The Walking Dead: Even Zombies Love This Game

This is not my photo. Go here for the original: http://www.bifuteki.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/walkingdead_ep2.jpg

If you’re reading this article right now, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of the Walking Dead TV show. Hell, I can’t go two minutes online without seeing something posted about it. If you haven’t heard, there is also a walking dead game for Xbox by the developer Telltale Games. It has been receiving fantastic reviews across the board, and even though I haven’t played it yet, I’m going to very soon.

I’ve been waiting to play the series because I’ve been playing other titles like Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Assassin’s Creed 3, so I haven’t had much time for other games. However, I’ve just been informed that the first episode (there are five in total) is being given away for free right now! That means you can go on Xbox Live (or xbox.com) and download it for yourself at no cost! And as of right now, the rest of the episodes are also half off! They are usually 400 Microsoft points each, or 5 dollars, but now they are only 200 points, or $2.50. I’m not sure how long this deal will last, but from what I’ve heard about this game, it is DEFINITELY worth your money.

EDIT: So apparently the half-off deal was only for a day, however I have now played the first episode and I can definitely say this is a great game. It took me a little under 2 hours to complete, so that means with all 5 episodes, the series will be almost 10 hours in total (if they’re all the same length). This is a FANTASTIC deal, considering it’s only 25 dollars for all 5 (if you didn’t get the first episode free), where most games are now sold for 60. A typical console game still only takes about 10 hours to beat, so this is a lot of bang for your buck.

I won’t give much away in terms of the story, but one thing that I want to make clear is that if you have never seen the TV show, your experience WILL NOT be affected. I have never watched a single episode on TV and I still loved playing the game. They insert several hugely intense sequences in the story that affect the episodes later on down the road, and it really feels like I’m getting a unique experience. The last time I experienced anything like this was when I played Mass Effect. This is exactly the experience I was hoping to get out of it. I can’t wait to play the rest of the episodes. If you’ve played the game at all, let me know what you think about it in the comments below.

Halo 4 Lanyard Giveaway!!!

This contest is now over! Thank you all for playing and hopefully I’ll have another one soon. Make sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter to keep in touch and find out about any giveaways I have!

Since Halo 4 just came out, I figured I would have a little giveaway! I have a Halo 4 lanyard that was only given out at E3 (as far as I know), and I thought it would be a nice prize to give away since everyone has been so excited about the game’s release! How do you win you ask? Well, there are two ways to enter. First, you can follow me on Twitter and retweet my official giveaway tweet, or you can like my page on Facebook and comment on my official giveaway status on there! If you do both, you will be entered into the contest twice, but two entries is the limit. Again, you have to have my page liked or follow me on Twitter to win, so be sure to do that! Thank you all for checking out my site, and good luck!

You could win this!!!

Laziness Never Felt So Good

If you happen to have the Xbox Live app on a smart phone or tablet, chances are fairly good that you’ve noticed the need for a recent update. Microsoft has just released an update completely overhauling the previous version of the app. The app’s new name is “SmartGlass.” If you payed attention to E3 news a while ago, you’ll remember that Microsoft unveiled SmartGlass, an app that let’s you control your Xbox from a smart phone or tablet. Here are some of my initial opinions on it:

The new logo for the SmartGlass app.

I was extremely skeptical at first, because SmartGlass seemed very gimmicky. Honestly, am I really that lazy that I can’t just use a controller with my Xbox? I just figured it was something that you’d use once or twice to show off to your friends, and then you’d never use it again. However, this app definitely proved me wrong. First, it’s extremely easy to use. After I logged in, it immediately took control of my Xbox. I was flipping between menus like a pro, playing music/movies (It shows you all sorts of info on any media you are playing), and even typing messages, all without using a controller. I can’t believe I can finally type a message in a reasonable amount of time, instead of taking a year to type one sentence. As unimportant as it might sound, that was one problem I always had. I never wanted to buy those stupid qwerty keyboard attachments or use a full keyboard, but I also hated typing messages with the controller. Bottom line: as lazy as it made me feel, I was really enjoying it.

Once I finished messing around in the dashboard, I wanted to see it’s integration with an actual game. I loaded Halo 4 and my phone IMMEDIATELY came up with a Halo 4 screen and displayed all of my profile info. My campaign history, previously played online games, favorite weapons, and pretty much everything you can possibly think of was immediately available. I never would’ve expected for it to be such a seamless integration, but it was. I also wanted to see what it looked like on a tablet, so I loaded it up on my iPad, and it was just as great. It isn’t simply a larger iPhone version. It is a whole separate layout specifically for tablets, and it ran just as smoothly.

This could definitely be a competitor to the Wii U, with it’s touchscreen-toting controller. It no longer has that competitive edge, because it’s one key difference, the separate screen, is no longer unique to their console. If game developers start utilizing this app, we could be seeing a whole new wave of innovative games in the market.

As fun as it is on your own, SmartGlass has great potential when you are among friends. Navigating the menus is quick and easy, searching for movies only takes seconds (pausing/playing movies will be easier as well), and if your friends have never used a controller before, they’ll feel much more comfortable being able to use a phone to go through the menus.

I’m very pleased with how SmartGlass turned out, and I haven’t seen a single problem yet. If I find any, I’ll be sure to post them up here. Oh, and if anyone uses it with some other games, comment below on whether or not it is integrated with the game or not. I’m interested to see how many games are supported already.

Power To The People

If you haven’t heard yet, the new ending for Mass Effect 3 has been released. This was due to a public outcry regarding the original ending of the game. Admittedly, it was pretty bad, but I didn’t think it was so bad that I needed to file a complaint to the FCC (which someone actually did). The whole situation was out of control. Instead of sticking to their guns in the name of artistic integrity, Bioware gave in and told their fans that they were going to release an all new DLC (Downloadable Content) pack that would change the ending. This DLC pack was released earlier this week, and I’m surprised at the number of people NOT talking about it.

I have not played it yet (I’m too focused on finishing everything in Dawnguard), although I’m dying to see what they’ve changed. However, I’m sure a lot of people have, especially since they were so pissed off to begin with. I thought I’d be hearing a new outcry of “Hooray! A new, better ending! Thanks, Bioware!” Instead, the DLC was met with relative silence. Is that really what gamers have turned into? Whiny spoiled brats who cry if they don’t get what they want, but then go about with their day like nothing happened once they get their original wish granted? These people just slaved over a whole new ending, and not once did I see a post online about how good (or bad) they thought the new ending was. Granted, I haven’t been looking very hard, but I wasn’t looking that hard before, and I still stumbled across hundreds of complaints about the ending.

Maybe the majority of gamers still haven’t finished the DLC yet. Maybe they’re still working on Skyrim like me. I really don’t know. What I do know is that I will certainly write another post about it once I finished the new ending. If anybody reading this has played the ending, have you been vocal about it? If not, why? And if so, who did you tell? I’m curious to know. This is a very interesting time in gaming history, and I’m sure these moments will be talked about for a long time down the road.

E3 2012 Summary

Where to begin… I’ve seen so much in the past 3 days. I guess I’ll just start by saying that I’ve never been to anything quite like E3 before. The whole atmosphere is just mesmerizing. I’ve had multiple celebrities walk right by me, and I’m pretty sure I was on national television at one point. It’s a shame that it’s not open to the public anymore, but I do understand why. Even though E3 only for the workers in the gaming industry, it’s already packed with people. When some people have to wait in line for 4 hours to see a 15 minute preview of a game, I can understand why companies wouldn’t want any more bodies at the even. That being said, I was extremely lucky to be able to attend.

Outside the LA Convention Center. What a beautiful sight!

My first day was basically a scouting day. I wanted to at least see where everything was, and take lots of pictures. That way, I didn’t have to worry about taking pictures/getting lost during the next 2 days. I walked around the whole event multiple times (and this is a LARGE event), and played some games as well. I played some of the smaller games with shorter lines because I didn’t want to waste my whole first day waiting in a line. I did, however, stand in line for Call of Duty: Black Ops II because at the time, the line was fairly short and I knew it was going to be much longer later in the day. I also checked out G4 while they were filming, because that was one thing that I definitely wanted to see while I was there. On my second day, I waited in the lines for the bigger games, like Assassins Creed III and Halo 4, which took a lot of the time out of my day (about 2 hours per line!). On the last day, I stood in a couple more long lines, including Gears of War: Judgement, and checked out some other smaller games again. I also tried to grab as much swag on the last day as I possibly could.

I think the best way to go about describing all of the games I saw is by putting them all as separate subheadings and putting a description after each one. That way, if your looking for a specific game that I saw, you can easily find it. Oh, and just to clarify, these games are in no particular order. I’m just typing them out as I think of them. Continue reading

Microsoft’s Press Briefing At E3 2012

From Usher performing, to Master Chief making a comeback, today had a lot of cool content displayed at the Microsoft press briefing. I’m sure you’ve already heard TONS of news about E3 from TV and other websites, so I’m just going to take this time to talk about what my favorite moments were at the Microsoft press briefing. If you think I missed something important, post a comment below!

Microsoft started of their show with a demo of Halo 4 gameplay footage. They showed some significant changes, including new weapons and an all new enemy. The next game shown was Splinter Cell: Blacklist. It seems like the Splinter Cell franchise is slowly getting more and more action-oriented, instead of just stealthy. We saw that a bit with the last game, and it looks like we’re getting even more action in this one. The only thing I didn’t like was the Kinect integration into the game. Once again, it feels like they stuck in Kinect integration after-the-fact. I mean, do we really need to yell out “hey you!” to our Kinect in order to get someone’s attention in the game? It just feels unnecessary. Another game filled with action was Gears of War: Judgement, based on the Gears character Baird’s past. We still don’t know a whole lot about gameplay, but I’ll be sure to keep an eye out at E3. Continue reading

Where’s My DLC?!

DLC, or downloadable content, is a hot topic right now. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “But DLC has been happening for a long time, Ian!” Well you’re right, it has! But now, more than ever, DLC is something that game developers feel like they have an obligation to put out. If Call of Duty didn’t have any DLC after its release, fans would be absolutely furious, but is it really their place to be angry? That’s up for debate. Also, many games are now being shipped with DLC already on them, and then a developer with “sell” you the digital content for 10 dollars, when really all they’re doing is unlocking it on the disc (Mass Effect 3 had this happen. They sold the first piece of DLC right when the game came out) Once again, the matter of whether this is right to do is up for debate, and I see myself on both sides.

I do believe that DLC is a fantastic thing. It lets the developers satisfy its fans with a bunch of extra content for a smaller price than what they paid for the original game (and it also provides the developer a heap of extra cash, which helps them stay in business). However, when a company sets aside a DLC team to start developing extra content before the game is even released, I start to get offended. Continue reading

Diablo 3 Coming To Xbox?

There were rumors a while ago about the just-released PC game Diablo 3 coming to Xbox, and there have been mixed opinions on whether or not it’s a good decision. After all, PC games are laid out completely differently when compared to a console game. PCs have a whole keyboard, while we only have a controller. Controls will have to be simplified, and the gameplay will be very different than it’s original format.

Recently, Blizzard has confirmed suspicions by saying that although they are planning an Xbox release, they are going to take a while. They said that they don’t want a straight port onto consoles. They actually want a console version with it’s own unique controls that have been designed specifically for controllers. They’re taking it very seriously, and are saying that they are in no rush to release it alongside it’s PC version. I’m very glad they’re taking this approach because it’s annoying when you can tell a game has been rushed just to get it released.

I personally don’t know much about the game, besides the fact that it’s a dungeon-crawler and a huge hit on PC. I’ve actually gotten more and more curious about it, to the point where I almost considered buying it, but if it’s coming out on Xbox I might just wait to pick it up then. If this game is pulled off successfully, this is going to be a huge story in the PC and console community. If you’ve played any Diablo games, including Diablo 3, you will definitely want to keep an eye on Blizzard, because they might be the next huge console game developer. Any thoughts? Post them below!

What’s Arcade NEXT?

What’s Arcade NEXT you ask? Well let me tell you! It’s the name of Microsoft’s most recent additions to the Xbox Live Arcade. Not only are they the most recent additions, but they are also the first ones on the Arcade to support Microsoft’s newest requirements for Arcade games (Microsoft is also saying that these games are the “NEXT” generations of “visual fidelity and platform-defining gameplay,” but I feel like that’s just a marketing scheme to get more sales). Before, all XBLA games had a maximum of 200 Gamerscore, and although 200 isn’t a bad amount, with the average price of XBLA games much higher now, a lot of gamers are mad that they still only get 200 Gamerscore. So to make them happy, any new XBLA games will now have 400 Gamerscore and up to 30 achievements. Personally, I’m very happy about this change because the average XBLA game isn’t 5 dollars anymore. Now that we’re paying 10 or 15 dollars per games, I think 400 is a much better number.

What games are included in Arcade NEXT you ask? Well, there’s 4 in particular. Continue reading

February’s NPD Sales Numbers

Have you ever heard of the NPD sales numbers? I’m not surprised if your answer is no. A lot of people haven’t. They are basically the sales figures of the gaming industry in the United States. Meaning, it tracks how many consoles, handhelds, games, etc. were sold within a given month or year. The stats are released every month, and are typically used by game industry analysts and people who work within the industry in order to see how they are doing. The NPD sales numbers for February just came out a few days ago, and I figured I’d pass along the news. Admittedly, I did not look up these numbers myself. I actually get them from KOXM (The Official Xbox Magazine’s podcast) every month. It’s quite fascinating to see what the stats look like each month because then you can see how each console/game is doing, and from there, attempt to predict what will happen in the following months. These are some of February’s sales numbers:  Continue reading