An Unforgotten Heroine Fights to Reclaim Her Memories in REMEMBER ME

Title: Remember Meremember_me_capcom_game_-_cover_art1
Developer:
DONTNOD
Distributor:
CAPCOM
Platforms:
PC/PS3/XBOX360

Pros:
-Beautifully detailed environments
and graphics
-Uniquely interesting, psychologically
powerful and captivating storyline
-Personally customisable upgrades
-Fight scenes are fun
-Entertaining puzzles
-Nice, digitally inspired musical score

Cons:
-Camera angels can occasionally
be irritable
-Controls take a while to learn
-Limited availability to exploration
-Vast quantity of hints take away
from one’s general enjoyment

Rating (out of 10): 8.5

Summary: A character oriented, powerfully gripping sci-fi oriented title with a terrific, lead female protagonist who pushes the narrative forward until the very end.

This particular review is based upon my experience with the XBOX360 version.

‘My name is Nilin, and this time, you will remember me.’

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Female protagonists; in movies they are a dime a dozen. It isn’t everyday a warrior woman comes blasting through the doors, but in games, every so often a woman of unfathomable grace comes exploding through the screen with unparalleled charisma, potential and power. Remember Me’s ‘Nilin’ is certainly soon to join the ranks of these prior heroines. Unlike the stereotypical dragon slayer, Nilin exhibits emotions. She does not like the idea of innocents being caught between her and her target; she feels empathy towards others, and she is concerned whether her actions are helping those around her or if she is simply another antagonist. This alone makes her an incredibly well rounded character that you immediately begin to enjoy playing as. Of course, the fact she can take on a large group of fighters all at once and get out reasonably uninjured and is additionally a gorgeous minx with the body of an hour glass does not hurt her alluring appeal either.

I apologise if I come off sounding like a sex crazed loon – that is not my intent. So often in games, female characters are objectified as sex symbols. Take Angie from Psychotoxic for instance – she spends the game running around flaunting her thong. This decision by the developers takes away from the experience when portraying a certain character. In the games industry, often female characters are visualised as being unable to acquire the same large audiences as games where males play the lead role. Epic Games for instance back in March admitted that they would never have the leading protagonist in any Gears of War game be a heroine. Adjunctively, according to online sources, it has been speculated that Dontnod Entertainment had some difficulty attempting to acquire a distributor for Remember Me as it was doubted that the game could acquire such a mass audience, with the review on Gamespot going so far as to say that Nilin was focused upon too much, which prevented the other characters from coming to life. Many of these characters are men, and in this particular title the men take the back seat whilst Nilin drives the narrative forward.

After each Episode (level), Nilin reminisces over what has happened thus far and thinks about the ramifications of her choices and the kind of person that she is. In most games the player shoots first and never contemplates the consequences of their decisions or the loss of their humanity from taking another life, which is a major difference about Nilin; she does. This vulnerability of hers is perfect at showing her humanity. True, she is a hero and there is the expectation that she is to be big and strong, but she also comes off as the kind of young women you could totally be BFF’s with. This assists with her becoming such a likable and very understandable character, for the player does not just see her physical appearance, but her emotional interior as well, and it is very enjoyable to watch such a real character coming to life before one’s eyes.

Nilin herself, although as previously mentioned is physically beautiful, her physicality is not what is focused upon. Many other games seem quite  misogynistic when developing women as pure sex objects, whereas Nilin is fully clothed. Sure, her cleavage is partially visible, but unlike in many games where a woman’s breasts stick out from her chest like two cannons on a pirate’s ship, in Remember Me, the lead female protagonist is not exactly flat chested, but her lady parts are not the focus of what draws the gamer to admire her so – it is her character as a woman; her emotion; her charisma; her attitude. The actress who voices Nilin, Kezia Burrows, does a fabulous job at bringing the character to life, but her mannerisms also assist with this. When she is splashed with water, Nilin sighs and grunts, throwing the water off her body and wiping it from her face. She shields her eyes from fire and she looks behind her when running from enemies as to know exactly where they are. She gasps and sighs in all the right places and when she is anxious she reassures herself ; ‘okay, get up Nilin! You can do this!’ These small aspects make her so much more human, and although I will admit that games are simply designed to entertain, sometimes sheer action is not enough to do just that. Sometimes a person can be as entertaining as an action scene, and Nilin herself is a real pleasure to watch and control throughout the entire experience.

Okay, first things first; Remember Me is powered by the Unreal Engine. I don’t know about others, but I on occasion cringe when this is revealed to me. Either, the graphics are going to be really good (Mass Effect, Bioshock) or they’re not (Gears of War (1), Singularity). Luckily, Remember Me is the former, rather than the latter. The cinematics often move from Nilin walking into a new environment to broadly showing the entire region in all of its futuristic appeal. Towering skyscrapers, large flying ships and intricate holographic advertisements are just some of the marvelously detailed creations the player will bear witness to, each of which is beautifully conceived, showing the impeccable vision that is Neo Paris 2084 in all of its glory.

Remember-Me-02

The characters too are well detailed, especially their clothes, which look amazing upon each of the individuals, whether they have a pivotal role to play or are simply civilians you happen to walk by. The robots too that live amongst the humans are additionally well designed to such an extent you can see the detail in each and every one of their parts, from their wires to the metal casing that surround their exterior.

Walking near businesses and other such buildings and like places will cause holographic screens to immediately appear around you, articulating what the place is and what is on offer. The developers have gone to a great extent to make the player feel as though they are a part of the world, and by God they have done an amazing job at making the world welcome the player with open arms into the future.

Of course, although I have described how beautiful the future of Paris is, it ain’t exactly a Utopia. SENSEN, a massive monopoly in the future is in the business of memories; buying, selling, changing; you name it. This here is the most lucrative venture in the future. Memories are knowledge which in itself is power, and SENSEN dominates it all. A person can for instance purchase a happy memory rather than living it, and happy memories can be stolen just as easily. A world where your thoughts; your feelings; everything you are is free to the highest bidder? Now that is something else entirely!

Errorists on the other hand are a small group of people fighting to keep their memories to themselves and to bring SENSEN to its knees. These people seek to remove the unjustly error of creating such a tyrannical business. Nilin herself is one of them; one of the best as well.

The game begins with her memories unfortunately being sucked right out from her skull. The sound of her screaming in excruciating agony as her brain is wiped of all knowledge is almost too much to bear as shudders no doubt run up and down your spine. The game itself is not violent in the sense that blood is sprayed across the walls; all of it is psychological. People plead for their lives as you go to rip into their minds; people scream as their brains implode from the inside. This game may not be in your face violent, but it certainly ain’t for the faint of heart either. Today we live in a world where our thoughts and memories are sacred, but the very idea that they are not and can be stolen is unbelievably frightening, and the developers cash in on this particular ideology.

The opening cinematic of Nilin losing her memories immediately causes the player to feel a great deal of sympathy towards her. Although initially we do not know this young lady, we will be playing as her and almost feel her pain as our own. She stumbles out of her cell, being led down the hall, told that her pain has only just begun and there is one final process to completely eradicate all of her thoughts that she is yet to experience. Nilin is forced into a queue and is then made to watch as people have their final thoughts sucked out, their screams ricocheting about the halls.

Safe to say not everything goes according to plan, with Edge, the brother of Nilin contacting her and efficaciously assisting her to break out. With little knowledge of her surrounds, the player and Nilin form a quick attachment, for neither of us know anything about the city, who we are, or what we are supposed to do, which further helps us adjust to her as not just a character, but as a human being. Nilin is initially scared and freaked out beyond belief, and although it is not typical to see the heroine losing it, this moment works unbelievably well.

Nilin however cannot be too freaked for long because soon enough she needs to get dirty. Although Nilin lost all knowledge of her fighting skills and her abilities, she is a fast learner and can adequately reacquire them. At the beginning of the game Nilin is unfathomably weak, and the combat scenes seem a bit of a drag – they take time to complete and the fact that the keys take a while to learn additionally doesn’t help matters. Nilin’s health is unfathomably low and if you are anything like me, you feel as though Nilin will be unsuccessful initially in the first few fights. In fact at one point a cinematic causes Nilin to lose most of her health and then forces her to go up against a good five combatants; not very fun!

Nilin as previously mentioned does reacquire her skills, which is only too good to be true! In the BACK menu, the player is able to enhance Nilin’s abilities. Her fighting skills come down to three separate flavors; damage, regenerate and recharge. Now, each attack does ‘damage’ per se, but the player is able to increase the overall efficiency of each attack. Regenerate on the other hand (Y in combat) will provide the player with a small boost to their health with each critical hit. Lastly, recharge provides an extra boost to Nilin’s abilities, enabling her to use them more often. A mandatory cooling down process is activated after each use, and by using the recharge ability, Nilin is able to quicken its pace.

During the game, the player is able to personally customise their abilities, to a certain degree of course, but they do have a little leeway denied in other games that strictly state ‘you must follow this particular upgrade tree.’ In Remember Me, the player can create their own. With each attack combo, the player is able to select what benefits Nilin will acquire. For instance, the player could create an attack that does ‘damage, regenerate, damage, recharge, recharge.’ There are a multitude of other options of course; this here is just an example.

These combos however are not quite as easy to perform, as one needs to remember which keys to press. One can always return to the skills screen to see what is needed to successfully pull off a particular combo. Nilin will still acquire the benefits of each key that is successfully hit in the appropriate order, however, as soon as the player hits the wrong one, a new combo immediately begins.

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When Nilin’s abilities are used however, which is where the ‘recharge’ comes into it, none of this really matters. The player can more often than not press any key at any time depending on the power they have selected (only one can be used at any given time) and these do an unfathomable amount of reliable damage. When going up against groups of opponents, well, let’s just say they never stood a chance! When this happens, it is incredibly fun to watch for the enemies are basically helpless to even halter the attacks that Nilin devastates them with.

Nilin can increase her attacks effectiveness and decimate her opponents. She can toss in a grenade that will destroy enemy defenses, or she can render enemies temporally incapable of standing up for themselves, allowing her to attack them whilst ensuring they cannot fight back.

During combat, Nilin can flawlessly dodge out of an enemy’s reach (A), with the game alerting the player to an enemy’s attack before it takes place, giving them fair time to efficaciously move Nilin from one location to the next before she sustains damage. On top of this, Nilin can jump over her opponents, allowing her to continue her assault, or even her combo, on her opponent’s back, front or wherever she damn well pleases. Or, hell, she can just as easily jump to some new prey and inflict pain and suffering upon them too.

If this is not enough, Nilin can perform a devastating finishing touch (B) on some particular opponents that have been defeated, but not yet decimated. These often involve destroying one’s mind, and the player cannot help but cringe and smile at the exact same time as they watch enemy’s minds being invaded as Nilin thrusts her fist through their heads.

The issue with combat has nothing to do with how it is orchestrated, but more along the lines of how easy the scenes eventually become. As soon as the player becomes accustomed to the controls and Nilin begins to reacquire much of her old capabilities, she can smite her enemy with ease. Even when going up against a number of enemies at once, the chance of Nilin falling becomes less and less likely, which renders the originally challenging atmosphere moot.

However, even with this said, sometimes the game does go to the extreme, and the player finds themselves up against a large mass of bad guys. True, these scenes are not always terribly challenging, but on a few occasions you cannot help but stare in awe at the sheer amount of enemies the game has just thrown at you, and it’s even more ludicrous that the game expects you to survive. Of course, Nilin has to, but in reality, it is doubtful even a well trained militarian strike team would come out without a scratch.

Boss battles too are not genuinely terrible to face down, although all of them do originally appear incredibly powerful, each of which always presenting something new, not two battles being alike in nature. These battles often are a little time consuming as you attempt to discover the appropriate methodology needed to eradicate the threat, each boss being a fun challenge to decimate. Some bosses are best eliminated by being in close proximity to them as to keep from allowing such combatants the use their long range attacks, whilst others are the exact opposite, and it is best to keep as far away from them as possible until Nilin has the advantage of striking a vicious blow.

One part of the battles that is entertaining is that not every opponent can be efficaciously eliminated in the same manner as the last. Robots for instance can only be eliminated by blowing them into smithereens. On other occasions, some opponents carry shields that must initially be broken before the enemy themselves can be attacked, and other opponents are immune to all attacks until their defenses have been temporarily taken offline. Simply put, the player is forced to adjust to every fight differently, which keeps the fighting fresh and invigorating which ensures it does not become stale.

As entertaining as these fight scenes can be, and I am not denying that they often are very fun to fight through, the game often works best when it is not a pure fighting experience. There are a few occasions when it is just fight scene after fight scene after fight scene, and on a couple of those occasions I personally felt like saying ‘okay, enough is enough!’ More often than not I acquired more enjoyment when Nilin was evading security, climbing through areas or taking out a couple bad guys every so often, not when she was forced to go up against entire armies time after time.

However, moving back to the topic of complete and utter destruction, every opponent killed delivers points that unlock additional upgrades to help with combat performance. Additionally, there are bits and pieces of upgrades available across the world for one to acquire. Collecting five health upgrade devices will permanently provide Nilin with another health bar, which is damn well necessary in preserving her existence. Power upgrades can increase the longevity of her abilities (again, five are required) and memory fragments too are placed about the environment which allow her to recover her memories about the futuristic world we inhabit.

For these to be acquired, the player needs to explore, and a problem can be encountered here. Although environments are large and beautiful, they are also restrictive. As soon as a player goes in the direction of their objective (more often than not unintentionally because the game doesn’t exactly say which way is which) a cut scene will often begin to play, after which Nilin will not be allowed to venture back because often she is sealed into the next area. On top of this, the game often checkpoints when this occurs, preventing the player from reverting to their previous automated save to ensure some further exploration can be achieved. Basically, if you miss an item; you miss it permanently, which is just frustrating.

If the game can be relied upon for one thing, it is checkpointing, which seems to happen quite frequently. On top of this, after every major battle, often Nilin can find a health kit around the corner which will replenish all of her lost vitality. If this is not enough, the game also babies the player a little more often than it probably should. Whenever something is unlocked, the game provides helpful hint after helpful hint, explaining every little thing in great detail. Although this proves to be of assistance, since every rookie Remember Me player is initially a layman on first play through, the wealth of information can sometimes make one feel a little as though the game is belittling your general intellect; if something is explained, it doesn’t need to be reiterated with alternate words or phrases. This is not only a little insulting, but also takes time away from kicking ass and taking names, and after acquiring a new upgrade the first thing you want to do is test it on the first poor sap you can lay your fingers on, not be told all about it over and over and over.

Although as previously mentioned, the game is initially very beautiful, the first level (not including Episode Zero) is set in decadent slums, which although look finely crafted, do not reflect the gorgeous visuals which can be procured later. The fighting is not nearly as fun as it is later when going up against SENSEN Security, for it feels wickedly sick to outsmart a large cluster of well trained soldiers. For the first hour, although the visuals are stunning and the storyline is captivating, the gloomy atmosphere and surrounds, along with the enemies you encounter is blatantly dark and grim. The game in fact seems to lag at the start, but by the second episode you are finally introduced to a far wealthier area and the game does what it does best; entertain your socks off! If only the first hour could have been just as effective, then I might have been hooked right from the start, but instead, the player is forced to wade through a wee bit of the game before discovering how much of a gem Remember Me truly is.

Although one will no doubt spend a bit of time admiring their environment, visuals themselves play a large role in the game. While moving about the world, image files can be uploaded to certain locations that show where an item can be found. If the player wishes to later find said item, they need to study the environment the photo showcases. Visuals again have a large role to play when shifting through a player’s mind and altering their memory. When this occurs, the player is able to rewind a character’s memory back, and as it begins to play once more, they have the opportunity to alter certain aspects of the world the memory occurred in; they can move items, exchange objects, turn things on or off; there are a vast quantity of actions that can be taken. Visual cues are provided to help show when the player is able to take action, however these are fast and can be easily missed, hence the mandatory need for the player to pay particular attention to their surrounds. Of course, dire ramifications can occur if the player inadvertently changes something in the memory they shouldn’t (there is always a set mission directive when altering a person’s memory, and it is not always as simple as changing every single thing). On occasion the player will need to repeat the process several times to acquire the desired effect, the game being alarming kind to the player and allowing them the opportunity to continuously repeat the process until they have succeeded without the need to return to a checkpoint, et al. These particular puzzles are genuinely fun to solve, and the challenge they bring adds another unique fixture to the game. Although such can prove a little annoying (due to the fiddly controls), they never lose their appeal, and if anything, the only really disappointing factor about these are the significant lack of them, being an incredibly rare puzzle to find in the game.

Breaking into a person’s mind and kicking ass and taking names are not the only occurrences which transpire throughout the campaign, with Nilin adjunctively climbing through numerous sections. Climbing is very similar to other games (Enslaved: Odyssey of the West, Fuse, etc) and is often hardened with certain difficulties that Nilin must on occasion cross. These obstacles can include navigating around hazards, or even timed sequences when she must hurriedly move across a piece of the environment else she becomes knocked off. Climbing however is not without its hindrances, for it is in these moments that the camera decides to take over, the player no longer having any control where it decides to settle itself. On more than one occasion the camera decides to place itself in the most inconvenient location; either being extremely far away or at an odd angle. Whenever this occurs, on occasion the player is forced to venture a guess in which direction they may be forced to navigate in if what they are forced to jump to cannot be acutely seen. This is not always the case mind you, but when it does happen, it is certainly limiting to one’s enjoyment and is thus not as flawlessly articulated as other games where climbing sequences are engineered to a higher standard.

But don’t let any of these potentially negative issues remove any of the positive ideologies I have previously discussed, or even cause you to immediately fathom that the game is not worth procuring. Although original in its nature, the main reason a player will perhaps participate in such a campaign will be due to the character of Nilin herself. As mentioned at the beginning of this post, Nilin has had her memory stolen from her and is thus made to reacquire all that once made her who she is. To do this she is forced to help a number of characters, from her brother to other Errorists fighting to bring down SEMSEM. Due to this, over the course of the game Nilin wonders if she is really doing the right thing, and if she had her memories, would she actually be participating in such actions? Fearing that she may very well be working for an enemy organisation and is being manipulated; the constant fights she has with her own consciousness; and the journey she must undertake to discover the truth about who she really is, is an adventure in itself as amazing as the actual game.

In conclusion, despite a couple of issues, such do not take away from the player’s enjoyment, and Remember Me will ultimately prove to be a fun, futuristic experience quite unlike anything the player has discovered before.

Image References:

http://apa340.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/the-creepy-cull-of-female-protagonists/

http://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/remember-me-review-caught-between-prescience-and-commerce/

http://www.gamingadvance.com/new-remember-me-gameplay-shows-off-innovative-combat-system/

http://www.justpushstart.com/2013/06/remember-me-review/

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Lighting a Fuse: Analysing Insomniac’s new Third Person Shooter

Title: FuseFuse-Box-Art
Developer: Insomnia
Distributor: EA
Platforms: PS3 and XBOX 360
Genre: Team oriented third person action

Pros:
-Relentless action sequences
-Powerful upgrades
-Captivating action oriented storyline
-Awesome take down moves
-Incredibly fun

Cons:
-Graphics seem a little outdated
-Been there, done that

Rating (out of ten): 8

Synopsis: A solid, entertaining action shooter that ought to have been released a year ago.

If some of the best ideas from games the likes of Gears of War, Vanquish, Enslaved: Odyssey of the West and Brute Force were all meshed up into one title, that game might very well end up being this new creation from the developers of Ratchet and Clank and Resistance.

Fuse is a futuristic third person team oriented shooter in a time when the governments of the world are attempting to discover a new form of renewable energy. An energy source, capable of unquantifiable levels of destruction is unfortunately discovered in the process, but its consequential power is not exactly energy, as it is so much militarian, with limitless potential for building an unstoppable army to bring an end to any other force on the planet.

Raven, an antagonistic military group that have gone beyond rogue have seized control of this unimaginably powerful energy source and God only knows what they intend to do with it. Burgess, a man contacted to help apprehend Raven and destroy the Fuse energy, rallies his team, consisting of four unique operatives from around the globe, each with different backgrounds and skills that can advantageously take care of this diabolical situation that is slowly but surely spiraling hopelessly out of control.  

Taking down choppers is not quite as easy as one might imagine...

Taking down choppers is not quite as easy as one might imagine…

Over the course of the campaign, each member of the team who the player has the option of playing as during the game, hold three weapons, originally beginning with just an ordinary pistol (if you acquire the Fusion Pack DLC you can upgrade your pistol to immediately use Fuse based technology) and additionally having the ability to carry another weapon of their choosing, whether that be an assault rifle, a sniper class weapon or a shotgun. The third weapon each character is able to wield are their unique Fuse empowered devices which they acquire not long into the campaign. When this occurs, each team member begins to address a certain function that the team needs to survive and complete their objectives.

Dalton, the team’s leader, who has a past with Raven and is now doing his best to shut down their rogue operation, acquires a Magsheild, which allows him to generate a well, a shield (obviously?) that will halter any firepower from injuring him or any team member standing behind it. Additionally, enemy rounds will be plucked out from the air by the device and launched back at the one who fired them. Simply put, Dalton becomes the conventional shock trooper.

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Jacob, the voice of reason and quite possibly the heart of the team acquires himself a crossbow of sorts, which is capable of launching Fuse empowered rounds that can burn through enemy combatants. These can be fired from a hefty distance which allows him to become the team’s stereotypical sniper.

Fuse_Jacob_2

Izzy, who is seen as the brains of the outfit, being both cold and lethal at the same time, acquires herself a weapon that will crystallise the environment and her opponents and cause them to explode. The opposite affect will happen to her team, as she is able to launch crystals with a healing serum in the direction of her fellow comrades which will advantageously benefit their progress and keep them alive longer and heal them over time, thus making her the team’s medic.

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Lastly, Naya, the team member I played as, an assassin with a foxy British accent (meow!) whose father has become caught up in the exploits of Raven, found herself carrying a singularity shock weapon that allowed black holes to appear and suck enemies into oblivion. The more enemies hit by the rounds meant that the implosion would become more devastating, a chain reaction taking place which sucked in everyone within the vicinity and blew the others around like rag dolls. This adjunctively came equipped with the phantom cloak, allowing Naya to become invisible for a short duration, enabling her to become the team’s scout, and further empower her lethal assassination skills.

WOW!

WOW!

Unlike in Brute Force, where during the single player campaign the player had to physically activate each particular squad member’s capabilities, the AI will naturally do this during the game, which sufficiently aids progress and makes the action even more fun to fight through.

This was not all though. Larger enemies found throughout the game who are basically the champions of Raven; often being large hulking mechs with extraordinary weapons can have their firepower ripped away from them once they have been relegated to a cadaver. Although these weapons impede movement, they are incredibly powerful and only come equipped with a limited amount of firepower so ought to be utilised whilst available.

Moreover, the weapons the characters were equipped with, along with their health and abilities could be upgraded over the course of the story. Every so often, the player went up a level which presented them with not one skill point, but four; one for each member of the team. Unfortunately the team members do not naturally assign their own skill points and so this is up to the prerogative of the player. Since this is the case, the player is then able to choose what to upgrade and what special abilities the characters will use. The more abilities the characters have at their disposal, the more the AI will be able to use over the course of the game. For instance, in the case of Izzy, she does not automatically begin the game with her healing ability, and this subsequently needs to be unlocked. Once it has been, she was use it when applicable.

Additionally, there are team perks; beneficial upgrades which unanimously assist each of the squad members. Unlike the points acquired by leveling up, these particular ones are acquired from Fuse credits found throughout the game. Fuse credits are small stacks of gold worth 500 each, however, when each upgrade costs 10,000 credits, well, safe to say one needs to scour the maps up and down in an attempt to find them. These abilities are often similar to the traits assigned to each player, however they often, as the title suggests, come with their unique perks. For instance, the marksman ability allows the player to acquire ammunition each time they pull off a successful head shot. Other perks increase damage resistance, or simply resistance to one particular offensive attack; the ability to level up at a faster pace; or even the chance to not consume so much Fuse energy when using special player capabilities.

That’s right, each player ability does run on ammo; the same ammo that each of the player’s Fuse based weapons run on, which is rather annoying, and at the end of the day it comes down to whether or not the player wants to use their ammo to assault the enemy from afar, or for tactical superiority.

Apart from being a babe, Naya's combat abilities and amazing weaponry make her absolutely ruthless in combat.

Apart from being a babe, Naya’s abilities and amazing weaponry make her absolutely ruthless in combat.

Firepower is not the only weapon in each character’s arsenal though, with the team able to pull off special melee moves. Sneaking up behind enemies, players can break the necks of their opponents, drag their bodies over crates, or slit their throats with knives. During combat, the players are able to perform a wild manner of exciting kick ass combat moves which look really extraordinary. Just keep hitting the melee button and the player will automatically continue to perform admirably on the battlefield.

There is of course one addendum to all of this Fuse energy; since Raven has stolen the technology, your team are not the only ones capable of using such amazing technology. Over the course of the game you will run into opponents who are cloaked, who sneak up behind you and take you hostage, using you as a human shield as they assault the rest of your team. Enemies who have Fuse shields covering their person; enemies who are able to heal their comrades if they happen to be in a certain vicinity of them; the list goes on, and thus the player needs to accommodate themselves for any situation and prepare accordingly, adapting to each combat scenario.

Boss battles are especially deranged when it comes to this; not in a bad way, but the limits of the imagination are diabolically stretched, these particular battles often being a time consuming process in which the player needs to adopt a particular strategy as to efficaciously beat their opponent, who of course is never alone, with a number of friends coming to assist them as they wage their private war against you.

Moving on, as with many games today there is no traditional health bar per se, and as soon as your character takes too much damage they are out for the count, temporally at least. Much like in Gears of War, the player is left to crawl across the ground crying out for assistance, a person needing to physically revive you, vice versa, before a timer on your screen runs out. If you or any other member of your team dies, the game officially comes to an end, much unlike Gears of War when your fellow team members could crawl around the floor for days asking for assistance and never require any; in Fuse, you either help your team or help hinder your own progress, which makes your friends far more important to you than in other titles where they are basically invincible.

The AI of your team furthermore is not bad, although like with many games they do on occasion get in your way when you are firing and complain about how terrible a shot you are, even though they clearly ran into your line of fire. In the campaign, as per usual, you need to do almost everything, which is kind of odd since you would think that the others would be able to push a button just as well as you can. There are moments when the team needs to do something in synchronicity or all at once and will automatically perform their tasks, but other times it is left solely up to you. This includes shutting off gun turrets, hacking computers, demolishing walls, et al.

The enemy will additionally more often than not act in a manner that will ensure a challenge. There is no skill level so in the end it really comes down to the sheer number of bad guys thrust upon you and their general skill. Enemies will flank, throw grenades to flush you out and take cover. A number of them come equipped with jump packs and hover devices which allow them to expertly fly from one location to the next, allowing them to acquire a better vantage point or avoid fire. However, as soon as the combined effort of your team is placed onto a number of targets, the single most intelligent bad guy alive would be unable to succeed in surviving such an assault, sometimes making fire fights move by at a steady, quick pace.

As for your own intellect – as previously mentioned, Fuse is a straight forward shooter, and thus the player is normally not required to think too strenuously about what to do. As long as you know where the fire button is and can master the controls in a short duration of time, Fuse will most definitely become your oyster.

As amazing as it might seem, although the game, much like Gears of War Judgment is one great big kill fest, unlike in Epic’s newest shooter, never did the action get old. Environments, from bunkers, to forests compounds and locations in the snow ensure that the scenarios the player fights through are frequently fresh and invigorating.

kicking ass and taking names

kicking ass and taking names

When your team are forced to interact with tasks alongside you, one can clearly see how Insomniac are attempting to showcase the importance of the team, and are embodying a large number of occurrences which real militarian groups strategically do together as to create a strong realistic vibe and to make certain that you never feel alone.

However, don’t let this idea of realism put you off for there is plenty of healthy banter that goes on over the course of the game. Since Dalton has a past with Raven, often he becomes the brunt of some of the jokes made about this terrorist force. On other occasions, the jokes have some sexual reference that is not deliberate as much as it is stereotypical. At one point when climbing, Dalton says to Naya ‘I just love to watch you climb’ and in response to this she says ‘Izzy, if you catch (Dalton) staring at my arse, you have my permission to shoot him.’

As entertaining as the game can be though, sometimes I personally wondered ‘hasn’t this been done before?’ Reviving your team and having to be revived, symbolic of Gears of War, and also reminiscent of the team oriented combat found in Epic’s shooter. The ability to switch players is very much reminiscent of what could happen in Brute Force, and the need to on occasion climb obstacles is representative of Enslaved and other like titles. I did previously mention that Fuse seemed to take many of the great ideas from previous games, and if this be the case, at the end of the day it seems blatantly obvious where much of the inspiration is derived. Of course, if these are original ideas, then I am sorry but it would seem that Insomniac is a little too late, which can also be partially said in relation to their graphics.

Now, there is nothing wrong with the graphics of the game. Levels are often incredibly beautiful and vibrantly bright. The characters and the enemies they face are just as beautifully detailed as the environments, however, in comparison to games the likes of Crysis 3 that have already been released this year, Fuse seems rather outdated by at least a year. Explosions especially often look like a number of lines spiraling in all directions with a bright mixture of colour overlapping them.

In conclusion, Fuse is a fun action oriented shooter where the fighting almost never stops. There is always another mission to accomplish; another enemy to eliminate; and another level to acquire, and you will only be too happy to succeed in each of these objectives.

Image References:

http://gamerant.com/fuse-screenshots-insomniac-games/fuse-naya/

http://www.insomniacgames.com/games/fuse/#/news/detail/fuse-update-3-6-13

http://www.newgamernation.com/fuse-the-dalton-rules-trailer-released/

http://www.psu.com/a019403/

http://www.rocketchainsaw.com.au/interview-brian-allgeier-creative-director-fuse-insomniac-2367/

It’s Amazing how your Life Changes

 

One day you are involved in doing one thing – and the next you are doing something completely different. You have changed your life’s endeavors; you have adapted and evolved to life’s unexpected twist and turns; you have lost someone close to you, whether it be a broken friendship or a break up and so are forced to alter your plans for the future. So many occurrences each year alter that which we are eventually going to become.

I remember when I was thirteen and fourteen I wanted to hang out with what some might have referred to as the ‘cool crowd.’ And they accepted me – which was pretty awesome in itself. There is always a catch though. If you feel something is too good to be true it probably is. There was no way the ‘cool’ kids would accept someone that probably wasn’t quite as ‘cool’, or who wasn’t ‘cool’ at all, and yet here they were, giving me a bone. Well, the catch in this case was that it turned out they all hated my rotten guts and would sooner step on my head if they saw me drowning rather than give me a hand up, so I quickly left their little club. Instead, I found a new group of friends that actually shared the same traits and mannerisms, views and values as I. It was a perfect fit, and still to this day is – when we have the time to communicate.

Again, when I was in primary school, due to my insatiable hunger for video games, I really wanted to become involved in graphic design and the orchestration of such entertainment. Of course, this proved to be an ineffective idea because I did not have the credentials to ever become involved in such a field. I’m no good at the terrible algebra based equations and other such ridiculous mathematical ideologies; I’m not very good at graphical design, and I’m not very good at computer programs that are ridiculously difficult to utilise.
Then in high school when I was in a band, I think all of us wanted to continue to perform on a more professional level than that which we currently resided at. However, when our band broke up for reasons that up until that very moment were completely unforeseen and unfortunately unpredictable, that dream of ours came to an immediate end.

Additionally, I was interested in pursuing a career in acting, but to become involved in a course that revolves around this career at university, one needs to acquire the highest of high grades. I did acquire a few A’s and an A+, but on average I was predominantly a B student. In 2009, according to the statistics, a good few thousand people applied for the acting course at Melbourne University (apparently one of the top ten university’s in Australia) – only two were accepted. Yes, you read that right; two out of a few thousand candidates were accepted into the course. I knew that I would never be one of them and so decided to pursue my other passion; writing.

Now, with my three year undergraduate course nearly complete, I need to decide whether I will continue on with my postgraduate course, and if so, at which institution and what variant? Or will I go out and find a place in the workforce?

Another part of life that changes exponentially are the responsibilities that are placed upon your shoulders as you grow older. When young, everything is so simple, and I really envy the children of today. You can just tell that behind those innocent (?) young eyes, not one of them has a clue for the surprise they are in for when they eventually grow up. Or maybe they will grow up too fast? Sometimes I feel that happened to me – as though I did not have enough time to be young and enjoy what life hath been given to me. What are the repercussions of failing to enjoy youth to its full? When young, you run around the house and the world outside having a gay old time. You watch TV to your heart’s content and play with random plastic figurines. As you grow up, the time that you have for fun becomes minimised as the expectations of life, including giving back to society with money, hard work and effort begin to become dominating factors in influencing the choices that one develops.

Like I said – it is amazing how your life changes. On one hand, that makes the ride that is life quite interesting. On the other hand it can be disappointing and blatantly annoying.

What do others think about what I have conjured up on this subject matter? Agree, disagree? By all means, please, your opinions are welcome!

Naughty Nefarious, signing off!

NBN – (un)Naturally Boring Numbskulls

 

The NBN – the National Broadband Network is what the government is attempting to roll out. Beginning by updating small towns in the middle of the Whoop Whoops with this new supposed high speed internet, this next generation advancement in internet technology is, according to the Prime Minister, going to put Australia on top for high speed internet. This, coming from the same Prime Minister who says Australia has the great economy in all the world, yet Brisbane is several billion dollars in dept? Interesting…Adjunctively, the PM may never get to see her project come to life, cuz if the PM gets kicked out in the next election, it may be cancelled by whoever takes office next. I mean, the NBN has been in the works since 2007, and less than what, 2,000 homes in a country of 25 million people have gained the ability to use this technology over the past five years? Billions of dollars have been poured into this project and those involved in its orchestration have complained and pulled out and new people have been called in. I guess some people doubt the PM’s ability to successfully integrate the software into the country. Of course, after the home isolation fiasco, can you blame ‘em? (for those non-Australians treading this, the ‘home insulation fiasco’ was a scheme instigated by the Prime Minister in which all insulation companies were given the ability to place new insulation into the homes of people. All these home with the new insulation in ‘em, subsequently burnt down due to shit insulation. That is the Australian government for you – ‘we care’ they say…yes, they care so much that they try to kill you in your sleep!) Supposedly by the year 2015, a cool 200,000 people will have the ability to use this high speed internet. I won’t probably be living in Oz by the time the entire country is fully up and running, and by then, the NBN will be so far out of date and the Americans will have an internet so far more advanced that the very mention of the NBN will bring about hysterics of laughter rather than plans for national domination.

Of course, the whole meaning of this post was to state my pros and cons on the subject matter of this technologically advanced system. Positively speaking about the software, my current internet, no offence, but it is pretty friggin’ pathetic. It cuts out frequently, and when that doesn’t happen it automatically shuts itself off, forcing me to sign back in. I have a contract with Optus – it’s a wireless dial up connection with a 5 Gigabyte plan with costs around 50 bucks per month. On top of these issues, the internet takes so damn long to load pages that I could have designed them personally by the time they have loaded, and the internet is so slow, that on occasion, if it managed to become any slower, I would be travelling back through time. I could argue that this occurs because the Optus tower where we pick our connection off from is also shared by Telstra. So, anyone on either of those two plans, using either the internet or their phones are bouncing around the same data port. Basically, there would be an awful lot of people trying to connect to friends, family and the internet at once. However, it would be worse if I was with one of the other companies. Virgin, 3, Vodafone, Chariot and Dodo all use the other tower. Imagine trying to get a connection with one of those companies in my neighborhood. You’d be lucky to even download a kilobyte before the internet died on yer due to the prioritising of other customers using more juice than you are. I should be glad I at least got piss poor internet service cuz the other companies might not offer me any service at all.

Basically, if and when the NBN ever comes into the works, it may very well be able to sufficiently boost the internet connection that I have to work with now. But since the PM ain’t prioritising major cities, towns or suburbs, and since like I said, I may not even be living in this country when the day the NBN is 100% turned on, I may never get to know how much of a success, or potential flop, the entire scheme is. For that, perhaps I should be glad. You see, on a negative side (apart from the fact I’ll be old and grey by the time the NBN is on), the government have stated (but governments, especially the Australian one always lie) that the NBN will change how everything works. If that is true, then that in itself kinda freaks me the hell out. I like the way things are running now without having them change. I mean, people of previous generations felt the development of mobile phone devices and portable music players and the like have been huge leaps forward in the advancement of technology. I never felt it was. Such came naturally to me, and that was probably because I was born in the time when technology is continuously changing at an incredibly rapid pace. However, what the NBN is emphasising, seems like a substantial leap forward, and if that ever comes to pass, then the older generations and I will have something in common.

I do not like the fact that those responsible for the NBN’s promulgation are stipulating how the project is going to alter life as we know it – how shopping, work and life in general are going to be dramatically changed with this technology. Now, they are yet to actually be specific about such generalisations, but what I have heard thus far seems pretty mind blowing. I look at my life and the way I live it, the way I work and the plans I have for the future and I base them on the technology today and the opportunities that are available to me. The way the NBN designers are talking – it sounds very much like the past is going to be terminated and a new future will be brought in and ultimately change everything that I believe. Now, I am all for an advancement in technology and I believe change can indeed be good – but the NBN is making it sound as though that change will be instantaneous – a bit like Skynet. Plug it in, and suddenly, everybody’s dead. That is what the NBN sounds like. Plug it in, and watch the world that you know vanish and a new one be erected before your very eyes.

I can only hope when and if the NBN does come, the change is more subtle. But like I already mentioned governments lie. Besides, most people in government office cannot tell the difference between Twitter and a toilet seat, so what the hell do they know about the NBN?

Looking towards the future and beyond, this is Naughty Nefarious, signing off once more.

Daughter or Son?

 

Contains sexual references.

Daughter or son? Son or daughter? Who would I prefer? Now, I am yet to have children. You need a partner to have them. Well, that’s my belief. But that ain’t gonna stop me from discussing who I would prefer if I had the chance. Now, I would not use science and choose the sex of my child whilst the egg dances inside my hypothetical partner’s womb. No. I would let nature take its course. But if I am so adamant about who I want, why leave such a massive decision in the hands of chance? Why not? I can still have my hopes and wishes? Besides, science is not always right. Things can go wrong. Doctors said my mother was having a daughter. Time and time again they told her. But, I am a bloke, actual and whole. Well, I think I am. Let me check (I should probably know from how frequently my hands are in that general area) Penis? Check. Testicles? Check. No vagina or breasts? Not to my knowledge. If humanity had children by chance for so many centuries, I think I can live by such a code as well.

But that is still to answer my question, a daughter, or a son? Many guys would ask for a son to continue on the legacy of their family. Not me though. Surprised? In some parts of the world I might very well be crucified for saying I would want a daughter over a son? But why? Does it have anything to do with the fact I think women are smarter than men? Is it because I think they are more sweet, especially when they are younger? Well, it certainly wouldn’t be from having to worry about all the penises that might suddenly come chasing after her when she is of maturity. No. There are two reasons in fact. One funnily enough is Hollywood. In some films, the lead little girl is incredibly cute in the way she behaves. Like the little girl in Miracle on 34th Street – she was so incredibly smart and determined, and at such a young age. In Bioshock 2, the Little Sisters! They were so adorable in what they said – so sweet and polite.

The second reason, and this is the more pertinent one funnily enough – is the name. When it comes to creating names for women, I believe I have a certain ability for it. Not so much for blokes though. I would love to have a daughter as to name her Wilhelmina (Billie for short), Ophelia, Tamika, Tanyr, Prish, Dominica, Aayla, Aria, Tricisca (Trick for short), Lizabella and so on and so forth. (Might need more than one daughter to ensure any, if not all of these names can be used).

On another note, when the young lady enters puberty and begins to get her period – yeah, that ain’t gonna fill me with happiness – especially since I won’t know a single thing about how to accommodate her. Don’t worry, I know enough to know where to put the contraption (I’m talking about the tampon, although I wouldn’t know which one to buy cuz, have you seen how many brands? There are billions of them! Who would have guessed there needs to be so many kinds! They dry up liquid and stop it from going everywhere! How many kinds of devices do you need to do that very same job? Millions it would appear!) and what generally happens – but I’ve never had to talk a person through it – and I have no personal experience so how could I possibly know how much agonising pain she/they are going through?

But that is one issue I am certain I could live through unscarred. To see her grow up (with one of those names) would be quite the joy. Plus, what she would turn into! Another awesome occurrence! Well, I would not mind having a daughter who was incredibly smart, you know, a smart chick who was quite foxy in her own way. A daughter who was passionate about certain issues and was not scared to voice her concerns. A daughter who eventually joined the army and kicked arse on the front line as well as any male soldier. And I wouldn’t mind a daughter who eventually grew up to become a gothic lesbian in a heavy metal rock band who sang, played guitar and wowed audiences all over the globe (wouldn’t have to worry about boyfriends and penises then). (btw, I’m not gay, I just wouldn’t mind a gothic lesbian is all – who was tattooed too, don’t forget that, needs lots of tats! And studs!).

I mean these things – these are things you cannot ask of a son I don’t think. Especially the lesbian part. The only thing I would fear is losing them before I had left this Earth. And not to be greedy, but I don’t wanna check out for at least another cool few decades. That is the one thing I could not stand. To go through raising a child – feeding her, playing with her, paying for her, and of course, loving her with all my heart. Only to have the police arrive on my front porch when she had only just turned eighteen and say ‘Mr. Nefarious, your daughter has been in an accident’, that ‘accident’ been either a drunk driver or a deranged lunatic with a knife wanting a quick buck from her wallet, or a rapist who wanted a little more than just the money.

That, like I said, I could not take, nor could anyone. I realise it is a fear any parent has, but I guess the risk in the end is worth it. But how do they get past that fear? I’m not sure I could. My upbringing was not exactly a paradise. My parents were fine – they gave me almost everything I ever asked for. School however, and an awful lot of places outside of the home – that was an entirely different matter. Now, I realise many people have had lives far worse than mine; lives that make mine look like a walk in the park. But people do not get better. They get worse. Murder and other such crimes have never been higher than they are today. Those perpetrators are only going to get worse. Students kill each other at school now. And in the future, it will be a lot worse for the next generation. My question is, how can I guarantee my child’s safety, when I cannot guarantee mine now whenever I leave the house? I mean, I’m  a bloke, someone who is considered to be tough, right? If I cannot be one hundred per cent sure I can leave the house in the morning and return home that night with all my bits and pieces still attached, how can I protect my child in the future?

But if I don’t have a daughter, then how can I give her one of those names and watch her grow up to be a gothic lesbian in a band, or engage in any other possible career path? I guess this is just one of those times when you simply must run the risk to earn the reward. And what a reward it could be.

Naughty Nefarious, signing off.