The latest piece of DLC for Dead Space 3 entitled “Awakened,” provides a supplemental ending to the game and attempts to answer the burning questions left open following the events of the original finale. It packs on the creepy pretty heavily, but is it worth your time? Well, if you have ten bucks and an hour, then yes it is. Continue Reading
Realms of Ancient War, also known as R.A.W., released yesterday on the XBLA and it is one of the worst games I have ever seen. Let me reiterate, DO NOT BUY this game. Remember the flop from last year, D&D Daggerdale? I honestly would rather 100% that game then spend one more minute with Realms of Ancient War. “Come on, it can’t be that bad,” you say. Oh, get a load of this… Continue Reading
The Summer of Arcade is here once again and we have a few goodies coming our way this year. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is the first release of the bundle and its a full 900 degree spin of awesomeness. Featuring classic locales in HD from the first and second games in the series, with new game modes and online play, its the perfect reboot for one of the best games of it’s time. Those new to the series will also finally be able to see what all the fuss was about back in the late 90′s, but may have a harder time appreciating it for what it was because not a single mechanic of the gameplay was changed: for better or worse. Continue Reading
Let’s face it. The Kinect is hurting for some strong titles. For the last two years we’ve been assaulted with gimmicky dance games and a plethora of sub-par sports games. I’ll admit, I was incredibly excited about the concept of controller-free gameplay. I imagined myself fending off waves of ruthless enemies with my awesome stylized martial arts skills and navigating futuristic menus with the wave of my hand. Unfortunately my expectations were crushed. There have been a few gleaming beacons of hope for Kinect however and I still have hopes for the future. Capcom’s latest entry renews my faith in Microsoft’s motion camera. While there are numerous problems with this game and overall it’s a pretty painful experience, I still found myself having fun. Continue Reading
Summer is a great time for action games, and Rockstar delivers with Max Payne 3. At first, I’ll admit, I was a little weary of the franchise’s revival. But fear not, this is a solid example of great story-telling mixed with edge of your seat gaming. Max travels to Brazil hoping to get a fresh start, but it’s never that easy when trouble finds you. Continue Reading
It’s Tuesday and this week we are reviewing Dragon’s Dogma. Developed by Capcom, Dragon’s Dogma is a medieval action RPG in which you, the Arisen, must battle to retrieve your heart from an evil dragon. Described loosely as a single player MMORPG, you travel the countryside with your companions, known as pawns, completing tasks ranging from, “Kill X number of a certain enemy”, to surviving ambushes by gigantic mythical creatures. The story is almost non-existent unfortunately. When you do get a story mission, it’s guaranteed to be epic, but they throw so many pointless side quests in your path that you must complete before you can move forward with the story. Well, you don’t have to complete them, but if you choose to continue the main quest too soon any major side quest becomes forfeit, so if you want to complete every quest you have a lot of running to do before you progress the story. Oh yes, and run you shall, for this game does not have a fast travel system. Just like in other popular MMORPG’s, you have to travel the massive world by foot or spend 20k in gold on a Ferrystone, which only returns you to the capital city. Luckily, the graphics are amazing so you have a beautiful landscape to look at while adventuring. One particular area in the southwest is reminiscent of FFX’s Calm Lands and is home to some of the largest beasts seen in gaming.
You can’t argue the fact that Diablo 3 has been one of the most anticipated games of all time. It was literally the most pre-ordered game ever, which is a pretty incredible feat, considering the enormous push for pre-orders these days. I’ve patiently waited nearly a decade for the next installment in the franchise and now it’s finally, officially, and undoubtedly here. After playing feverishly for the last week, almost to the point of addiction, I think it’s just about time to give my two cents on Diablo 3.
Bloodforge is one of those games that is incredibly gory, simply for the sake of being incredibly gory (as you may have assumed from the title). You spend a good portion of your time dismembering and desecrating any person, or God, or pig, or really anything that gets in your way, in the most violent fashion your character can muster. In the case of this Xbox Live Arcade download the simplicity of this notion works very well. You can enter the game with a sort of “I’m going to tear stuff up and turn off my brain” mindset and not be disappointed. Being a self proclaimed “Gore Whore,” I found Bloodforge to be really entertaining.
Cinematics have always played a huge role in the story telling of video games. Early on, when the in-game graphics weren’t nearly as advanced as they are nowadays, developers relied heavily on cut-scenes, completely separated from the gameplay. Some prime examples are they Final Fantasy games back on the Playstation One. You would go from an assortment of bricks and spheres resembling characters, to over the top cinematics with beautifully rendered CG, then back to the in-game graphics. The transition between these two differences was almost always a jarring experience. I always found myself wishing the in game graphics were as amaizing as the cut scenes. Modern gaming has done an amazing job blending these two elements into one cohesive experience. The Walking Dead is an excellent example of this evolution in story telling.
Imagine a world covered in darkness. A world where you and everything you know is not what it appears to be. A world where a ruthless doppelganger of your former self is hellbent on tearing apart the very fabric of space and time. Light is your only weapon against the dark presence. You must find the source of light and defeat this evil before it envelops not only you, but the entire world. This is the danger you will encounter in Alan Wake’s: American Nightmare. That was my best attempt of narrating as Rod Serling. (Rod Serling is the narrator/writer for The Twilight Zone)
Our story takes place right after the events of the original Alan Wake. Our hero/word bender is again trapped inside the story he’s written and he must utilize the resources within his modified reality to alter the ending. Alan Wake’s alter ego, Mr. Scratch, is harnessing the power of the darkness to reek havoc on the small town of Night Springs. If you’ve played the original game you know that Night Springs is a television program with a shocking resemblance to Twilight Zone, that Alan use to write for before hitting it big as an author. His success as a writer morphed him into a shallow and deplorable version of his former self; this is the side of Alan’s personality that Mr. Scratch feeds on. As I so elegantly mentioned above, the objective of the game is find your evil twin and stop him from destroying the world. Which, if you ask my editor, is nothing compared to proofreading my work. Ba-Zing! Who am I kidding though? I don’t have an editor.
Story telling plays a major role in shaping the theme of Alan Wake’s: American Nightmare. Like the last game, it’s very episodic. You are first introduced to the world via a very Rod Serling-esque narration of current events. The dark and haunting, Steven King style of the original game is now substituted for a more retro, pulp-horror style approach, which I felt did a great job of creating a solid theme. Your hero throws out his blazer and dress shoes and adorns himself in his finest southern attire, including his clean pressed flannel and and a 4″ belt buckle. Very fitting considering you will spend a great deal of your time battling giant, deformed, hillbillies wielding giant cement saws and let me tell ya, there’s nothing more horrifying than a working man with nothing to lose.
As far as Xbox Live Arcade downloads go, American Nightmare is incredibly solid. For the 1200 Microsoft Points ($14.99) you get several hours of engaging story as well as a pretty fun survival mode that plays like your standard “Horde” mode. It takes many elements from the original game and let’s you relive some of the classic storytelling that makes the Alan Wake series so great. The addition of the arcade survival mode adds hours worth of content if you feel the need to slay wave after wave of darkened southern folk. If you are looking for something to tide you over until the full fledged sequel is released, I would definitely recommend picking up this fantastic download.