Late to the Party: My new feature.

May 30, 2010

Lately, I haven’t been writing much. Anything, in fact, due to exams in school. But now for you (anyone still coming to this baron wasteland) I will make amends! I am planning to start regular updates with my new feature, “Late to the Party”

I’m not the type of guy who goes out and buys games on day one. I don’t get many games when they first come out and because of that, I can’t write reviews of games that are in the news or the centre of attention. That’s where this new idea comes in.

“Late to the Party” is – in a nutshell – me writing reviews of old games or just games that aren’t particularly new. I get to write more (which I love) and I don’t have to fork out fortunes on brand new games! I may change the name but this was just the first thing that came to my head and I wanted to have a label on it if I was going to announce it.

I can’t wait to get started and hope that you enjoy the reviews I’ll have upcoming in the next few weeks and months 🙂

Why Crash Bandicoot deserves the God of War Collection treatment

April 4, 2010

Intro

Recently we’ve witnessed the success of the God of War Collection which was God of War 1 and 2 re-made in HD for the PS3. This was made to mark the release of God of War 3 and gave fans a bit of a reminder of what happened before they played the third installment. Now, I’ve never played any of the God of War games because they never really appealed to me so I didn’t bother with the GoW Collection. So since I didn’t get it, I began to think about games from the PSOne and PS2 that I’d like to see again, re-made and touched up for the PS3 and I’ve chosen my candidate. Crash Bandicoot.

What game?

The original Crash Bandicoot game came out in 1996 for the PSOne. It received good ratings and now averages an 80.40% on metacritic.com. It’s sold 6.8 million copies (November 2003) which makes it the 7th best-selling PlayStation game of all time! It was developed by Naughty Dog (creators of Uncharted) and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was re-released for download off the PlayStation Store in 2006.

Why does it deserve a HD remake?

Look at how smooth those polygons are!

God of War 1 and 2 were on the PS2 and looked much better than Crash Bandicoot did and yet they were re-made in HD with better graphics before Crash. With the success of Uncharted 2, it’s strange that Naughty Dog haven’t looked into this publicly and it’s a shame, really. Imagine Crash Bandicoot re-made using the Uncharted 2 engine! It would be fantastic in visuals and in gameplay. I’m not saying that Crash should be completely re-made because it has bad graphics, that’s just one of the reasons another being that it was a great game!

Crash Bandicoot is available to buy on the PSN Store right now. You can purchase and download it onto your PS3 or PSP and play it at any time. It’s brilliant to play on both platforms and really – it its own words – makes you “take a spin down memory lane”. It plays brilliantly. The credit to this, in my opinion, is the fact that the PlayStation controller has barely changed since conception (bar the introduction of the analogue sticks). So it’s great to play and great to remember playing all those years ago, but it still has a major fault. It looks like utter arse. And how can this be fixed, I hear you ask? Well, Naughty Dog would first have to get permission to re-make their game from whoever owns the rights. I’m guessing that it’s Radical Entertainment who own the rights as they have made the 2 latest games of the series, Crash of the Titans and Crash: Mind over Mutant.

But don’t you think there are better games?

I know that people will argue that there are more deserving games out there that should be made before Crash Bandicoot but this is my argument for a game that holds a special place in my heart to be re-imagined into something amazing. The same game that I used to play over and over again would feel new and refreshing.

Final thoughts

With Uncharted 3 rumoured to be in development, Naughty Dog mightn’t have time to make this happen but think, Santa Monica Studios got Bluepoint Games to port GoW 1 and 2 to the PS3, why couldn’t they do the same with Crash?

My two cents on the recent PS3 error.

March 1, 2010

Earlier today, Sony discovered a problem with the PlayStation 3. The problem is that you can’t connect to the internet and play certain games. This is only affecting older, “phat” models. I’ve been hearing that it’s PSN that’s the problem, but this is what I think.
The date on many systems was changed back to 2000 which is in the system itself, not online. Couple this with the fact that the Slims (1) Can connect to the internet (pointing out that the problem isn’t with PSN, it’s hardware related) and (2) Are newer models (have different hardware to that of the older models) means that it’s something to do with a thing that they took out or change in the Slim that was in the older models.
They’re my thoughts, take them whatever way you will.

Batman: Arkham Asylum 2 teaser trailer analysis

December 13, 2009

For those of you who don’t know, last night was the 2009 Spike VGAs (Video Game Awards). This was a huge event in the world of gaming. It had 28 awards and multiple announcements. These included a new Prince of Persia, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2, Green Day: RockBand and Crackdown 2, to name a few! But the one that personally caught my eye was the teaser trailer of what we can only assume is Batman: Arkham Asylum 2. The 1 minute 25 second trailer was presented early in the show and set the mood for the night. This is the video link: http://www.gametrailers.com/video/batman-arkham-spike-tv/59828 (Sorry, embedding isn’t working)

The first thing to notice is at 00:15 when you can see that Arkham Asylum is now in downtown Gotham City as opposed to Arkham island which could mean anything! Is it that it was hard to get to an island and easier if it’s downtown? It could be that they wanted a change of venue due to the events of the 1st game. If this is true, it would mean that you could have all of Gotham to explore! Which would make sense seeing as the asylum looks to be much smaller than last time, consisting of no more than 5 buildings (from what I can make out).

At 00:24 you can see searchlights frantically scouring the surrounding area which would imply a breakout or to show that the security is very high.

At 00:26, you can see a vandilised garage door in a run down alley. On the door is spray painted “Long Live Joker” which would reinforce the idea of a breakout. The next few seconds will also make you think of a jailbreak with thugs running rampant around the streets.

At 00:31 you can see a Uncle Sam-like poster in the top right corner which says “We want you” on it. You can see a close-up of another one of these posters at 00:35. The figure in the poster is in an American flag suit with a gun in his left hand. Half of the suit seems darker than the other, which would immediately point to the popular villain, Two-Face. You can see the poster without the face at the official teaser website http://arkhamhasmoved.com/. Something that would nearly ensure Two-Face’s appearance in this game is the fact that he’s referenced 5 times in the 1st game!

At 00:33 you get a glimpse of a sign in the top right corner saying “iceberg” and at 00:35 you can see (from the inside part of the stain-glass sign) the word “lounge” written backwards. Fans of Batman should know that the Iceberg Lounge is famous villain, The Penguin’s club. The Penguin would be a great villain to include in the 2nd installment as he is a favourite of Batman fans.

Come 00:36 there’s a flash of lightning and the camera moves from a back-alley to a an abandoned building. A giant clown face then comes down and the camera is once-again moved.

You’re moved, at 00:43, from that building to some sort of  fun-house. There’s a rollercoster with a dead body in t in the fun-house, and if you look closely, it looks like the dead body is an Arkham Asylum guard, though I’m not sure about this.

The word “Sionis” appears at 00:46. Sionis is the surname of  villain, Black Mask (Roman Sionis) meaning that he could be in this game as well!

At 00:49 you go through a window leading into a small room and you can hear laughter. In this room you can see Harley Quinn, The Joker’s assistant, and a chair. At 00:50 you can just make out a bit of green hair, and it’s pretty easy to guess who that is. Joker. 00:51, there’s an explosion and Harley kisses Joker on the cheek, all the while Joker is still laughing. Harley walks away and at 00:53 you’re treated with a close-up of the awful-looking Joker. He looks much older. *Spoilers from 1st game* Then again, it could just be a side-effect of Titan */Spoilers* He’s on an IV full of blood and on the bag it says “Property of Gotham General”. He then starts laughing harder until he breaks into a fit of coughing.

At 01:05 it fades away to a picture of a concrete Batman symbol, which starts crumbling and some bits fall off to reveal a steel frame underneath, like you’d have with most concrete structures. The crumbling could symbolise something like Batman being old now, and that he hasn’t fought crime in a long time. Another possibility is that the game could be going the way of the comics *Batman comic book spoilers* in the way that Bruce Wayne has died and that Dick Grayson (Robin) has taken his place, with Wayne’s son becoming the new Robin. */Spoilers* This scenario would be less likely, though considering the fact that Robin was barely even referenced in the 1st game.

At 01:19 the words “Arkham Has Moved” come up, and the form one word when “.com” comes down.

In my opinion, I think that they may have it more based around Gotham than the asylum, but still keeping the asylum, seeing a that’s basically the backbone of this game. When you think about it, having the sequel set in the city could make it feel very much like the Spiderman games or [PROTOTYPE]. I don’t think that having it in the city would be a great move. I can’t find many words to describe it, other than; It might make it too open-worldy.

The Goods and the Bads of Shotguns in a Zombie Apocolypse *Revamped*

October 25, 2009

Welcome to the World of Zombies!

In zombie films/games, the weapon of choice would, more often than not, be a shotgun. In the first part of this article, I’ll be telling you some of the things that make the shotgun such an appealing weapon. Then in the second half, I’ll be telling you the things that would make you want to choose something else.

The Goods!

Killing 20 Zombies With one Round. That’s Value for Money!

With its use of pellets instead of average bullets, shotguns have a wider spread than other types of guns. You also don’t really need to be an expert marksman to use a shotgun. If you point anywhere near your target, you’ll probably hit it. This would really come into play if you were surrounded and needed to take out a few zombies at once.

Rotting Flesh is Easily Blown Apart!

There isn’t a huge range on the average shotgun, but it does depend on what type of ammunition you use. Smaller pellets in a greater amount will get you a bigger spread with a shorter range. Larger pellets in a lesser amount will get you less spread but greater distance. The previous will get you a more powerful shot from close-range while the latter will give you a further shot more like a rifle and therefore more powerful form a distance.

Tired of Shooting Zombies to Death? Beat the Crap out of Them!

Pretty much all of the guns in zombie games and films have butts that you can whack the undead with to make them re-dead! This is handy when you’re out of ammo or you just don’t want to waste your bullets. You also have no limit! As long as you have the energy to keep bashing zombies into pieces, you can smack to your heart’s content!

Small Things Can Kick Ass Too

The shells are small, like other types of ammunition, but unlike other ammunition they have many pellets inside instead of the one round. When you shoot a shotgun, pellets will go everywhere and you’re able to hit multiple targets. With other types of ammunition, you have one projectile coming out of the gun and you’re only able to hit one target per round. Sure you may have a machine gun and yes you can hit more than one object with these, but you have to fire several rounds as opposed to firing one with the shotgun.

There’s a Shotgun For The Whole Family!

There are a lot of different shotguns. Small and easy-to-use shotguns or big ones that will blow half the worlds faces off. You may need a compact shotgun if you’re running or sneaking around, and you may need a big one if you’re defending an area where you don’t have to move around that much. They’re very versatile and if you have a compact one and a powerful one, you’ll make it through.

The Bads.

Reloading One-by-One Takes a While

Why, please tell me, in films and games, do they choose the shotguns that reload the slowest? Do you wanna know why? Its because they’re more often than not the most powerful types of shotguns. This means that you can either flesh wound the zombies and reload quicker, or you can blow 20 of them apart with one slug and take much longer to reload it.

Heavy, Awkward, Clanky

The shotguns that you’d see in the films (As I’ve said before) are usually the bigger, more powerful ones. These ones are usually the most akward, the hardest to carry and he slowest to reload. This would slow you down while you’re running
therefore giving the undead an advantage.

Being Powerful Isn’t Always a Good Thing

Most shotguns are powerful, which is good, but they produce a good bit of kickback, which is bad. Kickback will throw off your aim and maybe throw off your balance if you’re not fully prepared. This could also damage your shoulder if you’re not careful.

You’ll probably Have to reload… A lot

The average shotgun used in movies and video games has a capacity of give or take 6 rounds. This means that you would be reloading often giving the undead more time to feast on you, and we wouldn’t want that to happen.

One Shot Every 10 Seconds Isn’t Fast

Shotguns are semi-automatic guns, meaning that you can only fire one bullet at a time. Due to kickback, you’ll have to take a second after every shot to get your aim back. This could be the difference between life or death if you have a swarm of zombies coming at you. You may hit them all with the one round but that’ll just slow them down. Then again, you might only hit one and kill him. Either way, by the time you get lined back up you could be someone’s dinner!

When the inevitable happens, and everyone who died from Swine Flu comes back as the undead, you should make the most of it! Have fun in your last hours by disembolwing the zombies that roam the planet, but remember, you’re going to have to make a big decision regarding guns. A trusty shotgun or a life-ending zombie perforator?

Batman: Arkham Asylum Review

October 17, 2009

Review of Batman: Arkham Asylum

By Mark Breen

Intro

Batman: Arkham Asylum is a game that came out August of 2009 on PS3. It’s one of the most critically acclaimed video game of this year. This is the highest rated superhero game of all time. I will be reviewing the PS3 version of this game which has the main game with all the challenge maps as usual, but has an added extra set of challenge maps where you can play as the Joker.

The Story

The story was good to say the least. The game didn’t need the story, as in, it wasn’t too important. If someone told you The whole ending, it wouldn‘t be the end of the world, you‘d probably just think, “Oh. That’s pretty cool.” As opposed to, “Thanks a lot Dumb Ass!”. If someone told you about some big boss fight or that a character that you didn‘t know was in it, you‘d more than likely think, “I can’t wait for that!” as opposed to, “I wanted to learn that for myself!”. It’s a, somewhat, un-spoilable game!

The Characters

The characters in this game are fantastic! Ranging from Batman and Jim Gordon, the good-guys, to Joker and The Riddler, the villains. Between the heroes and villains, there’re the simple-minded and, in a way, humble lunatics that occupy the asylum itself. Another thing in this game are the character bios. All 32 of them. You can learn about characters that have been around since the 40s, ones making their 1st appearances in this game and everyone in between. The voice acting in this game is some of the best that you’ll ever hear. The sound quality and actors themselves are fantastic.

The Gameplay

I’ll basically just say up-front, that the gameplay in general, is great! The FreeFlow combat in it is very well done. It’s easy enough, but not too easy, to get combos, they worked the counter, stun and dodge in well with the fighting itself, and this all helps when you’re doing the challenge maps or whoring combo trophies. The detective work is great and the stealth is even better. The parts where you have to take all the guards out 1-by-1? Executed fantastically, one of the best points of the game, and the good thing is that they keep it fresh, as in, some bits would have gargoyles for you to perch on and others you would go around the floor on foot, going through air vents. It’s a wide variety!

The Challenge Maps

The challenge maps are extra maps that you can play at any time outside of the main game. The first type of 3 that you’ll see is when you fight off enemies that respawn every round (4 rounds) You get achievements for getting up to and beyond a set score. The second, is a stealth mission where you take the armed enemies out 1-by-1 without being seen. You also get achievements for doing certain things, but they don’t tell you how to do them. The final one, is like the first, you fight off enemies, but you don’t get a break in between enemies. They keep coming until you die. There are variations on these called “Extreme” versions. This is the same as a previous mission, but it’s made harder by something that they add. On the PS3 version of this game, you’ll be able to download the “Play as the Joker” challenge maps which are the same as the Batman ones but you can play as, you guessed it, Joker.

The Boss Fights

The boss, I think, are good. Some people say that they’re “meh”, but I liked most of them. I can’t really make this section too long, as I don’t want to spoil them for you

Good Points

  • Good story and isn’t easy to spoil.
  • Great characters and back-stories. I mean come on, it’s Batman!
  • Great graphics and physics.
  • Amazing voice acting and actors.
  • You can roam around the island once finished the game.
  • Is a thrill to play some parts!
  • Extra maps (challenge maps) are great fun!
  • Great value for money!
  • Easy to get and well-working controls.
  • Stealth, free-roam, fighting and puzzles all make for great gameplay.

Bad Points

  • Can glitch sometimes.
  • Not all the boss fights are good.
  • Anti-climactic ending.

All in all, I loved this game. I thought that it was a great game to play, fun and challenging in a way that not many games can pull off. I’m giving it…

9/10

“This sets the bar for all superhero games in the future.”

The Goods and Bads of Shotguns in Zombie Apocolypses

October 17, 2009

Intro

In zombie films/game, the weapon of choice would, more often than not, be a shotgun. What makes the shotgun so appealing would probably be it’s huge range, I mean if you have several dozen zombies running at you and you want to get rid of them as quickley as possible, shotguns would do that without you having to reload!

The Goods!

Wide Range of Fire

With it’s pellets instead of an average bullet, shotguns have a wider range of fire than other types of guns. You also don’t really need to have good aim. If you point anywhere near a zombie, you’ll probably kill it.

Powerful

Not a huge range on these guns, but they pak one hell of a punch in close-quarters.

Can Use Butt of Gun for Melee

Pretty much all of the guns in the zombie games and films have butts that you can whack the undead with to make them re-dead!

Easy-to-Carry Ammo

The shells are small, like other ammunition, but one shell carries alot of punch for something that’s so small.

Different Types for Different Situations

There are alot of different shotguns. Small and easy-to-use or big and will blow half the worlds faces so they look like their arses.

The Bads.

Slow to reload

Why, please tell me, in films and games, do they choose the shotguns that reload the slowest. Do you wanna know why? It’s because they’re more often than not the most powerful. Meaning that you can flesh wound the zombies, but reload quicker, or you can blow 20 of them apart with one slug, but take much longer and reload it one-by-one.

Heavy, not easy to run with

I guess what I’m trying to say is, clanky. The ones in the films (As I’ve said) are usually the bigger, powerfuller ones which are the most awkward.

Very effective at close range, but not so much at long range

Blow their heads off up close and do absolutely no damage at long range. Save your bullets, wait ’til the zombies start running at you!

Doesn’t Usually Have a Big Ammo Capacity

The guns that people seem to pick only seem to be able to have about 6 rounds in the gun at any given time, so that’s a drawback.

Doesn’t have a very high rate of fire

Shotguns are single shot guns that don’t have much ammo capacity, so you have to be careful with your choices.

So there. You have the goods and the bads about shotguns and their zombie disembowelment capabilities. So when everybody who’s died from Swine Flu, comes back as a zombie, you’ll have to make the choice; Shotgun, or Gatling Gun?