Rand(Nerds); Episode 11

This episode we move fully into the 21st century by doing our first livesteam. It will be a cleaner podcast as Luke is banned from swearing. We discuss Final Fantasy 7 with Nick probably being the only gamer in the world who hasn’t played it and managed to miss the Deus Ex: HR homage to it. Luke discusses the Japanese mech game Gundam Breaker. We also talk about how Duke Nukem needs to mature and game for people who like smashing things with Lego Lord of the Rings. We look back fondly at Gamespy and discuss its shutdown, we also learn Nick is easily scared and Adam can’t tell his ovis aries from his Capra aegagrus hircus.

Notes

Relive/Try a 17 year old classic with some crap Square Enix stuff on top with Final Fantasy 7.

Enjoy the in depth ‘Squiggle Writing’ with Gundam Breaker.

Are you the sort of person who enjoys smashing and collecting things? try the Lego series.

Worried about Gamespy shutting down, try Gameranger.

Want to enjoy a really in-depth character from the past, see Duke Nukem.

Any game can be improved by adding Monty Python to it, see fluxx for example.

The fantastic original and excellent sequel to Deus Ex

Learn how to preform proper stealth with Thief 2

Also See Adam, Luke’s and Nick’s alternate lives

The non-mystery dumping of a game that tried to kill Atari – ET: The Extra Terrestrial

Where are they now? the Dead or Alive Actresses

What you own Kim Jong Un? Now you can!

Anything you think we should talk about? Weird news to blow Luke mind with? Or just want to ask us a question? You can email us here.

Follow us on twitter
Like us on facebook
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Join us on google+
Join our Steam Group

Why not come join us on our next livesteam on the 23rd of May at 21:30 GMT+1 on youtube.

Cheers

Nick, Luke and Adam

Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 2 – Review

NOTE: this review will be as spoiler free as possible, but may hint at the ending to the previous episode and plot lines from the main game. Consider yourself warned!

2014-05-08_00001The game starts nice enough

So we come to the final part of Booker and Elizabeth story. Burial at sea gives three for the price of one by concluding Bioshock infinite, Burial at Sea a few gaps in the original Bioshock story line. So don’t play this unless you want all those games spoiled. It starts simply enough, you in Paris, playing as Elizabeth, you know this as within a few seconds an artist shows you a portrait of you with your name on it, and also most NPC talks to you by name.

2014-05-08_00003 #
You know it Paris cause there an artist…

2014-05-08_00004 …and accordions….

2014-05-08_00005 …and freaky clowns….

2014-05-08_00006 …and a silly dog, all we need is a guy on a bike with onions and we have every French cliché in one section

But within a short space of time your back in rapture shortly after the event of the previous game. And running into another familiar face in the form of atlas. And due to another convoluted set of actions you end up working for him. I cant say any more about the story without spoiling it. But I can say its good and does give a proper conclusion to what was started in infinite.

2014-05-08_00014 Atlas, way and more of a dick in this game.

Gameplay wise, its wants to be played as a stealth game, but it can be run a gunned if you really want to. Enemy’s now have icons above their head showing their alert status, similar to Dishonoured, allowing you to sneak around quite effectively. You can also do sneak attacks on unaware enemys (although you could do that somewhat in the first games). Dispite this being tacked on it does work quite well and i managed to make my way around the levels pretty easly.

2014-05-08_00023The bars fill up as guards become more aware of you

You also get some new tools and toys the add to the new gameplay. The crossbow returns, this time loaded with tranquilliser darts (but it can also take different types) which allows you to quietly take down enemy’s from a distance. You also have a chance to retrieve the arrows off fallen enemy’s so it actually quite hard to run out of ammo, I rarely had to re-buy new darts, which is a nice touch.

2014-05-08_00018 Every game should have crossbows in it

There are a couple new plasmids, one I found useful, one I barely used. The first is the peeping tom plasmid and basically ties in with the whole stealth system. Just using it allows you to see enemy’s through the walls, and holding it allows you to turn invisible. Initially it does not last to long, but soon after you get an upgrade (which are now found in canisters instead of being brought, this does mean if you miss one and go to a different level you lose it forever), this allow you to see enemy’s and remain invisible indefinitely using no eve as long as you don’t move. This does make the game a bit of a cakewalk but allows you to be a proper stealth predator. It very similar to the gene tonic you get from researching Houdini splicers from the first game.

2014-05-08_00027The peeping tom plasmid really helps with stealth

2014-05-08_00028 Plasmids are now upgraded using canisters

there is the new lock picking game. It pretty simple. A cutaway shows you the inside of the lock, your pick moves randomly across all the pins, the goal is to hit the blue or the white pins, doing so will unlock the door, and if you hit a blue pin you’ll get a noise maker arrow for your crossbow. A red pin will set an alarm off alerting enemy’s to your position, but nicely the door will still unlock meaning you cant waist lock picks and get stuck.

2014-05-08_00016 The new mini games is one of the better lockpicking game I’ve played

Combat is pretty similar to the previous game, there are no more of the silly pneumo-lines from the episode 1 that turned rapture into Columbia. you also some across a few places where enemy will fight each other representing the start of rapture civil war. A few guns return from the previous episode, but I found myself sneaking my way through most combat and not having to run and gun. but overall it still fun and a lot of the environments and really interesting to fight over.

overall, Episode 2 is an excellent ending to the bioshock series (and it does semi end the series). if you’ve played the other part then I would differently purchase this.

 

Rand(Nerds); Episode 11 livestream

Hi all

We’ve just completed our first livestream. Our goal is to do one every other week. This wont replace the podcast, but what you’ll see is what you hear in a when its released. Hope you enjoy!

 

 

Rand(Nerds); Episode 10

SPOILER ALERT: We discuss the recent series of Jonathan Creek with forewarning of spoilers. This episode we display an inability to move on any new section and going off topic more often then normal, only one of us has been playing a game recently, Nick been recording and pissing off people in Deus Ex: The Fall. We talk about Valve’s new film Free To Play and our dislike for DOTA 2 and how we need peace between all gamers. We look into drinking on the podcast and going to the Red Dragon Inn. We carry on working on getting threaten by North Korea and ending up on a Government blacklist and plan out a dictators DnD game followed by a podcast. We also discuss the massive price for GalCiv 3 Alpha and being charged for a Demo of Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zero.

Notes:

Experience the combination of poor voice acting and great game play with Deus Ex: The Fall

See how Dota 2 ruined the lives of 3 gamers with Free To Play

Experience quirky British humor and mystery with Jonathan Creek

Have a childhood that Nick missed out on with Adventure Time

Get yourself drunk (either in reality or in game) at the Red Dragon Inn

Pay through the nose for GalCiv 3 or a Demo of Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zero

Solve your own murder in Shadow of Memories

And relive the joy of Thundertits with Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;birth

Finally, see some scammers as you’ve never seen them before

Anything you think we should talk about? Weird news to blow Luke mind with? Or just want to ask us a question? You can email us here.

Follow us on twitter
Like us on facebook
See our YouTube channel
Join us on google+

Until next time guys

Cheers

Nick, Luke and Adam

Rand(Nerds); Episode 9

Welcome to the new highly professional, PC and positive podcast! To start with we complain about the new Thief game, we discuss four table top games Mice and mystics, Descent, Lords of Waterdeep and Munchkin. A new game to scare you from playing on your PC with Alien Isolation. We also talk the upcoming death of Window Live and EU proposing to ban the term ‘Free to Play’. Plus a bonus feature, hear what happens to thorny as gets slowly drunk over the course of the podcast!

Notes

If you really must, you can look at Thief (Don’t forget to read our review first)

Fancy a tabletop binge? try Mice and mystics, Descent, Lords of Waterdeep, Munchkin

Experience the terror of the Nostromo crew with Alien Isolation

Anything you think we should talk about? Weird news to blow Luke mind with? Or just want to ask us a question? You can email us here.

Follow us on twitter
Like us on facebook
See our YouTube channel
Join us on google+

Until next time guys

Cheers

Nick, Luke and Adam

Thief – Review

Oh Edios Montreal, how I had faith in you, you took one of my beloved franchises in the form of Deus Ex, and created a fantastic prequel, which deservedly received critical acclaim. You updated it but kept the core of what made Deus Ex a great game and enhanced it. How I had great faith when I heard you were going to applying that same skill to another one of my beloved franchises in Thief, only for it to turn into a complete disappointment.

2014-02-28_00017Not taking any hints from Dishonoured

Looking at Thief in two ways, as a Thief game it fails utterly, it loses the spirit and core of the series. As a stealth game it is mediocre, the stealth is far too easy, and one tool you can buy early on breaks the game.

2014-02-28_00005 It is however very pretty

Before talking about were its all gone wrong, lets me explain why the previous thief games were great, (incidentally you can pick up all the proper games from Steam, here, here and here). A thief game cast you as a pretty normal man, Garret, just living his life in a fantasy world. He never tried to be a hero, most of his inclination was to simply look out for himself. Often his motivation to commit crimes would be just to get enough money to pay the rent. As the game went on he would be drawn reluctantly into saving the world. Each mission (generally) would place you outside a building or area with perhaps a very simple objective. You could if you want go in through the front door (although you would almost certainly be killed by the guards) or more likely try and find a sneaky way in. Once in you would have to explore the world find clues about the location your objective and how to perform it (no objective markers here to guide you). Overcoming puzzles, guards and tasks as you came across them. There were no real boss battles, nor any scripted screens where you where force to be caught and had to escape (before anyone comments about the mechanist tower level from thief 2, where you go into an office and set off an alarm, it possible to actually disable it before going in and not get any guards after you). Freedom was name of the game, you were encourage to try a different way of taking each level, often coming across secrets as a rewards

Thief 4 pretty much drops all of that.

Where to begin? Well I’ll try to be as spoiler free as possible, but having said that I will spoil the first prequel section of the game, but if you’ve seen any of the trailers you will have had that done already

I was worried from the start, Garrets voiceover artist, while better than in the original trailers, still sounds more like a Chicago hit man then a thief. He still has a cynical side, but otherwise sounds like any game protagonist you heard before, but a greater sin comes when you meet his temporary sidekick in the form of Erin (Amusingly i had a sheep called Aeyrn, spelt differently but pronounced the same, which meant I kept visualising her every time Erin name was said)

2014-02-28_00002

 

IMG_0793

I know who I rather have as a companion

Erin is a cocky, reckless, annoying young companion, constantly talks about how much better she is then you, while you go on about how much she has to learn. So, sounds like pretty much any modern female sidekick show in any modern game. She ends up falling to her apparent death (although I’m writing this before I’ve completed the game, so I’m certain she turn out to not be dead) and gives Garret a sense of angst he really does not need. Garret himself has been taking lessons from the Game protagonist book of cliché and become simply another cookie cutter mould character like you get in most games. As such his home base has to be is a Clock tower, not some little dingy apartment, but a ruddy great big clock tower in the middle of Stonemarket!

2014-03-09_00003Just the place for a man who want to keep a low profile

Continuing with the Fluff issues, the story feel like a cheap dishonoured rip off, you have a city with a plague going round, and a baron using it somewhat to his own ends. The writing is pretty bad, and sopme of the scripts are cringeworthy. At one point a group of guard have a discussing about a cock ring!

2014-03-01_00002 The new look Basso, and a example of non atmosphere breaking dialog

Game play wise things are not much better, you now have an action button for most athletic interactions, want to climb up somewhere? Action button, want to jump down (you can’t just walk off edges)? Action button, want to vault over something? Action button, want to… you get the idea. This can and indeed does cause problems, I was once running from some guards and saw some boxes next to a roof, thinking quickly I planned to climber up and get onto the roof, but as I was running when I approached I instead vaulted over them. The game also starts to place limits on where you can use your ability to prevent you from having fun and trying something diffrent. In one of the early level you can get onto roofs, but to stop from trying to jump into the buildings, the top of the roof has a 30cm tall metal fence around it which makes it impossible for Garret to cross. Later on I was in the building and wanted to jump down from my spot, I tried and tried for a few moments before realising I has to run and jump down. This lack of consistency makes a ok system frustrating and had me swearing at it times.

Another new feature Garret has is called ‘Swooping’, it allow you to move from place to place rapidly over a short distance and seems to be a response to Dishonoured Blink mechanic. It actually a fun system control and work very well, Just a pity it also tied to the action button.

The game also introduces mechanics only for it to then have to limit what you can and can’t do. For example at ome point you have to climb an outside of a building (the game goes into an immersion breaking third person view to do this) at some stage doing this climb you move from one set of pipes to the another set above, later on doing a similar section you can’t move from pipes to pipe even though the set up is the same, and you end up having to button mash everywhere to try and find how to move. The game also gives you tools and limits them, Rope arrows have to be shot into convneant placed sticking out beams, except the ones you’re not allows to shot rope arrows into, in which case they’ll hit but do nothing and you waist a rope arrow

2014-03-01_00004 A climbing section, or guess which way the game want you to go section

The actual stealth mechanic feel rather primitive compared to older thief games, your light gem returns, but seem to have two setting, light or dark, with the stages in-between hardly making any noticeable effect. Guard have a mixture of good and poor AI, they’ll notice a door move from open to close, even if they don’t see you do it. They will also notice you putting out light and will eventually relight them. But will only really search around the local area, and not investigate other rooms nearby to try and find you. This makes avoiding them trivially easy. Also early on you can by a wrench tool that allows you to open up vents and climb in. The AI has no way to deal with this, even if they see you go in, they’ll act like you disappeared in front of there eyes.

2014-03-01_00003 Behold, the place where no guard believes exsits

Between each level you get to explore the city, this a fairly large and spawning area, but feels somewhat dead, apart from beggars and guards there are not a lot of people to interact with and does not feel like an actually place. The levels themselves early on are fairly liner, and set up in a way so you can only progress through and not backtrack. Once you get to chapter 3-6 they do get better, only to revert back to form in the later chapters This make the buildings you visit feel more like, well, levels instead of a place that actually exists. Ironically the side missions are closer to the original thief levels in terms of design.

Some good things about thief, the game look beautiful, and the animation/motioncapture in the cutsecens and in game are excellent. The game is very visual, you get to see garrets hands almost all of the time. When you feel for a hidden buttons around a picture you see Garrets hands grab it and have to move them with your mouse to fell around the edge till you find it, and you actually see his hand grab loot and pickpocket people which is really nice. Likewise lockpicking is also fun, but functially the same as looking for hidden buttons

2014-02-28_00016 looking for a hidden button

2014-02-28_00008what’s yours is mine, what’s mine is mine

One nice feature is the ability to customise your game difficulty settings you can switch off thing like the focus mode (which has the benefit of saving you quite a bit of money as you don’t have to buy upgrades for it.) and other things like moving more slowly, this is a pretty nice feature, and I would love to see more games making use of this.

Overall Thief 4 feels like someone took the design document for Dishonoured (an excellent stealth game), put it through dozen of focus groups removing any and all unique and interesting features and then built a poor stealth system on top. I would strongly recommend getting Dishonoured GOTY edition over this, or better yet buy the original games and enjoy a proper stealth game.

Rand(Nerds); Episode 8

This month on the new positive podcast we discuss System Shock 2, Classic NES games, our love of rag-doll effects and the saviors of the game industry, we re-discuss Muramasa, how were not looking forward to Thief 4 and the TV series Sherlock and Vikings. Luke talk about hardware with the hard drive busting Panasonic GH4 and and retro game friend Retron 5. We also talk about saving games from the floods, Nick’s inability to pronounce names and Benedict Cumberbatch parents. we also ask the question: where is the future for Nintendo?

Notes

Before Infinite there was Bioshock, and before Bioshock there was System Shock 2.

In case you missed then last time, have another look at Muramasa and Thief 4.

Fancy being pushed over the edge into manic depression? play Metro 2033.

A modern re-interpretation of classic deerstalker hat wearing detective. And TV programs about Nordic invaders and an alternative.

Relive classic times with the Retron 5.

Lots of hard drive space you need filled, get the Panasonic GH4.

And here are Benedict Cumberbatch Mother and Father that none of us had heard of.

Anything you think we should talk about? Weird news to blow Luke mind with? Or just want to ask us a question? You can email us here.

Follow us on twitter
Like us on facebook
See our YouTube channel
Join us on google+

Until next time guys

Cheers

Nick, Luke and Adam

Rand(Nerds); Episode 7

This month we were on a time limit and used a different way of recording, so we may seem a bit rushed and audio a bit rough. We get joined by our new regular Rand(Nerd); Adam Thorn, we discuss how the ‘Promise of Tits’ applies to game making, possible spin off and sequels to Amnesia: A machine for pigs. Games we were meant to playing and didn’t, Super Mario Wii World, the lack of Vikings in game, A decent Capcom game, the first episode of the Walking Dead Season 2 and Dragons Crown. We do our first (possibly last) film review for The Hobbit and look forward to be griefed in Dark Souls 2. We also discuss some hard core Farming Simulator Mods, Elder Scrolls bugs, Dolphin physiology, shield bashing old ladies, and failing to finish old games. — oh, and Spoiler Alert for the first Mario Game.

Notes

Squeal like a piggy (maybe) with Amnesia: A Machine for pigs.

WiiU System Seller Super Mario 3D world.

Tiny Barbarian, a modern-retro game.

Go home to a really short non-combat game.

Board of running with Sonic, Try walking!

Help a duck find his Fortune.

Help a little girl survive a zombie infested world.

A game I actually thought was spelt Mirror Master Daemon Blade

Can you speak Japanese, enjoy JoJo Anime

Want something to push you over the edge? Enjoy being Griefed/Like Griefing? look forward to Dark Soul 2

Punch a dragon with a dwarf.

Use the program to make sure you W is working correctly.

You too can also tour a virtual french gallery.

And yes, Dolphins do.

Anything you think we should talk about? Weird news to blow Luke mind with? Or just want to ask us a question? You can email us here.

Follow us on twitter
Like us on facebook
See our YouTube channel
Join us on google+

Until next time guys

Cheers

Nick, Luke and Adam