Gotham City Impostors Wins Heroically.

11 02 2012

Gotham City Impostors Review

I thought this day would never come.  I’ve wanted Gotham City Impostors since the first time I laid hands on it at PAX ’11, and it arrives stronger and better than ever.

Gotham City Impostors is a downloadable first person shooter arcade title brought to you from WB and Monolith.  GCI puts you in the position of wannabe Batmen and Jokers who aren’t afraid to use any means necessary to inflict pain and trauma to their enemies.  As serious as all that sounds, every character is a goof and the game has a very joke oriented feeling.  But underneath it’s cartoonish exterior is a serious FPS title.

Gotham City Impostors has 3 multiplayer modes, 1 challenge and 1 tutorial mode.  The 3 multiplayer modes include Fumigation, Psyche Warfare, and the standard Team Deathmatch.  Fumigation is a conquest/domination type mode where each team tries to capture and hold 3 points in attempt to poison the other team with toxic gas.  Classy right?  In Psyche Warfare you attempt to connect a centrally located battery  to your bases “demotivational loudspeakers”.  The demotivational infomercial music bores into the opposing teams psyche forcing them into a slap happy frenzy.  Be on your toes though, slapping can still kill.  If you’re tired of the same old grind, “Challenge” maps are available for you to improve or test your skills with gold/silver/and bronze rewards.

A huge successful portion to Gotham City Impostors, besides the obvious creative concept, is your characters “Secret Identity.”  This is where GCI far surpasses Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and has it heading into the same arena as Team Fortress 2.  Loadouts, costumes, calling cards, and gangs are all customizable.  Each loadout includes weapons, support items, gadgets, fun facts, psyche profiles, and a body type that leads to almost endless possibilities and a deeply engrossing experience.  I’m a chick when it comes to customizing my characters, so I’m in hog heaven with each piece I can change on my impostors costume.  If customization isn’t your thing and you’re only content knowing you’ve slayed everything in sight,  GCI lets you check your progression to stardom with record tracking, feats of prowess, stamps of excellence, achievements and the all important leaderboards.

Gotham City Impostors isn’t all unicorns and rainbows, it does have some chinks in it’s bedazzled armor.  Matchmaking and joining a match with your party are still having issues even after the beta.  And unless your actually in a party you MUST listen to everyone speak because there is no mute player.  Seriously, no player mute.  It’s like having all the losers of American Idol in your ear and having to endure their train wreck performance.  Funny as that may sound, it’s not an enjoyable experience after about 10 minutes.  But all is not lost true believers, WB and Monolith have already detailed a piece of DLC that’s dropping sometime next month that includes a new map, weapons, a support item, costume choices, and a fun fact.  There will also be patch fixes for joining in-progress matches and the all important ability to mute players.

Gotham City Impostors is a fresh take on the first person shooter genre while still managing to stay true to it’s roots.  It’s a solid, fun, comedic title that deserves a lot of attention.  With a $15 price tag, 1,ooo character levels, and 106 downloadable cosmetic items with more scheduled to drop next month, GCI promises to make sure you never have to leave your house again.  Unless it’s to fight make believe crime in game.  Don’t try vigilante justice in a cape in real life, this isn’t Kick Ass, so behave yourself.

Gotham City Impostors scores an A.




Kingdom of Amalur or Fable with Brains

9 02 2012

I just got Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Tuesday, and I love it! It manages to blend the hack and slash style gameplay with a decent World of Warcraft-esque talent system and creates a fun adventure.  I, however, fail to see Todd McFarlane’s art design anywhere in the game, despite his usual iconic style.

The game functions on the concept of Fates. Which basically amounts to a very generalized class system. You are given 3 starters Might, Finesse, and Sorcery or Fighter, Rogue, and Mage.  As you gain experience in levels and power, you can specialize directly in each of those paths, or diverge talent points into a duo hybrid fate/trio.  Each granting bonuses to that play style, allowing a great deal of customization. All in all, this seems like a mature version of Fable, with a greatly improved quest system. Though I think the map functions decently, I think it should be more customizable and I wish I didn’t have to drop into the start menu every time to see a larger picture of it.

While the weapons pictured above are the pre-order bonus items, I wanted to give you guys an idea of what was in the game.  For “might” players, you have greatswords, warhammers, and 1-handed  swords. Sorcery players receive staves, sceptres, a unique melee weapon: the chakram, which functions more or less as a dual wielded set of ring blades.  In a word: FAST. Lastly, the “finesse” player is granted daggers and my personal favorite, the faeblade. Faeblades are basically (for WoW players) the Twin Blades of Azzinoth. A medium sized fist weapon with dual blades on either side. This weapon is slightly weak but its speed more than makes up for the lack of damage.

All in all, I think Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a well crafted adventure, that will keep you entertained for a large portion of time.  I’ve already spent a few hours playing and I haven’t even left the first set of quest hubs.  So I think it will last me a long time, provided I don’t get too drawn back into Mass Effect to correct the mistakes that got Wrex killed.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning scores a B+.


LA Noir, Not My Cup of Joe

6 02 2012

My recent travel back in time didn’t involve stolen uranium, 1.21 gigawatts or even a time machine.  I was thrown into the year 1947 as a green cop on the streets of an ever expanding Los Angeles in LA Noir.  This isn’t a review of LA Noir since I couldn’t get myself to actually finish the game.  The fault wasn’t for lack of trying though, LA Noir just isn’t my type of game.

LA Noir was defeated early on because I’m just not into the era of the 1940’s and 50’s.  I don’t like the music, slang or fedoras.  But LA Noir is highly regarded as a creative IP so I took my chances and tried my hand at detective work.  News flash!  I blow at being a detective.  I’m terrible at it apparently.  After proving myself on the streets I was given my first chance at interrogation, have you seen that video with the zeppelin going up in flames, yeah that was my interrogation… six times.  I could not read the suspects “emotions” at all, leaving me with 1 out of 4 questions answered correctly.  Knowing that I’m missing something in the game that could eventually lead to an undesirable outcome infuriated me.  I wanted perfection and I couldn’t achieve it.  Plus investigating crime scenes was boring and I really wanted to actually arrest people not shoot first and ask questions later.  Did no police officer or detective in the 1950’s actually arrest anyone who ran from them?  Because I had to shoot even the pettiest of felons.

LA Noir did have positive marks.  The Los Angeles landscape is beautiful and the facial animations were incredible.  The voice acting could have used some work but were good enough that you could genuinely hear the emotions the actor was trying to portray.  Although frustrating as hell, I couldn’t stop playing LA Noir.  I kept telling myself, “one more case,” like there was some light at the end of the tunnel and all my problems would be solved, but they never were and my lack of interrogation skills continued to actually get worse.  Fiance forced her hand and made me give up on being a detective.  Plus Cole was just way too intense, how can he live with himself when he’s a jerk to everyone.  How do you yell at a wife who’s husband is missing and possibly dead?  Cole Phelps is a dick.


I Lose My Head In NeverDead

3 02 2012

NeverDead Review

I’m a sucker for creative and innovative games.  Catherine with it’s puzzles and “truth/lie” meter, Brink‘s “easy” parkour button, LittleBigPlanet‘s creat-a-world, the Portal gun, Heavy Rain and it’s interactive storytelling, and now NeverDead with immortal limb dismemberment and head throwing antics.  Some ride into the sunset as successful ingenious masterpieces while others fizzle and become well intentioned duds.  NeverDead is the latter.  The chance to be an immortal demon hunter who can lose a leg and still hobble around murdering monsters and blowing up destructible environments sounded like a recipe for success.  The ingredients were all there, just the mix, temp and time of prep were off.  Something in NeverDead doesn’t jive.

Visually there is nothing wrong with NeverDead.  Like looking outside and seeing a beautiful first snow covering the ground and trees from the warmth of your home, when really outside is friggin snot freezing to your face cold and there are deadly wrecks with people trapped in rollovers just down the street.  NeverDead in action looks fantastic, monsters designed by Todd McFarlane and cutscenes that are just amazing.  Some top of the line titles don’t even have great looking cutscenes like these.  And the dismemberment technology isn’t really anything new, but it’s a new thing as the protagonist.  What a great theory, and that’s where it faults, theory.  Unfortunately the dismemberment, even on the easiest difficult is vastly exploited.  From the very first enemy you get attacked by, your limbs begin to look less and less important. Every monster dismembers you, and you spend a majority of your time picking up limbs or rolling around with only your head.  It’s very frustrating and difficult to manage the average 10 hours of gameplay doing this.  Like your bigger brother hitting you with your own fist and asking, “Why you hitting yourself” you quickly ask yourself…”why am I hitting myself?”

NeverDead‘s story isn’t bad by any means, it’s just lack luster and forgettable.  I just finished the game and I can only remember Bryce’s name out of my two annoying allies and the one main boss with a pre-victorian southern accent.  It’s the same story heard a thousand times, avenge your fallen love, trapped in your inner sorrow, you know, that song and dance. The only thing that made these scenes even worth watching was the insane graphics.  Each level you’re thrown into becomes monotonous, the same enemies you fight over and over using the same four weapons your allowed becomes tedious and unimaginative.

Everything about NeverDead isn’t all hum glum (is that even a saying?  Whatever).  The point is there are shining qualities to NeverDead, that if used later and proved upon could make a top notch title.  The experience and leveling system is a nice touch.  Given 10 slots to put “abilities” into makes you somewhat more of a bad ass.  With extra bullet damage, better accuracy, fire bullets and the ability to slow down time to dodge attacks all come in very useful when trying to be successful in combat.  The small cache of weapons given to you is both a blessing and a curse.  Ammo is abundant and switching weapons is easy, but the puny damage producing weapons and a close range sword (even though it looks way cool) leaves you vulnerable to decapitation often.  The strategy of using the destructible environments is essential, thankfully the monsters you fight regularly knock over pillars and beams, ending their clumsy lives.

Unfortunately NeverDead was more of a burden on my life then an enjoyable experience.  You win some, you lose some in the video game industry.  I liked what Rebellion was trying to do, hell I respect it.  It shows that developers are defying the norm, exiting the comfort realm of Call of Duty or Madden.  I don’t think time could have healed NeverDead‘s wounds, but at least no one can say it didn’t try.

NeverDead scores a C+.


Finally a Party Game for Kinect! Double Fine Happy Action Theater Reviewed

1 02 2012

Double Fine Happy Action Theater Review

I’ll be the first to say that I’m a fanboy of both Double Fine and the legend himself Tim Schafer.  In my eyes they can do no wrong.  I know as a reviewer this can sometimes make being unbiased towards a title difficult, but lucky for us Double Fine did a great job with Happy Action Theater.

Released today for only 800 Microsoft Points ($10 in real moneys) this 322 MB party jewel can be yours.  Double Fine Happy Action Theater is filled with 18 mini-games, all of which are playable right out of the gate.  My wife and I sampled all of them, even after spending as little as 2 or 3 minutes on some we still managed to become winded and spent nearly an hour playing the whole library.  I felt that not all were winners, so I employed my 5 year old daughter to try out all of them as well.  She of course loved them all.  Who would have known popping balloons, dancing in a kaleidoscope, and planting flowers could be so fun.  We personally enjoyed the music, monster crushing buildings and freeze frame camera.

My one legged family.

There are very few faults with the game, most of the problems come from the Kinect itself.  My daughter would have difficulty exiting games.  Such a small flaw in the combination of the game and Kinect is barely even worth noting.  The recognition of 3 people was superb and I would really like to try up to the 6 maximum it allows.

Pick up Double Fine Happy Action Theater  today and have some family oriented fun or drunk adult parties.  Either way you win with Kinect’s first ultimate party title.

Double Fine Happy Action Theater scores an A.


Soul Calibur V Review

31 01 2012

SoulCalibur V is probably the most polished in the series as far as graphics are concerned, which should be a given, being that it’s the newest addition to the franchise and also on a next gen console. But where it really seems to shine for me is not so much the actual fighting but in the character creation.

You are given tables upon tables of loots and options to change various characters or create your own. Then you may edit a custom thumbnail view of that character with backgrounds, foregrounds and other just silly options.  A sharks open maw surrounding your character as he sits down to a tea party, for example.  SCV also features a unique almost Modern Warfare-esque Title system that allows you to add custom titles to your online profile, like mine which boldly states in all it’s troll glory: Serious Business.

However, where SCV falls short is both the character actual design and sheer number of characters.  So far I’m pretty sure I have only encountered two actual new characters: Viola and Z.W.E.I.  Viola has a unique combo attack system where she leaves a floating ball of energy that can be summoned back to her claw hand or thrown at the opposing fighter.  Z.W.E.I. has a single sword which is almost tonfa like in its usage as well as a ghostly wolf that can be used in tandem with his melee skills. The other so called new characters are really just re-skinned versions of old classics, Xiba for Kilik, Aeon for Lizard Man, having replaced his shield for dual axes but given him no greater ability to wield the two.

Another downfall to the series that has been added in this iteration is the hokey super move system which functions much like the no brain moves of Marvel vs Capcom and the Street Fighter series. A few button presses can be entered, and grant the player or computer a nearly undodgeable attack which will be spammed by skilless nOObs and AI players alike granting victory to the undeserving.

But other than a couple flaws here and there, it seems to hold up pretty nicely.  You can even name XBL players as your nemesis, and watch their stats increase or decrease as they and you play.  And returning to the titles I mentioned earlier, you can capture opposing players titles by defeating them in matches across XBL.

I’m sure that none of what I deem negative will detract too much from the entirety of the game’s fun factor and I will probably continue to be a hardcore fan in spite of what I hate most about new games.  So if you are a franchise fan like myself, or looking for that entry level fighter that doesn’t require the sychophantism or fan-boyism of Street Fighter, King of Fighters, or MvC, but rather can be picked up and played by both casuals and the hardcore, give SoulCalibur V a try.

Also, it’s got that pole swinging, hay diving, high flying yahoo from Assassin’s Creed.

That is all.


Genki Bowl VII DLC Review Is Here!

30 01 2012

Saints Row: The Third‘s first mission based DLC has arrived and conveniently so has this review.

Genki Bowl VII is here to deliver more pain for Saints Row: The Third.  For 560 Microsoft points ($7.99 in real moneys) you can have 4 added “mini-games” and 3 new homies.  Every  “mini-game” has two missions and is as explosive and exploitive as you’d expect it to be.

  • Apocalypse Genki is essentially Super Ethical Reality Climax, it’s just enough to get you excited for the what’s in store next.
  • Super Ethical PR Opportunity is an escort mission where you take Professor Genki himself from the airport to a “meet and greet” of sorts at the local Let’s Pretend.  Professor Genki is hilarious, he was always punching random citizens when I would pick him up.  His car, which you receive for completing the missions, charges up 4 flame throwers on the vehicle that charges up by hitting people on the sidewalk.  The more damage you do, the more pleased Genki is with you.
  • Sexy Kitten Yarngasm is the Mayhem mission where you destroy as much sh*t in your way as possible.  The more things you destroy in a row, the bigger combo you get, and the more subsequent points you earn.  Maybe one of the more frustrating games because apparently yarn is a difficult material to roll around.  It’s no American Gladiators cage ball…thing.
  • Sad Panda Skyblazing is a completely new game.  Sky dive through burning rings, blow up ethical tiger hot air balloons, land on rooftops to chainsaw unsuspecting mascots, then blast yourself off the roof via a cannon.  You know, normal day to day stuff.

If you just can’t get enough Saints Row, these added missions are well worth your time and money.

Saints Row: The Third’s Genki Bowl VII scores a B+.