Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Really Digging Deus Ex

In light of the insane number of A-list games coming out this season, I had assumed, well in advance; that I was likely going to forgo purchasing Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

It’s not that I wasn’t interested in the game, it’s just that when you look at the upcoming releases over the next couple of months, well, Deus Ex just doesn’t seem like as big of a deal as it likely should.

That being said, thanks to a very generous (and random) sale on Amazon.com, I found myself saying “Fuck it, it’s too cheap not to buy,” and a few clicks of the mouse later I found myself with a brand new copy of a heavily discounted Deus Ex.

Well, I’ve been playing around with it for awhile now, and I can honestly say, I’m happy I made the investment.

Mind you, it’s not a perfect game by any means, but there’s just so many little things about it that mean a lot to me personally.

I’m not really an avid fan of the Deus Ex series, in fact I only played the original for a few hours before deciding I didn’t need to finish it, but I do have a lot of love and respect for what it represents.

I’ve always been into the whole cyberpunk design aesthetic, and character customization/modification means enough to me that I’ve bought countless wrestling videogames purely for the character creator function, so on paper; the Deus Ex games are very much up my alley.

The new Deus Ex includes both of these aspects of the original, while adding a new layer of polish and presentation that make it far more accessible than it’s predecessors.

For example, the core gameplay; the stealth and shooting, really feel on par with a straight action game.

Action RPGs that feel “floaty” or involve a lot of noticeable number crunching in their combat mechanics are kind of a pet peeve of mine.

I hate shooting at someone in a game, and then “feeling it” as the game computes my character’s attributes, applies them to the statistics of his gun, and then applies said data to the attributes of the enemy I’m shooting to determine the amount of damage I deal.

It’s hard to explain, but you know it when you feel it.

I don’t know about you, but in my world guns do gun-like damage regardless of what “level” my Marksman skill is at, or how hard I pull the trigger.

I don’t get this feeling when I’m playing Deus Ex.

On that note, I feel I should probably point out that, as of writing this, I haven’t killed anyone in Deus Ex!

Early on I found the Metal Gear/Rainbow Six: Vegas-esque stealth mechanics to be robust and rewarding to the point in which I never found a need to kill anyone.

Oddly enough, I’ve found it very rewarding playing through the game relying exclusively on taser-ings and choke holds.

It’s funny though, as good as the stealth mechanics are, in many ways they are somewhat primitive.

Sure, the guards are more responsive to sound than in most games, and their sight distance is atypically high, but at the end of the day; the AI is actually kind of dumb.

For instance, in Metal Gear Solid 2, guards make use of radios, and if they don’t check in frequently enough; reinforcements are deployed to assess the situation.

This always made maneuvering around guards an ideal course of action over fighting/neutralizing them, but it also made the game somewhat frustrating at times.

While the enemy AI and stealth mechanics of Deus Ex are technically less complex than this, I feel it’s a gameplay decision that lends itself well to making the game much more streamlined and fun.

In all, sneaking around in Deus Ex is one of the more enjoyable parts of the game, especially when you’re playing the way I am with a totally non-lethal character.

I’ve heard the AI is less than stellar in direct combat, but that’s something I likely won’t be encountering until I start a new playthrough.

Moving on, another aspect of Deus Ex that surprised me, was the hacking mini-game.

I can’t stand locked doors/sealed off areas in games, so I knew I was going to be doing a lot of hacking in Deus Ex; which had me a bit worried it was going to ruin the experience for me.

To be fair, it took me awhile to warm up to it, but now I think I really like hacking in Deus Ex.

The controls are a bit sloppy on the console, but it’s not overly complicated, and more importantly; it’s quick.

Few things are more annoying in games than mini-games that eat up too much time and take you out of the core experience.

To date, I have yet to encounter a door I couldn’t open with a little finessing, something I can honestly say was not the case in games like Oblivion.

Speaking of Oblivion, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the fact that Deus Ex is a fairly streamlined and distinctly un-sandbox-y experience.

I don’t know about you, but I find sandbox games to be massively intimidating.

I’m very much a completionist when it comes to most things in life, so the idea of being dropped into a massive world with free rein to do whatever the fuck I want, is not exactly ideal.

I need structure in my gaming, a clear purpose or direction to keep me on track.

Without it, I tend to freeze up, get lost, or worse yet, end up spending 40 hours in the first town of the game and never even start the main quest.

In this way, Deus Ex’s small-ish city setting and mission based narrative really “does it” for me.

I’ve never felt lost or daunted, and for once, I actually feel rewarded when I do most of the quests.

That being said, the conversation system of Deus Ex, while simple, is exceptional.

Most of it’s success can be attributed to good writing and line delivery, but I really enjoy conversing with characters and being forced to remain attentive in order to succeed.

On one occasion I found myself having to rely on information imparted to me from optional documents, items I could’ve easily picked up and not read.

You can tell a game’s writing is exceptional when you actually want to read the random notes and e-mails scattered throughout the environment.

The one downside to the dialogue of the game, and this is totally just me being weird, is the very obvious use of a largely Canadian voice cast.

I realize the game was developed by EA Montreal, so Canadian voice actors are to be expected, but I’m one of those jackasses that giggles whenever he hears an “uh-boot” or “bee-n” instead of “about” and “been.”

It’s a minor gripe, but it actually does make the drama a little harder to swallow for me, so I figured I’d mention it.

As of now, I’m currently in the second half of the Hengsha segment of the game, and I’m still enjoying every moment.

I’ve read that a lot of people are extremely disappointed in some of the game’s boss fights, however as of now I have no issue with them.

True, I’ve only fought 1 as of now, but to me, it didn’t seem that bad at all.

Maybe it’s just because I entered into the fight ill-equipped (non-lethal playthrough, remember?) and actually had to scramble for ammo and weapons before I could even begin to fight back, but I honestly had some fun fighting the first boss.

Hell, any occasion in which you have to take on a grenade and mini-gun toting hulk of a boss with nothing but fire extinguishers and a silenced pistol has got to have some redeemable qualities, right?

Anyway, there’s a whole lot more to be said, but for now that’s all I’ve got.

Don’t be afraid to check out Deus Ex, it’s a lot more fun than it lets on.

Advertisements

Filed under: Games, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How The Azn Badger Stays Sane At Work…

The Azn Badger works in a warehouse.

Specifically the Amazon.com warehouse in Bellevue, Washington.

Over the course of 10 hours each day, tedium is the name of the game, and as such; it’s really easy to go a little nuts from time to time.

Trust me, I’ve seen some people lose their shit, as well as their jobs due to lack of motivation and occasional violent bouts of insanity.

That being said, myself and some of the other workers have, over the course of the past several months, come up with a few interesting games and activities to keep our minds sharp and occupied while our bodies toil in the boring and repetitive world of warehouse work.

Here are just a few examples of said activities:

1. Practice a funny voice or accent.

Okay, admittedly this one isn’t really practiced by anyone other than myself, but even so; it’s helped me get through some of the tougher morning scenarios.

I say “morning,” because I’m generally more “loopy” in the early hours, and thusly more apt to talk to myself.

“More” being the operative word in that sentence, being as I tend to talk to myself a lot regardless…

Anyway, over the past few months I’ve been playing around with Scottish and Australian accents.

I honestly can’t really do either of them very well, but after many days of thinking on and dissecting the diction and quirks behind the 2 accents, I can honestly say I feel I “know” them a lot better than I ever thought I would.

For the record, the only 2 phrases I can say with a legit Scottish accent are:

“Made in Scotland by real Scots.”

and

“You should try it!¬† It’s delicious!”

The reasoning behind those choice of phrases came from the tag line on some Scottish cereal I found in the warehouse.

Don’t ask…

2.  Exchange movie quotes/Arnold Schwarzenneger quotes.

This one takes a buddy, and an intimate knowledge of movies, but trust me; it’s a blast if you find a partner that can keep up.

So far the most quoted films are Jurassic Park, and any Arnold Schwarzenneger movie EVER.

Seeing as most men know at least some of Arnold’s movies, and can at least partially imitate his voice to humorous effect; I’d say the average person is most likely to enjoy that version of the game moreso than the other.

Even so, don’t underestimate the entertainment value that can be extracted from exchanging Robert Muldoon quotes.

“They should all be destroyed!”

Your turn!

3. “The Pop-Culture Icon” Game.

“The Pop-Culture Icon” game is probably the cream of the crop of boredom relieving games at Amazon.

Well, at least for me anyway.

Before I get ahead of myself, let me go over the rules for the most basic version of the game:

You begin with 2 players.

At the outset of the game, the player that suggested the playing of the game cites the name of a popular fictional character.

From that point on, the object of the game is for both players to cite the names of any popular fictional characters and the name of the source material they originate from in a back and forth manner, with the last letter in each character’s name being the letter that must begin the next consecutive character’s name.

In example:

Player 1 begins the game by stating: “Optimus Prime, Transformers.”

Player 2 would then respond by stating: “The Eradicator, Superman comics,” or any other character whose name begins with “E.”

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Should either player have the desire to stump their “opponent” and “win” the game in doing so, strategy can arise in the form of choosing character names with difficult or rare last letters.

Fox, from Starfox, has proven to be quite popular in the warehouse, as “X” is definitely on of the harder letters to work from, and let’s face it; Fox is pretty fuckin’ easy to remember to use.

While those are the rules of the most basic version of the game, several variations of it have popped up in the warehouse; including movie-centric, comic book-centric, and videogame-centric versions.

Also, bear in mind that the rules can be modified in-game at any point in time.

For instance, today myself and the person I was playing “against” (it’s not a game you play to win, only to have fun and keep busy) were forced to consider ruling out the inclusion of Pokemon and Mega Man characters, as we came to realize that, between the 2 of us we probably could’ve gotten stuck just naming characters from those 2 franchises.

A few other rules that I felt should’ve been instigated are as follows:

Character names should always begin with the first name, and should always include the last name (and it’s last letter) if the player knows it.

Characters should only be used once, regardless of how many aliases they have.

Names of races or species, regardless of whether they are fictional or not; should not count.

Duplicate character names can be reused if the player is able to cite the name of alternate source material.

In case you didn’t notice, I really like this game.

Hell, I played the game for close to 7 hours today.

3 hours consecutively, and sporadically over the next 4.

My “opponent” and I were separated for most of the day, but every time we would pass each other in the warehouse, we’d pause a second to keep the game going.

While I don’t usually feel the need to toot my own horn, I feel it should be said that the Azn Badger is pretty fuckin’ savage at this game.

Seriously man, today I was playing “against” the originator of the game, and I had his ass on the ropes so bad, you don’t even know man…

He was so desperate towards the end that he was dropping bullshit like “T-Rex” just to stay afloat.

Not only that, he went so far as to use “Xavier,” as in “Professor Charles Xavier,” for an “X.”

I don’t care how bad you’re hurtin’, don’t you ever forget Professor X’s first name…

Anyway, I had a lot of fun with this game today, here’s hoping somebody reading this goes out and gives it a try!

 

 

 

Filed under: Comics, Games, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Donate