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Batman: Arkham Origins Release Date October 25 2013 Announced (WiiU, PC, Xbox 360, PS3). 3rd Game In Series Starring Young Batman. Rocksteady Not Developing (Warner Bros. Montreal Is)

Batman: Arkham Origins Gameplay Screenshot (WiiU, Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

Batman returns in a younger state with Batman: Arkham Origins.

Batman: Arkham Origins has been announced for WiiU, Xbox 360, PS3, and PC, outted by Game Informer magazine which will go in-depth into this 3rd game in the highly acclaimed series as it’s cover-story and World Exclusive reveal for their May 2013 issue of the American magazine.

Batman: Arkham Origins is a prequel tale telling the Origin-story not young Bruce Wayne, the that everyone knows and loves of how he turns into the menacing Caped Crusader and dons the cowl & cape to hunt criminals in the night as Batman (although I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of that pop up in the game), but rather the origin of Batman’s relationship with a lot of various characters and villains in the series. This game will also mark the first time that Batman gets to explore the streets of the iconic Gotham City.

Batman Arkham Origins Game Informer Magazine Cover Artwork

Game Informer broke the worldwide exclusive on their cover.

The biggest change this time is the fact that Batman: Arkham Origins is being developed by Warner Bros. Montreal, an in-house WB Games studio, instead of Rocksteady; who was made famous by developing the first two games to incredible critical acclaim (highly regarded as the greatest superhero games ever made) and super sales that put the studio on-the-map. Thankfully, the team will be utilizing existing assets from Rocksteady’s portfolio in order to ensure that this game maintains the look that fans expect.

Hopefully we’ll get to see what Rocksteady is working on for WB Games (who bought them out after the wild success of Batman: Arkham Asylum) at E3 2013 in a couple months.

One of the lead designers on Batman: Arkham Origins is Eric Holmes who previously worked on the critically acclaimed Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction for last-gen systems as well as the Prototype series, so he knows a thing or two about creating successful superhero games. Thus Batman: Arkham Origins is in capable hands.

Batman: Arkham Origins Videogame Fight Scene Screenshot

Looks very similar to the previous Rocksteady games.

Players will encounter new villains that haven’t yet been seen in the franchise (although that’s pretty much a given), including a number of assassin’s who converge on Christmas Eve to kill The Bat as a team.

Batman: Arkham Origins will be released on October 25th 2013, just in time for the holiday season. And may very well be one of a group of “swan song” triple-A titles released for current-generation consoles as we transition to the next-generation. Although a PS4/Xbox 720 release wasn’t announced, I wouldn’t be surprised if the game hits those systems at some point in the future.

Press Release:
“Batman: Arkham Origins features an expanded Gotham City and introduces an original prequel storyline occurring several years before the events of Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City.

Taking place before the rise of Gotham City’s most dangerous villains and assassins, the game showcases a young, raw, unrefined Batman as he faces a defining moment in his early career as a crime fighter that sets his path to becoming the Dark Knight.

As the story unfolds, witness identities being formed and key relationships being forged.”

“WB Games Montréal is honored to have the opportunity to create Batman: Arkham Origins, a new chapter in this amazing franchise,” Reid Schneider, Vice President of WB Games Montréal said. “We are huge fans of the franchise and are committed to creating an experience that offers players more of what they love, as well as the chance to play as a younger Batman within a fresh storyline and expanded world.”

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Dementium: The Ward Review For DS

Dementium The Ward Cover DS Box ArtworkRead my entire Dementium: The Ward review (DS) here.

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2013 in Artwork, Reviews

 

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Metal Gear Rising Review (Xbox 360). Revengeance Propels Metal Gear Into Blistering Hyper Action Mode And Never Looks Back (Lightning Bolt Action)

Metal Gear Rising Box Cover Artwork

Slash everything in your path in Metal Gear Rising.

Metal Gear Rising review of the newest action game on the scene, this time it is from a revered Stealth series that decided to tackle the genre of fast-paced action games, ala Devil May Cry, Ninja Gaiden and God of War.

Metal Gear Rising has been a long time in coming, and had an extremely troubled development cycle. From the get-go, the game’s unique hook was the ability to cut anything in the environment into a million pieces, and allow the player to control the direction of each and every slice!

This mechanic wowed audiences when the game was first revealed at E3 2009, where it was called “Metal Gear SOLID Rising” and had the tagline “Lightning Bolt Action”. True to the name, the game was meant to take the Metal Gear franchise into a new action-packed direction, and was to be set between the events of Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. However the end product would simply take place after MGS4.

Two years or so into the project though, trouble was abrew and creator Hideo Kojima (the creator of Metal Gear Solid, Zone of the Enders, etc.) and his team at Kojima Productions was having difficulty implementing their vision of a “cut anything” mechanic into solid gameplay that would carry the title throughout.

Due to these issues, Kojima himself cancelled the game. Thankfully, they didn’t scrap all those year’s of work, and the folks at developer Platinum Games (made up of former Clover guys who created Viewtiful Joe and Okami. As Platinum they were responsible for Bayonetta, MadWorld and the upcoming The Wonderful 101 for WiiU) entered into a deal with Kojima Productions and Konami wherein they took the Metal Gear Rising project in 2011 and completed the rest of it! And man am I glad they did!

Metal Gear Rising: Reveneance was thus finally released for Xbox 360 and PS3 in February of 2013. Does it live up to the hype, and was Platinum Games successfully able to create a compelling new Metal Gear action experience? Read below to find out!

System: Xbox 360
Also On: PlayStation 3
Release Date: USA February 19 2013 – EU February 22 2013 – AU February 26 2013 – JP February 21 2013
Genre: 3rd-Person Action
Players: 1
Online Support? No
Downloadable Content? Yes
Saving: Saves automatically after major events or minor battles, at each checkpoint. Or you can save manually by calling Courtney on your Code (Press Select).
Save Data: Xbox 360 – 2733KB needed to save your game.
Rated: M for Mature 18+. (Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language)
Format: Single DVD Disc (Xbox 360), single Blu-ray Disc (PS3)
International Ratings: ?
Download Version Available? Not Yet
Special Editions: Yes. Multiple Limited Editions actually.
US Metal Gear Rising Limited Edition version includes: Official Soundtrack, Steelbook Case, High Frequency Plasma Lamp (you read that right) for $150.

All UK versions include the “Gray Fox” costume.
UK Metal Gear Rising Limited Edition versions include: “Metal Gear Rising UK Limited Edition” – large white box with badass Raiden black & white art on the front. This version includes a White Raiden Play Arts Kai figure, and a special White Raiden Costume DLC Code (only available at Zavii stores).
“Steelbook with Shinkawa Art” version includes a gray steelbook case with black art of Raiden drawn by renowned Metal Gear artist Yoji Shinkawa on the front. This version includes the Inferno Armor Costume (only available via GAME stores).
“Steelbook With CG Raiden Art” version includes a steelbook case with a CG render of Raiden on the cover, and includes Commando Armor Costume DLC (available at independent retailers that don’t include Zavii or GAME).
Japanese Metal Gear Rising Limited Edition: It’s worth noting that the “Japanese Metal Gear Rising Limited Edition” is a phenomenal set well worth importing. It includes a premium two-disc soundtrack in it’s own steelcase, a Metal Gear Rising Artbook by artist Yoji Shinkawa, 2 magnetic gray-colored Dwarf Gekko Tripod figures, and a Cyborg Ninja DLC Code. This version costs 9,980 yen. For 12,980 yen, you get all of the above plus a White Raiden PlayArts figure! Huzzah!
Toy Figures – A Black Raiden Figure is purchaseable on Amazon, while the white figure included in the special editions is exclusive to the Japan and UK special editions. Dwarf Gekko figures will also be available to purchase soon, the little Tripod robots from the game.
Developer: Platinum Games
Publisher: Konami
Creator and Director: Hideo Kojima, Kenji Saito
Producers: Yuji Korekado of Kojima Productions, Hideo Kojima (executive producer), Atsushi Inaba of Platinum Games
Music Composers: Jamie Christopherson
Writer: Etsu Tamari
Designers: Yoji Shinkawa (concept artist), Kenichirou Yoshimura (character designer)
Origin: Japan
Price: $60, US Limited Edition: $150 MSRP, UK Limited Edition: £99.99

Metal Gear Rising is an absolutely awesome game. I highly enjoyed virtually every aspect of it, and any complaints I have are few…. and are nitpicking. I’ll say right off the bat that you should definitely pick up this game if you love action games, you won’t be disappointed if you are a fan of any of the above three titles (Ninja Gaiden, God of War, Devil May Cry) and previous Metal Gear experience is not at all required.

Metal Gear Rising puts the player in control of a cyborg ninja called Raiden (whom fans of the series will be familiar with from previous Metal Gear games), although playing previous Metal Gear games will allow you to better understand many of the references made to former games and former events, it is no where at all a requirement to have played previous Metal Gear Solid titles.

I myself had only ever played the first MGS game from 1998, and I enjoyed the heck out of Metal Gear Rising and wasn’t at all confused regarding the story, or the events. And events from past games are explained to those who don’t know anything about them via the Codec conversations and is largely spoiler free and details are kept to a minimum during these conversations.

Metal Gear Rising is an action game through and through, as Raiden you will be tasked with infiltrating various environments and making your way through them, defeating any enemies that come into your path and taking out bosses at the end of each chapter. Enemies are generally kept to a small area that you cannot move beyond until the enemies in that predefined border are defeated.

For the most part, Metal Gear Rising is a straight up action game. You won’t really be doing any “adventuring”, or meeting and talking to new characters, however you will meet new characters in the bosses, and a couple major characters you encounter, but you won’t be talking to new people that you encounter as you are making your way through the environments like in a lot of games.

There also isn’t really any exploring to be done, although you will want to comb through the environments to find items tucked away in corners and there are hidden collectables to be found, but no one would really call MG:R an adventure game. However some collectables are very well hidden and easily missible if you don’t’ look hard for them, on top of chandelairs, tucked into corners, and behind boxes, etc. It is more in line with say, Ninja Gaiden, in the way it plays and the way you search for hidden items (exactly like it, actually).

Raiden, as a cyborg, can continuously dash in his “Ninja Run” (although he cannot run along walls) and can continuously swing his sword to cut up enemies or the environment while performing his ninja run.

This mechanic alone is a HELLUVA lot of fun! I spent numerous hours, as you can see from my WatchMePlay Metal Gear Rising videos doing nothing but running around and slashing objects into millions of pieces. It’s extremely fun… actually TOO much fun. Although I must admit that much of my slicing was in hopes of actually getting an Achievement for doing so… which never came to me even with nearly 3000 pieces cut! Boo!

Anyhow, Raiden can perform a number of martial arts style moves and attacks, which require precise button presses (using only two attack buttons) along with movements on the control stick, and you will unlock new moves as you progress. Between missions you can purchase new moves, weapons, and upgrades as you see fit.

You use the X and Y buttons to perform these moves with Raiden’s equipped weapon like his sword (X for light horizontal attacks, Y for heavy Vertical attacks), while the A button jumps and the B Button performs special attacks like the Zendatsu. B is also used to interact with objects in the environments, to open doors, and interact with computer terminals, etc.

Pressing the R Trigger makes Raiden dash or run (“Ninja Run”) while pressing the Right Bumper locks onto enemies. Pressing the L Trigger enters the all-important Blade Mode, while pressing the Left Bumper will ready the sub-weapon that you have selected. Holding LB and pressing the Right Trigger will use that Sub-Weapon, and you aim the sub-weapon with the Right Control Stick.

Sub-Weapons you can find include various types of Grenades, Rocket Launchers, Sneaking Items and things like that. So if you want to use the Rocket Launcher, equip it on the Start Menu, then hold LB, aim with the right stick, and press R to shoot it. It took me a bit to figure it out (I don’t play FPS games) but once I did it worked well. It is hard to aim with grenades though, even using the path highlight.

Pressing Right or Left on the Directional Pad (D-Pad) brings up the Sub-Weapon screen, where you can set health (that automatically gets used if your Life Bar drains) and allows you to cycle through your Weapons by pressing up or down for each one of the different boxes. You can also change your Weapon on this screen (press up or down to select the item you want, then press A to equip it).

Pressing Up uses the Health Item you have selected on the Sub-Item Screen.

The Right Stick controls the Camera, which can give you problems at times. You can move the camera around Raiden by using the Right Stick, and clicking the Stick recenters the camera directly behind Raiden. You can also Walk slowly by pressing the Left Stick slowly, which is useful when sneaking up on enemies.

Finally you have the very important AR or Augmented Reality Mode, which you can enter by pressing Up on the Directional Pad. While in this mode, you can see enemies and which way they are facing, even seeing them through walls, and you can detect hidden Items (white squares) and other pickups (like Rocket Launchers or Grenades), you can also see breakable objects (like Cars, Walls, Pillars, Barriers, etc.) which are highlighted in a light blue color, and the AR Mode allows you to see in the dark.

In the upper righthand corner you have your radar, which shows enemies as red dots (although you can’t see a field of vision cone for some odd reason) and shows your goal, a slight layout of the map, etc. There is no regular map of the whole environment you’re exploring though.

In the upper left you have your energy/health at the top in yellow, and beneath is your fuel that you need to perform Blade Mode in blue. The longer you stay in Blade Mode the more fuel that is drained. If you run out, time won’t slow down when you enter Blade Mode. When you slice an enemy or object, combo and “Pieces” numbers pop on the screen (no you don’t get anything for getting 3000 pieces slices! >_< Not even an achievement! Maybe at 5000 though?) showing how many hits you have dealt the enemy or how many pieces you've cut off an object.

Of course the main hook of Metal Gear Rising is Blade Mode. By holding the Left Trigger, the camera zooms in close and you can control the direction of your slices with Raiden's sword. While in this mode, you can cut off the limbs of enemies and occasionally press two buttons together (such as Y and B) to perform unique and ultra-deadly special attacks… which are vital in easily taking down large, metallic foes.

Blade Mode has a bar that drains as you use it, in order to fill it up you will want to perform a "Zandatsu" attack, which allows you to pull out energy from an enemy via a special attack, and then absorb it to refill your Blade Gauge or Fuel Gauge as I'll often refer to it. Generally you will need to attack enemies with multiple strikes to weaken them before you can perform the deadly Zandatsu attack, which will kill them in one hit. If you can slice up your enemy and target their Fuel inside them before the enemy hits the ground you will steal more Fuel than if you wait for their bodies to get closer to the ground.

While in Blade Mode you can literally hack off their limbs, and you'll want to get precise with this because hacking off JUST their left hands allows you to turn their hands into a collectable that you can pick up. The Doktor who you can speak to in your Codec (more on that in a bit) can use the information stored in the Left Hands of your enemies for research & development, which translates into unlocking new moves for you to purchase.

Just like in previous Metal Gear Solid games, you'll be doing lots of speaking to your partners on each mission via the Codec radio system. You can radio your friends by pressing the Select/Back Button, which will bring up the Codec Menu of people you can talk to.

They include Boris, the mission leader, Kevin, the culture expert, Courtney, who will save for you and Doktor, the nerd of the group who is knowledgeable about science, biology, technology and the like. Just like in the original Metal Gear Solid, you'll want to talk to them frequently throughout your adventure. They will give you tips on battles and fighting enemies, offer up trivia about science, technology, history, warfare, food, culture, et al, will discuss the events of past Metal Gear games, and will give you tons and tons of story exposition.

I love the Codec system, I think it's awesome. The best part about it though is that it is entirely optional. You can speak to them as much, or as little, as you want, and it is never required. Much like the Scanning in Metroid Prime, those who want to hear everything, get lots of extra story details and exposition, and know the game in and out and see all that there is to see, will want to use the Codec a ton. Including speaking to each person multiple times (you'll get an Achievement for listening to all/or most of the Codecs btw). But those who do not care can entirely skip it and won't be any worse for it.

However I myself loved every second of the conversations which cover a billion topics. One of the aspects of Metal Gear Solid that I've always admired is that you feel like you are learning a lot just by playing it, and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is NO exception. There is just as much discussion of war, history, biology, science, experiments, robotics, technology, food, culture, sociology, psychology, world affairs, politics, and everything else under the sun as in past games.

You'll also grow to love each of these characters as you build a connection and relationship with them through Raiden's discussions, especially with Courtney and Keven in particular. The way they joke, semi-flirt, and the like, is really cool. I wouldn't say the character building is amazing, as you don't really feel like you care a ton about each character, but it is better than a lot of games simply due to the wealth of speech and interactions between them.

I should note that they speak aurally to you, but you can also read the text of what they are saying. The pictures and reactions of your Codec calls aren't anything to write home about though, it's only the speech that is impressive. Which is a bit of a disappointment but I don't really mind.

From your Codec you can also access "VR Missions" and "Customize", although it will restart you at the last Checkpoint, so accessing these between missions is probably the best time to do so.

The VR Missions are just like you remember from the original Metal Gear Solid, mini missions that you can undertake. A lot of these have to be unlocked via the story mode, where you will find little computer consoles that can be found tucked away in corners and will unlock a particular VR Mission. But the VR Missions also serve as a tutorial to teach you the basics of the game, and it's recommended that you play through them before you start the game proper if you want to have a full grasp of how to defeat your enemies and make use of the combo system better.

The VR Missions turn into a bonafide Puzzle Mode the further you get into them, as the later missions require you to figure out how to beat the mission.

"Customize", which also happens between missions, is where you can purchase new moves for Raiden, upgrade your Weapons, increase your Life Gauge or your Fuel Gauge, change into a new outfit, and the like. Each one of these changes will cost BP, or "Battle Points", that you earn from fighting, performing Zandatsu, using stealth, opening treasures chests (er, boxes), taking out bosses, satisfying certain conditions and beating missions.

Just like Devil May Cry, there are lots of very cool and extremely useful new Moves to unlock and Master. Mastering moves will truly make battles much easier, as this is a game of technique, where skill is required, especially if you play the game on Hard.

Although it is very possible to get through the game without mastering ANY combos and essentially button mashing your way through, or attacking enemies by just using the few same moves, jump attacks, slide attacks and running and swiping with your sword. I know this is true, because I did it.

I did not learn a single combo or master a single new move that I bought… However I must say that I know it made the game harder to get through, and much more frustrating. And I am POSITIVE that mastering your moves will be required to beat the game on Hard.

Thankfully, to help you in this endeavor there is a Move List that you can access by pressing Start and going to "help" (press the right trigger [R Button] to see a layout of the controls).

This screen lists all of the Moves you know for each weapon and shows you the button combination needed to perform the move, along with a still photo of the move being performed (I do wish you could see a video demonstration of each move).

Study this list and perform each move to learn them after button mashing in the field, you'll definitely want to use this information to better and more easily take out your enemies. It's worth noting that new moves you've purchased must be "Equipped" on the Customize screen before you can use them and before they will appear in your Moves list.

This is very bad if you don't' realize you need to equip them on the Customize Screen (as you won't be able to perform the move) but it's actually a good thing as it allows you to turn off moves that you find annoying or moves you accidentally keep performing when you meant to do another move, which can be handy.

Plus you'll learn all kinds of stuff that you didn't know about this extremely in-depth combo system if you study the moves list.

Some quick tips that you may not figure out on your own:

* You can roll to the next enemy during combat by pressing the X Button! I never knew this and I wish I did!

* If you sneak up behind enemies you can take them out in one hit and perform a stealth kill by pressing the B Button. Right after stabbing them, press L to go into Blade Mode and also perform Zandatsu on them.

* You can also kill enemies in one hit by attacking them from above. Either stand above them and press B, or leap towards them and press B as you close in on them from the air. If they see you however, you won’t be able to perform this stealth kill.

* If you sneak up on an enemy, you can easily slice their left hand off with a single horizontal strike (without doing the stealth kill). Only “real” cyborgs will have hands that you want to collect, be sure to walk over the hand to actually collect it, the normal grunt enemies, the ones that look like regular humans and aren’t as heavily armored, don’t have anything special for collecting their hands.

* You can target enemies by pressing the Right Bumper (R1 on PS3).

* You can perform a deadly slide attack where you can go into Blade Mode and cut in slow motion as you are sliding by running and pressing Y to perform the slide (which allows you to slide into small holes or gaps as well btw) and going into Blade Mode with L.

* You can run up obstacles and small walls automatically by simply holding R to do a ninja run, you can also jump and climb up by jumping towards a ledge and holding R.

All of this adds up to create an absolutely awesome combat system that is extremely strategic, will play out differently depending on how well you study your moves list and make use of new moves you learn, and is accessible to both button mashers and those who really want to master the art of fighting.

The combat of Metal Gear Rising is extremely fast-paced, true to the “Lightning Bolt Action” subtitle. It’s extremely visceral and feels absolutely badass, especially when you perform the extremely awesome Zandatsu attacks and the special A/B techniques to take out a large, fearsome foe in extremely sufficient, deadly style that will be certain to draw a crowd and much ooo’s and ahhh’s from those watching.

And in order to take down the larger tough enemies or the epic bosses, you’ll need to exploit a particular weak point and attack them in a specific manner. After damaging them some, you will see a certain context-sensitive button combo pop on the screen (like Y+B), pressing Y and B together will activate a special move where Raiden will say, leap on top of the enemy, pull out his sword, and you’ll be required to jam on the Y Button to slam your sword into their skull over and over again.

These type of context-sensitive combat scenarios have been seen plenty of times before, in games like God of War or Dante’s Inferno (first seen on the Dreamcast in Shenmue actually, where the term “Quick Time Event” or “QTE” was coined) but they still work well and make elaborate combat cutscenes playable, as you have to successfully pull off the QTE in order to defeat the enemy, heavily damage them, or cue the next button press in the sequence.

These special attacks are absolutely awesome and a sight to behold, you’ll leap upon fired missiles in order to chop a helicopter in half, swing a giant robot around and toss it into the pavement, slice all of the robot legs of an enemy before leaping atop them to finish them off, and much more!

You will definitely want to make use of these advanced techniques and trigger the QTE when fighting heavily armored enemies. After damaging them a lot or in a particular area, such as damaging their shield or a turret, you’ll often see the QTE button combo come onto the screen, press them and you’ll eventually see see a Japanese character or ninja symbol flash on the screen.

That is your cue to enter Blade Mode in order to cause massive damage to the enemy or boss, often this will result in you cutting their shield or weapon into a million pieces, resulting in the boss losing some of it’s fighting ability or strength and putting them into a weakened state, in which their health bar (shown in the lower right during boss battles) can be permanently lowered.

It’s a cool system that works well, and as intentioned, even though some people may cry foul that they couldn’t come up with anything more original than QTEs, which has been done a ton ad nasuem. It also takes a lot of skill and experience to get better at the combat system (always a good thing) and it will seem overwhelming and convoluted at first, but you’ll get the hang of it.

Regardless, you really do feel like an invincible, badass Cyborg Ninja who is unbeateable when playing Metal Gear Rising… even though you know for a fact that you are actually very, very, VERY beatable.

And that is one aspect that I absolutely love about this game. Just like in the original polygonal Ninja Gaiden games, EVERY enemy is a deadly foe worth fearing. While the grunts can be taken out pretty easily, the robotic enemies (called “UGs”) are absolutely to be feared and will tear you to pieces if you are not focused on defeating them, making use of your Moves and taking advantage of their weaknesses and your powerful techniques; or you will be turned into hamburger meat before you can blink!

That makes Metal Gear Rising a thinking man’s action game. While the game can be played without thinking, those who do take the extra steps to learn the moves and combo system will have a much bigger advantage in combat, won’t die as much, and will survive longer against the merciless hordes and giant robots who’s sole purpose is to kill you.

One of the coolest aspects of Metal Gear Rising outside of the awesome combat is the storyline. The storyline in Metal Gear Rising is fantastic, the voice acting is top-notch, all of the characters are well played and likeable, and the game is filled with amazing computer generated FMV sequences, just like the days of yore!

While some people say FMV is dumb because they’d rather play than watch (and the computer-generated cutscenes always look better than the in-game graphics) I for one absolutely love CG cutscenes and see them as the awesome reward and payoff for all that great gameplay.

It’s great to take a breather (especially after the beating your hands take in this game) after finally defeating a tough boss, and just sitback and watch an awesome cutscene.

I am very happy that they didn’t go with in-game generated cutscenes, which I absolutely hate. Even if the graphics are good, I always prefer a cinematic CG cutscene to an in-game one.

It is a worthy reward to watch the badass movie scenes and all of them in this game are excellent. I think if you were to put them all together you’d have one heck of a cool action flick worth watching.

Unlike a lot of other games, the storyline here is extremely unique and unlike anything you’ve seen before. While the game does feature a kind of melodrama that will remind you of Japanese anime, that may put off some people, that doesn’t really detract at all from the core storyline.

The story is also full of twists and turns, in typical Metal Gear fashion, and holds up extremely well when put up against other games or previous games in the Metal Gear series.

The story also tackles a lot of heavy subjects, everything from morality and evil, to political intrigue and the pros and cons of war, to human trafficking, rich vs poor, 1st world countries vs third world, corruption, the dangers inherent in nationalism and patriotism, to terrorism, the War on Terror, and the human condition.

Of course, most of that stuff is delivered via the entirely optional Codec conversations (of which there are tons and tons and TONS of them), the actual storyline itself is more based upon morality, and focuses a lot on Raiden himself and a superhuman group of Terrorists known the “Winds of Destruction”.

Thankfully, the game has a lot of humor in it and Raiden is an extremely likeable, and very cool, character. Whose voice acting is absolutely badass (he sounds very much like Snake at many points. I swear it is David Hayter doing the voice work!). Raiden also knows when to poke fun at himself, at the names of enemies, or other things. While the game isn’t exactly self aware, it comes close to it and doesn’t always take itself too seriously.

You’ll also encounter lots of interesting discussions, like one where him and the Dok discuss the torture porn genre of horror films and the state of violent media and its impact on people. Another really interesting and fun discussion comes via Courtney, who is always talking about food… this leads to lots of interesting tidbits on foods and cuisine that she thinks Raiden should try, from various countries… all of this food and all of these facts are real, so the player could very realistically check into these foods himself and try them out… expanding his meal palette. And that is very cool!

Those who have an interest in Science, and everything from Biology to Robotics, will also have a field day as the conversations given in the Codec with the Doktor are as technical and complicated as they come. Those who consider themselves braniacs and love the nerdy techhead stuff will absolutely love the conversations to be had in Metal Gear Rising. Others, who aren’t so much into this stuff and could care less about technicalities, may be turned off by it.

A lot of it gets pretty heady, although Raiden always has interesting comments to make that are closer to the every-man, as he doesn’t care all that much about understanding the intricacies of the robot enemies he is facing, how they’re made, how they function, and the scientific discoveries that made them possible… he just wants to kick their butts!

I must say however that there is an anti-American streak that runs through the game to some degree… Raiden balances it out a bit however… and considering the fact that most of the major characters are Americans themselves; even so, things get hairy towards the end.

As a Conservative Republican, and a Christian, some of this bugged me a slight bit. I don’t like when US Senators for example are put in a bad light or made out to all be corrupt, or the insistence that America is the source of the ills of society or the world.

There’s also lots of talk about “memes”, evolution and even praise for Richard Dawkins! The author of “The God Delusion”. The last person I’d want to praise would be Dawkins (who, in my opinion, is masterfully taken apart by Ben Stein in his debate with Dawkins at the end of the movie “Expelled”), however I have an open mind and I think, when going into someone else’s creation in any form of media, you have to check your opinions at the door and enjoy it for what it is.

So my own opinions and my own faith didn’t hamper my enjoyment one bit, and the above issues are all nitpicky as it really isn’t too big a deal. Although the anti-American thing is heavy-handed… even so I think the game tries to give itself a balance, so you gotta give kudos to that. However if you an extremely patriotic American, you should know that the anti-American kind of talk is unavoidable in the game, and is NOT optional. So be forewarned on that front.

Other aspects of Metal Gear Rising are also well-made. For instance, the enemy list is quite diverse, and enemies will come at you with all manner of weapons from Swords to Rocket Launchers. You will pick up lots of collectables and finding every one of them in the game is very difficult to do on your first run through.

The robotic enemies are extremely tough, but even they can be taken out with a single hit if you master Stealth. As such, Metal Gear Rising is actually every bit a stealth game as an action game… however it is optional, but those who do go the Stealth route will be rewarded for it with Achievements, easier enemy deaths and single-hit kills, and unlockables from Left Hands that are obtained easier via stealth.

So in actuality, Metal Gear Rising actually has a lot in common with Metal Gear Solid. Much more than at first-blush… you will even find a very familiar item that will make you laugh, and the game is full of in-jokes, from hidden posters of scantily clad females to … MIB. If you play the game you’ll understand the reference, and it’s a funny one!

I was also struck, and impressed, by the very wide range of environments that you get to explore, and locations, that are to be found throughout Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. I was very happy to see that the initial setting of the game isn’t the ONLY setting, and things get really, really interesting halfway through the game.

All in all, Metal Gear Rising is a must-play experience. I will rate the game on Fun Factor, and give it the rating that it deserves in my personal opinion. However remember that the game IS indeed a furious action game, and those who don’t like drawn-out cutscenes full of hyberbole and psychobabble about morality and war, those who take offense to FMV, or those who prefer Adventure over Action, will probably be turned off by this game.

And those who are looking for all-new mechanics that have never been seen before may also be disappointed, as Quick Time Events and the combat isn’t anything new.

However even given all of this, Metal Gear Rising was an absolute blast to play. I enjoyed myself from beginning to the very end, and the game seems to just get better and better as you progress.

The boss fights are absolutely EPIC and the first boss fight in particular against a certain female absolutely raised the game from “great” to “HOLY CRAP THAT WAS FREAKIN’ AWESOME!” All of them are multi-staged and all of them are impressive and highlight moments.

I also must mention the music which is fantastic. This is one of the first games that uses actual songs in the music to increase the coolness of battles, songs with vocals. While it works better in some instances than others, I think it really elevates the whole thing and all of the boss themes are absolutely badass and have become new favorite videogame tunes for me. :D

All said, Metal Gear Rising is a must play. Buy the game, and give Platinum Games what they deserve for reviving Revengeance. I am super glad that this gem was not cancelled. BUY IT!

FUN FACTOR: 10
Metal Gear Rising is absolutely awesome. I had a blast from the very first opening scenes all the way to the end of the game. The battles are both tough as well as extremely strategic, while still remaining accessible enough to button mash your way through and beat the game without learning a single combo (Like I did). However if you are to master the game or beat it on Hard, you’ll be required to learn the in’s and outs of the intricate combat system and those who do will have a distinct upperhand. The boss fights are phenomenal, the music is awesome, the storyline is great, the voice-acting is top notch, the character development is good, the characters are likeable, Raiden is a badass, the end boss is INSANE, and the Codec conversations are fascinating. There are really absolutely no complaints from me.

GRAPHICS: 8.0
Metal Gear Rising looks great for the most part. There are a few WOW moments as well, such as when you get to the “garden” (I won’t spoil it, but I just stood there staring cause it looked so beautiful) and when you use your AR Mode in the dark… And the ability to cut things into literally thousands of pieces is IMPRESSIVE. Even though the game can slow down intensely during these times, although it never affected gameplay in my experience. And when I say cut things into thousands of piece, I mean literally. This is best witnessed when cutting glass that has broken on the edge of a window. Watch at the pieces that remain and cut at them, and you’ll see how little pieces continuously chip off. Even so, the graphics are not so great as to be impressive normally, and when chopping things into pieces, sometimes the graphics are such that you can’t really tell all that much… The cutscenes are also amazing, but sometimes look a bit blurry on the Xbox 360. Not that I really cared one bit however.

MUSIC & SOUND: 10
The music in this game is absolutely awesome. While I wouldn’t say it was phenomenal, it is made in such a way that it really elevates the boss fights to new levels. And just supercharges the whole thing. But what really elevates this game to a ten is the voice acting. It is just about as perfect as you can get IMHO, and I absolutely love Raiden’s deep, gruff voice. I think he may even beat out Snake’s voice in cool factor, which is saying something.

INGENUITY: 8.0
Metal Gear Rising gets props for the Blade Cutting techniques and how it is incorporated into gameplay, but all told, there really isn’t anything “new” here. Except for the Blade Mode. It is all used to great effect, but the Quick Time Event button presses are a dime a dozen in games, and some people will be put off by yet another adventure that using them throughout.

REPLAY VALUE: 8.0
There is a LOT of game here. You are ranked per mission (D, C, B, A, S) and per mission segment (of which there are tons, sometimes more than 8 segments per mission), there are a lots of collectables to find (MIB, Data Files, treasure chests, items, girlie posters) and getting each and every Cyborg Hand is very tough indeed. There are also multiple difficulty settings, lots of moves to unlock, multiple costumes, and lots of VR Missions to play through. A nice assortment and you’ll be kept busy for a while, especially if you want to unlock all the Achievements/Trophies. And you’ll definitely want to play through the game more than once just to master the combat system and see the awesome story again, in my humble opinion.

 

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Lego Indiana Jones 1: The Original Adventures Review (Xbox 360. Also On: PS3, Wii, DS, PSP, PS2, PC, Mac)

Lego Indiana Jones: Original Adventures Cover Artwork Back of Box and Front Xbox 360

The front and back of the Xbox 360 box cover art for Lego Indiana Jones 1

Read my entire Lego Indiana Jones 1: The Original Adventures review (Xbox 360) here.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2013 in Artwork, Reviews, Videogames

 

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Play As Stan Lee By Pre-Ordering The Amazing Spider-Man 2012 Videogame Based Off the Upcoming Movie. Release Date is June 26 2012 (Xbox 360, PS3, 3DS, PC, DS, Wii, iOS, Android). Trailers, Videos and Developer Diary

The Amazing Spider-Man Videogame Gameplay Screenshot

An awesome gameplay screenshot, very cinematic, of The Amazing Spider-Man videogame in action.

The Amazing Spider-Man Videogame has the 89-year-old Stan Lee (YES HE’S THAT OLD!) as a playable character for the first time in a videogame! Only if you pre-order The Amazing Spider-Man! The all-new game developed by veteran Spider-Man developer Beenox (Spider-Man: Edge of Time, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions). It will be released June 26th 2012 on Xbox 360, PS3, PC, 3DS, Wii, DS, Android and iOS.

The Amazing Spider-Man Videogame is releasing to coincide with the film of the same name. The movie hits theaters on July 3, 2012, just in time for the 4th of July American Independence Day celebrations.

Although the game is based on the film, it is only loosely so in most regards, as the game expands on many aspects of the movie with characters from the comicbooks, and the game does not feature the likeness or voice acting from a single one of the The Amazing Spider-Man film’s actors.

Here is a trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man videogame.

The biggest change is a fully open-world, a recreation of New York City, and a fully updated combat system that is similar to the one seen in Batman: Arkham City, featuring free-flowing combos, chains, parry’s, etc. A number of side-missions, minigames, etc. can be found within the open world, which gives players the choice of how they want to tackle the game. One of the coolest additions are full, collectable comicbooks featuring some of the biggest issues and moments from throughout Spidey’s long career! Such as Amazing Fantasy #15, the final 1960s issue which introduced the character Spider-Man to the world. Spider-Man would go on to become one of the most popular characters of all time.

If you pre-order The Amazing Spider-Man on Xbox 360 or PS3 from Amazon.com, you’ll get the very cool bonus of Stan Lee as a playable character! Stan Lee has all of Spider-Man’s moves, and has a side-mission that sees him collecting the missing pages of a comicbook script that flies out the window! The best part is that the 89-year-old Spider-Man creator recorded lots of fun dialogue with him saying some of his infamous catchphrases and repeating some of the words that Spider-Man is known for. You can see Stan Lee himself describe his new playable videogame form in this The Amazing Spider-Man Videogame gameplay video.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Release Date Is November 13, 2012. Debut Trailer. Set In Future (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Frank Woods

Frank Woods as he appears in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 will be released on November 13th, 2012 for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. And like rumor has suggested, the game will be set in the near future, a first for the series!

This is a time when “21st Century Cold War technology and weapons have converged to create a new generation of warfare.”

Known locations are reported to include Los Angeles (in flames) and global settings that include Afghanistan, Japan and China. Surely among many others.

Black Ops 2 TNT NBA Playoffs Announcement

Black Ops 2 was officially unveiled during the TNT NBA Playoffs

Here is the reveal trailer showing the first gameplay footage and first solid information on the upcoming game.

What do you think? Is it a step back? Too early to judge?

 
 

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On the Cutting Room Floor: Games I’ve Yet to Play – EarthBound

Ness and King EarthBound Art

Ness and his dog King in front of his mom's house in Onett (opening scene of EarthBound).

If you know me, you know that there are TONS AND TONS of videogames I’ve never played. Sadly, although I consider myself to be a “hardcore” gamer, I really am not compared to most “gamers”. The reason for that is because, unlike other more productive people, I can never seem to find the time to play games. Period.

In fact, my most played system as of late has been my Nintendo 3DS, and that’s simply because it is the easiest system to play when I’m sitting on the throne…. And cause I’m a hardcore Nintendo fanboy to boot.

So I thought it would be fun to go through some of the games I’d LOVE to play and still plan on playing someday, but never have up to this point and why I want to play them. Maybe I’ll get to them at some point, and hopefully soon; but maybe not. We’ll see. Enjoy.

EPISODE #1 – EARTHBOUND
Released: November 1995 (USA), August 27, 1994 (Japan)
System: Super Nintendo
Re-Released: As part of Mother I&II Collection for Game Boy Advance (Japan-only)
Genre: RPG
Developed By: Nintendo, Ape, HAL Laboratory
Publisher: Nintendo
Is There A Digital Version?: Not legally, ROM & Emulator for play on the PC are easy to find however. It has never been officially re-released.

EarthBound SNES Cart

The elusive EarthBound (Mother 2) cartridge... worth lots of money these days.

Why EarthBound?

EarthBound is one of those cult-classic videogames that literally everyone should play… regardless of whether you like Japanese Role-Playing Games or not. Despite what the title says and the premise of this “On the Cutting Room Floor” series, EarthBound is actually a game I have played through MULTIPLE times. However it remains on the cutting room floor for me because I have NEVER finished it.

Unlike many others, I actually own a SNES EarthBound cart (along with the box) that I bought for $15 in 1998 at Blockbuster. Back then I was pissed because I assumed the big box meant it came with the Strategy Guide/Instruction Book pictured on the front of the box… but it was not meant to be as the box didn’t contain that guide. Believe it or not, me in my naive-to-the-future-worth-of-the-epic-game-he-held-in-his-hands youth ALMOST took the game back. I was literally about to hightail it back to the store and return it because I was so disappointed at not having the book. Even back in those days, my early teen years, I had that collector’s streak pumping through my veins, and I wanted my games to be complete with the box AND instructions.

EarthBound Battle Screenshot - Territorial Oak

A typical EarthBound battle looks like this.... that's the dreaded Territorial Oak enemy! *shivers*

Thankfully, I wisely kept the game, figuring that it would be really fun and cool to play (as I had read in gaming magazines) and I’d just have to do without the instruction book. Wise choice young grasshopper me, wise choice!

EarthBound is one of the most unique games you will ever play. It has a self-deprecating, breaking-the-fourth-wall streak running throughout that makes the writing extremely laugh-out-loud funny and more witty and interesting than most games… certainly than most RPGs of the day. The game is a typical JRPG, with turn-based battles (seen in the first person perspective, and menu-driven), a focus on talking to every villager you encounter, and an epic quest, but the modern America setting of the game is what made EarthBound really stand out.

EarthBound Onett Gameplay

A typical screenshot of talking to villagers in EarthBound's first town of Onett.

EarthBound is not a fantasy game, it is a literal modern-day adventure of four kids spelunking through the oddest of occurrences; crashing meteors, alien visitors, zombie apocalypse, roadrunning jazz bands, haunted malls, color-blue-worshiping cults… it’s actually a sci-fi game in reality, although the science fiction aspect doesn’t really override the rest of the tale due to the fact that the game generally stays in a modern-day, city setting throughout. It is the worlds you explore in EarthBound however, the cities, that play as much a role in the game as anything else. Each city, Onette, Twoson, Threed, Fourside, is like a character in itself because of the unique themes of each.

Overall, EarthBound is arguably the game I want to MOST FINISH of all the games I have. Sadly, I started on the game many, many times using my SNES cartridge, but the cart has ALWAYS deleted my saved games from the beginning. It’s been an eternal heartbreaker. I had resisted pirating the game (which in my case is legal because I own the original cart) for the longest time in the hope that Nintendo would re-release a digital version… but they never did.

EarthBound City of Onett

A JRPG with city buildings, hamburgers, stop signs and streets? Believe it.

So last year I finally broke down and downloaded the ROM and an emulator, and finally got to experience the game without the threat of my save file being erased…. I tried ONE LAST TIME to play it on the actual SNES… but somehow something always ends up happening that causes the game to freeze (accidentally bumping the system, accidentally moving the powercord… one time our freakin’ cat jumped on it and that was that) so that was the last straw for me and I went the route most EarthBound fans had long-taken; the route of a pirate. I still prefer to play games with a controller (THE controller) so I’m not a fan of the keyboard controls, but having new features like the ability to speed up time or save anywhere is definitely welcome.

Ness Talks To Sister In EarthBound

EarthBound has such a charming, simple look to it. This is Ness' sister's room.

Hopefully Nintendo will re-release the game soon for the 3DS eShop, can you imagine how much of a killer-app it’d be? And while they’re at it they should flatout REMAKE the game and all-three Mother titles and release it for 3DS, Wii or Wii U… the Western world never got the original EarthBound, called Mother in Japan, or the Japan-only sequel to EarthBound called Mother 3 for Game Boy Advance, which is criminal. Of course, illegally, an English version of “EarthBound Zero” for NES via emulator exists, as does English ROM’s of Mother 3…. both of which I own.

One of these days soon I’ll actually sit down and record myself playing through the whole game. Last time I stopped simply cause I got sidetracked, but with my new site here that is SUPPOSED to be focused on watching me play games… I definitely intend on allowing you to watch me play it.

Here is a look at EarthBound in action! Alongside the awesome intro.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Features, Videos

 

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