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  1. After leaking online late yesterday in an online store listing, Activision has revealed today that Spyro the Dragon is indeed returning in late September in a fully remastered collection titled Spyro Reignited Trilogy. Unlike last year's Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, which was remastered by Vicarious Visions, Spyro Reignited Trilogy is being worked on by Toys for Bob, the same developer that created the now-defunct Skylanders series. Insomniac Games, who developed the original Spyro trilogy of games, is not involved with this collection. IGN spoke with Toys for Bob's Paul Yan and Joshua Nadelberg, who revealed that the original score (which was composed by The Police's Stewart Copeland) has been reimagined for this collection. Also, while the original Spyro was split between two different voice actors, the Spyro in Reignited Trilogy will be entirely voiced by Tom Kenny -- the renowned voice actor behind Sponge Bob Squarepants and many other characters, and who originally did the voice for Spyro in Spyro: Ripto's Rage and Spyro: Year of the Dragon. Spyro Reignited Trilogy is slated for release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on September 21. No official release has been announced for Nintendo Switch as of yet, though the game is listed on Nintendo UK's online store; it is unknown if this is simply a mistake or if that version's reveal will come at a later time. Check out some of the gorgeous remastered footage from the remastered collection below. Source: PlayStation Blog Are you excited that Spyro is coming back?
  2. Yesterday Activision teased a release date announcement for Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy on Twitter, and today they delivered. You'll get to reconnect with all three original Crash games on PS4 on June 30. Vicarious Visions' Kara Massie took some time to do a Q&A on the PlayStation Blog regarding the game, mentioning that the reason it took them until now to announce the release date is because they wanted to make certain they could deliver the game in a timeframe they were confident in. Massie also revealed that their version of Crash would be wearing "surfer shorts", the soundtrack composition has been completely remade, there is added real-time lighting in a PBR (physically-based rendering) engine and an increase in texture size, and that they consider N. Sane Trilogy to be a AAA remaster, not a remake. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy will retail for $40. Source: PlayStation Blog Are you glad to finally get a release date for N. Sane Trilogy?
  3. Today, Activision released the first gameplay trailer for Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5, the first entry in the mainline Pro Skater series since the release of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 some 13 years ago. Everything you'd expect from a Tony Hawk game appears to be in order here, from playing as skateboarding pros to executing trick combos and more. The biggest thing Activision seems to be touting here is the online multiplayer aspect, where up to 20 players will be able to compete against each other at once in a match. You'll also be able to do almost everything you could do from past single-player modes online in this one, including missions, leveling up, and more. Strangely enough, the online aspects are exclusive to the PS4 and Xbox One versions, however. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 will be releasing first on PS4 and Xbox One on September 29 for $59.99. PS3 and Xbox 360 versions will follow at a later date (expected before year's end) for $20 less. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvwSKI0mm4M&feature=youtu.be Are you interested in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5?
  4. Marcus Estrada

    Review: White Night

    Developer: OSome Studio Publisher: Activision Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One Release Date: March 3, 2015 ESRB: M for Mature As the phenomenon that is “indie games” continues to grow in the video game landscape it only makes sense that some big name companies have begun publishing more unique titles from small development teams. This March Activision of all people brought OSome Studio“s noir horror adventure White Night to PC as well as modern consoles. In the past, chances are this visually-arresting title would have not received such a wide reach. In any case, now that the game is out there, is it worth playing? Is there more than simply a gorgeous exterior? Well, before we get around to answering that question let“s first explore the basics of White Night. The start is compelling - you control a character who has just survived a car crash. With no knowledge of where you are, or even who you are, the player experiences the same sort of confusion as our protagonist. As he hobbles from the wreck, gameplay features are simply explained. You can look at objects, interact with some items, and listen to a bit of mumblings from the protagonist. There are also journal entries from multiple characters spread about liberally throughout to provide backstory. Point and click adventure gameplay permeates the entire experience. Yes, you actually move the character directly like in a Telltale game, but beyond that it“s a very slow, deliberate experience. There are puzzles to solve, items to manipulate, and loads of exposition. All of that is pretty typical, but you“ll also find action segments. After all, this is a modern horror game… Basically, ghosts permeate the manor you discover and are trapped within. If they spy you then they“ll float angrily toward you. Get touched by one and it“s game over! There are auto saves, as well as the ability to save your progress too (although that is tied to specific areas - literally sitting on couches - within the building). So, ghosts have the potential to be frustrating, but it could certainly be worse. Another classic, and a much maligned, horror trope is limited supply of important items. White Night“s necessary commodity comes in the form of matches. Of course it would be too convenient for this big old house to be brightly lit in the middle of the night! Matches light the way during a large percentage of exploration and run down after a while (or must be put out in order to operate two-handed items). You“ll find more scattered around, but careful exploration means you“ll likely run out more often than you“d like. Given the game“s stark black and white art style it“s nearly impossible to explore in pitch black locations otherwise. Then there“s the story which is forced upon players at every instance. It“s not all that interesting. Sure, it“s cool to see a period piece (set around the Great Depression) but the aspect doesn“t actually play into much. It feels more like window dressing when the core story could have easily be pushed into any timeframe. There are multiple endings, but the big reveal is pretty easy to guess beforehand. My biggest disappointment is with the writing which, at times, felt incredibly steeped in noir sensibilities. Yet, for every cool line there were multiple which sounded super odd. It“s almost as though two folks wrote the game (with no attempt to smooth them together for cohensions“ sake) or that an editor only looked over portions of text. Despite annoyances as far as matchsticks, ghosts, and story are concerned, there“s still one aspect of White Night that exceeds 150%: Visuals! The game looks awesome with its stark art and distinct camera angles. Some of the more extreme camera angles cause issues as far as depth perception are concerned but damn they look good! It would have been cool to see every single room given equal stylized care, but that might have resulted in a more confusing play experience. What we have with White Night is a game that is all style and some substance. Gameplay as far as puzzles are concerned works just fine. There just so happen to be some annoying aspects of classic horror games included. Sure, some can argue things like limited inventory, iffy control, and rote storytelling as integral to a truly classic horror experience, but modern games have shown new ways to achieve the same fearful effects. White Night deserves appreciation for the obvious effort put in, but five hours might be better spent with any number of excellent horror titles. Pros: + Lovingly stylized black and white noir atmosphere + Variety of puzzles to solve, most of which are logical + Large, creepy home to explore Cons: - Matches and saving system are more annoying than tension-raising - Cool camera sometimes leads to control issues - Ghosts are totally unfair at times Overall Score: 6 (out of 10) Decent If White Night“s gameplay was as stunning as the visuals then this would have been a home run for horror fans. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable Steam code provided by the publisher
  5. In one of the more interesting news topics of the day, it's come out that Bobby Kotick (Activision CEO) was pretty close to being fired in 2013. Obviously that didn't end up being the case, but it does make you wonder how thinly some CEOs tread to avoid pissing off the other board members. You also have to wonder if Activision would be better or worse off without Kotick. I honestly couldn't really say.
  6. In a first for Platinum Games, it was revealed today that they are making a game based on a popular license—The Legend of Korra, in this instance. It will be a third person combat game and will be published by Activision this Fall on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PC. Series writer Tim Hendrick will penning the story for the game, which will be set between Seasons 2 and 3, and will have Korra using the elements of earth, water, fire, and air to battle different enemies (such as Mecha Tanks, Chi Blockers, and other Benders) the 3-on-3 Pro Bending Arena. A 3DS version is also being developed by Webfoot Technologies (best known for their work on the Dragon Ball Z games for Game Boy Advance), which will be a tactical strategy-based game. You can view a short teaser of the announcement below (though no actual gameplay is shown). Source: IGN Are you interested in playing Platinum's The Legend of Korra game?
  7. Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark is just a week away from release, and now Activision is revealing details on the return of Escalation mode, which will have you and your friends attempting to be the last bot standing. You'll be able to choose from over 40 different characters once they're unlocked, each with their own ability sets and tactical edge. Throughout the mode, you'll need to use your wits to survive as you work with your teammates to deploy turrets and decoys and barricade yourself through fortifications and such if you hope to survive an onslaught of enemy hordes and their leaders. Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark is set to release on June 24 for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Wii U, and 3DS. You can check out the trailer for Escalation mode below. Source: Press Release Does Rise of the Dark Spark's Escalation mode interest you?
  8. May 4th is usually a day most know as Stars Wars Day (Get it? May the 4th be with you?), but this Sunday, Activision will make sure it's all about Call of Duty; the next game in the series, that is. Sledgehammer Games, who will be handling this installment, tweeted out the news earlier today, saying that "a new era of Call of Duty is coming on May 4th." A site with a countdown timer has also opened, along with an image that is heavily obscured (like it has bad signal reception) and will more than likely reveal the name and cover art for the new game when the timer reaches zero. Activision had mentioned recently that Sledgehammer would be approaching the game as a first "next-gen" development, though one has to wonder if the publisher is ready to move on from the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 just yet. In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for an announcement of the game this Sunday. Source: Twitter (via IGN) Are you excited to hear more about the new Call of Duty?
  9. Update: An Activision representative confirmed to Gamespot that developer Edge of Reality would be handling development and that the game will merge the universe High Moon Studios created with the universe Michael Bay created in the recent films. Original Story: A trailer shown at the American International Toy Fair this weekend revealed that a new Activision-published Transfomers game is slated for release in 2014 - Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark. There's no word if it's tied to High Moon Studios' recent Transformers games (the last one being Transformers: Fall of Cybertron in 2012), but the plot looks to be split between choosing to play as the Autobots or Decepticons and either saving the world or destroying it. No word on which developer is handling the title just yet either. Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark is slated for release sometime in 2014 on Xbox One, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, PS3, 3DS, and PC. Another game in the series, Transformers Universe, which is a free-to-play browser game is also being prepped for release this summer to coincide with the film release of Transformers: Age of Extinction. For now you can check out the trailer for Rise of the Dark Spark below. Source: Polygon,
  10. Activision announced in its 4th quarter 2013 financial call today that the company is moving development of Call of Duty games to a three-year cycle, officially bumping the number of core developers working on the series from two to three. Of course, it's easy for the "three-year cycle" statement to be misconstrued. What it means is that the actual development of each game will be three years long in order for the different teams to focus on development and downloadable content creation, according to Activision. However, the games will still be released on an annual basis; they'll just be cycled through three developers now. As such, it was announced that Sledgehammer Games would be the developer behind this year's yet-to-be-announced Call of Duty release. Infinity Ward (developer of last year's Call of Duty: Ghosts) and Treyarch (the team behind Call of Duty: Black Ops II) are assumed to be the other two teams still working on subsequent releases for next year and after that. Source: Kotaku Are you glad Activision is giving Call of Duty games more development time?
  11. Harrison Lee

    Review: Call of Duty: Ghosts

    Developer: Infinity Ward Publisher: Activision Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One, PC Rating: M for Mature Release Date: 11/5/2013 This review is based on the PS3 version of the game You've probably heard a good deal about Call of Duty: Ghosts, whether it's the 720-1080p debacle, the combat dog Riley, or the infamous scene that appears to have been lifted directly from Modern Warfare 2. As I played through the PC, PS4 and PS3 versions, I wanted to have the experience that would surpass all of those controversies. I wanted to feel as though I could recommend Ghosts as a fantastic entry into the next generation of gaming, the perfect place to start for franchise new-comers and series veterans alike. What this latest iteration in the Call of Duty series left me with, however, was the sour taste of spoiled milk. The formula that Activision and Infinity Ward pioneered years ago is no longer fresh enough to keep the franchise afloat. With Call of Duty: Ghosts, the franchise is finally starting the sharp decline gamers have forecasted for years. Let's get the obvious out of the way - Ghosts is not the same sort of revolution that Black Ops II attempted to forge. It takes a step back and reverts to many of the same conceits and gameplay elements that were found in the later Modern Warfare games. Mechanically it feels almost identical to Modern Warfare 3. It even bears some of the same mass-conflict, post-apocalyptic vibes in the environments and missions. That wouldn't be such a detriment to the experience if I felt like I'd really enjoyed what Ghosts had to offer. Instead, I left with the impression that the only developer with any creative leanings was the former second-son, Treyarch. The tightly-scripted and narrative-driven campaign, arguably one of the biggest dividing lines between Battlefield and CoD, is an entertaining amusement park ride that offers little substance and few lasting memories. In fact, the coolest parts are the ones that made no sense, like random bits of semi-Zero G space combat and remote-controlled dog sequences. While CoD has always tried to keep a little sense of believability, Ghosts goes all out in the absurdity department, which may have actually made the campaign more fun in the end. Set pieces, however, can only carry a game so far. Ghosts claims to have an engaging, emotional story and strong characters. This is where things truly start to go wrong. It's a shame the characters couldn't have been better written. Everyone feels like the stereotypical grim soldiers we've come to expect from the franchise. As the protagonist (whose name I forget), you're supposed to feel a connection for your brother and ally Hesh. Instead, I ended up wishing the guy would just shut up and go away. His writing, like many characters, felt a bit forced and annoying. I much preferred the best character in the whole CoD franchise, Riley. The unenviable companion of the lead brothers, Riley is the loyal and ever-deadly tool of your enemy's demise. He can be given orders to attack and flush out enemies, adding a small level of strategic application. Moreover, Riley's just an awesome sidekick. There's even a portion of a level devoted to carrying him to safety after he gets shot. Clearly, Infinity Ward's focus for Ghosts was the dog despite marketing attempts to convince players it's about gameplay. If the average narrative and boring characters had been given as much attention as Riley's fur, Ghosts's campaign may have ended up a better product. The next-gen "engine upgrade" isn't the technical leap gamers were hoping for. While the visuals aren't awful, they don't really differentiate themselves from previous entries. There are more particles and higher-definition textures but don't be fooled; this very much looks like a Call of Duty game. When the landscape is exploding in tearing apart in spectacular fashion, it looks pretty great. But it's the lack of improvement in the small details that disappoint. At least the audio is solid, with some great vocal performances and a good soundtrack to back up the cinematic action. I just wish it added more to the aging experience. The multiplayer is the biggest draw for this franchise and that hasn't changed with Ghosts. Several new modes, including Cranked, make an appearance alongside the usual Domination and deathmatch-style modes. While the variety is nice, Ghosts doesn't do enough to make the experience feel fresh or exciting. If anything, the newer open maps are aggravating at times and the major advancements Black Ops II spearheaded have been reversed. The most notable change is the confusing Squads mode, which eschews regular class creation for spending earned squad points on soldiers. These troops, which double as class set-ups, are also used in the Squads game-mode that pits players and their AI buddies against other units. It sounds novel in concept but isn't all that entertaining. It further complicates the class building process while adding an unnecessary, poorly-executed game-mode. Probably the best new addition is the Extinction co-op game, which pits teams of players with limited resources against a vicious and aggressive alien enemy. The humans will have to destroy alien hives while fending off fast-moving enemies that kill as quickly as they vanish. With limited ammo, Extinction can really get your pulse going. It's too bad there's only one map included because Extinction could have been one of Ghosts surprise saving graces. Hopefully, Infinity Ward adds more content for this mode in future DLC packs. When all is said and done, Call of Duty: Ghosts is a disappointment. The next generation of gaming held so much promise for this franchise. Instead, Ghosts is a lackluster entry that struggles to reach the lofty heights of shooters like Battlefield 4. There are flashes of brilliance amidst the muck but the overall problem is that the franchise is just getting old. A campaign with forgettable characters, aging production values and ho-hum multiplayer don't inspire confidence. For once, I can't wait to see what the creative minds at Treyarch have up their sleeves for next year. Pros: + A campaign that can offer intense moments + Better visuals than previous entries + Riley Cons: - Production values just aren't there - Unexciting multiplayer - Not enough content for Extinction - The addition of Squads Overall Score: 4 (out of 10) Below Average Call of Duty: Ghosts is one of the weakest entries in the series. It's showing its age and doesn't have enough content to warrant the purchase. It's a recommended skip. A retail copy was provided by the publisher for this review
  12. Things are getting pretty complex in the world of gaming with all these companies buying and selling each other. Well, at least one company has managed to take ownership of themselves again. Activison Blizzard, who was owned under Vivendi, has just made the move to buy themselves back. How much was Activision Blizzard worth? Well they paid out a heaping $5.83 billion dollars to nab 429 million shares of stock in the company. Vivendi still has 83 million shares themselves, though, which is over 10%. In any case, Activision Blizzard is now an independent studio, although of course no one would call them "indie". Here is what Activision CEO Bobby Kotick says about the split from Vivendi: "These transactions together represent a tremendous opportunity for Activision Blizzard and all its shareholders, including Vivendi. We should emerge even stronger – an independent company with a best-in-class franchise portfolio and the focus and flexibility to drive long-term shareholder value and expand our leadership position as one of the world's most important entertainment companies. The transactions announced today will allow us to take advantage of attractive financing markets while still retaining more than $3 billion cash on hand to preserve financial stability." Hopefully this move proves beneficial to all the teams involved, but we'll see.
  13. Marcus Estrada

    Review: Deadpool

    Developer: Half Moon Studios Publisher: Activison Platform: 360, PS3, PC Release Date: June 25, 2013 ESRB: M for Mature This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game. Chances are if you“re a Marvel Comics fan, then you“ve heard of Deadpool. The character, originally introduced in the early 90s, has found himself only increasing in popularity as time goes on. This is likely to do his incredibly psychotic personality as opposed to the majority of other heroes and anti-heroes out there. Yet, Deadpool hasn“t received his own video game like Batman, Superman, and others have all had various times. That is, until High Moon Studios produced Deadpool. That introductory paragraph is about all I know about the character. Yes, Marvel and even comics are not my forte. So those of you hoping for a review focusing on how well or badly the developers portrayed the character will have to look elsewhere. Instead, this review would best service those who want to know about the game without necessarily worrying about comic lineage and gauging how the character“s mannerisms do or don“t make me want to jump into Marvel Comics. At the onset, I was very amused by what Deadpool was offering. The very start of the game focuses on screwing around with stuff in Deadpool“s apartment as he cracks a million jokes to no one in particular. Breaking of the fourth wall was established from the onset which definitely helped set the tone for the rest of the game. It“s a shame the whole game couldn“t ride on his charismatic stupidity. I say this because when the title fully accepts itself as an extension of Deadpool, it manages to become fun. For example, early on there is a point where he spends all of High Moon“s budget. As such, the next room takes assumes a top-down Legend of Zelda mode complete with pixel-styled 3D creatures. As Deadpool pipes about his love of “8-bit” games, his mind chides him about the 3D graphics not actually being 8-bit. Aspects where the game makes fun of itself, as well as gaming culture, are hugely appreciated. But then there“s the meat of the game which, between funny/weird story segments, is about as dry as any other game cluttering store shelves. Deadpool is basically a beat ”em up with adventure and puzzle elements. You can attack with the standard two katanas or pistols, or unlock a couple other guns and weapons. There aren“t a great deal of items to unlock, but at least each has its own level up tree. Alongside these specific upgrades are ones based around Deadpool himself, such as increases in health. Pre-set combos are also initially restricted behind upgrades. Still, you don“t even need them as you can beat the game with the same few attacks you“ll likely get accustomed to using. There is not a huge amount in variation between enemies and most all are dispatched in the same way. There are a few minibosses that alter this formula, but not enough to be interesting. Instead, they end up as mostly annoyances that you wish could have been toned down. Fighting is simplistic enough for most players to slice through it, but they likely won“t have much fun doing so due to the lack of variation. It must be emphasized that the fighting is boring because that“s what you“re doing 70% of the game. The rest of the time you are doing a bit of platforming, exploring, and/or puzzle solving. Of course, the puzzles are incredibly simplistic but if you can“t figure them out then Deadpool basically tells the player what to do after a few minutes. As far as these aspects go they are not very worthwhile either. They“re not bad or broken, but entirely average. The game, removed of Deadpool himself, is all entirely average. The only thing that kept me playing was to see what inane thing that Deadpool would spout next or if he would really finally succeed in his goal of killing Mister Sinister or fail yet again. Working through hordes of enemies was a chore and not one that I“d look forward to again. The anti-hero“s personality shines through as the only reason to play the game, and likely the only reason anyone might buy Deadpool to begin with. There“s fun to be had with the utterly random babblings of Deadpool, although some jokes miss the mark. However, the player themselves must consider if they love Deadpool enough to experience those great moments sprinkled within an otherwise monotonous playthrough. For some, the answer will be a definite yes. If you have no previous affiliation with Deadpool as a character though then I“d suggest skipping over Deadpool. Pros: + Deadpool + Great deal of jokes concerning games/game culture + Ability to level up various weapons Cons: - Gameplay is routine and barely varied - Great property is squandered by mediocre fighting mechanics Overall Score: 5.0 (out of 10) Average Deadpool is a game that hardcore fans may want to play to get an extra helping of their favorite anti-hero but even his constant fourth-wall breaking antics can“t make the gameplay interesting or enjoyable.
  14. Marcus Estrada

    Deadpool Screenshot 3

    From the album: Review Images

  15. Marcus Estrada

    Deadpool Screenshot 2

    From the album: Review Images

  16. Marcus Estrada

    Deadpool Screenshot 1

    From the album: Review Images

  17. Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse got a pretty bad rap from game critics, but they just did what they were paid to do - they reviewed it based on its merits as a game. However, that's not (entirely) what I'm here to do today. I've noticed that many reviewers of the game had varying knowledge of the show, but not many of them actually claimed to like the show - heck, I saw one review where the reviewer admitted to not even liking the show. So I decided it was high time a die-hard fan of the show reviewed the game. This is that review. *cue that "dun dun" sound from Law & Order* Developer: Heavy Iron Studios Publisher: Activision Platform(s): Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC Release Date: November 20, 2012 ESRB: M This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse is a third-person shooter based on the Family Guy television show, specifically, the episode "Road to the Multiverse." In that episode, Brian, the Griffin family dog, and Stewie, the baby of the family, travel into parallel universes that show Quahog, Rhode Island - the setting of the show - in various states such as a scientifically advanced utopia and a world run by dogs. Back to the Multiverse runs with that theme by setting each level in an alternate universe, many of which are based on other episodes and gags from Family Guy that have nothing to do with "Road to the Multiverse." So does the game get the Family Guy humor right, or does it fall flat on its ass-neck? The story of the game begins with Bertram, Stewie's evil half-brother who was killed in the episode "The Big Bang Theory," returning to swear vengeance on Stewie - it turns out that this Bertram is from an alternate universe, and is amassing an army from other universes to destroy the universe in which Stewie, Brian, and the other Griffins reside. Stewie and Brian leap into action, with Stewie grabbing guns from his secret bunker in his room and grabbing his multiverse remote to chase Bertram through the multiverse and stop him from exacting revenge. While the premise is interesting, the universes visited in the game aren't really all that inspired, compared to the universes featured in the Road to... episode. There's a world ruled by frat boys and sorority girls, then a world ruled by Amish, a world where everyone is evil, a world ruled by alien chickens, a world ruled by...well, you get the idea. While having one constant theme to the universe isn't a bad idea in itself, it's the choice of themes that drags the game down, because none of them are really that interesting. Stewie explains the basics of what's happening in each universe when he and Brian arrive, but you wouldn't really have to be all that sharp to figure out that a level teeming with pirates is a pirate universe. The one saving grace of each universe is all the call-outs and winks to episodes of the series - for instance, in a level where handicapped people have all the power, there's a Wheelies Cereal ad from "Ready, Willing, and Disabled" and the Big Pete's House of Munch restaurant from "No Meals on Wheels." You'll also find appearances from other characters in the show, who are usually dressed to suit the theme of the level. You might find Herbert patiently waiting for school to let out in the Amish world, or find Quagmire tied to a bed in the evil universe. These nods and cameos really help to let you know that you're in the Family Guy world, and often provide some humor that other parts of the game are lacking. Many characters from the show make appearances, regardless of whether they fit the level's theme. By lacking, I mean the dialogue - most of it isn't all that funny. I certainly chuckled a few times, but overall the jokes really fall flat. Thankfully, all dialogue is recorded by the voice actors from the show, so at least it's done right even when it's not done funny. The worst part about the dialogue is that very little of it was recorded specifically for the game. The cutscene dialogue is mostly new, but the words uttered by various characters (including Brian and Stewie) throughout the level are mostly lifted directly from the show. What's worse, much of the voice work is repeated throughout each level, where a few canned lines play each time a character picks up ammo or health, resulting in a lot of repetition that gets old fast. It's certainly funny to hear a line the first time and remember which episode it's from, but not so funny after you've heard it a hundred times over the course of the fairly brief, 10 level campaign. I'm not sure how long it took me to complete the game since it doesn't keep track of playtime, but I can safely say it wasn't more than 6-7 hours, and that was only because I scoured every part of every level looking for collectibles and shout-outs to the show. If you just blow through the game, it might take 4 hours at most. The game's music isn't too bad, and it sounds like music that was composed specifically for the show, even on the occasions where it wasn't. Where the game really shines is the graphics, because the game essentially looks like a 3D version of the show. The graphics are cartoonish and all the characters look like they should, which is a great touch that brings the game closer to the source material. It also helps that the game opens with the show's intro, though it would have been cooler if it was rendered in 3D and not a direct video. The game also runs at a smooth 60 FPS framerate, and it almost never bogs down regardless of on-screen action. The game certainly looks the part. So how does it play? Back to the Multiverse is a pretty standard third-person shooter, which is an odd fit for a Family Guy game, but it's at least more entertaining than the mish-mash of gameplay styles from the 2006 Family Guy game. You play as Brian or Stewie and can switch out between them, unless you're playing co-op, which is local only - no online here. Each character has a set of weapons that they gradually unlock over the course of the game, and their weapons are different enough from each other to make both characters useful in certain situations. There are also a handful of powerups to use, such as one that summons Ernie the Giant Chicken to attack your enemies, or dropping a Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm-Flailing Tube Man to distract enemies. Unlike most third-person shooters of this generation, this isn't a cover-based shooter, and there's no regenerating health - the enemies will sometimes take cover behind objects, but for the most part, they stand in the open to fire at you or run right up to you to hit you with melee attacks, which you can ward off with your own clumsy swinging of Stewie's golf club or Brian's whiskey bottle. That is, the enemies do these things when their programming actually works - oftentimes enemies would simply stand and stare at me, even when I was right in front of them, as if waiting to be put out of their misery from this fairly mediocre experience. The gunplay works, the melee doesn't work quite as well but still does its job, and the AI gets better later in the game for some reason, but taken as a whole, this game just doesn't have anything unique to offer. Really, it doesn't have much to offer at all - there are some neat unlockables, like costumes from various episodes of the show, as well as multiplayer characters, but it's not likely that you'll want to take the time to unlock everything the game has to offer anyway. Aside from the campaign, there's a multiplayer mode that I didn't get to try, because it's all local-only. There's the regulation deathmatch mode, a horde mode, something called Infiltration, and in a shout-out to an older episode, a mode called Catch the Greased-Up Deaf Guy. In multiplayer, you can play as various characters including and besides Stewie or Brian, many of which have to be unlocked from the in-game store with money collected during the campaign. The game also has a challenge mode, where you're dropped into one of the campaign maps and given some objective to complete, such as defeating a certain number of enemies or rescuing a number of NPCs. The challenges have 3 difficulty levels and can be played solo or co-op, but there's really not much reason to play them outside of a few unlocks and possibly boredom. All in all, Back to the Multiverse is a fairly solid game aside from some enemy AI issues, just one low on content and with nothing unique to set it apart from the myriad of other shooters out there. As a game, it works, but isn't going to wow anyone. As a Family Guy game, it's got plenty of references and nods to the show, and at least some of the humor is there, but in the end you're still playing a fairly bland shooter that just happens to feature characters and themes from a popular show. Die-hard fans may get a kick out of some parts of the game, but definitely shouldn't pay the asking price of admission - just give it a rental if you want to get in on the fan service, or if you've ever wondered what a particularly long episode of Family Guy with lots of violence and no cutaways would be like. Score: 6.0 out of 10 Closing comment: A middling score for a middling shooter. There's a little something here for fans, but only if you're willing to play through a standard shooter with spotty AI and aren't concerned about not being able to play multiplayer online. Maybe if you have friends who also like Family Guy to play co-op and multiplayer with you, you could try to get the game cheap, but otherwise, just stick to a rental.
  18. 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.
  19. The reason News and quotes from gamespot.
  20. Hello again everyone, and welcome to the second episode...entry...thing of "So I Gotta Know," where I ask question about the game industry to no one in particular and then fight with myself a bit over the answer. Today's episode asks...why does Activision even bother publishing some of the games they publish? Some of you probably already know where this is going, and, yes, I am going to talk about how great Singularity was momentarily, but first a bit of elaboration on my question is necessary. Activision is a huge, well-known publisher of video games, and they're raking in the cash from their series of games like Call of Duty and Skylanders. And yet, besides those, they've also published some lesser-known games, like Blur and the aforementioned Singularity. So, clearly, they have the resources to publish all sorts of games, so why do they promote the popular games and leave the other games to die? Why do they put the time and effort forward to publish a game that they're not even going to bother telling anyone to buy? Why did they ever greenlight Singularity if they didn't want to sell it? What Raven devs want to do to Activision execs. (probably) Publishing a video game isn't free, and even if it was, it isn't easy. From the boring legal stuff like trademarks and licensing to (and this is a biggie) distribution, there's a lot involved in getting the game from the developer's computers to a packaged disc in the consumer's hand. For all the effort and money a publisher has to put forth, it makes sense that they'd want to see a good return on that game, so they're going to make sure people know about it. So why on earth would you go that far, and then not spend a dime on advertising? Apparently, that's just how Activision works, since they regularly put out games with virtually no marketing or promotion whatsoever. This has happened even with some of their recent licensed games like Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse and Wreck-It Ralph. Now, I can kinda see why you wouldn't think you'd need to promote a licensed game because there's already an established audience, but even as a Family Guy fan, I wasn't aware that Back to the Multiverse was out until I saw it was available for purchase on Amazon and Steam. Wanted: Dead or alive. See Sheriff Bobby Kotick for reward. So, going back to Singularity, which was a fantastic game (there it is) Activision essentially just threw it to the dogs when they released the game in June of 2010 with nary a sound to let people know that the game was out. When people finally did play it, they loved it, critics loved it, and things looked good, except for one small fact...no one outside a relatively small number of people even knew the game existed. Those who had heard of the game but hadn't played it had no idea what it was about, because there was nothing to tell them why they should be excited about the game. Even people like me who got excited at the prospect when the game was (barely) announced in 2008 were in the dark about it's existence until reviews started coming in, at which point they thought "oh, hey, Singularity reviews, it must be coming out soo-wait, what, it's already out? Why didn't anyone tell me??" And so, the game was a massive financial flop, and the team at Raven Software, who had a dream of making a unique FPS that set itself apart from the run of the mill shooters, is now relegated to helping with development on...wait for it...a run of the mill shooter that goes by the name of Call of Duty. You might have heard of it, seeing as Activision has casually advertised the series all over the freakin' place. Subtlety. Grace. Nuance. This ad has none of these things. But Raven Software was one of the lucky ones. Things didn't turn out so "well" for Bizarre Creations, developers of Blur. Bizarre had seen success with it's Project Gotham Racing series, which did fairly well because all the games were published by Microsoft Game Studios, who were able to hype it up as a Xbox exclusive racing series. Fast-forward a bit, after Bizarre was acquired by Activision, and they decided they wanted to make another racing game, this one with more focus on the arcade-style aspects of PGR and a bit of Mario Kart thrown in. Again, Blur was released with nary a mention of it's existence, and although the game didn't generate as much positive buzz as Singularity, people liked it well enough. Still, the game sold horribly because no one really knew what it was due to having zero marketing put behind it. Bizarre was then put to work on a James Bond game, and the Bond video game curse struck shortly afterwards when Bizarre was shuttered by Activision. No jokes here. Just quiet discomfort. So why does Activision do this? Why publish a game when they're just going to throw caution to the wind and hope for the best? Why does Activision even greenlight the development of a game when they have no intention of making the game succeed? I can only surmise that Activision executives are evil, soulless husks of bitter unlife who only care about money, but they have so much money that they decide it would be fun to throw some of it away on a developer's hopes and dreams. All Activision cares about is publishing their big-name games like Call of Duty, and yet they push these other, less-noteworthy releases out the door simply because they can. And above all, I think they do it because they want these developers - these developers like Raven and Bizarre, who have ideas different from those of the Activision heads - to spend their resources developing games they won't profit from, just to get rid of them so that Activision can continue to spoon-feed their billion-dollar babies like Treyarch while throwing the scraps to the developers who pump out licensed games for them. Clearly, there's no room in Activision for imagination and innovation, and they seem intent on keeping it that way. I don't think I have to ask how most of you feel about Activision, so I'll ask you this instead - have you ever played Singularity? Blur? Wolfenstein? If you've played an Acti game that you feel like didn't get enough love from the publisher, or from the critics and community, feel free to talk about it in the comments! You might give me an idea for my next article, or you might just get caught up in me reminiscing about Singularity. Either way, it should be fun.
  21. Jordan Haygood

    New Call of Duty Coming Within the Year

    It sure hasn't been long since we got a Call of Duty game, and already Activision is ready to release another. During a post-earnings financial call, Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg revealed that they have plans to release a new entry before the year is up. Of course, Activision doesn't expect this new game to perform quite as well as their most recent entry, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, which broke sales records. "The Call of Duty franchise continues to set the bar for innovation and we expect the new Call of Duty game in development for 2013 to raise that bar even higher," said Hirshberg. "There is increased volatility this year due to the ongoing console transition, which makes predicting the future more challenging than during normal years in the cycle. For Call of Duty, consistent with our past practices, we are planning for the mainline release in Q4 to be down versus 2012." Who will be developing this unnamed Call of Duty title? That hasn't been announced yet, but it will probably be one of the five developers involved with the franchise: Infinity Ward, Treyarch, Raven Software, Sledgehammer Games, and Neversoft Entertainment. Are you ready for a new Call of Duty game?
  22. If you've been hankering for some more Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action, rest assured, as more games are on their way. They won't be published by the same company as before, however, as Activision has officially taken the franchise off of Ubisoft's hands for the time being. This change is due to a multi-year deal Activision signed with Nickelodeon, who own the TMNT license. According to said deal, Activision will be publishing three TMNT games, all based on the new animated series. The first of these three games will be released this Summer, although their haven't been any released details for the game. But they do say that these games will "take gamers through interactive environments and action-packed adventures that truly capture the essence, tone and exciting elements of the Turtles." Are you a TMNT fan? Are you looking forward to these games?
  23. While The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct did already debut its first gameplay trailer, that was soon deemed as "fake" (as in not something Activision themselves put together). But now we finally do have an official one! This trailer showcases a better look at the protagonists, Merle and Daryl Dixon (characters from the AMC TV series). Both are voiced by the actors, Michael Rooker and Norman Reedus, that play their respective characters in the show. The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct comes to PS3, 360, and PC on March 19th and to Wii U on March 26th. Are you a fan of The Walking Dead franchise? Will you be purchasing Survival Instinct?
  24. Jordan Haygood

    Bungie Says Destiny Will Be Revealed Soon

    Over the years, Bungie has been known for bringing us the Halo series, which is perhaps the biggest exclusive franchise to ever hit the Xbox and Xbox 360. Some time ago, however, the company said goodbye and handed their son off to 343 Industries, who provided the critically-acclaimed Halo 4. What will Bungie be doing now, though? Well, you may remember hints and leaks regarding a game called Destiny somewhere (like maybe Halo 3: ODST), and now it seems the project will be getting a big reveal fairly soon. In the latest video from Bungie Community Theatre, host DeeJ reads a letter from a big fan of Halo named James. After reading the letter, DeeJ thanks the fan for his enthusiasm, but tells him that "we don't make Halo games anymore." He then goes on by giving a small but pretty big announcement, saying "Within a matter of weeks, we'll unveil what we've been creating for you. In the meantime, keep your eyes trained on www.bungie.net, so you don't miss a thing." It'll be nice to see what Bungie has for us, especially since we've been teased for so long without seeing or hearing much about it (though knowing that Paul McCartney is doing the music makes waiting easier). Here is the latest episode of Bungie Community Theatre, if you would like to watch the announcement for yourself: Are you excited for the official reveal of Bungie's Destiny?
  25. It was around this time last year that the last Skylanders game was announced, so it's not too surprising that Activision has announced an all-new Skylanders game for this year today. Dubbed Skylanders Swap Force, this entry expands on the collectible figurine frenzy by allowing you to swap interconnecting body parts from 16 all-new Skylanders. In this sense, you can be more creative with how you want your Skylanders to look and what abilities they'll have to play with. And like last year's Skylanders Giants, figurines from the previous games will be compatible with this title as well. Interestingly enough, Joystiq reports that Toys for Bob is passing on the development of this title to Vicarious Visions, giving the former more time to prepare their next thing. Luckily, Vicarious Visions already has a good amount of experience with the Skylanders franchise, having developed the 3DS version of Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure, the Wii U port of Skylanders Giants, and three variations of Skylanders for iOS. Skylanders Swap Force will be available on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, Wii, and 3DS at the end of the year.