Category Archives: game reviews

My Ten Most Played Games of 2013

I haven’t written anything for this blog in awhile. I apologize to my two or so fans. Seeing as  I feel quite terrible about it and all, and it just so happens that 2013 recently went the way of the Dodo and Polka Punk, I figured a clichéd top ten list would serve nicely to get me back into the game so to speak. However, I ran across the slight problem that I hadn’t actually played ten games from 2013. I remedied this rather lazily/ingeniously by just tossing some older games I had played a lot last year in and voilà a top ten list. Before I start, an honorable mention goes out to Last of Us and Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag as I watched playthroughs of them but never played them. Thus, they sadly don’t make the list. Also, a shout out to Mount and Blade: Warband- The Clash of Kings Mod. It’s not on the list because I’m not going to put a mod on a best games list. That would be silly.

10.) Skyrim

skyrim-249651Yes, Skyrim. RPGs are my catnip and Skyrim is still fun as hell. I was planning on picking up the Legendary edition and getting some sweet dlc action. Sadly, I failed. However, I played a lot of the vanilla game in preparation for getting the dlc. I built up two separate save files to level twenty so I would have role playing options and such.  Despite having played trough the whole game more than once since it was released, I spent a good few weeks with each character. It’s just one of those games you can keep coming back to over and over,  like say Dragon Age: Origins or Fallout. Speaking of which….

9.) Fallout: New Vegas

falloutFallout:New Vegas is one of those games that had a lot of issues when it first came out. So much so that I actually never finished my original playthrough.  This year, with the problems largely fixed I came back to New Vegas and hot damn, was it great. I finally got to experience the amazing game that hid under all the technical issues. I finished my first character and plunged into two more. Much like Skyrim I was able to just get totally wrapped up in the role playing aspects and spent an ungodly amount of the spring wandering the wasteland. Et non, je ne regrette rien.

8.) Sid Meier’s Pirates

piratesWhile this is by the far the oldest game on my list having come out back in 2005, it is the newest to me. I was introduced to it not more than a week ago and have already poured twenty or so hours in. The game is highly under rated title from Si Meier, sadly over shadowed by the Civilization series. Sure it has it’s flaws. The game’s ‘plot’ is laughably cliché and bare bones, there is little customization options beyond naming your dude and ships (which really annoys a customization freak like me) and it honestly has pretty weak replay value once you do everything since you can’t role play too much. That said I’ve spent many a happy hour these past few days plundering the Caribbean for all her worth. It’s definitely a game I’d recommend and one I sincerely hope one day gets the quality reboot it deserves.

7.) Mark of the Ninja
ninja

Mark of the Ninja is hands down the best stealth game I’ve played since Hitman: Blood Money. It can be rather hard and frustrating at times, but that just makes it all the more satisfying when you pull off the awesome ninja shit. Besides excellent mechanics, Mark of the Ninja also benefits from a solid storyline and stunning artwork to boot. The art work for this game is truly breathtaking. The first time I jumped in,  I damn near creamed my panties at how great it looked.  The game is just fantastic and since I’ve recently picked up some dlc for it, I look forward to diving back in.

6.) FTL: Faster Than Light
FTL_TitleWhat can you say about FTL? It is hard. Really hard. I put twenty-two hours in before I beat the final boss for the first time. I took me four days to even reach the final boss. Despite wasting about forty or so hours of my life playing this game, I still never got all the ships and died so many time I couldn’t even come up with original ship names anymore. So, the question is, am I excited for the impending time drain that the up coming patch will be? You bet your sweet ass I am! FTL is amazingly fun. Much like Mark of the Ninja, but to an even greater degree, it’s a game were the challenge and difficulty keep drawing you back. It’s truly addicting.

5.) Gunpoint

gunpointWe finally get to the games that actually came out in 2013! Huzzah! Anyways, yes, Gunpoint. Much like Sid Meier’s Pirates, this game is a recent addition to my steam library. I picked it up for like $3 during the winter sale on a whim.  Unlike some of my other steam sale whims, this one was actually worth my money and then some. It’s an amazing game. For those of you who are unlucky enough to have not played it yet, it’s primarily a puzzle/problem solving game, with some stealth elements, all wrapped up in an engaging noir murder mystery/espionage plot. Also, you pretty much never use your gun. Using your gun fucks you over, like, super hard. So yeah, a somewhat misleading title I suppose. However, apart from false advertising, the only thing I can really criticize this game for is how short it was. I beat it in about four hours and immediately went into withdraw. On the other hand, it’s pretty rare for a game to leave me pining for more, so I’ll only count it as a fault if they don’t make another one.

4.) Wolf Among Us

The-Wolf-Among-UsTelltale makes great games. Although, this usually has little to do with with the game play itself, as pretty much every Telltale title I’ve run across has varied from ‘good but not great’ to ‘quick time event the game’. What Telltale has mastered is the art of story telling via the medium of video games. Though the act of serializing their games they made them much more akin to tv shows and the like, allowing for just plain better story telling than more tradition structures would normally allow. This style of theirs really broke into the mainstream with their flagship Walking Dead series, but it is this game, Wolf Among Us, that is in my humble opinion the their magnum opus. It’s a game that effortlessly immerses you in a hard-boiled world of murder, mystery, and mythological beings. The accompanying art work is fantastic as well, combining Telltale’s usual style with the the extra edge of comic book flair. The fact they actually had some of the artists from the Vertigo Comics helping them with the artwork really shows. Honestly, the only reason this isn’t my number one is because only the first episode is out so far.

3.) Grand Theft Auto Five

gtaGrand Theft Auto V is the only console game that I’ve paid for this year. It was sixty dollars well spent. I must admit for about two weeks or so after I got it, it was all I played. The story, characters, and world all floored me. The story was engaging and not as half baked for insane as I expected. The characters were all relateable and likeable for the most part. Despite the fact that, y’know, they’re all violent sociopaths. The voice acting was really spot on and just added to the realness of the characters. Pretty much everything impressed me about the core game. The nice little details like it being harder to drive in the rain or your clothes only getting wet where they touched water were nice touches too. The only thing that really annoyed me about the main game was the ham fisted and clumsy the ‘satire’/’social commentary’. However, the multiplayer I found to be a bit wanting. I realize it isn’t done and hopefully all the issues I have with it will be fixed eventually. That said, there isn’t much to really do besides grind for levels and money or just be a dick to other players. The multiplayer is sorely lacking in fun criminal activities to do with friends. There’s only so many times you can knock over a liquor store before it loses it’s luster. However, they are going to be adding heists and other stuff soon  so hopefully that will fix it. Also, on the personal gripe side, where are my fucking dresses Rockstar? Trevor has them in the main game. Yet you can’t wear one with a female character in multiplayer. In fact, generally speaking the female wardrobe is pretty shit compared to the male one. What gives Rockstar, huh? What gives?

………………………

Alright then, moving on….

2.) Bioshock: Infinite

bioshockIt’s goddamn work of art. Look out into the world of Columbia at pretty much anytime in the game and if you take a screen shot you’d have something most people would be proud to hang on their wall. It’s that good looking. However, the world of Bioshock: Infinite doesn’t just look pretty. It is an incredibly engaging world full detail and depth to the point it almost feels alive. I spent hours just wandering around exploring all the nooks and crannies of Columbia. The characters and story aren’t too shabby either. The plot is solid, only falling flat once with it’s incredibly stupid ‘violence is bad… blah blah… you’re just as bad as the people who oppress you if you use it…blah blah’ shlock during the end of the Vox Populi subplot. The theoretical physics laced ending more than made up for that mild annoyance and had me geeking out for weeks after I finished the game. The game’s biggest strength outside of just how damn good it looks, however, has to be the core characters. Some of the side characters can feel a bit cookie cutter at times, but Elizabeth, Booker, and the Lutece Twins are all amazing. On top of feeling almost like a real person, Elizabeth also gets the bonus awesomeness of being an honest-to-god helpful AI companion. A statement that I’m 98% sure has never been uttered about any other AI companion in the history of video games.

1.) Civilization V: Brave New World

civYeah, that’s right, I’m above putting a mod on this list but will totally put dlc as number one. Why you ask? Well, Occam’s Razor would suggest the answer is I lack the ability to make any sense whatsoever. However, the real reason is because it’s not so much the dlc itself that earns the top spot, but the near perfected Civilization V as a whole.  Civilization V was a strong entry to the series to begin with. It was no Civilization III, but let’s face it, no other Civilization game is ever going to be Civilization III. However, with the improvement of the religion and espionage game from Gods and Kings and the new engaging end game diplomacy and culture game, Civilization V comes damn close. I’ve honestly been like a kid in a candy store discovering all the goodies Brave New World had in store and I’m still not done. I don’t think any other game this year has gotten me as excited as Civilization V has or given me a more fun experience. And that, ladies and gents, is why despite being a dlc, it is my number one.

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Filed under game reviews, Playstation 3

A look at: The Next Generation of Gaming.

Every so few years, ‘The Next Gen” consoles roll out. Be it back in the classic Nintendo era of the NES, and SNES, Next Gen consoles have come time and time again, only to eventually run their course, and now the next generation of consoles looms before us, bringing both hope and dismay along with them. This next conflict of consoles is a rather interesting one, arguably the Xbox 360, PS3 and the Wii were the first consoles to really hit mainstream markets, and gradually over time it would show that these consoles grew from catering to their usual brew of gamers, to this new, fresh crowd of faces. The PS2, Xbox and Gamecube era of consoles were still largely catering to the old crowd of gamers, those that’ve ate up gaming since they were old enough to wiggle their thumbs in a productive manner. But now, now we have consoles that are completely aware of the larger mainstream market that has adequately dulled gaming in some aspects. This is largely proven by the launch titles the consoles offer.

Xbox One: Launch Titles

Let’s start with Xbox One’s launch titles in particular. Assassins Creed, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Fifa, NBA and Madden. The sports titles cater to a crowd that mainly games just for sports games, which would explain why said genre of game is made year in and year out. Assassins Creed has proven to be a success, and really only hit its peak after the second game in the series. But, no matter how the quality has dipped since then, it sells, it sells well. Call of Duty and Battlefield are both adequate choices to launch your system with, as gaming seems to be more or less about shooting things in a perspective of the first person. These are all obvious picks for launch titles, and they’re not horrible, more or less they’re financially stable choices that will undoubtedly sell plenty of consoles to those who only game for competitive FPS outings.

There’s a plethora of Kinect-based games coming with the Xbox One, or sold separately,  I’d assume it would be wise to include a free Kinect game or two with the console, to try and encourage customers to at least try out their always on camera that looms in the distance. A couple racers help to diversify the collection, as well a couple fighters, Killer Instinct being the more advertised of the two. Dead Rising 3 also stands in this collection, which seems more or less to retain the spirit of the game, albeit much more brown and realistic than normal. But hey, realism is great, that’s why we play games. Ryse seems to be the game most heavily toted by Microsoft, for some reason, as the game aspect of it is questionable at best. But gamers have been heftily dumbed down, or perhaps games have been dumbed down so that the less capable can actually beat them. All-in-all, the Xbox one does have a diverse launch library, which is obviously missing any semblances of RPG’s, but hey, RPG’s are a thing of the past. Not enough explosions or bullets, or boobies. Well, okay, RPG’s do have boobies, JRPG’s especially.

The biggest.. concern about all these launch titles, is that, well. This is the next generation, not one really seems to scream next generation. Even the lackluster titles of last gen still had a significant difference in graphics to the consoles that preceded them, this time around? The differences are barely noticeable, and worse yet, games such as Call of Duty had to reduce their resolutions just to make the game playable on the consoles. Let’s just hope that isn’t a sign of things to come, and let’s hope the Xbox One hasn’t already been tapped out in terms of its potential.

Playstaion 4: Launch Titles

The PS4 generally has a very similar lineup to the Xbox One, with some exceptions, which is a bit concerning, the differences between these consoles seems to be turning gray, it’s tough to really spot the differences unless you’re looking very closely. Knack and DC Universe Online are two launch titles in particular the Xbox One does not have, as well Blacklight: Retribution and Killzone Shadow Fall seem to be not only exclusive to the console, but are to be available at launch. This gives the PS4 a distinctive edge when it comes to those gamers who only fancy competitive shooters. But, of course, Titanfall is indeed a titan in this genre, and the PS4 will be lacking that.

It would seem, to much dismay that the PS4 is also lacking any RPG’s, aside from DC Universe Online. Perhaps RPG’s are merely becoming an extinct breed, what with Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy Versus becoming action games now, as apposed to true blue RPG’s, sometimes it’s hard not to be spiteful of the run and gun gamers that are causing a lack in certain genre’s of gaming. Gaming shouldn’t be a one-sided ordeal, gaming IS a medium that allows for any sort of adventure, any sort of experience. If things continue as is, gaming will just exist for pointing your gun at things, and riddling them with holes. That is not a preferable result.

Console Specs

Now, as far as the specs go for these two consoles. They’re very similar, and each have their ups and downs. Xbox One, however is taking a gamble on Cloud processing for some of their games, and is giving quite a chunk of their system’s overall power to their dashboard alone. Gambles can either pay off or not, and time will tell whether or not this gamble in particular will. But if Grand Theft Auto online is any indication of what to expect, what with their month long series of errors, server crashes and data deletions, then it is understandable if one is just a tad weary of Xbox One’s decision to utilize the cloud.

The Xbox One has a slightly more powerful CPU than the PS4, in terms of the CPU Frequency, which is about .15 higher than the PS4. The GPU roughly meanders more in the PS4’s favor though, with Xbox One’s clock speed being slightly higher. However, the PS4’s GPU has almost double the amount of shader’s than the Xbox One’s, as well the Memory Bandwidth in the PS4’s GPU is just about three times as powerful as the Xbox One’s.

Unto Ram, the PS4 and Xbox One have about even amounts of RAM, however the PS4’s ram is nearly twice as fast as the Xbox One’s, but the Xbox One dedicates a bit more of its ram to its games than the PS4 does. Really though, it seems to be fairly even between the two in this portion, though PS4’s superior GPU could certainly ensure that in the long run, it could produce more technically and graphically impressive titles. Considering the PS4 is cheaper than the Xbox One by about a hundred dollars, and arguably more powerful, it certainly does have the edge to the informed, though the uninformed might think the lower price means the console is inferior in quality.

Xbox One: Exclusives

  • Below
  • Crimson Dragon
  • D4
  • Dead Rising 3
  • Fable Legends
  • The Fighter Within
  • Forza Motorsport 3
  • Killer Instinct
  • Kinect Sport Rivals
  • Powerstar Golf
  • Quantum Break
  • Ryse: Son of Rome
  • Sunset Overdrive
  • Titanfall

Below is your run of the mill ‘artistic’ 2D Indie game, but said types of games have ended being rather impressive at times, otherwise we wouldn’t be seeing them as often as we do. Crimson Dragon is essentially Panzer Dragoon, as it’s an on rails shooter, featuring a dragon, and it’s also made by Yukio Futatsugi, creator of Panzer Dragoon and, well, of course, PHANTOM DUST. So, I’ll admit, I’m rather hoping it sells amazingly, so that perhaps maybe I could get a sequel to a game I certainly hold with high praise.

Forza is solid, I doubt it’s going to be technically inferior to the other outings, racing isn’t exactly my forte, but I do enjoy Forza very passively. Now, D4 is interesting, it’s a murder mystery game, which I’m assuming is a big fan of The Walking Dead, as it shares a similar look, is episodic-based, and I’m guessing it’s very dialog and choice heavy. But, if it’s anywhere near as good as the mentioned game, I’m all game for it.

Dead Rising 3, is Dead Rising 3. Honestly I think any gamer knows what to expect from it, it’s going to be a guilty pleasure, run around in a dress, mowing zombies down, it’ll be incredibly enjoyable for a period of time, and then, well, like the previous two games, gamers will end up tiring of that particular zombie outing.

The fighter within, Kinect sport rivals and Ryse are all Kinect-based games. Kinect had a very poor showing on the Xbox 360, and not really one game worked perfectly with the motion system, aside from Dance Central of course, but even that had its hitches. I, and I’m sure many expect nothing but trouble from Kinect-Based games. But this rides entirely on Microsoft’s improvements on the Kinect system itself.

Quantum break.. well.. uh.. I don’t honestly think I’ll be able to get over the soap opera real life cut-scenes the game features.  It just seems very awkward in this day and age of gaming. These types of video were utilized way back in the early days of CD-based games, why now, in this generation are we falling back to that medium, I have no clue. But hey, you never know, stranger things have happened and maybe Quantum Break will end up the next Metal Gear Solid or some other prominent franchise.

Sunset overdrive, now, this game does ooze style, but really not much is known of it. Certainly one of the more interesting titles the Xbox One has to offer, seemingly a co-op based shooter, most likely of a third-person perspective. It could really go either way with this one, time will tell, certainly.

Playstation 4: Exclusives

  • Deep Down
  • Driveclub
  • Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
  • Galak-Z: The Dimensional
  • Infamous Second Son
  • Killzone Shadow Fall
  • Knack
  • N++
  • The Order: 1886
  • The Playroom
  • Resogun
  • Rime
  • Shadow of the Beast

Deep down is certainly the most interesting exclusive on either platform in my opinion.  An Action RPG, in the same vein as Dark Souls. Featuring Co-op play, randomized dungeons and perhaps even a bit of a Sci-Fi sprinkling to its rather medieval looking surface.  Capcom has proven they know how to make a good Action RPG with Dragon’s Dogma, and I personally will be rather giddy if Deep Downs ends up being some bastard child of Dark Souls and Dragon’s Dogma.

Everybody goes to the Rapture, is a game made by the same people who made Dear Esther, which was a rather boring, slow, short game, which seems odd that it would merit a legitimate next gen title. If Dear Esther is any indication of Everybody goes to the Rapture’s experience, it’s going to involve a lot of walking, narration and a very linear path from point A to point B.

Killzone, and Infamous are both new installments of said series, Infamous now featuring a flame-based super hero/villain, which should certainly change things up on a gameplay perspective of things, Killzone, is Killzone, both games should be rather solid entries, as their previous installments were rather solid themselves. Killzone has a tendency of bleeding out a lot of graphical potential from consoles, be it the PS2, PS3 and hopefully the PS4. It’ll be interesting to see if Killzone really pushes some boundaries on a graphical level.

The Order, 1886, seems to really have an interesting concept to it. The Knights of the Round, who use guns and swords and futuristic weaponry, are to battle Chimera, half-breeds of species. It’s a third person shooter, but hey, the concept alone is enough to garner interest. It will all inevitably come down to its gameplay, though, as it is a third person shooter.

The last game that seemed to interest me as far as exclusives go, is Shadow of the Beast, which is a remake of the 1989 Amiga game, called, well, Shadow of the Beast. Not much is known currently, but one does find it interesting they’d decide upon a rather obscure retro title to remake.

All in All

This Next Generation should be an interesting one. Though, considering both the PS4 and Xbox One were planning on putting DRM on their games, it’s not unwise to be rather weary of both Microsoft and Sony, but, the DRM practices have been temporarily nulled, with Microsoft receiving a massive amount of backlash for it, Sony receiving praise. There is no doubt we’ll all have to keep our eyes open for unfair business practices in this generation of gaming, unlike the last, where on-disk DLC and DRM were sort of scattered events, it’s to be expected that they’ll be much more common nowadays.

As of currently, Next Gen has yet to truly show that it’s certainly a next generation experience. But this is mostly due to an overabundance of ‘more of the same’, Racers, Sports games, FPS’s, you name it. Graphically, it’s not as huge of a leap as it was with the NES vs SNES, or PS1 vs PS2, or, even the Xbox vs Xbox 360. But it takes time to unlock the potential of a console, the question that looms is how much potential really exists in these two consoles.

Gameplay, certainly is more important than graphics. Even if there is no huge leap in visuals, one has to ride hope on there being substantial advances in gameplay on a technical level. Currently, Final Fantasy Versus has really shown to be one of the biggest gameplay advancements we’ve seen in this new generation, but a question still looms as to if that gameplay will stand to be as strong as it looks.

Time will tell, this next generation still has plenty left.

– Florida Gamers

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Filed under Fighting Games, game reviews, Operatore, Playstation 4, Xbox One

Prehistoric Update: The Fossils from X and Y and additional news

Hello again everyone, Arondite here. One main trend in Pokémonthat has never changed is the appearance of Fossil Pokemon.  Usually you would receive a fossil from a person in game and take it to a lab or museum to get it revived into a level 5 Pokémon, usually Rock and another typing.  Usually each region gets two fossils, one for each respective game. X and Y have now released the evolutions for these new Pokémon.  Let’s dig in guys!tyrunttyrantrum 

Meet Tyrunt, the Royal Heir and its evolved form Tyrantrum, the Despot. These are clearly T-Rex Pokémon and seem to have a tyrant nature since T-Rex’s were kings of their domain. Both of these Pokemon will have a Rock/Dragon type and the ability Strong Jaws which boosts moves like Bite or Crunch…perhaps even Fanged moves as well? I think Game Freak wanted a Fairy-killer for the game and this might be it with the Rock typing and all. Only time will tell. These looks like fairly hard hitters but maybe a bit fragile as well. Maybe they have what it takes to make it into the Overused or Uber tier. I can’t wait to find out.

amaura amauraevo

This Pokémon is adorable. I want it. NEEEEEED IT. *Coughs* Ahem, anyway this is Amaura and Aurous and they are both classified as the Tundra Pokemon. The first thing that popped into my mind was Nessie. I’m not a dinosaur expert but it looks like a plesiosaur to me. I know for sure that this will be my main water type from now on, what about you guys? Anyway, they both come with the ability Refrigerate. That move turns all Normal moves into Ice. Tackle? Ice. Headbutt? Ice. Well ok then! That could be a very power ability since Normal moves….eh not so crazy. They could be a hindrance as well to the wrong typing but I’ll worry about that later when I’m hyper beaming a Garchomp to the neck. Along with that ability they also get a new move: Freeze Dry. Anyone remember Scald? How it burns a Pokémon but it was a water move? This is similar. Freeze Dry not only has the chance to freeze you but it’s super effective to Water-type Pokémon. That’s pretty awesome in my book.

You can gain these Pokemon by either getting the Jaw or Sail Fossil for Tyrunt or Amaura respectively. Here is a poll to encourage getting people more active in the site. It’s a simple choice: Which would you want when you buy this game?

Anyway, some quick news I’ll cover before a detailed post in the future. Regarding Pokémon the Series:XY, Ash will journey to the Kalos region to do what he always does. Watching the Trailer, the graphics seem different and the characters seem more diverse. This time we get a different twist on a Heroine. Meet Serena.

319px-X_Y_Serena

She actually knows Ash from childhood. As in, she met Ash when he was a kid. That’s a refreshing change from “Hi! Oh crap, I torched your bike/just ran into you, wanna join me on my journey?”.  Maybe now we can see some more fleshed out information on Ash/Satoshi and just maybe more on what he was like as a child. On his journey he is joined by Clemont and his Bonnie. It’s clear that Clemont is a Gym Leader but which one and what type? It’s clear that his sister has a Dedenne but does this confirm him as an Electric Gym leader? And this

clemont

There’s Bonnie, trying to find her brother a wife but see that backpack he’s wearing? That contains an Aipom arm. It allows him to grab things like an Aipom so maybe a Normal-type gym leader? We’ve had both in the previous region so only time will tell.

That’s all for now folks! GEEEEET VOTING!

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Filed under game reviews, Geoffrey Saotome, pokemon

Innovation in the Pokemon World: The X and Y Frontier

A review by Geoffrey Saotome

Kanto. Johto. Hoenn. Sinnoh. Unova….and Unova 2 cause that’s pretty much what it was. We know of these regions and the games they represent no matter what our age. Pokémon is an evolving franchise with many diverse categories, from the television show and movies to the video games we all know and love. Whether you love the Mystery Dungeon fan or an aspiring Pokémon Ranger this series has something just for you. October 12th marks a historic date in history regarding this fantastic RPG series: a worldwide release of a Pokémon game, Pokémon X and Pokémon Y. This is a first for any Pokémon game as well as the first for the RPG part of the game. This new game takes place in Kalos, a region that resembles more or less Europe, Eiffel Tower and all. Now what exactly is new about this game to make it so different? Is it because the name of the game used letters instead of gem-stones or colors? Is it because it is 3DS only?

Well that’s why I’m here. Unless you  have been following this game closely, you may not notice some of the big changes as well as the little ones. I’m going to point out some of the most important things that have been released so far.  A thing to point out before I do. See these two Pokémon here?

Yveltal-and-Xerneas-by_jellojolteon2000

These are the two main mascots for X and Y. Representing the X and Y horizontal planes. Basic maths…or geometry…or something. Anyway, it has been announced that a third legendary will make up the trio: a Snake. Sound like any letter of the alphabet? Not it’s not S. Z. X, Y and Z. Z making up the 3D plane. 3DS? Anyone? Man I’m all alone here. Anyway, let’s get started

1. The Customization Feature.

When I get a new computer, I like to fix it up so it feels comfy. I mess with my phone so it feels like I’ve had it for months. Pokémon has now brought this feature in. From Gen 1 your name was what set you apart. Gen 2 was the introduction of Females in the game. Gen 3 was Mail. Gens 4-5 changed a bit from being able to send messages, a motto on your trainer card, even being able to enter an online battle as a NPC of your choice (Ranger all day, baby). But what did Gen 6 bring to mix? Full customization. Shirts, shoes, hats, even skin color. You start out with two Caucasian choices and a tanned choice as well.  Diiiiversity! On top of that there seems to be many clothing options as well. Now you have a massive jump in customization. You can put yourself into the game. That’s pretty nifty if you asked me.

2. The Fairy type

No butterfly wings? I am disappoint. :(

No butterfly wings? I am disappoint 😦

It’s been so long since we got a new type. Last types we got were Steel and Dark. Why? To combat the hellish legions of the sweeping psychic Pokémon. Steels brought in resistance while Darks dealt the damage. With the splitting of the stats even further between generations, Dragons have become increasingly powerful with their sweeping and revenge killing capabilities. Looking at you Garchomp. Either way, it was pretty hard to get a Dargon early in the game unless you traded or hacked the game and they were a pain to trade but if you were lucky then the game would be a breeze. Competitively most of the dragons were in the OU and even in the Uber category. Who didn’t use Rayquaza to kill the Elite 4 in Emerald? Don’t lie, most of you did. Well Game Freak said screw it and boom, Fairies. New Pokémon as well as old Pokémon got this typing. Even a new Eeveelution, Sylveon.  Gardevoir, Mawile, and Marill gained this as a second typing.  The new legendary Xerneas is also a Fairy type. The dragon killing deer. But this was a substantial change for the game mechanics and it could greatly impact the metagame . Fairy also does 2x Damage to Fighting and Dark but take damage from Poison and Steel….that’s a good set if I say so myself.

3. Pokémon-Amie

SHES SO PRETTY!

SHES SO PRETTY!

How precious are your Pokémon to you. From giving them haircuts, entering contests, even putting them in sports but now you can get up close and personal with them by grooming and feeding them. How does this matter in the game? Well you get bonuses. Critical hits go through or maybe your Pokémon will dodge more attacks with a boosted evasion rate. Wow, this is just amazing. Being able to get up close and personal with your Pokémon like they were right there with you. Adds the amount of caring you have to your hard trained Pokémon. This feature just seems so much more interactive and while some may see it as a useless gimmick, please refer to the fact that it has bonuses in battle. Plus the fact that you can access it pretty much anywhere seems like a good deal. No need for the Amity Square or berries to get your Pokemon to warm up to you.

4. Mega Evolutions

"It's morphin' time!"

“It’s morphin’ time!”

“And this…is to go further beyond!!!!” Words spoken by the great Son Goku, what would happen if we took evolution from stage one or two…and pushed further? This is what you get. Mega Evolutions of some of the greatest and badass Pokémon that have walked the earth. How do you do this you ask? Easily simple really. The corresponding Pokémon must have their specific stone. Lucario needs the Lucarionite while Blaziken…yeah you get the point. Then you need the Mega Ring  and Key Stone which basically initiates a Power Rangers like sequence. You pour all of your feeling in and push your Pokémon past their limits to before MEGA! Now there are draw backs to this. First off, the –nite they are hold is the only item they can hold so be careful of your strategy. Next, everybody gets one. One per battle. So choose which Pokémon will be your game changer and hope for the best!

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As a side note? Look at this thing. This thing has its rape face on and is ready to tear your Pokémon in half. This thing is evil incarnate. A beast. The thing of nightmares. Hell on wheels. You get the idea. All I can say is: LET THE SWEEPING INTENSIFY!

5. The overall game mechanics and changes.

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So much has changed. So much. Where to even begin. From the days of 8-bit sprites, Pokémon has continually evolved into a powerhouse through its stunning visuals as well as innovative mechanics. There are many to go over but I’ll pick out the main ones. First off, Rollerblades are a new form of transportation. It’s an interesting choice but who’s to say the bike hasn’t come back? Maybe the Rollerblades are a new form of the running shoes? Speaking of transportation, some Pokémon can be ridden in certain areas like Rhydon in mountainous regions or Gogoat in Cities. O Powers raise certain stats such as attack or the power to capture Pokémon like the Pass Power in Black and White 2. Another feature is Pokémon Bank and Transporter. Pokémon Transporter just lets you move Pokémon from  Black, White and BW2 to X and Y meaning anything Ruby and up can join you in the new gen. Pokémon Bank offers a service which lets you store up to a whopping 3,000 total amount of Pokémon. You can have your children enjoy the Pokémon you raised as a kid. But there is a downside. Anytime you decide to activate the Bank, you get 30 days until January 31st. Then you have to pay. $5…it’s too much folks…it’s too much….you all know I’m kidding right? Right.

With that said, what else could they have thrown in or would throw in? Maybe bring back the Pokewalker accessory or perhaps the have the  Pokémon follow you around? Maybe bring back some items or perhaps even a joint region like say Hoenn? I know I’m sure waiting for that remake and with this addition, it’ll look better than ever. Now Nintendo and Game Freak have set a new standard for their popular franchise. No long will you have to worry about spoilers about the game(unless you’re into that) or importing an early copy. Will Nintendo keep this trend going or will this be an on going this with this universe as well as the other spinoffs? All we can do is wait and find out but one thing is sure: This is a test so let’s be sure to pass it. Enjoy this sweeper to get you over.

-Arondite

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Hotline Miami – A baseball bat wrapped in cocaine, laced with teeth, and presented on an 8-bit platter.

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A review by Jake Storey

I want to start this review by stating that I would like to believe myself to be, first and foremost in this world, a storyteller. I firmly believe that even since ancient times, a storyteller is the cornerstone of our society. Mankind tells his past with stories, his present with stories, and his future with stories. And I believe it’s all for the best seat by the fire. Figuratively, of course. So, since this review is a request from someone who enjoys my storytelling abilities, expect a certain grandeur that I believe is proper.

When I first heard of Hotline Miami, thoughts of old 80’s cop movies and shows filled my head along with A Flock Of Seagull’s ‘I Ran (So Far Away)’. Images of women in neon spandex workout gear and men in casual suits driving strange vehicles hopped up on coke and pop rocks are all I know of the 80’s.

And so I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that all of that was pretty much true. So, to actually discuss the game. Hotline Miami is an independent title, made by Dennaton Games. It’s currently on Steam for around $10 right now, and is well worth the price of admission. The gameplay is actually simple enough. It plays like a top down beat-em-up, like a combination of NES Metal Gear Solid and River City Ransom. Left Mouse to use items, Right Mouse to pick up/throw items, WASD to move. Space to finish downed enemies. Simple. Clean.

Beautiful. The controls are really tight, and very responsive. Locking is usually advised for bursting into a room and killing three guys at once, since every combat breaks out much in the way of scarface. Automatic guns, baseball bats, and bloodshed all within a matter of seconds. You COULD be boring and just gun everyone down and exploit the semi-shitty AI, or you could be awesome and throw a golf club in one guy’s face, run over to him, pick up his knife and stab him with it, burst into the hallway and throw your knife into a second guy’s face, pick up HIS gun, start shooting a bunch of guys, then kick in the door to another room, knock ANOTHER guy on his ass, then throw the empty gun away and use your bare hands to bash his skull into the floor. And you aren’t even finished with that level yet.

One may wonder why I didn’t discuss the story first. Usually with these types of things someone explains the story in a half assed way and you don’t know what the game is really about but you get a good gist. Not the case here. The story, if it can even be called that, is a string of events tied loosely together with mysterious messages left on the answering machine in your apartment. Is it one of those ‘story is left up to the player’ games, or is there a DEEP inner meaning to all of the shit going on? Is it the main character’s actual actions or are they symbolic? HOTLINE MIAMI DOESN’T GIVE A FUCK YOU KNOW WHAT IT GIVES YOU?

“Rubber animal masks that give you powers and sometimes talk to you.”, which is a pretty good way to sum it up.

Now, that’s not to say that the game is a complete clusterfuck of LOL RANDUMB XD chaos, this is chaos done right. It’s like you’re watching it through a coke-induced haze, which was all the rage back in the day. Drugs aren’t even featured predominantly in the game, it’s part of the backdrop, a seedy world of violence you and your chicken mask carve through.

I found myself enthralled with the backgrounds and wanting more out of the story. I scoured every level with all the fun new masks I was awarded with for killing guys in creative (or not so creative) ways, wondering what new animal with a funny name like Don Juan or Rasmus would show up next. And the minor detail of bodies not magically disappearing was nice too, so when I was finished with the level and walked back to my sweet ass Delorian with the digital phone built in (New Wave!) I could see the carnage like a scrapbook of violence.

Now, the game is no cakewalk. SEVERAL times I had to keep replaying a level because a stray dog I missed came out of nowhere and killed me, or I walked too far out and stepped into some burly russian dude’s FOV, but I kept trying and trying until I was a fluid motion, trying new ways and new paths. If you’re into that whole 100% completion thing or replaying a game in a different way, you’ll get some mileage out of this one.

The sound was crisp and detailed. I liked it. The music was wild and varied. I loved it. I keep going back to how much this felt like an 80’s drug haze. I’d like to think I was right. Right before a big gunfight or level it gets all tense, and the in between parts where you go through the protagonist’s head are wild and slow.

Hell, that pretty much shows the pace of the game. It jerks you back and forth between quiet and loud, bloody and peaceful, strange and normal.

Excellent packaging, a refreshing breaking of the mold, good music and sound, a story that you have to dig for, a decent price tag, and more. These are a few reasons Hotline Miami was enjoyable. I’m not going to praise it as a legendary game by any stretch, but I will say that if you have some cash to spare, do yourself a favor and pick it up. Fucking 8/10.

Under the circumstance I would have wrote this review in a much different way, going on about my experiences with it and probably taking it a lot more (or less I give two shits either way) seriously. But just like the game, there’s a secret here you have to dig for. Like the secret ending to the game you get from finding all the secret puzzle pieces.

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