Showing posts with label valve. Show all posts
Showing posts with label valve. Show all posts

Monday, November 17, 2008

Left 4 Dead

Developer: Valve
Publisher: Valve
Release Date: Nov. 18, 2008
System: Xbox 360 (reviewed), PC
ESRB Rating: M
Official Web site

In a nutshell: A zombie game that's actually scary.

0:00 I'm not usually much for horror/zombie games/movies, but the Valve name and the mounds of chatter have me excited about this one.

0:01 "Two weeks after first infection." Close-up on a four-fingered hand (missing a thumb) with buzzing flies. "Hold up! Ain't seen anything like this before," says a grizzled paramilitary. "They're changing?" He rubs some goo on a chatty cohort. "Someone's still alive," says a woman in a jogging suit. It's a whimpering girl in a nearby building. In the alley, the zombies attack, and inside, so does the whimpering girl (who is a zombie, of course). "Run like hell," says the tracksuit woman, accurately. Commence shooting, blood, chaos, etc. "Fire in the hole," says Grizzly McGee as he throws a timed grenade. A helicopter scans the town with a spotlight as the token black guy screams for attention: "WE'RE NOT INFECTED! OVER HERE!" The chopper ignores him, then a zombie leaps on his back. "Aw, this is gonna get bad," says Grizzly, accurately, as hundreds of running zombies come streaming over fences and out of alleys in slow motion. Among the throng is one huge hulking guy. "Run or shoot? RUN OR SHOOT?" asks TBG in a panic. They choose both. "Get to the roof!" A fire escape comes down on top of Hulk just as tracksuit girl makes a leap for Grizzly's outstretched hand. "We made it!" "Son, we just crossed the street. Let's not throw a party 'till we're out of the city." And just like that, it's loading the title screen. Already it's more exciting than most games...

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Ship

Developer: Outerlight
Publisher: Valve
Release Date: July 11, 2006
Systems: PC
ESRB Rating: N/A
Official Web Site

In a nutshell: The Sims meets a first-person shooter

0:01 After hours spent downloading the game and updates to various drivers for my out-of-date computer, we're ready to go.
0:03 OK, now we're actually ready, after two minutes or so of loading. I'm in a nicely adorned room aboard an old-fashioned ship steamer ship. A pleasant British voice explains what's going on.
0:04 I'm told I have to take care of "needs" such as sleeping, eating and, er, expelling. If I wanted to worry about that stuff, I'd play real life!
0:06 I like the simple "context-sensitive" interface -- a couple clicks and you can do practically anything. Reminds me of The Sims.
0:07 "As you can see, your thirst need has gone down, but your need for a pee is increasing." I could listen to this voice talk about stuff like this all day.
0:10 The last three minutes have been spent in an over-complex discussion of the inventory screen. BOOORING!
0:13 The actual point of the game is finally explained -- find your "quarry" and kill them without getting spotted by security. Like hide and seek mixed with Mafia. Interesting.
0:14 Break the rules and you go to prison, lose your weapons, get fined, etc. Sheesh! An indiscriminate shoot-'em-up this ain't.
0:15 The type of weapon you use affects how much you get paid. A screwdriver kill is worth more than a frying pan, currently. I love it!
0:16 All set and ready for the arcade mode. After more loading, that is.
0:24 Finally done loading! "REMEMBER: It's only a game!" Er, I know the environment is engaging and all, but I don't think I'll forget.
0:27 It's pretty hard to find your way around at the start. I know my quarry is in "third-class cabins, deck C," but I have to keep consulting the map to figure out where that is. It almost makes me wish for those big yellow arrows that guide you in other games.
0:28 I'm lucky enough to find my quarry, but I forget about the witnesses and get arrested when I try to shoot her. This is going to take some getting used to.
0:30 All right, my first kill. But I'm still being hunted until the end of the round. Time to hide!
0:31 New round: I tail my new quarry, waiting for him to get to a nice, secluded spot, when suddenly I'm murdered from behind. I never saw it coming.
0:34 The single-layer AI could use some work. My quarry is completely safe in the bar, but then meanders outside for no apparent reason. Easily murdered.
0:37 I find Katherine Bolland looking out over the side, like a sitting duck. I sneak up on her and... crap! Someone spotted me. I've GOT to remember to look for witnesses!
0:38 I get out of jail and Katherine's still just where I left here, jumping around randomly near the railing. Weird...
0:42 Note to self: if another character starts sprinting at me as soon as they see me, RUN! Or, at the very least, DEFEND MYSELF!
0:45 Argh. I stumble across my quarry immediately, but I have no weapon. By the time I find one he's off in the bar, safe. Oh well... I patiently wait for him to leave and shoot him in the back. Yeah, I'm dishonorable. So what.
0:47 The game won't let me put on woman's clothing as a man. Awww. Cross-dressing disguises would have been an interesting twist.
0:48 After a death, you have to wait for a new round to start before resuming the killing. This gives you time to find new weapons and such, but it seems too slow for single-player mode.
0:50 Odd... I kill Rebecca Antonucci as she's talking to the bartender, and he doesn't blink. Oh well, I'm 1$2,000 richer because the straight razor I used is popular at the moment!
0:54 I get slashed by a razor"Well done, you stopped your murderous hunter."
0:56 I haven't yet stayed alive long enough to max out any of my needs yet. This is porbably a bad sign for my skills.
0:57 I win the game with 5 murders and 6 deaths, mainly because of that big money kill with the razor. I doubt I'd do well in online play though.

Would I play this game for more than an hour?
Why? It's an interesting twist on the old shooter, plus it doesn't really require twitch shooting skills, so I have a feeling I could be good with some practice.

This review based on a trial copy provided by my friend Mike via Steam. Thanks Mike!