Showing posts with label video games. Show all posts
Showing posts with label video games. Show all posts

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Explosions Look Like Pizza: A Mighty No. 9 Review

As you likely know, Mighty No. 9’s development has been controversial and tumultuous. The Kickstarter campaign was a success and fan enthusiasm was high. This was short lived, however, as delays, mixed messaging and awful trailers followed. And now, amidst further controversy, regarding some comments allegedly made by developers of this game, Mighty No. 9 has been released. And it's......you know.
 

The layout of the game is straightforward: There are eight levels, each of which is presided over by one of the “Mighty Numbers” (Robot Masters)- bosses whose abilities you (Beck) can absorb after defeating them. Do this and by the end you're putting together an ever growing list of skills in order to get through constantly evolving, tougher challenges. It's a tried and true formula for a reason: It works and it pushes, challenges and yet empowers the player.

As far as the level design goes, it’s standard stuff: tricky jumps, tight quarters, evolving enemy patterns. Clear, concise, constant difficulty progression. Rewards for exploration (with a few red herrings thrown in for good measure, a la Ninja Gaiden (NES)).

So far so good.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Muramasa Rebirth Review




Muramasa Rebirth is an enhanced port of a 2009 Wii game entitled Muramasa: The Demon Blade which was an excellent 2D side scrolling action role playing game that starred 2 characters: the princess Momohime and Kisuke, a ninja with, wait for it…..amnesia! Yes, amnesia, that old video game trope (I’ll save you the hassle of searching for the story section of this review and just tell you right now that if you are playing this game for the story you’re barking up the wrong proverbial tree).

When you begin the game you are tasked with choosing one of two stories to play through. Momohime’s  or Kisuke’s. Depending upon which choice you make you’ll either be travelling east or west; if you choose Momohime you’ll play as a princess possessed by a vengeful spirit in search of 108 legendary demon blades. Choose Kisuke and you’ll play as a ninja with amnesia……in search of 108 legendary demon blades. The stories both evolve (some might say devolve) from there but frankly, I paid very little attention. What did get my attention, however, was both the audio/visual presentation and the gameplay. The game is simply gorgeous, the music is great and it plays like a dream.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Resident Evil HD Remaster Review



One door leads to three which all lead to three and pretty soon there's a multiverse of doors and each death means going back 30 doors and I get confused.

7/10

Sunday, December 6, 2015

My List of Badass Gameboy Advance (GBA) Games- Part Three

Part two can be found HERE


Metroid - Zero Mission

Metroid: Zero Mission Box Front












Metroid: Zero Mission Box Back

Metroid: Zero Mission Screenshot

Castlevania- Circle of the Moon

Castlevania: Circle of the Moon Box Front













Castlevania: Circle of the Moon Box Back

Castlevania: Circle of the Moon Screenshot

Saturday, November 14, 2015

My List of Badass Gameboy Advance (GBA) Games- Part Two

Part One


Medal Of Honor: Infiltrator (seriously)



































Ninja Five-O







































Monday, October 12, 2015

Pilots Without Planes- A Titanfall Review



Titanfall is an online only shooter that takes place in a future in which humans have colonized outside of Earth but have not yet freed themselves of the shackles of violent confrontation. In a government vs. the people type scenario, diplomacy has failed, as it often does, and a violent revolution has broken out and both sides are utilizing mechanical, weaponized armour called Titans to do aid them in expressing their message of discontent. 

It would not be all that hard to understand why, to an outside observer, Titanfall might strike them as "just another fps." A standard, run of the mill first person affair replete with fast paced  action complemented by a screen covered in rpg-esque numbers and symbols; both of which work to provide immediate and visceral satisfaction and long term addictive behaviour, including the inability to refrain from buying overpriced map packs or a "season pass." Play the game however, and it becomes abundantly clear that Titanfall is more than that. The folks at Respawn Entertainment were clearly aware of the state of the genre and the long term implications of market oversaturation and worked hard to make a shooter that may look like the rest but is actually substantially different (even including addressing the pricing of post release downloadable content).

Sunday, October 11, 2015

My List of Badass Gameboy Advance (GBA) Games- Part One

Astro Boy: Omega Factor




































Sunday, May 17, 2015

Open Letter To Chair Entertainment

Dear Chair,

(never thought I'd ever type that particular sequence of words)

I am writing to you today to ask a favour of you. You see, your company developed one of the absolute best video games last generation (no, sorry, not Undertow). The game to which I am referring is of course Shadow Complex. Shadow Complex was easily the best Xbox Live Arcade game at the time of its release, and in this (not so?) humble gamer's opinion, still is (maybe tied with Geometry Wars and Puzzle Quest but I digress). Let me tell you a little story:

I have been gaming since the late 80's. I grew up on all of the same games you all (hopefully) did. Namely (duh), platformers, shmups, adventure games and beat em ups. You all probably have your favourites from these genres, and many of them will likely differ from mine. However, one thing we definitely have in common is a love for the old school archetypal game designs of the eras bygone, one of the most prominent, and criminally (yes, criminally) underused being the so called “Metroidvania” (“Castleroid” to some, but they are from the wrong side of the tracks, so we can do as the government does and simply ignore them) design. Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night are the two most well known games of this type, but of course there are many more (just not enough). Clearly, you fine people noticed this travesty and decided to capitalize on the oversights of others far less badass than thou and release to the world a brand new game using this game design philosophy.

So, on August 19th, 2009, you released Shadow Complex and the response from both gamers and critics was overwhelmingly positive. The sales were great (despite that unfortunate little trial version exploit that you wish we would have forgotten (we didn't, but I bought the game, so don't worry)) and Chair Entertainment (now a subsidiary of Epic Games, ching ching!!) was on the map. All well and good, but how do I fit into this story, you ask? Well, I am glad you did. See, to make a longer story long, I, as I stated earlier, have been gaming since the late 80's, and while I still love gaming, I definitely fall into the rose tinted glasses nostalgic old school gamer camp. Games, for the most part at least, just do not satisfy, excite, challenge or engage me the way they used to (with few exceptions) (Bayonetta, anyone?). And then you came along and holy **** I was 12 years old again! 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

10 Reasons Why Living Alone Is Awesome

Having gone from living with my parents for over 20 years to living with my fiance-turned wife for several years after that to now living alone for the last 3 years I can honestly say that living alone, at least for me, is by far the best. Here are some reasons why:

1) You can be as loud as you want

Want to play Mass Effect 3 in glorious 7.1 digital surround sound all night with zero guilt or need to consider someone else? Have at it!

2) Do your chores when you want to (or never). 

You can do them at your own convenience and pace, without ever being nagged or criticized.

3) Smokers can smoke in the house all they want if you don't care. 

I have friends who smoke and they were never allowed to smoke in the house before. Now? They can smoke in my basement all they want- this is especially great for them in the winter.

4) Sleep wherever, whenever and always uninterrupted. 

No one will hit you with "when are you getting up" or "why don't you come to bed, it's late?" If it's your day off and you want to sleep for 15 hours....you can!

5) No one but you eats your food. 

No more "who ate my taco? I was saving that!"

6) The temperature is set to EXACTLY your preference at all times. 

And NO ONE complains :) My house is 64 degrees this winter. Saving tons of money on heating and no one is telling me to turn it up because they are cold (meaning of course that I have to be too hot....no thanks).

7) If you play an instrument you can play whenever you want. 

I play the drums and nothing is more glorious than being able to just PLAY when I feel like it.

8) If you missed the lesson on sharing in kindergarten living alone is for you.

That family size box of overly sugary, diabetes inducing cereal? All mine, mine, mine!

9) Come and go as you please. 

Go out whenever you want and have no one to answer to (or ask).

10) Have people over anytime you want. 

There's never a time where you have to "check" with someone else. I can have an impromptu jam session with a guitarist friend, something that would have been nearly impossible before.

Living alone isn't for everyone, but for people like me, it's GREAT. Everyone should at least try it once in their lives.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus 2- Ninja Race Mode Tips

So I have been playing a bit of the Ninja Race mode in Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus 2 on the Vita and I thought I would share some tips for this super fun, challenging mode. Note: I have been playing as Ryu, so these tips are (mostly) character specific.

-Lunar Staff is obtained after beating Chapter 1 in the story mode- do this first.

-The Lunar features quick combo kills using weak, weak, strong. This is much faster than square, square, triangle, shuriken cancel, triangle with the dragon sword.

-The Lunar is also fantastic for crowd control, unlike the DS. Standing neutral strong, either stand alone or chained into a combo is good, as is the standard weak, weak, weak, strong strong. A good one for quick limb detachments is chains starting with towards and square. This is a poke with range and power and like the other combos mentioned above it seems to grant some crowd protection in the same way that VF combo strings do. The dragon sword does not carry this advantage.

-The Dragon Sword does have the flying swallow, but it whiffs too much sometimes and therefore wastes too much time. There's no whiffing with the Lunar staff.

-Minimize ET/UT usage. Keep it to the purple essence or health if you don't need it. You'll definitely want to avoid using the green essence for them as green grants time bonuses. The white essence grants speed and power bonuses so try not to utilize that for ET's/UT's either, unless you're at max speed/power or you're in trouble.

-I experimented with both avoiding fights and taking them all on and what seemed to work best for me was a combination of the two- run until you group enemies together at a point where you're forced to fight and kill them as fast as you can. You'll get a feel for the best spots to do this as you try the course over after failing (unless you're amazing and do it in one go) but off the top of my head, I skip the first three regular ninjas and have them follow me, along with the first 2 dogs, into the bridge area where you're forced to fight the spider ninja. Then I grouped together the next batch with the big fight at the area before the archer section.

-Speaking of the archers, DO NOT BOTHER WITH THEM. Major time waster. Either fight the guys below while dodging arrows or take them all with you to the underground passage and kill them in close quarters (if you get far enough ahead you can no essence charge a UT, or at least an ET to soften them up (if you want).

-Plan on failing several times while you're learning the route(s) and strategy(ies). Unless of course you're god tier. At this point in my life I'm human tier, so it took me a good 10 tries or so to figure it all out. The time constraints are rough and leave little room for error. The most time I can recall having on the clock at once was somewhere around 2:40.

-Race 01: If you get to the first boss fight with less than 40 seconds on the clock restart. When I beat the course I believe I got to him with 1:10 or so left.

That's all I can remember atm.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Blast From The Past: Syko Shadow's 2010 Gaming Shout-Outs

Note: While I work on some new ideas for posts and formulate them into barely coherent and publically shared entities I thought I would treat you to an explosive blast from the past courtesy of my friend SykoShadow. 

Enjoy!

Well, 2010 has been gone for a long time now, so I think it's time I finally took a good look back at last year in gaming. I don't do award show-type crap, instead what I try to do is simply give recognition to as many stand-out games as possible, whether they stand out in a positive or negative light, unlike an award show which only congratulates the winner of each generic fucking category and forgets the runner-ups entirely.

There's been quite a few games out this year, good ones and bad ones, amazing works of art and horrendous pieces of horse dick. So let's get down to business, time to give some shout-outs to the best and worst of 2010!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Meet BoxMan, a new villain from the upcoming The Evil Within


Monday, April 7, 2014

Deconstructing the FPS AKA Boring Horizontal Whack a Mole

It is my contention that fps games are, at their core, both boring and mind numbingly simplistic. While there are a variety of skills at play during, for example, an online game of Call of Duty (was I going to use any other game/series for my example?) the one that comprises more than 50% of the player's actions is the act of aiming. Trying to line up either your reticule or your iron sights with the current (or future, in the case of those longer distance shots that require you to lead the target) location of your intended target is, as anyone who has experience with the genre will tell you, a large portion of the player's actions during any given game. Would it be unreasonable for me to state that this large portion is somewhere over 50% of the players actions during gameplay?

No, I say? Okay then, I answered my own question and I have to say I agree with myself (aren't one way conversations great for being right?). It's not an exaggeration to say that more than half of the actions you take while playing your typical online fps consist of aiming your weapon at various targets. Well, what does aiming at a target entail and why am I harping on this? Let's deconstruct: If you strip away the visual and auditory feedback mechanisms in place what do you get at its core? Fundamentally, you have periods of navigating through an enclosed environment punctuated with bursts of moving a cursor around the screen and trying to time the pull of a trigger with the placement of the cursor over the avatar of the intended target.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ninja Gaiden (Xbox, 2004) Was Ahead Of Its Time




Note: I use 'hack n slash' to describe the genre of games to which titles such as Ninja Gaiden, Devil May Cry and Bayonetta belong. I recognize that to many, the term hack n slash calls to mind games like Diablo and Champions of Norrath while games like Devil May Cry and Ninja Gaiden would be considered third person action games. Just remember that when I say hack n slash I mean Ninja Gaiden, not Diablo.

'Ahead of its time' is a phrase with which I am intimately familiar, having said it myself many times in my life (usually in reference to a video game or a technical death metal album I am raving about at any given time). It is also a phrase with which I take issue, as the concept of something being ahead of its time implies that it is possible for something to exist before it should exist, which seems patently absurd, especially when stated so clearly. If something comes to exist at a moment in time, what other time could there be, aside from the one in question, at which the thing in question should exist and who determines that? Clearly the idea of something being ahead of its time is a romanticized and hyperbolic one. That being said, I am prone to hyperbole and romanticism and so I am going to make the claim that Ninja Gaiden (Xbox, 2004) was ahead of its time. If it is at all possible for something to be so, Ninja Gaiden is it.

At the time of the game's release, the hack n slash genre was well established, but certainly not to the degree to which it is today. Nor was it nearly as popular as it is now. God of War had not yet released. Devil May Cry 3, arguably the best in the series and the title that really elevated both the Devil May Cry series and the hack n slash genre as a whole in terms of mainstream popularity (as well as acting as redemption after the dud that was Devil May Cry 2) had also not yet been released. The first title in the series was, at the time, widely considered to be the best of the genre, and probably rightfully so. At the time, Capcom really innovated and elevated the genre with the release of the original Devil May Cry.

And then in 2004, a reboot of the classic 8 bit Ninja Gaiden series developed by Team Ninja, the development studio behind the Dead or Alive fighting game franchise, was released and the genre was elevated to dizzying new heights (see, there's that aforementioned tendency to hyperbole).

The first thing that really stood out upon first playing the game was how smooth, fluid and fast everything was. The game ran at a blistering 60 fps, which, if I am not mistaken, was a first for the genre, at least on consoles. It felt incredibly smooth, fast and responsive, and this was felt immediately after beginning to play. The controls were tight and the main character, Ryu Hayabusa, was incredibly agile. The options in terms of mobility were staggering. You could run up and along walls, hop back and forth between them to get to high places in seconds (known within the series as "bird flipping") jump on enemy heads and then launch yourself off of them, either once or multiple times in succession, allowing for the possibility of getting past a group of enemies by simply traversing over them as though they were a part of the flooring. Ryu could also roll dodge and perform a move known as the "Flying Swallow" which is a mid air flying sword thrust which covers great distances instantaneously and can decapitate multiple enemies in a single motion.

Hmmmm....three guys all shooting at me, what do I- oh, that takes care of that then!
Totally unrelated to the feel of the game, but equally noticeable upon first playing it was the fact that the game was absolutely stunning. Upon release it was one of the best looking Xbox games. Arguably even the best, period. This makes the fact that it ran at 60 fps all the more impressive since developers typically have to sacrifice either visual fidelity or the framerate when developing console games. The best looking games, especially during the sixth video game generation, were typically 30 fps. The few games that did run at a higher framerate were not typically the most technically impressive games from a visual standpoint. Ninja Gaiden was a top tier game in terms of visuals and it also somehow ran at 60 fps. The game was an absolute technical marvel and it was a dream to play while being a beauty to behold.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Keep Faith Alive, a.k.a. These Games Need Sequels!

By Syko Shadow

For the past month or so, there has been some news regarding one of my favorite games of this generation, Mirror's Edge. Apparently, development of a sequel has been pushed to the side by Electronic Arts so that the developer DICE can focus on making a game to compete with Call of Duty, presumably Battlefield 3.

Fuck that, I want my sexy free-running goddess, I do NOT want another patriotic Aryan poster boy fightin' the dang Ruskies for the old Stars and Stripes! American military videogames weren't fun the first time around, now we've got more interactive advertisements for the U.S. Army than I can count, and on top of that DICE is tossing aside a sequel to one of the most unique games on today's consoles to continue this stream of semper fi bullshit.

You know, Mirror's Edge is far from the first original IP I've grown to love, yet others look down on, and due to that the aspects of a sequel are... less than hopeful. With that in mind, I decided to write about my most desired sequels I need, but may never get.

Monday, March 10, 2014

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's....a Pilot? Pilots Without Planes- A Titanfall Review



Titanfall is an online only shooter that takes place in a future in which humans have colonized outside of Earth but have not yet freed themselves of the shackles of violent confrontation. In a government vs. the people type scenario, diplomacy has failed, as it often does, and a violent revolution has broken out and both sides are utilizing mechanical, weaponized armour called Titans to do aid them in expressing their message of discontent. 

It would not be all that hard to understand why, to an outside observer, Titanfall might strike them as "just another fps." A standard, run of the mill first person affair replete with fast paced  action complemented by a screen covered in rpg-esque numbers and symbols; both of which work to provide immediate and visceral satisfaction and long term addictive behaviour, including the inability to refrain from buying overpriced map packs or a "season pass." Play the game however, and it becomes abundantly clear that Titanfall is more than that. The folks at Respawn Entertainment were clearly aware of the state of the genre and the long term implications of market oversaturation and worked hard to make a shooter that may look like the rest but is actually substantially different (even including addressing the pricing of post release downloadable content).

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Fable Anniversary Review- Saving The World, One Chicken Punt At A Time



You want to pass through me and gorge yourself on my treasures? Get fat first. That is the message delivered to you by one of Fable Anniversary's so called 'Demon Doors,' magical doors created long before the time during which the game takes place, made to conceal the existence of various treasures. Approach the door in Barrow Fields and this is the message with which you are met:

"Oh no, not again. Another bony adventurer seeking to plunder my riches. I'm not interested in your meager frame. Get some meat on you! I want beefy! Blubbery! Plump! Porcine! Stop being a slave to public perception, and treat yourself. Pies, meat, beer, anything; but lots of it! Eat yourself large, and you'll be welcome here!"

Sunday, February 2, 2014

If You Liked The Original, Don't Overlook Fable Anniversary


Update: REVIEW now available

Fable Anniversary, an HD remake of Lionhead's now ten year old Xbox original adventure/rpg hybrid Fable will be available for purchase both at retail and online this Tuesday (at least in North America) for $39.99. The question you may be asking yourself is, is it worth the asking price? Considering the fact that this is a remake of an already existing game, that question seems entirely warranted and valid. Let's consider the facts and perhaps together we will answer this question for you.

The first thing anyone who has played the original will notice upon first seeing Fable Anniversary in action is of course the updated visual fidelity. Lionhead, tasked with bringing Fable to the modern era, utilized the Unreal 3 engine and employed 100 artists with the aim of totally redoing the textures, lighting and special effects. Widescreen support was added, a very important upgrade since the original Fable only supported a 4:3 aspect ratio. This might not sound like much in 2014 but pop in the original Fable and you'll be met with black bars on both sides of the image, which are now thankfully removed as the native aspect ratio has been updated to the industry standard, widescreen enabled 16:9.



In addition to the aforementioned textures and lighting, draw distances were improved, as were the particle effects, shadows and water effects. All of this has resulted in a much prettier version of the original game. It still retains the visual style and flair of the original while updating the visual offerings to a level more suitable for consumption in the modern era.


One of the strengths of the original game was the sound, especially the musical score. At the time, this high point was held back by audio compression as well as being limited to two channel (stereo) audio. Fast forward ten years and the original score that was so beloved by the fans is not only still intact but allowed to shine, freed from the chains of compressed, two channel audio. For the first time, fans of the Fable will be able to play the game they love with no limits placed on the aural experience. Multi channel surround sound and uncompressed audio are now a part of the Fable experience.

Friday, January 31, 2014

I Now Write for Pixelvolt

I recently got a gig writing for PixelVolt and my first article written for them went live today. If anyone is interested it is available to read HERE and yes, it's about Ninja Gaiden. It's a new approach to talking about the game, although I guess not really as at the end of the day it's a bunch of praise for the game written under a slightly different context. I can't help loving what I love, people :P

I promise that going forward I will be tackling a diverse set of topics. The next one I am working on has to do with the fps genre and I promise no mention of Ninja Gaiden will be made.

Adieu

Saturday, November 30, 2013

On The Contrary - Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Throughout my life, I have been a gaming connoisseur of every genre and platform. I've loved countless games and franchises, and hated countless more. A fact that I find rather amusing is that, more often than not, my preferences and favorites in the gaming industry are very different than most other people. I thought Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure was a rather great game, I've never liked the Final Fantasy series, I am the biggest fan of Mirror's Edge, and I think Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a piece of garbage. Those are just a few of the things that set me apart from the general consensus

But one recent series has raised my ire for far too long, a current-gen game long heralded as the best on its console and even one of the best video games ever. I would be remiss to allow my viewpoint, no matter how objectionable it may be to others, to go unspoken. There are many people who attest to the quality of this game, and yet I find myself with an opinion contrary to the overwhelming majority, as I usually do. To put it simply...

I fucking hate Uncharted 2. I hate it so fucking much. The first Uncharted game is just run-of-the-fucking-mill, yet the sequel is the same shit but it gets accolades up the ass! Fuck this game!!!

Ok ok, I promised myself I would dispense with my usual vulgarity, and attempt to discuss this somewhat
sensitive topic in an intellectual manner.