Hey. If you are reading this then that means you have found my blog. It's not hard to miss though, but it's nice to see that someone is reading it. Not much to go on than what I've written over there.
I also try not to spoil any game. No matter if it's old or new.
I am being hunting down like a dog. I have one Molotov cocktail, and a few rounds left of my hunting rifle. I am running out of supplies with no help in sight. I hid behind a few boxes from my attackers and I see two guards coming up in front of me. I ready my Molotov and as they enter the burn radius, I throw the Molotov, and I watch them as they scream in burning agony. Then, I see another guard, so I got my hunting rifle ready and shot him in the head, killing him instantly. This three-kill streak was over and done in less than ten seconds, and I thought how mean that was. It was downright cruel in a way, but in the world of The Last of Us, this is normal.
The Last of Us is Naughty Dogís newest masterpiece where you play as a smuggler named Joel. It has been twenty years since an outbreak nearly wiped away all of humanity, and it is up to you to smuggle a little girl named Ellie across country. The danger is always nearby, either by infected or the hunters something is always out to get you. While the events that play out is nothing new, The Last of Us, like the Uncharted series, takes something we know and spin it in a way we haven't seen before. It can get clichť at times, but Naughty Dog somehow makes them better. From the heartbreaking opening to the downer ending, Naughty Dog has made one of the best stories told in this generation of consoles. It is right up there with Alan Wake, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, and even Uncharted 2.
the ambush sequences is one of gamings greatest moments
The slow-paced story does not matter much if the gameplay is terrible. Thankfully, Naughty Dog has gone their way to insure that you are having a great time with The Last of Us. Much like the story, the gameplay is slow and methodical. A battle against hunters in an abandon bookstore can last a good while. Sneaking around and taking people out one by one. It is refreshing to know that the gun is for emergencies only. Most games today have the gun as an extension of themselves, but for The Last of Us, it is a tool to survive. There are scenes in the game that was there because it is a Video Game, and does not add much. These moments are random and spread throughout the game. Most of them work in the within the world, while some does not.
You will play as Joel in The Last of Us, but the real star of the game is Ashley Johnson as Ellie. Ellie will stand tall alongside Alyx Vance and Elizabeth as one of the most helpful AI partner in games. If she sees you in danger, she will either throw a brick or stab someone in the back. This gives you time to counter attack and finish the attacker off. Depending on how you dispose of your enemies, Ellie will always have something to say. Sometimes she will repeat herself, and other times she will not. The more violent your actions, the more shocked she is. Ellie is a real flesh out character that most live action movies barely touch. This is helped by a world-class script and phenomenal acting which includes Troy Baker as Joel and Anne Wersching as Tess.
Ellie WILL hate the things you do
As the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One is looming near, we will look at The Last of Us at awe. Compare this game to an early PlayStation 3 game and it is tenfold. From Uncharted: Drakeís Fortune to The Last of Us, no other developer has maxed out the power of the PlayStation 3. Each facial expression has meaning and each object has weight. If Naughty Dog can push this hard to develop for machine, there is no telling what they have next for their PlayStation 4 debut.
The one thing that will make players question whether or not to continue is the level of violence The Last of Us has. Make no mistake this is a brutal game. Each infected you kill, each hunter you gun down. They all have different feelings behind them. Killing an infected feels different from killing a hunter. There is weight there that no game has. You can sneak past the hunters, but most of the time, you have no choice. Torture, rape, and suicide plays a role in this dark, dark tale and once you think it cannot get any darker, it does. Naughty Dog should be applauded for taking such a big risk on making a mature story that does not hold the players hands, and cover their eyes in the cruel world they created. We NEED games like this. To add to the 15 hour story, there are unlockables and a new game plus mode to keep you coming back. Great games like Tomb Raider, Uncharted 3, and Bioshock Infinite does not have replay value and they are crippled because of it. The Last of Us gives us costumes for Ellie and Joel, production art, and an interesting, if slightly flawed, multiplayer to let us keep you coming back. Nothing says awesome than having Ellie where a Jak and Daxter shirt covered in blood. This is a game that should not be missed.
WATCH AND PLAY †
The dust has settled, the talk has quieted down, and the Xbox One is real. It has been over 48 hours since the reveal of Microsoftís new console and the new system has a ton of bells and whistles. Xbox One will allow you to watch TV, go to the internet using Internet Explorer, use Skype, enhanced your Fantasy Football League, and play games. It would make sense that Microsoft would want to use this time to show off the TV aspect of the system instead at E3. Their TV sections at their E3 conferences these past few years have always been boring. Except for the ďDoctor WhoĒ specials each month and ďWhose Line is it AnywaysĒ Cable is useless to me until August when Breaking Bad returns. Either way, this was something that Microsoft has been pushing forward to every year, or now they are pushing it all the way. It was not always been about the TV shows; EA came up and showed something they always do, EA Sports. They came up, talked about the future of EA Sports and left. They did show a video, but none of it was game play, and they did not say that it was running on in-game engine. After EA Sports left, Microsoft Game Studios announced Remedyís new game, Quantum Break. Not much was shown, but what was shown it seems to be running on an enhanced Alan Wake engine. Very little was shown, and yet it was what I wanted to know more about. Microsoft then showed off Forza Motorsport 5. They showed a bit of the game using in-game engine this time, but much like Quantum Brake, nothing much was shown. They did announce that they would have 15 exclusives to the Xbox One with eight new IPs. This part of the entire thing made me happy. I am sure they will show what those new IPs is at E3.
I am interested in this one... †
Then they started to repeat themselves. They went back to talking about TV and that Steven Spielberg will produce an exclusive TV series for Xbox One called, Halo: The Television Series. Then they went back to Sports and announced that they have an exclusive deal with the NFL. The Halo TV series and the NFL deal could have easily been shown during those first talks about TV and Sports. Now it seems they were just repeating themselves. Time wasted. Then they ended the conference with a look at Call of Duty: Ghosts. Even if they did not release that Mask trailer a few weeks back, we knew this was to be shown at a Microsoft event. Despite showing so much, they showed so little of the game play. A trailer was there, but no game play. I guess they are saving that one also for E3. Without warning or a Goodbye, the conference ended. The knee jerk reaction was the lack of games shown. To me this was NOT a good way to show off a new gaming console, but seeing that this is part one of two conference I would have easily let all this slide. I may not like it, but at least they let all that TV junk out of the way to show the real things at E3. It was after the conference that everything began to spin out of control. I did not help that Microsoft is not giving straight answers. Kinect will be required and you still need a cable box to use the cable box aspect of the Xbox One. That is NOTHING compared to what has been talked about.
OFFLINE REVIEWS †
First is the Used Game Fee. The very thought about this makes my skin crawl. I love reviewing games and I do it as much often as I can, but contrary to what Microsoft believes I rent games. I do not get a lot of money so if I am planning to review something, I rent it, and assuming Red box has it. With having a PS3, the Red box PS3 section is awful. Do not think I do not want to review Metro: Last Light because I am not interested in it. I am, and would love to review it, but Red box is terrible at that kind of thing. If there were a Used Game Fee now I would have never got to review Tomb Raider and BioShock Infinite. Would I buy them instead? Yes, I would. However, it does not work like that. There is a store opening soon, do not know when exactly, so as soon as it opens, I am going to try to get a job there. Any money I end up getting will be used for this website. Making review and preview videos will cost a lot of money. This includes my own laptop, a game capture card, the new game consoles like the Wii-U and the PlayStation 4, and more. Nothing cheap. Therefore, unless it is a game I want, I am going to have to rent them. According to Critical Path, IF I get a game to review from a publisher, there is a very high chance that I would need to send the game back after Iím done review them, fair and understandable, but with this new fee, it might be better just to buy the game itself, and it would render that disk useless because it will be tied to MY account. It is a lose/lose for everyone. The Used Game Fee is a terrible thing for people who want to write and make video reviews for a living. Something as simple as bringing a game to a friendís house should not be so difficult, this comes to the next major problem.
I like the controller... †
There will be times I know for a fact where I will not have internet. What happens during those times? I play games, and a lot of them. The last time I was out of Internet for a while, I played Borderlands 2 nonstop. So much so that I completed most of the side missions under a few days. The new Xbox One checking for Internet is just solving the issue of internet dropouts. Once every 24 hours, Xbox One will have to check to see if you are still online, if not the system will block you out rendering the system useless. You cannot even watch a Blu-Ray movie. This is showing that Xbox One controls me, not the other way around, as it should. I should own the Xbox and base my life around it. I should be in control. Not Xbox One. If I cannot play online, then it becomes a paperweight. Contrary to beliefs, not everyone in America has proper internet, some may have internet, but just enough to get by. Some does not have internet at all. The first time I used the internet was in 1999, I did not become embraced by it until 2006. Not even Japan, the Land of the Future, has proper Internet. Having DRM on anything is a recipe for disaster, just look at EA and Blizzard on SimCity and Diablo 3. The worst thing about these issues is Microsoftís lack of clarity. I sincerely hope that this is just a big misunderstanding, and they do not intend to do either of these things.
THE DIMMING LIGHT †
Not everything is terrible. From what was shown, the games themselves look nice. There is not enough to base the games on looks alone, but from a glance, they look good enough. I really like the new controller. I would like to get my hands on it and feel the new D-Pad and the new vibrations on the triggers, those seems like it would make games feel more real. To me 18 new exclusives for a console is damn exciting, while it may be so, we do not know what those games will be. We need to see them first before we start celebrating. The Kinect to me is a wild card. On one hand, seeing it work could have the potential to do some good. Not great, but good enough that it will not be a burden to use. However, in the other hand, having that Big Brother feel is not good at all. I hope that MPAA patent is too stupid to be real. I hope it is like that Sony ad where it stops games long enough to show an ad. They have it, but do not intend to use it. The Xbox One has massive hurdles to go through to get me to want one. The DRM Lite and Used Game Fee should have never have happened, and if Microsoft is truly smart, they would drop it completely. If they do not, then I can see a sinking ship before the knot is loose.
A VOICE WAS SCREAMING †
Hunter S. Thompson has been called one of the most influential writers of the 20th Century and the Mark Twain of his generation. What he left behind is a trail full of drugs, violence, and the harsh violent truth of reality as he saw it. From his early work about Hells Angels, where he spent a year with the infamous motorcycle gang, to Hey Rube, a collection of sports articles he had written for ESPN. Of course, being Dr. Thompson, he did not write all about sports in Hey Rube. Hunter S. Thompson had seen everything you could ever see in a lifetime and beyond. His methods are questionable at best, but he wrote what he saw with conviction and most writers do not do that. One of his well-known works is called Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: The Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream. Dr. Thompson called it a failed attempt at Gonzo Journalism, which is a style that he created or at least popularized. Some of the events in Las Vegas are true, some of it is not, but the truth is always stranger than fiction.
Thompson at Las Vegas '71 †
Las Vegas starts simple enough; "We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold." Dr. Thompson, or Raoul Duke as it was first written by in Rolling Stone magazine, sets you up what is about to happen in the first sentence. This is how both the book and film starts. The film was released in the summer of 1998, the same day Godzilla came out no less, and it was directed by Terry Gilliam. Terry Gilliam was part of the Monty Python comedy troupe. He also directed 12 Monkeys and Time Bandits. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas starred Johnny Depp as Raoul Duke, which he based his performance by Dr. Thompson, and Benicio Del Toro as Dr. Gonzo, which was based of Thompson's friend and attorney Oscar Zeta Acosta. I consider Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas one of Johnny Depp's best films. Both Depp and Del Toro are amazing in this film. The film also had a handful of cameos including Lyle Lovett, Harry Dean Stanton, Cameron Diaz, Penn Jullette, Hunter S. Thompson himself, and more.
WITH A BIT OF LUCK †
On the outside, the film can be viewed as a stoner comedy. The trailer plays this off, but it is much more than that. It is about two friends trying to find the American Dream in 1971 and why it has failed. After surviving the sixties with its police brutality and the uncertain future of America. They decided to head out to Las Vegas to find it, in Sports Illustrated expense, as Duke/Thompson had to cover the Mint 400. Thompson was part of the Chicago Riot of 1968. He went on and said that the riots were much worse than any Hells Angels had ever done in the year he spent with them. One of the most memorable passage in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was simply called the Wave Speech:
All that talk and protest for Peace was for naught. The Vietnam War continued. The film is not for everyone, there are things in this movie that will make you hate it, but it does not shy away from what is shown and heard, and that what makes it so great. One of my favorite scenes is simply known as Adrenochrome. A fictional substance that gets you higher than you ever thought possible. In the movie, Raoul Duke tries some out and while the effects begins to take hold, his friend Dr. Gonzo begins to change into a wild beast complete with claws, horns, hair, and tits in his back. It is dark and twisted, but it has nothing compared to the next few scenes in the movie. Duke has recordings of all that had happened when he finally woke up from the drug trance. The music and the inter cutting between scenes is perfect. Total insanity and unsure of what will come next. The film also has one of the most suspenseful scenes in all of film, I was afraid of what might happen when I first saw the film years ago.
THERE I WAS... MOTHER OF GOD, THERE I AM! †
That was the movie, but what about the book? Well, actually, the movie and the book are quite close with each other. Yeah, there is a scene or two that was in the movie, but not in the book. There is actually a scene that was in the movie that never made it to the book. Nevertheless, as it stands, it is one of the most faithful adaptations you could ever want in a film. Does this lessen the book? No, in fact, it improves upon it. The film feels more like a companion piece of the book. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but at least watch the movie once. It is dark, twisted, funny, strange, and at times truthful. If you decide to read the book and liked it, read some of Hunter S. Thompson's work as well. I have read some of his work, but not all of it, and what I did read, I did enjoy. There is another movie called Where the Buffalo Roam, it has Bill Murray as Hunter S. Thompson. It is not the best film you will ever see, but it is interesting to see what Murray's take on Thompson and see what Depp did. However, to know the real Thompson, I would suggest Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.
"When the going gets weird. The weird turns pro." - Hunter S. Thompson.
IN THAT YEAR BEFORE THE BIG BANG †
To set you to the mindset of The Phantom Menace, you have to take a look back at the year 1999. The Matrix came out, Justin Timberlake was in a boy band, and everyone was looking forward to a little movie called Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace. It would be the first part of a trilogy that shows the downfall of Anakin Skywalker and his path to the Dark Side. Anakin Skywalker would be the father of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. We saw the end, now see the beginning. Much like most summer blockbusters, there was a ton of publicity about it and movie tie ins. Food, toys, clothes, you name it. It was hard to avoid. Then the movie came out. I was 13 at the time, so I did not see the flaws everyone else did, but after seeing it again a few years ago, I can see why. Not to say that the movie was a complete disaster, the pod racing and the fight between Darth Maul, Qui Gon Jinn, and Obi Wan Kenobi is awesome. But other than that, itís not even worth watching the entire film. You can easily find film clips online if you need to scratch that weird scratch. The only way I would watch the full film, and Episode Two, would be if I decided to marathon the entire series. If the movie was a disappointment, what about the game? Maybe it was like X-Men Origins where the game was much better than the movie?† Itís much worse than that. This game does the ultimate sin, it's boring. You might as well just sit there staring at the sky than to play this. At least you can form your own Star Wars story in your head.
HEY BATTER BATTER BATTER! †
It fails before it even begins. They assume that you saw the movie, and know of the back story. If you did not see the movie before playing this game, too bad, there is no famous scroll that tells you what is going on before the game starts.† Then the voices begins. I can see why the stars of the film would not want to be in it, like Ewan McGregor or Liam Neeson, mostly likely because they are filming the movie as this game was being made, so they would be too busy for voice overs. The voice actors do sound like them to a degree, but itís just so boring and monotone that you can tell that they are there to read lines, and nothing else. Thereís a difference between acting the script, and reading the script. After a thirty second cut scene, you are now in control. The game is in isometric view, but you have no control over what you will see.
Once combat does begins it feels more like playing Baseball. You take the light saber and swing it like an idiot. As the droids fire their blasters, the beam comes at you like a ball, and you hit with your weapon like a bat. You can get closer, but the health drains so fast that itís better to just stand back. You have other weapons like a grenade and a blaster, but being a Jedi, thereís no use for them. Your starting force power is the Push, but its range is pathetic and therefore useless. Easy to use in a bind, but not something that you will use as part of game play. The controls are awkward and it feels that you are moving the environment, not the character themselves.† Once you hit Level Two, this is when the controls becomes worse. After meeting up with Jar Jar Binks, yes THAT Jar Jar, you have to do a bit of platforming. Because the controls are awkward, the jumping is just as awkward, if not worse. Itís to be expected to miss your jump a few times, but it should be your fault, and not the fault of the controller. Thereís really not much this game has to offer. The game is boring, it looks terrible, and it's a movie tie in to a movie that only has very few redeeming parts in them. Just do what you are doing, and stay away.
IT'S NOT WORTH IT †
If there is one good thing about this game is that it comes with The Duel of the Fates music video, but in the age of YouTube, this is no longer a good thing. The sound quality is poor and the video looks cheap as well. Better to find an HD version of it than waste time watching a small cheap version of it.
Ubisoft has to get some kind of medal for putting Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon in the hands of gamers. Not only did they release it as an arcade title using the Far Cry 3 engine, but giving us something so unique that it is one of the most original, and wildly imaginative games to come out in years. Your name is Rex Power Colt, and you have to stop your mentor for taking over the world. That is as far as the story goes, the story here is non-existent, but what makes it work is the fact that both the script and voice acting is so intentionally bad that it makes everything about this game awesome. I cannot really explain why on what makes the script good. You just have to check it out yourself. Every eighties action movie tropes is in here, and it is something that has to be seen to be believed. If there is one downside about the script, it is that the one-liners Rex says tend to repeat themselves a bit too much, and there is not many. They play it straight, but a few winks here and there keeps it light. Thankfully, the game itself is fantastic as well.
Neon Lights Are Pretty
If you played Far Cry 3, you have some idea of what to expect. The only difference is that stealth takes a back seat in Blood Dragon. Stealth is still an option, and you get a neon bow for use, but it is meant to be played with guns blazing. Each gun is a blast to use, and with the upgrade system, they become better than before. That sniper rifle that you use can use explosive rounds, and you are free to cause as much chaos as you want. That became my main weapon. There are collectibles o help your weapon acquired upgrades. You can find VHS tapes, doctor notes, and TVs. Once you find your favorite weapons, you will end up unlocking the attachments so you can use it to its full potential. However, there is no skill trees like in the original Far Cry 3 game. One of the things I was worried about was the fact that all this neon eighties action would get tiring after a while, but thankfully that is not the case. The main event in this game is the Blood Dragon themselves. They are basically dinosaurs with neon lights all over their body. They are tough to kill, and they can do a great deal of damage, especially their laser eyes.
The most Metal screenshot ever in gaming
I played Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon on medium and it took me about seven hours to complete everything. This includes doing all the side missions, collecting all the collectibles, and finishing the story. I only died a few times, and that was towards the start of the game. Other times was failing to save a hostage. Seven hours may not be a lot, but giving that games now are sixty dollars with less game play, the $15 price point is a good deal. That is not to say everything about this game is amazing, there are a few graphical glitches, nothing game breaking, but animals can disappear during the attacking animation, the AI can get spastic sometimes, and the explosions donít explode properly. One of the final missions would have been better, but worst of all is that there is no carry over or new game plus. You will not get to use the weapons are have earned in the way that you wanted to. Therefore, if you do everything the game has to offer before doing the final missions, and you upgraded your favorite weapon to the max, you will not get to use it as long as you wanted. I was hoping since that Far Cry 3 did the same thing; the developers would learn not to do it again. They took what they had, priced it right, gave it a decent length and they should be applauded. This is unlike anything you have ever seen. This puts other $60 games to shame.
Games have the unique ability to tell a story with the player experiencing it. Ether storming the beaches of Normandy, or being a spy in the 60s. Most games like to bring a sense of realty to their games. While itís always good to have a sense of history in games, I would rather have developers go full-out into that place where most donít dare to go. This would be wholly unique to video games. The developers have wild imaginations and itís a shame to see something that could be outrageous be brushed aside because itís not ďrealĒ enough. One of the best examples of the insane ways games can be is in the first few missions of Saintís Row the Third.
Saints Row 4 seems to do it right.
In that game, there was this mission where you have to fight your way out of a plane with a friend. After you do something that only came out of the movie Shoot 'Em Up, you go back into the plane, and yet never touch the ground as you are shooting anything that moves just to get another parachute. It was fast, it was crazy, and that was the most insane thing that happens in the game, and itís about twenty minutes into the game. Thereís nothing wrong with the game, but it set itself up a bit too high in the insane meter. Itís a game well worth playing, if only for that one mission. Saintís Row the Third embraced the insane by not taking itself seriously and knows itís just a dumb game. More games needs to embrace the insanity that can go for it. Far Cry 3 had a few moments, but it did not beat you in the head with it, and when it did go down that path, it was due to drugs. Not every game that embraced insanity it overly violent. Psychonauts is a brilliant game by Tim Shaffer that knows a thing or two about crazy games. If you havenít play Psychonauts, I highly suggest you do. Everything in that game is unique, and youíll never see anything like it again.
One of the craziest games to come out in sometime is Lollipop Chainsaw. Itís not partially a good game, but itís insane enough to know it, and plays to its strength. Just watch a few game play videos to know what I mean. Itís worth playing at least once. Another that is coming out is called Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Blood Dragon seems to embrace the action Direct to Video VHS movies of the eighties. It knows itís dumb, and it looks amazing because of it.
Did you just say Monkey?
Not all games need to be crazy. There are games that have something to say. The best example for this is Spec Ops: The Line. Without spoiling too much of the story, but it deals with the state of games today. It may not the most fun game youíll ever play, but it does what other games donít often do; tells us something about ourselves and the games that we all enjoy. If developers can give us a game that tells us something with meaning, then they donít need to make the game insane to prove a point. Most games fall apart when they try to do something serious. Metal Gear Solid has deep themes about the military, war, genomes, clones, nuclear weapons, and the state of world affairs. What Metal Gear Solid does that no other game like it does is that itís willing to make fun of itself and not take itself too seriously. Even the very thought of bipedal tanks was laughed at in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. The self-awareness is one of the best parts of the Metal Gear Solid series. Kojima knows how to say something with meaning behind it, while knowing that itís for entertainment.
One of the few games that has something to say.
More games needs to embrace the insane. Let developers take insane risks to popular franchise. Let them not be shackled by tradition of the rules of the game. Let them show us that they are highly imaginative. If need be, let them show the horror that we can inflect in ourselves. If they are not going to show us something with meaning, then let them go crazy. Enough of the seriousness of meaningless games and let them embrace the insane. This ride can go both ways; meaningful or insane.