Monday, 24 November 2014

Destiny Review

Hi guys,

Seeing as Destiny is such a large game, I will be breaking this review down into small segments each disecting the components of the game, enjoy!
     Story: You have doubtlessly heard a lot of bad things said about the core story of Destiny, and unfortunately they are all very accurate. There is a minimal plot line in the game, with most levels devolving down to a three wave system of enemys while Dinklebot(your Ghost) does something, using the same floating animation, to a computer. The only reason I stuck the campaign out was for the XP you got at the end of every mission. Before the game came out, we were led to belive that there was a vast and complex lore behind the game, and to some extent there is, but firstly you can't access said lore(in the form of Grimouir Cards) via the game, instead you have to make and connect a new account. And secondly the cards aren't the easiest thing in the world to navigate, I personally want to find out more about the Cryptarchs, but know very little because the Grimouir system is to complex for me to bother to hunt out specific infomation.
      Weapons: The weapons in Destiny are a strange afair, once you get to level 20(which took me 12.5 hours) you want to start collecting Legendary weapons and armour(more on light levels later!). To give you some background, there are five levels of rarity for weapons, White, Green(Uncommon), Blue(Rare), Purple(Legendary) and Exotic(Yellow/Gold). So post level 20 you need Legendary gear to do decent damage to enemys. However the problem is that Legendary weapons feel un-satisfying at least for me, knowing that their is still one rank higher of rarity to earn, I am never quite satisfied with Legendary, this coupled with the fact that Legendarys are basically the weapons you have been using so far in the game, with a higher damage cap and more perks to invest in. Though non of said perks drastically change the wepaons and Legendary rarity. Then we move onto Exotic, which are somwhere between rare and mega rare, the difference with this rarity is luck. I have currently been playing for about 60 hours, I have 4 exotic peices, one weapon bought from Xur(unsatisfyingly), and from an Exotic bounty(to random to be fun), one chest peice as a random reward from the Weekly Nightfall, and my last peice is a chest peice which I got from an exotic engram, which I bought from Xur. I know someone who less than two hours after reaching level 20 had a legendary engram drop from a level 2 enemy, which then got decoded into an Exotic weapon. To sum up my thoughts on the weapons of the game, I wish there were tied to bosses and mini-bosses like with the high end weapons in Borderlands 2.
     RNG: If you don't know RNG stands for Random Number Generater, ie luck. Far too much of this game rests on the shoulders of luck, there is no sure fire way of getting any specific weapons, or armour apart from doing near endless amounts of Tiger Strikes to get Vanguard Marks, or tons of Crucible matches for Crucible matches! You either get lucky with mission reward drops, or level up the Vanguard, who post level 2, gives you a package with legendary gear in every time you level up. You level up the Vanguard by doing a lot of the daily bounties, which get rather repetitive.
     Crucible: Right moving onto the Crucible or PVP in this game, going into the games launch, I was super excited to get into the Crucible, and that was where I thought I would be spending most of my time. That really isn't the case now the game has launched, it's quite a fun side persuit, but I have put very little time into it, I have played a total of around 7 hours in the Crucible. About 4 of those hours were because I was forced to be in there for my Thorn bounty! The largest problem stopping it from becoming awesome, is the lag, the netcode for the game is aweful, and any time you get a kill, the score for that kill won't show up for up to 10 seconds! I've had it where I have got a kill, then been killed, waited for the repawn count down, and only a few seconds after getting back in does the kill notifier pop up! This may not sound like a lot when you are just reading about it, but in person when you are playing it yourself, it is the worst thing that could plague a Multiplayer game in my opinion!
     Gameplay: I know I have been dissing this game a lot, but the moment to moment gameplay of Destiny is very fun and satisfying, the weapons do feel very nice to use, though once you have used one Scout Rifle you have used them all! The enemys are diverse, and unless you spend an extended period of time on one planet, then you won't get fed up of the enemies.
      Replayability: This is a tricky issue to raise for Destiny, becuase it is the most subjective issue in gaming. The amount of fun you have with this game post 15 hours will solely rely on how much you enjoy doing the same activities over and over again. Technically there is an infinite supply of things to do in the game, the daily bounties, daily story mission, weekly strike, weekly Nightfall strike and occasional timed special events will keep certain players busy for many hours. However for some gamers this constant grind fest(Destiny summed up in two words!) will be highly unappealing.Which brings me onto my next point:
     Post Level 20: Once you pass level 20 you will have to aquire special gear which has a new stat on it called Light, with that peice of gear equiped your character will now have as many light points as where on that peice. This is not only a strange system of leveling, but also highly unreliable, as RNG rears its ugly head again, as you could reach level 26 or 27 quite quickly, or someone could take dozens of hours to reach that mark. However long it takes you to get to level 27, you then have to start grinding what are called Ascendant Shards, which are required to rank up you gear to give you more light points. These Shards are very hard and slow to aquire unless you do the Raid frequently, which brings me onto:
     The Raid: On paper the raid in the game, works extremely well, but in practice when you give the game to the real gamers, it falls apart. The Raid is a six man event which will take bare minimum 1.5 hours first time. Put it this way on the first day the Raid was released the first team to complete it took in excess of 11 hours! All in one sitting. Communication is an absolute esential, and you all need to be very experienced players with high rank weapons. Here come the big problem, there is no matchmaking. So you have to personally find five other players who can all sit down with mikes for a good few hours in one go to complete this mission. Now somepeople may argue that you can just play the game without doing the Raid, and yes you can. However whilst doing the raid you can get up to 15 Shards, in a few hours, at the moment I can get up to 4 Shards in 2 hours if I am extremely lucky. Most days I get none. Added on to this the fact that all primary weapons(exotic weapons included) have no elemental damage on them, ie Solar, Arc and Void. But if you play the Raid enough, you will get a whole host of primary weapons with elemental damage on them. Effectivly, think of the Raid weapons as Exotic(they are Legendary) weapons that you can use 3 of(you can only equip one exotic weapon). These high teir weapons really come into their own when you do the Nightfall Strike, which always(bar one week in ten so far) has a burn on them, which means that a specific elemental damage deals around 300% extra damge, both dealt by you and the enemies. At the end of the Nightfall Strike, you are guaranteed high rank gear, be in legendary or exotic gear, or Ascendat materials, or Strange Coins, all of which will come in very usefull. The clincher come when you put 2 and 2 together and work out that if you do the raid enough, you are given a much, much easier time of the Nightfall than someone who hasn't done the Raid. This coupled with the fact that you can only get to level 30(the max rank pre-DLC) by earning the very rare and random drops of Raid armour from the various chests and enemies in the Raid. All told the Raid makes a very large part of the game unplayable for far to many people(myself included) for the amount of time and energy Bungie put into it! My last note on the issue is this, according to the Playstation trophies a mear 13% of players who have Destiny have completed the Raid!
      Round Up: Although I have bashed this game alot, it is still a very fun game to play, and one that will suck a lot of time from you if you give in to it. You can spend fun filled hours, doing Strikes, Crucible, Exotic and normal Bounties, material farming and more. The most important thing to bare in mind with this game, is that it will get better, multiple patches are in the works as we speak(write?), the next one which will be out by the release of The Dark Below(the first DLC), which will give a drastic change to all Exotic weapons. Bungie are one of the best developers out there for listening to thier audience, changes for a ton of stuff are in the pipework, and I have near total faith in Bungie to bring Destiny up to the level that I know it can be; we just have to wait.
My total review score for Destiny is: 8.5/10, with the capacity for Bungie to make it a solid 10/10.
Thank you very much for reading my long ramblings, check back soon for more new content!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Advanced Warfare Impressions

Hi guys,

I have now had Advanced Warfare(or AW as I will be referring to it as) for a few days now, and have put a good number of hours into the game, so I thought it was time for me to bring my initial reaction of the game to you, though I will only be talking about the multiplayer side of the game today, you will learn about what I think of the rest of the game in my full review later this month! Also I have played AW on the PS4 so that is what I will be referring to. Let's start with the most obvious change in the CoD series history, the exo suite, for from reading about it or watching some footage of the multiplyer you will not fully understand what a difference that the exo makes. I know going into playing for the first time I was quite anxouis that the movement would be hard to control, and I wouldn't be using it much, however within a few matches I came to the realisation that this game really is the comeback year for CoD. The movement, I find, is pretty easy to pick up, as long as you remember that you can only exo boost every 3 seconds, and you have 2 boosts, so you can boost twice, but then wait 3 seconds for one to regenerate, and another 3 seconds for the other boost to regenerate. Any time you are in the air(quite  alot) you can press sprint in any direction and you will boost in that direction. While you are on the ground you can boost any where in the 180 degrees behind you, so left, right and behind.
       With all of the new movement, how are the maps? Well, they are just as amazing as the movement, you never feel like you are to far from the action, this feeling is amplified by the fact that you can traverse the map very quickly. There is alot of verticality to all of the maps, but I haven't come across many if any people camping in hard to reach spots. The rate of progression is very nice, and though I have played in 2XP I am already at level 30! There are the new supply drops, which though very fun when you earn one, they are too random to be anything more that a side fancy. Which is a real shame because the system of random loot, is a very appealing one, especially as you can do just as well, with the standard weapons, they just maybe aren't quite right for you, but there is probably a variation out there to suit you!
     Moving on to the weapons, they are all highly satisfying to use, from the 12 hours or so I played of Ghosts, all the weapons had no personality to them. Where as in AW there are so many weapons which feel like they do something different from the rest, you have the BAL-27(OP? Yes!) which shoots the first 5 or so bullets at a slower rate of fire. You have the AK-12 which is a nice all round weapon, but doesn't exceed at any one thing. You have the HBRA3, which has a rather slow rate of fire, but you feel like each bullet is packing a noticeable punch, but don't try to take it into a close range engagement. Moving on the the SMGs, I have only really used the KF5 and the ASM1 a little, the KF5 really does feel like a pole apart from the ARs, and though all SMGs need a buff they are still usable in the right scenario now. With the increased rate of fire and approximately 10% increase movement speed while holding an SMG, you feel totally different from when you are using an AR. And the ASM1 is a modern take on the Tommy Gun, which is an absolute blast to use.
      You then have the most diverse create-a-class system to date, the Pick 13 system, it is the same as BOII's pick 10 system, but this time score streaks count as one point, so for me(someone who doesn't go on many kill streaks) I am running with a UAV and Carepackage, and going into the fray with one more perk. Speaking of score streaks, you can now tweak your streak to how you want it to be, there are about 6-7 modules you can attach to a score streak, each of which adds to the score you must earn before you earn said streak, so for me I am running UAV with player direction and support(progress towards the streak carries on after death) and a Care Package with Better Odds and Support. This means that I am guaranteed to earn at least 2 score streaks per match. The depth with which you can customise your streaks to be how you want them to be is really amazing, and don't worry, you can only add support to a hand full of streaks, and non of the high streaks!
      Now we have talked about all the awesome things in the game, let's talk about the very low number of things that I don't like with AW. It really boils down to two things, firstly there are some pretty bad spawns, I have spawned in the line of sight of enemy players, I have spawned on the exact spot on which I just died, though this hasn't annoyed me as much as I thought it would. The game is just so fun to play that these occasional free deaths don't really bug me. The other annoying thing I have found(though you should note again that all my thoughts are before any patches have been released) is occasional severe frame rate drops and extreme lag, these session last for between 10-20 seconds, in which time I reckon I was getting about 5 frames per second! Such instances occur too often for me to dismiss them as nothing, but it is possible that the issue was fixed in the patch on 11/11/14. One last note, the reason I haven't spoken about the new game modes in AW, I due to the fact that I have only been playing Hardpoint, so you will know my thoughts on Uplink and Momentum in my full review!
That just about wraps us my impressions of Advanced Warfare, it is very very good, I would highly recommend anyone picking it up, whether you are a CoD veteran or new to the series, this is the time to get into it!
Thanks for reading,
P.S I'm back!