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Developers Shouldn’t Use Cliff Notes.

1 May

Right off the bat, I should say that I’m really enjoying Castlevania: Lords of Shadow so far. I’ve only just started chapter 2, but I’m currently appreciating the slow-burn of both the game play and story. Be that as it may, I’ve already found my first brow-furrowing moment in the game. Ever heard of Shadow of the Colossus?

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My First Few Hours with Mafia II.

22 Feb

I’ve only played about 30 minutes of the original Mafia, so I can’t really compare it to the sequel. Among my friends, however, there seems to be some fondness for the title. I started it on my laptop, but I downloaded a patch that bricked the game. Oh, well. I did, however, play the beginning of Mafia II over the last few days, and God, I hate it. With a mini passion, even.

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The "Airport Level" and Other Musings in Modern Warfare 2 or, What’s the Big Deal?

25 Nov

So a friend spontaneously brought over his copy of Modern Warfare 2 tonight, and I played it for a couple of hours or so. I must say, my initial impression of the game doesn’t do it any favors. You can say I’m just hating all you want, but I honestly haven’t found the experience rewarding enough to warrant a purchase up to this point. For clarity’s sake, I just finished the “Wolverines” mission, and I’m playing on Veteran difficulty (which I do for all CoD games).

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Well Then, Thriftweed….

13 Nov

Have you ever been in a situation where you’re with a group of friends and they’re all talking about a specific, awesome thing, and the only sentence you can contribute to the conversation is along the lines of “I never did that.” Well, take out the group of friends and an actual conversation, and you end up with my situation. I feel like I’ve missed out on something amazing for the last 15 or so years. I never gamed on my family computer when I was young, and man, did I ever miss out. Playing The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition on Xbox 360 is like discovering a lost world where humor was genuine and characters were interesting. The complexity of the world isn’t the most important thing; so far, in the first 7% of the game, pretty much everything has been instantly memorable. I can’t say that for the first 7% of a lot of more modern games. I wish those very same, graphically intense modern games instilled this sense of awe and curiosity in me. I love you, Tim Shafer (yes, I know other people worked on it as well).

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"That’s a Navy Seal campfire if I ever saw one."

10 Nov

The quote I used for my title is uttered by the main character….Dwayne? Chris?….I don’t know his name, but that was the first thing that came to his mind when he saw burnt ash and smoke coming from the ground. Fucking A – you can’t make ’em like a Navy Seal. Someone’s skull is probably at the base of that campfire. My brain is now capable of thinking like Dutch in Predator.

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Conduit Impressions

26 Jun
The following was written by a contributor from the old blog, Markus. I’m currently the only one with posting access, so I have to go back to each thing not written by me and put these little disclaimers up. It’s a fun time. So, enjoy…
Let’s get this right out of the way. There are sooooo many other FPS games with similar plots. There are sooooo may other FPS games that offer a robust multiplayer mode. The Level design won’t blow you away….hallway….open room….bad guys…shoot….repeat over and over. Many games in the genre also look a lot better than what you will get with Wii’s “The Conduit”, however this little gem boasts one of the most immersive customizable control schemes you have ever played on any system……….period.

I have spent about three hours with the campaign mode so far and it has been an absolute joy to play. There is a huge learning curve while you get use to the motion controls, but once you do…’ll be pulling off head shots and chucking grenades with relative ease. The big hook in the game is the aforementioned control scheme. Moving a little too slow….change it…don’t like where the re-load button is….change it. For the most part, there is no control layout that is set in stone. I’ve never had such a good time tweaking my controller options in a video game until now. When you are in the menu screen making adjustments you basically stay in the game while taking no damage from enemies. This allows you customize on the fly and should be THE standard for any FPS in the future to follow.

Before the Wii came out, people were anticipating the very thing that High Voltage has created with “The Conduit.” An immersive FPS built from the ground up with the Wii waggle in mind. They have proved that it can be done……..and done beautifully I might add. Now I still love my standard controller, however it’s nice to have something different on the menu when I’m craving that type of experience. If the Wii is your only console… is simply a no-brainer purchase.

I totally praise High Voltage for what they have accomplished. Now I will admit they did sacrifice things like enemy a.i. and interesting levels, but their focus on making the controls truly exceptional outweigh the shortcomings. Future projects from this developer are already making this Wii owner totally giddy with excitement.

T R I C O . !!!!!!!!!!!!!

23 May
First, you must watch: (Youtube clip used to be here on the old blog…too lazy to put up a new one…derp)
Yes, you are correct. That was fucking amazing. Lets talk about why that is.If you’ve played Shadow of the Colossus, you should pay close attention to how the boy moves while on top of the creature. I could be wrong, but to me it looks like the game is taking the core mechanic from SOTC – grappling onto the fur of giant creatures – and applying it to totally opposite situations. The creature and the boy are obviously close, and the creature takes the boy wherever he needs to go. Flying high in the sky, swimming to the oceans depths, and everything in between seem, at first glance, to be within the players reach. I just can’t get over the simple genius of using that mechanic for exploration instead of only combat. Bravo, Sony. Now, all you have to do is give this development studio a better name than the current generic, third-tier-sounding name it unfortunately has. I don’t even remember what the fuck it is. And no, Team ICO isn’t their actual name.

But more to the point, this game is far and away one of the best reasons to own a ps3. TRICO looks to be some kind of mix between ICO and SOTC, with the possible addition of being hunted by an unnumbered amount of people (notice the beginning of the footage….the boy and the creature seem to be escaping from some kind of prison or fortress). And with the creature’s ability to fly, I’m expecting the scope to eclipse SOTC by quite a bit. Son of a bitch, I want this game right now. I think Sony might be showing off the game proper at E3, but I’m not sure about that. Obviously, I hope they do, especially since this footage is pretty old. Who knows how much more awesome can be contained on a single disc? Only od and Santa Claus know the answer to that, but Sony is getting pretty damn close to finding out for themselves.

First Impressions: Velvet Assassin (Xbox 360)

22 May

I really haven’t played much of the game yet, so this will be pretty short. I believe I’m three levels in, and so far I’m very happy with it. For starters, it looks great. I can’t even think of anything wrong with the graphics off the top of my head, and honestly, I was pleasantly surprised by that. In fact, I don’t even remember who developed the game, and I wasn’t expecting it to look or feel like a triple-A game. But so far it does, so…..more power to whoever the fuck made it.

If you didn’t know, Velvet Assassin is a stealth game. It’s pretty traditional so far, but in a good way. You basically go through the different environments (which, as I said a second ago, are beautiful) and try to be as sneaky as possible. Stealth kills are super easy to execute, as they’re done by simply pressing A when you get close enough to an enemy. The whole screen turns red, and once you execute the move, it’s not pretty. I stabbed a man in the crotch and then immediately went for a major artery somewhere around the shoulder/neck area. I’ve slit a bunch of throats. I stabbed another man in the face. It’s brutal stuff, and it’s fucking satisfying, to say the least. You occasionally get to use firearms, but ammo is scarce and it’s pretty tough to aim with any kind of precision. But that’s the point of a stealth game, isn’t it? If you were given the controls of, say, Call of Duty, then what would be the point of trying to be all stealthy? Exactly.

The narrative is told as a flashback as the game’s protagonist, Faith, is lying in a hospital bed (I think). That’s all I remember, actually. Like I said, I’m not very far in the game, and I haven’t really settled in with the story or begun to feel a flow or groove yet. But I like the presentation, and there’s a dark tone that hopefully will continue throughout the entire game. I need to play more, but I’m juggling three games at once right now: this one, The Longest Journey, and Armed & Dangerous. Land Shark Gun FTW. Anyways, I’ll have more thoughts on Velvet Assassin when I’m done, but for now, it’s off to a great start.

Killzone 2: quite simply….baaadaaaaassss!

3 Mar

Another piece written by Markus from the old blog:

I do not profess to be some some sort of expert gaming guru. My years of reading Game Informer on the shitter or checking the latest 1UP post does not qualify me to tell you about about pop-in, grain, or anything else you techno-wannabe-whores out there may want to hear about. I’m just your average joe gamer, but I know video game bliss when I play it! In the couple of hours I have spent with it, KZ2 has smashed me in the balls with the fun hammer and all I can say is…….more please!

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First Impressions – Splinter Cell: Double Agent

12 Feb

Yes, I’m a bit late to the party on this one. Over two years late, actually. But I turned on Splinter Cell: Double Agent tonight for the first time, and it instantly brought back memories from the very first game in the series. I only played the second and third games briefly; in fact, I played so little that I can’t even tell you if they were good or not. But when the original Splinter Cell came out, I remember being absolutely floored by what I was looking at. The only other stealth games I’d ever played at that point were Metal Gear Solid and its sequel, Sons of Liberty. The difference between the two series was astounding to me, and more specifically, the realism Splinter Cell had on display was something I’d never seen in a stealth game before. Darkness was my ally, and skulking through the shadows like a vampire on the prowl was truly an exhilarating experience. Looking back, I really wish I had hunkered down and completed Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory. Maybe my I’ll go back to them at some point, but I have a sneaking suspicion (sneaking, ha) that after playing Double Agent, they won’t hold up quite so well.

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