Deus Ex: Human Revolution – The Game

I played this game using a MacBook Pro and OnLive. It took me 33 hours to play it through on the medium setting; I earned 2,050 of 5,000 points and 28 of 49 achievements.

I really enjoyed the original Deus Ex back in the day, at the time the idea of “augments” that allowed you to update your player as you went along was pretty unique feature of the game. In Human Revolution the augments are brought to a new level.

The only places I feel this game stumbled is in explanation for how certain augments function and the number an location of side missions. There are a few augments that I thought would be always-on but instead require activation. I felt like I did a LOT of running from place to place for no good reason, just lots and lots of running. Not so much that it ruined the game but enough that I spent some time being bored out of my mind.

Also, I was unable to find any side missions later in the game, they may be there, but I did not find them. I enjoyed the early side missions and really appreciated the extra cash, weapons, and augments I was able to earn and would have really appreciated more later in the game.

From the game’s web site:

You play Adam Jensen, an ex-SWAT specialist who’s been handpicked to oversee the defensive needs of one of America’s most experimental biotechnology firms. Your job is to safeguard company secrets, but when a black ops team breaks in and kills the very scientists you were hired to protect, everything you thought you knew about your job changes

Badly wounded during the attack, you have no choice but to become mechanically augmented and you soon find yourself chasing down leads all over the world, never knowing who you can trust. At a time when scientific advancements are turning athletes, soldiers and spies into super enhanced beings, someone is working very hard to ensure mankind’s evolution follows a particular path.

You need to discover where that path lies. Because when all is said and done, the decisions you take, and the choices you make, will be the only things that can change it.

I rate this game a 8 out of 10 and recommend it for any fans of first person shooters.

Reamde: A Novel by Neal Stephenson

I listened to this as an audiobook. Narrated by Malcolm Hillgartner the unabridged book is a glorious 38 hours and 34 minutes. I have read many of Neal Stephenson’s books and have liked them all, a few of them I have really loved, and this is one of the best.

The story is full of characters, but the time is taken with each one in turn to make them memorable and to draw you into their lives. By then end of the book I cared about the fate of each and every one of them. But this is not some slow moving drama, it is a rip-roaring fast paced action adventure that takes you around the world.

From the author’s website:

Neal Stephenson, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Anathem, returns to the terrain of his groundbreaking novels Snow Crash, The Diamond Age, and Cryptonomicon to deliver a high-intensity, highstakes, action-packed adventure thriller in which a tech entrepreneur gets caught in the very real crossfire of his own online war game.

In 1972, Richard Forthrast, the black sheep of an Iowa farming clan, fled to the mountains of British Columbia to avoid the draft. A skilled hunting guide, he eventually amassed a fortune by smuggling marijuana across the border between Canada and Idaho. As the years passed, Richard went straight and returned to the States after the U.S. government granted amnesty to draft dodgers. He parlayed his wealth into an empire and developed a remote resort in which he lives. He also created T’Rain, a multibillion-dollar, massively multiplayer online roleplaying game with millions of fans around the world. But T’Rain’s success has also made it a target. Hackers have struck gold by unleashing REAMDE, a virus that encrypts all of a player’s electronic files and holds them for ransom. They have also unwittingly triggered a deadly war beyond the boundaries of the game’s virtual universe—and Richard is at ground zero.

Racing around the globe from the Pacific Northwest to China to the wilds of northern Idaho and points in between, Reamde is a swift-paced thriller that traverses worlds virtual and real. Filled with unexpected twists and turns in which unforgettable villains and unlikely heroes face off in a battle for survival, it is a brilliant refraction of the twenty-first century, from the global war on terror to social media, computer hackers to mobsters, entrepreneurs to religious fundamentalists. Above all, Reamde is an enthralling human story—an entertaining and epic page—turner from the extraordinary Neal Stephenson.

I rate this book a 10 out of 10. I highly recommend it for any fan of action, cyberpunk, or thriller genres.

Sideshow (Tales of the Galactic Midway #1) by Mike Resnick

I bought the entire Galactic Midway series many years ago to read on my PalmPilot. This is probably my 5th time reading them.

Sideshow is the first book in a series of 4 novels following a most unusual carnival.

From Mike Resnick’s web site:

Carny owner Thaddeus Flint kidnaps a rival carnival’ freak show, only to learn that the “freaks” are alien tourists visiting Earth in the one disguise they thought was safe from discovery. As they fall sick and go into fits of depression, Flint must work to keep them healthy and on display, which leads to a most unlilkely bond between captor and captives.

I rate this book a 7 out of 10 by itself and the “Tales of the Galactic Midway” series as whole a 9 out of 10.

Red Faction: Armageddon

Recently Onlive had a special offer to play Red Faction: Armageddon and Homefront for the 4 day Thanksgiving weekend. I didn’t like Homefront very much, the violence was a to much for me, but Red Faction: Armageddon was more to my liking.

Unlike Red Faction: Guerrilla, this version of the game is pretty much on rails with very little chances for the player to choose his own path. This is partly explained by the change in location, Armageddon takes place mostly underground instead of on the surface.

I did enjoy the new weapons, a few new mechs, and loads of new mobs.

I took me 11 hours to play all the way through the game at a medium setting. I was able to acquire 2,275 points and complete 25 of 48 available achievements.

From the Red Faction web site:

Half a century after the Red Faction resistance and their Marauder allies freed Mars from the brutal Earth Defense Force, harmony on Mars is again threatened but this time by a lethal force shrouded in mystery.

When the massive Terraformer that supplies Mars with its Earth-like air and weather is destroyed, the atmosphere turns to chaos, super-tornados and lightning storms engulf the planet. To survive, the Colonists flee to the underground mines and build a network of habitable caves.

Five years later, Darius Mason, grandson of Martian Revolution heroes Alec Mason and Samanya, runs a lucrative business from Bastion, underground hub of Colonist activity. Mining, scavenging, mercenary work–if the job is dangerous, Darius is your man. Few sane people now venture to the ravaged surface, aside from contractors like Darius and the smugglers who run goods between the settlements.

When Darius is tricked into reopening a mysterious shaft in an old Marauder temple, he releases a long-dormant evil and unleashes Armageddon on Mars. As Colonist and Marauder settlements are torn asunder, only Darius and the Red Faction can save mankind. The battle will take them across the storm-blasted planet–and below it, to the very heart of the unspeakable threat.

I rate this game a 6 out of 10 and recommend it for anyone looking for a quick FPS on rails fix.