Bioshock Infinite Review

Bioshock Infinite is a game like no other. Yes, it’s not a completely original work, as there are other Bioshocks that came before it, but it sets itself so far apart from the others that it may as well be. Before giving you my thought on the game, I should probably give you a brief summary of what it’s about.

This is not my photo, go here for the original: http://hypeup.net/engine/images/uploads/1118/bioshock-infinite.jpg

Bioshock Infinite takes place in Columbia, a floating city high above the clouds. You play as Booker DeWitt, an investigator from the Earth’s surface sent to the city to rescue a girl and bring her back in order to wipe away a personal debt. When you first arrive in Columbia, it seems to be a utopian society filled with early 1900s American Patriotism. Barbershop quartets sing along the streets while American flags wave in front of every store. It all seems perfect at first glance, but then you begin to look closer… Continue reading

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.

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.

Dishonored: The Good, The Bad, And The Stealthy

With practically every new and upcoming game having some sort of affiliation with a series (COD, Bioshock, Assassin’s Creed, Halo, Borderlands, Medal of Honor, Resident Evil, etc.), it seems as if the popularity and media attention concerning new titles has almost completely vanished. However, among this sea of remakes and sequels, a brand new title has found its way onto store shelves. Dishonored is a stealth game much different than any other stealth game to date.

Coming out of Arkane Studios (who contributed to Bioshock 2 and COD: World at War) and Bethesda (Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, etc.), this game has a very familiar feel that gamers will recognize if they have played some of these developers’ previously mentioned games. As Soon as I started playing, I felt like I was stuck in limbo between the world of Bioshock, and the world of the Elder Scrolls games. It is something that is hard to describe, yet once you experience it for yourself, you will surely understand. Maybe it is the way the first-person gameplay is utilized, or maybe it is how the areas are mapped. I couldn’t really say. Continue reading

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD Review

When I think of skateboarding legends, I think of Tony Hawk. When I think of legendary skateboarding video games, Tony’s first game comes to mind (Coincidence? I think not). Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater originally released on the Playstation in 1999, and was released shortly thereafter on the Nintendo 64, Gameboy Color, and a few other platforms. I never owned a Playstation, but I definitely had an N64, and I played this game to death. It was the first game in my own lifetime that brought my gaming love to a whole new level. Mario, as well as other signature Nintendo games, never grabbed my attention the way THPS did. The difference? This game felt real. After all, I was skating just like Tony did! What more could a child ask for.

Last week, THPS was re-released on the Xbox Live Arcade for $15. My initial thought was to say no. Did I really want to spend 15 bucks on an N64 game? Eventually I said yes. The child inside of me just couldn’t resist, and I gave in. Now to present to you my review of THPS HD: The good, the bad, and the ugly. Continue reading

My Thoughts On The New Mass Effect 3 Ending

I finally got around to playing the new ME3 ending a while ago, and I was quite impressed. Although I still don’t fully agree that Bioware should’ve made a new ending in the first place, I do think they did an excellent job given the circumstances. If you want the condensed version without any spoilers, here it is:

Bioware did an excellent job answering most of the questions that the community had. For example, they explained how Commander Shepard’s comrades miraculously got onto the Normandy at the end of the game, as well as the “indoctrination theory” that was discussed all around the internet (even here!). They even included a cutscene at the end of the game that explained what the consequences of your last decision were. All of these added up to a much more complete and though-provoking ending. I was much more emotionally satisfied with my actions once the game finished, whereas I definitely wasn’t before. Okay…. That’s pretty much it for the spoiler free edition. Here’s the rest of my thoughts: Continue reading

Skyrim: Dawnguard Review

It’s been way too long since I’ve written a post on here. Now that I’m back, let me tell you about what I’ve been playing lately! If you have any friends that play Skyrim, then you’ve probably heard about a little DLC pack that just came out called Dawnguard. It’s the first DLC that has come out for Skyrim, and it doesn’t disappoint.

If you don’t know what Dawnguard is about, I’ll give you a quick summary. While wandering through Skyrim, your character is approached by a member of the Dawnguard, a group of vampire hunters. They have chosen to recruit more soldiers in an attempt to wipe out the spreading vampire problem, and naturally, you’re chosen to join them. You are asked to speak to their leader, and when you do, you are given a task to show your usefulness. While on this quest, you meet another character who has a certain fancy for blood (I won’t give away too much because I don’t want to spoil anything for you). They have a different goal on their agenda, and instead, want you to meet their vampire lord and work for them instead. This is when you get to choose: join the hunters? Or the Hunted?

Personally, I wanted to see what it would be like to become a vampire lord, so I joined the vampires (although I’m going to go back and try the other side too). One thing that they’ve done in this DLC that I thought was quite brilliant is the fact that they’ve acknowledged that most players at this point are fairly high levels. Well, since they’ve given us a brand new perk tree, which differs depending on which side you choose (in my case, it was vampire-specific perks), one would assume that it would be hard to access these perks if we are already high levels. Well luckily, Bethesda has some pretty smart workers, so they’ve thought of a way around the problem. Instead of unlocking these perks via leveling up, you unlock them by using your faction specific abilities, like the vampire lord’s “life drain” ability, or a good ol’ fashioned blood sucking. The more you use your powers, the quicker you unlock the perks.

Now that I’ve finished the DLC quests (at least one faction’s side of it), I can truly say that you will get your money out of this DLC. It gives the player hours and hours of extra play time, and even more so if you consider the fact that you can go back and play the other faction’s quests as well. After all, if you want all of the extra achievements (which I do), you HAVE to play through both sides of the story. This was a great piece of content for Skyrim. Once you see the vast worlds that they’ve created just for this DLC pack, you’ll understand why they’ve taken so long to release it. I would definitely give this pack a 10 out of 10.

Max Payne 3 Review

Before I start, I need to let everyone know about a problem I had regarding MP3. It’s not a problem with the actual game, but rather a problem that caused me to only access some of the game’s content. Due to the high price of games, I often use Red Box to rent games instead of buying them. If you don’t know what Red Box is, it’s a rental service where you pay a few dollars a day to rent games or movies. Not knowing much about the Max Payne series, I figured renting it for a few days would suffice. However, I was unaware of the fact that it was a 2-disc game. I was playing through the single player when suddenly a message popped up that said “please insert disc 2.” I sat in my chair utterly confused, knowing that I was only given one disc. What I figured had happened was that Red Box was either cheap and only rented out the first disc, or someone stole the second disc. I was still able to play through a large portion of single player and all of multiplayer, but I figured I should let everyone know before they read the review, in case some of what I say is inaccurate.

As the story of Max Payne begins, we are introduced to Max, who is living in a dirty New Jersey apartment. I haven’t played the previous games, so I’m completely unaware of why he is in his current depressed and lonely state. He looks like a mess and seems to be using drugs and alcohol to forget his past. The game throws the player into Max’s past through a series of flashbacks, during which Max gives commentary (Max will even throw in a line such as “I needed to move quickly!” if the player takes too long or is standing around). He describes his past job, where a hired gun, protecting important individuals and families. In one case (The first mission), he has to protect a rich Brazilian family. They might have a lot of money, but the town they live in doesn’t. Most of the citizens are poor, and many are involved in gang activity. Max learns that there is a threat within the family’s house, and the family is in danger. Max must then take out these threats (gang members), and thus the gameplay begins. The player is immediately introduced to the signature feature of the Max Payne series: bullet time. Bullet time is a gameplay feature where the player slows down time in order to dodge incoming bullets, as well as shoot his enemies with more accuracy. I won’t give away too much more of the story, but it should seem obvious that something goes wrong with this family, which then causes Max to have to track down these bad guys in order to fix everything. Continue reading

Trials Evolution Review

Over the course of my gaming history, I’ve noticed one defining factor in any great game. They all seem to allow me to travel through time! Well, ok, not really travel through time, but I feel as if I am. I’ll be playing a game for, oh I don’t know, 30 minutes, but then when I look back at the clock, 3 hours have gone by! It’s as if I traveled ahead several hours! I know this might sound ridiculous to the more casual gamers reading this, but any serious gamer should know exactly what I’m talking about. The last game that did this to me was Skyrim, but now Trials Evolution is doing it to me too, and I’m loving every minute of it (Or was that an hour? I can’t even tell anymore…)
You can now fully customize your rider’s clothes, along with the parts on your bike.

Trials Evolution, RedLynx’s exciting new sequel to Trials HD on the Xbox Live Arcade, introduces the player to the world of trial bikes. What are trial bikes you ask? They are light and nimble motorcycles that can climb extremely rocky and steep terrain at incredible speeds. In Trials Evolution, you will use these bikes to climb huge obstacles as you progress through various locations, with increasing difficulty as you progress. Although the game feels like it has a large amount of depth in its worlds, the player is still on a 2 dimensional plane like any side-scroller. The difference is that Continue reading

Silent Hill: Downpour Review

Silent Hill: Downpour came out recently, and BLaK xEntertainmentx (If you don’t know who this is, check out my previous posts) recently made a gameplay video about it. I figured people might be interested in knowing if the game was good or not, so I asked him to make a quick review of it. So here it is!

If you are a fan of Silent Hill or horror games in general, then you will enjoy Silent Hill: Downpour. The game’s soundtrack is absolutely stunning. With all of the weird sounds going on around you, it definitely keeps you on your toes. The graphics in the game aren’t too bad, but they could be better. The scenery is great, but I feel the graphics on the monsters still lack quality. It seems as if the designers rushed the monsters, because they can look fake and cheesy at times. Don’t let that stop you from buying the game, however, because it’s just a minor problem. Control-wise, the game has a great feel. For example, Continue reading