Saturday, January 23, 2016

Dota 2 review

There’s a lot of history behind Dota 2. It’s practically the pinnacle of evolution of gaming. Believe it or not it could actually be called the grandson of Counter Strike errrrr   or maybe the nephew of his brother or something like that. 

To put it simply Dota is for Warcraft 3 what Counter Strike was for Half Life in  the past century :) .
And finally we get to Dota 2  which is the spiritual successor and the evolution of Dota .
The idea is simple it pits five players in a fight on a balanced map in which they have to the destroy the enemies base. Now where have we seen that one before?
In case these names before you don’t mean anything Dota 2 is a MOBA which stands for multiplayer online battle arena and it’s the successor of the game who created that genre. In every real time strategy there are two parts of the gameplay process and it doesn’t matter what  RTS it is, bee it Starcraft, Warcraft or Warhammer and that is micro and macro. Macro focuses on base building and unit creation and management of resources while micro focuses on how well you control your small party of units in acting out and destroying your enemy. 
Now tell me which of these sounds more fun ? 
Dota 2 cashes in the micromanagement of strategy games.

The layout is simple (action is set in a square map with a forest set in a medieval background)  each team of 5 has a main base 2 towers at the base three main paths to the enemy base whit a set of two defensive tower, a number of creep that spawn periodically in the main base that attack the enemy and creeps that spawn periodically in the forest. Players meet up at the middle of the map and fight for conquest versus the enemy team in the final goal to destroy the enemy base. Players can choose from three types of heroes, strength, agility and intelligence (about 111 of them)  each with their own strengths and weakness. In order to win they must cooperate and overcome the enemy team. 

Game offers endless strategies in order to get to the end goal, from developing your hero, choosing your abilities as you level up from fighting enemies, choosing the right items that enhance your hero. Knowing when to run or fight. And combining your abilities with your allied heroes synergyzing in a fantastic cocktail of epic fights. Of course, that sounds great, how can you lose when you got a spell set that blows off all the hp of an enemy within 3 seconds or when you can immobilize an entire squad of enemies with a single hero, just bear in mind that the enemy squad probably can do those things as well maybe even more.

Graphics wise the game is pretty good. The game is played as an overview of your main hero the detail of the map is great and design of heroes is well made, plus you can customize the look of your heroes. Overall design is great. To put it mildly, if you played in first person perspective of your hero the game still wouldn’t be an eye sore.

Gameplay is top notch. The fact that you can choose one from several dozen heroes. The path you choose in the game when you either go for the kill instead of farming and leveling up your hero, maximizing the power of one skill powerful skill instead of having the entire weaker set of skill, choosing that ever so powered item but having nothing in mobility, it’s a game of choices really and if you don’t make the right choice you’re gonna lose.
Sound wise  there are a lot of details in the game. Your hero periodically says a random catch phrase. Heroes actually say thank you when you heal them. There’s good detail in sound effects and notifications however when you’re focusing on the fight you really can’t hear anything but a bunch of static J. When you hear that theme song when you’re booting up Dota 2, you know you’re in for some fun.

know what you’re thinking all well and great but it’s still just a MOBA game and you’ll get bored eventual, well recently they’ve implemented an arcade mode featuring many custom maps that range from td to  arena fighting and even playing football, all those great maps that you had in Wacraft 3. So basically Dota 2 can satisfy al you MICRO managing needs J .

Time for the scoring:

Fun Factor: 8 It’s great developing your hero and fighting the enemy team. But when playing alone in matchmaking quality of matches is random as you never know if you get a noob in your team or you just made some bad calls and the whole team is yelling at you.

Control and Gameplay: 8.6 Managing your hero and making choices in the game can get very satisfying. The core idea is simple but the outcome is overwhelming The only bad thing is when you start a moba game you have to black out all your relatives who are asking you to take out the trash or go to the store

Graphics: 8.8 It’s not the most visual stunning game however the fact that you customize the look of youre hero with a large number of set items really gives it a feel of its own.

Sound: 8 Sound effects when fighting and using abilities are believable. There’s nothing fantastic about the soundtrack but hey being a moba game they really don’t have to try.

Replayability: 9  I’ve put in hundreds of hours in Dota 2 and I still get a crave once in while to play game. It just has so many options that you want to explore or sometimes you just wanna play your best build and blast through the enemy. And as a plus the arcade game mode features tons of fun maps. I know what you’re thinking, how could I not grade it 10, well not all games are fun, some wins aren’t satisfying or sometimes you get frustrated because you’re losing or someone is feeding.

If you have a team of 4 friends who like the game and you are playing on a line of 5 computers standing next to each other it’s the perfect game. Dota 2 is the pinnacle of evolution in gaming and not playing at all would be a miss in a gamers life.  Overall score: 8.48

Castlevania : Symphony of the night review

Sometimes in a gamers life having enough off top hit AAA games or epic shooters you decide to try a 2D side-scroller just for kicks. It’s like having enough of full course meals and trying some nachos.


This is not the case for Castlevania Symphony of The Night. You start off the game with Richter Belmont fighting Dracula in the final stage of the prequel.The game wastes no time putting you in the action pitting you directly in a boss fight versus Dracula himself. It gives you a nice taste of things to come and the finely detailed boss battles and ambiance.


However the main gameplay is with Alucard the son of Dracula. Several years after Richters fight Dracula’s castle reemerges and the Dark Lord returns. It’s time for Alucard to pack up his gear and drive the fight to his father. The entire action is set in D’s castle and Alucard must traverse, think and fight his way to the final epic boss. It’s like playing a fighting game with you as the Big Boss vs. the underlings, your character is simply more badass than the rest. You notice right of the bat the fluidity of Alucard’s movement and abilities. 


As any RPG the biggest kick is the development of your character. In order to progress trough Dracula’s castle you pick up abilities like double jumping, turning into mist, a wolf and a bat, all up to greatest opener, the super jump. The biggest fun factor is Alucard’s arsenal of abilities from magic, weapons,  side weapons, and your overall gear; all of these making up your character an unstoppable power, however you have to earn these. Pitting your character in a boss fight like Demons, a mimic of yourself and even Death itself can be quite fun and challenging. In each fight you have to find the right abilities and strategy to counter your enemy.


The game is meant to be played with a gamepad. It’s mesmerizing to see the fluidity of the characters movement and responsiveness


The sound of the game is nicely tuned. Nice and real sound effects for every action. And the musical scores are quite high. Each stage of the game having its own sound track blending nicely with the artwork of the game with stages varying from castle entrance, clock tower, gladiators arena and lots more.


Speaking of artwork, graphics for today’s standards is not that good. Being a game released in 1997 it’s to be expected. However the artistry of the background and monster design it’s still top notch, seeming almost like an old uncared for painting.


The product value of the game is great. To progress trough the whole game it takes about an average 40-50 hours. The game has different ending depending on what part of the castle you decide to end your journey. If you unlock the first playtrough you get to play in the inverted castle finally on your way to finding the true evil behind the castle. After finishing the game you can play trough the castle again with Richter which is another set of style but just as loveable and powerful. Also if you want to find every special ability and secret it can move up the gameplay length.


If I were to explain the game to the uninitiated in this oldie.  Because of the age of the game it’s like trying to eat a great pizza standing up and with nowhere to sit but the dirty ground. If you don’t mind getting your clothes dirty a little you can fully enjoy this game.


Fun Factor: 8 Game is loads of  fun but when trying to get all the items and abilities it can get a bit tedious that’s unless if you have the luck of the Irish.


Control and Gameplay: 9 The characters move seamlessly and fights are very satisfying however because of the easy patterns of enemies it falls a bit


Graphics: 5 The graphics are quite dated however the artistry in level design and enemies compensates


Soundtrack: 9 You can’t expect to find only best seller hits in games however the classical music and great sound effects add well to the ambiance


Replayability: 8 You can play as Alucard in normal and inverted castle. You can also play Richter Belmont and blast trough the game again. You can also spend some time farming and chasing for all the abilities.


I’m gonna grade this game by today’s standard. Because of the dated graphics and too easy boss difficulty I’m only going to rate it 7.8  .