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The (Hopefully Temporarily) Best Game on the X-Box One!
I’ve had my Xbone for a few months now and thus far I’ve been fairly disappointed with what it has to offer. Not as a system itself; that has been fantastic. What disappoints me is the lineup available for my next gen system. I’ve played a few games on the system already and have found the results typically mediocre. The game I’m reviewing today has been available since the system’s launch, but I’ve never felt it was quite worth its price. That was until my friend Bob, the Mayor of Krunkytown, told me that I needed it. Well, you don’t argue with a mayor and so I went out and purchased Lego Marvel Super Heroes, developed by TT Games, published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and starring the voices of Stan Lee, John DiMaggio, James Arnold Taylor, Clark Gregg, John Eric Bentley, Dee Bradley Baker, Roger Craig Smith, Troy Baker, Fred Tatasciore, Nolan North, Laura Bailey, Kari Wahlgren, Travis Willingham, and Phil LaMarr.
It would probably be too hard to go too in depth with the story of this game. Not because it’s particularly complicated, but because I would have to list too many damned names. The quick break down is that a bunch of supervillains are getting together to steal cosmic bricks in order to build the “Doom Ray of Doom” to defeat Galactus (John DiMaggio) the World Devourer in hopes that it will make the people of Earth fall in line and worship their saviors. Little do they know that they are being played by the Asgardian God of Mischief Loki (Troy Baker), who intends to harness the power of Galactus to destroy Earth and Asgard. But Marvel comics doesn’t just make villains, do they? HELL NO! AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!! …And a lot of other heroes too!
This is hands down the best game available on the Xbone. That title is made much easier to achieve by having only 20 other titles to compete with, but that does not take much away from the acclaim. I’ve always been fond of the Lego series. I’ve never connected with them too drastically, but they’re typically cute and fun and they just keep getting better. Some of their properties that they’ve made into Lego versions haven’t interested me too much, but this is Marvel. Of course I’m in! And it’s the best Lego game I’ve played. The story is nothing too spectacular. It’s basically just a “heroes save the world” deal. Actually, it’s pretty much the story of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. That’s really all it needs to be though. What I appreciated about it is the funny little moments they can install into the story. I still think I liked them better when they couldn’t talk because they were pretty good at adding comedy without it. But they’re not too shabby with dialogue either. Having Hulk yell, “HULK SMASH UGLY SIDEBURNS!” when he meets Wolverine is pretty funny. They also used Nick Fury in some hilarious ways. Though he had nothing to do with the game, the character of Nick Fury is typically played by Samuel L. Jackson, and Traveller’s Tales used that for some comedy that would be well over the heads of the children that might typically play their games, making some nice references to Pulp Fiction and Snakes on a Plane.
One of the things I appreciated the most about this game was the fan service. They referenced everything they could think to reference from the Marvel universe, and more specifically the Marvel movies. There was a part where the Hulk punches the Green Goblin as he punched Thor in the Avengers, Thor arrives into the game like he does in Thor: The Dark World and even in a similar setting, the Put Up Your Dukes level is right out of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, one of the times you rescue Stan Lee is a reference to when he drank the infected juice in the Hulk movie, the chess set where we find Stan at one point might be a subtle reference to his cameo in the Avengers, and the game even has a mid-credit sequence like the greater majority of comic book movies. Also, there are achievements for doing the Fastball Special (throwing Wolverine at an enemy as Colossus) and for having Captain America and Human Torch on the same team (because both are played by Chris Evans in the movies).
Now, all of those references could not have been recognized if it were not for some extreme levels of nerdiness. That nerdiness also caused a few problems with this game. At one point, Gambit stops the Juggernaut dead in his tracks by dropping a chandelier on him. As big of a fan of Gambit as I am, that just doesn’t happen. Once the Juggernaut starts moving, nothing can stop him! He’s the Juggernaut, bitch! Also, why is the X-Men airplane called the X-Jet now? Is it not still the Blackbird? And since when is the X-Mansion on the island of Manhattan?! I also had a lot of problems arise from what the characters were able to do. First of all, Spider-Man has genius-level intellect. Why do I have to switch to that lame ass Mister Fantastic in order to use a control panel? And while we’re on the subject: I know you probably felt the need to make Mister Fantastic seem useful, but since when can he turn himself into complex machines like an electric screwdriver? That doesn’t even make sense! …The rest of the game is perfectly logical to me though… I also thought Mystique should’ve been more useful. She can basically just sneak past things. Shouldn’t she at least be able to turn into people with claws to use the claw switches? She turned into Wolverine and had claws in the first X-Men movie! I also didn’t like that Jean Grey didn’t have the special senses to detect switches like Spider-Man and Wolverine. How does that make sense? She has EXTRA Sensory Perception! That’s like two more sensories! And even worse, how can she take fire damage when you pick the version of Jean Grey that’s the Phoenix? She flew into the Sun as the Phoenix! And how does Iron Man get frozen?! He fixed that icing problem in Iron Man 1! And how does Magneto not fly?! I AM THE KING OF NERDS!!
Admittedly, the look of the game doesn’t quite live up to next gen expectations. It looks about as good as recent Lego games have on current/previous gen consoles. It’s the look they’re going for and I don’t really knock it for that. It’s kind of for kids, so it’s supposed to have a really colorful and not necessarily photorealistic look. Also, it’s a Lego game. How do you go photorealistic with that? And this one is different from any others I’ve played because they let you play around in a sandbox Manhattan between story missions, and that is just fine by me. I got to jet through the streets as Iron Man and the Silver Surfer! Although I was a little bit bothered that the Silver Surfer’s flying sounded a little like a vacuum cleaner. Is he the Silver Maid or something? I thought all maids were brown! BOOM!
The game is really fun and kept me interested right up to the point where I got 100% on the achievements. I can’t really keep wasting time on a game when I’m not getting no chievos no more! There were a couple of minor problems with the game. Sometimes the camera didn’t want to play along, or more accurately to let you see what you were playing. I also had a common problem where my character would choose to target my ally relentlessly when I was surrounded by enemies. I also got irritated in the first level because they kept putting up reminders when I was the Hulk that I could hold Y to turn back into Bruce Banner. Why would I ever want to do that? You realize that I’m currently the Hulk, right?
Lego Marvel Super Heroes is currently my favorite Xbone game by leaps and bounds. It’s not hard to do when everything else on the system turned out to be okay at best, but the game is still entirely enjoyable. The story is simple but peppered with some enjoyable humor, the game looks good though not quite next gen quality yet, and it’s lots of fun to play. I got hours of enjoyment out of this game and lost track of most of those hours after I started playing and realized shortly after that it was 4 in the morning. And it’s an easy 1000 achievements for you achievement whores like me. Don’t try to act like you’re too adult to enjoy this game! It’s fun for the whole family! Lego Marvel Super Heroes gets “Excelsior!” out of “I’m still hungry! I need something to eat!”
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This is the World’s Only Certainty.
I’ve had my ups and downs with the Assassin’s Creed series in the past, but I’ve generally ended up liking them all. Assassin’s Creed 3 was a little underwhelming, but the one part I did like seemed to have been turned into its own game with today’s game. But the main inspiration for the purchase of this game was that it was one of the very few games releasing with the Xbox One that I was interested in. I needed games to make my investment in the Xbone seem worthwhile, and this game became one of the two. This game is Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, developed by Ubisoft Montreal, published by Ubisoft, and including the voices of Matt Ryan, Olivia Morgan, Mark Bonnar, Oliver Milburn, Nolan North, Ed Stoppard, Ralph Ineson, Sarah Greene, O.T. Fagbenle, and Tristan D. Lalla.
Abstergo has taken a new approach at ruling the world by creating Abstergo Entertainment, who gets people to sift through the memories of the now-deceased Desmond Miles (Nolan North) by disguising them as video games. I am so in! Our character is an employee of Abstergo Entertainment assigned to explore the life of an eighteenth-century pirate named Edward Kenway (Matt Ryan), who later fathers Haytham Kenway, who later fathers Connor Kenway and stars in his own game. As Edward, you kill an Assassin and assume his clothing, getting yourself wrapped up in a fight between the Assassins and the Templars. Refusing to take a side, you spend more of your time aligning yourself with random pirates, such as Blackbeard (Mark Bonnar), Bartholomew Roberts (Oliver Milburn), Benjamin Hornigold (Ed Stoppard), Charles Vane (Ralph Ineson), Anne Bonny (Sarah Greene), “Calico” Jack Rackham (O.T. Fagbenle), and Mary Read (Olivia Morgan). But, as his journey takes him closer to an ancient artifact known as The Observatory, his goals start to change from selfish ones to something more in line with a creed held by a certain group of people that kill another group of people.
I really liked this game. It had similar problems that could be found in any of the other Assassin’s Creed games, but I would say the changes they made helped this game work out to be my favorite Assassin’s Creed game to date. One of the things I’ve always had a problem with is the non-Assassin parts of these games. That remains in this game. I don’t know why. They just slow the pace down on the parts I want to play. This one was vaguely interesting in the Meta way they make their own company part of Abstergo Enterprises, but my interest didn’t get much further than that. I still don’t know why they feel the need to have these sections. Is anybody playing these games to find out what’s going on with Desmond? Not me! I’m here to jump off of buildings and stab people in the neck! And didn’t I destroy the world at the end of the previous game anyway? I don’t remember, and that’s probably because I don’t really pay attention to these sides of the story. I liked the Edward Kenway parts a lot. It was fun being a pirate. They also had some emotional bits in the story that worked very well. The way they handled Blackbeard’s fate was very well done and I wasn’t really expecting the reveal involving James Kidd even though the voice should’ve probably given it away. The only real problem I had with the story is that they didn’t do anything with the Bermuda Triangle. They were right there! I went to Florida and everything! Just seems like such a waste.
As with all of the Assassin’s Creed games, Black Flag looks great. The only complaints I had were with some of the special armor you can unlock through collectables. Both the Templar armor and the Mayan armor take a while and some doing to unlock, but getting them ruins everything. You lose the trademark Assassin hood! You can’t do that! I’ve played like 6 games with that hood and I want it right where it is! And do you know how ridiculous it looks to see Edward grab an invisible hood and pull it over his head because you didn’t change the character’s movements to account for you taking away the hood? One thing I did appreciate was the sea shanties your crew would sing while you were piloting your ship. It felt like a GTA radio station for the high seas.
I think the thing that helped this game win most of all with me is that it took all the things I liked from the previous game and built the game around it, and those things were the nautical battles. I spent hours in this game avoiding the main story and sailing the high seas, looting and plundering ships that got in my way. And the game seems aware of what drew me in because they started the game with it. And I like almost all of the nautical battles. Almost. There were parts that caused me some frustration that I felt like I didn’t enjoy at the time. For instance, I didn’t think the process of upgrading a ship made any sense. Why am I going to a store and paying lots of money to upgrade my ship when I also have to supply the materials for the upgrade? You don’t go to Best Buy to buy a movie and have to bring a DVD-R with you! The crew system for your ship was fine. You could either hire them from a bar or save them from guards or rescue them on the seas. I preferred the last two options. They had better fight harder for me if I saved their life instead of just giving them money to join. The most frustrating thing about the nautical battles was the legendary ships you had to fight. One of them had a really big ram on the front of their ship it would look to hit you with, and it was made even more annoying by the fact that this ram did not even need to touch you to do damage. The game would count it as improved damage even when it hit you with its side. Which TOTALLY makes sense. And they were all pretty difficult. I died a lot trying to battle them even with a fully upgraded ship. I actually got the achievement when I didn’t deserve it because I had destroyed each of the two legendary ships that attack you simultaneously, even though I had never destroyed both at the same time. But even with the achievement, I still felt like I owed them an ass-whooping so I kept coming back. I eventually defeated them with extreme cowardice by dropping tons of explosives as I was trying to run away. Like a boss.
There are other things to the gameplay, of course. I liked that you can now see where all of the collectables are if you look around from the top of a viewpoint. There’s still hunting in this game, but you don’t have to do it as much and it doesn’t deduct anything from you if you shoot them because you don’t want to fuck around and have to chase down an iguana. I did find it extremely hard to find rabbits, especially for a creature that fucks like rabbits. They should be everywhere! The usual staple of the Assassin’s Creed games recently is to have some form of strategy game involving sending your crew out to do something for you while you continue with the game. This game does that with something called Kenway’s Fleet, where you send out ships to do trades with other countries. This was a forgettable experience, but only annoyed me because you couldn’t tell your ships which ship to fire upon. It doesn’t make sense that my ships will shoot at different ships when they should be all trying to take out the giant Man O’ War. Fuck the Schooner! Let that little bitch shoot at me for a while. I also still hate the gambling games they include. Remember in my review for Assassin’s Creed 3 when I told you how I hate Nine Man Morris? Well they brought it back. And I still hate it. But fortunately, there’s not an achievement for it so I didn’t really bother with it much.
Though Assassin’s Creed 4 doesn’t change drastically from the previous incarnations of the game, I would say that the things they did helped Black Flag wind up as my favorite Assassin’s Creed game to date. The story still has the boring stuff outside of the life of the Assassin, but when you ignore that the story succeeds with a lot of interesting and emotional moments. The look is as great as it typically is, and they made a smart decision to keep most of the controls the same but make the game a lot heavier with the nautical battles, which I found very satisfying. Fans will already have purchased this game, and non-fans might not find it worth $60, but it’s been cheaper than that recently and this game is totally worth $40. I was satisfied at $60. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag gets “It might be that this idea is only the beginning of wisdom, and not its final form” out of “In a world without gold, we might have been heroes.”
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It’s Not What I’m Doing … It’s What I’ve Done.
You could say that my sister has a bad habit of picking the worst game from my Christmas list to get me as a present. I prefer to think that she has a gift for it, and that the bad habit is my naiveté for assuming I’ll like so many games. If you’re up to date with my reviews, you’ll know that two years in a row my sister has given me a game that made it into my worst games of the year. Last year was Twisted Metal, but this year she got me Injustice: Gods Among Us – Ultimate Edition, developed by NetherRealm Studios, published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and starring the voices of George Newbern, Kevin Conroy, Adam Baldwin, Susan Eisenberg, Richard Epcar, Phil LaMarr, Neal McDonough, Joey Naber, Khary Payton, Mark Rolston, Tara Strong, Alan Tudyk, Stephen Amell, Troy Baker, Grey DeLisle, Jennifer Hale, J.G. Hertzler, Nolan North, and Fred Tatasciore.
In an alternate reality, the Joker (Richard Epcar) tricks Superman (George Newbern) into killing Lois Lane and destroying Metropolis, sending Superman off the handle to the point where he kills the Joker and establishes a new world order as the High Councilor. In our reality, the Joker’s plan did not succeed, but did send the heroes from our world over to the other one, where they must join Batman’s (Kevin Conroy) insurgency and try to take down Superman’s regime.
There must be some sort of mistake. I seem to not have taken any notes on the story of this game. Of a fighting game! They’re always so story-driven! This game didn’t have a bad story (especially when you compare it to other fighting games), but it was fairly forgettable. I guess I didn’t take any notes about it because it didn’t really make any impact on me one way or another. It didn’t impress me as being particularly well-written, and I didn’t think of jokes to tear its shittiness apart. It was roughly as good as any of those straight to DVD DC or Marvel movies. Take that for what it is.
The thing that really makes or breaks a fighting game is the gameplay. The problem with that when it comes to me reviewing them is I don’t really like fighting games. I was interested enough to complete the story and beat the game with a couple of the individual characters to see their specific endings, but as with all other fighting games, once I hit that wall of boredom I hit it hard. When I reach boredom with a fighting game, there’s no taking a break and coming back to it; I’m out. Returning to the game is extremely painful at that point. This game controls like most of the newer Mortal Kombat games. There’re some punches and some kicks, a few special movies, and a super move for each character. Nothing revolutionary. I do like the fighting games that allow you to transition between different sections of the same level by knocking your opponent off of an edge, and this game does that as well. Of course, once you’ve seen it once you can pretty much put a check mark behind that ‘cause it’s just going to be the same thing over and over. There were a couple of notable changes to the fighting game mechanics that I noticed. The first was the health bar system. Unlike most fighting games that give each character a full health bar for each round, you’re given two from the beginning but do not get full health when you knock out one of the enemies’ health bars. I actually liked this because it inspires you to do good all the way through as opposed to getting a fresh start because you just got KO’ed. The other thing I noticed was the Wager system, which I hated. It basically just gives the opponent the chance to prolong the battle by sacrificing their super bar. They’re about to die, so they’re not going to need it, but you may have if you were trying to finish the game spectacularly with a super move. Instead, they wager their entire super bar every time and you have the choice to either sacrifice your ability to do your super move or let them win, damaging you or healing them. It just seemed like an unnecessary annoyance.
The characters were pretty good in the game. It’s basically every notable character from DC comics, at least as far as I know. I’ve never been that big of a fan of DC, but I certainly couldn’t think of anyone else from that universe that I would care to see in the game. That basically means that Batman is in the game. But I also resented Batman because they changed his default costume and made it look lame. Thankfully, that could be repaired with alternate costumes, but you couldn’t fix how lame his super move was. He basically just jumps up into the air and hits the opponent with the batmobile. This is Batman we’re talking about! Stupid ass Aquaman stabs the guy with a trident, hits them with a giant wave, and gets them eaten by a giant shark! Wonder Woman’s super also sucks because it makes her seem like she needs help because she basically gets her Amazons to come in and beat your opponents ass. It would’ve been less lame to involve that stupid invisible airplane she used to have. But there were lots of characters to choose from, and even more because I got the Ultimate Edition. That means I had even more characters to not care about. Like Zatanna. …Yay…
Injustice: Gods Among Us was a decent enough game for those who like fighting games, especially the Mortal Kombat games. Unfortunately for it, this review was written by me. I’m not that big of a fan of DC and I’m not that big of a fan of fighting games. Kind of makes you wonder why I asked for this game in the first place, doesn’t it? Well I am a complicated individual, but I will not complicate my review any more than I need to. If you like DC and fighting games, buy it. Otherwise, skip it. Injustice Gods Among Us – Ultimate Edition gets “There is no justice!” out of “You could feel the love, right?”
Another year down, another year closer to death, and another year spent ignoring those facts by playing video games and watching movies. 2013 was an interesting year for gaming. A lot of great games were released this year, leaving me fully confident that I’d be able to pull a top 5 and maybe even a top 10. As usual, I’m not that confident about being able to find enough games for the bottom half of my list because I didn’t really make good use of my Gamefly this year. But this was also an interesting year for video games because we got some brand spankin’ new consoles in the Xbox One and the PS4 … that brought nothing significant for games. I only bought the Xbox One, but none of the games for that system would come close to my top 5 for the year. And I didn’t buy the PS4 because its games were even worse. But there’s still plenty enough to talk about for this year as I present my review for the Games of 2013.
DMC: DEVIL MAY CRY
This game was okay. The series had gotten a little stale so they decided to try to sexy it up a little bit and change Dante’s look. Some people got mad about that. I didn’t care. I meant about the game. It was a standard Devil May Cry game, and I’ve not been that interested in those in any of their incarnations. Beat the shit out of your X button until all the enemies on screen are dead. A nice enough way to kill time, but certainly not a must have title.
FIRE EMBLEM AWAKENING
This game was actually the very first game I played on the 3DS that I purchased some months later. I finally decide to purchase a 3DS because of the Pokémon release, and this game seemed to be the most interesting. And it was. The gameplay was enjoyable turn-based strategy stuff, but I found myself completely obsessed with the romance system in the game. I tried to get everyone in my team to fuck everyone else in my team. And then when they did and their children came back from the future to join my team (this actually happens!), I tried to get the kids from the different families together. I would talk more about the satisfying gameplay or the nice graphics, but I really spent all my time playing matchmaker in this game, and I still enjoyed it.
DEAD SPACE 3
I’ve liked the Dead Space series in the past, and technically I’d say I enjoyed this game as well. The problem is that I no longer remember it. It was just like the other Dead Space games but with more snow. I do remember liking the story, the graphics, and the gameplay, so I’d still say I’d recommend playing it even if it is somewhat forgettable. It’s probably only $20 by now, and it’s definitely worth that.
This is another game that I entirely forgot existed. If you’ve ever played a Crysis game, well this is another one. It’s really pretty, it does nothing to advance the genre of the first-person shooter, and the story is never anything special. And neither are the games. They’re fun enough, but not spectacular.
GOD OF WAR: ASCENSION
I’ve owned this game since I got it as a gift for my birthday in June. I still have not felt any reason to play it. I guess I kind of assumed that the game got shitty reviews, but as I look it up to write this it turns out that it’s been generally favorable. I will need to find out where I put my copy and get around to it now, I suppose.
GEARS OF WAR: JUDGMENT
Now this game I did play. I’m not sure why. It wasn’t bad, but it was Gears of War as all the secondary characters I never cared about. Except Cole-Train-Baby-Woo, whose name I will not say any other way. There’s nothing wrong with this game, but there’s nothing special or significant about it either. Have you played Gears of War before? Well this looks and plays exactly like that. That’s not a bad thing, but you’re not going to get anywhere near the top of my lists by rehashing.
Ooooo, I wish I had played you! I saw some game footage. This game looks stupid and broken as shit. WHY DID I NOT PLAY YOU?! Gamefly! Get me Star Trek on the phone, stat!
METRO: LAST LIGHT
I just recently started playing this game. I felt like I wanted to get this game all year, and it was eating at me every time I saw it on the shelf. I saw it go on sale numerous times, but never went low enough that I felt I should take the risk. But it finally reached the price I needed it to be: Free! My sister gave me this game for Christmas, so I’ve only been playing it a little. The game could complain that it wasn’t given the best chance to make it into my top games because I haven’t even beaten it yet, but I think I’ve played enough to be able to say it was in no danger of that anyway. It’s good, but you came out in the same year as GTAV, BioShock Infinite, and Tomb Raider. You’re going to have to step your game up for that. The story is forgettable so far, but the graphics are nice and the gameplay is fun. Just not really exceptional in any way that I’ve yet found.
FAST & FURIOUS: SHOWDOWN
Remember what I said about the Star Trek game. Same goes for this one. I didn’t play it, and I think we all know exactly why.
I played a demo of this game and found it to be acceptable. I would totally play this game when it dropped down to $20. But they don’t usually release games that aren’t total garbage at $20, and when they finally dropped the price to around that low, I was no longer interested. I’ll probably get it eventually, so you can call this a recommendation if the game is already $20. But I know that I’ve definitely given better recommendations before.
I have been (and still remain) very interested in playing this game. Deadpool is one of my favorite comic book characters and is one of the few comic books that I read regularly anymore. Sadly, it did not appear that Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan (writers of the Deadpool comics and stars of one of my favorite podcasts, Nerd Poker) had anything to do with this game. If I couldn’t even rely on the comedy of the story to keep my interest in this game, it would have to come down the gameplay. And the gameplay just seemed too standard. I will eventually play this game, but it’s going to need to be much cheaper than I’ve managed to find it yet. $20 range sounds about right.
My roommate got me really excited to play this game. I had played Muramasa: The Demon Blade on the Wii a few years back (which was around the last time I played anything on the Wii), and I really enjoyed it. It was super basic gameplay, but I thought the art style was pretty interesting and captivating. When I heard about Muramasa Rebirth, I was excited at the idea of a sequel. Then I found out it was just another time that Sony decided that porting things and making them HD was a good enough reason to release a game. They added some new levels and a few new levels, but I still feel that I’ve already played this and have no reason to do it again.
I’ve really liked the Pikmin games in the past, but there was one big complication keeping me from getting into this version of the game: the fact that I down own a Wii U. I’m still waiting for a game to come out that makes the Wii U worth purchasing, and Pikmin just isn’t generally good enough to be that game.
I was relatively satisfied with my time with Diablo. My past with Diablo never quite matched up with the series. I never played the first one and I played the second one at the behest of a friend some years after it came out. It never impressed me because I was always a few years removed from the time when it was supposed to impress me. Realizing that, I felt the need to get into Diablo as soon as I could. When it finally came out, I waited another year to get to it. NOT MY FAULT! At first, my computer simply could not handle the game. When I finally got to build a new computer that was capable of running games, I was aware that they would be putting the game out on console. Thankfully, I was still able to play the console version in the time where I would still appreciate it. There’s nothing much to the story of the game, but for someone like me that is completely comfortable with grinding and leveling and dungeon-crawling for the best gear, this game can easily suck hours out of your life. And that’s basically all you can expect of some games.
BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS
I was nervous about this game going into it. I loved the other two games in the Arkham series, but Arkham Origins was not going to be in the hands of Rocksteady Studios, the group that finally figured out the formula for making a good Batman game. In this games’ defense, they did just steal the formula wholesale from Rocksteady, but you could see the lack of love in it. It felt ALMOST right, but lacked the polish of a Rocksteady game in the fluidity of the controls. The story was interesting as an origin story, but also felt like fan appeasement in just trying to throw as many famous enemies in as possible. Also, you should probably barely bother acting like we’re not going to know who these enemies are because most people playing are fans. Thought Batman might not know them yet, we know who the Riddler and the Joker are. But the game was pretty good, it just felt like Rocksteady loved it more and did it better.
ASSASSIN’S CREED IV: BLACK FLAG
My mind wasn’t blow, but I was pretty well-satisfied with this game. I was curious how they would handle the dead Desmond in the room for this game, but was hoping they would go with the “Who cares? You don’t want to play that side of the game anyway!” approach instead of what they did, but the story of the part of the game I care about was interesting. Who doesn’t on some level want to be a pirate? Especially if it means that I’ll get to play an entire game of the best part of the last game: the nautical battles! I spent most of my time in this game sailing around and exploring, occasionally putting that on pause to advance the story a bit. I wanted it to continue so much that I even got that DLC for it already. What was it called? Adéwalé Unchained?
I was on the fence about purchasing one of the big shooters this year. I invested in an Xbone this year, and I would not be purchasing a game in the past when I had already moved into the future. But not all of my friends were ready to move into the future, and I have no desire to play multiplayer games with people I don’t know. This may be a bit of a spoiler for the next review, but I finally decided to buy one of these games and I went with this one. Battlefield is typically a much better game, it has vehicles, and it is not Call of Duty. How did I like it? We’ll find that later … when I play it …
CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS
This was finally the year when I stopped allowing myself to be tricked into Call of Duty, even though this year was one made by my preferred publisher: Infinity Ward. I’m just sick of Call of Duty. Every year these people put out a game, every year it seems like the same old stuff, and every year my friends tell me to buy it ‘cause we’ll totally play together … and then we don’t. No more! If Activision seems like they allowed for some innovation and these game stop seeming like the same old thing, maybe I’ll come back. For now, I’ve checked out. I’ll be on Battlefield.
One of two exclusive games boasted by the PS4, and the deciding factor for me deciding not to buy it. I played the demo. It wasn’t bad, but it just seemed like a rip off of Ratchet and Clank with an added desire to jerk off and show the world how powerful their physics engine could be.
Dead Rising 3 is the best exclusive game I’ve played. It also does not have a lot of competition. But the game is a lot of fun; it’s just not very special. It’s almost identical to the other Dead Rising games but it looks a little prettier and has a lot of zombies on the screen at the same time. It could be compared to Knack in that way because both of them just seem to want to show off the power of their system without focusing on much else, but Dead Rising was much more fun than Knack was. It’s mindless, hack-and-slash fun, but it’s fun nonetheless.
RYSE: SON OF ROME
I haven’t managed to play this game just yet, but it will be played eventually. It looks visually spectacular, but if I’m going to invest $60 into you, you’re going to need a little more, such as a good story or some good gameplay. Everything I’ve heard from this game indicates it has barely any story and the gameplay is super repetitive. That being said, it’s just a matter of time before I buy this game. As they say, beggars can’t be choosers, and I am desperate for another game for my Xbone. If I catch wind of this game on sale for even $15 off, I’m probably buying it.
LEGEND OF ZELDA: A LINK BETWEEN WORLDS
This game wasn’t really given its fair shake because of Pokémon. I bought it as soon as it came out, but didn’t start playing it until about a week ago because I just had to catch ‘em all. Now that I’ve been playing it, I’ve been loving it. It feels almost identical to A Link to the Past, and that’s one of the best Zelda games ever. I can’t really talk about the story of the game very much yet as I doubt I’m remotely close to beating it, but it seems mostly like the average story of a Zelda game. Ganon’s coming back, Zelda is in trouble, and the legendary hero is a small elven boy that finds a cool sword. That’s the usual stuff, but they also now have a Hyrule and a Lorule. Get it?! HIGH-RULE and LOW-RULE! These people are the cleverest! But the game has changed because now I can turn into a painting to solve puzzles. It’s a fun mechanic, but it doesn’t seem like the game has been revolutionized. Of course, when you’re a Zelda game, you don’t really need to revolutionize. You just need to recapture, and this game does that.
GRAN TURISMO 6
I haven’t played this game and I never will, but the reason I felt I needed to put it on my list is because this game is just a stupid idea. And it also exemplifies the reason I am nervous about buying Sony consoles in the future: they make terrible decisions. They put out the PSP as the most impressive handheld system to date … and put no games on it. Years later they learned from their mistakes. They made the PS Vita, which was the most powerful handheld system to date AND had two analog sticks … and have not yet put games out for it. Then they put out the PS4 with no games. Then they release the newest version of their flagship racing franchise … exclusively for the last generation of their system. How long were you aware that you’d be making a new console, Sony? About as long as Microsoft? And where did they put their flagship racing franchise? Exclusively on the Xbox One, was it? You make me anxious pulling shit like this, Sony. Knock it off.
THE WORST GAMES OF 2013
I had a great experience with this title. I thought the story was super interesting and the performances by people like Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe were just fantastic. That all sounds like a positive, so what was my problem? My problem was that I played a really good movie … but I was playing a video game. Quantic Dream, I know this is how you roll … your thumbstick to make your character turn her head to look over her shoulder … You make games that are basically really long quick time events and I realize that. But that is lame. Can we not just assume my character knows how to get out of bed without my assistance? Must I hold L1 and R1 to have her put her feet on the floor? I don’t have to think that much to accomplish that task in real life, so you can go ahead and do that one for me. But I really liked the story and the graphics, and the actors did pretty great jobs, so I’m going to recommend that you play this movie.
My problem with The Last of Us was mostly with the hype. This was a good game that was talked up so hard that it seemed impossible for it to do anything but disappoint. My roommate and I were still some of the few people that seemed let down by this game. The story was pretty good and it elicited some emotional responses from me, and the game looked as good as you could in a game with about 50% bland cities. Maybe it was the gameplay that turned me off because it was thoroughly average, but I think it’s just that the propaganda machine set the expectations too high.
I took my time getting around to this game because it was a fighting game. Fighting games hold my attention for a matter of hours and when they hit the interest wall, they hit it hard. I’m not competitive enough to play a fighting game until I get good at it, nor do I intend to analyze frame rates to be really good at them. I basically just beat the story and then fall asleep. But I got the ULTIMATE EDITION!! And that meant I had a few more characters to get bored with quickly.
This game created an unnatural amount of anger in me. They’re just trying to hard now. This game always seemed to be a blatant GTA rip off that didn’t take itself seriously. I respected that. I was never as big of a fan of GTA as everyone else was, and injecting a little more comedy into the equation worked for me on occasion. This game seemed to indicate that the series was bored ripping off GTA and wanted to go off on their own … and rip off Crackdown. That’s a great idea! Rip off a far lesser game instead! The story was nothing special and the comedy was mostly lost on me, seeming at times that their equation for comedy was just to have regular things happen, but this time make the character naked or holding a dildo. And if you really want to blow the audiences minds, both. The game was also somewhat glitchy when I played it, and the game also seemed to embrace glitches and make them part of the game since you were supposed to be inside a video game anyway. And why not? Gamers love glitches! I was so irritated and deflated by this game that I was never able to beat it. I just got bored one day and wandered off into the living room with the game still on, never to play it again.
Now this here game was a terrible piece of shit. It demanded to set itself in the world of the Aliens movies, but the story it decided on was going to go ahead and ignore all of that. Hicks is alive! He managed to get off the escape vessel, but didn’t care enough to rescue Newt or Ripley so they could go on to die in Alien 3. He had time to save them too, since he obviously had time to dump a decoy body in his place. But why would he do that? This game explains it with, “Long story.” Great. So Michael Biehn agreed to do the game so you just decided to make up whatever bullshit to fit him in. You certainly didn’t need him as you were never able to make his character look like him, or anything in your game look good for that matter. At first blush, this game is a standard first-person shooter, but when you play it more you realize it’s actually a shitty first-person shooter. There’s nothing in this game worth its existence.
THE BEST GAMES OF 2013
I’m never going to be able to please the part of my audience that adores the Grand Theft Auto series, just as the Grand Theft Auto series seems unlikely to ever be able to please me. I’ve never been able to find the same level of enjoyment in these games as they do. I’ve even tried to study how these people play the game in hopes of finding that I’ve been doing it wrong. Apparently I have been because I tend to try to complete the story and do all the side missions while these people play the game online (when Rockstar gets around to releasing it) or run around the city with no objective save for collecting wanted levels until they get killed and start it all over again. How is that fun? How is it possible to spend hours shooting random civilians and cops until you finally succumb to bullets, and then starting the cycle anew? I don’t know, but they do. I don’t really attempt to argue with people about the fun factor involved in this game, but I need a little more out of a game to put it in a “Best Of” list. The story in this game is okay, but it is highly unlikely that this game will inspire me to come back to it. Of course I’ll recommend this game, but I’m not going to act like it’s the best game of the year as many others might.
I love this game far more than I should, and I know I have a problem. I can’t help but catch ‘em all! I buy both games so that I can truly catch ‘em all and send ‘em to myself so that I may be Lord Almighty of Pokémon! The reason I rate these games so highly is that, if you’re into these kinds of games at all, then a mere investment of $40 can get you hundreds of hours of play. Since I don’t go for first-person shooters online that much anymore, I can find no better way to get more bang for my buck than a Pokémon game. This game was a pretty large graphical improvement from other Pokémon games because they now had 3D to play with, but not a whole lot else has changed. The story might not involve Team Rocket in this one, but it might as well have. Bad team is causing trouble, but you’ll always win because you’re better friends with your captive animals than they are. They also added some new Pokémon somehow. You’d think they’d have run out of ideas by now. But this game is just another Pokémon game, and that’s all it really needs to be for me.
This is a very notable game because of its beautiful Studio Ghibli artistic presentation, but I found myself confused by the story. It could never decide if it was for adults or for children. The story was very touching, but got pretty adult with the heavy messages, the death of your main character’s mother, and spousal abuse. But the game also wanted to be for children and knew that children would need to have very simple game mechanics (the likes of which you have played before if you’ve played Pokémon) still being taught to you 4 hours into the game. But the gameplay is fun, the game is gloriously beautiful, and I played this game for 237 hours. Since you can get this game for $20 now, you’ll probably have a hard time getting a better value for the buck.
The Tomb Raider series was mostly okay, but sometimes terrible. They had all but fallen off the map until they put this game out. This game actually has a story (which the other ones barely did), and they filled that story with some surprisingly emotional moments. And they actually made Lara Croft an interesting person, while still keeping everything that made us like her in the first place. Well, except her ridiculously sized boobs. Now she looked like a real person instead of freakish Barbie doll person. The game also looks beautiful, and the gameplay was fantastic. The gameplay wasn’t revolutionary by any stretch of the imagination, but that’s not a requirement for me. It’s basically Uncharted with the option for a bow and arrow. But Uncharted was great. If you’re going to steal from something, steal from the best. And everything they brought on their own helped this game come a lot closer to being the best.
My mind was literally blown by this game. It did everything right. It was a beautiful game to look upon, for one thing. It’s true that it’s not photorealistic, but that’s also not what it was going for. It was going for an artistic style, and it was equally as impressive to enter Columbia as it was to enter Rapture for the first time, and they made both of those worlds come to life. The gameplay wasn’t drastically different from the other BioShock games, but it didn’t really need to be. You’ve got your guns and you’ve got your plasmids (or as this game calls them, Vigors), but that felt pretty standard. You could combine those Vigors in some interesting ways, and you also had the Sky-Line thing to use, but I found myself more than comfortable sticking to guns. One of the big things that makes the game special is Elizabeth. You have to drag her around throughout the game, but unlike Ico, it’s nothing but a pleasure. Elizabeth is hot, adorable, amusing, and helpful. You don’t have to protect her; she can’t die. In fact, she’ll just throw you things to help you while you continue to ignore her in combat. But the real thing that makes this game special to me is the story. The story of this game took my brain, rattled it around in my head, and fired it out my ass. It’s amazing that I’ve gotten around as well as I have since March with my brain destroyed, but it was still worth it.
As always, these are only my opinions, and a few of them were specifically designed to make some of you angry. Feel free to tell my why I’m wrong and I promise to read them while probably not paying attention to them. More importantly, I want to hear what you guys think were the best and worst games of 2013. Leave your list in the comments below!
Welcome to Los Perdidos
I’ve played all of the games in today’s series before but have never been nearly as into them as everyone else seemed to be. And no, I’m not talking about the Grand Theft Auto series. I think I’ve already written that review. Though I’ve never been a fan of this series, I found myself extremely excited to purchase this game on day one. Why is that? Because it was one of two games I intended to buy for my brand new Xbone! And it was the only game I was going to buy that was exclusively on said Xbone. We shall see how that worked out for me as I review Dead Rising 3, developed by Capcom Vancouver, published by Microsoft Studios, and including the voices of Andrew Lawrence, Shelby Young, Valorie Hubbard, Daniel Roebuck, Kirk Bovill, Juan Gabriel Pareja, and Veronica Milagros.
Ten years after Dead Rising 2 and Capcom is satisfied with using the same story again with different characters. Mechanic Nick Ramos (Andrew Lawrence) is in Los Perdidos, California, trying to survive a zombie outbreak with a few other survivors named Dick (Kirk Bovill), Rhonda (Valorie Hubbard), and Annie (Shelby Young). But their survival has a timer on it as they find that the government has decided to write the city off … with a nuclear bomb. The group decides they need to use this time to repair an airplane they found and get out before the bomb is dropped.
When looking at the very few release titles for the Xbone, the two games I was most interested in were Dead Rising 3 and Ryse: Son of Rome. Ryse was said to be the game that best showed the power of the system, but it fell off my radar because it was said to be too repetitive. Dead Rising was supposed to be not leaps and bounds above current generation games in visuals, but was supposed to be fun. And it was, but story certainly had nothing to do with that. It’s a very basic story, one I feel like I’ve already lived at least twice in the Dead Rising series. There’s a zombie outbreak and you have about 6 days to escape. They have a couple other things going on like a few relationship things and a government conspiracy, but nothing that was shocking. I guess I found it shocking that one of the characters in the game throws up when a guy’s intestines are thrown against a window, but only because of the failing logic involved in a guy being squeamish about gore when he spends his days surrounded by the walking dead.
Visually, the game does not stun as I had hoped it would as my guide into the new generation of video games, but I suppose you can find the power of the Xbone if you really look for it. The amount of zombies on screen at any given time is what shows off the processing power of the machine, and all of these zombies look at least a little bit different. But the fact that it seemed to be a more stylized look instead of trying to look uber-realistic hindered me from being impressed by it at first glance.
The real reason to buy this game is because of the gameplay. It’s a lot of fun. It’s pretty mindless fun as you may have come to expect from a hack-and-slash game, but it is fun nonetheless. I think I had the most fun with the crafting system. It’s really pretty deep. You can make a ton of stuff in this game by collecting and combining even more random items, but I found myself just picking the few items I particularly liked and sticking with that. I really liked how effective the electrical hammer was. And, though it wasn’t nearly as effective, I felt obligated to carry around a lightsaber at all times. How could I not?! And there were tons of collectibles and random events to encounter around the map, but I found myself resenting the time constraints of the game. I understand how the 6 day thing relates to the story, but I want to play around in the world and collect stuff. Why would you want me finishing your game so quickly anyway? It should be considered an insult to say you can beat a game in 10 hours. Most games add things like collectibles in hopes that you’ll spend more time playing and getting the feeling that you got your money’s worth out of the game instead of trying to force you to rush though the game. I also didn’t enjoy the multiplayer aspects. I was running around in the game and some random dude decided to jump into my game without my consent because I hadn’t gone into the settings and disabled that. I don’t want someone up in my Kool-Aid like that! Especially not if him joining would stop my game in its tracks for a minute while I wait for them to join! So I quickly turned that off and went by to my self-imposed isolation. Just the way I like it. I also wasn’t a fan of the way Xbone seemed to try to rip off Sixaxis from Sony. When a zombie grabs you, you can shake your controller to get them off. And it works as well as Sixaxis ever did … which is to say not very well. I hope it doesn’t become a thing with the Xbone, but it’s still a minor gripe.
I only got about half of the achievements in this game before I stopped playing it in favor of Assassin’s Creed IV. I may go back and clean up a few more that I was close to. They’re mainly just a lot of collecting, leveling, and killing. Killing 100,004 zombies takes a while. Everything else seems attainable, depending on how hard Nightmare mode is.
Dead Rising 3 is the best (and only) Xbone exclusive I’ve played. Unimpressive story and graphics that only impress with the amount of zombies the system can have on screen at any given time are overridden by the good old fashioned fun of cutting your way through an ocean of zombies with a weapon you made from a sledgehammer and microwave. If you purchased an Xbone, this is probably a game you should have for it. Dead Rising 3 gets “Local Hero” out of “Them’s the Facts.”
I Gotta Go Meditate. Or Masturbate. Or Both.
The game I’m reviewing today is from a series I have liked. LIKED! But I’ve always had some level of irritation with the series because of everyone else’s reactions to the game. Many people act like past entries in this series are some of the greatest video games of all times. In fact, last I had heard one of these games overthrew one of the Zelda games to become the highest rated game of all time, a title I still staunchly oppose. These games have all been typically fun, but I’ve never really found any value in the game beyond occasionally hopping back in to relieve stress by blowing up random things in a city. But they’ve released another one, and it’s already saddened me by breaking world records and selling over $1 billion in the first three days. …sigh… Well, let’s see if it’s worth all this as I review Grand Theft Auto V, developed by Rockstar North, published by Rockstar Games, and including the voices of Shawn Fonteno, Ned Luke, Steven Ogg, Jay Klaitz, Gerald Johnson, Jonathan Walker, Vicki van Tassel, Michal Sinnott, Danny Tamberelli, Julian Gamble, Robert Bogue, David Mogentale, Matthew Maher, and Bryan Scott Johnson.
Nine years ago, a bank robbery went wrong, leaving Brad dead, Trevor Philips (Steven Ogg) on the run, and Michael Townley (Ned Luke) in witness protection. Today, in Los Santos, San Andreas, Michael is living under the pseudonym of Michael De Santa with his wife Amanda and children Jimmy and Tracey. Franklin Clinton (Shawn Fonteno) comes into the mix while working as a repo man for a car dealer that sells Jimmy a car as credit fraud and Michael goes down to straighten him out. Franklin decides that he wants get out of small time crime and up his game a little bit, and he thinks mentoring under Michael is the best way to do that. But Michael’s got problems of his own, including conflicts with a Mexican narcotics gang, working with the corrupt FIB (FBI), and the fact that Trevor is still alive and if he finds out that Michael’s still alive, some shit could go down.
I think the biggest problem I have with the GTA games is that I enjoy games that are some simple dumb fun, but I prefer games that help further video games as an art form by having a great story. Some of those innovative and/or story driven games never get made because they will never be as successful as a GTA. The reaction of other people also bothers me with these games, because I’ve never seen what the big deal is. Everyone acts like the GTA games are the greatest games that have ever been released. I don’t even think they’re the greatest games the Rockstar has made! Give me a Red Dead Redemption any day.
That being said, we should go into the story of this game. It’s unimpressive. I’m sure anyone playing this game will have absolutely no problem with that either. The overarching story of the game is just about some bank robbers that encounter some wacky things on their way to one big, last score. Sounds like every bank robbery movie ever. And a lot of times it seemed like the writers were trying to use this game to push their agendas. Some of the most notable occasions of this were some pro-homosexual parts, some pro-legalization of marijuana parts, and pro-immigration parts. I have nothing against those agendas, but this game doesn’t really seem like the place to make your political statements. And then other side missions were just weird, even for a Grand Theft Auto game. Like the section of the game that turns into Franklin’s ability to take on skydiving missions. The game brings us to that section by having Franklin have a Lassie moment with a dog, where the dog is apparently talking to him and leading him to a skydiver caught in a tree. If you’re going to do that, the least you could do is have Franklin get out of his car in a massive puff of marijuana smoke before he sees the dog talking to him. But though it wasn’t a very creative story, there was a lot of creativity in the dialogue. And there is hours upon hours of it to listen to. That’s not a critique, as if to say that there’s too much of it. I’m just saying I’m impressed by how much writing they would have had to do. But perhaps do something a little bit more interesting with the story instead of spending so much time on that.
The characters weren’t entirely creative either, but you do get three of them. Michael seemed like Al Bundy if he killed people instead of selling shoes. Sex starved wife, slut daughter, and nerdy son. And I knew they weren’t going to go this way, but I REALLY wanted his family to be taught a lesson by the end of this game. I hated every one of them and I really would’ve preferred that they all ended up broke and out on the street by the end of the game. Or at least that they would get off Michael’s case. Not that I agreed with the things that Michael was doing, but I was playing as Michael, so they were getting on MY case. Thusly, fuck those people. Trevor was a pretty interesting character, but I never felt like I wanted to play as him. I just don’t have much in common with a psychotic meth head that will fuck anything that walks past him. I’ve always been more into cocaine than meth. I preferred playing as Franklin, just because he was the nicest and most normal person I could use, but that also made him really boring. Also, when he’s talking with Lamar those guys use the fuck out of the N-word. It’s just about every other word. Also, is this game trying to indicate that black people don’t know about convertibles? When they get into them in the beginning, they seem completely shocked by them. They even call them “robot roofs.”
The look of this game is so vastly improved from any other game Rockstar has made. It’s hyper-realistic. They captured the look and feel of Los Angeles extremely well. Their map is also enormous, and varies the environment from rickety desert towns to industrial city to lush forests and even underwater expeditions. It would be nice if that gigantic map would tell me which one of my three characters could purchase a property I was interested in though. I don’t want to drive 15 minutes just to find out one of the other characters is the one allowed to purchase it. And the environments also have a lot to do with the writing, like the funny company names and billboards, and the fact that someone put a Xenomorph in the ice in the Fargo-esque level you start in. I was also a big fan of how they did switching between the characters. The camera will zoom out overlooking the city and zoom down on the other character, like someone’s fucking around with Google maps. And it’s made even better by the fact that the character you’re switching to isn’t just waiting around for you to jump back into him. He’s living his life while you play as someone else. Michael and Franklin weren’t usually doing anything interesting, but there was usually something fun to be witnessed by switching to Trevor. He’s either waking up in the desert surrounded by dead bodies or waking up in bed with one of his male subordinates or stumbling drunk out of a strip club. There were only two minor gripes I had with all of these things. First: the size of the map made loading times to start playing a little ridiculous. Why did I spend an hour installing this game just to spend 2 minutes waiting for it to start? The second problem was with switching to characters. Why the fuck do they have to change their clothes? Why did I waste all that time getting them to look exactly the way I wanted them to look just so you could change it because I had to switch away for a little while? That being said, $65 is still a great price for being able to make me grow a full beard in under a minute.
The gameplay in this was a little hit or miss for me. A lot of it worked very well, and then there was the driving. Most of the cars handled like shit. I assume they were going for some super realistic thing. I don’t have a basis for comparison because I don’t tend to drive like they do in this game, but I do know I don’t want to drive like this IN a game. I’d rather be able to complete the races without hating life. And I also don’t know how realistic I would consider it that I t-boned a car in a race and yet I was the one that spun out. And the cars also take damage realistically, which is something that I also don’t want. I don’t want my car rendered useless by the fact that I took a big jump and would’ve broken my axel in real life, or by pinning one of the wheels because I sideswiped a car a little too hard. The planes were much more fun for me, but some of the flight school missions were just bullshit. Mainly the one where they made me land on a bridge. What kind of certified flight school would make their students practice an emergency landing on a bridge and not close the bridge off from traffic? It’s not that much of a problem when the cars are small enough to drive under my wing, but when you let that semi-truck on so that it could tear the wing off of the plane, that’s just stupid. Not just for making the mission more difficult, but I’m using YOUR plane. And those missions that tell you that you must fly super low to the ground to avoid radar don’t make sense to me either. You can say that flying super low keeps me off the radar all you want, but I think it’s slightly more suspicious that my landing gear are scraping rooftops. A few people might call in about that. You should really think this through more. I also took a lot of issue with trying to lose the cops in this game. Again, it’s probably more realistic, but it’s also very frustrating. And shouldn’t diving underwater or being on the opposite side of a building make it impossible for them to see me? And I liked the stuff underwater, and I agree that in real life there might be sharks down there, but if you’re going to put enemies underwater, might you be so kind as to make it possible to purchase a weapon that works underwater? Spear guns DO exist in real life, y’know?
I also had a problem with the stupid iFruit app that I downloaded for my phone. What part of the way most people play Grand Theft Auto made Rockstar think that the thing the fans wanted the most was an annoying Gigapet? I already have pets that I am forced to feed every day. I don’t need a new, fake one.
This game also has online content … or so I’m told. All of my friends that play this game really want me to play it, but I just don’t feel that interested. I played one race and left. I’m sure the time will come for me to play the multiplayer on this game, and when I do perhaps I’ll review it separately if I have anything to say about it. For now, we’ll just say, “I heard it was good.”
I also can’t arrive at any conclusions about the achievements. I can say they’re terribly time-consuming to achieve, but I don’t think I’m interested enough in the game to dedicate that much time to getting them.
Grand Theft Auto 5 is definitely an achievement in gaming, and a record-setting success. I’m not surprised as this series has always been extremely popular, but it’s never been that popular with me. The story is lackluster, and I only enjoy playing it about half the time. It seemed like the most recent Saint’s Row game and this game took exactly opposite stances on realism, and I didn’t care for either because of it. I don’t want over-the-top, Matrix-like antics of Saint’s Row, and I don’t like annoyingly realistic Grand Theft Auto moments. Grand Theft Auto IS a great game, but it won’t be making it into my good graces until it focuses a little more on story and has something more to contribute than mindless violence. I do recommend this game, but I don’t need to. I’m sure you’ve all already decided if you’re buying it or not. Grand Theft Auto 5 gets “I’m rich, I’m miserable – I’m pretty average for this town” out of “You know, I’ve been in this game for a lot of years and I got out alive. If you want my advice – give the shit up.”
Our Long War Ends Today, Imperius!
I wanted to play today’s game for a very long time. It was originally released in May of 2012 for the computer, but my computer was having far too many problems for me to even consider running a game more powerful than Angry Birds. A year later, I was finally able to build a computer capable of running it, but by that point I didn’t feel interested anymore. Thankfully, they were putting the game out on console a few months later. My interest was revived! And now I can finally bring you my review of Diablo III, developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment, and including the voices of Athena Karkanis, Dorian Harewood, Anna Graves, Robin Atkin Downes, Rajia Baroudi, Jamieson Price, Erica Luttrell, Carl Lumbly, Grey DeLisle, Crispin Freeman, Alyson Reed, Michael Gough, Jonathan Adams, Jennifer Hale, Dominic Keating, Troy Baker, Sumalee Montano, Simon Templeman, and James Hong.
You play as one of five character types in one of two genders. You arrive in the town of Tristram following a mysterious star crashing to the ground and raising the dead in its wake. We meet with Leah (Jennifer Hale) who was in the Cathedral investigating the ominous prophecy that may lead to the resurrection of Diablo with her uncle Deckard Cain (Michael Gough). Upon investigation, we find that the star that crashed to the ground is actually an angel named Tyrael (Jonathan Adams), who tells us that the demon lords Belial and Azmodan are wreaking havoc through the world and that we have to stop them because … well, what else would we do?
I enjoyed this game just fine, but the story really had nothing to do with it. Mainly because there barely was one. It’s really not much more than, “Diablo is coming back and we have to stop him.” They have a couple smaller things they try to fit in (Deckard and Leah’s relationship, Leah and Aria’s relationship, the little boy emperor and his besieged kingdom, the demons war on the humans, the bickering angels), but it really boils down to a really long mission to beat one boss. They don’t really try to surprise you too much beyond that. There is a bit of a surprise involving Leah, and also a bit of a surprise involving our main character. I won’t spoil Leah’s, but I will spoil ours: we’re a Nephilim. I feel comfortable spoiling that because I’ve played through a great portion of the game five times and I have no recollection of the game actually informing of this. At a certain point, characters are just talking about that fact as if it were assumed knowledge by now. I feel like there was another thing that the intended to be a surprise, but if that’s the case they should feel embarrassed. We have to work with the ghost of a guy named Zoltun Kulle at one point until he betrays us. I could not wrap my mind around the idea that this could be a spoiler. The guy’s voice was brought to us by I Am Evil enterprises and every time he disappeared, he did so with the dictionary definition of a sinister laugh. The only way they could’ve surprised me with that guy was if he eventually left after helping us reach our goal to go and find his home world of rainbows and puppies. They did have lots of little journals you could pick up to get additional information, but most of them were either just unimportant things or just a characters feelings about the things going on in the unimpressive story. I did appreciate that those journals would not be hindered by leaving the area and would continue through the load screens. I would’ve hated having to stand inside Deckard’s room waiting for his journal to stop talking just so I could be underwhelmed by the information he was giving.
The game looks pretty good. It’s kind of hard to say as the camera is never that close to allow us to see the details, but that’s something they pretty much need to stick to because that’s the setup of a Diablo game. The improvements that can be seen are in the activity of the levels. The levels in the game are always alive with little movements, from creatures scurrying around on the floor to parts of the level crumbling off when you get too close. My favorite one was in a spider lair when a guy was dragged into a hole when I got too close. The attention to detail – even if we never really got close enough to see that much of it – was fantastic. Also, the cut scenes were great. The disparity in the graphical quality between the gameplay and the cut scenes reminded me of those trailers for The Old Republic that made the game look so much more awesome than the game seemed to deliver. I don’t mean that as a critique of Diablo, but as a compliment to the quality of the cut scenes.
I made it a specific point to dedicate a decent amount of time to each of the five character types before embarking on my review. What I decided early on is that I always seem to pick the character that is the least prepared for my antisocial style of gameplay. I generally don’t team up with people because people will hurt you. I’M TALKING TO YOU, CYNTHIA!! That being the case, you’d assume I’d be more prone to picking a tank character such as the Barbarian for my first go. But that’s never the case. In City of Heroes, I picked a Blaster. In World of Warcraft, I picked a rogue. And in Diablo III, I picked the Demon Hunter, or what is more commonly known as an archer. So running solo was a pretty bad idea for quite some time. The rapid fire ability helps, but I came to realize that your friends could be both assistance and hindrance. The fact that I got into this game a while after they did helped me out because they could just jump into my game and throw away the trash they would never use, which just so happened to be excellent equipment to my lower level character. The other side of that coin is the friends who attempt to rush you through your campaign so that you can join them in their higher difficulty campaigns. First off, when you get bored and abandon me right before the boss, it leaves me underpowered to face it. Second, I have a review to write! I feel like I missed most of the story! That’s why I had to go on my second playthrough, and I chose the wizard because I had not yet screwed myself over enough with my first character that shouldn’t play solo through missions. The saving grace for these two characters comes when you get one of the three followers you can use when playing solo: the Templar, the Scoundrel, and the Enchantress. The problem with these characters is I have no idea why you would ever use anyone but the Templar. He can heal directly, heal by increasing your regeneration, and he’s also a capable tank. Taking the other two is basically babysitting.
After those two characters, I finally got the message and went out as a Barbarian. It was kind of boring, but I didn’t die so that was a plus. I died a lot with the monk character, but only because he was talked up so much that I assumed I could easily waltz through one of the hardest difficulties with him. I could not. I haven’t yet gotten to the point with the Witch Doctor that he becomes truly badass. The higher you level, the more creatures you can spawn to do your fighting for you. It seems like that might get a little boring, but it would certainly be less frustrating. All I was able to spawn by the time I stopped playing was two zombie dogs. I named them Pongo and Perdita.
I’m sure a lot of people were worried that the controls of the game would suffer when porting from the computer to the console. I never played the computer version, but I found the controls very effective on the console. There are plenty enough buttons that you can map your powers to, and it got even better when my friend Hookah told me that there was a setting to change that would allow you to map any powers to any buttons and not just the five or so powers it had allocated to each button. After that the controls were pretty smooth sailing and the gameplay style would just depend on your character. One universal that I enjoyed was the traps that were spread throughout the levels, like hitting a chain to drop a chandelier on a group of enemies or shooting some boards that were holding up a wall to let it crumble onto the enemies. The problem with this was that I rarely saw the traps before I had already cleared the room because of how close the camera was. But that’s a minor gripe.
I haven’t yet gotten all of the achievements in the game, but the ones I saw didn’t seem insurmountable. Just time consuming. I’m sure by the time you had reached level 60 you’d probably have stumbled upon most of them. And probably would’ve had to have beaten the game on the harder settings to get to that level anyway. So if you’ve got the time, you’ve probably got 1,000 Gamerscore.
I wound up very satisfied with my time with Diablo III, and I’ll probably be returning to when I have the time. It had nothing to do with the story which is so completely forgettable that it’s not even worth mentioning. Thankfully, the things they concerned themselves with instead make the game worth playing. It’s lots of fun and has plenty of randomly occurring events to keep you grinding in the game well into being worth its price. Diablo III gets “Let your true self be revealed, Diablo!” out of “Even in the heart of Heaven, angels can still feel fear.”