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  1. Marcus Estrada

    Fable: Anniversary Announced

    Fable was an interesting Xbox exclusive title back in 2004. Peter Molyneux praised the game highly before release which, unfortunately, caused some to view it lower. A year later, it saw a port to PC under the name of Fable: Lost Chapters which included some new content. Since then, two more Fable games have come out for the Xbox 360. Today's Major Nelson podcast reveals that the original Fable is being reborn as Fable: Anniversary. Lionhead Studios' Ted Timmins is the episode's guest and he speaks about the upcoming HD remake. This is not the first time an exclusive Microsoft product has seen a HD version but they are certainly less common than on Sony's platform. Fable: Anniversary includes all the content of the first game as well as Fable: Lost Chapters. It is also coming to Xbox 360 - not One. Alongside the visual upgrade, Achievements have also been added. The game is set to launch in time for this holiday season. Here is the teaser that was released prior to this announcement: http://youtu.be/2EhswZYju0s
  2. Marcus Estrada

    Review: CastleStorm

    Developer: Zen Studios Publisher: Microsoft Studios Platform: Xbox 360 (XBLA) Release Date: May 29, 2013 ESRB: T for Teen A download code was provided by the publisher for this review Physics-based action games have become popular again thanks to the likes of Angry Birds and smartphone games in general. Although you may dislike Angry Birds personally, there is no doubt that physics-based gameplay can be pretty fun. Zen Studios took the idea of physics-controlled play and applied it to the tower defense/offense genre to create CastleStorm for XBLA. They are mostly known for their pinball games which indeed have a strong concept of physics, but does that skill translate over to this completely different title? It sure does. In the majority of levels, you must control a ballista to stop hordes of vikings and other enemies attempting to storm your castle. This is where the physics come in because you must aim your projectiles and hope they“ll hit an enemy square in the face or a castle right at its weak point. Although an arc is drawn for you, it isn“t always perfect as projectiles end up dropping a bit lower. At other times, there is no line available so you have to be able to calculate the arc yourself in the middle of battle. Much of the game revolves around aiming and firing but that doesn“t make it a simple game. On the 2D plane, enemies will continue to proliferate and meander toward your castle. There are many enemy types including wolves, giant stone creatures, burly vikings, and more. Later, the enemy castles also gain a ballista with which they can lob projectiles your way as well. Things quickly become hectic. Unfortunately, the guideline for your ballista often becomes hard to see between all the action, which makes it fairly useless. As the enemy has tons of troops and projectiles, so does the player. You gain everything through playing through campaign mode. While players start out with a very measly lot, they eventually work up to a whole bunch of goodies to use during battle. Troops, magic skills, and power-ups all can be leveled up via money procured during battles. This requires a bit of management because limited money means you cannot always upgrade every item you use, but instead carefully select the most important to increase. More strategy comes in when factoring in the towers. A great deal of towers are unlocked during campaign mode and with good reason. At the start, you can have only a small, very unprotected castle. After a while, though, you gain access to larger ones to house your various troops in, as well as the ability to design your own castles. This aspect is important to understand, as if an enemy breaks through and demolishes one of your troop rooms, then that troop will become unavailable to summon for the rest of the mission. Similarly, if you break their rooms then they“ll lose access. If every room is destroyed then that player loses. It may seem then that every mission could be completed quickly by simply targeting the castle. However, this trick usually doesn“t work because it leaves you wide open in the interim. You can lob projectiles away but then without placing troops to guard your castle then the enemy will have an easy path to step all over you. That“s why attention must always be paid to both the battlefield and both castles. For better or for worse, it“s also often hard to comprehend why sometimes a perfect strike will break a castle wall while other times the projectile will appear ineffective. It makes it harder to achieve an “unfair” victory, but also becomes quite the burden on rare timed missions. Missions are not all about destroying the enemy“s castle. Goals vary by mission and oftentimes there are multiple possible goals to achieve. For example, sometimes you may get extra points for succeeding without ever using the ballista. The most common missions involve destroying castles or stealing the enemy flag, but CastleStorm does change itself up every so often with Hero mode. In this mode, you run around in a 2D beat ”em up style mode to complete a goal. This mode can also be activated during standard battles, but only for a limited amount of time. Although this is an XBLA title, it also manages to extend itself for a while. The main campaign takes around 5 hours to complete. One negative of this mode is that late in the game you are given a whole new series of weapons and troops to level up from scratch. After leveling up all the stuff you were familiar with prior, it feels like it had been a big waste of time. Outside of the campaign are other modes such as skirmish, survival, and last stand to play through. Each can be experienced in local or online multiplayer if you“re interested. For co-op mode, one player controls the ballista while the other takes care of summoning troops. For all the content available, you might think CastleStorm is worth the investment. It just might be if you“re really into the idea of a physics-based tower defense game. Otherwise, it is a super dull experience. Although there is a story, it says nothing of value and isn“t even that funny. Although the gameplay is not broken it is hardly any fun either. Even casual mode becomes a bit of a challenge at certain sections. This is a game that stands strongest as nothing more than average. It can give you your money“s worth but you won“t be filled with glee while playing. Instead, you“ll be strung through some relatively boilerplate gameplay. Even with multiplayer modes it“s not likely that you“ll want to go back to play much of them. There“s nothing wrong with CastleStorm, but nothing all that compelling either. Pros: + Great deal of troops/projectiles/etc + Strategy required for both battlefield and castles + Multitude of levels with varying goals Cons: - Dull storyline and sound - Repetitive after a while - Doesn“t have the “spark” a good game should Overall Score 5 (out of 10) Average CastleStorm is a competent tower defense/offense title but offers little else to differentiate itself from existing products.
  3. Marcus Estrada

    Ubisoft E3 Lineup Announced

    With E3 closing in, companies are finally revealing the content they'll have on hand. Yesterday Ubisoft shared the big names that they'll be bringing to convention. Of course, there's going to be more available as well, but some things have to be kept secret. Here are the main titles Ubisoft is bringing to the convention: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag Rayman Legends South Park: The Stick of Truth Splinter Cell: Blacklist Watch Dogs Interestingly, this upcoming game content will also be playable outside of E3. If you happen to be near Los Angeles then you can try and sign up for an invitation to their Uplay event. The lounge is going to host their E3 games so some of the public can try them out.
  4. Marcus Estrada

    Xbox Live Indie Games

    From the album: Marcus's Album

  5. Marcus Estrada

    Xbox 360 Marketplace Sections

    From the album: Marcus's Album

  6. The console war is one war that will never be won. There will be victories and defeats, but there will never be a true winner to end all of this digital mayhem. And in this case, a never-ending war is the best thing gaming could ever hope for since competition fuels the need for innovation. Without an enemy to face, we would have never gotten some of the amazing things we've seen in our generation. Of course, we also wouldn't be able to laugh at the war torn history left behind by those many console giants from the past, present and future as well. And really, that's way more important than any amazing game changing innovations we might have seen in the last thirty years. So why don't you join me for an awkward look back at the world of video game rivalry? Pikachu Really Hates Sony I've mentioned Hey You, Pikachu! a number of times in a few of my past articles due to it's microphone capabilities; an extremely underused feature that I love seeing in games. The reason I'm mentioning this less-than-well-received Nintendo 64 title is thanks to an easter egg hidden in the game's long list of many phrases that Pikachu would react to. Back up, what did you just say to me? Among words such as Pikachu, apple, and lightning bolt was the extremely out of place "Sony." Now why would a rival's company be among the list of words that Pikachu responded to? Well, as we all know, Nintendo and Sony have been rivals since the very beginning of the Playstation's launch. As a way of taking a shot at Sony, Nintendo included the name of the company in Hey You, Pikachu! as an extremely negative word. If you so much as hinted to Pikachu that you were about to say the word Sony, your pokemon companion would absolutely flip out. He would stop listening to you, start electrocuting everything in his general area and drop whatever he was holding in his hands. The mere mention of Sony was enough to send him into a waking night terror with no escape. Microsoft Has A Naval Battle With Sony The Xbox 360 exploded out onto the market nearly a year ahead of its competition. Sony had finally released the Playstation 3 in America, and it was gearing up to release globally. Excited gamers in France began to stand in line as they eagerly awaited the release of the PS3... and then things got crazy. Does the X in the O stand for hugs and kisses? As the legions of French fans stood out in the cold waiting for the official launch of the PS3, a large boat adorned with Microsoft and Xbox symbols slowly came into view of the store's line of customers. In large white letters was the phrase "XBOX 360 YOU". Microsoft had pulled the proverbial boombox in the rain on this poor group of frozen gamers... and it was kind of funny. The only thing that would have made it better was if a Sony boat pulled into view and attacked the Xbox boat. It was a silly idea that did manage to get Microsoft some free advertising at Sony's expense, but I suggest they try using blimps to advertise during the PS4 launch. They're much harder to ignore because honestly, who can say no to looking at a blimp? Sonic Takes A Jab At Mario; Totally Beefs It Have you ever heard of the Sonic title, Sonic X-Treme? I'm going to guess you haven't, seeing as it was cancelled after constant game delays and massive problems during production. Many programmers slaved over the game working 16 hour days only to see their troubled game get flushed down the toilet, never to be seen again by anyone ever. But not before they got this juicy little advertisement out. How could something like this fail? Mario and his apparent henchmen are unable to bring down that pesky hedgehog no matter how hard they try because he has made the jump to the 3D world and left them in their 2D dust to rot into obscurity. The ad itself is what makes this so funny. Shortly after the game was cancelled, Mario entered the 3D realm with Super Mario 64 and ended up leaving Sonic to rot in his 2D dust while his franchise became bigger than ever. Square Enix Attacks... Themselves? Alright Square Enix, I don't think you understand the point to all of this. It's supposed to make your enemies look bad. You aren't supposed to take shots at your customers. In the PSP game, Dissidia: Final Fantasy, Square Enix did just that. In the Battle Tips section of the game, you can see what Final Fantasy XII's Penelo has to say about each character. I bite the hand that feeds me, teehee! Most of them are just funny little things or observations about the characters. When you get to Cloud and Sephiroth, however, things take a turn. With Cloud, she says all he does is mope around and is therefore an uninteresting character. She then goes on to say Sephiroth is supposed to be pretty popular, but he really isn't that attractive. While these are more or less just funny little things they threw in the game to spice things up a bit, you have to remember the people who are constantly voting for Cloud and Sephiroth in character polls. They're called fangirls and fanboys, and they don't understand jokes in the slightest. Any attack on their husbandos is an attack on them, and they will write about it in their Livejournals for the whole world to not care about. Nintendo Is All Up In Sony's 3D Venture The Nintendo 3DS was a revolution in 3D technology. It was now no longer necessary to spend upwards of $60 just for a pair of glasses to see the 3D image being projected from a screen, and you didn't have to burn your eyes out like with Nintendo's first 3D venture, the Virtual Boy. Its a pretty neat gimmick for the system because when it works well, it works really well. But we're not here to discuss systems. We're hear to talk about wicked sick jabs at rival companies. "Just eat it." And this jab took place at the absolute greatest E3 ever, E3 2010. While a lot of disses and slams were being thrown around in each E3 presentation, the one that sticks out for me was Nintendo's 3DS conference. They constantly brought up the fact that expensive 3D glasses were going the way of the dinosaurs and anyone who used them were going to get left in the dust in the coming years. The very next day Sony held a conference that was almost entirely based around expensive 3D glasses. While I have no way of proving Nintendo set up their 3DS conference that way on purpose just to get Sony's goat, it seems pretty obvious that was what they were aiming for. How do you follow with your multimillion dollar project announcement right after your competition just thrashed you for a solid hour with their glasses free 3D? Well, I would say something along the lines of Sony's split screen 3D technology, but nobody uses that. The reason I love quips like these is because every time I see or hear one, I imagine someone being dunked on by a basketball player. Totally unrelated, I know. But its why I love them so much. Can you think of any other types of marketing slams that have happened over the years? Why not discuss them in the comments below? As always, thanks for reading.
  7. Brace yourselves, for the rumor mill will be churning at full speed yet again: Rockstar has just released three character trailers for Grand Theft Auto V. Each trailer shows off a different character's life and back story, with snappy jams backing each for added effect. But you don't have to take my word for it, let's watch: First up is Michael. Not to be confused with the Sony marketing campaign of 2011, Michael is the ground-breaking archetype of a rich white guy, bored of his lofty life and spoiled family. He drinks, he wrestles his daughter for the remote to watch violent movies. Of course, his wife is cheating on him, so the trailer demonstrates. Michael's your All American guy, living the dream. He ultimately seems to be going through some midlife crisis, however, and, given the narrative of Grand Theft Autos past, probably comes to glamorize crime or something. This trailer is set to Queen's 1984 song, "Radio Ga Ga." Watch here! Next up, there is Franklin. Franklin is also a narrative cliche, a young black gang-banger (the kind we're allowed to talk about here) who seems to be looking to get "out." This trailer is more about showing off the action and violence, contextualizing Franklin through his lifestyle, rather than the personal narrative that Michael got. Franklin's backing track is Jay Rock's 2011 song, "Hood Gone Love It." Check it out! Finally, the third trailer is of Trevor. Trevor plays to the 'crazy hillbilly' archetype. We learn that he is a drug dealer, and seems to act and react in immensely extreme ways, showing him as being the mentally unstable one of this cast of criminals and murderers. He seems to play a sort of cross between Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and The Dark Knight's The Joker, committing crimes and reveling in it. We even see him in his underwear! It is really just the craziest thing. He's backed by Waylon Jennings's 1975 hit song, "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?" Your eye feet look tired from all this reading, take a load off, and watch this video instead: Grand Theft Auto V will be hitting PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on September 17th of 2013. It will be hitting PC... probably eventually. Until then, stay tuned for all the latest here at Game Podunk!
  8. This started out as a review for The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct. I genuinely wanted to give people my honest opinion of the game, while outlining where it shines and where it needs work. But after getting trapped on the second level of the game by a never-ending flood of walkers that block the only escape route to the exit, it's apparent that I'll never finish the game. Since I can't review it effectively, I'll instead take the time to tell you why you should stay far, far away from this rotten, godawful mess of a game. Upon starting the game for the first time, it's already apparent that this game lacks polish - the controls are loose, the graphics are bland, character models are ugly, shadows are blocky and jagged, and voice-overs sound like they were recorded into a tin can rather than a microphone. Meanwhile, the framerate often struggles to stay at 30 FPS, which, for a game that looks as outdated as Survival Instinct does, really shouldn't be that difficult. There's also the fact that, during the tutorial, the messages that tell you which button does what often appear after you've figured it out yourself, or just don't appear at all. These are all little things though, and certainly no reason to avoid the game outright. But I'm just getting started... Well? We're waiting... I only played two levels of the game (more on why in a moment) but in both levels the overall objective was "find gas so you can drive to the next level." Granted, the second level did have some secondary, optional objectives, but they were both fetch quests for survivors found in the level. For a game with the word survival right in the title though, you'd think it would have maybe put more emphasis on surviving than getting gas, but I digress - I've never seen the show, so that may be what they're doing all the time anyway. Sure, you do have to survive against the "walkers," but under normal circumstances that really isn't all that difficult. Getting behind a walker will allow you to stealth kill it (even if it knows you're there) and melee killing them from any angle can be fun. The walker AI is so brain dead (pun kinda-sorta intended) that they'll happily stand there while you gleefully beat them to death, maybe occasionally taking a feeble swing at you. It's when they grapple you that things get annoying - your reticule floats around the screen at random, and you have to center it on the zombie's head and press the attack button while it's centered to instantly kill it. This would be fine if it wasn't for the fact that the game often didn't register my button press when I was certain I had the reticule lined up, making this little QTE more annoying than it should have been. The best (worst) part is that if there are multiple zombies around, after one grapples you any others nearby will grab you the moment you kill the previous one, which often means getting surrounded = getting killed because you can't stop getting grappled to heal. And therein lies the reason I never passed the second level - I got surrounded by so many zombies that I literally could not kill every one of them grappling me over and over and over. But let me back it up a minute, because this requires a little context, I suppose. When you start the level, the road is blocked so you have to go through a small general store to get around the cars in your way and get to the gas station. In order to get gas (as I mentioned, your objective for the first two levels) you have to get a key to turn on the gas station's generator, and once you do that, all the noise from the generator attracts the walkers, which another character helpfully tells you before completely disappearing. Like, literally, he just disappears, you don't see him run out of the station or anything. So anyway, whether you could see any walkers or not, some will inevitably show up to try and ruin your escape, so you have to leave as quickly as possible. But remember that grocery store I mentioned walking through? Yeah, I still have to go through there, only now it's full of walkers. Seriously, full of walkers. There's just a sea of flesh-eating zombies waiting right there along your escape route, every time, all the time, and as soon as you get to them they will grab you, and they will kill you - there's way too many to fight off no matter how good you are at the grappling QTE. So I tried, and tried, and tried again, but there was absolutely no way through. I finally had to give up because after I reloaded my checkpoint several times, the game apparently couldn't handle it anymore and the framerate stuttered and froze every few seconds, making the game entirely unplayable. I don't know who took this screenshot, but I do know their game probably crashed shortly afterwards. Yep, I used the dreaded "u" word, and it is entirely justified. Not just because of the crippling framerate issue, but because this game is so shoddily made that it would be impossible for the average gamer (and I'm hardly an "average" gamer) to make progress in this game without the aid of a cheat device or something. First of all, the game doesn't know how to remove dead zombies from the world - there was one point where I was standing on the fire escape of a building, and two zombies followed me out. I killed them, and turned around to contemplate going down the fire escape or back the way I came. Suddenly, I was grappled by a zombie, who I promptly killed, but I was wondering how he got there so I looked in the room I'd just came from - nothing. I went back to my quiet contemplation, only to be attacked again - by the same f***ing zombie. And this isn't one of those "maybe you didn't kill him all the way" situations - his body disappeared, but apparently the game decided to just respawn him right there, infinitely, until I was smart enough to go somewhere else. This is apparent throughout the game if you're paying attention, since a zombie that you killed in a particular place will often be there again if you get far enough away, by which I mean a few freakin' steps. Second of all, the checkpoint system is horrid - one of the survivors I mentioned earlier asks you to find him batteries. Sure, no problem. I made my way to the police station, fought off some walkers, got the batteries, gave them to him, and went on my merry way. I died shortly after meeting a second survivor inside the station and starting his fetch quest, only to be popped back outside the police station. My objective? Find batteries for Officer whatever his name was. This game is so terrible at remember what you've done that dying could mean a few seconds lost (the generator thing I mentioned earlier happened to be a checkpoint, surprisingly) or several minutes. And if you quit the game and start it up again, it doesn't start you at your last checkpoint like most games - no sir, you're going right back to the beginning of the level, because screw you for quitting the game, that's why. Maybe I'm just angry, but there is absolutely no reason anyone should ever play this game, for any reason, unless, I guess, you really - and I mean really - hate someone and want to show them in one of the worst ways possible by giving them this thing as a gift. This is one of the sorriest excuses for a video game I've ever played, and I've played Postal 3, Sonic '06, Mortal Kombat: Special Forces, Samurai Slowdown III (a.k.a. the PSX version of Samurai Shodown 3), uh...well, you get the idea. The worst part is that the game could have been fun, if it wasn't for the fact that it tries its damnedest to make you fail repeatedly. I really liked bashing in zombie heads, I really liked the idea of getting sucked into the world of The Walking Dead, but all of this was ruined when I realized I could never leave the second level no matter how hard I tried. This could have been at least half-decent if more work had been put into it, but as it stands, this is a rushed, buggy, unpolished, and nearly broken game that no fan of Walking Dead or zombie culture could ever enjoy. So, if you're looking for a good Walking Dead game, play Telltale's game based on the comics. If you're looking for a good zombie game, play literally just about any other game with the word "Dead" in the title - Dead Island, Dead Rising, Dead Pixels, Dead Nation, take your pick. Just, whatever you do, don't go anywhere near this game, because you'll only find the frustration and annoyance of a game that almost, almost could have made it if only the developers had actually tried. It's a crime against all gamedom that lazy developers like Terminal Reality are getting handed money by publishers to puke out something like this when so many decent, hardworking studios are shutting their doors one by one. Maybe that's what this game was trying to represent - that there's only a few "survivors" left in the world (the developers who barely have enough to keep functioning but manage to cling to life) being swarmed by a bunch of foul, rotten, husks (terrible developers who coast off publisher money) who only care about one thing: flesh (money) and will do whatever it takes to get it. If so, then, good job Terminal Reality, you really did well with your social commentary. Just, maybe next time, try to do well with your Walking Dead game instead.
  9. I want to think the best of people, I really do. But it isn't easy when the internet exists. I can travel to any gaming forum in the world and odds are high I'll find someone arguing over absolutely nothing. You can go into threads with legitimate questions and you'll end up reading a six page flame war about dinosaurs. While that is hilarious in it's own way, there are also communities on the internet that just allow you to see the worst in people. You'll find them chock full of liars, cheaters, griefers and everything else under the rainbow of hilarity that is the gaming community. Read on to see some of my personal favorites that prove just how awful we really are. The Xbox Ban Appeal Forums My goodness where do we start? The Xbox ban appeals forum has so many different gems of absolute idiocy that a whole new site was made just to showcase some of them. That's how bad it is over there. And when it comes to lying, the people on the Xbox forums are just the absolute worst. I'll be giving examples of better ones in a little bit, but for now enjoy the stupidity. First of all you have the people with modded consoles. Whether they're using it for piracy or not isn't really the issue when it comes to these people. They have decided to mod their avatar. You know what an avatar is, right? That little person you dress up to represent you on the Xbox Live service? You know, the one that everyone can see? My God I wish I could have seen that conversation play out. So they go onto the forums saying it isn't fair that they were banned! They clearly did nothing wrong so they shouldn't be punished. They don't even know how to mod so it couldn't have been them! As they're saying all of this, you can see their bright pink avatar sitting in the corner with their crazy light up eyes. And they wonder how you could prove they modded anything. And then you have the boosters. I honestly don't even know what boosters are. Apparently you give them your account info and some insane amount of money and they'll raise your level in Call of Duty. The only way they can really advertise what they do is by putting it in their profile, again something everyone can see. And just like clockwork they're on the appeals forum saying the Xbox team has no proof they did it despite it being right there in front of them. While we're on the subject of proof, people seem to not understand that the Xbox team can save this information or watch what you're doing online in a game. Imagine different parent's surprise when they find out their son was banned for flashing his junk on Uno. ------------------------- The DayZ Ban Appeal Forums The difference between the Xbox Ban Appeals and the DayZ Ban Appeals is like the difference between night and day. While in the Xbox appeals forum you'll find a huge list of people getting served by Xbox staff with evidence of their random stupidity, the DayZ forums are the exact opposite. You see, there is no evidence. Before we get into this, here's some background for you. The DayZ server owners are unlike server owners in any other game. They have to follow a very strict set of rules due to the fact that each character is persistent on every single server. Ban someone for no reason and you screw everything up for them in every other server. So admins can only ban in the most extreme situations such as racism and hacking. Anything else and they risk their server being blacklisted. So when someone gets banned the admins have to have a good reason for doing so. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on who you are, these admins don't seem to understand they need evidence to support their claims. Thirty pages of novel levels of deception. All in broken English. This leads to some hilarious amounts of finger pointing on the official DayZ forums. In one such instance a player said he was banned just for logging onto this persons server. That person came on and said he was lying, he banned him for hacking. Then about five other people all came in saying the guy was hacking. You would think it would be an open and shut case, but noooo. As it turns out, those people that all came in saying the banned player were actually friends of the admin who banned the player because he and his clan were trying to cheat to get the best gear. This was proven when one of the banned player's friends joined the server and recorded the admin banning him too. The server was blacklisted and the idiot admin was out $150 (around the amount it costs to host a server). The best thing about all this is the fact that it wasn't an isolated incident. This is how nearly every single ban appeal thread plays out. Everyone is constantly lying to try to get their way and there is no way to tell who is lying and who isn't. Its insanely fun to read though. ------------------------- Broken System Sellers Consider this one a personal pet peeve of mine, but I absolutely hate people who sell broken systems and handhelds. This is because almost all of them are liars trying to make a buck off of a broken electronic. While I'm certainly not the best repairman, I just like to buy broken electronics (usually at a huge discount) and fix them up myself. But over the last year this has become increasingly difficult. Not because the technology has become more confusing, but because the people selling the broken systems don't seem to understand they can't get new system prices for their broken merchandise. Let's look at the Playstation Vita as a good example. $250 new, about $165 used, and for some reason, $155 broken. Eh, it'll probably buff out. $200 sounds like a fair asking price. This isn't broken like a bad battery either. This is broken as in "I smashed the screen." No matter which auction you click on ebay, if the screen is broken then every single one will have the exact same description. "The screen is cracked but its a $40 fix!" First of all, a Vita screen is at least $140. Secondly, if the digitizer is broken too then you'll have to drop another $50. So that bargain bin price of $150 has just become $340, nearly $100 more than a brand new console. I've talked with these sellers before. I've shown them the actual prices of replacement parts, I've explained to them how hard it is to actually fix and shown them links to working consoles selling for as much as their broken one. I usually get a reply along the lines of "If you don't like it then don't buy it." And they're still confused as to why their perfectly good nonworking system hasn't sold yet. ------------------------- Thankfully, these people don't represent the whole of gaming. At least I hope they don't. They're merely a part of the ever growing digital world. While I might not like them, I know I have to deal with them. But at least we can stand off to the side making fun of them. What communities do you just love to despise? Any interesting websites that show off the worst of the worst? Why not talk about them in the comments below? As always, thanks for reading.
  10. http://www.gamefly.com/Rent-Halo-4/5003713?adtrackingid=cmju029 Halo 4 http://www.gamefly.com/Rent-Paper-Mario-Sticker-Star/5000771/?adtrackingid=cmju029
  11. Developer: Visceral Games Publisher: Electronic Arts Platforms: XBOX 360, PS3 Release Date: March 26th, 2013 ESRB: M (Mature) This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game EA has made it a personal goal to release a new shooter every year. It began with the release of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and varied between numbered Battlefield and Medal of Honor releases. Last year, EA faced the hard realization that Medal of Honor: Warfighter was poorly executed and had even poorer sales, shelving the franchise for the time being. It needed something to fill the gap of shooters before Battlefield 4 launches this Fall. The company chose to resurrect the polarizing co-op series, Army of Two. Tapping the creative minds at Visceral, EA looked to inject the ailing franchise with much-needed innovation. Did EA's gamble pay off with Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel or is this just another humdrum shooter? I won't lie; the new Army of Two is a very mixed bag. Scrapping brotastic mercenary heroes Salem and Rios, Visceral went for the serious-toned Alpha and Bravo. Though these guys tell less jokes about your mom, they still have a slightly humorous nature and never take things too seriously. That said, the script writing for their lines is fairly basic and never makes either soldier feel more than a cardboard cutout. Flawed as Salem and Rios were, they at least had personality. Alpha and Bravo barely stand out amidst the streams of bullets and explosions. The semi-serious plotline, which seems to have something to do with dismantling a major Mexican drug cartel, never provides more than a passing reason as to why you're blowing people in half. There's a good local politician who gets abducted and, for whatever reason, you're supposed to torch and burn half of Mexico to get him back. It's a little insensitive to the plight of the Mexican citizens who face oppression from cartel rule, but it avoids belittling the conflict either. Police forces will fight with you side by side to bring the gang members to justice, so the writers get some kudos for not forgetting who the real soldiers of the War on Drugs are. Army of Two isn't about plot or character development. It's about blowing the crap out of everything and everyone around you, and in this regard, it mostly succeeds. Alpha and Bravo have access to a massive arsenal that can be unlocked and purchased as players level up and earn cash. You can equip each character with two weapons and a sidearm. My favorite loadout was a precision-modded L85 bullpup rifle with an explosive-tipped AS-50 sniper rifle, while my sidearm of choice was a silver-colored .44 revolver. Each weapon can be customized down to the paintjob, offering incentive for players to take new contracts and replay missions. The guns feel punchy and tear apart cover, spraying dust and debris about the destructible environments. Thanks to the Frostbite 2 engine, everything blows up and chips away beautifully. Dust and clouds of smoke obscure the battlefield as tracers stream over your head and damage your cover. It can be intense when everything is working properly. When the occasional cover glitches and visual oddities do occur, it can be frustrating and result in unfair deaths. These glitches aren't terribly frequent but do detract from the experience. My favorite part of Army of Two's combat is the appropriately named Overkill mode. As you eliminate targets, the Overkill meter fills. Activating it will unleash an invulnerable, infinite explosive ammo warmachine. You can easily lay waste to ten guys without blinking, and if your partner has his filled, activate both for slow-mo and extended Overkill time. It's excessive and gratuitous but fun. The cartel members break apart, piece by piece, in a satisfyingly awful manner. As fun as the combat is, Army of Two still suffers from a general lack of polish. Hit detection can be fussy and bullets sometimes clip through cover. The visuals, though great when things are exploding, are not great upclose. Character models are especially bad and look a bit like plastic action figures. In contrast, the audio is well done. The voice actors do a decent job of selling their lines and the weapons positively roar. Explosions have that special "oomph" factor and adds weight to the chaotic destruction. As many problems as this game has, I still find it incredibly fun. If you have a partner who can play splitscreen, I guarantee hijinks will ensue. Rushing to save a downed buddy for that life-saving shot of adrenaline, only to be downed right after, is hilarious. Not to mention dual Overkill is absolutely ridiculous. I can think of few things as entertainingly violent and explosive as Army of Two. It's dumb, simple-minded fun. If you're looking for a grade-A shooter, this ain't it. Visceral did a good job of trying to overhaul the series but made a number of missteps. The Devil's Cartel takes a few steps forward while taking several steps back. It's not a bad game, but I can't recommend it at the $60 pricetag. When it drops in price, I do recommend it for the crazy gore, ridiculous set-pieces, and huge explosions. It's disposable, but entertaining fun. Pros: + HUGE EXPLOSIONS + Fun with a partner + Great combat and weapon building + Strong audio and voice work Cons: - Some glaring glitches - Lines can be hamfisted - Plot isn't that great - Visuals can be dated at times Overall Score: 6.5 (out of 10) Decent Army of Two isn't a great game, but it's fun if you're looking for gratuitous violence and entertaining co-op action.
  12. Royzoga

    Review: Record of Agarest War

    Developer: Idea Factory Publisher(s): Aksys Games Platform(s): Playstation Network Digital Download, Xbox 360 Release Date: April 27th, 2010 ESRB: T (So, I recently made an extremely long reply to a news article pertaining to this game possibly being added to Steam. After conversing with a few friends and reviewing the post I decided to make the post into an actual review. It is my first of hopefully many for the site and I haven't really written one in a while, so if you believe I can do better, please message or speak with me detailing how I can be a better reviewer.) Record of Agarest War can be easily described to those whom haven't played it before. Imagine Disgaea was combined with the most simple aspects of a dating simulator. Throw in a few light side/ dark side decisions as well as some risque static pictures of girls scantily dressed just for some flavor too. The end result is a game that can be equal amounts of pain as it can be pleasure. Pain feels like it sticks out a bit more obviously in the beginning, middle, and end of the game, however one cannot exist with out the other, or at least in this game they cannot. The intro to the game provides an interesting and fresh idea unheard of in the JRPG universe, in terms story that is. A general in an army decides to break orders to try and save a young elvish girl and is thrust into a destiny that forces him and his next four generations of children to fight an unknown evil. The story actually proves to be one of the most enticing things about the game. That being said though, combat is where the game starts feeling a little bland, and in a Tactical JRPG, a bland combat system can doom it from the start. The grid based system should be all too familiar to people whom have played games like Disgaea and Final Fantasy Tactics, but the newer things, AP costs, SP, combined attacks, EX fields, feel a bit overwhelming and unmanageable until much later into the game. Sadly, combat also fails to be much of an eye catcher as the beautifully rendered character models. Instead of hi-resolution models the characters and enemies look like PS2 era pixelated sprites, similar to the early Atelier games. This aspect is relatively disappointing because when in town or conversing with party members involving the main story or just even purchasing things at the shop, they are represented by attractive character models. That being said though, after playing the game for long enough, the story and music and even the level of customization outweighs the sub-par graphic level. Customization can even be seen as one of the highest and best parts of the game. Throughout the entirety of each of the five generations, the main hero, you, make choices that will result in different battles, different character relations, dialogue, and can even impact the next hero! For example, at the end of generation one, based on whom you decide to wed, if you can even, will result in a different character model, weapon types, and even skill affinity for the hero of the next generation. And luckily, this feature is apparent up until the very last generation. An even further level of customization permits pertains to party members. Not only does each generation yield multiple heroes and heroines of different shapes, sizes, colors, and skill sets, but also monsters. Record of Agarest War has a unique monster capturing system introduced later on in which you actually use monsters in battle or in exchange for useful items and equipment. Unfortunately, being that there are five different generations, as well as a secret true ending generation, the game can start to feel like a massive time sink at times. Completion of generation one typically takes between 15-20 hours, and by the end of generation five, players are more than likely to be in the hundreds of hours. That doesn't even cover the end game content which can then stretch on even longer! Furthermore, plenty of the fights in the game can feel like they drag on, especially towards the end. Especially if the party you're using is under-leveled. Generation five for example, can have multiple boss fights, single bouts, that lead into hour long wars, maybe even two depending on what the party's level is. Even random encounters in dungeons can lead into the half an hour region if you're not careful, and might not even yield even one level for any party member. Not to mention the game fails to explain what each level stat does or how each one works in sync with each character. If you're not careful, you could accidently turn a tank character into a glass water gun, instead of a rough power house. Sadly, messing up character's stats early on in the game can almost make them useless for later on. In the end game especially, if any boss senses a weak character, they're usually the first target. Record of Agarest War can definitely be classified as a hard core JRPG in that sense, and very similar to Disgaea even as the game goes on, enemies stats, as well as damage output becomes so ridiculously high that in the end, the player will only be able to measure it as 'a lot,' or 'not enough.' This aspect though made the last hundred or so hours more enjoyable, and even the start of the second play through. New Game Plus mode does exist for the game and it is glorious, almost enticing players to try again. If players choose to play on the same difficulty they will receive pretty much everything they had in the last play through, minus levels. If they choose to go up a difficulty tier then they will be able to retain money, extra skills, and upgrade points for characters and equipment. The player can also complete a certain in game tasks that will net them extra equipment, money, skills, and even upgrade points. What's really great about those is, all the rewards reset after a new game plus, but are still technically completed and just need you to claim the reward back at town. All in all, Record of Agarest War had the potential to be something incredibly, truly redefining for the JRPG genre with it's intricate story and bride customization, but ultimately lacks the proper base components to make it amazing. Pros: +Intricate and original story + Expansive customization +Large array of party members and monster system +Beautifully done voice acting and background music Cons: -PS2 Era graphics while in battle -A huge time sink -Not for casual JRPG Gamers Overall: 6.5/10 Decent Record of Agarest War proves to be an okay JRPG with a ton content that will definitely soak up large sums of time. However, due to flaws with combat and non-newbie friendly battle systems, the game seems as though it can only really appeal to the hardcore Tactic style gamers.
  13. All of this Metal Gear Solid stuff has got me in the mood to go back and play some good ole' MGS games. I mean, I've written about three or four different articles recently and they've all been Metal Gear Solid related in some way, shape or form. What I'm trying to say is I'm really excited for Metal Gear Solid V. So excited in fact, that I've been thinking up a bunch of different things that should be in the game. Nay, things that need to be in the game! Of course, one of those things is a Big Boss voiced by David Hayter, but that's besides the point. Let's talk about some of the cool little things Kojima needs to throw in to make fans enjoy the game even more. Big Boss Needs Multiple Arm Attachments At the end of the trailer, we see that Big Boss has replaced his hooked arm with a nearly fully functional cybernetic arm. While that's all fine and dandy, I'm hopeful we'll be able to ditch that arm for something cooler. And by cooler I mean a rocket arm, because come on now. Rocket arm. But that isn't even close to the end of my list of arm modifications I want to see Big Boss getting. No sirree. Not the best example, but pretty much this. We need a Swiss army arm. While odds are high that Big Boss will use it to light his cigars, I want to be able to use that same feature to set fire to other less cigar type things. Namely, unsuspecting enemies. I also want to see a detachable remote control arm like in the MediEvil games take the place of the MK.2 from MGS4 just because of how cool it would be to sneak into bases with just an arm. But the thing I want most is a lockpicking device in one of the fingers, and the reason for that leads me directly into the next section of this article. Open World Means Open Towns I want to be able to rob people. That's what the lockpick would be for. Now, I don't mean I want to just rob army bases, and so far all we've seen from MGSV is army bases. But as Kojima has said, this is going to be a huge open world game with plenty to see and do. So does that mean we're going to be able to send Big Boss into civilian towns to steal supplies and gather information from random people? I absolutely hope that's what it means. Not to sound crazy, but I would break into every single house in the world. It might be crazy to expect this much, but I'm really hoping the game will have missions where you'll have to sneak into towns just to gather information on a nearby army base. Have Big Boss sneak into houses undetected and listen in on people's conversations, stuff like that. Maybe even allow Big Boss to listen in on other peoples' phone calls just for that added level of silliness. And don't even get me started on getting spotted by civilians. Old Habits Die Hard It was about a hundred years ago when the world saw the release of Metal Gear Solid on the original Playstation, and with it came leaps and bounds in technology. As long as technology stands for cool little things I never thought I would see in a game up to that point, and of course that's what it stands for. Don't even get a dictionary out, grandpa. Dear God I hope that's mud There are two specific things I can think of off of the top of my head that I want to see make an updated appearance in Metal Gear Solid V. Firstly, weather effects. In the original Metal Gear Solid we saw guards tracking us by our footprints in the snow. While that did blow my mind, I'd like to see it make a comeback. If Snake is going to be sneaking into buildings in the rain then I expect him to be tracking in mud. You better not let me down, Kojima! Secondly, since we're obviously getting a lot more Psycho Mantis in this game, I want to see his mind games come back in a big way. Randomly chirping in over your codec about how you haven't played Uncharted in a while, digging through your trophies and achievements while making random remarks. I want that back! And of course, maybe hallucinations during gameplay; that would be swell. Open World Co-Op I never really liked Metal Gear Solid Online. It wasn't a bad game by any means, I just could never get into it like I could with the singleplayer portion of Metal Gear Solid. I doubt something like it would even work in Metal Gear Solid V unless they were to lock players down in a single town setting or something like that. But there is a second, more interesting multiplayer option to look at. The world's most powerful boy band I'm talking about the group missions in Peace Walker. Instead of being against each other in mortal combat, you were expected to work with one to three other people towards a common goal in the game's story. I enjoyed this setup quite a bit while playing Peace Walker, and it could totally work in an open world setting. Just set three or four people in the world and let them all go off in different directions to accomplish goals together in real time. It would be great and you know it. So what things do you hope to see in MGSV? Why not post them in the comments below? And as always, thank you for reading.
  14. Marcus Estrada

    Adam Orth Has Left Microsoft

    If you aren't familiar with the name Adam Orth then you're not alone. Until recently he was not a big name in the world of Microsoft. He managed to get his unwanted moment in the spotlight when sharing his opinion about "always online" consoles on his official Twitter account. This caused all sorts of controversy. Game Informer has since spoken with Microsoft and found that Orth no longer works there. These unnamed sources were unable to give the nature of Orth's departure. Did he leave of his own accord or was he unceremoniously fired? This is one tantalizing question that is never likely to be answered (unless he chooses to vent on his Twitter page again). Hopefully this is a lesson to all professionals on Twitter to recognize that spreading their word to thousands of viewers may have repercussions on them later. Some may debate whether a rude Twitter post constitutes a firing or not, but that is up to the discretion of companies themselves.
  15. It seems that everyone comes to a point in a console's lifecycle where something breaks down and needs to be repaired. Interestingly enough, though, I've never had a console or handheld break on me. I don't know if it's dumb luck or what, but I'm extremely grateful I haven't had to deal with some of the situations others have had. Oh, and if you haven't read it yet, check out Kikyou's latest blog detailing the experience of getting her PS3 repaired; pretty interesting stuff. That said, have you guys ever had to have any consoles repaired? Were they good experiences, or do you have any horror stories from console repair situations that you can share?