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A writer who is passionate about the video game industry and wants to see the medium evolve into the new form of storytelling

I also have my own personal blogspot page

www.graysreviews.blogspot.com
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COURT IS NOW IN SESSION FOR THE TRIAL OF MR. Grayraiden, FOR LYING TO HIS CONSUMER BASE

Phoenix Wright: My client pleads not guilty, your honor. There is no distinguishable evidence that shows GR was not keeping to his schedule….

Miles Edgeworth: Then how can your client claim his alibi is solid, when there are records showing his constant procrastination and his statement that he would have his review out last week?

Wright: well not all of are perfect like you Edgeworth. (he’s right though……GR is pretty lazy)

Grayraiden: Um your honor, can’t I just review the game now and make up for it?

Judge:....hmm I don’t see why not? Just be aware of any misleading information or you will be penalized.

Well with out of the way, let’s go to court in today’s review: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney HD

Remember in my last review, I mentioned Law and Order. Well, in this game you play the role of the prosecutor…


Wright: *slams desk* How could my own client forget that I am a defense attorney? It’s part of the name!


Oops sorry Mr. Wright, ill change my story. Anyway, this game first came out in 2001 on the Nintendo DS and has had several titles with a sort of cult status among gamers. Due to its unique take on courts, wild characters, and fun and often funny stories.

In terms of the gameplay, you have to remember that I am playing an HD re-release of a DS game. You go to the crime scene and try to get to the bottom of what happened, like in any episode of Law and Order. What sets this apart however is as the defense attorney; you can’t really get that much information. The game doesn’t really hold your hand as to giving you clues; you need to think very carefully about each piece of evidence before the real fun begins in court.

In the universe of Phoenix Wright, the judicial system as been extremely streamlined. Most of the forensics work like ballistic fingerprinting can be done during the actual trial. Court hearings are now only three days until a verdict is sentenced, although most cases wrap up in one....

Edgeworth: All thanks to people like me who will do anything to get a guilty verdict.


As I was saying, the only thing you have to really rely on in these games is your brain. Its up to you to put together a correlation between someones testimony and the evidence. The odds will be against you almost all the time and the state of the person on the stand can change instantly. It's up to you to protect the innocent and find the real culprit behind a lover's quarrel, your boss' murder, and a closed case that changed the lives of everyone Phoenix holds dear.

Special mention is going to the music of the first game with how it makes you feel so accomplished when you are on the right path of questioning and you used your head to figure it all out.

If you are interested in purchasing this HD compilation, it's the Iphone app store for free...well only the first two cases of Ace Attorney are free. You can purchase the other games separately or in a bundle.

Phoenix Wight: I would like to submit to the court that my client has proven that this game deserves a....
 



Edgeworth: Your honor, I feel that the reputation of our witness is coming into question again, Mr. Gray, how can you prove that this game deserves the rating you are suggesting?

I can and I will Mr. Edgeworth.

This is the best kind of "thinking man's" game I can recommend. If your interested in courtroom twists and turns, this game is for you. If you want a basic idea how the court system works without having to go to law school, the this game is for you. Finally, If you want a game that will force you to use you head and unravel the mysteries of a wittnes, then you want Phoenix Wright in your corner.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy HD gets 5 OBJECTION! out of five.

So I basicaly went on "trial" for my procrastination and I have learned my lesson so I will nail out more and more reviews very soon.

If you want to follow me further for more updates, check out my facebook page.
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They say a courier’s job is only finished two ways: the package is delivered, or they wander the afterlife. There is one story of a courier who cheated death so many times that death became his ally, a courier who was the one to bring either peace or destruction to the Mohave wasteland where three flags fight for dominance and war?....Well war never changes.

Transitioning from Fallout 3 to New Vegas felt like the natural progression from original to sequel without the awkward feeling that you can tell when different developers were working on the same franchise. You’re given a brand new wasteland to discover, new ways of exploration, and the same great atmosphere and storytelling the Fallout games are known for.

New Vegas takes place around and in Las Vegas and the Mohave Desert now called the Mohave Wasteland after the Great War. You initially begin the game as a courier: a deliverer of packages, messages, and anything else needed across the Wasteland. You were contracted to deliver a platinum chip somewhere, but it turns out the chip price was a shallow grave. After being found by a Securitron and fully recovered, it’s up to you to find the man who wanted you dead and changing the fate of the Mohave with it.

How you choose to make your way across the wastes is entirely up to you as it was in Fallout 3. This time though every major or minor decision you make will either please or scar your reputation with the many factions fighting for control. You have the New California Republic (NCR) holding control over Hoover Dam and bring New Vegas under their rules. Caesar's Legion who would like nothing more than to watch their empire grow by any means necessary. Finally, there’s Mr. House and his army of security robots that police and make sure that the New Vegas strip prospers. You can choose to side with any of these factions and it could lead to a completely different ending.


Remember in my Fallout 3 review how I described my favorite moment of surprise and joy I had? Well, I experienced it on more than one occasion. I killed an entire pack of deathclaws down to my last shotgun shell, massacred an entire platoon of Legion soldiers with only an energy axe, and persuaded my enemies to value their lives before I send them to their early graves.Combat in New Vegas is more exciting thanks to the fact that now you can aim down sights and aim more accurately than Fallout 3. If you have the caps for them, you could also equip weapon mods like extended mags, silencers, and scopes. There are even different ammo types for different situations.

Music wise, New Vegas takes some of the same cues from Fallout 3 like using licensed music from the era to create the atmosphere. But like I said with Fallout 3, All the radio music starts to blend together and all sound the same. Voice acting wise, there were a few standout characters. Ron Perlmen's gruff tone as the narrator, Matthiew Perry as Benny the well-dressed leader of the casino gang "the chairmen", Felicia Day as Veronica: one of your potential companions and member of the Brotherhood of Steel. Fun fact: according the Guiness Book of World Records: Gamer edition, New Vegas holds the record for most recorded lines of dialog in a single-player game at 65,000!

This game is not without faults however. When the game first came out in 2010, there were a lot of immersion-breaking bugs and glitches like the VATS system not working when you needed it most, companions disappearing out of nowhere, random freezing, and other instances. Many of the initial bugs have been ironed out over time, but there are still plenty that are noticeable.

After playing both Fallout 3 and New Vegas, I can honestly say I had more fun playing New Vegas despite its many glitches and bugs. The story felt more unique as to how I could decide who to side with, and I really did appreciate the change in combat with the gunplay.

With all this in mind, Fallout New Vegas gets 4 Deathclaws out of 5

A courier's job is never easy. We wander the wasteland delivering messages, We are idolized in one town and vilified in the next. Some of us have allegiances with the two-headed bear, or with the Bull of the East. Some of us are gifted with silver tongues or a affinity for the sciences. We sing of old world blues or dream of dead money. Not all of us carry honest hearts, but we are connected by our path. Forced to forever walk the lonesome road with a message tied to our back.



If you are interested in picking up Fallout New Vegas: Ultimate Edition, you can pick it up at retail for $30 or on Steam for $20

If you have played New Vegas, share your favorite moment of your journey in the comments or on my facebook page.
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Updates for August, September, October 2013

I think now is a good time as any to show what I have planned to review and publish in the next few weeks. I am now committed to release one review per week from now on. My next review was going to be Fallout New Vegas, but I heard about the positive phrase that Gone Home was getting from its recent release and I am so glad I bought it when I did.

With very few games coming out until the Xbox One and PS4 come out, I have a few games on my backlog at the moment to keep me busy until then. Bear in mind that there is no particular order as to when these review will come out, some are more finished than others.

Fallout New Vegas

Dust: an Elysian Tale

Shank 2

Riveria: The Promised Land

Mercenary Kings

L.A Noire

My other plans for the future include a big side-by-side comparison between the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 before their launch.

I will also be more active on my facebook page giving updates on the games being reviewed, any breaking news that I find relevant in the gaming world, and other tidbits.








Gone Home: The house that might have been a home

They say that “home is where the heart is”. Every single house has a story to tell and every room is a chapter waiting to be added. If you ever visited my bedroom, there are different chapters of my life in every corner. On top of my dresser there are small trophies that I won when I was at summer camp, handmade pinewood derby stock cars that me and my Grandpa used to make when I was a Cub Scout, and photos that celebrated my past and current success. You would also find a small Chicago Bulls locker that I got during the glory years of Michael Jordan and is filled to the brim with old gaming magazines and Yu-Gi-Oh cards lost between the pages.

In Gone Home, you are given a home to explore and a story that is seriously one of the best I have experienced for how heartfelt and genuine the house feels and its callback on 90’s nostalgia. The only piece of story that you know right away is that you play as Kaitlin Greenbriar coming back home after traveling abroad. No hand holding tutorial, no shocking twist, just a note on the front door from your sister telling you not to go looking for her. As you’re exploring the house your family as occupied since being away, you find small journal entries written by your younger sister and what she has been through not having her older sister around.When you pick up a certain object, you hear your sister’s diary entry like in every other audio log you find in games nowadays. However, Samantha’s voice and writings make you feel more and more invested in the story and want to find out what happens next up till the very end. You walk into the TV room and find a TV Guide page showing the next time X-Files is on so she could record it, a cheat sheet under some pillows for all the secret moves in Street Fighter II, and the scribbles of your sister’s creative writings. When I was playing this, I couldn’t help but think back to how my house would tell my family’s story. What might I find again if I look in the basement again? What might my old scribble look like if I ever found it again?

Most games today have an emphasis on showing the player everything and never make the player figure it out for themselves. Games like Call of Duty have on-screen button presses for something that is basically a cinematic. Gone Home ditches those concepts and harkens back to older games like Myst where you have to figure out how everything works with little to no instructions. In writing, there is the phrase “show, don’t tell” which basically translates to “make your reader figure it out on their own, don’t tell them what they could have solved on their own.” That phrase perfectly encapsulates Gone Home and how effective it could be done in video games.  

If you are interested in purchasing Gone Home, you can find it on Steam for $20 and it is worth the price of admission for a 2 hour long experience.

With all this in mind, Gone Home gets 5 VHS tapes out of five.

Official Facebook page: http://tinyurl.com/kaao3tx








Fallout 3: The Grayraiden Review



“Conflict has existed since the beginning of man; humans kill for honor, money, or just instinct. Time and technology may advance, but war….war never changes.”


Ever since the end of WWII, people have always been scared by the threat of the most powerful weapon in human history: the Atomic Bomb. Many pieces of media touch on that kind of fear of what would happen if all the nukes went off, games being no exception. In plenty of games today, the post-apocalyptic setting is a safe and easy choice to put your game. The Fallout series on the other hand, was the series that got it right and offered its players a wasteland that felt all too real.

Before I go any further, I want to say that I have never really heard of Fallout before, nor have I played any of the Fallout games until now. But when the summer Steam sale was on, I was torn between either Fallout 3 or Fallout: New Vegas because I wanted to really see what all the praise was about. I wasn’t able to play them on my current computer, but I was able to buy the Game of the Year edition of Fallout 3 and the Ultimate Edition of Fallout: New Vegas for my 360.

Fallout 3 originally came out back in 2008 and had received plenty of game of the year awards from different sites. After playing through most of the main story and a few side quests, I can see why this game was praised so much. From the moment you step out of vault 101, you are given a huge expansive wasteland to explore however you want. For most missions, there are different unique ways of approaching it.

Here’s an example of what happened to me: I was given a quest to find a slaver camp called Paradise Falls and rescue some imprisoned kids there. I could have A) paid my way into the camp by bribing the guard and the owner B) completed a small side quest for the camp guard to get in, or C) kill everyone in the camp and free the slaves once their all dead. When I was confronted with my choice, I pulled out my sawed-off shotgun Mad Maxx style and killed every last slaver in the camp! I was astonished that I could get away with that, and it was a blast!


In addition to amount of choice the game presents you with, the combat has a nice unique edge that makes it stand out from others in its genre. With the press of a button, you can enter V.A.T.S or the Vault-tech Assisted Targeting System and highlight certain parts of your enemy that you can automatically aim at. Depending on how you build your vault dweller, you can be more accurate with melee weapons, small guns (pistols, shotguns, and rifles), explosives, energy weapons, or big guns like the mini-nuke launcher. I specialized in smaller guns and keeping my enemies at range but also weapons and armor can degrade in condition so whenever you find armor piece that’s similar to the one you have, you can use your newly found armor to repair your current one.

Since the basic premise of the story is you escape vault 101 to find your missing father, you are going to be doing a lot of walking. At first it can be tedious walking at a slow pace across the wasteland finding the next town, but half of the fun is discovering new places along your path that you can explore for more quests. Scavenging is another important thing to keep in mind while traveling. Since there is no more “money”, you have to look for pieces of junk that you can trade in for caps (soda caps that is).   

Playing through the campaign, there were several points that just dropped the immersion for me. When I was trying to complete on of the early story quests, I was basically stuck by an in game bug but before I found that out, I thought there was something wrong with the entire game. It put me in a sour mood that I would have to completely redo everything up till that point. There is also a few times where the game will freeze up for a second or so before resuming, but you have to take into consideration that when making a big expansive open-world game like Fallout 3, there are bound to be a few technical glitches.

Music wise I would have to say it has its good and bad in this game. When I normally talk about a game’s soundtrack, it’s usually to praise it for how good it is for setting the mood of the game. In Fallout however, it’s a mixed bag because not only is there an original soundtrack but plenty of licensed music from the 1940’s. Even though the entire world has been devastated by nuclear war, someone in DC still manages the airwaves and that man is Three-Dog. On the downside though, listening to all these classic tunes is great but they all seem to mush together and sound the exact same after repeat listening.

Having played all the way through the main story, while getting a little lost along the way I can easily see why this was heralded as game of the year back in 08 and I became quite addicted to it, even more so since right now I am playing through New Vegas.

If you are interested in picking this up for PC, Steam has the main game along with all 5 DLC expansions for $20 if your machine can run it. I got my copy from Gamestop (admittedly) for $25 for consoles.

With an expansive nuclear wasteland, interesting characters, and the many choices that come with it, Fallout 3 made me carve my own adventure in a world where war never changes.

Fallout 3 Game of the Year Edition gets 4 Nuka-Colas out of 5.

Official Facebook page: http://tinyurl.com/kaao3tx
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The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines the word nerd as “an unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person; especially: one slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits”. That’s only one way of looking at it though. People think that looking or acting like a nerd is unattractive and undesirable. Most people got that idea from when they were in high school where every single student is put into specific social group and they are either praised (jocks, cheerleaders, etc) or ridiculed (nerds). Going back to that definition, do you really think that all nerds are socially inept or are they just taking their time waiting for the right moment? Are we unstylish or are we the ones who invented the style before it became cool? And do you think that all nerds are unattractive or are you just not looking in the right places? I plan to give you, the reader a better understanding and appreciation for us nerds in society and how we’re more alike than you think.

When I was in high school, I was a little ashamed of being a nerd and I wanted people to accept me for who I was. I worked at my school’s radio program and had my own solo show for about three of my four years; I dabbled into electronic music and loved talking about current events. I even had my own solo stage combat routine set to the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song at my schools variety show one year. So yes you could say that I was a nerd, but the question is am I just a nerd because of all that I just mentioned or am I a nerd because society looks at me and selects me to be classified as a nerd?

What most people do not realize is that a nerd is not just someone who might talk about electronics consistently; maybe that person is working or training to work in Information Technology? Maybe something more obvious like what I talk about and write about the most: Video games? When I was younger and I was talking to people about video games, and only the people who played games could understand me and the language that comes with gaming. In this day and age, many more people know about video games enough to join a small conversation, so in a way they are a little nerdy as well.


Nerds are everywhere. There are many different “species” of being a nerd, there’s: movie nerds, cartoon nerds, anime and manga nerds, music nerds, book nerds, science nerds and many more out there. Look at the characters on the show “The Big Bang Theory”, they are in a way making being a nerd cool again. These guys I think show off the best aspects of being a nerd: intelligence, and acceptance of being who they are and proud of it.

So I would like to say this to all my fellow nerds, be proud. Be proud that you want to debate whether Greedo shot first, be proud that you love all the Twilight books and movies (no matter how bad they are). Be proud that you can’t wait for Assassins Creed III to come out! And most importantly, be happy with who you are and don’t be shy about it. Who knows, you might find that one person who has a thing for dorky partners and that person who is bulling you? They might end up working a lowly desk job while you are the CEO.