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10:57 AM on 02.09.2014

One Step Closer to Masochism

I do not consider myself as a masochist. I like to play games for fun, and while I do like to play games on harder difficulties sometimes, most of the time it is not worth it. Very few games on the higher difficulty change the game considerably and make you rethink all you have learned from a past play through. Not a lot of games can be hard and fair at the same time. When a game is hard, it is for all the wrong reasons. Difficulty now a days rely on enemies having more health, while you have less. It is a false sense of difficulty that does not really change anything. 

A few weeks ago, I played BioShock: Infinite on hard and for the most part it was even better than playing it on normal. The way you have to use your vigors and guns to make the most out of a situation was exciting and thrilling. For the most part BioShock Infinite on hard was great, that was until the final act. From the Lady Comstock sequence to the end, the game became less fun and more frustrating. I cannot imagine what 1999 mode is like.

Other games I ended up playing on hard was Uncharted 2. Playing that game on hard was also thrilling, but it suffered from the lazy design of stronger enemies, weak player. The last game I played that had an amazing hard difficulty level was Alan Wake. I played that game on Nightmare mode, the hardest difficulty the game has, and it was a much better experience. While they still do that lazy design on health, you could never tell. What made it great was the fact that batteries and ammo was more scarce than on normal mode. Running away whenever you can became the only option and it made each encounter more exciting.

THE ONES THAT WAS CLOSE

There were a couple of games that made me feel like I was becoming a gaming masochist. The first one was Super Meat Boy. Super Meat Boy is a platforming masterpiece. Every death is your fault and you will die a lot. To make matters worse is that after you complete a stage it will run through all your lives. It is possible that you can see hundreds of Meat Boys running the same stage repeatedly dying at every inch of the stage. I kept playing this hard game. I die and instantaneously get back to the start in a never-ending cycle. I even got most of the Dark World stages where it gets harder. I never completed Super Meat Boy because my Xbox 360 broke.

Another game that almost made me a gaming masochist was Bayonetta. Bayonetta is a hack and slash game in the vein of Devil May Cry. It is a challenging game that tests your reflexes and the situations you are put in are over the top ridiculous. Once you know most of the basic dodge move, the game can be a blast and chaotic experience. The one scene that still gets to me that I will never forget was the Space Harrier sequence. In the time up to this point in Bayonetta, the game had been a challenging blast. It was a flaw move in Bayonetta’s part and the only weak spot in the game.

A MASOCHIST BEST FRIEND

Then there is Dark Souls. The game is hard, sickening hard. I nearly quit a few times due to the rage that the game was bringing out on me. I kept on playing and my original plan was that after I beaten Dark Souls that I would quit. I knew that the game would only get harder from there and there was no reason for me to continue. Therefore, I downloaded Metro: Last Light to play, but Dark Souls was sitting there. I decided to play a bit of Dark Souls on New Game Plus and see how far I would go before it officially breaks me. I knew that Dark Souls would break me eventually, and it finally did during the Nito fight. When a game gets too hard, I stop and do it later or just quit all together. I wanted to quit Dark Souls, but the game has had a hold of me that very few games have. I had to get rid of it, and so I did. I did not want the risk of breaking a controller, TV, or the console. However, for some godforsaken reason, I love it. 

Knowing that I beaten something in a game this hard gave me a feeling I never felt before, pride. When I beat a game on a harder difficulty, I am relieved that I will never play this mode again, and yet here I was playing Dark Souls on a harder difficulty mode. When I started to play Metro: Last Light I debated if I wanted to play the game on hard mode. I never did that before because most of the time I play games on normal. Sometimes, depending on the game, I play it on easy to enjoy the story. I ended up picking normal because if I wanted to play a hard game I would play Dark Souls, or continue my Hard Mode run on Max Payne 3.

My love\hate relationship with Dark Souls is something I never thought I would have in a game. I both love and hate the difficulty. After beating Dark Souls, my anticipation of Dark Souls 2 rose higher than before. I know it is going to be harder and I would not have wanted it any other way.   read


8:17 PM on 12.17.2013

Top Five Games of the Year

THE LAST OF US

If I had to rank these games, The Last of Us would be number one. The wizards at Naughty Dog prove once again why they are one of the gaming elite. The game is brutal and dark while delivering on a story that has real emotional weight. Joel, Ellie, and the rest of the cast has a believably that feels real and you can grow attach to them. It is not often that a game comes along that changes what is to be expected and The Last of Us is unlike anything you will ever play this year.



GRAND THEFT AUTO V

How do you top Grand Theft Auto IV? By making it better, longer, and bigger. Rockstar has made their biggest games to date and the care they have for their big franchise shows it. Having three main protagonists that you can switch between them at almost any time is a stroke of genius at Rockstar’s part. This may seem like a Greatest Hits of the Grand Theft Auto franchise, but that would lessen the work Rockstar did to Grand Theft Auto V. Fun, unapologetic, and full of verity, Grand Theft Auto has actually surpass San Andreas as my favorite of the series.



TOMB RAIDER

It was a bit of a risk to reboot Tomb Raider. Tomb Raider is one of those games that everyone one knows whether they play games or not. Now in 2013 Crystal Dynamics has taken the series to a bright, bold future. Unlike the past games where you play as Lara Croft archaeologist extraordinaire, you play her in the most brutal and rough games she has ever been to. Unlike the past Tomb Raider games and the Uncharted series, you see ever bruise, cut, and pain as she tries to survive in an undiscovered island. The game play is strong and you actually feel the power of the weapons at hand. It does not have the best story, but making a more human Lara Croft makes up for it. With any luck, a great new version of an existing franchise is born.



SPLINTER CELL: BLACKLIST

While some games claim they have freedom of choice, Splinter Cell: Blacklist is one of the few that truly has it. You can play the same mission repeatedly and still have new ways to complete objectives. You can shoot everything in sight, or you can sneak past everyone with them none the wiser. Upgrades carry over and you can expand on your tactics. The original Splinter Cell wanted you to sneak past everyone with a little freedom of what you can do. Conviction wanted you to kill everyone with little freedom you can do. Blacklist is the first true Splinter Cell where they found the perfect balance between the two.



SAINTS ROW IV

Not a lot of games can do over the top right. Sometimes it does not feel like they are truly pushing it, or they feel forced. Saints Row IV is over the top done right. While most games tries to be serious all the time and fails doing so, Saints Row IV is smart enough to know what it is. It knows it is stupid and is not afraid to make fun of that fact. The fact that Saints Row has reached this level of absurdity is impressive. Great, fun characters, an outstanding main villain, and a story that is actually good. The promises Saints Row the Third had is finally realized here. I do not want to miss a thing indeed.

  read


1:45 AM on 11.15.2013

Top Five PlayStation 3 Games

Today Sony released their new console of this new generation with the PlayStation 4. As gamers get their new system and look beyond what is coming, I am going through my top five favorite PlayStation 3 games. These are my opinion and mine alone. The PlayStation 3 had a rocky start, but as games started to come out, it became what it is now. A great system that has some of the very best this generation has offered. As with any list I make, these are not ranked.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima must have stressed out over Metal Gear Solid 4. Released in 2008, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots was one of the very first to show what the system can really do and it became a showcase of the system since. Taking place nine years after the events of Metal Gear Solid for the original PlayStation, Snake, Otacon, and the rest of the series characters tries to take down The Patriots. This was the finale story of Solid Snake and what transpires is one of the best games of this generation. While I do consider Metal Gear Solid 3 as the best of the series, Metal Gear Solid 4 is a close second. Freedom of choice, great boss battles, and a story that concludes nearly 50 years of Metal Gear Lore gave Solid Snake the swan song he deserves. With Metal Gear Solid V coming, it is going to be difficult to top this.



Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

When Uncharted 2: Among Thieves came out in 2009 it became THE PlayStation 3 game. Even now, it is the best-reviewed game of this generation. A sequel to 2007 Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, it follows Nathan Drake as he searches for a mythical stone against a War Lord. The game is fast, fun, and has great characters. Uncharted 2 made Naughty Dog and Nolan North a household name. The train sequence is still one of the most fun stage in all of gaming. Not even Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception matches the sheer brilliance of Uncharted 2. With Uncharted 4 just announced, it will be interesting to see what the Uncharted games looks like on PlayStation 4.



The Last of Us

While Grand Theft Auto V came out this year along with The Last of Us, I would have to say that The Last of Us is the better game. It further proves how brilliant Naughty Dog is with its fantastic story and characters. The Stealth Horror game gave something that most survival horror games in consoles has been lacking, atmosphere. Troy Baker became the new Nolan North overnight. The Last of Us is one of those games you have to play to truly appreciate what it does. Not only is it the best of the PlayStation 3, but the best game of the year. 



Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time

Since the PlayStation 2 days, the Ratchet and Clank series has been a Sony Marvel, with great characters, weapons, story, and worlds. The Ratchet and Clank series reached its high with A Crack in Time. A Crack in Time delves deeper into the history of the Lombaxes and Clank. It features the return of characters like Dr. Nefarious and Captain Quark, while having new characters like Alister Azimuth. I would like to see a game that has Alister Azimuth has the main character. Insomniac Games was in top form and everything they learned from the past Ratchet and Clank games is fully realized here. It has great action moments for Ratchet and great puzzles and platforming for Clank. Along with Going Commando for the PlayStation 2, A Crack in Time is the best Ratchet and Clank game. 



God of War III


The God of War series has always been a showcase of what the Sony systems can do and God of War 3 is no exception. Since the first God of War in 2005, it has been one of Sony’s biggest franchises. When God of War II for the PlayStation 2 ended, a few months after the PlayStation 3 launched, fans has been waiting to see what God of War III would look like on the new system. Their hopes was not in vain as God of War III, even to this day, is one of the best looking games of the system. While it does not do anything new in terms of gameplay, its story and puzzles is some of the best of the series. The final fight against Zeus is one of this generation’s best boss fights. God of War III is a technical marvel that only the PlayStation 3 can do.



That was my picks of my most favorite PlayStation 3 games. It took a few years, but when PlayStation 3 finally hit its stride, it went in strong. Next week, the day the Xbox One launches, I shall post my most favorite Xbox 360 exclusives.   read


10:55 PM on 11.02.2013

Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly Review

Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly has a reputation of being one of the scariest games ever made. It is right up there with Resident Evil 2 and Silent Hill 2. Released in 2003 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Fatal Frame 2 kind of lives up the hype. You play as one of two twin sisters, Mayu and Mio, as they try to escape a lost village and investage on what happened to the residents there. The atmosphere and setting is chilling and it makes use of the haunted feel of the game. As great as the setting is, each area can feel the same and it can become frustratingly easy to get lost in as you try to find the next objective. The atmosphere loses some of its power because of this, but the scares never lose its power and if you happen to let your guard down that is when the ghosts will appear. There are a number of types of ghosts that you will see. Some will lead you to your next destination, and others that will attack you. It does not happen often, but there will be a couple of times where a certain ghost will kill you in the slightest touch. You can defend yourself with the Camera Obscura. This camera will allow you to take photos of the ghosts you will meet in the game.



When you take a picture of a ghost, you will exercise them. The better the picture, the better the damage, and the higher points you will get. You can upgrade your camera by using sprit orbs and the points you have earned. The camera is fixed and the control feels like Resident Evil. The camera rarely becomes a problem. If you use the camera, it switches to a first person where you can move around in.

The story and the game are dark. At first, you will read about this ritual, but as you continue the game, you will learn more about the cultish village and the reason behind the ritual. Murder, suicides, human sacrifice, and the power of twins are heavy themes in Fatal Frame 2. Grim stuff only gets darker as you continue. The grim tone comes to life thanks to its excellent sound design. The voice acting of the twins and ghosts are chilling. The wind, music, and the footsteps will leave you uneasy. I would not call Fatal Frame 2 a survival horror, but it is pure horror. Fatal Frame 2 is more effective than most survival horror games that have come out in the past few years on consoles.



One of the most important aspects of horror is pacing. This is where the game slightly veers of course. It is very easy to get lost and it breaks the flow of the game. Worst yet, there is this section near the end of Fatal Frame 2 where you need to find puzzles pieces. This blatant use of padding never did any good in games. It would not be so bad if they send you to a new area, but you have to go to the same places over again. Fatal Frame 2 has a lot of backtracking, more so than Resident Evil 2 and Silent Hill. You will enter the same three houses two to three times just to find that key or map to continue. By either key or diary, there is always something to find, so exploration is a big factor into Fatal Frame 2. The puzzles are well made but you have a time or move limit to them. You can ignore them because nothing happens and if you do manage to fail the puzzles you can do it again with the pieces back to where it was.

Fatal Frame 2: The Crimson Butterfly is a good game. It may not be as good as Resident Evil 2 or Silent Hill, but it is far creepier and sometimes scarier than those games. If horror is your thing, then give Fatal Frame 2 a shot.   read


1:49 AM on 10.15.2013

Multiplayer: The Future

No one likes buying sixty-dollar games that will only last six hours or less. You get the game and beat it that day. Some people would not mind the six-hour game because it is something that they do in their spare time, and depending on their lifestyle, they might not get a lot of time. So getting short game gives them a chance to finish a game. I fall on the latter; I can complete a game in one day. When I finished Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, it took me about eight hours or so to complete it. I was playing all day and I enjoyed most of it. The ships section is a series low. To some people it can take a week or a month to complete a game like that. To make sure that consumers are getting more bang for their buck, developers would include a multiplayer aspect of the game. Some games thrive on single player, some game excel at multiplayer. The main reason I see why multiplayer is added into the games is that the single player has very little replay value. I can play games multiple times, but having that incentive to continue playing makes it that much better. It is why Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is one of the best games of this generation.


BEFORE THE HATE


You can sink hours into the game’s multiplayer, but the multiplayer has to be good enough to go through all that. There is a reason by Battlefield and Call of Duty is as big as they are when it comes to multiplayer. The developers, Dice and Infinity Ward/Treyarch respectively, take their time to perfect what they had created. As they are working long hours into the night, making great multiplayer experiences other developers look at that success and try to put a multiplayer component where it does not belong. Tomb Raider and God of War Ascension come to mind. Tomb Raider is one of the most underrated games of this year. God of War Ascension was one of the most disappointing and it was clear that most of the staff was focusing their time with the multiplayer than the single player. Tomb Raider had the opposite; it had a great single player while the multiplayer is mediocre. If there was more focus on the single player of God of War Ascension, then I felt like it can sit beside the original trilogy as one of the best action games around.


Some games does not need multiplayer, but other games do. The Call of Duty has been a juggernaut since the release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in 2007. Apart from having a fun single player, Modern Warfare had a great multiplayer. Since then the primary focus on the Call of Duty franchise is its multiplayer. The same could be said about Battlefield. They had their big multiplayer brake in 2004 from Battlefield 2 for the PC. Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Halo are some of the biggest multiplayer games of this generation.


SOLO OR WITH A FRIEND


Next month will mark the arrival of the new systems, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and there will be a new line up of games to play. The Division, Destiny, and Deep Down will be multiplayer only; I can only hope that they will do what Borderlands and Left 4 Dead did allow for solo play. They should have offline modes where you can play whenever you feel like. No matter if you are online or not. The rocky start of Grand Theft Auto Online showed us that online will take a hit with that many people playing. It can be so bad that you cannot play it or worse losing your character progression and never getting it back. With everyone trying to play the new game, even if it is solo, every online only game is going to have a rough start. Even MMOs like World of Warcraft and Everquest had rough moments, even more so when expansion packs came out.


If games had single player the player can learn the game without fear of doing something that will upset a teammate. Alternatively, if the severs are down they can still play the game. If you are like me and do not play online, you can still have all the fun on single player mode. I played Co-Op on Borderlands 2 and had a lot of fun with it, which same feeling of fun was still there for the single player. I would not want to pay seventy for a game that might not work sometimes. At least with single player offline, I can play whenever I feel like it. As the years go by, I can see that there is going to be many games coming out that will have online only. I hope that single player games will not and co-exist with each other. With Grand Theft Auto V grossing a billion dollars and the excitement over Kingdom Hearts III, I do not think single player modes will die out.   read


3:34 AM on 09.10.2013

Gaming Wishes: Darkwing Duck

I think it is safe to say that everyone wants a Darkwing Duck game, and why not? The setting alone has the potential to be good. You have likely heard this version before, but a Darkwing Duck game that plays like the Batman Arkham series. This would be excellent, but the thing with Darkwing Duck is that he is not much of a fighter. What would it take to make a great Darkwing Duck game? With the success of DuckTales remastered, I think it would be smart to release a remake of the NES game first. This would set up Darkwing Duck to those that did not grow up watching the show. Then, if successful, I think it would be time to tackle the big objective of a great game. Make St. Canard open world. The world of St. Canard is big in itself. In the center of St. Canard has towering buildings that the entire area will see. This would allow for some great missions. If it were up to me, the start of the game would start small. The S.H.U.S.H organization has a new invention that would detect crime happing at that exact moment. This would allow Darkwing Duck to go the crime scene to try to stop the crime or investigate what happened. This would allow for puzzles for Darkwing to solve. He will use the gadgets he made at his disposal; this is where the Arkham influence would kick in.



I AM THE STORY THAT GOES NOWHERE

My story would be that the Fearsome Five would steal S.H.U.S.H’s invention and Darkwing has to stop them before using this device for their own schemes. Each of the Fearsome Five will have missions that are based on that villain. Megavolt will have missions based on the power of the City, The Liquidator would deal with the water and shops, Quackerjack would deal with the objects mostly toys, Bushroot will deal with the plants. Negaduck will overview all of the schemes. This is until the real Negaduck comes to town. I have heard that one of the episodes that was being planned was the Galvanized Negaduck would come and Darkwing and Negaduck would force to work together. This would be an excellent episode and this would come in the start of the game. The Fearsome Five will not be the only villains in the game. A side story will have Steelbeak and Taurus Bulba team up to try to stop Darkwing Duck.



I AM THE VOICE THAT HAUNTS YOUR DREAMS

Because of the nature of the show, the game will not be as violent as the Arkham games, but it will have some action in it. What comes to mind is Stranger’s Wrath. You go around the open world St. Canard and you tag up criminals. Instead of getting money for each criminal you capture, you will get fame. The harder to catch a criminal, the better the fame. The downside is that if you do damage to the city, the less fame you will get. Darkwing Duck’s need of fame has always been a driving force of why he dons a mask. This will not be a game where you need X amount of fame to go to a story mission, but the better the fame, the easier the story missions will be. Considering that he also has Gosalyn and Launchpad at his side, this could lead to some co-op. While having a playable Launchpad could be a bit tricky, he could be a side character that gives you items via palate drops. Gosalyn could easily be Quiverwing Quack and that would be the co-op missions. 



I AM DARKWING DUCK

I do not want this to be dark and moody like in the Arkham games. The reason why Arkham games works like that because it fits with the tone of Batman. In Darkwing Duck, I would like a more colorful world. The hardest part about this game is getting the voices. I would love to see everyone come back as his or her respective roles, assuming they are still alive. The one thing that must happen is that Jim Cummings must return as Darkwing Duck and Negaduck.

What I want out of a Darkwing Duck game is something that is fun and stays true to the original series.   read


5:14 AM on 08.28.2013

Saints Row IV Review

GO CRAZY

You cannot go all crazy without reason. If you do, then all that insanity you have planned goes out the window is it becomes repetitive. Thankfully for Saints Row IV, the crazy antics this game has is fully within reason. After wrapping up a story line from Saints Row The Third, The leader of the Saints becomes President of the United States. As he heads to the Press Lounge to clean up a mess about something he or she said, aliens attack the White House. The alien leader Zinyak kidnaps the President and his or her staff that includes Shaundie, Kenzie, Pierce, Ben King, Vice President Keith David, and a few others. While the story and the situations you a put in are over the top, it is told rather well. All these characters are fleshed out.


The Sweetest Dream Will Never Do


I was honestly surprised how well the story is played out. Saints Row The Third had an OK story, but it was not fully realized. Here in Saints Row IV not only is it realized, but it feels like it even wraps up events that happened in the first two games. I would delve into the loyalty missions, but I do not want to ruin the surprise. While the story is surprisingly good, the game play is why we play these games, and it is a good thing that Saints Row IV plays is great. Saints Row IV drops you off in a virtual Steelport and after some tinkering from Kinzie; you will eventually get super powers. They include super speeds, gliding, fire attacks, and even buff.

GO WILD

These new powers does come with a price, when having your super speed up to max levels, crossing a bridge will cause the frame rate to drop, but only for a couple of seconds. The most annoying thing is that the game will freeze on you a few times. Sometimes the menu will not even load, and you would need to do a hard reset on your system of choice. As annoying as these issues are, it did not stop me from enjoying Saints Row IV. I hope that Volition, the creators of the series, will look into fixing on most of these problems.

Saints Row IV took me nearly 40 hours to do complete. That includes the activities, the challenges, and the missions. The missions can range from main, loyalty, and side. The Side missions are just the activities with context. You do a series of activities and you will unlock things like weapons and better abilities. Most of these activities are fun to do.


You Can Be A Guy Or Girl.


If you played Saints Row before, then you know that mixing your own playlist over Saints Row IV's radio stations is back. Gliding around with Aerosmith's I Don't Want To Miss A Thing is something I did not know I want. As simple and easy as it is, it is one of my favorite moments of gaming this year. I went with songs I know and like. Biz Markie, OutKast, Presidents of the United States, and even Haddaway was in my playlist. The best part is that you do not even need a car to listen to the soundtrack. Which is good because once you get your super sprint ability, the vehicles becomes useless. Once you max out the super sprint ability, you can knock them away causing them to explode.

The same goes for weapons. Except for a few story missions, the weapon I used the most was the Dubstep Gun. It may be a joke, but once you max it out, it is no laughing matter. You can beat most of the game with this one weapon alone. Different skins bring in different tracks. The default track was the one I used. Every gun has a different skin, and the coolest thing about it that a few ties into movies including Aliens and No Country For Old Men. There is even a powerful, hidden gun related to Men in Black.

HAVE FUN

The big question however. Should you buy it? I would say yes, but not yet. There is 40 hours of content here, but the main story itself is not that long and there is no carry over. You cannot transport your past skill into a new game. This means you would have to find all the clusters all over again if you want to get the most out of your abilities, and there is over 1000 clusters spread throughout Steelport. 

If you do end up buying it, please buy it new. While it is perfectly fine to have games like The Last of Us, we all need to remember why we play games to begin with; Fun. It is not perfect, but it is an entertaining game. While most studios want to be serious and be like movies, they seem to forget that movies can be dumb fun also.   read


3:30 AM on 07.31.2013

What Next Gen means to me.

The next generation of consoles is looming nearer and nearer, and it feels that there is a shift on what defines Next Gen. Back then, next gen was about hardware and what the systems can do. Now, it is about what this new batch of consoles can do besides gaming. Sony and Microsoft are trying to take the TV landscape. While PlayStation 4 is primarily a game console, they did announce at this year’s E3 that the Sony TV Division, which produces shows like Breaking Bad and Justified, is making shows that they think the gamer would like. It will be up to the fans to decide on which shows continue on or not. Amazon did something like this earlier this year. The PlayStation 4 will have some aspects of TV, but it is nothing, so far, compared to what Microsoft is planning with Xbox One. You can switch apps at the touch of a button. You can have a TV show, a game, and some other apps running at the same time and switch them on the fly. They have even reached a multimillion-dollar deal with the NFL to have a more rich and enhanced way to pertecapte for Fantasy Football. A good portion of the Xbox One’s reveal was about Sports and TV. Most gamers, of at least of what I have seen, hates or does not care about all that. What they do care about are the games. Both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have a solid line up of games. From Quantum Break to The Order: 1886. From Sunset Overdrive to InFamous: Second Son. Both systems have games that show a lot of promise. 

NEXT GEN NOW

This does raise a question on what makes next gen next gen. Is it having a more immersed experience like what Microsoft is trying to do with the Kinect? Or is it the social features that Sony is doing with the PlayStation 4. Maybe the hardware design and graphics do it. To me this is what next gen is to me:



On the current gen consoles, Grand Theft Auto 5 is what I would like to see Next Gen do. Have this vast world with many activities to do. The two games I can think of that does something like this is The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Destiny. While Destiny does have a MMO type feel to it, it does have the vast worlds to explore. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is trying to have more things to do and have a much bigger map that Skyrim. I have not seen much on all three games, just what they released, they do look better than most Next Gen games. Especially Grand Theft Auto 5 and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. They seem to take a scope of a world and expand upon it. While most developers are going to try to the push for high-end 1080p HD graphics and 60 Frames per Second, to me the most important thing is gameplay. No amount of HD graphics and high steady frame rate is going to save you if your game is not good. Recently there was a rumor that the PlayStation 4 needs 3.5GB for the Operating System. Since then an unknown developer has said that this was false and there are indeed games that are using 6GB of the system currently in development.

BITS TO BITS

In its 30-year history since the launch of the original Nintendo, there has been a massive jump of hardware specs. I am not going to claim I know anything about hardware specs. I have no idea what makes DDR3 and GDDR5 so different. Nevertheless, from the past I always used memory as bits. The 8 bits of the original Nintendo, to the 128 bits of PlayStation 2. The PlayStation 3 had 256 bits. This is how I see tech. If Sony and Microsoft had stuck with a somewhat tradition, we would have 512 bit for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Instead, Sony and Microsoft jumped it up to 8GB. It is very possible to say that they needed those gigs to make graphics better. Grand Theft Auto 5, The Last of Us, and Halo 4 all still look stunning in this 256-bit console generation. Even frame rate did its job in 256 bit. It is true that not every game does 60FPS, but games like Call of Duty and Ratchet & Clank showed that it could be done. To me, what make next gen next gen are the vast worlds developers are creating. As for Next Gen games, Destiny is already doing this.

IT'S SIMPLE

If developers can make a game with 1080p graphics and a rock solid 60fps, that is great. As long as the game does not chug as it does in Blight Town in Dark Souls, I do not care if it is 1080p or 720, 60fps or 30. I only care about if the games are good. I guess what I want most of all is what I have always wanted. Good games that in each generation becomes bigger and bigger as long as they still retain all the fun that I had when I first played them when I was young. Just a fun, vast experience is what I want. It is all that I will ever need.   read


10:47 PM on 06.21.2013

The Last of Us Review

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 Dog’s 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 cliché 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: Drake’s 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.   read


5:13 AM on 05.24.2013

Another XBOX ONE blog...

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 Microsoft’s 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 “Doctor Who” specials each month and “Whose Line is it Anyways” 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 Remedy’s 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 I’m 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 friend’s 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 Microsoft’s 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.   read


7:06 PM on 05.09.2013

Book Vs Film: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (NVGR)

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.   read


2:59 PM on 05.04.2013

Overview: The Phantom Menace

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, it’s 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?  It’s 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 it’s just so boring and monotone that you can tell that they are there to read lines, and nothing else. There’s 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 it’s better to just stand back. You have other weapons like a grenade and a blaster, but being a Jedi, there’s 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. It’s to be expected to miss your jump a few times, but it should be your fault, and not the fault of the controller. There’s 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.   read





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