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Samsung Galaxy Precedent: Usability


Samsung Galaxy Precedent
Overview
Unlike most people in this modern world, I actually carry a Samsung Galaxy Precedent smart phone (Mobile, 2011) instead of an iPhone. Surprise? You should be surprised, because I really want an iPhone, but find the cheap pricing without a contract to be enticing. Moving onto the software and usability of the phone itself, I might add that this phone started out awesome! Like most phones, over time the awesome factor dropped as I started filling up the small amount of space; the cell phone slowed to a crawl and always crashed. Let’s move onto the amazing user experience this phone delivers.
What works well with me?


1a. Interface of the Samsung Galaxy Precedent (Nagy, 2011)
The phone itself appeals to the eye, following closely by touch. When you first pick up the phone, you know exactly which button turns it on, and the glass allows the user to identify touch capabilities. As you turn on the phone, a green-colored icon with an unlocking padlock next to an arrow pointing across the screen surely lets you know how to enter the device; you simply slide the lock in the direction of the arrow. While pulling the padlock across the screen, the bar extends and you are reassured with the internal vibration of the phone as confirmation of correct handling. The phone speaks for itself when talking about interface design and usability of the interface. In the same effect, when you press and hold icons, or move them around the screen, the phone gives you visual and physical feedback about interacting with the phone. The design of the interface is concise and consistent while scrolling through menus within the phone. When an error appears (for instance, when an application fails to load), the system displays an error code followed by information telling you the application failed to load and gives you an “ok” button to press when you are ready to continue. With this feedback, you can look the code up on their website and confirm that your phone was/is not the problem (Samsung, 2012)!
What makes me power it down?
With all the great things in mind, let me talk about the flaws of the usability in the interface of the Precedent. When I first bought the phone, I admit, my level of happiness increased by 100 knowing that I had a Smartphone. Quickly following the lack of space were problems and error messages galore! My happiness decreased by 95 when I found out I had to start deleting applications and constantly keeping track of all the applications running at one time. One application running, the phone runs great; two applications running at one time, the phone runs pretty good. Once you start reaching the 4-6 applications running at one time, the interface slows down to dial-up connection speeds (makes me shudder too, I know). Although that problem stems from processing power issues, the work on the interface to warn the user about this would be helpful so you do not find yourself pulling out the battery for the tenth time that day.
Improve the groove (Precedent)!
Running Google Maps and Pandora while driving around town sounds like a pleasant feature to a GPS, until your phone dies. Everything on the phone rocks until the phone dies. In order to fix some of the minor interface flaws that include error prevention, I would make sure to throw some exceptions into the design that pop up when a user starts going bonkers and runs 10 applications at one time without shutting them down. On top of the messages, I would add another option menu asking the user if they would like to close the oldest application when they start running past the phone processing speeds. The biggest interface usability problem is when it slows down to a crawl and becomes unresponsive to your touch. Other than minor error handling, the phone runs smoothly enough to where the fixes would be “so easy a caveman could do it” (http://www.geico.com/).
Conclusion
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Precedent Smartphone works great with someone trying to learn a Smartphone. Calling is dialing numbers, and sending text messages works all the same with a virtual keyboard. At times I may call it the “dumb” phone, yet I feel that makes me the dumb one thinking a phone has the emotional capability to even feel the words… We prove ourselves to our phones every day, and I hope that one day I will be fortunate enough to carry a Smartphone I can talk to and carry out a conversation with. Until then, have fun with buying up this great Smartphone!
Works Cited
Mobile, S. (2011, November 16). Samsung galaxy precedent user manual / guide download. Retrieved
Nagy, A. D. (2011). Straighttalk is getting the samsung galaxy precedent. [ [Web Photo]]. Retrieved from
Samsung. (2012, May 16). Sch-m828c. Retrieved from
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Skywrong: Messing up the RPG Interface



Skywrong: Messing up the RPG Interface
By Joshua Long
Overview
I wanted to start out by acknowledging how many people might disagree with my analysis of the Skyrim GUI. The interface is so 90’s style it feels as if they just ported the Elder Scrolls: Oblivion interface into Skyrim! I do not like it; therefore, it prevents me from really taking grasp of the entire game as a whole. Visually, some of the effects are nice, but that is all they are is nice. The text inside of the menus run together, and I do not find that appealing to such a highly rated video game. Without further ado, let’s discuss the flaws in Skyrim’s GUI and how well they waste space.
Ability Menu

The ability menu in Skyrim looks simple. Why would I dog on such a screen though? Take a moment to look at how much space is being wasted on-screen. With the resolution of most screens today, this design simply will not cut it! They waste all of that space by dimming the skills when you can clearly fit all of the skills on the screen with a slightly different mapping. The display of information works, but the execution of the menu sucks. Why waste perfectly good user actions on scrolling when you can give the player more from the start? By having the skill menu set up this way, the user must scroll through at least 11 different abilities to get where they see what they are trying to level up.
Inventory Menu

When I look at an inventory, I prefer visual representations of the items in a role-playing game. Not too many people would disagree with me when I say that reading through a bunch of text while playing a video game means less time playing and more time reading; leave the reading for the storyline! Inside the inventory, you already have the ridiculous from-the-bottom scrolling text that does not start at the top of the menu. Then, you have menus that take up about 10 pixels on the screen. With the minimizing of the menu, we can now have a 3D representation of our items! Underneath is the item name, damage, weight, and value. I’m sorry, did you just say that nearly 67% of the screen is taken up by the weapon and its name? I sure did! Therefore, you can see how the user would have a tough time actually wanting to open this menu, as it would be a lot of unnecessary reading and awkward scrolling.
Skill Menu

The skill menu in Skyrim has ONE great use of the screen, ONE. With all the wasted space and super plain menus where you must scroll seven items that clearly fit on one screen, the selected skill actually gives you a pretty display! I am a bit confused though why the skill’s menu now takes place opposite of the inventory (why not keep the menu all on one side so we do not confuse to the player). Again, as the same with the inventory menu, why not allow the player to see a few more skills on the screen. What does Bethesda have against the player viewing more than one thing at a time? Again, this menu wastes space, and forces the player to scroll and read unnecessarily through the menu’s design.
Main Menu Design

The main menu in Skyrim finally takes up more space than the other menus in the game, yet something about it makes me feel uneasy. As a player, I do not want to pull up the main menu and have to guess what I am going to be looking at. With this menu, it really gives you the basics. I mean, it is cool that they allow the menu to resume where you last exited it, but when you are in a hurry to check something; you now have to scroll back and forth looking for what you need. Again, they waste the space with the menu items being so small, and do not take advantage of what information they could give the player. You should open the menu to see what you need, close it, resume gameplay, all without thinking.
Shopping Menu

Skyrim loves to give the play so much information to read. Why would you want to overwhelm the player just looking to buy some potions? When you open the shop menu, how would looking at some beautiful iconic representations of the items sound? That feature does not appear in the Skyrim shop menu (or anywhere else at that). The wasted space starts with the extremely large area open for a small 3D render of the item in which you probably never use or see on your character. So, why not size that down and put it into an icon for the player to view instead of all the overwhelming text combined with unnecessary scrolling?
Conclusion
I talked with many other people about the Skyrim interface, how it hinders gameplay and it needs to change. Everyone I talk to in person agrees with me, but how do you guys feel about it? Even if you have not played the game, look through the screenshots and tell me that menu system does not lack good flow. I had to step out on a ledge and dog one of the highest-rated video games right now, but the truth is what the truth is, and I can see a better interface for this game making the gameplay even better (so you don’t want to quit every time you open a menu).
http://gamedesignstorm.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/WoW_GUI-960x720_c.jpg

GUI Analysis: WoW Basic UI



World of Warcraft GUI: The Right Way
By Joshua Long
Overview
World of Warcraft stands as my biggest game for analysis since I played the game when it first came out, and if you wouldn’t believe, I am still playing it! The GUI for World of Warcraft set the standards for all MMORPGs to follow. They mapped everything correctly from the start, and the audience loves it! As I break down a few key elements in the UI that make them a necessity for an MMORPG, I give you exclusive access to screenshots that show you the progress! I know, you are now the luckiest reader of my post. Without anymore distractions, here we are.
The Player’s Information
Everyone struggles on the final decision of where the character’s awesome face, health, mana, and level go. This simple design in the wrong place may throw off an entire interface and render the rest of the interface awkward for the player. World of Warcraft (WoW) designers decided to take the character’s information and smack it in the most well-known place, the upper-left corner. This way the information is there, the player knows if they are about to die or run out of magic, if a monster is too high of a level (or low of a level) for them, what faction they are part of, and of course, their name and portrait to go along with the role-playing. Take a look at how slick and easy this design is, http://tinypic.com/m/ff206d/3. You might think to yourself this proves nothing, but take a look at how much the design has changed in the past 8 years, http://tinypic.com/m/ff21pd/3. It is pretty impressive how nothing really changes, huh? Now, for comparison, here is what other famous games did with their interfaces (Perfect World and Guild Wars) http://tinypic.com/m/ff21oi/3. You now see why WoW’s display of player information is superior to other layouts.
Our Skills in One Spot
Keeping the skills all in one spot might be tough, but not that tough, right? Well, other games fail in the key binding department where WoW maps the interface to accommodate for all of those Windows fans who have icons all over the place. The action bars designed to hold skills, mounts, items, and other equipment made its way through the 8 years WoW has been through. Although some minor changes to make the UI smaller affect the design slightly, they continue to keep the same interface through all of the expansions http://tinypic.com/m/ff21vp/3. With that 100% customizable interface now in your head, please turn your attention to the very limiting action bars from our two competitors http://tinypic.com/m/ff21xj/3. How can you call yourself an MMORPG with bars like that? I find having the ability to map your skills however you feel is essential to making the user comfortable with the GUI.
Chatterbox
What is an MMORPG without talking to other people around the world? They do call them MULTIPLAYER games for something, correct? The chat function is a must when playing online with other players on a computer. Executing this function would seem pretty easy. All you need to do is display a message box on the screen for players to see messages from other people. Some games (most) have no idea where to place the chat box inside the GUI. Although WoW allows you to move the element around, they give you a default location http://tinypic.com/m/ff21yw/3. This keeps the chat out of the way, and you have it there when someone talks to you. Here is what Guild Wars and Perfect World call a chat box http://i47.tinypic.com/10z21j7.jpg. Overall, you understand how frustrating it must be when a play opens the game with a friend and has to ask themselves, “Hmm, how can I chat with my buddy I just bought this $60 game with?” The player starts to lose interest from there, so a clean chat function must be included, don’t make the players think about it, they should understand that all they have to do is click and type.
I will Party and Raid UI!
The GUI for an MMORPG lacks the whole MM if you do not have a party or raid going on! The next important and well done UI design goes to WoW’s party and raid UI. This little guy allows you to see your entire party, what class they are, how much life/mana they have, and their buffs/debuffs. Everything you could ask for combined into one area is the way to go http://tinypic.com/m/ff226h/3! While WoW gives us all of the information we need in a group, other MMORPGs lack the right design http://tinypic.com/m/ff226t/3. Knowing as much information about your party while keeping the compact design allows you to keep moving along while fighting bosses. With the party right under the player’s stats, the player understands exactly how each other member’s information is displayed.
Minimapping Done Right
You have the busy-bee maps, then you have the WoW minimap. Placed to the opposite side of the player information, the minimap takes up minimum space, and provides you with exactly what you need to complete your quests and find the next location http://tinypic.com/m/ff22jd/3. When you start adding too much information, or the map is too big, then it loses it’s whole idea behind being a MINI map. Maps are there to tell you where you are, and since it has ‘mini’ in the name, that would entale that the map should be small, not the opposite of both http://tinypic.com/m/ff22jq/3. The WoW minimap gives the player exactly what they are looking for in a small map displayed on-screen. Instead of adding a ton of useless information, keeping the UI simple makes the gameplay stand out more.
Conclusion
After analyzing nearly every piece of the GUI that the player sees right from the start of the game, you can tell I am tired. The paragraphs start out nice and long then start decreasing in content as we move on. So, what did we all learn from this analysis of the WoW GUI? I personally learned that WoW did things right from the very start and were able to keep the content through the 8 years of running and still have more years to come. By mastering the player’s interest in GUI, a game can connect with the player from the start and keep them interested. Now, if they changed it completely, some people would get used to the new look, but most people would quit because it is too much to learn all over again.
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[GFM] PIONEERS! O PIONEERS! Response Analysis



PIONEERS! O PIONEERS! Response Analysis
Walt Whitman explains how the pioneers expanded and traveled to the west. Within the poem, he did not hold anything back. He explained how violent the pioneers were, how they traveled in harsh conditions, how they were relentless in hunting food, and how they lived for what they believed in. The commercial that Levi’s created in order to re-surface this poem stood out for a few reasons. In all of the scenes, everyone has Levi jeans on their body. If someone did not have Levi’s on, they were putting them on. The entire commercial restated the main part about pioneers taking over the new lands and showed a lot of the modern people wearing Levi’s while doing something creative and/or had some involvement with taking something. I know they were trying to be creative by bringing up an old, and inspiring poem to deliver their message about how revolutionizing their jeans are, but they might have used the wrong part of the poem since we have no where else to explore as far as new locations.


Original Poem
COME my tan-faced children,
Follow well in order, get your weapons ready,
Have you your pistols? have you your sharp-edged axes?
Pioneers! O pioneers!


For we cannot tarry here,
We must march my darlings, we must bear the brunt of danger,
We the youthful sinewy races, all the rest on us depend,
Pioneers! O pioneers!


O you youths, Western youths,
So impatient, full of action, full of manly pride and friendship,
Plain I see you Western youths, see you tramping with the fore-
         most 
Pioneers! O pioneers!


Have the elder races halted?
Do they droop and end their lesson, wearied over there beyond 
         the seas? 
We take up the task eternal, and the burden and the lesson,
Pioneers! O pioneers!


All the past we leave behind,
We debouch upon a newer mightier world, varied world,
Fresh and strong the world we seize, world of labor and the march,
Pioneers! O pioneers!


We detachments steady throwing,
Down the edges, through the passes, up the mountains steep,
Conquering, holding, daring, venturing as we go the unknown ways,
Pioneers! O pioneers!


We primeval forests felling,
We the rivers stemming, vexing we and piercing deep the mines 
         within, 
We the surface broad surveying, we the virgin soil upheaving,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

READ MORE -> http://www.whitmanarchive.org/published/LG/1891/poems/99

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[GFM] Controller Mapping Analysis: Prototype



Prototype – Button Mapping Analysis
(Xbox 360; Action-adventure; Single-player Only)
Overview
I picked Prototypefor my button mapping analysis due to the fact it uses the ENTIRE controller. Most games will use all of the buttons provided, but Prototype even uses holds for each button combo, and holds in the air on top of that. The ONLY button used that makes 100% sense is the Start Button which pauses the game. All of the other buttons are used for fighting and changing the way you look while fighting.
Analysis
It has been a while since I played Prototype, yet the entire game sticks with you after you play it once. Let’s review the different areas for the controller starting with the directional pad. The D-pad controls are mapped by the player for “Quick Activation” by using Offensive Powers, Defensive Powers, Disguise Powers, and Senses Powers. All of the powers here help you fight enemies. The letter buttons are used for on-the-run attacking and fighting. “Y” buttons makes the player use his special attack, or hijack a vehicle if tapped; “B” button makes the player either grab, throw, enter, start hijacking, or exit a vehicle; “A” button allows the player to jump up or ascend while in a helicopter; “X” button allows the player to attack, fire his gun, or descend while in a helicopter. The trigger and bumper buttons allow the player to hold onto objects around them, and use primary/secondary fire in a vehicle. The stick buttons are used to allow the player move around the map and control the camera angles as well as steer vehicles. Lastly, the hold buttons for “X” and “Y” allow the player to perform special moves while in the air or on the ground.
Conclusion
The entire controller gets used up while playing Prototype, there is no doubt about that! The real test gets passed when the player finds out how well the buttons can be remembered due to the high amount being used. Since the controls are mapped similarly, you know that all movement buttons will be the same, attack buttons will be the same, and all power buttons will be the same. Overall, this game maps the controller both entirely, and effectively!
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[GFM] Bug Report Analysis



Thief: Deadly ShadowsBug Report Analysis
Introduction
When someone finds a bug in a video game, they notice it right away since it conflicts with the gameplay set in front of you. On the other side of that, there are some glitches that players will use and abuse when they find them. Some glitches include: easy leveling, unlimited gold and other items, and flying when you are not supposed to. The glitches can be really fun to mess with since it feels like you found a productive flaw in the game’s design. Now, when a player finds a bug in the system, it usually crashes and the player complains.
Report
It seems that the players have a problem when their character starts running for a second then runs without the chance to adjust his speed at all. Multiple players have this problem, both on the Xbox and the PC. This causes frustration from what it looks like, “…it’s a game  problem. I switched controllers and tried everything” (BLAH, 2004). The first time around, no one had a fix to this problem. Later on, someone found a way to fix the problem they encountered before.
Fix
The fix for this problem seems impossible to find on your own as an everyday gamer. What the person ended up doing was going through a series of options within a settings folder embedded within “My Documents” under the movement settings. It looks as though the game registered movement as only walking no matter what the player wanted, and saved the settings into a folder where it loaded from everytime the player pressed the movement button.
Conclusion
To me, this would be such a hassle, and I would stop playing the game. If you have to go in and personally fix bugs created by a game, then you lose more interest in the game. Well, if you enjoyed the game enough, then you would feel like you helped contribute to a fix in the game (which could result in an update/patch from the game developers using your solution). If the company fixed their game using your solution, then it comes down to a great honor. I feel like the players should NEVER have to deal with bugs, but that’s life, and it makes them feel like they are a part of the team when they find a fix.
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[GFM] 3 – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3



3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3; MULTIPLAYER REVIEW
(Single Player Campaign; Online Multiplayer; FPS)
Overview
I love the franchise that started the entire Modern Warfare journey. When Modern Warfare came out (also known as Call of Duty 4), my dad and I would spend at least an hour a night taking turns going against people online. Not only did this create some excellent father-son time, it got me into the first-person shooting games as a whole! Now, Infinity Ward just released Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 this past November (2011)! I play this game day in and day out. Here is what I think about the game from the online perspective.
Positives/Gameplay Successes
+ With running around the map as my number one most irking feature, MW3 takes care of the problem aspect of running around by making maps smaller and having more players on a map at a time. Since I spent my time playing free-for-all matches, running around meant a kill nearly 5-10 seconds apart from each other. Getting kills (or killed) this fast keeps your mind away from running around and more focused on killing enemy players.
+ The player versus player system went through three years of changes, and they finally came to a common fighting ground in MW3. I love how you can shoot from a distance, throw explosives, plant explosives, and throw other weapons and melee the other players using a knife. All of these combined features make every player different, and I would adjust my fighting skill for each match.
+ While aiming down the sights of a gun, you walk ever-so-slightly slower in order to set up a better shot on an enemy. If you are a fast twitch gamer, then there is a perk that allows for faster moving while aiming down the sights which I like to use. Having this option makes the pace of your side in the game fast/slow depending on the use of the perk or not.
+ The option to use different “strike packages” really changes the battle for everyone in the game. I really like being able to choose a custom style of rewards for killing enemies in succession. You can choose to get your rewards as you kill people during one life, you can get the package that includes rewards as you kill people that persist through death, and you can choose the package that gives you extra perks as you kill enemies in succession during one life.
+ Changing classes while in-game is a nice feature the entire franchise kept throughout the game. Having the option to change my class allowed me to instantly change my gaming style mid-game.
Negatives/Gameplay Failures
– When I try to knife someone, I sometimes miss and they kill me almost instantly by blindly turning around and throwing their knife around. This flaw turns me off from the game mainly due to the fact that a random knife can result in you dying without knowing how it even happened.
– I am really big on the destructive environments, and MW3 lacked in almost every way in this field. I was disappointed that pretty much the only thing that blew up was cars.
– Weapon swapping annoys me. I find that running out of ammo in a gun fight is the death of you while you have to switch to a secondary. In that long time of switching weapons, you usually end up dying.
– Reloading takes too long as well. When you are in the middle of a fire fight, there is not a single moment you can waste. Out of my 10 matches, I died every time I reloaded my weapon in the middle of crossfire.
– While testing out all of the different weapon customizations, I failed to notice any difference in performance of the guns when switching between a kick reduction and a steadier aim.
Thoughts (not necessarily likes or dislikes, but instead noteworthy brainstorming)
~ I enjoyed the strict focus on gameplay mechanics over a variety of “fun” features in the game. Having a tone down from less serious games is a plus.
~ Other players dominated me at first as I was warming up, and I would say that probably stemmed from them playing a lot.
~ As each round progressed, the amount of kills per second started increasing greatly.
~ More deaths followed as the rounds started to end. I noticed this might be my fault for automatically running around in circles after I would respawn.
~ I do not see a difference in my performance (character-wise) when I achieve all the specialist perks. It says I get a specialist bonus, but I never notice anything change in my character.
Would Like/Fixes
* I can see the need for a better hand-to-hand combat system. If knifing could be blocked, or parried, then that would even be an improvement.
* More visual performance changes to the weapons and armor after customization would make players feel a little more in control of their creations. I did not feel as though any add-ons to my weapons made a difference in the weapon’s performance.
* The option to have more players in a FFA match on the larger maps would make those large-map rounds go by faster without depending on the time to run out before the max kills are reached.
* More as a training purpose, it would be nice to see the availability of bots to fight against in player matches.
* A variety of weapon carrying choices during battle would make the fights initially more interesting. If you could carry two rocket launchers or two knives that would be really fun.
Conclusion
Overall, I enjoyed the game more than the other 2 games. With Modern Warfare 2 as my all-time favorite, Modern Warfare 3 steps it up one level and takes my heart ascending with it. I enjoyed every moment of the multiplayer features, and could not ask for a more competetive game in the FPS genre that would suite my needs. The gameplay features come together smoothly whether it be calling in airstrikes to aid your care packages or a Hind to help with rewards, and I love nothing more than a smooth-playing game.
http://gamedesignstorm.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/header_425_wow_wrath_of_the_lich_king-960x469_c.jpg

[GFM] 2 – World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King


2. World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
(PC; Massive-Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG); Online-Only)
Overview
I played WoW for exactly 1 hour and 28 minutes from the beginning, using a level 1 Dwarf Paladin. While I played for my hour, I completed 12 quests, killed roughly 134 enemies, killed 6 innocent bunnies, looted nearly 3 gold worth of items, looted 4 chests, learned 6 different skills, used only 2 weapons, and gained 6 levels. So, I ended with 4 silver, 4 usable skills, and the total level of 7.
Positives/Gameplay Successes:
+ The key mapping is nice, but confusing at first due to the unobvious menu-buttons such as using “O” to open up the friend’s menu. Other than some obvious button choice confusion (which is 100% customizable to the player), the other buttons for movement are straightforward with the arrow keys to move and right mouse-click to attack. You can also open your backpack with the “B” key. The option to use “hotkeys” 0-9 is very useful when obtaining more skills.
+ The looting feature is very useful and so intuitive that most online role-playing games have gone to the same method. Pretty much, you right-click on a dead body (whom you just killed) using the mouse, an interface menu pops up, and you left-click on the items you want to take using the mouse. It is a simple method, and World of Warcraft made excellent use of it. This is one of the features that has not been touched since the first release.
+ The aggro AI for the monsters is very simple, yet effective. I like how you can run by a high-level mob at a low level and they will run after you from a sickening distance, whereas they will stand at attention if you are 5-8 levels higher than they are. Simple, yet effective when it comes to staying around mobs your level.
+ The talent system developed while this game was still new mastered the ease of distibuting points into customizing your character. You leveled up, you gained a point, you opened a menu with talents, you put your point in a talent that you thought might benefit you in the long run. If you did not like the “build” you created, then you are able to pay a small in-game price and start over. This makes customization dumbed down for players who just want to play.
+ The quest system is pretty standard when it comes down to it, but I really like how the quest log gives you detailed information along the lines of the storyline for the quest as they give you strict details on where you need to go in order to complete the quest. The strict details are then laid out for you so you know exactly where to go, who to kill, what to collect, and who you need to talk to next.
Negatives/Gameplay Failures:
– When the enemy dodges one of your moves, you must wait for an entire attack phase to swing again. This makes for long battles of healing with my character since he is using a two-handed mace for attacking. If I miss at all, the enemy has more of a chance to hit me twice before I can swing again.
– Walking is really slow and it makes getting around to complete quests take forever. Unfortunately, most of my time was spent walking around and talking to NPCs.
– When you run around in circles around an enemy while attacking them, nothing changes. This is really irritating to the player as you would expect running around frantically would make the enemy have a much more difficult time attacking you. When you fight an enemy, it does not matter which way you are running to them, but as soon as you turn your back, a message pops up and says that you are facing the wrong way. I would expect the same from an animal you just recently ran around would not be able to attack you; the enemy  is stuck on always facing you, always doing the same attack until either you die, run away from their small aggro radius, or kill them.
– Travel times, on top of the walking, is ridiculous! I know that as you progress, you gain mounts to travel faster, but the world is so big that an option to teleport would not be so bad. When you use the flight system to go across the continent, you spend most of that time getting a snack from the fridge because it takes so long. This might be a technique to keep player anticipation high, but I do not like it.
– Player versus environment (PvE) is really lame. Although the newer end-game bosses have cool strategies involved with beating them, most (if not all) mobs are the same fight over and over. They have a name for this, and I do not like to grind. If the enemies were a little more “active” in the fights, it would add some overall strategy to the entire game.
Thoughts: (not necessarily likes or dislikes, but instead noteworthy brainstorming)
~ I noticed that gathering quests and killing quests were pretty evenly distributed during my gameplay. This was a nice feature, now that I think about it.
~ When you are focused on killing enemies one at a time for a quest objective, you get lost in the traveling and end up near the next place you need to go. The only unfortunate thing about doing this is the quest-giver is back where you started from, so you do have to walk back either way.
~ At lower levels, not many people like to interact with each other. You are kind of on your own until you start running through instances (dungeons), or other party-driven quests since you can handle a lot of the lower-level mobs alone.
~ Weapon drops are significantly lower than useless crap that even vendors have a hard time giving you money for.
~ Speaking of vendors, I noticed that prices do not vary between cities and towns. This could be very helpful when it comes to predictable costs, but it does take away any challenge you were hoping for in a bartering economy.
Would Like/Fixes:
* I would LOVE to see better mob fights. I am big into the interactive fighting in games. When you have enemies acting all crazy on you, it makes you want to play more! This is one of the reasons I play against other players (another brain-powered character you can fight against), I love making people work for their glory in-game. I like the challenge behind it.
* Less walking, more story. If they could find a way to keep all of the features and gameplay time without all of the walking, the game would be awesome! I understand that battlegrounds and fights require all of that, but during the quest lines, I could use a little faster travel (even if they kept the grinding).
* Balancing classes would make the game a little better, but every class can do their deal of damage and/or healing in the long run. I think that finding the balance of weapons and gear makes any player good/bad, but it does take skill to create a character so good to make people think you are cheating.
* I would not mind seeing the amount of classes come to a limit. For instance, if they made more than just the Death Knight class be unlockable, you would see more players putting quality time into their characters rather than creating the best of the best right away and taking away challenge.
* As an RPG, this game would benefit from a SOLID main story line for avid role-playing gamers. A single player side of the game would make me buy it up in an instant all over again.
Conclusion
After my ventures of playing WoW for an hour, I was not able to come up with this huge list. Instead, I have been playing World of Warcraft since it first came out. I have seen the development of the game, I have played the different builds, and I have experience the game from the baby stages. So, I draw some of my complaints/findings from years of playing. I do not play as much now, but I can say that I am not satisfied with some of the directions they went. Overall, this game somehow kept me playing for years, so they did something right, at the very least!
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[GFM] 1 – Enslaved: Odyssey to the West


1. Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
(Xbox 360; Action-adventure; Single-player Only)
Overview
I played this game for nearly 6 hours straight. It all started with a trip to the doctor’s office to find out what was wrong with my eye. On my way back from the doctor, I said to myself, “I need a video game to play that is going to last me quite some time.” I remembered that I had this awesome analysis project to complete, so I stopped by a random game store figuring I could find something cheaper than GameStop had to offer. I had no idea what I wanted to play, and I wanted something I never heard of before! Boiling down to it, I found enslaved, put the game in, and played for 6 hours straight! I only reached chapter 7, but that is alright because I plan to play some more.
Positives/Gameplay Successes
+ The movement system came off as increasingly spectacular. At first, I didn’t like the movement due to the feeling of an action -adventure Gears of War feeling. Throughout the story progression, the movement became a little more familiar and easy to maneuver. You can jump over objects in your way by vaulting them, you can walk/run/sprint, you can climb like a monkey (ironically, the lead’s name), and best of all, if you use the movements in quick succession, you are able to pull of fluid movements through the environment.
+ The combat system uses a variety of fighting moves off one item, which was neat. You can use the same stick you use to fight with to fire energy bolts. Having the fighting option to change from hand-to-hand to range is very intuitive.
+ In chapter 1, as you first get the hang of the game, they provide combat, movement, and puzzle tutorials. These are effectively placed throughout the level by pausing the game as you are about to perform the new move, and tells you what to do. Some games make this effect annoying, but Enslaved used it effectively by not interrupting the gameplay. The tutorials usually popped up right as you were going to ask, “Wait, how am I supposed to do that?!” They planned the tutorial integration very smoothly.
+ While maneuvering through the environment, you do not really pay any attention to your health, so it might come off as a surprise if you have been playing with low health. The positioning of health is spaced perfectly to give the player a smooth transition of gameplay.
+ Most action games use the entire controller, but Enslaved really utilizes the controller by combining button holds to perform a variety of moves. When you hold down the right trigger button (Xbox 360), you now have full control of ranged fighting.
Negatives/Gameplay Failures
– The camera angles proved to be very close at times, which made the gameplay not as much fun. Other games that have this camera angle (almost all other games) make up for the bad taste in angles through stunning gameplay. This is one of those games, but the camera angles being too close, or too far while running into a room or next to a wall made it distasteful.
– With the action fighting style of the game, not being able to lock-on to an enemy made the successful hits very difficult. Enemies constantly surrounded me where I would attack one at a time, but each hit would land on a separate enemy, making battles last longer.
– The game implemented what seemed to be a squad-based movement option for the other character in the game; I did not find this fully developed, and it messed up fluid controls. When you opened the menu to tell the girl what to do, it almost seemed pointless whereas the game would have been fine if she just did things on her own to help you out. This option could have been a last minute choice to cut costs rather than having a full AI developed for her.
– When shooting at range with your staff, I found it very difficult to make successful hits on enemies.
– Ranged weapons, such as the energy blast, or the stun blast, really took away from the fast-paced gameplay, and would benefit without it.
Thoughts (not necessarily likes or dislikes, but instead noteworthy brainstorming)
~ I had to force myself to sit down and play a game I have never heard of before, and then within 10 minutes of playing the game, hours went by and the next thing I knew, I was calling up my brother and telling him how amazing this game really was!
~ When I first had the option to climb up a pipe in the first level, the game brought me back to the Assassin’s Creed engine feeling, and I really liked that!
~ The game handled just as expected when I started walking around. I expected basic attacks and other movement just as in any other game.
~ The third person adventure style really gave off the Gears of War vibe at first, and it made sense knowing the same game engine was used to create it. I could see this game created in a completely different engine to give it more of the feeling the company probably wanted.
Would Like/Fixes
* Although the environment was destructive for the most part, I would have enjoyed a little bit more crumble when something hit the walls and/or the different objects in the environment.
* The boss battles rather sucked. The introductions for the bosses was intense and very scary, but when you realize all you have to do is smack them in the head with a stun and then beat them up until they die, you laugh in their face (I played through at least 3/4 bosses and this was the same for all of them). If the boss battles had more interaction, that would make up for even the camera angles! Adding some timed button presses and interactive fighting to the boss with a little bit of puzzle would change my mind about laughing at the boss battles.
* You have all these enemies standing around and watching you beat down on the other enemies, which you would think would be kin or friend to them, right? Enemies who reacted to you fighting their pals would be awesome, especially since they are robots already! Smarter enemies, which is all I am saying here…
* When you are beating down some enemies, at least one robot stands to the side and has a 20 second (I think it starts at 30 seconds) counter above them telling you that they are going to call in more enemies…I am so scared. Adding faster reaction timing and reinforcements would make battles intense since you would react to kill everyone faster. Moving the timer down to 5-10 seconds and making it less visible would add some quick reactions and more challenge.
* Above, I talk about dumb enemies a lot. If the enemies could actually fight, all of the awesome skills you can do would not go to waste! Think about all of the parkour/freerunning moves you could perform if you had an enemy rushing you with their head down! Having different style-of-fighting enemies would be a definite plus!
Conclusion
After playing this game for the first time, I would say I enjoyed it more than I would guess to begin with. I took a leap of faith (Assassin’s Creed reference there) and bought a game I never heard of. I might not do that too often in my time, but there was nothing wrong with it since I had to write an analysis on the game nonetheless. If it turned out to be a bad game, then that would have been my bad game for the month, but it holds number one position right now on my list of games played in a lifetime. I was very impressed with all of the gameplay mechanics within the game, and how they were executed.

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