Archive for October, 2010

Purchases For Saturday, October 30, 2010: Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising, S.T.A.l.K.E.R. + Call of Pripyat, Ghost Master, Worms: Reloaded and Plants vs. Zombies (Steam deals)

Posted in In The Mail/Purchased Items on October 30, 2010 by Matt

Since this weekend is Halloween, Steam thought it’d be a good idea to throw some sales, so the above games that I purchased were on for decent prices. Chaos Rising is on for $9.99, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and it’s expansion Call of Pripyat were a bundle deal on for $9.99. Ghost Master was $2.49. Worms: Reloaded was $9.99 (but I swear it was on for less?).

I haven’t really played any of these yet, other than a tiny bit of Worms (which is an awesome game).

Update: Also, add Plants vs. Zombies GOTY for $4.99.

Purchase for October 26, 2010: Red Dead Redemption Undead Nightmare (PS3)

Posted in In The Mail/Purchased Items, Initial Impressions on October 27, 2010 by Matt

Alright, so I purchased the add-on pack yesterday, and finally had a chance to play today. This add-on was definitely worth the $9.99.

Multi-Player

Once you get used to the menus and figure out how to invite friends and whatnot, it’s a blast. You get different templates of weapons to choose from at the start and then you begin the level with however many people. I played through 16 waves with 4 strangers to start with, and that got pretty intense. Then played a few sessions with a friend of mine from the avpsource forums.

During a game, if you die, you are on the ground bleeding and a friend can come and revive you. If they can’t get to you, you do bleed out, but if they happen to finish the wave off then you can continue you. There are also different bonuses during the game that can upgrade your shots to phosphorous bullets, so it sets the undead on fire when you shoot them for example. Also, random new weapons spawn as well during a round, so you can go and grab them if you like. You can also open coffins and other such things to find ammo or dynamite and whatnot.

The zombies come in a variety. There are the ordinary shamblers, the venom spitters, the runners, and then there are the fatties that knock you down. Sort of similar to Left 4 Dead that way. Shooting the zombies in the head is the most effective, obviously. It can sometimes take a ton of shots to kill one with body hits.

It’s a lot of fun multi-player, but I haven’t tried out the single-player stuff yet. Expect an update tomorrow on the single-player porton of this add-on.

Update: October 29, 2010 @ 11:23 a.m.: Alright, so I did get a chance to play the single-player game a bit.

You start the game off with Marston at home with his family. They are awakened in the night when their “Uncle” comes into the bed room and tries to eat them. Marston’s wife and son are infected, so he hog ties them and goes for help. The journey begins into…THE UNDEAD NIGHTMARE! MUHAHAHAH!

Okay, anyway, the single-player game is a lot of fun. It doesn’t really take itself seriously. It seems like a b-movie to me. Some funny stuff in the first 45 minutes or so that I have played so far. The game is a series of rescue missions and killing zombies as you try to find a cure.

As I said, I only played a little bit so far, so I can’t make a complete review of the game. It seems like it has a lot of content for just $9.99. So if you liked Red Dead Redemption and you like zombies, it’s a win win.

Fallout: New Vegas (PC) is buggy as hell, but…

Posted in Currently Playing on October 27, 2010 by Matt

…the game freezing is the only way that I will stop playing. I have recently become an addict, and cannot stop playing. I’ve invested around 10 hours since yesterday into the game, and I love it.

It is Fallout 3 plus more. Some of the old music from the first games is in there, it has a more expanded crafting system to make stuff from that junk you may find in the wasteland, enemies seem a little more difficult and challenging for the most part, and it just seems like you’re more free in this game. The main quest is there, but I don’t feel overly obligated to do it as I did in the first game. It’s more like you create your own story as you change the world around you with your own actions.

I’m being a good guy and have aligned myself with the NRC. I am currently trying to enter The Strip right now. Expect a long review on this when I am done.

Achievements and Trophies. Are People Still Gaming For Fun?

Posted in Deep Thought on October 25, 2010 by Matt

Over the past few years, achievements and trophies have been introduced into the gaming community on the Playstation Network, Steam, and X-Box Live Arcade. I’ve noticed a few people that play all of these absolutely horrible games just to get the achievements or trophies (I am going to refer to these in short form – “A or T”). It’s at this point that I wonder if these people are really enjoying gaming? Or is it just a job now? And how does this effect the community?

It really boils down to the individual. Sure, it’s satisfying to get all of the A or T in a game, but did you enjoy playing the game? There have been moments where a friend has asked me to play a game, and my response to that was “Why? It’s such a horrible game”, and then they tell me “Well, it’s easy trophies”. If I don’t enjoy a game, I won’t sit around and continue to play it just for the A or T. I have many games that I can be playing that are much more enjoyable. Hell, I have games that I love and almost have all of the trophies in, but getting those final few achievements will mean grinding the game for a few hours, and I get bored of that. It is no longer fun for me. For example, finding all of the shards in Infamous. I really can’t find them and I’ve searched for a long time. I think there are 3 left and I have no interest in finding them. It’s no longer fun, so I play something else that is. I’ve finished that game twice through, and only have that trophy, and I need the final evil power. That would platinum the game for me.

There are people out there that play games and get every A or T in all the games they play, and sometimes buy or rent crappy games (knowingly) just to get the A or T. This really bothers me a lot. The biggest reason being that when a developer makes a game that is shit and wants some quick cash, they can rely on these individuals that want A or T to buy their games. All they need to do is make it easy to obtain the achievements and there you have it. It encourages developers to make a quick, easy to make, pile of shit game. I know this isn’t true for most developers, but there are some shitty ones out there looking for a quick easy buck.

It’s just something I’ve been dwelling on for the past little while. As I said, I do like trophies. I guess I just don’t like what they do to some people, and it could possibly encourage shitty development and a reduction in quality of game releases. There’ll always be bad games, but I just don’t want there to be more than there needs to be. As far as the addiction and competitive side of this is concerned, that has nothing to do with the games. It’s a person’s personality that is the problem there. People will do what they do, but I hope that they don’t forget that they are playing a game, and that it should be fun, and not just work.

Updated November 6, 2010 @ 8:46 pm:
Here‘s an example of insanity.

From E-Bay: Ikaruga for the Nintendo GameCube

Posted in In The Mail/Purchased Items on October 25, 2010 by Matt

A couple of weeks ago, I won a bid on Ikaruga on E-bay. It came in the mail for me last week, but I didn’t get a chance to pick it up until yesterday.

Ikaruga is a unique shoot ’em up, similar to the Raiden series. The big difference comes with the switching between light and dark. Your ship can take on light or dark and use it to adapt to combat conditions. When an enemy fires dark energy at you, you can switch to the dark side and not take any damage from it. The trick is to know when to switch it when light and dark enemies are firing at you at the same time. Sometimes you need to be quick. The game is known to be difficult. There’s a bit of strategy and this adds a lot of depth to the game’s mechanics. It’s a lot of fun, and I am glad I was able to get it.

The game was $36 after shipping, and other than the outer plastic covering on the case being slightly worn, it’s in mint condition.

Purchases for Saturday, October 23, 2010: Super Meat Boy (XBLA) and The Dishwasher: Dead Samarai (XBLA)

Posted in Currently Playing, In The Mail/Purchased Items, Initial Impressions, New Releases on October 23, 2010 by Matt

Today, I played a bit of Vanquish and when I was done, I looked over at my 360 and asked myself if there was anything I should be checking out on XBox Live Arcade. I knew Super Meat Boy was there, so I logged on and took a loom through some games and downloaded a few trials.

Super Meat Boy is fucking fantastic! It can be a bit difficult, but each level is pretty short. Those players out there with A.D.D. will have no problems playing for a minute (or even a few seconds) and then putting the controller down and still feeling satisfied. If you haven’t checked it out, download the trial and play it. There’s nothing like navigating a chunk of meat through an obstacle course to save it’s girlfriend from a fetus.

While I was browsing, I came across “The Dishwasher: Dead Samarai” and I recalled hearing about this game before. I decided to download the trial and give it a chance. It’s a pretty decent side scrolling hack and slash. If you enjoy Shank or Castle Crashers. or any old school beat ’em ups, then maybe give this a try.

I purchased both of these games. I expect that Super Meat Boy will be getting most of the attention.

I also downloaded the trial for Comic Jumper, but I haven’t tried it yet.

Update Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 6:30 pm: I almost forgot that last night I was watching through a few episodes of Zero Punctuation and I watched the PainKiller video. After watching it, it came to mind that I had been meaning to get it forever, and never did. I went on Steam and got a copy for $9.99. I haven’t played a game like this in years (not since the first Serious Sam game came out). It’s a nice change of pace from all of the other first-person shooters I’ve been playing.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (PS3) Review

Posted in Reviews on October 22, 2010 by Matt

Well, last night I lost track of time playing this game and decided I may as well finish it. I couldn’t put it down, and I was determined to finish it. It was a great adventure, and I’d do it again (and likely will). This is a review of the game being played through on “Warrior” difficulty.

What was done well in this game? Graphics, Controls, Combat, Hidden Items, Boss Battles, Story

This game looks fantastic. Monsters all have smooth animations, and the models look great. The environments are well done, and on the occasions that the camera zooms out to show off a distant castle or landscape, it gives me a nice warm feeling inside. No complaints, other than on rare occasions it may slow down a tiny bit, but not enough to bother me very much.

The controls are well laid out, responsive and feel like they should. There were some instances where I’d try to move away from a ledge, and the character would move off the ledge due to the animation. That was annoying sometimes, but otherwise it was fine.

Combat was great. At first, the game starts off easy, with just simple button mashing and what not. There are also grab moves and indicators on some creatures when they are stunned for you to grab them and finish them off. You can also stun large creatures and use them for mounts, which can be entertaining during a fight (but it’s usually for getting by a certain area due to a door). After a while, building up experience points and gaining new relics allows you to use magic and buy new combos. Some are more useful than others, but add a great deal of depth to the combat. A lot are not necessary, but are still fun enough to use.

There are hidden items all over the place in this game, and you’ll find them on corpses, and in big Brotherhood of Light boxes. Gems for upgrading your health meter and magic meters are found on corpses, and finding them all grants you trophies as well. Finding all of the weapon upgrades does too, I think. The weapon upgrades allow you to hold more throwing daggers, fairies, and holy water. I enjoy exploring for hidden items, and I did find most of the gems. Still need to go back and find the Brotherhood boxes though. Some of them cannot be found until you have all of the relics.

There are a few boss battles in the game that are huge. Literally. If you’ve played Shadow of the Colossus, and you enjoyed it, then you’ll love these boss fights. Nothing like climbing all over a giant and hanging on for dear life, while trying to stab weak spots (runes) in certain points on it’s body. There are other bosses besides these, but the giant bosses were the ones worth mentioning. Other boss fights can be challenging, but not quit as breath-taking.

The story in this game follows Gabriel Belmont as he fights through many levels of monsters in hopes to save the world from the Lords of Shadow. Gabriel is driven by love. The Lords of Shadow are responsible for his wife’s death, and it’s time for some pay back. Might as well save the world while we’re at it, I guess. He is part of the Brotherhood of Light, and so is told of a prophecy. One that is pure of heart will defeat the Lords of Shadow and take their power for himself. With this power, Gabriel can bring his wife back from the dead and save the world.

The journey takes Gabriel through 3 different lands. One ruled by Lycans, one ruled by Vampires, and the final one ruled by Necromancers and Death. Your character grows and makes discoveries about the prophecy and himself as you progress, so you’re always learning something new and growing a bit closer to the character. Mind you, sometimes Gabriel is a little too sad and whiny and I want to smack the emo out of him, but it’s not a huge deal.

I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, but there is a twist near the end, and when you beat the game and the credits are over, keep watching. There is a sequel implied. And I cannot wait. You also unlock “Paladin” difficulty.

What could have been better? Chubacabre, Jumping, Camera Angles, Puzzles

Chuibacabre are tiny creatures that take all of your shit and run away with it. They play hide and seek with you, and it’s fucking annoying as shit and unnecessary. I think that it happens 3 or 4 times in the whole game, but that is enough for me to make a note about it.

Jumping can sometimes be a pain in the ass. It’s tough to control the distance that you jump and when it comes to pricision jumping onto moving platforms, it makes for some frustrating moments. Especially with the next point.

Camera angles. Sometimes the camera moves in a way where you can’t see the enemy, or it moves when you’re jumping. Either way can lead to frustrations if you die from it. This wasn’t a huge problem for a lot of the game, but there were some instances where I cursed the camera.

The puzzles in the game were all fine and dandy, but were all just very simple. There’s even an option to skip the puzzles all together, but you don’t get the experience points for solving it on your own if you do that. I kind of wish they were a bit more challenging is all.

Overall

With the minor gripes about the game aside, I am very happy with the game and the 20 or so hours I spent playing it. It had a slow start to it, but once I got into the game, it was hard to put down the controller. I sat up and played the game the other night, lost track of time, and before I knew it, it was 6 a.m.. It was definitely worth purchasing, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys hack and slash adventure games like Devil May Cry, Castlevania fans, and those who enjoyed Shadow of the Colossus.