Category Archives: Video Games

Heavy Rain

What is there to say about Heavy Rain that hasn’t been said by thousands of other game reviewers? This game is awesome. This game is incredible. Not as intense as most action games as you’d expect, but if you just like pressing buttons and being immersed in a cinematic experience for about 6 hours… Play. This. Game.

What should I say about the plot. First of all, the title isn’t random. It is badass as Hell though. Think about it. Heavy Rain. A lot of shady, ridiculous shizz goes down in back alleys and seedy motels when it rains hard. Just look at Identity. Great movie, very similar in feel and tone to this game. Watch them in conjunction, I don’t care. Or watch Se7en, there’s no end to the parallels between thriller movies in crummy cities and this game. This game epitomizes that and makes it 6 hours (or more) long.

There are four characters you play as in this game. Gotta say right off the bat that two of them really aren’t that strong. Ethan Mars is a Dad. Enough said. His son is killed in an unfortunate car accident and his other son is kidnapped by a

Ethan Mars. He's a dad.

certain “origami killer”. (In this game it’s pronounced Ori-gamee for no reason.) You must be a true dad and save your son at all costs. You also play as Scott Shelby. He’s a P.I., out looking for the kids being kidnapped by the Origami Killer. Fat and overweight, he has a good soul. And there’s Norman Jayden of the F.B.I. This guy wrecks shit. He has this crime scene investigative turn-of-the-century ARI gadget that allows him to analyze and solves crimes instantaneously on scene. There is a catch to that though. And then there’s Madison Paige. She’s a slutty reporter.

Ahhh, the amazingly graphically stunning seedy motel.

The greatest part about this game has to be the decision making. You can play this over and over again and unlock any of a number of outcomes and endings for your characters. Every individual choice you make has repercussions that flow throughout the entire game. (Make sure you kiss/don’t kiss Madison. Huge repercussions either way.) You can make your characters do classic SIMS things like… sexually take a shower or pee. Also, you can fight in a number of quick draw reaction command scenes that could potentially kill your character based on your decisions. The entire games ending is up to you. Use this power wisely.

Norman Jayden. Will kick your ass.

Not to forget when it comes to this game that the graphics are out of this world… for February 2010. Since this game isn’t that old, it’s going to hold up for some time to even the biggest neurotic game design critic. Hands and the occasional motion are a bit skewed, but it doesn’t change the amazing camera angles that are employed to make this feel as if you’re watching a movie. Despite it being a one player game, invite the friends over, but don’t tell them it’s not a movie. Have someone hide with a wireless controller and have them sit there for every long hour of the game. It will fly by. And they will love it.

The game play doesn’t change much per difficulty, so its pretty accessible to

Madison Paige, useless slutty reporter, on the prowl.

whomever wants to play it. What’s great is the interactions with the controller. You can utilize the motion of the controller in order to throttle, punch, and get out of tight holds. Even balancing the controller can result in an action in the game. What wonderful technology Sony has created. A Wii motion combined with a Playstation/Xbox controller style. What will they think of next?

What decision will you make?

So with great plot and good voice acting (almost extending into character acting with playable characters being based on real actors) this game will immerse you in a run to the finish, a game against time, life and death to its fullest extent. If you like horror/thriller movies like Saw or the Hannibal series, this game was meant for you. Enjoy and hopefully there will be a Heavy Rain 2.

9.5 out of 10.

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Baldr Force EXE Resolution (Not the Video Game)

In this quick little 4 episode OVA, I was blown away by the breadth of this show that took a mere 2 hours to explore. And this is coming from an OVA that was based on a video game! With a beginning, middle, and complete end, this show summarizes (or does it?) or gives a complete new angle to a game I’d really like to play now.

So, Baldr Force EXE Resolution. It’s the story of Toru Soma, an ex-hacker turned good guy cop. He does this for his own motivations in order to catch his protege’s killer, located inside the police force. What he encounters is more than he could have possibly imagined. With

Pretty dec, right?

a past unfolding and new friends becoming enemies, Toru is forced to redefine what he considers real.

Despite the brevity of this show, I still consider it worth watching. It may move much quicker than most anime, but it performs well as a mecha/psychological thriller. Some characters perform well as side characters and need not be fleshed out, but others shine in their key roles that unfurl the story of the internet servers and what’s been menacingly destroying them.

Relying too much on that Fbook, right?

What I find most interesting about this show is its commentary on the interdependency of actual life events with what happens online. The two become so intertwined that it does sort of beg the quesiton, what is reality? Hate to say it, but in an almost Inception-esque way, this OVA suggests that people these days may rely too heavily on technology to get through life. (Hence, I should shut down my internet use and no longer give you my baller ideas on all things entertainment.)  Pretty smart thinking from a Windows/Dreamcast game made way back in 2003.

But I digress. I rather enjoyed the 3-D animation of the Simulacrums that people used to maneuver around the internet, and it really spoke to a mecha audience instead of a fake reality spin in which we as humans walk around on the internet. I like the consequence that was created, like in the Matrix (if you die in here, you die for real shizz) and it was a perfect balance of plot and action sequences.

What madness is going on here?

All-in-all, just check this little mecha OVA out and see if it stacks up against the computer game. If it does, let me know, I’d love to check it out for myself. I’ll give this Matrix/Inception/thriller mecha a 7.9 out of 10.


Halo: Reach. Ehhhhhhhh… Could be good.

So I beat this game in about… 5, maybe 6 hours. My roommate Ian and I love the Halo series, and my love goes back to good old 5th grade. Ah yes, my first M for Mature game and I loved every minute of it. (It’s really not as violent as people think.) We played through all 8(?) levels of mayhem (normal to start, of course) and found the game to be satisfactory to a point. Although Halo: Reach may be the end of the Halo series, but we wish it wasn’t.

First of all, plot. Great! Halo: Reach functioned as the precursor to the Halo plot line. Drawback to that? No badass Master Chief/Cortana, and no conclusion to the Halo 3 storyline. That, to me, is a disappointment. So Bungie better get on Halo 4, so we can all see what happens to Master Chief. I

Here's a little taste of gameplay

know for damn sure he didn’t die. (Oh, and that “Great!” I used? Sarcasm. Come on Bungie. It was like dropping us into WWII and then saying that it was going to lead to Vietnam. What?)

Alright, gameplay. The graphics were great. It was Halo 3 quality all the way in that regard. The locales were cool and it really felt like a planet. I especially liked the cut scenes that occur when you assassinate an elite with your knife, great way to introduce a little more of a kick ass nature to the Spartans that came before Master Chief. This game had a little bit more of a gritty quality to it than the other Halos. This gave it more of a darker look and kept you a little more on edge during the game. This is a great approach due to the ending.

Features of the game. Quite great. (Besides certain weapons.) Okay, you can run faster, jetpack, even create bubble shields on demand. And you don’t have to keep the same feature for long. You can switch it up based on the battle ahead, and this tactician type approach is just what I look for in games. The thing that detracts this from being an all-time great Halo game? The weapons, for sure. I felt that at this point, the creators at Bungie put all the previous weapons into a hat and decided they would draw out two at a time

Rag tag group of Spartans. Guy with skull helmet = badass.

to decide which weapons they would mix on the game. I mean, come on. Plasma assault rifle? More useless than it sounds. Needler carbine? How does that even work? Only weapon that wasn’t a total letdown: pistol. That thing can do work, just like in good, old original Halo.

I guess when it comes down to it, the plot of this game doesn’t matter. It introduces the Covenant, but doesn’t really explain why they’re on Reach. So you get a rag tag group of Spartans, have them fight towards some superfluous mission goal, and then let the chips fall where they may. Cool ending though, tying in the Pillar of Autumn and Keyes and all that. Pretty neat-o. Makes you feel like you are the gears behind the last resistance against the Covenant in a way.

He's done. Are you?

There are some other features of the game I haven’t really delved into yet. You can now play firefight, a survival type swarm based attack where you (and a friend) must survive through waves of Covenant. Actually, that reminds me. Best part of this game? NO FLOOD. A game with no Flood becomes ridiculously easier and more enjoyable. Not to say I didn’t freak out the first time I played Halo when the Flood jumped me, but let’s just say that every time I hear the music of that level way back when, I do not feel comfortable. There’s also something about customizable armor/gear based on points you earn during the game? That’s always great. (Although Bungie should really pull back and reevaluate what it means to earn an achievement. Some of their are ridiculous, the only way to earn them is to cheat.) There’s plenty more for me to discover, and, once I do, I’ll be sure to let you guys know. Unless I decide to trade Halo: Reach in for another game, I’ll let this game sit as a 6 out of 10.


Darksiders: Puzzles and Death… and the Apocalypse

Ever since I saw the trailer for this video game, I had wanted it. I had no idea what to expect. Would it just be a hack and slash game with complete and utter destruction? Would it be a game of skill or button mashing? What it turned out to be was not what I expected.

Okay, look. I didn’t have the traditional childhood. I didn’t have a Nintendo and have a chance to play all the amazing Mario and Zelda that was out there. So big surprise to me when an Xbox 360/PS3 game comes out that is identical in its gameplay to Zelda.

Link?

It’s really a mixture of the fighting style of God of War and the puzzles of Zelda, but I was thrown off in the first place by the puzzles. Basic day in the life of Darksiders for me? Hey, here’s a block you have to move/portal you have to create. Find a way across without dying. Go. Needless to say I invested a lot of time viewing the walkthroughs online to figure this game out. Scoff if you will, it doesn’t detract from the satisfaction and action of this game.

Basic plot: You are War, one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. You come to Earth because the seals have been broken and all out war has begun to take place on the planet. There are angels fighting demons, zombies, creatures, you name it. What War gets sucked into doing is representing the Scarred Council on Earth in what I would call restorative justice.

Quite big. Sure you can swing that?

So you start out the game with a bit of firepower. You have your gigantic sword, Chaoseater and a bit of hellish power, Chaos. This stuff can summons pikes from the ground, turn your skin to stone, summon hellfire, all sorts of cool trick War picked up off the street. As the game progresses, you gain access to other various items and weapons that kick even more ass. This gives you access to various areas you didn’t before and also contributes to an arsenal that mixes it up when beating the baddies.

Speaking of baddies, I love the characters in this game. Seeing as this game goes all biblical all over everyone’s asses, It’s a fun and easy way to learn a little bit of Old Testament. And then toss around those characters like rag dolls. I mean, come on, you are War, the most severely destructive of the Apocalypse Bros. The only characters you really don’t see are God and Satan. Even though they may be pulling the strings, all the demons and angels suffer for it.

I would also like to mention that this game reminds me of a game I played for XBox a while ago that focused on Spawn killin’ some angels and demons. It was great.

Weapon moves and combos in this game are great. The game has the “item store” quality to it where you go and collect upgrades based on the amount of carnage you incur. You gain health, armor, and Chaos as you find hidden chests throughout and that always makes for a great replay value when you didn’t find them all. (One reason I want to play again is to find all the Abyssmal Armor pieces, giving War an all new look.)

Only drawback. I took months, spread out, to play this game. I picked it up from Gamestop and took an inordinate amount of time beating it. Why? Some of those puzzles are so vague, there’s no definite way without the help of a game guide to beat them. If there wasn’t the internet, I would have never finished this game. And I don’t think it’s a intellectual issue. It was all about going with the 5 second cutscenes that tried to reveal everything at once for you to utilize to move forward. Not helpful.

War = Complete Badass

But hey, you get a badass steed and frolic through the blood and gore of the battlefield that was our home. I guess if you truly loved Darksiders, wait another year and you might find you can be an active participant in it when 2012 rolls around. Maybe you’ll even get a little glimpse of war.

Oh, and another thing. The voice actors in this film were great. Liam O’Brien (done an amazing amount of work in both anime and video games), Mark Hamill (amazing what he can do with his voice, he’s the Watcher), Phil LaMarr (always great, MadTV prepared him well), Moon Bloodgood (interesting voice actor choice), Troy Baker (RIDICULOUSLY GOOD), J.B. Blanc (great accent as Ulthane), and Fred Tatasciore (his list of video games and anime is so extensive. He’s everywhere.).

So definitely check this game out. It’s worth a play and who knows, maybe you’ll learn how to survive the apocalypse. Or maybe you’ll have a great time running train as War. 8.6 out of 10.


NBA 2K11

A sample of game graphics from 2K11

All right, first impressions. Compared to NBA 2K10, this game is quite good graphically. But I’m gonna say there are many places in which this game lacks. The ball handling controls in this game are hard to grasp and in turn this makes it quite difficult to drive the ball. The shooting is a bit easier to control, but it seems as if scoring lots of points is next to impossible. What I always like seeing is the moves and sequences the game uses for lay-ups, dunks, shooting, and rebounding, and this game does not disappoint. Within the first half hour of play, I was crapping my pants with the dunks of M.J. and my favorite player, Jamario Moon. And that’s where I come to my biggest complaint about this game. How in the HELL are the Cavs supposed to win a game? I played three games, and it may be my novice experience, but there was not a prayer for one of those games to go in favor of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Thanks a lot LeBron for leaving… You’ve now cursed every NBA video game from here until the next 20 years. The Association play is great with new managing features and a great time saving feature for trading. The Michael Jordan best games feature looks promising, but the downside is to use the My Jordan feature, you have to beat all of those games, a daunting task for a player such as me. As far as I can see, the game looks great and as I play, I feel it will become even better. I give it a 7.5 out of 10, and now I’m gonna go back to playing.