Archive | May 2014

I gave up on this game because…

The Lord of the Rings: War in the North – Crash/Glitch/Bug at Mirkwood

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Summary: When you beat the spider and are in Mirkwood (halfway through the game), at a certain area, full of webs, there is an autosave, after this autosave you cannot get past that area of the forest, neither forward or backward, the maps do not load.

Actual Result: I was travelling through the forest, and entered a rectangular area, I kept moving forward and when I got to the end of the area, I hit “a wall”. I tried to go back because I figure I missed something but when I arrived where I came from I hit another wall, I was stuck.

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Expected Result: When travelling through that area, after defeating the spider, the map should load normally and you should be able to pursue your walk/exploration in the forest to continue the adventure, or be able to go back in case you had missed some item.

Steps to Replicate: This will happen to anyone with the autosave feature, when he enters that square/rectangular area in the forest and the autosave turns on, if the map does not load, you are stuck there forever. This can be avoided if the feature is off and you can load your game from the last save point, before the rectangular area, however it is not promised that it won’t happen again, or that it will. My suggestion would be fixing it by patching the game, or at least temporarily disabling all autosave features.

Severity: This is a high-risk bug, extremely severe because the game just becomes unplayable, due to the autosave, the game is loaded in the frozen area and you just can’t get out, a whole new adventure has to be started. It’s unfair to the players who will give up on the game because they can’t bother to start all over and play half of the game all over again, this can have a huge impact, because other players will learn about this and won’t play the game out of fear of the same happening to them, this could cause massive negative impact financially.

Free Angels Fly High

The League of Angels (Web Game MMORPG).

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Positives:

+ Positive interaction between controls and the game, it’s easy to grasp and understand as well as customize keyboard and mouse to move, control and fight with your character.

+ Number of skills that can be added and what you choose to add to your skills adds a great amount of choice and possibilities to your strategy.

+ There is a generous map and a great amount of missions that offers players variety so that it’s never the same.

+ To those that are not used to the complexity of some MMORPG’s like World of Warcraft, the League of Angels offers a great start, it’s simple and user friendly and the introduction gets you into the action right away, it also features a good tutorial.

Negatives:

– Depending on your Internet speed, you can have a good or bad experience in the game, but even if you have a good one, expect some server failures from time to time.

– When playing and moving around the area, when there are a high amount of players around, the screen gets confusing and you don’t even see your player, on screen (visual players) should be limited.

– Even though it’s simple and offers some options regarding skills, for more experienced MMORPG players it will lack on this side.

– There aren’t many classes/types to choose from, which can be good if you are inexperienced, but experienced players will see this is as a great limitation on strategy.

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Thoughts:

  • Entertaining introductory game for MMORPG, offering a good amount of choices and different trajectories for a webgame.
  • A good first step on MMORPG for people wanting to get into this very particular genre. After getting the hand of this game, it’s a natural leap towards World of Warcraft or Starcraft.
  • Fighting style and characters sometimes have great resemblance to League of Legends.
  • “Tree style” skills is user friendly and explains well to the player what his options are and what impact it will have on both his character and foes.

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Would Like:

o   The ability to choose other classes or types to have a deeper sense of strategy and wider options in combat.

o   More skills types, going along with the extension of types idea (above), more defensive and offensive skills with different side effects like paralysis, poisoning and so on.

o   (Uncertain). Haven’t been able to configure a controller with the game, have tried two of them and it didn’t work. It’s a problem if no controllers work since there are some gamers who don’t enjoy playing with keyboard and mouse.

o   Abolition of paying items, it’s debatable if it’s “unfair” or not to have someone stronger than you because he pays for it and this is just an opinion but I’m a defender of the theory that the rewards should be based on skill so either make it payable for the entire game for everyone, or free for everything.

The Dawn of Home Console – Super Mario Bros

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Super Mario Bros – NES

Gameplay Successes:

+ Running with the press of one of the buttons making the game faster and more exciting

+ Being able to kill most of the enemies with the simple press of a button (Flower Mario – fire balls) or jump makes it simple but fun.

+ 100 Coins giving a life

+ Variety of enemies, not being able to kill them in the same way, some you can kill them with a jump, others only with Fire Ball and there are others impossible to kill.

+ Swimming was a very nice feature and it was easy to pick up

+ No instructions needed, very intuitive game, one button to run another to jump.

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Negatives:

– Glitches or bugs that made the game beatable in an easier way.

– Shortcuts were too big; I believe that jumping from level 1 to 4 and from 4 to 8 ruins a bit of the experience, these should have been left out in my opinion.

– Points serve no purpose; I would implement a life system (even if there was already one with the coins or remove the points)

– The flag does not serve a purpose as well, it gives points, but since points are almost useless to, there’s no reason to fall at the top, bottom or middle of the flag

– Always the same boss, it became a bit too repetitive, it only added a bit of difficulty with spitting fire or sending hammers, but having Bowser at the end of each level seemed like “all seen before”.

– Final castles all looked alike, there could have been more modifications

Thoughts:

  • There was no real ending except a phrase of thank you at the end
  • Small rooster of enemies, there some variations of the same enemies such as goombas or koopas, but there could have been more.
  • Losing a flower by being hit by an enemy and becoming immediately small seemed a punishment too harsh.
  • Shortcuts are way too rewarding, getting to the last level by only playing 4 levels is too easy.

Would Like:

o   Double Jump feature, added in more recent games, opens up new opportunities and challenges.

o   More power-ups, would bring more options regarding enemies, there could have been enemies only defeated by a certain power up.

o   3 stages of life, Power-up – Big – Small when hit by an enemy, Mario would become tiny immediately, the middle stage seems fair.

o   More variety of enemies

o   A scoreboard for the points earned, or lives earned after X-amount of points earned.

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time Analysis

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Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time (PS3)

Positives:

+ Great control over the characters, has a great feeling of accuracy and precision.

+ Characters with different abilities, makes the player adapt quickly to new techniques and new ways to play but the controls are almost the same, making it easy to understand.

+ Tons to collect add replay value to the 100% completion fans.

+ Cross-saving is a great feature for those who’d like to continue their game on the Vita, addiction is sometimes temporary, and this gives the opportunity to players to continue their game and not shutdown the console and not playing the game again if they don’t have the time in front of the TV.

Negatives:

– Same old formula, with little innovation in the levels, it seems like everything has been done before in the series.

– No risk was taken regarding gameplay; Sly has had pretty much the same techniques for a few years now, except the suits that were a positive innovation.

– The game is quite straightforward and doesn’t offer much of a challenge, lacking charismatic bosses and hard ones too, there is no sense of punishment if you die, making the game easier.

– Hacking levels are extremely dull and unoriginal, they wanted to make it retro style or old school at some point, but they end up just being generic games, that don’t add much to the experience of the players.

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Thoughts:

  • A fun game from a well-known series but that fails to deliver enough innovation to be memorable.
  • The gamer doesn’t quite identify with the characters, those lack a bit of deeper insight, especially Sly’s ancestors, they are a bit dull and we know almost nothing about them, just a few piece of information given with some humor but that is forgotten extremely fast
  • Just one or two techniques from Sly’s relatives that are different isn’t enough and are, sometimes, too easy to master.
  • Mechanics haven’t changed for years, the way you control Sly, jumps, or hanging from ropes, etc. has always been the same.

Would Like:

o   Risks taken with gameplay and techniques, maybe more combos for fighting, that wouldn’t make the game so repetitive.

o   Added value to Sly’s family with more unique techniques, even some hidden techniques and a deeper story to them, they forgettable characters.

o   Hacking games, if they are supposed to bring some nostalgia at some point, they should do it more carefully maybe showing some old games, or “blinking the eye” to some of the arcade classics, they are all quite easy.

o   Co-operative more, with Sly and it’s family members would be a nice addition, if both had more unique techniques, levels could be more complex.

o   More challenging puzzles, too many hints are given (an option to disable them?) and the puzzles are too straightforward.

Civilization V Tutorial Analysis

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Civilization V Tutorial- PC

Gameplay Successes:

+ In-game tutorial let’s you understand what steps you should take and have a quick start in the game.

+ Helps getting started and to know what moves to do next

+ Comes in form of advice from counselors which it’s more believable instead of just pointing out what you have to do with information.

+ The tutorial isn’t rushed, when new options open, it quickly guides through it without taking too long, because players want… to play.

Negatives:

– It contains too much text; it should be more interactive instead of having to read everything.

– Clearly lacking information: It has so much text in some parts of the tutorial but then it’s clearly lacking menu exploration and explanation of options, I think a nice interactive video or “guidance” would explain the player in a easier way.

– No explanation at all about some features of the game and options available.

– Not very concise and precise, lacks some assertiveness.

Thoughts:

  • Feels as if the creators believed that everyone would already know how to play the game, explanations should always be give, or at least an option to skip tutorial for experienced Civ players, on the other hand, newcomers should have all the explanations about the features
  • This tutorial is done in a clever way, by the advisors, but the fact that you have to do, or tend to do exactly what they tell you at the beginning, it may affect your strategy in the long run
  • The tutorial is lacking in regards to the game, it’s a great, complex strategy game, and for those kind of games a more deep introduction should be given, especially for newcomers: i.e. strategy tips, military options, democratic options and so forth.
  • Some video implementation with examples could have relieved the text weight on it.

Would Like:

o   A special tutorial level at the beginning of the “adventure” to introduce newcomers, this could be skipped by more experienced players so that they don’t lose time if they don’t want to.

o   Nice vocal integration into the tutorial, and avoid those deep mythical voices. A Morgan Freeman style narration would be perfect…

o   A feature that would guide your mouse through the menus and options of the game with interactive clicks and choices.

o   A correction should be made so that you aren’t forced to take the steps that the game indicates because they can have an impact on your strategy or style of play.

Multiplayer Video Game Analysis

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Guardians of Middle-Earth – MMOBA PS3

 Gameplay Successes:

+ Button set up with the wished attacks or moves, making it easy to use and a fast way to chose any move.

+ Character pacing is well balanced between the slower and faster characters, making it a strategy element, when choosing if a faster or slower character.

+ Basic classes known over the years, nothing to add here, makes it simple for MMORPG starters

+ Classic Tolkien characters, making players going to the characters they prefer and with whom they connect in the world of the Lord of the Rings

+ Use of minions to help during the game is a good feature, making the battles more intense.

Negatives:

– Server issues, sometimes it takes way too long to connect to a game, more money should be invested into having more stable servers.

– There are only two types of map with one or three paths, more maps could be added to bring a larger variety and more strategies between players and teams

– Small amount of characters in the beginning, making the game very limited in terms of choices

– Confusing set of potions to chose from, it should transformed into a simpler menu with better and more clear definitions

– Glitches and freezing times during the game, this should be patched and fixed, because it ruins the experience for the players

 

Guardians-Of-Middle-Earth-Combat-Screenshot

 

Thoughts:

  • The fact that you have to buy some characters demotivates some of the players
  • The limited settings and maps brings the experience to a repetitive stage, at some point, players believe it’s always the same
  • There should be more incentive so that players pick up other characters, we see over and over again the main characters from the story, such as Legolas, Gandalf, Aragorn and so on…
  • Enemy characters seem too unattractive to the players, it seems that hero teams are always more complete with players and don’t need CPU characters.

Would Like:

o   A mode where players could regroup and discuss live strategy or chat that is more users friendly

o   Unlocking of characters through leveling up instead of currency exchange.

o   More prizes per victory, some victories don’t give any self-accomplishment.

o   Larger customization for example accessories or clothes

A Highly Rated Game Analysis… Pokemon Red

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Pokémon – Red Version (Gameboy) – 10/10 IGN Masterpiece | 9.3 IGN Users Rating | 87.86% from Game Rankings – Based on 21 Reviews

Gameplay Successes:

+ Catching Pokémon with poke balls – simple and clear, having to lower the wild Pokémon energy and throw a poke ball to catch it, the greater the power of the Poke Ball (GreatBall, UltraBall, MasterBall) the easier it is to catch it, it’s simple and intuitive.

+ Turn-based fighting system was the best solution for the Game Boy’s power, it makes the fighting more strategic

+ Only an action per turn makes the game more intense and the planning more important: i.e. think carefully when using an object because you won’t be able to use a Pokémon move, if you are in a difficult situation, one little mistake could make the difference between winning and losing

+ Variety of items makes the game more fun and personal, each one invests in the Pokémon he thinks will benefit more, you can improve attack, defense, health and so on…

+ Wide variety of Pokémon at that point (150) made this game extremely huge for that time and with a lot of options

+ Perfect amount of Pokémon in a team (6) makes it more important to balance out your team with types.

+ Many different types of Pokémon make the perfect RPG, having to carefully strategize on how your team will be built

+ Exchange system to complete the Pokédex was a great innovation.

+ Shortcut (select) to use an item was extremely useful if the same item was used frequently.

+ Use of PC to store Pokemon so players don’t lose them was a great system and it worked perfectly because there were computers all over the world, so you could change your party often – same worked for items

Negatives:

– Characters speed, the trainer walked slowly, further in the game a bicycle was given but it was upsetting having to select the bike every time; this issue was already fixed in recent games with running shoes that make the character walk faster without having to chose a bicycle

– Item organization was confusing; everything in the same bag, players would spend a lot of time looking for a particular item if their bag was full, issue addressed in new games, with different compartments for the items.

– Secret moves such as H&M’s weren’t a very annoying feature, because the player had to chose a Pokemon that could learn Flash for example to enter a dark cave, even if he didn’t wish that Pokemon on his or her party. This issue could be addressed by making those moves a Pokemon Trainer feature, as long as he has them, he could use them without the use of a particular Pokemon.

– Although it’s a Pokemon’s feature, I believe that Gym Champions having an exclusive type, makes the game easy when it comes to combats with the CPU, from the second or third gym champion, there is no real challenge until the Elite 4

Thoughts:

  • Wild Pokemon appeared, at some points, with a ridiculous frequency (caves are the best example of this)
  • Use of the Old Rod to only catch Magikarp makes that Rod almost useless because you can catch higher level Magikarps with other rods
  • The fact that you only have one opportunity to catch some Pokemon (Legendary or Snorlax) makes them unique and gives a great sense of accomplishment after catching them.
  • Feeling that some Pokémon became overpowered at some point in the game and that the CPU trainers had no chance to win
  • No real purpose in having Pokemon Safari

Would Like:

o   Starters catchable further in the game – that would not hurt the exchange system if other Pokemon were exclusive.

o   More variety of wild Pokémon, it seems like you are seeing the same over and over again, 150 Pokemon gives enough quantity to have a greater variety.

o   More types – As there are now

o   A larger amount of moves usable by Pokemon because the H&M’s occupy one space

o   Abandoning H&M’s use on Pokemon

o   A darker story involving Pokemon and not just a kid wanting to be a champion.

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