Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Far Cry 3

After sitting through the ending credits of Far Cry 3, here are my thoughts.

In Far Cry 3 you play as a tourist who is part of a group that gets captured by the protagonists of the game. You manage to escape, but you need to save the others. This means that you have to join a tribe of warriors to learn how to fight and survive on the island. The transition from tourist to killing people without remorse is a bit weird. Apart from that though, the game has a captivating bunch of characters who you meet throughout the story. Both the villains of the story and other side-characters have strong and interesting personalities. The entire game, including every cut scene is in first-person mode, which works quite well to get you immersed into interactions with those people.

The graphics are very good and the island you are stuck on is big, even when you travel around by vehicle. The game does give you points that you can fast-travel to as you progress through the story, so if you are like me you will use that every time it is possible. Combat can be done with a range of firearms and explosives, which all seem to run out of ammunition every time you are in trouble. Luckily you can use your knife to take down enemies as well, and also pick up their weapons to prolong your survivability.

My review cannot be complete without mentioning the fire. I hate fire in this game, and I love it. Use a flame thrower on a wooden house or a field of grass and the flames start spreading, catching enemies inside. Fire will lead to a lot of frustrating moments (death by fire is a normal thing on the island), but it is a very cool weapon effect.

During the game you get experience points that unlock different abilities. There is a type of side quests that you are meant to pursue to get money and more experience, but I left most of them and managed to get everything I needed anyway. I do not expect to go back and get all the collectibles that exist either, because as soon as the story ended the rest of the game is not that interesting to me.

Overall it is a good and fun game because of the strong characters and the story, but the open-world stuff does not bring much except for nice-looking environments. It might be that the cooperative and multiplayer modes are good but I have not tried those.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Max Payne 3

I just finished Max Payne 3 on the PS3. This game can be very frustrating at times. There was a lot of swearing as I tried certain parts over and over again, but I have finally managed to get to the end! Of course I could have spared myself a bit of the trouble if I did not choose HARD (the highest difficulty existing before unlocking the next one) and FREE AIM (where you have no help aiming at all), so I guess I had myself to blame. Then again, now I have the trophy to show off that I completed it! Your experience might differ if you go with easier settings or play on the PC with a mouse.

Apart from the moments where I had to fight the urge to throw the controller and walk away, how was the actual game? Well, one good thing was that it had a fairly long story arc, if not too advanced. Mostly it revolved around Max being the target of a lot of angry people with guns, but on the whole it kept you interested enough to keep playing. There is plenty of brutal camera effects when firing away, and bullet-time that the Max Payne series is so well-known for is of course back. Basically, bullet-time is a way of slowing time down so that you get more time aiming, shooting and dodging. While doing this, the enemies' bullets slowly move towards you and around you.

There was some flashy transition effect that they kept using over and over again during cut scenes and parts of the game. They double the image or slightly shift the colours quickly back and forth. I do not know how to describe it exactly but it annoyed me every time. Someone decided that they wanted to do something unique, but it did not work for me.

The developers have been very sadistic quite often. For example, after letting you get used to frequent checkpoints, suddenly they might decide that now you have to go back and kill those 10 or 15 enemies again when you die. Also, this is especially irritating because the designers often put in one extra hidden enemy after you think you cleared the room. A tip is, if you clear a room and you have to walk towards some area where an enemy might hide, there will be one. If you are not prepared, he will one-shot you and the check point would have been just behind him. Just saying...

If you get killed while carrying pain-killers, instead one pain-killer will automatically be consumed and drop you into bullet-time. You have to kill the enemy that fired the last shot at you before the bullet-time ends to survive. This is a pretty cool feature, and it works well in some tricky situations. It does not come completely without problems though. Sometimes there is no way to hit the enemy that killed you because he managed to hit you through some weird angle where you cannot fire back. I have also encountered cases where I can actually see the enemy, but the game does not pick up that I am aiming at him during this mode so he is invincible. All in all it works pretty well as a game mechanic though.

So to sum it all up, a good game, fairly long, not revolutionizing, and very very frustrating at times!


Last weekend I saw the movie Dredd, based on the comic Judge Dredd. In short, Judge Dredd is is set in a world where people are cramped up in mega cities of billions to avoid the radiation and dangers in the wasteland outside the walls. In these cities crime rates are going up to so high levels that a normal justice system cannot work. Therefore, the judges exist. They act as police, judge, jury, and executioner all at once. Even with these judges working the mega cities, crime rates are still so high that they can only ever act on around 6% of the crimes that are called in.

I never did read the comics, but I have seen the previous attempt at a movie (Judge Dredd) with Sylvester Stalone. The previous movie fails terribly at showing a serious Judge Dredd. The reboot though is a very different matter. The violence is very graphical and might not be for the faint of heart, but it portrays correctly a hopeless world on the brink of anarchy just barely held together by law enforcement. I liked how the action scenes most of the time felt plausible, in the sense that Dredd takes logical actions to avoid getting shot instead of just trusting the hero laws of never getting hit in a gun fight.

In the movie there is a drug that slows time down for whoever takes it, and of course this leads to cool action scenes where the victim sees everything happening in slow motion with blood splattering around the screen slowly. It sounds cheesy, but I think it worked very well with the movie. The drug was a big part of the story arc as well, so it made sense in the movie.

I really liked Dredd, and I recommend seeing it if only to see what Judge Dredd really is about. Be aware that it is a very different movie from the last one though (in a very good way)!

Friday, 12 October 2012


Last weekend I saw the movie Looper, labeled a smart thriller in its description. The basis of the movie is that time travel will exist 30 years from the main character's timeline. Time travel will immediately be banned after it is invented, but big crime organizations use it to disappear people without trace. To achieve this, the victim is sent back in time where contracted killers are tasked with the actual execution. Of course, these loopers, as they are called, will become a liability should they talk in the future. To avoid this, at some point the looper will have to kill his own future self, after which the contract ends and the looper will have 30 years to live his life to the fullest (before he gets sent back to himself...yeah!). The main character is one of these loopers who fails to kill himself (get used to the ambiguity), which of course leads to a lot of complications.

Lets just begin with saying that I normally have a big problem with time travel in movies. There is something when it comes to loopholes in time travel plots that just rub me the wrong way, and very few movies manage to avoid these issues (see the movie Primer for one that succeeded in my opinion). Looper at least avoids trying to over-explain the technology behind it and focuses on the story. The plot actually managed to get me past those time-travel issues during the movie, even though I still found them a bit irritating when thinking of and discussing the movie afterwards.

All in all, I found myself enjoying Looper and the movie was well put together. The action scenes did not feel forced in there—whenever they happened they felt like they were important for the storyline. It managed to be a somewhat unique movie, where you were not really sure at any point where it would lead in the end, and that is what I want from movies.

For me this was a good movie. I recommend it, but it does not necessarily have to be seen at the cinema, as I think its strength comes through the plot and not endless action scenes. Those are my immediate thoughts on this movie!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


This is a cute game that all the way through reminded me of the Portal series of games, both through the style of graphics and the game puzzle concept. Using first-person mode, you go through different rooms trying to get to the next one by interacting with different devices using the actions “push” or “pull”. Most of the behaviours of these devices depend on what colours they are.

There is no storyline to speak of, except for trying to get out of the complex, but it does feel like the game progresses when new concepts are introduced for the problem-solving. The game is very pleasing graphically, and the corridors and elevators between the rooms show off nice transitions, where the cubes that the walls consist of move around to rebuild the room or create other weird effects. Quite a few times I found myself stopping to look at what happened around me. The game worked well with 3D glasses as well, but it is not a requirement to enjoy it.

I would recommend this game to anyone who wants a refreshing problem solver that runs for a few hours. The lower price tag makes it even more worth it.

Spec Ops: The Line

After finishing Spec Ops: The Line on the PC, here are my thoughts.

I did not at all expect this game to be what it was. It seems to be a standard 3rd person shooter, but ends up being this trip through the emotions of a soldier in a warzone as choices that seem clear at the time turn out to be grey areas. This game takes the concept of “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” and let you as a player make some of those choices, making you feel that you are responsible for the results of your actions.

I cannot say much more without spoiling the game for anyone who might want to play it. Therefore, I am just going to say that I really liked this game. With a great soundtrack, nice visuals, and an engaging storyline, it kept dragging me in wether I wanted it or not.

If you are looking for a mind-less shooter, look at something else. If you like a good story, and you think that all war-based games are the same, give this one a chance and I think you will be pleasantly surprised. I know I was!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Free Thoughts for Everyone

I have been looking to put up some of my thoughts about games, books or movies that I have just finished. At first my idea was to start it off as its own project, but after going over the idea I decided otherwise. Rather than start a new blog for the reviews, I will post them here on the root blog. If at some point I feel like I have enough material for a new blog, the plan might change but at the moment I do not see that happening.

The reason for writing these reviews will not be to push my opinions onto others, but more for my own enjoyment. I like writing and I want to keep doing it as much as possible between the times I manage to work on my book. Hopefully there will be someone who enjoys what I write, but it is not a requirement!

Time to start writing!