Dishonored – Review

My expectations for Dishonored were set pretty high. Everything I had heard prior to playing the game was positive and everything that I had seen before release was exciting. As soon as I put the disc in and started the game I was hooked on the experience.

I immediately felt at home playing the game because the graphics and the setting were very similar to a trilogy I really enjoyed–the Fable series. The story is a pretty simple one but engaging nonetheless. You play as Corvo Attano, Lord Protector of the Empire, and end up being framed for the murder of the Empress and the kidnapping of her daughter and the game takes off from there. A sea of calm while you get acquainted with the controls and then it throws you into the action and jump starts the story.

The game is similar to Assassin’s Creed in that it’s a stealth and assassination oriented style of play. Yes, you can go full on assault and barrage your enemies with bullets and grenades and crossbow bolts, but that’s an optional route. This game can be completed in a multitude of ways with different endings for each different style. It’s even possible to complete the game without killing anyone! This option presents a much larger challenge than the usual route of stealth killing everyone as you go along.

Each mission that you go on is a step towards finding out that age old question of “who dunnit?”. There are collectibles throughout each mission as well as side-quests that may unlock alternate endings to each mission. Among the different ways that you can finish the mission, there are also different routes on each map to get to the end destination.

The powers and upgrades available all help with the ease of completion of each mission. And depending on which powers and gadgets you choose to take and upgrade–it can change how you play Corvo throughout the game. Some abilities make it easier to avoid contact, while others drive you to engage the enemy–the same can be said for gadgets–some are not necessary if you don’t plan on killing anyone, while others will make killing and surviving melee combat much easier.

There were few things I didn’t like about the game, so few in fact that I find it hard to call them to mind and put down on the proverbial paper. I enjoyed playing the game, and the replay factor is pretty high considering the different ways with which you can go about each mission–as well as whether or not you plan on gathering every artifact and collectible. Let me know what you thought of the game. As of right now, I fully suggest the game!

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Guild Wars 2: Review

What a game! My first reaction to seeing the game was that I had to have it. Even if that meant selling my soul. I ended up not having to make any deals for my soul and after the Install finished I was on my way to explore Tyria. Everything in the game that I’ve experienced so far (all 27 levels of it!) has been a fantastic experience.

The Character creation is in depth to the point where you create a background for your character which affects your characters personal story quest line throughout the game. During the creation process you choose everything from facial features, hair color, height, build, and the color of your armor. Depending on the profession that you choose for your character, you even get the option to decide which pet you want to start with or which mask or helmet or other piece of equipment that you may or may not start with.

After you create your avatar and sign the letter at the end with your chosen name here begins your adventure.

The way that Guild Wars 2 tackles combat is fantastic. Not only can most of your skills and abilities be used on the move but you can dodge incoming attacks by running around and using the new double-tap dodge system. This brings a whole new aspect to MMO combat, it not only allows you to dodge out of the way of boss and creature abilities (as well as players) but it also allows you to be hit less by normal “auto-attacks”. This is a huge change in PvP and PvE and it’s an exciting change without doubt!

Dodging isn’t the only change to combat that comes with GW2, you no longer are limited to specific skills for each class. The versatility remains the same, however it requires more technique and skill because now you have to use different weapons during combat. With each weapon comes a specific set of abilities that is different for each class. And each weapon has different purposes–some may have a more support geared skillset, while othersmay have more directly damaging abilities which can also vary in style.

Each class has it’s own individual twist that it puts on combat and skills and traits. There are five different trait lines per class, each offering different specialization to the class and this brings an even wider variance of class options to the players. You may be a Ranger that specializes in pets and healing or maybe a Ranger that specializes in swords and condition damage. Each class has a diverse group of options and this allows for every player to choose their own style without being hindered by the popular vote–however that will always come into play.

Guild Wars 2 has introduced this new dynamic level system where you can go into lower level zones and still participate in events and area quests without just plowing through the zone like a god among men. While your effective level is lowered to match the specific zone you’re in, your actual level never changes. Having a lower effective level just means that your stats and damage is reduced to be more equal to that of a specific level. Guild Wars introduces this game changer to other aspects of Tyria as well; when you enter an instance to participate in a dungeon with other players, it brings everyone’s effective levels down to the dungeon level. This keeps the dungeon interesting and challenging while not making it ridiculous, and it also helps keep people from farming instances because they’re 30 levels higher and can walk over the mobs.

With a level cap of 80 and a massive world to explore this game doesn’t lack interest generation. At level 77 my account currently has 30% map completion–granted that’s without trying to search hard to find things.  However, unlike other games, Guild Wars 2 offers rewards for the explorer. Not only do you receive rewards for finding new Points of Interests, Vistas, and other places–but you also are rewarded for completing the entire map. This gives those players that enjoy the exploring aspect of games a reason to do what they enjoy, and it gives the achievement hunters something to do in addition to the achievements that the game has to offer.

When you make a guild in GW2, you obviously must choose a name but you also have to choose an abbreviation for your guild and a crest. Your guild name will not show up next to your character name, but your abbreviation will. As guild members join, you can choose to rep your guild while you’re leveling or pvp’ing or whatever you happen to be doing at the time and this helps your guild gain influence. Influence is used to purchase upgrades for your guild such as guild storage, storage increase, weapon and armor that shows your guild crest and so much more! This helps the members feel more attached to their guild, giving the players a way to really show their dedication to a guild helps them feel at home and feel like it really is their guild and not just something that they chose to go along with. For example: Fist Bumps For Free [Fist]

The amount of leveling zones that are spread across Tyria makes the “grind” of leveling easy, and enjoyable. The options available for scenery and different story styles from zone to zone helps to keep things interesting. A lot of games have an issue keeping the leveling part of the game interesting, Guild Wars 2 has taken this problem away and made it fun. All in all, the game has been very well made and the amount of effort put into it was well worth the end product. If there’s a question of whether or not to purchase GW2 or not, I say go for it! Even if it’s not as fun as you had hoped, you’ll find that it’s enjoyable to at least fill the worth of the initial $60. There’s no monthly fee, and that’s a huge bonus to purchasing the game.

Pro’s:  No monthly fee’s, Fun to play, Engaging combat, In-depth character creation, Great Graphics.

Con’s: 5 Character slots, One home Server, Huge cities.

If you have any questions feel free to comment away or if you ever have questions while you’re in game feel free to add me! Phaten.6457

A Memory of Light

Recently, Brandon Sanderson released the launch date for the final installment of the Wheel of Time series written by Robert Jordan. After R.J passed away, Harriet (Robert’s wife) and their publishing company asked Brandon to finish the series using the copious notes that Robert Jordan had left. Brandon has done a fine job writing the last couple books. He’s been extremely good at keeping a similar writing style as R.J. had while still bringing some new aspects to the books that show that he’s not only a great author/writer, but a huge fan of the series. This is why I’m so excited that they have announced the January 08, 2013 launch date for the final book. I’m excited to see what the end has to offer, and what R.J. and Brandon have in store for us.

Yesterday, they released part of the Prologue and part of Chapter One for the public to read. I’ve read both and I’ve just become more antsy while I wait for the final product to hit stores and make it’s way into my hands.

Here’s where you can read both of those excerpts

Prologue and First Chapter here, along with other news!

Free to Play: SWTOR

Yesterday Bioware and the Star Wars” The Old Republic team announced that SWTOR would be going F2P later this year. This is both exciting and upsetting at the same time. For how much I loved the game in the beginning, it lacked later on and I lost interest. In that regard, I’m glad the game is going to be free to play — however I still am disappointed because in my heart I wanted the game to be an utter success.

It’s exciting that everyone will get a better opportunity to try the game out. Granted the limited amount of features that you have available in the f2p version will make it a glorified story mode. However, this also allows people to take time and figure out if they really truly enjoy the gameplay enough to fork out the monthly payment to try out the bigger better aspects of the game.

However, seeing as there will still be micro-transactions available, the features you get for free are pretty great. I’m not quite sure how they will handle the micro-transactions but if they do it anything like how other games have, then once this game is F2P it will hopefully be a bit more popular. It may not become a favorite for many among the MMO community, however it does give everyone a great option to fall back on when boredom strikes and you’re looking for great story with good people.

Call of Duty: Nazi Zombies Vs. Survival Mode

We all have our reasons for enjoying games, and certain games like the Call of Duty franchise has its appeal to different people. Some of us enjoy the campaign play more than the multiplayer online content, while still others enjoy the quirky additions such as Nazi Zombies. I’d like to check out the pro’s and con’s if you will, of Infinity Ward’s  Survival Mode–and Treyarch’s Nazi Zombies. Both of these side-games have great aspects to them and some more appealing than the other. They’re both survival, horde-mode style games–except they have different twists to them. Where one has endless hordes of zombies, the other has calculated amounts of enemies becoming progressively greater and more difficult.

In the Survival Mode of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 you start out with basic equipment, a pistol and three hand grenades. The goal of the game is to survive as long as possible against the coming bad guys, whether they have armor, dogs, explosives strapped to their chest or accompanied by helicopters. As you kill your enemies you get money and getting to certain waves unlocks different item crates. Each item crate has a different selection of equipment. One crate has guns and can refill ammunition–another crate will have miscellaneous things like grenades, claymores, RPG’s, and things like that and the last will have killstreak rewards that you can purchase to use. They offer a challenge system, each challenge is a different way to go about completing the wave. It might be a kill streak challenge and reward you for bigger and better kill streaks, maybe a knife kill or head shot challenge, or perhaps it will challenge you to kill your enemies after having used a flash bang on them. Each of the different challenges gives you reward money that helps to buy new perks, equipment and guns.

Since each wave gets both larger and/or more difficult it benefits you to come up with some sort of strategy. Whether that’s finding a place to hunker down and funnel your enemies–or maybe you run around utilizing corners and claymores to your advantage–or perhaps you prefer to plant explosives all over the map and create random mayhem whilst running rampant with big machine guns. However you like to look at it, there is a lot of strategy involved especially in the later levels.

Pro’s: I like the fact that you’ve got a large variety of weapons, equipment, enemies and levels to choose from. The increasing difficulty that the levels and waves bring, creates a great challenge to overcome. I like the fact that you’re able to level up and unlock different items to use from each of the equipment crates. I enjoy the side challenges that they give you each wave, it gives you something to work for and helps you get money quicker.

Con’s: Sometimes frustration leads to lack of interest–if there’s that one wave or enemy type that you just cant seem to overcome–you tend to lose interest after failing enough attempts. I’m not a huge fan of the fact that–after a certain wave–you have all equipment options available to you (granted you have to reach a certain rank in order to use some items).

In the Call of Duty: Nazi Zombies/Zombies additions you start out with Grenades, and a Pistol. The goal of the game is obviously to survive, however you’ve got to keep zombies from overrunning you. As you kill zombies you get certain amounts of money for every time you shoot each zombie and more when you kill one. You get money for repairing the different windows and holes through which the undead break through. As you get more money you can open doors and elevators and lifts and eventually unlock different guns and other equipment to use throughout your adventure.

Each wave after the first comes with more and more zombies and eventually different kinds of zombies. At first you’ll have the kind that run, then you might encounter crawling zombies that emit poisonous gas and there are other obstacles through which you must combat and survive such as insane scientists, space monkey’s, immortal spacemen, and plenty more! One of my favorite features of this game is the mystery box. This box is exactly what it’s name suggests, a box of mystery. You purchase each opening of the box and in return you one of any piece of equipment in the game–whether it be some monkey bombs, a Browning, an M16 or a Laser gun–however the item you get is completely random so never count on the box to be your friend.

Pro’s: I like the randomness of the mystery box and I like the idea of having to open each portion of the map as you go by breaking down debris. This allows you to create an obstacle course for your enemies giving you some control over the outcome of the map rather than your enemies controlling where you go. However you still have to worry about any ragtag bags of flesh crawling through windows as you move through the map. The variety of guns you’re allowed to have is great, but you’re not just allowed to buy them all–however there are a good few which you can “purchase” from the walls (these walls drive a hard bargain).

Con’s: The amount of time it takes to complete the later levels is ridiculous, and eventually the task becomes tedious and monotonous, giving the fun sort of a diminishing returns effect. The fact that there are ways to live forever (if you do it correctly, otherwise you will die) kind of makes it less fun as you discover each dance of success.

Overall I like both games, however I prefer some Zombie slaying to surviving the calculated waves of Man. I’d like to hear some of your opinions as well, feel free to comment and let me know! In time we might start streaming some survival sessions so keep your eyes peeled.

Last Blood – Vampires Give Humans Sanctuary

Recent developments in the movie world have led me to revert to the comic book world! When checking up on upcoming movie trailers and news on Darkhorizons.com I stumbled on an article about a Movie adaptation on a comic web-series called Last Blood. The comics started back in December of 2006 and have since been growing in popularity over the years and fighting to be adapted to the big screen.

Having just begun reading the web-comic, I haven’t gotten too far but I’m enjoying what I’ve read so far. The plot is interesting–however overused the vampires and zombies have become lately–it’s exciting to see them used together in a non-fantasy setting. Not to mention the fact that instead of the main characters fighting against both zombies and vampires, they have instead found a common cause with the vampires.

I’m intrigued to see where they take the story and how they develop the relationship between humans and vampires. There are a good few years worth of comics to catch up on so I’m sure I’ll have a good time of figuring these things out and I’ll let you know what I think as I get nearer to finishing the series! If you’ve already finished reading or are currently making the delve–let us know what you think about it–or even if you’ve just got an opinion on the story and idea by itself! We’d love to hear from you in comments below or let us know at askpowercords@gmail.com

Darksiders – Retro Review

With the upcoming release of Darksiders II, I decided to check out the first game in the series. I’ve always been a fan of lore and mythology in video games whether it’s a game like God of War, or Dante’s Inferno, or others such as Age of Mythology. Seeing that this game involves a battle between Heaven, Hell and Humankind–I was very interested in checking it out.

You play as War–one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. When Heaven and Hell first started warring, the Charred Council sent the Four Horsemen to end the War. When you come into play, you’re under the impression that the Seven Seals have been broken, which is the only way you can be summoned. But soon find out that that is not the case. You’ve been somehow called early which is breaking the rules of the Charred Council. The game is you questing to find out who and how you were summoned and to eventually defeat “The Destroyer”.

I had a lot of fun playing Darksiders, from beginning to end. Throughout the game you are faced with many different enemies and many different challenges. Playing as War, you can use a few different items to accomplish everything. You start with your sword–Souleater– and gain a few new weapons along the way such as a scythe and a fist weapon. The game mechanics are similar to that of the God of War series, and Dante’s Inferno. It works off of a strong and quick attack system with combos added into the mix as you go as well as grab attacks and aerial attacks. As you deal damage to your foe, the lower they get and eventually the grab button shows up above their head which initiates an “insta-kill” feature where you finish off the last of your enemies health–very similar to the games mentioned above, but not exactly the same.

If you’re looking for a great hack-n-slash, mob slaying, combo racking, bpss battling, puzzle solving action game–then this is a good game to check out! It’s a lot of fun and if you enjoy it enough, the sequel is coming out soon and you get to play as Death!

The Legend of Grimrock Review

Down, down, down you go, where you’ll stop—no one knows. In the game Legend of Grimrock you play the role of anywhere from one to four prisoners that are trying their damndest to escape this mountain prison. You start out on level One of the prison and as you progress through the game you go deeper and deeper on to level Two and Three and so on. However you’re not the only people in this dungeon, along the way you’ll find markings on walls and letters on floors as well as creatures that are there to stop you at whatever cost.

When you start the game you’re given the choice to create your own characters or let the game create a party for you to play. You can—but don’t necessarily have to — have four members in your party. However the more the merrier (unless you find a hidden Easter Egg they’ve put in there for some One on Dungeon action.) There are three classes; Fighter, Mage, and the Rogue. And there are four races for you to choose from; Human, Minotaur, Lizardman, and Insectoid. Each Race and class has their own advantages and disadvantages. Some combinations are better than others for instance a Minotaur Mage makes less sense than an Insectoid Mage; however you’d probably love to have a Minotaur Fighter. Granted you can do whatever combinations you’d like. During character creation you can add up to four Prisoners’s and give each multiple Traits, for instance the trait Daemon Ancestor says “Your Great Grandfather had fiery eyes – Resist Fire +25”. And once you’ve chosen your class and race you get to assign skill points to that class’s skill set.

As you go farther and farther down into the mountain prison, you come across more and more dangerous traps, monsters, and more difficult puzzles. If you look hard enough you’ll come across a few secrets on each level as well which can yield wonderful magic items that will be of tremendous help down the road. As you kill monsters like Giant Mushrooms, Frost Raptors, Skeletons, and Troll’s you gain experience and level up. Leveling up allows you to increase your skills to use different abilities and increase your effectiveness in combat. There are thrown weapons and melee weapons; some can reach further than others and each weapon type has specific abilities that coincide with the respective skill. For instance, Maces can ignore armor later and Swords can attack faster.  The way the characters are set up is in a two-by-two square; two members in the front and two in the back. You can change the order around by dragging each of the prisoner’s to a different spot. This allows you to place your “tanks” in the front and let your ranged characters sit in the back and take no damage. However, when a hallway has more than one runoff the side characters are vulnerable as well. A skilled player can adapt to the situation and overcome the adversity! Moving is a matter of turning, strafing, walking backward and forward with the Q, W, E, A, S, D buttons.  If a member of your prison break team dies, there are life crystals throughout the game that will allow you to bring them back to life, so if you lose one or two in a tough fight—have no fear—they’re not gone for good.

One of my favorite aspects of this game is the magic casting. So much so I decided to give it its own paragraph entirely! In most games, magic is something that’s just an innate thing that you’re able to do and you learn spells as you level up. That is not at all how it is in LoG. When you have a mage in your party they start with anywhere from 0-3 spells depending on how many points you put into the different magic schools. As you go along throughout the game however, you’ll find scrolls that show you the runes setup to cast specific spells, and in order to successfully cast the spell you have to have a certain skill level in that school of magic. When I say rune setup I mean, in order to cast spells you have to open the magic menu — whether that’s from your mages hand, staff or orb — and then a set of nine runes shows up and you have to click on the specific runes shown in the scrolls that will allow the spell to be cast. There are no preset spells that you can just click cast, you’ve got to click on the runes each time. This mechanic is wonderful, it gives some sort of old school realism where you’ve got to prepare the spell before casting it, and you’ve got to either read the scroll or have it memorized. All in all, the combat system strikes me as perfect—at least for this game style anyway.

The Legend of Grimrock is the best current dungeon crawl/puzzle game I’ve played. When Almost Human sat down to put this game together they did an outstanding job. The combat system is functional and makes complete sense for the setting and style of the game. And the story is pretty compelling, I mean if you were stuck in prison with some experienced adventurers, wouldn’t you want to escape? If you get the chance to snag this game I say go for it. Great price on Steam, for many hours of gameplay.

Red Dead Redemption — Retro Review

Rockstar games has a reputation of making vulgar and politically incorrect a couple of the only words in their vocabulary. However Red Dead Redemption took to the sky with new wings. Yes you can still beat up prostitutes and yes you can steal peoples’ horses. But you’re a married man on a mission, so things like that aren’t as important (except maybe you still have a drinking problem or are addicted to gambling). This game, set in the old west, takes place in an area called New Austin. You play as a man named John Marsten — an iconic, vigilante hero-type that’s on a mission and out for blood. You’ve been betrayed and left for dead by your old gang and you’re not happy. Forgive and forget? That’s not an option; The U.S. Government has taken your son and wife as hostages until you’ve done their dirty work, and exacted revenge on your old train-busting pals. How’s that for motivation?

You start the game by trying to eliminate one of your friends/ex-gang members, and that doesn’t go over well. Throughout the rest of the story, you end up taking out all the members of the gang and running into new threats, and new friends. As well as having to make a couple key choices along the way there’s a lot to do in this open world of New Austin. Alongside the main quest line, you can do what are called challenges which consist of progressively more difficult tests of skill. Ranging anywhere from shooting a few coyotes, to searching far and wide to find the legendary animals found throughout the game world. There are tons of mini-games in RDR as well, there’s the game of Five Finger Fillet, Blackjack, Arm Wrestling, Cattle Herding, Watching Movies, Dueling, Drinking, Horse Taming, and more! There are so many in fact that you could spend hours just playing the mini-games and forgetting that there’s even a main quest.

One of the best mechanics about the game is the Dead Eye mode, where you slow down time and you can place hit markers on your enemies, whether you spend all six shots on one man’s face or you throw twenty-two rounds into eleven different guys, and once you pull the trigger (or all shots are expended) it reverts back to real time and you get to watch yourself be a badass. In addition to Dead Eye, you can also shoot from horseback, and lasso enemies, then tie them up and throw them on the back of your horse (and perhaps drop them off on some train tracks). Saving is no longer “hold on I need to save my game”, instead it becomes, “I’ve got to find a bed so that I can save, and make it day time.”

In an open ended world such as Red Dead Redemption has, it’s hard to make everything flow together and appear seamless to the player. Rockstar San Diego does a phenomenal job of doing this. You can run from the corner of New Austin to the opposite corner in Mexico with little to no load time. And in addition to that, the sky works like an actual model of the Earth. Clouds skirt across the sky, the sun crests and dips to let the moon come up (or not depending on which cycle it’s on) and then the stars come out. And I would argue that the stars are one of the best aspects of the games art. On that journey you might encounter a gang harassing some poor wagon merchant, or some wolves or cougars preying on an innocent prospector. You can help or you can just let nature take its course. And what’s more, Marsten is an extremely complex character, where both options make sense for him to make – a testament to Rockstar’s pitch-perfect writing.

All in All, with everything Red Dead Redemption has to offer — from the mini-games and the side quests, to the different outfits, treasure maps and Easter Eggs — it’s one of the best games I have played in years. I can’t very well find much bad about the game and if anyone is thinking about picking it up, I highly recommend it. Feel free to comment or leave questions in the comments below I know myself and the rest of the guys at Power Cords would love to hear from you!

Dishonored: Revenge Solves Everything

About a week or so ago I stumbled upon a game being brewed up by Bethesda. Being a huge Bethesda fan I felt hard pressed to check it out. When I saw the trailer I was impressed by the cinematic’s and intrigued by the story line. Knowing how Bethesda makes games, they love to give you choices and options throughout the game, and thankfully there will be no change here. Although it’s a different game style than I’m used to seeing from them, it still seems like it should be a wonderful game.

“You are the once-trusted bodyguard of the beloved Empress. Framed for her murder, you become an infamous assassin, known only by the disturbing mask that has become your calling card. In a time of uncertainty, when the city is being besieged by plague and ruled by an oppressive government armed with neo-industrial technologies, dark forces conspire to bestow upon you, abilities beyond those of any common man – but at what cost? The truth behind your betrayal is as murky as the waters surrounding the city, and the life you once had is gone forever.” – http://www.Dishonored.com

With a Premise like that, it’s sure to be an interesting game. Employing many of the same tactics as Assassin’s Creed, stealth, assassinations, a scent of that wall scaling, building climbing parkour themes as well as introducing a new twist. You’ve got magical powers!  I’m excited to check this game out, I never could get into Assassin’s Creed early on so I’m hoping some of the added mechanics and characteristics will help me enjoy it. Let me know what you think about the game!