Reviews

Retro Gaming Reviews: The Final Fantasy Series – A Retrospective

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Retro Gaming Reviews: The Final Fantasy Series – A Retrospective

23 years is a long time for a video game series, or any series for that matter. I mean, think about it. Assuming the average wait time between games is about 2 years, that means an average of about 11 games will have been released for that series. It’s a rather daunting thought, especially if you’re a game developer. Aside from Nintendo games and sports games, you don’t really see any game series’ reaching the double digits, at least not while becoming incredibly stale in the process. However, despite recently having released its 13th installment, not counting spin-offs or remakes, Final Fantasy still continues going on strong. Sure, some of the more recent games, while critically acclaimed, have drawn the ire of series fans, though whether this is due to an actual decline in quality or an increasingly unpleasable fanbase is debatable. Still, for a series that’s gone on for 13 games, with a 14th in the works and due for release later this year, Final Fantasy is doing pretty well for itself. But how did Final Fantasy come to be? And how did it survive this long? Read On

Review: God of War 3 – PS3

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Review: God of War 3 – PS3

Since the Star Wars prequels I’ve always been a tad skeptical about Trilogies especially when it comes to Gaming Franchises (cough cough Halo 3 cough cough). The God of War series has always been something special, never shying away from breaking the mold of what we know as a Hack N’ Slash game. I’ve played every entry in this franchise including the PSP version and have enjoyed each one. How does God of War 3 hold up to the previous games?

Read On

Comic Jumper Screenshots

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Comic Jumper Screenshots

Friends! Twisted Pixel is dropping another hit on us called Comic Jumper. Twisted Pixel is behind such  gems like Splosion Man, and The Maw.

According to the Press Release, at SXSW CEO Michael Wilford played the first 10 minutes of the game to a crowd of onlookers. They will be showing the game play again at PAX East, and I will do my darnd-est to see this in action while we are there and give you guys more information. Like Splosion Man, before it Comic Jumper is zany and fast paced. Your adventure consist in a comic book setting with your hero and mine Captain Smiley twarting criminals like Dr. Winklemeyer and Smiley’s arch-nemesis Brad.

Video of the game will go up soon, most likely tonight. But, for now, enjoy the screenshots provided by Twisted Pixel, after the break.

No release date or pricing yet for this game. If you want to keep up contact follow@mrwilford on Twitter, check their site, or stay tuned with us to get an inside scoop. Read On

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:

Read On

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.