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The People's Republic of Clogher
Exactly how is AC3 the worst in the series? It had MUCH better gameplay than any of the previous titles, it had a compelling story (save for the disappointing ending), and I thought Connor was a pretty good protagonist. I personally find AC2 to be my absolute favorite (and the best), but AC3 would have to be 2nd place for me.
Since when did assassins use muskets?

Didn't find the gameplay better, in fact I thought it was markedly worse the more I played. They've completely done away with the puppeteering system which was a central part of all the other games. The menu system is cumbersome in the extreme, especially when you're constantly told to press a button to see an interesting titbit on the Animus then have to spend 3 or 4 button presses getting back to the actual game. If there's a quick way out of menus I've not found it yet.

For me, the best thing about these games is the ambience they create and AC3 is no exception. I don't find it enough any more and feel the game is not much more than a franchise which has to have a title every 12 months - AC3 is still warm on the slab and they've started previewing 4.

TUS - I think it's fair enough that PS3 disc games won't be compatible with PS4 seeing as they've ditched the cell processor but PSN games are a bit of a shock. One thing I've heard though is that this Cloud system Sony have bought will enable you to stream your old content to the new console, PS3 games and all. Dunno how much truth is in it and you're gonna need a hefty internet connection for it to work.
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"Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how the Tatty 100 is done, they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves." - Brendan Behan



The People's Republic of Clogher
Picked up Tomb Raider.

Decided to try and be smart and drag a load of unwanted console games to my local GAME and buy TR there, on the proviso that the disc edition was tied to Steam. It is.

Thing is, I brought so much crap to trade that I managed to pick up Tomb Raider and a £20 Steam voucher code. Result! The £20 is probably going towards Bioshock Infinite or maybe Sim City.

Did a quick benchmark for my rig - I'm getting 60fps with most settings on High but Hair (I know ) on Normal. Switch to the new TressFX for hair and my framerate halves. I guess there'll be driver updates in the future but it's not worth it for now.

Let's see what the game is actually like.



A system of cells interlinked
I await your review!
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"There’s absolutely no doubt you can be slightly better tomorrow than you are today." - JBP



I don't remember asking you a ******* thing!
Since when did assassins use muskets?

Didn't find the gameplay better, in fact I thought it was markedly worse the more I played. They've completely done away with the puppeteering system which was a central part of all the other games. The menu system is cumbersome in the extreme, especially when you're constantly told to press a button to see an interesting titbit on the Animus then have to spend 3 or 4 button presses getting back to the actual game. If there's a quick way out of menus I've not found it yet.

You just hit start to get back to the game. And I found the puppeteering system to be a bit meaningless for the most part, since not everything was used to the fullest extent like they advertised from the start. I found the new gameplay much simpler to handle. Never really had a problem with the menus, honestly, and I've played every single game from the get-go.



The People's Republic of Clogher
Nope, I miss the old low and high profile actions. Running now makes you look like Ben Johnson badly in need of a toilet. The only part of the puppeteer system I didn't use often was the Eagle Vision but, hey, it's still there.

Now on to Tomb Raider.



I'm about 10% through it so beyond the hand-holding QTE-infested beginning, have upgraded a few weapons and pumped a few points into different skills. It's very fluid, very atmospheric and looks great.

Plus points:

Crystal Dynamics have finally sorted out the camera, which had a habit in previous games of panning in strange directions when you didn't want it to, often in the middle of a jump.

The runny jumpy climby bits are believable, seeing as Lara is an 18 year old rookie, but still enjoyable. I've already found multiple paths to a single goal and the environment leads itself to exploration without having huge neon edges to climbable surfaces. If I was a ponce I'd call this organic. But I'm not so I won't.

The bow is great. It's got the pleasing twang when firing at the start (it's supposed to be home made) but I've crafted it into a pretty dangerous weapon. Not done a lot of gunplay yet.

Puzzles. I've only found one of the hidden tombs so far and the (mainly physics based) puzzles were difficult without being obtuse. I usually hate puzzles.

Minus points:

Enemy AI is a bit daft but I suspect this is because I've not unlocked much of Lara's melee abilities - Enemies so far don't want to take you on in a fist fight and will run from cover to cover. Hopefully this improves.

The game has a variation of Batman's Detective Mode and I think it's pretty superfluous. If you're doing a speed run I suppose it'll point you at the quickest way to your goal but we're supposed to be exploring, people.

Would this game ever have been made were it not for the success of Lost? Ok, that's not much of a criticism but all the environments so far have been grim jungle and caves with aeroplane wreckage aplenty - One of my favourite parts of previous games was the diversity of locale. Hard to do when something's set on a small island but we could have a bit less brown - maybe that'll change later. Come to think of it, Evangeline Lilly would be a good shout for Lara in the forthcoming film.

One of the big early criticisms when the game was being previewed was that Lara's struggles had taken on an almost torture porn quality. I must say, it's a bit uncomfortable watching a young woman in such clear distress - I get that this is supposed to be her rebirth from naive girl into hard-assed antiquity thief but we could have done with a few less sound effects.

I'll probably have revised my opinions a bit once I've finished the game but I'm giving this one a thumbs up. The mechanics are better than any of the Crystal Dynamics games and the story is grounded in believability. Maybe too grounded, I dunno.



I finished up Far Cry 3 recently and man was that fun as hell. A lot of komodo dragons I really didn't want to deal with it but a worthwhile experience, especially from a free roam standpoint. Definitely my game of 2012 (released in December but my current game that I've played in 2013) and one of my all time favourites on the modern consoles.

I liked Far Cry 3 but I was very disappointed because once you finish the campaign...the game kind of dies down. Once It was intense and enjoyable but to me it got real generic too quick. My game of 2012 would have to be Max Payne 3. I'm a real big fan of the Max Payne Series. The story & multiplayer & the development made this game rise in amazement. The character development was truly amazing. Max Payne a alcoholic middle aged bodyguard with a lovesick partner. Lets hope 2013 can show us very talented games.
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no one else is dealing with your demons friend - tyler joseph.



The People's Republic of Clogher
Tomb Raider update - It's basically turned into Uncharted with boobies...

There's a lot more exploration though, and the cover system for combat is better (than the first 2 Uncharted games anyway, never played 3) in that enemies will chuck petrol bombs at you if you stay in one place for two long.

Ah well. Uncharted is an excellent franchise and one which took many things from Tomb Raider anyway. 23% completed now (not tried the multiplayer) and still enjoying it a lot.

My internet connection decided to die for an hour just as I wanted to give TR another spin. If your connection goes down before you can put Steam in Offline mode you can't access any of your games - I'd forgotten how annoying this is.

I forgot to put it in Offline mode when I moved house last summer and was without net access for nearly a month.

Old style games on discs without any form of online activation? Not many of them about nowadays, especially for AAA titles. I'd heard that at least one of the new gen consoles needs to be always online - That'll be troublesome for those without rock solid connections.



Haven't played any games lately maybe a bit of Saints Row 3 for an hour or two but that's about it. Then I ordered Tomb Raider from amazon and supposed to get it 3-4 days after release but instead got it on the same day of release which was pretty sweet as i didn't have to pay for delivery. However I have to say the last game I was that obsessed of playing was Far Cry 3 and Tomb Raider just follows that style of gameplay, either kill everyone quietly or go with a bang. Graphics are amazing even for X-box, its really fluid in terms of movement which is quite the step up from previous Tomb Raider games that felt a bit stiff in terms of movement and were very linear, while the new one just gives you a few possible routes in reaching the main goal. Combat system is really good as enemies become tougher as you progress. The skill system and weapon upgrades is another thing that reminded me a lot about Far Cry and i was happy to see it in that game as well, i kind of wanted to unlock all the top weapons but i think i got everything besides the Assault rifle, but no doubt the Combat Bow is probably the best weapon that you have and the most fun to play with as you progress trough, the only annoying thing for me was probably the amount of cut scenes as they were quite a lot but overall i am impressed with Square Enix for the first time, they produced one hell of a reboot and I will be more than happy to see a sequel to that game.
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I'm in movie heaven



The People's Republic of Clogher
Tomb Raider update. Again.

Still enjoying it but my big complaint is that it still doesn't feel like a Tomb Raider game. I booted up Underworld last night and while the camera drove me nuts there were gorgeous locales to explore, puzzles and just the right amount of gunplay. It's a 5 year old game and still looks fantastic.



A system of cells interlinked
Tomb Raider update. Again.

Still enjoying it but my big complaint is that it still doesn't feel like a Tomb Raider game. I booted up Underworld last night and while the camera drove me nuts there were gorgeous locales to explore, puzzles and just the right amount of gunplay. It's a 5 year old game and still looks fantastic.
Like the reviews say: "The tomb raiding and puzzle stuff that seems to be missing at first all emerge much later, pretty much after you complete the campaign. An odd choice, but that stuff is there - it just comes later."

I think they made the choice to do the origin progression, and then let you loose on the open world to find and raid all the tombs, which contain many puzzles...allegedly.



A system of cells interlinked
Meanwhile....Recruiting!

Still recruiting for my Mechwarrior Online clan. This is a free-to-play game, but of course you can throw money at it to skip some grinding.

Mechwarrior Online

Anyway, I help run a clan/guild in the game (The Marik Desert Rats), and we offer training, free access to our 250 person Teamspeak sever, and our website (run by myself and another couple of people) is now live!

Desert Rats Website


Stop on through to check out the game, and hang out with myself and a bunch of other mature (most times!) gamers. We are NOT a hard core guild, but we do take the competitions and events fairly seriously. Safe to saw we have both casual and competitive aspects to our team.

By the bye: I go by the handle Brynstar in game and on the site!




The People's Republic of Clogher
Like the reviews say: "The tomb raiding and puzzle stuff that seems to be missing at first all emerge much later, pretty much after you complete the campaign. An odd choice, but that stuff is there - it just comes later."

I think they made the choice to do the origin progression, and then let you loose on the open world to find and raid all the tombs, which contain many puzzles...allegedly.
I've found a few of the tombs already and they're fun but the wave-after-wave of Uncharted style goons is becoming a bit wearisome. I'm assuming that you're meant to go back and collect all the goodies and steal all the priceless antiques after you've wiped out the bad guys (you can fast travel between camps) but I've been doing it as I go along.

I keep saying to myself that this is an introduction, a prequel. If sales are good they'll ditch the gore and go for some more campy fun. They've got a great foundation to build on.

Chris - It's both a compliment and a criticism.

What a purty (but gory) game though, seriously purty. These are all my in-game screenies, not FMV.








The People's Republic of Clogher
Oh, it gets much bloodier! I've just done a bit where Lara emerges, Willard-like, from a blood filled underwater lake. I hope it was the blatant nod to Apocalypse Now that I took it for.

PC Gamer have put their review up - 75. Seems a fair score.



I don't remember asking you a ******* thing!
Recently obtained the Metal Gear Solid HD collection, along with an original PS1 copy of the first Metal Gear Solid game. I've never in my entire life played the MGS series, and now I'm gonna get cracking on what is supposedly one of the best franchises in all of gaming. I hope the hype doesn't overshadow the quality of the games.



The People's Republic of Clogher
1 & 2 are a bit dated in their forced-perspective 3D-ness but still playable. The third game still feels really good though, probably because the HD version is the special edition one with more modern camera controls. Stealth games haven't changed all that much in their core mechanic, I suppose - Learn guard's patrol patterns and be patient.

Now that I'm nearly done with Tomb Raider I installed Thief 2 yesterday and patched it up so it's pretty playable.



I don't remember asking you a ******* thing!
Well, I'm more interested in the story than anything. Gameplay's fun and all, but I really like the whole political sci-fi thriller thing they have going with the story. Looking forward to seeing how it all plays out.



The People's Republic of Clogher
Fancy Diablo III but don't fancy paying Blizzard? Try this - http://www.pathofexile.com/

I've been fiddling around with Path of Exile since an early Beta and it's pretty darned impressive, especially when you consider it's free-to-play (but not pay-to-win ). I actually think it's better looking than Diablo III and a lot more fun.

My handandthumbritis necessitated me spending time away from anything controller-shaped so I sought out a lot of clicky clicky keyboard & mouse games and now that I'm in good shape again I was cleaning out my hard drive to make room for a couple of re-installs that I didn't spend any time on when I bought them. Path of Exile is staying installed, definitely.

My main game time is still going on Crusader Kings II - I'm in my family's 4th generation, am now High King of Ireland (started out as a lowly Earl) and have conquered some counties in Scotland and Wales. Europe will be dominated some time in the next 150 years, I expect.

It's a truly special game, is Crusader Kings II. I've plotted, schemed, fought, married and murdered my way through. Brothers and sons have risen against me, Popes have ordered me to go on Crusades and I've died at 22 with a hair lip and a couple of Eunuchs in my Court - a gift from a merchant. Most of the other Earls only had one Eunuch.

I had two.

Lastly, anyone remember Omikron: The Nomad Soul? It was a fantastically atmospheric Dystopian Sci-Fi adventure game from the late 90s, produced by David 'Heavy Rain' Cage and featuring a score by none other than Dame David Bowie.

I'd not played it in a decade - the game was a total bugger to get running on modern systems - but thanks to GOG, it's back in my possession and fully working on Windows 7 with proper widescreen resolutions.

All I've done so far is install it to check if it runs. It does, and pretty well too.

$9.99 if you're feeling nostalgic - Link