Category Archives: Not Indie Games

Can’t contain my hype!

Just over 3 weeks away. This is my #1 game this year. I honestly did not think I would be THIS excited about it. I thought I was tired of the whole Dynasty Warriors formula, but you know what? This really works for me. Digging the heavy metal Zelda.

What I’m even MORE excited about is Square Enix and Sony’s announcement of a limited edition metal slime PS4, which will probably never reach the states.

metalp4

And of course the announcement of Dragon Quest Heroes! Oh joy of joys! For those who know me, you know I love me some Dragon Quest. Another Dynasty Warriors cross over spin-off, and a first for the Dragon Quest series, stepping outside of their standard RPG style. And will also probably never reach the states.

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Zelda Hyrule Warriors – first thoughts

hyruleI got a chance to play Hyrule Warriors yesterday. It was excellent. It didn’t disappoint me at all. Granted I only got to play it for about 10 minutes, but everything I experienced was fantastic. It’s not so much that the game is flawless in it’s execution, it does have its problems, but it does exactly what I wanted it to. It kicks ass. It’s heavy metal Zelda. I remember the first time I ever played Dynasty Warriors I thought to myself, “I didn’t know they had electric guitars during the Three Kingdoms Era in China.” And I was sold immediately. No different with Hyrule Warriors. Classic Zelda tracks remixed with heavy metal guitars. It’s just fun. No mucking about in unforgiving dungeons, or frying brain cells trying to solve puzzles (not that those things are bad), it’s just constant nonstop action. Something that Zelda has never done before. Which I have no problem with, but I fear this game may fail to find it’s place in the market.

One thing Zelda games have not really had a problem with is suffering from franchise fatigue.  -See Call of Duty, Gears of War, Assassin’s Creed, Tony Hawk, Guitar Hero- It’s what happens when you release too many games from the same franchise too quickly without enough variation from game to game. A new Zelda release takes its time and at least attempts, if not always successful, to try to change the gameplay elements with each release. But they always, for the most part, have the same core elements to their gameplay. Hyrule Warriors being so vastly different, I feel it has a very specific niche to fill. For starters, it’s much more for the hardcore gamer, which aren’t generally found playing the Wii U. Dynasty Warriors has always been Xbox or PlayStation. And for fans of classic style Zelda games, I know the feeling of “But this isn’t MY Zelda game” is out there, and they may feel underwhelmed by the repetitive hack and slash combat, mourning the lack of adventuring and dungeon delving. It’s still Zelda, it’s just a new way of playing it. I know Nintendo wants to get more serious with their games. Hopefully this is a glimpse of what is to come.  The release date, I think, is also not the best timing. It’s being released right around some other lumbering behemoths, such as Destiny. It’s likely to be overshadowed and should have had a more isolated release date.

Why does even concern me? Because I want Nintendo to be king again god dammit! I fucking love Nintendo and it saddens me to see them stumble. Yeah the Wii was a piece of trash, but the Wii U is great and there’s some great content coming out for it. I know this game is going to be awesome and I want others to share my joy. I don’t want teenaged to twenty-something males to feel emasculated playing on a Nintendo console anymore. It actually makes me sad when I see 12 year olds and all they want to play is Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. A game doesn’t need to have guns in it just to be fun to play. But that’s a discussion for another time.

Gonna Have Me Some Fun – Blood Dragon

WARNING: Blood Dragon is built for speed, it’s got everything that Uncle John needs.

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon is basically a raging-hard-on-induced, love letter to Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, or 80s action movies in general. As Michael Allocca put it, “It’s like if Duke Nukem took an untested amount of mescaline and traveled back to 1982.” Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon gave me a boner so hard that my 6 year old self was able to touch it.

Most people were introduced to Blood Dragon via this trailer, which was originally thought to be a hoax.

And then, thankfully, we found out it wasn’t.

First off, Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon really has absolutely nothing to do with Far Cry 3. It is its own entity completely and doesn’t even require the original game to play – a stand alone download available for $15. So why did they call it Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon and not just Blood Dragon? Probably because they were hoping to bank on the success of Far Cry 3. Other than sharing the same game engine, they really have nothing to do with each other. This made me worry slightly about the quality of the game, but even more so, I was really anxious about them feeding too much into 80s sentimentality without any real substance. Fears were unrequited. Yes it is highly sentimental of the 80s, but the game is awesome. Anyone of any generation who’s a fan of FPS games will enjoy Blood Dragon. If you don’t, there something wrong with your brain. It’s not the game, it’s you.

You start with what is basically the opening scenes from Predator. If you’ve ever seen the movie, you’ll recognize it immediately. And if you haven’t, dear God, please, do something about it. Now. Like, seriously. Stop reading this and go watch Predator. Crouching produces an icon clearly resembling the silhouette of the T-800 crouching upon his transportation back through time. Granted the references are numerous, it’s not just a parody on Schwarzenegger 80s pop culture, it’s a self-aware parody of the video game world itself. The ubiquitous gameplay tutorial is a hassle. More games are forgoing the packed in physical manual for the hand-holding, in-game tutorial – WHICH IS ALMOST NEVER SKIP-ABLE! True to form, it is impossible to skip the tutorial in Blood Dragon, however, in its heightened sense of self-awareness, they mitigate the aggravation by intentionally trying to aggravate you with its asinine-ness.  Thus, the snark-laden tutorial comes of being cleverly stupid by pointing out the ridiculousness of the trend and provokes a few chuckles rather than slinging expletives at your TV. For example, “Press A to indicate your ability to read,” and, “To look around, look around,” are two such commands given during the tutorial.

It’s not just all silly jokes and puns though. The gameplay is top notch and brings everything you would expect from a great FPS. You can chain stealth kills together, it’s got plenty of weapons, and plenty of action. To lend some genuine authenticity, they even got Michael Biehn, best known as Kyle Reese from Terminator and Cpl. Hicks of Aliens, to do the voice of Rex Power Colt. Soundtrack by Power Glove, who must have written the soundtrack to James Cameron’s dreams; picture Terminator meets Blade Runner and that’s pretty much what Power Glove sounds like.

Nothing has ever been more worth the download price. And remember, C400 is like C4, but with two zeroes.

I was FORCEDTO Point Out This Typo in Bioshock

bioshock

I know this isn’t the biggest typo in the world and not nearly as huge as Resident Evil: Revelaitons or Nartuo, but I still enjoy pointing out when people screw up. On the back of the PS3 version of Bioshock Infinite, you will notice that “forced to” has been combined into one word. It’s weird that it it only happened on the PS3 version but the other version on 360 and PC are typo free. Hey, why doesn’t someone hire me to be the editor?

Single Player, Mandatory-Online Games

noeaSingle Player Online Games, or, Why I hate EA

Remember when you could buy a brand new game, go home, open it up, put it on and play it right away? Well that may soon become just a memory and I fear that the next generation of gamers won’t even know what that feeling is like. More often than not when you purchase a new game, it requires an immediate update. Ok, fine, whatever. Download my update. I’ll go grab a drink and take a leak while it loads. “Sorry, but the servers are currently down for maintenance.” That is the most infuriating message to receive after just purchasing a new game and it is inexcusable. There is no argument, no line of thinking, no rationale, no excuses, NOTHING that can justify why that happens.

Let’s say you just bought a new car and it’s sitting in your driveway and you’re about to take it out for the first time. As you turn the key, instead of the engine starting, you get a message stating, “Sorry you can’t use your car yet. We still haven’t finished working on it, but we sold it to  you anyway.” You’d be pretty pissed. A TV, a fridge, a toaster, ANYTHING – when you purchase it, you expect it to be usable upon receiving it. “Hey, Jimmy, why aren’t you wearing those new shoes you bought?” “Because they’re having problems finishing attaching the leather.” You would call BS on that immediately, and you’d be in the right to do so. It’s not okay when any other retailer of goods does this, so why can video game publishers get away with it?

Players of MMOs are quite familiar with the situation, but that’s to be expected when a game is played entirely online. Even so, it should work at launch. I can accept server downtime for routine updates, large patches, bug fixes, add-ons, etc. but when a game is released for retail sale, as a finished product, it should work out of the box. Especially if I’m going to be playing a single player game. Why do I have to log into a server to play by myself? I’ve heard all the arguments for this, but as I stated earlier, it’s unjustifiable. Oh, okay, you’re making sure I have an authentic copy of your game. EA’s Origin and Ubisoft’s Uplay network require constant online access to play any of their newer games regardless if you’re playing multiplayer or not.  Fuck you! I bought your damn game. Let me play it on my own terms.  This also brings into question the concept of true ownership of the product. If I can’t use something that I purchased, then is it really mine? Generally, something that I own, I’m free to do with and use as I please and is mine forever until I so choose otherwise. Let’s say, 25 years from now, I have this game that requires their servers to play, but the servers have been permanently shut down. Then I can’t play this game. I can still play my old NES games that I bought years ago without any problem, so why shouldn’t I be able to play this one? What did I really buy? Did I really buy anything or did I just rent it? Granted a long, extended rental period, but it would be a rental nonetheless.

simcityscreen

my computer screen for about 2 days straight trying to log into sim city

In case you weren’t already aware, Sim City, a game published by EA, and the impetus for writing this, had a disastrous release. For over a week, servers were unstable at best and many users had long wait times to log on and even then would get booted from the game due to server instability. For the first few days, the game was essentially unplayable, with an almost complete inability to log into the game.  Similarly, but not nearly so awful, Diablo III and Starcraft II had a near inability to log on the first few days; both requiring constant online connections to play even a single player game. EA said that they had no idea so many people were going to be playing. The Sims is the best selling PC game of all time. Did they really think that they wouldn’t need more than a few servers to accommodate such a large fan base? At launch, wouldn’t it make sense to go a little overboard with servers because everyone is going to be logging in all at once. Blizzard is awful with this.

EA has as least admitted they screwed up. To anyone who purchases Sim City before March 25th, they will be entitled download one free game – Battlefield 3, Bejeweled 3, Dead Space 3, Mass Effect 3, Medal of Honor: Warfighter, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Plants vs Zombies, and Sim City 4 Deluxe. It’s nice that they’re giving out a free download. They didn’t have to. They could have just said, “We already have your money. Things will be fixed in time. Until then, deal with it.” It doesn’t make the situation right, or fix the increase in constant online games, but it’s nice to see a big publisher admit they were wrong.

The point of all this is, don’t release a game if it’s not finished. I wouldn’t have minded waiting another week, or month, or whatever for the game to release as long as I get a completed product. I paid for it, I want to be able to use it right away. If it’s not finished yet, don’t release it. And this mandatory online crap has got to go. Bottom line, if a game has a single player mode, then DO NOT require online server access.

Walls of Ash (Daughters of Rhineholt)

daughters

What is Walls of Ash, you may ask. I’ve never heard of it or seen it on any message boards on IGN or read about it in Game Informer, you say to yourself. Well, it’s a book. That’s right, a novel, that you read. A video game you play in your mind, if you will. Actually, that’s a bit of a stretch. So what the hell am I doing talking about a book on a video game blog?! You want validation? The novel is currently available to download for ONLY $2.99 from Amazon for use on a Kindle.  Kindles can be used as a gaming platform – that’s the connection. Whatever…. I don’t need to explain myself.

OK, truth is the author, Amber Newberry, is a friend of mine and this is my blog and I can talk about whatever the hell I want on it.

Walls of Ash is a historical gothic novel about… well, I’ll just give you the description right from her page: “Tamsin Rhineholt is a stubborn and unconventional daughter of Rhineholt House. In a time when young ladies were bred to wed and follow orders, she finds herself faced with decisions that could lead her into the arms of love, or into danger. With the discovery of harrowing family secrets, Tamsin’s sweet dreams of her mother become dark, terrifying nightmares, warning her of the terrible things to come. A great mystery that surrounds her mother’s disappearance could be the key to the evil that pursues her, but when everything is snatched away, she falls into desperation that only one can save her from. Can he be her salvation, or will it be too late?”

Go check out her book. Or at least her blog, http://ambernewberry.wordpress.com.  Clicking on the banner at the top will also take you right to the Amazon order page.

Apparently, there’s going to be a paperback edition available in a couple weeks, but print is dead and furthermore, has nothing to do with video games.

THQs Humble Bundle

Humble-THQ-Bundle

We all know that THQ has seen some rough waters over the past year; Their stock dropping from about $20 to around 60 cents a share. To avoid being delisted, the company did a 1 to 10 reverse stock split to bring themselves back up to market standards, but their stock has still been steadily in decline since. They’ve tried redirecting their company’s gaming focus, moving away from casual and child games after the utter failure from the UDraw tablet. Instead, THQ plans on focusing on the hardcore, mainstream, 15yr-35yr gaming audience. However, even their top titles haven’t given them the success they so dearly needed. WWE was considered a success, but sales were down from last years release, Darksiders II didn’t meet the company’s expectations, but probably worst of all, the license rights to the UFC games has been lost to publisher EA.

As a seemingly last ditch effort to get some revenue, THQ has available a Humble Bundle offer. Clearly a sign of desperation considering the Humble Bundle is generally associated with indie games. At the time of this writing, there are 5 days left to get 8 THQ games for around $6. The games included are:

  • Red Faction: Argmageddon
  • Darksiders
  • Metro 2033 – an excellent and underrated FPS set in a post nuclear irradiated Russia.
  • Company of Heroes – one of my favorite RTS of all time. More importantly, it shares the game engine with Dawn of War, which is definitely my top favorite RTS ever.
  • Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts
  • Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor
  • Saints Row the Third
  • Titan Quest – basically it’s a Diablo clone in ancient Greece. Of all the Diablo clones out there, this one is by far the best, and I actually like this game better than Diablo III.

Essentially, you could get the first 6 games for absolutely free, but if you beat the average payment amount others are giving, you unlock Saints Row, Titan Quest, and additionally, Path to War DLC for Red Faction, and soundtracks to Red Faction, Saints Row, and Company of Heroes. That’s a lot of stuff for 6 bucks and it shows just how in need THQ is right now. Games that were retailing for $59.99, they’re almost literally giving away. During checkout, you choose how to divide your payment between THQ, charity, and the Humble Bundle team. So if you really wanted, you could give it all to charity and say “screw off” to THQ. Or if you don’t care about children in need, give it all to THQ, because quality video games are more important.

Personally, I don’t want to see THQ be forced to liquidate for selfish reasons. The WWE games are pretty fun but most of all, they own licensing rights to the Warhammer 40k games. I know some other publisher would probably pick them up, but I’ve really enjoyed what’s been released under THQs guidance. And nothing’s certain, I’m fearful for what might happen.

Btw, incase you didn’t figure it out already, just click on the banner up top to go to the Humble Bundle page.

Wii U – Pro Controller

So I just got my Wii U and bought the Pro Controller with it, because to play real games you need a real controller; Not that goofy remote and nunchuck nonsense.  Not only does the controller feel completely natural to hold, but each one also comes with its own charge cable, – the PS3 Dual Shock controllers don’t – the d-pad is excellent, as it should be considering that technology was perfected over 25 years ago. (still don’t understand how Xbox screwed that one up), AND it has an unheard of 80 hour battery life!

Xbox Ruined Wrestling Forever

Yeah, it’s been about a month since my last post. I’ve been extremely busy working on some projects which I’ll be talking about at a later date.

Anyway, Xbox didn’t really ruin wrestling forever, but they did ruin my favorite wrestling video game franchise, Fire Pro-Wrestling, by bastardizing it with their stupid avatars. We all know how much I hate these avatar games and generally I don’t even have a passing interest in them, so it’s ok. I go my way, they go theirs and we’re both content to leave each other alone. But now they have some real nerve invading my personal space.

I was first introduced to the series with Fire Pro-Wrestling S: 6 Man Scramble, for Sega Saturn. I knew then that no other wrestling game would ever compare. The editing features at the time put everything else to shame. Not just wrestling games, but everything. There had never been a game before (to my knowledge) with the depth of creation that Fire Pro-Wrestling offered. Graphics were never a part of it. The graphics weren’t necessarily bad, but they weren’t anything spectacular either, but it totally didn’t matter. When you can craft every little detail about your character – their entire move set, taunts,  individual body part sizes so you can have absurdly large Popeye forearms and tiny legs, the sound effects he yells out when doing a move, it becomes a tough act to follow. You can make your own federations, your own rings, they even have a variety of options for refs.

Fire Pro-Wrestling Returns was the latest console iteration of the franchise, released on the PS2 and albeit a rather convoluted editing system, it was the most well flushed out that the series has to offer. Though it still had one major hurdle; it’s PS2 limitations, that meant that there was no real online multiplayer support. That’s what this game always needed. With the ability to create all sorts of bizarre and bombastic wrestlers, you would of course want to show them off in online matches. XBLA finally gives us that opportunity, BUT THEY RUINED THE GAME!

Excitement was my initial emotion when I saw Fire Pro-Wrestling  available for download, followed immediately by despair. Why avatars? Fine, they didn’t want to use sprites. I get it, it’s an outdated medium for on-screen characters; 3D models are the way to go. But did they have to use those goofy avatars? The game acts like an even sillier version of WWE All-Stars. It’s way too over the top. Not that Fire Pro-Wrestling was ever a serious affair, but at least it had dignity god dammit! In the new one, the characters awkward gait belies the grace and dexterity that a true athlete has at their disposal. They walk around like dandy fops and have ridiculous moves that launch people 30 feet above the ring, acting as an over-embellished insult to real wrestling. Look, I’m no fool. I’m sure many of you are thinking that wrestling is already fake and ridiculous and over the top, so what’s the big deal? I’m a wrestling fan, and this is a very serious matter. Yes, we all know wrestling is fake, but there are still certain parameters you should follow to maintain at least some credibility. This new XBLA Fire Pro-Wrestling says bullocks to that.

Gah! I hate this all because the game is actually really good. I’m stuck in a terrible internal conflict rivaling that of Jessie Spano’s decision to date the short guy in that one episode. Some new elements have been added which almost made me want to overlook that the game is a joke. Creating your wrestler can be even more fun than before. Maybe not more fun, but more rewarding. After creating your wrestler in previous games, that was pretty much it as far as that wrestler’s tale goes. You’re free to do whatever you want while you’re creating them, but that immediate gratification leaves little rewards in the long haul. Your wrestler has more of a career-oriented, rpg style, approach to his creation. Participating in matches will gain you EXP and unlock more moves, which makes your wrestler feel more personal as you’re along with them the whole way as they rise to power.

I wanted so much to like this game. And I tried, I really did. Even now, I kind of want to play it, but it hurts so much when I turn it on. It’s like the 4th Indiana Jones movie…

Been busy – Dragon’s Lair

No, I have not been busy with Dragon’s Lair. That would be a rather sad existence. Though a lot has happened the past couple months and Dragon’s Lair played a small roll. I’ve moved… twice… and still another move coming possibly towards the ass end of the year. Working more hours, trying to peddle my wares across the country. Trying to break out into the film/video production industry, or the video game industry regardless of whatever format that entails. That’s my one hopeful lead right now. I wouldn’t say it’s a big lead. It’s not Game Informer or working for EA or anything. But someone actually wanted to put a review of mine up other than myself. It’s on NewEnglandGamer.com. I met this guy, Brett, who just happened to be the editor-in-chief of said website, during a group interview session for Microsoft. Neither of us got the job. Anyway, I usually don’t like to talk about anything personal on here, so I apologize. Click on the picture below for my review on Dragon’s Lair for Kinect

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