Splinter Cell (May Be) The Best Infiltration Game Ever! And you should get a copy of it!

Two months ago, I bought an Xbox 360 E with 500 GB of space, enough room to install many games.  However, among the huge library of games of Xbox 360, I do really recommend you to get you hand on Splinter Cell series. One of the best infiltration game ever.

And forgot about all the rest.

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The origin of Splinter Cell can be traced back in 2000, when Ubisoft, began developing a stealth game resolves around a protagonist Sam Fischer, member of Black-op sub division of the NSA called The Third Echelon.  Based on the successful Unreal Engine, the game focuses of infiltration and use of darkness to kill the enemies.

All the console versions and PC games in the series were critically acclaimed, and the series is commercially successful. The series, is considered to be one of Ubisoft’s flagship franchises,selling more than 31 million copies as of 2011.

As far as the gameplay is concerned. The encouraged way to progress through the games is to remain hidden, select non-obvious routes, and utilize diversions to pass guards. The first game in the series only features a single-player mode, while The Pandora Tomorrow introduces a two-on-two multiplayer mode.  The Chaos Theory further develops that mode and introduces a cooperative mode. Cooperative mode plays similarly to the single player mode, but adds situations that can only be overcome as a team. The cooperative story lines in Chaos Theory and the sixth generation version of Double Agent parallel those of Sam’s actions in the single-player modes, letting players act on information he obtained or provide support in the field.

Double Agent introduces a morality factor: Fisher may now encounter conflicting objectives between his superiors and the terrorists. For example, the terrorists may assign a mission to assassinate someone, while the NSA simultaneously instructs the player to prevent the assassination. This creates a delicate balancing act between gaining the trust of the terrorists and fulfilling the mission assignments. In addition, Fisher must not do anything to reveal to the terrorists that he is a double agent (such as let himself be seen with an NSA gadget), otherwise he will lose instantly.

The installment I’m playing right now, is Conviction, (on Xbox 360 and PS3). It utilizes a much faster and more violent form of stealth action gameplay than previous games in the series. It retains the cooperative multiplayer mode of the two preceding games.  This game provides an interactive mission update sequence that is built into the levels themselves. Instead of getting an objective-bar popup, the objective may appear in bold white text on the side of a building or in front of a barricade. This adds to the immersion and keeps the HUD uncluttered. The stealth element of the game allows Fisher to hide in the shadows and become almost invisible. Guards may be assassinated by unsuppressed or silenced weapons, gadgets, or hand-to-hand combat. After successfully completing a hand-to-hand kill, the player is provided with an ‘execution’ bonus, which allows the player to mark two to four targets (depending on the weapon selected) such as enemies or objects, and trigger the execution animation. Fisher will then dispatch all targets within a few seconds in an extraordinary fashion. Interactive interrogation cutscenes where Fisher beats up a target for information do not require the player to do anything other than press [Interrogate]. Though if the player happens to be near an interactive object like a television or table, Fisher may use that to alter the standard animation.

And the series does not stop here. If you are a fan of Splinter Cell, I do recommend you to get the related game tie-ins on eBay, some of which are written by the Raymond Banson, known for the Hitman and James Bond.

Sofiane MEROUANI

Smell like the 80s. Meet the new Ataribox

25 years since the release of Atari Jaguar and here we are back with a reboot.  During the E3, Atari unveiled the new Ataribox, a console that would certainly appeal to the hardcore collectors as well as the newcomers.

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In an email to Atari fans, the company reveals “our objective is to create something new, that stays true to our heritage, while appealing to both old and new fans of Atari.” The new Ataribox is clearly inspired by the classic wood found on the Atari 2600, and the new console features ribbed lines, a raised back, and a front panel that can either be glass or wood. Indicator lights glow through these materials, and Atari is including SD card support, a HDMI port, and four USB ports on the Ataribox. Two versions of the Ataribox will be released, one in wood, and one in black / red.

But until now, the release of Ataribox and its price tag still remain a mystery.

To be continued…

Sofiane MEROUANI

 

 

PlayStation 4 titles playable on Windows!

Starting today, you can run you favorite PlayStation 4 games on Windows thanks to PlayStation NOW service.

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PlayStation Now breathed life when Sony acquired Onlive Streaming Services. When the PlayStation 4 launched, it did not support backwards compatibility, and since Sony couldn’t get PlayStation 3 games to run on its latest console, it introduced the streaming service. After the launch of PSNow, Sony has received backlash for its pricing structure and the fact that if you owned any of the games on the service, you would have to pay to play them again. Since then it changed the service with a monthly subscription.

Sony will add more games to the library as the times goes by.

  • Killzone Shadow Fall
  • God of War 3 Remastered
  • Saints Row IV: Re-Elected
  • WWE 2K16
  • Tropico 5
  • F1 2015
  • Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition
  • Evolve
  • MX vs ATV Supercross Encore
  • Resogun
  • Helldivers
  • Broken Age
  • Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition
  • Grim Fandango Remastered
  • Guilty Gear Xrd Sign
  • Castlestorm Definitive Edition
  • Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky
  • Arcania Complete Tale
  • Nidhogg
  • Super Mega Baseball

PlayStation Now is available on Windows & PS4.

Sofiane MEROUANI

Xbox One X. it’s the One you’ve been waiting for (Sofiane’s Editorial)

The technology, craftsmanship and attention to detail throughout the new device is simply first class —

Two days ago, I announced that Microsoft finally unveiled its long awaited update to Xbox One hardware during the E3 2017 press conference at Los Angeles. Formally code-named “Scorpio”, The new Xbox One X ( Xbox One with enhanced performances depending to whom you talk) is touted  as the world’s most powerful console.

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Microsoft got it right. Continue reading “Xbox One X. it’s the One you’ve been waiting for (Sofiane’s Editorial)”

Microsoft unveils Xbox One X. Release slated for Nov 7 for $499

The wait is officially over. After months of speculations Microsoft revealed the next updated version of Xbox One, called the Xbox One X. Set to compete with the current 4K generation of its rival The PlayStation 4 Pro, The Xbox One X promises the best in the gaming entertainment. True 4K gaming with its ultra Blu-ray Player and backward compatibility with Xbox 360 and current Xbox One S with boosted performances and enhanced gameplay.

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As you may know, the PlayStation 4 Pro currently sells for $399, about $100 less than the Xbox One X. But Xbox One X is far more powerful than the PS4 Pro. And from what I’ve seen today, I think it justifies the price.

Just as the PlayStation 4 Pro, which is useless if you have a non 4K TV Set, you can either keep your current Xbox One S and play games.  If you already own a 4K TV set,  the one hundred bucks can justify the purchase.

Microsoft will release Xbox One X on November 7.

Sofiane MEROUANI

Hotline Miami. A GTA 2 on-steroid

Apparently, there is a flood of classic DOS-like games that are available on GOG.com. And what’s the most striking is that all those games (Like Resonance) are old school games that resemble those we used to play back in the 90s: Monkey Island, Duke Nukem II or Wolfenstein3D to cite a few. And beside Resonance by Vince Twelve which really deserves awards, there is another game, unreleased at the time of this writing, which strikes me too. Its name is Hotline Miami and at the first sight, it looks like those an old classic we put it in a dust box and forget about it. And no. Hotline Miami is a 2012 video game developed by a joint-efforts between Dennation Digital & Devolver Digital

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There is a video available on YouTube which promotes the game. Hotline Miami uses the bird-eye view and is filled with super violence. Yes, you probably guess it. It’s like the old classic GTA (Grand Theft Auto) released on DOS back in 1997. And what’s is striking is Hotline Miami is close to those games released on Gameboy Advance in term of graphics.

In the official GOG.com, the game’s promise is all about violence and brutality. Taking place in an alternate 1989, you assume the role of an antihero who goes on murderous rampage against the shady underworld at the behest of voices on your answering machine. Soon you’ll find yourself struggling to get a grip of what is going on and why you are prone to these acts of violence.

Sofiane MEROUANI

 

Duke Nukem Forever 3D. The Game That was meant to be.

I have been a great fan of Duke Nukem since its original inception all way back in 1991. Duke fighting a legion of robots led by the mischievous Dr. Proton in the classic side-scrolling Mario-like game was a thing of the past that I could play it again and again. The 1993 sequel Duke Nukem II was even better with 256-bit swap pallette and advanced graphics. However, the gaming landscape changed when games like DOOM hits the market in the send-by-mail copy using Scott Miller’s business model called the Shareware (giving a portion of the game for free and let the player pays for the rest if he like the game). Submerged with the 3D World thanks to the advance of the 3D cards at that time, like Voodoo,  and 3dFX,  3D realm, an offshoot of Apogee Software needed to catch up with the competition.  Scott Miller’s friend, George Broussard, set out to create a that game that would the change how the player would interact with the three-d environment like never before. Licencing Ken Silverman’s BUILD engine, Broussard created Duke Nukem 3D.

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Released in 1996, Duke Nukem was a massive success. The game was later updated with the release of the 1.4 version, the so-called “Atomic Edition” that includes additional 10 levels to explore, downtown LA, Disney world filled with Babes, Police Precinct, Area 51 to name a few.

Well, I could not resist to the urge to play it on my uncle’s old Dell PC. And what made the game was addictive,  was that every elements in it is destructible.   Violence and Nudity! And you can even give tips to the strip girls so that they let you see their breasts. Bottom line, the game was really downright charming.

The overnight success of Duke Nukem 3D led the developers to port it on the other home consoles at the time  including Duke Nukem Time to Kill (1998) for the PSX platform. Land of the Babe in 2000 and a blood and nudity free port released for the family-friendly Nintendo 64.

But what the fans around the world will remember is THE INFAMOUS SEQUEL that as meant to be, Duke Nukem Forever, announced in April 1997, the game was released, well….June 2011. Plagued by negative reviews, Duke Nukem Forever, is by far the weakest in the league. Outdated graphics, playing with poops in the rest-room (disgusting) and a disastrous  slow loading time.

The problem with Duke Nukem Forever, it did not provide the classic FPS experience that Duke Nukem 3D fans wanted, while also failing to be a decent modern shooter in its own right. As a result, modders Gambini and Mikko Sandt have created the ‘game that was meant to be’.

Duke Nukem Forever 2013 as it is named suggests, catches the spirit of the original 1998 and 2001 trailers while remaining true to the original DN3D. The storyline is the same as the original 1998 trailer. It takes place in Las Vegas. Duke Nukem is now famous around the globe after saving earth from the menacing aliens and rescuing our babes. He is now enjoying his go-go lifestyle in his palace. But as you may expect from action-shooter, everything goes terribly wrong when the aliens come back to earth for revenge.

The mission pack includes Hotel Palace in Las Vegas, the infamous Nevada desert that prompted back in late 90s, DNF developers to switch between game engine, and the EDF military base. The developers promise an ongoing update for the game that will deliver fun like never before.

Sofiane MEROUANI