Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Where in the World is [Enter Video Game Related Entity Here]?

Well now that Duke Nukem Forever is (finally) becoming more than the biggest mythological creature in the video game industry, I thought I’d figure out what the f*** happened to some of the other stuff that was promised to come or just disappeared off of the face of the Earth. We, as gamers, don’t always get everything that was promised to us (ie. the entire Too Human game), but sometimes it would be nice to get an explanation as to why some properties suddenly dissipate. There is a fine line between not wanting to spoil too much about your game (which I personally feel the video game community does too much), waiting for some big event (ie. E3), and just being a complete asshole tease. These are the games/ideas/properties that I feel have crossed the line.

If anyone has any games or entities they would like to find out about, just leave a comment and I’ll update the post with my findings.

The single biggest tease in all of video games


Officially Announced: April 13, 2010 | Release Date: TBA 2011 | Developer: 2K Marin

Aliens vs. the FBI in 1950's America? Count me in!

What is it?

Based off of the classic game X-COM: UFO Defense, a PC strategy game developed by Mythos Games in 1994, X-COM is a reimaging of that fabled property. Now a first person shooter (I know we have too many of those, but don’t fret, this one actually looks good), 2K Marin is bringing the game into the new generation. It tells the fight between man and alien as the FBI fights the spread of the unknown enemy. Remembering its roots, the game will feature intense story, complex strategy, and against-all-odds action to increase the suspense of this thriller shooter.

Where is it?

We first heard of this game in April of 2010 and were shown it hands on at E3 2010. After a promise from 2K Marin at E3 2010 that the game would be released in 2011, we haven’t heard much out of them since then. It is currently the middle of May in 2011 and 2K had yet to spill any beans on this coveted title. Once E3 2011 rolls around I’m sure the story will be different, but a little tidbit of information (like a more specific release date) now wouldn’t hurt.

What do we expect?

2K Marin will most likely spill their guts at E3 this year and will most likely get a holiday 2011 release, maybe a first quarter 2012 release if they’re falling behind.

BattleBlock Theater

Officially Announced: January 2009 | Release Date: TBA | Developer: The Behemoth

He's sad because the game isn't out yet

What is is?

The next game from the studio that brought you Alien Hominid HD and Castle Crashers, this is a side-scrolling, action-filled platformer. It features a heavy basis on 4-player multiplayer (a la Left 4 Dead). Expect the same cartoony violence you got with the blockbuster hit Castle Crashers

Where is it?

Unlike the other items on this list, this one has actually been seen recently. The last time we saw this game was at the Behemoth stand at PAX in March of this year. It was a playable game alongside Castle Crashers. So, as far as it looks, this game is nearly complete and ready to be distributed.

What do we expect?

Well, if we don’t here anything out of E3, expect a release at some point later this year. If all is said and done, nothing will be holding The Behemoth back from making their hard earned money. The best bet though? We will get a concrete date at E3, and it wont be too long of a wait either.

Respawn Entertainment Project

Officially Announced: 2010 | Release Date: TBA | Developer: Respawn Entertainment

Zampella and West: The founders of Respawn

What is is?

After the big fight/lawsuit between Vince Zampella, Jason West and Activision, those two decided to run off and form their own development company under publisher (take a good guess) EA. And with this comes the tumblings of their first big project. After originally stating that they were working on a blockbuster hit to compete with the monster they helped create, Call of Duty, not much has been coming out of Respawn.

Where is it?

No one really knows. Zampella and West started an entire new development studio AND are staring a new game in a new franchise under a new publisher from scratch. It is bound to take some time for them to hire enough people to staff the studio, come up with an idea, and then make enough of said idea to get a solid amount of info to share with the public.

What do we expect?

Don’t expect anything for a little while yet. Even if they do throw us a bone at E3 this year, don’t expect a game until at least mid to late 2o12. But don’t give up hope! Whatever they come up with is bound to be great and, in my opinion, the longer it takes for a game to come out, the longer the development team is taking to make sure their game is perfect.

Vitality Sensor

Officially Announced: June 2009 | Release Date: TBA | Developer: Nintendo

I just...I don't even know what Satoru Iwata was thinking...

What is is?

Also known as the biggest joke from Nintendo yet, the Vitality Sensor was supposed to be the next great thing for Nintendo and their healthy gaming craze. It was meant for people to track their pulse and other bodily numbers to use in sync with other health games, like Wii Fit. It was designed to help people relieve and manage their stress as well. The only other practical use for such a device is to monitor peoples stress levels while playing a horror survival game such as Resident Evil (but what could you honestly do with that data?)

Where is it?

Quite frankly, who cares? Is anyone honestly sitting around saying “Man, I really wish Nintendo would release that Vitality Sensor already.” Only the hardcore crowd really knows about it now, and we could care less about it. All the health freak moms are the ones who care, and unless they watch E3 press conferences each year, I’m pretty sure they’ve never heard of it. All the sub par feedback isn’t stopping Iwata though. He says the peripheral is still on track for a release…sometime.

What do we expect?

Don’t get your hopes up. It was announced at E3 2009 and hasn’t been heard from since. After being the laughing stock of the gaming community for a month or so after it was announced, it dropped off of the face of the Earth. And now that we know “Project Cafe”, Nintendo’s next home console, will be shown at this years E3, I’m pretty sure that little announcement will overshadow anything relative to the Vitality Sensor.

Half Life 2: Episode 3

Officially Announced: 2006 | Release Date: TBA | Developer: Valve

Valve Logo

The masterminds behind TF2, Portal, Left 4 Dead, and Half Life.

What is is?

Hinted to all the way back in 2006, Half Life 2: Episode 3 is (obviously) the successor to Episode 2. It continues the story of theoretical physicist Gordon Freeman

Where is it?

This game here is arguably the most anticipated game for PC gamers. It has been far too long since Episode 2 to take. And the sad thing is is that Valve has not said much about it at all. They said it was coming, but we don’t know much other than that. They have been pouring out game after game, update after update, but nothing on this game. Valve did, however, promise in September of 2010 that there would be three big announcements over the coming year. What could they be?

What do we expect?

This one is a mystery to all. The best we can do is hope for something at E3 or just wait for more of those “big announcements” Valve promised to come.

Well, that’s the list. Overall, the main thing we can do is wait. If you didn’t get the hint by now, E3 is the thing to look for. It’s coming fast and is bound to show us at least one of the games on this list. Keep your fingers crossed.


Summer Movies ’11: The Geek Edition

May 1, 2011 1 comment

So apparently Fast Five has officially kicked off the summer movie blockbuster rush (although I really think they just need to stop with that series already. Enough is enough). As per usual, the summer is going to be full of geek movies geared to me and my kin, a.k.a. comic book, superhero and sci-fi thrillers. So I figured I would take the time to go through the big box office movies that interest me and that I think nerds nationwide will pay attention to and give my opinion and hype factor on them.

The movies that I’m going to talk about are as follows (in order of release): Thor, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, X-Men: First Class, Super 8, Green Lantern, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Captain America: The First Avenger, Cowboys & Aliens, and Rise of Planet of the Apes. As you can see, this summer is going to be packed with movies that are catered to the nerds of the world (and I’m pretty excited). So, without further adieu, let’s begin.

*Before I start, I would like to mention that these are my opinions on these movies and how much I believe they will either live up to their hype or please the geek crowd.

Thor (May 6th) 

(Directed by Kenneth Branagh; Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, and Anthony Hopkins)

What’s It About?: Thor (Hemsworth) is the third Avenger to make his movie debut (Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk being his predecessors). Thor is the God of Thunder who lives in the city of Asgard. He is extremely arrogant and violent and ends up reigniting a long forgotten war. As punishment, he is sent down to Earth to live with the humans. After befriending Jane Foster (Portman), Thor learns from his mistake and helps defend Earth from enemies sent from Asgard to cause havoc on the humans.

What Do I Think?: The first thing I notice when I see the information about this movie is, no joke, the director. Kenneth Branagh (Gilderoy Lockhart in the Harry Potter series, director and star of Hamlet) is one of my favorite people in the movie industry. I just love a lot of the work that he does, and I especially loved his version of Hamlet. Besides the director, I very pumped for this movie. It’s something we haven’t seen yet in the super hero movie industry: a God. I am extremely excited to see how well Chris Hemsworth pulls off the role. If you don’t count his short appearance as George Kirk in the 2009 Star Trek, this is Chris’ first big time role on the silver screen. Hopefully Thor will be for Chris as The Hurt Locker was for Jeremy Renner. He looks promising and I honestly can not wait to see this movie.

Hype Factor: 9/10

EDIT: Go see this movie. I saw it about a week ago and it is an amazing Marvel film. It lives up to the Hype Factor.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (May 20th) 

(Directed by Rob Marshall; Starring Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane, and Geoffrey Rush)

What’s It About?: In the fourth Pirates movie, Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) finds himself running into a woman from his past on his way to find the Fountain of Youth. Entranced by what he thinks may be love, Sparrow is brought onto the ship of the most feared pirate in history: Blackbeard (McShane). The race goes on to beat Blackbeard to the Fountain and possible discover if his love is true.

What Do I Think?: First reaction? Is this necessary? This spin off story is just a ploy to milk the Pirates series for all its worth. Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightley, the other two main stars besides Johnny Depp, both quit the series after the third installment. Now it’s up to Depp to hold up the entire movie and, to be honest, I am tired of Jack Sparrow. He was amazing in the first movie, still pretty funny in the second, got repetitive in the third, and now after watching the trailer for this film, it just seems like they’re trying too hard. His act is old and repetitive and I’m tired of seeing the pirate in a drunken stupor running around like a chicken with his head cut off and acting completely scared around all the big bad guys: it’s overplayed.

Hype Factor: 4/10

X-Men: First Class (June 3rd) 

(Directed by Matthew Vaughn; Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence)

What’s It About?: A precursor to all past X-Men films, this movie tells the story of Charles Xavier (McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Fassbender) during the 1960’s. In the beginning they were two young men with great powers and became great friends as they helped the nation with their abilities. As time goes on though, the void between them grows and they eventually become the enemies that they are today.

What Do I Think?: When I first heard that this movie was coming about, I immediately thought “Oh great, another X-Men movie”. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original trilogy and I didn’t even bother to see Wolverine’s spin off movie Origins (I think he is severely overrated). After watching the trailer and digging into this movie, however, I feel that it is actually going to turn out to be a great superhero movie. I’ve always like Magneto and Professor X a lot and it will be cool to see how they started out and how their friendship turned into a hatred. Although I will miss Ian Mckellan as Magneto, I’m getting good vibes from this movie. I just hope I don’t see too many more X-Men films.

Hype Factor: 8/10

Super 8 (June 10th) 

(Directed by J.J. Abrams; Starring Elle Fanning, Amanda Michalka, and Kyle Chandler)

What’s It About?: A group of kids, while filming a movie, witness a horrific train accident. What they don’t know, however, is what was being transported on that train. With mysterious military undertones, the citizens of one town start to notice disappearances an the deputy tries to pry some answers out of the government. The truth that they discover may be more shocking than they ever imagined. 

What Do I Think?: Like with Thor, the first thing I noticed was (a) J.J. Abrams wrote and directed it, and (b) Steven Speilberg produced it. These are two very good things. When I watch the trailer for this movie, I get a mix of Cloverfield, E.T., and The Goonies. Don’t ask me why, but that’s just what I pull from the trailer. Just by the way the movie was filmed it illicits a sense of wonder from me and makes me deeply interested in what exactly is on that train. I am very excited for this movie and the fact that J.J. Abrams is so good at keeping things secretive only makes my excitement even greater.

Hype Factor: 9/10

Green Lantern (June 17th) 

(Directed by Martin Campbell; Starring Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, and Peter Sarsgaard)

What’s It About?: Hal Jordan (Reynolds), an over-the-top jet pilot, is selected to join the Green Lantern Corps., a group of warriors from all different races in the universe that help keep peace and balance. He is given a ring that grants him superpowers that he must use to defeat Parallax, a new enemy that is threatening the Green Lantern Corps. in a way they have never been attacked before.

What Do I Think?: Cliche. I know that these superhero movies are already pre-written and their stories already exist, but I still can’t help but feel like I’ve seen this so many times before. I get a very strong “Tony Stark” vibe from Ryan Reynolds character, and although that works for Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), I don’t know how well it’s going to work for Reynolds. It’s going to be the same old thing: eccentric protagonist gets super power by some means and learns the values of life and what’s really important as he grows with the power. 

Hype Factor: 6/10

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (July 1st) 

(Directed by Michael bay; Starring Shia Labeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Tyrese Gibson, and Josh Duhamel)

What’s It About?: The Autobots and Decepticons are back for a third time as they get involved with the space race between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. A space craft from Cybertron was discovered on the moon and now a race between the Autobots and Decepticons has begun to reach the ship and learn its secrets.

What Do I Think?: After the catastrophe that was Revenge of the Fallen, I am not expecting much with this movie. I know that it’s going to be exactly the same as the other two: explosion after explosion within an explosion. It’s a Michael Bay movie; what else would you expect? Probably the biggest complaint I have is the replacement of Megan Fox. Now I wasn’t really a big fan of Fox herself, but I wish Bay would have kept her on board for the sake of the “plot” (I used quotations because the “plot” of the Transformers series is so convoluted and disorganized that it can hardly be called a “plot”). I mean, after two movies of Sam chasing after Mikaela and developing their love life, it seems incredibly stupid to just erase her from the picture and have Sam fall in love with some new girl (who is played by a Victoria’s Secret model with no previous acting experience). All in all, I will be seeing this movie for two reason: to see how they manage to explain Fox’s departure in the movie / laugh at the new girls most likely horrible acting and to see all the robot fighting action (I’m a guy; I’m allowed to like explosion and action).

Hype Factor: 4/10

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (July 15th) 

(Directed by David Yates; Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint)

What’s It About?: Harry (Radcliffe), Ron (Grint), and Hermione (Watson), as well as the entire Hogwarts gang, are back for the finale to the Harry Potter series. The second half of the Deathly Hallows book, this movie depicts the final fight between Good and Evil, Harry and the students of Hogwarts against Voldemort’s army. Answers are given to all of the most pressing plot points and the series finally comes to a close.

What Do I Think?: Being the Harry Potter junkie that I am, I am already pre-disposed to love this movie. Putting all bias aside, I still believe this will be an amazing movie for those who have seen the rest of them (obviously). The movies don’t stand a chance against the books of course, but as long as nothing big has been changed drastically, I feel this will be a quintessential summer movie. Unlike the first half of the book, which was more of the trios quest to find Voldemort’s Horcruxes, this movie is going to be an all out action flick, which is a nice relief from the previous installment. I have high hopes for this movie, but I have a small tinge of apprehension as well; I just feel like something will be changed from the books that I could never forgive Yates for.

Hype Factor: 9/10

Captain America: The First Avenger (July 22nd) 

(Directed by Joe Johnston; Starring Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, and Richard Armitage)

What’s It About?: Set during WWII, Steve Rogers (Evans) is an eager man who wants to fight for his country but is denied because of his small body size. He opts to be part of a government experiment to create super soldiers. After a successful transformation, the army turns Rogers into a spokesperson for the army, making tours to different conferences and press events. He is given a patriotic uniform and paraded around to show the armies strength. The Nazi’s, on the other hand, employ an evil plan that requires Rogers to step up to the plate and fight for his country.

What Do I Think?: It’s completely ironic that the “First Avenger” is the last one to see their movie debut, but I have to say that Captain America seems to be the Avenger that I am going to like the most. I love learning about WWII and any story based off of that time period is bound to catch my attention. I am a fan of Evans’ character, who is just an honest guy trying to fight for his country. Another thing I am excited about is to see how the other Avengers get incorporated. If you notice in the trailer, right before the experiment begins the one scientists tells ‘Mr. Stark” to start it up. This is Howard Stark and is just another way in which the lives of the four Avengers are intertwined. Just think back to how many references there were in Iron Man 2. I think I’m really going to like Captain America.

Hype Factor: 9/10

Cowboys & Aliens (July 29th) 

(Directed by Jon Favreau; Starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and Olivia Wilde)

What’s It About?: A mysterious stranger named Jake Lonergan (Craig) is found in the town of Absolution with no memory of his past, he quickly becomes unwanted and must come under the orders of Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde (Ford). A sudden alien invasion of the town requires the townsfolk to forget their fear and hatred of Lonergan and create a team of men to fight off the aliens. Lonergan holds the key to the towns survival in a shackle-like device on his wrist that can help save the town.

What Do I Think?: When I first heard of this movie, it sounded like the dumbest thing I had ever heard. “Cowboys & Aliens” just sounded so weird to me. But then I watched an interview with Favreau, the director, and realized two things: (1) this is actually a comic book, and (2) it has never been done before. I had never heard of this story before, so finding out that it was a comic book came as a shock to me. I thought it was just some random idea. Secondly, Favreau questions why we can’t have an alien invasion movie set in the Wild West. Just because we think we see aliens now doesn’t mean they didn’t see the same types of things back then either. I took this to heart and decided to give this movie a shot. Also, I just like Harrison Ford a lot. He may be old, but he’s still got what’s needed to be a badass action hero. It will be cool to see him work side by side with Daniel Craig, who I have not seen outside of James Bond

Hype Factor: 8/10

Rise of Planet of the Apes (August 5th) 

(Directed by Rupert Wyatt; Starring James Franco, Andy Serkis, and Freida Pinto)

What’s It About?: Will Rodman (Franco), who is a scientist, experiments with genetic engineering on apes in San Fransisco. What he ends up doing is creating a whole new race of super intelligent monkeys that create a fight with the humans for supremacy.

What Do I Think?: Dumbest nerd movie of the summer. I never liked Planet of the Apes and I never will. The whole concept just seems so stupid to me. Just another “lab creation gone wrong” movie. And the fact that the trailer boasts that it used the same visual effects team as Avatar just made me even more mad considering I really did not like Avatar. So its visuals are all it’s got going for it, huh? That means the story must really suck. No thanks.

Hype Factor: 1/10

LCG’s Dead Space 2 Review

February 3, 2011 Leave a comment

When the first Dead Space was released, it was hailed as one of the scariest games in recent memory. It successfully combined survival-horror elements with a dark sci-fi setting. EA who’s normally entrenched in “go-to” franchises like Madden and the Battlefield series, took a gamble with a new IP and it paid off. Fans of the first Dead Space have revisited the iconic USG Ishimura time and time again to experience the horrors that lay within and further upgrade their gear. Visceral Games has shown that they can stand neck-to-neck with Capcom and the Resident Evil Series. Has their winning formula proven itself in the series’ second outing?

To put it frankly; yes. Dead Space 2 has struck the same cord the first one did and often times plays the note louder. The story itself is fleshed out more in the sequel. When we catch up with Isaac Clarke in Dead Space 2, he’s still trying to make peace over his girlfriend’s death from the previous installment. He struggles with dimensia and his dead girlfriend haunts him throughout the course of his adventure. The once silent protagonist now engages in dialogue with other characters and this makes Isaac a much more appealing character overall. Those who are unsure about Isaac talking more often shouldn’t be worried. It helps build a more human side of Isaac and makes him less of a “go here and do this” robot. Not at any point does he make any “America: Fuck yeah!” wise-cracks. His dialogue is sensible, but it is developed enough for you to understand his strife.

No... he's NOT a robot...

As it turns out, Isaac is now on a space station known as the Sprawl. It is a colonized station on one of Saturn’s moons; Titan. From the get-go all hell breaks loose. Necromorphs are popping out of the vents (duh?) and have mercilessly overrun a hospital where Mr. Clarke is detained. The introduction itself is a very memorable experience as it doesn’t attempt to slow down the game in order to teach you it’s mechanics and controls.

"You are here"

The controls you know and love are back, but much more refined.
The controller layout is much more in line with most shooters on the market (ie X/Square = Reload), but still maintains Dead Space’s core stomp, slap, telekinesis, and stasis buttons. It’s a familiar layout that fans are sure to be at ease with as you’ll be using everyone of those buttons to take out the undead.

Controls are smooth as buttah...

Dead Space 2 maintains the core combat that made original great. The series separates itself from other shooters by having players dismember their foes instead of shooting at center mass all the time. It is satisfying as much as it is tense. The feeling of having a lack of ammo and being backed into a corner by members of the undead is still in play. This forces you to take your shots carefully. Fans that are worried that DS2 being a bare-bones shooter in space can set their worries aside. Dead Space 2 is here and it’s better than ever. Necromorphs still scare you half to death and the Sprawl, although brighter than the USG Ishimura, still maintains an oppressive atmosphere that will have you on the edge constantly. There were a couple occasions where I dropped my controller out of a good shock-scare. Play Dead Space 2 the way all horror games are meant to be played, in the dark, lights off, headphones on.

In the Sprawl, you always have to be on your toes...

When players aren’t too busy fending for their lives and trying not to get their faces eaten off; they can cash in on their loot. DS2 will have you stomping dead(er) enemies for ammo and credits. This will inevitably lead players to in-game kiosks that will let you purchase upgrades to your weapons and armor. DS2 still has you collecting power nodes in order to give your gear substantial upgrades, but this is all paced very well and is in line with other titles of the genre. Not to mention that DS2 has a plethora of suits to find and upgrade, all with varying abilities (dare I say perks?). And oh boy is it as addictive as ever. Players will still need to hike schematics to the store before they can actually use it. This is kind of a pain as schematics take up inventory space and NOTHING is more important than inventory space when you have 5 rounds left and you see SOMETHING peeking around the corner at you. But fear not, the GPS system in DS1 has made it’s way over into DS2 but is much more user-friendly. Instead of JUST showing you where your objective is, players can click up or down on the d-pad and it will lay out a path to the nearest upgrade bench, store, or save point. It’s simple, easy, and necessary.

Big scary boss got you down? Time to upgrade.

While Dead Space 2’s weapons are of the “mining tool” variety, they’re bascially rough translations of say a pistol or an assault rifle. Returning favorites such as the Plasma Cutter and Line Gun make an appearance, but there are some new additions to the armory as well. The Seeker Rifle is basically a sniper rifle, contrary to popular belief it DOES have a place in the Dead Space series. A new personal favorite of mine is the Javelin which essentially lets you impale necromorphs to walls and electrocute them if you so desire. With that said, the alternate fire on a lot of these guns do come in handy and are actually much more effective that their DS1 counterparts. The Pulse Rifle now has a grenade launcher-like alternative fire that gets the job done. Snazzy.

Pimp it. Use it.

Dead Space 2 has everything that made the first Dead Space so great. The upgrade system is addictive as it ever was. The combat is visceral and intense. The story is deeper and much more cohesive. The atmosphere is foreboding as it ever was and the scares are plenty. With Isaac partaking in a significantly improved role this time around, surely Visceral Games has created a checklist and nailed down all the points. But how’s the journey overall?

Isaac isn't exactly the most stable character

The USG Ishimura, an abandoned mining flagship, was the setting for a huge majority of the first title. In DS2, the Sprawl is a much more diverse environment. Players will be trekking through abandoned hospitals, schools, apartment complexes, government sectors, and of course, space. There much more color in the world this time around, but don’t let the bright atmosphere fool you. Enemies will still startle you and put you in those “oh shit!” situations that will have you scrambling for a clear shot. The Nercomorphs remain largely familiar with ones that basically come at you with bladed arms flailing. Some new casts to the undead consist of a necromorph that projectile vomits, a horde of undead school children (they’re FAST), and babies that crawl toward you and explode in a cloud of puss(wha?).

There are also varied boss encounters sprinkled throughout. All of them MUCH bigger than your lonesome Isaac Clarke and these encounters invoke this feeling of, “How do I kill it?” Eventually, it all boils down to shooting at the obvious orange glowing weak spot, but it’s much easier said than done.

DS2 has many setpiece moments that take cues from Uncharted and Resident Evil, but makes them it’s own. There are no longer tram rides that take you from one station to another. Players will simply move through the game’s paces within the context of the story. A chapter heading will fade in and out letting you know which chapter you’re on. Yup, no more train stations to halt the pacing of the game. One moment you’ll be running from a monstrous necromorph only to go toe-to-toe with it out in space. Another part has you flying out in zero-G to align satellites while simultaneously combating foes. The zero-G moments are something that need to be witnessed. Never has a game translated weightlessness so well. Players can flip and tumble but won’t find themselves fumbling over the controls. It controls well and it just works. Vanquishing the necromorph and have them float off into the abyss of space is a pretty cool sight to behold. There are numerous moments in the game that will make your jaw drop.

Sometimes it's difficult to figure out which way is "up"

During an epic elevator ride to the satellites, I was attacked by multiple assailants. They shattered windows causing oxygen to get sucked out and my suit was running through it’s reserves. I fought them off as best as I could, I was unloading round after round out the windows, hitting some and missing others. Eventually I was surrounded on all sides and needless to say it was looking bleak. As I exhausted my ammo supply, I reached the end of the elevator ride but, the monstrosities pursuing were all but gone. I ran through security systems killing what I could along the way and engaged satellite beams that led to me being hurtled head-first back towards the Sprawl. As I was free-falling I narrowly dodged debris from the resulting explosion I had just caused and my destination got closer and closer… the landing… well… you’ll just have to see for yourself.

The last boss fight at the end of the first Dead Space was one thing, just imagine that sprinkled throughout the second installment and you’ll have the right idea of what Dead Space 2 has in store for you.

The only blemishes in this great looking package is that the multiplayer is kind of a throw away. I’m not saying it’s terrible or anything, it is decent in it’s own right, but the fun factor merely comes from it being different. Most players will enjoy it for a weekend or two before they go back to beating the campaign for the second or third time. But multiplayer isn’t why you would buy Dead Space 2 in the first place. The PS3 version of DS2 comes with Dead Space Extraction, an HD port of the on-rails Wii prequel. It’s all in one shiny Blu-ray disc. The 360 version however, doesn’t come with any bonuses and shows up to the party on two DVDs. It’s not a big deal as both version look and play great. However, for a game designed with multiple playthroughs in mind it’s a only a bit of an inconvenience. I don’t mind switching out discs for every SEVERAL hours of gameplay, but it is rather annoying when you do intend to go back into New Game + over and over again. It’s a bit sloppy on the developer’s part.

Multiplayer = Meh.

Overall, Dead Space 2 is the sequel fans have been looking for. Visceral’s formula is intact and the journey was a thrill. It may be more horror-shooter than survival-horror this time around, but it shouldn’t prevent ANYBODY from enjoying this lenghty adventure. The campaign is excellent and rewards your repeated consumption of it; there’s always more incentive for another playthrough. The team at Visceral has undeniably trumped the first game and built a much improved story around it’s central gameplay. The multiplayer is there to divert your attention for a bit but, the main course of this meal is the single-player itself. What a way to start the year, EA has set the pace for the rest of 2011’s lineup of games already. Why wait around for the holidays? This is one blockbuster that you can play NOW. Buy it, play it, love it.

Am I suppose to give some kind of number or letter at the end of this review? How bout I just declare it: A MUST BUY

Grandpa Gamer: The Game Boy

January 5, 2011 Leave a comment

This WAS my god... it might still be. Who are you to judge?

I remember when I was a young little lad, sitting in the back of the bus on the way to school. Normally, I would find a strange comfort in resting my head against the window as the bus jolted back and forth. On any other day I would be doing my homework at the last minute or simply napping until we arrived at school. But not today. Today, I’m going to kill him. Today I’m going to finally beat that princess stealing, people eating demon bastard of a final boss! All before hanging my coat in homeroom. Clutch.

Back then (aka the 90’s), there was no such thing as 3G or bullshit 4G networks. There were no lame ass touch screens or downloading of any apps. Facebook, twitter, and texting was a science fiction dream. A mobile phone was still JUST a phone and a portable gaming device was well… a portable gaming device. I’m talking about Game Boy. THE Game Boy. The very thought of gaming on the go was as great as it sounded; especially when you were five.

No internet. No wifi. No problem.

Many prayers (including mine) were answered when Nintendo released the Game Boy. Having the home gaming experience in your hands was absolutely mind-blowing at the time. I still remember thinking to myself, “I can’t believe I’m playing Tetris right here! Whenever I want to!” I just about pooped in my sandbox. Fuck recess! I’m going to sit under a tree with my sippy cup and throw some Hadokens! Awwwwwwwww is it raining out? Fuck your indoor recess and fuck playing checkers! I’m going back to Hyrule. Of course the technology is not without it’s limitations. BUT WHO CARES?! It was early 90’s technology at it’s best! It was completely monochromatic but I was still able to suspend my disbelief and found myself immersed in a completely different world.

2 bits and 4 shades of "Green" powered this badass scene from my childhood.

When everyone was playing tag, I was killing an army of soldiers in Ninja Gaiden Shadow. When everyone was playing with their Hot Wheels and Barbie dolls, I was bombing touchdowns in Tecmo Bowl. I was a strange child. I carried this hulking mass of white plastic and circuitry with me at all times. I had pockets full of Jolly Ranchers and AA batteries, I was ready to rock and roll. Who can forget the sweet chime of the scrolling Nintendo logo when you first turn it on? Slapping in the cartridge was only half the fun.

Thankfully, Nintendo threw a lot of support at the Game Boy. They packed in Tetris with every single system. Of all games! BAM! Here’s Tetris, you can now crack out to falling Russian pieces wherever! It wasn’t “just for the kids”, I’ve had to pry it away from my own mother who couldn’t put down Dr. Mario.

How can a 5 year old in the early 90's resist this box art? You just can't. Damn you Nintendo... damn you...

There wasn’t a game that you couldn’t find on the Game Boy. Nintendo even developed games stemming from their own core franchises for it. Mario made many wonderful appearances. Samus made her entry into the portable world in the form of a full-blown sequel to the original Metroid on the NES. Donkey Kong & Zelda showed some love too. And… Pokemon… who could forget Pokemon?! It was the single title that made every kid beg for a Game Boy if they didn’t already have one.

C'mon... you played it and loved it. Don't lie.

Truthfully, today I own a PSP. It is a wonderful piece of hardware with a good amount of graphical horsepower behind it. I can browse the web and check my Facebook. I can even purchase and download games, music, and movies. But the portable platform has changed substantially in terms of media functionality since the glory years of the original Game Boy. Also, games now have narrative and pacing. All the Game Boy had was a d-pad, start, select, along with buttons A and B. However, that was all it needed. The Game Boy was and still is a masterful design in simplicity.

And you know what? It was all I needed.

2010 Game of the Year Nominees

December 15, 2010 3 comments

2010 was another great year for gaming. It was abundant in fresh and rich gaming experiences. Above all else; fun. Lets face it, gamers are a very difficult group to entertain. They can smell bullshit from a mile away and they’re not afraid of being vocal about how much a game sucks. If a gaming experience can’t hold our attention, then it has no place in our consoles/PCs, let alone our library. It will be ejected so it can be returned, sold, traded, trashed, or broken. However, the year is winding down and it’s time to look back at the games that ARE worthy of our attention and hard-earned cash. These are the quality games that have made me lose track of time and forced me into work the day after with bags under my eyes. In no particular order, I present to you my five nominees for Game of the Year.

Bayonetta – Yes, this game came out at the dawn of 2010 (January 5th) and is largely overlooked by the gaming community. Bayonetta is bursting from the seams with it’s Japanese sensibilities and it doesn’t let up. Over-the-top and unforgettable moments populate the disc. The makers of Viewtiful Joe crafted a satisfying and kinetic action game that is lengthy and a complete pleasure to play throughout. It’s elegant chaining system will have you racking up stylish combos and unloading lead with the utmost ease. The accessibility can please newbies and veterans of the action genre alike, ANYBODY can play this game. Sexy femme fatale? Check. Guns? Check. Sword? Check. Giant bosses? Giant check. Sexually ambiguous finishing moves? Uh…. check. Bayonetta is the natural evolution of the beat-em up genre that dominated 90’s gaming. Dante who?

Heavy Rain – David Cage is a man that can tell great stories. Quantic Dreams’ Heavy Rain is an excursion into the surreal. The characters are life-like and the tragedies that befall them are genuinely heart-breaking. It is the nuances of the human expression that are very seldom in gaming, but the digital actors convey subtleties that are often off target in other games. Heavy Rain’s cast isn’t filled with space marines or super heroes, but regular humans. The well-developed characters are so human that they can actually die. Not die as in, “Oh I’ll just start the level all over.” No. If any of them perish during the course of the game, they STAY dead. This makes their presence in the story all the more valuable and engrossing. They’re not demi-gods with regenerating health. They’re as mortal and fragile as you and I. You become attached to the characters as they come to grips with lost and redemption. However, the difficulty isn’t crippling. Non-gamers can even have their hand in enjoying everything Heavy Rain has to offer. The adventure genre is relatively dormant, but David Cage and his team at Quantic Dreams gave it a tear-jerking shot in the arm.

God of War 3 – Kratos is quite possibly the MOST pissed of character in the world of gaming. His fury and thirst for vengeance could not be contained in one or two installments. The third game debuted on the PS3, forcing bloodthirsty fans to wait an entire console generation to complete his story. Undeniably, it was worth the wait. This is one of those games that NEED to be played on an HD display. Blood has never been so beautiful, it is a drop-dead gorgeous piece of work from Sony Santa Monica. The staple God of War combat is still intact complete with the iconic mini-game finishers that started it all. Flawless pacing, CGI-quality visuals, and relentlessly climactic moments make this God of War entry unforgettable. Want blood and gore? Look no further. The epic ending serves as one of the most satisfying cherries on top. That’s all I’ll say.

Mass Effect 2 – You’ve got your RPG in with my shooter! What a wonderful union it is. Mass Effect 2’s intergalactic romp blurs the line between the shooting genre and role-playing games. No “dice-roll” shooting mechanic or long-winded dialogue trees *ahem* Fallout *ahem*. Bioware put out a very polished package. Bioware trimmed the fat off of the first Mass Effect title. The combat, the dialogue system, the variety in it’s gameplay are all tied into a cohesive experience. The galaxy couldn’t be any bigger. Each character you run into and interact with are all affected by your decisions and moral standing. Want to play Mr. Nice Guy and befriend everybody? Go for it. Want to be a douchebag and shove a gun in everyone’s faces before they can even talk? You got it. You call the shots, you make the decisions, you live with the consequences. And consequences there are…

Assasin’s Creed: Brotherhood – Ezio Auditore da Ferenze. His name NEEDS to be said in full. The newest installment in the Assassin’s Creed series came as a surprise. Many believed it was simply an expansion pack with a few additional hours of single player and a multiplayer suite. WRONG. It is a fully featured Assassin’s Creed experience that is much more robust than it’s predecessor in every way. Sure it’s the same engine from ACII, but it is vastly optimized and smooth as butter. It’s a damn beautiful rendition of renaissance Italy. The lengthy open-world gameplay is nearly flawless, liberating Rome is as addictive as ever, and shoving a blade (or two) in dude’s faces never EVER gets old. Throw in exceedingly varied missions, an improved combat system, along with the most engrossing story in the series yet and you’ve got a quality gaming experience that is well worth your money. Plus Nolan North voices in it! What else needs to be said? Requiesta de pache.

Come back next week when I reveal my 2010 Game of the Year!

Gamer Geek Quote of the Week

December 10, 2010 Leave a comment

You’re in a constant state of running, leaping across chasms, stomping on turtles and flying fish, beating this mysterious clock in the upper-right hand corner of the screen, swimming through an entire level on one breath, cramming yourself down (up?) claustrophobic pipes, surviving purely on the consumption of mushrooms and flowers, vanquishing fire-breathing reptilians in a seemingly endless castle – ALL WITHOUT BEING TOUCHED ONCE (or twice).

Only to run across the biggest “fuck you” in gaming… and this week’s quote of the week. Damn you Toad… damn you.

An Introduction, of sorts

November 10, 2010 Leave a comment

Apparently on a bounce back from the economic recession, Joe has hired me, Chris, to write on for “Life. Culture. Geek Stuff.”, as well as Jordan, in order to increase the blogging staff…and by hired I mean we’re free interns who are doing this out of our own free will. Anyways, Al little about myself…I am a meteorology major, a hopeful future author, and fellow No-Shave November participant. I am also a big fan of movies, music, video games, and all things electronic, so I feel I shall become a natural addition to this blog. Well, that’s about all I have for now, so until next time, I bid you adieu.