1. gedzum's Avatar
    I thought it would be nice to have a place for people to share their reviews of any games they have played. So If you have anything to say about a console/PC/mobile game, then I want to hear it

    I'll kick things off with my review of Assassin's Creed IV Blag Flag after the break. Please bear with me since I posted a pretty long review. I felt the game deserved a fleshed out review with some explanation to my thoughts.
    Muessig and BIGPADDY like this.
    12-28-2013 07:34 AM
  2. gedzum's Avatar
    Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag Review

    I want to preface this review by saying this is my first time playing an Assassin’s Creed game just in case I mention a feature that has been introduced by one of the earlier games in the series. I am also playing the PC version of the game.

    I’m not sure if it is possible to find out how much time I’ve put in the game (I haven’t really looked), since I have the uplay version, but I am around half way through the story so far and have done a considerable amount of the side missions and hunting for the collectables.

    Positives


    The Protagonist: I feel whenever I play an action/adventure game like this with emphasis on a story, the character I am playing as has to be a strong lead. Edward Kenway and his background is introduced very well. It is therefore, easy to relate to his actions and thoughts throughout the game. Essentially, he refers to himself as a “peasant” early on trying to justify his intent to be a privateer in order to earn a better life for his family. From the moment he finds out about the “Observatory”, a sense of obsession kicks in in his quest to obtain this big score, regardless if he finds himself between the Assassin’s and Templars. The premise of the story is set really well and the experience through Edward’s journey is fantastic in what I have played so far. He is a well modelled character and looks the part and his voice acting is superb and as a result, he sounds the part. One of the better characters I’ve played as.

    The Open World:
    One of the best, well-realised open worlds I have had the pleasure of gaming in. I was taken in, absorbed and often spent more time exploring than playing through the main story. A testament of how well it has been put together. Various cities, islands and diving areas to explore; as well as the changing environments. One moment you’re sailing in calm seas, next moment you are dealing with rough oceans and rogue waves. All the while enemy ships are around presenting a constant threat to the player’s endeavours. Not to mention the beauty of the graphics and the presentation of this world.

    The Jackdaw Experience:
    A game within a game. While the ship Edward uses is his main transport around the world, it can also be a deadly war machine. The player can acquire resources such as wood and metal to upgrade the ship. These resources can be acquired from flotsam in the open sea, raiding warehouses; but what seems to be the best way to acquire these items, is to plunder enemy ships. The naval combat is very satisfying. At first it felt weird to handle, but once I grasped the controls, it was very enjoyable. It also didn’t get or feel laborious after the many ships I boarded, which is an added bonus.

    Furthermore, there is added challenge of some elite ships such as Man O Wars and even Legendary ships to take on once the ship is fully customized. This leads on to the next point…

    Collectables:
    Collectables everywhere. There are so many from the elite upgrades for the Jackdaw to the animus fragments and buried treasure, from the Mayan Stella to the Templar keys for bonus armour. But one of the more enjoyable collectables to pursue are the sea shanties; the songs your crew sing while sailing. An added twist is that this collectable isn’t stationary. The shanty will fly away when the player initiates a chase. If the player can’t quite catch them in time, the shanty will eventually escape.

    The Story and Characters:
    The story isn’t really ground-breaking so much, but it is put together well as to give the player a sense of progression through events. The main missions are satisfactory for the most part, but more will be said when I cover the negatives. The characters that support the story however, is why I feel it was a worthy mention it under a positive. The various characters and their personalities, and how they in turn compliment the story is really well done. From the soft spoken Assassin James Kidd with a hidden secret, to the intimidation of the pirate Edward Thatch aka Blackbeard. The story, the game world and the characters all come together to really complement each other to present a very satisfying adventure to play through.

    The Side Quests:
    Well executed and felt relevant to the world you were playing in. Often times, in other games, side quests were fetch quests that lacked context. The side quests in Black Flag are anything but. From assassinating corrupt officers and brutal slavers running plantations, to protecting a ship from attack by enemy ships. From taking over hostile forts, to taking out Templar operatives for their keys. The side missions are abundant and are very satisfying to play through. More so than even playing through the main story missions.

    Negative


    Some story missions:
    More precisely, follow and eavesdrop missions. I kind of understood what they were trying to do with these, with being an assassin and all, but to be blunt, I found it to be slow and boring. These missions often providing frustrating de-synchronisations. That being said, the stealth element makes up for it and adds a sense of tension.

    Save System:
    I’m not a fan of profile saves. What happens if I want to replay a section of the game? Or recently, I encountered a crash during a story mission in Principe and there was no way to revert back to the main open world. I wouldn’t have been able to play my main profile game and do other side activities. Relating to the de-synchronisations mentioned earlier, the checkpoint saves can be hit and miss. On a few occasions, enemies spawned in front of me causing yet another de-synchronisation, or my personal favourite, spawning next to an animal like a panther only to get immediately mauled.

    Free running:
    Don’t get me wrong, I love this feature since it allows for a dynamic action feel to the game, but often times it will do things I don’t want to do. Very frustrating in chase missions and you lose the target.

    Combat:
    Naval combat is great, but the land combat can get very easy. As a result, the game overall is pretty easy. I think the counter is too overpowered. I think a stamina system (like in Witcher 2) would have offered a better balance. That is not to say it is not fun. The current system is enjoyable, taking on crowds of enemies is great.

    Summary


    Overall, I have really enjoyed my time with this game so far, and I haven’t even completed the main story. One of the most enjoyable games I’ve played in recent times. There is no doubt in my mind that I would recommend this game. So much content and game time to be had with this title which offers great value. While I mentioned a few negatives, they are really nitpicks for the most part and the positives far outweigh them.

    If I were to give it a rating, I would say a 9/10.
    KrisJoeEll and BIGPADDY like this.
    12-28-2013 07:36 AM
  3. BIGPADDY's Avatar
    Killzone Shadow Fall:

    Well the positive first: graphically it very pretty and detailed everything looks stunning the background, environment, enemies, the weapon all looks great! Audio is good as well when you fire it echoes and changes due to the environment or the object your shooting. The mini droid you get is a great idea love having it around in the story not multiplayer.

    Negatives: The main campaign was very boring especially the main character not having much emotion. It was very serious all the time, I would have like a bit of a joke or something to lightening the mood a bit. Multiplayer I didn't like it at all, just wasn't right.

    Overall

    After being amazed by the graphics I got bored very quickly with a lack of a story and emotion from the main character (not to sure if the main character spoke at all during my play through). You can easily tell it to show what the PS4 can do graphically, so for this reason I would only says get the game if it goes cheap or you want to see good looking graphics. I couldn't recommend this to a friend.

    5/10
    gedzum likes this.
    01-03-2014 06:43 PM
  4. gedzum's Avatar
    FIFA 14 Review

    Again, I want to preface this review by saying that any comparisons made will be in relation to FIFA 12, which was the last FIFA game I played. Once again, I am playing this game on PC through EAs Origin client, with the use of an XBOX 360 controller. Furthermore, I am focusing this review on the standard management career mode since it is the main mode I play whenever I play sports games.

    And so I digress

    Positives


    The Presentation:
    FIFA 14 has really cleaned up and modernised its menu. It was the first thing that really jumped out at me. It is much more efficient to cycle through different areas with the use of the shoulder buttons and/or the right thumb stick for sub-menus. The interface is bright and vibrant, the typography is neatly presented and clear, information is also presented in a concise, easy to understand manner.

    In terms of gameplay, the graphics are fantastic. Player models are as accurate as Ive ever seen, stadiums look and sound authentic, the commentary and pre-match build up is more fleshed out. The commentators talk about player form, transfer status and new signings to name a few, in a more realistic fashion. Even other games are discussed periodically adding to the authentic feel of the game. These elements are a very strong point of this title.

    The soundtrack of the game includes a nice variety of genres that I feel compliment the game nicely. There is also the flexibility to toggle tracks on/off to allow for customizability which I am all for. Furthermore, tracks can be skipped by pressing the back button which I thought was a nice touch. As mentioned earlier, in game sounds are fantastic. From the bellowing drums to the crowd chanting, it really is a full on football experience and allows for a very immersive atmosphere.

    The Management Experience:
    Even more depth has been added in this game mode. The global scout network allows you to really dial in specific traits and fine details of a particular position and country for your scouts to investigate. I like how player attributes are mostly hidden, meaning if youre interested in a player, you will have to go out of your way to assign your scout to him for analysis. After a few days, some details will be delivered in the scout report.

    A huge addition for me is the ability to take control of a national side. It was something I was looking for in FIFA 12, so Im really glad it is here now. Its not just some afterthought addition either. You can call up the players you want in addition to the typical squad management elements available to the player. On top of that, you can compete in international friendlies as well as the international tournaments, all during the same season as your club game.

    The typical other features are back and a bit more refined as well. Elements such as youth squad allow for a nice range of talent to be acquired on a more consistent basis, the transfer system allows you to reject future advances for players and the ability to counter offers as well. It allows for a more dynamic and a more in depth transfer experience.

    Negatives


    Unhappy/Unsettled Players:
    This is something that really bugged me in FIFA 12 as well. These events seem to happen a tad too frequently. It does add to the authentic feel of the game, but it breaks the squad Ive spent time putting together and can be frustrating when it is a top player who you will be losing. There is also not much you can do about it which makes it even more frustrating that, often times, there is no counter to it.

    News Stories and Inconsistencies:
    Overall the news stories are well done and presented nicely. However, they lack variance. Often times you will see exactly the same story with name/team changes. The same could be said of the email system. It is a huge immersion breaker, to the point I dont read some articles as soon as I recognize it is a repeat article. There are also inconsistencies in what is reported. For example, I won the World Cup with my national side and I am currently top of the group for the European Cup, but the news reports that my job is under scrutiny for the way I manage. I didnt realise success wasnt enough. I thought it was very bizarre.

    Player Contracts:
    A slight disappointment to me was being unable to sign players to long term contracts. Instead we have to keep signing extensions 1-2 years. This leads to quite a few emails regarding player wages and can be cumbersome to keep dealing with. Also, players seem to reject contracts even when you offer more money than they are asking for because you did not meet their demands. I thought it was very strange although I feel this is offset slightly with the addition of assigning player roles in negotiations.

    On the Fence

    Now you may be wondering why you havent seen any mention of gameplay in this review. Well in all honesty, Im still not sure how I feel. The game flows and plays well and it feels authentic, but at the same time I feel it occasionally causes problems.

    Playing offensively when you have the ball is superb and can feel fast as well as fluid. Controls are tight for the most part and player movement looks really authentic. But there are moments where I feel like its not doing what I want it to do. I guess you can certainly put it down to authenticity, but it can be extremely frustrating when you put together a great move only for it to be spoiled because a pass is slightly off by what feels to be inconsistent controls. I didnt have this feeling in FIFA 12.

    Defensively when you are off the ball, I feel the game is as clunky as ever. Especially now that offensive control is much tighter. Often times, attacking players can change directions quickly with great control like they have magnets in their shoes, while defensive players are stiff like they have their laces tied together. I feel this both ways regarding both player and AI controlled players on defence. In my experience, I think the NHL series is the only sports series that had a good control system on defence that didnt feel stiff or clunky.

    Summary


    As an overall package, I think it is once again, a strong addition to the FIFA franchise. Many fantastic additions and refinements, but also some persistent problems. If you are a football fanatic, there is no doubt this is a title that will interest you, and I think it will be a very enjoyable experience. Regardless of my comments on the gameplay, which may not affect experienced FIFA players, I think there is a lot of value and game time to this title in terms of the various game modes and career mode duration; and for that it is well worth it. I feel a solid 8.5/10 is fair reflection on my thoughts.
    BIGPADDY likes this.
    01-17-2014 08:48 AM

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