RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on Sep 27th 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under Capcom, xbox 360, xbox, ps4, playstation 4, xbox one, steam, pc, survival horror, sandbox

In 2005, Capcom released Dead Rising for the Xbox 360. Capcom made their entry into the world of High Definition gaming a memorable one, as Dead Rising was like no other game before it. There were a few years around and following the release of Dead Rising where zombies would rule the roost, as games from both large developers like Capcom themselves, Valve, and Activision, had games or popular game modes that had a heavy emphasis on zombies. This popularity also coincided with the rise of indie games on the PC market, and zombie games thrived there for a few years until fatigue inevitably set in. Most of the biggest zombie games and modes were first person shooters, whether it was Nazi Zombies from Treyarch's Call of Duty games, Left 4 Dead, or Killing Floor, running around and shooting zombies made quite a bit of sense.

Capcom is not known for first person shooters, and instead designed Dead Rising in a completely different manner based around what it did know and had recently experimented with. Dead Rising has a third person perspective where combat is more focused around melee weapons. Guns do exist, but they are clumsy to aim and not particularly powerful until the player has completed one of the most difficult challenges in the game, which unlocks the most powerful gun, and overall weapon, in Dead Rising.

Continue reading Spooky Plays: Dead Rising

Posted on Jun 7th 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Brothers, A Tale Of Two Sons, puzzle platformer, modern gaming, current generation, ps3, ps4, xbox 360, xbox one

Image shamelessly linked from the official Brothers website.
This game is available digitally on PS3 and Xbox 360, as well as on Steam,
Android, and IOS. Retail versions are only on either the PS4 or Xbox One.

Once in a while, you play a video game that affects you emotionally.  People my age usually cite Role Playing Games like Final Fantasy VII and the death of an important character, Earthbound, with its weighty "coming of age" story, or perhaps Lunar: Silver Star Story (from my own experience) when Luna gets captured, or worse, when she becomes the Dark Goddess.  Others point to the rise of the survival horror genre, with games like Resident Evil or Dino Crisis, where the chills, thrills, and spills evoke reactions of fear and horror that we may not have previously experienced, save for perhaps with Doom.  These moments helped many of us realize that games could be about more than pointlessly gunning down baddies or butt-stomping walking mushrooms.  These games tapped into a place that early games weren't capable of doing, due to hardware limitations, and forever altered the landscape of what games could communicate with the audience.

Continue reading Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons Review

Posted on Aug 10th 2015 at 08:00:00 AM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under Atlus, puzzle, platformer, action, ps3, xbox 360

As a fan of story based games, I have to say that I love a game that takes you on a ride. Catherine is the kind of game that you can sit back with, relax, and watch an incredibly compelling social dilemma unfold before the protagonist's eyes. Lately, I've been thinking about companies from Japan. So many people have been crying out about the doom and gloom of the market and how Japanese development has been lagging behind while the Western world advances. This couldn't be further from the truth, as Atlus is one of Japanese gaming's oldest surviving names, but fastest risers in the global market. Persona 3 got the name out, Persona 4 kicked the door open, and Catherine broke the door's frame. Persona 5 is currently one of the most anticipated Japanese developed games since Atlus presented its masterfully crafted initial trailer.

Catherine was released in Japan and North American in 2011, with Europe and Australia getting a release in early 2012. The plot revolves around infidelity and is one that many of us have likely heard about, if not experienced first hand. Vincent, the games protagonist, gets caught up with a blonde-haired, blue-eyed young beauty named Catherine one night after all of his friends leave him alone at the bar. From here, the player chooses whether he wants to court her for the long run or remain faithful to his girlfriend, Katherine. The girls represent the ideologies of "Law" and "Chaos." Law is doing the right thing no matter how much it might hurt; Katherine is a structured being in complete charge of her life and represents Law. On the other hand, Catherine is more of a loose cannon that Vincent can't seem to get rid of no matter what decisions you make; she represents Chaos. Which one of these ladies will you choose, or will you choose the single life?

Continue reading Psychotic Reviews: Catherine

Posted on Mar 13th 2014 at 07:43:21 PM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under South Park, stick of truth, pc, xbox 360, ps3, and its gone, baseketball, jew

The Stick of Truth was probably one of the most anticipated RPGs of the year. Its based on the popular Comedy Central show known for its crude animation style, rude characters, profanity, and insightful satire. Matt Stone and Trey Parker are two of the best writers in the show business today, including their smash hit musical The Book of Mormon, South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut, and the beloved classic BASEketball on their resumes its easy to see how the legions of South Park fans would flock to a game written by the show's actual creators and lead writers.

The game was developed by Obsidian Entertainment, themselves known for being excellent writers and world designers. They also have a nasty reputation for releasing broken and buggy games. Is this true with The Stick of Truth? There are some bugs I experienced, but they didn't really hinder gameplay. A few design decisions hurt the overall experience more than a graphics bug and the one crash I experienced.

The graphics bug involves alt-tabbing without pressing Escape first. It could lead to the characters bugging in and out of existence and was fixed by quitting the game and restarting. It was rather annoying, but didn't completely break the game. The save design hurts the game more than anything. It seems to be a save anywhere type of system when it is really a checkpoint based system. So, saving right after a cutscene was usually fine, but saving halfway down the street would mean the reload would put you back at the beginning of the street.

The actual game itself is quite beautiful. The art makes it feel like you're playing through a short season of different episodes. You play through different days, with all the kids having to go to bed once the sun goes down. These days are built around plot events, not the passage of real time, which flows well with the way the game is written. The world is open, but feels more like a side scroller since you can only cross streets at crosswalks. South Park is not a large town though, its always been referred to as a little mountain town somewhere in Colorado. Some areas seem to be left out, but every building has something to do in it. Well, except the bank. And you can probably figure out what happens there if you're a fan of the show.

The game's writing is spectacular, and the RPG design leaves even more room for references namely in gray junk items. Everything from Alabama Man to Space Cash is there to be found somewhere. The characters are just as they are on the show, with attacks based on their history. For example, Kyle has an Elemental Summon attack which is nothing more than Kick the Baby.

Or the most feared attack of all, Mr. Slave's ass.

The timing attacks and defenses in battle will remind long time gamers of RPGs like Super Mario RPG, Mario & Luigi, Paper Mario, and some more real time battle systems like the Tales and Star Ocean series. Combat is rather easy though. I played on the hardest difficulty and still found myself rolling through the game by spamming armor lowering attacks. I played as Jew, so my main attack against bosses and defense heavy enemies was Circum-Scythe, it was quite satisfying to use that attack against enemies such Pedophile and Meth Head.

As a whole, The Stick of Truth is a very well done game. If you're not a fan I would still recommend it as the writing is absolutely hilarious and vile at times. I found myself laughing hysterically at certain events, and smiling through most of the game as a fan. This game should go down in history as one of the best licensed games out there. Stiff competition in that category I know, but it really is that good and probably the best overall game in terms of technical issues, writing and story, and overall gameplay polish that Obsidian has released so far.

Posted on Sep 1st 2013 at 10:35:51 AM by (noiseredux)
Posted under Xbox 360

The Orange Box
Valve Corporation, 2007
Xbox 360

I was pretty late to the party as far as ‘modern’ First Person Shooters go. I think this had to do with the fact that the rise of Halo and similar games seemed to happen during a time when I was paying a lot less attention to gaming. However once I did finally get exposed to Half-Life a year or so ago, I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed it. A few months back I played through Half-Life in its entirety for the first time ever and that only led me to start delving deeper into more of Valve’s output. So what better place to do that than The Orange Box - a single disc with three full games as well as two add-on episodes?

The first game I decided to play was Portal. Although I had started it (and enjoyed it immensely) a year or two ago, I had never managed to finish it. So I figured I’d just start it over again from scratch. Although I knew the good old ‘cake’ meme, what I didn’t know was how long the game was. This created a really cool experience, always wondering how close I was to the end. And although it only took me two sittings to play through, I had an absolute blast.

I’ve just realized that I’m writing this with the assumption that everybody in the world got around to playing Portal before I did. Just in case that’s not the case, you should know that Portal is basically an FPS without the ‘S.’ Or to be more accurate, the shooting you do is not a gun filled with bullets that are taking out aliens, zombies and soldiers. Instead you’ve got the ingenius Portal-gun which shoots - you guessed it - portals. Enter one and exit there other. Simple, right?

This is the sort of game that offers up puzzles that you might breeze right through, or then sit there for fifteen minutes trying to make sense of everything and then feel like the smartest person alive for doing so. It’s also full of hilarious personality. And although deaths can happen in Portal, for the most part it’s a first person game with very little action. It’s a game that encourages you to move around slowly and explore and think. And although it’s a short game, I can honestly say that the last level alone is just as much fun as everything leading up to it.

Arguably, the star of The Orange Box would be Half-Life 2 which is included here with its Episode 1 and 2 expansions as well. This was my first experience with the game. The original Half-Life I had played a year or so ago for the first time, and only actually beat it earlier this year. But in that time I grew to really love the game, and consider it one of my favorite FPS games of all time. With that in mind, I was certainly looking forward to playing the sequel.

I’ve yet to actually beat Half-Life 2 (which means I’ve also not played the expansions yet either), but the solid time I have spent with it has been great. I will say however that I’m not yet convinced that I like it better than the first game. Although HL2 definitely improves upon its predecessor in many ways, it’s also hard for me to shake the excitement of experiencing the world of Black Mesa for the first time. I also think I lean towards liking the claustrophobia of the research facility more than the more open-world given to you in the sequel. I’ve also noticed that Half-Life 2 feels a lot more “survival horror” than the first game. Ammo seems a bit more limited here for instance.

But all that aside, Half-Life 2 is an incredible game as I said. It looks glorious and runs smooth on the 360. And of course this is just personal preference, but the 360 pad is definitely now my preferred way of playing FPS games. Sorry keyboard & mouse purists. One thing that really stands out in the second game is the writing. The characters definitely have a lot more personality than in the first game. Oh, and the barnacles still creep me out.

Interestingly enough I had recently started playing Halo for the first time ever (seriously). And one thing that really stuck out to me about Halo was just how bad the driving sections were. I just could not grasp them and constantly found myself crashing when I should have been cruising. As it happens I hit the driving (a boat) part of Half-Life 2 around the same time and it was night and day compared to Halo. Thankfully the driving section there was actually really fun, even if a bit longer than need be.

One addition to the sequel that’s really nice is the Gravity Gun. This thing lets you pick up and shoot objects that would otherwise be far too heavy or too far away for you to do so. In that regard, Valve successfully incorporated puzzles into a true FPS similar to what would be come the standalone game of Portal. It definitely makes you think about how to approach certain sections. For instance in one area I was low on bullets, but there were saw blades all over the place stuck in walls. Turns out you can suck up a saw blade with the Gravity Gun and send it violently shredding through a zombie (these are zombies, right?).

As a bit of a diversion I figured I should at least see what this Team Fortress 2 game was all about. So I hopped on the XBLA server one weekend morning and to my surprise, there were several games going on. What started as a simple capture-the-flag game with a red team and a blue team quickly turned into a pretty decent time-suck. A half hour or so later I realized the appeal to such a game. And now that I was feeling at least somewhat comfortable controlling an FPS, I could even enjoy such a game! Of course I was only playing with strangers, and I’m sure that a much bigger bit of enjoyment would come from playing with a group of friends. Something I’ll have to look into in the future.

And speaking of the future - not only does this mean that The Orange Box has this online game that I can enjoy indefinitely (or until the servers are shut down), but I’ve still got Half-Life 2 to beat and the expansion episodes to delve into. When you look at the number of quality hours of gaming that are on this single disc, it becomes quickly apparent that The Orange Box is one of the finest compilations you get on the 360.

Posted on Jul 18th 2013 at 09:48:44 PM by (noiseredux)
Posted under Xbox 360

Question:  When's the last time you sunk fourteen hours into a game, lost, and felt good about it? That's what just happened to me with XCOM: Enemy Unknown. In this day and age there seems to be a lot of bitter gamers who have various views of game-worth. I remember when my wife got me Lollipop Chainsaw as a gift the clerk told her to keep the receipt. "It's only a six hour game. He might be disappointed." But I've always been happy to take six solid hours of gameplay over twenty boring ones.

I was first introduced to the X-COM series via its second installment, Terror From The Deep. I was about fourteen or so, and my step-dad was working at a big-box electronics store and brought home a promo copy. I was obsessed with this game, but I was terrible at playing it. I doubt I ever made it past the second mission. Truth be told, I may have spent all my time on the first. But it was a blast. Many years later I'd discover a GBA spiritual successor developed by series creator Julian Gallop called Rebelstar: Tactical Command. It was great. But then out of the blue it was announced that X-COM proper would be making a comeback... as a First Person Shooter.

Well as you may know, that hasn't happened. And won't. Instead that game was shelved in favor of a proper Tactical game: Enemy Unknown with The Bureau turned into a Third Person Shooter (sigh) coming out later this year.

Enemy Unknown turned out to be a tremendously brilliant game however. It's basically everything you could want from the series, in high-def, and with excellent controller support. But more than anything else, it brings the drama. Sure your barracks can hold up to 99 soldiers, but your squad can only consist of six. This means lots of leveling-up and growing attached. It's an emotional rollercoaster of a game that I've chronicled in bits as I've played...

I had one of those four-legged bastards that turns dudes to zombies come slink out of a building and land ONE SPACE away from my "team captain." (I call this guy the team captain as he's one of the more leveled-up skill-wise, and probably has the most kills of anyone on my squad right now.) The team-captain had already moved, and so my next character's turn was enough that even if I dashed I still wasn't super close. Instead, I moved just as far as I could while still having the ability to take a shot. 29% guys. 29% that the shot would connect. And there was the decision. Do I take the shot, miss and hope I can get someone else over there before the four-legged bastard's next move? Do I dash as close as I can get to set up a good shot on next round and hope that I can get the team-captain out of harm's way in the meantime? Well dear friends, I took the shot. 29% and it was CRITICAL. Mission ended with that kill, and a sigh of relief.

Let me tell y'all about 'Coney.' For the last 5 hrs or so, Coney has been my star. Her real name is Charlotte, but the squad calls her Coney (presumably as she's from the Coney Island area, though I've never asked). She started out just as nondescript as any of my other soldiers, but quickly rose through the ranks in 5 hrs thanks to her sharp-shooting. Even as snipers go she seemed to have a can't-miss nature about her. A little extra luck that goes above mere statistics.

In the first mission where we encountered these grunt front-line soldier aliens she was caught off guard. She had set up post looking through an open train cargo cart when one of them surprised her and positioned himself a single space away. Apparently he had dashed to get there as he didn't take a shot at her, but she had nobody covering her. I got my closest guy over in her area and he took the best shot he could. It hit, but not hard and the grunt remained standing. Coney's turn was next and she could run, get safe and take the shot - risking that the grunt would go after the soldier who had just defended her. Nah, Coney point-blanked him. Grunt goes down. Mission over.

So imagine my horror when Coney was fragged by a Thin Man during a bomb-deactivation mission. She had been holding down behind a car when he surprised her. Hit her hard and she started bleeding out. Luckily - so luckily - I had a soldier with a medkit close by. I got her over to Coney on the next turn and healed her up, and followed that by parking a third soldier with them behind that car and put him on overwatch to protect them. A sigh of relief as my turn ended and I realized that a close call had happened, but Coney would continue running up her tally of kills.

And that's when the car they were behind blew up. All three of them KIA'd while exhibiting tremendous teamwork. They had done everything right - they just couldn't do it fast enough. The squad will miss Coney. She won't be an easy part of the team to replace.

So the above should stand as back-up to just how sucked-in you really get. Which is all the more reasoning that seeing this screen was so sobering:

Yup. After putting it two or three hours a night for a week, I lost. Seriously, I lost a game. How often does that happen anymore in games? Usually you just start from your last check-point and continue on. And in fairness, I was playing on Normal which meant I could technically start from before my last mission. But it's a lost cause. My base-management skills were terrible. My troops were a joke at this point. Many countries had pulled out of the XCOM project. It was rough. It's reason to start over again. Which is definitely a rather difficult thing to fact, but it's true.

I probably won't do so immediately. Not tonight. But Enemy Unknown is one of the most addictive games in a long time, so I can totally see myself starting over again in the near future. And more importantly, even though I didn't "beat" the game - I have fourteen amazingly enjoyable hours. The journey outweighed the destination. No matter what your outcome may be, I highly recommend you log some hours into this one.

Posted on Jul 10th 2013 at 07:44:07 PM by (noiseredux)
Posted under Xbox 360

There's been a lot of talk this year about Aliens: Colonial Marines. Like Duke Nukem in 2011, it's been the game to hate. In fact this unanimous disgust for this game was so intense that it only amplified my desire to actually play it. And what I found was a game that was so enjoyable to me, I'm not even sure why I'd need to defend it. But then again I'm going by nothing but base reaction. Meaning I'm looking at this just as 'a game' rather than 'a highly anticipated game based on a license with rabid fans.'

Let me start by pointing out a few things that might make more sense out of my enjoyment for this game. First of we should discuss the First Person Shooter genre. Though I'm slowly learning to enjoy FPS games far more than I ever did in the past, I'm still far from seasoned. I've played very few of the modern staples. So in reality, I don't have all that much to compare this to that's been critically acclaimed (save for perhaps Borderlands).

I should also point out that while I am a huge horror fan, the Alien films have always been a bit closer to sci-fi (mixed with horror) to me. This means that while I am a fan, I'm not an obsessive fan. I don't rush out to see each film. I haven't even seen them all yet. And so the story here - supposedly cannon - really doesn't matter to me as far as how well it gels with the film series.

And lastly, I didn't follow this game's hype leading up to its release. I didn't pay much attention to the overly long production schedule. I didn't see the demos shown prior to release, so had no anticipations. Add to this that while the game was released this year, I didn't pay $60 for it on day-one, but instead picked up for $10 when GameFly was having a sale.

Now that we got those disclaimers out of the way I can start to tell you about my own experience playing. I delved in blindly, and to my surprise I found that the game was actually very linear. Whereas this might turn off other, more-seasoned FPS'ers, it was just fine for me. Earlier this year I played through Half-Life for the very first time. And while I fell deeply in love with that game and everything new it showed me about the genre, it was really nice to now play through a modern FPS where I didn't have to constantly resort to checking a walkthrough to figure out what my next move was.

Graphically, I thought the game looked excellent on 360. It was well detailed, ran smoothly (save for some glitches I'll get to later) and had excellent lighting. Of course I've since watched videos on Youtube comparing some of the demo footage shown before the game's release compared to the finished product, and certainly the final release has been compromised. But that said, the atmosphere always seemed to work really well for me.

As far as the aforementioned glitches, well they were around. As seen above is a screen shot I took on my phone camera. At one point I was being fired upon by turrets and wondering where my cover, O'Neil was. He should have been right behind me, but wasn't. I decided to backtrack a bit and found him two rooms earlier... stuck in a wall.

These NPC AI glitches were by far the ones I encountered the most. Sometimes one of your partners would seemingly forget he was even alive and would just stand frozen doing nothing for five minutes or so. Other times he would shake violently as if hopped up on uppers. At least twice I ran out in front of my squad only to find them suddenly waiting for me two rooms ahead. And once O'Neil even materialized in front of me out of thin air. So yeah, in that sense Colonial Marines feels a lot more like a budget title. And who knows, had it been released as such maybe we'd all think of it more akin to Earth Defense Force and wink-wink-nudge-nudge at these sorts of shortcomings.

But despite all that, I still found the game compelling enough to find time for it consistently over the last two weeks until it was beaten. And there were plenty of moments that really stood out to me. For example there's one section where you must escape from a rather large Xeno and find yourself sneaking around under his floor. At various moments he angrily bursts through your ceiling attempting to grab you, and the scare was effective enough to genuinely make me yell out startled. (My wife later took it upon herself to burst in to the game room screaming to shake me up a second time).

At another point you come across these aliens who can only see movement, so you must stay still when they get to close. And right as I got to an exit three of them came extremely close to me and I swore I was detected. It was actually tense enough of a moment that I caught myself holding my breath in real life.

The truth is that the game's eleven missions were actually quite well peppered with such moments that really made me enjoy every hour of gameplay. Although I'm still baffled at the ball-drop that was the final boss fight against the Queen. I genuinely have no idea why my squad of marines would think it was cool to let me handle her on my own. And I'm further baffled by the decision to make the boss encounter in a room so filled with barricades to keep her away from me, and so obvious as to how to defeat her. It did seem pretty anti-climatic considering how many more difficult sections had come before it.

But at the end of the day I'm glad I played this game. I don't regret purchasing it, and in fact I'm even bummed at the reception it got which would pretty clearly say "no sequels dudes." Considering its sunken price tag, I'd at least suggest some of you out there with some interest and open minds give it a shot. I'm certainly not saying it's the best game out there, but it's certainly not the worst either - no matter what it is you've heard elsewhere.

Posted on Jun 18th 2013 at 09:10:10 PM by (noiseredux)
Posted under Xbox 360

Even if you know nothing about it, you probably already know if you'd like Lollipop Chainsaw by looking at its cover. If you can answer a question as simple as "would you enjoy playing the role of a high school cheerleader who must rid her town of zombies with the aid of a chainsaw and her decapitated boyfriend's head?" then you can clearly decide if this game was developed for you or not. And for me it was a no-brainer for a very long time before the cover art had even been released.
Suda51 has certainly become a favorite developer of mine this generation. Though I arrived to the party rather late - though I did play a bit of Killer7 years ago now, it wasn't until the 2011 PlayStation 3 re-release of No More Heroes that I started playing close attention to Goichi Suda and his Grasshopper Manufacture. In fact I've since investigated much more of his work. And though the half-dozen or so Suda games I've played have all been really intriguing, Lollipop Chainsaw is probably my favorite at this point. However instead of just talking about the game itself, I thought I'd talk about its parts. That is to say, while No More Heroes felt like Suda's Kill Bill with its plot and themes; Lollipop Chainsaw is more along the lines of his own original work in the vein of Tarantino's mixtape-approach to creation.

The first piece of the puzzle is James Gunn. Gunn wrote much of the dialogue, and it really shows. For those unfamiliar, Gunn is responsible for fun but morbid films as diverse as Slither, the Scooby-Doo reboot, the Dawn of the Dead remake and perhaps most importantly, Tromeo & Juliet. Yes, although Lollipop Chainsaw had a pretty decent budget there was a definitely a lot of Troma spirit in there. Be it the humor of Juliet (ooh, I just noticed the name!) saying that her friends considered her dad a "DILF," or any number of low-browish jokes that seem to stradle the line between 'fun' and 'offensive.'  One of the lines that actually made me laugh out loud was when Nick, the decapitated head looks up at the final boss and says that yesterday he had stubbed his toe and thought to himself 'man, this is the worst day ever.' And (presumably) Gunn's taste in horror and b-movies finds its way into the script as well with references to everything from George Romero and Lucio Fulci in abundance.

Speaking of movies, I think it's safe to assume that there's at least an inkling of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in there. That said, early screens of the game could have certainly worried folks that this would be too much a rip-off of Buffy. Thankfully the game has so much of its own personality that it's also miles away. Sure Juliet is the pretty cheerleader doing all the dirty work, but it's also far more gory and vulgar. In a sense it's a bit like taking the best ideas from Buffy and combining them with the schlock of Oneechanbara and coming up with a game that's better than any game in either of those franchises.

Retro gaming itself is also a strong influence on the final product. In one of the absolute best stretches of the game it becomes overly apparent that this is a game made by folks who grew up loving games. Indeed, Fulci's Arcade will find you hopping from cab to cab playing bits of the level based on classic arcade titles such as Pac-Man, Elevator Action and Breakout. It's an aesthetically incredible section that never falls into the trap of "being retro to be retro," and instead just feels like a very natural part of the gameplay wrapped up in wonderful homage.

And much like a Tarantino movie there's layer upon layer further to be discussed. I could spend time on the wonderful soundtrack mixing new bands I've never heard of with a score by Mindless Self Indulgence and a bevy of interesting licensed material from the classic "Lollipop" or cheerleader-associated "Hey Mickey" or girl-with-edge "Cherry Bomb." It's all so perfect. Or we could get into the No More Heroes-ish fondness for subarban samurai with the introduction of Juliet's sensei. We could wax philosophical about the symbolism of Juliet's boyfriend being reduced to just a head that she carries and controls at all times or the boss battle where misogynistic words are literally a weapon used against Juliet. Hell, we could ponder the design decision of making the final action in the game a simple and unchallenged Quick Time Event.

And perhaps that's what makes Lollipop Chainsaw so great. As brief as it is, and as shallow as it may appear to outsiders, actually experiencing it is exploring a whole world of awesome shit that you want to experience again and discuss with others who have as well. And for that I say bravo.

Posted on Jan 7th 2013 at 07:15:42 PM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under nier, playstation 3, ps3, xbox 360, 360, rpg, action

There's something about the RPGs of the 7th Generation of home consoles that really does not sit well with me. Considering all three of the major systems I can name the RPGs I've seen as truly breathtaking and majestic recreations of the wonder and amazement I felt as a child on one hand.

One hand.

Now keep in mind that I still have yet to play quite a few of the RPGs released in this generation as it comes to a close. Out of the ones I have played so far only three of them have really stood out above the rest as not only great games, but telling a great story on top of it; Valkyria Chronicles, Xenoblade, and The Last Story. The list gets longer if I'm counting games I played on PC, and I'm not.

One of my favorite wallpapers.

I've been a bit jaded yes, I admit it. Anyway, I've finally decided to sit down and play some of the games that I currently own but have yet to play, and I started with Nier. I feel like I've been missing out by not playing this game sooner.

Call it timing if you will, when I first started playing Nier and I got past the introduction and really started to play the game it just felt like everything I wanted in a modern RPG. The protagonist is not some naive, asexual, teenage, pretty boy swordsman. Nier is a middle aged father taking care of his daughter who has been sticken by a fatal illness with no known cure.

So right from the start Nier has swerved to avoid the overdone and burnt to a crisp coming of age tale, but it does not completely avoid cliches, just downplays them and does not make them the focus of the story, at least at first. The voice acting and direction is highly competent, Jamieson Price providing the English voice of Nier, and Liam O'Brien starring as Grimoire Weiss. The two make for quite a dynamic duo.

Grimoire Weiss unlocks magical abilities, which will be key!

The story is progressed through various events, sometimes you just have to talk to somebody. Each arc of the story is finished up by clearing a dungeon and defeating the boss. Nier really has a lot of gameplay systems, the combat is in real time and huge combos can be made as long as the player avoids taking damage and being knocked down. The companion AI is pretty dumb as well, its executed well in combat, but your allies don't even run as fast as Nier so they're always teleporting next to you and not moving until they teleport again.

Outside of the main story Nier has a lot of extras to dive deeply into, the first one the player is introduced to being the Quests that random villagers will want you to do for them. The quests are not overwhelming like they can be in Xenoblade, and a lot of them involve farming items, fetching, delivering, or finding somebody or something. But there are enough that involve humanity, its nature, and errors that just makes for great entertainment at times, and invokes empathy at others.


Interlaced with questing is fishing, which can be leveled up through a quest chain through an old man on the pier, and then done purely for profit. Fishing feels a bit awkward at first and took me some getting used to, but it really is simple. You watch your rod, ignore the nibbles, hit it on the big bite, and pull back and from side to side to reel it in. Nier has a terrible cast though, you end up catching huge sharks with the fishing line two feet off the pier.

At home Nier has more than just his little daughter to visit, after a couple early quests you will have a garden to tend to. Seeds are cheap to buy and even early yields can net Nier over 20,000 gold while only spending ~1,000 for seeds. All you have to do is water them at each stage of growth, even the fertilizer the game offers is totally optional.

One other way to spend your money in Nier is to level up your weapons at the little shack in the Junk Heap. You unlock this option after beating the second dungeon, and even get your first upgrade for free! There really aren't many weapons in the game so you will have to upgrade them at some point, and spend time farming the materials for it as well.

You can upgrade your spells and weapons even further with magic words that you find in random boxes you break and from enemies you kill. The effects of these can be combined for a mix and match of effects. But, you can only have two words on any spell or weapon and there are only a few that are really useful in all situations.

Did you forget that Kaine has an ass?

Nier has its technical problems and those keep it just shy out of that Holy Trinity I mentioned at the top. The story is polished and different enough to keep me intrigued through a playthrough. The narrative flows in a competent manner with nice pacing. The voice acting is done by highly trained professionals with a long list of works. All in all, I would say that Square Enix did good publishing this game, if only they had actually marketed it or bribed some reviewers to get the aggregate scores fluffed up it may have sold well enough to localize Nier Replicant.

Posted on Feb 10th 2011 at 03:47:16 PM by (Ack)
Posted under Condemned, Xbox 360, Monolith Productions, Sega, Modern Gaming

Condemned: Criminal Origins

Its been a while guys, sorry about that.  Life sometimes interferes, but there is lots more horror goodness I haven't yet shared that needs to be played, both retro and not.  And in this case, this games not...though admittedly it might as well be due to its release date.

Condemned: Criminal Origins was developed by Monolith Productions and published by Sega, releasing to the masses as a Microsoft Xbox 360 launch title.  Actually, that is not entirely accurate.  Condemned actually preceded the 360s release, coming out on Nov. 15, 2005, which means its older than the oldest console in this generation (the 360s official launch date was Nov. 22, 2005, in the US).  Of all the 360 launch titles, this was the one that generated the biggest personal interest and was my first game purchase on the console, though admittedly I bought the machine specifically for Dead Rising.  I'm glad I picked up Condemned by itself, as I managed to give it the time it truly deserved.

Condemned is an interesting approach to the traditional survival horror.  While it visits the same dark locales and features what is effectively a supercop as the main protagonist a la Resident Evil, this guys a little different.  Ethan Thomas is tough, has highly 'acute senses, and goes after a particularly disturbing type of criminal: serial killers.  Ethans disturbingly good at this, but it seems it comes with a price that Ethan doesn't even know must be paid, and his life is not exactly as it appears.  Early on in the game he finds himself up against a similar individual on the other side of the law, a super serial killer labeled only Serial Killer X who hunts his own kind and kills them based upon their own methods.  Unfortunately for Ethan, X gets the drop on him, steals his gun, kills two cops with it, and knocks Ethan out a window before escaping.  Ethan wakes up in his apartment with family friend Malcolm Vanhorn, who warns Ethan that hes now wanted for the murder of those policemen.

So Ethan must now evade the police, take down X, and prove his innocence.  To do that, he'll have to crawl through every nasty back alley and condemned building in the city while hunting for evidence.  Sounds simple, right?  But there are a couple of problems: it seems the city's homeless are becoming increasingly violent while creatures and events are beginning to appear around him which are twisted enough to make Ethan question his sanity.

While the plot gives a reason for all of the bizarre occurrences and gives a reason for the hordes of angry and freakish individuals you'll find literally bludgeoning each other to death with whatever they can find, its unfortunately not very coherent.  Ethan has some similar qualities with the character Will Graham from Thomas Harris book Red Dragon.  In Red Dragon, its hinted that Graham might easily have become the same type of monster that he hunts so easily; Ethan suffers a similar problem.  The issue comes in presentation: much of the story goes unexplained unless the player bothers to read the loading screens between levels and manages to piece them all together.  And even then there are several important points which the game never quite gets out, such as exactly what the character known only as The Hate actually is or where it came from.  It takes the sequel to really find out whats happening, and the sequel, well, that's a discussion for another day.  There are scenes where Ethan has to use his police equipment to investigate crime scenes, but as per the norm with television forensics units, it happens absurdly quick and relatively easily.  Its a nice little touch that helps break up the action, but its not very realistic, so if this happens to be a pet peeve of yours about police dramas, you've been warned.

Anyway, Condemned: Criminal Origins features a very different perspective from most survival horror titles; its entirely first person, though not a true FPS.  While you do find guns, they're few and far between, are limited to the amount of ammunition you find in them, but are also realistically powerful.  Some enemies also carry guns, which are subject to the same rules.  Fight an enemy with a revolver who fires off two shots, and the gun will come with only 4 rounds.  Ethan does have a handy rechargeable taser, but its primarily for stunning and does little damage.  Still, its great for thinning a crowd.  Most combat revolves around melee, and Ethan's quite resourceful, so he makes a point of arming himself with just about anything he can find: locker doors, old signs, sledgehammers, mannequin arms, metal pipes, fire axes, loose boards, paper cutter blades (a particular favorite of mine), electric conduits, if it can be pried off the wall and used to bash in someones skull, Ethan is willing to use it.

But then again, so will the hordes of enemies between him and the truth.  Enemies will break off a fight long enough to pry a board or rip off a street sign to beat down you or each other with.  The AIs actually not bad, with enemies taunting you, breaking off to run away when hurt, and hiding in corners or behind doorways while they wait for you to pass so they can ambush you.  In one particularly fun but scripted scene, a bum charges you from behind with a monkey wrench, and you only see him coming because you're looking at a bathroom mirror at the time.

To add to the combat, while there's no combo system, there is an execution system, which involves grabbing an opponent who has fallen to his knees and using whatever you have to smash in his face, snap his neck, or whatever else you happen to do.  It even zooms in on their faces so you have to look them in the eyes before you curb stomp them.  Its not a pleasant feeling.

Condemned is also very dark and dreary.  There really aren't very many clean locales you'll visit, instead hitting up subways and sewers, a dilapidated school, an old house out in the country, or even my particularly favorite level, an abandoned shopping mall that's been overrun by squatters which dress like mannequins so they can get the drop on you from store displays.  Its a terrifying feeling to walk into a display room and see one obviously bating you at the far end, because you can't be sure which mannequins in the room are real, and which ones are murderers pretending so they can lash out at you from behind.

There are also unlockables, based on messing with TV sets and collecting bird corpses and metal plates stuck to the wall and surrounded by charcoal drawings of eyes starring at you.  It adds replayability to the game, which is good as its not too terribly long.

I had a lot of fun with Condemned: Criminal Origins, and when I am asked about modern survival horror, its always a title I heartily recommend.  The controls are excellent, the combat felt quite good once I got the hang of it, and the environments were solidly put together and delightfully creepy.  But it is not easy to get through at times, with its convoluted and mishandled plot, unrealistic forensics, and its overemphasis of violence.  The game was actually so violent, it has since been banned in Germany, with all copies confiscated.  Seriously, its illegal to possess or sell it, similar to Manhunt 2 in New Zealand.  For the rest of us, its thankfully pretty cheap, generally going for less than $10 on eBay.

For those interested, here's a taste, the intro video from the level Bart's Department Store:

Posted on Feb 20th 2010 at 08:54:20 PM by (slackur)
Posted under General, LAN Gaming, Xbox 360, Fire Beasts

Well, it was all just a matter of time, I suppose.  One of our LAN 360s finally red-ringed for the umpteenth time, and after being in the shop three times already, I'm giving up on it. 

We were a few waves into a night of ODST Firefight, and suddenly a huge fireball blew up from our 3rd LAN setup and incinerated Walter and three bystanders.  Firefighters worked fourteen hours to contain the emerging Balrog but were also consumed in the end and now the flame elemental is destroying Pittsburg.

Actually it just locked up, but with 360s notoriously kicking over your grandmother and stealing your ice cream when you start to trust them again, I thought I'd imagine it a bit more dramatic.

So now I have to decide if it's worth looking to pick up another box, since Friday Night Firefights and other weekend LAN gaming are a house staple, or be fiscally responsible and just ask friends to bring their own extra time bombs. 

Since I often buy more than one LAN-able copy of games for multiplayer, I'll probably just stick it out for now and stay with two machines.  Any other suggestions?

By the way, if you live in the northeastern part of the U.S., there's a knock at your door and you smell something that is not entirely unlike smoky plastic, stay on the couch and glare knowingly at your own 360.

*also, for all of the Sony Fanboys that'll type '360 sux by a PS3', I'll have you know I had to buy another one of those already because of a faulty Blu-Ray drive that was out of warranty.  This current HD generation has not impressed me in terms of reliability.

Posted on Jun 27th 2009 at 12:12:01 AM by ([Kimoosabi:realName])
Posted under Review, Viking, Xbox 360

Your Blog Editor / Site Director sometimes misses cool articles that should be promoted. Sorry about that. Enjoy this article, over a month after it was originally published. It's a good one. -TJ

Viking: Battle for Asgard was released on March 25th, 2008 on both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Though it received mostly favorable reviews, it was greeted with little fanfare by the gaming populace. It slipped under my radar as well, but after hearing positive word-of-mouth, I decided to give it a go. This review is specifically for the Xbox 360 version, though from what I gather the Playstation 3 version is nearly, if not completely identical.

You take up the hefty axe and sword of a Viking warrior named Skarin, a hulking brute renowned for his ability to smash skulls and cleave spines. The story kicks off with a fatally wounded Skarin falling on the battlefield, only to be spared and given new life by the Norse God Freya, daughter of Odin. In return, she demands Skarin fight for her against the legion of Hel, the Queen of the Underworld, daughter of Loki. Hel has been cast out of the immortal plane of Asgard for disobeying Odin, and has vowed revenge by way of releasing Fenrir. Unshackling the wolf god will initiate Ragnarok, resulting in the ultimate demise of all the Norse Gods. Skarin is charged with hacking and slashing his way through Hel's forces across Midgard, the mortal realm, before her plan comes to fruition.

Continue reading Review - Viking: Battle for Asgard

Posted on Jan 20th 2009 at 12:30:09 AM by (Tondog)
Posted under Modern Gaming, Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Playsation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, PSP, DS, PS2

There's a reason why I haven't done this in three weeks, you'll see why. Here's the release list for the last three weeks.

Playstation 3Xbox 360Nintendo Wii
• Lord of the Rings: Conquest • Lord of the Rings: Conquest• Deal Or No Deal
• Fishing Master World Tour
• Hotel for Dogs
• Neighborhood Games
• Paws and Claws Pet Resort
PSPNintendo DSPlaystation 2

• Cartoon Network Universe: Fusion Fall
• Delta Force 10th Anniversary Collection
• Lord of the Rings: Conquest
Mirror's Edge
• Bigfoot: Collision Course
Elebits: The Adventures of Kai & Zero
• Hotel for Dogs
• Inkheart
• Jumble Madness
• Lord of the Rings: Conquest
• Moon
• Paws and Claws Pampered Pets
• Personal Trainer: Math

Very exciting for not doing it in such a long time, I know. First thing worth mentioning is Mirror's Edge on the PC. If you have a good gaming PC and haven't experienced the game yet, please do so. Mirror's Edge is easily one of the five best games of last year. Yeah, the game is technically "short", but it never feels short. The pacing and length feels perfect. After you beat the game, there's plenty more to do, such as speedruns on all the game's levels and trying to beat your friend's scores on the online leaderboards. Please, don't skip this game. Give EA your support by buying the game. Let them know that they are truly headed down the right direction with innovative, original titles like Mirror's Edge.

The other title worth talking about is Elebits: The Adventures of Kai and Zero for the DS. In case you don't know, I'm like one of two people that actually bought and enjoyed the first Elebits game on the Wii, so I was intrigued when I heard there was a DS version coming. A few weeks ago, I downloaded the demo to my DS from the Nintendo Channel on the Wii and played through it. I thought it was pretty fun, but repetitive and nowhere near as good as the original. What's different about the DS version is that it's structured more like an RPG/Adventure rather than a puzzle game. I'm not really sure what else to say about it. It's merely a decent game that's kinda fun. I certainly wouldn't rush out and buy it right now, but maybe when it hits $10 or so in a few months.

Check back very soon for this week's releases!

Posted on Jan 17th 2009 at 10:44:48 PM by (NES_Rules)
Posted under Random Review, Review, Dead Rising, Modern Gaming, Xbox 360, Microsoft

Random Review: Dead Rising

My last review was a Famicom game, this one is 20 years newer and a totally different experience, but still a blast. Dead Rising was released August 8th 2006 for the Xbox 360 and at the time, was an exclusive for that system. It has since been announced that it will be coming to the Wii as "Dead Rising: Chop 'til You Drop". This game is huge and as my reviewing skills are not top notch yet, I probably will be excluding portions, but I'm trying more for a overall experience review anyway.

The Plot:
The plot of the game is essentially: you (an independent photojournalist, Frank West) come to a small isolated town via helicopter and after the US military forces your pilot to drop you off on the roof of the mall, you soon realize the town is infested with zombies. All you know is that you want to cover the story and the helicopter will return in 3 days. Through the game, you will uncover the mystery of the zombie outbreak if you do everything correctly, but if you don't finish a mission in time, the facts will be lost to you (and the rest of the world) forever. But, you can still finish the game and get a sub-par ending that inevitably ends in the destruction of the world. In addition to the regular missions, you can embark on numerous "side quests" rescuing survivors and killing psychopaths.

The gameplay is simple; finish the missions and kill as many of the seemingly infinite zombies as you can before your 72 hours is up. But, there are a few aspects of the game that make it unique. The first is the RPG elements the game uses. As you gain "Prestige Points" in the game (by killing zombies, taking photos, killing psychopaths, rescuing survivors, or the other numerous ways) you gain abilities like increased health capacity, increased storage capacity and new fighting moves. These gained abilities are kept once you finish the game and start again, so you can go through the 72 hour mode as many times as you need to get the abilities to finish with the best ending.
The second feature that sets Dead Rising apart, is the weapons. Of course, there is the standard handgun, rifle and shotgun of any good zombie game, but there are also items like Molotov cocktails, katanas, swords and battle axes. But, that's not all, basically anything you can pick up is a weapon, whether it's a trash can, potted plant, 2' x 4', lead pipe or one of the other 250 items in the mall. Using everyday items to kill zombies is a blast, there's nothing like slicing a zombie down the middle with one fell swoop of your Katana or using a hole digger to skewer and zombie and use his spinning body to kill more zombies. This is definitely the best part of the game for me, on my first playthrough I didn't bother with the missions, I was having too much fun slamming faucets into zombies and watching them bleed out through it and cutting up hoards of them with chainsaws and lawn mowers.

Sound and Graphics:
The sound effects of the game are top notch. Zombies groans and moans seem to be all around you and the screams of distant survivors make it seem more real. The weapons all have their own sounds and they all sound pretty realistic.

This was my first Xbox 360 game, so the graphics blew me away at first, but after playing more games on the system, the graphics are pretty standard. Nothing super awesome, but everything is smooth and I didn't notice any kind of glitches in the game. There are numerous zombies which is nice (especially if you compare it to a game like RE4 where it seems there are only 5 different "zombies") and at first you may think they are all unique, but after a few hours into the game you'll start recognizing zombies by their appearance.

In conclusion, this is a very, very fun game and is definitely worth a pick up. I got my copy for $20 and it was well worth it. For me, it got a little boring and redundant after my 2nd playthrough, but I can see myself coming back to the game after a while.
I'm giving this game a 95% as it really is worth the money and if you've got a 360, you really do need this game. It's not a game you'll devote your life to playing, but it's good for many hours of play time.

Posted on Dec 18th 2008 at 12:01:38 AM by (Tondog)
Posted under Modern Gaming, Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Playsation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, PSP, DS, PS2

I'm not dead, I just took a week off to do my final exams and stuff like that. Plus, this time of year is dead anyways, so I figured it could wait. So, here's what came out last week and what's out this week.

Playstation 3Xbox 360Nintendo Wii
• Rise of the Argonauts
• Sonic Unleashed (get the Wii/PS2 version instead)
• Rise of the Argonauts

• Calvin Tucker's Redneck Jamboree  
• Neopets Puzzle Adventure
Rock Band 2
• Summer Sports 2: Island Sports Party
• The Tale of Despereaux
• Word Jong Party 

PSPNintendo DSPlaystation 2
• Dungeon Maker II: The Hidden War

• Band Manager  
• Lost Secrets: Bermuda Triangle 
• Hidden Expedition: Amazon
• Hired Guns: The Jagged Edge
Prince of Persia
• Rise of the Argonauts 
• RPG Fantasy Action Pack
• The Tale of Despereaux
• Zoo Tycoon 2 Ultimate Collection
• Animal Boxing 
• Australia Zoo Quest 
• Build-a-Lot 
• Candace Kane's Candy Factory 
• Cate West The Vanishing Files 
• Driver's Ed Portable 
• Dreamer: Horse Trainer 
• Dreamer: Puppy Trainer 
• Learn Math
• Left Brain Right Brain 2 
• Mystery P.I.: Portrait of a Thief 
• Slingo Quest
• The Tale of Despereaux
Rock Band 2
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
• The Tale of Despereaux

Very boring, am I right? Get used to it. That's what the next few weeks are going to be like.

The only highlight here is Persona 4 for the PS2. I don't know much about it other than it's a weeaboo JRPG with an even more weeaboo translation that keeps all the honorifics and stuff on there. Also, you commit suicide to gain powers. Apparently it's good if you're into that kind of thing, but I'll stick to Fallout 3 thank you very much.

So, next week, I don't think anything is coming out. Literally, nothing.

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