Category Archives: Video Games

“Batman: Arkham Knight” Update

Attention all readers and Followers!
Batman: Arkham Knight, the conclusion to the epic Batman Arkham franchise by Rocksteady Studios, is almost upon the horizon. I have already reserved my PlayStation 4 copy of the game, which I will receive on Midnight this Monday. I will immediately start playing it. However, I absolutely refuse to rush through it. I will write up a full, honest to God review on it, but I can’t get through 2015 without a nice emotionally-resonant Batman story. We all know what happened with Arkham Origins, but let’s not talk about that. All of the early reviews on consoles say that it’s one of the best games of the next generation.(Although that’s not saying too much) I have been a humongous fan of Batman for years now, so please give me some space for this highly anticipated game. Remember to tune in around July for the full written review of Batman: Arkham Knight.

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“The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” Game Review

Fus-Ro-Dah! This open world fantasy RPG was released on November 11, 2011, and soon sold over 20 million copies worldwide across all systems. Before I begin, let me address the stupid practice by ZeniMax that will piss you off. Why the hell am I paying for mods in the Steam Workshop that I could easily download for free? Glad that’s out of the way. Anyway I first got this game for the PS3 on Legendary Edition with all 3 of its DLCs: Dragonborn, Hearthfire,and Dawnguard. My favorite is definitely Dragonborn, as it ties to the main story. Speaking of which, set 200 years after the events of Oblivion, the Nordic god of Destruction, Alduin, comes down to Earth in the form of a dragon. As the last event prophesiezed by the Elder Scrolls, he awakes the world’s dormant dragons in an attempt to destroy the world. The Dragonborn, a mortal chosen by the gods to wield the power of dragons, is the only one who can stop them. There are also two separate major stories. The Nordic Stormcloaks, led by Ulfric, are waging a civil war against the Imperials. And the Dark Elves are secretly planning their dominance over the Imperials. After an extensive character creation, players get to go out into the beautiful and massive world of Skyrim, so if you see a city in the distance, chances are that you can go there and invest more hours. The developers have also added a new character development system that allows you to follow any playstyle you want. As if that weren’t enough, the dragon fights are epic, the quests are diverse and nearly endless, and the number of things to do is amazing. It’s sad, though that these are marred by a few technical issues. Mainly the glitches. I didn’t run into anything serious; the worst that happened was one dragon fight glitch late in the game. The A.I. can also be inconsistent, ranging from completely normal to really questionable. My worst moment came when I exited a cave and my companion managed to stop moving for at least minute. When taken into consideration, however, these problems are almost insignificant compared to the scope of the game. Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a mountain full of replay value for me to sink my teeth into.

“Wolfenstein: The New Order” Game Review

Just one more game to go after this review. This first-person shooter was released on May 20th, 2014, becoming an instant critical and commercial success. After the 2009 Wolfenstein was a large disappointment to fans, Bethesda and Id Software change the story to flat-out alternate history. The prologue starts in 1946 with the United States making one last desperate attack on the technologically advanced Nazis. After a rather pointless morality choice of which soldier to let die, the protagonist, B.J. Blazkowicz, goes into a coma for the next 14 years in a Polish mental hospital. When he wakes up, he sees that the Nazis have won World War II, and sets out to join the Resistance to stop them. When I first arrived at their base of operations, I realized that all of the characters are flawed, yet human and sympathetic. They’re just rational people in an irrational world. Meanwhile, hating the Nazis feels fresh again, as they have terrifying robot dogs, disturbing personalities, and even playing simple card games makes them unlikable. Now I just love Bethesda because of their detail of content. Since this isn’t an open world RPG, there was even more detail packed in it. The graphics and art direction are excellent, the character models and animations are near flawless. The sound design is pitch perfect. Careful players will hear subtle clues to enemies positions or where to find a specific object in the area. Another thing the game does so well is the thought of killing Nazis. While killing them is still fun, it’s slightly grim to murder living, breathing people. You can almost feel the crushing guilt that sits upon the main protagonists, but doesn’t take itself too seriously that we still can’t have a blast killing space Nazis on the Moon. The level design is also worth noting. The layout is fully explorable and allows you to choose your path, rather than, say, shoving you down a tight corridor and have you in awe if the color layout is slightly different. It should also be noted that this a mature game; there is bigotry from the Nazis, uniquely bloody deaths, and a few intense moments. Much to my friend’s dismay, there is no Denver Airport mentioning in the game, even though the runaway is curiously shaped like a swastika. Be prepared for that. If you can handle that, than you’re going do have a blast playing Wolfenstein: The New Order. I certainly did.

“Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor” Game Review

Before I start this year, I have to review at least one last game from last year. This open world action-adventure video game was published on September 30th, 2014, becoming somewhat of a surprise hit. There are two DLCs are out currently: Lords of the Hunt and The Bright Lord. I haven’t played either of them yet, so I don’t know if their worth it. But this game totally is. Taking place between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, you play as Talion, a Ranger, whose family is killed by the Black Hand of Sauron. Though he doesn’t actually die. He is bonded with a Wraith named Celebrimbor who was responsible for the making of the Rings of Power. They decide that in order to break the curse, they must kill the Black Hand of Sauron. The gameplay seems like a beautiful melange of the combat and investigation mechanics from Batman: Arkham and the parkour and exploration from Assassin’s Creed. But what truly makes Shadow of Mordor unique is the Nemesis System. This is where you keep track of the 20 most feared Orc captains and their 5 warchiefs, whom you can kill and even manipulate in side missions. Despite being a desolate rain-covered wasteland, Mordor is quite beautiful. The environments are surprisingly varied and are joy to look at. You get to learn more about these landscapes in a rich appendix, which expads the lore without fixing it. There are also some pretty fun side missions. These include getting new upgrades for your weapons and save some enslaved humans from custody. Though after a while you’ll just stop bothering. The missions I was most obsessed with were the ones involving the Nemesis System, were I could dwindle the armies of Mordor. This brings me to my first big negative. It’s the protagonist, Talion. He’s just not very interesting. His abilities are cool, but his back-story is kind of generic. Other characters, though, fair much better. Including a cameo appearance from Gollum, who sadly was not reprised by Andy Serkis. Also, I noticed that the story is relatively short, lasting me about 30 to 35 missions total. That’s likely because the final boss battle was, though not terrible, very anti-climactic. Now I spent over 40 hours in the Land of Mordor, and could’ve probably spent 50 in my first playthrough. And I eager to see the difference with the Nemesis System on my second. This is one of my favorite games of the next generation, and one that I and many fans will defend to death.

The Best Games of the 7th Generation

Unrivaled hardware power, motion controls, indie games. These all gained recognition during this era. For those who don’t know what I’m covering, the 7th generation of gaming includes games from the Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC between 2006 and 2013. Just so you know, a lot of my personal favorites didn’t make the cut, just to show how tough it was to decide. I gotta start out with some honorable mentions that either I wanted to play, or played yet couldn’t include. I’ve ranked 10 other games based on their critical acclaim, popularity, and impact.

Honorable Mentions:
Mass Effect 1-3, Fallout 3 and New Vegas, Grand Theft Auto 5, Dark Souls, Gears of War, The Walking Dead Season One, Wii Sports, Crysis, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Dragon Age, Assassin’s Creed II, LittleBigPlanet, God of War 3, Alan Wake, Bioshock, Far Cry 3, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, Guitar Hero, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Bayonetta, The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings

10: Minecraft
Combining all the block-building goodness from Legos and Lincoln Logs, Minecraft is the indie game to end all other indie games. There’s no end goal in the game, but the main source of fun lies in creating, hiding, fighting, and surviving. What’s unique about Minecraft is that with each playthrough, the world is randomly generated, so you can many different experiences.

9: Red Dead Redemption
There were a lot of open world games this generation set in a variety of locations, but RDD takes the cake for moving to the Wild West. As John Marston, a former outlaw, you must take down the members of your former gang so your family can be released from the government. The attention to detail is superb, with great graphics and stunning landscapes. With a plethora of side-activities, excellent voice-actors, addictive gameplay, and a fantastic, dynamic soundtrack, You’ll feel like you’re actually riding on a horseback.

8: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Say whatever you want about the current state of the franchise. The 4th game, however, is in a league all on its own. The cinematic single-player campaign has you play as different soldiers around the world trying to stop Russian Ultranationalists. The revolutionary multiplayer allows for building a lucky killstreak against several others online. The game also pulled a huge shocking moment when the Nuke went off in the story, allowing for total investment in the story and for Call of Duty 4 to make it’s case as the best in the franchise.

7: Batman Arkham City
The Caped Crusader is locked in an free-roam prison, loads of fan service included. There is also a Catwoman storyline that is just as interesting, as you get to see things from her point of view. Now that he’s freed from the linear design of Arkham Asylum and has more gadgets and abilities than ever, Arkham City proves to be one of the best superhero games ever made. Most importantly, the game really made you feel like you’re Batman. I am hopeful for the upcoming Arkham Knight.

6: The Last of Us
Naughty Dog applied all of their lessons from the Uncharted franchise to deliver one of the best zombie narratives in years. As Joel, a man who has lived through more than one should ever have to, players must escort a young girl Ellie across a post-apocalyptic United States; she may or may not be the last hope for humanity. The gameplay is unique and realistic. Finding scattered weapons and ammo to upgrade, make your own weapons from scrap, then use them against the zombies or humans, all having sophisticated A.I. In an emotional and unforgettable journey, The Last of Us holds the high honor of being the PS3’s best exclusive title.

5: Halo 3
Reach and 4 were awesome games in the franchise. But I’m going with the third installment for one reason: it uses it’s co-op in a smart manner. Taking control of Master Chief as well as the Arbiter, you and a large group of human soldiers must destroy the Halo Ring that’s defended by the Covenant, while also dealing with the parasitic entity called the Flood. Meanwhile, the multiplayer has never been more epic. The best features of it were the Forge, where you can create your own maps, and Theater Mode, allowing you to watch a replay of your matches. Not too bad.

4: Bioshock Infinite
While the first Bioshock was groundbreaking and amazing, Infinite literally soared the franchise to new heights. You play as Booker DeWitt, a former Pinkerton agent who must save a woman from the city of Colombia to wipe away his debt. Like Bioshock, Infinite can be considered as one of the strongest arguments for video games as a form of art. Mainly because of it’s colorful graphics and beautiful art design. As players progress through the story, they witness the use of potent themes such as bigotry and the concept of alternate universes. You’ll never forget the thought-provoking ending.

3: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Introducing us to a richly-detailed world, massive in scope and scale, Skyrim throws players into the shoes of the Dragonborn, a mortal who’s tasked with preventing dragons from destroying the land. The bulk of the game comes from it’s dynamic and diverse quests, from helping a stranger deliver some letters to joining the Nord Resistance against the Empire. This, along with exploring the vast world around you, creates extremely deep replay value, and gameplay that can suit anyone’s needs, set to the tune of a phenomenal symphonic soundtrack. There’s always something you haven’t done yet in Tamriel.

2: Super Mario Galaxy
The iconic plumber completely wowed me again. This game, along with it’s also highly regarded sequel, introduce new mechanics like gravity while moving across floating planets. The mechanics are very precise, taking you from one gorgeous planet to the next. Topped with an amazing soundtrack, excellent graphics, and an almost perfect camera system, this is as close to perfect as any platformer can get. It’ll be a while before any other game in the genre can reach that status.

1: Portal
For the sake of avoiding backlash, I may as well count the second game and the Orange box up here as well. Portal is one of the funniest games you will ever play on your P.C. The game is packed with memorable puzzles, and some hilariously snide lines from the A.I. Glados. Sure, it is short, but that’s good length for a game like this, so that it never overstays it’s welcome between you and the ending. A fantastic blend of fun and creativity, Portal is mindbogglingly perfect from start to end, and few games in history will ever leave you so satisfied when you finish. (Insert “Still Alive” here)

Do you by any chance agree. Given how many incredible games were released during this generation, it’s likely I missed a few a your favorites. Let me know what they were in the comments, and be sure Like and Follow my blog for more posts.

“Half Life 2” Game Review

Need inspiration for how to make a sequel that improves on every aspect of the original? Look no further than this highly acclaimed first-person shooter. Half Life 2 was originally released on November 16th, 2004, and has since sold over 12 million copies worldwide. I guess that you can tell my opinion about this game through the opening line. Let’s get down to brass tax. Playing once again as the silent, emotionless mute Gordon Freeman, you are woken from a frozen stasis by G-Man into a world where aliens have taken control of cities. When you’re found and rescued by Dr. Eli Vance and his daughter Alyx, it’s up to you to lead the human resistance against the alien Combine. You’ll have fun going from location to location with the various weapons at your disposal. But the biggest standout has to be the Gravity Gun. This innovative weapon allowed the player to crush enemies and manipulate physics puzzles that make real world sense. In a later section of the game, you get an upgrade that lets you throw around people. So it doesn’t get repetitive. I’M fine with a shooter that goes from checkpoint to checkpoint in a linear fashion, but I wish could’ve explored this fascinating world as if it were open world. The characters are for the most part memorable. One of my favorites was a robot named Dog who was programmed to protect Alyx. Now the story last at about 10-12 hours long, more if you spend extra time trying out the cool weapons and solve the puzzles. Thanks to the Source engine, Half Life 2’s graphics still look amazing today. At $10 on Steam, this game is a modern classic that’s among the best of all time.

“Batman: Arkham City” Game Review

With the brand new Arkham Knight coming this June, I decided to recap on this franchise again. This action-adventure superhero video game was released on October 18th, 2011, and soon sold over six million copies worldwide. Now, is it better than than Arkham Asylum? Heck yeah it is. The overarching narrative takes place 6 months after the first game. Bruce Wayne is captured and thrown into the titular prison by Hugo Strange, who hopes to enact Protocol 10 by the end of the night. Wayne calls in his Batsuit, claiming he won’t leave until he knows what it is. What follows is a series of twists and turns galore featuring many iconic Batman villains. The combat and navigation mechanics are nothing short of impressive, with the ability to pick off enemies one by one with the Detective vision or take on a gang of thugs with kung-fu. Granted, just like the last game, the Detective Vision was extremely overpowered, but still fun. The Unreal Engine brings the titular prison to life in great detail, especially since you’re able to explore the open-aired environment around. It’s not the biggest open world game out there, but it’s certainly acceptable. The side missions are interesting as they feature Batman villains such as Bane, Deadshot, and of course the Riddler. Most of the voice cast returns from the first game, and still haven’t lost their touch, especially Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill. New additions like Nolan North, Dee Bradley Baker and Corey Burton are welcome indeed. The soundtrack yet again is able to capture the grittiness and dark tone of the Christopher Nolan trilogy while the visuals and characters scream from the comic books. The boss fights didn’t have much challenge to them, but the one at the end was satisfying. This is without question the greatest superhero video game ever made, and one that I’ll have no trouble playing again and again.