Thar Be Dragons
I finished Afro Samurai last week. What a blast that ended up being. It is likely more style than substance, but it was an extremely competent brawler with a little Prince of Persia-style platforming thrown-in. The star of the show was certainly Samuel L Jackson who voices your character and narrates throughout the game as your companion "Ninja Ninja".
There were many laugh out loud moments from the dialogue and Jackson's trademark delivery. Having never watched the anime, I don't know how much dialogue and story was pulled from the show, but I found the story very entertaining and the gameplay (on hard) was just challenging enough to keep me on my toes.
I'd highly recommend it to fans of the show and really to anyone who enjoys modern brawlers. Afro Samurai's unique art style, amazing soundtrack, and hilarious voice work makes it a must play in my books. Here is a trailer and intro (low res vid) for Afro Samurai. It might tempt some of you to keep a look out for the game at your local used game locations.
Finishing up Afro Samurai allowed me to move on to another single player experience and I finally started my long anticipated Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.
As a child of the 80's, well as a teenager of the 80's, I lived and breathed 80's action flicks. The sheer level of parody, references, and emulation of these 80's films in Blood Dragon is staggering and I've barely scratch the surface of the game. From classic action-flick lines being dropped constantly in the story to the amazing 80's synth-rock soundtrack, it is a love letter to all the films of my youth.
I'm glad I held back playing it until my memory of Far Cry 3 had faded substantially. The gameplay in Blood Dragon is of course extremely similar to Far Cry 3, but I simply loved traversing the landscape and the combat of Far Cry 3. Blood Dragon still feels too easy (even on hard) which was my major complaint about Far Cry 3, but it is so much fun that it is easy to overlook the lack of difficult challenge in the game.
I'm a little sad to see the only option for music is on or off in Blood Dragon. This was another problem with Far Cry 3 and I ended up turning off the music in that game. However, the 80's soundtrack sendup makes me want to keep Blood Dragon's music on (which is extremely rare for me with first person shooters). I wish there was a music volume slider and the ability to turn off the battle music, as I feel battle music ruins the atmosphere of a game, but I'm pretty sure I can overlook these niggling issues.
One option that really pisses me off is the game's video calibration. If you are going to offer brightness or gamma calibration in games, then you need to provide a tool that will actually allow me to make adjustments to a reference point.
As you can see in the picture above, this is what is supplied in Blood Dragon to adjust your video settings to allow for proper brightness, contrast and gamma. It is great they supply all three sliders where most games only give you gamma or brightness, but this is useless when the reference image is that basic.
As an example, from The Elder Scrolls Online, you can see above how you need to provide test images that allows the user to properly adjust the black levels. Providing an image that doesn't have aspects to show that the image is too bright or too dark is just pointless and leaves the user to guess what the developers wanted the test image to look like. It boggles the mind too, it isn't rocket science, proper test tools for black levels have been around for ages and it just seems lazy for Ubisoft to have included such a useless image for settings they clearly think are important.
I also had my weekly game night of The Elder Scrolls Online. We've hit level 40 and the level cap is 50 (with 12 levels of Veteran rank after that). I'm not sure how much content we have left in the story quest, but I imagine we are nearing the end. I'm still loving it and I'm excited to hit the Veteran levels where the difficulty will be higher. I'm also excited to dabble in the PVP areas after we finish the main story. We could go to the PVP areas now, but I'd rather save that for after the main quest as we'll likely want to respec a lot of our points to gear our characters to PVP.
So hopefully this weekend will allow for some more Elder Scrolls Online, more Blood Dragon and more BattleBlock Theater (which is so good) with my son.
What are you playing this weekend?