Tag Archive: game

Portal 2 Review – Single Player

Recently I bought in finished the single player version of Portal 2, which bared, a striking resemblance to the first version of the game. While the general style of the game and fundamentals were the same, it was a lot more voice acting in this game and I would say also more humor. While this game also offered a cooperative play version, I have yet to attend this version of the game mainly due to the fact that coordinating with my friends to play for a few hours it is rather difficult.

So you might be asking what makes Portal 2 different than the original? While generally speaking, the idea of the game was the same, the underlying plot was different driven by a humorous protagonist and often clueless robot “Wheatley”(voiced by Stephen Merchant).the majority of the old-style puzzles were still present, new types of puzzles and solutions were also included, such as three types of goo because various different effects which you can use to your advantage to solve different types of puzzles.

The robots to everybody sees on the box covers including the one in this post, are the two cooperative play robots which are used in cooperative play. Sadly, single player play through’s do not have the advantages of a companion to help solve puzzles. Instead, you get the occasional scene with the halfway named Wheatley which proves to be incredibly humorous and often times following his advice can get you into a bigger pickle.

While many of the reviews I have read claim this game doesn’t have much re-playability, I feel this can be incredibly enjoyable to play more than one time.I’m not sure if this was just my own personal experience or if other reviewers simply had a different idea of what constitutes re-playability.

Generally speaking, however there is usually only one way to solve a puzzle and I could see where this might hinder playing the game multiple times. GLaDOS of course makes a return in this game giving the main character chell a great deal of a hard time, without spoiling the game. I’m not going to go into specifics about exactly how GLaDOS played into this game other than to say if you played the first one. You know that she was deactivated, I will tell you that she accidentally gets reactivated but that’s as much as I’m going to reveal, however that much should be known already , if you watch the commercials.

generally speaking, the game is fairly safe for teenagers to play not having any realistic form of violence, in effect, nobody actually dies in the game. What you can expect however it is the occasional bit of crude humor, coupled with the sadistic personality of a few artificially intelligent robots. You do find out a little bit more about GLaDOS and her origins in this game but they leave just enough of a mystery that a possible third game could be brought up. They don’t however explain much about the main character, aside from what anyone who played the first game would already know.

Bottom line, I feel this game was very enjoyable and if you intend to replay the game at some point in the future, most likely starting with the original and then playing the second one in succession. The gameplay experience may be different on the consoles. I haven’t tried any of these so I can’t exactly speak for, whether it’s easier or more difficult, but given the sheer amount of positive reviews, this game is received I will be willing to say that the console versions aren’t too difficult in terms of controlling. I will say I tried this on the normal difficulty level haven’t tried any of the harder difficulty levels, from what I understand these greatly change how to solve the puzzles, making things more difficult. Hence the hard difficulty level, might give these a try little bit later, however I usually don’t do so well with a game set on a hard difficulty level.

My Life at a Glance–New CPU, Gaming, Windows troubles, Linux Troubles, android tablets and more!

Well it has been a while since I posted anything to my blog, and I thought I would rectify that by making one huge post updating everyone on most aspects of my life currently.

New Computer Hardware

Recently I upgraded my old AMD Athlon II x4 620 to a new AMD Phenom II x6 1090T Black Edition.

The upgrade was relatively painless (typical CPU upgrade) and I did not notice a huge improvement at first in performance, however once the computer ran for a while I noticed some changes in both speed and the Heat the CPU generated.

With my older Quad Core CPU idle CPU temps were somewhere around 38c which is relatively hot I have been told for an idle temp. With the newer six-core the idle temps dropped to around 28c that is a 10 degree difference!

While I primarily upgraded to solve an issue Windows was having with the CPU (mine in particular not necessarily the same for others with it ) where it would frequently spike the CPU usage up and then not fully release capacity as processes slowed. I had tried numerous times to re-install windows in numerous different storage configurations (RAID 0, Use a separate drive for all Data and one specifically for OS and Important programs, Installing a tweaked version where certain features were turned off mainly indexing and what not), while most of these worked one in particular kept causing me to scratch my head as tried to get Windows running on it (RAID 0). With out boring you by going into detail on what I tried I will just say it did not work and ended up causing a new fresh install of Windows 7 using the default installation (which ironically ended up having better throughput). The CPU proved to be a good trade off as it increased windows boot time as well as offered a 6mb L3 Cache where the Quad had no such L3 Cache.

I ran the windows performance scoring tool (just for the hell of it not a big believer in what it says other then to pinpoint what hardware is the current bottleneck) finding that now all areas rated 7.5 where the HDD was the remaining bottleneck coming in at a miserable 5.9. Now I know Windows may not be the best OS when it comes to efficient write commands, but that was a good indicator it was time for a faster drive or to make the plunge into a reasonable SSD.

The issue here is that even though I could move about 95% of all my data to a external HDD and use the SSD as the boot drive, programs would continue to load slowly unless they were installed on the SSD. All that and not to mention the sheer amount that SSD cost per GB, it just was not worth the price at present.

Gaming

This all lead me into my next issue which was stuttering (video wise not audio) in the game Dragon Age 2, I examined this further and found that DA2 seems to see the processor correctly but only sees one core as being available. I then spent about 2 hours talking to EA support via chat to try and correct this, even tried reducing the available Cores it had access to in the affinity setting for the game.

Long story short we were unable to pinpoint the exact issue, but narrowed it down to something to do with the CPU upgrade (seeing as it worked fine on the Quad). The tech was so down that he could not solve my issue that he proceeded to go into the back end for my EA account and enable a whole swarm of free content (not DLC, promotional items mostly) for Dragon Age: Origins and one or two for DA2!. I literally now have so much stuff that when I log into the Bioware User Entitlements area to see what I have access to I have to scroll 3 times, and that is on a 27” monitor at 1920×1080 resolution with the browser full screen!

Did I also mention that earlier this month I had an issue with the DLC authorizing for Dragon Age: Origins? Well EA gave me a $20 voucher for the EA store and so I used that on Dead space 2 which was already on sale for $31 (Digital download version) so I ended up after tax getting a $50 game for $12 dollars!

Linux

Now all of you reading this from the Fedora Planet are by now wondering “what does this have to do with Linux?”

The answer is that had nothing to do with it but the headache did make me want to leave windows and try to install Fedora again on one of my free HDD’s

This brings me to where I had the issue with Fedora, to be fair here I was using the latest build of Fedora 15 alpha so the issues are not at all the fault of Fedora just my own lapse in judgment.

Here is what happened, I tried at first to do a custom install (like I always do when installing multiple OS) but that just caused me a headache because apparently my boot order for my HDD was set differently in the Bios then the physical location they are in (where they are connected on the mother board). That being said I managed to axe the small system partition Windows 7 makes for some reason. I panicked and though If I could install Fedora I could at least boot from Grub into Windows right? Wrong!

Second time installing is where I made the big mistake of choosing use all space when I meant to hit remove all Linux partitions, well as you can imagine this went bad as it wiped now my entire windows drive. While I chalk this up to my own lack of focus, my friend claims it was a sign from the Fedora Gods that Linux did not want Windows anywhere on the system.

I ended up just wiping that re-installing windows (to many good games that do not work in Wine plus school work that requires Windows programs) and just throw Fedora in a VM. So far this has worked well though I miss my dual boot setup and being able to run Fedora natively. I might try it again but making sure to backup my windows install prior to doing so.

Android 3.0

While I myself have not had any hands on experience with Android, I want an Android 3 tablet badly!

I began looking into the options out there and found out that not only do a handful exist but they are all super expensive!!!

I did find one that would have a 399 model but the specs on it were less then acceptable to me. While I generally am not a power user when it comes to mobile devices I found that a 512mb 8gb nand ram drive device to be a little underwhelming! How much could you fit on 8gb now days even if on Android!?

The next model the one I am seriously considering is 499 and has 1gb of ram and a 16gb nand ram drive. This to me seems sufficient and would work nicely, provided I decide to get it. ASUS the manufacture of this tablet apparently has released everything but the device itself in the US as of the time I am writing this. Will  I have the funds to spare when they do release it is yet to be seen but lets hope it gets released soon.

Well that about covers it, that should get most people who care caught up with what has been going on with me (not a lot of people care I get it but a few readers I know who read this do Winking smile ).

Feel free to leave comments below

Dragon Age II review – After two complete playthroughs

Dragon Age II Box ArtI loved this game it was a welcome change to Dragon Age
Origins! Do not get me wrong anyone who has seen my raptr profile or xfire
profile will see i ranked up the game play hours on that game, however this
game offers a much faster and fluid fighting system which I think is an example
of the effort put into making the game seem different yet have a DA:O feel to
it.

The plot line was a bit confusing to grasp at first since
the game makes a point to keep you guessing what is happening until the very
end of the game. The conversational system was overhauled allowing easier
conversations in a Mass Effect 2 similar fashion, this is not a bad thing (to
me anyway). Now you no longer have those awkward moments in the game where you
find you said the wrong thing and are now engaged in a romance with one of the
most annoying male characters in the game. Case and point Zevran from DA:O,
This character I felt was a death trap of same sex romance. I mean that if you’re
not inclined to romance him your best not talking to him at all as almost any
dialog option would enter you into a romance with him, showing no obvious way
out. In this new system icons are used to show what impact your choice will
have with the character, if you are going to select a response and that would
enter you into a romance with the character a heart will appear in the center
of the conversation wheel. On the other hand if you want to break a romance a picture
of a fractured heart will appear for options that would end the romance.

Aside from those changes the game seemed to be centered
around 5-6 maps which served as the grounds for multiple zones, what I mean by
this is a map for inside a cave could be used (re-arranged a bit but otherwise
the same) to show the inside of every single side quest cave in the game! This
to me felt repetitive after killing a Dragon in one cave only to find a quest
in a similar looking cave (the same map) and fighting a Vestral in the same
exact spot the dragon existed in the “other” cave. I understand why this was
done, it saves resources if you simply re-arrange items and close off some
areas while other remain open and shuffle the enemies around. This to me is the
reason I did not give it 5 stars, they just recycled maps too frequently,
enough so it was clearly noticeable.

On a upside main quests seemed to have unique maps or re-use
old maps less frequently then side or companion quests which helped. There were
a few main plot line quests that used the same maps as previous ones but for
the most part if you had to enter a house for X plot quest then the next house
you entered would be different enough to feel as though it was a separate map.

Yes, there is a very high Mass Effect feel to some aspects
of game play but to indirectly quote Mike Laidlaw (lead designer) and probably
not as accurately as I should “Mass Effect 2 was insanely popular and did very
well, if Dragon Age 2 can achieve the same thing by using similar elements,
then I do not see a problem. They are still very much different games and I
think that the real fans will be able to appreciate the difference and
understand why we chose to do things this way.” Keep in mind he may not have
said that word for word the way I have it but he has said in one of his
Developer Chats that he recognizes the talk about the similarity between the
two and explains why he did it.

Should you shell out $60 on this game? That depends on a few
things,

1) How much did you
enjoy DA:O?

2) Do you believe the negative reviews about the game? If so
then why even bother?

3) Are you a Fan of RPGs?

Feel free to leave comments below, I welcome any comments even if you hated the game just make sure to let me know WHY you hated it!

Starcraft 2 Beta – Yes I got an official Invite!

The good!

As the title suggests I received a Official Beta Invitation for Starcraft 2 this morning, this blog post will touch on my thoughts of the game so far.

I am not sure if I am able to post screenshots due to the game not being released yet but I will do my best to sum up my experience with the game so far.

The not so good!

Well it is not apparent that my skills in Starcraft are rusty (were never that good to begin with), I can not seem to get the upper hand on opponents that I fight in the Beta. Since the Official game does not release till July 27th 2010 the single player functionality of the game is non-existent (or at least locked out), this means that your forced to ether battle the computer in a traditional Battle.net way (similar to the online play of SC1) or go head to head (or 2v2, 3v3 and so on) with other beta players. The issue here is I SUCK AT PVP REGARDLESS OF THE GAME! You might think me exaggerating but I assure you I am not, playing vs a real person requires honing in on your strategy skills which sadly I apparently lack.

Point When playing I won only once (and that was vs the PC) this was out of maybe 20 matches i played through out the day.

General Game play VS SC 1

The core way you play the game has not changed much, the graphics are nicer and smoother, but aside from that actual game dynamics have not changed (based on the Multiplayer side anyway).

Aside from the actual functionality of the game being similar they seem to have greatly reduced resource harvesting times, the new time is similar to the speed achieved in the first game when entering the cheat “operation cwal” almost instantly your units gather resources (there is a small delay to make it more challenging), however I expect this might be tweaked and possibly lengthened by the time the game launches.

There are some units that have changed a great deal in use however I never lasted long enough to test any of these lol.

Overall impression from the few hours i played it so far!

I think the game is a huge leap forward in terms of technology and what it can do, however as far as feel, it very  much feels like an updated version of the first game. In fairness however one can not really get a feel for the new features of this game until you are allowed to play the single player game. I feel for Multiplayer at least the game will be very similar and feel almost like a new SC1 remake.

I am convinced that the story aspect of the game will be far better then the first and the dynamic aspects involved in campaign mode will make this game stand out.

In its favor it does incorporate itself into the new overhauled Battle.net system which supports RealID friends. These are essentially friends that once added to your list can be chatted with from any of the new Blizzard games, World of Warcraft and Starcraft 2 are the first two to use it Diablo 3 from what I hear will utilize it as well. Blizzard is boasting the big benefit of this is that if two friends have linked their RealIDs on a friends list then Friend A could be playing World of Warcraft while Friend B could be playing Starcraft 2 and both could see when the other is online and chat with them across games.

A WoW user could use this feature to chat with friends regardless of the realm they are on or the faction they chose.

As I continue to use the Beta I will report back should I find anything cool about the new game. Keep in mind just 9 days from today you can buy the full game so it is rather odd that i was given a Beta invite this late in the program and this close to the final launch.

Feel free to post your comments below and if you also have a SC2 Beta (official no hacked beta versions please) key as well and wish to play together some time look me up and send your RealID* to andy [at] andyjamison [dot] com if you want to be friends on the game of course.

*RealID refers to the email address you used when you signed up for battle.net. There is also a method in Sc2 using your Character ID but this is rather buggy i hear