to open previously blocked doors with newly acquired hacking or cutting tools.
But it’s true what they all say – it was way too long (a whopping 19 missions) and sometimes relentless. I heard the rumors and prudently selected one of the lower difficulty levels, but still. There were actually a lot of levels where the alien wasn’t even present, but when it was, it felt like it was tethered to me. Sort of like if it could sense my aura and know not to go too far away.
Read more “Fallout 4: Part 4”
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios | Released: 2015 | Genre: RPG, First Person
After some random exploration, various side quests and most of the quest line for the Minutemen, I have finally decided that I’ve seen what I want to see of the vanilla version of Fallout 4. Maybe I’ll be back for some DLC later. I got to level 55, with 264 locations discovered and 108 quests completed. I maximized hacking and lockpicking relatively early and kept to mostly using single shot rifles, sometimes assisted by an automatic rifle with explosive bullets whenever I had ammunition for it.
The game generally had a bit too much street fighting for my liking. There were hardly any place I could go in the world where a gun fight wasn’t taking place somewhere in the distance. It often sounded like New Year’s Eve. Brotherhood of Steel was also quite aggressive and often had a Vertibird or two flying around. Hey, we have a skirmish over here, come on over and help us out! Sometimes it spiced up the action and was fun to take part of, but as said before, I still think they overdid it. There were situations where I just wanted to do a quest and was constantly pestered with skirmishes on the way.
By the way, I have a weird tip for you in case you’re bored watching loading screens. You can rotate the model by holding down the left mouse button and then move the mouse around. You can also toggle the green soda filter by hitting the V.A.T.S. button. I wonder if there’s more that can be controlled like this on the loading screen? It’s important.