Tag: Gamedae Favorite (page 1 of 2)

I know kung fu

Forget what you know about video games based on movies for just a minute. Now imagine a movie that you loved (or in this case a trilogy). Wouldn’t it be great to continue that experience in game form; to relive those awesome moments with you controlling the action. I believe that was always the intent with movie games but it almost never seems to work out. Perhaps game developers should take a look back on some PS2 era games because The Matrix: Path of Neo is a great game.

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Game of the Year: Ni no Kuni

My Game of the Year is the title that brought me the most joy and kept my attention the longest. This early January 2013 title stayed in my thoughts throughout the day, and tugged at my heart strings throughout my time with it. It’s a game that took me to another world while still keeping me grounded with another “real world” to relate to. It gave me the chance to “collect ‘em all” and has kept me a little bit younger.

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mass effect 2

Traveling across galaxies trying to recruit a band of heroes for a “suicide mission” can be tough work. Commander Shepard, a trained human soldier, is on a mission to save the universe from the threats facing civilization. In Mass Effect 2 the latest threat is from the alien race known as the Reapers. The Reapers, working in conjunction with the mysterious Collectors, are causing human colonies along the fringe frontiers to disappear. In order to face the Reapers, Shepard and crew with have to use the the Omega-4 Relay to reach the Reavers part of space. It’s a suicide mission for one man alone; you will have to make valuable allies along the way both human and alien. Shepard will save the day, that is, before he dies. Because you basically start this action-oriented, role playing game floating in space, dead.
WARNING: Slight spoilers on an older game ahead

The Normandy SR-2 that appears in ME2, the “successor” to the SR-1 from ME1

 Mass Effect 2 expands the cast of characters and groups in this already dense fictional universe. It’s the sequel to the first Mass Effect game (which was and is still, an XBox exclusive). The first group Shepard will meet is Cerberus, a militant organization with pro-human values. Cerebus has dealings in the black market and is responsible for behind-the-scenes work. That is, work outside the eyes of the Alliance, which polices most activity in the universe. Cerberus’s current project, “Lazarus”, is a radical, scientific process that revives Commander Shepard using the latest tech the year 2148 can provide. Shepard awakens during an attack on the Cerberus station where the experiment is taking place. Wasting no time he gets back work as the trained soldier he is. After being brought up to speed on the situation and the lingering threats Commander Shepard agrees to work with Cerberus to continue his mission to prevent the Reaper invasion. While he doesn’t agree with some of their methods they share the same motives to stop the Reapers.

Working with Cerberus does have its perks despite some of their more shady deals. They have reconstructed your starship the Normandy and located members of your old crew, some of which are already at their stations on the ship. Shepard must recruit and gain the loyalty of a diverse team to stand a chance against the Reapers. Cerberus provides you valuable intel in your mission against the Reapers. They have also supplied dossiers on perspective new crew members that will help you in your mission.

Sometimes dubbed a “Shooter-RPG”

The game itself is action RPG. The majority of the gameplay is a tight 3rd person shooter mechanic. There are well rendered CG cut scenes with dialog choices really allowing you to take control of your character. It’s up to your moral choices in conversation whether you are going to follow the path of the paragon or the renegade. Other forms of game play are short “hacking” scenarios in the form of puzzles, piloting the M-44 Hammerhead transport and mining planets for ore.

The developers of Mass Effect 2, Bioware are known for the sheer scope of the story they have constructed. Believable alien cultures with detailed worlds to explore. The individual characters all have rich histories. Shepherd’s own journey may be the the central plot but one can happily get lost exploring all the side quests and missions available. Of course, the longer missions are more fun, they generally test your skills against a boss type character. The story can really take some surprising twists during dialogue exchanges between Shepard and NPCs. The choices you make affect your experience. Choose between Paragon (good) and Renegade (bad) to determine how your Shepard acts. It is wise to commit to Paragon or Renegade throughout the entire game. Not only are you rewarded with additional dialogue choices, you will enjoy a better gaming experience. The Mass Effect 2 story really heats up when you achieve a romance with another character. I have eyes for a certain alien myself.

Do I want Purple or Green for this mission?

No soldier in the future is specialized in just weapons and melee fighting. Advances in technology and the study of mass effect fields have equipped beings with biotics, crafted to their bodies. All members of the crew, including Shepard, have a multitude of equipped biotic powers. Powers like weapons can be upgraded throughout the campaign using collect Element Zero. Before each mission you will select from your crew two members to accompany you, strategy is involved in picking crew members with appropriate powers. If you know you’re going into a tough fight you’ll want to a companion to have barrier powers or a concussion shot to the head, which can hit targets around corner. Other powers include advanced melee fighting, invisibility and force throws.

Running a ship like the Normandy with a full crew gets expensive fast. Luckily, the universe seems to run on some common elements found on different planets and moons. A lot of time will be spent mining. Mining is basically a mini game, similar to lockpicking or bomb defusing in other games. Scan the planetary orbs and launch probes at spiking element areas. There are four ores that you collect Platinum, Palladium, Iridium and the most rare Element Zero. The different ores are associated with specific upgrades be them weapons, shields or biotic upgrades. Not a very “green” feeling game, I did feel a little bad stripping the known universe of all of its precious elements. 

She’ll love you no matter what your wearing

Role playing games in general seem to always have the same flaws. Most of which are offset due to the detail and length of Mass Effect 2. That said, the usual culprits like broken dialog during cut scenes and choppy graphic glitches are present. Frame rate issues where some pieces move and others stutter. Almost expected with a game this big: game freezing. If this is your first RPG you may notice most gamers are a custom to this happening every once and again.

This is about as close to space travel as you are likely to get. If you ever dreamed of intergalactic battles or going where no man has gone before than this is your game. It’s basically a love letter to sci-fi crafted by a team obviously devoted to creating a quality game. The game leaves you with a lasting bond with the characters and is sure to make it onto your personal favorite games list. I do have some complaints, at times, I felt like I was organizing a field trip. Meeting a character and earning his or her loyalty basically equates to getting their permission slip signed. I’m all for all for team work but it’s time authors move past the Tolkien-esque “Fellowship” routine. Perhaps next time we start with a full crew, do their individual missions and try to keep them alive. A small grievances for a title which will go down in gaming history and as a Gamedae Favorite.

Commander you have received a new message at your private terminal

resistance: fall of man


DEVELOPER: Insomniac Games
ESRB RATING: M for Mature
Progress: Finished

I don’t really want to over-use the term “Gamedae Favorite” but this is a recent addition to the alumni. It has been a long while since a first-person shooter (FPS) has held my attention as sharply as Resistance: Fall of Man has. I’ve passed up purchasing Resistance until now because it wasn’t a co-op game but also because I didn’t own a PS3 when it was first released in 2006. With all the hype surrounding the newly released Resistance 3, I got excited and picked up the Resistance (parts 1 & 2) PS Dual Pack. (Side note: Big fan of the dual pack idea–keep’em coming Sony). Seven days later I have trudged through the war-torn European landscape of Britain, defeated the ravenous Chimera, and damn, if it wasn’t an awesome game.

The scene is the 1940’s, about the time when WW2 would have started, however in Resistance: The Fall of Man that scenario plays out just a little different. Hitler never rose to power; alternatively the world has been invaded by a ruthless alien race called the Chimera. Their goals and methods allude the allied forces, all we know is that they are exterminating the human race at a rapid pace. Only a few strong willed soldiers stand in their way. That’s where our protagonist, Nathan Hale, comes in. An American soldier sent in to find out what is going on “across the pond” and becomes swept up in the human resistance against the Chimera and the key to bringing them down.

The campaign takes Nathan traveling across different locations in Britain. The graphics look like nostalgic old photographs only foreign and eventually entirely alien. The rubble of buildings and 40’s style military gear (that you will recognize) keeps the game grounded into the time period of the 40’s. The characters like Hale and the supporting cast are interesting and believable. Although don’t count on the NPC soldiers helping you out too much. The animation is top notch (I would expect nothing less from the creators of Ratchet & Clank) and has aged very well since 2006.

I sometimes find FPS’s disorienting. With Resistance, the controls feel very stable and grounded into the game’s environment. Rarely, did I find myself walking into walls or aiming in the wrong direction. That said the campaign is completely linear, which I didn’t mind, with the occasional NPC instructing you where to go. Without spoiling too much, I’ll also mention that there are some vehicle levels as well. Playing the game brought back fond memories of early shooter games like Perfect Dark and Turok. Both of which, I’m willing to bet, were influences on the developers.

This is FPS game mechanics at their best. The fine controls feature a very smooth radial weapon selection that you can easily navigate while keeping the game paused. It also allows you to eventually carry up to eight firearms. FPS staples such as lining up your shot, running and gunning and throwing grenades all work very well. Most weapons allow you to zoom in while aiming for further accuracy even offering a secondary discharge such as tracking bullets or an energy shield. Insomniac games must pride themselves on weapon creation because there wasn’t one gun I didn’t want to use and they just get bigger and stronger as you accumulate them. Start off with your military issue rifle and later acquiring Chimera tech like the Bullseye and Auger (which lets you shoot through walls).

Overall, I wouldn’t consider Resistance: Fall of Man to be a very difficult game. It would be a good recommendation to someone interested in FPS but scared off by some of the harder more intense offers on the market. There is a multiplayer element which has your standard “deathmatch” and “capture the flag” type games. Obvoiusly, I wasn’t playing in the heyday of this game, but there are still plenty of people online shooting each other. Particularly interesting, the multiplayer? No, not really but it works just fine. The true hero here is the campaign and the amazing new world Insomniac Games has created. The story is a glimpse into the lives of these military characters and the war from their point of view, if your into getting a lot of answers from your story Resistance may disappoint you. Intrigued by the alternate reality, I felt the need to rise up for humanity and that feeling carried me through to the end of the game.

Long live the Resistance

portal 2 by zoidberger


PUBLISHER: Valve Corporation
Progress: 100% Single Player, 65% Co-Op
I’ll be damned if a lack of baked goods from the first installment was going to stop me from playing the much anticipated sequel to one of the most beloved puzzle games of all time. I was a huge fan of the first-person physics-based puzzle game and had lofty expectations for the sequel. Portal 2 did what most sequels are unable to do with those expectations, surpass them.

Portal 2 doesn’t try to change the foundation it set for itself with the original but instead builds on it. You return as Chell, the protagonist from the original Portal. You’re awakened by a clumsy robot named Wheatley, only to find that the entire Aperture Science facility is in ruin. With the help of Wheatley (accidental) you reactive GLaDOS and she is not pleased to see you survived.

As you attempt to restore the Aperture Science facility, you will come across many of the same type of puzzles from the original. Although familiar the puzzles stay fresh with the addition of several new puzzle components. You make use of several gel substances, each with their own unique effect when used on surfaces. You get a blue gel (used to bounce off surfaces) a red gel (used to increase your speed on surfaces) and a white gel (enables you to put portals on previously unusable surfaces). These additions make the puzzles fresh and challenging but never to the point of frustration. Along with the gels, sliding floors and warp tunnels add to the transportation options in the game. The lovable companion cube makes a return, but don’t forget to give equal love to the new laser redirection cube. You must make full use of cubes, gels, and warp tunnels if you have any chance of completing even the simplest of levels. The single player campaign runs anywhere from 7 to 9 hours in length. I feel that is enough gameplay to justify the purchase, but Portal 2 doesn’t stop at the single player campaign. 

The Co-Op campaign adds even more depth to the already deep single player campaign. In the Co-Op campaign you play as Atlas and P-body. The story continues past the single campaign slightly but where it shines is the increase in puzzle complexity. With the assistance of a friend you must make use of 4 portals along with the rest of the in game features in order to get through the Co-Op campaign. The Co-Op campaign adds an additional 7 hours of gameplay, the game in its entirety gets you about 15 hours of cake chasing fun. If two campaigns are still not enough for you, Valve will be releasing a level designing tool set to allow players to make their own cube tossing levels (will be released in the coming months). Portal 2 basically has unlimited replay ability, as long as the player base is willing (and they will be) to let their imagination wander in creative freedom. 

If you own both PS3 and XBOX 360, I would suggest getting the PS3 title. The reason for this is the Steam code that comes with the PS3 version of the game. You are basically getting the game for 66% of the available platforms (75% if you consider Mac and PC to be separate platforms). 
Portal 2 is everything one would want in a sequel. It doesn’t differ from the original enough to upset the core fan base, but also improves on the original to feel like it can stand on its own and not just in the shadow of the first. Portal 2 stands not only as one of the greatest puzzle games of all time, but as one of the greatest games of all time. With its humorous characters, complex puzzles, and depth filled Co-Op campaign, Portal 2 has tons to offer even the most hardcore of gamers. 


bionic commando rearmed

DEVELOPER: Team17 Software


Progress: 100%
Most would agree that nostalgia can be a powerful force, especially when influencing which video games you spend your time playing. I’ve told you, or someone else has, that “your memory of a game may be better than it actually was”. This holds true for most old games and some movies as well. Times have changed and games have improved so much it can be jarring to replay some of the classics after a while. Their limited game play controls and simple 8 bit graphics just can’t compete. One such game that stands up to the test of time is the original Bionic Commando.

I remember getting the original NES classic with it’s giant blue box and cartridge featuring art work that wasn’t found anywhere in the game. I couldn’t get over how cool it was; and how difficult. There were no save points; it was all the way through or nothing, one shot. The big twist of originality that BC brought was that the character couldn’t jump and he had a bionic arm that he used to swing.

Well it’s 2010 and the game is back. The revamped release features amazing HD graphics, a “total modern visual and audio revamp” and is as much fun as the original, if not more. Part of me wishes every classic game could get this kind of upgrade. Very few changes have been made but the biggest is that now your progress is saved when you shut down. That alone warrants trying BC again if you were put off by the original. The game even restores some of the 8-bit-wit that went into the original “cut scenes”. The ending has been updated from the original, the classic twist ending is the same but it’s definitely a more fun and fair boss fight.

Hacking the enemies’ system has a new twist as well with an added mini game which is puzzling and addictive. I would play this puzzle game on it’s own; I only wish there was more mini games built in. It is similar to the lock-picking side quests you may be familiar with, yet with the most minimal of graphics. Did I mention this game has co-op? Up to four players can get in on the swing too bad co-op isn’t available online.

There are additional challenge modes; they are difficult and while skip-able they are arguably a great replay option, that is if you can hack it. The challenge modes feature a new transparent look similar to the hacking mini game. This game has been out for a little while and there are rumors brewing of a sequel. PS even released an update after its launch adding PS trophies. If I haven’t convinced you yet; if nothing else, BCR is a great reason to use the d pad.

Whos do you think is longer, Spencer’s bionic arm or Link’s hookshot?

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