Tag: PS3 (page 1 of 5)

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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Trevor doesn’t care about my other games

Yea, so that whole post last month about finishing up my unfinished games went out the window, I have been binge-gaming Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA V). The insane amount of marketing for this game combined with the influence of friends that picked it up finally pushed me to break my game buying hiatus. I’m really glad I did too, because I’m hooked.  

To be really honest here, this will be my first real GTA experience. I played GTA III when it came out, but I didn’t own it. Owning it, is a big difference. Only playing for an hour or two at a friend’s house basically means: I had time to run from the cops and eventually get shot. Some loyal readers may recall a Gamedae GTA III review which I only played on my phone or iPad. I stand by that review because the game is really fun but the tablet novelty wore off quick.
Need your adrenaline rush? Try base jumping.

 What a trip this new GTA is. The dialog is so much rougher than in other games and the content actually is explicit. GTA V not only has a adult ESRB rating, it actually earns it. I always assume my neighbors or someone is walking by the door when the game says something peculiar like “I fingered a dog, and tea bagged an elder lady at a bus stop”.

After a few hours shooting randoms and checking out in the in-game strip club I settled into the main campaign. It’s a really unique experience having three main protagonists that you can cycle through, telling their own point of view of the story. The three main characters are Franklin, a brother from the hood trying to get into the game, Michael, a retired “made man” type with a family and kids and Trevor, the off the rails hick, meth head from the valley. All three are likable bad men with specific missions and encounters fitting to them.

Steering you through all the vulgarity and violence is some top notch game development. This is one of the best working games I’ve played. There is an auto aim feature that works really well but still leaves you in control and able to choose your targets. Driving, as you can imagine, is a major part of the game. I’m used to racing games like Burnout and Need for Speed so I was initially thrown off by the vehicle controls but after adjusting I’ve decided it is actually simplier. Speaking of vehicles there are many to choose from besides cars, including bikes, motorcycles, planes, helicopters and even tanks. I’m currently looking for a tank to steal.
Take a break from the killing and try some tennis or another of the mini games
More on my GTA V progress soon but I’ll leave you with what I’m enjoying most from the game: the music. I don’t listen to a lot of music so it’s a real treat to hear this amazing mix. The choices range from: talk radio, hip hop, country, classic tunes and news ones. I’ve linked my current top five below, these are the ones getting stuck in my head: 

Returning to the Citadel

It’s been awhile since I’ve been captaining the space vessel known as the SSV Normandy SR-2. There is a lot of love shared between me and the Mass Effect series. I’ve spent over a 100 hours with some of these characters. With the PS4 release looming in on November 15, I’ve been feeling some pressure to finish off some of my unfinished and (sadly) still sealed games. This time, I’m finally playing the very popular Mass Effect 3.

I got the Mass Effect Trilogy box set back last December. The trilogy box set was the first chance for PS users (the original Mass Effect was an XBox exclusive). I tried playing through Mass Effect (1), let’s just say I wasn’t really blown away. ME1 is after all a game from 2007 and more the “clunkier cousin” in the franchise. I’ve stoked the fires and even watched the Mass Effect Paragon Lost anime again to get all ready to play ME3

First thoughts, are what a beautiful game this is. It’s seems just like Mass Effect 2 only somehow even better looking. In actuality the graphical enhancements are mild compared to ME2 but the “new game” factor is always exciting. The graphics sometimes have hiccups, some characters might be talking and one is staring off or looking in the wrong direction. Sometimes it seems like the game is pushing the graphics card to the maximum and the PS is stuttering to keep up.

Starting up ME3 you immediately hear some memorable melodies from the franchise which snap you right back into the game. About 2 hours in, I’ve figured ME3 is exactly what I liked about ME2 the gameplay is identical. Even the story structure so far is very much the same: problem in the universe find some allies to defeat it. Obviously the story is much more complex but that’s about the gist.

The weapon wheel has returned for accessing your hardware and biotic power set. Also, all the powers you gained in ME2 carry over so there is no need to re-earn them. It may just be me but I’m just focusing on weapon usage so far. I need to remember still what all the different biotic powers are. I’m sure as I progress further through the game the need to balance between and weapons will become paramount.

There was a lot of internet fuss over the ending of this game. Amazingly I’ve remained unspoiled. Really looking forward to seeing how the ending goes, more so than with other games I play. In fact, seeing what all the fuss is about is a major driving point to me finishing this game.

resident evil 6

RELEASE: 10/2012 | DEVELOPER: Capcom | ESRB: M for Mature

Capcom brings together survival horror, intrigue and all-out-zombie-action in the sixth release of their popular franchise Resident Evil (RE). This is the biggest, best looking RE title to date. Hours of running, gunning and running and gunning at the same time; which is just one of the new additions making this game even better than the last. Though Resident Evil 6 has a bit of a scarred reputation on the internet, which I choose to ignore and see these zombie-infested streets for myself.

A new evil pathogen has been released by Neo-Umbrella, the once dismantled corporate monsters responsible for the original outbreak in Raccoon City in RE2. The opening scene shows the current (and fictitious) U.S. President becoming one of the newly infected. This new C Virus has been released in areas across the globe, from the US to Lanshiang, China. Fan favorite character Leon Kennedy (RE0) and Secret Service agent Helena Harper (new character) are the first on the scene investigating the initial terror attack.

With four separate but intertwining campaigns to play through, Leon and Helena are just the first RE characters you get to play. Each campaign has their own cast and distinct focus of gameplay. You could easily say there is something here for every type of RE fan. The game spins into an epic adventure with all of your favorite RE characters, into one (semi) cohesive story.

Add in some online co-op, multiplayer and the support from sites like ResidentEvil.net and you’ll have AAA game content that you’ll want play and replay. Each campaign involves a pair of protagonists perfectly suited for online co-op with a buddy. If you’re more the run-n-gun type who keeps a steady trigger finger on their kill/death ratio there is a whole multiplayer angle here too; pitting you against a whole world of BSAA agents and zombie recruits. ResidentEvil.net is your community hub where your scores can be tracked. The site hosts monthly online competitions based on multiplayer scores and main campaign stats, for example: “lets kill 10,000 Shriekers this month.” 

Sadly, the game is not without glitches, mostly server side rather than graphical or AI gone awry. Staying connected online with a co-op partner is a nightmare. You’ll hold your breath at every cut scene hoping your online buddy is still connected when it’s over. In fact, staying connected was my only real issue with RE6. I definitely do not side with the thousands of negative reviews the game has gotten. Quite the opposite actually, I was thinking more along the lines of “Game of the Year”. I’m not sure what this says about me as a reviewer, but I do know that I’m in favor of a very good game.

While games are often critically panned, ignoring reviews can often lead you to find some overlooked gems. I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Resident Evil 6. It’s just as intriguing and complicated as any past RE story. I’m happy with the gameplay and rather enjoy being able to choose between survival style, ammo storing campaigns vs all out shooting in big action campaigns all on one disk.

Don’t knock it till you try it.

walking dead the game

RELEASE: 4/2012 (Episode 1) | DEVELOPER: TellTale Games | ESRB: M for Mature

Walking Dead The Game is the best point and click game I have ever played. As a fan of the comic book series and of the AMC TV show I felt duty-bound to play. However, I did have my reservations: I’m not super-into point and click style games and I’ve been burned by TellTale games before, see Jurassic Park or Back to the Future. This game has won tons of awards and has been reviewed by just about everyone but you came here for my two cents, so read on, in my spoiler free review below.

Shopping can be especially tough during a Zombie Outbreak

We’ve been over what a point and click adventure is before. To summarize, it’s the videogame equivalent to a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Basically, you are presented with a series of multiple choice options and each answer will move the story along in a different direction. TellTale has improved on their point and click games with some serious updates. Multiple choice scenarios are now timed making your answers more instinctual rather than well thought out. Consequences are more severe in this game and sometimes very hard to deal with emotionally — unlike the Choose Your Own Adventure books of the past where you could simply keep your finger in place to skip back to the moment before your bad decision.

Walking Dead The Game is one of the first successful games sold in TellTale’s episodic fashion. Five episodes make up the complete game, which were originally sold separately and released months apart. Each episode lasts about 2-3 hours. This was an intriguing sales gamble, the primary risk being that gamers would not be interested in buying a partial game. Although, there was an option to “subscribe to the season” for a lower price. I believe their gamble paid off and having five separate release dates helped push awareness of the game and keep gamers talking about it. “What is going to happen next” tweets reminded me of old fashioned water cooler talk at the office.

Will these gentlemen be friends or foes?

 The art style is fairly loose, if such a description has ever been applied to a video game. The illustrated graphics, a bit jarring during the first couple of episodes, actually improves over the course of the episodes. The characters felt a bit bobble-heady to me at first, but as I got used to the art I barely even noticed that. By the final episode you will be so engrossed in the game you will literally forget how childish it looks when compared to the live action TV show. It’s a wonder though, why didn’t they go with Charlie Adlard’s already established look? I would have liked to see that.

Is this my Walking Dead? Fans of both the comics and the television show will enjoy this companion story. It fits neatly into either fiction by introducing (mostly) all new characters. I’m purposely avoiding talk about the story here. You play a survivor in the wake of the zombie outbreak. Your character has a back story, an attitude and ultimately a goal: to protect a young girl named Clementine. Clementine is smart, winsome, nine-year-old girl and the heart of the story.

It may not be my favorite game of the year but certainly deserving of many accolades. The compelling story will keep you playing. I imagine it will be the first platinum (100% completion) trophy for many casual players since simply completing the story will unlock it. It’s nice to step out of your comfort zone and try a different kind of game. Hopefully, trying something as simple as a point and click will inspire shooter and sports game aficionados to try some new games. Unlike those kinds of games, I don’t see a lot of replay value in Walking Dead The Game. Once your spoiled on the story it is spoiled, so be careful.

If you cry easily, bring some tissues

This is a great game for fans of the Walking Dead or any TellTale point and click games. Rarely has a game pulled off the “protect me” scenario but you’ll find that you feel sincerely compelled to protect Clementine. The game forces you to pick sides and choose favorites amongst the characters. It is clever how even the main menu in the game reflects this Television mentality with fast forward and rewind buttons. Each episode adds to an already dense serialized story but also leaves itself open for additional “seasons”.

Like I said in the beginning, Walking Dead The Game is certainly the best point and click game I have ever played. However, like all point and click games I’ve played I sometimes feel robbed of the action. With dramatic cutscenes that look like they might be more fun to play than watch or the nuisance of having turn over (figuratively) “every rock” to find the little piece of the puzzle to move forward, sometimes I just want to blast everything and move on. Available on most every platform, the first episode is even free on iOS. Obviously, the game is worth checking out.

Nom nom nom for more

need for speed: the run

RELEASE: 11/2011 | PLATFORM: PS3 | DEV: Black Box | PUB: EA | ESRB: T for Teen
Need for Speed: The Run was developed by the franchise’s primary developer EA Black Box, who are responsible for six of the sixteen large Need for Speed (NFS) games. “The Run” for which this game is named is an underground street-racing spectacle. Jack Rourke, our main character, will join top racers heading from San Francisco to New York City with a $25,000,000 payout to whoever gets there first. I really like the idea of having a specific destination to race towards; thinking back, I can’t remember a racing game quite like this. This race is more like an actual road trip rather than just getting through checkpoints or marked spots on a map. This is the first game in NFS history to feature quick time events, where the player actually exits their car and travels on foot.

This game may be hard for novice racers, definitely not a realistic driving simulation like Forza but it’s no kart racer either. Need for Speed: The Run isn’t supposed to be realistic, the game is about going absurdly fast and driving in a manner that is anything but safe. Let go of realism and just focus on navigating the road and quickly approaching traffic ahead. The Run follows a linear path, traditional for racing games, rather than the sandbox-style of other racing games made popular by developers like Criterion. The cross-country race is divided into 10 stages, each with a number of different challenge courses. The courses start off moderately fast but fairly soon into the race they get faster and faster. Traveling across country makes for a scenic ride with variations in weather and road conditions along the way. Types of courses range from your standard of passing cars to making up time by passing through gates, others will have you face off against a particular rival. Some of the more twisting, winding tracks will require a large amount of finesse and patience to get through.

Experience with previous NFS games or the Burnout franchise is a plus here. The basics are the same and will give you an leg up on the learning curve. As with all racing games you will adjust to the handling and eventually memorize the tracks. While most players will opt for the, default, third person perspective the first person perspective is available as well.

One distinction that Need for Speed has always had over the competition is real world cars. There is a large range of brand named vehicles. The usual mix of muscle cars, street racers and refined exotics. The long list of manufacturers include Audi, BMW, NIssan, Volkswagen, Chevy, Dodge, Ford, Mazda, Pontiac, Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Subaru. The exotics include Lamborghini, Lotus, Porsche, Alfa Romeo and Austin Martin. I’ve probably missed a few, the list seems endless. As you may expect the better cars are unlockable in game while some “supercars” are part of a limited edition version of the release.

Crashing is hard and fast. While not nearly as detailed and long as Burnout crashes, they definitely stop you in your tracks. There are some fun angles the designers chose; my favorite being the camera view out the windshield after a crash. The other side of crashes would be taking out other drivers, The Run slows down and pauses the clock to allow a look back at your car flipping handy work.

NFS Autolog returns, a feature that has been present since its debut in NFS: Hot Pursuit. Autolog tracks player progressions and statistics compared to other players and recommends events in order for you to test your skills. Autolog also has social media type entries, which allow players to post pictures and (limited) comments. The game also features a “rewind” option to allow you to restart an event to the last checkpoint. This is a great way to get back in the race for a small (or devastating) mistake. Rewind opportunities are limited and using them will negatively impact your overall score.

The game’s cut-scenes are where the “out of the car” moments occur. There is a plot woven in between the racing stages. And while the plot is about as deep as the TV series Prison Break it is also fun in the same way. The quicktime events, which consist of pushing the right button at the exact right time you are prompted, will keep you focused on the scene. I welcome this attempt at instituting a narrative into the racing game. While not 100% successful, it does make The Run stand out from other racing games. With a better narrative, a game could draw in new players that would normally pass on a racing title. The plot is at its best when Jack is captured by the police and has to bust a few heads to escape.

The multiplayer option is online only. Broken up into sessions that you join with other online racers. The current leader picks a selection of tracks referred to as the playlist. Playlists offer distinct experiences by mixing different locations, vehicles and performance tiers. Other racers can out vote the leader in picking the playlist. They are mostly head to head races with a few cooperative challenges thrown in. Bonuses include unlocking new cars and avatar icons as well as experience points toward your ultimate score.

I wish the map shown during the load screens was a bit more accurate, showing where you are on the path, rather than highlighting your last checkpoint. Even more confusing is the map graphic is overlaid onto a separate image of the United States. The overlay is tilted so it looks like you heading toward Florida rather than NYC. Really not an issue in a linear game like this, more a stylistic choice that kinda bugs me. While on a track, you also have a small in-game map, that I’ve truly never seen because you can’t take our eyes of the road long enough to look at it. Supposedly, it can help you find shortcuts in the route ahead.

I don’t have too many complaints about this game. In fact, I’m surprised at some of the low scores it has received. The Run is a great time, it has a good soundtrack and is perfect for racing game fans old and new. I did experience some glitches: awkward passing and miracle moments will jostle the third person to first person shift, not great. The story mode isn’t long but I wouldn’t refer to it as short either. Although, I must say, what is with these unlockable profile icons? Either let me use my own or don’t do it. I enjoyed having the added narrative to the game and hopefully this will inspire some better attempts at incorporating a story into future racing games.

Cars, I got covered

Michael Bay teaser trailer that spoils most of the game:
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