Tag Archives: First Impressions

The Dwarves – A Book’s First Impressions!

I started reading The Dwarves by Markus Heitz last week in my spare time at work. I’ve had my eye on the game since it launched on Kickstarter, and wanted to find out the story behind the game. The book is 730 pages long, or, for a frame of reference, the same length as Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

In just a week, I’ve gotten to just shy of 1/4 of the way through. Also keep in mind, I get about an hour a day to read, at most. The Dwarves starts us off 1,035 year in the past in the 5,199th Solar Cycle. It is here that the catalyst for the events of the book are to happen. We follow the Dwarves of the Fifthling Kingdom as they make their final stand against the Perished Lands.
The Dwarves of the Fifthling Kingdom have always stood watch against the hoards to the north, but a disease has wiped out most of them. A strange curse comes from the North with the invaders. When a Dwarf falls, he is brought back, soulless, and fighting against his kin.
As more fall, the gates that have remained closed since the dawn of time, open for the first time, allowing the invaders access to all of Girdlegard.

We then jump to the 6,234th Solar Cycle, where we meet our hero, Tungdil Bolofar. He’s a Blacksmith. A Dwarf that is living in a kingdom of men. He has never met another Dwarf. After a series of events, Tungdil gets sent out on a journey, his first quest. Which is good, because he yearns for adventure, and the possibility of meeting another Dwarf.

Along his way, he meets some kind strangers, but also gets thrown into bad situations, including being forced to sneak out of an Orc encampment, getting his leg caught in a wolf trap, and other hang-ups.
Tungdil has never fought. He was raised as a Blacksmith and scholar. Where I stopped, Tungdil had just killed his first Orc, and is about to take on another.

The further I read, the more I look forward to playing the game that just released based on this novel. I’m only on page 177, and I would highly recommend picking up The Dwarves by Markus Heitz.

If you are interested: http://www.dwarves-game.com/

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ABZÛ – First Impressions & Wrap-Up!

This post will contain spoilers near the end. I will mark them so readers who want to experience this journey for themselves can stop reading.

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ABZÛ comes to us from the art director of the renown games, Flower and Journey. For those that aren’t familiar with those titles, Flower made use of the Six-axis on the PS3, as you played as a flower petal, moving along the wind to bring life to the world. A gorgeous and relaxing title with an amazing score. Journey saw us in a multiplayer setting, in which we are in a desert, and making a journey to a fallen star on a mountain top.

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A scene in Flower depicting the movement on the breeze.

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A scene in Journey depicting one of the many “sand-surfing” segments with your final destination in the background.

ABZÛ means “Ocean of Wisdom” and plays off its meaning very well. You begin as a lone diver, apparently stranded in the water. The opening scene of James Cameron’s Sanctum comes to mind. You awake and begin to explore the ocean. You can breach the surface, hold on to larger fish, find meditation statues, secret pools of fish, hidden seashells, and just generally enjoy a beautiful view of the ocean.

The controls took a bit of getting used to, but once you learn the little hidden things you can do, such as boosting, you can move around quicker and just have a lot of fun swimming around.

This game is short, but I would recommend picking it up for fans of Flower and/or Journey, or fans of scuba diving or the oceans. Normally it’s $19.99 USD, but right now it’s on sale for the Xbox One for $16.99 USD.

 

 

~~HEAVY SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT! IF YOU DO NOT WANT SPOILERS, PLEASE STOP READING!~~

 

 

Alright, so while playing ABZÛ, I was so confused. I knew there were going to be ruins of an ancient city. What I didn’t expect was the utilization of underwater rivers in a technological standing to open doors. I started thinking, I must be in Atlantis. This was further pushed into my mind by giant mechanical doors.

That’s when I started to notice something in the murals. People looking just like the diver teaching people who looked slightly different. I started to think, alien race. Now, modern tech is modeled after them.

The further I pushed, the more my suspicions were confirmed. You find a destroyed upside-down mechanical pyramid. You watch as it creates machinations. That’s when you discover that you might be a robot. That gets confirmed shortly thereafter. Eventually you go to destroy the machinations and return life to the ocean.

Finishing ABZÛ, I have a lot of theories. The primary being that you were a mechanized race, come to show people technology and how to utilize the soul of the ocean. Something went wrong. Either they rebelled, or a catastrophe happened. I think it WAS Atlantis based on technologies and buildings you see, especially an entire city (looking like Jules Verne’s Atlantis from Journey to the Center of the Earth).

I also think that, seeing what happened to the ocean, you make amends by giving parts of your own technologically advanced soul, to bring life back to the area. To repair what your race damaged.

If you’ve played it, what are your thoughts? Theories?

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Coming Soon: ABZÛ – First Impressions!

abzu-752x430That’s right! ABZÛ is a game brought to us by the former Art Director of Thatgamecompany, the guys who brought us Flow, Flower and Journey. He formed his own company after finishing his work on Journey, Giant Squid Studios, in order to create a game that was more “full of life” in comparison to Journey’s very desolate and alone feel. Published by the ever-famous 505 Games, ABZÛ promises to be an adventure just like Journey or Flower.

Matt Nava decided to use his love of Scuba diving as his inspiration for what we will come to know as the Ocean of Wisdom.

Stay tuned for my First Impressions, followed by a Wrap-Up in the very near future!

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The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing – First Impressions!

What is to be said about a Van Helsing game? Kind of a lot, but kind of not so much. It was not was I was hoping for.

I was hoping for a Sherlock Holmes meets Skyrim-esque game. Meaning, you have to investigate and hunt in an open world environment in order to find your prey. Ask around for rumors about new monsters, you know, traditional Van Helsing.
What we have instead, is a dungeon crawler. Now don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad game. It has it’s issues, but to me it’s mostly UI/ease of use issues. Things like inventory management/navigation, companion tactics trying to default to everything at once, and needing to reset them mid-battle so you’ll actually get assistance, things like that. More annoyances rather than actual bugs or glitches.

Van Helsing has no shortage of dark humor, nor does it lack in other references. If you look at a notice board, for instance, the mayor is looking for a lost magical ring, out of a set of 20, it’s the most powerful. It continues on with references, including a D&D reference.
This game takes itself seriously, while making fun of itself at the same time. You take on the role of Abraham Van Helsing, son of Van Helsing, in search of your father, as aid was requested of you, when they were unable to find him.

Your companion is the Ghost of Lady Katrina, and her and Van Helsing give each other a hard time constantly. The gameplay is pretty smooth, considering how often you get mobbed by massive groups of enemies. While playing Van Helsing, be prepared to die a lot. You can always respawn without needing to reload a save.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is a fun game, the story and acting are all pretty solid. Graphically, it’s a dungeon crawler. You should never expect anything other than standard dungeon crawler graphics. You may deal with the odd glitch here and there, but it’s never anything game breaking, just minor irritations.

It’s definitely worth a play, and it’s free on Xbox’s Games With Gold for today and tomorrow. Get it while you can!

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Coming Soon!

Coming Soon (as in, later today) There will be a First Impressions of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, as well as the Exclusive N7 Loot Crate unboxing!

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Happy Halloween! (Important Update at Bottom)

Hey everybody, It’s that time of year again! Ghosts, ghouls, Slenderman…
That’s right! This is a First Impressions of Slender: The Arrival! So, I finally picked this game up, it’s on sale right now for $5 on the Xbox One if you want to pick it up. I have a few First Impressions I’ll be doing this week, as well as some game wrap-ups. What better way to kick off your Halloween than with Slender: The Arrival.

While I’ve only played the prologue, I know a bit about this game already. Slender: The Arrival is the full release of Slender: The Eight Pages. Because of my poor eyesight, I tend to play with brightness settings turned all the way up. That doesn’t help you one bit in the darkness of Slender.

You start off in the evening sun with clouds rolling in. You are in a forested hilly area on a driving path to a house. Your car is stopped in front of a fallen tree. You are using a camcorder to, well, record everything that is happening. The reason for this is that you are searching for your friend, Kate.
Take in this bright, gorgeous scenery while you can, because it doesn’t last long.
By the time you reach the house, darkness has set in. There are a few lights and lamps on inside the house, but a lot of it is pretty dark. Upon walking through the front door, you see drawings of Slenderman and trees on the wall. That’s the start of your problems. You need to find a flashlight, and honestly, yes. You NEED the flashlight. I made the mistake of walking into a dark room with the Gamma cranked, and all I could see was the faint light from the moon coming in through the windows.

Upon find the flashlight and opening a certain room, you notice a broken window with glass on the floor. You are also on the second story. Upon looking out the window, you get to see Slenderman in the back yard for about 2 seconds before he vanishes, creating an effect on the screen that look and sound like a sudden onset semi-blinding migraine. This effect happens every time he vanishes and reappears. I really enjoyed this, because it is actually fitting with the original Slenderman lore.

Naturally, you head out to investigate a possible trail from the broken window. You find information and articles throughout, one of which is about a farmhouse/barn that burnt down on the land some time ago along with a missing child poster. If you happen to find the burnt-out building and venture inside, you’re treated with a crying child who looks very zombie-like in appearance. If you interrupt him, he lashes out at you and causes a flash of an image before he vanishes.

The final section of the Prologue has words scribbled in large letters on the wall of a building that state “BRING ME LAUREN”. This is all fine and good, until you realize that you, are in fact, Lauren. Along the way you also find Journal pages left by Kate, in which you watch as her mental stability is declining rapidly.

Normally all this is fine and good, but the most unsettling thing about Slender: The Arrival, other than you can only see within the radius of your flashlight, is the fact that there is no music. Nothing to cue what Is about to happen. Walking through a pitch black house with no music and seeing Slenderman staring at you, then having to walk a path where he jumps around the hills and just watches you, gets really unnerving after about 10 minutes.

I have played many horror/survival games in my day, I try to play a new one every Halloween. This, by far, in just the Prologue, has been one of the most unnerving gaming experiences I’ve had since Fatal Frame.

If you are into gaming for the graphics, these aren’t bad, but not top-notch. The sound is pretty decent, the lack of music actually improves the experience. Lighting, obviously, is perfect for a horror game. The controls are pretty solid. The head-bob while running gets to be a little much, but makes sense when you remember you are literally playing through a hand-held camera, in which case, there is actually very little movement. (I refer you to compare Slender’s sprinting head-bob with Cloverfield).

Overall, as of the Prologue, Slender: The Arrival is fantastic and does it’s job very well. I look forward to playing the rest of this game and giving you guys a Slender wrap-up in the coming weeks.

Comment with what you guys want next! We have a Wrap-up of Life Is Strange with the final episode, Polarized. We have a Wrap-up of Tales from the Borderlands with its final episode, The Vault of the Traveler. We  have the review of Metal gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and we have a First Impressions of Until Dawn! That’s right, my first PS4 review! Let’s hear it, folks! The whole point of this blog is to cater to what the people want to hear, so voice your opinion in the comments below!

UPDATE: So I have run into a major glitch in Slender. I am no longer able to log in to my profile to continue my saved game. I have contacted about the issue and will update again once it’s been resolved. Until that point, be warned. I completed the Prologue and can’t sign in to continue.

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