Reviews

XBLA Review: Greed Corp

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XBLA Review: Greed Corp

Similar in  style to board games like Carcassone and Catan comes Greed Corp. Greed Corp is a strategy game taking place in a new fantasy world called Mistbound. The objective of this game differs from that of similar style games in that your goal is destruction. Fighting against different factions it is up to you to consume as many resources as you can and ultimately destroy any land your enemy has. W!Games first game is a welcomed addition to XBLA for any board game enthusiast.

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Game Review: Alien vs Predator – Xbox 360

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Way back when I used to watch the Alien and Predator Movies. They were something that was just fun to watch and pretty entertaining. After Aliens 3 I pretty much lost most interest in the Movie Franchise and was almost exclusively a PC Gamer. My buddy was a bigger fan then I and told me I just need to pick up Alien vs Predator for the PC. I went ahead and did it and pretty much had a blast. For it’s time it was pretty impressive. Well it’s a new era in the FPS genre and there is a new Alien vs Predator. With games like Dead Space and Bioshock the bar for the FPS has certainly been placed pretty high. How does the new game compare to existing FPS.

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Overplayed, even the end of the world can feel banal

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Overplayed, even the end of the world can feel banal

A certain degree of grim seriousness is called for when you’re the Horseman of War. Organizations have an image to maintain. You can’t show up to the apocalypse in bright fluffy pajamas singing Broadway show tunes. It ruins morale.

But Darksiders is among those games that take it a bit too far. Its protagonist War is a muscle-bound brute clad in spiked bits from three separate suits of armor, carrying a sword the size of some small tree trunks and inlaid with skulls all the way to the tip. (Incidentally, he looks eerily similar to Arthas Menethil, but whether this makes him sillier or cooler is up to you.) He tromps through the burnt-out wreckage of long-dead human civilization, never speaking above a growl, massacring anything that challenges him- and quite a lot seems to think it can beat the embodiment of War in a fight, from the warlike angels of not!Heaven to the victorious demons of not!Hell now infesting the dead Earth. Read On

PAX East Panels: Bringing Live Gaming to you… well, Live: Part 2!

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PAX East Panels: Bringing Live Gaming to you… well, Live: Part 2!

If you recall from last week, I’ve been writing two articles over two weeks that discuss the RPG and D&D panels at PAX East that yours truly will be attending. I am getting more and more stoked as the weeks flutter by; my gaming saliva is accumulating, preparing for maximum drool potential. Amidst some heavy Torchlight playing, I present to you the second half of the panels that I will be attending and a few thoughts on each. Next week, I’m back to the normal DM articles that hopefully will make you think a little differently about your gaming needs. But, for now, here are the panels:

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Retro Gaming Reviews: Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- (2007)

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Retro Gaming Reviews: Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- (2007)

Meet the Protagonist: Zack Fair

Look, I already know what you’re going to have to say, so you don’t have to say it. Crisis Core IS NOT a retro game. In fact, the game was released in 2007 in Japan and 2008 here in the US, so it isn’t even borderline retro. However, following my FFVII review, my plan was to take a crack at possibly the most polarizing of Final Fantasy games, Final Fantasy VIII. Unfortunately, Final Fantasy VII left me wanting more, possibly due to the game being so overhyped and so I decided to break out my copy of Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, which I had put on hold after losing my data when my old PSP was stolen. And, finally having Final Fantasy VII under my belt, I felt it was finally time to go through it once more and finish what I started. So, consider this a supplement to my Final Fantasy VII review as I delve further into the mythology of the world of Final Fantasy VII. Read On

New mystery game to make its appearance on PSN in March

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New mystery game to make its appearance on PSN in March

Dire news! The Mayor of the sleepy town of Little Riddle has been (music sting) murdered!

So begins Blue Toad Murder Files, an upcoming independent game exclusive to the Playstation Network. Published by Relentless Software, this fusion of party game-trivial pursuit, and whodunit mystery will release its first three episodes in late March.

Blue Toad Murder Files is more or less a linear party game, similar to those such as Mario Party, with trivia and brain-teasers in place of twitch-based minigames. Players take on the role of quintessentially quirky British detectives hot on the chase- which is to say they put their tea down carefully before ambling along in pursuit. Meanwhile, a posh and somewhat snarky narrator sets the scene, cheering every success and mocking every failure with equal wry enthusiasm, and paying very little attention to the fourth wall.

“It’s inspired by Agatha Christie,” said Jade Tidy, the game’s producer. “You know, very gentlemanly mysteries, with a pipe and a cup of tea.”

Up to four players move about the village, questioning a colorful assortment of characters about motives and events. Each episode stands on its own, but also fits into an overarching conspiracy plot. Puzzles range from math-based riddles and challenges to mix-and-match challenges, but solving the central mystery takes close attention to detail and clues and a good memory. Character designs are simple but expressive, and a single voice actor handles the entire cast of characters with surprising variety. The soundtrack is goofy, respectable, and often hammy.

Blue Toad Murder Files is the first self-published game for Relentless Software. The Britain-based publisher’s previous game, Buzz, sold 8 million copies.

XBLA Review: Toy Soldiers

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XBLA Review: Toy Soldiers

Xbox Live’s Block Party kicks off with Toy Soldiers. Toy Soldiers is a tower defense game. If you have been watching the trailers and following the press you might not have known this. I’m sure with good reason the PR team behind the game decided to exclude this information since there is an over abundance of tower defense games already on XBLA. When tower defense is done well and made to feel fresh again, it can be a lot of fun. Signal Studios has done this with their first XBLA release, Toy Soldiers.

Gameplay

The campaign allows you to experience 24 action packed missions playing as both the Allied and Central armies. Your goal on each map is to defend your toy box from wave after wave of oncoming troops and vehicles. This is done by building different defensive structures on specific build sites. Each map has a set number of areas where you can place your defensive structures, so you have to chose wisely. To be able to build you have to be able to afford the construction, and money is earned from every kill. The main feature that sets this apart from other tower defense games is the ability to control of any structure and take out the enemies on your own. You are able to zoom-in to the weapon’s point of view, use the left stick to aim and the right to fire. As you progress you also gain the chance to pilot airplanes and drive tanks as well. The easier difficulty provides a lot of fun for the casual player. As you increase the difficulty the game presents you with a real challenge. When set to the hardest difficulty, the towers no longer fire on their own. This means you know have to be able to bounce around to each one in order to take out the enemy. The bosses in this game are larger toys in many forms such as a huge tank, a railroad gun, and a zeppelin aircraft. Once the campaign has been completed, you then unlock the survival mode where you fight against countless waves of enemy toys desperately trying to defeat you. Also included is a two-player versus mode. This is playable locally in split screen or online. Here, each side sends waves of soldiers at the opponent with the Y button, but they also have to build units in order to defend their toy box from the waves being sent by the opponent. Toy Soldiers offers a lot of different options to players and should provide hours of entertainment.

Graphics/Sound

The game stays true to its name and provides a toy like feel to all the models. The environment looks and feels like a WWI recreation someone would have in their basement. The backdrops for each level are painted on a piece of wood and certain areas are open so that you can see the rest of the room. The character animations are one of my favorite parts of the game. The soldiers have a look similar to the plastic toys but feature exaggerated animations. This really adds a lot of fun to the feel of the game. Seeing a soldier firing a gun at enemies while bouncing around in the seat was a nice touch. The sound effects are done well and help add to the feel of the game. While getting close to what war might sound like they also manage to keep the effects close to what plastic figures exploding would sound like. The music selection was excellent. Period specific music plays during loading and helps carry the WWI feel into the game.

Overall

Toy Soldiers is the best tower defense game on XBLA. It takes a genre that over time has continued to grow stale and brought new life to it. There were plenty of times that I was playing and never even thought it was a tower defense game. If you have been a bit skeptical about picking this up, at least give the demo a try. This is an excellent XBLA release and already one of my favorite games this year. Toy Soldiers is available now for 1200 MS Points.

Metroid: "Other M" Trailer

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Metroid: "Other M" Trailer

Recently the interwebs got a hold of a new Trailer for Metroid: “Other M”. Which due to the lack of a suit around our heroine, leads me to believe that the story might be based around Samus and her training. Which is cool.  Check out the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkQKaK6cC9c

Sadly though two problem could ruin this.

1.) Team Ninja is behind this title. Which isn’t a problem, I like the games that they have put out. But, will it be the same style of play experience that we have grown to know and love with our widdle bounty hunter? I’m hopeful.

A point to note, these are the guys that put out both Ninja Gaiden, Dead or Alive, and Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball so the chances of breast physics is astronomical.

2.) Dame Judy Dench has not made a public statement stating if she will or will not be taking on the role of M. We can all remember he hesitation to get back into virtual acting after her role in the failed video game The Importance of Being Earnest 2: World Tour Beat.

Super Mario Bros. Retro Movie Review

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Super Mario Bros. Retro Movie Review

When Hollywood decides to make a movie based on a video game I always get nervous. Their track record hasn’t been so good. Movies like Resident Evil, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Hitman and most other movies based on games, aren’t really classified as good movies. With the newest movie based on a game, Prince of Persia, coming out soon we’ve decided to dust off some of these old movies and give them another chance. Think of it as a sort of retro movie review. And what better way to start us off than the one that started it all, Super Mario Bros.

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PAX East Table Top Panels: Bringing Live Gaming to you… well, Live.

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PAX East Table Top Panels: Bringing Live Gaming to you… well, Live.

First things first: I hope you like the new banner.  I figured some combination of how I’ve spent my life and how I spend my time works: all the money went into the “Dr.,” and all the time goes into the “DM.”  Cue sad, droning music from Schindler’s List. Now, onto today’s topic.

In about twenty-four days, Rett, Justin, and I will be sojourning north to Bean Town to witness quite possibly the greatest thing that will ever happen to us: a large congregation of intelligent people proving they’re intelligent by talking about intelligent stuff… like, um, you know, uh, video games and stuff.  IN ALL SERIOUSNESS, though, PAX East is going to be a riot.  As the resident table-top guy, I am excited to note the inclusion of many panels at the expo that concern live gaming and RPGs.  I thought I’d give a little preview of the panels as well as my extremely valuable thoughts* on each.  As the expo is pretty huge, I’ll split this post up over two weeks to give you the full flavor.

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