Wednesday, November 27, 2013



The new Wolfenstein: The New Order has been one of my most anticipated games for quite a while now. Recently it seems there's not so much talk on the internet about that game, which I absolutely don't understand. Neither the developer's page (machinegames), nor the publisher's (bethsoft) or even the offical game page (wolfenstein) offers any current news or statement. Why is there hardly any new information on that game? I am pretty sure that game is almost finished. On E3 this summer Andreas Öjefors (Sen. Gameplay Designer) from MachineGames said the game will be released during "holidays this year"... Although that was a rather imprecise statement, many eagerly waiting fans might have concluded to put this game under their Christmas tree.

Unfortunately the only information we can find now is a release date defined by only four digits: "2014". Why is that? Is there maybe some connection to the rumors about problems with the multiplatform games also released for the next-gen systems? You all remember the delay of Watch Dogs and the intense ripples it spread across the web; rumors it's been delayed because of graphical issues and/or network problems because of the DRM implementations being removed? Did the Wolfenstein officials disappear from the radar to avoid similar discussions?

Let me briefly recap why Wolfenstein: The New Order looks like one of the currently most promising story-driven, action-adventure first person shooter - boy, they didn't save on genre descriptions for this one: 1960, London, Nazis won the Second World War and constructed their global empire, they have astonishing and decades-ahead technology (including armies of killer robots!) and you are there to kick their asses! - Well, and also to uncover the story of how they did it, of course.

The game has a clear focus on the story, it offers puzzles, secrets, action and a ton of variation. Above all it is said to combine classic shooter elements, that were left behind, with modern day gameplay elements. This means there will be for example a classic health/shield system that you'll have to keep a good look on. Health regeneration will be there partially, but surely not in that lame way many common games do it. - Great! Can we also please have back a classic inventory of weapons? You remember: Collect a weapon and switch at any point of the game to any weapon you have ammunition for, etc. I actually don't think we will get that... somehow modern game designers seem to have problems balancing shooters when players have access to all the weapons and often decide to take the easy way out by letting them carry only two weapons at a time. Anyway, last but not least worth mentioning (unfortunately from yesterday's news): This game will be full with robots! The whole retro-science touch makes this game outstanding already. Futuristic technology from the point of view of a scientist who lived during the Second World War. - One word: Awesome!

But yeah, like I said... we already know all that. So please!!! - MachinGames, Bethesda Softworks, anybody... give us some news about your great game! How about an actual release date for once? A new trailer? C'mon, soon will be Christmas!

Play more! Inform more!

Monday, November 25, 2013


Yes, I think that did it for me... with this new game/addon/2nd part or whatever you might want to call it, Firaxis clearly ruled 2013! I was already blown to pieces by the first part XCOM: Enemy Unknown, which was interestingly also the game I did my very first review on, but this sequel exceeds its predecessor by far!

How is that possible you might ask... well, simply because Firaxis did the one thing everybody should do regarding sequels: they just added stuff! To many developers think they always need to reinvent the wheel with every new part they put out. Mostly they subtract on purpose or they end up losing some of the characteristics that made their game special in the first place in this futile attempt of replacement. Obviously the guys at Firaxis, well-known for always putting out high-class addons for their games, understand that very well.

Admittedly you might say Enemy Within is not a real second part but instead a conglomerate of single addons for Enemy Unknown, but you can buy this game stand-alone, you have a different main story, you have an additional side story and a ton of new and original content. - I think that more than qualifies for seeing it as a sequel.

I will not go too much into the details about the gameplay or what this game is at this point. If don't know anything about XCOM and you want to know more, please consider this (conveniently placed) link to my review of the first part.


In short, what is new in this game: Well, for one there are cyborgs/mechs in this part; frightening and intimidating battle machines that you can create from your soldiers control! Furthermore you'll be able to apply genetic upgrades to your soldiers somehow similar to the Psi-Abilities of the last part. However, the Psi-Abilities are still there - addition, no subtraction, remember? The gameplay didn't change a lot, if at all, it got more complex given all the new features. In Enemy Unknown, besides the good-old alien invasion plot, also your strategic management skills are put to the test as you face an alien sympathizing terror organization. Did you ever beat Enemy Unknown with no countries leaving your protection? Well, the terror cells spread across all nations will certainly keep you on your toes, since they will randomly throw nations into complete panic with their terroristic attacks. Trust me, you will be busy like hell in that game! - So much to research, so much to build, even more to upgrade and manage and... to make your life as hard as possible, never enough money or resources to do just that. And let's not forget about hundreds of enemies continuously getting harder to kill.


Unfortunately (speaking for the Xbox 360 version here) graphical bugs will be familiar to you from the last part. Actually there are even more that make it sometimes a bit frustrating to play. For example, when the game will not draw upper floors and you will end up confused where to send you troops. Also the randomness of the game didn't change for the better. I still don't know if that is what the creators wanted - it's definitely something that makes every playthrough different and exciting, but it is more than just annoying if you can sometimes forward 15 days in a row with nothing happening and then you'll have to play five missions within one single day. What also feels kind of feels strange is that now I think I will never play Enemy Unknown again... Why should I? The story of the first part wasn't that special and everything else is now outmatched by Enemy Within. I also cannot help but to feel a tad stupid; why did I buy the first part for so much money, if I could have just waited a bit for the second, even better - and by the way also cheaper - game instead? If you are new to that game, skip the first part, you won't need it.

In conclusion, there is so much new great stuff in that game, so many different options how to build your team, and so many dangers ahead. XCOM: Enemy Within is pure pleasure and strategy for easily more than 30 hours on your first playthrough and even more if that game finally drags you in! A must-have for any serious gamer who loves the challenge and likes strategic planning!

Play more! Overwatch more!

Thursday, November 21, 2013



Recently I had the honor to be interviewed by another pationate blogger and videogame fanatic: Fangirl Review. In her Gamer Corner she interviews gamers instead of developers, on a weekly basis.

In my opinion a great way to get more - and real - insight into the videogame realm, since developers are kind of politicians... - mostly saying nothing.

You can check out the interview at Gamer Corner: SeraphimIPX but you should also visit her general page for some great reviews and other posts about videogames or television series.

Thank you Fangirl for letting me part of this awesome campaign!

Play more! Interview more!

Monday, November 18, 2013


It was when I heard about a promising game called SOMA that I first came in contact with Frictional Games and their radically shocking concepts of making games; No weapons, exploration, hiding in the dark, insanity, and so on. Since SOMA will not be available for quite some time and I haven’t played a game like this before, I wanted to try it out. I wanted to see, if a game from Frictional could really be as scary as everyone was telling.

I decided to go with Amnesia: The Dark Descent, mainly because a close friend recommended it to me directly and I knew about the sequel A Machine for Pigs (released just a few months ago). I wanted the full spook program; I started to play in the evening, I turned off the lights, I was alone, I pumped up the sound of my computer and I also put the gamma and contrast settings of my monitor where they’re actually supposed to be. Retrospectively, I departed on a journey - truly, a dark descent, that I am to this day not sure what I should make of it.

The game is from 2010, so naturally I wasn’t expecting too much regarding graphics or even gameplay. However, both turned out to be quite good! The graphics felt very appropriate and were consistent with the theme and setting, while the gameplay was kind of new to me. - Ok, not too new but at least very refreshing and a good change of pace from this modern FPS and action flood. The focus is clearly put on exploration and survival, the items are scarce and some of the puzzles are more demanding than one might expect. It all comes down to you and your lantern, how good you are at creating a map of castle Brennenburg in your head and how much anxiety you can really take. I actually estimated this game will have about four hours of playtime… it turned out to be around twice as long as that. I thought I could finish the game in one, maximum two days… it took me more than a week! Why is that? - Due to the psychological stress it unleashed upon me. Seriously, I hardly could get myself to play the game more than one hour per day. Don’t get me wrong, this is not because everything was so spooky and I wet my pants all the time, it’s just that to me that game felt like a burden I put on myself. Not that it wasn’t fun and a nice experience within a great atmospheric environment but the themes of the game are rather dark and twisted.


Torture, for example, plays a central role in the game, and you know what? - I hate torture… I guess every sane person hates torture and cannot stand watching somebody being brutally tortured, yet alone being tortured themselves. But still, in some way it’s damn interesting, isn’t it? What sick torture devices were there in the past? How could someone do that to another person? After this game I spent easily two more hours on YouTube watching all kind of torture device documentaries and clips while trying not to vomit… and THAT… is exactly how the game felt to me. Why do I watch that? Why do I play that? If it makes me uncomfortable and I feel like I am suffering through this game, then why the hell do I play it? It’s not that there is a ghost and something spooky or shocking is happening… it’s just a sick story about torture and pain. After the really nice and spooky beginning of the game, after I realized how the game is working, I basically had only one goal: Get out of there, finish the game… fast! But the game didn’t let me. Every new puzzle began to feel kind of tedious and every encounter with an enemy became frustrating and annoying to say the least. - In that regard, please note that there are a lot of scripted events in that game, but sometimes the main monster that chases you seems as random as it can get. And sorry to say it like that, but if there are situations where there’s only one corridor that you have to pass and the monster keeps lurking just in that one corridor, I don’t give a damn! The monster might not react on any distraction and as soon as it spots you, you are dead! After the game resets you, you might get lucky and the monster is no longer in that certain area, so you can go on with the game.


I think you can see I still have mixed feelings about this game; On one side it was just disappointing, on the other it was an interesting experience, sometimes it felt exciting but most of the time it came across as solely disturbing and annoying. I liked the voice acting, the music and the sound effects but not necessarily the story. I think the game offers some great puzzles and scary events, but on the other hand the spook seems to get lost pretty fast and all that remains is frustration.

Like I said, during this game I felt torn between “I don’t want to play that anymore” and “It’s interesting, so let’s continue”. I don’t know if that’s what the creators wanted or if it was just my fault, given how I approached this game. After this game I just have to ask myself if all that disgusting and crazy stuff is really necessary in order to frighten people. Is there nothing but blood, torture and twisted thinking that induces fear? I certainly don’t want to put the game in a bad light for you and I suggest you try it yourself, but for me I think it will be best to let this game or rather "genre" rest for now. I am sorry for Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, but I don't feel in the psychological state to play it now. I will also skip a Penumbra part for the same reason. Depending on its release date I will however play SOMA most definitely!

Play more! Hide more!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013



You need to check that out, people! A few days ago I stumbled over a great fan site regarding hacked games. - Don't worry, nothing illegal going on there, this is a site made by a hobby coder and true fan of classic videogames. MIG, a guy with obviously really good taste, gathered a small community around his page and has been playing around with classic game code for a while now. So regarding the term "hacked games", he refers to classic games that he and others somehow changed, reprogrammed and/or filled with new content.

MIG himself ultimately wrote his own engine and created several homebrewed Castlevania fan games - The Lecarde Chronicles being the most recent.

In other words: CHECK OUT THIS PAGE and get to play a free, 100% retro Castlevania fan game that comes as close to originals from the 90s as it can get! I already played a bit into The Lecarde Chronicles and I love it so far! Awesome music, familiar simplicity in gameplay yet challenging, great graphics and overall real Castlevania atmosphere!

This game just queued into the top of my playlist, so be sure there will be a review coming up soon! I guess also the other games on that page (for example a Double Dragon fan game) are worth a look!

Play more! Whip more!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Many things have been said about this game long before it saw the light of the day. I myself stated several times among friends that I don't think a Caribbean flair could fit to the franchise, how disappointed I have been by the last part due to its enormous lack of QA and that this alone would be a reason not to dive helter-skelter into Black Flag.

Well,... although this new game doesn't remove the stench of its predecessor and it won't get me to play the previous installment of the franchise again, one thing is as clear as the Caribbean sea: I was wrong. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is a great game in every aspect as far as I can tell after about 15 hours of playing. Actually it seems that the last part was more of a beta for this game, regarding the new mechanics implemented in Assassin's Creed III, similar to what we can see at certain operating systems.

The atmosphere and the environment is simply gorgeous. I think it's safe to say we all love the Caribbean and also the pirate life, although quite different than depicted in hundreds of movies and stories, has a certain appeal to us. So far, I haven't seen one single location in that game that didn't make me ooze into my couch because of joy. Although I am not the guy to go just with graphics, but if they are good it should be mentioned. And in this game they are not only good but actually perfect. For me the graphical aspects of a game don't start with pixels and end with frames - no, everything has to be coherent, harmonious and to fit to the experience. The world of Black Flag we can see, makes me dreaming.


Given the vast portfolio on moves that Ezio - sorry, Edward - can perform by now, it's an absolute pleasure to run and jump around palm trees and beautiful beaches on one side and - finally again - great rooftops on the other. Yes, it's still Assassin's Creed! Additionally another feature of the last part has been well implemented and taken to the next level in Black Flag: Ship battles. Actually it doesn't stop at battling, but the ship has become kind of your main travelling and exploration tool. But what would a good pirate game be without a pirate ship, right? And you will need it! The map - or rather the world - of this game is gigantic! You have smaller islands with treasures to find according to old-school pirate-style treasure maps, as well as bigger islands with beautiful cities. There are forts to bomb and fierce corvettes to sink, whales to catch and sharks to avoid. Whether the sun shines on your ship or you find yourself in the middle of a brutal storm, the sea never rests and neither will your heart.

Unfortunately I can't tell too much about the story right now, since I only played a part of the seemingly endless campaign by now, but I think it's safe to say that it is there. I don't know how they did it yet, but yes, even the core story of Assassin's Creed (Desmond, Aliens, Templars, etc.) is there. Since you would most likely not want to read spoilers, let's leave it at: We will see how it plays out.

I feel like I have to control myself not to get dragged into the game too much. Actually I have decided to postpone the rest of the game for now, because it is simply too big for me. I am still not done with all the challenges in the new Batman, and after so much hardcore Batman gaming, I am not ready to play the next two weeks nonstop on Black Flag. If this game has one crucial flaw I can tell for sure at this point, it is that it's just too big! Seriously, I don't want play right now because this would consume too much of my time... and three other games I'd like to play at the moment. I guess, sometimes we gamers are sick, right?

Maybe I should get me that bottle of rum...

Play more! Rum more!

Friday, November 1, 2013


"You play too much with your computer.", "Go outside, the sun is shining!", "I don't want you stay in your room all day. Go and get fresh air!",... sounds familiar to you? - The voice of a caring mother can be annoying sometimes, right? I was about nine years old and just got my hands on the new and fourth installment of the famous Megaman series for my Nintendo Entertainment System. Games were challenging as hell back in those days and I played this game every free minute I had. One day it was a really beautiful summer day; not a single cloud, hot, sunny and my mother was already bugging me throughout the whole breakfast not even to dare turn on that "dorky computer", as she liked to call it. But it's really not that simply, now is it?

Eventually I had no other option but to take a book and go read it outside on our terrace. - Of course, I sneaked the Megaman instruction manual with me inside of the book. After a while I noticed our small side table and began immediately to calculate the measurements of it. In my head the image got clearer and sharper with every minute. "What a great idea", I thought and promptly told my mother about my ingenious plan: "Look,... side table + my television + NES + fresh air = everybody happy". Naturally she had her concerns, but it didn't take too long to convince her to try and so I got all the stuff from my room and assembled it according to my vision.

The side table was rather small, since we mainly used it to put on drinks and glasses when we had guests on our great barbecue parties. But on the other hand so was my television. Back then we didn't have such fancy and big screens like today. My whole NES, SNES as well as the PlayStation childhood videogame universe took place on a screen with approximately 16''. Nevertheless, this television - which I still have stored by the way - was perfect for the small side table and there was nothing standing between me and Megaman anymore. After a few days I didn't even take my TV back inside anymore. I just left it outside and got up even more early on the following days to play already during breakfast.

Time went by and although the side table disappeared, I always found something else to put my television onto, year after year, when the winter was finally over. Eventually also my small TV got replaced by newer models over time and I started to use our arbor back in the garden instead of the terrace. Also my friends were crazy about that idea and started doing the same at their homes. Ever since that old Nintendo days, most of the time we were visiting each other during summer we played outside; whether it was on terraces, with a few chairs in the middle of the lawn or in other great places like an old barn, where it became sort of a tradition for us to conduct a LAN-party every year, if time and weather allows it.

Outside and together

I have nothing but great memories of my spring and summer days. Be it Super Mario World, A Link to the Past or Secret of Mana on the Super Nintendo or Final Fantasy VII, Sysmphony of the Night and many more on the PlayStation, the Xbox and all of my other systems, I will always remember that days with a smile. Even today and although I am no longer living with my parents, I still prepare my arbor at home with a couch and a television every year. To me, there is nothing better than spending a sunny afternoon with friends and games in that magical place next to our small pool. And when the sun sets and the stars appear on the sky preceding a warm summer night, nobody thinks about going home or the stressful lives we have now...

We keep setting one golf record after the other in Wii-Sports instead. We keep drinking, laughing, philosophizing and enjoy our wonderful moment with videogames in one of the best ways they can be played: Outside and together!

Play more! Reminisce more!