Showing posts with label news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label news. Show all posts

Monday, February 25, 2013

Dead Space 3 Review

Panel 1 wins the award for 'Worst Looking Bench on the Internet'


This is by no means a fair review. I was in a rush to finish Dead Space 3, so I played it solo in the space of two days. Therefore, this review doesn’t take into account the new cooperative narrative or gameplay added to Dead Space’s third instalment.
Nonetheless, it was pretty damn good.

Set three years after the events of Dead Space 2, protagonist Isaac Clarke has been in hiding after destroying The Sprawl in order to stop an infestation of Necromorphs – dead bodies reanimated by the mysterious Marker artefacts, central to the series’ plot. However, Government soldiers track down Isaac and shoehorn him into helping them investigate what appears to be the source of the Necromorph threat – an abandoned planet where a previous Necromorph infection was successfully stopped 200 years prior, and may represent humanity’s only hope against the threat.

Dead Space 3 relies on well-established character tropes more than previous Dead Space games. While this would appear to be a flaw in the game’s writing, the situations these characters find themselves in, the quality of the voice acting, as well as the writers finding ample opportunities for characterization, means that they are generally unique enough to compel its audience.

One of the major fears leading up to DS3’s release was that the game would abandon its survival horror atmosphere for a more action oriented one. There certainly are far more Quick Time Events and action sequences involved this time around and some jump scare tactics have been abandoned as a result, but the game can still at times terrify and even stress the player (in a good way). DS3 feels more difficult than previous instalments, as there seems to be far more Necromorphs crowded in every enemy encounter - and with limited supplies available these quickly become claustrophobic and terrifying without ever becoming utterly impossible to defeat. And whilst the classic high-strung violins return to warn of a Necromorph attack, enemies are more than capable of creeping up behind the player with no warning whatsoever.

Unfortunately, whilst limited supplies are great for harrowing the audience, Dead Space 3 also suffers a fatal flaw in its design. For the first time in the series, DS3 utilises an auto-save system rather than the standard save point system used in previous titles. However, whilst there are adequate checkpoints available, saving and quitting the game will not return you to these checkpoints when restarting the game, but instead to arranged auto-save positions. Furthermore, quitting the game saves your inventory as well, meaning that precious resources can be lost after difficult fights, and can thus make segments of the game much harder than before. For the first time in a game, I’ve been crippled by an auto-save rather than helped.

Dead Space offers a wide variety of options to attack and dismember enemies. Most weapons are specialised enough to sever the specific limbs of incoming threats – with basic Assault Rifles also available for general crowd control and frantic fights. Furthermore, the games also provides a Stasis ability to temporarily slow groups of enemies, as well as a Kinesis ability for impaling enemies with sharp objects or for puzzle solving. Finally, a basic melee swing can be used when cornered or running low on ammunition. Thanks to options like these, Dead Space never falls into the trap of becoming utterly impossible to finish.

An all-new weapon crafting system has been introduced in DS3, whereby a player can assemble weapons from parts collected in the environment. For example, it is possible to build a standard submachine gun with an electrified Ripper blade underslung, or a standard Plasma Cutter that fires acidic bullets with an underslung melee blade. Furthermore, these weapons can be upgraded with bonuses to damage, reload time, etc. using circuits found or crafted in the Bench. Almost any combination of weapons is available, though you’ll likely find yourself relying on only a handful of crafted weapons (or even a single one if you utilise the correct parts).

EA provides a micro-transaction service to buy weapon parts and supplies with real-world money, but honestly you’ll never need it. Seriously, don’t do it.

Dead Space 3 experiments with new types of Necromorph enemies that rely on new tactics to defeat. Feeders attack with a pack-like mentality, but their poor vision and hearing encourages players to sneak past them rather than attacking the whole pack directly. Unitology soldiers also arrive periodically with Assault Rifles and explosives that behave in the same fashion as standard shooter enemies. Dividers return from previous Dead Space games, but with the added ability to reanimate dead soldiers and utilise whatever weapons they carry. Whilst most enemies still rely on Dead Space’s iconic dismemberment system to overcome, there is enough variation in enemy types that this same system doesn’t become overused and boring. Gameplay quirks like Zero Gravity and Vacuum areas return in DS3 - though much less frequent than before - as well as a brief section where players must seek heat sources their internal body temperature to prevent themselves from freezing to death. Dead Space never becomes monotonous as a result.

On a visual standpoint, Dead Space suits its survival horror premise well. Half of the game is spent inside dark, cramped and abandoned ships, whilst the second half alternates between abandoned military stations and snowy outdoor spaces. Any source light becomes eerily foreboding and blinding. On occasion, it can be difficult to discern in-game environments and creatures because of their bizarre appendages and in-game lighting, but the lack of visibility makes for a foreboding and confined experience. Dead Space 3’s musical score – now handled by two composers (Jason Graves and James Hannigan) – alternates Grave’s usual unsettling, jumping violins with Hannigan’s orchestral melodies during key cinematics – the slightly different tones of music come about as a result of Graves and Hannigan choosing to work separately.

Finally, The Dead Space series offers a New Game+ feature – whereby character and weapon upgrades are carried over from a completed save file into a new one – and Dead Space 3 adds several extra game modes for returning players, such as ‘Classic Mode’ – a version of the campaign that utilises Dead Space’s original aiming system and removes weapon crafting to replicate the original titles’ gameplay. Even if you’ve completed the game in full, there’s incentive to start the campaign again or simply load a particular chapter, with the added bonus of all of your previous upgrades, meaning that a player is free to explore and enjoy the game with or without the difficulty of the first playthrough.

While it’s easy to dismiss the Dead Space series (I know I have in the past), the fact is that it is one of the most original games released this console generation, and in this regard Dead Space 3 does not disappoint. Whilst there is certainly a stronger focus on action, the game hasn’t sacrificed its claustrophobic fights and limits on resources as a result. I’d recommend completing the solo campaign first before jumping into co-op for the best Dead Space experience. Not for the faint of heart, but absolutely worth playing through.

The Verdict

Story: 1.5

Even if it relies on some well-established character tropes, DS3’s characters are unique enough not to get boring.

Gameplay: 1.5

Even if DS3 is far more action based, it still knows when to be cruel without being impossible…except where checkpoints are concerned.

Visuals: 1.5
The game’s indoor environments feel dark and foreboding, but some details become hard to make out.

Sound: 1.5
The game’s well-established violin strings are back, but DS3 is just as good at restricting sound in order to scare. Musical score both scares and depresses.

Longevity: 1.5
Multiple New Game + options are available, and the game becomes more enjoyable when you can leisurely replay a second time.

Final Score: 7.5 / 10.0

Anyway, I'm going to try and publish a new comic at least every Monday from now on, plus Fridays if I'm feeling charitable. See you then.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Happy Birthday

Just a quick note: as of the 20th of May, Three's a Game has reached it's first birthday (yeah, that was a failed attempt at a pun).

I know TAG's going through a rough patch at the moment, but nonetheless thanks for all (eight) of you who've stuck with it for the last year. I'm trying to work on something special for such an event, which I hoped to get finished by the 20th (seems I'm a day late...)

So to anyone out there still reading; what have your experiences with TAG been like? Have you stuck with it from the beginning? Were you there to see me draw a comic or two? Did you just find this webpage and wanted to say how shoddy the drawings are? Leave a comment and let your fellow readers know.

Friday, February 18, 2011

End of the Line.

Today: grim news.

VERY grim news. If you are at all a fan of the Three's a Game comics, maybe you should spare yourself the horror of the upcoming paragraphs and stop reading now.

Because, as of now, TAG is having to go into indefinite hiatus.

Because, see; since I've moved into the new apartment, I've no more access to any scanning device, nor any internet connection (this post isn't being posted from said Wi-Fi-less home). Without such necessary tech to work with, I currently have no means to publish comics.

Additionally, I've simply gotten out of routine for comic posting. A week-long Dead Space 2 story arc (involving Daget going Necromorph and getting his arm blown off) and comics for The Darkness II announcement and moving into the new apartment simply haven't been drawn up/finished. The blame for this lies entirely on me, and I'm very sorry for this.

Who knows? Maybe in the future months I will finally get back up to speed with the comics and begin afresh. Maybe I'll actually figure out how to make good looking computer-generated pictures and post them instead. But for now at least, there will not be any new comics to look forward to in the future.

Honestly, I loved my TAG series to bits (not a day goes by where I don't draw a scene for it), and I feel horrible fr having to go into hiding like this. To all (two) loyal TAG readers, thank you for sticking around as long as you have. You will be missed dearly...at least until I meet you again in-person some time next week.

Until [insert time and date here], adios.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

It's been a while, hasn't it?

I know, it's been at least two weeks since I posted. And I'm afraid I'm not posting a comic today either. Shame too. 'cause I've got this kickass idea for a Dead Space 2 story that I've been working on for the last 6 months...

But I'm actually here to make up some more excuses for why I haven't posted/may not make any more posts for a while.

Firstly, the phone lines were playing up for a little over a week, and I only had internet access for about 2 minutes at a time for every half hour. It was just that bad.

...I wish that was the excuse I could use for why I haven't written any more comics. Alas, it is not.

See, only a few weeks ago, I discovered that I was accepted into my Theatre course at the University of Wollongong. And only last week did I actually get a flat to live in. So, it's mostly been work; enrolling at uni, talking with Centrelink about paying for my life, applying for flats, etc etc etc.

What does this mean for you, the loyal (two) TAG readers? Well, I may have very little time to write comics for you (or perhaps more, if I'm lucky). It also means that the TAG comic you've grown up with over the last half-year may have some unexpected changes (which hopefully you'll get to see for yourselves).

So, keep hoping that I get off of my lazy backside and start working on comics again.


Friday, January 7, 2011

And On The Hundredth Day...


That's right. We've done it.

100 comics.

...One hundred.

It's been a helluva journey, hasn't it? And over the last half-year, you've (both) put up with so much from me; delays, crappy drawings that never seem to get any better, and listening to my rants about games despite only having a gamerscore of only 15,000 (if I'm not at 15,000 gamerscore by today, you may pelt me with tomatoes). Nonetheless, comic 100 deserves something special...and some changes to be made, wouldn't you say?

Over the coming weeks, I'll be making some slight changes to the way I normally draw comics (which you'll hopefully see for yourselves), as well as how often I'll publish them. Here's what I'm thinking: I've done such a bad job of keeping on schedual over the last few months, that I thought; "why don't I just abolish the schedual system like the good ol' days? I mean, this guy seems to do well without, right?" I'm still going to aim for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, so that's when to check.

And now, some special thanks.

To Charlotte: thanks for all the help over the last few months getting the comics up to scratch and helping promote the site, but moreso for putting up with me and my video games and for helping me with my university applications. Congrats on getting into your Media Arts course.

To Jarrod: For being such a great character in TAG, despite never having a say in it all. Plus for the support and (also) helping to promote the site on your Facebook account. Enjoy the gap year.

To Josh, Liam, Mitchell and Matt: For reading the comics those few times and (Mitchell and Matt) for adding your names to the blog's "The Devoted Fans" section. Best of luck with Uni for this year.

To Brad: For...trying to promote the site as well.

To "Life": ...for nothing. You suck.

And finally...remember a few weeks back when I presented that crappy "Noble Actual trailer" for an upcoming TAG comic series? That was originally destined for this blog post, but ultimately got moved up to said earlier post. So now, here's the cover art instead, minus titles:


Don't expect this to surface for some time yet though...aside from the fact that most of the comic still needs to be drawn up, it also needs a title.

Finally, tell me readers; what are your fond memories of the last 100 comics? You'll find the comments section below. Better responses may even get turned into a comic.

And with that, I am out. Here's to the next 100 comics.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

"Official" hiatus

This is something unusual for me...I'm actually going to warn you in advance that I'm not comics for a week. I think it's safe to say I'm not going to make the 100th comic by month's end.

Yes, for the next week I'll be out of town, and not drawing pictures. I'm on a holiday trip to a place called "Merimbula", and followed up with an audition for a university course. I expect to be back by next week.

I was going to save this for the 100th comic, but since you're all going to be so patient for me...



Yes, I realise this is done with Windows Movie Maker.

What is this about, you ask? There are some clues scattered throughout the comics, as there will be in the coming weeks. 

Well, see you next week then.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Self-Reference


Yeah, I figured out this problem too.

I'll admit: I haven't started on this Wednesday's comic (just between you and me...I've been working on something bigger). My final exam concludes Thursday, so there'll be (almost) all the time in the world to write up comics for you...or play more video games, I dunno yet. In the event that I don't get Wednesday's comic done, I promise to make up for it with two on Friday, ok?

Friday, October 15, 2010

More Than You Know


By the time you read this, I'll be stuck in a HSC exam.

I don't know what the likelihood of me being able to post over the next month is going to be...I'll likely be immersed in either last-minute study or an exam throughout most of it (you can imagine how much this is cutting into my video gaming time). So for now at least, I'll leave you with this comment on today's comic:

Today's comic is leading up to something. Big.

In other news, the Dead Space 2 Collectors Edition was announced yesterday (I know that's a link to Facebook. I don't have Facebook, so stop asking). Featured is the game itself (obviously), an electronic replica of the iconic Plasma Cutter (don't let the kids find it!), the original soundtrack, a seriously gruesome piece of concept art as a lithograph, and an exclusive in-game Unitology RIG. Plus pre-ordering of course gets you Dead Space Ignition for free (which I so far haven't heard particularly great things about, but I'll have to play it before I can actually give a review).


This could be the last you hear of me for a few weeks, but I'll try and get back to you all (a.k.a.: both of you) as soon as I get a chance to draw again. Nice knowing you.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Start of Something

Yeah yeah, I know it's a day late.


Do not comment. There's nothing in the attic. Nothing at all...whatsoever...

So in other news not relating to the attic, Enslaved came out yesterday. For those of us uneducated in the matter (myself included), I think this trailer best sums it up:


I admit, when I first saw all of those in-browser advertisements for Enslaved, I wasn't particularly convinced. Having done some research on the game now, it's definitely on my "Games To Play So I Don't Look Like I Only Play Halo" list.

Finally, you've probably noticed that sudden site update. The "Simple" template was good n' all, but I thought it was time for a bit of a site rework. Now it's actually possible to see the background image. Trippy, eh? The comments section is as empty as ever, so if this new template is not to your liking, or if you have any suggestions, write a comment about it.

...please?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Where the hell have you been?!

Ok, I know. I've gone a whole week without posting. This time however, I have a good reason!

Sunday, 5th September: Power goes out, denying me access to both computer and internet. I miss out on everything PAX related.
Thursday, 9th September: Power comes back...but internet is completely malfunctioning. Thanks to the school's internet filter, I can't make a post telling you all what happened either.
Today: Internet finally comes back on.

Relax though: I have four comics ready and waiting for you (both) who have waited so long.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I know, I know

I know: Monday's comic isn't up. And neither is today's. It just so happens that I'm also a Drama student, and said Drama class is being assessed this week. I'm not free until Friday I'm afraid.

Both of you readers must be angry with me.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Making the most of it


...guess what I've been doing instead of studying again? Next time, I'll be sure to put a convincing looking sky there instead.

As you may be able to gather from the school noticeboard, I have more exams this Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday...which is then followed up by a ski trip Friday-Sunday.

...you weren't expecting more comics then, were you?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

...you weren't expecting a comic, were you?

Remember how I said I was a school student? Yeah, times are hitting hard.

See, we just so happen to have Trial HSC's right about now (coupled with the fact that I've got a cold as well...thanks a lot Jarrod)...so there really isn't a lot of time to write comics right about now. After August 18th, I'll have some spare time once more to draw comics, involving Apple-brand Sniper Rifles, Inception (again), pets, etc.

Geez, this must be really bad for my ever decreasing readership...hate mail in the comments section please. Heck, any comments will do. That "FAQs" section is looking really empty right about now.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It gets worse


My God, what is this amazing and exciting game the TAG trio are playing? Why, it looks like...

...oh wait, it's just Halo Wars. Never mind...

I worked with a new program for this comic, named GIMP (and no, don't get any ideas). As with any child learning to ride a new bike, I'm likely to make a few stumbles here and there (some of which you may have noticed in today's comic). Once I get the hang of this program, TAG should look like the shoddy 30 minute comic you're used to.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Life


Well, here it is. None other than comic #50. I think I deserve an achivement.


I'm not sure backgrounds are going to be a new feature to the comics just yet, but I had to something interesting for the Golden Anniversary.

Here's to the next 50. Hopefully I'll get more than 5 readers before then (yeah I know who you are).

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Thanks to Charlie...

You might have noticed the sudden appearance of that flashy new picture on your right.

Charlie Renwick (who you may have noticed has also appeared in the "Some People we Know" section) gratiously drew up this piece of artwork to promote the site. From all of us here at Three's a Game (A.K.A.: all 1 of me), we'd like to thank her for taking up 4 whole hours of her precious time to draw this.

You can see more of Charlie's works here. And feel free to congratulate her in the comments section.

EDIT: Is anyone else reading what "anonymous" just said?!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

If you look to your right...

...you might notice that I've started writing a "character bios" page. I intend to produce some pictures to go with them soon.

My blog is finally growing up...

EDIT: Ok, now said pictures are up.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Poor timing

All 9 of you are going to hate me for this.

E3's mere hours away, and yet fate has backstabbed me. Again.

As it turns out, I need to be both interrogated at a naval base and wait for a man named "Godot" this week, so there might be some delay in any E3 related comics.

I know. It sucks.

Nonetheless...I'm sure I'll get my revenge. How many nuclear warheads do modern naval bases keep these days...?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Attention, class

Continuation from "Schoolies"


The sad truth is...this comic is pretty much true.

I'm not kidding about the Dante's Inferno references either. Check this page out to find out more.

Now, all (8) of you might have noticed the sudden slowing in publishing. Like I said earlier, I've decided to restrict how many comics I post each day, so that I don't use up all of my good ideas before I come up with more.

Here's the deal: during E3 I'll be improvising comics. As soon as I come up with a punchline about an E3 video, it'll get put up. After that, comics will be published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, per standard publishing scheduals. However, if a piece of gaming news appears and I come up with a comic for it, it'll be posted outside of schedual.
Got it? Good.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Assassination


This was actually the 2nd out of five comics I wrote in a single day. Maybe I should start limiting how many comics I publish per day, or else I'm gonna run out of ideas in a matter of weeks...