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Found 101 results

  1. Sailor Liztress

    Spotify Now Available On Sony Consoles

    There are times when playing a game that you just might prefer to listen one of your favorite jams instead of the soundtrack within the game. You want something that getting the blood pumping when you take on opponents in one of many FPS titles. Or perhaps, you just want to cruise along in a racing game with some good old Johnny Cash. Sony had announced earlier that their Music Unlimited service would be coming to end on March 29 and that they had a new and exclusive partnership with Spotify. Spotify, for those who haven't ever used it, allows you to create and listen to over 30 million songs while you play your favorite games. While Spotify basically works just like Music Unlimited, one notable difference is the ability to use it without paying the monthly fee. But if you want to listen to your playlists without ad interruptions, the Premium upgrade is only $9.99 a month. Subscribers of Music Unlimited get a free two-month trail while others can get a free month of Spotify Premium. Source: PlayStation Blog
  2. Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is in a bit of an odd spot - it's a licensed game, which usually means trouble, but the show it's based on is itself based on an established gaming icon. Does it overcome the stigma of licensed games to earn a spot in the collection of every Pac-Maniac, or is this ghostly adventure haunted by its status as a tie-in product? Read on to find out! Developer: Bandai Namco Games, Monkey Bar Games Publisher: Bandai Namco Games Platform(s): Wii U, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, PC via Steam Release Date: October 25, 2013 ESRB: E10+ Review is based on the PC/Steam version Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a 3D platformer based on the DisneyXD television show of the same name. In the game, Betrayus, whose name pretty much tells you everything you need to know, is up to his old tricks and aims to take over Pac-World and turn all its residents into ghosts! Only Pac-Man and his friends can stop him, but you already knew that. This time around, Pac-Man must traverse various dangerous worlds looking for stone tablets that, once deciphered, may hold the key to stopping Betrayus' villainy once and for all! Of course, if you're like me and have never seen an episode of the show, none of that will really matter. The characters (besides Pac-Man, Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde) were all new to me, and some references to events from the show went over my head. If you are a fan of the show, you'll certainly get a kick out of these, but if not, then you'll be left wondering what they're talking about - thankfully, other than the winks and nods, the story is self-contained enough that anyone could follow it regardless of prior knowledge. Story cutscenes are also generally few and far between and really only serve to fill in the gaps between levels, so the real focus will be on the hopping and chomping you'll be doing. Ghostly Adventures takes you through different worlds as you run, jump, chomp enemies, and gather collectibles as well as the ever-present pellets and fruit the series is known for. You'll also come across various power-ups ranging from the ability to throw fireballs to puffing up Pac-Man like a balloon to float through windy areas and reach new heights. The power-ups play into the levels by requiring you to use them to traverse certain areas or defeat certain enemies, and you'll often use more than one powerup in a single level (or even in a single area of a level) which keeps the gameplay from getting too stale over the rather short course of the campaign. You'll also need them for the majority of the boss fights, which pop up in different levels rather than always at the end of a world, so they'll keep you on your toes. When not partaking in perilous platforming and performing powered-up poundings on poltergeists (try saying that five times fast) there's a hub world to play around in the form of Pac-Man's school, where you can converse with characters and play a few arcade-style games that you'll unlock over time, none of which, for some reason, are the original Pac-Man. While the game works fine as a 3D platformer - which makes sense because it's not even new ground for Pac-Man - it also falls prey to some of the pitfalls of the genre, notably a finicky camera that sometimes struggles to show you where you're going. Thankfully, the controls work well enough that you can often recover before plummeting to your doom, and if not, the game is generous with extra lives, which can be picked up in the levels or obtained after defeating enough enemies. You won't really need them that much, though, because most of your deaths will come by accident rather than from the enemies, since, as a game based on a children's show, it doesn't offer up a whole lot of challenge. Some of the later levels can get a little hectic, but you'll never see anything on the same scale as, say, a late-game level in one of the 3D Super Mario games. Also, in comparison to Super Mario, the game's physics, level layouts, and general gameplay all have their own feel to set Ghostly Adventures apart from the competition, so fortunately you're not likely to suffer from déjà vu during your playtime. Aside from the campaign, there's also a multiplayer mode, but it's local-only so I was unable to try it out. From a visual standpoint, the game is generally bright and colorful, which is typical of 3D platformers but welcome nonetheless in today's gaming climate. Each area also has its own distinct look, and there's a good bit of set dressing to really give each world its own personality. While the game isn't a graphical powerhouse - and indeed, barely looks the part of a seventh-generation console game - it doesn't really need to be one, either, so it's not likely to bother even older players. SInce the show is done in CGI, the game is able to simply emulate the same three-dimensional look, which helps tie the game to its source material. On the audio side of things, the game features a fun, bouncy soundtrack that incorporates some tunes from Pac-Man's past as well as the show itself, a nice touch for fans of both. The sound effects in the game are mostly pulled from the arcade game as well, though there are a few new ones that work just fine too. The game also features full voice acting, though soundalikes were used in place of the show's original cast. Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a fun and colorful platformer with a laid-back attitude, with all the key elements of the genre coming together to form an enjoyable romp through Pac-World. However, a couple of things hold it back from true greatness - foremost is the game's length, which clocks in around 5 hours. The other is that, while the game is certainly distinct from other 3D platformers and stands on its own, it still doesn't do anything new or particularly interesting with the genre. Add to the fact that this game is mostly aimed at the younger crowd, and you've got a recipe for a good rental, but not necessarily a good purchase. There's certainly a lot of fun to be had, but there's just not enough to the game to really chomp into, leaving a ghostly trace that will haunt players with a hunger for more. Score: 7/10 TL;DR version - Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a fun platformer that manages to stand apart from the likes of Mario, and also manages to escape from the general awfulness of licensed games. There's a lot to like for fans of the show and even those who haven't watched it may still find the game enjoyable, however, the game's short length and lack of true challenge for hardcore gamers keeps it from being a truly significant experience. It might be worth a rental if you're hankering for a 3D platformer that doesn't star a portly plumber, but I honestly can't recommend a purchase.
  3. Developer: Nippon Ichi Publisher: NIS America Platform: PlayStation 3 Release Date: June 17, 2014 ESRB: T for Teen When Vanillaware hit it big with audiences back in 2008 with the release of the PS2 title Odin Sphere, niche companies took notice. People were interested not only in 2D hack-and-slash titles, but also games with unique and beautiful art styles that portray a wonderful world to delve into. Developers listened, and not only did we get more Vanillaware games in the same artistic vein such as Muramasa: The Demon Blade and Dragon's Crown, but also efforts from other developers, like the indie darling Dust: An Elysian Tail. Battle Princess of Arcadias seems to be Nippon Ichi's attempt to break into the market Vanillaware has created, throwing players into a colorful, pretty world with plenty of monsters to fight through. Does Battle Princess carve out a good name for itself in this niche market, or does it fail to impress beyond the wonderful graphical coating? Battle Princess of Arcadias takes place in the land of Arcadias, wherein dangerous monsters have suddenly appeared and began wreaking havoc in the land. In response to this, the princess of the Schwert Kingdom, Plume, takes up her sword and defends her land, earning her the title of Battle Princess. The game follows Plume and her companions throughout their struggles against monsterkind, as well as a new threat that makes itself prevalent as the game progresses. The plot, while at first seeming a bit bland, ends up being very intriguing, though to explain precisely why would lead to spoilers. It is also lighthearted and humorous; while it does take itself seriously from time to time, Battle Princess of Arcadias never drowns in melancholy. The characters are usually cheery and happy to take hoards upon hoards of monsters... with a few exceptions. Also, while most of the secondary characters initially fall into predictable tropes, most of them break out of said tropes in interesting ways. It leads to having interesting dialogue on the rather unusual events, and gives the title plenty of charm beyond its aesthetics. But, with any game of its ilk, the gameplay is the most important aspect of Battle Princess of Arcadias, compelling story or not. There are three different, very distinct types of battles to work through. First up are Combat missions. Combat missions take up to three characters into the 2D field, where you fight monsters in a typical beat-em-up fashion. These types of missions are typically best for leveling up the various characters you'll recruit throughout the course of the game, as well as getting a feel for each character's play styles. As characters level up, they learn more elaborate combos and moves, giving one reason to keep them all leveled somewhat equally. Combat missions tend to show the most basic part of Battle Princess of Arcadias, but the other types of missions tend to expand on this basic aspect to varying degrees of success. Siege battles have your three chosen characters and the Princess Brigade fighting against a large monster. Since you are controlling essentially an army, you have to give orders to ensure that the Brigade doesn't get decimated by the boss. You can order them to go into an all out attack, lowering their defensive abilities for when the monster counters, or go on the full defensive, limiting your losses, but placing the majority of the damage dealing onto yourself. You can also order the troops to retreat to recover their numbers while you fight alone (if the Brigade is wiped out, you fail the mission), and if morale raises high enough, you can initiate a showdown that can do massive damage to the enemy. The explanations the game offers and all the bars moving about on the screen make Siege battles look complicated, but it's really all that simple: Keep whaling on the enemy while making sure not too many of your troops fall, don't change your commands too often (as a command costs some morale), and finish the boss off with a Showdown when it becomes available. The key is to ensure that you yourself don't get caught in the monster's attack, as they do a lot of damage. As such, Sieges become more battles of careful positioning than anything, and because of that, they tend to be the weakest mission type in the game. Skirmishes, on the other hand, are an interesting mix of the Combat missions and the use of the Princess Brigade, but the actual execution can sometimes be hit-or-miss. In Skirmishes, you take certain units of the Princess Brigade (defined by the weapon they use) into battles against other units, while your character dukes it out with enemy troops in the foreground. What troops you'll want to bring depends on the weapons the enemy's troops are using, as each weapon has its strengths and weaknesses. You will also have to command the troops in this type of mission, although instead of retreating you'll have the command to change out the current unit for the next in line. Skirmishes also effectively put a level stop-gap on your progression through the game. Skirmishes become very difficult if the right units aren't near the level the enemy units are--and this is even more apparent if you don't have a good unit to counter against an enemy unit. The only way to level up these units, however, is to first get the Leader to the desired level, then level up the unit with money. You cannot raise a unit's level beyond the leader's level, and the use of exponentially increasing amounts of gold ensure that, at least in the early parts of the game, you'll be forced to grind a bit until the units are up to speed. During the late-game, though, your units and characters gain enough versatility that grinding isn't nearly as much of an issue, and is more of an option available for an easier victory. Battle Princess of Arcadias also has a few, relatively small annoyances that need to be brought up, aside from the early game forced grinding to succeed at Skirmishes. All new playable character come come at a level significantly lower than your current members, so it takes a while of replaying older stages and equipment upgrades to make them viable... and simply ignoring them isn't an option either, due to the Skirmishes. The title also has random difficulty bumps which can, again, be solved by grinding, but it can lead to annoyance to have to go and grind to get past a random battle. Regardless of these hiccups, Battle Princess of Arcadias is a very solid package. Beneath the candy-coated exterior is a well-thought out plot, interesting characters, and deep combat. It's worth checking out if you like any sort of action game or action RPG; it's not likely Battle Princess of Arcadias will disappoint. Pros: + Interesting plot will keep you moving through the missions + Trope-breaking characters add genuine depth + Combat is satisfying and rewarding Cons: - Difficulty bumps, especially in the beginning, can frustrate - Grinding up new characters is tedious, yet necessary Overall Score: 8.5 (out of 10) Great Battle Princess of Arcadias is a satisfying mix of elements that make for an enjoyable, somewhat lengthy journey. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable PS3 code provided by the publisher.
  4. Developer: Nippon Ichi Software Publisher: Nippon Ichi Software Platform: PlayStation 3 Release Date: March 25, 2014 ESRB: T for Teen Sometimes a game is more than the sum of its parts. There are titles out there that may have drab mechanics and a dull story, but everything blends together so well that the game is better for it. Whether it's the result of a clever designer or some voodoo programming magic, a game that would normally be considered boring or bad is now suddenly playable and, dare I say, fun. Normally these types of games don't really end up being masterpieces or classics, but instead are pleasant surprises—a neat little game that was just a little bit better than expected. Is The Witch and The Hundred Knight greater than the sum of its parts? Not quite, but this is a title that requires you to look past just its disjointed pieces and judge it as a whole, because while no particular part of this game is stand-out, it is still an enjoyable (if obtuse) experience. In The Witch and The Hundred Knight, you control the Hundred Knight, a legendary creature that is capable of spreading death and destruction around the world. Unfortunately for the summoner, however, the legends were a little exaggerated, and instead of a giant world destroyer, the Hundred Knight is a puny monster incapable of even human speech. This doesn't deter the self-appointed Great Witch of the Swamp, Metallia, however. Menacing or not, she plans on controlling and using the Hundred Knight to her own evil deeds, and take over the world with a sea of swamp water and muck. The thing is, Metallia is evil. Not "evil" in the typical fashion that you might expect a Disgaea protagonist to be, but flat out demonic. She does not simply stop trying to take over the world because of some wonderful revelation, nor admit to doing so to achieve some vaguely noble cause; Metallia is pretty mad at the world, and she'll do whatever she wants in order to take her revenge. The game doesn't show you the Swamp Witch's torturous acts in action as the graphics aren't really up to that challenge, but it doesn't pull any punches in describing these acts to you. The fact that this title dares to have such an evil, mostly unlikeable protagonist is pretty impressive on its own, but when you add on the game's ability to balance these gruesome scenes with touches of humor and light-heartedness, you've got quite the intriguing plot on your hands. However, intriguing doesn't always equal perfect. Many jokes in The Witch and the Hundred Knight fall flat, and the writers made Metallia so despicable it can be truly hard to care about her plight, and by extension, the story itself. Also, the storytelling is pretty uneven, in terms of how it meshes with the gameplay. There are long stretches of fighting with only a few quick lines to break it up, and then there are long scenes that shove far too many plot points in twenty minute stretches. Had the storytelling been better disbursed amongst the chapters, rather than dumped inelegantly at the beginning and end, The Witch and the Hundred Knight would have stood a lot better on the story front. When not wading through cutscenes, you'll be wading through the blood of Metallia's enemies, as well as any wildlife that happens to get in your way. The Witch and The Hundred Knight is an Action RPG with some dungeon crawling mixed in, and frankly the game makes the oddly named and various systems it implements sound way more complicated than it is. When exploring the various fields the Hundred Knight will be sent out to, the first thing you'll notice is a number in the upper-left hand corner of the screen. The Hundred Knight's GigaCal meter, which starts at 100%, will constantly go down while exploring. Every single action the Hundred Knight takes will deplete the GigaCal gauge (even if it's miniscule), and if the Hundred Knight runs out of GigaCals while out on the field, you'll be sent back to Metallia's home with some hefty penalties. While it seems like you'll always have to keep an eye on GigaCals, it's really not as troublesome as it sounds, though. The game gives you some very clear indicators when you're running low, and even if you happen to run dry, you'll be able to scurry back to a checkpoint-like Pillar to return to base... as long as you have enough HP to survive the constant drain, that is. There's also various ways to restore your GigaCals, and the presence of said Pillars allows you to go back to base and rest up fairly frequently. Like most Action RPGs, the Hundred Knight can equip a variety of different weapons to take down his foes. The thing that makes The Witch and the Hundred Knight different from other RPGs, however, is how weapon combos work. Instead of a weapon having a canned combo, the weapon itself is the combo, and you can customize it to your needs and situation. You have fives slots to equip weapons in, and where you equip your weapons will effect how your combo plays out depending on the weapon type. For example, Hammers are slow but very powerful, so they tend to be better at the end of a combo. However, they also have a high chance to stun the enemy, so they could also go well at the beginning of a combo so you can get a full round of hits off before an enemy can retaliate. It all depends on your playstyle, but it's also important to keep track of enemy weaknesses. If it all sounds overwhelming, it really isn't. The Witch and the Hundred Knight is a bit on the easy side, barring some random, small difficulty bumps. Enemies scale to your level, but only to a certain point; it's supposed to encourage leveling the really-not-that-different Facets evenly, but it ends up make the adventure simply a task of equipping the right weapon at the right time. There are other small mechanics and tricks that help the player succeed, but for the most part these mechanics can be ignored. That's one of the larger problems with the gameplay, really. For all the intricacies and nuances the game has, little of it really matters when you're going through the game. This isn't helped by the fact that many of these aren't alluded to in the game itself. Instead, they are briefly mentioned in the tips displayed when the game is loading. Since the tips come up randomly and out of order, it could be chapters before you learn of certain aspects of the game. Therefore, they mostly become throwaway mechanics—neat when you learn about them, but ultimately having no real impact on the gameplay. The Witch and the Hundred Knight is far from perfect, but it is still a title that's worth a look for those with an interest with a different storyline. It has its quirks, and even its stretches of boredom in between cutscenes, but can be worth powering through in order to see what happens next. Pros: - Intriguing characters give you reason to see the plot until the end - Weapon combo system allows for a lot of customization - Tenpei Sato's soundtrack is exceptional Cons: - Uneven storytelling makes battle and dialogue alike drag on - Many of the mechanics throughout the game are throwaway Overall Score: 6.5 (out of 10) Decent The Witch and The Hundred Knight is going to be one of those 'love it or hate it' games with Nippon Ichi fans. The title has a lot of interesting concepts, but are haphazardly implemented and weaken the overall package. Disclaimer: This game was reviewed using PS3 downloadable code provided by the publisher.
  5. Blazeknyt

    The Greatest Generation of Gaming?

    With the newest consoles having been released by November of 2013, the latest generation of gaming is now in full swing. There is a lot of talk about how each system does not have standout games, but rest assured, those games are being made. But the new generation has just started, and while the last one is still going, it“s a good time to look back and see what it accomplished. There was a lot that happened in this generation of gaming. And in order to bring the whole thing into perspective, we have to go back to 2005… Microsoft, during a conference, had introduced HD TVs. The point of those HD TVs was that the next gaming console, the Xbox 360, was to be compatible with HD picture quality, in order to bring a whole new experience. In order to do that, you had to buy a TV that had the capability to do so. The Xbox 360 eventually came in a slim model. During E3 of that year, Sony“s and Nintendo“s hands were forced and they unveiled their respective new machines. While Sony showed a more traditional mock-up, Nintendo, being Nintendo, had their president pull out their mock up out of his jacket pocket. The machine, codenamed the Nintendo Revolution, had been revealed. However, everything presented had been just promises, and dreams. No one had made any of the dreams a reality…yet. Microsoft released the Xbox 360 in November of 2005. It was the first of the three new consoles to be released. With a year head start it was allowed to set up some industry standards: HD graphics, which was promised earlier. Eventually it would bring the advent of streaming media to and from a video game console as Youtube grew in popularity. It sold very well, and was a bit more stable compared to Sony“s Playstation 3 during the beginning of its life. While it was plagued with the infamous “red ring of deathâ€, Microsoft“s bad customer service regarding fixing the console, and only a 20GB hard drive when it was first released, it was a working system beyond the fear of the red ring of death. Come 2006, Sony and Nintendo were ready to place their respective machines on the market. Sony“s Playstation 3 was incredibly powerful. It was not just a gaming console, but also a Blu-Ray player, and it was backward compatible! (At first) Sony had catered to various markets, (some people bought it solely for blu-ray) but it was one expensive box for most consumers. Released at a whopping $600, the Playstation 3 struggled. It was hard to develop for, and the PS2 emulation was causing glitches, which caused Sony to re-develop the PS3 and take out the backward compatibility. Remember the original "fat" model? Nintendo on the other hand, TOOK THE WORLD BY STORM. Nintendo managed to create yet another new control scheme: Motion control! This controller allowed people to play by actually moving the controller, and was a lot more intuitive to those who were not gamers. Nintendo combined the new control scheme with an easy to play game, Wii Sports. Everything you needed to do in that game was swing the wii remote. It was easy to play and easy to get into. Combine the other two elements with a marketing scheme that showed the entire family playing video games, and the end result was exactly as advertised! Wiis were flying off the shelves, and everyone was playing Wii Sports. The Wii was the cheapest system as well, at $250. (Compared to the Xbox 360 at $300 or $400 depending on the model, and the PS3 for $500 or $600 depending on the model) I specifically remember going to a store and hearing that since Wiis were so popular, the store could only sell 1 per customer. One last thing the Wii did to destroy the other two was to bring the past to the present, with the Virtual Console. Gaming was entering its seventh generation, and there were people who had fond memories of games and systems of old. Now you could play your old games on a new system, and not go through the hassle of buying said old system, a compatible tv, controllers, etc. That“s right, games from Sega Genesis, NES, SNES, Sega Saturn, N64, and more could all be on that sweet little Wii. Oh, and it was backwards compatible with the Gamecube too. You still needed a Gamecube controller and memory card, but the controller would work with those N64, or SNES games too. The game changers And so, the seventh generation of gaming had begun. But the grass was not necessarily greener on the other side. The Red Ring of Death for Xbox 360, the glitchy compatibility and hefty price for the PS3, and the breaking of numerous TVs because of weak Wii straps, all caused the respective companies to release new models very early on in the lifespan of the consoles. Microsoft soon released an “elite†model, which contained a 120GB hard drive and an HDMI cable, in 2007. The Playstation 3 did away with PS2 compatibility in favor for more hard drive space. (came in 20GB, 60GB, and a few 80GB models) The Wii didn“t change at all, and in fact just reinforced the strength of the Wii remote straps. Then everything slowed down and stabilized a little. Streaming media such as Netflix came (Xbox 360 got it first in 2008). People got more comfortable with the technology, and the expected newer models came out. Xbox 360 had the Xbox Live Arcade, and the Playstation 3 got the Playstation store, both online stores to buy games digitally.(basically the respective systems“ versions of the Wii“s Virtual Console). Micro transactions soon became popular, and so did downloadable content. Was this the greatest generation of gaming? That question is a matter of opinion. It was however, the most impactful generation of gaming. There are too many milestones to count. There were many early faults, and then fan anger against the changing marketplace as everything went digital. There was the copying of the Wii motion controls by Microsoft and Sony, only for those to flop. Despite all of that, this gaming generation was a fun ride.
  6. Jordan Haygood

    PlayStation 3

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    © Sony

  7. 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.
  8. Marshall Henderson

    E3 2013: Sony Conference Recap

    A lot of people were excited to see the large showing of games for the Xbox One, but there were still some issues. The PlayStation 4 has been playing ti close to the vest, however, as to whether they've got any responses to that, Now, at E3 2013, the battleground has been set. Will this be when Sony decides to take off the kid gloves and start punching Xbox in the face? Or has the library revealed for the Xbox One, as well as the hype train from it being more recently announced, given Microsoft a chance to win E3 once and for all? Check out the recap below to find out! [6:17 PM] Okay, so they were almost 20 minutes late, but hey, it's finally starting! Some sweet jams play while swirly ribbon-y things flip around the screen. Face button shapes appearing and whatnot. [6:18] The jams are being pumped up, while we get a montage of a bunch of different games. The Last of Us, GTA5, Final Fantasy X, some baseball, other stuff. We are now moving into our third genre of music. [6:20] Jack Tretton takes the stage. The bass has been dropped, now he's going to drop some Sony business... after he talks about how much he loves everyone. The feelings are high. [6:22] He said "Playstation Vita," which I thought was illegal for Sony. Time to drop some knowledge about the Vita. "Vita owners have purchased an average of ten games." He doesn't specify what kind of games, so that is probably the most inclusive statistic. Arkham Origins, Counterspy, Doki Doki Universe, Kill Zone Mercenary, and Tearaway. God of War HD 1 and 2, Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2, Flower, Dead Nation are all coming to the Vita. [6:25] The Walking Dead, 400 Days, is coming this summer to Vita. A bundle with the full first series and the new one come this Summer. The Vita's supposedly super-attached to the PS4. It's supposed to be the ultimate companion app. [6:26] PlayStation 3 game lineup time. They're opening with The Last of Us, which Tretton identified as "Game of the Year candidate." I think it's already pretty clear how dope this game is supposed to be, based on reviews and stuff. [6:28] Puppeteer is next. The trailer shows off the platforming and stuff. Very LBP-esque. Immediately after that, the trailer for Rain, coming this Fall. Soft music and stuff to make us all cry openly. [6:29] Beyond: Two Souls. Willem Dafoe's here, telling Ellen Page to go join the military, and the rest of the trailer os far is about her doing just that. Running through tires and firing guns and stuff. [6:30] Now Ellen Page has to go hunt down terrorists. This trailer makes it look basically like a military shooter, with mild sexual tension between Ellen Page and Random Guy. [6:31] Gran Turismo 6! More cars that look good, more driving around. Weird emphasis on solar panels. It has a new physics engine, so your car can flip. New tire models, new suspension model. New aerodynamics model. Adaptive tessellation. New rendering engine. [6:32] So the lesson to take away, as with every racing game, is that cars go fast, stuff looks mad real. You should more or less know what to expect with this stuff. [6:33] That was all for PS3 stuff. Tretton's now talking about The Last of Us again. [6:34] It's Batman time. Bane was there, Black Skull have a small amount of face time. Black Mask is not happy with Batman, so he puts a hit out on The Batman. Deathstroke, Deadshot, and Bane. [6:35] If your fears about Troy Baker as the Batman were sincere, you have nothing to worry about. Gadgets are different, even in a prequel, they're better. As usual. The Joker had a bit of voice-time as well. [6:36] Some PlayStation-exclusive stuff. Also, an exclusive GTA5 bundle for $299 for PS3. Also, a headset, because you want to use stage time to talk about peripherals. [6:37] Sony dreams of bringing a more "Immersive, innovative experience." Let's go ahead and check that off of everyone's bingo lists. [6:38] Andrew House is here to talk about PlayStation 4. [6:39] The PlayStation 4! It's....! Well, it's a black box. Kind of looks like the PlayStation 3 mixed with a Wii? Or like a Blu-Ray player. [6:40] They strive to assure that their services are relevant and meaningful, House says. They're showing a bunch of videos and stuff, so I guess they're covering the Microsoft in the livingroom stuff... Why? [6:41] CEO of Sony Entertainment Michael Lynton takes the stage. Lynton says they're ready to do next generation stuff "for gamers." He's discussing the music and other media, and name-drops Daft Punk, Nine In Nails, and Jack White. The '90s live! [6:43] Sony's big connections to all forms of media are apparently to play into the PlayStation Network, and the programming is to be tailor-made for gamers, so he says. [6:44] Video Unlimited, where you can buy videos and stuff. [6:45] Music Unlimited is still a thing, and can be used on non-PlayStation stuff. [6:46] Redbox Instant is coming to PlayStation Network. They're making a point where, as they talk about the media-oriented stuff, they keep saying, "This is tailored to gamers." [6:47] Shuhei Yoshida is taking the stage now that they're done talking about that junk. [6:48] "I'm so excited to begin... *pause*" Yoshida is wearing a really sleek suit. "We, the gamers, use social media" for the purpose of discussing games. Yoshida discusses his Twitter. [6:50] "A highly imaginative new IP, coming exclusive to the PS4." Santa Monica Studios. Looks sorta of Steampunk-y. Victorian-esque setting, airships of some variety, as well as guns. Whitechapel. A woman with a gun, some guys with awesome facial hair. [6:52] Uh oh! The carriage driver was killed! They have radios, and subway trains. [6:53] A bunch of groaning humanoids are all in the fog and causing a ruckus, so the characters are killing them. The Order is the name of the game. [6:54] Yoshida says the demos and stuff will be online on their Facebook and Twitter, and on PlayStation.com. [6:55] Killzone Shadow Fall. As expected, it's another FPS, though this seems a little more colorful, and the gadgets include a drone that can put up shields and stuff. [6:56] RACING time! Driveclub, which was just pretty cars and driving fast. [6:56] inFamous: Second Son. The main dude is a vandal, his brother is a cop. The facial capture is really good. [6:58] Nirvana remix in the trailer... [6:58] Another look at Knack, which still looks pretty good. Very briefly. [6:58] All three of those games will be released on launch. Q1 of 2014. [6:59] Quantic Dream has done another tech demo, this one named The Dark Sorcerer. The Old Man is back! He's the Dark Sorcerer. [7:01] Oh, it's a funny! It's a film-screen room! (Note: It was not funny) [7:03] Time to talk about indies. Adam Boyes takes the stage. He says that Shuhei Yoshida has the most infectious smile in the industry. He is not wrong. [7:04] Supergiant Games's Amir Rao Greg Kasavin take the stage. Transistor is to make its debut on PS4 early next year. Cloudbank is the city, where everyone has a voice, but some people are disappearing. The art style is similar-ish to Bastion, and the gameplay is not dissimilar, but the feel of the game seems pretty different. [7:06] Indies are to be able to self-publish their own content. [7:07] Don't Starve is apparently PS4-bound. Tribute Games is working with them again to bring Mercenary Kings to PS4. Young Horses is joining. Octodad: Dadliest Catch is coming to PS4. Secret Ponchos, a shooter/fighting(?) game, Outlast, Odd World Inhabitants. New remake of Oddworld. Galaxy, a sidescrolling space shooter. [7:10] Each of these above are PS4 exclusives. [7:11] Diablo III will have exclusive items from PlayStation games. [7:12] Tetsuya Nomura left a video message about Square Enix. There's a Final Fantasy Versus XIII trailer. That child's face is stupid-looking. [7:14] A little bit of gameplay. It's action-oriented, some wall-climbing. It looks largely like a hack-and-slash. Some familiar classic monsters, like a Behemoth, Leviathan... Well, it's Final Fantasy XV now. [7:16] A new Kingdom Hearts trailer! Recaps of the old games, and now Sora is on Destiny Island, in a different version of his KH2 outfit. Actual gameplay! "Now in Development," meaning we'll see it in 20 years. [7:18] Final Fantasy XIV will be coming to PS4 and PS3. Pirates PIRATES Assassin's Creed: Black Flag pirates. [7:20] The environments look pretty great, a rich forest, fog and stuff. [7:22] The gameplay looks mostly samey, but if you like AssCreed, the jungle environment might be reason enough to pick it up. [7:23] Back to set-pieces! And Kenway's on a boat now, because pirate. Ship-to-ship combat and what not. The demo's freezing to business. They cut it. [7:25] Watch_Dogs. You can drive, go in coffee shops. [7:30] A little more gameplay than we've seen in the past, showing off some of the hacking and ranged stuff. [7:31] Ugh, it looks like they're using the hacking as a generic puzzle-solving method. [7:33] PlayStation owners get an hour of additional gameplay for Watch_Dogs. [7:33] Sports time! Lebron James is playing basketball digitally. It's a bunch of glamour shots. NBA2k14. [7:35] Bethesda time, The Elder Scrolls Online. For the first time, this actually looks like a TES game to me. It comes to PS4 Spring, 2014. It will have a beta first on PlayStation 4. [7:38] Some dead bodies, a junked up car... Is... Is that a Raider outfit...? Is this... [7:39] Is this.... Oh. It's just Mad Max. [7:40] Exclusive Road Warrior survival kit only on PlayStation. Jack Tretton is back on stage. [7:41] PS4 won't impose restrictions on used games. The audience is crapping themselves right now. [7:42] Just as the applause dies down, it starts back up again. They don't require an online connection, yet another audience cheer. [7:44] Cross-game voice chat, transition to friends network, share button, whatnot. PlayStation Plus is a focus now. PS+ membership carries over to PS4. They secretly slipped in that multiplayer is a little more in-line with Microsoft's previous stuff, in that you have to pay for multiplayer. [7:45] PlayStation Plus gets Driveclub on PS4 at the PS4 launch. [7:46] A new game every month for free, Don't Starve, Outlast, Secret Ponchos as examples. "PlayStation is all about games." [7:47] Now, Destiny is on-screen. Some ambient music, "Earth, Many Years from Now." Landscapes. A small collection of rusted out cars, and some bug monsters jumping around and scoping down planes and stuff. [7:50] It's some normal FPS gameplay so far, multiplayer. They're approaching a huge city. The lighting is pretty, it's fairly colorful as a game, relatively-speaking. There's some magic. He summoned a "ghost" which flies around and provides a flashlight. [7:51] There are integrated HUD features, like the ammo count on an LED screen on the gun, but it stil lhas a conventional hud for some reason. [7:52] A little combat. Iron sights, soe melee. The bad guys can fire Spirit Bomb-looking things. I think Jack Tretton just cackled. [7:54] Jack Tretton's a terrible team player. It has loots and stuff. [7:57] A third player shows up, a public event. Apparently a lot of people can join and they are fighting in an arena. Dropship is dropping stuff, including a gant robot spider monster. [7:58] Lots of people showing up now. They're shooting the legs off of the robot spider. [7:59] Despite the awful stage banter, Destiny looks like a pretty solid FPS. [8:00] Andrew House is back. They're discussing the cloud-based videogame stuff. Cloud service is available in 2014, including PS4, PS3, and PS Vita, allowing fast gaming networks. [8:02] PlayStation 4 is priced at $399. It'll be out this holiday season. And that's it! Sony had one little slow point, but they apparently were geared to fight in this E3. They addressed people's fears about Microsoft, brought out a strong and diverse line-up, and even nailed it on price. Online connection has to be paid for now, and the Vita got very, very little love on stage, but other than that, it looks like a categorical victory for Sony. Recap written by Marshall Henderson. Screencaps provided by Jason Clement. But who wore it better? Sony. Sony wore it better, but if you disagree, or just want to let loose, hit the comments below and let your voice be heard!
  9. Brace yourselves, for the rumor mill will be churning at full speed yet again: Rockstar has just released three character trailers for Grand Theft Auto V. Each trailer shows off a different character's life and back story, with snappy jams backing each for added effect. But you don't have to take my word for it, let's watch: First up is Michael. Not to be confused with the Sony marketing campaign of 2011, Michael is the ground-breaking archetype of a rich white guy, bored of his lofty life and spoiled family. He drinks, he wrestles his daughter for the remote to watch violent movies. Of course, his wife is cheating on him, so the trailer demonstrates. Michael's your All American guy, living the dream. He ultimately seems to be going through some midlife crisis, however, and, given the narrative of Grand Theft Autos past, probably comes to glamorize crime or something. This trailer is set to Queen's 1984 song, "Radio Ga Ga." Watch here! Next up, there is Franklin. Franklin is also a narrative cliche, a young black gang-banger (the kind we're allowed to talk about here) who seems to be looking to get "out." This trailer is more about showing off the action and violence, contextualizing Franklin through his lifestyle, rather than the personal narrative that Michael got. Franklin's backing track is Jay Rock's 2011 song, "Hood Gone Love It." Check it out! Finally, the third trailer is of Trevor. Trevor plays to the 'crazy hillbilly' archetype. We learn that he is a drug dealer, and seems to act and react in immensely extreme ways, showing him as being the mentally unstable one of this cast of criminals and murderers. He seems to play a sort of cross between Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and The Dark Knight's The Joker, committing crimes and reveling in it. We even see him in his underwear! It is really just the craziest thing. He's backed by Waylon Jennings's 1975 hit song, "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?" Your eye feet look tired from all this reading, take a load off, and watch this video instead: Grand Theft Auto V will be hitting PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on September 17th of 2013. It will be hitting PC... probably eventually. Until then, stay tuned for all the latest here at Game Podunk!
  10. 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.
  11. If you are playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on the Xbox 360 and PC, chances are you have already experienced some of Bethesda's newer content. Dawnguard and Hearthfire may be old news for most gamers, but the hunger is growing for those playing Skyrim on the Playstation 3. Unfortunately, Bethesda created a proverbial carrot-on-a-stick situation with this older downloadable content. Bethesda discussed in a recent blog post that Playstation 3 owners will now be waiting even longer on Skyrim's first two downloadable content packs. The company decided to place its current work on hold in order to focus all of its effort on bringing Dragonborn, Skyrim's first true expansion, to the Playstation 3 and PC in the early months of 2013. Why, you ask? The developers felt that this expansion is the better experience for the user and hopes to eliminate another untimely delay. No definitive date has been offered for Dragonborn, but Bethesda made it abundantly clear that Dawnguard and Hearthfire will not be worked on before Dragonborn's release. Patience may be a virtue, but how long are Playstation 3 owners willing to wait before throwing in the towel on Dawnguard and Hearthfire... or on Skyrim itself?
  12. Chances are, you haven't heard of this niche PlayStation 2 title. Chulip is the quirky little game about a boy who's turned down by the girl of his dreams. To capture her heart, the boy must raise his reputation by impressing and then kissing the residents of Long Life Town. Yeah, that seems pretty weird. In any case, if you're intrigued by this adventure/simulation game now, then you're in luck. The ESRB has just rated Chulip with Sony Computer Entertainment America as the publisher, which means a PSN release as a PS2 Classic sometime soon. Hopefully that now means more attention for the originally GameStop-exclusive game. What are your thoughts on Chulip? Will you purchase it when it is available on the PlayStation Store?
  13. Jordan Haygood

    Review: 007 Legends

    Developer: Eurocom Publisher: Activision Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 Release Date: October 16, 2012 ESRB: T for Teen This review is based on the PlayStation 3 version of the game His name is Bond. James Bond. He likes things shaken, not stirred. And not too long ago (two years, to be specific), developer Eurocom shook things up when they decided to re-imagine Rare“s Nintendo 64 classic with GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo Wii. The formula was simple: take a classic film, update it into the modern world, throw in Daniel Craig“s Bond and BAM – you“ve got yourself a winner. But when Eurocom decided to stir up that formula in 007 Legends, things got way out of hand. The game has its moments, but certainly not enough to make this the game it was supposed to be. 007 Legends begins by showing us a virtually re-enacted scene from the new Bond film Skyfall, where Bond is duking it out with some bad dude atop a moving train when suddenly, he gets accidentally gunned down by a female sniper (oops), causing him to plunge into the depths of the river below. With Death creeping closer, Bond has that moment where his life flashes before his eyes. This, of course, is where we get all our missions – five of Bond“s past adventures that he relives as he drowns. Each mission is taken directly from the classic Bond films Goldfinger, On Her Majesty“s Secret Service, License to Kill, Die Another Day, and Moonraker. There“s also a free DLC mission based on Skyfall that you can download if you care enough about finishing off the campaign (yes, you have to download the end of the game). And just like with the re-imagined GoldenEye, each mission has been modernized with smartphones, updated weapons and vehicles, and Daniel Craig. Except …that voice isn't Daniel Craig, but a soundalike who provides the game with some pretty atrocious voice acting. Unfortunately, each mission has been stuffed into a very short playtime, which leaves the narrative extremely choppy and confusing to those who have never seen one (or more) of the six films featured in 007 Legends, especially since you“re thrown into specific scenes that explain very little of what“s going on. Even the opening sequence makes little sense, since no attempt seems to have been made to give this game a proper exposition. Seriously, who the hell was James fighting on top of a moving train? And who was that sniper with terrible aim? These questions are no doubt answered in Skyfall, but considering this game was released before that movie, it was a very poor place to start the game. Sure, 007 Legends does have some fun nods to its source material, such as the famous scene where James almost gets his junk laser“d off by Goldfinger, but scenes like this are just thrown together into a jumbled mix of poorly-designed levels and repetitive gameplay that makes the game play a bit too much like a failed attempt at a Call of Duty mod and less like a 007 game. And each mission is basically the same: kill hordes of respawning enemies on your way to a checkpoint, attempt to be stealthy with the game“s horrible stealth system, use your smartphone to hack/take pictures/scan for fingerprints, partake in the occasional poorly-controlled vehicle chase sequence, and eventually engage in some lame quick-time fisticuff match with some of the big baddies that are way too easy and way too short to feel like appropriate boss fights. I appreciate the developer“s attempt at trying to give players more variety throughout the game, but the result is, at best, several steps below mediocre. The game“s stealth mechanics are probably the worst offenders here. Oh, you can be stealthy alright, but only by crouching down and walking silently. As soon as you take out an unsuspecting enemy, you“ll often find yourself screwed as you can“t do a thing with their body. And as soon as someone else comes along and sees the body, your cover is blown. So I just spent most of the time running into the heat of battle, guns a-blazing, until I hit my checkpoints. The horrible stealth mechanics wouldn“t be much of a problem for me, though, had I been able to do that all the time, but Eurocom deemed it necessary to throw in a bunch of mandatory stealth sections that result in an instant mission fail as soon as you get spotted. Do you get a chance to blast your way out of there? Nope! And your inability to peek around corners makes these sequences all the more frustrating. Of course, you CAN peek over ledges from time to time, so that helps. And the radar on Bond“s wristwatch doesn“t make things much better either. Though I suppose the ability to shoot lasers out of your wristwatch to distract enemies helps. So does the dart-shooting pen, but you don“t even get that until about halfway through the game. I won“t go into too much detail about the other gameplay mechanics this game has, but believe me, some of them are pretty bad. For example, the enemy AI is loads of fun (sarcasm detected). Having the enemies occasionally firing at obstacles instead of finding a way past them and blindly running into walls is some top-notch stuff, Eurocom. There“s also some pretty annoying frame rate problems to look out for, and the game“s somewhat outdated graphics, coupled with crummy character animations, doesn't help anything. There IS a silver lining in the sea of mediocrity, however, and that lies with the multiplayer. Just like in the re-imagined GoldenEye 007, you get a pretty good selection of well-known characters that bring along their own unique qualities and abilities (like throwing Oddjob“s trademark hat). You also have 12 modes to choose from, which provides a lot of diversity amongst competing players. None of this really matters, though, unless you have a buddy or two (or three) to play with locally because chances are fairly low that a game of this caliber will even have enough people playing it online after they“ve played the campaign. At least, I certainly wasn“t able find too many people… I really wanted to like this game, especially after the fantastic job Eurocom did with the updated version of GoldenEye 007, but 007 Legends simply didn“t have enough good qualities to make it the game it should have been – a big, fun collaboration of some of James Bond“s finest moments re-imagined to the same degree as GoldenEye. Instead, Legends shows us how not to make a 007 game. Not only was it not a big game (about five hours), but the fun factor was only really there if you were playing multiplayer. With its choppy narrative, shoddy gameplay mechanics, and lackluster level design, this game has bombed. James Bombed (sorry). Pros: + Multiplayer is fun Cons: - Choppy, confusing narrative - Missions are repetitive - Shoddy gameplay mechanics - Lackluster level design - Painfully dull boss fights Overall Score: 3 (out of 10) Poor 007 Legends shows us how not to make a 007 game, providing us with perhaps the worst James Bond title in video game history. This is not the 50-year celebration Bond deserves.
  14. Jordan Haygood

    007 Legends Oddjob

    From the album: Jordan's Review Images - Part II

    © Eurocom

  15. Number 905

    Review: Mugen Souls

    Developer: Compile Heart Publisher: NIS America Platform: PS3 Release Date: Out Now ESRB: T for Teen No matter how big the gaming industry grows and how commonplace multi-million dollar budgets become, one of the most wonderful aspects of the market is that there is always room for small titles. Some companies have forgotten this, but if there“s one thing the medium is, it“s diverse. Unfortunately, niche appeal only goes so far if the game can“t deliver a quality experience. Mugen Souls is the latest in the ever growing genre of anime-inspired JRPGs designed for a niche market. Conceptually, the game has a lot going for it. The story focuses on a girl named Chou-Chou, a self-proclaimed undisputed god, and her conquest of the universe. Her grand plan is to subjugate the hero and demon lord of each world by transforming into their specific desire and performing a moe kill. It“s definitely an over-the-top premise, but it“s a fun idea and the different moe forms are interesting. The combat isn't groundbreaking, featuring turn-based gameplay with free movement, but it spices things up by allowing you to knock enemies around the field and into other objects to increase the damage you do. It can be a little hectic at times, but it is satisfying to send a foe bouncing around the field with a well placed attack. The make-or-break feature of Mugen Souls is the grind. In addition to the standard level grind, Mugen Souls also lets you level up spells and equipment to varying degrees, with level caps to unlock and a peon subjugation system that lets you teach different moves to characters. Like most RPGs, there are optimal ways to gain the points and money you need, but the sheer number of stats you can grind is staggering. If you“re a fan of min/maxing, there“s a lot of content for you and the optional dungeons will keep you challenged even as you reach for omnipotence. If you don“t like grinding, you“ll become quickly frustrated when you hit a grind wall and realize progressing will require more than raw levels to advance. Unfortunately, the game“s level progression is poor. As mentioned, raw levels aren't a huge advantage; you“re going to need to level up equipment and spells at some point to stay ahead of the curve. My biggest issue is that the best way to grind is in the form of an optional dungeon on your ship, the Mugen Field. Because of how small the planets are, there isn't a solid sense of enemy progression, so it“s easy to find yourself outclassed by a boss if you don“t grind like a fiend in the field or spend a little time in the Mugen Field. On a technical level, Mugen Souls is a mess. Movement on the field is hampered by a poor camera and a framerate that, while not choppy, is definitely struggling. The loading times are ridiculously long, even with the game“s data installed, with some taking longer than a minute. Viewing skits also requires the area to reload, making multiple scenes a chore to watch. The real killer comes in battle. With battle animations turned on, loading isn't bad as the animation covers most, if not all, of it. You can turn the animations off in an effort to speed up the game, but you may find that it only makes things worse. With the animations off, the attacks still have to load, sometimes taking as much as five seconds for each turn. In addition to this, turning off animations results in more hectic battles, as the camera doesn't focus on the target of attacks. It makes it hard to keep track of how much damage has been done without manually checking at the end of every turn. I have heard that changing the PS3 to output at 720p can improve performance, but I noticed no significant benefit while playing. Although the concept behind the story is interesting, the actual content is dull and rife with generic cliches. Most of the game“s humor comes from breaking the fourth wall and low-brow sexual jokes and situations, which isn't inherently terrible, but it does become grating over the course of the game. While most of the situations are pretty tame, with things like bloody noses from arousal being commonplace, Mugen Souls holds the unique honor of being one of the few games to actually repulse me with its content. Even with the content that“s been cut from the Japanese version, the game still manages to cross the line by applying sexual situations to young characters. The story itself is fairly predictable and not very compelling, so if you“re not head-over-heels for ecchi and perverted situations, Mugen Souls won“t offer much outside of gameplay. As is the fate of games targeting a niche audience, you probably already know if Mugen Souls is in your wheelhouse or not. If you“re on the fence because you like the anime style but are concerned about depth and content, there still might be something for you if you love grinding. For those of us that aren't number crunchers though, Mugen Souls just doesn't offer a compelling reason to be played. Pros: + The moe kill system is a fresh concept + Solid soundtrack with Japanese and English voices + Tons of levels to grind Cons: - Tons of levels to grind - Poor framerate and even poorer load times - Low-brow humor ranging from cliched to offense Overall Score: 3.5 (out of 10) Poor Mugen Souls will appeal to very small audience that likes ecchi humor and grinding. If that isn't you, chances are it just isn't your game.
  16. New franchises routinely fall victim to the desire to create longevity by introducing multiplayer modes, but well executed innovation can be an excellent addition to fan favorites. God of War: Ascension will be the first game in the God of War franchise to introduce a multiplayer option. Warriors in this mode must pledge their allegiance to an iconic Greek god, each of which will grant the player special moves and bonuses. The Playstation Blog confirmed that Plus members can expect access to the multiplayer beta this winter; however, non-subscribers will also have an opportunity to earn their spot in the fight for favor amongst the gods. The official God of War website will house an interactive social experiment for those hungering for the first taste of Ascension. The Rise of the Warrior is a story designed with the hallmarks of a graphic novel which chronicles your warrior's journey. Fans will choose to join the ranks of the Spartans or Trojans and complete social tasks in an effort to gain early beta access and 30-day trial of Playstation Plus. Participants can also earn other rewards like early unlocks and exclusive gear for the God of War: Ascension multiple player mode. Will you be taking part in The Rise of the Warrior?
  17. Jordan Haygood

    Review: Double Dragon: Neon

    Developer: WayForward Technologies Publisher: Majesco Entertainment Platform: XBLA, PSN Release Date: Out Now ESRB: T for Teen This review is based on the PSN version of the game It's no secret that WayForward Technologies loves to give a helping hand in rebooting old franchises, what with Contra 4, A Boy and His Blob, and BloodRayne: Betrayal all previously under their belt. And now it seems they've gotten their hands on the Double Dragon license and decided to release a retro reboot Double Dragon: Neon for XBLA and PSN. Borrowing so heavily from its forefathers, you may think this game's a remake at first glance, but once you get to know it a little better, you'll soon see what makes Neon something new. Unfortunately, this game has too many flaws to be as enjoyable as it could have been... What do you get when twin brothers fight an evil Skeletor wannabe to save a girl they both like? What? New Super Mario Bros.? What on Earth gave you THAT idea? Anyway, the correct answer is the story for this game, because that's basically the gist of it. In Double Dragon: Neon, twins Billy and Jimmy Lee chase after the boney Skullmageddon to rescue their kidnapped love interest. Why does Skeletor Skullmageddon want to kidnap her? Who cares! The details aren't important. In fact, neither is the story in general. Similar to the vast majority of the beat-'em-up arcade games of yore, this game is all about the gameplay. The story is just an excuse to catapult us into the action. And the action sure is fun. Correction: the action sure is fun if you have a bro playing with you. Arcade beat-'em-ups were always meant to be played in co-op (or in this case, "bro-op"), and Double Dragon: Neon is no exception (it's called "Double Dragon," not "Single Dragon"). In that sense, it's a shame that the game doesn't currently have any online bro-op. Basically, you'll have to invite someone over or play with a relative/roommate/clone to get the most out of your brawling experience until a patch can be released. Take away that other person, and the game gets significantly less fun. Especially considering how cumbersome the mechanics can be. For instance, if you aren't lined up EXACTLY on the same level as your enemy, you will almost definitely miss. Neon expects you to be precise in your attacks when the game itself just doesn't allow it. Furthermore, the game moves far too slowly. Seriously, this game is supposed to be a reboot, not a remake. So why do the Lee bros. have to keep up with their slower-than-molasses past selves? You won't save the girl at that pace, boys! Sure, they threw in a sprint, but it's way too sluggish for you to use it very often. And with the slow walking and sluggish running, the platforming segments are frustrating as hell. Yes, I said it; Neon throws in platforming segments in most of its levels, and...let's just say I fell to my doom enough times to know that it doesn't do a very good job. It goes without saying (but I'm gonna say it anyway) that Double Dragon: Neon pretty much nails it when it comes to catering to nostalgics. With its powerful mullets, air-guitar solos, and era-appropriate music, this update is actually much more '80s than the '80s original. And speaking of music, that may very well be the best thing this game has going for it. With such radical, groovy, and [some other silly word from back then] songs, the soundtrack sounds like it stepped right out of 80s radio. Basically, the music is so...um...gnarly that the soundtrack itself might be worth owning (it's free), even if you feel the game isn't. Sadly, I can't say the same about the God-awful voice acting. I swear, Double Dragon: Neon has some truly atrocious voice acting, and when you throw some horribly-cheesy dialogue into the pot, things sometimes get a little hard to bear. Thankfully, Neon also has some pretty humorous dialogue that compliments the cheese like it's delicious fondue. Especially when the game makes fun of itself. I love when games do that. Going back to the subject of music, Neon made it a point to make music a hugely emphasized part of this game. Namely, some of the newly-added features were “tuned†up for the game. For example, when your bro“s health hits zero, you must rewind a cassette tape with a pencil if you hope to keep him alive. Another of these music-themed features is the skills system, otherwise known as “songs.†As you progress through each level, you will find songs to build your supply of passive and special abilities, whether from enemies dropping them or purchasing from shops. And the more you find, the higher your songs will level up. And as you defeat bosses, you gain a certain currency that you can spend at the “Tapesmith†to increase your song limit. Unfortunately, the game is too short for these things to have much meaning, and playing through levels multiple times to master skills just gets tedious. But as tough as Neon gets on harder difficulties, that may be your only option if you hope to reach the credits… Also, you know how this game has the sub-title “Neon†(if you don“t, where have you been?)? Well, that“s exactly what the game“s graphical style reminds me of. Like neon lights, Double Dragon: Neon is a very bright and colorful game. It“s beautiful, and makes the game a pleasure to look at. Double Dragon: Neon is a nice little update to a great arcade classic. It brings back some of the magic of the original while still managing to spice things up a bit with things like a unique skills system, awesome '80s-esque music, and of course, a fresh, modern look. But none of that hides the obvious flaws the game throws at you, such as clunky gameplay mechanics, lackluster level design choices, and some…questionable voice acting. It“s such a hit-and-miss sort of game, it“s hard to say whether or not you should spend ten bucks on it. I guess if you like beat-”em-ups and have someone to play with, it“s worth a buy. Pros: + Bro-op play is really fun + The radical soundtrack is fun to listen to + Customizable skills system allows for more interesting combat + Bright, colorful graphics are a pleasure to look at Cons: - Gameplay is really cumbersome and broken in some places - Some lackluster level design choices get in the way - Voice acting is atrocious - Too short for some features to have much meaning Overall Score: 6 (out of 10) Decent Double Dragon: Neon is a fun trip down memory lane with great, catchy music and fun "bro-op" play. Unfortunately, there are too many flaws in this game to make it as enjoyable as it could have been.
  18. Do you ever wonder what happens to a hero years after their retirement? Dragon Fantasy for iOS and PC brought us the tale of Ogden, a hero who may have lost the limelight but has managed to gain some girth, in charge of saving Westeria from evil. This retro-styled game by Muteki Corporation brought us an entertaining 8-bit adventure. The official Playstation Blog announced today that a sequel titled Dragon Fantasy Book II will be available for Sony consoles next year. Although a specific date has not been announced, the blog confirms that this title will be available via digital release for both the Playstation 3 and Playstation Vita. Unfortunately, the inclusion of the original Dragon Fantasy or availability on the Playstation Network has not been addressed. Although exclusivity has also not been addressed, it is safe to assume that there will be an exclusivity window for this title for Sony due to the utilization of Sony's Pub Fund. Sony's Pub Fund assists developers by helping to match development costs in exchange for an exclusivity window. The original goal for this this sequel was to follow in the original title's footsteps and offer a gradual acceleration through the 16-bit era by adding features throughout the individual chapters. Muteki Corporation decided to utilize Sony's Pub Fund in order to abandon that idea, simply making a title that focuses on features seen towards the end of the 16-bit era like fully animated attacks. Bryan Sawler, founder of the development company, also noted that Dragon Fantasy Book II will include a multiplayer mode.