A Freer World with Scarcer Items Makes "Darksiders II" a Mixed Improvement Review

I never looked at Darksiders the way others seemed to. At the time of its release, the reviews went on and on about how this was the showcase game of how unoriginal the industry had gotten. It was out of ideas, a copy-cat title, a mish-mash of popular genres without a heart. As I found myself unable to stop playing, I could see where they were all coming from. I just never came to that same conclusion. I believe it's easy for anyone to follow a blue-print, but that doesn't mean it'll hold together. Anyone can follow Zelda's style, but that doesn't mean it'll work in the end. Darksiders was, yes, on the surface a step behind popular adventure games like God of War and Legend of Zelda, but the designers understood how to make the glue that bound it all up stick. It was a sleeper hit, and a really fun one at that. For that reason, I was pumped to get a hold of the sequel, Darksiders II.

Sep
27
2012
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"Tiny & Big" Holds Nothing Back in its Creative Endeavors Review

Sandbox games work and are popular because of the ability to do whatever you want. There are still stunt videos being made to this very day with Grand Theft Auto 4 because players and the modding community are still finding new and exciting things to do that they never thought of. I'm willing to bet the game-makers didn't even know that a lot of it was possible. That's why it's so important for game in the genre that the tools being provided to the player make it seem like anything is possible. Tiny & Big: Grandpa's Leftovers succeeds because it has a basic play style that goes a long way in both successfully tackling the games challenges and in also just having fun breaking outside the gameplay box.

Sep
21
2012
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"Theatrhythm" Will Renew Your Love of Final Fantasy and Make You a Fan of Rhythm Music Games Review

First and foremost I would like to dedicate this review to my friend whose passion and exuberance for this title convinced me to purchase this game.  If this review can convey even an eighth of what she felt for this game, then I did my job right.  So once again thank you for recommending this to me, it meant a lot to me, so now on to the review.

Music is a pretty big part of my life, as a teenager I briefly dabbled in it by attempting to learn how to play the bass guitar, I workout to music, I jog on the treadmill to music, I listen to music at work sometimes and I also write all of my reviews to music (currently listening to a group called Splashdown).  So I find it funny that I’m not the hugest fan of rhythm music games, in fact I don’t own any, which was changed very recently.  The game that changed my opinion on the genre is Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy (TFF).

Sep
15
2012
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Get Caught In the Pull of "Gravity Rush" Review

It’s kind of funny to look back on what I will occasionally just flat out ignore.  I consider myself to be pretty open minded as a gamer (within reason), but there are games that I find myself ignoring.  I guess to knock back my occasional video game jadedness I rely on other fellow gamers to tell me what I should be playing…which is actually rather odd because I’m a video game critic.  Luckily for the most part my fellow gamers get it right and introduce me to really innovative games.  One game that I had to continuously read the forum praise of was Valkyria Chronicles.  It’s a game that I love and continue to champion to this day as one of the best Japanese Role Playing games to come out for the current crop of systems.  This is probably also how I got introduced to Atlus’ Persona series, which is that one franchise that never ceases to give me a nerd boner, and now to add another game to that list is Gravity Rush for the improperly judged (I love mine!!!) Playstation Vita.

Aug
26
2012
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Wadjet Eye Has a Game That Will Resonate with Classic Adventure Gaming Fans Review

Nostalgia plays a large role in today's gaming. The market is starting to swell with HD revisions of numerous older games. There's a real clamoring against the shooter-heavy and violent games of the modern era. Gamers want to return to the older days, when games challenged the mind and were less about figuring out how long to stay behind cover for the red screen to go away. The click-and-point were a major part of that era, with games like Monkey Island, Longest Journey, and Grim Fandango being held up as the pinnacles of the genre. The recent release of Resonance by Wadjet Eye Games is looking to capitalize on that sense of nostalgia that is bringing about a new second coming of the click-and-point adventures.

Aug
09
2012
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What Have I Done? "Spec Ops" Asks the Tough Questions Review

I enjoy a healthy dose of military shooters in this gaming day and age. It's hard not to when every FPS maker is figuring out how to get in on the runaway success that Call of Duty enjoys these days. I'm a fan, I do enjoy shooting thousands of digital insurgents and I'm the rare exception that actually chooses the single player campaign when I first start up a new game.

I'm like others, though, who believe a war game can tell an intellectual story without being bogged down by commanders throwing around four-letter words and telling me who to kill next. I was expecting a Call of Duty game to attempt this feat, not the newest in a franchise that has traditionally been a poor man's military shooter at best.

Aug
08
2012
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Discover a JRPG Graced with a Strong Story, Characters and Battle System Review

In this day and age every developer is seeking to be the next Call of Duty, Mass Effect or Elder Scrolls.  With their gritty visuals, raging biceps of masculinity, speech trees and pulsating synth dominated soundtracks they tend to take the player on a testosterone-laden joy ride.  There is nothing wrong with these and I rather enjoy the Mass Effect series and Deus Ex: Human Revolution.  This is because they get something that's key right and that’s the element of world building.  They fully succeed in transporting you to a different world taking you away from your depressing job, bills and other things.

Somewhere down the line games like these became a benchmark, but at the expense of these games something weird happened: Japanese games started to get a lot of stick for what they did. In all honesty they did nothing that was different from the Mass Effects or Elder Scrolls.  They built worlds with quirky whimsical characters, with vibrant personalities.  Sure the color palettes are different, but at the end of the day they achieve the same goal of providing the player with an entertaining world to occupy for at least six hours a day.  Opening up a review with social commentary isn’t the best thing to do, but Tales of Graces F makes me want to briefly discuss it, because despite some of it’s flaws it was actually the most fun I’ve had within the last couple of years.

Aug
06
2012
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"Max Payne 3" Denies its Roots but Remains as Addictive as Painkillers Review

I initially warmed to the Max Payne series in a post-Matrix world where bullet time was still a new thing. I finally got to play a game that let me slow the world down and see the bullets whiz on by while I flew through the air with two machine guns blazing. It's easy to see why Max Payne has been a successful and popular series. It was the only shooter at its time to capture that feeling of a John Woo action film. What surprised me, however, is the same thing that has kept me glued to the series: the writing that Sam Lake provided was undoubtedly some of the best I had ever seen in a video game. The way he had Max wax morbid poetry was mesmerizing to me. I never understood why people didn't flock to Max Payne's style of storytelling. To this day, I still constantly quote lines from the series.

Jun
03
2012
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Supremacy MMA Review

I consider myself a fair man when it comes to games.  I am always willing to try to see what the developer has to offer before I shuffle them off as a great game or a bad game.  I have been known to stick with a terrible game long after any sane person would've given up on.  My biggest claim to that is the abysmal “Too Human” where I fully understood how terrible the game was, but couldn't put it down because of loot and the setting.  Supremacy is a game that makes me want to reconsider giving a game a fair shake.  It's rare when I throw up my hands in defeat, but I think Supremacy MMA managed to make me do that

Apr
18
2012
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Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Review

I've been a long time fan of the Ace Combat series, but it has been showing weakness of late.  Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation felt to me like the finale of the current form of business this arcade flight combat simulator had to offer.  Time has definitely come for something new to liven up the formula, to appeal to the new breed of military gamers.  Tom Clancy has been trying to steal the crown of air combat away with their HawX series.  If there was a time for Project Aces, the developer, to really pull out the stops to reinvent Ace Combat and give it new life.  Ace Combat: Assault Horizon is bringing a slew of new aircraft and new combat changes, but is it enough to maintain its status as top gun?

Apr
16
2012
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