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.




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.


Top 5 on the Fly. Pimps, Gimps and Furrys, OH MY!

29 12 2011

For today’s “Top 5 on the Fly” let’s talk about the funnest game of the year, Saints Row: The Third.

From the trailer alone you can see that Saints Row: The Third is just mayhem…INSANE MAYHEM!  The open world of Steelport is filled with gangs, hookers, cops and even furrys.  There’s so many fun things to do in fact, that I’ve completed 50% of the game and have only finished 27 main storyline missions, 27!  13 hours invested and I’ve barely even scraped the surface.  There’s deep customization of your character and vehicle, and a Rep leveling system that feels similar to any quality RPG out there.  Volition has really outdone themselves with this one delivering us a hand painted masterpiece followed up with a swift kick to the crotch.  Saints Row: The Third is my top pick for most bang for your buck.  And in the spirit of Saint’s Row please make that last statement as dirty and raunchy in your mind as possible.


Dark Souls Hurt My Soul.

24 12 2011

Dark Souls Review

Let me begin this review with the honest statement that I did not care to finish Dark Souls.  I didn’t play Demon’s Souls, it’s predecessor, so I had no idea what I was getting myself into and had heard that Dark Souls was one of the hardest games of the year.  I’m good at most games, have a pretty decent amount of patience (I beat Catherine on Easy and Normal, so that has to mean something) and really wanted to see what Dark Souls was all about.  Well I found out it’s all about frustration.  I don’t understand how this game is rated so highly.  I’m going to try to make this an unbiased review and not just some troll session, so please bear with me.

Dark Souls starts slow, with one cut scene trying to describe the story to you, because after that, there’s nothing.  Just you wandering around reading bloody scripts on the ground as a half ass tutorial.  The menus are confusing, with descriptions of objects that just tell about their lore and not how they benefit you.  Oh, square means I drink this stuff for HP, thanks for not telling me that bloody scripts.  You begin with character customization where you choose your combatant, anything from a knight to a mage, the choice is yours.  I chose the knight, powerful with a good deal of HP.  The customization has a few faces to choose from and some body types, nothing too detailed.  After that you’re thrown into the unforgiving world of Dark Souls.  The first thing you notice is that the graphics are unimpressive.  Very circa 2000 Dreamcast style, I don’t normally let poor graphics bother me, I enjoyed the hell out of Deadly Premonition, so wandering around this jagged edged world wasn’t it’s downfall.  The relentless combat style was what killed Dark Souls for me.  Timing is everything and apparently I didn’t have it.  Every monster strikes differently, faster or slower, once or with combination strikes.  Needless to say I died, a lot.  I was determined to not let this bring me down and continued to trudge through the trenches.  But in the end, Dark Souls had defeated me, defeated my will to continue to play.

I had read many other reviews and people’s opinions on Dark Souls and have come to this conclusion.  People who claim that Dark Souls is their “Game of the Year” are A.) Liars, B.) Attempting a humble brag saying their really good at games, or C.) Being a gaming Hipster by liking what the gaming norm says isn’t worthy of being a GOTY.  “I was playing Dark Souls before anyone liked it.”  STFU hipster.  Dark Souls is challenging and unforgiving, the combat is responsive but lacks fluidity, menus are clunky and unhelpful, and character customization is lacking depth.  I had a hard time wanting to play Dark Souls, a game that frustrated me to no end, when I could be playing titles that were fun and made me happy such as Saints Row: The Third and Star Wars: The Old Republic.  A punch to the gut would be less painful.

I was going to finish Dark Souls…but I took an arrow to the knee.

Enjoy hours of unrewarding drab gameplay, Dark Souls scores a B-.


Saints Row: The Third is Exaggerated.

20 12 2011

Saints Row the Third Review

Saints Row: The Third is exaggerated…and is awesome because of it.  This may very well be one of the shortest reviews I will ever do for a game because simply put, Saints Row: The Third is a must buy title.  Some games are narrative masterpieces, others are genre defining, Saints Row is just flat out fun.  Be warned though, if you like boring linear games that are on rails with drab gray scale environments, than please by all means do not buy Saints Row.  But if you like open world exploration, bright neon colors of the city, creative side missions, easily accessible multiplayer, with hilarious characters and story lines all under one roof, then Saints Row: The Third is for you.  I apologize it took me so long to review this title, I was so in the dark at how awesome this game is that I just now picked it up a few days ago and it’s all I can talk about.  I mean, I’m missing early access to Star Wars the Old Republic because of it.  IT’S MADNESS!!! I can’t put Saints Row down.

Let me digress and divulge a little more information as to why Saints Row: The Third does GTA better than GTA.  Character customization is insanely detailed, you can literally create any weird or normal person you want.  Big/small, fat/skinny,Russian/British, gold or green the options are almost endless.  And they don’t stop there, after you create your obtuse caricature you can choose a funny action that you will use to compliment someone, then turn around and choose a raunchy motion to taunt that very same person.  It’s hilarious, I spent almost all of my time crying laughing as I customized my character.

The controls in Saints Row are very straightforward and easy to grasp early on.  Driving tanks, helicopters, cars and boats are all really simple.  Weapon accuracy is tight and responsive.  With all of these complimenting each other, launching a rocket from a helicopter, jumping from said helicopter, parachuting, shooting people from said parachute, landing, shooting more people then hopping through your getaway vehicles window “Dukes of Hazard” style is a piece of cake.  Did you catch all that?  Because in Saints Row, that happens.

In Saints Row: The Third your part of the most notorious gang in Stilwater, so notorious that you have become somewhat of a star.  Your whole purpose besides doing the main storyline progression is to gain 100% control of Stilwater.  You do this by purchasing property (such as Meth Labs, crack houses, chop shops, etc), completing crazy side missions (Heli assault, trafficking,tank mayhem, insurance fraud, guardian angel, and the time attack Prof. Genki Super Ethical Reality Climax) and finally beating down gangs to take control of their “corners” in Stilwater.  With Stilwater being a huge city with so much to do, there’s rarely a dull moment.

So I guess it’s safe to assume I love this game and I tell everyone I talk games with to buy it.  Saints Row: The Third is a refreshing title that allows you to kick back and just blow shit up without worrying about the consequences.  It’s a very carefree title that doesn’t stress me out, in fact, it really brightens my day…that just shows what a strange character I am.

Saints Row: The Third scores an overly enthusiastic A.

And also here’s the new DLC trailer.