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    Monday
    Nov102014

    TellTale Confirms Six Episode Game Of Thrones Series

    In a new teaser releases by Telltale Games, the first episode of Game of Thrones is confirmed to be called Iron From Ice, also confirming that the series will run for six episodes instead of the standard five. Now that Telltale has begun to release information, it'll be no time until screenshots and a trailer will be released before a definitive play date is announced. Check out the new teaser below.

     



    Saturday
    Nov082014

    In-Depth Look At WWE 2K15 MyCAREER Mode

    2K Games has released this new IGN-Exlcusive look at WWE 2K15's MyCAREER mode, which takes your created character down a full 15 year WWE Career starting at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando all the way to his retirement and hopeful induction into the Hall of Fame. The below video covers a huge plethora of features and cutscenes you'll encounter in the mode, but also features some fantastic behind the scenes footage at the actual WWE Performance Center in Orlando.


    Thursday
    Oct162014

    PC Review: Falling Skies The Game


    Falling SKies: The Game was announced more than a year ago in a deal with Little Orbit to create titles based on the highly successful television series. At this time, Season 4 was filming and it was very unclear if the game would somehow tie-in to the show in various ways. Unfortunately, both season 4 of the show and the video game were massive disappointments.



    Falling Skies: The Game, right off the bat, is a ripoff or copy of the XCOM series, sharing a huge amount of uncanny resemblance. XCOM is one of the best turn-based strategy games in the business and has a cult following. It is also met with high critical success with every turnout and has come to be one of the kings of TBS. Unfortunately, Falling Skies: The Game is nothing more than a shell of what XCOM has accomplished, taking the basic fundamentals of the franchise and adding nothing more than its own aesthetic without any flare. It's completely possible to look past the fact that it's an XCOM clone because in it's own right, it's well-developed and turn based strategy is a fantastic idea for Falling Skies and other sci-fi franchises that aren't quite action heavy because it gives an opportunity to tell a story within the levels and in-between. 

    Disappointly, Falling Skies once again has nothing but a shell of a story within the game. It rarely ties into the show, let alone season 4 which was filming at this point in-time and has only a handful of characters from the television series. Also, the characters have very skewed likenesses, as if they wouldn't sign over their own faces for the game or the developers just had poor modellers. Thankfully, the actors play their characters in the voice over booth providing a shred of authenticity. The skitters, mechs and every other enemy are well modeled and textured, and the game also uses some of the show's mythology in it's roots such as characters being spiked.



    The gameplay in Falling Skies is fundamentally a great idea, unfortunately it's so bear and unsensational that the player can't help to feel massively bored, especially in the earlier stages in the game when the missions are just massive amounts of recon and collection with barely enough action to keep satisfied. Not to mention a complete lack of variety for animations and sound clips, hearing your generic lookalike soldiers screaming "EN ROUTAY" or "BACK TO THE GRIND" six hundred times in a mission makes you feel burnt out before you even get started. In addition to that repetitive soundclips, even when you get the rare chance to play as a television character on a story mission, they as well have recorded the same annoying dialogue clips during the levels.

    Admittedly, there are moments where the game does indeed get exciting, especially when you are facing off against huge threats. High-level skills feel great to deliver but ultimately take long to recharge. Differently from XCOM, some skills are class specific such as "Overhead" where you watch for enemies in cover and automatically fire upon movement. It's hard to tell whether or not this is a good change, considering strategy has to be altered and it could theoretically improve difficulty, but the game is so blatantly easy that in the long run it doesn't matter. The levels in the game definitely feel long as you plan out how to go about it, but when you easy buy upgrades by going on a lot of recon missions, your weapons and gear make you near-invinicble in some stages of the game. 



    Unfortunately, there's ultimately no way to call this a great game. The word decent may suffice, but the Falling Skies license deserves better than this and the horrendously laughable season 4. This game is a great XCOM mod for those who are a cult follower of Falling Skies, but the forty dollar price tag is an abysmal joke. This game definitely needed a lot longer development time and polish as it lacks in almost all of the important areas -- Gameplay, Graphics and Sound -- and delivers next-to-nothing of originality. If you're looking for a cheap turn-based strategy, wait for a sale on XCOM Enemy Unknown instead. 

    Thursday
    Oct162014

    Review: ALIEN ISOLATION. 

     

    You're alone. Fear grips you as you cower in a dark and rusted ventilation shaft, knowing full well on the other site of the entry there's a 7 foot slick black killing machine, listening and watching for the slightest disturbance it can find to hunt you down.
    Wounded from your last encounter and low on fuel for the flamethrower, you must make a choice between crafting a med-kit with your limited supply, or wait.
    Emerging from the vent, your motion tracker begins to ping and you see survivors who are armed to the teeth, and as crazy as you are.
    Low on ammunition, low on health, and extremely short on time, you must make a choice.

    Alien: Isolation developed by Creative Assembly and published by SEGA, tells the story of Amanda Ripley, daughter of famed bitch-killer Ellen Ripley, as she joins the Weyland-Yutani crew of the Torrens to venture to Sevastopol Station to recover the Nostromo's black box and find out just exactly what happened to her mother all those years ago.
    I don't need to tell you what happens; but let's just say it involves a pissed off alien, some murderous synthetics, and a lot of hiding. 

    Review:

    The gameplay for ALIEN: Isolation is not for the James Cameron Colonial Marine types; but more for the Ridley Scott "OhShitImGonnaDie" Types.
    Playing as Amanda, it becomes evident she's not going to be cracking skulls and doing stealthkill take downs with ease like her rip-roaring mother becomes accustomed to; but rather sneaking through the horrifying and collapsing monstrosity of a space station, hugging the shadows and fitting into lockers and small cabinets, hiding under desks with baited breath for the moment to move.
    The game revolves around item crafting, scavaging, ammo conservation, and trying to get from point A to point B and sometimes back to Point A without getting your neck snapped by a synthetic, filled with bullets from a deranged looter, or stabbed/eaten by the Alien itself. 

    First person survival horror, akin to Amnesia: The Dark Descent, gives the game the chance to put you (literally) in the character's shoes, and you begin to act accordingly in a beautiful synthesis of player/character. As you peek around a wall to strain your eyes and see through the foggy and dark cooridors, something may walk just of sight, or fire at you, to which Ripley responds with a "Oh Shit" just as her player does. 

    Action is not encouraged; but sometimes it is necessary, especially when confronted with the "Worker Joe" synthetics that are terrifying as they are dangerous. Taking one on directly is never a good idea; but craft an EMP-mine to lay down and stun them while you beat the milky-shit out of them with your maintenance-jack is as satisfying as it is horrifying, knowing with every swing and sickening mechanical crunch that this noise could be alerting a far more dangerous threat.  

    One would assume that a first-person game with an emphasis on horror would be rife with jump-scares and other predictable 'pop at you' moments; but Alien: Isolation is far too mature from that.
    Relying heavily on what made Ridley Scott's land-mark ALIEN so gripping, it's atmosphere, Isolation draws you in and never lets you go until the game's sudden end. 

    The hallways are covered in steam and dimly lit, with the impeccable sound-design making you jump and wince at every mechanical hum or thump you hear from the behemoth ship's bowels at his struggles to remain afloat in the dead of space.
    The game's heavy imphesis on "low-fi sci-fi" shows, bringing the 1979 technology of the film to life in stunning 1:1 accuracy, rather than attempting to polish and smooth out the computers and tech to fit modern gaming expectations.
    The computers take a while to boot up, the 'hacking' mini-games are crude and retro, and the weapons and environments all look like they were ripped of the film's set directly, adding to the game's stunning sense of immersion.

    Another key addition to being sucked into Isolation is the stunning voice-work from the entire cast; but mainly Kezia Burrows who does the voice-work for Amanda Ripley, your character. She usually says exactly what the player is thinking, including several "what the fuck?"s and "oh my...jesus.." exclamations as she witnesses the horror that surrounds her. The war cries from Ripley as she hammers down a synthetic in milky glory are chilling as they are realistic. 

    The somewhat clunky combat controls also reflect the game's focus of immersion; with Ripley's hands shaking as she aims down the sights of a revolver, or her sluggish reloading, showing she isn't someone acquainted with weapons. Rather than quick-drawing and reloading like a Modern Warfare veteran, she does it with careful hesitation, and a deep sense of fright. 

    Alien: Isolation does so many things right, it's pretty easy to over-look the few missteps it might have. Some clipping is noticeable in the weird animations that the alien does when it spots you under a desk or somewhere unconventional, and the game itself somewhat drags near the end; before quickly picking back up again in full terrifying panicked force.

    For the Alien faithful, there's tons of content, including the survival and "Crew Expendable" mode where you play the last half of Scott's ALIEN film, brought to life with more excruciating detail than you could possibly imagine.
    To extend the game's replay value, there are troves of files and blue-prints to collect, as well as sound clips to listen to and find to piece together the lives of some of the people who were left to rot on the industrial hell-hole you find yourself stalking through.
    Trophies and achievements galore for the hunters, too.

    Harrowing and exhiliarting, Alien: Isolation stands tall in not only it's franchise; but for survival-horror in general. This game will grab you by the throat and won't let go until the credits roll.
    Even if it's not perfect, it shoots for the stars...and the infinite blackness of space.

    Wednesday
    Sep242014

    First WWE 2K15 Gameplay Trailer Blows Minds; PC Confirmed?


    Revealing a large number of content and in-game footage, 2K Sports has finally started their marketing binge on WWE 2K15 by releasing the first bulk of 100% in-game footage. Expect more to come by November 18th, but the game is already off to a huge start by putting fans all over the work in utter shock. You also get your first look at Crow Sting at the end of the trailer.  Addtionally, the game may have been revealed for PC during the WWE Network stream of the WWE 2K15 Roster Reveal panel from SummerSlam weekend, showcasing Xbox 360, XBox One and PCDVD boxart.


     

    Sunday
    Sep072014

    NES Flashback 30 Coin Review - "Milon's Secret Castle"

    As a kid I spent a number of Summers with my grandparents allowing my parents a break from my awfulness. Always had a great time at the "Grandparentals" and one of the best parts of it was that my Aunt was a gamer. Once we had our fill of the sun we would spend hours trying to beat games along with my Cousin. She always had the latest and greatest NES games along with some titles that most NESinites at the time never even heard of, enter Milon's Secret Castle.

    Originally released in Japan two years earlier for the Famicom system, Milon's Secret Castle dropped on the NES in 1988. Milon, the hero of this cartridge, lives in a world where people communicate through music. The problem is, Milon lacks this ability. The age old tale of being different forces Milon to search for others like himself. During his travels he comes across a castle being attacked by an evil Warlord. When the Warlord he takes the castle over and kidnaps the princess, Milon volunteers to save the day with his magic bubble. Yes, a magic bubble.

    Let's be honest the game was super weird and was an acquired taste but it was a hell of a lot of fun. It reminded me of a cross between Super Mario Bros and Kid Icarus. You would even shrink if you got hit by an enemy. The game play was very wonky and slow along with music annoyingly hyponotizing music, think circus theme song torture. The bosses themselves hid in various doors consists of bouncing dragons and strange giant birds. Not all that hard to beat, considering you were throwing bubbles at them.

    Nostalgia Factor: 6 Coins

    Fun Factor: 8 Coins

    Game Play: 4 Coins

    Total: 18/30

    Conclusion: Give the game a shot if it is really late at night or your pre-gaming with coronas before a night on the town. Then just play Buck Hunter or Golden Tee instead you ladies man you.

    Thursday
    Aug282014

    Review: Telltale's The Walking Dead Season 2 Finale

    SPOILERS.



    "I'm just so sick of this shit" 

    or something similar is uttered by the character Mike in the episode, which sums up my feelings on all of Season 2. Specifically the penulimate episode where it ended on a climatic and out-of-nowhere standoff with a random death of one of the only characters you could get emotionally attached to. And with the finale, it opens on the exact same moment except our survivors are now spread out and under patches of cover that were not visible in the previous episode. And it is in this gunfight where all of our survivors miracuously survive, because with all Walking Dead media, deaths must be shocking, over the top and unpredictable. Coincidentally, Telltale perfects that with this episode. Every death is unexpected because it's random with little-to-no buildup except the suspensful final ten minutes of the episode.

    To start, the best part of the episode and the only one that made me almost-cry was a flashback to a (unseen) portion of season 1 with Lee. Clementine wakes up from a dream and sees Lee on the RV during a time that Duck was bit and this scene showed how young, adorable and amazing Clementine used to be. This is the character I loved and the character that I tried to raise right in Season 1. A little girl, lost and abandoned in this dark, dark world and the only guiding light was Lee, portrayed by, well, me. That was my main motivation in Season 1 - to see that Clementine survives. No matter what. And as Lee, I fulfilled that promise the best I can. But with Season 2, Clementine's only motivation is what...staying alive? The reason behind why I'm playing as Clementine was always so unclear to me. Not to mention the fact that almost none of the characters take this little girl seriously is frustrating, because in the end your choices almost mean nothing. It's completely boring. If Telltale had balls, Clementine would've died from Arvo's gunshot and the scene with Lee would've been her gateway into heaven. Although, you can't kill a little girl in a video game or Tumblr will go apeshit! Has this game even touched on sensistive tumblr subjects such as rape?

    Sure, there are a multitude of endings but they're all cliffhangers that don't add to the story. Unless Telltale plans on developing dozens upon dozens of different games in one episode to satisfy these endings for Season 3, they will probably have some sort of start that ties into all the different ending in this episode. But the best thing they can do is scrap Clementine's joke of a story and just start with a new group and tie more into the comics. You know what I'd like to see more of? Lily. I'd like to see her rise to power in Woodbury and how she ended up killing The Governor. Stuff like that. It's all loose plotlines left behind from the first season. 

    Hell, what this episode specializes in is hanging plot lines that leave the player guessing or plotlines from earlier in the season that were never resolved. What happened to Christa? How did Kenny dispose of Mike, Bonnie and Arvo? Stuff like that. The Wellington ending only gives you a hint. The thing is, I really thought this season to remake the magic that the first had. Lee was an exceptional character and playing as him felt like an honor and when he died, it felt like I died too. Playing as Clementine didn't feel right, it felt like a cheap tactic. Why is it that Telltale wants to tell me that a little girl is the only who makes it through this apocalypse unscathed, when someone like Luke who always carries a gun on his back cannot?

    Speaking of Luke, I will admit the character development in this episode was really well-done. You learn a lot about almost all of the characters except Arvo, whose sort of like a background character and just there to make a rift between the characters. Kenny goes full apeshit by this point and we learn a bit more about Jane and how she survives in the world. Overall, that was the only satisfactory part of it. The campfire scene with the rum bottle was exceptional. Unfortunately, Luke's tension with Kenny is never fully realized as he falls through an ice river, which I do not believe is the end of him. Luke could potentially be the "Kenny" of SEason 3 and miraculously come back from an almost-certain death.

    In summary, I don't completely despise this episode but I do not believe this season is worth the money. I would completely understand if Telltale stopped giving me review season passes for their games due to this negative review, but I just wanted to be honest. And to add to that, I'm just so sick of The Walking Dead as a franchise. I use to be a completely huge fan of it but it's horrendously saturated and beyond milked at this point. I want Telltale to use more of the comic canon and start fresh with a new group of survivors, although I know that'll never happen.

    Final words: If Game of Thrones and Tales of The Borderlands share the same team as The Wolf Among Us, those will be A+ series.

    Friday
    Aug082014

    The Viper Strikes In New "WWE 2K15" Screenshots

    2KGames and IGN have released the first look at "The Viper" Randy Orton in WWE 2K15, out this October. One of the screenshots feature Randy Orton in his signature pose while the other is a duplicate of the John Cena screenshot released on Cena's twitter. The screenshots are deemed "Work In Progress" by 2K as you can see audience members are horribly looking or just non-existent in some areas. The 2K Sports Roster Reveal will be at a (seemingly) closed-doors SummerSlam panel in two weeks, and the game will be playable at GamesCom as well. One has to wonder when an official gameplay trailer will be released. For now, check out these screenshots!




    Thursday
    Jul172014

    Review: The Wolf Among Us Finale - "Cry Wolf"


    MAJOR SPOILERS!!!


    The Wolf Among Us's finale is one of the best fictional pieces of video gaming I've ever played. Tantalizing, explosive and psychologically melting, the final episode - “Cry Wolf” - is not one to be forgotten, at all. The finale wraps up every ribbon of a storyline perfectly, even ones you didn't realize existed. It's impossible to compare any other Telltale product to this singular 2 hour drama as it's literally a perfectly crafted experience. It also features scenes that Fables fans have been waiting MONTHS for, but for the non-readers these scenes will absolutely shock you, completely. There's too much to praise about this behemoth of an episode. As I said, it's quite possibly the best piece of fiction you'll find in a video game.

     

    The episode really starts to flesh out character with The Crooked Man, as he tries to set up on of his own henchmen as the killer of the strippers. The best thing about The Crooked Man is his gift of cerebral assassination, and despite that being a little cliché in fiction these days, it's still executed perfectly. Telltale's Crooked Man never loses his cool, he's always calm and composed and never changes his stance or opinion on the matter. He calculates every possible outcome and tries to spin it away from him. My problem, however, was that up until the final act of the episode I never felt as if the Crooked Man was that much of a viable threat to Fabletown. Fortunately, this was all rectified during the ending with Bigby and Snow putting The Crooked Man on trial in front of everyone he has affected (that we've seen). This scene in front of all of The Crooked Man's victims (except Woody, interestingly enough) is probably one of my favorites in all the series. It's a perfectly crafted “courtroom” scene, reminisce of Sidney Lumet films. Overall, The Crooked Man turns out to be a sadistic “villain” and one of the best in all of Telltale's video game history, but the real question is whether or not the Fabletown conspiracy was crafted by the monocle-wearing psychopath.

     


    The ending of the episode is a beautiful scene between Nerissa and Bigby outside of his apartment. They talk about how Nerissa lied in the “courtroom” to get The Crooked Man convicted by the jury that Bigby and Snow had setup. The scene is reminisce of the ending of Zack Snyder's Watchmen, where Nite-Owl cries out that the world is peaceful based on a lie, and Veidt replies that it's “peace, nonetheless”. With that, Fabletown is put in a similar situation where Nerissa's plan altogether was seemingly to get rid of The Crooked Man. Unfortunately, the episode ends with a tight cliffhanger that Nerissa may actually be Faith in disguise, or the other way around. Telltale's Wolf Among Us cliffhanger is far better than the one in the first season of The Walking Dead, especially considering that as with The Walking Dead, this ending does not have an answer in the Fables comic books.

    Speaking of the comic books, this episode of The Wolf Among Us is the pinnacle of Fables video gaming. I can't imagine it being any better. On one hand, Telltale has crafted some great original characters in Bill Willingham's world but on the other, you've always wanted to see some important people and moments in the game as well. Thankfully, Telltale finally lets Bigby go “full-wolf” like you've seen in the comics, and he is big and bad. In an amazingly choreographed scene inside an abandoned warehouse, Bigby completely wolfs out against Bloody Mary in an action-packed and suspenseful sequence that rivals even that of a foreign action film. It's completely fun to play and the cinematography is completely on-point. Mary is a psychological bitch of a villain that takes a while to completely destroy but other than that, she is a fantastic henchman for The Crooked Man. Another event from the comics that's teased is the fate of Crane, which is teased when Bigby looks into the mirror and finds out that Bloody Mary is paying him to stay in Paris. Bigby retorts that the problem has to be solved later, and if you've read Fables comics you know exactly how Bigby solves that problem. It's a great nod to the fans of the book.



    On the whole, “Cry Wolf” is the pinnacle of storytelling in regards to products by TellTale Games. I've yet to play something else from them that even comes close to the cerebral probing that The Wolf Among Us contains. In particular, this entire season felt like True Detective on LSD, an extremely dark noir crime masked with characters from children's books. It's a mature and explosive story filled with the governmental issues that the real world faces while also challenging the morals and ethics of those involved. Coupled with the fact that the player is in charge of the narrative, Telltale's gaming experience is bar none. Coupled with the fact that it's often duplicated and attempted by other big budget studios, Telltale's visual flare is also one of the reasons it is ever-so recognizable. Overall, “Cry Wolf” is an absolute, stellar masterpiece in video gaming that is not to be missed.  

    Tuesday
    Jul152014

    Sting Confirmed As WWE 2K15 Pre-Order Exclusive

    In one of the greatest promos of all time for the character that has been an icon in professional wrestling for decades, 2K Sports released this stunning teaser on Monday Night RAW last night to announce "Sting" as a pre-order launch exclusive in WWE 2K15. The pack will contain Surfer Sting and "Crow" Sting as playable characters. Check out the trailer and renders for Sting below.