Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Review: Darksiders

At first glance Darksiders (aka Darksiders: The Wrath of War) looked to me just like any other 3rd person adventure hack and slash. In fact in the first level or so there is nothing more to it, but after that the game really picks up and gets interesting. I was mostly drawn in by its great setting that takes place in a post-Armageddon world. You take the role of War, who is one of the four horsemen of Apocalypse, and both angels and demons deem you as an enemy. War is now on an errand to clear his name and to attempt to restore the balance.

 The art style and the environments I thought were really beautiful. There are some really stunning locations in the game, and the characters no doubt were well-developed and interesting. All this greatly helped to enhance the atmosphere in the game.

 As I mentioned already, the game’s first level is just a preview and seems average, but shortly after that is when things start to get much more interesting. That's when your character starts to learn new moves, making combat very fun and engaging. In addition you get some new weapons as well, like the Scythe, for more crowd control, and also a Tremor Gauntlet, if you fancy power punching. Among all the combat, the boss fights especially stood out for me. Each and every boss fight was both challenging and enjoyable at the same time and this is perhaps the game's biggest strength in my opinion. The cool cutscenes and the special kills were an icing on the cake.

 Although there are so many good things about this game that make it incredibly fun and engaging, I also have several criticisms. First of all, the PC version is not exactly a very good console port. The keyboard and mouse control scheme was more or less playable, but it's the fact that you couldn't change graphics options apart from resolution that was really disappointing. Of course this isn't much of a problem for someone with a powerful PC, but for those of us with average machines, even on low resolution there is a noticeable drop in framerate in some areas of the game, making it quite stuttery.

 Another thing that I disliked - some areas were just a bit too long, like the Hollows and the Ashlands. Not sure whose bright idea it was that the sewers and the desert are good candidates for lengthy levels, since those usually tend to be amongst the most boring of the environments in any game. The Black Throne level was perhaps the biggest offender. Although it was a very beautiful level with some cool battles, it had way too much backtracking and also made you do the same thing 3 times!

 All the other areas seemed to be pretty great though. My personal favourite would probably have to be Twilight Cathedral. It was very moody, atmospheric, and had a good balance between fights and puzzles. I also really enjoyed the part that was leading up to it where you had to fly over the destroyed city and some parts of the lava caverns on top of an angelic beast.

 My last criticism would be towards the puzzles, in particular those in the Black Throne level. Although there were some great puzzles in the game, some others were a lot less fun. They weren't hard exactly - you could figure out most of them right away. It's just that to execute those solutions usually took too long, requiring too much running and jumping about, as well as tonnes of trial and error, and hence that was breaking the pace of the game.

 All the criticisms I mentioned stand quite strong for me and I guess if I wasn't so charmed by the game's setting, art style, and combat mechanics, I probably would've gotten less enjoyment out of it. Overall the game is highly entertaining and worth checking out. I can’t wait to start the second one. 

My rating: 9/10

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Make your own game with RPG maker

I want to make this post about a program that allows you to create your own role playing games. RPG maker has had many versions over the years and the kind of games that it allows people to create are like the older Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest titles, but if you are knowledgeable in programming then you can make something even more complex.

 Being someone who loves getting creative, I simply knew I had to try this program and I was really impressed. All I needed was to simply check out the features and play around with various tools the program had to offer and before I knew it I was getting hit with ideas and devising my own game on the go.

Screenshot from a game I've been making in RPG maker VX Ace.

 RPG maker is a very user-friendly tool. I personally am not a programmer at all and have no experience making video games. However, I found it that I could pick up on this program’s ins and outs right away. It really is simple enough for the beginners but also offers more than enough for programming gurus as well. Before knowing about it, the whole idea of creating video games sounded really complex and dare I say unattainable for someone with my skills, yet it’s something I always wanted to try. However, now even non-programmers can make their creative dreams come true. I’d say anyone who’s got good imagination and is into video games can get a lot of enjoyment out of RPG maker. It opens up a whole new creative side of you.

Battle screen using VX Ace

 The images you see here are some of the screenshots from the games I’ve been making in this program. If you too want to make your own game, then you should definitely give it a try. Whether making games is a career path you want to follow or whether you just want to do it for fun, RPG maker surely is one of the best places to start -

Screenshot from a game I was making in RPG maker XP

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Changes to the blog

Hello everyone.

 It's been a while since my last post on this blog, so I've decided to make some changes. From now on I'll be posting not only lists, but a bunch of other stuff relating to video games as well, whether it's game reviews, game recommendations, or anything else in that sphere. Of course there'll still be lists as well. :)

 For the time being, here's a list of my game reviews on Metacritic:

Screenshot from Skyrim