Nut Load. Mini reviews of games old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional shock face.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Serious Sam - The first Encounter

Genre: FPS | Players: 1-4 | Developer: Croteam

Note: the version reviewed here is the classic PC version, not the HD remake of 2009.

The best way to describe Serious Sam is to say that it is to Quake likes what Duke Nukem was to doom likes: It's his unhinged, degenerate cousin. the one that hops naked on the table at the wedding of your sister. and starts to write his name on the tablecloth with his piss. 

Only he does it with a perfect gothic font, in  ancient Latin, and his piss smells like Channel N°5. this is what Serious Sam amounts to. The game is stupid, linear, doesn't require much strategy (only in how you're going to handle the inhuman mass of enemy he's throwing at you, sometimes up to more than a hundred at a time.), it's obnoxious and quite impossible to take seriously. 

But it's fun, the controls are as good as it was possible back then, and on top of that, for a game of that time, it was beautiful. forget gloomy corridors, even if there are some, you'll spend a lot of time in a gorgeous, colorful recreation of ancient Egypt. At the time, Serious Sam was a breath of fresh air between the corridors of Unreal, Return to castle Wolfenstein or Quake 3. 

All in all Serious Sam is nothing new, but a damned good and well made nothing new. 

Similar games (some are more serious *wink wink*): Serious Sam the Second encounter, Soldier of Fortune, Duke Nukem 3D, Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast.


Buyer's guide : PC/PALM OS/Xbox/Xbox 360. FPS on Console are Heresy.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 (2008)

Genre: Tactical FPS | Players:1-2 | Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Vegas 2 puts players in the character of Bishop; A veteran Rainbow commander who is pulled from teaching at the academy to help deal with the terrorists attacking Las Vegas. Players actually customize Bishop themselves for both multi and single player. Not just to look cool, but playing gains XP which unlocks new equipment with different ratings for armor and mobility affecting how durable you are and how fast you can move.

The campaign runs both before, concurrently and after the events of the first game, but the action is mostly the same, even with the same teammates. The AI though is much improved. No longer do they get in each others way and now move more tactically when moving to objectives. They also now have their own inventory unlike the 1st game where players were incentivized to use them because they had an infinite supply of explosives and such. You can now also direct not just their location, but also their fire and the new environments are much more open making the endless clearing of rooms much less repetitive as well as new enemies with new weapons(fuck you shield assholes). As good as the AI has become, Cooperative Multiplayer  is still the most exciting for me. Unlocking new equipment actually forced me into trying new weapons and strategies which I appreciated. Otherwise I would just always use a submachine gun and a sniper rifle. Always.

Everything is better, but the same making this more expansion then sequel. Bishop is a much more fun character, better customization, and better tactical stats that actually affect gameplay make this a much more engaging playthrough than the first.

Buyer's Guide:
Available on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC

4 Obvious Red shirts and traitors out of 5

Rainbow Six: Vegas (2006)

Genre: FPS, Tactical Shooter | Players: 1-2 | Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Logan Keller is on his first mission as team leader of a Rainbow Six team in Mexico to find a terrorist leader. Things go awry and his two team members are captured, but before he can launch a rescue, he is brought back to help deal with an attack by terrorists in Las Vegas. He joins up with a new squad as team leader to clean up the city and find out what the terrorists objectives are.

Players control Logan directly in a first person view and can order his team around with various commands mostly just by pointing where you want them to go. This being a tactical shooter, it focuses heavily on team tactics and remaining in cover which makes the camera zoom out slightly to a 3rd person view. If you just go in guns blazing like any other FPS, you WILL die pretty instantaneously. There is regenerating health, but it is very limited. Sustained fire will kill you in less than a second. Your teammates are a bit more durable, but they are not invincible. You can get through a good chunk of the single player just ordering your team to clear every single room, but pretty much every encounter has multiple viewpoints from which players can support the team. Using different weapons with different properties is useful, but not entirely necessary. They are still mostly interchangeable unless you try to snipe with a shotgun like an idiot. The main thing is to know when to use silencers. Though there is almost no reason to take them off. You lose some power with it on but not enough to outweigh the advantage stealth can give you.

While certainly more tactical than most other shooters, R6: Vegas is certainly less so than its predecessors. Not bad per se, but it is certainly streamlined. Overcoming a gaggle of enemies quickly and efficiently is the point and can be satisfying. The varied architecture of the various environments makes the possibilities of  encounters like puzzles. It can be hampered somewhat by your teams limited AI that sometimes act like morons. Co-op multiplayer was a better option. Overall a mostly satisfying experience.

Buyer's Guide:
Available on PS3, Xbox 360, PC, and a different version also called R6: Vegas for PSP.

Breach and clear out of 5

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Burnout CRASH! (2011)

Genre: Wreck Your Shit  |  Players: One  |  Developer: Criterion Games

CRASH! is a digital-only title available from PSN, XBL and the Apple store. It has none of the arcade racing elements traditionally associated with the Burnout series. Instead, it takes the Crash Mode, simplifies the visuals and gives it a top down perspective similar to early GTA games. Unlike GTA, however, the active playing area is very small. There’s a brief run-up to the crash zone, but 99.9% of the time you’ll be in a small, self-contained area with one or two intersections and some destructible buildings. Yes, they’re destructible, and in some levels you’re encouraged to do so if you want to hit the high scoring multipliers.

The main objective is to cause as much damage as possible in the allotted time, damage which is then converted into a cash value. Fulfil enough criteria for each level, which includes hitting set targets of cash, and you can move onto the next intersection to do the same thing all over again but with increased difficulty.

Meet specific targets and you can unlock new vehicles. More than just a cosmetic change, they add a further strategic element by having different ratios of Power (damage) to After-touch (ability to control direction of your own vehicle during the post-crash chaos). Some intersections can be beaten with any vehicle, but not all objectives are so easily obtainable - some will require a specific set of wheels.

Special events can be triggered that do massive amounts of damage to the environment, but you'll have to earn them first. They're usually worth the effort.

It’s an enjoyable waste of time that players can drop in and of quickly, but will likely only have lasting appeal to high score junkies who love to cause chaos on busy digital roads. I'm not one for setting and subsequently working my ass off to beat a personal best, so once I'd beaten it I was done with it. For £2.00 (in a PSN sale) it was worth it, though I'd not like to have paid much more than that.

2½ Spandau Ballets out of 5