noiseredux vs.

Posted on Mar 28th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (noiseredux)
Posted under PC, Xbox One


Back when the Wii U and PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were all announced, I took a serious look at each and decided that I just didn't need a new console. Oh sure each system may have had a few games that would pique my interest, but the bottom line was that as a PC gamer I had become totally happy with the (nearly never-ending) selection of games that were available to me there. Basically the whole idea of 'consoles' had become antiquated to me. It had been almost a decade since I even played games on a TV rather than a monitor. To me, sitting on a couch across the room from the TV wasn't nearly as comfortable as sitting at a desk in front of my (far better) gaming monitor. But something weird happened a few months ago: I bought an Xbox One. And what's even weirder is that it's turned out to be a pretty great addition to my PC.


Continue reading I Bought My PC An Xbox One



Posted on Oct 31st 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (noiseredux)
Posted under PC


As a hardcore fan of horror movies, there's something that I feel slightly embarrassed to admit. The truth is that I find many horror games actually scare me. Now you might be correct in telling me that that is exactly the point of those games. But it's still odd to me. It is extremely rare for a movie to scare me. I've even found that jump-scares in film have become less effective on me over time. And yet games that many of you play and have no problem with will often leave me totally stressed out.

So what is it about horror games that make me nervous while a movie may not? I've given that some thought and I think the best I can come up with is the way in which we interact (or don't) with media. Which is to say that watching a movie is a passive experience. Though I certainly may feel tense at times, I never really feel like I'm the one in the movie. But a game is an active experience. I'm the one controlling the character in the game. It's easier to put myself in the terror when my decisions matter. If I were to ever yell "don't go up those stairs!" at a movie, the actor wouldn't care less.


Continue reading Do You Like Scary Games?



Posted on Sep 25th 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (noiseredux)
Posted under PC


In recent years, I've gone from being a console gamer, to a mostly PC gamer, to a totally PC gamer. I could go on and on about why I finally decided to be a PC-only guy, but it doesn't really matter - at least not for this blog post. Instead, I thought we'd explore the many options that PC gamers have in the area of controllers. Truth be told, I probably end up using the mouse and keyboard for the majority of games I play anyway. And yet, I've got controllers scattered around this room everywhere I look.

Now this post can really only be as thorough as my own experience goes. I mean, ultimately the options are nearly limitless. Basically anything with a USB connection is fair game, right? And pretty much any Xbox 360 device is going to be plug-n-play on PC. Not to mention the fact that nearly every classic console controller has some kind of USB adapter you could use. However, for the purposes of this article, I'll just focus on the major controllers just to scratch the surface of the options available.


Continue reading Taking Control Of PC Games



Posted on Jul 27th 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (noiseredux)
Posted under PC, Sports


Summer is a great time to get outside and play some sports. It's also a good time to stay inside and play some sports video games instead. For the past two years, I've taken the Summer as a queue to take a look at the landscape of sports games available on PC. In fact, I'm now going to call it a tradition around here. As a note, these outlines are not meant to be a thorough list of all sports games released in the year, but rather more of a guide to let you know about the best current options you can play for each sport. I've also intentionally left out the management sims like Out Of The Park Baseball, as those are really their own sort of sub-sub-genre. The 2016 edition of our survey actually has some pretty interesting entries that weren't around last year. But don't get your hopes up... there's still no Madden, and hockey and volleyball games are still nowhere to be found.


Continue reading The State Of PC Sports Games - 2016



Posted on Sep 15th 2015 at 09:01:29 PM by (noiseredux)
Posted under PC


Out Of The Park Baseball 2007

Metagaming is a series where I force myself to play through Metacritic's highest rated PC games, working my way down the list one game at a time. There's no real goal other than giving myself an excuse to experience these critically acclaimed games. Sometimes I'll beat the games, and sometimes the games will beat me.

The #3 game on Metacritic's PC games list is outside my comfort zone. Like, way way outside. Out Of The Park Baseball is a baseball sim. And I'm really not much of a baseball fan. I mean, I can enjoy the sport. But really I think playing it is more fun than sitting and watching it. Or better put, playing a baseball game where you swing a bat is a lot more fun than reading about the stats of those little computer players. But this is a sim. One where you don't actually play in any "action" oriented sense. Nope, this is all stats. It's like baseball is a very complicated text adventure. It's all pen and paper stats. And yet there it is: #3. Looking at reviews, this series has been praised for years. And the 2007 edition has actually sat pretty at #2 until just this year even. Luckily for me the publisher has made this particular edition of the game freeware through their website. So let's give it a chance...


Continue reading Metagaming: Out Of The Park Baseball 2007



Posted on Sep 10th 2015 at 03:56:18 PM by (noiseredux)
Posted under PC


Grand Theft Auto V

Metagaming is a series where I force myself to play through Metacritic's highest rated PC games, working my way down the list one game at a time. There's no real goal other than giving myself an excuse to experience these critically acclaimed games. Sometimes I'll beat the games, and sometimes the games will beat me.


It's kind of crazy that the #2 PC game on Metacritic held on to the same position for eight years until Grand Theft Auto V came along to dethrone it earlier this year. Of course this game has been available to console gamers for nearly two years now, but for we PC gamers this is a new release in 2015. It was a game that we waited for - only sometimes patiently. Heck, I bought the strategy guide nearly three months before the game was finally released on PC. Not only did I buy it day one at full price... I made sure to pre-order a physical copy of it. To me it felt like the anticipation had been so high, there needed to be a certain ceremony. The act of going to the store and picking up my preorder was a needed part of the experience.  And so you're probably wondering if it was worth all the hype to me. At least I assume you're wondering if you're taking the time to actually read this...



Continue reading Metagaming: Grand Theft Auto V



Posted on Sep 7th 2015 at 07:32:55 PM by (noiseredux)
Posted under PC



NOTE: Metagaming is a series where I force myself to play through Metacritic's highest rated PC games, working my way down the list one game at a time. There's no real goal other than giving myself an excuse to experience these critically acclaimed games. Sometimes I'll beat the games, and sometimes the games will beat me.


Half-Life 2


As I write this Half-Life 2 sits comfortably at #1 on Metacritic's list of the best PC games of all time. It holds a score of 96 - one of only 6 games to rank so high. Technically one of only 5 games, as one of them is The Orange Box which is a compilation of Half-Life 2, its expansions and Portal - all games that find themselves just slightly further down the list on their own. So this is how we begin; with the best of the best.
[break]

Now before we get the ball really rolling, how about a little background on the history of me and Half-Life 2. Our relationship started off in a very... very odd way. You see although I actually sorta love FPS games now, that wasn't the case several years ago. Though I had grown up playing stuff like Wolfenstein 3D and Doom back in the day, I became pretty much inept when the y-axis was introduced to aiming with a mouse. And attempting this stuff using twinsticks on a controller baffled me even more. Sometimes ending in feelings of "I have to vomit."




And then something really weird happened a few years ago:  I got this sick idea to attempt to play the unreleased port of Half-Life on the Dreamcast. This was mostly out of sheer curiosity. Not just for the port itself, but for how the controls would be handled on a controller that only had one analog stick. The experience was admittedly strange. But I was able to work my way through the game using this weird Southpaw controller style. And more importantly - I fell in love with the world of Half-Life. After that I immediately decided to move on to Half-Life 2, this time on the Xbox 360. This meant I'd have to get used to twinstick controls. I started my way working through the game, and it was tough. Eventually I gave up somewhere around the first vehicular section.

Not long after this I got bit by the PC gaming bug. And it's been a whirlwind ever since. After spending time with Quake, Quake III Arena and Quake 4, I actually became one of those people who plays FPS games with a keyboard and mouse. And now I can't go back to use a controller! I even got myself a nice mechanical keyboard produced by WASD and installed Cherry Red dampeners in it, along with the wonderful G502 mouse by Logitech - both gifts. And since I've become a keyboard & mouse convert, I've found myself enjoying first person shooters even more. The time was right to revisit Half-Life 2 and finish it once and for all.




So is Half-Life 2 really deserving of such high praise - the #1 spot on Metacritics PC games list? Dudes... it is. For starters the great thing about Half-Life 2 is everything. It really just feels like it does everything right. Here's a game well over a decade old, and I struggle to find any faults with it. As much as it's gone on to influence countless other single player FPS games, I can't say that any other has nailed everything so perfectly.

What immediately comes to mind is the pacing. Indeed this is where HL2 truly shines. It is such a well designed game that you never really feel unsure of how to proceed. Yet there is no modern FPS trap of making levels entirely out of long hallways. Nope, there's actually lots to explore here. But there's such a natural flow - both to level design and the story itself - that it feels like the you're constantly a moth to a flame. You just know that you're always marching forward. Always making progress. It's genuinely quite brilliant.

The pacing is further applauded thanks to constant variety. In a sense it feels like you're on a rollercoaster ride for the entire dozen or so hours it will take you to get through. One moment you're sneaking through tunnels, the next you're speeding over water on some sort of jet ski. Even the tone of the game shifts abruptly in fantastic ways. The section known as Ravenholm feels like one of the scariest horror game settings and has a color pallet that will make you feel dread. A few hours later you're exploring a beautiful cliffside area.




The storytelling is also superb. Much like the original game there are no cut scenes here. Everything happens in-engine. You never lose control of Gordon Freeman. You are always a part of the story - never a voyeur. The soundtrack - both musical and voice acting - goes a long way to reinforce this storytelling and the unique atmosphere.

The combat is wonderful as well. There's an excellent freedom to how you might address any given situation. Certainly there are some very satisfying weapons here - from the trusty crowbar, to a perfect-for-silent-sniping crossbow all the way down to far heavier artillery. But it's the gravity gun that will get you killing in all sorts of puzzle-solving ways. Ravenholm for instance leaves you with limited ammo, but a bevy of sawblades and explosives to throw around in a fountain of headcrab zombie blood-rain.

But ultimately no matter how much I gush about Half-Life 2, it's pretty impossible to put into words just why this game is so great. I'm thrilled that I finally pushed my way through, and I'll surely be delving into the expansions soon enough. If you're a fan of FPS games - and maybe even if you're not - you owe it to yourself to experience this one.



Posted on Jun 14th 2015 at 08:00:00 AM by (noiseredux)
Posted under PC


Gamers who grew up with consoles have been lucky over the years as far as nostalgia goes. In the last decade or two, we've seen a rise in and have been stuffed-to-the-gills with compilations of old console games. We've seen celebrations of the Atari 2600 and it's been shouted out loud that "Intellivision Lives!" We've gotten collections of Genesis carts and plenty of various arcade era releases.

But what if you are nostalgic for early PC gaming? Certainly there's plenty out there to explore. Services like GOG and DotEmu do a great job of bringing old games to a newer generation of gamers. And heck, if you know your way around DOSBox or Windows compatability settings, there's usually very little stopping you from finding old CD-ROMs or even 3.5" floppy discs of your favorites titles of yesteryear. Yet having said all that, it's nice to see a publisher throwing a bunch of their classics together and offering them up in a nice bundle. And that's just what the 3D Realms Anthology is.


Continue reading Review: 3D Realms Anthology



Posted on Apr 24th 2015 at 09:02:11 AM by (noiseredux)
Posted under PC, Dead Or Alive



Dead Or Alive has long been my favorite 3-D fighting game series. While subsequent sequels constantly improved, for years the second game remained my favorite. That was until Dead Or Alive 5 was released and completely blew me away. It looked gorgeous, played fluidly, had an impressively huge roster and implemented a wonderfully ridiculous Story Mode that delivered so much fun and fan service for long time players. Yes, what made Dead Or Alive 5 so perfect to me was that it basically rendered its predecessors obsolete. Sure, I still loved Dead Or Alive II; I just couldn't think of any real reason to play it over this one.


Continue reading Review: Dead Or Alive 5: Last Round



Posted on Mar 23rd 2015 at 12:00:00 AM by (noiseredux)
Posted under PC


In the past year I've put a lot of time and money into upgrading my PC so that it can play the newest "hotness." I've upgraded my motherboard and CPU to make overclocking available. I've upgraded my GPU so that the latest, graphically intensive games are no sweat. I've upgraded my RAM and my SSD so that everything moves along quicker. And yet, the game I've spent the most time with in 2015 so far is a digital remake of a board game. In fact, while recently going through my Steam wishlist, I realized that the game I was most excited about was actually an expansion to Talisman: Digital Edition. Sure, bigger titles have been released like Evolve and Elder Scrolls Online, but I really just wanted to add another little piece of the board to Talisman.


Continue reading Talisman And The Art Of Digital Board Games



Posted on Feb 22nd 2015 at 12:00:00 AM by (noiseredux)
Posted under PC, Fahrenheit, Indigo Prophecy, remaster


Fahrenheit (or Indigo Prophecy as we had always known it here in the States) was the second game released by developer Quantic Dream, all the way back in 2005. Alright, so that really wasn't all that long ago. Perhaps it seems odd to 'remaster' a ten year old game, but for this game, I think there's some justification. While the visuals were already great, Indigo Prophecy has had a history of censorship outside of Europe as well as a clumsily handled PC port if you wanted to play with a controller (which was the control type that the game really seemed designed for). So on its ten year anniversary, let's take a look at this cult classic. But be forewarned, it's pretty tough to talk about a game like Indigo Prophecy without some spoilers and potentially NSFW discussion thrown in (though both are avoided for the purposes of this article).


Continue reading Review: Fahrenheit Indigo Prophecy Remastered



Posted on Jan 25th 2015 at 12:00:00 AM by (noiseredux)
Posted under PC



While 2014 was a great year for new games, it was also a great year for old games. As a PC gamer it's been great seeing all the retro love making its way onto my platform of choice recently. In fact, we've seen so many games of yesteryear re-emerge on Steam, GOG and the likes, that it's almost been tough to keep track of them all. But as much as I've made the conversion over to pretty exclusively gaming on PC, there's still plenty of console games out there that never made it to PC. I could easily list hundreds of games I'd love to see brought over to PC. Heck, my secret fantasy is that Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft would all take a cue from Sega and just become software developers so that all games were on the same platform. But that sort of wishful thinking is borderline fan-fiction, so instead I'd like talk about console games that I'd like to see ported to PC because these games would specifically benefit from the platform itself.

Read on for an utterly biased wish list for 2015...


Continue reading PC Gaming Wish List, 2015



Posted on Dec 26th 2014 at 12:00:00 AM by (noiseredux)
Posted under PC, Wolf Among Us, Telltale, game review, 2014


The Wolf Among Us
Telltale Games, 2014

I've been a fan of Telltale's adventure games for a while now. In a sense, their adventure games not only reinvigorated the genre - they redefined it. You could almost start talking about adventure games in a Pre- and Post-Telltale way. And though they had plenty of good and interesting games leading up to it, it's hard to not point at The Walking Dead as the moment where they fully nailed the formula. In The Walking Dead, the user interface was as equally as well-designed for a controller as it was a mouse. The story was strongly written with characters you could care about and who you felt like you got to know well. And most importantly, your decisions seemed to matter, and actually shaped the rest of the story going forward. This device seemed even more important when Season Two of The Walking Dead was released and you realized that many of your decisions and experiences carried over from the first game if you had a save installed.

The Walking Dead: Season Two and The Wolf Among Us finished up their episodic runs and saw retail releases as finished products around the same time this past year. And truth be told, I was far more interested in the former title. I couldn't help but want to see what happened next to Clem, and I figured that a game about a zombie apocalypse would interest me far more than one about fairytales. How wrong I was. [Disclaimer: It is nearly impossible to discuss a Telltale game without any sort of spoilers being involved. Though this review will stay clear of divulging anything that feels like it would truly 'spoil' the game, just mentioning characters, settings and the tiniest of plot points will indeed be spoilers to some. You've been warned!]


Continue reading Review: The Wolf Among Us



Posted on Sep 23rd 2014 at 12:30:00 PM by (noiseredux)
Posted under PC, escape goat 2, indie


Escape Goat 2
2014, Magical Time Bean


There's a really popular indie game about goats that came out this year. It's a glitchy, open-world mess of a game. And Escape Goat 2 isn't it. Instead, Escape Goat 2 is an amazing puzzle-platformer with tight controls, excellent level design, an old school sensibility, and gorgeous HD visuals. Also, it has a mouse that wears a hat. Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's slow down and take a look at this excellent game.


Continue reading Review: Escape Goat 2



Posted on Aug 19th 2014 at 12:00:00 AM by (noiseredux)
Posted under PC



Question: what the heck is going on with sports games? I mean, if you're a console gamer, then they're considered over-abundant to the point of being cast off as nearly disposable. Each iteration of each individual series is being released annually so that the supply is so ridiculously high that eBay sellers of console lots need warn prospective buyers "L@@K! NO SPORTS GAMES!!!!" And yet PC gamers - the so-called "master race" seem to be struggling to find recent installments at all in some cases.



Continue reading The State of PC Sports Games, 2014


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
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