Saturday, October 31, 2009

Left 4 Dead 2 - Demo Impressions

Left 4 Dead 2
PC/Xbox 360
Developer: Valve
Publisher: Valve
Release Date: November 17, 2009

  Left 4 Dead 2 will have a public demo up later in the week but for the fans that reserved their copy, one was released a week in advance. I captured some snippets of my playthrough trying to highlight the new features, enemies, and weaponry. I still did not capture a few things:

  • Boomer Bile is now a weapon similar to the pipebomb. You toss is into a group or at a tank and all the horde aims for whatever it hits. A nice distraction piece.
  • The magnum pistol is shown at the end but never used, this pistol holds 8 rounds and is extremely powerful but extremely slow.
  • The adrenaline shot speeds you up, allowing you to move through hordes without being slowed down for a short time.
  • The defibrillator subs in place of the medpac, allowing you to revive dead teammates. A very handy tool.
  All in all, this game feels like a sequel and not much like the original. I highly await the new Realism and Scavange modes, but if these two levels are anything like the rest of the game we can expect an incredible experience.
(Played on PC - Campaign Single/Multiplayer, Normal and Expert)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time - Review

Score: 9/10

Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time
Playstation 3
Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: Oct 17, 2009

Pros: Overall fun gameplay, great variety of weaponry, Clank puzzles are both challenging and enjoyable, customizable weapons, hoverboots are a nice addition to Ratchet platforming, great voicework with hilarious dialogue

Cons: Side-missions are quite repetitive, same formula with new additions. space battles feel out of place

  Who would have guessed that we would still be seeing more titles from Ratchet and Clank since it first hit in November 2002? The wacky animations, colorful cast, and insane weaponry has captivated gamers for years. With the same formula, A Crack in Time does just like previous installments, delivering mayhem and overall fun.

  The story picks up after Tools of Destruction, in which Ratchet is in search of Clank, who was taken by a group of mysterious entities known as the Zoni. Ratchet discovers that Clank's kidnapping was engineered by Doctor Nefarious. Using the Zoni as his pawns, Doctor Nefarious attempts to gain access to a room in "The Great Clock", whose secret entry lies in Clank's head. It's up to Ratchet to find Clank and stop Doctor Nefarious's scheme.

  The story seems generic, but plenty of twists and turns are thrown in along the way. You discover Clank's history and purpose, as well as delve into Lombax history with the introduction of a new Lombax, Azimuth. Needless to say, the plot is nothing out of the ordinary, but is plenty to hold your attention and keep you interested.

  The music in Ratchet and Clank is filled with symphony scores and techno mixes. Nothing beats the tune you hear when The Groovitron is thrown and your enemies are in a full dance frenzy. The music for each world seems to fit with the enviornment. When you are flying around in your spaceship you have the option to tune the radio..mind you, there are only 3 channels. The channels allow you to choose your favorite genre of the 3 but the commercials/news bulletins are the main reason to listen. Though none of the music is entirely epic, it stays within reason to match the mood, and is never too over-the-top.

  The voice acting in Ratchet is far above average. The personalities for the numerous amounts of characters is what really draws you into the game. Being a cartoon-style game, you plant a heavy responsibility on providing voice acting that won't detract from the impact you want the characters to possess. The respective voice actors return to fill in all of their roles. Of particular mention, Captain Quark delivers some of the best lines of dialogue you could ask for. Nothing is funnier than shooting up enemies and hearing, "Is it awesome in here or is it just me?" Doctor Nefarious also has one of the greatest villain personalities a game could ask for, complete with menacing laugh and quirky one-liners. With a cartoon style game, voicework can either ruin or perfect a story, and Ratchet is definitely the latter case.


  Visually, this game holds up quite nicely. All of the environments are incredibly detailed. Of particular mention, "The Great Clock" is an amazing sight when the camera first pans around. Filled with flying debris, golden decor, and incredible scale; it truly is a sight worthy of a first person tour.The environments and overall feel of the game make it seem like you are playing a cartoon that you would typically watch on a Saturday morning.

  The character models also hold up well. From Ratchet's furry ears to the shiny metallic luster of Clank, the character models maintain an impressive look while upholding the cartoony style. Even the baddies' mechanical parts are highly detailed. The most impressive visual comes when there are a slew of enemies on screen and you unleash the game's most devastating weapon: The Ryno V. Missiles and shrapnel litter the screen without a single drop in framerate. Poetic how much beauty lies in destruction in this game...

   There are two elements of gameplay: Ratchet's run and gun gameplay, and Clank's puzzles.
  You start out in a 'System' which consists of small moons that you can land on as well as the main worlds that continue the story. The moons act much like Mario Galaxy, small globes you walk around and only exist for sidequest purposes. You get into a few space skirmishes in your starship between planets on occasion, and its these moments that hurt the game more than help. Though not dreadful, it leaves a little to be desired and feels out of place. After finishing a system and warping to another, it switches to Clank's run through the The Great Clock. It's this constant switch that keeps gameplay interesting.

  In both scenarios, you also collect various items scattered throughout the worlds. Golden Bolts unlock various skins and costumes, Customizing Weapon Caches (explained later), and lost Zoni's that upgrade your starship. Some are in plain view, but many of these are hidden on both moons and main worlds, taking some dedication to find. Tack on a skill point list, challenge mode after completion. and trophies; and there is plenty of replay value scattered through this title.

Ratchet Gameplay

  The gameplay when controlling Ratchet is just like previous installments: Gunning down waves of enemies with an occasional platforming or puzzle element. Nothing mind-bending will occur, and gameplay focuses on your ability to constantly move while unleashing devastating weaponry on your foes. You have Ratchet's Omniwrench for melee attacks, and purchase weapons using bolts found around levels and dropped from enemies. The game is pretty lenient when it comes to this, so you never truly find yourself in a grind to purchase the next big weapon.

  The weapons this time around are just as fulfilling as previous installments. As you progress through the game, more weapons are unlocked at the vendor. Happily, The Groovitron makes its return, which when used will throw all enemies near it into a full dance off. You will probably use all your ammo for this once you buy it from the vendor...and yes it does work on bosses. Of particular mention is the Rift Gun, previously featured in Tools of Destruction it opens a portal to another dimension where a hungry monster grabs enemies and pulls them into the rift. There is also the Spiral of Death ( A Yo-Yo like disc launcher created by a fan of the series), Tesla Spikes, and the Sonic Eruptor (a monster that burps your enemies away). These weapons gain levels as you kill enemies, increasing damage, area of effect, etc. The large variety of them keep the gameplay interesting as you mix their properties together for the best effect. While most enemies on normal mode won't require you to mix these up too much, the more difficult setting will require you to think about what weapon suits the situation best.

  In addition to the usual arsenal, there are 3 whose features are up to you. Ratchet will find a customizable pistol, bomb glove, and shotgun. Each of these has elements that can be changed to the preference of the player. This includes color, rate of fire, additional effects, etc. I could have a rapid fire pistol that ricochets off the wall or use single shots with more explosive damage. Its this simple feature that allows the player to have a unique experience attuned to their own preference.

  The slingshot and grindrail make a return, but the hoverboot platforming is what truly shines. Ramps with boost marks are used to leap over gaps. These ramps become a lot smaller in later levels and combine with small pads that you bounce off by pressing the X button at the appropriate time. The hoverboots come in handy for blazing through certain sections or running from battle to gather ammo and health.

Clank Gameplay
  While Ratchet focuses more on combat, Clank provides some of the most interesting puzzles to grace the series. Clank is granted a staff that acts as a time controlling device. It can perform simple tasks such as fix broken equipment or reflect blaster fire, but its main power is the ability to throw "time bombs". These bombs slow time down for whatever enters the circle. You find yourself using this for both platforming and combat. Though Clank still has to use melee combat, but his main purpose is solving puzzles using recorded versions of himself. Shall I try to explain?

  You are basically given a set number of pads to record a 'past self'. After hitting record, that pad now holds a past self of Clank, and records every action he does for one minute. For example, if I need to hold a switch open to get through a door, I record a version of Clank pressing the button and use the other pad to simply walk through the door. Sounds complicated, but makes sense as you go along.

  The puzzles get much more complicated as you progress through the game, giving you up to 4 pads to record 4 versions of 4 different actions. Not mention the time you spend re-recording one version to perform more than one action. It's such a unique and entertaining puzzle, that I find it to be a major highlight of the game. While they may start simple, you will find yourself stopping to think about the next move on the latter puzzles.


   Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time delivers exactly what you would expect from the series. The gameplay holds true, even after all these years. Though this is basically more of the same, there are so many great additions to the game that it keeps the old formula fresh. The little things in this game allow all the flaws to be forgiven, whether its the addicting Arena fights or inclusion of Captain Quark's "My Blaster Runs Hot" retro game. With voice acting still on point and visuals that are amazing to behold, A Crack in Time is a fine addition to an already great series. This game is just great fun regardless of if you are a Ratchet and Clank fan or no.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Top 5 Games to Play this Halloween

Halloween is approaching, and we all know it is usually a time to go see whatever scary movie is playing at the local theater. Why sit and watch, when you could be part of the action? Here is a list of 5 games you should consider playing that are guaranteed to scare the crap out of you.

F.E.A.R Series
Xbox 360/PC/PS3
Developer: Monolith Productions
Span: October 2005-Present

  FEAR took the first person shooter genre and proved that things are much scarier when you're looking these situations in the face. Besides great gameplay including slo-mo combat and above-average AI, FEAR is most famous for the little girl, Alma. Alma would occasionally interrupt your progress by appearing with the sole purpose of freaking you the hell out. You would walk down a hall to find a door locked and turn around only to find her walking upside down on a ceiling that has turned into blood....yeah. It's moments like those that make FEAR both an entertaining shooter and frightening horror experience.

Silent Hill Series
Developer: Konami
Span: 1999-Present

  Silent Hill is one of the few games whose story and characters freak you out more than the actual game. Using the typical survival horror approach, Silent Hill games put the hero/heroin in a world of bizzare creatures and one truly messed up town. At the sound of a siren the world evolves from a foggy town to a pitch-black metal hell. The few survivors you do end up meeting are also horrifying in their own right. In the first game alone you were confronted by nurses with bleeding faces. Lest we forget Pyramid Head, an iconic figure of the series and a damn frightening entity you run from in the second installment. Regardless of the game you choose, if it has Silent Hill in the title, expect a gruesome experience.

Resident Evil Series
Playstation/PS2/PS3/Dreamcast/Gamecube/Xbox 360/PC
Developer: Capcom
Span: 1996-Present

  You can't mention survival-horror without thinking of Resident Evil. Ever since the first title hit the Playstation way back in 1996, fans have been captivated by the story and characters that Resident Evil has created. Evolving from a survival-horror to a more action oriented third person shooter, RE still maintains its scare factor. Whereas hearing the familiar moan from a slow moving zombie in the first game prevented you from going around corners, the latter installments, such as RE5, keep the scare factor alive by the sheer amount of enemies that close in on you at a given time. Resident Evil has been an iconic series for survival-horror, and has well-deserved its spot on the list.

Left 4 Dead
PC/Xbox 360
Developer: Valve
Publisher: Valve
Release: November 2008

  Left 4 Dead may have you running around with 3 other people, but that doesn't lessen the fear you have when you hear the music pick up as a mob of undead sprint toward your party. L4D is one of those few games that delivers a post-apocalyptic zombie experience that is as terrifying as it is fun. Play as the survivors and run for your lives, or play as the infected and pick off the survivors one by one. Either way the game provides a co-op experience that is truly one to remember. It's a game that sticks with you, as you will walk a little bit faster when you hear that car alarm go off in the distance.

Dead Space

PS3/Xbox 360/PC
Developer: Visceral Games
Publisher: EA
Release Date: October 2008

  Dead Space is a truly horrifying and incredibly enjoyable experience. From the moment the lights first go dark you are thrown into a haunting and lonesome atmosphere. Every turn around a corridor, every noise you hear, every shadow that passes by induces chills. Music, lighting, and camera placement combine together to elevate the feeling of suspense. You never really enter a pause menu, ensuring you are kept in every moment of this experience. With incredibly fun gameplay centered around dismemberment and the feeling that you really are all alone on this giant ship, Dead Space is easily a must-play for any shooter or survival-horror genre fan alike.

Bioshock 2 - New Trailer

A small taste of awesome to tide us over until its release next year.

Playstation 3 getting the Netflix Treatment

Xbox 360 will not be the only console with Netflix. It seems that the PS3 Network will have full Netflix access available at the end of November. This includes the popular streaming feature, allowing you to add movies to your list to watch instantly. The announcement comes from Playstation's official blog:
"We’re excited to announce today that Netflix and Sony have partnered to bring you thousands of movies and TV episodes streamed instantly from Netflix to your TV via your PS3 system at no extra charge. When the application launches next month, you’ll be able to access and watch thousands of Netflix choices directly through the XMB. We think that the nearly nine million PS3 enthusiasts and 11.1 million Netflix members in the U.S. will make quite a match."

With Blu-Ray capabilities, this is a great new feature to add to the PS3. Membership is set $8.99 a month. For more info on the annoucnement check out Playstation's Official Blog.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Left 4 Dead 2 Official Trailer

Left 4 Dead 2
PC/Xbox 360
Developer: Valve
Publisher: Valve
Release Date: November 17, 2009

See now I want to play this more than ever...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fable III - Using...Project Natal?

  Fable III is declared and highly anticipated, but recently Peter Molyneux dropped a bomb on the loyal Fable fans...Fable III will support Project Natal. This of course has been hinted at considerably by his Twitter account. No specifics on how it will be used or if the game will be based soley around it, but it would make sense that Molyneux would want to implement this technology.

  If you don't remember, Molyneux was the one pushing for Project Natal at E3. You remember, he showcased that creepy little British child that you can adopt and help with homework! I'm all for motion control applications, but taking a popular series and attempting to transition it into this new motion capture device seems like a risky move. I'll have to wait until I see some gameplay before I pass judgement on it.

(Source: Kotaku )

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Games to Follow: Epic Mickey - Concept Art

Epic Mickey
Nintendo Wii
Developer: Junction Point Studios
Publisher: Disney Interactive
Release Date: Fall 2010

 GameInformer keeps filing out new concept art for the upcoming Wii title. Needless to say, it looks awesome.Unique level design, incredible looking creatures and environments, and the most badass of them all...Robo Donald Duck.

Be sure to check out all of these images and more in the Gameinformer online article.

Monday, October 19, 2009

iPod Touch/iPhone App of the Week

Hero of Sparta
Developer: Gameloft
Released: May 25, 2009

Pros: Addictive gameplay, impressive visuals for an app, decent length, brutal finishing blows, upgradable weapons
Cons: Repetitive combat scenarios, array of weapons when you only really use one

  Hero of Sparta is basically a portable version of God of War. You are King Argos, defying the gods themselves in an epic quest to places like Olympus and Hades. A thumbstick is placed in one corner and an attack button is placed in another. The rhythm that you press attack in determines the impact. You can sail through just tapping the button over and over or mix it up by pressing and holding the button for a bigger impact. There is also a magic bar that you have for using different types of super attacks that you gain along the way.
  The real appeal comes in the form of the brutal kill "mini games". Touch the icon that appears over an enemy's head to initiate a small game where you tap and slide your finger in certain movements to initiate a gorey finish to an enemy. The result is satisfying even after the 20th time.
  Once you finish the campaign, you can still go back and get more experience to fully upgrade all your weapons. The game is pretty simple once you get the hang of it and there is the occasional repetitive nature, but the upsides override the downsides and the game maintains its fun. Overall, you get a lot for the $1.99 price, and this game is easy to recommend. This is definitely one of my favorite games available from the App Store.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Games to Follow - Splinter Cell: Conviction

Splinter Cell: Conviction
Xbox 360/Windows
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: Feb 23, 2010

It's been a few years since the last Splinter Cell game was released and the cliffhanger ending left fans wanting more. We saw a brief teaser of what looked to be a more combat oriented approach on the Splinter Cell series in 07', only to hear Ubisoft went back to the drawing board. They came back to E3 two years later with this amazing looking demo with some of these incredible features:
  • Mission objectives are projected right onto the environment itself, allowing you to stay in the moment without having to pause the game to see what you are suppose to be doing.
  • The Mark and Execute: Allowing you to enter a room and mark enemies and objects to shoot in an instant. It looks as though some of this does not even require aiming, and you simply enter and pull the trigger to pull off badass combinations. There seems to be a limit applied of maybe 2-3 marks per engagement, which will help make the game more difficult.
  • Interrogations in-game that allow you to kick the living crap out of a guard until you get information you need.
  • Night Vision goggles are now a thing of the past and a black and white filter now shows if you are hidden or not. I actually think this is a good thing, as seeing the world in nothing but green got old after a while.
  • Ability to vanish or engage once you are seen by enemies, marking the last spot they saw you at while you move around
Needless to say, the game looks incredible. The highlight seems to be the ability to approach each situation in different ways and take guards out however you choose. Unfortunate that it has been delayed, but I expect we will hear more about Splinter Cell as it approaches.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Review

 Score: 10/10

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Playstation 3
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release: Oct 13th, 2009

Pros: Incredible Campaign, Dozens of multiplayer modes including Co-op and Deathmatch, Above-average voice acting and story, few load times, some of the most impressive visuals to grace a console

Cons: Slight trouble with platforming controls at times, rare occurrence of trial and error in some segments

  Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is a mix of a ton of great elements from popular franchises all into one. It's got story similar to Indiana Jones, shooting similar to Gears of War, stealth similar to Metal Gear Solid, Online Multiplayer like that of Call of Duty...are you getting the picture yet?
Hands down, Uncharted 2 took the first game and added much more than a sequel usually does. If you own a PS3, you should own this game.


  Nathan Drake awakens on a train hanging off a cliff with a gunshot wound...awesome opening. Once in a safe place he flashes back to the events that lead him there. He is approached by some old friends who are looking to hire him for a job. Without giving away spoilers, the basic flow of the story leaves him searching for the lost fleet of Marco Polo and the legendary hidden valley of Shambhala. Of course, he is not the only one after this treasure, and he must race against a power-hungry war criminal to get to the treasure first. Along the way there is betrayal, love, and a reunion with some friends from the first Uncharted.
  It's basically your run of the mill treasure hunting storyline that hooks you in and keeps you playing to find out how he ended up on the train and how the story unfolds from that place. Some story elements feel repeated from the first, but the original dialogue and interesting characters keep it alive and well.

  From a somber melody in a dark and dreary cave to the upbeat full on orchestra that accompanies a good chase scene, the music in Uncharted is truly fitting. Each scenario you are placed in is elevated by the soundtrack. No silly rock music or whaling guitar solos, but a pure symphony that every action/adventure blockbuster of the late 90s possessed.
  To accompany the stellar soundtrack, Uncharted has some of the best voice acting a video game can have. Drake has an incredible personality, and it is made twice as awesome by the hundreds of hilarious lines of dialogue he exchanges. Naughty Dog hired some truly exceptional voice talent, improving the impact of each character on your playthrough. It's always good when the main character is not the only one with a unique personality, as Uncharted provides a colorful cast that you're sure to enjoy.


  There are moments in this game where you just sit still as the camera pans out and refuse to move, because the visuals are that damn impressive. The temples and architecture you encounter is incredibly detailed, down to the last shiny ingot. You think you are watching a pre-rendered cinema scene only for the game to immediately pan the camera around for you to control your character. Even subtle elements like rain completely change the look of an environment with shiny textures and soaking wet character models as waves of enemies approach without the slightest hint of a frame rate drop. The explosions look fantastic and never disappoint as debris flies in all directions. This is one visually impressive game.


  Uncharted does something very unique as far as gameplay is concerned: it continually mixes it up. One minute you will be in a firefight, the next a platforming element, the next a puzzle, etc.

  The main component is the combat. In a similar style true to Gears of War, Uncharted 2 provides a basic cover system. You find cover, jumping around as needed, and have the ability to poke your head out or blindfire to pick off your foes. Your health regenerates, but can dwindle quickly if you aren't playing smart. While hiding behind cover is basic at first, it soon becomes much more complex. Enemies begin to charge at you, don Riot Shields, toss grenades directly at your feet, even destroy the cover you are hiding behind. This keeps you constantly on the move, not letting you sit behind one wall and pick them off one by one.

  Combat also comes with a melee component. You are thrown into a very small minigame in which you dodge and counter at the appropriate times with Triangle and Square, incapacitating your enemy.
This also brings up another aspect of the game, stealth. You have the option to go in guns blazing, but a stealthy approach is encouraged. You simply move from cover to cover picking off unwary gaurds one at a time by simply pressing the melee button when their back is turned. You can post up on corners and take them down when they pass by, throw them off a ledge while you hang underneath them, or simply run in when they turn their back. One the more difficult settings, this becomes a much more efficient plan of attack.

  When the combat ends, the platforming begins. Drake acts much like the Prince of Persia: leaping long distances, swinging on ropes, and climbing things that normally should never be approached. The platforming seems standard at first, but becomes much more complex as the game wears on, requiring you to stop and think about your next move carefully or rush through before a platform collapses. Unfortunately, this is where Uncharted 2 has a slight problem. The platforming, especially in tight spaces, can be occasionally troublesome. Sometimes you will jump toward a ledge where Drake just doesn't grab on or goes in a different direction. Other times the game provides little guidance on the direction you are heading and it becomes a game of "trial and error" where you must jump around for few minutes until you find that ledge you didn't see.  Still these occurrences are rare and do not last long.

  Along with platforming the occasional puzzle must be solved. This is done in the great way the first Uncharted went about puzzle solving. You enter a room and must reference Drake's journal to decipher what to do with the elements you are given. The answer is not always clear and you must actually think about what to do with the information Drake has down in his journal.


  Uncharted has possibly the best campaign I have played in a long time. Virtually every adventure scenario you can imagine is thrown into the story in some way. You could be scaling a train on the verge of falling off a cliff one minute, to being chased by a helicopter over the rooftops the next. Just when the campaign seems like it could be getting dull, they throw something incredible at you that makes you forget the possibility existed. Usually in a game you find one or two great moments that when you play through again you wait in anticipation of experiencing. In Uncharted 2 there are a dozen of these moments scattered evenly throughout the campaign. The campaign is actually longer than the first game, and all 26 chapters hold something great. Little things like camera placement during a chase scene adds so much to the game and makes it more than a standard shooting or platforming game.

  Like the previous installment, there is a nice side objective to collect various smaller treasures throughout the campaign, encouraging exploration. These are nice touches for the collector-at-heart, and add to a "store" that you can purchase additional skins/weapons/behind the scenes movies. So there is plenty of incentive to go back through a second or third time to find all the treasures and earn more cash for the store.

 The AI is no pushover, they will throw everything they have at you on later levels. Luckily, your co-op AI is smart. Finally a game where my AI buddy is actually useful. For the few moments you have a partner, they perform exactly how they need to; they will draw fire from the enemy, pop a few shots in to stun them, and occasionally take a few out themselves. They don't overdo it, but are more than just decorations.


  As if the Campaign weren't enough, a huge multiplayer experience has been added this time around. You would think a simple Deathmatch option is all that they would include, but it is much more than that: Deathmatch, Plunder (CTF), Elimination (Deathmatch w/o Respawning), Chain Reaction (CTF in specific order), Objectives, etc. There are a slew of modes to choose from, ensuring a good mix in multiplayer fun.
If going against live people proves too difficult, there are two co-op modes to choose from. This pits you and 2 others against the AI. If you play Co-op Arena, it's simply a test of how long you can last or how much treasure you can capture while fending off never-ending waves of baddies. If you are looking for a more linear experience, Co-op Objective acts much like the campaign in which you play through a section of the Campaign levels working together. This involved not only shooting but some platforming as well. IE: While one of us climbed a large tower to open the door on the other side, the other two had to fend off snipers that were attempting to pick them off from across the level. In either scenario, teamwork is key.

  The multiplayer possesses a "store" to purchase various items. After any multiplayer match you are given cash based on your performance. This can be used to buy new taunts, skins for your character, or weapon upgrades. The most important thing you can purchase are "Boosts". These act much like the Perks from Call of Duty 4. These range from allowing you to shoot more accurately to seeing through walls if you stand still. The unfortunate effect is that if you are late to the game on playing multiplayer, your opponents already have a leg up on you as the better perks are locked until you reach a higher level. Play enough, and you will eventually catch up to them.

  The matchmaking system seems to work well, with few games being completely one-sided. The lag is virtually non-existent, but then again it is only a 5 on 5 game max. The only real downside is if the host drops out in co-op there is no host-merge feature so the game will end and you will get no experience/cash at all.


 Overall, Uncharted 2 provides an experience few games seems to offer. With an incredible Campaign and expansive Multiplayer, it's easy to overlook the slight flaws the game possesses.I really did not expect to enjoy the game nearly as much as I did. Uncharted manages to take what made other games great and combine it into one thrilling experience. This is a huge contender for Game of the Year, and a must-play if you own a PS3. I don't plan on handing 10's out to any game and was wary to do so for this one (as it is my second review), but Uncharted is a title that deserves every point.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

iPod Touch/iPhone App of the Week

StoneLoops of Jurassica
PlayCreek LLC
Released May 14th, 2009
Cost: 3.99 (0.99 On Sale Now)

Pros: Easy to pickup and play, Two modes allow for a nice mix in strategy, On sale for only .99 cents, Trophies add something fun to aim for

Cons: Once you finish the main modes there isn't much incentive to replay, a quickplay/challenge mode would have been a nice addition

  Stoneloops is basically a puzzle game like that of Tetris or Zuma. Your goal is to prevent the line of colorful stones rolling along a set path from getting to the end of the path. You eliminate loops by matching colors together by shooting the stone you carry into the line. You are inclined to go for a high combo, chaining one colorful explosion into another to really rack up the points. Doing so not only nets you a good score, but increases the chance of items dropping. These range from a simple spear that destroys any stone to full on meteor showers that can destroy more than half the stones on screen. As the levels progress, you'll find your line backed up and you struggling to match colors as fast as possible - a great experience in either mode.

  You progress from level to level along a set path upgrading your "house" along the way. Your house goes from a simple rock to a pimped out Flintstones home! doesn't exactly DO anything but hey it's pretty to look at while you blaze through the levels.

  The only bummer is that the game has two modes, Grab and Shoot and Classic...that's all it has. Classic mode drops colors into your shooter automatically while Grab and Shoot gives you the opportunity to rearrange the line itself. Though both are quite fun and require different strategies and a fast finger, they are all that is available. With the addition of a quickplay mode or challenge mode the game could have been well worth its original price. Basically once you finish playing through the levels in both're done. Trophies provide some incentive to go back, but very little.

Overall, if you have .99 cents to spare, Stoneloops! provides a fun time for little cash. Get it now while it's nice and cheap.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dante's Inferno: Anger Circle of Hell

Dante's Inferno
Multi-Platform (360, PS3)
Developer: Visceral Games
Publisher: EA Games
Release: Feb 9, 2010

The latest vid diary posted for Dante's Inferno showcases the combat.

I have to admit it looks incredibly fast-paced, and I do love the idea of the cross being used as "crowd control". Almost a mix of Ninja Gaiden and God of War, this will be interesting to play around with once it's released.

Question remains: Will it be challenging enough that I am required to continually mix these elements together, or will one super combo be the key to blazing through a stage?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Games to Follow: Borderlands

 PC - Xbox 360 - PS3
Developer: Gearbox
Publisher: 2K Games
Expected Release: Oct 20th, 2009

Though you may be following your bigger titles and sequels (Modern Warfare 2, Final Fantasy 13), it's always good to keep an eye out for a game that could be the next big series. Borderlands is an example of such a game.

The game is shaping up to be a more action oriented Fallout 3 with drop in, and drop out co-op. You pick a class, a skill tree for that class to follow, and gather hundreds of items to trick your character out. The great news is that any items/exp you gain when you drop in and out of co-op is carried over to your game. The enemies and drops are randomized, allowing for a different experience each play through.

My only concerns at this point is if there will be a matchmaking service for the co-op and if the combat will become difficult enough to warrant the creation of strategies and tactics. Although running into a group of a baddies and whipping their asses is always a pleasure, it can be a major concern that the game would become too simple, especially with 3 other human players.

Needless to say, keep a close eye on this title because it is looking very promising.

(Vid Source:

Monday, October 5, 2009

Epic Mickey Confirmed

After speculation and a ton of old concept art was leaked, Epic Mickey was "revealed" today. Warren Spector's new game for the Wii is set to be a platformer involving painting and erasing a level. The new "steampunk" title should have more revealed once this issue of Game Informer drops.

Warren Spector was a producer on Wing Commander games, but is mainly known for his role in Deus Ex, the cyberpunk action RPG and winner of many Game of the Year awards.

Needless to say, we know very little about the game, but damn does that art make Mickey look...well....epic!

(Source Kotaku:

iPhone/iPod Touch App of the Week

 Geodefense Swarm
Critical Thought Games LLC
Released Sept. 14, 2009


 Pros: 0.99 cents, Three difficulty modes providing wide variety of challenge, Allows you to create your own pathway of defense, Pretty visuals when things go boom
Cons: Difficulty on the harder levels "forces" you to follow one set method, Not a great game for newcomers to Tower Defense genre

Geodefense was THE tower defense game to play through over the summer. It comes as no surprise that the app I am recommending is the "sequel" to the hit title.

Overall, Geodefense is a tower defense game. The object is simple: Ensure the bad guys don't get from point A to point B using the towers at your disposal. As the difficulty increases, you find out this is not as easy as it sounds. Towers must be placed at strategic points to provide the best impact they can or your health will dwindle away and you will be required to rethink your original strategy.

The "creeps" can take any route they are able to in order to get past your towers. This is what makes Swarm such a challenging and unique experience. You can put any tower any place you desire (pending on higher difficulties), ultimately creating your road of destruction for the creeps to follow. Most of the harder stages will require the same method of laying out your towers, but a large amount of them allow you to guide them along whatever path you feel is most effective.

Though amazingly difficult on Hard mode, the game is incredibly satisfying. Complete with a High Score leaderboard and possibility of updates with new stages (which they have done with the original Geodefense), Swarm is a game worthy of space on your mobile device. At only .99cents, Geodefense Swarm is easy to recommend.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Modern Warfare 2 "Infamy" Trailer

Taking a look at the single player campaign, and damn does it look impressive.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Dante's Inferno and the Lust Circle..

Dante's Inferno is the tale of an Italian soldier named Dante that returns home to find his wife murdered. He chases after her soul as it is pulled to hell and must fight through the nine circles of hell to retrieve her. The game is based very closely around "The Divine Comedy" and looks to be a damn good experience. Similar to God of War, the combat will be non-stop action and button sensitive "press this not to die" events will be sure to make their appearance.

The story and gameplay is all well and good, but there is one particular circle of hell showcased that has a bunch of people is it going to be like playing through THIS? Similar to the story, you must climb through the 9 circles of hell: Greed, Gluttony, Heresy, etc. The Lust circle of hell however, has many an eyebrow raised.

In this 2nd circle of hell, you are introducted to architecture and villains that are both hilarious and disturbing as...well...hell. The architecture is adorned with sperm shapes, labia doorways, and penis gets better. One of the enemies that you end up facing is called "The Temptress" and her main attack consists of ripping her chest open, grabbing you with her tentacles, and pulling you into her vagina. Not to mention the boss has demon babies coming out of her nipples.
This sounds like the most messed up stage in a video game I will ever experience, and I'm sure the game will be one to remember. I'll just have to take a shower and go to church the following morning to get that feeling off me...