Friday, December 29, 2023

Call of Juarez (PC) Review

Call of Juarez annoyed me.

Released in 2006, Call of Juarez is an FPS set in the Wild West. I should have loved this game, but I didn't.

Considering the game was released 17 years ago, the visuals still hold up. Compared to most of the gray and brown shooters released around this time, this game stands out with colorful visuals. They successfully portrayed Mexico in a way that avoids the visual style of a Breaking Bad episode.

The story follows two characters, Billy Candle and Rev. Ray McCall, one seeking treasure and the other redemption. Techland explored the idea of finding redemption in the Wild West long before Rockstar. However, the story is not quite as interesting, and the voice acting can be amateurish at times.

Shooting is clunky and the weapon degradation does not help at all. McCall is more fun to play because you get to use guns, but the downside is that between episodes, you don't get to preserve weapons. There is no ADS when using pistols, and at times, you have to engage enemies at a distance. There are a lot of post-processing effects that obscure visibility, and fighting enemies with pistols at a distance is a frustrating experience.

But by far the most annoying mechanics are the melee combat and duels. I can forgive the awkward melee combat but detest the duels. I remember playing the demo way back in the day and hating it. That hasn't changed 17 years later.

There is very little player agency during duels. The mouse has a mind of its own. The game runs at over 200FPS on my machine, and I get the feeling that made things worse. I restricted the frame rate to 60 using RTSS, and I think it made the experience marginally better. In my opinion, it's incredibly bad game design to lock a player into a specific situation and impose very narrow criteria for success.

Billy leans more towards stealth, and using a bow is fun. However, the worst part about playing as Billy is the platform sections. First-person games around this time were not smooth enough to attempt first-person platforming. To say these sections are awkward and boring would be an understatement.

The game's default control scheme is a little weird. Horse sprint is mapped to Caps Lock on default. Why not use Shift? Who thought this was a good idea?

The disappointing part is that this could have been a timeless classic, but needlessly poor design choices prevent this game from reaching its potential.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Darkness II (PC) Review

I have not played The Darkness I because it was never released on the PC. Not having played the first game should not stop someone from playing this game. Just watch a YouTube video about the story of the first game, and you will be all caught up on the story. I should also mention that I knew nothing about the comics before playing this game.

A direct sequel to the first game, in The Darkness II, you resume the role of Jackie who is possessed by Darkness, which gives the player control of the demon and its underling.

From a technical perspective, I played this game in 2023 on i7-6700k, Nvidia 1080Ti at 2560x1440. Since this is a console port, it doesn't work well when the game is running at a very high framerate. Enabling VSync, should take care of these issues. This means that the game is going to run at a steady 60FPS, and while this is not ideal, I didn't mind it too much considering how old the game is.

The story doesn't pull any punches. From dialogue to gameplay, this is a game meant for mature audiences.

Combat is the real highlight here. In the right situations, when everything works, it is a lot of fun. Darkness abilities are a lot of fun to use, and using objects in the level to attack enemies is very well done. The one big complaint I had was the visual overload at times. The gameplay involves sticking to shadows, which gives you access to dark powers. Oftentimes in combat enemies will use light beams and these are blinding. They should have toned down the effects. I am willing to bet its not as bad when viewing this on a TV, but on a monitor it becomes really annoying and induces headaches.

In addition to this, the weapon system is clunky as well. You use Q and E to interact with objects. Pressing E allows you to eat hearts, which replenish your health. E is also used to swap weapons on the ground. When there are a lot of enemies and objects on the ground, you have to be careful about pressing E, or else you end up switching weapons without meaning to. It is aggravating in the heat of the battle and can get you killed. This could have been easily solved by automatically getting health from enemies, and without needing to go through the animation.

I got this game in a Humble Bundle for $1 (along with some other games). I got my money's worth. It takes about 6 hours to finish it, and its fun. I would not recommend paying the absurd non sale price of $29.99. If you can find it for around ~$3, and if you enjoy action games, go for it.

Verdict - Buy on deep discount.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Mirror's Edge Catalyst (PC) Review

The best parkour game I ever played, with a thoroughly forgettable story

I played and enjoyed Mirror's Edge back in 2009. It always puzzled me why DICE took so long to give us a sequel.

When the game first came out, the reviews were some what mixed and I don't think it was available on Steam. I recently picked it up on Steam for $1.99. Mirror's Edge Catalyst brings the free-running action from the first game, and makes almost everything better. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This game shines on the PC, taking full advantage of the hardware capabilities. The graphics are crisp, and the performance is smooth, delivering an immersive experience without any noticeable hiccups or technical glitches. Optimization on PC deserves applause, ensuring that players can fully enjoy the breathtaking world. I played the game at 3440x1440 on my 3080Ti, and the performance was flawless.

The world deserves a very special mention here. The vibrant and minimalist architecture with striking colors, creates a visually stunning environment. I don't think I have seen a this kind of world design in any other game.

I remember combat in the first game being quite bad. Thankfully, combat in this game is much better. I wouldn't call it great, but its not the mess it was in the first game.

Unfortunately, the narrative falls short of the game's visually stunning world. The story in Mirror's Edge Catalyst is boring and fails to create a compelling reason for players to care about the main character's journey. I got bored within the first 10 minutes, and I couldn't tell you what the story was about, because I quit caring.

The cringe-worthy dialogue further exacerbates the poor narrative. Characters often deliver lines that feel forced and artificial, breaking the immersion and detracting from the overall experience. Thw world is very immersive, the story and dialogue are exactly the opposite. While the focus on parkour and action is evident, a stronger narrative could have elevated the game beyond its visual appeal. Thankfully, you can skip cut-scenes.

Navigating the rooftops of the city is a lot of fun. PC controls are intuitive and responsive. The keyboard and mouse setup feels natural, allowing for precise movements during intense parkour sequences. For the most part. There are situations where platforming can be challenging, but overall, I loved the parkour, and this speaks for the great PC optimization.

In conclusion, Mirror's Edge Catalyst on PC is one hell of a game, especially for the price I paid for it. The visuals are stunning and parkour is smooth and polished. The story is boring, and the dialogue is cringe. Just based on principle double DRM is always wrong, and EA App is terrible as ever. I thoroughly recommend this game.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Tomb Raider Anniversary (PC) Review

Tomb Raider: Anniversary is a beautifully remade version of the classic 1996 game. It features modernized controls that are very much like Tomb Raider Legend, and while the majority of the game excels, subpar boss battles detract from the experience. The game's remastered visuals are fantastic, and the developers took some minor creative liberties with the level design, making the game better for it. I thoroughly enjoyed playing through iconic levels such as The Lost Valley, Palace Midas, and St. Francis Folly. The Tomb Raider Legend engine holds up very well.

Navigating the intricate tombs and solving puzzles remains the highlight of the Tomb Raider experience. The developers have managed to retain the essence of the original's challenging puzzles while incorporating smoother controls. The platforming elements, a core aspect of the series although not perfect, feel responsive and engaging.

The audio design preserves the original sounds and enhances nostalgia, but the soundtrack becomes obnoxious during some boss battles.

Boss battles in this game are simply awful. The combat mechanics overall are not great, and the boss battles are even worse. The biggest issue is the adrenaline dodge mechanic, which is necessary to defeat a boss. This involves dodging an enemy that is running towards you, and when the circle turns red, you have to press fire to damage the enemy. Without activating this dodge, it is impossible to win, no matter how much you shoot at the boss. I faced this issue while trying to kill the big mutant boss in Atlantis and had to give up on the game, as I tried everything from reducing graphics, lowering FPS to lowering the resolution, but nothing worked. This is beyond poor game design. This means that no further progress can be made.

There are some technical issues with Tomb Raider: Anniversary on PC, particularly related to the game's FPS. If the game is running at a frame rate higher than 60 FPS, some aspects of the game may not work as expected. To resolve this issue, I had to limit the frame rate to 60 FPS using RTSS.

Tomb Raider: Anniversary is was a good game overall. It managed to capture the essence of the original game quite well, but the boss battles tarnished the game. They were disappointing and felt like a blemish on an otherwise well-crafted experience. Unfortunately, I was unable to complete the final two boss fights due to technical issues. While I only paid $0.98 for the game, I feel that it was worth the price. However, I wouldn't recommend spending more than that on it.

Verdict - A great adventure marred by awful boss battles.

Red Dead Redemption 2 (PC) Review

I had planned to write an extensive review of Red Dead Redemption 2, but before I do, let me just say that if you enjoy open-world games with excellent graphics and haven't played this game yet, then stop reading and buy it now. I would hate to spoil the joy of discovering what this game has to offer.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is a sequel-prequel to the original game, and based on my experience, it surpasses its predecessor in every aspect. Unfortunately, the original game was never released on PC, denying PC gamers the chance to experience it. Despite the latest remaster of Red Dead Redemption not being available on PC, I'm glad that Rockstar decided to release Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC.

I played the Steam version of Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2023 on a powerful machine with an i7 12700k processor, GeForce RTX 3080Ti graphics card, and 64GB of RAM, running at 3440x1440 on the highest graphics settings. The game ran smoothly at mostly 60-70FPS with DLSS set to Quality. For those with less powerful machines, I recommend enabling DLSS, as this game is resource-intensive.

The game's visuals are stunning, with its open-world environment spanning different settings, from snowy mountains to great plains, redwood forests, swamps, and the desert landscape of the Southern United States and Mexico. The weather system adds to the immersion, such as riding your horse on the great plains during a thunderstorm. In terms of visual design, Red Dead Redemption 2 surpasses even The Witcher 3.

However, it's not just the visuals that make this game great. Its level of interactivity, side quest design, variety of gameplay, interesting characters, and Easter Eggs contribute to the overall experience. Rockstar's talent is evident when compared to other open-world games, such as those created by UbiSoft, which lack the same level of creativity and originality.

Despite the amount of focus given to creating a stunning open world, one might assume that Rockstar overlooked the importance of the game's storyline. However, this is not the case. The game's story is well-crafted and engaging, which is no easy feat considering the campaign is over 50 hours long. The voice acting is arguably the best I have ever experienced in any video game, even surpassing that of The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077. While I won't delve into the specific details of the story, I can assure you that it is exceptionally well done, with one of the most memorable final acts I've experienced in any game to date.

While the game is undoubtedly impressive overall, there are certain areas where it falls short, especially on the PC. The UX design feels subpar and gives the impression that it was created by someone who has never played games on a computer before. The menu navigation is frustrating and overly complicated. To switch between weapons, you need to hold Tab and press Q and E, which is a poor design choice. It would have been better to use an inventory option similar to that for items that you are carrying instead of the clunky weapon wheel.

The game has some mechanics that are quite unusual, especially the weapon system. As a player, you have two slots for long guns - the shoulder slot and the back slot. However, when you are riding a horse, the character puts away the weapons, and they become "horse weapons". When you dismount from the horse, the weapons should teleport back onto you, but sometimes that doesn't happen. This can be frustrating, especially when you need to quickly engage enemies and you realized that you no longer have the weapons you previously equipped. It would be easier if the weapons stayed on your person all the time. It's unclear why this feature was added to the game in the first place.

Customizing your outfits is another clunky mess of navigating multiple menus, and then having to store these outfits on the horse. Why? Other games have solved this problem. There was no reason to try and reinvent the wheel here.

A lot of effort appears to have gone into making animation for simple actions, and while impressive at first, they can become repetitive and dull after several hours of gameplay.

There is also no quick save. Thankfully there is a manual save option, but that doesn't quite work the way one might intuitively think it might. The lack of quick save option is unacceptable for an open-world game.

To add insult to injury, you need to create a Rockstar account to play the game, which launches via the Rockstar Game Launcher after launching the game via Steam. This double DRM process needs to be eliminated. There is no good reason for game companies to require paying customers to jump through hoops to play a game. Pure corporate greed.

I am definitely nitpicking here with my complaints (except for double DRM which is just the worst), because in spite of these annoyances, I played this game for over 190 hours, and I am still not done yet. There are more places to explore, and more animals to hunt, and bounties to collect.

The last Rockstar game I played was GTA IV, which I hated due to the atrocious requirement of Games For Windows Live and other technical issues with the PC port. I had very little hope for Red Dead Redemption 2 on the PC, but despite their best efforts, it turned out to be a fantastic game. Now, I am eagerly waiting for Red Dead Redemption 3, which I hope to play in 2030.

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Handbreak Settings for ShadowPlay Recordings

I record a lot of gameplay footage using Nvidia ShadowPlay. I play most games on my ultrawide monitor at a resolution of 3440x1440. At times, the file sizes can balloon up to over 10GB with a target bit rate is 50Mbps.

In an effort to reduce the storage size, and not to have to upgrade my hard drive, I decided to explore Handbreak to compress and encode some of the videos I recorded. After doing some research, here are the settings I picked, which seem to find the right balance between compression and quality.

In the Summary tab, check the Web Optimized option.

In the Dimensions tab, set the target video resolution, which for me is 3440x1440.

For Audio, I went with mp3 codec and set the gain to +5

The settings on the Video tab might require some tweaking based on the desired quality. In this specific example, I encoded an 8.92 GB video down to <>. The important things that affect the quality of the produced video are these -

- Video Encoder - H.265 10-bit (NVEnc)
- Framerate - Same as source
- Encoder Preset - Slowest
- Constant Quality - 28

Using the CPU to do the encoding is extremely slow compared to NVEnc encoder. The quality difference between CPU encoding and NVEnd encoding is not discernible to me, and it is also not very taxing on the system.

Constant Quality vs Average Bit Rate

I debated between using Avg Bitrate and Constant Quality. Turns out that Handbreak recommends using Constant Quality over Average Bitrate.

Constant Quality vs Average Bit Rate

It appears that the recommended way of doing things is by using Constant Quality over Average Bit Rate. I did however notice that there are situations where Average Bit Rate is preferable to using CQ, such as when encoding a video file, and I am not particularly concerned about preserving quality as reducing the file size. I tend to look at the existing bit rate, and then perhaps target 30% of it.

The following video is a ShadowPlay recording which was encoded using the above settings.

Here is the encoding log. The entire job took around 30 minutes.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Frontlines Fuel of War (PC) Review

A game with massive potential that sadly never lived up to it.

Frontlines Fuel of War tells the story of a world in conflict between Western Alliance and Red Star Alliance forces. The game takes place in Turkmenistan, and moves into Moscow towards the end.

This is a typical mid 2000s modern military shooter. I never had the chance to play multiplayer and the single player is very average with blurry textures, very poor weapon handling, thoroughly forgettable story, bad voice acting and bad enemy AI. There are mechanics in this game that are better than an average Call of Duty campaign such as open ended levels, and vehicles etc. but it is very hard to get past the mediocrity of the rest of the game.

I can’t stress enough how poor weapon handling is. There are two viable weapons, the sniper and the shotgun, this is because everything else is terrible. There are also drones that can be controlled by the player, which make an interesting addition to the game.

Vehicles are surprisingly good. Tanks, LAVs and even an attack chopper are quite fun to pilot.

At the current full price of $19.99, I cannot recommend it.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Infinite Backlog

As of Sunday September 17, 2023, I am looking at the games I own, and it is clear that I will not be able to finish or even play all of them in my lifetime. So I decided to make a list of games that I intend to finish or at least give my best shot.

I have 111 games listed in my backlog. It appears as if it will take 111 days of playtime to finish all these games. I am not sure how I am going to playthrough all these games, and also fit in Halo: Master Chief Collection, Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty, and the next Battlefield game.

The stats show that the most single player games I completed in a single year is 17, in 2009. At that rate, if I play nothing else except the games on the list, it will take me six and a half years to finish this backlog. Probably right in time for Red Dead Redemption 3!

How can I ever justify buying any new games when the backlog is as massive as this? I still want to buy Halo: Master Chief Collection and do another playthrough of Cyberpunk 2077 with Phantom Liberty.

  • Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China
  • Assassin's Creed Chronicles: India
  • Assassin's Creed Chronicles: Russia
  • Assassin's Creed Odyssey
  • Assassin's Creed Origins
  • Bastion
  • Batman: Arkham City GOTY
  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Batman: Arkham Origins
  • BioShock 2
  • Blood Omen 2: Legacy of Kain
  • BloodRayne
  • Borderlands
  • Borderlands 2
  • Borderlands 3
  • Borderlands: Game of the Year
  • Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood
  • Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30
  • Burnout Paradise
  • Call of Juarez
  • Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood
  • Cities XL Platinum
  • Colin McRae Rally
  • Company of Heroes 2
  • Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition
  • Dead Space
  • Death Stranding
  • Desperados 2: Cooper's Revenge
  • Desperados III
  • Desperados III: Money for the Vultures - Part 1: Late To The Party
  • Desperados III: Money for the Vultures - Part 2: Five Steps Ahead
  • Desperados III: Money for the Vultures - Part 3: Once More With Feeling
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
  • Dishonored
  • Dishonored 2
  • Dishonored: Death of the Outsider
  • Doom Eternal
  • Dragon Age: Origins - Ultimate Edition
  • Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen
  • Dying Light
  • F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin
  • F.E.A.R. 3
  • Fallout 4: Game of the Year Edition
  • Fallout: New Vegas - Ultimate Edition
  • Far Cry 4
  • Frontlines: Fuel of War
  • Full Spectrum Warrior
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Grim Dawn
  • Hard West
  • Helldorado
  • Hidden & Dangerous 2
  • Hidden & Dangerous: Action Pack
  • Hitman
  • Hitman: Blood Money
  • Homefront: The Revolution
  • James Bond 007: Blood Stone
  • Just Cause 4
  • Mafia
  • Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  • Middle-Earth: Shadow of War
  • Mirror's Edge: Catalyst
  • Mortal Kombat: Komplete Edition
  • Moto Racer 2
  • Murdered: Soul Suspect
  • Need For Speed Heat
  • Need for Speed: Most Wanted
  • PC Building Simulator
  • Planescape: Torment
  • Prey
  • Prince of Persia
  • Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
  • Project: Snowblind
  • Psychonauts
  • Rage 2
  • Red Faction: Guerrilla - Re-Mars-tered
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Risen
  • Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood
  • Saints Row IV: Re-Elected
  • Saints Row: The Third
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider
  • Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
  • Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition
  • Soma
  • Star Wars: Battlefront II
  • Star Wars: Empire At War - Gold Pack
  • Subnautica
  • The Darkness II
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - Game of the Year Edition
  • The Lord of the Rings: War in the North
  • The Outer Worlds: Spacer's Choice Edition
  • Thief
  • Titan Quest: Anniversary Edition
  • Titanfall 2
  • Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2
  • Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas 2
  • Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
  • Tomb Raider: Underworld
  • Torchlight II
  • Trine 2
  • Tropico 4
  • Tyranny
  • Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War
  • Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II
  • Watch Dogs 2
  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown
  • Yakuza 4

I am currently playing Red Dead Redemption 2 (absolutely amazing game) on my main machine, and Tomb Raider Anniversary on my auxiliary machine. I am making steady progress in Tomb Raider, and I think I should be able to finish it in a week or so. My next game is going to be Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. It appears that it doesn't take too long to complete this.

Alternatively, I just don't pay any attention to any of this and just play what I feel like, and not worry about the massive backlog.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Half-Life: Blue Shift (PC) Review

Well worth the $0.50 I paid for it.

A thoroughly functional game, which does not outlast its welcome. It tells a concise story, and it fills in the gaps of the main Half-Life game. It took me a little under 4 hours to finish Blue Shift.

Technically, it is competent, but the original Half-Life engine has aged poorly. It worked fine at 2560x1440 resolution, but the game looks dated. I found it hard at times to distinguish textures that are meant to be interactive, because of how blurry the textures are at the resolution I am playing. I had to refer to the walkthrough a couple of times because I missed a switch that was right in front, but I did not identify it because textures tend to blend with each other.

The story follows Barney Calhoun, a security guard at Black Mesa. The events of Blue Shift run parallel to the events of Half-Life. The player gets to witness the chaos from a different perspective. Those that care about the Half-life story will find the story of Blue Shift interesting.

After 17 years of first playing Half-Life, I finally completed all the PC releases (not including the VR title).

To fans of the Half-Life franchise, I recommend this game at a deep discount. I do not recommend paying the full price. It’s not on par with the other expansion - Opposing Force, from a gameplay and story perspective.

Monday, July 3, 2023

SUPERHOT (PC) Review

I heard about this game when it was released back in 2016. It looked interesting but I didn't want to buy it because I wasn't entirely sure if I would like it.

7 years later, as I was looking through my game collection, I saw that I owned this game on Amazon. I am not sure how. I know I never purchased it. Now there is no excuse, and I must play this very interesting game.

I am won't dwell too much on the story. I think its pretty good, which is rare for a video game. I often do not care about video game stories, but this is a rare exception. In terms of being memorable, it's up there with Portal for me.

From a game play perspective, I don't think another game like this exists. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong. Considering how saturated the video game market is, this is an achievement that must be celebrated.

Time moves when you move, it is as simple as that and this idea can be used to create a lot of interesting scenarios.

Superhot is a very minimalistic game. Only the bare necessities of what makes a shooter is kept, and everything else is discarded. The color palette is very minimal as well.

There are situations where the bright flashing lights is very jarring. I do not recollect seeing an epilepsy warning, because if there was ever a game that needed it, it would be this.

Scenarios can vary between easy and super complex, requiring several retries. Despite this, the game is not very long. I think I finish it in about 4 hours.

As of this writing, Superhot is on sale at a 70% discount for $7.49. I wouldn't not recommend this game for the price. Witcher 3 is on sale for $9.99...the gameplay time to price ratio is just not lining up for me, but sometimes, it might be OK to ignore the value proposition for a game that is nothing like any other.

Verdict - It's the most innovative shooter I've played in years.

Friday, June 30, 2023

Alan Wake Review (PC)

A Sign of Things To Come

I played the regular PC version of the game released on Feb 16, 2012 (according to Steam). I understand that this game is beloved by many, and I am not trying to be a contrarian. I enjoyed Alan Wake, but in my opinion, the only thing great about this game is the atmosphere. For a game that is released over a decade ago, the visuals hold up very well. I played this game on an ultrawide display (3440x1440) and I had absolutely no issues whatsoever. Fantastic.

Everything else is average at best.

The combat is the weakest part of the game for me. I don't know how Remedy went from the smooth combat of Max Payne to the clunky mechanics of Alan Wake. Shooting feels weak, movement is awkward, and enemies are boring. The game even gives up on the enemies and just starts throwing furniture at you - literally. The slow motion dodge got very repetitive and very annoying. I went into this game expecting something akin to Max Payne and I got this clunky mess instead.

In addition to this, their idea of creating an atmospheric game is to make visuals blurry to the point where it caused eye strain at times when I light a flare. Is this a deal breaker? No, but when combined with all the other things, it certainly doesn't help.

The developers try really hard to draw your attention to whatever it is that they want to show you, which results in taking the control away from the player, and showing you an in-game cinematic. As I said, this is a sign of things to come for their next game - Max Payne 3, which takes this annoying mechanic to a whole new level of awful.

I know I am 10 years late to the party, but it doesn't change the fact that there are things about the game that are annoying.

I would recommend this game if you can find it for under $5. I think anything more than that would be overpaying for it.

+ Fantastic atmosphere
+ Voice acting
+ Technically competent

- Boring combat
- Repetitive enemy design
- Very clunky movement
- Weak weapons
- Blurry visuals at times

Verdict - Average game.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order Review (PC)

I did not like Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order. This review is going to contain mild spoilers.

Let me talk about the things I liked about this game.

Some of the level design and art work is absolutely amazing. It truly captured the essence of Star Wars.

From a technical perspective, there are no issues whatsoever, other than the fact that there is double DRM to have to deal with - Steam and the horrendous EA App. There were no issues running the game at 3440x1440 resolution in borderless Window mode (excellent), and I was consistently getting over 120FPS on the highest settings.

Platforming is quite well done, especially in the good levels of the game.

I should have loved this game but I don't.

Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order is a Souls like game, and this is the first of its kind that I ever played, and this concept is completely new to me. What I realized after playing this game is that for a Souls like game to be enjoyable, at least these two things need to happen -

  1. The level design has to be very good. This is because there is a lot of backtracking involved. Under usual circumstances, one or two bad levels can be overlooked, but in a Souls like game, this problem is compounded because the player will end up revisiting the level more than once, and this can be very frustrating.
  2. Enemies should be fun - not to be misinterpreted with easy.
The biggest problem with this game for me is that the game fails at both - the level design on some planets is not good, and the enemies are not fun.

There are a total of 6 planets in the game, and two of those planets are fun, and the rest are not. Less than 50% of the game that did not appeal to me.

  • Bogano - Decent.
  • Kashyyyk - The absolute worst.
  • Zeffo - Excellent.
  • Dathmoir - Could have been great, but ruined by enemies.
  • Ilum - Decent.
  • Nur - Excellent.
It felt to me that I spent most of the game fighting bugs, spiders in particular. As someone who has arachnophobia, this was pure torture. It got so irritating that I played these levels at 1920x1080 in windowed mode, without sound.

Just to give an idea, one of the objectives on the wookie planet is to climb a tree, and you get to fight bugs on the way to the top. It felt like Avatar Fallen Order. To drive the point home further, you even hitch a ride on the back of a bird. It absolutely did not feel like a Star Wars game. Add to this, there is a part of the game where you play without the lightsaber. It really made me question the intent behind this design.

After trudging through these levels, you get to play in a sci-fi setting with a dual lightsaber and it just reminded me how much fun this game could have been. I kept asking myself why the entire game wasn't like this. Is there a mystery audience out there that want to fight bugs and zombies in a Star Wars game?

Exploring a planet and looking for collectibles was out of the question because of the tedious design. Also, this game has the worst map screen I have ever seen in a game. This over engineered mess is truly a marvel of awfulness.

In addition to the bad level design there are very annoying things about the UX, for example, saving the involves mediating, which will is a painfully slow process of waiting for animations to complete. Its cool to look at twice, and then it gets very old.

The story felt weak and contrived. Nothing about the voice acting felt convincing and the cliche dialogue did not help. The game suffers from plot armor, a character that should clearly died does not because of this kind of lazy writing.

I should have loved this game, but the bad level design, and enemies made me not enjoy it. If none of this bothers you, then you will have a lot of fun, as it is a technically competent game. I paid $4.79 for this, and I am not upset about that, but knowing what I know now, I wouldn't buy this game, but I did not have fun.

Verdict - I don't like it.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Remote Desktop Connection Stuck In Please Wait State

Resolve the Please Wait state in RDP

I found this solution in the Q&A section of Microsoft Learn. Credit goes to the original author.

This process will involve creatating an .rdp file, and editing it in notepad and adding a flag which will prompt the user to enter their password.

  • Get the ipaddress of the machine that is stuck in the Please Wait state.
    ping [server] -4
    -4 flag ensures that IPv4 address is used.
  • Open Remote Desktop Connection application.
    Start -> Remote Desktop Connection or Start -> mstsc
  • Enter the IP address of the machine noted in the above step.
  • Click on the Show Options button.
  • Click on Save As and save the configuration to a file.
  • Navigate to the directory where the rdp configuration file is saved. Right click on the file, and open the configuration file with Notepad.
  • Add the following to the bottom of the file and save it. This option will turn off the Network Level Authentication therefore the user will be prompted to enter the password up on connecting to the server.
    enablecredsspsupport:i:0
  • Once the file is saved, double click on it, so launch Remote Desktop Connection and click on Connect. Click Yes on the next dialog box to connect despite certificate errors.
  • This should show a Windows login page, and up on logging in, will get past the Please Wait screen.

Reset Session

Another way to resolve this issue is resetting the session. It is important to note that doing this will log off the user, therefore any running processes will be terminated.

  1. Open Powershell in Administrator mode on another computer
  2. Run the following query -
  3. "query user /server:[server_name]"
  4. Take note of the sessionname
  5. Run the following query -
  6. "reset session [session_name] /server:[server_name]"

This should reset the session and allow logging into the server via remote desktop.

In addition to this, I was having an issue when using Remote Desktop Connection Manager the session would get stuck in a Please Wait state. I was not having this issue when using native Windows RDP.

I found a potential solution on this following page -
RDP to Windows 10 hangs at Please wait screen

Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Remote Desktop Services -> Remote Desktop Session Host -> Connections

At that level Enable the following setting
- Restrict Remote Desktop Services User to a Single Remote Desktop Services Session

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Cyberpunk 2077 (PC) Review

Where do I even begin talking about Cyberpunk 2077? It's a very divisive game, and while I believe it was somewhat redeemed by the developers, it is a cautionary tale about hype, false advertising, and misleading marketing. It was beyond disappointing because CD Project Red, who gave us the fantastic Witcher 3, failed so spectacularly. I intend to talk about the events leading up to the launch of the game, the disastrous launch and the redemption that followed.

Beginning

Cyberpunk 2077 was first revealed in 2012. There was a lot of buzz around the announcement at the time. I didn't have much of an opinion about this. I haven't played The Witcher, and CDPR was not on my radar. I was too busy playing Battlefield 3. With limited time to devote to gaming, I had to pick and choose my games and Witcher didn't make the cut.

It wasn't until the release of Witcher 3, that the series and the developer caught my attention. Witcher 3 was hailed as one of the best games of all time. The footage I had seen was very impressive. I wanted to get into the world of Witcher, so I proceeded to play all the games and the expansions. Witcher 1 and 2 had a lot of issues (both technical and game design), but Witcher 3 and its expansions addressed all the issues, and they remain the best single player games I played to this day, even better than the original Deus Ex.

After finishing Blood and Wine in June 2018, which I immensely enjoyed, I could not wait to play the next game from CDPR. Their games are released on GOG without any DRM, and this makes them an exemplary company, in my opinion. At this point, the release of Cyberpunk 2077 was a little over two years away. intended to buy the game at launch, which I rarely do for single player games.

The game was scheduled to be released at the end of 2020. However, the onset of the pandemic in early 2020 had a huge impact on game release (along with everything else).

Launch

I did not buy the game at launch. I decided to wait for the reviews, and that was a good thing. The launch was an unmitigated disaster. It goes to show that any company can succumb to release deadlines and cutting corners.

The game had so much promise and potential, but the disastrous launch disappointed many, and threatened the future of the game, and the franchise. On old gen consoles it was supposedly unplayable, which led to Sony removing the game from their digital storefront, and both Microsoft and Sony issued refunds to gamers who purchased the game through them.

Cyberpunk 2077 was lambasted in the media. It was quite clear that the game was launched to meet the holiday sales quota. The highs and lows of Cyberpunk are quite incredible. All the good will that CDPR built up to this point appeared to have been lost.

Some wrote this game off as a lost cause.

Redemption

Soon after the awful launch, CDPR issued a statement and went on to release some much needed fixes to the game. The December patch fixed some problems with the game, but it was nowhere near the quality we got to expect from CDPR. There are still a lot of issues with the game, especially with NPC behavior, graphical glitches and performance problems.

Patch 1.6 Edgerunners Update adds some much needed features to the game. I started playing this game after the release of Patch 1.5, and during my playthrough Patch 1.6 was released. I did not have to put up with all the issues, but I still felt that there was some depth lacking in certain aspects of the game. The lofty claims of the developers were still not quite realized.

Open World

There is something surreal about the atmosphere of Night City. CDPR did something magical with the setting. The city is a wonderful playground.

To anyone looking to play CP2077, I would thoroughly recommend using bikes. There are some nice cars to be found in the city, but even the nicest car did not compare to riding a bike especially in first person mode. Weaving between traffic at high speed is an exhilarating experience. There some driving issues here and there with bikes, but generally speaking, they are a LOT of fun. I avoided using cars because I did not like the driving physics. I believe there are mods that tweak this, but I have not tried it.

There is no vehicle customization in the game and I think this is a huge missed opportunity. This would have elevated experience to a whole new level. I spent many hours riding bikes in Night City. On an ultra-wide monitor with all settings maxed out, the game is a fantastic experience. I am not sure there is any other open world RPG that managed to do what CDPR did with Night City. This is especially why the lack of any vehicle customization, cosmetic and otherwise is very disappointing.

The skyline in Night City is amazing. It appears photo realistic. Its a real treat to walk around Night City, with RTX enabled. The reflections, especially in certain areas at night where the lighting is just right, its so unbelievably beautiful.

Witcher 3's world is vast and expansive, and in contrast Cyberpunk's map isn't nearly as big, but its very dense, and there are a lot of activities. There are so many skirmishes that happen in the world which the player can engage in, and also a number of fairly interesting side missions. I really enjoyed the random assault encounters. They are a lot of fun. I would rate the world of Cyberpunk to be on par with Witcher 3. I love the open world in both games for entirely different reasons.

Weapons

There is a wide variety of weapons such as smart pistols, shotguns, ARs, sniper rifles, and plenty of melee weapons. I gravitated mostly towards LMGs, pistols and shotguns. I did not use any of the smart weapons in the game. There is room for character customization which allows the player to make a build of their choosing, which can specialize in a specific type of weapons.

Shotguns and revolvers feel excellent. The LMG also packs a punch. Combat can definitely get easy as you progress in the game. I switched the difficulty to Hard half way through the game. Once I leveled up enough, combat became a lot easier. My character was too powerful for most enemies. I could wipe out an entire battalion of enemies with every little effort.

I want to do another playthrough of the game and focus on other weapons, such as ARs, and sniper rifles. I also did not spend much time with melee and smart weapons. I have future plans to revisit the game and try a very different character. Perhaps when I build a new muchine in 2025. If I end up doing another play through, I will be sure to add an update.

Story

I confess I did not understand parts of the story. I cannot tell you why Johnny Silverhand is hell bent on taking down the Arisaka corporation. Nor can I tell you what exactly happened at the end, but the ride itself was quite enjoyable. While it was not an incoherent mess, I could not relate to the grievances of Johnny Silverhand. Keanu Reeves voice acting is quite excellent, but some of the lines he had to utter were definitely cringe inducing.

I loved the final mission. It was a lot of fun. Rogue was the stand out side character for me There weren't any truly bad characters, but I didn't think they were quite as memorable as the characters in Witcher 3. This does not make it a bad game or anything in my opinion, but as I look back, I dont find myself thinking about how great certain characters were, like I do with Witcher 3. We shall see if the DLC changes any of that. Witcher 3 DLC characters were fnatasitc, especially in Hearts of Stone. There are some pretty neat easter eggs thrown in.

The player gets to choose the starting point of the story. I played as the Nomad. To my knowledge, the consequence of this is fairly minor. This is not like Witcher 2, where choosing one option locks a whole area off to the player for the entire play through.

This was not well received by some players. I didnt bother me one way or another. I felt like I got the full experience of a nomad.

Graphics

I was fortunate enough to play the game on a very powerful PC. I am glad I waited to play this on my PC because the game looks fantastic. On a 3080Ti, at 3440x1440 with RTX and DLSS on, the game is truly breathtaking, no pun intended.

Without DLSS, the frame rate takes a big hit on performance with RTX on. However, RTX really elevates the game, so I recommend playing the game with a card capable of ray tracing.

Conclusion

This is a divisive game, and even after most of the issues were addressed, some folks feel that it is too shallow. I tend to agree that some of the mechanics are quite shallow. That said, the overall game is very enjoyable. Considering that it sells at a discount most of the time, I recommend it.

Do temper your expectations. Enjoy the game for what it is, do not go into it expecting it to be groundbreaking like Witcher 3, because its not, and it will be disappointing. However, it is a damn good RPG, and the graphics are up there with the best. This game realizes the Cyberpunk world extremely well. The crowd AI definitely leaves a lot to be desired, but I can overlook this because the enemy AI, and the world design is very well done.

I cannot speak for the console experience, but on a PC, especially one with a medium/high end GPU, this game is amazing experience.

Verdict - Must Play

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Private Internet Access - Request Timed Out Issue

Short Story

I had to update the firmware on my TP-Link 8 Port Gigabit Switch to resolve the connectivity issues when using a VPN client. I installed Build 20220930 (Published Date: 2022-10-12 ) and that took care of the problem.

Long Story

My plan was to self host my blog using PIA VPN's static IP feature. My website is currently on Blogger, and I get the feeling that Blogger has been abandoned by Google, and won't be around for much longer. Also, this will be some much needed experience with some basic frontend web development, and I could create my own CI/CD process etc.

I did not want to host the website on my main server, so I decided to provision a Windows 11 VM (my Linux skills are subpar, and also I get to play with Windows 11, which I haven't a chance yet) and create my first prototype website. I did the necessary networking in VMWare Player 17; I created a bridged connection so that I could RDP into the VM if I needed to.

Having installed the PIA VPN client, I noticed that my connection was extremely unstable. Running the following command would result in Request timed out.

ping cloudflare.com -t

At first I thought there was something wrong with the VPN service. I disabled the firewall, tried a combination of VPN related settings, and nothing seemed to help. I began searching for any reported outages etc., but there didn't seem to be any. NOTE: I have not yet purchased the static IP. I was only testing the viability of using a VPN to host a website and if I couldn't even get a stable connection, there is no point in self hosting.

After many hours of troubleshooting over a course of few weeks, I gave up on the idea until yesterday when I decided to give it another go. As a part of troubleshooting process, I installed PIA VPN (with default settings) on the main home server, and noticed the same issue. Whenever I am connected to VPN, I had a ton of packet loss. I realized that there was something else going on here, and its not just the VM or PIA service that was having issues.

I decided to connect to PIA VPN (with the settings shown) from my main gaming machine, and monitored ping to cloudflare.com at the same time from both the main server and gaming machine, and I noticed that the gaming machine had no packet loss whatsoever. This obviously rules out PIA VPN.


At this point, it dawned on me that the gaming machine is connected directly to the cable modem, whereas the main server is connected via the TP-LINK switch. I started exploring the settings of the switch itself through the web interface and changing them did not help. As a last ditch effort, I decided to upgrade the firmware. The existing firmware was from 2021 version. Unfortunately, I did not take a note of the exact firmware version. I attempted to update to TL-SG108E(UN)_V6_1.0.0 Build 20230218. This was unsuccessful. I downloaded the next latest version, which was from 2022, TL-SG108E(UN)_V6_1.0.0 Build 20220930.

Updating to this version was successful...sort of. Once I kicked off the upgrade process, the switch rebooted, but the Easy Smart Configuration Utility would show that the update was still at 84%, however, this might just be the UI not updating, because closing an reopening the utility showed that the upgrade was successful.

Following the upgrade to TL-SG108E(UN)_V6_1.0.0 Build 20220930, I am no longer getting the packet loss. Hopefully, this will help someone out there looking to resolve connectivity issues, especially when using a VPN service.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter Review (PC)

Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter was released for the PC in May 2006. I remember playing the demo way back in the day, and my computer could barely keep up with it. The big marketing point at the time was the advanced physics capabilities of the game on PC. This title was supposed to take advantage of Ageia’s PhysX card. This was of course before Nvidia incorporated PhysX into GPUs, which I am glad they did. Imagine having to install a GPU and PPU to get the full experience.

I got this game as a part of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Pack on Steam in May 2012 for $7.49. This included the original Ghost Recon games as well as G.R.A.W and G.R.A.W 2. However, these two games are no longer available for purchase on Steam or on UbiSoft Connect. I am not sure why this is the case, but there are forum posts that suggest that this is because of a licensing issue between Grin (the Swedish software company that made the PC version) and UbiSoft. Unfortunate. It appears that UbiSoft has this habit of abandoning games. Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X games were also met with the same fate.

Apparently it is possible to download this game because its in copyright limbo, having been abandoned by UbiSoft, and Grin has gone bankrupt. There is a link to be found here, but I have not tested this.

Playing this game 17 years later, on an i7 6700k with a 1080Ti, I have to say it does not look great, and that is not necessarily a slight against the fidelity of graphics, but its the art style that is rather poor. It is after all a product of its time. On the console, it was very much like a generic third person shooter from the mid 2000s complete with a brown color pallette, and obnoxious UI. While the game plays very differently on the PC, i.e., as a tactical shooter, it still retains the brown aesthetic, which is not something I consider anything remotely beautiful. That said, the runs very well, when its not getting bogged down by visual glitches. The UI fairly minimal on the PC. The hud is very clean looking, and modern titles should learn a thing or two about designing a clean UI.

The levels are very well designed. Often times there are multiple ways of approaching an objective. This can be useful in the later missions where the most obvious approach may not be the most ideal. Its always beneficial to look for an alternative route. The gameplay is very slow. Typically, it takes about one or two shots to kill an enemy. the physics in the game pale in comparison to anything a modern title has to offer, that said, I can see how it was revolutionary for its time. There were part of the game, where I used the physics in the game to gain advantage over the enemies. For example, I shot at the wheels of a vehicle, which caused it to dip lower, revealing the enemy. Little details like this really elevate the game.

This brings me to weapon selection. It is underwhelming to say the least. Since enemies die so quickly, there is no reason to try different weapons. I played most of the game with Scar-L. I tried Scar-H, but there is no notable advantage to this weapon because of the damage model. I played a little bit with the M249, and it was not great. Side arm selection is equally anaemic. There is an automatic Glock which is very powerful, and there are a couple of SMGs. I went with M8 Compact. Equipping this with a suppressor made it very handy at hip fire. 

The overhead map is very useful. It can used to set waypoints and issue orders to your team, which can include tanks at times. Of course, this highlights the AI path finding, which is not very good. There are many instances where the teammates would not obey the orders given, they stop short of where I instructed them to go, and at other times, their AI is extremely competent, and will quick scope enemies. Its very inconsistent. The good thing is, even if your teammate gets killed in a mission, they are available again in the following mission, provided the mission designed for it. Some missions are solo mission, but you are given the command of a drone, which is very useful for spotting enemies.

The last two missions are particularly brutal with how the checkpoints are located. In the 10th mission, it felt as if they forgot to include a checkpoint towards the end, which resulted in a section that I had to repeat about 10 times. Extremely frustrating. This did however result in one of the most tense encounters in a game that I had in a very long time.

Playing this game now is a little bit challenging because of the technical issues. The two main game breaking issues that everyone is going to encounter are:

  • The middle mouse button, which is supposed to issue orders on the fly, does not work.
  • Ready To Bear mission will immediately start to glitch up on starting.
There are fixes available for it online, while they are not particularly complicated, and I tried my best to document the fixes, depending on how someone acquired the game, it may or may not be possible to apply the fixes easily.

In addition to this there are texture flickering issues which would cause the visuals to completely glitch revealing a wire frame of the level, and this has been useful at times because I could see enemy location behind walls, and as far as I know, there is no fix for this.

It seems to me that the only way to buy this game now, if you don't already own it on any digital distribution platform is to buy the CD version. Do I think its worth the trouble? Not particularly. There are enough technical issues here for me to not recommend this game. I will write my opinion on G.R.A.W 2 when I get around to it. Maybe in 2024.

+ Level design
+ Physics

- Technical issues
- Inconsistent checkpoints
- De-listed everywhere
- Poor weapon selection
- Frustrating Teammate AI

Verdict - Not recommended.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Fix Error When VT-x (Virtualization) is Enabled in VMWare Player

I was unable to enable virtualization on my Windows 10 VM on a Windows 10 host. I did have virtualization enabled in the BIOS, but that didn't seem to help. When I check the box to enable this feature, Virtualize Intel VT-x/EPT or AMD-V/RVI, I would get an error. 

 

I want this feature enabled to run Docker in my VM.

This is my system configuration:

  • Microsoft Windows 10 Pro
    • Version 10.0.19045 Build 19045
  • Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-6700K CPU @ 4.00GHz, 4008 Mhz, 4 Core(s), 8 Logical Processor(s)
  • American Megatrends Inc. 1.I0, 6/26/2018
  • Installed Physical Memory (RAM) 32.0 GB
  • Realtek High Definition Audio
  • Killer E2400 Gigabit Ethernet Controller
  • Samsung SSD 850 EVO 500GB
  • Samsung SSD 850 EVO 500GB
  • WDC WD10EZEX-08WN4A0

I know my computer is more than capable of running a VM with virtulization. I found several powershell commands out there, and running them did not help. I did some digging and found that certain windows features need to be disabled for virtulization to work in a VM.

I resolved this problem by doing this:

  1. Open Turn Windows features on or off.
  2. Turn off the following features:
    • Hyper-V
    • Virtual Machine Platform
    • Windows Hypervisor Platform
    • Windows Sandbox
    • Windows Subsystem for Linux
  3. Save and restart the computer.
  4. Open VMWare Player
  5. Select the VM and edit the VM settings
  6. Enable Virtualize Intel VT-x/EPT or AMD-V/RVI

Once the virtual machine is up and running, install Docker. This will require installing WSL2 in the VM. If everything is done right, Docker should start successfully.

How To Fix Middle Mouse Button To Give Orders - Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (Steam)

This is a fix for the middle mouse button not working when giving orders in Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter. I am using the Steam version for this, but I would imagine this fix will work on any PC version.

1. Navigate to the following location:
E:\SteamLibrary\steamapps\common\Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter\Settings

2. Open the following file in a text editor:
ctrl_set_def.xml

3. Change the following line:
<button id="hud_select" binding="2" device="mouse" group="misc"/>

To this:

<button id="hud_select" binding="2" device="mouse" group="tactics"/>

4. Save the file and start the game.

Here is a video showing this process.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Stepping Out - Brief Initial Thoughts on Doom (2016)

I put off playing Doom (2016) for many years because I wanted to have a machine powerful enough to play it. After finishing Gun yesterday, which was a thoroughly mediocre shooter, I was in the mood for something good. Considering that I am now fortunate enough to own a fantastic computer, I decided now is the time.

To this day, I avoided all media related to this game. After watching the gameplay reveal video many years ago, I decided this game needs to be experienced without any spoilers.

I am glad I did this. In my opinion, this game probably has the best introduction of any game, ever.

Following this excellent opening, you get to step out of the confined location you find yourself in and into the open world, and seeing the fantastic world in front of you is truly breathtaking.

It reminded me of the time I played Fallout 3 for the first time, and I stepped out of the vault.

The art design of this game is totally something else. I will review this game once I am done playing it. I get the feeling I am in for a real treat.

GUN (PC) Review

I first played this game in 2009, and I never ended up finishing it. I recently picked up the GOG version and I beat the game. The game is fun for the most part, but there are aspects that really set it back.

The story is set in late 19th century America, specifically in the Old West, and involves finding the lost city of Quivira, where this is lot of gold to be mined.

Its somewhat of an open world game, and the player gets to backtrack between cities. There are quite a few side missions as well, and completing these missions reward the player with cash, which can be used to buy weapons and upgrades. I had a very tough time in certain missions and I think its because I didn't do any of the side missions. I went straight for the main missions. I think this was a mistake. Not having weapon upgrades make the game a lot more difficult even on Normal difficulty. 

The game has a thoroughly budget feel to it. It is a poor man's Red Dead Redemption.

The save system is confusing. It appears that you can save the game at any point, but when you load the game (and you have to quit the current game to do so), it begins at the start of the mission. There is no auto checkpoint system to go along with the manual save system. There were times when I forgot to manually save the game, and I lost progress. Very annoying. I would much rather have a manual save system, and a quick save system, but modern games have taught me to expect a checkpoint system, which I loathe.

The story is well told, and the voice acting is quite good. I remember thinking this when I was playing the game, and I later learned that the voice actors included some Hollywood talent, not that having Hollywood actors voice lines in a video game necessarily makes the gameplay any better. 

Visually, the game looks alright. There is no support for widescreen resolutions. I played the game at 1600x1200. I have a computer that is dedicated to playing older games, and on a 1080p monitor, the game is very playable. I would not play this game on my ultrawide monitor because it would not scale very well, and it would end up looking awful. 

I had to reduce the mouse movement speed all the way to 0 within the game, because my Razer DeathAdder's sensor is perhaps way too sensitive for this game. I was having issues with camera control on default settings. The game is a console port, and it shows. The interface, controls are all made with a console in mind. I feel for those that bought this game at full price on the PC.

By far the worst aspect of this game are the boss battles. They are horrible. It feels as if the enemies cheat, and have wall hacks the way can shoot you when you peak from behind the cover for a second. This gets really annoying towards the end. I had to find a way to cheese my way through because it was damn near impossible to play fair and square.

Its possible that the reason I had this problem because I did not play any of the side missions, however, that means there is a problem with scaling the difficulty of the boss battles.

If you can find the game for less than $2, and you are curious to check out this forgotten game, then go for it. Any price more than that is not worth it, in my opinion.

+ Voice acting
+ Visuals in certain locations
+ Gun play in general

- Boss battles
- General budget feel of the game
- Weird save system

Verdict - Worth about $2.