The Top Ten Video Game Characters… Ever

November 10, 2010 at 6:05 pm (Video Games)

Game Informer’s new issue, being their newest holiday issue since the special 200th issue last November, is counting down some of the top video game characters of all time. Whenever I saw the cover reveal I started to think about my own favorites, which has now transferred over here for your viewing pleasure (?). Keep in mind I don’t play many video games now a days because of my super-busy schedule, although I am able to play a view select titles from time to time.

10) Bowser (Super Papr Mario)-I’ve gotta cut this guy some slack, he’s got determination. I mean after being beaten by Mario so many times you think he wouldn’t have given up by now, but no. It seems like each year he has a new whack-job scheme on how to beat Mario once and for all, and every time it fails. The main reason he makes it on the list is his comedic turn in 2008’s Super Paper Mario, a game that gave us the opportunity to play as the overgrown turtle. Maybe one of these days he’ll finally have the last word, and I wish him the best of luck.

9) John Marston (Red Dead Redemption)-Although I didn’t have much time with the main character of this year’s smash hit Red Dead Redemption, I knew he was a one of a kind character. He’s tough, gruff, and one of the manliest characters I’ve ever had the pleasure as playing as. Every time you fired a bullet or killed an innocent civilian (by mistake or not) as Marsden you knew you looked as cool as humanly possible.

8) Raz (Psychonauts)-Honestly, I could give this spot to anyone in Psychonauts. Tim Schafer’s wildly imaginative sleeper hit is still one of the most creative games I’ve ever had the opportunity to play. It’s sharp writing and memorable platforming is still as fresh in my mind as if I had played it yesterday. Raz, however, was the clever “mind” (see what I did there) at the center of it all, and is to date the best character Schafer’s ever created.

7) Soap (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2)-Although technically he’s the main character in Modern Warfare #1, we never get to see Soap’s face or even hear him speak until #2, where he plays your “boss” on a lot of the game’s missions to save the world once again. Even with a mohawk and enough tattoos to fill a Dog the Bounty Hunter fan club, the guy’s still plenty cool to make it on the list.

6) Link-I know James is going to get at me for this one, but I’ve not always been a fan of our classic hero. I just now got into his character in 2006’s Twilight Princess, and that game by itself blew me away. Even though there’s no spoken dialogue in the game, it’s still crystal clear this is a hero’s story, and Link is the classic, timeless hero for the ages. When our generation of video gaming is remembered, they’ll know Link, and his transition from farm boy to infamous hero as the benchmark for all video game epics.

5) Mario-How can you not have a list of best video characters without Mario in it? If you ask anyone that has no clue about video games about video games, one of, if not the first character that will come to their mind is Mario. The chubby little plumber is beyond iconic, and without him many gamers (including myself) and developers would have never picked up a controller in the first place.

4) Dr. Nefarious and/or Captain Qwark (Ratchet and Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal)-Dr. Nefarious is without a doubt my favorite video game villain of all time thanks to his “charming personality”, special tweak that involves him reciting soap operas, and overall…. nefariousness. Captain Quark is what all video game comic relief characters should aspire to be, plain and simple. You could learn a lot from Captain Quark’s adventures facing off against evil zombie robot pirates…

3) Wandrer (Shadow of the Colossus)-Wandrer doesn’t speak much of Shadow of the Colossus, heck, his name isn’t even revealed in Shadow of the Colossus, but it’s the simplicity of his character in how he’s quiet through the whole game, the sheer power he evidently has to take down these colossal… colossi, and the face his entire quest is just to save the one he loves, why, that makes him the Link of our generation. Seriously, if you haven’t played Shadow of the Colossus yet, change that.

2) Kratos (God of War)-There’s a lot more than screaming and truly heinous to the God of War, Kratos. Sure, the (former) man is one motivated by the rage and fury to destroy every last thing that remotely has to do with the gods, but behind that he’s a guy that loved his family. Once that was stolen from him however, you unleashed the unmercifully violent and ungodly terror of a god. It’s that pure motivation as to why he’s doing all of these things that you’re never able to forget, and it makes for a heartbreaking back story to one of gaming’s most captivating characters. It drives his every action and blood-curdling scream, and it makes him my second favorite gaming character of all time.

1) Captain John Price (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 1 and 2) This is no man. This guy is a legend. This guy has been sort of an “inside joke” for developers of the Call of Duty franchise for years me thinks, as he was even in Call of Duty 2 with his glorious handlebar mustache. He kicked all sorts of butt in the 2007 hit Modern Warfare 1, and only a character of his caliber could issue such excitement whenever he makes his beyond grand appearance in #2. He’s arguably the main character of both games, and will continue to be in the third installment. In case you missed that, he’s the main character of arguably the most revolutionary FPS of our time. We follow him from the oceans to the deserts without batting an eye, and you even get to see his awesome origins in a few of MW1’s best levels in his own flashbacks. In a few of the in-game cut scenes all you can do is stand back and marvel at this genius creation of a character. The man not only defines manliness in games, but also how you’re supposed to create a character that you can look up to and by all means emotionally connect to. You whisper to yourself “hoo-rah” whenever it turns out he’s already killed all his captors that you were supposed to save him from in MW2, and at the end of MW1 as he lies there potentially dead, it evoked some of the most profound emotions I’ve ever felt in a video game. He’s like a father in the video game world, and from that first moment he picks you up by the hand and saves you from death in the first mission of MW1 and yells “Come on soldier, we….. are….. leav-ing!!” there’s no doubt you’re gonna follow that guy.

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Three-3-D-News-Bits

September 29, 2010 at 1:43 pm (Movies, Video Games)

Okay I was going to post all of these articles separately but once I got to looking at them I realized they were all semi-related. We have news of the latest in handheld technology, a classic franchise returning to the screen, and a new classic making it’s grand finale.

  • First off, Nintendo has finally put fanboy concerns to rest with a full list of announcements for the 3DS, along with a semi-altered design apparently (most won’t notice it but apparently it’s a slightly changed analog stick). The system will launch in Japan in late February, putting a release date for the U.S. and Europe sometime in March. The price has been announced for Japan for 25,000 yen, which roughly translates to $300 American. The system will come packaged with a 2GB SD card, and a new feature on the system was unveiled today that the 3DS will be able to pick up information like Miis, game history, etc. from other 3DSs when the system is turned off. Basically think of it as the U.S. government in your pocket (allegedly).
  • Second, George Lucas moved up the jerk totem pole a couple of days ago with finally announcing the plan for releasing Star Wars in 3D. Starting in 2012, one Star Wars film will be released in 3D per year-(2012-Phantom Menace, 2013-Attack of the Clones, etc.). On the bright side the most die-hard of Lucas’ fans will get to see their favorite films in three glorious dimensions, but on the bad side we’re going to have to wait 2/3 years after 2012 to finally see the good ones.
  • Third and Finally, the Batman 3 news mill has slowly started trickling again, with news about the third film in the franchise (being set for release in July of 2012) concerning Christopher Nolan’s involvement being discovered. Nolan has finally confirmed that he will be directing the film. Concerning he just got off of his work on the phenomenal Inception and he’s been tied up in getting Superman started, it’s a relied to know he’s committed to the project. It’s also being debated that the film is going to be released in 3D. Although Nolan has never been a huge fan of the technology, Inception has been planned for a 3D conversion for the debut of HBO’s 3D channel, which would be a huge premiere for the channel. Nolan could really do whatever he wanted with Warner Bros. now considering he’s made two of their biggest hits over the past 5 years, it’ll be interesting to see studio input and artistic vision once again go head to head.

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Other Uses For My Money Than Other M…

September 5, 2010 at 12:24 pm (Video Games)

I’m a college student. Money is what you would call “tight”. I’m currently attending a four year private university taking 15 credit hours making approximately $120 a month in my work study program, and praying to God I can make good enough grades to keep all the scholarships the state of Tennessee is lending me. So whatever time I get for entertainment, whether that’s film or video games or music, it has to be a wise investment for me. I have to know that I’m going to like something or have reasonable belief I’m going to enjoy a product before I get it. I can’t blind buy very many albums any more or films for that matter, because if I don’t enjoy or derive pleasure from that product, I’ve sort of lost that investment to what could have went to a textbook or helping something else for college. That being said, the entire reason I’m bringing this up comes from my trip through Wal-Mart last night. I was strolling through the electronics, and I came up on the display for Metroid: Other M. I had been looking forward to this game for some time, I remember when it was first announced and I had planned on buying it, that is until some less than friendly reviews were released by some of my favorite/most trusted sources like X-Play and Game Informer (I subscribe to Game Informer every month, and X-Play could be considered what got me into video games and journalism itself). The game’s trailers look amazing, and the game did get some pretty stellar reviews from IGN and Gamespot and other members of the gaming critique family, but investing $60 in a game is just a tough sell, especially when I’m unsure on the product to begin with, considering I’m in college. I love it when studios try new things and I wish all the luck in the world to this project and to other Nintendo projects in the future, but, even though it may be a stellar game, I won’t be trying it out until the price comes down significantly in a few months (I’m talking $20/$30), until one of my other Nintendo friends picks it up, or until my life is a little less college-y.

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Complete Rock Band 3 Setlist

August 20, 2010 at 9:37 pm (Video Games)

The title pretty much explains the post as you might imagine. One of my favorite game series out there is the Rock Band series, it always proves to be a great time with my friends, and I’ve clocked in many hours with The Beatles Rock Band. Below is the complete and final set list for the newest edition finally incorporating keyboard and using actual guitar controllers that teach you how to play guitar, Rock Band 3.

  • Amy Winehouse – Rehab
  • Anthrax – Caught In A Mosh
  • At the Drive-In – One Armed Scissor
  • Avenged Sevenfold – Beast and the Harlot
  • B-52′s – Rock Lobster
  • The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations (Live)
  • Big Country – In a Big Country
  • Blondie – Heart of Glass
  • Bob Marley & The Wailers – Get Up, Stand Up
  • The Bronx – False Alarm
  • Chicago – 25 or 6 to 4
  • The Cure – Just Like Heaven
  • David Bowie – Space Oddity
  • Deep Purple – Smoke on the Water
  • Def Leppard – Foolin’
  • Devo – Whip It
  • Dio – Rainbow in the Dark
  • Dire Straits – Walk of Life
  • Doobie Brothers – China Grove
  • The Doors – Break On Through
  • Dover – King George
  • Echo and the Bunnymen – Killing Moon
  • Elton John – Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)
  • Faith No More – Midlife Crisis
  • Filter – Hey Man, Nice Shot
  • Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1
  • Foreigner – Cold as Ice
  • Golden Earring – Radar Love
  • HIM – Killing Loneliness
  • Huey Lewis and the News – The Power of Love
  • Hypernova – Viva La Resistance
  • Ida Maria – Oh My God
  • INXS – Need You Tonight
  • J. Geils Band – Centerfold
  • James Brown – I Got You (I Feel Good)
  • Jane’s Addiction – Been Caught Stealing
  • Jimi Hendrix – Crosstown Traffic
  • Joan Jett – I Love Rock and Roll
  • John Lennon – Imagine
  • Juanes – Me Enamora
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd – Free Bird
  • Mana – Oye Mi Amor
  • Marilyn Manson – The Beautiful People
  • Metric – Combat Baby

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Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Review

August 13, 2010 at 11:32 am (Video Games)

You’re an agent sent by the United States Central Intelligence Agency to be an undercover operative in a Russian terrorist group. You’re working with them on their biggest mission yet, and one that is going to change the course of history. You ride with them up a few levels in an elevator, priming your weapon. The doors open, you step out, and your comrades begin to open fire on an enormous crowd of unarmed, innocent civilians in the Moscow International Airport. You never have to fire your gun until the end of the mission to advance, but you see the damage your team is leaving. Men and women are scrambling for their lives, and soon the law enforcement officials arrive to stop you. You fight throw the resistance, obliterate a few riot shield-ed officers, and you begin to make your escape. That is, until your leader shoots you point blank in the head, leaving you to die, as he knew you were a mole all along, and pinning a massive tragedy on the shoulders of the United States of America. This entire situation is played in the first person perspective, with the player in complete control, and is one of the strongest moments in the game, not to mention one of the strongest supports of how beautifully cinematic Modern Warfare 2 can be.

The game takes place a number of years after the original. After an undercover U.S. soldier is pinned with a mass murder, the United States becomes a war zone as an elite group of soldiers both new and familiar go on what seems like a suicide mission to clear their country’s name and save the world. Much like the first game, you’re placed in the shoes of two different soldiers. On one end you play as Ranger Ramirez, a soldier under the supervision of U.S. Sergeant Foley. In his campaign you’re constantly defending the home front in locales like the White House and Hotel Whiskey, taking the battle to the troops invading our own turf. However, the real action is in the campaign following a newbie soldier code-named “Roach”. The campaign’s a lot like the role of “Soap” in the first game as you’re guy is totally new to the business and what’s happening around him, not to mention you never see his face. Speaking of Soap, he turns out to be your commanding officer in this game, and it turned out he had a mohawk! Soap, Roach, Ghost, and other soldiers go through a variety of missions that range from the desert, to the snowy mountains, to Rio De Janeiro, and many other locales to do the dirty work behind this global firefight. One of my favorite parts that seemed to break ground back in 2007 of the original were these enormous, cinematic moments in the game. Something big and exciting would happen, all the while you’re still in your first person view, having a realistic perspective on all that’s going on. If there’s one thing Infinity Ward did with this sequel, it was making these moments bigger and better. Not to give anything away, but there are some unbelievably awesome moments in this game that give you the feeling like you are one of the top soldiers in the world. There are moments that infringe on your love of the characters around you, that inspire you with their scale, and at times once they’re over, you’re double-taking to make sure you did what you just did. Not only are some of these moments just action, they can also pack emotions of sheer terror, compassion, and patriotism. All within the confines of a video game. The game also provides some great moments in terms of the diverse number of locations you get to visit. There are times when you’ll be knee deep in snow in stealth missions, sweating in the heat of Brazil looking out for enemies on the rooftops, or even repelling into an enemy base in the height of enormous desert-ous mountains. Another aspect the game trounces the original in is the volume of the story it tells. The first game had a huge story with a big impact, spanning multiple decades and mainly telling the story of one particular Captain, but by the time you reach the half way point in this game you feel the desire to win this war thanks to some haunting imagery and the terror you realize these global terrorists have created. Let’s just say it’s huge, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. One thing I really liked about the original was its cast of characters. Following Captain Price, Gaz, and the rest of your crew, you felt a connection to all of them and you felt remorse whenever one of your teammates fell in the heat of battle. In this game I don’t feel like as much work went into crafting the team as there was in crafting the amazing cinematic moments. By the end of the game I had connected to one or two of the squad-mates the game allows you to get to know like Soap or Sgt. Foley, but I never had a sense of a team like I did in the other.

Modern Warfare 2 may also be the best-looking game I’ve ever played. All of the character models, environments, and even the weapons have some immense detail put into them and have a graphical sheen like no other. Don’t even get me started on the work visibly seen in the shadow work, absolutely gorgeous. The voice cast, much like the original, is still better than ever. Each voice actor has that ” ‘Merica!” gruffy voice but they don’t over do it. It’s like macho-ness without the Sylvester Stallone. It almost feels like you’re in the middle of a summer blockbuster film. It’s even worth mentioning that the weapons are delightfully diverse. One second you’ll be shotgunning, the next you’ll be taking out 10 soldiers at a time with actual predator missiles. By the end you’ll have your favorites, and it’s oh so rewarding. Even though it’s not my favorite part of the game, the multiplayer is also vastly improved with a lot of insanely great maps and a new leveling system that will add tons of new value to fans of the series. The campaign is still a little short, but it’s hard to complain when you’re getting so much bang for your buck. Modern Warfare 2 is a mammoth of a game. So much thought and care went into making this game bigger and better than the original, and on the most part they succeed. There are more explosive moments, shinier graphics, bigger scope, even though there’s a little less heart when it comes to your teammates. There are enough miraculously cool moments to fill a Michael Bay movie, and it’s one of gaming’s biggest achievements of the action genre.

9.75 out of 10

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Bioshock Infinite Trailer

August 13, 2010 at 11:23 am (Video, Video Games)

One of my favorite games from the past decade was Bioshock, an adventurous game that proved to be one of the biggest storytelling games of our time. If you haven’t played it yet, play it or I’ll hit you with a shovel, it’s that good. After the sequel earlier this year, 2K Games has announced the sequel to the game, Bioshock: Infinite. The game takes place about 12 years before the original Bioshock in 1912. Not taking place in Rapture, the game follows a detective as he seeks to rescue a mysterious girl with mysterious powers in “Columbia”, the city in the sky. However, it’s going to be a little harder to do considering the natives, who look vaguely like Big Daddies, are going to try their best to hold onto her. The trailer looks ah-mazing, and is easily one of my most anticipated game in the next few years. Watch the trailer, dribble a little, but don’t get too excited b/c the game isn’t set for release until 2012.

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Super Mario Galaxy 2 Review

August 12, 2010 at 9:33 pm (Video Games)

The best thing I know Nintendo for is innovation. The company emerged on the scene with one of the first widespread hit home gaming consoles, created arguably the best known video game character known of all time, and continues to defy expectations with the birth of motion control in games, an innovation other publishers are now playing catch-up to. One of the best examples of this innovation was 2007’s Super Mario Galaxy. Unlike most games it had me glued to my controller and I played it all the way through. The game broke new ground for the platforming genre by literally giving us new worlds to explore that challenged our perceptions of gravity and what phenomenally creative things you can do with just a little Italian plumber and a kidnapped princess. 3 years later, and now we have the sequel to the game, Super Mario Galaxy, wait for it… 2. The game takes place some time after the ends of #1, and Peach is yet again kidnapped by Bowser as part of another one of his dastardly schemes. You don’t come to a Mario game for a story, you come to the table to see what Miyamoto and his team have done new to re-invent the game once again. This time, they brought plenty.

At first, with the same coat of paint and the same game mechanics, I felt like “Oh, this is just gonna be an add on with a few new levels to make fans happy and catch up on a few missed opportunities by Nintendo”, but by the end of it I enjoyed this game more than the original. The game provides true platforming genius, with a surprise around every turn. The game will frequently alter your perception of gravity, have you considering the depth of a planet, or consider the gravity of our favorite plumber himself. It may sound like a really nerdy math equation of a game, but it’s often thrilling to not know what could happen next. The game succeeds the other in terms of sheer variety as well on a number of levels. The game introduces Yoshi into the mix, which with the polished nature of control and feel Nintendo provides, works perfectly. Yoshi feels like second nature in the game, and gives you that pure sense of “Yoshi” as you run through courses like mad thanks to the fire berry, use his abilities to take out enemies or reach new platforms with his “tongue-y” skills. The game brings in a plethora of new power-ups for Mario. Forget your grandma’s fire flower, Mario brought a new bag of tricks. The cloud suit has to be my personal favorite for it’s variety of uses, but the drill, bee, spring, and ground/ball/roll thing come in handy in their own time. There are also a variety of tasks to do aside from making it to the end of the level. The Skill Chimp will challenge you to a number of games that are addictively infuriating, and my new favorite addition remains as the flight challenges using a multi-colored bird.

It’s also arguable that this stands as the best looking Wii game out there. Nintendo does it best at taking advantage of the Wii’s limited graphical ability with some absolutely breath-taking environments, some gorgeous character designs, and some awesome sense of scale when it comes to facing down some of the game’s biggest and baddest bosses. Like its predecessor, Mario Galaxy 2 ups the ante with some gigantic bosses that are a thrill not only to finally see a power star come out of but also just in finding a way to beat them. It almost feels like a favor when you get to replay the boss level, that is until it becomes infuriatingly obvious you’re never, ever going to beat it. With a three year gap between the two games, it’s evident Nintendo wasted no time in polishing the rest of the game off. Menus, the hub world, and planet navigation are all polished so finely you can almost see it sparkle off of your screen, and it makes the game a lot easier to figure out thanks to a very helpful access of which stars are left to collect and exactly when prankster comets or other special occasions will arrive. Nintendo’s known for its quality in game design, but Mario Galaxy 2 makes it feel like they’re bragging in the best way possible by just how good everything works in the game. The platforming is the best on the market, the rest of the game is polished to a point, and there’s just enough new material in there to keep veterans begging for more. Also, in an aspect that I can appreciate more than others, Mario Galaxy 2 is immensely re-playable. It’ll give you severe insomnia as you search for every last one of those stars, and the visionaries at Nintendo found a way to, by the end of the game, make you crave to start all over again. If there’s anything I could complain about with this game, it’s that it does feel a tad bit like an expansion. Even with all the new improvements and game-play tweaks, there’s that part in my brain that couldn’t tell the games apart 5% of the time. Also, this may not have been the case for others, but it took me a while to warm up to the game. The first few worlds are the best examples of the game’s creativity, and you sorta have to give the game time to gradually blow your mind over time. I have no trouble recommending Super Mario Galaxy 2 to absolutely anyone. In fact, I would have trouble sleeping at night if I didn’t, it’s a game you cannot miss. There’s something here for everyone, for the folks that grew up with Mario’s NES roots to the smaller ones just now learning what gaming’s all about, Super Mario Galaxy is a wonder to behold, and is as close to perfect as I’ve seen in some time.

9.75 out of 10

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The Beatles Rock Band Review

June 23, 2010 at 9:46 pm (Video Games)

(Note-I played this game solely with a guitar, so it’s as if it was Guitar Hero: The Beatles (it’s cheaper that way), so take that into account when you’re evaluating the review for your own purchase.) Without a doubt The Beatles Rock Band is my favorite music game I have ever owned or gotten to play. Where some music games shoot their interest over tons of bands and songs (which is perfectly fine), The Beatles Rock Band’s greatest strength is in not how much I love the Beatles, but how much this game loves the Beatles. The game takes you throughout a variety of the Beatles eras, from their beginnings on the Ed Sullivan Show all the way to performing on a rooftop, it’s a complete encompassing history. The game also gives you so many unlockables for those truly and really interested in The Beatles’ history (like me), and thanks to the game’s wonderful design in the menus, the cutscenes, and the musical choices, by the end of the game you’ll be a Beatles fan too. The game’s musical choices range from the incredible (Come Together) to the not so great, some songs are really good and often fun to play, other times the game could have went without that song included. The game is really easy to play, The Beatles weren’t known for face melting riffs, but some songs will have you working your fingers pretty quick. As I said earlier the game prides itself in being really in depth with The Beatles. The opening cutscene is really beautiful and amazing, and the mini-cutscenes between the venues are really great. The animations during the songs are all really well done, especially towards the middle of the game when you’re in the recording studio and the game takes advantage of the imaginative lyrics and meanings behind the songs. It’s almost so gorgeous sometimes you just wanna put the guitar down just to watch what’s going on. All the characters look great, the atmosphere of their performance is really astonishing. The main reason I like this game is just how much effort is put into giving you this feeling of a true Beatles experience. From the venues to the songs to the photos to the menus it’s all so much work, and that’s what makes it amazing. If you’re new to the genre, this is an easy enough game to start from, if you’re a veteran then this is a perfect band-only game to experience. All specific band Rock Band games should be like this, focused and dedicated to the experience. I had a blast playing it, and I can’t wait to play through a few more setlists of “Eight Days A Week” and “Here Comes the Sun”.

5 out of 5

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Why I Lost $5 To Gamestop

June 15, 2010 at 6:21 pm (Video Games)

(Somewhat continued from the Post-Nintendo-2010-Conference-Wrap Up Post.) The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword-This is my disappointment. To be really accurate on this, I sorta need to break it down a little. On one hand there were my expectations, but on the other are the simple facts of what this game should have been. When I start seeing these images of the same Link from Twilight Princess, and I hear the words “realism with motion plus”, I, along with many others, come to expect a sequel or other sort of rendition in that style of Twilight Princess, but involving that realism with the motion plus, and that would have been amazing. With the plot details we thought we knew, it would have been amazing to due a Master-Sword-origin story, pair that with some really good feeling and amazingly implemented motion plus technology, and you’ve gotten a new masterpiece. That’s why Nintendo’s making a miss-step by assuming they have to dumb the game down and casual-ize it to implement motion plus. Nintendo apparently thinks we’re idiots, b/c to them when you take one of your most beloved series and you take a really wide-market tech, you have to make it super casual, and you don’t. Give us the motion-sensing focus that Sony’s and Microsoft’s giving on their top tier project, and you can keep hardcore audience. Instead, Miyamoto comes on stage, throws a bunch of absurd gestures no hardcore fans wants to do, and sorta slaps in a Zelda game on it. It doesn’t feel like a Zelda game, it feels like a motion plus demo with Link slapped on, like Colt said, it’s like it’s Link’s Crossbow Training Part 2. The tech didn’t work great on stage, and you could feel the groan in the audience. Why do we have to downgrade our graphics? I like the artsy style of Windwaker, I loved the darker style of Twlight Princess, but this just feels like a clean cut smooth around the edges half-effort. To top it all off, they told us they’ve been working on this game for 3 years, and that they come on stage with this! A demo where the tech’s glitchy, the graphics are dull, we get a release date in the reaches of 2011, and we don’t even get any hints of story. As I said, Zelda is one of the most hardcore series out there, and it feels like they’re doing it all wrong by giving us this, this motion-plus demo of a Zelda game. It makes no sense to commercialize and casual-ize one of the games that the entirety of your hardcore base was excited about. It’s frustrating is what it is. It’s frustrating that they lead us to believe for years after years it’s going to be the best Zelda yet, that it’ll be this hardcore title we’ve dreamed of, that it’ll at least be marketed for the hardcore audience, and in the end we get something that’s clearly aimed at the casual audience, it’s colossally disappointing. I’ll admit part of my disappointment is that the product was far from my expectations, but if you look at the big picture and at what we got on stage, you still have something with much left to be desired. You don’t sell a game just based on tech, or your audience will eventually get bored and tired. You build a great game around that and you use that technology, the first priority has to be the game, not the new fancy tech behind the game. If Nintendo can get the really interesting story behind this game like they had promised us a year ago, get the graphics sharper tuned, and make me actually excited about this technology and how they it’s not the main focus of the game but just a really awesome aspect of it, then you’ll have a deal Nintendo, but until then, whenever it is this game does come out, I’ll be sticking with my copy of Twilight Princess.

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Best of Times/Worst of Times for Nintendo

June 15, 2010 at 6:21 pm (Video Games)

Let me say this, I am “happy” with “Nintendo’s Conference”. 95% of the conference was great for me, and they really blew their audience (including me) away. The crew brought out some amazing looking titles that really satisfied the inner-hardcore-fanboy in me, in fact almost the entire conference was a payoff to fans like me, there was only a title or two that really felt like the sledgehammer to the gonads. All these titles that many hadn’t even considered were there and completely took me by surprise, and the real “unveiling” of the 3DS was amazing. It’s just the one or two titles that we really did expect and knew was going to be there were flat-out disappointments, no bones about it. So here’s sort of a frame by frame analysis. (Zelda Story in another post.)

  • Mario Sports-This title wasn’t incredibly impressive to me, it sorta seems like a sport version of Mario Party. It could be fun, but it then again it’s nothing that really gets me excited.
  • Kirby’s Epic Yarn-Possibly one of the best titles, this one looks really great and could be a really creative-Little Big Planet-esque adventure that’s due out by this holiday.

Other titles shown included-

  • Donkey Kong Country Returns
  • GoldenEye
  • Kid Icarus Uprising
  • A Lot of 3DS Titles Were Brought Up, and some great showing off of the new platform
  • Metroid Other M
  • NBA Jam

Lots of other cool stuff, it was a really really neat conference aside from the disappointment or two. Nintendo is mostly back on its A Game, and could bring that hardcore fanbase back to Nintendo if they continue to prove to them they haven’t completely forgotten about them, and if what they showed to us at the conference today was any indication, they definitely haven’t.

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All Hopes and Dreams Will Die at Nintendo’s E3 2010

June 12, 2010 at 7:16 pm (Video Games)

That should catch your attention. One of the biggest pinnacles of the gaming universe comes in the summer of each year, when we get to lay our eyes and have our brains squeal in delight by getting to see what Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, and a whole batch of developers and publishers have in store for us in the next year or so, or in Nintendo’s case, what’s coming a decade from now, HIYO. Point is, the conference is next week, and hopefully this year is going to be a year of revelation! 2 years ago was really terrible, Nintendo really let a lot of us down in their worst conference in history. Last year was remotely better in that both Microsoft and Sony debuted some amazing technology, and Nintendo finally brought their A Game to the show with some hardcore titles. However, there was one missing if you know what I mean. So I can’t think of any better way to do this than to simply narrow it down and give my predictions, thoughts, and queries as to what’s to come at E3 2010.

Nintendo

Let’s face it, Nintendo, while cash-wise is leading the market, has sorta been letting us down this console generation in terms of hardcore titles. I’ll give it to them, we do get some great titles every now and then. Red Steel 2 was fantastic, every Mario game released has been close to perfection, and of course Twilight Princess that launched the console remains one of my favorites. But as I sort of spread Nintendo’s cards on the table, I think I have a vaguely good idea of how the show’s going to go down-

  • Fils-Aime is going to come onto the stage, brag about sales numbers, talk about how they couldn’t expect the level of success the Wii has had. He’ll introduce new colors for the console, maybe a new fancy add-on.
  • A BIG part of the show is going to be Nintendo’s new handheld, the 3DS. There’s going to be a super fancy demo of it, they’ll announce a release date for Christmas this year, a slew of games for it, and a flagship title, possibly a new Mario for the handheld. There’ll be an onstage demo, an explanation of the hardware, lots of time will be spent on it.
  • Emphasis back on Wii. I have a feeling they’re going to announce a new reboot of an old Nintendo franchise, I have a really good feeling about it. He’ll brag about Mario Galaxy 2. He’s gonna promise us a few titles (big montage), Kirby Wii possibly being one, maybe Kid Icarus or Star Fox, Pikmin 3 is really out of the question. He’ll give us a stage demo and brag about Metroid Other M. Also probably another Wii- () game.
  • They’ll start to close the show, then in classic Nintendo fashion, they’ll wheel out the big boy, the new Zelda. We’ll see a box art, we’ll see a release date, we’ll know what the heck it’s about, and i have good faith we’ll get a stage demo. Fils-Aime will assure us a holiday release since it’s “been in development so long” but I wouldn’t hold him to it that it goes through. If we don’t see New Zelda, I’ve lost faith in Nintendo.

What We Won’t See From Nintendo-

  • No New Console from Nintendo to Succeed Wii. There’s a tiny tiny chance it’ll happen at TGS this year, but I strongly doubt it. There’s too much money on the market for it right now.
  • Probably no new enhancements on the motion control. They have the market right where they want it, and Sony and Microsoft are just now playing catch-up in the field.

(Honestly, Nintendo’s side of the fence seems to be pretty straight-forward. All they need to do is come out, impress us with 3DS, show us a couple of titles along New Zelda, and fans will be pleased. It’s all we ask Nintendo.)

THE FACTS-What We’ll See For Sure-

  • 3DS
  • Sales Figures
  • At Least One New Reinvention of an old Nintendo Franchise for the Wii
  • At Least One New Reinvention/Continuation of an old Nintendo Franchise for the DS/3DS as a Launch Title
  • Zelda Wii

What We Won’t See-

  • Pikmin 3
  • Mario Galaxy 3
  • Any New Wii Mario Game
  • Any New Console Other than 3DS
  • Snowboarding Lady (I Pray)

Top 6 I Want to See-

  1. Zelda Wii-It’s sort of a given, but it’s going to be incredible if we get to see it.
  2. A 3DS Mario Game-Now would be the perfect time to use the plumber to prove the power of the new platform.
  3. Starfox Wii-This one’s been said a lot but it would truly be a perfect time to reveal this.
  4. Kid Icarus Wii-Another hardcore title that could help the Wii drastically.
  5. Metroid Other M-I would really like to see this game in motion on stage, demoing some of the tech.
  6. A New Smash Bros. -This one’s a long shot, but who knows what could happen.

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E3 2009 Impressions

June 9, 2009 at 8:26 pm (Video Games)

  

 

This year’s E3 has come and gone, this year’s being remarkably better than what was seen at last year’s E3. Gone is the stale environment of suits and ties, back is the loud and vibrant atmosphere packed to the brim with loud music, booth babes, and big announcements. This year could decisively be named as the year of motion sensing, as Microsoft and Sony both unveiled their new offerings into the front of motion sensing devices.  

Microsoft was first out of the ring with Project Natal which was unveiled Monday. The device requires no controller input, but instead uses the player’s own movements and reflects them on screen with incredible precision. Press your foot down, the car accelerates. Swing your hands, the sword comes down. Also, the team along with Peter Molyneaux showed off the first ever T-1000 with Milo, a special advantage taken with Natal that allows you to interact in completely spontaneous and new conversations with Milo, an on-screen pal. The technology was truly incredible, however I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the stuff that ends up forming Skynet. Microsoft also unveiled several new games and exclusives to the 360, including a new Metal Gear series also coming to PS3, and a few extra features. New games that hadn’t seen much light of day, along with new games were announced including Tony Hawk Ride, Left 4 Dead 2, Alan Wake, Halo Reach, and much info on Halo: ODST. 

Sony came out of the corner the next day with an incredible lineup, along with new information and support of the PSP and its new iteration, the PSP Go, which will only support downloadable content, fully abandoning the UMD format. The team really showed their muscle with a wand-based however incredibly realized motion sensing demo that basically demonstrated any and everything we’d want in motion sensing, including some brutally impressive tech demos and implementations of the software, including several uses for sports and RTS games, considerations I had never made. The team also flexed out on stage by showing a lineup of strong titles for the PS3 including God of War III, the new Metal Gear Series and PSP Exclusive, Uncharted 2, and more. 

Nintendo went on shortly before Sony, and to be honest, did an awesome job compared to last year’s conference. I will admit though whenever the female Nintendo representative that I had nightmares about for months last year came on stage this year, I immediately hit fast-forward. The team showed us what we wanted with some new demos for the Wii Motion Plus, but more importantly, revealed some true hard core titles like New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Super Mario Galaxy 2, and one of my newly super-hyped games, Metroid Other M, being developed by the notoriously mature team, Team Ninja. Also, behind closed doors Miyamoto had a hush-hush meeting where we did set a date and early art (finally) for a new Zelda title set to debut more than likely late next year. 

To be honest, this was probably my favorite E3 ever. This was way better than last year’s show. There were plenty of impressive titles for me to gawk at, and even a bunch of titles that I myself knew was going to be able to play. So cheers to E3, may it be this much fun for years to come, even though I was just watching it on G4 (that’s how much fun it is). This year’s E3 actually reminded me of the giddiness I experienced as a younger teen seeing all the new goodies being thrown around every year this time of month. E3 amazed this year, and I was left completely blown away. There were games, there were incredible demos, and enough surprises to keep my mouth on the ground. That’s what E3’s all about. (And yes James, you can copy this post.) Below is a list of what I thought were some of the most impressive titles that I can’t wait to get my hands on or hear more about. 

  • Heavy Rain-This adventure title from the makers of Indigo Prophecy gives you 4 different perspectives to one familiar storyline, and gives no forgiveness for player death. Instead, it switches you to another perspective.
  • Splinter Cell: Conviction-Sam Fisher is back from the Ubisoft team with a brand new feel for the franchise and an incredibly inventive way to portray story developments without ever breaking the flow of action and not ripping off COD4.
  • Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2-This time you’re under Soap’s command, and basically this looked kick-butt being demoed at Microsoft. The graphics are sharper, and the game just looks amazing.
  • Metroid Other M-Team Ninja + Metroid Beloved Franchise = Earl Happy
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2-This time with 100% more Yoshi!
  • Alan Wake-This title hasn’t been heard from in like 5 years, and to be honest it looks awesome, so it’s nice to see they actually plan on finishing it. 
  • Forza Motorsport 3-Beautiful graphics and new features, plus an incredible design goal set this game to lofty heights, ones sure of accomplishing. 
  • God of War 3-Kratos stabs a chimera in the eye with its own horn. 
  • Uncharted 2: Among Thieves-Nathan Drake returned, and he conquered in an incredibly striking demo that, as Naughty Dog puts it, puts it up to summer blockbuster standards. 
  • Assassin’s Creed 2-Ubisoft really showed their flex this year with an impressive demo and some great new variety.

Also worth mentioning-

  • Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time
  • Rock Band: The Beatles
  • Brutal Legend
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Split/Second
  • Prototype
  • Gran Turismo 5
  • New Super Mario Bros. Wii
  • Rabbids Go Home
  • Motorstorm PSP
  • Rock Band Unplugged
  • DJ Hero
  • Red Steel 2
  • Dead Space Extraction

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First Look at Wii Zelda (2009)

June 6, 2009 at 9:09 pm (Video Games)

A few days ago light was shed on a new Zelda game for the Wii. Apparently the project was so big that Miyamoto wanted to keep it private until significant and showable progress could be shown at next year’s E3. But hey, at least we have confirmation, a release window, and now, a concept art. The pic is to depict a much older Link, but one might notice that the acclaimed adventurer is no longer holding a sword to accompany his shield, but instead is followed by a mysterious spirit. Miyamoto was incredibly tight lipped aside from stating that the new game “is totally taken in a new direction”, WILL incorporate motion plus, and only continued to point out the fact he had no sword. Many rumors are floating around that this could be a new species, or, that this new spirit could be some sort of incarnation of the Master Sword and will play greatly into gameplay. That’s personally the way I’m taking it, but I’m still just happy that we have this much to see. We finally have some sort of tangible glimpse as to where the series is going next, and a firm and realistic window of 2010. (Just think, E3 2010 could be a gateway to confirm it for next holiday!) Miyamoto has played his cards right, they brought out some big guns at the conference, and now he is amply teasing us for a new Zelda. Check out the link below to see the snapshot. 

the-legend-of-zelda-wii-2-20090605000034019-000.jpg

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Hands-On with Batman: Arkham Asylum

May 20, 2009 at 9:56 pm (Video Games)

This Pic Pretty Much Describes the Demo...

To be a little clearer, I didn’t get to play the story mode, however I did however get a feel for one of the most insanely fun and fluidly brutal combat mechanics I’ve seen for a video game in some of the combat arenas. I walked into Gamestop today, and there before me is a demo for some of the combat sections of Arkham Asylum, and I was blown away. Basically Batman is thrown into rooms full of henchmen devised by the Joker himself (voiced brilliantly by Mark Hammil) who is coordinating these events and narrating your success/defeat. Basically combat works like so-Each enemy that comes at you will try to kill you, of course. Batman is super-vulnerable to attacks, which is mainly b/c as you later realize you shouldn’t be being hit. Every enemy that comes at you will flash blue, kinda like a spidey sense. But instead of dodging, you break their arm. Each attack is rendered brutally (expect an M), and the animations are superb, even if a little repetitive. Once I got the swing of combat, I was dodging attacks, countering every move with devastating force, and clearing out rooms with incredibly fun, fluid, and increasingly difficult combat. It never really felt like a chore, instead I simply came to feel more and more like Batman. His attacks behave incredibly similar to those in the movies, and are fun to pull off. He takes on one enemy at a time with brutal force, and is able to counter each attack and dodge the rest. Pretty soon, I had cleared a room of ten or so armed henchmen, and the demo was over. I simply cannot wait to get my hands on the rest of this awesome game, and urge my fellow gamers to run to a Gamestop to check this demo out.

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Bioshock Review

April 12, 2009 at 9:53 pm (Video Games)

I hope everyone thinks twice before flying over the Atlantic from now on… Because you never know what might be lurking underneath. For all you know, it could be Rapture, the setting of one of my new favorite games of all time, Bioshock. The plot, or an incredibly simple summary of it, goes as follows. Jack Ryan is a seemingly normal guy aboard a flight over the Atlantic, and crashes in the middle of the ocean. He then enters into the underwater hell that is Rapture, a forgotten utopia run by the legendary Andrew Ryan, and now overrun by corrupted once-humans, splicers. How can I sum this up….. Go buy Bioshock now. You can get it for $30 on either the 360 or the PS3, that’s a bargain for this kind of game. This game shines brighter than the sun with such a breathtaking attention to detail in the game that really blew me away. Every nook, cranny, hallway, enemy possession (that you can loot), half of which the casual gamer won’t see, is riddled with astounding detail and thought. This all pans together to provide a truly “used” and creepy atmosphere. Walking in to a corridor, seeing corpses lying around (half of which may not be dead), blood smears on the walls, faded ads, and the faint cry of a big daddy in the background make you feel as if the room has just been evacuated, or that there’s something to be running from. The superb 50s/60s art design also helps the game’s atmosphere. All in all, you have a beautiful and incredibly cinematic game experience. The story in the game will literally blow your mind. Simply there’s so much intrigue, betrayal, corruption, it’s impossible to explain. You really feel like you’re Jack Ryan trying to escape this underwater hellhole, and, towards the end of the game, it’s new boss. 

The game is also incredible as far as it’s combat goes. Although I found the system to be a little repetitive towards the end of the game (partially my own lack of creativity), the game does a great job of combining standard gunning gameplay with different, upgradable powers, called plasmids like fire, ice, insect swarm, and so many more. Throughout the game there are different upgrade stations that allow the highest level of creativity, to truly let the mind wander and let the player fight the way they want. I personally used heavier weapons like the crossbow to take out big daddies and large splicer crowds, while letting my creative juices flow with plasmids in times of need or to weaken opponents. Ultimately, you’re choosing the best path to fight against some of the creepiest opponents I’ve encountered. Splicers are basically humans who have used too many plasmids, and gone insane. Sometimes injured, halves of faces, and even limbs will be missing from some of the darker counterparts. Nothing is creepier than walking into a dark room with nothing but a pistol hearing “Jesus loves me” being quietly sung. They will attack you, they will go in groups, and they will do anything to kill you. Also, they crawl on ceilings. Spiderman this ain’t. No enemy compares thought to the Big Daddy, Bioshock’s poster boy. Basically, before you engage them, have a plan, or you WILL die. Big Daddy’s main missions are to protect Little Sisters, who carry the lifeblood of Rapture, ADAM, and to keep them safe. Believe me, I know from experience they will rip you to shreds to keep them safe. The entire game can even be looked at as a choice. Will you be a saviour to Rapture, saving all the Little Sisters and choosing the path of least resistance, or will you be the strong giant choosing to go, with all guns blazing and harvesting Little Sisters for your own needs and wants, to overthrow Rapture? Let’s just say I wasn’t too nice, and they let me know. The game did lose a little bit of steam in spots,  especially towards the very end of the game, but that by no means it wasn’t enjoyable during those spots. Bioshock is called an essential gaming experience, and I can whole-heartedly agree. I truly believe all gamers, or even those looking into art, can find something to appreciate in Bioshock. This is a magnificent game and gaming experience that is worth all of $30. An incredible story, a breath-taking and haunting atmosphere, and true and fun combat system all tie in to one of the best games I’ve played in a while. So go, venture into Rapture, hope you make it back soon. 

5 out of 5

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