Tag: history

Why Left 4 Dead 2 is one of the greatest Zombie Survival games of all time!

Why Left 4 Dead 2 is one of the greatest Zombie Survival games of all time!

Introduction

Zombie games have gotten themselves a bad reputation as of late. They’ve just become a saturated market where they all feel the same now. State of Decay 2 and Metal Gear Survive both seem like pretty bland, low effort Zombie Survival games. Its really unfortunate to see how much they’ve gone down the tubes. Especially years after the release of Dying Light; and while that game didn’t have the greatest story, the gameplay was fantastic. I really enjoyed the parkour elements, I loved the melee combat, and loved the open world. Especially when the released The Following, making the world bigger. However, it never was as great as this one. The one zombie game that I still play even to this day. The one game that I’ve cherished forever. That game … is Left 4 Dead 2.

This game is a Zombie Survival game, done right. This was during the Golden Age of Turtle Rock Studios. I absolutely enjoyed this game for it’s gameplay, it’s story, it’s characters, and it’s level design. This game forces you to work as a team in an environment filled with hundreds of thousands of zombies. From common infected to special infected, you’ve got to fight your way through the horde to make it from point A to point B. It may seem like a simple objective, but its the journey that makes it a challenge and what makes the game more fun. You’ll have moments when you feel like you’re in the clear and alone, but then you’ll hear that familiar tune, and you’ll have a Boomer ambush your group and cause a horde to attack you guys.

There is so much to say about this game, so let’s talk about it!

Story

Now, this game’s story sounds very simplistic on the surface. You play as one of four survivors. Either Rochelle, Coach, Nick, or Ellis. These characters each have their own unique personalities and backstories. Rochelle was a news reporter, Coach was (obviously) a former High-School football coach, Nick was a gambler and con-artist, and Ellis was a junior mechanic. As you play through the game, you get a brief mention of the backstory of each of the characters. This can be heard through the dialogue segments that you can hear when your in safe rooms.

As the game progresses, you begin share this bond with these characters. The AI makes these guys feel real when you play alone. The other survivors have your back all the way. They will heal you and they will provide you with buffs to help keep you going and keep you safe. So long as you guys stick together, you’ll be an unstoppable force.

Now back to the story. As I’ve said before, it’s very simplistic. If you look at it on the surface, you main objective is to go from point A to point B. However, once you start digging deep into the lore of this world. Reading the graffiti on the walls of the safe rooms, scouring the environment, and listening to the characters speak. Doing all this will begin to unravel the deep lore of this universe. This is what Valve has always been really good at. Keeping the story ambiguous and leaving the player to make up their own thoughts and theories on how everything happened.

It’s what Valve has done with all their titles. Hell, even Team Fortress 2 has a deep and rich lore, but that’s a story for another day. The point is, this game’s story is purposefully ambiguous so the player can think of how things went down on their own. While part of me would like a codex (because I love a good codex), I do think this is the best way to have a story told in a Zombie Survival game. Leave the player to figure things out as the game progresses so they can be immersed into the world.

Gameplay

This is where Left 4 Dead 2 shines brighter. It’s gameplay. There is a lot to discuss on this part of my review. We’ll mostly be discussing the basics here, but if you want to learn more, definitely check out the Wiki where it’s all explained. First, let’s discuss the team work aspect. As I’ve previously stated, this game REQUIRES team work! You’ll never be able to traverse through this game on your own. This game throws wave after wave of common infected at you, and also the random ambushes from special infected. You need to work and communicate as a group in order to make it to the next safe room.

Now to combat. There are two weapon types in this game. Firearm weapons and melee weapons. Melees help you out in close quarters combat. Great against hordes of common infected. Firearms are useful for long range attacks. Very useful when dealing with special infected like Spitters and Smokers. There are 22 weapons that are a mix sidearms, rifles, shotguns, and machine guns. There’s also 11 melee weapons that (while they may act the same) feel different between each one. Killing zombies with a Katana or Baseball Bat feels truly satisfying.

On to the zombies. I’ve already mentioned this earlier, but there are two zombie types in this game. Common Infected and Special Infected. Common Infected are your average zombies. They pose no real threat unless they’re in a horde. There are different types like Hazmat Infected, Construction Infected, Scavenger Infected, Mudmen, and more, but they all pretty much act the same as Common Infected. Then there’s the Special Infected, and they’re the deadlier type. The different types are Hunters, Spitters, Smokers, Jockeys, Boomers, Chargers, Witches, and Tanks.

Spitters spit pools of acid at the survivors, and the survivors will take more damage over time. Hunters will ambush survivors, and will pounce on one of them dealing as much damage as possible before they’re killed. Tanks will randomly appear. They’re basically Arnold Schwarzenegger on super steroids times ten. They’re a mindless ripped infected that will deal tons of damage to the survivors, and literally throw chunks of concrete at them try to knock them down. Watch out for this one. They can literally wipe your entire group.

Finally, the map design. This I think is one of the best thing about Left 4 Dead when it comes down to gameplay. The many different environments that you journey though have so much variety, that it’s advised that you do some exploring. There are so many areas of the game that have little weapon caches or even just some nice melee weapons for you to collect. Killing Scavenger Infected will sometimes give you med kits, pills, or even pipe bombs, searching homes can have ammo supplies and weapons waiting for you to collect, and all these features help make the world feel more alive. It rewards players who search around the different maps.

Community

This is game is turning nine-years-old this year, and the community is still continuing to thrive. While it might be a little dead on console, it’s continuing to slowly grow on PC through the Steam Workshop. Where some of the most talented gamers come to share their artistic and programming skills. Some exceptionally well made mods exist on the Workshop. Mods from popular shows/movies/games like Halo, RWBY, Star Wars, etc. Its one of the many things that makes me keep coming back to L4D2. Always wanting to see the amazing things the community has made.

There’s also the great Multiplayer this game has. From Scavenger, to Mutated, and to Versus, this game does it’s multiplayer well! Especially when you crank the difficulty to realism, for an even tougher experience. This game has some of the best moments when playing online. Interacting and competing with other players is a blast, and one of the many enjoyable experiences with this game. Allowing players the ability to play as the Special Infected is crazy. Playing as Hunters, Smokers, or even as the almost unstoppable Tank is super fun.

The Community is the one thing that continues to keep this game alive.

In Conclusion

Buy this game if you can. It’s only $20 right now and definitely worth every cent. Or if you can’t get it now, wait for a Steam Sale. I don’t care, but if you’re an avid PC Gamer, then it is your duty to seek out this game and add it to your library. I promise you, you’ll love Zombie games again playing this with your friends. Without a doubt. I’ve invested over a hundred hours into this game with my buddies both on PC and Console, and each experience was always memorable for me.

This is one of those games that I’ve unironically given a 10/10. It’s literally on the same level as games like Half-Life and System Shock 2 where it’s practically perfect minus a few minor things wrong, but the good parts of L4D2 truly out way the bad in the best way possible. I highly recommend you buy this masterpiece of a Zombie game. Trust me, you will not find any Zombie Survival game like it on the market. I truly believe that it is the one that dominates them all.

 

Why do we No Longer Blame the Murderer?

Why do we No Longer Blame the Murderer?

“People fear what they do not understand and hate what they can not conquer.”       – Andrew Smith

For over 40 years, the Gaming Industry has been under attack. For the longest time, the government has blamed gaming for many acts of violence that have occurred throughout history. Mass shootings, organized riots, or even acts of terror. These politicians make up this false reality where all video games are “virtual boot camps” that are teaching our youth how to kill. That there is “evidence” and “statistics” that prove the games cause violent crimes. That these first-person shooters are the root cause of all evil in the world. When that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, many researchers have found that 80% of mass shooters have no interest in video games at all.

So at this point, we can start to piece together that it isn’t the source of media that causes the act, but more of the person in question. It’s the person’s mental state, and how they mentally view the world through their eyes. For example, if they have it in their head that this video gamer or movie really makes them want to kill, that’s a decision they are marking on their own accord. Not because the film told them to. It’s much like how a gun can’t kill someone on it’s own. You put a gun on the table and leave it there, it isn’t going to do anything or hurt anyone. Not until you or someone else comes, picks it up, and tries to use it against someone.

So, why am I bringing up all this stuff about movies and video games? Well, it’s quite simple really. We don’t blame the murderers anymore. Yes, we arrest them. Yes, we prosecute them. Yes, we send them to jail, but at the end of the day when it all comes down to it, we don’t care about the murderer. We seem to only care about what tool was used and what possibly inspired the killings. The Las Vegas Massacre happened. What did we blame? Bump stocks. The Sandy Hook Shooting happened. What did we blame? Violent Video Games. The Parkland High School Shooting happened. What did we blame? AR-15s. The list goes on.

We get so caught up pushing our own agendas instead of attacking the real problem that lies within our own society. Guns don’t cause violence. Video games don’t cause violence. Movies don’t cause violence. Criminals cause violence. When a criminal has it in their head that they want to kill many people, they will do everything they can to achieve at committing their act. Nothing else matters to these kind of individuals. Nobody blamed the gun when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Nobody blamed the planes when almost 3,000 people died on 9/11. Nobody blamed trucks when an ISIS member ran into a crowd of people in France. However, we seem to always blame guns whenever it’s a mass shooting.

Yes … the 2nd Amendment says an armed militia can be formed in the even of a tyrannical government. However … when the government is discussing a plan to possibly repeal the 2nd Amendment … many would consider that tyrannical. When the government is attempting to revoke our human rights to self defense. In the eyes of many, that can be considered tyrannical. Look back in history people.

Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong In and Xi Jinping all have used Gun Control to the fullest extent. It’s easier to control the population when the people have no way of defending themselves. While you may say changing the age of gun purchases isn’t a big deal … all it takes is one. It starts with one regulation. We start with Bump Stocks. Then it’ll move on to age. Then we’ll increase the price of ammunition. After that, any “scary” weapons (aka Assault Weapons) will be banned from public use. Following that … it wouldn’t be long before the general public is entirely disarmed and no longer able to protect themselves.

That’s the reality we’re entering. When the government starts telling you that you don’t need guns, you NEED a gun.

 

 

The ESRB is Out of Touch with Reality

The ESRB is Out of Touch with Reality

Introduction

I don’t believe the ESRB realizes nor comprehends the reality of the situation they’ve recently gotten themselves into. As we speak, legislators from the United States are working with Representative Chris Lee to find a way to regulate loot boxes in video games, and the ESRB truly believes that loot boxes aren’t gambling. Also, there’s apparently “no evidence” to support the claims of loot boxes and gambling. Even though there’s mountains of evidence to prove otherwise. The many stories of kids spending thousands of dollars on in-game loot boxes, expressing the high/excitement they get from opening a box, and the insane prices weapon skins can cost.

This is the reality, ESRB. This is the truth behind loot boxes. It has affected children with addictive tendencies. It has even affected adults who have addictive personalities. This has been getting out of control since they were first discovered in the Fifa Franchise. It’s affecting the Gaming Industry in the absolute worst way possible. Loot Boxes aren’t “a fun way for people to purchase in-game items”. Loot Boxes aren’t “player choice” when they’re advertised in your face every time you get on. They are a problem, they are gambling, and they are getting worse with every game,. Something needs to change.

If the ESRB continues to ignore the problem, well, it won’t be long before Uncle Sam busts the doors down on the Gaming Industry. They’ve allowed the industry to go private for years, and now their pushing it too far. If the ESRB won’t find a solution, the Government will. Whether we want it or not. Let’s talk about this.

How are Loot Boxes a Form of Gambling?

I’ll give you an example, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. One of the more popular games know for it’s gambling practices. Weapon Skins are the main thing everyone on CSGO is buying right now. They can range anywhere from $0.01 – $60,000.00 depending on the rarity of the skin. No, that isn’t an exaggeration, that is an actual real price of a skin that was actually bought by somebody off of the Steam Community. I wish I was kidding, but this is fact. Moving on. Crates (depending on the rarity and value) can range between $1.00 – $5.00 and Keys (which you need to open the crates) range between $3.00 – $4.00. So after spending roughly $10.00 on a crate, you then have a random chance at getting a skin from the many different rarities.

The rarities include Common, Uncommon, Rare, Mythical, Legendary, Ancient, Exceedingly Rare, and Immortal. Of course, the rarer the item, the more valuable it becomes. So, yes, if I can spend real money on a Crate & Key and I get a highly rare skin from said crate, and then I can take the rare skin I got, cash it out for real money, then YES, that is considered gambling. You are paying real world money on a digital item that you then cash out for real world money. It’s no different than a slot machine.

You pay real world money to gamble on earning cash, which you then take a ticket to the counter to cash out the money you just won.

Why do we need Government Regulation?

I never wanted there to be government regulation. For the longest time, I had hoped and prayed that the Gaming Industry would learn from it’s mistakes and from all the backlash to stop these disgusting practices and find a better way. Clearly, I was a very naïve individual. At this point, I’m afraid we have no choice. When Chris Lee started this campaign against Loot Boxes, he came in with the intent to try and scare the industry into changing their ways without government intervention. Since AAA companies refuse to listen to legislators and consumers, they’re giving Chris no other option.

If we are going to see any change, the government is going to have intervene. When that day comes, I believe then (and only then) the Gaming Industry will finally realize the gravity of the situation, and change their ways for good. No matter how many times gaming companies try making excuses as to why Loot Boxes exist, the fact is games can be made without them. Monster Hunter World was released with no Loot Boxes and it’s a major success. Cup Head was released with no Loot Boxes, also a major success. It can be done, but companies are far too greedy.

Quantity over quality. They would much rather have a shit game that’ll make them more money in the long run, than a good game that’ll make them more money in the short run. That’s what this has all come down to.

In Conclusion

The Gaming Industry has only one option at this point; change your ways or the government will. We’ve given you one chance too many at this point. We’ve turned you into the $36 Billion Industry you are today, and you just want more. You couldn’t handle wanting more, and now its come to bite you in the ass. Do the right thing, ESRB. Call out Loot Boxes for what they are. PROPERLY regulate them to keep them out of the reach of children. Prove Chris Lee wrong and show him you actually care. Otherwise, well, he’ll just get them regulated himself.

Your move, ESRB.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nightdive Studios is in Trouble

Nightdive Studios is in Trouble

Introduction

I learned about System Shock after watching SomeOrdinaryGamers play the second game on YouTube. I got curious and decided to purchase System Shock 2 on Steam. It was $10 so I thought why not, and I’m so glad I bought it. It instantly had me hooked when I awoke from cryo-sleep. The graphics aren’t anything to write home about, but the bad graphics are what make this game more terrifying. It adds to the creep factor. This survival horror game helped inspire games like Bioshock, Prey, and even Deus Ex.

It has a good mix of RPG elements and horror. You’ve got skills to level up, weapons to maintain, chemicals you can study, tech you can hack, enemies you can learn about, lore you can listen to, and secret loot caches you can find. This game literally has it all, and it’s amazing what this game has to offer for being made in 1999. It was one of the greatest survival horror games of the old generation. It was right up there with Resident Evil and Silent Hill, and when news broke out about Nightdive Studios wanting to remake the first System Shock of the next generation, the internet freaked out.

Everything was going smoothly. The game had a successful Kickstarter (making over $1.3 Million), they released a pre-alpha demo of the game’s first mission which was also praised by critics and gamers, and there was a sense of trust between the developers and the gamers. However, something changed. Something that sent this Kickstarter on a collision course for disaster.

What happened?

During the development of the game, Nightdive had apparently switched the game’s engine from Unity to Unreal. This decision was believed to be the beginning of the end of this game’s development. After the switch, the game no longer had it’s classic gritty, horror atmosphere from the pre-alpha demo. The graphics were sharp and realistic, but that’s not what System Shock fans wanted. They wanted good graphics, but they wanted the atmosphere to stay true to the original. That clearly wasn’t happening, and it didn’t help when the developers weren’t really listening to the backers.

Things went from bad to worse, when the developers made clear that there would be gameplay changes that would meet the standards of gamers in today’s generation. Its more news fans didn’t want to hear, and by this point, red flags quickly began popping up left and right. All the developers were showing was concept art and screenshots, but nothing on the progress of the game’s development. Which is all the backers wanted to see, and yet their requests were left unanswered.

Finally, on February 16th, their worst fears had been realized. The developers made an update on their Kickstarter page stating that they would be taking a hiatus on the project. It was the worst news possible to hear, and now all we know is that the game is supposedly coming out this year. No month or day, just 2018. We haven’t heard anything from them since. Three backers of the campaign had spent $10,000 on this project, and had hope that this project would go great. I can only imagine just how horrible these backers feel.

Is there hope?

Yes, kind of. Do I feel like this Kickstarter campaign is worse than Mighty No. 9’s campaign? No, but it’s pretty damn close to being that bad. We’re talking about a classic survival horror game that’s cherished by many gamers, and to see it being remade in this state is just sad. Does Nightdive have a chance to recover from this? Yes, and here’s why. They did the right thing and stopped development so they could regroup, reorganize, and come back when they were ready. They admitted that they were moving away from their original plan. They took responsibility for their mistakes, and agreed that releasing the game now would be worse than delaying it until it was ready. This is something the developers of Mighty No. 9 would’ve never done.

These developers made mistakes, and thankfully, their taking full responsibility for their errors. They’re taking a break and they’ll be releasing the game when it’s ready. I continue to hope this game will succeed, but I remain cautiously optimistic. All we can do is wait and see. Please don’t screw this up, Nightdive.