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Found 22 results

  1. 2013's reboot of Tomb Raider caused a boatload of controversy before it was even out. Thanks to promotional videos showing Lara being abused, apparently assaulted, and more, many felt themselves unable to keep silent. Crystal Dynamics was accused of destroying the famous character, being an egregious affront to women as a whole, and overall was a very rough time for the game. After a while, it all calmed down and Tomb Raider was finally released. Surprise, surprise, it is still divisive as ever. Many now adore the game and hold it up as a shining example of gameplay and characterization. Others of course dislike it, but that is true of any much-hyped release. No matter how you feel about the game, though, it has come out and there“s no longer a way to feign innocence about it. The focus of this piece is about the protagonist Lara Croft and why gaming could learn a lot from her. Lara Croft is displayed as a competent, intelligent woman when Tomb Raider begins. Although she feels unprepared for being cast on an island to fend for herself, she soldiers on and becomes a powerhouse by the end. Although this implausible transition occurs, and is not new to video games, the way her growth of character is depicted is very much worth noting. It manages to make this inhuman shift human. Yes, Lara does not waste time from being saddened over killing a deer out of necessity to wasting countless enemies via her bow and guns, but she does so without feeling overpowered. This is due to the narrative being weaved on the battlefield. For about half the game, enemies taunt each other and Lara through dialog quips that they don“t need to worry about one lost woman. To them it is just eventual that a single person without their weapons and armor is going to get caught eventually. Of course, with players taking control of Lara, she will not get caught. If the player wishes to keep going, they are going to win every single firefight. Instead of other games where enemies don“t take much note of a character“s uncanny skill, these enemies are very much aware of it. At around halfway through the game, we see a distinct shift in Lara“s character. Enemies scream in fear that Lara is coming - that she“s still living. She retorts with an excited “yes, still alive!” as she mows them down with new-found ease. This strange pleasure Lara now gets from succeeding against all odds is played on in many future fights. From then on, it“s not rare to hear enemies fearful of her approach. They express disbelief at her killing everyone and only want to run when they know she now has her sights set on them. Still, they fight, as enemy soldiers in games are required to do. It feels weird to hear characters react with human emotion because that“s something not often seen aside from boss fights or really specific scenes in other games. Through an attainment of power, Lara should become just another heroic power fantasy. While she is incredibly powerful, she is still never so much so to become unrelatable or relegated to pure fantasy. For example, her form becomes quite dirtied from blood and dirt. Although her death scenes feel as if they are a bit much, the changes to physical appearance do keep her struggles in mind at all times. You can recall her long journey through the wear and determination on her face. She is immediately more real than characters who meander through a game without ever appearing different. Thankfully, she is able to avoid becoming like games which reduce women“s clothing to tiny ribbons or else this visual evolution would prove a very different point. Lara is presented to us as a real being. She still does the unbelievable, but with an air of authenticity. Beyond bringing gameplay into her narrative, the actual story also revolves around her strength and how she grows into the woman that gamers know she will become. Lara initially is an unwilling participant in the events around her, which is an incredibly human response. Rejection of her call to action is short-lived, however, as gamers and the story need to progress onward to meet up with, and eventually save her partners. Although hopefully none of us can relate to fighting for our lives on an island of cultists, we can empathize with a feeling of powerlessness. Lara goes through trial after trial, only to be pushed back further than before. Frustration builds within ourselves as well as Lara, and we can embody this into playing increasingly intense firefights. Because Lara does not begin as a bulging steroid abuser with snide sense of humor, we are able to relate and live vicariously through her adventure. The question is now why is this such a rare thing to see in games? There have been many critical of characters such as Nathan Drake who, while goofy and adorable, still manage to decimate thousands in one game. Sure, Lara may be as much as a psychopath as him, she manages to be far more relatable and likeable without ever having to crack inane jokes or flash a dashing smile. It“s a weird dynamic which only becomes more obvious when playing both games back to back. It appears that Crystal Dynamics felt okay with humanizing their character because she is a woman. Men are certainly allowed moments of weakness or ineptness, but much less so in the world of gaming. This could become an editorial in its own, but stands in this piece to simply provoke new thoughts. Nathan Drake does not get to become as human as Lara because Naughty Dog is not prepared to write a male lead in such a way. Perhaps they will do so with The Last of Us, but it seems so far that most worry and inability will be channeled through Ellie, with Joel simply gritting his teeth and moving perpetually onwards. Whether or not everyone enjoys the rebirth of Tomb Raider is not how the game will be remembered. It should stand as a piece of interactive narrative that treats a game character as something other than a moving tank. Despite Lara“s lead role in a third person shooter, she maintains her humanity and that is something more developers should study. In making characters more “real” they can begin to create truly interesting stories to wrap their games around instead of just more of the same. Creating engaging stories (even around the framework of a shooter) would please everyone involved - both developers and gamers.
  2. Marcus Estrada

    Review: Humans Must Answer

    Developer: SumomGames Publisher: SumomGames Platform: PC (GOG, Direct) Release Date: July 7, 2013 ESRB: N/R (T suggested) A download code was provided by the publisher for this review Fans of shooters, sometimes known as shmups or shoot-em-ups, are getting more attention than they have for a while now. In the past, shooters ruled the arcades but a shift in gaming interests pushed them to the side. While communities still thrive around the world for shooters, only lately have they been seeing a huge resurgence in new game content. SumomGames have brought out their own shooter by the name of Humans Must Answer, and while it may appeal to fans, it will have a much harder time selling itself to others. One feature that distinguishes Humans Must Answer from other games is the story. Some shooters have no story, some have complex ones, but this is a far more comedic game. No, it“s not attempting to be a Parodius-like, but simply focuses on the silly concept that chickens are a highly intelligent class of beings. They are bothered by human“s consumption of their brethren and as such are keen to destroy everyone that gets in their way on their path to the human home base. You, as well as your strategists, are chickens. Even your ship is shaped vaguely like a bird. Beyond that, though, the game offers a lot of standard shmup fare. Your ship is capable of multiple firing modes and can be upgraded between missions. These upgrades include ones to the ship“s armor, as well as new features such as slow-mo mode. You will need to upgrade the ship to proceed because stages are tough! You“ll need all the help possible in order to succeed, regardless of difficulty level selected. That“s one of the reasons why the game is likely to appeal to longtime fans rather than new players. It is just too hard no matter what level you choose to play at. Even on easy there is a fair bit of skill required to make it through many stages. This is due not only to fantastic dodging of bullets but also to the acquiring of all the golden eggs for each level. Golden eggs serve not only as a payment for upgrades but also how players can explore deeper into the solar system. Without enough golden eggs you“ll be stuck in the same old levels. Golden eggs are accrued through skillful play. You can always nab some no matter how you navigate, but getting them all requires true dedication. Players have to get everything else right about stages and even find eggs that are hidden. Of course, the only way you can possibly do that is by playing a stage twice or more. Considering many shooters do not have progress locked in ways beyond running out of lives, it comes off as a bit annoying. Those that are the most dedicated to Humans Must Answer will find a game that is very well designed for the tastes of a hardcore shoot-em-up fan though. Not only does it have great visuals and fast, responsive play, but also an exciting, electronic soundtrack. In fact, the visuals are probably far better than what other independent shooters are offering. At least, that“s the case if you aren“t a diehard lover of pixel art. Music always tends to be great in the genre and thankfully it doesn't disappoint here. The soundtrack will not edge out any of the more infamous and incredible tracks from other games but it does well to excite players. Still, the game as a whole is one which wants to appeal to a wide audience but cuts itself short via a fairly high difficulty setting. There“s nothing wrong with making a game for a niche, but it is a shame that one difficulty truly couldn't be the easy “unlock everything” route. With that, both the supremely skillful camp could enjoy it as well as newcomers. If you are a long-time shooter fan, though, feel free to pick up Humans Must Answer. Pros: + Gameplay is fast and fluid with an easy to control ship + Attractive graphics + Variety of ways to power up your ship Cons: - Accessing new levels is harder than it has to be - Four difficulty settings but none are able to make the game “easy” - Chicken humor isn“t actually that funny Overall Score: 6.0 (out of 10) Decent If you“re always seeking out new and interesting shooters then hopefully Humans Must Answer is now on your radar!
  3. Developer: Size Five Games Publisher: Size Five Games Platform: PC Release Date: June 28th, 2013 Sometimes, when you first hear about a game, you seem to go "Ooh, ooh, ah........AH......." as you read more about it. The premise might sound interesting right off the bat, but your expectations falter the more you think about it or read a few reviews. Gun Monkeys is a game about monkeys vying for cash and power, and really I have no clue why. Apparently, you the player are a CEO of a company in the present and you have to send legions of expendable monkeys into the future to retrieve power cubes because human life has ceased to exist by that time? Seriously, if that premise doesn't either intrigue you or confuse you I don't blame you, you can't really get a neutral sort of reaction out of that kind of description! The game is all about the brisk matches and nerve-wracking gameplay though, I promise. There's a tutorial included, but I skipped it because a friend told me the controls and I was ready to go. As the game is meant for multiplayer, you have some unique options available at your disposal even at the server browsing menu. You have the regular servers, such as US 1 or US 2. However, something that makes this game stand out a bit is its inclusion of private lobbies for any groups you're in on Steam! DEFINITELY a neat feature, even if it's small. We managed to get a few nice GamePodunk games going, though later on we encountered a bug where no group servers popped up so we had to resort to US 1 (I believe this has been fixed by now, it was only for a day or two). Upon playing my first few series of matches, I failed miserably. This is a tough game if you don't know what to do, and I learned that fast! I eventually got the hang of things and went on to achieve an almost 80% win rate from 30+ matches played. Pretty good, huh? The matches themselves consist of quick 1v1 fights between you and another monkey. You can jump around, climb walls, shoot each other, blow each other up with mines, and most importantly, pick up power cubes or mystery cubes. Well, not quite most importantly as your actual objective is to deliver the cubes to your little base. Getting the maximum you can carry at once delivered (three) will net you a nice bonus. Also, when you drop off a cube you gain a bit of power and your opponent loses a bit. However, both of your power levels are constantly dropping steadily (and if the match takes too long, quite fast!). Killing a monkey or dying will also drop or raise both of your power levels. Now, you may be wondering what those mystery cubes I mentioned were, though it's easy to guess. They're powerups! These range from unique weaponry to some annoying effects for your opponent, such as being frozen or being heavily slowed. Probably my favorite part of each match is the randomized stage you fight on. You can fight underwater, on odd tunnels layered with mines right outside your base, with jetpacks (on the extremely rare change you manage to find one, I never did), or perhaps a pleasant snowy mountain.......eventually to be coated with the blood of battle. Speaking of that, this game is fairly bloody, but it gushes out like a pastry oozing with jelly. No, I don't care for those if you're wondering, yuck. Anyway, the blood is all cartoonish, so it fits the game's theme. Graphically, this is a nice game to look at. Nothng spectacular, but the animations are good and the visuals are vibrant and pleasant to look at, not counting when your opponent's mine blows up in your face in slow-motion. The sounds are tolerable and the music is not really noteworthy though I like it. After a match, you either earn or lose some money, which you can spend (or not!) at the shop. The only items there are "perks"- think of these as upgrades. They make the match slightly skewed in your favor if you happen to face a new player, but they make it a-little-less-unfair-for-you if you face a player with hundreds of matches. Some of these are things such as "extra damage to your gun" or "mad hops", so they really can change the way you play, for good or for worse. There's achievements and TRADING CARDS *gasp*, which are nice additions though they aren't anything spectacular. A few of the achievements, particularly one for "breaking the tutorial" seem very amusing, which is a nice touch. Is this game worth your time and money? Well, yes I'd say. You have to have a friend who has it to actually have a fantastic time though, but even with the few random players you meet you can still have a blast. It's more fun with friends, but the solid gameplay and quick matches makes this a game worth checking out if you have the money to spare. Be aware of the bugs, but buy it for the stylized atmosphere and wonderful 1v1 action. I give this game a: 8/10 Want to win a copy of Gun Monkeys on Steam for yourself or a friend? Comment below saying what your favorite color of monkey (you can customize them in the game, you know!) is for a chance to win! The winner will be randomly selected on Wednesday, July 17th, 2013. That's in just a few days! So, make sure to enter before then! Good luck!
  4. Marcus Estrada

    Indie Shoot 'Em Up Diadra Empty Now Available

    If you're a fan of shoot 'em ups who lives in the West then you're probably already familiar with Rockin' Android. The group, who have previously published games such as Gundemonium Collection, have released a new game for July. The latest doujin game they've targeted is called Diadra Empty and features 2D graphics, weapon upgrades, large-scale enemies, and tons of pink bullets. Basically, it sounds exactly what a bullet hell fan would want out of a game. Where can you buy Diadra Empty? So far it is available on Amazon, GamersGate, and Rice Digital for $6. If you're a Steam devotee then the only way you'll get it there is to first upvote Diadra Empty on Greenlight.
  5. Mamorukun Curse! is the localized name of a top-down shooter that initially graced Japanese arcades way back in 2008. More recently, it made its way onto PSN (still in Japan) in 2011. This is the version which UFO Interactive has confirmed for localization today. Players interested in the shooter will be pleased to know this version includes all previously-released DLC. This means extra stages, extra playable characters, and alternate outfits for each of the characters are available instantly. Hopefully that makes up for the relatively long span of time between the Japanese and American release. Mamorukun Curse! will be a PSN exclusive when it launches on July 16th. The game plus all that previously sold separately DLC costs $20. Feel free to check out the reveal trailer: http://youtu.be/COvDESAqFUM
  6. Hey guys! Yesterday Mastiff along with Teyon, announced the release of the next installment in the Heavy Fire series, Shattered Spear next Tuesday, January 29th on X360, PS3 and PC! We are all very excited here at Teyon about the new release and would like to share with you all the trailer for Shattered Spear! For more news and updates, jump onto the official Heavy Fire website- www.heavyfire.com otherwise feel free to post questions and comments on this thread!
  7. The perspective from which a game is presented, can govern the audiences experience. Much like in writing, a video game has to make the choice of being played in the first person, or in the third person. From a mechanics standpoint, a cover system used in games like Gears of War or Uncharted, would be odd if the games were in first person. Constantly hiding behind cover would have your character look to the side, or away from barrier where there are no enemies, thus putting the player at a disadvantage because the player can“t spot enemies. The cover system allows for better strategic advantage in a third person view. Marcus aiming from cover Video games are a form of fiction, and the game is that character“s journey and story, and you, as the player, can experience the same story. Many, if not all video game formats at least allow for third person to be a viable presentation option. More often than not, one will find an action game, or an RPG to be in the third person (there are some exceptions). However, The third person perspective also runs the risk of the audience being detached from the character. To reiterate, the game is that character“s journey and story, the player is just there for the ride. With that potential detachment however, comes the fact that the third person perspective allows for the audience to take a step back amidst all of the action and see the bigger picture more than first person perspective allows. You can see your character make faces showing that he or she is distressed, angry, or sad, reacting to the situation at hand (such as covering their ears after a nearby grenade explodes). Unfortunately, the detachment from the characters will make the audience feel like they are watching a movie, instead of taking part in it. He may have your name, but he“s not really you. The detachment also leads to the fact that the third person perspective allows you to see your character. This is great, because it allows the player the greatest amount of control. The player can see everything at once. This allows you to tell when an object is going to fly over the character“s head and calculate how far you throw an object, or how far you will jump. The stronger level of control allows for the player to maneuver through the world better than a first person game does. The first person perspective does its best to emulate human sight. The player is placed inside the head of the player character, seeing exactly what the character sees. This allows for the player to be pulled into the action of the game even more so than a game in the third person perspective does. The character you are playing, is, even more than a third person game, by extension, YOU. You see bullets whiz by your head, and the horrifying face of that killer dog is literally a few inches away from you. This makes the action that much more surreal. The player is also allowed much more camera control. You can almost always decide to look wherever the heck you want to. This is especially great for all of those people that like to explore their environments. But what if you look around while some character is talking to you? Do you miss an important item, or some other funny animation? There is potential to miss some important things, but that level of control oddly reflects real life. As soon as you turn away from someone or something, that person or thing vanishes, and you are left dumbfounded. The greater amount of camera control isn“t without its limitations though. Shooting some aliens. The first person viewpoint feels very limiting from a gameplay perspective, because shooting is what works best. There are exceptions, like Skyrim, and Mirror“s Edge but when most people think of games in the first person, it“s the shooter genre. As unique as it could be, a or an action game where your character spins around a lot could get quite unnerving after a while if it“s played in the first person. It“s not so much that the games are bad, it“s that there are greater inherent restrictions to the first person viewpoint. The games need to have mechanics that work around this inherent limitation. There is the potential for more creative games in the first person if there are great mechanics, but the mechanics need to overcome the restrictions first. Both perspectives have their own merits and limitations. Video games have used the third person perspective more than the first person, and more games tend to lend themselves better to the third person perspective as well. Both sides can lead to different levels of creativity as well, but you need to find out which perspective works best for the presentation of the game.
  8. Tribes: Ascend is a fast-paced futuristic shooter that came out of open beta in April of last year. The free-to-play game generated a lot of interest and currently has a fairly sized userbase. Hi-Rez Studios is hoping to get even more players into the game with the impending release of a GOTY edition. This is definitely not standard procedure for F2P games, but actually doesn't sound awful. You see, the Tribes: Ascend GOTY Edition unlocks every paid item currently in the game. That grants players access to some hundred weapons, twenty one perks, and all nine of the character classes. Basically, everything from the past ten expansions is available to GOTY purchases immediately. In this age of monteization, this seems like the next logical step. Tribes: Ascend GOTY Edition launches tomorrow and will be available on Steam, as it is only sold digitally. If you buy during launch then it is discounted to $30. However, those already paying a Tribes: Ascend VIP subscription can buy at the discount of $20.
  9. Marcus Estrada

    Review: Zombies.

    Developer: Thebignic Publisher: Thebignic Platform: PC (Desura, GamersGate, Web) Release Date: December 7, 2012 ESRB: N/A (M recommended) Zombies have become quite the popular enemy in video games over the past few years. Sure, they have been the stars of tons of horror films since Night of the Living Dead, and Resident Evil certainly didn“t skimp on them, it took a little something to make them a serious gaming fad. So when a game has the audacity to come out calling itself “Zombies.” (with a period), it makes you question it. So what is the game about, aside from the obvious? In Zombies. you take control of an office worker. He“s no veteran, spry teenager, or anything else of a “character." He“s just a man who had been sitting in one cubicle of many. Unfortunately, his office is the scene of a zombie breakout and he“s compelled to get out of it alive. There“s a bit of story in that you meet various characters from the business, but they mostly exist to push the game along. If you“re looking for some deep story then you are not going to find it here. Of course, considering zombies are involved, it is rare to expect that anyway. The game is basically an isometric arcade-style shooter. Instead of running through jungles or space or anything like that though, you are trashing cubicles. The business building is incredibly bland as one would expect, but funny in its unexpected nature. The developers may have realized the scenery is a bit drab as they made it so you can destroy every inch of it. Although it“s never required, demolished inanimate objects get tallied at the end of each level. Also, the further you progress, the more interesting the levels become. Really though, you won“t be spending too much time looking at the surroundings thanks to heaps of zombies. There are tons of them on any one level and your goal is to kill them all. At the very start you only make do with chairs and coffee for weapons, but then you quickly get an arsenal of stuff. Whatever your preferred method of zombie termination, you“ll probably find it represented here. Some of the weapons include a chainsaw, flamethrower, and shotgun. There are also occasions where an NPC will tag along and take care of the zombie beatdown with you. There are a bit over twenty five levels to engage in, although just playing through them on the easiest difficulty takes under two hours. Playing the game on harder difficulties takes a bit more to get through, but it still works out to be fairly short. However, the allure of this game, alongside arcade titles, is that the simplicity is addicting. When playing through a level once, you“ll find that some zombies weren“t killed or building parts destroyed. It just makes you want to go back and give the levels another go until they“re completed. Visually, the game has a great stylistic take on pixels. It“s true that the market is super saturated with pixel-style indie games, but at least they gave it a neat look. The lead character is incredibly boxy and the art itself doesn“t make it try to be 8-bit. Zombies. just happens to have pixels for characters, and that“s good enough, not to mention that the small size of characters helps pack heaps of undead on the screen. On the other hand, the music is not done with any sort of retro theme in mind. It sounds good and aids in the zombie slaying antics going on. One unfortunate thing about the game is that it loses one of the coolest features early on. For the first handful of levels you are not only saving yourself, but other survivors. They are dispersed around levels simply cowering until you find them. It is a fun part of the game because not only do you have to find them, but make sure the increasing snake-like train of survivors behind you is safe too. Unfortunately, after a while there are no more survivors to find. Some will find the game better for it, but it seems like a silly change. As the survivors are never a requirement to finishing a level, why not just have them around for players who are interested? Another issue with the game is that the art style impedes it at times. Yes, the aesthetic is neat but the pixels are so small that sometimes it is hard to see what is going on. When an enemy shoots small pixels of vomit at you, it is often hard to tell it has even happened. Then there are enemies that easily blend in with the background unless you are very cautious. However, as the game is so frantic, more often than not you just end up damaging yourself to realize that there is danger nearby. If the colors of enemies and their projectiles stood out more, this wouldn“t be nearly as big of a problem. Finally, it is a shame that there is no multiplayer (local or online) available, and it comes to mind as soon as NPC characters are introduced to fight alongside the lead. Why couldn“t those characters be other humans? Perhaps it was beyond the scope of the developer, but it is saddening. Simply having at least two player co-op would help extend the life of the game even further. As is, Zombies. works best for arcade fans who want to max out scores. There“s certainly nothing wrong with that, but having multiplayer could easily hook in more players. Zombies are a tired trend in gaming which still doesn“t appear to be stopping any time soon. In that sense, Zombies. at least takes an interesting view of a zombie apocalypse with the office locale. Anyone who enjoys running, gunning, and heaps of gore and explosions will enjoy this game. Those who like a bit more meat in their zombie adventures should look elsewhere. Zombies. is simple fun and that“s all it was ever meant to be. Pros: + Tons of zombies to annihilate + Good deal of levels and a few boss fights + Very streamlined, simplistic gameplay Cons: - Co-op should have been a no brainer - Art style makes it hard to see some enemies/projectiles Overall Score: 7 (out of 10) Good Those not hampered by a single player zombie throw down will find Zombies. to be quite the enjoyable game.
  10. Marcus Estrada

    Zombies. Boss Kent Screenshot

    From the album: Review Images

  11. Marcus Estrada

    Zombies. Screenshot 2

    From the album: Review Images

  12. Marcus Estrada

    Zombies. Screenshot 1

    From the album: Review Images

  13. Marcus Estrada

    Review: Big Sky Infinity

    Developer: Boss Baddie Publisher: Ripstone Platform: PSN: PS3, Vita Release Date: December 11, 2012 ESRB: E A download code was supplied by the publisher for this review What is Big Sky Infinity? Have you ever heard of a game by the name of Really Big Sky? It launched in 2011 for PC, and was actually a sequel to Big Sky of 2010. So how does Big Sky Infinity factor into all this? It“s the next progression in the world of the game for developer Boss Baddie. It also happens to be available on a new platform. Instead of PC, PSN players will get their chance at it. With that out of the way, let“s move on to the actual game itself. It is a twin stick shooter which is quite at home on consoles as well as the Vita (thank goodness it has two analog sticks). You control a very small spaceship trekking across the universe, shooting at everything in its path. If you“re at all familiar with these games then you know that one stick handles shooting while the other handles movement. Basically, your goal is to rack up as many points as possible. There are varying modes of the game but the main draw is to simply outlast other attempts. Depending on the mode you select, how you manage powerups is different as well. With Classic mode, for example, you are able to level up your ship after every round. There are a great deal of ways to increase the power of your ship, from increased ship speed to more powerful lasers. On the other hand, other modes will allow you to select anywhere from one to a few leveled up goodies to start with. In Arcade mode specifically, you gain powerups through orbs, a trait that is more typical of side-scrolling shooters. There are twelve different gameplay modes and at least one should suit every player type. There are extremely difficult modes, a peaceful mode, and even boss rush. All the various modes (except for one) require unlocking, but for the most part there should be no trouble doing so. They basically require that you play the preceding mode a little bit before being ready to take on the next challenge. There is also a multiplayer mode which is different depending on where you“re playing. On PS3, it allows for simultaneous multiplayer while on Vita only you will be shown on screen. As you now know, the game makes use of an upgrade or power-up system depending on the mode. How are upgrades handled? During play, destroying enemies nets you glowing things called “starbits”. These starbits are used as currency and will be what you use to upgrade the various ship components. Although at first it may seem easy to keep on upgrading, you“ll soon find it becomes a lot tougher. About a fourth of the way through an upgrade, the prices become much steeper. In a sense, leveling starts to begin to feel like its own game within the game. Big Sky Infinity is fun enough just by playing it, but leveling up certainly adds to it. What helps make the game so entertaining is the fact that levels are randomly generated. You“re never going to see the same game twice and it“s quite exciting. Unfortunately, there are only so many types of enemies, bosses, and hazards, but that“s to be expected. For the low price of this PSN download, though, it is very well executed. It generates levels in such a way that you“re never going to be left feeling like one is broken. Similarly, if the game senses you are doing well, it will increase difficulty accordingly. Then there are a few touches that make the game seem cuter. There is a narrator who spouts off lines that fit the situation from time to time. After a while, you hear pretty much everything he can say, but before that it is pretty funny. He offers to buy you chips or even admits that he likes you a little bit. His words are often synched to when a group of enemies appear or you defeat a boss. The music also helps set the mood for a nice shooter. It is electronic, but free of dubstep. The game is quite simple despite the various modes. At the end of the day, all you“re really doing is leveling up and trying to climb a scoreboard. It“s certainly well done and fun, but probably best in smaller doses. Also, for the simplicity of the game, it is recommended to just play via Vita if possible. That is really where the game seems to fit best. Big Sky Infinity“s strength is in how it manages to capture the aesthetic of arcade shooters. If those are the kind of games you enjoy then this should be on your radar. Pros: + Multitude of upgradable items which don“t max out quickly + Wealth of game modes to suit most players + Randomly generated levels keep play fresh Cons: - Not huge variety of enemy or boss types - Narrator was a nice idea but is too limited - Beyond leveling up, there is little else to compel players Overall Score: 7 (out of 10) Good Big Sky Infinity excels in creating a modern arcade game that is both simple and addicting.
  14. barrel


    From the album: Barrel's storage of pics

    © http://cdn.gameplanet.co.nz/art/full/3674267

  15. Marcus Estrada

    Zanac X Zanac

    From the album: Review Images

  16. Marcus Estrada

    Sine Mora Heading to PC Soon

    Way back in March the sidescrolling shooter Sine Mora came to XBLA. We reviewed it positively, as did some others, but after that it mostly disappeared. If there was one issue with the release it was probably due to having only the Xbox audience to enjoy it. Now the word is out that the game is being brought to PC to hopefully expose it to an even larger audience. Sine Mora, a collaboration between Digital Reality and Grasshopper Manufacture, is being published by Kalypso Media on PC. It will arrive on Steam, GamersGate, GreenManGaming, and a few other digital outlets on November 9th. Fans of the genre should definitely give it a look if they haven't yet. Apparently this isn't the last port we'll see of the game either. In June, it was stated that the game would be reaching the PS3 and Vita as well. There is no more known about that currently except that it hasn't been canceled. The Vita version will even have a few exclusive features like a character cameo from Under Defeat.
  17. When Rising Star Games first announced they were opening an office in North America, people weren't quite sure what games they would bring out. In Europe, they publish a boat load of titles but in the US these games already are spoken for with other publishers. The first game Rising Star Games brought over was the shooter Akai Katana and they're prepping to release another. Under Defeat HD has been given a release timeframe and trailer as well. Speaking to the PlayStation Blog, Product Marketing Manager of Rising Star Games, Yen Hau, spoke about selecting games to publish: "One of the great things about localizing games for western audiences is giving fans the opportunity to experience their favorite titles in their native language, while providing newcomers a different take on a specific genre. Another great aspect of localization is the ability to bring cult classics and underrated games back into the current marketplace, giving these games a chance to gain popularity among new audiences. This is the case with Under Defeat." Under Defeat hit the arcade and Dreamcast back in 2006 but was never released here. Developer G.rev is a shoot 'em up specialist and this specific title is very well known in the fan community. This HD version will be the first time the game will be available for US and EU gamers. What improves this version over the original? It includes a new 16:9 widescreen mode option. This is important considering that vertically-scrolling shooters tend to have a smaller width. This mode will use the entire screen to create a much wider shooter experience than most are used to. The game will be available for PS3 via PSN or disc. Gamers who pick up a boxed copy will get a few extras: soundtrack CD, digital art book, DLC, and letter from G.rev's Executive Producer. Under Defeat HD will cost $30 and will be out this Fall.
  18. Marcus Estrada

    Space Heroes 5 Greenlight

    From the album: Marcus's Album

  19. Marcus Estrada

    Review: Ether Vapor Remaster

    Developer: Edelweiss Publisher: Nyu Media Platform: PC Release Date: Out Now ESRB: E10 If you're a fan of shoot 'em up games then you might feel quite catered to these days. While the genre has always had some important presence in the west, it seems that lately more and more titles, both retail and digital, are popping up to satisfy fans. Nyu Media's latest addition to their catalog is Ether Vapor Remaster and it's an arcade shooter through and through. Developed by doujin company Edelweiss, it checks all the boxes needed to make a competent shooter. Did they manage to create something truly notable though or did they just assemble a soulless regurgitation of genre tropes? Read on to see where exactly the game fits. Ether Vapor Remaster has a story, but overall it's a simple affair. If you're expecting to see something like Sine Mora's philosophical waxing then you'll be disappointed. Considering how many of these games don't come with intense stories though it doesn't feel like much of a fault. If anything, it's a bit amusing at times when lines seem strange. It may seem nice that the developers tried to create a fully fleshed out game but it may have been better to just nix the idea all together. At the very least, the story isn't a massive hindrance, just a small blemish - especially since you can turn story text off completely if you want. Looking at the actual gameplay you'll quickly find this is a divergent title. For example, most games in the genre will focus on one perspective while playing: horizontal, vertical, or 2.5D. Instead of settling on any of these orientations the game presents you with all of them. No, not at once, but throughout the various scenes the camera will often pan out or tilt into a different one. This doesn't happen at random but at specific points during your travel. Even though it only happens at certain times, it is extremely jarring at times. To have the camera switch angles in the middle of an intense fight can totally throw you off, and probably will the first (and maybe second) time through. After a while you'll get used to it, and it's an interesting design choice, but it may not be the best one. If nothing else, it helps distinguish this game from the myriad of others. As soon as you jump into the firefights you will have to quickly acquaint yourself with the three main firing types. First, there's the "gatling" shot which shoots a volley of bullets straight in front of your ship. After that there is the "winder" shot which shoots bullets diagonally from your ship, helping you reach enemies that aren't directly in front of you. Finally there's the "lock-on" which, as expected, locks onto opponents. Each of these shots can be charged for stronger versions. Unfortunately, there are not power ups or specials to collect as you play through levels. Aside from the camera, it seems like mostly a standard game. However, that's not fair to say just yet as Ether Vapor Remaster does have a bit more to show for itself. It does so in its presentation of gameplay. As long as you can handle the movements of the camera the game treats players to some interesting on screen visuals. Sometimes bosses will fly around in the foreground or background, which means you can't shoot them with just a standard shot. Locking on will get those lurking off the "main" screen but that's not the neat part. Seeing mechs zoom around all planes of the screen is pretty fun to watch and makes it feel like you're in much greater danger. When they stick out of your reach and spew laser shots at you in 2.5D it becomes more intense. There was certainly a lot of thought put into making the game seem dynamic. Some enemies have specific patterns which dodge in and out of your reach and certain attacks are downright brutal. Sometimes though it artificially raises the game's difficulty. Judging exactly where a laser wall is coming from in 2.5D is pretty weird. Having an enemy flying around while you're stuck in a sidescrolling plain toss bullets at you is also often weird. Where are they falling? It's tough to tell at times, although thankfully this isn't the bulk of the game. Still, there are instances like this which required multiple playthroughs simply because it was hard to judge where the safe zones were. There are seven stages in the game and that's a pretty typical amount for this type of game. Beyond having a simple boss at the end of each stage though there are also little shooting segments in the middle. These don't particularly rely on skill but help you rank up your points. The segments basically launch a load of rockets at you and you lock on and shoot down as many as possible. These moments, despite being in 2.5D quite often, didn't cause the same stresses as some boss battles did. Because of this, it made me wonder why they couldn't have kept this working visual design for other parts of the game? Well, at least this will prove to be a helpful example for Edelweiss' next game. Overall the game takes about 30 minutes to complete if you can work through it perfectly. For most, you'll probably have to play some stages a handful of times before being able to beat them. The game isn't hugely difficult, but still offers a challenge for a wide range of players. You can't change the number of credits - it's fixed at two. However, you can change how many points you must accumulate to refill the ship's shield. Between those options and stages that are about 8 minutes, even novice players should be able to beat the game if they're persistent enough. So where does this game fall on the spectrum of shoot 'em ups? It is something that was obviously produced with love by the developers but it isn't the best example of the genre. The graphics are nicely updated "Remastered" from the original Ether Vapor, but still look mostly PS2 era. Any fan would probably tell you that graphics aren't important to shooters, and they aren't, but it may put someone off. Backgrounds are nice and scroll by fast to create a great illusion of speed but they're not too creative themselves. Skies, cityscapes, and hidden bases are about as creative as it gets. Bosses often look like typical mecha characters, although the end boss is quite creative. It's hard to say that Ether Vapor Remaster isn't an excellent game because you can tell that the developers adore the genre. Still, despite their love they seem to have made some mistakes in creating their own game. The camera changes are sometimes jarring, it can be hard to tell where bullets fall, and overall the production could still use more tuning up. Fans of the genre will enjoy the game though, and at $8 it becomes much easier to overlook the issues. Overall, don't expect the most amazing shooter you've ever played, but it's competent and is a most pleasant ride. Pros + Solid shooting mechanics + Bosses exhibit a variety of attack styles + Good difficulty for many players Cons - Camera changes can be disorienting - Sometimes hard to tell where bullets are - Uninspired enemy design Overall: 5 (out of 10) Average Fans of the shoot 'em up genre will enjoy Ether Vapor Remaster as an inexpensive burst of fun.