Archive for the ‘Review’ Category
So by now everyone and their grandma have Skyrim aka Elder Scrolls 5, and that the series is so mainstream nowadays those hipsters complain about playing Daggerfall when it was still fairly unheard of. Bethseda being one of the big masters of rpgs, next to Bioware, has learned from their previous experiences within and out of the series, you could almost call the game Elder Scrolls: Fallout with the number of features and gameplay mechanics that can be found from there.
By all means I am not dissing the game at all. The crafting tables are an awesome addition, no more will you have to lug around the crafting tools that can weigh you down and clutter your inventory, I find it lends more realism to the game. At the same time you lose out on the quick access and instant satisfaction on using these crafting items while in dungeons or on the road when you could need them the most, regardless of finding these stations randomly in the wilds.
Quests are scattered everywhere, same with the dungeons, you can barely throw a fireball in a direction without finding something new to explore or do. Story wise you continue the Elder Scrolls tradition of being a prisoner at the beginning, but freedom finds you soon in the form of a dragon attack. Skyrim is divided between the Empire and the rebels known as the Stormcloaks who’re the natives who want any non-Nord out of their lands, either of them can be joined officially after finding the right person and by helping them out you can affect the lands you roam.
Companions also make a return in numbers, the game even practically throws them at you, giving you some as quest rewards, hiring them, having them follow you after a sound beating or even after you help them secure a lady friend. Bro’s forever! And just like in New Vegas you can use them as pack mules to an extent as they have a weight limit as well. Be careful when giving them gear to equip though as if you exchange them for another follower by choice or force, they’ll lose all of them when they go back to their original place.
The game is very satisfying, and has all of the beloved fun adventuring that you’d expect from an Elder Scrolls game, though expect plenty of mods and patches soon to fill in the gaps and gripes about the game. I myself found the AI to be fairly disappointing in two ways, one that companions will often sit there and watch the fighting going on with weapon drawn with a blank stare in their face while finally joining in for the last swing or two and the enemy pathing needs work as I’ve had some go back and forth not knowing how to get to you while you’re in an open room and wailing at them with arrows.
Speaking of patches, many of you have seen a couple of hilarious glitches in the game, especially on YouTube where people can place jars, baskets or whatever on an npc’s head and steal everything in front of them because they can’t “see” you, just hope you’ve found a fence for them though. The other is a free training trick. All you need is a companion who can train you in a skill, just need to pay them for it, open up trade and take the money back, no qualms, great customer service and free points to your next level!
Overall this is still a great game from Bethseda. The graphics is definitely the game’s money maker; just the faces alone are an improvement. The gameplay is easy to figure out after a few tries so just about anyone can enjoy minus the elitists and rpg haters. Getting it on PC or on the consoles doesn’t matter as both run the same on both, using USB Xbox controller on the PC can even have its advantages once you get the hang of playing in 3rd person. Even the level-scaling has been tuned similarly to Fallout 3, so expect less overly powered rats and beware the dark malicious looking spirits. The only other little gripe one could have is with all of the big names they placed into the game, you still have a lot of npcs talking with the same voice and the same lines. Especially in the city of Whiterun where most of the guards sound like Arnold Schwarzenegger wanabes.
Graphics 9/10: The game runs very well on high settings even on 3 year old laptops and is one of the best in the industry so far.
Gameplay 8/10 The game is balanced enough that any type of character you make can succeed but the bugs, AI issues and a tough to handle 3rd-person view keep it from being perfect.
Sound 7.5: Solid environmental sounds, dramatic music that swells during pivotal moments and Hollywood voice acting keep things going, but it all repeats and the re-use of the voices and lines really brought down the experience for me.
Overall 8.5: To some Skyrim is just another money grab in a growing franchise that Bethseda has been nurturing over the years, but it is also that same nurturing idea that turned a unique and unusual game from the early Elder Scrolls Arena and Daggerfall, learning from them and bringing out a winning experience in their later games that brought them where they are now with the thousands if not millions of fans out there who enjoy what they do best. Making an epic adventure.
For more tips and tricks in Skyrim just check out this quick video I made. Feel free to ask me any questions about it too as there’s a lot to learn and find in the game. =)
Grand Prix Story, reviewed on the iOS
Kairosoft keeps throwing out the punches, least that’s how it seems like with their 5th released app on the iPhone (3rd for you Android users), and they’ll keep coming for more which is understandable considering that these apps are just older games they made on the PC back in the 90s over in Japan. The government should assemble a task force to find more of these hidden gems and have them translated.
The game starts you off with a basic tutorial, though I highly recommend reading the “How to Play” text in the Settings menu. Right off the bat some people will get turned away from playing when they realise that you can’t directly control the cars but don’t let that stop you from trying as you’ll be impressed at what you can do.
As a manager game your job is to make sure your team is skilled and ready to tackle the obstacles that are the races. There are three major criteria to master in this game in order to win.
The staffs are the first half of what makes a great racing team. You start off with a driver and one mechanic, and as you go along you’ll unlock the ability to hire more of them. You can have in total two drivers, though the second can only be hired after you conquer the first Grand Prix tournament. When selected you can train them to become better in various skills like pedal (top speed), shift (acceleration), steer (handling), appl (think charisma that boosts your sponsor bonus), tech (used in building/upgrading) and anlys (analyse which grants more tech points). Each driver has a skill cap so switching to a better driver later can be worthwhile if you want to spend the time and money, and you can only train them so much at a time before they tire out, which can affect driving performance. Lastly, drivers get colored auras from time to time; use them wisely as they give big bonuses when used in upgrading, building, training or racing. I recommend the first two mostly.
The mechanics are the unsung heroes in my book as they provide the background bonus to your driver in the terms of extra appeal, tech and analysis, and when you can have six mechanics per team later on, it really adds up. Tech is the main skill I look for as it is crucial to building better cars and getting better bonus’ on parts. Each mechanic can be leveled from 1 to 5 which require more tech points per level, and the better the mechanic, the more points you’ll need per battle. Keep an eye out for the good ones like Tom Edson and Boba Fatt (beware of punny names) as they’ll have the best level 5 stats. Though the real key to make the best racing team out there is to keep them busy, by researching, repairing, building, anything as a busy team keeps gaining stats and tech points, plus who wants to pay their staff by doing nothing? So time your race schedule, repairs and other plans accordingly.
Cars and parts are the nuts and bolts (*slow clap*) of your team. You’ll have four types of cars, all of which you can upgrade to unlock a better version of. The all-rounded Buggy, the speedy Dragster, the well-handled Wing car and the special types, like the Duck car, that give various special bonus which you only unlock later on in the game, but most are unlocked by pleasing sponsors and upgrading other cars and parts. Experiment with them all to find out what suits you best, but just make sure you got the tech points ready for it as the costs rise progressively. Also be mindful when building new cars or installing parts as the total amount of your team’s tech determines how well it goes, so the more the better, especially if you have the best of the best techs in one single team.
Learn these well and you’ll find that getting 1st place in every race will be easy, though I recommend you conquer the single races before heading off to the Grand Prix as those take time and are a lot more challenging in terms of opponents and leave little time in between races to repair and upgrade/make better cars. Though once you do become number one, you’ll move on to bigger and better challenges, as well as having the room for more staff and another driver.
And this is where the money comes in. Hiring another driver and more staff will start becoming more costly with their monthly wages for staff and annual contracts for the drivers. Winning races is a good way to get some but sponsors are the key. Along with them giving you money, if you get them enough advertisement they will give you various cars and parts to research, along with new skills to train your driver, though they get progressively tougher to please as you go along. It’s tough at first but well worth it as you’ll need to save plenty of cash if you want to build lots of A-list cars and plan to switch parts around in your cars.
Overall the game is easy to play with lots of depth, addicting qualities and replayability. Its quirky characters, bright colors and challenges keep you coming back for more in order to drain your phone’s battery to its last drop. I played it to death, had lots of fun unlocking new parts and types of cars and felt proud of my little digital team for doing so well, especially since I kept my starting driver from start to end and almost conquered every track. I highly recommend the game for those who’re looking to kill time, who enjoying building/management games or who’ve played other Kairosoft games such as Game Dev, Hot Springs and Mega Mall Story.