Fallout 3: Success of a Hybrid

March 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Looking back to the end of 2008, one game truly dominated the next gen systems: Fallout 3 Unleashed to massive critical acclaim, the title is the third in a long running series set in a post-apocalyptic world in which you must fight for your very survival. On the face of it, Fallout appears to be just another FPS, albeit a very graphically capable one, so why then would this title have caused such a frenzy amongst gamers?

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Fallout 3 is actually a lot more in-depth and intelligent than your average FPS, mainly owing to the fact that it blends another well loved genre, the RPG, into its foundations to make a new hybrid game. These two factors actually compliment each other suprisingly well, allowing fans of both genres to explore new gaming territory whilst maintaining the fundamentals of what make each so popular. If you're a fan of gritty, graphically violent shoot-outs then Fallout 3 offers two possible junctions. First is the traditional melee style wherein you're free to blast away at your opponents as you see fit. Alternatively there's the revolutionary V.A.T.S system, which operates something akin to the turn-based sstems you'd normally see in an RPG. This allows for a greater degree of accuracy as you zoom in on an opponent and opens you up to graphic head, body or limb shots, allowing you to literally blast your enemy apart.

The major RPG element is promoted through a virtually open ended world, allowing players to come and go as they see fit, fulfilling side quests at their leisure. An experience and level up system is also integrated, obviosuly augmented through whatever extra missions you undertake. Your style of play also affects your 'karma' level, in a system siumular to Fable. Your deeds throughout the game will take a toll on your overall story, as you become increasingly famous (or infamous) and gain allies and enemies depending on your standpoint. This accumulates to provide alternative endings and thus major replay value.

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Eat Lead!!

March 17, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazzard may just be the FPS with a difference you've been looking for. In development for the Next Gen consoles and PC, Eat Lead promises to provide both a great and enjoyable FPS, whilst also parodying the franchise and all the conventions of the genre. Now, FPS parody has been done before, in the shape of highly successful cult title Timesplitters. If eat lead can emulate the success of those titles, we could be in for a treat.

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Earlier games in the Matt hazard series, including A Fistful of Hazard and The Adventures of Matt in Hazardland, act as a playable parody, with various well known and loved games and franchises referred to and lampooned. Many of these games are classics and/or titles that the developers grew up with, and so the Matt Hazard series will probably appeal more to the older, more well-versed gamers out there.

Our hero, Matt Hazard, is fully aware that he is a character in a videogame. In fact, he is a character who is testing the game he is being developed in. Since the game is being developed as Matt tests it, the environment will sometimes change dramatically. For example, in what part of the game a horde of zombies Matt is fighting all of a sudden zaps into a group of cowboys. When these sporadic enemies are finally defeated they fall apart into pixels that can be used to buy items and upgrades.

Whilst being clever and self-referential, parody games must still play well. Clever gimmicks and parodies do not excuse the developers from creating a game that is still actually fun to play and works well within the genre. Thankfully, the Matt hazard games have always played extremely well with diverse innovations and immersive gameplay. Eat Lead looks to continue this trend, with a detailed cover system which allows Matt to utilize almost any object for protection, and a gratifying close-combat system.

Fans of the earlier games in the Hazard series know what to expect from this title, and so you'll know whether to go for it or not. To the newcomers I say this; give it a try- it's fun, plays extremely well and is a welcome diversion from all the self-important FPS titles flooding the market right now.

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Conduit: The Future of FPS?

February 18, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

When initially released, the Nintendo Wii was not seen favourably by First Person Shooter developers, in belief that the new console didn't have the means to support such games. In spite of earlier attempts, The Conduit is set to change this viewpoint once and for all.

Curiously for the Wii, developers are promising visuals to equal those found on the PS3 and Xbox 360. The developers of The Conduit have created what is called the Quantum3 engine, capable of utilizing features that gamers have come to expect from the more graphically powerful consoles. These features are set to include bump mapping, material based bloom, dynamic water effects, and color gloss maps. These features are relatively unheard of within the Wii, and testers have thus far praised the ongoing development.

Control throughout the game is also a point on which the developers have laboured hard. Not only will the game utilize the WiiMotionPlus attachment for more accurate aiming, but the game's controls themselves are completely up to the gamer, allowing players to adjust and edit the controls to what they see fit.

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This brings the Wii to an advantage once again. The fact that the console is already famed for innovation is no secret, but it now looks to be catching up with the other consoles by way of graphics and visuals. But this development is not the be all and end all of FPS. When a representative of the first-person shooter developer Epic was asked whether or not they would be developing for the Wii, their answer was, "Why? That would be like a step backward!"

It is important for developers to remember that graphics are only a small part of the gaming puzzle, and by no means lead to the success of a title on their own. Gamers know that when developers focuse on making better and better graphics, they are prone to completely overlook opportunities for innovation in gameplay. Striking the right balance is the key to success in this area.

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