Tag Archives: Games

Minecraft: Real Life Review

29 Jun

creeper emblem.jpgMinecraft:

Released: 2011

Platforms: PC, Mac, and Linux (Java), Android, iOS, Xbox 360 (Xbox Live), Xbox 360 (Retail Disc), Raspberry Pi, Xbox One

Age certificate (UK): 7+

Real Life Review GirlfriendGirlfriend test:

(This tests how much freedom the game gives you to turn it off and to go and do the laundry. The test considers how much the game allows you to play for an indeterminable amount of time while your girlfriend does her make-up. It also rates how important sound is – will your girlfriend’s hairdryer or music be the matter of life and death for your character?)

Minecraft’s performance in the girlfriend test varies depending on the context. If you have any hint of OCD the Minecraft does badly in this test, if you are a more casual gamer it is never a real problem. I am somewhere in the middle so I will treat it as such. You can save at any given moment, but the thing that stops you from shutting down is the fact checkpoints are near none existent unless you carry a bed in your backpack. The ability to save and turn off varies. If you choose to save the game and turn off then you only have to wait several seconds and your freshly mined diamonds will nice and safe when you spawn safely back in your bed upon your return. If for some reason the world demands you shut down just as you have discovered a clump of diamond ore that you discovered in a tunnel that is several minutes journey from your base and you have no way of rediscovering it then you will most likely opt to temporarily ignore the real world.

If you are given a short amount of time to play you can make some progress providing you have been storing your materials. If you want to go collect materials you are probably going to find most stuff you want is too far from your base. Creative mode allows you to make a tonne of progress in five minutes as every item is there for your use.

Sound is an issue if you play seriously. Many things in the world can pretty much instakill you, and they sometimes only use sound as a warning. The grunt of a zombie will halt you from moaning through a wall directly into an infested dungeon. The scrunch of a creeper nearly always comes too late and you often leap out of your chair one second later at the sound of the accompanying bang, but the scrunch can make the difference of survival. I for one did not mind dying as it just resulted in you wandering back to your place of demise and picking up everything you lost.

Score: 7/10

Girlfriend: “Let’s go to the shops.”

Me: “Sure, after I get all this ore. Oh wait, I’m dead. Just give me ten minutes to get everything!”

It generally does well in the girlfriend test but sometimes you literally cannot come away without suffering.

Real Life Review GirlfriendMate test

(You are playing the game and your housemate walks in. Apart from Fifa they are pretty much uneducated in gaming. This test is a mix of the coolness rating, pick-up-and-play-ability and most importantly: same console multiplayer. Anything that could be called ‘gayyyyy’ loses points in this test.)

If you lack patience you should probably not consider introducing an uneducated gamer to Minecraft as it will all go over their head. While you are stressing out trying to build a shelter they will be at the bottom of a 10 block deep pit. If you can play with a mate then you will have a great deal of fun. You can play locally or online, but if a mate wanders into your room and they want to hang out it is all about playing locally.

To me the main benefit of playing Minecraft locally is that your mate can witness your creations. After you have finished your castle with your lava moat and herds of farm animals you often just reflect on time wasted. If your mate says its cool then it is all worth it. Playing multiplayer locally is sort of like playing by yourself with someone else. Things can go a bit awry if you and a mate are working on the same house and monsters are not generally hard enough to require you to fight them together – until you reach the Nether and the End. It is fun to share resources or have one builder and one miner but you often just wan to do your own thing.

You do risk a mate seeing you play Minecraft consider you to be childlike, and the fact is Minecraft is childlike and that is what makes it brilliant. This is because it is virtual reality Lego with monsters. You can finally achieve your Lego based childhood dreams you could not achieve before because your parents only got you the starter set. Minecraft feels like an embarrassing habit. If you are over the age of 16 you will casually ask your friend if they play in the same sort of way people awkwardly ask strangers if they take the same recreational drugs.

Score: 4/10

Mate: “What are you playing?”

Me: “Minecraft.”

Mate: “Oh, my 5 year old cousin plays that…”

If you propose a game of Minecraft to a friend they will either emit a girlish sqeual or they will use it as reputational blackmail.

Real life review Parent TestParent test

(Imagine you have parents that are easily offended – especially by sexual themes and swearing; and at random intervals they invade your room.)

I do not need to say much in the parent test. The game passes with all the flying colours of the rainbow. There are few things that look remotely offensive when presented as cubes and there is not even a glimmer of drugs, nudity or swearing. There is violence, but what game does not have violence. You only kill farm animals or monsters so this is all morally right and proper. The act of slaughtering a pig is comical and ungraphic. Sure kids turn into murdering maniacs with a higher kill count then anyone in the SAS but it doesn’t matter s everything looks so cute. If your parent walks into your room at a random point you will most likely be mining… or crafting. The worse they have to worry bout is whether or not you grow up.

Score: 10/10

Parent: “Oh, 3d Super Mario Brothers.”

Me: “Since when does Super Mario contain pigs.”

Parent: “Since when do 23 year olds play games like this?”

Me: “Fair.”

The worst thing a parent can worry about is your mental age.

Real life review inner rageInner rage test

(You have had a bad day and you want to feel a sense of achievement. This section talks about how frustrating them game is.)

Minecraft certainly gets frustrating, but overall it is pretty relaxing. If you are going to die it will most likely involve lava, or a bottomless pit so all your objects are destroyed or lost. These frustrating features are mitigated by the cute music and a colour palette that tries a bit of everything (which is very unusual in games these days). Creative mode allows any frustration to be removed as you have unlimited access to anything in the game. Part of the fun is in the frustration, you need to have that bit of fear in you when you go on a mining expedition to keep the game fresh. You can also get annoyed by endless traveling…

Score: 7/10

real life review overallOverall

A great game that I wish was available when I was a kid. It is still fun as a big kid but it just doesn’t quite keep me entertained long enough anymore.

Score: 7/10

Far Cry 3: Real Life Review

30 May

Far Cry 3:

Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PS3

Released: 2012

Age certificate: 18+

the GFGirlfriend test

(This tests how much freedom the game gives you to turn it off and go do the laundry. The test considers how much the game allows you to play for an indeterminable amount of time while your girlfriend does her make-up. It also rates how important sound is – will your girlfriend’s hairdryer or music be the matter of life and death for your character?)

Far Cry 3 is given an OK in the girl friend test. If you are given an indefinite amount of time to play while she gets ready to go out you can fire up your game and complete an activity or two. Most activities such as hunting or assassinations are great fun, highly addictive and can only take about 5 minutes. You can turn it off halfway through any activity without much regret.

Some of the main missions take a long time and they can get pretty tricky and you sure wouldn’t want to have to turn off your console to help with the laundry. It can sometimes take a fair while to travel across the map to get to a mission, and if your girl friend wanted you to turn the game off and pay you attention when you have just got to a mission start, you may consider ignoring her and paying for the consequences. As the game is so pretty you wont really mind repeating tasks.

The game is hard to play if your girlfriend is playing loud music or making too much noise of any kind. You are often relying on hearing a tiger growl or a pirate shout to give you time to react. If you are playing in the wilderness you may struggle without sound. The missions are easy enough as they are usually linear so you can guess where enemies are, and subtitles are accurate so you wont miss out on the script.

Score: 7/10

Girl friend: “Can you help me take the rubbish out?”

Me: “Well, I can now a tiger bit me head off while I was speaking to you.”

Far Cry 3 does OK in the girl friend test. You can pause at any time and save anywhere. It is annoying if you have to turn off half way through a mission but as the game is pretty easy and it is so beautiful you actually want to redo scenes it does not matter too much.

mate emblemMate test

(You are playing the game and your housemate walks in and apart from Fifa they are uneducated in gaming. This test is a mix of the coolness rating, pick-up-and-play-ability, and most importantly: same console multiplayer. Anything that could be called ‘gayyyyy’ loses points in this test.)

 

Far Cry 3 will confuse the classic non-gaming housemate when they see you walking through a jungle. They will ask questions like “is it a hunting game?” and “are you on holiday?” and they may even ask if you are playing Call of Duty. You will find such answers hard to answer, as they are all slightly true. Before your patience gives in and you start playing Fifa you should try out multiplayer.

The co-op multiplayer mode is great. The characters are completely separate from the main story mode (no spoilers) and it forms a fun, co-operative and competitive multiplayer game. A mate can pick up and play as the controls are standard for a first person shooter. One problem for an unseasoned gamer is that enemies are accurate from very long distances so you may find it hard explain that a red pixel on the screen is an enemy sniper. Far Cry 3 tried to make the multiplayer characters a bit too ‘hard’ for my liking so I found the opening video a bit awkward to sit through.

If you do not possess a second controller, your mate has no hands, your mate has no gaming abilities, you do not want to share your game, or for any other reason your mate will  have to sit and watch you play then don’t expect to hold their attention for too long. You mate will initially be impressed with the stunning visuals and the dramatics of the first few melee kills but after that it is actually quite boring to watch. Most of the fun of Far Cry 3 comes from slow, stealthy gameplay and leveling up your character. If you attempt to take it in turns to go on rampages you will get bored fast as enemies will stop spawning and they are pretty easy to kill.

Score: 8/10

Mate: “Cool game, can I play?

Me: “Yes, but only if you promise to play until I have all the achievements.”

A solid co-op mode leads to hours of fun providing your mate has some skills in first person shooters.

 The Parent TestParent test

(Imagine you have parents that are easily offended – especially by sexual themes and swearing; and at random intervals they invade your room.)

Drugs, drug induced hallucinations, a brief bit of nudity and a shed load of swearing. It actually doesn’t do too badly in the parent test if they have a tolerance for the words fuck and shit. An average moment will see you shooting pirates, driving a pleasant jeep with a bobble head hula girl on the dashboard, stabbing pirates, trampling through some ferns and falling into a stream, and shooting pirates.

There are some really messed up scenes that shouldn’t really be in a game. Make sure no family member unfamiliar with games is in the house when you play the final mission. I mean it –one of the options is really psychologically messed up. Any of the scenes involving Vaas are unsettling, particularly the pile of corpses moment. Don’t get me wrong, I loved them, but they could freak out your granny big time.  There are some whacky moments involving ‘shrooms and weed but they are more weird than inoffensive.

If you muted the sound to block swearing you could probably get away with playing the majority of the game in front of your grandparents as long as they are OK with witnessing you constantly murdering pirates or skinning innocent animals. Some missions get pretty freak but they are not really a problem.

Score: 6/10

“Your computer man needs to have his mouth washed out.”

There is a lot of foul mouthing and some dark themes running through the game, but if anyone walks in you can pretend you are playing a ‘holiday game’.

inner rage emblemThe Inner Rage Test

(You have had a bad day and you want to feel a sense of achievement. This section talks about how frustrating them game is.)

 

Far Cry 3 is nice and easy for anyone familiar with first person shooters. Weapons you get later on make short work of the higher-level enemies. You should bare in mind the game is much easier if you use stealth and cover occasionally, otherwise the enemies can make short work of you. If you do end up dying on a mission you will be frustrated as the checkpoints are unnecessarily few and far between. There are several missions where there are infinitely respawning enemies, so if you are used to taking out enemies one at a time you will soon have to get used to breaking cover and running for it.

There were a few missions where you must remain undetected or where there is a time limit, which I always find very frustrating. Luckily for me I just ran straight through such missions and happened to not get spotted, or I died and somehow spawned further ahead, but I somehow don’t think that is how you are supposed to play.

If you are a hardcore FPS fan you will get annoyed when a tiger sneaks up on you and one hit kills you but generally the wildlife does not play such a large part in the main missions.

There were a few drug related scenes which I did not have the patience for where you have to walk along looking at the pretty colours. You had to continually be walking forward in these scenes which to me just made them passive-aggressive videos. If I was not killing pirates then I did not feel I was achieving anything.

Score: 7/10

If players can adapt their strategy to fight different types of enemy, then Far Cry 3 is a pretty easy game to play. A few missions towards the end get unnecessarily hard, but luckily you can counteract the difficulty by sprinting towards a checkpoint so enemies stop spawning.

scale emblemOverall

(I briefly rate games on a number of factors such as graphics, storyline, entertainment and longevity irrespective of the other tests.)

Far Cry 3 is  the best game I have played in the last year. I am fed up of brown games like COD, Gear of War, Skyrim, etc and I love the lush, exotic environments of Far Cry 3 where you feel everything is alive and ready to eat you. Part of you wants to escape the island and the other part wants to set up beach resort. The environments are repetitive, sure there are plenty of trees and rock but you never notice the same twin rock elsewhere. The storyline is fantastic and Vaas is the best character I have seen in a game for a long while. You gradually connect with the main character as he starts to love the island more than his selfish friends. The gameplay is solid and surprisingly void of bugs.

Score: 10/10

When the game ends you are just left wanting more.