Review: Slightly Less Mass Effect

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Mass Effect was one of my favorite video games of the past ten years. BioWare has never struggled to make a compelling universe I would love to spend 40 hours in and they’ve been at this for almost twenty years. Mass Effect 3 marks the 3rd chapter (surprise!) in an original Sci-Fi trilogy they started on the Xbox 360 back in 2007. With the promise of importing saves, streamlined combat, and online multiplayer, it was hard to see how it could disappoint. Now I can see it very clearly.

Mass Effect’s story starts where the last game left off. You dealt with the collectors and the council is finally ready to accept your warnings about the Reapers now that they’re already on earth making humanity their bitch. The Reapers are a race of machines who show up to harvest all life in the galaxy every 50,000 years for some mysterious reason. After reiterating what a thick skull the government has for not heading your warnings about this impending doom earlier, you decide to help anyway for the sake of mankind and you’re off to save the galaxy once again.

It becomes obvious quick that you’re not going to kill an army of machines the size of skyscrapers by shooting at them, so you and your crew set off to find an alternative method. You find plans for a device called the Crucible left in some ruins by the last civilization destroyed by the synthetic jack asses. They didn’t have time to finish building it before the pwnge, but evidence shows it could be a weapon used to destroy the Reapers and break the cycle for good. It’s the only chance you have and there’s no way you’re winning this war conventionally.

While a thousand overworked and underpaid contractors are building your deus ex machina, it’s your job to travel as an ambassador to every planet in the galaxy and unite everyone’s army against our mechanical foes. This is the most interesting part of the game and really shows off the decisions from the last two titles. Every mission has something to do with collecting resources for the Crucible or recruiting armies for the war effort and there’s a past decision behind every one of them. Old friends (the ones you didn’t get killed) show up to help, entire armies respect and listen to you depending on your reputation, and you’ll find yourself enjoying hours of gameplay that wouldn’t be there if you made one wrong move in the last game.

It’s a surprisingly simple plot for such a complex universe. Build the device to kill the machines. The simplicity of the plot is a bit of a disappointment if you were hoping for something a little more complex than what all the commercials are showing. This narrative also lends itself to a lot more action which might be sad news to players who were more interested in the RPG aspect of the game. Fortunately, the simple story also leaves a lot of wiggle room for side missions allowing you to tie up a lot of loose ends with past characters. Even though it’s a much lighter serving this time around, you’ll still get your RPG fix.

As previously stated, shooting takes a much bigger role in Mass Effect 3 than in past installments but it’s also the best shooting mechanics the series has ever seen. The cover system is taken straight out of Gears of War but is a definite improvement over ME1 and 2, allowing you to dive into and out of cover from other pieces of cover around it. This makes fighting much smoother and allows you to concentrate on the battle instead of the controls.

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Unfortunately, Bioware managed to turn this strength into a weakness with a little too much confidence. Every battle is easier and more interesting than before, but also way too long and repetitive. It’s okay to pull more focus on combat after the mechanics have been improved, but every battle seemed to have ten too many enemies in it and last twenty minutes too long. It’s especially saddening since it feels like every extra battle is replacing an interesting conversations or some clever role playing that could have been.

In an added attempt to make the combat more streamlined, the game now includes Kinect support, allowing you to shout commands at your squad members and respond in conversations by just saying the words. I imagine it’s supposed to bring you closer into the experience to be able to shout at your army like you would during a real battle, but like most hardcore games with the inclusion of Kinect, it feels like a gimmick. There are very few times you’ll want to “say the words” instead of just clicking a button. In fact, yelling at my T.V. numerous times to try to get my squad to listen to one command takes me out of the experience more than any button press ever has. At the most, it seems to serve as another bullet point to be slapped on the back of the box as a marketing tool. Speaking of marketing tools, Mass Effect 3 also comes with multiplayer for the first time in the series.

The online battles play exactly like horde (fitting, since that’s where the game took its cover system). You and a few friends get the chance to fight against numerous waves of different enemies and level up your powers to make subsequent battles a little easier. It’s disappointing they didn’t do more with this feature. The game is an RPG at heart and the multiplayer pretends to be a shooter. There are some elements of leveling up still present, but it would have been nice to go on missions or have conversations with friends to extend my single player experience.

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As it stands, the multiplayer doesn’t affect my opinion towards the game because I was just fine playing the first two with zero multiplayer. I’m just sad they wasted time on it when more resources could have been applied towards the campaign. If they had done something more interesting than be Gears of War (with less maps and a rougher cover system), than maybe I would have paid more attention to it.

For a long time fan of the trilogy, Mass Effect 3 is full of let downs. It’s very easy to point to every aspect of the game and say ‘they did that better in ME1 or ME2.’ However, this is still a great game that deserves to be bought, especially if you’re importing your save file. It will be extremely satisfying to see your decisions finally pay off and the story is still better than 90% of all RPGs out there. Bioware set the bar high and fell a little short on this one, not to mention the lackluster ending, but it’s still Mass Effect. It’s Still quality. It’s still a must buy.

Review: Metal gets Twisted

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Remember a time when Twisted Metal was synonymous with awesome? Remember a time when Twisted Metal was accepted as the most badass game out there? Remember a time when everyone played Twisted Metal and those who didn’t were just lame and picked on and beat up behind the neighborhood back alley after school in front of the hottest girl? (Hang on a second) Me either. But it’s a good thing we have the creator of Twisted Metal to remind us of such neat times! In comes the latest installment of Twisted Metal: Twisted Metal (simply that), exclusively for the PS3.

Twisted Metal is a destruction derby set on a grand scale all around the world, and the latest installment is no stranger. Places like: Forgettable Sunny Hills, Califonia, Flatland, Idaho, and Rage and Burn, Nowhere! (Kidding… half) In past installments places like New York or London or Paris where visited and had no shortage of memorabilia. The latest installment suffers from what all new-gen games suffer: arena maps. Every location plays the same, is forgettable, and lacks depth- hard to do in such a hectic game.

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Power-ups work much the same as in past installments; pick up a power, aim, and shoot hoping to destroy an opponent. A Special is introduced where each car has a unique weapon and/or move. Sweetooth can become a mech, fly, and ground-pound, Mr. Grimm can throw flaming chainsaws- that sort of dig. Handheld weapons are also an option, replacing the mounted weapons if desired, like submachine guns, revolvers, and rocket launchers. In all, I found no noticeable difference in handheld to mounted weapons.

Only a few vehicles from the past survived including Sweetooth’s van, Mr. Grimm’s bike, and Axel’s… big wheels (insert pun). A semi and heli are new additions to otherwise obvious choices for rides (maybe that tank/car thing too), each with its unique special weapon- as stated. I’ve found that the stats for each individual car mean squat (my compatriots agree as well) because I was taking less damage as an apparent “weaker” car, and was outmaneuvering fast cars in “slower” vehicles. Oh, well. [(Did you know 80% of all statistics are made up?) Think about this one.]

The single player story of Twisted Metal is as such: Sweetooth has an amazing barber for getting those flames like that, Mr. Grimm’s make-up is all-weather proof, and Dollface sure is. Moral of the story: Calypso is one lying son-of-a-bitch. And just like that… Multiplayer!

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Unless buying this game new, forget trying to play Multiplayer… needs a code to access. A few modes are available and players choose one of four factions to take up: Clowns, Skulls, Dolls, or Preachers. Nuke mode is the jewel of Multiplayer. It plays like Capture the flag, mixed with Assault (from Halo) where players fight to take a human back to base and sacrifice onto a missile where upon the end of a countdown launches onto the enemy’s idol (statue thing at their base). Addictive at first, with lots of customization and interchangeable parts for cars, after a few hours the game quickly wears.

The single player lacks concrete. Cut scenes are live-action, old school, and downright cheese. For some odd reason the Preacher is present and feels out of place like if his agent forgot to tell him he was cut from production. Completely hit and miss. Multiplayer can only last so long. Everything was done right… for a game that should have been left in the 90’s, but it seems like Twisted Metal could not stand the test of time. Nothing notable was introduced in this installment, just polished up a bit. Perhaps if this was a downloadable title it might have been worth a nostalgia trip, but as a $60 retail title, the amount of content is not appropriate. C+.

Review: Multiplayer Mayhem in Gotham

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Do you like First Person Shooters? Do you want a Batman game without Batman? Do you want to an inexpensive online experience because you’re out of money from the holiday? Then I have a game for you. Gotham City Impostors has come out and is showing off its unique weaponry. From Bear Traps to Roller Skates to Bows and Arrows, you can’t get more unique than this. These unique weapons are equitable to your Custom Classes. There are three game-types and five maps to prove your Class is the best. Every game-type is team based so you are put on either the Batz or Jokers team.

The three game-types are Team Death Match, Fumigation, and Psych Warfare. Team Death Match is just killing enemies, getting a point per kill, until a team reaches fifty points. Fumigation and Psych Warfare are the objective game-types. Fumigation is about capturing three machines called Gasblasters, pumping the gas of whoever owns it into the air. If the Batz own a Gasblaster, it sprays out a gas that attracts bats to attack the Jokers. If the Jokers own a Gasblaster, laughing gas is ejected into the air. Owning multiple Gasblasters will fill the air with your gas faster. Once the air is one hundred percent your gas, you win. Psych Warfare, my personal favorite, is all about grabbing a battery and hooking it up to stereos. These stereos play propaganda that will demoralize the other team. While demoralized, they can only slap, and not use their guns, but they can attack the stereos to shorten the time they are demoralized. All of these game-types play the same on all the maps. The maps just help with seeing new scenery after awhile.

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Creating your own Custom Class is the main focus of Gotham City Impostors. The unlock keys, how you unlock things to customize your class, keep the game from becoming a grid to complete challenges and more about playing the game how you want in order to grow levels. Every feature of your character can be customized such as weapons, clothing, and calling cards. Calling cards pop up on enemy screens when you kill them. It is a quick way to show your personality and for players to remember you. Clothing is bought using costume coins that you get depending on how well you did in a match. The clothing can also be bought with real money if you don’t want to wait. There are even some things that can only be bought with real money. There are a lot of weapons to choose from for your custom classes. You can have two guns per class with mods on each gun. Depending on which gun you have equipped, there will be different mods. My favorite mod, which is on most guns, is the Body Oder Sniffer. It “sniffs” out enemies and will show you when they are hiding around corners or behind walls. There are also different ammo and scope types or you can expand your magazine size.

The Support Items and Gadgets are some other customizable pieces that play a big part in game-play. Support Items are more offensive tools giving you advantages in combat. Some Support Items you have to plan for and set up in advance, like Bear Traps, but there are others that are more instant, like Impact Grenades. Gadgets help with movement mostly. A Glider Rig, Spring Boots, Inflatable Shoes, and a Grapple Gun help get you into high places while Rollers Skates and Ninja Smoke Bombs let you get places fast or undetected. Targeting Goggles are a Gadget that would be more for Support Classes or Healers. Targeting Goggles let you spot enemies through walls. Spotting enemies will cause them to glow brightly for everyone on your team and if someone kills the person you spotted then you get kill assist points. Support Items and Gadgets are fun but the Body Types play a bigger part in the balance of Gotham City Impostors.

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The heavier the weapon, the more it slows down your character. If you have a bigger character the less of a movement penalty you receive from your heavy weapons. The different character sizes change how fast your character moves and how much health you have. The bigger characters are slower and have more health while smaller characters are faster with less health. The Body Type you start with is the Tough class, which has balanced health and speed. It lets you get used to the game before getting too crazy on you. Other fun customizables are the voices. There are different voice types to pick from and each has different sayings along with the ability to change the pitch of your voice. Sometimes the voices can get annoying but overall it is funny.

With Body Types giving you health or speed, Fun Facts can give you other perks. Some are still just more health or speed but others give you buffs against certain weapons and items. The Fun Facts are passive bonuses you can give yourself. Rampage is a special ability you can activate for completing kill streaks or death streaks. You can choose to do more damage or absorb more damage. Your character even has a Psych Profile, which effects how you gain experience. Some actions will give you more experience but other actions will be penalized. All of these different features add into one amazingly unique game.

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The gameplay is fast paced with lots of explosions. The weird weapons that you use in new ways help make this stand out from other games like Call of Duty. There are plenty of close calls and “Did you see that!” moments. The unlock system lets you unlock items when you want to, so, making your dream class is just a few levels away.  There have been some network issues, but in today’s industry, every game is released with issues they patch up later. Not saying I agree with this thought process, but it is what it is. March is going to bring some free DLC and some fixes to these problems. While fast paced shooters aren’t new to the industry, Gotham City Impostors keeps things fresh with its comedy and extreme customizing.

Review: Soul Calibur V...for Vendetta

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Soul Calibur Five. Yes, I said FIVE just to clarify; because I know someone somewhere out there is pronouncing it as a "v" (sigh). So before going on a tangent, and totally exploding on THAT type of people... Soul Calibur FIVE!

The fighting genre has experienced a boom in the number of games spit out (some good, others... not so) almost like the neighborhood gumball machine. (What were you thinking!?) Titles like Mortal Kombat 9, Street Fighter 4 (drop it), and Marvel v. Capcom 3 have brought forth a new chapter in fighting games, and reignited the flame. Now, another staple of fighters has emerged from seemingly nowhere, Soul Calibur.

Initial thoughts when loading up the disk were relatively high due in part to having a new Soul Calibur in a few years. The opening cinematic where Siegfried and Nightmare were clashing was definitely awesome and flashy; I couldn't wait to actually start playing. Once I selected my first character (Pyrrha) and began that first battle (COM), excitement turned into confusion, then further into frustration. What did they do!?

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Fighters are judged entirely on gameplay, and immediately, I had none from controller to character. Actions were clunky, slow, and generally dumbed down. Even against a mediocre COM, I had to dig deep to finish the fight. I switched characters to a faster type (Natsu) hoping to quell my fear only to reinforce it. The mechanics were tinkered with from the previous installment, and it did not bode well.

Actions have a greater lag transitioning from controller to character, and timing with each character is special. Timing combos has always been fine in previous installments, but the more I played with it, the more I noticed that this installment was not in tune. Parrying and breakers were effective, and special moves were still key at least.

The Story Mode was set, and had as much depth as any generic fighter of the ‘90s… well with a slight incest twist. Not every character was seen in the story, and involvement was transparent in the ones that were introduced. Questions were brought up, but never answered. Characters were thrown into the mix, and disappeared just as quick. Oh well, it’s a fighter and nothing to be ashamed about… right?

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Online playability has improved dramatically, and is as solid as any other current fighter on the market. Not once did I experience lag, and generally people stayed for a full match (but it’s more courtesy and less doucheness than anything). Both Ranked and Player matches are available, and custom characters may be used (I personalized the hell out of my characters!).

Speaking of custom characters… son of a bitch! If only moves could be altered, and less clothing presentable then I would be satisfied. I’ve seen more customability in WWE 12! Although I bitch about it, it was still satisfying enough creating custom characters who look like players from other franchises (I so made Lara Croft). It’s a neat mode that differs from other fighters, so that’s always a plus.

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Unlockable characters were half and half. Some came from the story, others from a mode called Legendary Souls. That being said, only six unlockable characters were present, and I did not enjoy trying to unlock the ones from Legendary Souls. Legendary Souls is a higher-level arcade mode where all you do is get your ass kicked from left to right, from Sunday to next month! I curl up in a ball under my sheets and cry for a while every time I remember getting Kilik’s pole shoved so far up my ass it tickles my insides… *shiver*.

Well, all in all. Not too bad. It’s not great. It’s not bad. It just is. Hey, they have Ezio! And not just any Ezio! End of Assassin’s Creed 2, beginning of Assassin’s Creed 2: Brotherhood Ezio! That’s great. Super. Well, hopefully next time they can get someone as badass as Yoda and Darth Vader in on the action. Oh, and console exclusives please. B-.

Review: More than meets the License

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Transformers: Fall of Cybertron has been announced and is looking awesome. Fall of Cybertron is the follow up to 2010’s War of Cybertron. They say it’s not a direct sequel but it takes place in the same universe. War of Cybertron was a smash hit and ties in with 1st generation Transformers show. You get to play as all the greats: Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Ironhide, Starscream, Soundwave, and Megatron. The campaign has you play as both the Autobots and Decepticons, giving you a rich, full experience. Multiplayer is fast and balanced even with custom classes. There is even a Horde mode game type called Escalation.

The story mode has ten chapters. You can start at Chapter One in the Decepticon Story or Chapter Five as Autobots. They do this so you can jump right into playing as Optimus, but trust me, start with the Decepticon side for the complete story. You will see classic Characters, Weapons, and Locations from old school Transformers. There are plenty of new things brought into the Transformers universe as well. There are some boss battles, but most aren’t memorable. My personal favorite Transformer, Starscream, gets an origin story and I love all the history that ties into the series.

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The three-player co-op is a nice but doesn’t add much to the game. You can select what character you want to play before every level and each one has different abilities and weapons. What really adds to the experience is the Co-op Versus mode. It plays like Left 4 Dead versus; three people play in a campaign level and three people try to stop them. Correctly using characters, weapons, and abilities will bring success against your enemy.

Escalation mode is yet another Co-op mode where you fight wave after wave of demented avengers (Pink Floyd Reference). It is like Horde mode with a twist. For each kill, you get points and you use these points for weapons, ammo, shields, and opening doors. The best part about these are multiple people can pay for one thing, so if you don’t have enough points, ask your teammates for help. Some of the best weapons are locked behind the more expensive doors. The DLC available for War for Cybertron adds Multiplayer maps and Escalation Maps. There is enough content to keep you busy for awhile but when you get bored, the DLC will help.

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The Multiplayer was the most addictive part of War for Cybertron. Being able to transform anytime brings a very unique aspect to online shooters. With four different character classes and different weapons, abilities, and perks for each class, there are many choices to make. Each class can be leveled up to 25, unlocking things along the way. After getting every class to 25 you can do Prime Mode where all ranks are reset and you get a nice icon next to your name. Even with all that content in the mix of Multiplayer, it is all well balanced. At a low level without all the fancy unlocks I didn’t feel weak against the higher-level players.

One shall Stand. One shall Fall. War for Cybertron does not fall and, along with Batman: Arkham Asylum, shows just how licensed games can be good. Fall of Cybertron is bringing Dinobots and Constructicons to the battle. Such iconic characters with a rich history and amazing gameplay make this a must have for any fan. Also, if you aren’t a fan, there has never been a better time to jump in. Go out, buy War for Cybertron, and get ready to experience one of my most anticipated games of 2012. Fall of Cybertron doesn’t have a release date yet but expect it close to the holiday season.

Review: Sonic Generations Offers Some of the Old With Too Much of the New

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Everyone loves Sonic!... Ten years ago. Lately it’s been pretty rough if you’re a Sonic fan (if there’s any of you left out there). Back in the day, plenty of ten year olds fought over the superiority of Mario and Sonic the same way 50’s kids used to argue if Superman or The Flash was faster. Mario has ruled the past ten years with no contest considering the huge slump Sonic’s been in. Sonic Generations is attempting to win back old fans with an emphasis on 2D gameplay and classic stages with a graphical upgrade.

Early in the game, Capt. Smoke Monster (or whatever he’s called) flies into our world via a space vacuum and trolls Sonic’s life. He grabs the slightly pudgier Sonic from the 90’s and throws him into present day with 3D Sonic and his entourage of backward characters. I understand the narrative in a Platformer isn’t exactly key to its quality, but Sonic always had a few cool characters you wish someone would take advantage of. Unfortunately, it’s not happening in this outing.

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Every level has two acts. The first act is played exclusively in 2D with Classic Sonic on stages remade from past titles. The graphics are prettier and add some depth to the former 16-bit environments, but sometimes the new visuals can be distracting. Visual pizazz confused me for a workable platform a few times, causing me to fall to my death. Still, it’s a great way to revisit some of your favorite stages from 15 years ago.

The second act claims it’s in 3 dimensions, but it’s really kind of a hybrid.  The playing field switches back and forth between dimensions to give you a bit of the old and a bit of the new. They are meant to be a reimagining of the old 2D levels if they were done today. Unfortunately, today’s Sonic developers don’t quite have the skills they used to. This causes every second act to be a little bit of a disappointment.

The mechanics are everything in this genre. If it doesn’t feel good to hop around on a ton of enemies while feeling like a total badass, you might as well hang it up. Not everything feels as good as it did in the past. There seems to be a slight lag in every jump and controlling Sonic with the joystick isn’t as tight as it could be. When playing a game about speed and timing, these are a few small inconveniences that turn into huge problems during gameplay. It just aint what it used to be.

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All the original content in the game is very underwhelming. Every recycled boss requires the completion of a few drab challenges, and every spruced up classic stage is followed by a modern uninteresting one.

The game only has nine levels and makes for quite a missed opportunity. A couple of the levels are even pulled from some of this generation’s Sonic library, and trust me, no one wants to revisit those. All development could have been geared towards more classic levels and it would have made for a better game. Too much time was wasted on the uninteresting story, boring challenges, and 3D stages. With downloadable stages, this might turn out to be a pretty way to enjoy sonic in 2D again, but as is, it’s not a whole lot of content and it’s not all peaches.

Review: Go Back to Karkand, and Never Look Forward.

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Battlefield 3’s launch has been everything but smooth. Servers didn’t work properly for a solid week or two, the multiplayer was riddled with glitches, and the maps didn’t seem nearly as destructible as past installments. With such big tech issues and graphical disappointments, I found it hard to believe that Battlefield 3 would ever have legs as long as its predecessors. Almost two months after the game’s launch, DICE released a new map pack, called Back to Karkand, including classic arenas from previous titles. New content for a broken game isn’t usually news, however, this return to form might be just what Battlefield 3 needs to win back its fans and recover from its rocky start.

There are four maps in the new update: Strike at Karkand, Wake Island, Sharqi Peninsula, and Gulf of Oman. Each one is a remake of past Battlefield maps. They look slightly different and some of the structures have changed, but they’re all a fairly accurate representation of the original version. This should please longtime fans of the series because there’s a reason why they’re called classics.

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Every map embodies everything that’s great about Battlefield. Everybody chooses a class, defining their role in each match. A great map gives everyone a chance to play the role they want and have fun doing it. All four maps provide this variety of gameplay and nail that Battlefield experience. There are wide open areas for snipers, plenty of vehicles for engineers, and close quarters combat for assault and support classes. This makes every player feel welcome on this visit back to the most loved maps of the series.

Also, every map is more destructible than any other Battlefield 3 map to date. Rubble piles into the street and buildings collapse if too many walls are blown out. This was standard on past Battlefields, but was strangely absent in a lot of the on disk maps. It was possible to destroy almost anything in Bad Company 2, but Battlefield 3 launched with stagnant environments that had only a few destructible walls. It’s still curious why this happened, but at least the new maps are a huge step in the right direction. They’re still not 100% destructible like BC2, but it’s enough to give you that great feeling of leaving a huge crater where you just had a firefight.

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Back to Karkand also introduces Assignments. Pulled directly from Call of Duty’s Challenges, Assignments are little goals for you to accomplish in multiplayer that will earn you new weapons for every class. There are only about 8 assignments, which is quite low considering what Call of Duty has, but it’s a nice addition and gives you a few more goals to strive for when pining for those addicting unlocks.

I was weary to hop back into a game with so many issues, but this DLC made me a believer again. Every map is infinitely playable and the technical updates have turned a frustrating online shooter into a solid multiplayer experience. I can’t wait to get back in and start unlocking more weapons. Of course, it’s not quite perfect yet. Squads still don’t work properly and it’s not completely free of glitches, but it’s definitely enough to give this game another go before you decide to drop it for another shooter. Oh, and did I mention, if you have the limited edition, this map pack comes at no extra charge! Download and enjoy.

Review: Revelations Offers Few New Additions, But Plenty of Entertainment

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I’ve never been a huge fan of yearly releases for video games. Sequels are feeling less and less like sequels nowadays and I miss seeing major changes/improvements in new franchise installments. Not every game needs a whole lot of development time and I do like a few yearly titles, but most of them lack the innovation of a 2-3 year development cycle. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is another title in an annual franchise. Most games with a yearly cycle are much simpler and don’t require loads of story or level development. This is an open world game with a brand new city, new missions, and an online component. Is it possible for a game to tackle so much in one year without it falling flat?

In every Assassin’s Creed, you play as Desmond Miles, a present day drifter who straps into a matrix machine called the Animus that allows him to relive the memories of his ancestors. The majority of every game is spent in the Animus, exploring cities from hundreds of years ago. After a slight hiccup at the end of the last game, Desmond seems to be stuck in the world of the animus and must continue the adventures of one of his ancestors, Ezio Auditore.

The game takes place in Constantinople during the rise of the Ottoman Empire in the 1500s. Ezio travels here after he learns of a powerful weapon that Altair (another ancestor of Desmond’s) hid somewhere in the city. The Templars (the baddies of every AC game) have arrived in Constantinople and are looking for the weapon as well. Ezio and his group of assassins are determined to find the weapon before the Templars do, fearing whoever finds it will win the war permanently. Besides the initial introduction, the story isn’t laid on too thick for the rest of the game.  There are plenty of quests and a handful of side missions that will keep you busy and entertained without worrying about the overall plot.

Out of all the Assassin’s Creeds, this is my favorite city. Getting around in the open world environments have always been about the free running mechanics for me. Other titles in the series required some horse riding to get around to more populated areas, but these were always the more boring parts of the game. It wasn’t nearly as satisfying as jumping from rooftop to rooftop to get to your destination. The city is much denser this time around and features no barren cornfields that can only be crossed on horseback. This allows you to constantly use your skills as a city free runner with one more trick up your sleeve.

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Revelations introduces a new mechanic called the hook blade. It slides out of your sleeve like the hidden blade and provides a few more options while traversing the city. You can use it to slide down zip lines, reach higher ledges, and screw with guards in combat. It’s a small addition, and probably could have been a later upgrade, but I was happy to get around the city faster than I ever could before using its abilities.

The biggest change in Revelations is the notoriety system. In past Assassin’s Creeds, killing guards made your notoriety meter rise and the authorities more likely to recognize you as you passed by them. Now, performing illegal tasks will still fill the meter, but never make the fuzz any more likely to chase you on sight. In fact, nothing happens until the meter is all the way full. At this point, one of your assassin’s dens can get attacked by Templars at any time and you’ll have to go help. The only way to prevent this is by paying Heralds or killing public officials (lowering the meter), or just making sure the meter never fills to the top. Unfortunately, It’s much easier to “perform illegal actions” in this game because every purchase around town fills the meter a bit (buying up large amounts of weaponry naturally makes the authorities suspicious). Worrying about the meter after every purchase can be frustrating, but at least you can neglect it until its 90% full.

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The game does sport a few questionable sequences. There are levels that can be played as Desmond in first-person were you hop around in the animus dream world, full of walls that look like computer code and a few other random pieces of geometry. I would call these levels “not fun”. The first person controls were a mess and the levels themselves didn’t add anything interesting to the game’s story. It felt like they wanted to give you something to do if you wanted to take a break from controlling Ezio. Playing one of these levels once made me never want to take a break from Ezio again.

The game also has a few RTS sections that have you commanding troops to stop waves of enemies from getting through your defenses. These sequences are short and not as clunky as you might think in a game like this. I wasn’t eager to play these battles over and over, but they were interesting and kept me entertained. It didn’t hurt the game in my eyes, but probably wasn’t needed.

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The online component in this game is clearly an afterthought, but does provide some entertainment for people who are looking to have a bit more fun after the campaign. There are a handful of maps and modes but the one that really stands out allows you to stalk one player while another is stalking you. It’s a simple concept that provides nerve racking matches where you’re constantly looking over your shoulder as you’re trying your best to hunt down your target. I didn’t get to play the multiplayer as long as I would have liked because of the game’s online code requirement that’s becoming so popular with publishers recently. This title, at least, had a three day trial, but the overall principle is the same. If you want to play online, buy it new, or don’t touch it at all.

Assassins Creed: Revelations isn’t very different from its predecessors, but is still fun and has a few extra goodies to merit its existence. I have no idea how Ubisoft was able to build this much in one year, but they did it. The credits show that it was clearly “all-hands-on-deck” to get it done. It seems like every Ubisoft developer under the sun touched this title. Regardless of a few questionable additions and a game that hasn’t evolved much in a few years, I still had a really good time with it. I wouldn’t call it a “must have” but I think it was as good a game can be without transcending into the world of great. Buy it if you’re already done with every Triple-A title that came out this year, but no matter what, rent it. It’s an enjoyable piece of entertainment. Purpose achieved.

G-Cast Ep. 14: It's What's for Dinner! (Don't Over Think It. Makes No Sense).

Welcome to G-Cast Episode 14! Waiting for that Assassin’s Creed: Revelations G-Cast? Well, unfortunately that comes next week, but I BET you’ve been waiting for the Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary discussion! Unfortunately, that comes next week too. Because of the volume of games coming out this month, we’ve had to push back a few games. This week, Landon, Ivan, and David sit down and review The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Listen and find out what we thought of the most popular fantasy RPG on the market today as we debate every aspect of the game and grade the title overall. Click “Email Us” to tell us what you think! Subscribe to us on iTunes here! Tune in next week when we discuss two games: Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. Thanks for listening!

Skyrim: Fight Dragons… and other things

The game you have been asking about for years is finally here. Oblivion came out over five years ago and its last piece of DLC came out just a year after that. Many gamers have been eagerly waiting for the next installment in the Elder Scrolls series. The wait is over. It’s in stores now. RPGs have evolved a lot over the past 5 years. With the Dragon Age and Final Fantasy ruling the RPG market is there any room for Elder Scrolls? Have the enhancements in Skyrim stayed up to date with the industry standards? Are you going to be mad because I’m not giving this game a perfect score?

Skyrim is a beautiful game. It has amazing textures and is very detailed. Not to mention a draw distance that surpasses all others. The sights found in this game leave me speechless. Whether you are on the highest peak or in the lowest valley, you will remember your time here forever. Detail is a big part of these visuals. From how the snowfalls onto the ground or how a wolf’s howl warns you not to get closer, never before have I felt like a real citizen of a virtual land.

The AI is something else. It interacts with you and each other more than real people do (if you don’t get out much). Animals will watch as you pass, giving warnings to not step on their turf. Trust me you won’t be able to take down all the beasts you encounter. The AI have their own lives inside this virtual world. You can even ask the Inn Keeper if anyone needs help nearby. He/she will tell you someone was complaining about the bears around the city. Quest time, speak to them and get a quest to kill the bears. Battles can get really intense with the intelligent AI. They switch up combat strategies on the fly and don’t mind chasing you for as long as it takes.

The combat has changed from Oblivion. The triggers act as your right and left hands. You can equip just about anything to each hand: spells, swords, and shields. I stuck with spells for my left hand and a one handed sword for my right. Bow and arrows were a nice back up if I needed space. Remember to save often. I can’t remember how many times I would be hiking up a hill for hours to complete a quest and run into a Frost Troll. Those things are tough and when you die you go back to your last save. The enemies are strong but let’s face it, there’s only one type of enemy you want to hear about. The Dragons!

The Era of Dragons is upon us and it’s up to you to save the day. You fight your first dragon early in the main quest. It is an experience that I won’t soon forget. The dragon flying through the sky, landing only to kill the soldiers as you run for cover. I stuck with my Bow and Arrows for that fight. It was so intense I was yelling at my TV for the soldiers to get into cover. Why do they never listen? After finally killing the beast, somehow, you absorb its soul. The survivors say it’s because you are Dragon Born (I don’t know how a Dark Elf was born from a Dragon but hey, it works). Your adventure will continue but I don’t want to spoil anything, as you need to experience it yourself.

Skyrim has many things it did right and a few it did wrong but they are still there. Facial expressions aren’t up to par with other games. Menus can be trouble to navigate. Roads can be hard to find, and essential, when the nav point will say “go there” but a mountain blocks your path. Dungeons are better than ever with the new AI and graphics. Many games are grabbing for your money this holiday season. Skyrim should be near the top of your list. A- and that might be a little harsh, but the facial expressions bugged me a lot.

XIII

This is the podcast you’ve all been waiting for! It’s the episode where we finally act professional! Intrigued? Good, cause I lied, but now that you’re already halfway through this paragraph, you’ll be happy to know this is the episode where we talk about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and debate if it deserves your dollars over Battlefield 3. Landon, Ivan, and David are fully prepared to choose their sides and explain in detail which game they would choose and why. Click “Email Us” to tell us what you think! Subscribe to us on iTunes here! Tune in next Friday for another episode of G-Cast when we talk about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim!

Modern Rehash 3: This Time it's Impersonal!

The time is now. The war is in full swing and it’s time to choose your side. Battlefield or Call of Duty. Choose damn you! Oh. You might want to know a little something about Call of Duty first. Valid desire. Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 are very different games. It’s important to remember this. Someone might lean naturally towards one or the other because of their gameplay differences. Call of Duty has always been quick and fast (giggity) and Battlefield embodies a slower, more strategic theater of war. Of course, the style of game isn’t the only deciding factor. If the quality of one is leaps and bounds above the other, you might want to think about switching. Is Modern Warfare 3 good enough to make Battlefield players give it a shot? Find out now! OMG the suspense rager!

The single player campaign picks up right where the last Modern Warfare ended. If you haven’t played the last game, spoiler alert (and wtf man? Are you alive?).  Vladimir Makarov is still the bad guy and you’re forced to immediately deal with the knife wound Soap earned himself at the end of the last campaign. After tending to soaps wounds, you’re immediately thrown into the action. Russia is still at war with the U.S. (a popular choice for the modern war game) and New York is under attack. The beginning of the game reminds you of the climax of a lot of war games. A big city and lots of explosions. I can understand why they’d want to open this game in a big way, considering the success of MW2. Seeing this immediately got me thinking about what they might do to top this throughout the campaign.

Unfortunately, they don’t do much. The campaign has you hopping to every major city in the world to fight off Russian attacks without a whole lot of explanation. After a while, the game starts to feel like a collection of encounters rather than a game. Each city looks impressive, but your mission is always the same. Kill some Russians and enjoy some explosions. This is fun for the first hour or so, but it really starts to wear on you by the end of the game. There was no sense of pacing. There weren’t enough emotional peaks and valleys to keep it interesting. Whoever made this game seemed to think the more explosions, the better the game.

The first couple Modern Warfares took pride in having plenty of missions with a calmer tone. It really gave them that “it” factor that allowed them to transcend above “just a war game.” I expected I would be able to shoot a hundred guys in the middle of a major intersection, but I never expected I would get to control the cannons of an AC-130, or wear a ghillie suit and hunt for targets in a ghost town. These were all some of my favorite sequences from MW1 & 2, but moments like these are few and far between in this new installment. The game still has one or two memorable moments, but a hundred that fall flat. Most of them were complete copies of what you got in the previous games and didn’t create any emotions you haven’t felt before.

The developer of this game (Infinity Ward) went through a bit of drama a couple years ago with its publisher, Activision. A couple of the founding members of Infinity Ward (Jason West & Vince Zampella) were fired for mysterious reasons shortly after Modern Warfare 2 came out. Some of the details are still undisclosed, but the rumor is Jason and Vince held meetings with EA that breached their contract. The two developers were also suing Activision, claiming the publisher didn’t pay Infinity Ward the royalties they deserved for MW2. Since their firing, our unemployed entrepreneurs created a new company called Respawn Entertainment with the funding and support of EA. Since then, the majority of the people at Infinity Ward have left to join Jason & Vince at Respawn. It would be easy for me to blame the loss of campaign quality in MW3 on the lost talent, and That’s exactly what I’m going to do. In all seriousness, whoever made the campaigns so memorable in the last two Modern Warfares, clearly left.

Fortunately for Activision, a large population of shooter fans won’t even touch the campaign. The multiplayer is back with everything you expect, and nothing you don’t. The gameplay hasn’t been shaken up at all, and for some long-time fans, that’s a good thing. You can shoot the crap out of your friends across 10 modes (even more if you consider the alternates) on 16 maps. This may sound like a strong selling point when you consider Battlefield 3 only has 2 modes with around 10 maps. However, a lot of MW3’s maps are ripped right out of the campaign and aren’t nearly as big as battlefield’s.

PvP is still just an infantry affair with no vehicles, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Call of Duty has always taken pride in having really fast paced infantry combat. Shooting your friends in a hectic environment with no respawn times can be fun, but it’s the exact same fun you can still get with Modern Warfare 2. A few things have been added (kill streaks work a little differently and you can now attach two scopes on one weapon), but this does very little to create a new sense of enjoyment. It’ll feel like you’ve already been playing this multiplayer for the past two years. This conservative approach might please some who just want the same game with more unlocks, but frustrate others who waited this long for something different.

Spec Ops also returns with a new mode. You can play the mission mode which will allow you and a buddy to complete objectives together against the A.I. (identical to MW2). The new mode is called survival. This is essentially the Modern Warfare 3 version of a horde or zombie mode. You take on wave after wave of enemies earning cash to build turrets and other defenses. It’s pretty generic and seems to only exist because it’s the law if you are a shooter right now. Both modes are challenging and fun, but it suffers from the same déjà vu as the rest of the package. You’ll feel like you’ve already played it over and over again.

Modern Warfare 3 is a good game, not a great game. It’s missing the surprise and quality that made the previous titles must-haves. I’m giving it the same grade as I gave Battlefield 3, but for different reasons. Battlefield’s glitches held it back, MW3’s gameplay is its hang-up. Which one should you buy? It just depends on the type of fighter you are. Are you slow and strategic (Battlefield 3) or quick and ruthless (Modern Warfare 3)? I tend to be slow and strategic. Battlefield is my choice. I would have even given Battlefield a higher grade were it not for the technical problems (glitches and server outages). They both weren’t as good as I was hoping, but Battlefield won my purchase this year. If you’re still addicted and need your fix, go for MW3. If you don’t want to play the same game for 60 more dollars, give battlefield a try. If you haven’t played either… Good lord man.

Twelve is the New Black!

Join us in our twelfth G-Cast adventure! This week, Landon, Ivan, and David sit down and review Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. We talk about the single player campaign in detail and give fair warning for the bundles of spoilers that are present in this episode. We also touch on the multiplayer component of the game and discuss briefly how “Online Passes” affect the industry. Click “Email Us” to tell us what you think! Subscribe to us on iTunes here! Tune in Next week when we review Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Thanks for listening!

Gotham City Impostors Release Date!

Get your skates and grapple hooks ready. Load up your shotgun and put on a cape. January 10th is going to be one hell of a day. Gotham City Impostors is almost upon us. With a closed PC Beta last month and an open Xbox/PS3 Beta next month, Monolith is working towards making an amazing game. So many things are customizable and it all affects gameplay, such as: Weapons, Clothing, Gadgets, Appearances, and even player movement. I can’t wait to jump into the shoes of Gotham City’s unsung heroes, The Bats, and blow away crazy people, The Jokerz.

Gotham City Imposters supports 12 player verses modes. Monolith Productions, the mad men and women behind F.E.A.R., Condemned, and Aliens vs. Predator 2 bring us out of Batman’s suit into the streets of Gotham and its more insane citizen’s lives. Sign up for the Beta at http://www.gothamcityimpostors.com/

6,000 copies of Modern Warfare 3 Stolen in France

A major heist was reported yesterday by a French site TFI News. Two masked crooks crashed into a delivery truck in south Paris carrying around 6,000 copies of Modern Warfare 3. The robbers then used tear gas on the driver allowing them enough time to steal the contents of the truck. The stolen items are estimated to be worth 400,000 Euros (about 550,000 U.S.D.).

It's curious that the theives decided to knock over this truck in particular. Anyone who follows the news knows that playing video games before their release dates can get you banned from playing online. The games were also only stolen a day before release, so it's not like each copy has an extra ordinary value attached to it.

Hopefully these questionable weirdos will be caught soon. I can't imagine them easily being able to sell all of that without suspicion. As long as you pick up your copy from an actual store, you should be safe.

Rainbow Six Patriots Announced

It's been three years since any peep of a Rainbow Six title. A few rumors have surfaced in the past year, but nothings been concrete. Over the weekend, Ubisoft announced they are working on a new Rainbow Six game called Rainbow Six Patriots. There aren't too many details, but it was confirmed that Ubisoft Montreal will be developing the game along side Ubisoft Toronto and Ubisoft Red Storm.

Ubisoft also released a target gameplay video to show the kind of game they're aiming to make. You can see the video on IGN. It isn't beta footage or actual gameplay in any way. It is simply an example of what they're going for. If the game turns out anything like the video, it looks like this new installment features a lot of the same mechanics as the last few titles. Rappelling, taking cover, and ordering your squad around were all shown. Not everything looked completely familiar. The beginning of the video requires you (the player) to leisurely press buttons to watch T.V. or kiss your lady.

It'll be interesting to see if the game actually turns out like the video, or if they make some drastic decisions during development. The games release date is set for 2013, so there's still a long way to go in production. Just a few more long years of waiting and we'll have our answer.

 

G-Cast's Eleven

The Cast of G for the 11th time! This week, it’s Battlefield 3. We talk about the first game to be released in one of the biggest rivalries in the industry: Pop Tarts vs. Toaster Strudel. Kidding! That’s no rivalry. It’s Toaster Strudel hands down. On a more serious note (albeit less important) the Call of Duty vs. Battlefield brawl has begun! We talk in detail about the multiplayer, campaign, and co-op to aid our loyal/nonexistent fans into a buying decision. Also, look out for a little something new at the beginning. I think you guys might like it…. I hope. Click “Email us” to tell us what you think! Subscribe to us on iTunes here! Thanks for listening! Next week: Uncharted 3!

Battlefield 3: Best Online War Experience, If You Can Play it

Author Note: This review will be covering the console version of the game. The PC version differs too much in graphics and gameplay to judge them equally. Things like map size and player are all effected.

 

One of the biggest rivalries in the video game industry has begun. Battlefield and Call of Duty have been fighting for modern war supremacy for years. Call of duty is consistently the winner, but the battlefield games have gained quite a bit of ground. This year, Battlefield 3 will square off directly With Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Battlefield 3 has landed the first punch. The Swedish developer of the Battlefield series (DICE) hopes to win consumers over with grander battles and vehicle gameplay (absent in its Call of Duty counterpart). Call of Duty still has a lot of followers, but it will be the first game Infinity Ward has made since the massive firing/departures. DICE is hoping between that and their growing fan base, Battlefield will finally take the crown this holiday as the best-selling war game.

Battlefield’s single player campaign lets you drive tanks, ride in jets, and do some good old fashion shooting. The story starts out on an exciting subway highjack. After about five or ten minutes of gameplay, you are shot back in to the past in order to explain the events leading up to it. Two suits are interrogating a soldier from the front lines. Our soldier in custody recounts stories to answer questions that turn into the missions you play. The interrogation is happening to find out where a group of terrorists are hiding a nuke that will go off in New York City. Yeah. It’s pretty much as generic as it sounds. The narrative is bland and offers nothing interesting. There isn’t one character you’ll care about or any sequence that will really get your heart pumping. There are a few cool set pieces and scripted moments, but not nearly as much as you would see in any modern single player campaign.

In other words, the single player is very underwhelming. However, the majority of consumers buying this game probably won’t mind. Most Shooter fans probably won’t even realize there’s a single player option. Unfortunately, it does degrade the overall value of the product. If you look at any other quality shooter from the past ten years, every single one has a memorable story mode worth playing over and over again in different difficulties and in co-op. The Story even rips plot points and dialogue directly from the last Modern Warfare game, proving DICE relies on its competitors to figure out how to do single player. It’s a shame. Considering some of the crazy moments that happen during multiplayer, a good Battlefield campaign has so much potential. You just won’t see it this time around. For now, the Single player is essentially one huge training mission for multiplayer.

The meat of the game is built in the battles you’ll fight online. 24 players can duke it out in a single match (64 on the PC version). Everything found in war can be found here. Tanks. Jets. Guns. Defibrillator packs. Health Packs. Backpacks! Yeah. Shit gets crazy online. You can fight in a few different modes across nine maps. Every mode is recycled from other games in the series. The two main modes you’ll be selecting the most are Conquest and Rush. Rush is a classic attack-and-defend mode where one team defends two pieces of electronic equipment, while the other team tries to blow them up. Conquest is a mode that’s been around since the first Battlefield. Each team attempts to capture and hold areas on the map for victory (much like Territories in other shooters).

If you’re worried about getting tired of playing the same modes over and over again, don’t be. Every match has so many close calls and crazy “holy shit!” moments, boredom is not issue. Part of this is because of how much is at your disposal. As I mentioned earlier, there’s a ton of vehicles to explore and items to unlock. This allows every player to fight the war in any way they want. You could play entire matches without firing a bullet if you’d like. There’s a place for people who want to just repair vehicles, revive teammates, or supply ammo for squads. Best of all, the game will still reward you handsomely for all these non-combative alternatives. Every action earns you points. Every point Earns you rewards. This makes for an extremely addictive multiplayer that can be played for ages without getting stale. Also, if you have a 5.1 system, crank it up. This is what you bought it for.

Unfortunately the multiplayer experience isn’t all peaches. Server issues and glitches have been plaguing the game since launch. In the first few days, the Xbox 360 servers were down completely, reducing our copies of Battlefield 3 to a paperweight. Connection issues are still ruining the experience a week and a half after launch with frequent disconnects and a temperamental Quick Match option. Any high selling game might have a few issues during the first week, but this beyond anything else I’ve seen. It is such a shame that I’ve been stuck having a few horrible experiences simply trying to play the game, and it has nothing to do with the gameplay. DICE crafted one of the best multiplayer experiences this year, and simultaneously ruined it for everyone.

This was a tough game to score. I would feel awkward telling people it’s a must-have when the servers aren’t active all the time. When they are, it isn’t exactly what I would call “fully operational.” This is a game that would get an A in my book were it not for the troubles I had trying to play it. A month or two from now, after they come out with a patch or two, I’m sure they’ll sand away the issues and leave behind the gooey filled center of an amazing game. Unfortunately, none of us knows when that will happen. If you’re already done with Gears and desperate for a new shooter, go for it. If you can wait until Modern Warfare 3 launches, find out if any of the Battlefield issues have been fixed by then. If not, you might want to look into our Modern Warfare 3 review.

Costume Quest: The Perfect Halloween Game Any Year

Tim Schafer is a man any gamer should know. He helped create some of the classic Lucas Arts adventure games back in the day (Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, etc.). Ever since he started his own company in South San Francisco (Double Fine Productions) Tim Schafer has continued to release games with critical acclaim, but bad sales numbers. Schafer’s games are unique and hard to sell. After a few games, Double Fine wasn’t doing so hot financially and had to think of a new direction. Schafer gathered his team and split them up into a few different groups. He had found his answer. Smaller games. Frequent releases. In comes Costume Quest. A fun Halloween style RPG and the first of Schafer’s small game experiment. The game was welcomed with good reviews as always. Just one thing to do now: Buy. This. Game.

Costume Quest is about two little kids (a brother and a sister) who go out on Halloween to trick-or-treat. The mom leaves one of the kids in charge. The player makes this decision, essentially deciding if you want to be a boy or a girl. Things go awry when the sibling you didn’t pick gets kidnapped by Grubbins (green goblin looking creatures). The story pretty much kicks off from there but doesn’t have a whole lot of twists and turns. It is a smaller game and an elaborate story isn’t really necessary for a title like this. You do have the occasional conversation with trick-or-treaters and some other weird characters (like a helpful scarecrow who gives you hints as you progress). Each conversation is funny, clever, and at the exact level of quality expected from one of Schafer’s games.

The game plays like any top down RPG. The battles are a little traditional with a turn based combat system. However, you can execute a few well timed button presses for extra damage every so often. The variety of attacks comes from the different costumes you find and build throughout the game. You and your crew can dawn a variety costumes for different powers. Each one serves a classic RPG role to support each other in battle (healers, tanks, etc.). This keeps the game fresh since you are constantly collecting new pieces to put together more costumes. This keeps the addiction level for collectables high since there’s a new way to play behind every costume found.

Costume Quest combines some of the best, and only, comedic writing in a video game with the solid mechanics of a turn based RPG. The battles themselves do get a little repetitive over time, but at around 12 hours, the game ends before it starts to feel too much like a chore. This is a game that should be bought and played immediately. It is the perfect fit if you want to stay inside on a cold Halloween night and play a cheap quality title. Buy this game, and hopefully Double Fine Productions will live on and continue to deliver other games like it in the future.

To crave Bayonetta is okay... in many ways

Bayonetta is saffron. A versatile ingredient spanning from cuisine to medicine, used to add pizzazz to a dish or enrich one’s health. Expensive and refined, it is not meant to be cast as another spice like cinnamon. Not to be ordained in a melancholy of stocks and broths, or B's and C's. Bayonetta is saffron where a pinch of it can spruce even the flattest of tastes.... Or maybe just a hot anime chick you can never touch.

Developed by Platinum Games and the dude who brought us Devil May Cry, Bayonetta is an over-the-top, kick-in-the-ass, never-see-it-coming extravaganza like none has seen. It dishes baddies out like free samples at (insert wholesale warehouse store. i.e. Costco), and flails quirky scenarios faster than (insert pop culture driven television station. i.e. MTV), but makes it work better than what MacGyver has at hand (insert everyone knows who MacGyver is!). Yes, it is that awesome.

The story sets out in a medievaly type of place where Hell and Heaven are duking out for domination? The protagonist is a super sexy amnesiac witch who is trying to discover herself, and the antagonist is a super sexy psycho witch who is preventing the other super sexy… blah, blah, blah? Blah, blah? Ah! Whatever! The premise is this: a super sexy witch with the power to utilize her hair to wreak havoc upon the heavenly creatures from up above sets out on a quest to fuck shit up (Period).

Action (and half naked sequences) is what brings Bayonetta to life, and keeps it pumping. All the set moves are unlocked right from the get go, so it does not waste any time dicking around with learning new combos or large tutorials (although the loading screen is a practice session in between chapters). The player feels like a badass as soon as the first cinematic ends and the game only progresses further in that sense.

Weapons, techniques, and items can be obtained through purchase. Things like shotguns and grenade launchers can replace a gun strapped to the heel for a devastating explosion of phantasm, or a cool katana that owns everything (and I mean everything!)! Techniques like turning into a cuddly fanged panther or more allotted time for witch time to pants those sons-a-bitches. But, they don’t come cheap, no, not at all. Although not cheap, there is a solution for all the cheapskates in the world!

Destroy a baddie, and it will drop a weapon. Pick up the weapon, and use it against another baddie! Few games will use the function of picking up an enemy’s dropped weapon (excluding all shooters), and the game makes it a good function even better by implementing various ways the weapon can be used. For example, using a spear, Bayonetta will proceed to make use as a stripper’s pole (knocking heads as sexy as can be)! Break a few vases and items will be dropped. Happy-go-lucky cheapskates (leave a tip once in a while… grumble grumble)!

Boss battles are unique, none play the same, and once defeated they will spawn in like normal baddies in other levels. They come in by the dozen, so expect to be using health often. The torture finishing moves are awesome to watch (especially the one with the big ass dragon)! The difficulty doesn’t scale too far (unlike Ninja Gaiden), but leaving upgrades untouched will weigh in heavily during later boss battles (especially techniques). Personally, I am a completionist when it comes to leveling up characters, but a few major upgrades could set the tone for the entire game.

The story might be quirky and the lines very cheddar, but the thought gone into the battle, and the level progression make this game more than solid. These guys got it. They are at the pinnacle of action games with Bayonetta. Let the story slide, a little bit of bug spray, and you get a solid A worthy game! An A+ worthy game you say? Fuck it. A+! Go play it on Xbox 360 (cause the PS3 version had issues with loading) and experience the super sexy sensation Bayonetta will give you (especially with those lollipops… you’ll see)! (And not in that way you sickos). (But totally in that way) <3.