Sunday, November 6, 2011

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Trailer and Poll

If you haven't caught it already, check out this cool but hilarious Call of Duty "There's a Soldier in All of Us" trailer. And also take note of what the NBA lockout has done to our precious basketball players.
After you're done take some time and answer our poll:
Will you purchase Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 at launch?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Grand Theft Auto V Trailer #1 breakdown and thoughts

The trailer for Grand Theft Auto V is out and already has fans buzzing about what's in the horizon. What Grand Theft Auto IV did for New York, the same can be said for Grand Theft Auto V and Los Angles. Although I didn't note it on the site (or anywhere else) I had feeling the series was heading towards the west coast for the next chapter. I was thinking San Andreas but Los Santos was a second choice, naturally (IGN confirms it is San Andreas) . On the graphics side, the game looks gorgeous. Definitely a step above Grand Theft Auto IV but we'll have a true comparison when the game is released. Here are a couple of things I picked up from the trailer.

The first thing I noticed was the dog at the beginning of the trailer. Does that mean we're going to see stray dogs moping around neighborhoods? Will there finally be a K9 unit in Grand Theft Auto? If you can kill these dogs, how upset will PETA be? Also in that same scene with the dog I noticed a surfboard by the life house which could mean we finally can surf or have the ability to rescue people in the water. It could be a lifeguard subgame. And speaking of subgames, it looks like Golf and hiking/mountain climbing could be there too. Again maybe not only subgames but the ability to scale mountains, surf the waves, interact in the water could be new experiences within the GTA universe.

Secondly, I must be a genius or Rockstar Games can read my mind because I asked for verticality and I got verticality! The trailer highlighted three different instances of planes zooming by, and I can tell we have much more in store! Hopefully we can revisit skydiving from an incredible altitude. Dude.

Lastly, we see a group of gentleman wearing bug exterminator uniforms and brandishing firearms. Either the store must have some really big bugs or they plan on raiding it. This scene could be entirely self-contained or/and it could be the ability to rob stores and banks (just like I wished for!). Once again everything is just speculation based on the brief trailer but I'm excited to uncover what else Grand Theft Auto V has to offer. Stay Tuned.

Grand Theft Auto V Trailer

Without further ado,the trailer to Greand Theft Auto V:

Don't forget to vote in our GTA V poll and let us know how much you enjoyed (or didn't) the the trailer.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Grand Theft Auto V Wishlist

On October 25, Rockstar finally confirmed that they are working on the next installment of their blockbuster franchise: Grand Theft Auto V. I don't know about everyone else but I am highly excited. Though Grand Theft Auto IV wasn't as expansive as San Andreas, it was still a fine game that had plenty of room for improvement. Before the trailer is released on November 2, here are V (get it?) things I would love to see in the next Grand Thedft Auto.

1. More Verticality
Sure, we had the helicopter in GTA IV but coming from San Andreas where we had planes, we could parachute and/or skydive from said plane, you kind of miss that instant method of reaching the skies. Hopefully GTA V expands on these ideas of past and encourages the player to jump from the furthest peak in the city!

2. Better friends system
I like the idea of having friends in GTA IV, I just do not like trying to maintain their friendship while I'm running over pedestrians. I always felt like the friends and girlfriends system was like a modern age Tamagochi. Hopefully in GTA V we'll see something, maybe something like Facebook perhaps?

3. Co-op missions
You know what's better than causing mayhem in these fictional cities? Doing it with a buddy. GTA IV finally introduced online play to the series, but it would be nice to have some dedicated missions for 2 or more players. It be great to this mode included in the future.

4. Expanded Bank Heist
My favorite mission in GTA IV involved a bank heist, it would be awesome if they included this as a gameplay feature. So after you're tired of doing odd-jobs for a mob boss in exchange of vital information to move the storyline along, you can rob bank for some extra cash

5. Better customization options

If there is one thing San Andreas did was made you feel like you had to total control over your character and vehicles. GTA IV does the same on a smaller scale but San Andreas gave you so many clothing options, hairstyles, etc. You always had multiple ways of creating the character you see fit. I'd love for this to return in the latest installment.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Review: Red Faction Guerilla (Xbox 360)

I've never had the chance to play the predecessors of Red Faction Guerilla, which is the third game in the Red Faction franchise. The only thing I knew about the original and its sequel was that they were first person shooters with destructible environments. Like literally, you can destroy any structure within in the game, an aspect that helped the game stand out from the rest of the first-person shooter pack. But that's where my knowledge about the games end. Luckily for Red Faction Guerilla you don't really need to play the other games to enjoy this one-becauase it's such a fun game in its own right.

Red Faction Guerilla is an open-world third-person shooter set in a futuristic Mars. Like all future societies, their world is an oppressed one where the "man" (EDF) is coming down on the hard and has made them their slaves. Honestly, Red Faction Guerilla's story is the weakest point of the game. Graphics are great, characters are designed (enemies look a bit generic though) well and environments are fully realized, really leaving an impression. Despite Mars being barren, the towns in RFG look and feel believable but the story and characterizations are as weak and the structures you're eventually going to destroy. You have a generic-modern day ceaser-shaven reluctant hero who is thrust into a war between rebels and the "man" (I should call them EDF but the man sounds cool) and he meets a girl and they fight the this war to try and liberate Mars. Story is through told through voice messages via intercom and to progress the story along between different towns, Volition, Inc provided their audience with some crudely animated CGI cutscenes which look like it was done with the original Toy Story engine. In game graphics are fine but these CGI cutscenes are grainy and worse, boring. Thankfully, the gameplay is the opposite.

Being an open-world game, naturally you'll be acquiring vehicles to reach designated key points. The game is broken up into six towns and your goal is to decrease the EDF control in each to advance to the next. In each town, you'll have mission-based objectives such as destroying certain buildings, destroy all the enemies, following vehicles to their destinations, and helping out the rebels fight against the EDF. After completing each mission, EDF control decreases and the amount of townsfolk who will fight alongside of you increases. Just how will you be taking down these colossal buildings you ask? Well not by your bare hands. The game equips you at all times with a sledgehammer, which will more than likely be your primary tool in taking out enemies and destroying destructible structures. Not that the other weapons are useless (especially the handy Nano Rifle and bombs), but from my experience the sledgehammer was great because it required no ammo and for the enemies if you can dodge and weave your way around their line of fire and you can lay the smack down on their…well you know. And let me tell you, knocking enemies around with the hammer is gratifying!

Other weapons include bombs, rifles, pistols and other advanced makeshift tools of destruction. Weapons such as assault rifles and pistols are standard fare and should be used to take out enemies troops on the ground or in vehicles. You’ll also find two types of rocket launchers, weapons that fire saw blades or electrify and others down the line. The latter weapons are more effective in taking down structures throughout the game. Taking down buildings also provides you with currency so you can upgrade yourself and weapons, so you have incentive to the mayhem. The game also grants you a multitude of vehicles at your disposal. Vehicles come in different class such as light, medium and heavy. You’ll also find some vehicles with turrets. There are so many ways to decimate buildings, the act the never gets old, especially taking a structure down while enemies are still in the them. While destroying buildings and releasing EDF control, you also have to keep the town morale up by not killing civilians which is not too much of a pain, except when the AI for these rebels get in front of your vehicle or can’t learn escape a collapsing building. The single-player mode plenty of run-and-gun action as well as the demolition aspect, which will keep you engaged and entertain for hours.

In addition to the single-player campaign, Volition, Inc also added multiplayer. It comes with the by the books deathmatch but unique to RFG is Wrecking Crew where you have to destroy structures (surprise, surprise) within a time limit. Even with its unique power-ups, this mode feels more like an afterthought and it’s the destructivity of the environment which gives Red Faction its engagement and hook. If you took all the positive aspects that I listed and removed them from them game, what you would have is a very sub-par third-person shooter and that’s the level of quality of the multiplayer mode.

Red Faction Guerilla doesn’t turn the shooter genre over its head at all, but simply because of its gimmick, it gives you something more than just shooting baddies. The game can last you around the 20-hour mark which is more than enough enjoyment. If you’re looking for a solid shooter this may not be for you, but for those looking for an action game that does something a little bit different and can ignore the snooze-fest of a story Red Faction Guerilla is good game to fill those shoes.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Review: WWE All Stars

The last time I was into sports entertainment wrestling, it was called the WWF. The last time I was into wrestling, Smackdown and Raw were TV programs and not two competing brands. The last time I loved a wrestling game was WWF No Mercy for the Nintendo 64-- I'm old, I know. As you can deduce, the last time wrestling entertainment was part of my life was around 2002. Wrestlers such as The Rock and Stone Cold were my current-day heroes and AKI Corporation (now known as syn Sophia Inc) was the king of all wrestling games. After I stopped following wrestling, the Smackdown brand of video games became the de facto in the virtual grappling world but I didn’t enjoy the controls as I did during AKI’s reign. Does WWE All Stars have what it takes to reel me back into wrestling? Find out next!

The most interesting aspect of WWE All Stars is the premise, since half the roster is filled with legends of wrestling and the other half has current and rising superstars. So if you’re like me, who stopped watching wrestling a long time ago, it feels good to come back to a game where these admired athletes of an era garner the same attention as today’s popular wrestling stars.

While the annual Smackdown vs. Raw series strives for realism in graphics and gameplay, WWE All Stars sets itself apart with its exaggerated arcade gameplay and caricature-like design for the wrestling superstars. The character models are sculpted in ways that would make He-Man proud but the action figure-style wrestlers mesh perfectly with the over-the-top gameplay which is fast and furious. The controls are pick-up-and-play affair and the fundamentals won’t take very long to understand and before you know it you’ll be landing pile drivers from 10ft off the ground. Wrestlers are separated by four distinct classes: Acrobat, Brawler, Grappler, and Big Man, with each category having unique advantages such as Brawler being able to chain combos and the Big Man boasting brute strength (a stomp launching opponents in the air, anyone?). And unlike your grandma’s wrestling game, this one is very light on the rules excluding regulations like rings outs and submissions, your only mission is to either win by pin fall or by executing your finisher. With such fast-paced combat, WWE All Stars sometimes feels like a fighting game heavy on the wrestling element.

In terms of content, the game only has handful of match types such as your standard exhibition, tornado tag team, handicap match, Triple Threat, Fatal 4-Way, Hardcore match and Steel Cage match. The main portion of the game is the Path of Champions mode where you must battle through 10 unrelated matches to land a final match to either become WWE Champion, WWE Heavyweight Champion or WWE Tag Team Champions. Despite the decent effort put into FMV cutscenes in each path, the matches feel tacked on. This mode does a poor job of making you care about the matches before facing the champion. It felt as if I was playing 10 random matches just to make it to the end. The best mode in the entire game, which should have been touted as the crux of the entire package is Fantasy Warfare. Each match in Fantasy Warfare has two (one legend, the other superstar) wrestlers going against each other to prove who is the best in the category for that match. For example, the Pride of Scotland match has Roddy Piper against Drew McIntyre; another match has Hulk Hogan against John Cena to prove who is the biggest superstar. These matches play like regular exhibition matches but the video package beforehand makes it feel very exciting. Thanks to this mode I gained a bit more context about some of the wrestlers I didn’t know about. The videos are edited very well and do a great job highlighting distinct differences and similarities between the two wrestlers. Plus they’re plain fun to watch. This is by far my favorite mode in the entire game.

To round off the other features in the game there’s a character creator mode which gives you multiple slots for different creations and an online mode. With my experience, online play was serviceable. There were instances of lag but not too much of a game breaker. The only problem I had online was the cage match. When you’re leaving the cage you have to stop a moving arrow inside a colored bar, but since the arrow moves so quickly, when playing online the game registers it later than you would like making that part of the match a frustrating experience. The create-a-superstar mode could have also been better in terms of content (clothing and entrances) and the lack of original moves for your wrestler also hurts the mode(your wrestler can only have preexisting moves from other WWE wrestlers). On the bright side, the game does support DLC content (really, what game doesn't nowadays?) and players can download wrestlers such as Honky Tonk Man, Ted DiBiase Jr. and future releases look to include stars such as Chris Jericho and Jerry "The King" Lawler.

WWE All Stars has a few shortcomings stopping it from being legendary but with its fast and stylish gameplay and adequate amount of modes it should keep wrestling fans busy for a while. Even if you’re not huge on today’s wrestling entertainment, All Stars is still a formidable game and a great alternative to the wrestling games on the market today.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Final Fantasy Retrospective - Special Edition

I am going to switch it up a bit. Instead of posting a long 5 part series on all the Final Fantasy games, I am going to sum up each game in about a sentence or two. Unlike my Dragon Quest retro, I have finished just about every Final Fantasy game so I have a bit of history with the franchise.

Final Fantasy I (Origins) - Started the whole phenomenon. I think it is worth playing the updated editions.

Final Fantasy II (Origins) - Often called the "black sheep" of the series, this game is difficult to play but I actually enjoyed this more than the original. Has a story with characters that like to sacrifice themselves. *This plays a lot like the SaGa series because the Director of this game went on to create the SaGa series*

Final Fantasy III (DS) - The one game in the series I did not complete, I also have no desire to complete this game. I just did not like the DS version at all. It doesn't have the same charm as the first two in my opinion.

Final Fantasy IV (too many versions) - This is a great Final Fantasy. Story is a bit outdated and simple but it is still a fun ride with great music and challenge (especially the DS version). However, they need to stop remaking this game. There has to be over 6 versions of this game.

Final Fantasy V (not enough versions) - Hands down my favorite Final Fantasy game (same with Dragon Quest, maybe I like the number 5?) Light hearted adventuring, charming, awesome music, challenging, and best job system ever.

Final Fantasy VI (Anthology) - I had a bad habit of comparing this Chrono Trigger. To be honest, I wasn't a big fan of this game. It took itself way to serious at times and had too many characters. However, over time I beat this game more than 5 times and started to appreciate it more and Kefka is the best villain in the entire series.

Final Fantasy VII (Playstation) - First Final Fantasy game I played. I was blown away at the time and it hit all the right spots. Cool story and characters, but it doesn't quite hold up to me anymore. * Dear Square Enix, I know you are on hard times, so to get you back into the green, I have an idea... stick with me... REMAKE FINAL FANTASY VII. Yes it will cost a pretty penny but I am sure you would make it back and then some. We all know the real reason it hasn't been remade - you are scared.*

Final Fantasy VIII - If Final Fantasy were to be as real as possible it would be this game. Enemies don't drop money, characters don't go in and out your main characters body, Technically there is no MP and human beings really aren't that strong unless they have a Guardian Force equipped. Oh yeah, I didn't like this game that much, boring story, characters are all one dimensional (Squall is even more blah than Cloud). Still it has awesome music and it was really beautiful.

Final Fantasy IX - I don't know how to judge this game. I hated the character designs (except Vivi of course), Story was fun and entertaining, battles weren't really interesting to me. I liked it a lot more than Final Fantasy VIII. Also, what the hell is with the last boss. Unless I missed something, he has nothing to do with anything, did I miss something?

Final Fantasy X - Definitely one of the best Final Fantasy games. Interesting story, characters, great graphics, interesting battle system. A little on the easy side though. I think this is where the music shifted in a new direction for the most part from Nobuo Uematsu, but the music is still great.

Final Fantasy X-2 - Pretty weird game. Story I thought was downright terrible, the music was awful, and had interesting character designs to say the least (like Rikku barely wears anything). However battles were fun, active, and challenging.The game also offered freedom from the jump. I also liked Paine even though she was very one dimensional.

Final Fantasy XI - I raised a cat girl to level 6 and that was the end of my trip to Vana'diel.

Final Fantasy XII - This game is absolutely amazing. I have to give it to Square Enix on this one because they just changed what a Final Fantasy game was. No more random battles, very down to earth believable story, some of the best graphics on the PS2. Very well balanced and I couldn't stop exploring the world in this game. The only problem with the game is Vaan the main character. Basch was intended to be the main character and it makes sense. Vaan for the most part has no purpose in this game, he is just kind of there. I think Ashe is probably the coolest female Final Fantasy character.

Final Fantasy XIII - Probably considered the most controversial game in the series. Took forever to come out, and it wasn't quite what anyone thought it would be. Great visuals, ok music (best boss theme though)The first trailer made the battles looks insane and the real game didn't quite turn out the same way and the game is way too easy as it almost plays itself.The game also takes linear to new heights. I enjoyed this game though and reminds me a lot of Final Fantasy VII. I mean.. first scene in both games is an ex-soldier of some sort wielding a sword , riding a train with an older black companion who uses guns , and they are doing some sort of rebellion.

Now Square, where is Final Fantasy 5 remake of some sort PLEASE!