Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Surviving Zombies and Ninjas - I am Alive!

Other than the Dawnguard expansion for Skyrim (which is generating the majority of content on my blog if you haven't noticed) I was fortunate enough to receive a whole bunch of other games, most of which I've hammered through since I've already got a small stockpile of unplayed ones that I need to get to when I have the time, or the upgrades I need to run them. In this post I'll be reviewing three which all have a similar thread - "survival". I may journal my adventures in them later too if I'm feeling up to it. :)

DEADLIGHT

In this 2d platformer you play as a gruff, no nonsense survivor of a zombie apocalypse with a fatal allergy to deep water. The game itself moves pretty fast and is actually quite good at keeping the pace going, and given everyone is a silhouette you won't even notice that there are only really two types of enemies. There are two things I didn't like about it though - the very linear path which makes for quick game play and secondly your character being a douche. He is so headstrong to move in only two dimensions but that rule doesn't apply to everyone else. It is quite frustrating to see a set of stairs leading to a balcony you have to get to, but you can't use them because they're a few steps in the background. It also makes it awkward when foes in the distance are coming forward onto your "playing field" and you try to attack them - you will miss until they are on your "line". In short it is a mix of fun and frustration and by the end you'll be wondering how someone could do half the stuff in the game even though he's so heavy (apparently) that head high water is fatal to him.

This would be an even shorter game if the power was still on.
 

I AM ALIVE

After the previous game it was so nice to be able to move in three dimensions again, and what a nice environment to do it in too - a dusty city full of rapist cannibal scum and a handful of survivors spread out all over the place. There is a unique stamina/health bar here that I haven't seen anywhere else and I must say I rather like it. Your stamina drains here when you run, climb, or wander in the sea of dust for too long and once that's gone your health soon follows. This is slightly more realistic than the guy in Dead Light who only got tired when he swung weapons or sprinted but otherwise was as ok as the Prince of Persia with jumping, climbing, and jogging everywhere.

Ironically though this game has much better platforming/climbing than Dead Light and for me climbing the crumbling sky scrappers was very awesome. Where it is let down is in its combat system. It is a button mash fest in hand to hand which you auto lose if a second opponent hits you and a really silly bluff game in "ranged" combat. The ratio of scum to your ammo after the start is usually 3:1 or better in their favour, which means you just point your weapon and try to make them surrender or back off into a fire or a long drop. Once or twice may be ok, but in EVERY battle (none of which are avoidable) you will be doing this. Tense maybe. Stupid - definitely. I found Dead Light's simple combat much better.

Look out! He has one arrow! (literally)


MARK OF THE NINJA

Back into 2d platforming and all I can say is wow. This looks like something that could be made with Flash or more likely Silverlight but is so impressive and immersive it actually trumps the above two games. It has LONG game play and many multiple paths and customizations to complete objectives aside from the extra mind puzzles and secret rooms. It also has more enemy types than the two above games combined and combat is quick and brutal. You can play as a ghost and not kill anyone (well, almost anyone) or you can hunt down and execute all your enemies. Going toe to toe is generally not good though since they have guns and outnumber you but if you are skilled and lucky enough, you can.

The light is also your enemy!

It truly is amazing that I rate this cartoony thing highest of the lot but it deserves it. It has a good story and very easy controls. It's the strategy that can be hard. I agree with Tobold, this is what makes good games good. I liked it so much I even went through the whole thing in New Game Plus (all baddies 1hit-Kill you). It's good that they put some humour in it too - you can play like Garret the Master Thief with Path of Shadows (you are silent but have no sword), Solid Snake (complete with the sneaky cardboard box), or a murderous version of the god damn Batman with Path of Nightmares where the baddies panic easily and end up shooting each other most of the time. This game is highly rated on steam and it deserves it. I highly recommend it too! :)

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