Watch Dogs

I’m excited to announce that Chad and I bought Watch Dogs recently. From the first time we saw the trailer, we knew that we wanted this game. I’m glad it’s finally been released and wasn’t postponed again.

We’ve started playing, and I have to say that it’s not as great as I thought it would be. There was a lot of hype about this game, and overall, the game has been a bit underwhelming. The gameplay is similar to Grand Theft Auto but not as great. It’s hard not to compare it to GTA, but I’ll just have to remember that Rockstar has been making games like this for years and Ubisoft hasn’t. I’m hoping it’s gets better, and I’m trying not to judge it too harshly before I really get into the plot and gameplay.

However, there are moments in the game that are extremely frustrating. At one point we just went on a rampage in the city to see how much havoc we could cause. It was was the most enjoyable part of the game so far. The open world is amazing. Once we finish playing, if we do, Chad or I will have a review up about the game.

I would love to know what others think about this game. Did you enjoy it and think I need to give it some time to get better or were you just as disappointed as we were?

The Last of Us Review

Rating – M
System – Playstation 3
Genre – Action-Adventure Survival Horror

The Last of Us was released only for Playstation 3 on June 2013. The game features two main characters: Joel, voiced and motion captured by Troy Baker and Ellie, voiced and motion captured by Ashley Johnson. The story follows these two characters on their journey across the United States in 2033, and as they are traveling, they must fight “zombies” and bandits to complete their quest.

When the game begins, the player gets to see what happens to Joel when the pandemic starts. He experiences a tragic event within the opening few scenes that affects him throughout the game. The story fast-forwards twenty years to the present day where Joel is trying to survive in this post-apocalyptic world. He gets a mission to escort a fourteen-year-old girl named Ellie to a resistance group known as the Fireflies. Once this mission is assigned, the player is taken on an adventure where he/she must defend both characters from infected humans and bandits.

The characters in this game are realistic and each of them added to the overall story, even the secondary characters. There is a great deal of character development and characterization. Due to the tragic event in Joel’s life, he reacts very strongly to certain topics, and it explains his actions through the story. Ellie’s past is just as dismal, and yet she carries herself differently than Joel. The two are a great contrast to one another. While one is hostile and pessimistic, the other is friendly and optimistic. Their different outlooks on life and the current situation make for interesting conversation between the two.

I love the survival aspect of this game. Each moment/scene makes the story seem more real. The characters are actually in danger, and it adds to the realism of the story. Joel and Ellie are in dire situations that put their lives at risk, and it is the player’s job to help them through. Many parts of the game require the use of caution and stealth to avoid being overwhelmed by lots of zombies all at once. Early on the zombies are pretty easy to defeat or avoid, but the player gets introduced to different types of zombie as the game continues. Each of the zombies are designed to represent the cause of the outbreak such as the “clickers” only being able to hear Joel or Ellie because fungus has grown over their face and eyes. The method through which the humans become infected is an interesting take on the zombie genre. The idea that fungus could cause civilization to crumble is extremely unique.

While zombies can be fun to defeat, the gameplay can get a bit repetitive. The stealth aspect of the game can get quite tedious when trying to get around a lot of zombies. Plus, if you make a mistake and one of them sees or hears you, zombies will be all over Joel and Ellie in no time. I tend to become quite frustrated with stealth missions, so when I couldn’t get passed the zombies after multiple tries, I let Chad take over. The controls, on the other hand, are pretty decent. There are times where Joel might accidentally grab or throw the wrong thing or a command might not go through, but overall, it was a good system that flowed well. 

On another note, I love the ending. I never saw it coming until the last few levels, and I’m sure it shocked and will shock many people. I feel the ending was well-crafted and fit perfectly with the overall story. It demonstrates what the characters are willing to go through for one another, and it avoids cliches, going for a more believable ending. I appreciate how the game represents both positive and negative aspects of humanity.

The Last of Us is such an amazing game with a fantastic story. While it’s not a game I would replay right away, it’s immensely memorable. It’s one of the best games I have played in the last year or two, and I highly recommend it. The DLC The Last of Us: Left Behind is out now and explains what happened to Ellie before she met Joel. I will be getting that soon, and I’ll be sure to review it once I finish.

Story – 5/5
Controls – 4.5/5
Gameplay – 4/5
Replay Value – 3/5

My Rating – ★★★★½

DayZ – Heather’s Progress

I’ve become quite addicted to this zombie survival video game. Ever since Chad started playing DayZ, I wanted to find out what the game offered. Of course I started off with nothing, but as I made my way across the map to find Chad, I found some loot which included a fire hydrant, a vest, and some food. When I finally located Chad, he gave me a hat to top off my amazing ensemble.

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From the picture, I look like I could be a real survivor. I mean a fire hydrant is not an ideal weapon, but when it comes to a zombie apocalypse, you can’t be too picky.

After we met up, we decided to go exploring for more supplies. After I discovered a very bright yellow raincoat, a backpack, and an axe, we felt the need for a photo shoot. The entire time we were just waiting to be shot by bandits or passing travelers, but we managed to take all the ridiculous pictures we wanted without being killed. One of my favorites is where I pose in front of the sun for an “angel” shot.

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After the photo shoot, we ventured on to find a gun for me because I didn’t want to take any of his. I picked up a lot of ammo on our way to the airfield, but had no luck finding any other weapon besides bats and shovels. I came upon a new jacket and decided that the raincoat was way too conspicuous, so I went with the light brown jacket.

We happened upon a castle type structure, and while I searched one floor and found designer sunglasses, Chad made his way to the top and found a shotgun for me. Finally, I was in possession of a gun. Of course it was time for more photos. 

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I feel like I blend quite nicely into the background. It was now time to make our way to the airfield. When we arrived at the airfield, we quickly scavenged the buildings and found different weapons that we didn’t need and some food. After our search, we ran away to a safer location.

In a town near the airfield, we found some great loot. I found a Mosin that I traded to Chad for an M4. We swapped so Chad could use the scope I found for the Mosin. While in this town, I came upon an awesome “wolf” mask that looked like a clown mask and an army pilot helmet. I ditched the hat and sunglasses and proceeded to put on my new mask and helmet. Let’s just say, I don’t look very friendly anymore.

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In all honesty, I look like a deranged clown that escaped the circus to murder people, but that’s beside the point. I’m sure no one will want to be my friend now. Not that we really need a friend since we seem to be pretty well equipped now.

Heavy Rain Review

Rating – M
System – Playstation 3
Genre – Interactive Drama Action-Adventure

Heavy Rain was released only for Playstation 3 in February 2010. It is an interactive psychological thriller video game. The game features four playable characters: Ethan Mars voiced by and modeled after Pascal Langdale, Scott Shelby voiced by and modeled after Sam Douglas, Norman Jayden voiced by and modeled after Leon Ockenden, and Madison Paige voiced by Judi Beecher. Heavy Rain is based on the mystery of the Origami Killer who is a serial killer that uses rainfall to drown his young victims.

It begins in the life of Ethan Mars, showing his daily activities with his family. A tragic event sends Mars into a six month coma and when the player comes across him again, he is divorced, depressed, and living in a small apartment. He tries to reconnect with his son Shaun but ends up having a blackout while at the park. When he wakes up, he finds that Shaun has gone missing. The player learns that Shaun’s disappearance is the work of the Origami Killer. As the story progresses, the player meets the other three playable characters: Norman Jayden is a FBI profiler who has been assigned to help the police apprehend the killer, Scott Shelby is a private investigator, collecting evidence from the victims’ parents to further his investigation, and Madison Paige is a photojournalist who begins to conduct her own investigation of the Origami case. Once all the characters begin investigating the case, the suspense and action really starts.

The characters in this game are realistic and have a good amount of character development. The player is able to care for what happens to the characters, and since the player is able to view four different viewpoints of the mystery, it makes each person important to the plot. Of course, the player can choose who shows up at the final confrontation and who is left out but that is what makes the game enjoyable. The ending of this game can be different depending on what the player chooses as he/she goes through the plot.

Heavy Rain’s gameplay is unlike most video games. It allows the player to interact with the game by replicating the actions shown on the screen with the controller and sometimes, having to perform quick time events during action sequences. Sure, video games have these types of controls in their gameplay, but Heavy Rain is based entirely on this kind of gameplay, which I find different and fun.

I will say that this game is great the first time playing, but if anyone plays more than once, it is much easier to catch errors and illogical story progression. I only have one complaint about this game which is about the killer. While I feel the killer could have had a better reason for murdering children, in certain endings, he/she tries to kill a character even after he/she proved himself/herself worthy of the killer’s demands. During those endings, the killer seemed fickle for changing his/her mind over what to do. Other than that, I would recommend this game because it is a lot of fun and definitely worth playing.

Story – 4/5
Controls – 4/5
Gameplay – 4/5
Replay Value – 3/5

My Rating – ★★★★