Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ragnarok Online

This is a very old MMORPG made by the Korean company Gravity. It was released in 2002 and is still played by people worldwide although its popularity is decreasing due to various reasons. It also became pretty much free to play, except the VIP servers. This is an MMO that I spent the most time on and will probably spend more since I never get bored of it. That's why I just couldn't resist but writing a review of it :]

The world of Ragnarok takes place in a medieval world with a lot of futuristic elements and mainly borrows from Norse mythology. There are many interesting quests that will keep you occupied. Either defreezing a wizard in an ice dungeon, freeing a girl in Thor's volcano or even unraveling the mysteries of a village full of ghosts, are only some of the quests available to you. However, since it is an old game there are still bugs in some quests and you'll find yourself at a loss since you don't get an explicit quest to-do list like in most MMO's, but instead you have to talk to NPCs (non-player characters) to get more information every time. For the lazy people, there are plenty of guides and walkthroughs out there for RO quests so don't let this discourage you.

You can see the choppy graphics and the fake 3D easily here.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Improve Your Gaming

Although this is a game review blog, I think that any gamer needs to keep their computer in top notch shape to get the best out of their games and avoid lag which reduces gaming time :] By this I'm talking about software maintenance and hardware maintenance. Some of these tips may be pretty obvious but some may be new and really helpful even to veteran gamers, so let me know what you think in the comments below.


1. Remove the dust accumulated in your computer. It traps heat and prevents air circulation. And it is very important to keep things cool in your computer. You can use an air spraycan (sold in most computer component stores) or just blow it off (close your eyes when you do it). It's not as complicated as it sounds. In the worst case, you'll need to unscrew some screws to open the case, but some more advanced cases have fine nets that trap the dust, which can be easily removed without unscrewing anything (like my case). I recommend doing this once a month but it can vary from one PC to another.

2. Clean your CDs. If you play games from a CD (which is rather uncommon nowadays) or actively use CDs/DVDs/BluRay for burning/movies/etc, you might get corrupted files and your movies might skip if your CD is dirty. The best way is to clean with tissue paper and alcohol by rubbing OUTWARDS (radially) from the center to the edges of the CD. This way, there is less chance of damaging the CD. If you're planning to buy a CD cleaner device, do your research as some of them are less effective than others. Clean your CDs when they are noticeably dirty or have fingerprints on them.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Since I'm still not finished with SC2, I will do a quick review of a small PC game I'm quite fond of, StepMania. This a free rhythm game available for download here. If you're not familiar, it's pretty much Dance Dance Revolution for your computer, and if you're not familiar with DDR, shame on you.

This is ironically a good game for casual gamers. There are many difficulty levels so new players can get the hang of it. It is also easy to acquire and start playing. Since there is no "game progress" or "endgame" like in most video games, people usually only play it for fun and/or to waste some time. It does not mean you can't get addicted to it though :]

Set up
Downloading the game alone is not enough to play. You also need to get some songs for it. There are various places where you can find them and you can even buy a CD from the website if you're interested. You can play with your keyboard or, for the advanced players, you can buy and install an actual pad and play it like real DDR. It is recommended to have a PC with decent specs, since lag will definitely make you lose in this game. WARNING: If you DO get a pad, do not drink and play this game. For some reason these two really don't go well together. I've witnessed some incidents where people seemed at least two times more drunk than they should because they played DDR while drinking. It was freaking hilarious though.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Sorry that I haven't posted any reviews lately, but that's because I've been playing and doing lots of IRL stuff too. But if you're interested, here's the progress I made lately:
-18 finished missions in SC2 on normal difficulty, fun so far, didn't try multiplayer though.
-Started Crysis 2 on hard before the end of polls and now kind of stopped somewhere halfway through the game. I was sure it was going to be one of the top voted games but now I kind of feel bad playing it if I'm not reviewing it :S
-Barely started The Witcher 2 on normal difficulty and damn it's easy to die in this game. Well, better than being too easy :]
-Been playing Tetris Battle on Facebook since it's just so addicting.
-Watched second season of The Big Bang Theory and half of Samurai Champloo (really funny anime, I recommend).

Also, please note that I won't be able to post reviews as often as when I started, since I'm going to be more busy IRL and I've run out of reviewable games I finished lately. Don't worry, I'll still be around and let you guys know what's happening. Cheers.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

League of Legends

League of Legends is a free to play multiplayer game brought to you by Riot. It is one of few games that belong to a genre that is very new to the world of video games: DotA style.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, DotA (long for Defense of the Ancients) is a special scenario from the real time strategy game Warcraft III, where the player's goal is to defeat the enemy's "ancient" in the other corner of the map with the help of his champion and AI-controlled small helpers. So what happened is that avid DotA players realized how fun this scenario is and many of them decided to branch out and make new similar games, and eventually this movement evolved into something more than just a sub-genre of RTS games.

Now I'm not a pro DotA or LoL player, but I believe that I played enough of LoL to get a good image and understanding of this game, but by no means is this an in-depth review. Also, due to the nature of the game, I will divide my review into two parts: In-game and Summoner Menu.

Things get really hot when you reach the enemy's camp

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Small Update

The vote results are in! I decided to keep the three leading games and review them in the following weeks and in the following order:
Starcraft 2
The Witcher 2
Fable 3

Note that the last two are coming out TODAY on PC and so it will take some time before I get my hands on them and finish them, and only then do my review.

Also, unfortunately I won't be able to do a review of either NDS Zelda game, which I promised I'd do in my Intro post. My DS was broken by my brother and I'm rather short on funds to buy a new one.

"But then, what will you review, Vav?"

Luckily for you, I prepared a little list of old/recent games of various genres that I'm interested in reviewing. Just as there are some old classic books that are worth reading, I believe that some older games are also a must-play and should not be ignored simply because they're old and choppy! (don't worry I won't start reviewing Commodore 64 and Windows 95 games)

Here's the list:
Ragnarok Online
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance

Notice how these are all very different and not part of a conventional gamer's review list. That's because I'm not a typical gamer :] You might not even have heard of the first and last, but they all hold a special place in my heart and I will show you why.

I'd like to hear what you guys want me to review, so please let me know in the comments! I will put up another voting poll and the most voted games will be reviewed, whether I played them before or not. Just remember, it has to be a PC game!

On a side note, let me express my feelings on Apple in this little picture.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dragon Age II

This is an RPG game developed by Bioware that's set in the same universe as Dragon Age: Origins and if you have a savefile from Origins you can load it and you will start off at the same level and the same equipment! That was a lie. But it does influence the story in certain ways. Playing Dragon Age II is a very similar experience to the Origins, plus various additions and changes (mostly improvements) so if you liked the previous title of these series, you'll most likely love this one.

You start off as a human rogue/warrior/mage and you cannot choose another race unfortunately. Now if you played Origins, you will notice a bunch of recurring characters and you will also understand things a little bit more, but it is not necessary to play the prequel to enjoy this game in my opinion. You will always get dialogue choices, which will usually add friendliness or rivalry between you and your comrades, or sometimes will change the outcome of events. There are often some funny options (although they can lead to unexpected results) and you are free to experiment and be a real asshole if you want to - you'll still be the "champion" at the end :]
WARNING: the game might confuse the shit out of you at the beginning, since it's hard to understand the relationship between the separate events and the role of each character in the storyline. Eventually, though, the puzzle pieces come together and you should understand what's happening, so HAVE PATIENCE.

My Baby

Today I decided to do something different and show you my computer. This is my creation and the source of all my enjoyment in this world (my girlfriend is not going to like this statement).

Sorry for the messy table and the blurry picture. 
I was shaking out of excitement.

Friday, May 13, 2011

New Banner

Hey now my website doesn't look like total crap anymore. What do you guys think? Props go to Spartan094 for making the banner. Check out his website with lots of other cool stuff here:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Woot 50 Followers

I am glad to announce that I've accumulated my first 50 followers. It took a lot of work but it's already paying off. If you have any questions or suggestions concerning my reviews or the website design, please let me know in the comments :]


Mafia II (VS GTA 4)

If I wanted to summarize this game in one sentence, I'd say "fifties GTA" but I really should get into more detail, otherwise I wouldn't be much of a game critic. It was developed (surprisingly) by the Czech developer 2K Czech and is an action-adventure game with A TON of resemblances to the GTA series.

How many similarities with GTA can you count in this screenshot?

The story is about an Italian guy Vito who gets involved in all kinds of dirty mafia business with his buddy Joe and eventually it leads to all kinds of trouble. Ever played some GTA games? Well he's exactly your typical GTA main character! A quiet tough guy with big dreams who doesn't mind getting his hands dirty and does any job as long as it pays. The game is somewhat linear, meaning that you only ever have one mission available but you can do some random stuff in between, like collecting old playboy magazines (WARNING: their breast standards were much lower at the time) and collect some nice vintage fancy cars for your garage.

The fifties setting was pretty impressive in this game: the radio played some weird old tunes as well as cigarette commercials about their beneficial effects on health, some guards were talking about TVs as some kind of rich man's dream before I killed them and everybody wore a fancy gentleman's hat. Honestly, this game made me reminisce about Scarface and The Godfather trilogy since the gangster storyline and the fifties setting fit so well together.

On the other hand, the gameplay somewhat lacks. The fighting and action mechanics are kind of awkward and the NPC interaction is very limited, at least in comparison to GTA IV (which I played way too much so I felt the difference right away).  I like the fact that this game is much more realistic than GTA IV when it comes to survival. You can't jump off a 50 feet building on your car and survive, nor can you handle more than one shot of a shotgun, which made it quite challenging at times, but all for the better of course. NPC AI is also rather lacking, since I could jack a car right in front of a policeman and he would just pass by. I could also rob a store, kill everyone, get out and a policeman standing outside would say "Good day to you sir."

So there are good things and bad things about this game. But if you want a simple decision, ask yourself: Do you want to play another GTA game (assuming you played one) but fifty years back in time with inferior gameplay? If the answer is yes, then go ahead, but remember I warned you.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Portal 2

Now if you've played Portal 1, you'll know what to expect from this one. It is once again a first person puzzle game from my favorite video game developer Valve. The character you play is the same girl who unfortunately didn't quite escape Aperture Science, which is what we were lead to believe at the end of Portal 1 (forgive me but it's impossible not to include a spoiler here).

Just like in Portal 1, there's an interesting twist in the storyline and I'm sure you guys will enjoy it, but I find that it wasn't as surprising as what happened in Portal 1. Nonetheless, the characters are amazing and I found myself laughing many times during the game because of Wheatley's funny comments (the thing that will follow you for a good half of the game).

From a visual aspect, the game has been greatly improved in comparison to the prequel and if you have a nice video card you will definitely take advantage of it (not to mention that the main character has smoother curves ;D).

As far as gameplay and puzzle-solving goes, you'll be surprised at all the additions Valve has prepared for us. If you think you got pretty good at Portal 1 and that Portal 2 will be a piece of cake? Well you're wrong! There are different kinds of new physics to consider (spoiler: gravity beams and catapults) and you'll need to do some serious 3D thinking for some of the puzzles. You're probably familiar with the typical situation when a good game/movie is made and later its sequel just takes advantage of its success but gives you almost nothing new. Rest assured, Portal 2 is NOT that kind of game.

Here are some other good points about the game. If you buy a PS3 version, you'll get access to its steam copy for free. That means that you'll be able to download it on your mac or pc! Also, the new coop multiplayer mode will be super fun if you have friends who are willing to participate (I suggest buying a headset for this if you don't have one already). Oh and it's much much longer than Portal 1. Single player alone took me over 5 days of on and off playing to complete so your hard-earned money from flipping burgers at McDonalds will definitely be worth investing into this and you'll get over 20 solid hours of gaming pleasure :]

In summary, this is an amazing game and it has almost no flaws. Moreover, whether you prefer RPGs, FPS or RTS, it doesn't matter: you'll like it anyway!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Portal 1

This is a first person puzzle game from the same creators that made the Half-Life series. It's pretty short and can be finished in one sitting but there is a lot of replay value and I believe that it's a good change to play an intellectually challenging game once in a while.

I really don't want to spoil it for you, but there is a very interesting and unexpected turn of events as far as story goes and I simply loved it. This is definitely not the typical dystopian future Half-Life storyline where you're a hero scientist trying to save humanity, but it IS in fact very dystopian and we can see the developers' sense of humor reflected in it.

The only thing left to say is that at the moment the game costs 9.99$ on steam and if you haven't played other Half-Life games, you might as well get the Orange Box which contains all the goodies Valve produced in the recent years at a really good price (I am kind of a Half-Life fan so you might want to get someone else's non-biased opinion on this).

Oh and one more thing. If you're planning to get Portal 2, I strongly urge you to play Portal 1 first, since it makes the story much more enjoyable and you'll understand lots of references and jokes if you do. But more on Portal 2 later.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Hello Internet,

I will try to make this introduction simple and short (well that didn't work, I got carried away a little). A question and answer format seems like a good idea for this purpose :]

What can you tell us about you, Vav?
My real name is Vasily and a friend's baby brother used to call me Vava, so I adopted various versions of this funny nickname for my e-self on various websites and forums, hence Vav. I'm a 20 year old Russian male living in Canada and I am in my first year of engineering at McGill university. My hobbies include video games (no sh*t), playing around with computer's insides and playing Dungeons and Dragons with my friends (if I were also a Star Trek fan I'd really be 100% geek). I listen to electronic music of all kinds, old school gangsta rap and some alternative rock.

What is this blog for?
I will review PC (and occasionally NDS) games that I recently played in a concise, straightforward manner and give some of my personal opinions on them. I will usually play games that pick my interest but I am open to requests if someone asks politely :p

How did you get inspired to do this?
I am a picky person for video games and like to see reviews and critics' opinions on a certain game before I play it, thus avoiding getting bored and/or disappointed after spending possibly a double digit amount of hours on it and realizing that it was all a waste. Although it might sound contradictory, I like being practical in my gaming: I am aware that every minute I spend playing video games could have spent taking care of mentally challenged children, feeding old people with something that looks like vomit or helping my community otherwise so I at least want to make my sacrifice an enjoyable one.

In my own research for game reviews I stumble upon overwhelming 5-page reviews on major gaming websites, a full reading of which might take as much time as actually playing the damn game. Of course, there are youtube trailers, video reviews and gameplay videos, that some gamers prefer but they have their own disadvantages as well. Trailers are usually biased and only show the goodies, thus often leading the viewer into mistaking a shitty game for a good one (just like they do for movies). Gameplay and review videos are sometimes good enough, but I often feel that they don't give enough details to help me make a decision whether to play the game or not.

My blogs are meant to be something in between: I'll give you a good amount of details about various games in a condensed format, and I'll add some personal opinion. This will save you from either reading and watching a thousand reviews before deciding you don't want to play it or save a good amount of time playing the actual game and throwing it into the garbage, resulting in an "f my life" feeling for the rest of the day.

In other words, if you're a lazy and bored person who wants to play some quality games, and your friends keep suggesting shitty games for you to play, you're at the right place! Sure, you might still dislike a game I loved or vice-versa but... well... too bad!

What games are you planning to review soon?
Since I've have an abundance of free time lately, I have accumulated quite a few games I wish to review. In the following weeks, I will review Portal 1 and 2, Mafia 2, Dragon Age 2, League of Legends and Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.