mar
30

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate : One Hell of a Hunter Life

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Getting lost. Clunky camera controls. Dying. Retrying. Ragequitting to eventually come back to it and grin at the rewards you ripped from your now dead enemy. Oh, and cats, too!

Those words were what defined Monster Hunter the most for me, when I first discovered the franchise back in 2010 with Monster Hunter Tri. But now, this monster-slaying series can easily keep me hooked for several hours in a row in a single day. This might sound contradictory, but I am pretty sure this is how the vast majority of Monster Hunter players felt like when they happily dove into the series. And a new wave of wannabe hunters is most likely experiencing this again with the arrival of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, the latest episode of one of Capcom’s most reknowned series, released early February this year.

Monster Hunter has always been known for its seemingly unnecessary complexity when you start the game for the first time. I have yet to meet a first-timer knowing – even barely – what to do in the game when they have never played a Monster Hunter episode before. This is because the game has never, ever, reached out a hand to help and guide you throughout your hunter’s journey, and simply throw you into the wilderness of its universe. Monster Hunter slowly became a series reserved to no one but its old veterans.

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However, Capcom’s Monster Hunter 4 breaks this invisible wall which stood between the regular players and the newcomers by introducing a real, complete tutorial which makes you dive head first into what Monster Hunter is all about. We also have an emphasis on the scenario which was neglected or even non-existant in previous games. This means that the NPCs are a lot more present and interact with the player more than before to explain most of a hunter’s basic knowledge. Learning how to fight, how to combine items, and completing numerous other actions is now explained right from the beginning, and players who were thrown off by the harshness of the series right off the bat might want to consider giving Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate a go. While the presence of an actual tutorial in a game sounds logical, its appearance in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate definitely open the gates to a fabulous world for anyone willing to invest some time in a pretty time consuming RPG.

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Veterans who’ve learnt everything they know from the game by themselves might fear it to be easier because of how warmly it welcomes new hunters. But, although the game is now definitely more accessible, the core gameplay is still there with a lot of new features spicing up the hunts, most notably the introduction of verticality into the game, something which might be overlooked by the newcomers but adds a sense of freshness for everyone else. The fights are as unforgiving as ever, and each time you faint teaches you what not to do. Often times you will find yourself struggling with a monster you cannot seem to defeat, but the satisfaction you eventually get by dealing that last blow and seeing your nemesis fall to the ground is priceless. And with each of your victories comes your rewards with which you will be able to make new equipment to hunt the hundred of monsters the game has to offer. You’ll make your hunter unique by making fancy but sturdy and deadly new weapons and armors. Speaking of which, there are a total of 14 weapon classes, each one fitting a playstyle. Are you a type who bashes and knocks down monsters by smashing their heads ? The Hammer is there for you. Or, on the contrary, do you prefer a safer playstyle, looking for an opening to accurately hit a monster’s weakspots ? The Lance’s deadly tip and its big large shield are probably fit for you. If you wish to take monsters down from a distance, the Bow will do the trick. Efficiently hunting down monsters requires knowledge about them, and you will need to spend time to see how they react under certain situations and what moves they can perform to prey on you. Not to mention the preparations needed before heading out on a quest!

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But, what makes Monster Hunter truly what it is for most of us is the multiplayer element. Group hunting is definitely the most wondeful thing you can do in the game. And it is now easier than ever with the appearance of online support for a Monster Hunter game on a portable system. Hunt anywhere with players from all across the world and team up to take down the biggest creatures of the game. Set up strategies, lay down pitfall traps to allow your teammates to go berserk on the monster, or heal everyone in case of emergency. Each hunt is unique and there is always something new to learn from every hunt, be it about the monster you went against or a new way of playing from a fellow hunter. And it takes a lot – a lot – of time to be a flawless hunter and knowing everything the game has to offer.

I personally am a hundred hours in and I don’t feel like I am anywhere near done with the game,  and actually, quite the opposite. The amount of content at our disposal is insane and everytime I pick up my 3DS and start the game, I intend to learn something new to perform better in my next hunts.

 

FANTESINI Kevin.

 

mar
27

Darkest Dungeon – Review

 

Behold! A newcomer in the already huge world of rogue-like games.

But this one is not like the others, this one is not one you can learn and master at the drop of a hat. This one will not abide by your rules.

This brand new game is  Darkest Dungeon.

In a Lovecraft-like world, filled with occult darkness and nightmarish monsters, you lead a party of adventurers who have sworn to overcome the evil lying in the darkest dungeon.

Pretty classic plot, right? Well, the game isn’t!

Why? Because this game is not nice. This game will bash you until you bleed. Even the first disclaimer of the game says this. What’s more, the tutorial can even kill you if you don’t manage it right.

For random play is a really important part of the game, both in the turn-based combat system and in the character progression. You can die on a single unlucky hit. A character of your party can be driven mad by the stress of the dungeon, or even if they come back they can develop a phobia of beasts which will dangerously handicap them.

So you have to be both a good manager of your shady heroes, your limited supplies and the limited availability of the town, to manage to crawl into the deepest part of hell, complete the random-based mission and finally face and defeat the bosses awaiting you in the darkest part of the dungeon.

You will die. You will fail. You will cry. And if you finally win, you’ll feel like a God…

Until you eventually die again…

A must for Rogue-likers !

 

By Jules Gassie

mar
27

“Kerbal: space program”: Is rocket science fun?

A spaceship, orbiting the Moon

A spaceship, orbiting the Moon

                « Kerbal: Space program », created by Squad, is a game about making your own space program, and building your very own spaceship, or your space station. The game respects the laws of physics, so it is almost as complicated as in reality. But, by respecting the laws of physics, does the game become less interesting? Is rocket science fun? Indeed, you have to think a lot in KSP, and not everyone want to use their brain too much while playing a game. It is difficult, for beginners, to learn how to launch a vessel, and put it in orbit. And, at the moment, Scott Manley, a well-known youtuber playing KSP a lot, is building a gigantic spaceship out of several parts, docking them while in orbit, and is sending that spaceship in orbit around a moon of a gas giant, landing a smaller module on that moon, and finally going back in orbit, and returning home safely.

Every KSP player doesn’t have the skills required for such missions, but with some training, it is actually easy. The key is to think about everything, from the moment you build your rocket, to the moment it touches the ground of the targeted planet/moon (and eventually the moment you return home). You have to plan the entire mission in your head, before launching your rocket. And that will teach you to think about every aspects of a project before doing anything.

If rocket science is not your thing, you can still have fun playing KSP. You can find the fun in crashing your rockets, or in creating strange vehicles. Another youtuber, Danny2462, who also plays KSP a lot, is the opposite of Scott Manley. He doesn’t create fancy enormous ships, he stays on the ground, mocks around with funny mods, and creates crazy vehicles, such as catapult launching astronauts, or a plane with so many wings the game engine becomes mad.

Personally, I like that game. I think that rocket science is actually fun. I have played it so much, it has become intuitive, and that is kind of rewarding. I feel free, being able to visit every planets of the Kerbol system (the equivalent of the solar system in the game). It is also educative, I have learned a lot about rocket science.

Descamps Victor.

A space station, build in Kerbal: Space Program

A space station, build in Kerbal: Space Program

mar
27

Mass Effect 3 : Power and Personal Choices

I’m going to start this article with a fact: I’ve played more Mass Effect 3 than I dare to admit. I love this game, and I especially love the multiplayer mode. For the people who don’t know about it, you’re cooperating with up to 3 other people to beat ten waves of enemies coming your way in closed maps, with objectives to do every 3 waves. It’s really cool to play, with a good level of difficulty and a pretty good intensity curve and everything, so I wasn’t really thinking about it, but I started to and… I found out something : This game has deprived me of my personal choice.

I’m not saying that I became a zombie playing it, lost my family, became violent or whatever. The outcome of my little “thinking session” has to do with the way you acquire new gear and characters in the game. There are, indeed, a lot of different characters and weapons to play with, some rarer than others, some more powerful, some with a really exotic gameplay. And to acquire these characters/gears, one needs to buy “packs”.

A pack is a bundle of 5 random items, which can be characters, weapons, consumables, or whatever. The more expensive the pack, the better the items of course. And I think you might begin to catch onto what I’m about to say. The way you buy your stuff will change the way you play.

Let me walk you through my mates and I’s experience. We started, like everybody else, without any gear and with very few characters. After several games, we started to buy some packs. And that’s when the magic happened. Thanks to the RNG, the only characters I got were from the Soldier class, and the only weapons I got were shotguns.

During the single-player campaign, I mostly played Infiltrator/sniper-rifle, a.k.a the polar opposite of what I got in the packs. You can clearly picture my disappointment, as I wasn’t going to be able to play in my favorite style, but I rolled with it. I started to play Soldier/Shotgun, because they were the only powerful ones I had, and I liked the feeling of empowerment. I looted more and more soldiers, more and more shotguns, and I continued playing that way. And now I have weapons of every type and powerful characters of every class, I keep playing soldiers with shotgun; I proudly claim they are the most viable way to play the game.

On the other hand, my mate got a lot of SMG, and now can’t play without one. And we continually argue on whether they are good or not. Truth is, neither SMG nor Shotguns are superior to each other. But the multiplayer taught us to play one way, and we eventually made it OUR way, confusing it with our personal preference.

When playing the campaign, every choice is available with the same level of power, so you can pick whatever you want, according to your own play style. In Multiplayer, the randomly generated system gives you options that are more prevalent or viable than others, so you pick them. And as you experiment with them, feeling the empowerment, your evolution in the game, you start to like them, and finally you can only see them as your own personal liking.

The most important part is that, even if it seems totally obvious when worded out, the player is not aware of these changes in his patterns. It’s comparable to a kind of Stockholm Syndrome: you can only realize it once you start to look back on your history with this game.

The really special part is that, even if I’m aware of it, I’m going to keep playing Shotgun Soldiers. Indeed, unlike the Stockholm syndrome, there’s no real negative part to this behavioral change. I’ve been taught to love this new playstyle, and I accepted this teaching, even if it was not totally conscious. As I kept playing the game, with the system of rewards (formal and informal) validating my “choices”, the little disdain I felt in the beginning quickly faded away, so I don’t have any problem with my playstyle now I that I’ve found everything out.

And now, as I’m playing, I can only wonder about how such a little element of a game system can create such a strong long-term impact on a player. For I know that, if I had had the possibility to just choose a particular weapon to buy, It probably wouldn’t have turned out this way.

by Jules Gassie

 

Recent comments

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    18 août 2015 |

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    22 mai 2015 |

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