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Found 19 results

  1. Marcus Estrada

    Review: Dying Light

    Developer: Techland Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC (Steam) ESRB: M for Mature Release Date: January 27, 2014 Note: This review is based on the PS4 version of the game When Dead Island was about to launch in 2011 I was quite excited. It looked like the next zombie game which would differentiate itself from the pack. In the end, I ended up being severely let down by what turned out to be a capable but clunky experience. Fast forward a few years and now we have Dying Light. Although the name avoids painting it as a sequel to Dead Island, it feels so much like one. As sequels are meant to do, it improves on nearly every aspect of the existing zombie formula and manages to create something unique. Although it may not be a rousing success either, it“s certainly a step in the right direction. Dying Light introduces us to the story of Kyle Crane, a sort of undercover agent who has gone to the fictional location of Harran in order to liberate some information. Unfortunately, right out of the gate he screws up and attracts the attention of survivors—and zombies. He“s saved by a band of survivors, which of course means he now owes them his life. It also happens to provide an “in” for him to gather intel and hopefully discover where the target resides. Of course, the story falls into a predictable pattern where Kyle isn“t sure where his allegiances lie, and it never quite transcends that samey storyline. Luckily, the game doesn“t live or die based on its storyline. Instead, most of the player“s focus will be continually pointed at gameplay itself. At zillions of points during your playthrough you must traverse Hassan in order to collect items, search an area, or talk to NPCs. This also happens to be a huge, sprawling landscape. Without a convenient method of fast travel (although a zipcord does help once unlocked) you“ve got to trust that Kyle“s arms and legs can get you from one side of the map to the other. He“s got some pretty great freerunning (or parkour) skills to make it through alive. This movement mechanic is handled surprisingly well. Although not all ledges can be climbed, if you see something that looks ripe for grabbing onto it“s usually possible. Instead of dealing with hordes of zombies on the street you can simply take to the roofs and push lone zombies off them. When a situation gets too hot there“s usually an option to sprint off and make your way to a safer location. At least, that“s true during the day. At night a special kind of zombie lurks and is best avoided until getting leveled up a fair bit. These creatures lurking in the darkness can kill you in one hit! Oh, and nighttime itself is also outrageously dark which lends itself to unexpected deaths for unprepared players. When you choose to engage in combat (or more likely, are forced to as part of a mission) things feel a bit too similar to Dead Island. Melee attacks are slow and deliberate, which lends itself to a more strategic sort of play—but that“s hard to do with zombies piling up from all directions. Although there are guns to be found, there aren“t many. The real killing blow in early stages of Dying Light is that weapons break quickly. You“ll have to scrounge about through drawers, enemy corpses, and locked chests to collect items to fix weapons a limited amount of times. Destructible weapons is usually an annoying design choice as proves to be the case here. There are some lovely aspects to be found while playing. The world is gorgeous (if slightly less pristine on PS4 compared to PC), there“s a ton of side missions, large variety of weapons to find or craft, and a well-oiled freerunning mechanic. However, these strides don“t fully overstep the shadow of Dead Island. Techland has still provided less than optimal combat and an average storyline. With that said, most of the time my experience with Dying Light was enjoyable. After shutting off the critical side of my brain and leveling up a bit, the game brings a satisfying zombie romp to current generation platforms. Pros: + Vast location full of freerunning promise + Tons of weapons to choose from + Multitude of ways to level up Kyle Cons: - Uninspiring, predictable story - Clunky fight mechanics - Slow progression from zero to hero Overall Score: 6.5 (out of 10) Decent Dying Light has tons of promise but Techland ended up falling back on existing design decisions rather than fully embracing change. Disclosure: This review is based on downloadable code provided by the publisher.
  2. Venom

    Review: Rock Zombie

    Rock Zombie recently shambled onto the WiiU eShop, just in time for Halloween. But how does this rockin' undead beat 'em up compare with the games of old that it claims to take inspiration from? Grab your zombie survival kit and read along as I tell you the tale of...The Rock Zombie Review! Developer: Quaternion Studio Publisher: EnjoyUp Games Platform: Wii U via eShop (version reviewed), Steam (coming in late 2014) Release Date: October 30, 2014 ESRB: T for Teen Rock Zombie tells you most of what you need to know right there in the title - there's gonna be rock, and there's gonna be zombies. The name of the game is also the name of its trio of stars, Zoe, Crystal, and Sasha, who have formed an all-girl band called Rock Zombie. While rocking out at one of their shows though, things go a bit south when a green mist seeps into the venue and turns their screaming fans into moaning zombies. Now the girls have to fight their way across the stage and across town in search of answers. What is this green mist? Where did it come from? Whose face do they have to melt to find out? The game promises an intriguing story, which is told entirely through static comic pages between certain levels. While there is certainly more story than your average beat 'em up, it's also a bit of a moot point when most players aren't going into a brawler for the story in the first place. It also doesn't help that the writing in the comics isn't particularly engaging or even grammatically correct at some points. Thankfully, regardless of if you care about why you're doing it or not, the game delivers plenty of opportunity to bash in some undead brains. Rock Zombie is a pretty typical beat 'em up that doesn't try to change too much about the genre. You've got a regular attack, a strong attack, two magic attacks - because the characters are also witches, you see - and the ability to block and evade. The magic attacks are tied to a bar that fills as you take out enemies, and serve as great projectile attacks to keep enemies from getting too close. Your standard melee attacks do the job of killing zombies just as well though, so there's not a lot of incentive to mix things up. You can create combos out of certain moves, but they don't string together well enough to be any different than just performing each attack separately. As you might guess, you'll mostly be fending off zombies, which come in regular, flaming, and acid spewing varieties but there are a few non-zombie enemies in the game, like giant spiders. Naturally, you'll be seeing the zombies more often than anything, and you'll also face off against a few bosses over the course of your 4-5 hour journey, some of which provide more challenge than others. And when I say "you" I unfortunately mean just you - the game lacks any multiplayer whatsoever. It's a baffling decision for a game that claims to have learned from the knee of its elders (like Golden Axe) to leave out one of the things that made those games so popular in the first place. The game was clearly designed with single-player in mind as well, as some of the areas would be too cramped for two players to move around easily, and there are a couple of atrocious vehicle segments that wouldn't work with two players. Most of the game isn't so challenging that you'd need an extra hand, but it would certainly make things more entertaining to bring a friend along. If you do soldier through the game alone, you'll find that there's lots of bonus goodies in the Zombie Museum to unlock with coins you gather through the game, as well as achievements to unlock that will require more than one playthrough to obtain them all. Beyond the gameplay, Rock Zombie doesn't really have much in the way of distinct visual or audio flair. While the environments look good and there's some variety between most of the levels, there's just not anything that really stands out either. You'll see sewers, city streets, warehouses, and other places that look exactly like your typical video game sewers, streets, warehouses, and so on. The character models for the enemies don't look too bad, though the player character models appear as if they're made out of plastic, like dolls with shiny hair and painted-on clothes. The audio, meanwhile should be one of the standout features - after all, it's right there in the name. While there's plenty of rocking and rolling, most of the music and sound effects are so generic that you'll hardly give them a second thought. It's a bit of a shame, since one would expect a game that lists the varied soundtrack as one of its features to make sure that the soundtrack is actually memorable. Perhaps more pressing, there were some glitches on both ends. The graphical glitches weren't too bad, and mostly consisted of the camera sometimes getting confused during perspective shifts and switching rapidly between different views, and just some oddities with enemy corpses and the blood that forms around them being wonky. There was also a pretty severe audio glitch around halfway through the game that caused the music and most of the sound effects to cut out completely, and the only fix was to quit back to the WiiU menu and restart the game. Overall the game definitely lacks technical polish, but fortunately there weren't any game-breaking bugs - everything works, it just doesn't all work particularly well sometimes. Given that it's mostly the work of a single person though, that's pretty understandable. When it comes down to it, Rock Zombie is a schlocky B-game with a schlocky B-movie premise, and it makes no apologies or excuses for it. Even if you're into that sort of thing, though, it would be difficult to actually recommend this game. It's certainly possible that players might get some mindless fun out of it, and, at $6.99, it's pretty cheap - worse games have cost more money. Unfortunately, there's just no stand-out aspects of this game that make it something everyone should experience. If, however, reading this review has gotten you interested in playing it, go for it - just know that not everyone is going to enjoy rocking to this game's tune. Score: 5.0/10 TL;DR version - Rock Zombie is a beat 'em up containing plenty of rock and plenty of zombies, with a storyline that delves into far more detail than most brawlers. While bashing in zombie heads over the course of the 5-ish hour campaign might offer some cathartic thrills, the lack of technical polish, of multiplayer, and of stand-out gameplay features means it's probably best to keep shambling past this title in search of something more engaging. Still, if you like B-movies, you might get a kick out of it, but you should probably still wait for a sale if you decide to try it.
  3. solid-alchemist

    The Last of Us: Left Behind DLC Review

    The Last of Us: Left Behind DLC (PS3) Developed by Naughty Dog Published by Sony Computer Entertainment Released February 14, 2014 Review Written March 8, 2014 Originally Posted on The Time Heist Blog WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FROM THE MAIN CAMPAIGN. ONLY READ IF YOU HAVE COMPLETED THE SINGLE PLAYER CAMPAIGN. Finally finding time to hit the keys again, here“s my review of The Last of Us DLC, Left Behind. As Naughty Dog“s first attempt at single player DLC following the positive reception of The Last of Us, this addition to the main story has some big shoes to fill. Not surprisingly, Left Behind does fill those shoes quite well in maintaining the story flow similar to the main game as well as bringing the emotional drama that many of us have come to savor from the Last of Us. Left Behind“s entire three hour campaign sets us in the role of Ellie. Taking place a few months before the main game“s story as well as during a prominent section of the main game, Left Behind uses a method of slow growing tension that constantly keeps the player on edge. Knowing that certain events are about to transpire left me anticipating their occurrence during my entire playthrough. This setup actually worked in way that helped create a greater immersive experience. Naughty Dog went about this by utilizing interjectory flashbacks and flash-forwards to allow the player to recover from intense encounters while also fearing what else is ahead while they work towards the next flash-forward. Simply put, playing as Ellie in Left Behind is as nerve racking as it was in main story. Naughty Dog says, “Happy Valentine“s Day!!!†A new character introduced during Left Behind“s flashbacks is Riley, a friend of Ellie. Riley is actually a very likeable character, almost complementary to Ellie“s personality in a multitude of ways. During these flashbacks, Riley helps build more character development for Ellie that many fans wanted during the main story, and reminding us that Ellie is still a young girl growing in disease-ridden world. Interestingly the flashbacks involve mostly a bunch of mini-games and several opportunities for dialogue. These mini-games are the reason I felt the flashbacks were a sort of emotional break when interspersed between the flash-forwards, but the flashbacks didn“t offer full emotional leisure as you still expected a certain event to occur every time you returned to the flashback. Speaking of the flash-forwards, this is where the meat of this DLC is at. Taking place immediately after Joel is impaled during the main story; these parts of Left Behind reveal the struggles Ellie had to go through to keep Joel barely hanging onto life. These segments were the most intense as Ellie would need to rely on stealth to survive against both infected and hunters. Battling against enemies while also being wary of a few jumpy moments, playing this portion was very satisfying as it helped divulge more of Ellie“s inner strength while presenting how she felt about her relationship with Joel. After seeing Ellie fight tooth and nail to keep Joel alive I began to feel more like Joel“s actions during the main story“s ending were within reason. Comparatively, if the roles were switched I would believe Ellie would have reacted in the same fashion; both needing to go off the deep end to maintain the last facet of survival. Aim for the bushes! In total Left Behind is a great addition to the Last of Us. Though there aren“t any big changes to the game“s mechanics, Naughty Dog did compose scenarios where the player could pit infected against hunters. These moments were always satisfying as I“d use them to take out the final survivors after initiating a battle amongst them via a bottle from the distance. In conclusion, the DLC is only three hours long at the cost of $15. This may seem like a bit of a stretch in terms of value, but as a fan of the game, Left Behind is a worthwhile addition. It“ll make you crave more of Last of Us“ universe while momentarily tiding you over until Naughty Dog“s next rendition. Go buy it and don“t get left behind… Review Written by Solid-Alchemist If you enjoyed this review and would like to check out some other opinion pieces, come on over to The Time Heist. Any critique's or recommendations are welcome!
  4. Happy Independence Day, my fellow gamericans! Yes, that“s what I“m calling you guys today. DEAL WITH IT! So yeah, the day of independence has arrived, and what better way to celebrate than by giving independent developers some love? It“s an unfortunate truth that most indie games fly under people“s hypothetical radars, giving some truly magnificent games less exposure than they deserve. So in the spirit of Independence Day, let“s all watch the fireworks as I list 20 upcoming indie games you should have on your radar. A Hat in Time - Q1 2014 - http://youtu.be/uPnyZ5txtmE Developer: Gears for Breakfast Platform(s): PC, Mac, possibly Wii U Back in the N64 days, when Mario and Donkey Kong were making their transition into the 3D realm and a certain bear and bird came onto the scene, some kind of magic happened to the gaming world. But these days, 3D platformers have become pretty scarce. That“s what indie dev Gears for Breakfast thinks, anyway. As an answer to this shortage, A Hat in Time was born, taking deep inspiration from games like Super Mario 64, Donkey Kong 64, and Banjo-Kazooie. There, now you have no reason not to keep an eye on it. Among the Sleep - Q4 2013 - Developer: Krillbite Studio Platform(s): PC, Mac, Linux Have you ever wanted to play a game starring a baby? Oh, you have? Well, to each their own, I suppose… Anyway, in indie horror game Among the Sleep, the concept of an infant being the protagonist actually seems to work really well. Not only does the game involve reality colliding with the child“s limitless imagination, but… well, you“re a baby. Try fighting off whatever lurks in the night in that state. Yeah, it“ll be pretty terrifying for sure. Dead State - December 3 2013 - Developer: DoubleBear Productions Platform(s): PC There are plenty of zombie games creeping about, but never have I seen one quite like this. Rather than the run-”n-gun type of gameplay we tend to see a lot of in games revolving around a zombie outbreak, Dead State seems to take a more tactical approach. Tasked with maintaining a school sheltering survivors, you will find yourself developing relationships and gathering supplies, all while fighting off zombie hordes in a turn-based battle system. Not sure about you guys, but that concept sure piqued my interest. Owlboy - TBA - Developer: D-pad Studios Platform(s): PC, XBLA If this game is already on your radar, I wouldn“t be surprised. Owlboy has been in development for a pretty damn while, and could be delayed even further for all we know. But hey, the game looks well worth the wait, so we“ll just have to deal. Looking like the product of the SNES and Sega Genesis after a crazy night in Vegas, this 16-bit beauty seems to be shaping up really well. Let“s just hope we don“t have to wait much longer to experience the thing… Project Zomboid - TBA - http://youtu.be/WtEZArEji4U Developer: The Indie Stone Platform(s): PC, Mac, Linux Much like Dead State, Project Zomboid is (obviously) a game about surviving a zombie outbreak. I know, we can only get so many of those, right? This one interested me, though, so I threw it onto my radar. It“s basically an open-world, retro-style RPG of sorts where you try to survive for as long as possible in a place that was quarantined by the government with uninfected humans still in there. Man, what a bunch of jerks… Super T.I.M.E. Force - 2013 - Developer: Capybara Games Platform(s): XBLA I“ve heard some amazing things about this game from people who managed to try it out, and from what I see, it looks like it“ll be about as good as they say. Once again fitting the retro category that many indies go for, Super T.I.M.E. Force is a side-scrolling shooter that involves time-manipulation. Oh, you say that was obvious? Fine, slap the game on your radar and move on then! The Iconoclasts - TBA - Developer: Konjak Platform(s): PC You know, there are times when I feel like I“m reliving the 90s all over again. Not that I“m complaining, of course. I personally love that we see all these indie games going with a retro look. Speaking of which, The Iconoclasts looks simply stunning. It looks a bit like a cross between… well, a lot of games. *sigh* Alright, nostalgia, you win. I“ll go play the demo for this game… The Magical Realms of Tír na nÓg: Escape from Necron 7 – Revenge of Cuchulainn: The Official Game of the Movie – Chapter 2 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa - Late 2013 or early 2014 - (Click image for video) Developer: Tales of Game's Studios Platform(s): PC, Mac Remember that game, Barkley Shut Up and Jam!? Well how about the JRPG sequel to it and Space Jam known as Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden? Okay, so it was just a fangame, but still. And that very fangame is now getting a sequel of its own! Yeah, I wasn“t expecting it either. Nonetheless, it actually looks kind of interesting. Sure the title is ridiculous, but you should never judge a book by its title. You should judge it by its plot. And who doesn“t find a game involving a “powerful youngster†awakening from a “B-ball induced coma†to go on a quest to find a “cyberdwarf†interesting? The Witness - Early 2014 - Developer: Number None, Inc. Platform(s): PC, iOS, PS4 (timed console exclusive) Anyone who saw the official reveal of the PS4 (probably most of you) likely remember seeing Braid creator Jonathan Blow show off his latest project – The Witness. If you“ve played Braid, I might not even have to go on in order to persuade you. For the rest of you, it“s essentially a puzzle game with tons of exploration, set on a gorgeous island with a lot of pretty colors. I think I had a dream like this once… Starbound - TBA 2013 - Developer: Chucklefish Games Platform(s): PC, Mac, Linux, Ouya Upon looking up upcoming indie games in order to put this list together, I came across a game that Indie Game Magazine gave the award for “Most Anticipated Game of 2013.†It“s called Starbound, and I naturally felt the urge to find out more. As far as I can see, I can only predict countless hours being sacrificed for this game. With so many things that interest me, from the retro look to the ability to build things with amazing customization, I will be watching for this one. Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs - Summer 2013 - Developer: Thechineseroom Platform(s): PC, Mac, Linux If you“ve played Amnesia: The Dark Descent, you know fear. So naturally, you crave more of the stuff, right? Then you“ll be happy and/or frightened to throw its sequel – Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs – onto your radar. All you really need to know about this game is that you“ll probably want keep a spare pair of pants nearby at all times. Trust me on this. else { Heart.break() } - TBA 2014 - Developer: Erik Svedang Platform(s): PC No, I am not trying to code my way into breaking everyone“s hearts. But as the name may or may not imply, the game itself is indeed all about coding things. In fact, you will actually be coding things yourself in order to solve puzzles! So if you plan on playing else { Heart.break() } whenever it sees a release, prepare to put your brain to work. Don“t get too excited, though, as I highly doubt you“ll be able to code an entire game after your playthrough… Stardew Valley - TBA - Developer: ConcernedApe Platform(s): PC, XBLA Anyone who loves Harvest Moon will probably love this game. Anyone who loves insane amounts of customization will probably love this game. Anyone who loves 16-bit graphics will probably love this game. The point is, Stardew Valley has a lot to love, as far as I can tell. Similar to the Rune Factory games, you can devote your time to farming while also duking it out with monsters in nearby dungeons. It“s almost like if Rune Factory came out in the SNES era. That idea alone has me sold. Transistor - TBA 2014 - http://youtu.be/Ni02F7l4lAg Developer: Supergiant Games Platform(s): PC, PS4, possibly others in the future The first time I heard about this game was during the explosive Sony conference at E3 2013. I was impressed enough just by watching the video they presented, but after knowing that the guys who made it also made Bastion, I didn“t hesitate to throw it on my radar. The game looks pretty damn good. I don“t know much about this game, but let“s be honest, I really don“t need to. Shovel Knight - September 2013 - http://youtu.be/tMAelGIXfCw Developer: Yacht Club Platform(s): PC, Mac, Linux, Wii U, 3DS Swords are for chumps. All a knight really needs to combat enemies is a nice, sturdy shovel. Have you ever been whacked with a shovel before? It hurts! But more importantly, this game looks like a bag full of awesome. Continuing the retro theme the indie scene seems to favor, Shovel Knight looks a lot like a cross between Mega Man and DuckTales. Need I say more? Well, it has an 8-bit soundtrack. There, now put it on your radar. Two Brothers - Q3 2013 - http://youtu.be/8egDoNHtmhE Developer: AckkStudios Platform(s): PC, Mac, Linux, Wii U, PSN, XBLA The final game on our independent list is really, really retro-inspired. Two Brothers was basically built as a nostalgia game. No, that“s what they themselves call it. Created in the style of Game Boy games, just looking at this game makes me glad I“m able to play Game Boy games on my 3DS. Nostalgia is a powerful thing, man. Anywho, this game looks like it“ll be a lot of nostalgia-filled retro fun when it“s released, and I for one can“t wait… What indie games are you looking forward to that weren't on this list?
  5. Marcus Estrada

    State of Decay Shambles to XBLA on June 5th

    State of Decay is one zombie game that has been a long time coming. Undead Labs have been polishing it for some time and Xbox 360 owners will finally be able to sink their teeth into it. The developer announced the game's impending launch via their blog earlier today. Major Nelson also made mention of the upcoming title on Twitter and pegged it at 1600 Microsoft Points. That means State of Decay costs $20. The game features an open world environment and attempts to infuse the zombie game genre with more reliance on survival rather than simply shooting undead beings in the head. Hopefully the game lives up to expectations since they have been building for years. After all, it was way back in 2009 when Undead Labs started first working on a zombie game. Only later in 2011 did they give some concrete information on a game called "Class3" which has now become State of Decay. http://youtu.be/AAa5KOJMQjs
  6. 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.
  7. Yes, the DayZ developers are currently working on a standalone game, but until that game comes out, many are addicted to playing the current version. DayZ, as it currently stands, is a mod that is played in conjunction with ARMA II: Combined Operations. If you've ever tried to play the mod, then you may have had to go through a few hoops and downloads to get it working. Those who felt setting up the mod was a pain, or simply couldn't get it running before, can now rejoice. Today the DayZ mod has made its official debut on Steam. Mods were introduced to Steam years back but it has been a while since a hugely anticipated one has been made available. What does this do? Basically, all the hassles of servers and installing secondary programs are over with. Instead, you simply need to run Combined Operations once, then run DayZ through Steam. Then, the mod should just work! Oh, and in case you are confused, this game is in no way related to The War Z which is a game with a fairly storied history.
  8. Marcus Estrada

    Dead Island Trailer Screenshot

    From the album: Marcus's Album

  9. A lot of the time when the United States gets something cool Europe can only watch with jealousy. Every once in a while games or their limited editions arrive only in the UK to the dismay of American fans. However, in the case of Dead Island: Riptide's newly announced "Zombie Bait" edition, no fans in either region are pleased. First, you get the expected items such as a steelbook, collectible artwork cards, and some DLC weapons. Then you get a statue, which is also common in special editions except for the fact that it is depicting a horrifically bloodied torso of a woman. Both the head and arms of the statue are lobbed off so all you can see is a "sexy" torso in a bikini. Certainly this is all Dead Island fans in Europe have been waiting for. Or not. Perhaps realizing their pack in is obscenely creepy, Deep Silver also notes that this is an "extremely limited" edition of the game. Still, this seems like something people would hide in their closets rather than making a "striking conversation piece" on a gamer's mantel, as they suggest. You can get your hands on a less disturbing version of the Dead Island: Riptide here in the US on April 23rd for PS3, 360, and PC. Edit: Although the press of this edition came out yesterday, it took until today for sites to take notice and voice their personal distaste over it. Now Deep Silver has apologized via Twitter for any offense they may have caused. As such, they will never do this sort of thing again - but the Zombie Bait edition will still be available.
  10. Harrison Lee

    Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops II

    Developer: Treyarch Publisher: Activision Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii U Release Date: November 13, 2012 ESRB: M This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game. A retail copy was provided by Activision for review. Few franchises seem to inspire as much antagonistic hate as the Call of Duty series. Surprisingly, the last Call of Duty I truly enjoyed was Treyarch's Black Ops. Regarded as the inferior CoD developer in Activision's suite of talent, Treyarch stepped into the limelight with a great narrative, strong multiplayer, and addictive Zombies mode with Black Ops. The game was chock full of surprises for series veterans and newcomers alike. Two years later, Treyarch has now released the sequel to one of gaming's highest-selling titles. Does Call of Duty: Black Ops II live up to it's great lineage, or is it just another modern military FPS? If you're only playing Black Ops II for the multiplayer, you're doing yourself a great disservice because the singleplayer campaign is easily the strongest in the entire franchise.Taking place nearly six decades after Black Ops, the sequel casts players as David Mason, son of Black Ops protagonist Alex Mason. David reunites with Alex's comrade-in-arms from the first game, Frank Woods, to take down the enigmatic and violence-prone Raul Menendez. Alex and Frank both have a long history with Raul, detailed through several Cold War-era flashbacks. Though these sequences aren't as entertaining as the 2025 missions with David, they still have polished combat and the high narrative quality you'd expect from Treyarch. The campaign, which clocks in at around 7-8 hours, mixes the old with the new. While Woods' missions in the past feel familiar, the new 2025 sequences are fresh, exciting, and teeming with cool future technology. The near-future levels feature intense battles with quadrotor drones, cloaked mercenaries, quadrupedal mechs brimming with firepower, and tough moral decisions that will impact how the game ends. While I still haven't figured out what choices influence the ending I got, I still feel like I made my mark on the story. For a Call of Duty title to do that is nothing short of amazing and speaks volumes about the work Treyarch has done to create a brand new experience. Even though Black Ops II sports great changes to the campaign, I wasn't as pleased with the new Strike Force missions. These mini-levels allow players to command several AI allies to complete objectives, like VIP escort or target assassination. If gamers prefer action, they can take direct control of any unit on the battlefield. It all sounds great from a conceptual stand-point. Sadly, the ally AI is simply awful. Infantry were easily mowed down by hostile forces for no good reason. It's as if they were completely oblivious to the mercenaries shooting at them from 10 feet away. It was often easier for me to deal with the bad guys myself via direct control, but I struggled with overwhelming numbers of enemies, particularly on the very first mission. While Strike Force missions are completely optional, they are required to see one of the "good" endings. Skipping out on them isn't always the best option. The campaign was easily the highlight of my Black Ops II experience. The numerous changes made to the Call of Duty singleplayer blueprint are, for the most part, welcome and invigorating for a stagnating series. But Treyarch didn't just change up the campaign; it completely overhauled the Zombies mode, adding a standalone open-world campaign. Dubbed Tranzit, this mode tasks players with riding a bus through a cycle of several locations. At each location are blueprints and items to build new devices for fending off the zombie hordes and accomplishing objectives. As the survivors move on, the waves get tougher. If someone is left behind, they must try and catch up with the group by moving through the horrific fog. Getting through alive is nigh impossible and encourages everyone to keep moving, no matter the cost. Tranzit is fun with other players but lacks the addictive element of the vanilla survival mode. It's a fun distraction but doesn't add a whole lot to the core experience. That said, the cool easter eggs and focus on exploration add a lot of content for die-hard fans. There's not a whole lot to complain about, aside from the occasional difficulty spikes. When you factor in all of the existing content, Treyarch didn't need to add anything. Tranzit is icing on the cake and really pushes the limit for what Call of Duty titles offer at the $60 pricetag. Surprisingly, the area where Treyarch showed the least innovation is the bread and butter of Activision's franchise: the multiplayer. The core gameplay conceits, perks, weapon modifications, and classic game modes are all present and accounted for. A few new objective-based types have been added to the mix, but by and large Black Ops II is the same online experience you've come to expect. In a brilliant move, Treyarch did change the Loadout and Killstreak options. Rather than forcing players to use predefined classes, players can now use up to ten points on various unlocked perks, weapon parts, and gadgets. You get to decide what your soldier carries or doesn't carry. It offers incredible flexibility and lets gamers dictate their own playstyles. In place of the Killstreak system is the new Scorestreak system. If you typically play a support role, you can still get streak rewards just as a player on a rampage. It rewards players who have a tactical playstyle while still granting new toys for others who just want to shoot things. It's a worthwhile change to a formula that was beginning to grow stale. From a technical standpoint, Black Ops II is largely rock-solid. Despite connection problems on the multiplayer front, the game is well-built all around. The visuals, while not on par with the Frostbite engine, do a great job of rendering epic scenes of battle and chaos. The audio is also superb, featuring Hollywood-caliber voice overs and great sound effects. Trent Reznor's musical score is solid, though it likely won't win any awards. I hope Activision does consider a new engine for fancier visuals and effects. While I understand the commitment to 60 FPS, I'd appreciate smoother textures and more detailed effects and environments. If you're still reading this, I assume you have some interest in Black Ops II. If you hate Call of Duty, I can't do anything for you. For those jumping in for the first time, Black Ops II is a great place to start. If you're a returning veteran, there's plenty of new content to dig into. With a strong campaign, Zombies offering, and full multiplayer suite, it's hard not to recommend Black Ops II to anyone with a pulse. Pros: + Great singleplayer campaign + Oodles of content + High production values + Great multiplayer and Zombies offerings Cons: - Visuals can be dated - Campaign narrative isn't always coherent Overall Score: 8.5 (out of 10) Great Call of Duty: Black Ops II is as full-featured an FPS as it gets. Treyarch made a number of changes to the formula, resulting in a resounding success. It's ambitious and worth your time and money.
  11. Marcus Estrada

    Standalone DayZ Getting Steam Release

    It was in August when DayZ was announced as becoming a standalone game, instead of just a mod for ARMA II. Since then, there have been little updates here and there as the game approaches a possible launch at the end of this year. Today the development blog was updated with loads of information, as well as confirmation that the game will be landing on Steam. Here are the current specifics about DayZ on Steam: "Release will be on Steam, using many of steams key features such as delta patching, VAC, server browsing technology. Patches to steam can be deployed by the click of a button in our build pipeline thanks to new technology developed by Steam, that is making our process extremely easy and exciting. We are very pleased that Steam is working with us so actively to make DayZ a great game and supporting us with quality features. I met many at the team at Valve at PAX, and really want to get them playing the game and getting their feedback to help in development. I“m incredibly thankful to people like Chet Faliszek (creator of L4D) who has been very supportive and helpful to me. In using Steam for authentication, distribution, server browsing, etc… we are able to tap into their awesome resources in terms of scalability. The only hardware we then need to manage is the central database, which we already have some experience managing thanks to the DayZ mod. This means we can work towards avoiding the usual launch problems, by relying on the experience of Steam." With many possible complications out of the way thanks to Steam, the developers are able to focus on updating the game itself. Other areas seeing big changes are the game's controls. They are currently being reworked to make interacting with the game easier. Other changes such as updates to animations are also getting worked on to flesh DayZ out as an actual product instead of just a mod. The team is currently testing ideas like allowing weapon customization as well as showing degradation. Then there are simpler things being worked on such as character clothing, ranging from hats to jackets. There is definitely a lot being done for DayZ. Even though we're near December, the hope is to still get a version of this game out before the year ends. If they just aren't ready in a month though, the game will not be forced out to reach arbitrary time frames. Finally, no screenshots or gameplay videos are being released yet, but we should expect them soon.
  12. Once upon a zombie, there was a certain lack of survival horror titles bracing the gaming landscape. Sure, we had games like Sweet Home and Clock Tower, but gamers yearned for more. That was about the time when the world was introduced to a little game called Resident Evil. This was pretty much the pinnacle of the survival horror genre as people knew it back then (being the game that defined the genre), along with Alone in the Dark, both of which helped shift the genre into the 3D realm and popularized the fixed camera angle for survival horror games to come. But over time, the Resident Evil series evolved, as all franchises must do to keep with the times. Beginning with Resident Evil 4, the series ditched the old fixed camera angles for a third-person view, added quick-time events to make the gameplay more engaging, and threw in some cinematic spectacles, giving the series more of an action vibe to accommodate the increasing demand of action games. And back when that game came out, it was very well-received by critics and fans alike. But with the additional changes made in Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6, now it "appears" that the series has fallen. At least, that“s what the word is on the (zombie-ridden) streets. I, on the other hand, think differently. In fact, there are plenty of flaws that made the classic Resident Evil games far less “awesome†than people think they are. And much of this love for the classics is due to nostalgia, or simply because of the age fans were when they originally played these games, making them seem more frightening than they actually are. Having reviewed Resident Evil 6 myself, I decided to go back and play the originals, and there are several things I noticed about them that makes these complaints seem like a bunch of nonsense to me… The Classics Really Aren't That Scary The dialogue sure was scary, though... One complaint I hear a lot is that “Resident Evil used to be scary and isn“t anymore.†No, I wouldn“t say it“s all that scary, to be honest. Seriously, a lot of what made classic Resident Evil scary were simply things jumping out at you, which gave the game some suspenseful sections where you anticipated that situation to happen quite a bit. The modern games had those too, though, such as with those freaking Regenerators from Resident Evil 4… And sure, they also set creepy tones quite nicely back then, but the new games still have their moments. Going back to the Regenerators from Resident Evil 4, the areas where those things are roaming around with those spine-tingling noises coming from their gaping mouths are just plain terrifying. Resident Evil 5 was a bit too sun-soaked to be truly unsettling, I“ll admit, but Resident Evil 6 did go back to having a more creepy tone, albeit not all the time. Simply put, most people who complain about the series losing its scary nature do so for one simple reason: they grew up. Seriously, I got pretty scared back when I first played the originals, and now that I“m 22, playing them for the first time in about 10 years, they simply don“t scare me that much anymore. They still have their moments, sure, but they aren“t NEAR as frightening as people remember them being. The Series Was NEVER About Zombies Say NO to braaaaaaains Contrary to popular belief, the Resident Evil series is NOT supposed to be about zombies. In fact, it never was. Ever since Resident Evil 4 took away the notion of the undead, fans have been complaining about the games not being true to the series“ roots because the enemies aren“t actually zombies. But what those guys don“t seem to understand is that the Resident Evil series is, and always was, about bio-engineered creatures being used as weapons, not the reanimated dead. And when you look at the classic Resident Evil games, you can clearly see that zombies aren“t at all the only enemies in the game, and far from the most important. Throughout the first game, for instance, you fight several other monsters, such as giant spiders, a giant snake, and various artificial creatures such as Hunter, Chimera, and the primary adversary known as Tyrant. Really, zombies were just the result of a virus that transformed humans and animals into the undead. So in that sense, the creatures introduced later on, such as the J“avo, are no different. The Series Hasn“t Changed, the Genre Has It just hasn't been the same since they discontinued the Jill Sandwich... Fans like to complain that the series has changed and so now it sucks. Guys, if the Resident Evil series kept on doing what it was doing before Resident Evil 4, it simply wouldn“t work very well. Why? Because traditional survival horror became less popular after the millennium as the console market drifted more toward Western-style action games, which means Resident Evil would have had a hard time retaining a large audience. Some franchises remained truer to the more traditional style after this point in time, such as Fatal Frame, but localization of that series ended at around the time Resident Evil 4 came out. The fact of the matter is people became tired of traditional survival horror, which is the whole reason why the genre transformed. Not many other big franchises kept the classic survival horror aspects they once had. Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Alone in the Dark - they all changed with the genre. There are games that still use many of these aspects, however, such as Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Slender: The Eight Pages, but these are independent titles. And the reason these games work well is because they don“t have to compete with AAA titles. The developers spend less and the consumers pay less (sometimes nothing at all), making these games work after traditional survival horror became less popular. Had these games cost $60, there“s a good chance the fan base would have been a bit smaller. The main point I“m trying to make here is that this whole Classic Resident Evil vs. Modern Resident Evil debate is just plain stupid. People complain about how the games aren“t scary anymore; how the series is supposed to have zombies; and how the series isn“t even survival horror anymore. Well, I beg to differ. One thing I like to ask people when they bash the newer titles is, if these games weren“t Resident Evil games, would you still hate them?
  13. Jordan Haygood

    RE2 Zombie

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    © Capcom

  14. With Gamescom underway we're getting some news about DayZ. The highly successful ARMA 2 mod, which will soon have its own standalone game, had representatives at the convention. DayZ's project leader Dean Hall had a few things to say to the press. In particular, he spoke about the feasibility of eventually putting the game on consoles. Dean Hall gave this statement to Joystiq: "You're not going to put it on the consoles if you're only going to sell 100,000 units or something like that. DayZ will be driven by its PC development and it will innovative on that. And, once we're at a point, we'll take it and do a Mac version, 360 and PS3." If gamers would like to see the game on consoles then they're first going to have to show they're ready to buy it on PC. So far the mod has generated tons of downloads, but will people be willing to pay for another version? Probably, since there's always more people discovering the title. What was Hall doing at Gamescom? He was meeting with console developers, of course. It seems that with all the success DayZ has had so far they may be feeling that the game on consoles is an inevitability. Would you prefer to play DayZ on PC or console?
  15. DayZ is one massively popular mod for the game ARMA II: Combined Operations. Perhaps it has something to do with the focus on surviving in a zombie outbreak rather than simply shooting them all in the face. Either way, the mod has been a big deal for a while now and even caused ARMA II: CO to be a top-selling title each day of the Steam Summer Sale. Earlier, the developers spoke about their desire to make it a full game and now it seems they're ready to do so. Posted on the development blog was the news that DayZ is now being developed as a standalone title by none other than Bohemia Interactive themselves. They're the developer of the ARMA series. Of course, the project lead will still be the DayZ crew. How exactly is this going to work out? Unfortunately the post was extremely minimal on explanations, but we do know a few things. For one, don't panic if you already purchased ARMA games just to play the mod. As the standalone game receives updates so too will the mod. At least, that's what they intend to be the case right now. In regards to the new game, it will be priced similar to how Minecraft was. That means the earliest versions of the game will be cheap and slowly increase in price until the finished version arrives.
  16. Ludono

    Yakuza Dead Souls $45 (PS3)

    Well, if you wanted it you didn't have to wait long for a sale/price decrease! Link!
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