Ryan Taylor reviews: Terraria

Posted in Game Review Archive on September 8, 2011 by rtreviews

Terraria At first glance Terraria seemed to be a bland and two dimensional takeoff of everyone’s beloved Minecraft. However this is not the case. The only similarities that the two have in common is the randomly generated worlds and a small amount of exploring. Whereas Minecraft is more “create” oriented, meaning you should gather blocks and make the biggest baddest building/temple/disco hall that you can, Terraria is more adventure oriented. And by adventure I mean ADVENTURE. You spent about 5-10 minutes making a small shack to store your things in and head out into the unknown. In a large size map there are hundreds of cave systems, dungeons, underground jungles. You can even dive into the depths of hell and attempt to survive against a never ending horde of denizens.The most exciting part about Terraria for me was the boss monsters. I can honestly say that I have never had more fun fighting bosses in another game, ever. If you know for sure when you are going to find boss monsters, when they will appear, and what they will do, you can prepare like never before. The way I prepared was the best I knew how; creating a giant open arena to run like hell in and shoot that sucker down with as many arrows as I could find! Since the world is 100% free roam and there are no real limits as to what you can do and when you can do them. Although Terraria is fun on it’s own, it become much more fun with friends. Terraria has full four-player multiplayer support, including cooperative and player-versus-player functions.

Really when it gets down to it there isn’t much else out there like Terraria. The laughs I shared with my friends dropping dynamite on them and quickly building a roof over there head to prevent escape can never be forgotten. And for $10, this is by far the best purchase I have made.


Ryan Taylor reviews: Spore & Darkspore

Posted in Game Review Archive on July 17, 2011 by rtreviews

Spore & Darkspore

A few years ago I heard rumors of a ground-breaking game that was “still in production”. It was called: Spore. This game was supposed to have everything. Overhead mini-adventure controlling a singled celled organism and evolving it by devouring enemies. 3rd person adventure/combat portion where you evolve your creature by killing your enemies. A small “tribe” portion, controlling groups of three or more units where you evolving by killing other tribes. A city portion where you control fleets of vehicles rather than small creatures and (notice a trend?) advance your cities by killing other cities. There is even a space portion where your race has evolved into intergalactic being and goes off to inhabit other planets. Which just turns the game in to a huge sandbox. Well as lame as that sounded the interesting part to me was the “Creature Creator.” A vastly expansive and mind-numbingly simple to use creature editor. You were literally given a blob of creature mass with a small vertebrae, at which point you were told to mold it in whatever way you wish. The number of creature parts they have is enormous. Spanning from mouth to feet to accessories, there were literally limitless possibilities. However, as fun as that seems, after receiving the game, only about three hours later you had pretty much done it all. The little five portion mini-games mentioned above were easily completed in less than a day. There was much room for improvement in the main portion of the game that I feel they just lacked on. They spent so much time creating the creature creator (which I will get into next) that they neglected the main-game. Now, the creature creator is where the game came alive for me personally. Sure it was repetitive after five or six hours, but holy crap those were the best five or six hours of my life. The creator was so expansive and so simple that I’m quite certain they could have trained a group of monkeys to recreate the cast of Friends and the first 151 Pokemon simultaneously. But as I mentioned before; after you have fiddled with the creature creator and you have spent 3-4 hours in the main-game there really isn’t much to do. Honestly after the first day of playing it (I’ll admit I had fun) I never turned it on again. Didn’t even double-check the icon to see if it was still there.

Darkspore. Oh Darkspore. You’re a tricky little devil. It took me nearly 2 weeks after getting this game to realize that Darkspore was from the creators of Spore. Even after playing with the creature creator in Darkspore I didn’t catch on. The game is so much different from Spore I wouldn’t have guessed at first. There are several bad points of Darkspore that are very obvious, predominate, and even just lazy for Maxis to leave in. On the other hand, there are a few good points of Darkspore that make it almost worth while. The main bad point for me is the sheer repetitive ness of the game. There are supposedly 100 different heroes you can play as, but after 25 they are just the same heroes with one different ability. They didn’t even bother to make up new names, they just added “Beta, Gamma, and Delta” to the end of their names. Now I suppose that is all well and good but if they can’t just make 100 different heroes they shouldn’t advertise as such. The creature creator is not nearly as extensive as in Spore. All you can do is edit a small amount parts, sure you can edit those to look absolutely ridiculous, but it is only a select few. One of the good things that I really REALLY liked comes from good ol’ Diablo. (At least, that’s where I’ve always heard of it originating). Random item generating. Whenever an item is dropped from an enemy, be it a piece of armor or a weapon, its stats are randomly generated and nearly completely unique. Sure they will be repeats, that’s how random number generators are. But for the most parts, your character’s stats can be anyway you want. Within their limits of course. Because having too high of stats is too ridiculous, so silly Maxis put a cap on each stat. Stop me if I’m ranting.

ALL IN ALL Spore and Darkspore are both fun for a bit, they both have flaws and perks, and they both are not by any means worth shelling out $50 for (In America). Have one of your rich friends buy it, hate it, and trade it to you for some Magic the Gathering cards or something. Just don’t pay for it, I’m begging you.

Ryan Taylor reviews: Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Posted in Game Review Archive on July 10, 2011 by rtreviews

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

I am a man. I have a beard, I even go pee pee standing up. However, for the few hours I can play Amnesia at a time I turn into a frightened little girl. Probably about six or seven years old. Never in my life have I had an experience so frightening that I have wanted to repeat. Amnesia has surpassed all of my expectations as far as horror games go. I am quite fond of the F.E.A.R. series yet, Amnesia makes those games seem like Gumby visits Candyland.

The games storyline is that your character, you guessed it, has Amnesia. He is locked in this strange giant mansion with no direct destination in sight. His “former self”, as he is referred to, is however kind enough to leave him notes and clues about his destination. The objective appears to be to kill an old man named Alexander something, who is doing… Something with orbs and a portal. I am honestly not sure what the story was REALLY about. I was too busy changing my shorts every 30-40 seconds to actually sit and read anything. Although the voice over was quite nice and it wasn’t NECESSARY to read anything, I honestly must say that a game like this having an in-depth story is just too much for me.

Right, the game play. The game play is first-person style adventure game with some physics puzzles and some running and screaming for your life upon occasion. It’s physics system even goes so far as to make you click on a door to “grab” it, then move your mouse to “push” or “pull” it open. The actual puzzles are not too difficult, the difficult part is playing long enough to get to the puzzles. There is also a “sanity meter” which measures your level of sanity, as you might have guessed. As you spend more time in darkness or see “unsettling events” the sanity meter lowers making the screen all blurry and wobbly. Really this doesn’t make the game more frightening, it just makes you have a bit of a headache from time to time. In fact, the second highest level of sanity is “A slight headache.”

So overall, this game is a must play at least once. I wouldn’t say buy it, go to a friend’s house and play it, because your friends have every game ever made, just like mine did. I say “at least once” merely because the experience you have will be good memories among you and your friends. Although you will need to stock up on air freshener and bring along another pair of your Spongebob pajamas for the trip.

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Ryan Taylor reviews: Bloodline Champions

Posted in Game Review Archive on July 9, 2011 by rtreviews

Bloodline Champions

Whenever I first research a game (research, not actually playing it) the first thing I always look into is what character/characters I play as and what sort of roll they take in the game. This is where Bloodline Champions nearly made me turn the other way and go on about my business. Every character, at first glance, has a sort of “voodoo” feel (for lack of better terms). They are all around the same color-scheme and design which, being that this is an online game is very off-putting. People prefer customization, uniqueness in a game. Not a copy-paste effect on the characters. However, the silly website is almost killing itself in that aspect. The actual game characters themselves are much more unique between each other than the portraits the site has to offer. I know this isn’t a review of the website for the game, but they should at least make the information appealing rather than a simple portrait that hardly depicts the actual beauty of the game itself.

Upon loading the game for the first time I was met with a beautiful user interface (UI). There is a rather in-depth and completely audio-ized (shut up, it’s a word) tutorial. The game had me start playing as the “Igniter” a fire based ranged attack character. After going through a slew of enemy dummies and shooting various forms of fire in their direction I finally completed the tutorial and was able to jump into the action. Joining a game is not very difficult, except that the community is rather small and split between the US server and the European server. Upon joining a game and finally having several other players join as well, I was told to select a character. Now I came to find out over time that every week there are four characters made to be free for that week only. It is a cycle each Wednesday, I believe, don’t quote me on that.

The game play itself is very fast-paced and quick ending. They want the games to end so quick there is even a 2:00 timer on each round, at which point the field becomes shrouded in a red veil that damages all characters over time. Matches are made in 2v2, 3v3, 4v4, etc. format and are generally just “kill your opponent” type games. There are other game types such as “capture the flag” but they are not very popular among the community it seems. The characters move rather easily and flow well enough that I did not have to think about moving (trust me, this is an issue in some games). With every character having 7 abilities, 6 normal and 1 ultimate, each character seems to have it’s own uniqueness to it. All of the abilities; and I mean ALL of them, even heals; are skill-shot abilities. For those of you who don’t know, a skill-shot ability means an ability that is shot toward wherever your cursor is. This is where the game gets good. The pure difficulty in mastering each character is quite astounding for what little the game actually has to offer. There are 14 different fields to play on making it seems like a lot of choice, but they are similar enough that there really isn’t much of a difference.

All in all the game is fun to play, but repetitive. There doesn’t seem to be much point playing it for more than an hour at a time every few days or so.