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Nintendo's E3 Press Conference

Some of the biggest announcements of the Nintendo press conference are listed below: Pokedex: This is a new...

It is Time Again

This is it everybody. It is that time of year again. Next week is Christmas for us gamers. It is time for E3...

Microsoft E3 2011 Press Conference

Today is the first day of E3. The Microsoft team started off the day with their press conference. To start out the event, Microsoft showed off...

Sony's E3 Press Conference

Next up at the E3 press conference is Sony. Hopefully, Sony can give us some announcements that can make up for last months PSN outage. The first part of Sony’s press conference was...

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Here are some of the major events that have happened at E3 over the past couple of days. The biggest event was the announcement of...

Archive for March 2011

Dead Island Preview
Written by A.K.



Short Disclaimer- I will be reviewing and previewing games other than survival horror.  The titles of the games I analyze will also vary, not just “dead” and then the general setting for the game. Now that is out the way, on to Dead Island.

Much like Dead Space, I discovered this game by accident. I accidentally clicked on a link to it instead of Gears of War 3 while looking at upcoming games. After further investigation, I have come to the conclusion that this game should be fan-freaking-tastic.  
            The plot, as far as I could find, is pretty simple. There are four playable characters trapped on an island beach resort.  Instead of waking up with a hangover, most of the island woke up with the munchies that only human flesh could satisfy. However, I discovered that the four playable survivors are immune to the infection. I don’t know if they mean the initial outbreak didn’t transform them into a flesh-monger, or if they are immune to the actual virus that caused it. If so, that’s kind of a lame excuse for saying your character doesn’t die when a zombie scratches or bites him (or her).
Gameplay will seem familiar to any Left 4 Dead veterans. Four playable characters run around a zombie-infested environment with some special-class zombies thrown in as well. However, the emphasis is on melee-combat, with some RPG elements thrown in. Your character has a stamina bar, forcing them to stop and take a breather every once in a while. Weapon degradation is also involved with the melee-combat. That means that as you use a weapon, over time it will break down and eventually become useless. This type of mechanic could be really frustrating, as your weapon might break while a horde of zombies roughly equivalent to the population of Luxembourg bears down on you. There is also a more realistic damage system for the zombies. The zombies have multiple layers of skin, muscle, and bone that get destroyed and torn away as you introduce their heads to your friend, Mr. Lead Pipe.
The setting is pretty basic. An island resort in Papa New Guinea, with zombies! This could add more terror because it could seems familiar. Just like the place YOU’RE going to for spring break. Unlike Left 4 Dead, it is also not linear, but open-world, like Deadrising. But don’t get me wrong, this game is serious, not like Deadrising.
The real draw for me was the trailer. It’s not often that a game trailer invokes some other reaction than “looks cool”. I quite nearly cried while watching this thing. It is definitely one of the best trailers for a game I have ever seen, and it sets the mood for the game perfectly. You can see it here and decide if I am a pansy for nearly crying. 



Thanks to Youtube user MrCrazCommunity for the trailor. 
          
  The release date is pending, but I really think zombie-fans should check this game out. This is the one I will be waiting in line to buy. Check back onto the site so we can let you know if it was worth the wait.





The Best Call of Duty: Black Ops Load Out
Written By Sam Shipp
            Ever since Black Ops came out, I have been addicted to the multiplayer.  I love the simplicity.  It is just you, your gun, and your enemies.  To make things better, Treyarch layered on an in-depth ranking and leveling system that allows for almost complete freedom of choice when it comes to how you play.  You could be the guy who just runs straight into battle or the guy who sneaks around waiting for somebody to come into your sites.  The main question that arises once you have decided your tactics concerns which gun you choose.  What is the best gun? Why do some people do so much better with some guns than I do?
            These questions led me to think about the perfect class.  I always play with the Galil.  It is a fast, powerful, fully automatic gun that can get the job done quickly.  I can just point the gun at someone and know they will be dead.  It works.  Also, the iron sights built into the gun are really good. I do not need to buy a new sight.  Instead, I can go out and buy the Dual Mags attachment. Dual Mags allow for an increased change in between clips, which gives me a slight advantage.
            To go with this, I buy the CZ75.  This pistol allows me to buy a fully automatic attachment.  Even if I run out of bullets on my Galil, I can switch over to my pistol and still be fully automatic.
For perks, I like to have hardline pro. I not only get my kill streaks sooner, but I can also change out my care packages.  If I do not want to have a certain care package, like ammo, I can change it out and get a better one.  I like to have slight of hand so that I can have a quicker mag change.  Finally, I prefer to have Marathon.  I am one of the people who are constantly circling the map.  It benefits me if I can sprint for longer.
Leave a comment below and tell me what your favorite custom class is.  



Why Do Some Multiplayer Games Work While Others Do Not?
Written By Sam Shipp

When I was recently playing Call of Duty: Black Ops, I started to think.  Why do some multiplayer games turn out to be really good while others just stink?  I mean, most multiplayer games rely on the same formula, pit two different teams against each other and let them kill everyone for a certain period of time.  It is a pretty simple concept.  But, why do games like MAG get brushed over while games like Call of Duty and Battlefield break under the strain of millions of people?  All of these games are relatively similar, with the biggest differences being game types and what you are allowed to do with the environment. 
I thought about this for a couple of days and finally came up with a list.

       New Concepts:
New concepts are one of the biggest problems for new multiplayer games coming into the market.  Why would I buy a game that is exactly like Call of Duty, but with less polish?  Either a new multiplayer game tries to be way to ambitious, like putting over 200 people on the map (MAG), or they just do not try.  Games that are way to ambitious never hit the pinnacle of what they wanted to do and they are unable to fully polish the other parts.  MAG wanted to put over 200 people on one match.  This worked, but the overall experience felt small and unpolished.  Other games, like Lead and Gold, just copied an established game. The entire time I was playing Led and Gold, I felt like I was playing Team Fortress 2.  There is nothing wrong with that, but I would much rather play the already established game than a mimic of an already established game. 

             Something Special:
Most of the new multiplayer games are coming out with the same stuff an established franchise was coming out with 3 years ago.  These developers try to make the game feel special, but they are just not able to.   They lack the necessary time and budget to improve on there game.   These developers might have started developing their game when Call of Duty 3 came out.  They would have thought of having the new concept of completely customizable character and the only way to do that was with in-game points. However, by the time they had finally finished developing and they set a release date, Call of Duty: Black Ops had come out, making their ideas old news.

     The Game Everyone Plays:
I, as a gamer, would like to play video games with my friends.  If all my friends own Call of Duty, I will spend my money on buying Call of Duty instead of buying a new franchise.  The main source of my multiplayer chooses rely on what my friends buy.  If they buy this game, I will buy this game, even if that game is a lot better.  In my opinion, that is the only reason why Call of Duty is able to sell so many copies.  When all my friends were talking about World at War, I could not talk to them about it because I did not own the game and it annoyed me.  So, by the time that Modern Warfare 2 came out, I really badly wanted a Call of Duty game, even if it was going to be a bad game, I would have bought it.

The multiplayer market is a very difficult area for new games.  Not all of the new games are able to get recognized and become popular.  But the games that are able to do this tend to be really good.  Maybe, that is why this unconscious system is in place.  Through this system, people are able to see what video games are good, and what games they should not waste their money on.


Playstation Plus?
Written By Sam Shipp
            If you have or have not checked the Playstation store in the past couple of months, you might not know what Playstation Plus is about. I am here to set the record straight. 
            Basically, Playstation Plus is Sony’s version of a rewards program. You pay for a subscription and get rewards. These rewards can be anything from free games, exclusive content, or cheaper prices on games and DLC. 
            The yearly subscription cost about as much as a full priced retail game and you get the money back in discounted content.  The first night that I spent with the subscription, I downloaded about 60 dollars worth of games.
Though not all of the games are great, you still get a lot for what you pay for.   Sony loads up Playstation Plus with about one or two free titles every week (anything from full games, minis, and Playstation one classics). The thing that really makes having Playstation Plus beneficial is when Sony releases stuff early.  I downloaded the Killzone 3 multiplayer beta months before it came out for everything else.  Playstation Plus subscribers can also download the Socom multiplayer a good two weeks before everyone else.
One setback is that when the subscription ends, you can no longer play any of the free games you have downloaded.  If you bought any of the games on discount, you can keep on playing the games you bought.
If you are a subscriber to Playstation Plus, you can set a time when your Playstation will turn on and check for updates to all of your games.  This feature attempts to eliminate the annoying hassle of sitting down to play a game and then realizing that your games have to update.  There are two frustrating things about this updating service.  First, you have to set up an account that your PS3 will always immediately open. This automatic account log-in is great if your PS3 only has one account, but frustrating if you want to play on a different account than the account the PS3 automatic opens. Also, it doesn’t always work. There has been several times when I sat down to play and had to wait even when the new feature was turned on.
However, it is not all bad. Playstation Plus users can use a brand new feature for the PS3.  This feature allows the user to save their games to a cloud.  These game saves are then linked to your PSN I.D. allowing you to pull up the saves from anywhere.   Thanks to this new save cloud, a PS3 crash will no longer erase all of your game data.  In addition, there is enough room on the cloud in which to put most game saves.
Content wise, it is worth the money. But, if you never go to the Playstation Store and do not want to, there is really no point in buying into the rewards. 

Why So Many Caves?
Written by: Sam Shipp
A cave in the indie game Minecraft
            I was recently playing Dragon Age: Origins and realized something.  Game developers are obsessed with caves. In almost every game, there is some mention of caves.  In everything from a boss’s hideout to a place where treasure is hidden, there is always a cave. 
My question is why?  Why?  Some people don’t even like caves.  I hate going into caves in video games.  Caves are usually small, cramped spaces.  You know when you enter a cave, you are going to spend hours inside.  But, when you finally get to the end of the cave, you realize that you did not need to go into the cave in the first place.
I know.  Some of you guys are thinking that caves are there for the sake of exploration.  But why do we need to explore underground?  I would much rather be above ground when I explore.  Everywhere that you go in caves looks exactly the same.  The most variation that you can have would be a different color of rock or lava. I am sorry, but I really don’t care. 
I mean there is not a game that I can think of where a player does not go into a cave.  Red Dead Redemption, Modern Warfare 2 and Need for Speed: Shift all have at least one section where you have to go through caves.  But the worst of all is RPG’s.  I do not know one RPG where you don’t spend at least three hours inside a dark, cramped cavern.  I actually think it is a law that all RPGs have to have caves.
Okay, instead of doing caves, do something else.  They could have us explore oceans, outer space, and deserts, anything but caves!  I mean really.
Leave your comments in the section below or on the forum and tell me what you think about caves in video games.  What should game developers do differently?

Mass Effect 2 (PS3) Review
Written By: Sam Shipp
            There are only a couple of games every few years that make me say “Wow”.  These games are able to combine a great story with great characters and a good game play. This type of game sucks up all my time and is the only thing I can think about weeks after I beat it.  Mass Effect 2 is one of those games. 
            One of my biggest concerns coming into Mass Effect 2 was that I was going to be lost throughout the entire story since I have not played the first game.  And sadly, if you only own a PS3, you will never get to play the first game.  Microsoft owns the publishing rights to the game, so they will keep it as an exclusive for the Xbox
Bioware, however, has found a loophole.  Though Microsoft owns the rights to the first game, they do not own the rights to limit the story.  Bioware teamed up with Dark Horse Comics and created an interactive comic that told both the story of the first game and gave the player a chance to make some decisions that would carry over to the second game. 
I have to say, I hate most RPG’s.  Most other RPGs I have played have a very slow and tactical action.  Even in Fallout, you cannot play with using the iron sites, the enemies move to quickly and you do not have enough bullets to try your luck.   The only way to play in most RPG’s is to pause the action and decide who and where you want to shoot an enemy.  Though it looks cool when you kill a person, it breaks up the action too much.  In Mass Effect, Bioware has made a third person action game that has some RPG elements.  You have to cover, aim down your sights, and know when to pop out and shoot. 
Mass Effect can be as tactical or as much of a run and gun type of game as a person wants.  A player has the option to stop the action and go tactical; letting the person choose where they want their team to go and what power they want their team to use and on which enemy. Or, somebody could run through the game, kill whoever they want, and get the enemy without the use of their team.  
Depending on what difficulty someone is using, these options became easier or harder to choose.  I beat the game on normal, and it did really matter if I even worried about my team.  But when I went back and played the game on insanity, I had to be in cover most of the time and tactically pick where my team went and what they did. 
The biggest strength and weakness of Mass Effect 2, however, can be seen through the story.  The one on one interaction with the other characters on the ship and the decisions I had to make were really cool.  I could decide who I wanted to be my girl friend and who I trusted and did not trust.   I could either be the nice guy who helped everyone out, or I could be the jerk who could care less about what happens to anyone on the ship.  These types of interactions would give you points that would help to unlock new conversations.  At the end of the game, I wanted to go back and replay the entire game in order to just do the opposite of what I did the first time.  Even at the end of the game, you are left with decisions that would carry over into the next game. 
The broad story arch, however, leaves you in a mixed mood.  The events that were covered in the first game are talked about and play into the general story.  I feel more like the main story of the second game is a massive side quest that adds to the lore of Mass Effect.   It builds into the story and will be important in the third game, but you are just left with cliffhanger.  The main enemy in the game, The Reapers, an alien people who want to destroy all life, have very little to do with the final story.  Throughout most of the game, you are fighting a different enemy because somebody tells the character that they are a threat to the human race and have to be destroyed.
At the release of this game, it has all of the DLC that was sold separately for the Xbox 360 release.   This allows the add-on side missions to fit into the Mass Effect 2 story better; letting them seem more like an integrated side missions, then a completely new experience.  
Also, in comparison, Mass Effect 2 looks better on the PS3.  It runs on the engine that it going to support Mass Effect 3.  Though it does not completely change the visuals of the game, it allows for more crisp environments and better character model.  Throughout the game, I saw no major drops in frame rate or a game freezes.  It was able to keep up  
The graphical changes, along with one on one story telling of the game, and the 3rd person action, make Mass Effect 2 a great game.  Though the story is a build-up to a massive event that will happen in Mass Effect 3, it is still compelling.  Anyone who likes tactical games, fast paced games, or a character driven story should go out and buy this game.   Every one else should also go out and get this game!



Visuals:  9.7/10 (good but not the best on the system)
Story: 9.7/ 10 (amazing story, but acts like a filler game)
Performance:  10/10 (no major tearing or freezes)
Gameplay: 10/10 (A fun mix of RPG with 3rd person action)
Multiplayer: not applicable (does not have multiplayer)
Overall
9.85

Brink Preview 
Written By: Sam Shipp
            A couple of months ago, I saw a trailer for a game called Brink.  In the trailer, there was a lot of action.  There were people jumping off buildings, running around with shotguns, blowing people up, and even an Assassin’s Creed like knife kill.  When I first saw this trailer, I was pumped about the game. I did not even know what the game was about, but I was pumped about it.
            Brink is a new shooter from Splash Damage, the guys who made Enemy Territory: Quack Wars and Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory.  If Call of Duty had a baby with Team Fortress, then their baby had a child with Left 4 Dead, Brink would be born.  Brink takes the wall that has always been between multiplayer and single player and breaks it down.  The entire story of Brink can be played like a multiplayer game.  Each level being just another objective based match.  It does not matter how you play Brink.  You could play the campaign like a single player game, in which you kill a bunch of thoughtless bots.  Or, you could play it like Left 4 Dead, trying to get to the next point in the game without dying. Then, if you feel like it, you can take your campaign online and play like you are playing Call of Duty.  All of these modes, however, are interwoven with a deep and thoughtful leveling system.  So, if you do something good in the single player, you can upgrade your character and take that character online. 
            Lets talk about the part I am most excited about, the story mode.  For the first time ever, you can play the entire story and campaign as if it were a multiplayer match.  I know, you are probably thinking that you could do this in Left 4 Dead, but that is simply not true.  Yes, you could play with four friends; however, the zombies you were fighting against were still NPCs.  In Brink, the entire game could be played with real people, real people on your side and real people on the other side.  This unique style of game play is sure to keep a player going back and replaying the campaign again and again.  You will want to see what would happen if you lost a battle, or what would happen if you won it. Currently, that is the only concept I am confused about.  If I lose a battle when I am playing the online story mode, what happens? Do we restart that mission against a different enemy or do we go back to the previous map and try to beat our enemy there?  I just don’t know, but I am interested to find out.
You and your teammates will play as one of three classes: medium, agile, and heavies.  Medium is kind of like the universal class.  They can jump, but not as well as the agile. They can also absorb some damage, but not as well as the heavies.  I will probably gravitate towards the agile.  The agile is using a new game system called S.M.A.R.T.  Smart allows a player to do parkour, free running, with the push of a button.  Using this system, a player can slide into cover, jump over barriers, and almost any other move you can think about, all while carrying submachine guns.  On the other hand,  the heavies are big, strong grunts that can absorb a lot of bullets and can carry big guns, but they have little access of movement.
All of these classes each have their unique style, almost like in Team Fortress 2.  But, Splash Damage has thrown in one of the most robust customization systems I have ever seen.  Take the amount of customization available in Black Ops, and take it to eleven, you have Brink.  A player can customize everything, from your player’s gun all the way to the body type and clothing.  The customization tool used for this process looks nice and slick.  This extremely in depth customization tool will lead to jealousy among players as one guy brags how cool his gun looks. 
The story also looks like it will work well for this type of game.  Basically, there was a green city known as The Arch.  This city has lost contact with the rest of the world and is now in total civil war. You play on one of the two factions who are trying to take control of The Arch.  This story should work well in accomplishing its goal of getting two teams to fight against each other. 
The only problem with this massive multiplayer game is that it is centralized around objective game play.  What would keep a team from just running in different directions as the players try to do there own thing?  Splash Damage clams that it has fixed this problem by giving people points if they focus on objectives, not just killing each other.  I really hope this game does not turn into another MAG
All in all, I am pumped about this game.  I am more excited about this game than almost any other game set to release in 2011.  Hopefully it will live up to the expectations. Since the game has been set to be released on May 17, we will not have a long time to wait before we find out.  Check back then to www.redplatoon.com to see the full written review.

Dead Space and Dead Space 2 review
By A.K.

                   One of the biggest survival horror games of this decade has been Dead Space, a game that literally no one knew about. My first taste came when my brothers and I saw a picture of a floating severed hand. From there, we had a few nights of yelling, getting scared, and basically freaking the crap out. However, after beating both games, I have had some revelations.
                   The plot in both games has been quite interesting; the only problem is I only found that out after reading it on Wikipedia. I find that as I play the game, all I did was move from one simple puzzle to the next, with big fights in between. I never found myself really feeling the frustration or fear that the characters should have been feeling. Everything seemed like a minor speed bump on the way to wherever the blue line on the floor was telling you to go. It’s a game that tries to be atmospheric, but fails because it seems so familiar. A big, alien overrun, bloody, abandoned space ship is pretty unoriginal, and the same goes for the big, alien overrun, bloody space station in Dead Space 2, as well. Dead Space made you backtrack a lot, and Dead Space 2 had a whole level on board the Ishimura, the big, alien overrun, bloody, abandoned space ship from the first game. The levels just feel like the blood and dead bodies have always been there.
                   Anyway, back to the plot. In Dead Space you play Isaac Clarke, a CEC engineer onboard a repair mission to the USG Ishimura, a mining vessel. Isaac is not only trying to repair the Ishimura, but is also looking for his girlfriend. Everyone except Isaac and two other people get their socks rocked by some space zombies, or necromorphs. After that, he wanders around the ship fixing stuff and killing necromorphs. One of the biggest problems with the plot of the first Dead Space was that Isaac Clarke was a robot. He said nothing, you only see his face twice, and he displays literally no emotion, not even by body language. I will refrain from spoiling plots in the future, but the plot of the second game revolves around the twist in the first. Spoiler: Isaac’s girlfriend committed suicide to escape the horrors of the ship!! All the times Isaac has been seeing her has been a hallucination caused by the Marker, an alien piece of technology trying to put itself back together by bending the minds of those around it.                     
Visceral ironed out these problems with Isaac’s character in Dead Space 2, but unfortunately left the iron on too long and burnt his character a bit. In the second game, Isaac is suffering from dementia and convenient amnesia, meaning he’s forgotten everything that happened between the two games. He awakes on board Titan station, one of Saturn’s moons, in an insane asylum. One quick complaint, why don’t they have a separate, isolated moon for the insane people throughout the galaxy? Anyway, the person who tries to untie you from your straight jacket gets turned into a necromorphs and Isaac has to head-butt him away in order to escape the asylum. He then does the exact same thing as he did in Dead Space, wandering around fixing things while being hunted by necromorphs, the military, and his hallucinations. The story happening outside of Isaac’s head kind of pales in comparison to the inner struggle between Isaac and the hallucinations of his dead girlfriend, who he persuaded to work on the Ishimura. He is guilt ridden and the hallucinations are even trying to kill him, which makes the last few levels quite unnerving.  
                   I am now going to spend a paragraph releasing my frustration about Isaac’s character in Dead Space 2. IT IS NOT A SURVIVAL-HORROR GAME CHARACTER! His lines, attitude, and overall persona are that of an action game, which is basically what the Dead Space franchise is. Visceral could have at least tried to make him a survival-horror game character. At one point he is stuck in an area forced to fight off waves of aliens. When asked by a support character if he is alright, he responds with, “Yeah, good times.” He should be terrified, confused, and on the edge of a complete mental breakdown, not making satirical comments. Another moment comes when he is boarding the Ishimura in the second game. The same character says that it’s a bad idea, and Isaac responds with, “Stick around, I’m full of bad ideas.” Then Visceral decided to make him seem nervous as he trod the same paths where all the horrors started, but this failed since he only seemed nervous for one line before going back to his action hero character.              
Game play in the first game consisted of Isaac walking down claustrophobic hallways killing aliens, occasionally having to fix something or solve a puzzle. This might seem par for most survival-horror games but there are a few differences. The only way to kill enemies is to cut off their arms and legs, shooting them in the body does nothing and shooting their head off makes them flail their arms around at you. Because of this, everyone’s arms and legs come off as if they are attached to the body with wet duct-tape. Isaac has to stomp or beat the head, legs and arms off of everything in sight. He is also equipped with stasis, which slows down enemies that get hit with it for a short time, and kinesis, which allows him to pick up objects and is mainly used for fixing things. These moments where he fixes something or solves a puzzle are way too easy. At one point, a laser, shooting from some apparatus, was blocking my way. I saw a rocket that I could attach to it in order to move it. After grabbing it, I made my way to the apparatus to find that one was already attached! It’s like they don’t want it to get too hard.
The next original aspects of the game came with the guns and HUD. There is only one gun in the first game, an assault rifle. The rest are tools used by Isaac to cut off the necromorphs limbs. The thing is these “tools” seem like they were built to cut off limbs. One of them shoots out a spinning blade that hovers in front of you. There are no trees in either game, and the tool seems way too messy for surgery, so it seems to have no purpose as a tool in the real world. The HUD is integrated into Isaac’s suit. Your health is a meter running along your spine, next to that is a smaller meter telling you your stasis levels, and the ammo counter and sights come out of the gun. The HUD really lets you get into the game, as you’re not staring at invisible meters and counters.
The biggest aspect of the game is space itself. Since the areas in Dead Space and Dead Space 2 are falling apart, there are places where hull breaches have occurred making a vacuum, and certain rooms are made to be a zero gravity environment. You have a limited amount of air in your suit, so the vacuum levels become quite nerve-racking as you slowly suffocate while space-zombie babies stab you in the spine. The zero-G in the first game was quite original. You aimed at a certain spot and you pressed a button to leap across the room to get to it. The zero-G makes the game a bit more fun, but also allows for the space-zombie babies aforementioned to find your spine much easier.
Dead Space 2 kept the basics of Dead Space’s game play, but I have the suspicion that Visceral is secretly trying to sabotage all the original parts of Dead Space. There are new weapons added, most of which are actually guns. They even throw in a sniper! This is basically a zombie game, and no one uses a sniper in a zombie game! They also added a new mechanic in which you use a javelin gun to shoot spikes at the necromorphs. Isaac can shoot these javelins into their chests in order to pin them to walls. This angers me for two reasons. The necromorphs are already held together by duct tape and now they weigh as much as a fat baby. I shot one in the chest with the javelin gun, and it flew in a straight line for over fifteen meters before getting pinned to the wall. I also got an achievement for it. This game play mechanic also moves the weak spot from the limbs to the chest, not an original place for it to be. Another game play mechanic that’s been changed is the zero-G. In Dead Space 2, Isaac’s suit is outfitted with jets that allow him full 3-D movement in zero-G. However, I liked how the zero-G in the first game still restricted you. Now that you can just fly away from your space-zombie baby problems, it’s just less scary.
Multiplayer was a new addition for Dead Space 2. After a few games as both the humans and the necromorphs, I found it to be uninteresting. As a human, you just try to survive. I mean, you have an objective, but I couldn’t find time to do the objectives in my tight schedule of keeping aliens from enjoying my liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti. As a necromorph, you just kill humans. It is kind of enjoyable, in a sick way, to be on the other end of the quick time events that Isaac does whenever an alien latches on to him.
In all, the Dead Space series is fun. The game play in Dead Space 2 is varied enough to keep it interesting.  The first game was original enough to be appealing to most gamers. I still find it to not truly be survival-horror. If anything, it’s a survival-action game with scary enemies and scary moments. It does not allow you to let down your guard long enough, and there is hardly ever any tension built up. You just kind of begin to predict what’s going to jump out at you and when.

Dead Space:
Visuals: 9 (honestly anything that comes out these days is going to look great)
Performance: 9.5 (once again, most games have no giant bugs)
Story: 6 (alright story, but hard to understand, and the characters are very bad)
Gameplay: 7 (Original, but lacks the atmosphere a survival horror game needs)
Multiplayer: None
Overall: 7.9

Dead Space 2
Visuals: 9.5 (better than Dead Space’s)
Performance: 9.5 (I saw no difference in performance between the two)
Story: 8 (better characters, better plot, still far from perfect)
Gameplay: 8 (takes away from originality but adds to fun, still no immersion)
Multiplayer: 7 (chaotic and pretty bland, but fun when you’re an alien)
Overall: 8.4


Dead Space as a series: 8.2


The Four Commandments of Downloadable Content
Written by: Sam Shipp

            Like most types of gaming, whether to buy or not to buy DLC (downloadable content) is a very personal decision.  One person might say that some DLC is great, while another person will hate it.   DLC could increase the experience of a game, which might be good for a person who likes that game but bad for a person who hates that game. For example, I loved Red Dead Redemption; I thought it was the best game that came out on the PS3 in 2010.  Therefore, I was ecstatic when Rockstar came out with the new Campaign:  Undead Nightmare.  I was excited to spend another six hours with the characters, especially since they added zombies (everything is better with zombies).  However, one of my friends hated Red Dead and did not care or want to waste $15 when they came out with the pack.
Though buying DLC is personal decision, there are some very important things that will make DLC great:
1)            Don’t just give us more weapons or armor to use:
This is my pet peeve.  Even if it is a great game, I will not waste my money for new guns.  Add something else with the guns.  Give me an extra story mission or more multiplayer maps.   I already have guns and armor and do not require anymore.  I beat the game with your built in guns. Why would I need any more?
Bad Example: Mass Effect 2:
Most of the downloadable content consists of extra guns and armor that cost a couple of dollars.  Why, Why? I Do Not need more guns!
Good Example: Red Dead Redemption:
Most of the DLC released for Red Dead comes with extra modes and new weapons.  Please, developers take a hint. Package weapons in with extra modes or a new story. I WILL PROBALLY BUY IT MORE OFTEN!

2)            Give a new story mission that adds to the game and does not hold the game back:
I like story missions, let me say this in another way, good story = good game.  If people like your game because of the story, give them more of what they want.  If there is a successful game, it never hurts to change up the game play and see what people think. Also, if people bought the game for the story,  not the multiplayer, add more to the story before you add more to the multiplayer.
Bad Example: Uncharted 2:
I bought Uncharted 2 for the story mode.  It was a game that drew several parallels between the movie business and the game business.  I liked the story mode, and thought they just tagged on the multiplayer to keep people coming back.  But, they have not released any side mission add-ons, any new story, just multiplayer.  Give me story, not multiplayer!
            Good Example: Red Dead Redemption:
When Rockstar released the Undead Nightmare map pack, I enjoyed it.  It met a lot of my requirement for story, new campaign, new mechanics, and more of what a I liked.  People, if you have something good, keep doing that thing!

3)            Only sell new multiplayer packs if it is a fun multiplayer:
Today, most of the games people play have multiplayer.  After the success of series such as Call of Duty and Battlefield, which depend on multiplayer, every developer is trying to create their own twist in order to get a part of the market.  This leads to some really fun multiplayer (Black Ops) and some really terrible ones (Medal of Honor).  Please, if you have a bad multiplayer, do not add insult to injury by selling more multiplayer!
            Bad Example: Medal of Honor:
Come on EA, it was a fun story, in my opinion, but really. The multiplayer was like a stripped down version of Call of Duty. Why would I buy new maps for a bad multiplayer when I could spend my money on other games? I mean come on.
            Good Example: Call of Duty: Black Ops:
If you have a good and fun multiplayer, I would, keep it coming!
4)            Putting everything together is okay
This one is simple.  DLC + more DLC (at same low price)= fun.  Give me some multiplayer, some story, maybe some new weapons and armor, I will buy it and be happy.
            Bad Example: Call of Duty: Black Ops:
I have 15 dollars and you are only giving me five maps. That is 25 percent of what a whole game costs… really… really.  I like games but… really.
Good Example: Red Dead Redemption:
Rockstar gave me some multiplayer, some story, some new guns and new changelings all for one low price. That is amazing! Thank you Rockstar!

Written By: Sam Shipp
Since one of our main priorities here is to figure out what games are good and what games are bad, we have started a ten-point review scale. On this scale, 1 is the worst and 10 is the best.  Each game is judged on five categories (visuals, performance, story, gameplay, and multiplayer).  Once each category is scored, we average them together and get the final score.  We have also adapted the policy that if the second or third game in a series is coming out, we will go back and review the other games in that series in order to give you the full and complete review of both the new game and the series.

 Call of Duty: Black Ops Review
Written By: Sam Shipp

            The Call of Duty franchise has ruled online multiplayer for years. Starting back in 2003, Call of Duty has continued to improve on their online multiplayer tool kit until it is almost perfect. For the first time in a couple of years, the multiplayer has received an overhaul that increases the strategy required to do well in the multiplayer matches. Oh, the series also has a partially coherent story line.
            Last year, Infinity Ward released their epic sequel to one of the best FPS’s of all time, Modern Warfare. This game had a good multiplayer, but a story that was only there to tie together fun levels. Black Ops is able to improve on this flaw from the last game and make a story line that is both fun to play and makes sense (until the very end). Basically, you play a highly trained secret agent doing covert missions throughout the Cold War.  The story is able to pull the missions together into a meaningful experience.  In Call of Duty standards, it is a pretty good story. But compared to the stories of Mass Effect or Uncharted, it lacks depth and character development.
            The gameplay is the typical Call of Duty fair.  You run around as enemies keep coming. If you dislike the gameplay, nothing in this game will change the fact that you hate it. It might just make you dislike the game more.  First, it seems like the enemies are forever responding until you progress. There is one level where the player is not told what to do.  It tells you get to the bottom of the hill. Go. So I spent about thirty minutes shooting enemies and slowly progressing to the bottom of the hill, but the enemies kept respawning. By the time I got to the bottom of the hill, it told me to go somewhere else.  As I was running to the next objective, the enemies kept coming and eventually killed me.  When I responded, it was at the top of the hill, only to run back down the hill in another attempt. (Spoiler!!! Skip over if you do not want a tip!!! Knife the barrel on the hill; it stops the enemies from coming. Or just sprint as fast as you can). Besides that one level, most of the game had a fairly good design with a fair amount of mix between vehicle and regular shooter sections
            Overall, the visuals are pretty good in the game, with no notable tearing or game lagging.  Though the Xbox game looks a tad better than the PS3 version, they are both very average graphically.   I saw one area of the game were there was a major glitche, but that made little difference to the experience.
            The star of almost all Call of Duty games, however, can be seen through the multiplayer.  And, in Black Ops there are two types of multiplayer modes. One is a regular multiplayer and the other has zombies.
            In the regular multiplayer mode, Black Ops is like Modern Warfare.  A player goes around playing one of the game modes trying to get enough points to level up and unlock new guns.  The developer this time around, Treyarch, has changed up the formula just enough to make it interesting again.  This time, they added a system known as COD points.  These are points that you earn every time a player gets a kill or progresses to a new level.  These points are then used to purchase anything from guns to camos and perks.  COD points allow for an extra amount of strategy that allows a player to choose exactly what they want to get out of leveling up.  If you have not played Call of Duty multiplayer before, it is not like battlefield.  There are no destructible environments or vehicles lying around.  It is, however, one of the most addictive multiplayer games on any platform.
            Treyarch has also included their zombie game that they developed for World at War.  It is still the same fair; a player is trapped in an area with up to three other people.  You and your friends will see how many rounds that everybody can beat without getting overrun by zombies. The developers have also thrown in an arcade style zombie shooter. You look down on you player as Zombies run up on you.  Point the stick in the direction you want to shoot and you shoot, simple enough.  It is a pretty nice distraction for the other modes.
            Overall, this game is a good addition to the series. Black Ops is able to improve on a lot of the problems of Modern Warfare 2 and improve the series on the whole.

Visuals:  8.0/10 (a decent looking game, but has some bad textures)
Story: 8.0/10 (a good story for Call of Duty, Key word for Call of Duty)
Performance:  9.5/10 (no real tearing or lags in single player)
Gameplay: 7.5/10 (the enemies keep coming, keep coming)
Multiplayer: 9.7/10 (it is a lot of fun and has a ton of modes)
Overall
             8.54