Category: Video Game Reviews and What Not


I’m sure by now you’re familiar with the formula for a Rockstar game. Open world, a plethora of cars to drive around in, plenty pedestrians to run over and torture, shooting stuff with shoddy gun and cover mechanics, a large variety of mission based gameplay and narrative advancement, a decent narrative and story wrapped around a pretty one dimensional protagonist with a lot of cool friends, America, political commentary, and the words Grand Theft Auto in the title, but for the most part, with as many flaws their games might have, they made up for it with witty humor and giving the player freedom to reek havoc in almost anyway that they may choose. Recently Rockstar have noticed that their company can’t survive on Grand Theft Auto alone, so they released the stunning Grand Theft Horse, err, Red Dead Redemption. They kept the basic gameplay elements of the Grand Theft Auto series such as the open world, mission base, ect. But they went and made some major tweaks to their style such as improving the gunplay mechanics, pulling the style out of modern America into the wild west, creating one of the more interesting video characters out there, and also crafting one of the best game narratives available today. While from a technical stand point the game was filled with flaws, it completely won over gamers as they got sucked into John Marston’s wild west and his quest to hunt down his ex-gang members. Along with the great narrative, the game its self was just damn fun to play and in its own right, Red Dead Redemption was a very ambitious game. Now Rockstar pushes its self further and brings players into Los Angeles during the 1940’s right after the end of WWII and the ambition scale is through the roof. Continue reading

For years I’ve longed for the modern revival of some of the old school style games I played in the past. I love the gameplay of those old games and wondered what it it would look and play like on modern machines. There have been a few new IP’s that harken back to the styles of yore, but nothing in quite large quantities. Luckily with the arrival of the current HD console line-up there came Xbox Marketplace(PSN for PS3 users) where you could download games being made by smaller, lesser known developers. Since the cost to develop these games was rather inexpensive, publishers were happy to take more chances on some new ideas and let developers make homages to the old school style of gameplay. Now we have a plethora of games that revive the cool gaming styles of old and also games that experiment and push to try radically different things in gaming. Some games are able to do both. Outland, developed by Finnish studio Housemarque and published by Ubisoft, does both. Continue reading

Limbo

Have you ever seen the movie Night of the Living Dead? What that movie did is present a bleak outlook, created deepened horror, and created a contrasting effect on the subject matter by deciding to use black and white in lieu of color. It works extremely well and adds another layer of depth to the film. When used properly(like the aforementioned film) this trick can add more artistic merit to the film and in the end what you get is more of an experience more so than entertainment.

So, why am I talking about movies when I should be reviewing a video game. Well video games have as many things in common with movies as they do differences. One of the things they have in common is how an artistic choice can have a major impact on the whole of a game giving it a whole different meaning. This artistic choice in question is the use of black and white. In the 2D side scrolling platform/puzzle game Limbo by Playdead Studios you traverse a world completely devoid of color as you push forward to discover the purpose of your journey. The lack of color in this game creates a harrowing experience that, unlike a movie, can only be experienced in video game form. Continue reading

Repost from “What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse” Join the conversation on the original post.

Disclaimer: OPINION

Recently at this years E3 a rather unknown game company, 505 Games, released information about a new game that they have under development. It is about a group of mercenaries going to Africa to take out warlords and drug dealers and it will utilize your entire body by allowing you to play using Microsoft’s new toy, Kinect. Sounds all fine and dandy, right. Many games in the past have used this set-up for a game countless numbers of times(sans Kinect of course) and none of us have questioned the morality of the game once. So why is this game getting such a large amount of attention? It’s just going to be another FPS where you go and kill the bad guy, right? Well, the thing is, all those other mercenary games were based on fantasy, this game however is going to be based on and titled after PMC(Private Military Company) Blackwater. For those who don’t know about the PMC Blackwater, they were indicted on charges of war crimes in the Middle East as well as other charges(a quick Google search will get you up to speed). Continue reading

Repost from “What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse” Join the conversation on the original post.

After much time in the supreme court, the case discerning the sale of violent video games to minors in California has come to a close. The verdict, “Court ruled 7-2 that the California law criminalizing the sale of ultra-violent games to minors was un-Constitutional.” Do I agree with this ruling, well, yup, I sure do.

A main argument made during the case was the comparison between violent video games and literature of a violent nature. During grade school children read books that depict extremely violent acts, and if they are allowed to read about these violent acts then they should be allowed to play out those violent acts in video game form. If it’s unconstitutional to ban the sale of violent books to children, then why should it be deemed constitutional to ban the sale of other violent forms of media to a minor. Well, I feel there is a bit of a difference between ripping the head of your nemesis off and spiking it to the ground in Mortal Kombat than reading about the boys of Lord of the Flies dropping a boulder on the Piggy knocking him off a cliff to his death. In Mortal Kombat the violence is fun and without remorse, in Lord of the Flies the violence is horrific and we learn about the characters regret for the murder as well as their motives for doing so. Also, being a person who does read quite a lot of books, I tend to find them to be much more immersive than video games. Continue reading

I did a post on my new video game blog, “What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse”, on the upcoming game Blackwater which is based on and being helped developed by the company of the same name.  Head on over and check it out and leave your thoughts and opinions.  Peace Love and Video Game!!!

http://whatahorriblenighttohaveacurse.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/how-far-is-too-far/

What would the world look like years after the apocalypse?  I bet images of nuclear fallout, grey skies, and world devoid of any plant life pass through your mind.  In our modern way of thinking the most likely way of our civilization on the plant Earth coming to an end would be through nuclear war, and at this moment in time, you would be right.  But what about possible another angle?  Like another classic end of the world scenario, our obsession with computers, convenience, and technology turning against us and wiping out the human race.  That’s the angle that developer Ninja Theory took when developing the world that inhabits Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. Continue reading

The original two Fallout games were stokes of genius in the RPG realm and really helped popularize western RPGs throughout the world.  They gave you a sense of freedom and the ability to solve quests in any way you wanted.  They gave you a destroyed post-apocalyptic Earth to travel around instead of the typical “D&D/anime” setting that eastern RPGs had been providing.  They also help popularize the quest based method of advancing the game which made a huge impact on the way that many games today are played out.  Above all, they were fresh and original, and also very funny at times. Continue reading

While digging around in the bargain bin at my local media shop I came across a game called Darksiders.  I had remembered hearing some decent press about it, the screenshots on the back of the box seemed interesting to me, and the price was right so I picked it up.  When I got home and finally got around to popping it into my Xbox360 I found myself rather impressed by a title that I had thought would be an average time killer. Continue reading

Comedy in video games is something quite rare.  I can only think of a handful of games that can make me honestly laugh my ass off with truly genuine jokes and situations.  The first Portal, a toss in bonus game that was included in Valve’s deal of the century, “The Orange Box”, blew me away.  Let alone that the ingenious gameplay concept was one of the most original ideas I’ve seen in a game in years, the humor and writing in it were honed to perfection spurring one of the biggest memes in internet history, “The cake is a lie.”  Valve had created an unintentional monster and Portal went on to be lauded as on of the best games of this current console generation(and according to many reputable game sites, the best game ever).  Valve had some hefty expectations to live up to when making a sequel to a game held in such high reverence.  And did they do it, well in short, you better bet your ass they did. Continue reading