Thief — 3Q2014 issue

Photo cour­tesy of Polygon.com

It takes a thief

You know, once in a while, a game comes along that is just full of fun stuff and guilty

William Har­ri­son, GI con­tribut­ing editor

plea­sures that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Ladies and gen­tle­men, this is that game. Thief is a game that when I first heard about the orig­i­nal — way back when it was only avail­able for PC — I thought it was one of those games I would have liked to play but didn’t think it would be fun. Man, was I ever wrong.

Thief places you in the role of mas­ter thief Gar­rett as he works his way through a city run by a greedy and blood­thirsty Baron and his guard known as the WATCH. Use the shad­ows to your advan­tage and truly make what is theirs … yours.

Eidos/Montreal and Square ENIX put forth a great effort in mak­ing this game a real­ity and bring­ing it to home sys­tems. Thief is actu­ally the fourth incar­na­tion of the series, set dur­ing the time period around the same time as the Black Plague, I think; they don’t really tell you when it’s set or where it is rel­e­vant to any time period. I only say dur­ing the time of the Black Plague because of the dis­ease that runs ram­pant called the gloom, which is a lot like it.

The stealth game­play is the main rea­son why I’m a huge fan of this game. I like the fact that it’s a major part of the game and there is an achieve­ment for mak­ing it through the game unseen. There is the rat­ing sys­tem where I seem to always strad­dle the line between ghost and oppor­tunist in my quest to see if I’m still as sneaky in stealth games as I claim to be.

As of press time, I haven’t fin­ished Thief but the story and the free roam­ing aspect are awe­some. At times, I wan­der from the story to explore, roam aim­lessly and rob peo­ple blind just like in real life.

The city and the char­ac­ters are beau­ti­fully designed and ren­dered but it seems to be miss­ing some­thing. The music — as far as atmos­phere goes — is OK but it seems that you can’t really hear it. And, a lot of times the inter­ac­tions between char­ac­ters is almost a joke because you can some­times barely hear what a NPC or your­self are say­ing. Appar­ently, sub­ti­tles are a bit of a must to catch every­thing being said.

I’m not quite sure how the old Gar­rett matches up to the new Gar­rett since I haven’t played the PC titles but hope­fully it’s not too far off. I really do enjoy this game, but it seems that it isn’t really all that long, at least not when you get into the story-specific mis­sions. There is still a free roam ele­ment there but there are also points where you can’t go back and that seems like it’s pun­ish­ing the player and slap­ping you say­ing, “You want to explore?! NOW!? The fate of the world is at stake!!”

Thief is a really good stealth, make-you-feel-guilty-in-a-good-way sort of game and should def­i­nitely be played by all. The fact that it’s the fourth game but also a reboot of the series is fine, but the fans of the older games may have a prob­lem with the dif­fer­ences. Sound issues aside, this is a hell of a steal.

Titanfall — 3Q2014 issue

Photos courtesy of Shacknews.com

Pho­tos cour­tesy of Shacknews.com

Pho­tos cour­tesy of GameSpot.com

Keep calm and pre­pare for Titanfall

Hello, pilots and wel­come to the Fron­tier. The long-anticipated Titan­fall is up for review

William Har­ri­son, GI con­tribut­ing editor

and let me tell you, I had a lot of fun with this one and so will you. It posts a few unique inno­va­tions as well as an online only style all of its own. And, of course, giant robots … every­thing is bet­ter with giant robots. The cam­paign mode is weird at first but it’s noth­ing that can’t be handled.

Titan­fall takes place in the dis­tant future and in another col­o­nized area of space. Two war­ring fac­tions, the IMC and the Fron­tier Mili­tia, are fight­ing for con­trol of their lit­tle pieces of space and the place they call home. Unfor­tu­nately, the IMC seem to be look­ing to con­trol the area under the flag of Ham­mond Indus­tries, a galac­tic wide­spread com­pany that has its hands in … well, pretty much every­thing. Then in comes the Fron­tier Mili­tia, who believe the peo­ple are bet­ter off with­out the watch­ful eye of the IMC and Ham­mond Indus­tries telling you what to do.

Titan­fall is a very impres­sive and beau­ti­fully ren­dered game. It’s cur­rently out for the Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC. I have it for Xbox One and it’s about the only first-person shooter that I cur­rently play. The game­play is pretty much like Call of Duty, but that’s to be expected when Infin­ity Ward closed its doors and reopened to a split in the com­pany not called Respawn Enter­tain­ment and Sledgham­mer Games. Respawn Enter­tain­ment is pretty much made up of the devel­op­ers that made the COD series sto­ries and games what they were.

The addi­tion of the Titans (25– to 30-foot-tall robots) and the abil­ity to either pilot or have the AI con­trol it makes for a new num­ber of things that can be done. There is a cam­paign mode but it is multiplayer-based, mean­ing that the story is con­trolled by the out­come of the win­ning team in some mis­sions. It only allows for 6v6 (12v12, if you include hav­ing the AI-controlled Titans on the map as well) so that the games can remain as lag free as pos­si­ble. Don’t want to ride inside your own Titan, well hop out and switch your Titan to either guard or fol­low to help hold a posi­tion or for a lit­tle backup. I must admit that I am rarely rid­ing inside my Titan when I play. They have a nice selec­tion of weapons for the pilots but only about six for the Titans them­selves, which is fine by me.

The mul­ti­player is done really well, but right now there are only seven play modes, with the sev­enth as a mash-up vari­ety pack that con­sists of all play modes on all maps ran­domly select­ing both. I believe the Xbox 360 ver­sion is miss­ing a mode or two.

Here is how I see it: Titan­fall is one of those games you hear about and think it would be awe­some if they can pull it off right. Respawn did their home­work and came up with a game that is fun and immer­sive. Unfor­tu­nately, it kind of hin­dered itself by being online only, and although the down­load needed to play it on Xbox 360 isn’t as mas­sive as the GTAV down­load (1.3 GB ver­sus 7.9 GB), it’s still a bit annoy­ing. How­ever, you don’t have to delete data to play. A match­mak­ing option that puts you with peo­ple in the same skill level would be a nice idea, too. If you haven’t played it, then you should def­i­nitely “Pre­pare for Titanfall.”

Macross M32Q2014 issue

Pho­tos cour­tesy of GameSpot.com

Pilot­ing your dreams in Macross

William Har­ri­son, GI con­tribut­ing editor

As you may not know, I used to want to be a fighter pilot because of an old car­toon I saw called Robot­ech. Then, I was intro­duced to the real series called Macross, and my love for all things that flew was renewed even more. I also wanted to take up engi­neer­ing to make the Varitech fight­ers I love so much a real­ity; hell, I may still get that chance one day or some­where my designs may help some­one do what I couldn’t in my life­time. Any­way, we’re here to talk about a game that never made it to the U.S. because of the man who made Robot­ech famous and is an out-and-out bad per­son. Macross M3 is up and its Varitechs, Zin­tredies and mis­siles, oh my!

The game takes place dur­ing the time Max was start­ing out up till he meets Meria. From then on, you can choose either Max or Meria until the point in the story where their daugh­ter is born. Then, you can only choose her as a playable char­ac­ter. Unfor­tu­nately, I don’t know if you get to play as any­one else because there is a mis­sion shortly after their daugh­ter joins U.N. Spacy and has a cri­sis of con­science, which is where my ven­ture ends. I’m not sure if there’s a glitch at this point or a choice that is made that can change that. So, I don’t know how the game ends but that doesn’t mean the game isn’t worth playing.

The con­trols have improved com­pared to its pre­vi­ous coun­ter­parts of the VF-X series. The graph­ics for this Dream­cast title are a lot smoother than the PS1 games, as well, but you would expect that.

The game­play, how­ever, seems to present not much of a chal­lenge as its VFX coun­ter­part. The learn­ing curve may not seem to be there, but it is in the form of a mis­sion where the dif­fi­culty goes from “Oh that’s nice” to “Oh god, why won’t you die?!” I did find it funny that I ran out of mis­siles only to dis­cover later that they refill over time. Noth­ing really stands out too much but the graph­ics and the story that I can fig­ure out is good. Unfor­tu­nately, I was unable to fin­ish this game because at the time my grasp of the Japan­ese lan­guage was very nonex­is­tent.

The last word on this is that it’s a really fun game and presents a good time to be had by all. Well, except for the fact that at least that one stage is a pain. My score for the game would be higher if I was able to fin­ish the game and I may still one day. Until then, if it some­how finds its way to your door, invite it in, have a good time and share a bit of sake with the essence of an old friend.

Macross VF-X22Q2014 issue

Pho­tos cour­tesy of GiantBomb.com

Find your way in the stars

ありがと ございました おなしと の おとこのしと!

And for the non-Nihongo speak­ing, thank you ladies and gen­tle­men! It’s great to be

William Har­ri­son, GI con­tribut­ing editor

back and for the Far East­ern (Nihon, Nihongo = Japan­ese lan­guage) issue. I under­stand that a lot of peo­ple may be won­der­ing why it’s not called Robot­ech. Well, let’s just stick with the ver­sion that was released in Japan. The funny thing is, this game was actu­ally sched­uled for an Amer­i­can release but was later can­celed because of the “cre­ator” of the Robot­ech series. His demands were a bit on the ridicu­lous side and rather than bow to him, Big West/Bandai Visual (before it merged with Namco) made sure that the Amer­i­can release never saw the light of day.

But if you knew the right places to go and were will­ing to pay the price, you could have your very own copy like I do. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to play it, but this is still one of the best games I have played in a long time and the fan boy in me was all over this when I saw it in an import store in Greenville, S.C. I fell in love with Macross VF-X2.

VF-X2 is a flight-style com­bat shooter with a bit of an arcade feel to it, loads of fun and not too bad of a story to add to the Macross uni­verse. You are Arges Focker, rookie pilot who joins the U.N. Spacy and is shortly recruited to the Raven Fight­ing Squadron. You bat­tle through sev­eral mis­sions, pilot­ing sev­eral of the vari­able fight­ers from the orig­i­nal Valkyre to the VF-22 (Macross plus YF-21: The 21 was des­ig­nated the 22 to honor Guld Goa Bow­man after his death).

The game plays very well and the sounds and effects will put you in the right frame of mind of the Macross series, but, unfor­tu­nately, it does have a few bugs.

One of the main bugs occurs when you beat the game: The clos­ing cin­e­matic glitches and plays for two frames then either freezes or boots you to the cred­its screen. That’s heart­break­ing because it kind of ruins that whole sat­is­fac­tion of beat­ing the game. The game is solid as a whole, but the glitches kind of cut into the fun. If you love Robotech/Macross, don’t let the glitches keep you from a solid rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the series.