Gaming

Mass Effect 3: Multiplayer that actually interests me

February 8

I’m not typically a fan of online multiplayer modes in games. I’m not suited for it; I’m generally not very competitive, not very social, and I just find a well-designed single player scenario much more enjoyable than the frantic chaos of the typical online deathmatch. I’m also, at least where he genres that dominate that sort of gameplay, such as first-person shooters and fighting games, are concerned- just not that good, and I’m not particularly interested in spending time being stomped into dust over and over again by opponents I have no chance against.

(The sole exception to this being multiplayer in Red Faction: Guerrilla, where the destructible environments meant that I could partially compensate for my poor aim by exploiting the fact that ambushing opponents in crowded areas by unexpectedly smashing through a nearby wall with your sledgehammer and bursting through the gap like a sort of murderous Kool-Aid man was a viable strategy.)

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Gaming

Thoughts on Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII-2

January 4

Final Fantasy XIII -2 from Square Enix is coming out at the end of this month, continuing the story of Lightning and the other characters from Final Fantasy XIII and the world they inhabit. And I’m genuinely saddened to realize that I don’t really care. It’s a strange feeling.

It’s not quite accurate to say that Final Fantasy XIII-2 is the first game in the main Final Fantasy series (as opposed to spin-offs like Crystal Chronicles) that I’m not excited about. However, it is the first time this has happened with the game I’m in the main target audience for. I was indifferent to Final Fantasy XI and XIV simply because I’m not interested in MMORPGs, and I wasn’t interested in Final Fantasy X-2 because the tone and gameplay of X-2 was quite clearly different from its predecessor and created with a different audience in mind. It didn’t reflect my opinions on the predecessors of those games- I love Final Fantasy X and, after a rocky start, enjoyed Final Fantasy XII.

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Gaming

RPGs I didn’t get to play: The 8-bit years

October 19

I had the bad timing to become a console RPG fan at the dawn of the 1990s. This was originally due to a promotional gimmick run by Nintendo Power magazine in which they gave away a free copy of the game Dragon Warrior to new subscribers. My friends were bored to tears by it, but for me- a kid with extremely poor hand-eye coordination and an affinity for planning, strategy, and numbers- it was ideal.

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Gaming

Memories of Wing Commander

September 14

wing commander

There aren’t many things from my youth that I truly miss, but one of the members of that elite group is the space combat flight simulator game. Once quite common, they are all but unknown today, and that’s a shame. For me, personally, my regret at the genre’s passing is about much more than the fact that I’ll never get to play Freespace 3. (Though that is also a source of nigh-overwhelming anguish, obviously.) My own first encounter with the genre was one of the things that really expanded my ideas of what a video game could be.

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Gaming

Okami: A Myth in the Making (a retrospective)

August 5

It’s a rare opportunity to be a PS2 owner. Even after the system’s discontinuation, department stores are more likely than not to have at least a bin with a mish-mash pile o’ PS2 games, usually with a “50% off!” or a “Buy 3 get 1 free!” deal. Mostly because I’m way too cheap, I somehow haggled (without actually haggling) for a modern classic. Let’s say it’s been a while since I went on an odyssey like Okami.

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Books & Comics | Gaming

GrimDark III: Warhammer Race War! by Aaron Dembski-Bowden

April 29

Now we’ve done the overview, let’s get into the crunchy stuff. Let’s start a Race War.

Or rather, let’s talk about the race war already in progress, since that’s the heart of 40K’s conflict.

Given the insane amount of possible detail when discussing the races that make up the 40K galaxy, you’re gonna have to excuse me for missing huge chunks out. There’s 30 years of IP to cover, and my time – as well as your patience – is a finite resource. I’ll cover what I can, though. I mean, I’m enslaved to do a job, here.

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Books & Comics | Gaming

GrimDark II: Loose Canon | by Aaron Dembski-Bowden

March 10

To: Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Subject: Space Marine Power Armour

Dear Mr. Dembski-Bowden,

In your novel ‘I Remember When I Totally Puked That Time’, you said that power armour functions by X going into Y. But in Dan Abnett’s novel ‘Writhing in Unholy Chutney’, he said power armour functions by A going into B.

Both of these presentations also fail to match the example published fifteen years ago, in the sourcebook ‘Maximum Blood Justice Machine’, where it CLEARLY states that power armour not only functions by Z going into another Z, but that no suits of armour even have an X, Y, A or B.

Please justify all of this, so I can feel self-righteous about it on the internet.

Sincerely,

Some Guy

 

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Books & Comics | featured | Gaming | Movies & TV

Deadpool | Badass of the Week

March 4
deadpool

“Destiny doesn’t care that I’ve made sacrifices to get here.

That I’ve said my prayers and brushed after meals.

Destiny wants a garbage man… and I’m always it.

Bang bang.  I’m Deadpool.  You’re Dead.

A special edition of Badass of the Week  by Ben Thompson

deadpool marvel comics

Deadpool is a criminally deranged, psychopathic ninja mercenary with a mutant healing factor, a withering sarcastic wit, an encyclopedic array of pop culture references, and unfettered access to katanas, hand grenades and automatic weapons, which he uses to kill everyone ever.  He’s like Snake Eyes, Wolverine, and David Spade’s Hollywood Minute mashed into the body of an Olympic athlete, then combined with the impulse control of Charlie Manson – and the end result is that he’s so fucking awesome at pummeling people into meat juice that he somehow manages to be an effective assassin even though he sneaks around heavily-fortified military facilities in a fire-engine red jumpsuit.

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Books & Comics | Editor's Choice | Gaming

Back to the Future…with a Warhammer by Aaron Dembski-Bowden

February 8
aaron dembski-bowden

 I
The Appeal of Getting Your Ass Kicked

Back when I was a kid, in that era of willing vulnerability when we’re all sponging up ideas and inspiration to form our adult tastes, I saw something in the sci-fi genre that really stood out. In hindsight, I’m sort of proud of myself for noticing it, but maybe I’m giving my youthful self a little too much credit.

What I saw was this:

Futuristic soldiers in power armour and firing massive guns wasn’t exactly revolutionary twenty years ago when I was 10 – and these days, it makes up approximately 492% of video game sci-fi storylines. I’m not advocating that image as something outstandingly original. (I’d also be doing the setting of Warhammer 40,000 a massive injustice if I didn’t admit that the art, like the setting itself, has come a long way since then.)

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Gaming | Movies & TV

Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie | Review

January 11

At last, the holy grail of Warhammer 40k fans the world over has arrived–a 40k movie!

Penned by the master himself, Dan Abnett, produced by Codex Pictures and directed by Martyn Pick, it tells a quintessential 40k tale from the perspective of the Space Marine golden boys, the Ultramarines. Special mention must go the voice actors recruited by Codex for this movie; John Hurt, Sean Pertwee, and Terence Stamp, as well as a number of other very talented actors, all lend their dulcet tones to this film, and I felt that the atmosphere was all the richer for their vocal talents. Johnny Harris’s “Brother Nidon” was a particularly good performance and a compelling character.

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Gaming

Xbox 360 ‘slim’ – first impressions review

July 31

It’s a sad state of affairs when a Gaming Editor doesn’t have all of the hardware and tools available to provide the best coverage of an ever-growing industry. Namely, these tools include the three next-gen gaming consoles on the market today: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii. I’ve had the PS3 and Wii since launch, but it took a trip to E3 2010 to realize that I needed an Xbox 360 to complete the trinity of gaming platforms. Now that I finally made the jump into Microsoft’s ship, what do I think? How are the exclusives I’ve played thus far? How good…really…is XboxLive compared to PSN? How does GamerScore compare to Trophies? What do I think about the new design of the 360 and the inclusion of wireless and a 250GB hard drive? Keep reading.

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Gaming

Transformers: War for Cybertron | PS3 review

July 25

“Autobots, roll out!” This famous line from the 1980’s smash hit, Transformers, is still muttered by old school fans and dropped frequently from the latest generation of kids today. Transformers is a name synonymous with everything we love about big machines coming to life. As a precurser to The Matrix, the Transformers embody artificial intelligence like nothing else, and comprises a foreshadowing of life as we know it being snuffed out by what amounts to machines.

It’s a rather well-known fact that movies make terrible video games and vice versa. When a movie is going to be made, the accompanying video game is farmed out to the lowest bidder. What ends up happening more often than not – with RARE exception – is that there isn’t enough time and resources to make a compelling game, so shortcuts are taken. The end result? A crap game that may or may not even follow the movie storyline with any sense of cohesion.

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Gaming | Interviews

Amanda Brockman “Amped” from Sony’s ‘The Tester’ – E3 Video Interview

June 23

On Monday, June 14, 2010, the first evening event I was invited to was the VGChartz party at the Broadway Bar next door to the Orpheum Theater in the historic district of downtown L.A. I went alone, as I did to all of E3 2010, but one of the benefits of hanging out alone is that you get to roam around, meet new people, and just enjoy the time. Nothing prepared me for what happened when I climbed the Broadway Bar’s carpeted staircase to the second floor to check out the balcony view of Broadway Avenue.

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Gaming

God of War 3 Review (PS3)

March 19

Sony Santa Monica Studios has taken gamers on a fantastic and brutal journey across the PlayStation 2 with God of War and God of War 2, culminating in an end to the main trilogy on the PlayStation 3 that can only be described as epic. God of War 3 is a triumph of big budget game design at its absolute finest, and in my opinion deserves action game of the year, at least.

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Gaming

God of War 3, First Impressions

March 17

God of War 3 may be the best action game of 2010 a mere three months in, if not of all time.

My First Impressions reviews aren’t going to be as robust as they used to be because they’re too similar to my full-blown reviews. As such, I’m simply going to wax eloquent about the game, some parts that stand out thus far, and whatever else strikes my fancy. Oh, and then there’s this:

*****SPOILER and MATURE CONTENT ALERT*****

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Gaming

PlayStation Moves and Shakes, Motion Controller Unveiled

March 11

It’s [finally] official: Sony’s new motion controller is dubbed “Move”. Unveiled in full detail at the Game Developer’s Conference (GDC), Sony unwrapped the Move and is full-blown marketing mode. Developers are lining up already, with undoubtedly many more on the way. Will this be the next gimmick in the motion-control market, or will it finally bring depth to gameplay and real precise controls to the HD gaming hardcore masses? The Wii has been saturated with shovel-ware and tons of games playing up the gimmick of the imprecise [edit] “Wii-mote”, with only a handful of titles rising above the problems to deliver real interactive experiences.

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Gaming

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 | PS3 Review

March 5

EA may have a lot of ground to cover before they take the FPS action crown away from Activision’s Call of Duty franchise, but their well-known and critically acclaimed Battlefield series has built a fan base that rivals the best Activision has to offer. And with the recent upheaval at Infinity Ward, resulting in a lawsuit, could Call of Duty’s reign be threatened? The answer is a resounding “yes”, especially when one considers the latest entry in the Battlefield franchise: Bad Company 2, the follow-up to the slightly lackluster Bad Company.

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Gaming

What’s Wrong with Video Game Reviews?

March 1

Video game reviews have become an accepted form of communicating the god-like-ness or worm-fodder-ness of any given title, including DLC (downloadable content). Most gamers, especially the older generation – such as Yours Truly – recall the day when the review didn’t mean much, if anything at all. You had to buy a magazine to get anything resembling a second opinion, and our game collections reflect that. How many “crap” games do we all own, seriously? Countless, to be sure. I used to trade Atari games straight up with other kids based solely on the fact that I wanted to play a title. In other words, I couldn’t have cared less about what the critics and cynics said about games. I lived only to play what I wanted and what I may have played at a friend’s house.

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Gaming

Heavy Rain (PS3) | Review

February 26

Quantic Dream, the developer behind Farenheit (Indigo Prophecy) and Omikron: The Nomad Soul, struck a bargain with Sony to bring its emotional title – Heavy Rain– exclusively to the PS3. Founded in 1997 and based in Paris, France, Quantic Dream is not just a video game developer. According to the Wikipedia, QD supplies motion capture services to both the film and video game industries. When you play Heavy Rain, you will see that mo-cap has played a key role in bringing the story and characters to life.

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Gaming

Sony, PlayStation 3 2010 Preview

January 29

If 2009 was the year we witnessed the PlayStation 3 rise above the challenges it’s faced since launch, 2010 is shaping up to be the year it obliterates the competition. Think it can’t happen? Sony’s done it before. The PlayStation 2 had a tough launch because of hardware shortages and lackluster launch games, yet it rose to dominate the generation and is still kicking and screaming today, almost ten years later. Will the PlayStation 3…or more importantly, can the PlayStation 3, repeat history like its younger brother, or will rain fall on its proverbial parade?

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Gaming

Darksiders (PS3) Final Review

January 26

THQ finds itself in an interesting position these days. As one of the top video game publishers today, THQ has positioned itself in the top three, alongside Activision and EA. In 2006, THQ (Toy Headquarters) acquired Vigil Games, which was formed by comic book artist Joe “Mad” Madureira and David Adams, an American video game designer. But the world wouldn’t see any products from Vigil Games until early 2010, when Darksiders: Wrath of War debuted with mixed reviews and fanfare.

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