Let The Games Begin!

As much as I love Xbox, there is no way I can dismiss what is going on with the other gaming consoles. I figured it would only be right to go over some quick points on what my opinions are towards Sony’s latest announcements regarding the future of Playstation.

If this venue doesn't yell "Playstation," then I don't know what does. I really think they should get some other colors in their color palette.

If this venue doesn’t yell “Playstation,” then I don’t know what does. I really think they should get some other colors in their color palette.

After boring me with their Playstation Vita news, they finally grabbed my attention when they officially announced the PS4. They began going over the specs for it’s GPU, CPU, RAM, and other main features within the console (although they weren’t showing the actual console). I was quite impressed, but not really surprised, by what I heard. It really isn’t that surprising that the PS4 will be able to do vastly more powerful things than its predecessor. That being said, there were a few curveballs that I found intriguing. 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

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.

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.

Halo 4 Gameplay Video & Multiplayer Preview

Note: This is an old preview of Halo 4 before the game came out. Therefore, some of this info is incorrect. Thanks for stopping by!

If you haven’t seen the gameplay trailer for Halo 4 yet, check out this video. It’s the mission that they showed to us when we saw it at E3, but they gave us some extra information about it while we watched. Today I’ll be relaying all of the information they gave to me, as well as what my impressions were about the multiplayer match that I was able to play.

I won’t give you a play-by-play article of what you just watched, but I will point out some of the important information. For instance, the first large ship that you saw is called the UNSC Infinity, which will play a large part in single player and multiplayer. Due to a new graphics engine that 343 Industries has built, the whole game will look much better. The planet that Master Chief is on is a forerunner planet called “Requiem,” and is the site of the introduction of a whole new enemy: The Prometheans (although the covenant are still present). At first, you saw the “crawlers,” as well as the powerful “knight” and his sidekick, the “watcher.” You also saw a variant of the knight called the “knight lancer,” which we were told was only one of the many variants of enemies we’ll see in the final game. Some of the new weapons include the light rifle (seen first), and the scattershot (seen second). If you’re interested in Master Chief’s new abilities, you’ve already seen one of them. In the last gameplay scene, the enemy is shown glowing red. This is called Promethean vision, and is one of many unique abilities in Halo 4.

This is the UNSC Infinity. I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more about this ship as we get closer to the game’s launch date.

Now, let’s talk multiplayer. Continue reading

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