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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...

E3 Update

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 April 2011

Realism in Games
Written By A.K.

            As graphics increase in quality and realism, developers seem to feel the need to make their games realistic as well. I feel that realism takes away from a video game, but it can also add to it. Here are a few examples of realism in Games.  
Homefront: THQ’s Homefront tells the story of a united Korea taking over the USA. This kind of realism really adds to a game. This could really happen and you may be getting a glimpse of what the future could hold. It can really add to the experience, as you could picture your own neighborhood overrun and you and your family enslaved. This adds to the sense of anger you, the player, are feeling. But realism in shooters limits the gameplay. It gets kind of boring just running around with an assault rifle that is exactly the same as the last one you dropped. You can’t get the ridiculousness of games like Duke Nukem or Painkiller. These shooters know they are here to entertain you, so they give you ridiculous characters, guns, enemies, and basically everything else. Homefront’s plot will pull your anger strings, but realism still limits the gameplay.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent-  Survival Horror (true survival horror, not Dead Space action-horror) is all about immersion. Immersion adds to the tension, fear, and overall experience of the player. Amnesia pulls this off perfectly. While the story is about as realistic as me making the varsity soccer team (I write game reviews for god’s sake), the gameplay is where the player is pulled in and never released. It feels like you are actually there. If you were stuck in a dark castle by yourself, with no memory of why you are there, I am betting you would not find the nearest improvised weapon and start swinging or stabbing. If a monster came, you would not stick around long enough to see it before you ran away and hid in a closet. Amnesia has no weapons. The only way of preventing yourself from becoming the monster’s tea-break sandwich is to run like it’s a Pink Floyd song (I hope someone gets that) and hide. You actually feel like you are there, not in the shoes of a veteran space marine, or engineer, with enough ordinance to take over South America.
GTA IV: You would swear the reviewers got a different version of this game, as they all loved it like it was their own child. Their version must have come with 500 dollars, a box of chocolates, and a DVD box set of the X-Files. But, I just got a game, a very disappointing game. GTA is all about pure, evil, mother-upsetting fun. However, GTA IV made me keep up with old friends and take them out dancing every day otherwise they would resent me. The worst part is, when you went to pick them up, the game forced you to drive semi-normally, otherwise they would begin to dislike me. I should be able to run over a boardwalk of old ladies, shoot a couple of cop cars, and make a stunt jump all while hearing the terrified screams of Niko’s cousin, but not be punished for it. Besides the escorting, the game was alright. The realism allowed you to do many other things, the only problem is that they were all boring. Pool, darts, and watching TV are just some of the games. I mean watching TV? I am playing this game on a TV! If I wanted to watch it, I would turn off my XBOX and watch TV. I simply felt that it took away from the overall ridiculous fun aspect of GTA that made it famous.
            Realism is like a political party in gaming. It has divided the gaming world into two groups, with the other party being those who appreciate a game that can break a few of Newton’s laws. What do you think is the best? Post it in a comment below and I will be sure to tell you that you are either wrong or partially correct (but probably just completely wrong).  

Activision’s Decision
Written By Sam Shipp

Recently, Activision ended their long franchise Guitar Hero.  This game series introduced the world to the plastic guitar and it has been a love-clutter relationship ever since.  However, in Guitar Hero’s last iterations, it has recently been performing poorly.  But, if Activision ends their music game, what does it leave them with? 
Looking at Activision, it is plain to see that Activision does not have many other major Franchises.  There only other major game is the Call of Duty series.  Without Guitar hero, Activision is going to have to rely on their developers to make surprise hits.  On the other hand, other publishing companies, like EA, have multiple longstanding game series.  Battlefield, Mass Effect, Half-life, Left 4 Dead, and Madden are all apart of the EA family.  Compared to EA, Activision is lacking. 
This does not mean that I am going to count Activision out.  They have enough production studios to make tons of games. Some of them are going to have to be really good. Also, Activision still owns Blizzard, the guys behind games such as Diablo and World of Warcraft.  However, Activision is currently in a much weaker position than their competitors. 
Hopefully, Activision will be able to come back from this franchise shift.  Though this announcement brought bad news for Guitar Hero fans, this could be a big step forward for the game developers of Activision as a whole.  They could have a chance to get their game out and let it replace Guitar Hero as one of the premier gaming franchises in the world.

Folklore Review
 Written by Evan E.

Folklore, developed by Game Republic, is an action-adventure video game that incorporates a few aspects of RPGs.  It came out on the PS3 in 2007.   Folklore centers around two characters, a college student named Ellen, and a journalist named Keats.  Both of these characters go to the village of Doolin, Ellen in search of her mother, Keats in search of a story for his occult magazine.   When they arrive, they find that they have the ability to travel to the Land of the Dead, or the Netherworld.   The Netherworld is inhabited by beings known as Folks, who are the common enemies of the game.  When a Folk is defeated in battle, it is possible to absorb its Id, or soul, and then use the Folk’s powers.  Ellen and Keats travel the Netherworld, trying to discover the mystery of Ellen’s past and attempting to resolve a war in the Netherworld.
The looks of this game are amazing.  There are many different realms in the Netherworld, each with their own unique and detailed designs.  Even the backgrounds of the menus are works of art, and each enemy has a detailed design, made to match the realm it is in.  The cut scenes are excellent in quality.
This game’s storyline is the best of any game I have ever played, in fact, it is better than most books or movies.  There are two central storylines.  One is about Ellen, as she tries to discover her family’s past.  The other involves a huge war in the Netherworld, between the Faerys and the Rebels.  Both storyline’s come together in a climatic finish, and after the game is beat, several open-ended revelations are made.  The story of this game is told in three ways: through the amazing cut scenes, through an animated-comic-book manner, and through dialog with other characters.  Letters and books are also often used to tell about the past.  The story is revealed piece by piece, through flashbacks and conversations with dead souls.  In the end, it makes up an extremely intricate and exquisite tale.
Players have to sit through very long loading periods at frequent intervals.  Also, when some actions are performed, the game freezes up for a few seconds, which can be very annoying.  There are a few glitches which can also cause trouble.
Ellen and Keats both possess different ways to use their Folks.  Ellen summons the body of the defeated Folk, and it fights for her.  This allows Ellen to summon multiple Folks and to run away from danger, but the Folks can be killed and cannot be easily controlled.  Keats, on the other hand, uses the Folks power instead, with the ghostly image of the Folk appearing in front or around him.  This makes it easy to direct attacks with no chance of fail, but can put Keats in danger.   Once enemy Folks are defeated, they can be either killed, or their souls can be absorbed.  Soul absorption utilizes the often-forgotten Dualshock3/Sixaxis Playstation motion sensing capabilities (not to be confused with the recently released Playstation move).   The gameplay is sound, but of the seven different Realms, despite appearing different, all but two possess the same style of gameplay, unaffected by the others.  Gameplay is also fairly linear, and the camera is not the best.
Folklore is a beautiful game with an excellent story, although the frequent load times and the linear gameplay can be annoying.  Sadly, its sales were mediocre, with the Japanese version being the best selling.  However, due to the fact that a sequel would probably ruin the franchise, perhaps things are better this way.  I would recommend buying it (if you can find it) as long as you are prepared for a huge amount of story time.

Visuals: 9.8
Story: 10
Performance: 7
Gameplay: 8
Multiplayer: NA

Play like the Platoon: Dead Space 1 and 2 Strategy

Written by A.K.

While Dead Space may not encompass all the true characteristics of a survival horror game, you will certainly have to survive. This is harder than it sounds, as when I played on normal; I got my arms and legs removed from my body more often than those tags on the sides of beds that say “do not tear off.” Anyway, here are a few tips, and they apply to both games.

           1. Stay Calm:            You, the player, must stay calm. I can’t count how many times an alien was bearing down on me, and I hit the “quickly refill your health” button five times. This used more canisters than I needed, and I soon realized that I really needed those later. You basically need to conserve any resources you have (health, stasis, ammunition, oxygen, etc.), and staying calm helps. It can keep you from spraying your shots all over the room like an 8-year-old with an uzi, and you can instead accurately remove those pesky limbs off their deformed and mutated bodies without wasting any ammunition.

            2. Upgrading:            One of the RPG-like elements of the game is that you can upgrade your weapons and suit, so how do you know what to upgrade. Here’s a tip that helped me a ton. Upgrade only one of your weapons. Make it the biggest, most powerful limb remover around. I recommend the Plasma Cutter, the first weapon that you get, as it can be used in all situations. Upgrade your suit a little, as you don’t want to have only 90 second of oxygen, especially at some parts.

            3. Using Your Super-Weapon: Save it for really hairy, or I suppose fleshy because the necromorphs have no hair, encounters. You’ll collect the most ammo for it if you use it the least as well. Don’t use it when the game sends one little punk at you in a hallway, as that is a time to experiment with kinesis, stasis, and some crazy weird weapons. Save it for when there is a boss fight (Dead Space 1 only, there are literally no bosses in Dead Space 2, only big waves of enemies or just big enemies). Also, save it for the moments where the developers couldn’t think of an interesting room design, and they decide to distract you by sending enough aliens to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool, without water.

            Follow these tips and you may not end up like one of the thousands of dead bodies you come across in the game.