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    Nov 2nd, 2009 at 15:27:14     -    Spelunky (PC)

    Summary
    Spelunky is a 2D action adventure game. It also has elements from the roguelike genre, in that it has randomly generated levels, has no savepoints, its a dungeon crawl, and has frequent and easy deaths. The gameplay is centered around exploring caves, while grabbing any kind of treasure, saving damsels, and dodging traps and enemies. You play as a nameless spelunker that has an insatiable taste for exploring.

    Gameplay
    The game starts with a quick intro scene to the main menu screen. After your spelunker drops down his rope into a cave and shimmies down there you have three open doors to choose from. One for a tutorial, one for the start of the game, and one for the high scores. This immediatly makes the player interact with the game even before gameplay. I enjoyed this because it allowed me to try and familiarize myself with the controls, however I still used the tutorial having never played before.
    The tutorial was very helpfull. It showed me how to move, run, jump, throw bombs and ropes, and move through a simple puzzle. I ended up using all my ropes by accident before I got to the part I need them for. So I had to restart the level to get some more. After I was finished with the tutorial I moved onto the actual game levels. I moved through the "START" door and the level began. Now at first it was a little intimidating trying to figure out what I was supposed to be doing. Once I moved around a little and got some treasure, I began to move further down. But that was short lived, (literally) as I died from falling down to far and then getting hit by a snake and a bouncing spider. So that was pretty lame.
    That didn't completely discourage me from the game, but I just thought that was a really quick death. After keeping this in mind I started the game once again. The next life was not much better. This time I managed to kill myself by standing to close to a bomb. I tried to place the bomb in the area I wanted to, but for some reason I guess you can't place the bombs, you just have to throw them. I didn't like this as it took me another death or two to figure that out. Now so far I still had not beaten one level, and I was becoming more and more frustrated with it. I decided to go for another round after losing count of how many deaths I had, and finally managed to find and navigate through to the door for the next level.
    Now I started on the next level and began to look for any changes. Aside from the level being entirely different, it looked as though I still had the same equipment I did as of last level. I started to move through this level, when I came upon a large spider. I moved closer to it, since it was hanging motionless from the cieling and then it all of the sudden dropped down and started to bounce around. I managed to try and whack it with my whip, but that didn't seem to do anything and I was killed by the spider when it came down. After this I decided to stop playing as I was getting more and more frustrated with the fact that it doesn't save your progress. After going through levels, the diffuculty increases as well as the amount of treasure. So when your facing diffucult enemies and finding a bunch of rare stuff, when you die and everything is erased, it just seems like you did nothing. So far I can't say that I enjoyed playing this, however I can see how it would be addicting to play after a while.

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    Oct 5th, 2009 at 18:17:49     -    Aquaria (PC)

    Entry 1

    SUMMARY
    Aquaria is a side scrolling 2D game. In this game you control Naija. Naija is an underwater creature that is similar to a human but she has gills, webbed hands feet and ears, and is green with white hair. The story starts off telling you about the "Verse" (essentially the "Force", but it's in the water). You go from there and start to explore the world around you. This is more of an action adventure game, however it mostly focuses on exploration and puzzle solving.

    GAMEPLAY
    The game starts off by telling you a brief story of your character. It says your name is Naija and you follow the "Verse", and so on while showing you a moving picture of Naija face. After this you start off in a very docile underground cave. From here the tutorial on movement begins. It says in big letters to click the screen in the direction you want to move. This is a very simple gameplay mechanic that seems to work very well. By making the movement interface the mouse, it allows a good level of depth in the movement. Instead of using arrow keys that are simple buttons, you have the control to move faster by clicking the mouse farther away from Naija. You have a burst movement by clicking the screen and an even stronger burst from clicking when you are against a wall. I really like how simple the controls are and how easy it is to master them. Granted this is still only a couple minutes in, it makes it easy to pick the game up.
    Next you move out of your little underwater cove and start to explore whats around. After a little bit of swimming and familiarizing myself with the area, I came to a plant with a green bulb at the top. The tutorial screen comes up and tells me to sing to it by pressing down the right mouse button. When I do this, I find a circular kind of chart with about eight different symbols and colors on it. It then says to hold my curser over the corresponding color that matched the plant bulb. When this was done, the bulb spit up an odd orb shaped thing. I moved my character over to it and when I got it, it said that I have learned how to prepare the "Rice Roll". I checked what that meant in my pause screen, and it told me that I now knew how to make this item and it gave me a list of the indgredients needed to make it. Here is where I also found out about my shield spell. This is where I have to give the game credit. By using this song/spell casting system, you can find all kinds of new spells by messing around with the different symbols. I must have spent five to ten minutes alone on this part, trying to find new combinations before im supposed to know them. However I failed to find any more.
    So far I have found this game to be more fun than I expected. One of my favorite things about this game is the fact that you can creat a whirlpool by moving in a circle really fast. I have done this a bunch and have not found any use for it other than my amusement, however that doesn't stop me from doing it when I get the chance. The story thus far has not really intrigued me, nor does it seem to have much to do with the gameplay at the moment. But at the end of the day I really like the gameplay over the story. Now, it's still early in the game, but their approach to Naija (your main character) feels like it's lacking. They explain her as basically having amnesia and not remembering much at all. She remembers basic things like her name and where she is, but she says that she doesn't know if there are any more of her people, or where she came from, or even how she came to be. This I am a little dissapointed in, however like I have been saying, this is still very early on.

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    Sep 13th, 2009 at 21:58:07     -    Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (PS3)

    Gamelog Entry 1

    SUMMARY
    Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is, quite simply, a game about theoretical modern warfare situations. It is a first person shooter. It has both multiplayer and single player modes. The multiplayer focus is on leveling up and unlocking new equipment and camouflage. After each multiplayer match experience points are allotted to the player based on how well they did. The singleplayer mode is about stopping a radical leader in the middle east from overthrowing the government, and helping to quell a civil war in Russia. During single player mode, you jump around from two characters: an American Marine, and a British SAS commando. Now the gameplay is mostly just move around aim and shoot, with an occasional grenade toss. However there are a few interesting missions relying on stealth and sniper skills.

    GAMEPLAY
    For the first hour or so of play I decided to go with the single player mode. Single player starts you off as an S.A.S. commando named Soap McTavish going through training camp. Now the first thing I noticed was how well the objectives stand out. The first command given to me is to grab the pistol, and as I look around, the gun is on the table in front of me and it's flashing yellow so that you don't miss it. Another thing that they had was a little compass on the bottom of your screen that would show you which direction the next objective was located. So far finding the objectives have been very easy and I have had no problems there. Now I have played many first person shooters and this game was easy to pick up. The controls were very much like any other first-person shooter, so its not like I spent much time dying because I pressed duck instead of shoot. After you go through some more basic shooting and movement controls you move onto the course they have set up. The course starts with a quick slide down a rope and some fast paced shooting and moving. At first the course was a little confusing, but the nice thing about this is that you can do the course as many times as you want. I must have spent about fifteen minutes on this alone just trying to beat the best score. Sadly I failed by about three seconds. The training ends once you go over to your squad and the screen fades to black.
    After the screen fades in from black you see that you are on a helicopter sitting next to your captain with two other squads mates opposite him. You see a ship in the distance of the stormy night. Once the helicopter gets over it you repel down to the ship with the rest of your team. When you get to the ship you are granted full control of Soap and I immediately start to open fire on the bridge, along with my teammates, and take down about six hostiles. From there we made our way into the hull taking out any small resistance that we encountered. Once we reached the inside of the hull and cleared it out, we started to get some radioactivity near one of the crates. We found a device in there but only had time to take the manifest before we had to go. As we are leaving the room, we all suddenly get thrown to the ground by a giant blast. I then get promptly pulled to my feet by the captain and we are then making a wild dash for our lives. From the blasts that occurred on the ship was slowly turning on it's side and now sinking. This was probably my favorite part of the level. From here on out you cant use your weapon and you have to move as fast as you can through the ship by following you team. As I'm moving through, the ship is noticeable turning on its side as my character is struggling to keep himself upright. Eventually we get outside and just barely make it to the helicopter, by jumping off of the ship up to opening in the back. I have to say that this part had me sitting on the edge of my seat. It was also a nice finish they added by having you almost fall off the chopper but have the captain pull you back up.
    Overall my gameplay experience has been great. The storyline has been done well so far. It has kept me glued to the game even after going through this part for the second or third time. Also the aiming mechanics work very well for how i play first-person shooters. Now grenades in this game are a little more powerful than I am used to. However, whats nice in this is that if you are within range of a grenade that can kill you, a little grenade icon comes up on your screen and points to the general area of the grenade. So you can use this knowledge to run away, or even get close enough to grab the grenade and throw it back to them. One of the most amazing things that i have seen in this game so far is the smoke grenade effect. It actually looks like smoke and kinda acts like smoke. I can't recall another game that has done a smoke grenade nearly as well. So far this game looks great and plays great with only a few things to nit pick about.

    Gamelog Entry 2

    GAMEPLAY
    After playing single player for a couple hours I have learned a few key elements of gameplay, such as how much health I have, how many bullets are in my clip, flash-bang grenades are useful, a moving target is always harder to hit, and so on. I started my second session on the first U.S. mission in the game. You are Sgt. Paul Jackson of the U.S. Marines on a mission to take out the radical leader of a rebel organization, who just executed their country's president, on live TV. This mission starts off with you in a helicopter with a couple other Marines. As you look in front of you, you can see about ten other helicopters around yours. As you move into this middle eastern city, the choppers are immediately getting fired upon from RPGs (rocket propelled grenade). As we keep moving forward the chopper slows and starts to hover in mid air about 50 ft. off the ground. The soldier next to me throws down the rope and we slide down to the ground.
    From here I follow my teammates over to a small building while taking out the small resistance along the way. Once we are inside the building we make our way to the basement to find about four enemy soldiers in a large room. The Lieutenant tells me to take point and move into the room. Here I made use of the flash-bang grenades. I never used the flash-bang grenades on soldiers until I got to this part. This technique was very useful. After the grenade went off I ran in and took out the soldiers, while they panicked, held their ears, and covered their eyes. I proceeded to use flash-bangs to clear out the rest of the house whenever i would go into a new room with enemies. When we cleared the house we reported back into command that our target was not in the house. We were told to proceed to the TV station, where it was believed that the rebel leader was broadcasting from.
    After making our way over to the station, we breached the side door and stormed in. There was some small resistance in a couple of rooms as we made our way deeper into the station. Eventually we came to a large open room with some heavy resistance waiting for us. This was the most frustrating part of my session. I realized that I put the difficulty on hard, and it was definitely showing here. What I ended up doing after dying about six or seven times was moving around the edge of this room. From here I had much better luck. I was able to go into an area with some good cover and take out most of the enemies there. However, the enemy AI was pretty good. When it realized that I was only covering one side, they came in the back and almost killed me. After about five more minutes of enemies coming into the room we finally killed all of them. We then moved up the stairs most of the soldiers were coming from. Once we moved up the stairs, we got to the door the leads into the broadcasting room. One of my squad members then shoots the hinges off the door and we all enter ready for a fight. However once we are in there we find nothing. No enemies, no leader, no broadcast, nothing. Just a bunch of camera equipment and TVs. The Lieutenant relays the message to command and we are then told to mount up on the chopper. This was where the mission ended for now.
    As I have played through a second time, I have found that this level is not as intense as most others, aside from dying a whole bunch and getting pretty frustrated. So far the storyline is alright. It's keeping me entertained enough to know whats going on, but its not the story drawing me in so far. Now it has no story as to who you are, apart from a U.S. Marine. Also it never shows your character, so you have no idea what he looks like. Without these, it's hard for the player to make a connection with the character. Thus if the character dies, then the player doesn't really care. Sometimes when you are walking by an allied soldier or shooting him, he might say something, but besides that the only social interactions that you have are with your commander. Overall the gameplay is what is really makes me want to keep playing. It is one of the best first-person shooters I have ever played. The controls are very easy to learn and use, which is probably why I like it so much.

    DESIGN
    Although this game is not the first of it's kind, it certainly is one of the most remarkable. Playing through this level helps to illustrate why. When you first come into the level you are on a chopper, and looking around I see the water, which does not look too much like actual water. However, I also see a wind effect on the top of the water that they added for when the helicopters are close to the water. They also made it so that you can't see your body when you look down. Personally I don't like that, however it is also nice when you can see things on the ground and not just your legs in the way of what you're looking at. Your character is allowed to take three different positions, (standing, crouching, prone) as well as jump, walk/run, and sprint. Each position has its advantages and disadvantages. Standing allows you to move the quickest, however it is the least accurate when shoot. As you get lower, you get slower, and more accurate. This allows me to snipe when I have to, keep suppressive fire constant, and run-and-gun when needed.
    Now usually the game just has you fight some resistance on your way to whatever objective you might have. Occasionally you will have to defend an area, or protect a character. Typically your challenges are relatively simple, and involve following your squad and taking the next position. The level design is interesting, in the fact that it is linear but it is made to seem like an infinite level. By this I mean there is only one path to go, however the parts you can't go into still seem to go on, past just the see-able, unplayable area. The level I played was in a desert landscape. The visual aspect to this level alone was stunning. As I progressed through the level i noticed sand blowing around, real-time shadows and lighting, and a sun effect. The sun effect is really neat to me. when you look into the sun in the game you screen gets slightly darker as you move your head away and brightens back when your eyes adjust. Now since this game is done through the first-person, you can't get really see the scale of the invasion that's taking place. I found however, that it still felt like a pretty big operation with all the other Marines around me.
    All this being said, there are still some things that I don't like about this game. I don't like how the events in the game are triggered by where you move to. For instance, enemy AI does not appear until you get to a certain point, and then they just keep appearing from that point, it seems like. Also the friendly AI is pretty horrible. One, their aim is terrible, two, they don't prioritize which person to take care of first, and three, they die easily. So going in with a whole squad is just about as good as going into it by yourself. The only good thing about it is that your squad mates give the enemy something else to shoot at instead of you. When you get shot by something, your screen shakes horribly, to the point where you can't kill the guy that is five ft. in front of you. Also the rewards are pretty stupid for whenever you beat a level. All that you are able to do is play that level over whenever you want. Even though there are a few things that I can argue over, all together I have to say that this game is fun, and easy to play. With a richly painted landscape, smooth controls, and a good story to tell, this game I can come back to and play again and again.

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    Sep 8th, 2009 at 20:28:29     -    Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (PS3)

    SUMMARY
    Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is, quite simply, a game about theoretical modern warfare situations. It is a first person shooter. It has both multiplayer and single player modes. The multiplayer focus is on leveling up and unlocking new equipment and camoflage. After each multiplayer match experience points are alloted to the player based on how well they did. The singleplayer mode is about stopping a radical leader in the middle east from overthrowing the government, and helping to quell a civil war in Russia. During single player mode, you jump around from two characters: an American Marine, and a British SAS commando. Now the gameplay is mostly just move around aim and shoot, with an occasional grenade toss. However there are a few interesting missions relying on stealth and sniper skills.

    GAMEPLAY
    For the first hour or so of play I decided to go with the single player mode. Single player starts you off as an S.A.S. commando named Soap McTavish going through training camp. Now the first thing I noticed was how well the objectives stand out. The first command given to me is to grab the pistol, and as I look around, the gun is on the table in front of me and it's flashing yellow so that you don't miss it. Another thing that they had was a little compas on the bottom of your screen that would show you which direction the next objective was located. So far finding the objectives have been very easy and I have had no problems there. Now I have played many first person shooters and this game was easy to pick up. The controls were very much like any other first-person shooter, so its not like I spent much time dying because I pressed duck instead of shoot. After you go through some more basic shooting and movement controls you move onto the course they have set up. The course starts with a quick slide down a rope and some fast paced shooting and moving. At first the course was a little confusing, but the nice thing about this is that you can do the course as many times as you want. I must have spent about fifteen minutes on this alone just trying to beat the best score. Sadly I failed by about three seconds. The training ends once you go over to your squad and the screen fades to black.
    After the screen fades in from black you see that you are on a helicopter sitting next to your captain with two other squads mates opposite him. You see a ship in the distance of the stormy night. Once the helicopter gets over it you repel down to the ship with the rest of your team. When you get to the ship you are granted full control of Soap and I immediatly start to open fire on the bridge, along with my teamates, and take down about six hostiles. From there we made our way into the hull taking out any small resistance that we encountered. Once we reached the inside of the hull and cleared it out, we started to get some radioactivity near one of the crates. We found a device in there but only had time to take the manifest before we had to go. As we are leaving the room, we all suddenly get thrown to the ground by a giant blast. I then get promply pulled to my feet by the captain and we are then making a wild dash for our lives. From the blasts that occured on the ship was slowly turning on it's side and now sinking. This was probably my favorite part of the level. From here on out you cant use your weapon and you have to move as fast as you can through the ship by following you team. As im moving through, the ship is noticable turning on its side as my character is struggling to keep himself upright. Eventually we get outside and just barely make it to the helicopter, by jumping off of the ship up to opening in the back. I have to say that this part had me sitting on the edge of my seat. It was also a nice finish they added by having you almost fall off the chopper but have the captain pull you back up.
    Overall my gameplay experience has been great. The storyline has been done well so far. It has kept me glued to the game even after going through this part for the second or third time. Also the aiming mechanics work very well for how i play first-person shooters. Now grenades in this game are a little more powerfull than I am used to. However, whats nice in this is that if you are within range of a grenade that can kill you, a little grenade icon comes up on your screen and points to the general area of the grenade. So you can use this knowlege to run away, or even get close enough to grab the grenade and throw it back to them. One of the most amazing things that i have seen in this game so far is the smoke grenade effect. It actually looks like smoke and kinda acts like smoke. I can't recall another game that has done a smoke grenade nearly as well. So far this game looks great and plays great with only a few things to nit pick about.

    This entry has been edited 2 times. It was last edited on Sep 9th, 2009 at 21:34:44.

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    Entries written to date: 4
      Game Status / Read GameLog
    1Aquaria (PC)Finished playing
    2Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (PS3)Finished playing
    3Spelunky (PC)Stopped playing - Got frustrated

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