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Archive for the ‘games i own’ tag

Games I Own: Postal 2

Posted on 8th May 2010 at 12:59 by Joe Martin with 30 comments

Joe Martin
In many ways Postal 2 is the game I’m most ashamed to own. It’s crass, deliberately offensive and gross, it’s shallow and dull and it’s sold mainly on the basis that these things appeal to immature gamers. At the same time though, Postal 2 is a game I’ve frequently found myself defending and, despite my shame and embarrassment, I’ve never been able to throw it away.

The important thing to stress about Postal 2 is that I’m not kidding around when I say that it’s deliberately offensive. This isn’t a case of just a handful of swears or politically incorrect terms – it even goes far beyond the likes of 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand. It’s filled with gore, racial stereotypes and features which push the boundaries. You have anthrax-filled cow heads for weapons, use live kittens as silencers and can taser people until they wet themselves – and those are tame examples.

What really pushes Postal 2 beyond the realms of good taste though is the way it encourages you to use the violence against passers by. Set in a small Arizona town over the course of a week, your objectives each day are banal things like “Get milk” and “Go to work”. You don’t need to get violent, but the fact that everyone in the town is a foul-mouthed, gun-toting, identi-kit bot means there’s little to stop you – and at least once a day you’ll be forced to defend yourself. It’s not long before you start shooting the place up just to relieve the boredom.

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Games I Own: The Ship

Posted on 28th Apr 2010 at 14:26 by Joe Martin with 13 comments

Joe Martin
The Ship is, I think, one of the greatest examples of how a great idea doesn’t always make a good game. Of all the games I’ve ever bought (and this is a game I spent a long, long time umming and erring over before I purchased), The Ship is possibly the game I’ve played the least.

The problem, I think, isn’t the game itself though – it’s the players. In all of the few matches I’ve played of The Ship it’s been the players that have broken it, not the game itself.

The Ship is a multiplayer murder simulator based on a cruise liner run by a mad man, who has involved all passengers in a game of death. Everyone onboard has been given a target that they have to assassinate and matches involve you trying to hunt down that one single person and take them out, at the same time avoiding your own would-be assassin. You’ve also got to contend with the security systems on the ship too – you have to dodge guards, scavenge weapons where you can and commit your crimes away from the prying glass eyes of the CCTV cameras.

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Desert Island Games

Posted on 23rd Apr 2010 at 09:37 by Joe Martin with 69 comments

Joe Martin
This blogpost wasn’t my idea, it’s pretty blatantly spun out of the Desert Island Disks forum thread, but I wanted to talk about it some more.

The idea is simple – if you were going into seclusion and you could only take five games with you, which games would you take and why? Read my choices and justifications below, then let me know your own thoughts in the forums.

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Games I Own: Monopoly

Posted on 14th Apr 2010 at 14:43 by Joe Martin with 23 comments

Joe Martin
When I was younger there were a lot of games I wasn’t allowed to play, like Street Fighter, for example. My parents took a dim view of that sort of thing and funnelled me towards adventure and puzzle games instead. I can look back happily now, glad that I ended up playing Monkey Island rather than Mortal Kombat, but I was actually quite annoyed about it at the time.

I swore, childishly, that when I got older I would play whatever games I damn well pleased, whenever I wanted – but things didn’t quite turn out that way. Well, OK, mostly they did, but let's not get distracted from this story...

The point is that, while I have a copy of Monopoly sat on a shelf in my wardrobe, I’ve learned that I’m better off sticking to different types of games. I’ve banned myself from playing it under any circumstances.

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Games I Own: Codename: Eagle

Posted on 6th Apr 2010 at 11:55 by Joe Martin with 6 comments

Joe Martin
The alternate-history WW2 FPS Codename: Eagle is another one of those games which I didn't actually buy, I just stole from my brother when I went to University and when he had long since moved past playing PC games. It's also one of the few games I have in my collection which I've never actually played, not really.

I have invested an awful amount of time in it though. I have a lot of fond memories of the game – or, rather, of the multiplayer demo that first hooked both me and my brother. It came on a PC Gamer demo disc and I only flicked it on out of boredom, jumping into what turned out to be one of the largest in-game levels I'd ever seen. I was awestruck and began a process of playing replaying the multiplayer demo for weeks.

The weird thing though is that I never actually played it with anyone. It was a multiplayer demo and all I ever did was play it solo, not even connected to a network.

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Games I Own: Outlaws

Posted on 23rd Mar 2010 at 10:44 by Joe Martin with 7 comments

Joe Martin
Ah, Outlaws. I cruise a lot of gaming forums and I often see people expressing he opinion that developers should just go back and do hi-res remakes of old games. If I were going to make that wish then the game I’d want them to start with is Outlaws, because it sorely needs it. Other popular choices, like Deus Ex or Thief, are still perfectly playable today. Outlaws is not.

In fact, it never was. It always looked terrible, even back when it was released in 1997. Or, parts of it anyway – it’s never clear-cut with Outlaws. To clarify, the actual game looked worse than an angry mother in law, but the cutscenes were beautiful thanks to being hand-drawn.

Back then though, graphics didn’t matter that much and Outlaws had three very important things going for it. First, it was a cowboy game. Second, it was made by LucasArts back when they still made really good games. Thirdly, it was a cowboy game.

I really like cowboy games.

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Games I Own: Far Cry

Posted on 16th Feb 2010 at 10:54 by Joe Martin with 39 comments

Joe Martin
I never really got on with the original Far Cry, which came out when I was at university and which another one of my friends, who lived next door, fell in love with. His PC was better than mine at that point and the fact that he could max every setting and I couldn’t probably had a lot to do with it though.

This game is amazing, check out the graphics!” He’d say.

The problem was, I’ve never been someone who is incredibly interesting in graphics. As I’ve said loads of times before, I play games for other reasons. I want a good story or gameplay that challenges and engages me. I want to be transported, to be somewhere – someone – else. I want to invest myself in something that is worthy of my attention and to be able to take something away from it, even if it’s just a new joke or a funny story. I don’t just want to look at pretty pictures.

Pretty pictures can be a big part of it, obviously. If a game has photorealistic textures and so on then that all helps with the illusion, but for me a game can’t rely on just the pictures if it doesn’t have a good tale to tell, whereas if the tale is good enough then it doesn’t matter how bad it looks. Unfortunately, all Far Cry had was pretty pictures. The story was absolute dross.

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Games I Own: Freedom Force

Posted on 2nd Feb 2010 at 10:54 by Joe Martin with 4 comments

Joe Martin
I only bought the Freedom Force games – both the original and the sequel Freedom Force vs The Third Reich – fairly recently, though I annoyingly timed it just before the recent Steam £2 deal. It was a series I’d often heard lauded as a great tactical RPG to play if you like comics, but I’d never really gotten around to trying it until a few weeks ago.

I don’t totally regret the decision to buy the game, but the fact that I have to mention this up front probably hints clearly at how unsatisfied I am with the game.

What Freedom Force is, is an incredibly tongue-in-cheek game inspired mainly by 1930s comics, as oppose to the modern Marvel and DC conglomerates. It focuses on a series of characters who get exposed to an alien weapon called Energy X which accidentally rains down on the planet as part of an overly convoluted alien plan to take over Earth. The exposed humans subsequently manifest super powers, dividing fairly equally into heroes and villains. The heroes, championed by the ultra-American hero Minuteman, form into Freedom Force and go around fighting evil.

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Games I Own: Max Payne

Posted on 21st Jan 2010 at 10:50 by Joe Martin with 17 comments

Joe Martin
I don't know how, but I completely missed all of the hype and anticipation leading up to Max Payne's 2001 release. I was still very much into games at that point, but I think I must have been more into indie games and things I could get for free, so I probably wasn't reading a lot of PC Gamer previews.

The first I knew of Max Payne was when I unwrapped it at Christmas that year, though to be entirely honest that doesn't always mean it was my present. It could have been my little brother's. Either way, I played what I later learned to be one of the most anticipated and celebrated titles of all time and I enjoyed it. Not immensely, but enough to finish it and fiddle half-assedly with things like the Kung-Fu mod.

Then that was it. I've never really seen what all the fuss was about, to be totally honest.

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Games I Own: Fahrenheit / Indigo Prophecy

Posted on 13th Jan 2010 at 10:51 by Joe Martin with 13 comments

If you live in America then you’ll know Quantic Dream’s murderous adventure game as Indigo Prophecy, which it was re-named to in order to distance it from Fahrenheit 9/11. In Europe it’s released (in an uncut version that adds a bit of naughtiness) as Fahrenheit. That’s the version I own, so that’s what I call it. Fahrenheit; one of my favourite adventure games.

It’s not a perfect game, by any means. In fact it is downright bad in some places and the plot, which focuses on multiple characters caught up in the wake of a murder, unravels and strays hideously in the latter stages. It’s a sad result of the game, which was planned as an episodic title, being rushed to a retail release by the publisher before some chapters had been finished. It still makes sense, it just requires a bit of effort.

There are a few different characters you control in the game and the main one is a man called Lucas Kane who comes out of a trance in a New York diner to find that he’s just murdered a man. Unable to recollect the experience, Lucas flees – but not before players are given a window of interaction. The first scene of the game immediately follows the murder and lets players decide how Lucas acts. Will he hide the murder weapon? Wash the blood off his hands? Bolt out of the emergency exit and flee or return to his table, calmly pay his cheque and try to avoid suspicion?

Games I Own: Fahrenheit / Indigo Prophecy
Fahrenheit, or Indigo Prophecy if you prefer

Once Lucas leaves the murder scene the viewpoint switches to that of Tyler and Carla, the two detectives investigating the murder. You can switch between both characters and are given similar free roam as to how much evidence you collect – most of which you hid just moments before. You question witnesses and, for the bulk of the game, try to identify Lucas and track him down. When you aren’t playing as a cop though then you’re Lucas, desperately trying to discover the truth behind the murderous trance and to clear your name. Meanwhile New York descends into a permanent winter, more murders occur and the city empties as life grind to a halt.

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