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9:02 AM on 09.22.2009

Valve Considering a Player-Made 10th Class for TF2? (Shortblog)

In the latest Team Fortress 2 blog posted yesterday, a Mann Co. patent form is displayed and shows at least some interest in the concept of a guard dog to be utilized as one of Saxton Hale's products. The guard dog mentioned is a design for a 10th TF2 class that a player (or maybe players? I'm not sure.) designed down to its team role and abilities (The "Team Update Page" for the Guard Dog can be found below). Now, this doesn't mean that Valve is definitely going to pick up the idea and actually create a new TF2 class, but it seems like they're considering it.

What do you guys think? Is all of this a bunch of crap or is there a chance that we'll be seeing a "Meet The Guard Dog" in the future?   read

10:22 AM on 01.04.2009

I hugged Brick Tamland and now...

I do! I LOVE LAMP.   read

5:47 PM on 11.24.2008

Academic Transference: Resistance 2 Review

Yet another entry from the school project. I don't know how many more academic transferences I'll be able to do in the future, but hopefully there will be some down the line. I hope this one is up to par with my last one; something about it just didn't feel right when I wrote it.

What can be said about Insomniacís first title, Resistance: Fall of Man is that it was a solid release title with an intriguing story and some innovative weapons, but looked and felt like a last-gen title for the most part. Despite its slight flaws, Resistance was the game that got most PS3 owners to buy their systems on day one. Since their announcement less than a year ago, Insomniac has really made it their mission to improve upon that base with Resistance 2. With talks of an improved story, campaign, co-op and multiplayer modes, does Resistance 2 weigh in as the superior installment in the science fiction series?

To find the answer, letís start at the gameís story. Set in the early 1950s, Resistance 2 takes place directly after the events of the first, Sergeant Nathan Hale having destroyed a massive Chimeran stronghold in London. As he trudges through a snow-covered region, Hale is taken in by a group called The Sentinels. The group monitored Haleís action throughout his campaign in Europe because of his immunity to the Chimeran virus. After the introduction of Daedalus, a horribly deformed Chimeran/human hybrid, the main story continues two years later. Hale is now back in the United States with a squad of Sentinels, and heís ready to defend the U.S. from further attacks by Chimeran forces. The story proceeds fluently with each chapter as Hale makes his way around the U.S. to counteract Daedalusí efforts to destroy what remains of the human race. One device that is used well in the gameís narrative is the voice of Henry Stillman of Radio USA, Philadelphia. The player can hear several broadcasts from him throughout the game that tell the side of the American citizen during this invasion. It puts the whole thing into a different perspective as it moves away from the super soldier that must fight and starts focusing on the man who is trying to run from the Chimeran invasion. What I like about Resistance 2ís plot is that it gives the player a good idea of what is going on until it presents another question. This keeps the mystery of the Chimera but still lets the player establish his own theories on whatís going on. The game gives you Intel to work off of, much like the first game, that allows you to fill in some of the blanks as you go. There is a good aspect and a bad aspect of the gameís ending. The good aspect is that the story blatantly opens up for yet another sequel and makes you feel that the conflict at hand is bigger than you thought. The bad aspect is that the ending itself is highly disappointing in that itís quite quick and not incredibly suspenseful.

Haleís squad members are given backgrounds and personality to them, but only one of those members is really the focal point in development. Itís a little disappointing and some of the characters still seem tacked on, but it is a nice change from the seemingly one-faced army that was in the first game. The squad is actually given speaking parts that really matter to the advancement of the story. Daedalus is a very significant character because he as presented as the main antagonist Ė something that Resistance did not have in the form of an individual. Resistance 2ís plot is a much more intriguing and comprehensive experience with more personable characters contained within it, though it still is a bit simple at its core.

The graphics are good and certainly better than that of the first installment; although theyíre also certainly not the best Iíve seen in a game. Humans look human and animations are pretty fluid. The Chimera look very intimidating and the bosses have a good level of detail. Itís better that they do have such detail, because several of the bosses in Resistance 2 are quite enormous. Itís amazing what theyíve done with some of the Chimera because it really gives a contrast between 1950s America and the advanced technologies mixed with beast-like qualities that the Chimera have. What I think Insomniac does best is in the horizons of the game. Youíll be controlling Hale after a battle and youíll see the ongoing struggle occurring off in the distance. There are huge Chimeran battleships and fighters looming over cities, firing cannons into the middle of a flaming metropolis. It really shows the scale of the of the war going on between these two races, no matter how one-sided it may seem.

The sounds of the game are nice to the point where they serve their purposes. The various weapons have their own authentic sounds. Human weapons sound gritty and explosive while Chimeran weapons sound streamlined and laser-like. Voice acting is good and is utilized very frequently throughout the game. The high point is in the Chimeran roars and grunts. They sound aggressive and extraterrestrial, just as they should. The musical score is also pretty enjoyable because of its Hollywood-esque orchestral style. Everything together builds every mood in the game well enough to make the player feel like a part of it.
The single player campaign is linear, but it brings what would normally be a part of the background into the foreground. Ever wanted to be in a no holds bar skirmish against a massive Chimeran force? Insomniac has managed to put a ridiculous amount of enemies on screen amount without any trace of slowdowns. This polish in performance really helps keep you focused in your current battle, and believe me when I tell you, you will need that focus. Resistance 2ís AI is no pushover. You will likely lose a firefight numerous times until you get it right. The game requires that you make correct use of cover and other strategies in order to win. In addition, some enemies are very hard to take down, and youíll really only be able to defeat them if you have the right weapon.

Every weapon now has a secondary function, the most notable of those weapons being the magnum. It fires glycerin rounds that you can set to detonate on command. Insomniac has been known to create the most innovative weapons in a first-person shooter, and theyíve done it again. Some old favorites like the Bullseye and the Auger make a return, but new additions like the Marksman (Resistance 2ís version of Haloís Battle Rifle) and the V7 Splicer bring a whole new level to combat. The tactical uses for weapons are numerous, especially in the gameís cooperative campaign.

The cooperative campaign is a standalone campaign that gives a bit of a side story to Haleís endeavors. Players have three classes to choose from: Soldier, Spec Ops, and Medic. Soldier is used for frontline combat and protecting other members of the team, Spec Ops is for longer distance confrontation and for supplying ammo to others, and Medic is, of course, expected to heal team members while draining enemies. Itís not an extensive class system, but it balances well for a co-op setting and really makes the experience that much more fun. The story goes on for quite a while since it has 50 briefings to go along with it, so parties with friends could go on for quite a while. Working together is essential to complete your objectives in this mode, as each class relies on the other.

Competitive multiplayer is a slightly different story. You will find the standard game modes like Deathmatch and Capture the Flag (or core control as itís called) to whet your appetite for traditional FPS action. One mode is set apart from the rest and that mode is Skirmish. Skirmish can pit up to 60 players at one time in completing various objectives in divided squads. The game starts in smaller battles, but as the match progresses the squads begin to converge on a central objective. Itís a very different way of going about multiplayer gameplay and it works very well. As matches progress, players earn experience based on their actions. This experience is put towards a level or rank that unlocks clothing and weapons for use by your character. Experience also charges a meter during a match that, when filled, allows your character to use a berserk. Berserks give your character or team an edge over the competition in some way. This again puts an emphasis on strategy and teamwork in what can be a very hectic match. Resistance 2ís competitive aspect is executed quite well in that it refines elements of the FPS in its multiplayer, which wasnít exactly Resistance: Fall of Manís strong point.

Resistance 2 is a great addition to its series and the PS3 library. Insomniac has kept their word in providing a stronger, bigger, refined, and overall better experience than their first attempt. If you are a PS3 owner and/or are a fan of the original Resistance, then I canít recommend this game enough. It has a solid story, a couple of entertaining campaigns, and a multiplayer aspect that should last long enough in the wait for the imminent third installment. If youíre itching to play a fast and furious shooter with a grim narrative, get Resistance 2.

Resistance 2 gets a:
8.5/10   read

11:35 AM on 11.23.2008

Academic Transference: Gears of War 2 Review

Pardon the formal look of this review. I originally wrote this for a project in school, so it's supposed to have a sort of magazine feel to it. Still, I think it's an opportune time to put a review up on dtoid. There may be a couple more Academic Transferences in the future, so keep a lookout.

There is no doubt that Cliff Bleszinskiís Gears of War was the one title that entrenched the Xbox 360ís influence on the market. Its sequel, Gears of War 2, improves upon the formula of success and expands the gameís scale to make each moment even more impressive and exciting than the last. The folks at Epic Games have really outdone themselves this time. With the introduction of new weapons and gameplay mechanics, along with a longer and more impressive single player campaign, this sequel looks to be a game that will not be overshadowed by its older brother any time soon.

The story begins with our battle armor-clad, steroid injected hero, Marcus Fenix as he finds himself in the continuing struggle against the relentless Locust forces. Everything there is pretty much the same, right? Well, the rest of the story doesnít really build much more onto that. Sure, the Cogs are on their way underground to disestablish Locust rule, but thatís still basic plot in itself. Sadly, if you want to dig any deeper than that into the story, all you get is a bunch of either Dom and his quest to save his wife by talking about it from time to time, or questions with very little answers. Many characters speak about things that make players who havenít followed Gears of War down to the letter scratch their heads in confusion. Nearly every new ďplot pointĒ that is established or found in the game is a complete enigma and makes you feel uneasy about it, even after the game ends! It makes the entire experience feel so incomplete that your victory seems empty. When the credits started rolling at the end I thought, ďDid I just do the right thing or the wrong thing?Ē

On the bright side, all of your favorite characters from the first installment make their own appearances throughout the course of the game, along with a strong cast of brand new characters mixed in (a new Carmine is even introduced as the brother of the Carmine who was sniped in Gears of War). Everyone is given their own unique personalities and emotions, as they are conveyed fairly well in the gameís decent dialogue. Thereís no better way to reveal a personís true feelings than when theyíre in the middle of a massive firefight.

The game looks nicer, too. Moving away from the grays, whites, and browns of the first game, Gears of War 2 gives the player a more realistic look at how buildings, mountains, caves, and trees are colored. Character and weapon models have gotten a bit of an improvement while textures and materials have really gotten sharper. This isnít a huge overhaul, mind you, but itís nice to know that Epic hasnít been recycling the same textures as last time.

Sound is pretty much the same. Weapons sound like they should when fired and the Locust sound as foreboding as ever with their echoed guttural roars. All the main voice actors have returned to their roles and continue to breathe personality into their characters to great effect. There are also some nice ambient noises that really bring the player into the current environment.

Despite its story, Gears of War 2ís single player campaign is simply pure fun. The various locales and circumstances surrounding the brave group of Cogs are seemingly endless and beautifully placed. The battle mechanics are basically the same as the first, with a couple of minor tweaks that really help turn the tide in battles. You can use a grenade as a proximity mine, a body as a shield, a shield as portable cover, and even engage in chainsaw duels. These options can make each battle different based on your actions. The enemy A.I. is now much more competent and will certainly make a great effort to take you down if youíre not quick to the punch. Boss battles and vehicles are a nice break away from the regular run-cover-shoot gameplay that most of the game involves, with the exception of a certain tank driving section. Any developer who thinks itís a good idea to make the player drive over a shattering, frozen lake in a tank that has poor handling is not a friend of mine. Design has a few flaws and glitches here and there, but they do not often interfere with the gameís entertainment value.

Gears of War 2 shines better in its multiplayer department than its predecessor in that it gives the player a wider selection in exactly what they want to do. While in Gears of War you started matchmaking in a game and went through a few rounds and you were done, Gears of War 2 gives you that option along with the brand new Horde mode and the use of bots for play as well. Horde pits players against fifty waves of Locust enemies that they must defeat, or die trying. Itís an interesting premise, and although I didnít get to play very much of it, the mode should prove to be quite the challenge. Bots are great if you just want to do a quick run with a couple of friends locally or if you just want to hone your skills. The multiplayer offerings are great fun, and will hopefully entertain players with downloadable content in the future.

Chances are that if youíre a Gears fan, youíve already bought this game. If you havenít, I canít suggest any 360 title more than this one. Itís smooth, itís fun, and the chainsaws make you feel all tingly inside. Seriously, if you love great single player and multiplayer experiences with negligible plot and design issues, then you were born for this game. Between the new weapons, gameplay, characters, and scenery, Gears of War 2 is a memorable journey through the depths of Seras and back. Just donít talk about Maria and weíre cool.

Gears of War 2 gets a :
9/10   read

2:14 PM on 10.09.2008

Got an Extra LBP Beta Code Here!

Well, it seems somehow I received a second LittleBigPlanet Beta Code from USAToday after having received my first one a few hours prior. So, I'm looking to give this to someone here. Now, I was going to try to barter for a Nariko Sackgirl voucher code, but I'm not entirely sure if that's fair, considering I know what it was like to search for this thing. I'm also not sure how to go about giving it away, so if you guys have any ideas, I'm all ears.   read

2:16 PM on 10.01.2008

Super Mario Bros. Z Episode 7 Is Out!

Courtesy of Alvin-Earthworm...awww yeah.

After 16 months, at long last the latest installment in the Super Mario Bros. Z Series has been released! This has to be my all-time favorite sprite series because of the amazing detail that goes into the series' fight scenes. This new episode weighs in pretty close to the previous in terms of satisfaction for me, but that could have just been my anticipation of it. You can check it out on newgrounds here: SMBZ 7.

I was really impressed by what was done in this one. I won't spoil anything, but the creator, Alvin-Earthworm really knows how to work with something that may seem like a disadvantage at first.

If you haven't at least taken a peek at this series yet (and I don't know how that could be, as it has been on the front page), then check out the previous episodes on newgrounds first.

All I can say is that it was well worth the wait. What do you guys think? Like the series, love the series, hate the series?   read

4:45 PM on 09.24.2008

First Impressionish Kinda Sorta Review: Kirby Super Star Ultra

Ah, yes...I remember you well. I would play this for hours on end with my brother. But what's this?

By the gods! They made another one? Hm, what's that? Remake? I don't care, as long as it's Super Star.

For my first official blog entry, I felt that a look at the recreation of one of my favorite games *adds to sidebar list* would be in order.

As a child of the 90s, I was well exposed to some of the games found before the rise of the polygonal empire. One such life absorbing, rip-snorting title was Kirby Super Star. It would be an understatement to say that I spent a lot of my time on this game. For the longest time, I played nothing but this. It was such a simple concept but it was so entertaining I couldn't put it down.

Needless to say, my brother and I picked Kirby Super Star Ultra yesterday. I hadn't expected anything terribly different from this game, but the defining moment was when I started up the game and was treated to this:

...And by this I mean the 3D animated cutscenes.

After that aesthetically pleasing morsel, I was immediately immersed in the game modes I was so fond of. The originals are all there (with updated graphics), like Gourmet Race, which is the most win-filled mode in my opinion. There are also new stylus based substitutes for the old mini-games. They just seem like an excuse to use the touch screen, but they're still fine either way. I've yet to play through all the modes (hence first impressions) but the content is great, especially on the DS. Being able to take it anywhere is quite the convenience.

Maintaining the 2 player co-op, wirelessly even, was a godsend. Being able to play with a friend in the main game modes has always been a huge plus for me, and has worked very smoothly thus far.

Another small touch is the addition of a brand new tutorial system dubbed "The Beginner's Show." It's just an interesting little way to show new players how the game is played. It's nothing important, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

The only possible gripe I could have with this game is that it feels like it's dumbed down. I seem to remember dying a whole lot more in the original. Although I guess they would've made that choice because it is a handheld game, so it would be easier to complete quick gaming sessions. Again, I haven't played through all the modes yet, so I've yet to see how difficult the game can get.

Really, Kirby Super Star Ultra has returned an old favorite along with a few little surprises to keep it fresh. This game has already captivated me and will probably give me the same addiction I had when I had first played the original. Now if you'll excuse me...

I'm glad you're back, friend.   read

12:32 PM on 09.06.2008

That Awkward First Introduction

Hey guys, I'm sorta new here and...ok, not really. To be honest, I've been lurking around this site for a good year now and only started posting comments a few months ago. Since I've been the one commenting on what you guys write all the time, it only seems fair that I should finally introduce myself.

So to kick things off, my name is Kiefer and I am a high school senior who happens to love video games (go figure, right?). You can thank your great friend Necros (psst...all the rumors are true) for introducing me to this site in the first place, and I'll take this opportunity to thank him myself . Destructoid is a great site and I hope I can become a greater contributor to it, which brings me to my next point.

Writing. I can do it, but I need serious motivation to pump out something extensive enough. This means you probably won't hear much more from me in terms of my blogs, and if you do it'll probably be short and sweet. This blog was simply intended to give you a little introduction to myself so I don't seem like some psycho homicidal rapist. Thanks for your time, everyone.

In closing...

Even McCain loves Destructoid!   read

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