Sunday, September 17, 2017

Saints Row 4 - PC Game Review

Saints Row 4 is a pretty old game. I bought it in a Steam sale years ago, and just decided to play it last week.

I don't usually like 3rd-person view games, but this one works well, specially after the beginning.

The game is a cross between the GTA series and the Matrix. You are in a simulation, that soon your people hacks and you get superpowers. This works very well with the upgrades available for everything, including your weapons, stats such as health or ammo, and powers, such as fireballs, freezeballs and telekinetic attacks.

There are a ton of activities, including races, killing waves of enemies, destroying stuff, and there are also some platformer style activities, which I find annoying.

I really like the really fast start up time, with skippable movies,  which is tiny, but inside there are frequent stops, probably not helped by the game running on an HDD and not a SSD.

Graphics are good, but feel a little dated (because they, of course, are).

Overall, I really like it, specially at sale prices. DLC is still very expensive, though.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Killing Floor 2 - Book Review

I recently got Killing Floor 2 on Humble Bundle Monthly. I wouldn't have bought it otherwise.

It is a cooperative/single-player zombie killer, where you fight waves of harder and harder zombies. There are a few slow zombies, but mostly they are nasty and quite fast.

They also have a habit of coming from places you wouldn't expect.

The last wave is always a boss (which usually have minions). This can be a bit annoying, as bosses are very repetitive (not sure if they vary per character level, but looks like it), and tend to run off to heal.

Levels are pretty good and look great. You have a number of "character types" - called perks - such as Commando, SWAT, Sharpshooter, etc where you get bonus with the specific guns.

One thing I like which isn't always available in single player is that you still get experience and improved stats (such as more damage, health, etc). You also unlock skills every 5 levels, such as bigger magazines, faster reloading, etc.

One annoying issue that seems to come from my HDD+16 GB RAM is that load times are spectacularly awful. Up to 10 minutes for main menu. I had 8-bit computers with cassete tapes in the 80s - this might actually be slower.

From posts sounds like if the game sees a lot of RAM it caches more, which makes things worse.

Thankfully it seemed to improve a lot after a few runs - I'm guessing the SSD which only works as cache is helping there.

Overall, it is OK, almost good.

Mind Over Ship - Book Review

Mind Over Ship, by David Marusek, is the sequel to Counting Heads .

The story continues from where it stopped. Fred is on trial, Ellen is improving, Eleanor is still dead.

What disappeared almost completely is charter Kodiak, which barely appears in the book at all.

Plenty of action and corporate intrigue, and some extra tech appears. Also a bit of a stretch concerning fish (I'm avoiding spoilers), but I guess it is ok.

My main complaint is that a lot of threads don't really close by the end of the book, and THERE IS NO SEQUEL!

Still very, very good.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Counting Heads - Book Review

Counting Heads - by David Marusek is a SF novel.

I started reading the sample out of an Amazon suggestion. Immediately I recognized that I already read the novella that was used as the first part of the book - even though I read it over 20 years ago! It just was that poignant. I felt when I read it that it was a fair conclusion, but I'm really glad that the author didn't feel that way.

A big part part of what draws me in to SF books is the tech. Usually there are a few new technologies and their consequences forming the basis of the book.

Not here. There are tons of new and common ideas, applied in many

I didn't enjoy the fact that the searing was effectively left "unsolved", though. I was hoping for a better fate for Samson...

Overall, strongly recommended. I already started reading the sequel.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Volantia Demo Review - PC Game Review

Volantia is a new game in the Humble Bundle Trove - a bunch of original games only available for subscribers to Humble Bundle Monthly.

It is an interesting strategy game. The really different point is that the terrain comes to you in pieces, which you must connect to the existing terrain. The idea is interesting, but with the weird shapes it can be very annoying. Later one you can find single tile islands, which helps somewhat.

The game is described as greenpunk - a lot of the tech is manifested in the form of trees, which extract various resources.

There is also a tech tree, which adds a lot of other units to the game. I'd say a little too much - even after a small game there is a ton of stuff to keep track of.

The tutorial and indicators are pretty good, though - there are visual warnings when a building/tree isn't properly connected, needs water, etc.

Connecting things is a little hard - roads only connect to themselves, and not through the buildings. That and the crazy shapes of islands can make it hard to keep everything connected.

Overall, it seems very nice for a demo. If I was told it was the finished product I'd certainly believe it, although the lack of configuration options was weird.

Good luck for the developers in further development!

Update: I finished a play of the game. Took a little over an hour. I really liked it. Got a little problem with a save game that wouldn't load, though.

I don't think there is enough variety that it would really be worth playing again. I might if there are updates to the game.