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Posts Tagged ‘Review’

When Worlds “Collide,” Hunter Valentine Comes Out Kicking

The recent popularity of indie rockers Hunter Valentine is well-waranted. After two solid albums (one of which, Lessons From The Late Night, was one of the first great female-fronted rock albums of the decade) the newly-dubbed quartet managed to garner plenty of fame for their famous (or infamous) antics on the reality show The Real L Word. Now that the season is over, it’s time for fans new and old to be reminded why a band such as this needs to exist on this planet. Collide and Conquer, their third album, does just that.

Collide and Conquer combines the two strongest elements of their previous albums: the heart of Impatient Romantic and the anarchistic mindset of Lessons From The Late Night. It starts off not with a skip & a hop, but rather a spring & a pounce with “Liar Liar,” a rousing middle finger to the betrayers. Lead vocalist/guitarist Kiyomi screams “I keep my mind straight over you,” and you can bet she has a sinister plan in store for the fibbers of the world. Newcomer Somer Bingham’s keyboarding during the music break adds a more espionage feel to the song, as if the plot in question will leave a trail a blood back to them.

Click here to read the full review!

“Deadlight” Grows Dim Towards The End

The concept of Tequila Works’ Deadlight seemed like a great idea. Take the gameplay elements of the critically-acclaimed Shadow Complex, toss in an undead scenario during an alternate timeline, and add some cool puzzles to it. It’s a shame, though, that it runs out of steam towards the end.

Taking place in the year 1986, Randall Wayne and a group of friendly survivors are in desperate need to get out of a decimated Seattle. There is word that safe haven can be found outside the town, so the group decides to head on out of there. Unfortunately Randall finds himself separated from everyone else, leaving him to fend for himself against the “Shadows” (their term for the zombies) and alone in his quest to find his wife and daughter.

Click here to read the full review!

"Spec Ops: The Line" Offers New Perspective Into War-Based Gaming

Union general William Tecumseh Sherman once said, “War is Hell.” Gamers who have spent countless hours on any Call of Duty or Battlefield, however, would think that it’s all guns and glory. Perhaps it is time that a game came around to slap these gamers out of their bullet-riddled fantasies and into the harsh realities of serving in the military. That time has come, and it has been presented in 2K Games’ Spec Ops: The Line.

Dubai is in ruins, thanks to a horrible series of sand storms. An evacuation attempt is initiated by General John Konrad and the U.S. Army’s 33rd Battalion, but quickly finds that it’s too much to handle. A message is sent out from Dubai: “This is Colonel John Konrad, United States Army. Attempted evacuation of Dubai ended in complete failure. Death toll: too many.”

Click here to read the full review!

REVIEW A BAD GAME DAY | “Last Action Hero”

Allow me to paint you a picture of a moment in my childhood. It was right after Christmas, 1994. I had just gotten a Sega Genesis with Sonic 2 from jolly ole Saint Nick, and I was as happy as can be. It came time, however, to purchase my second game. Off I was over at KB Toy Works, looking at all the video games behind the counter. With so many choices to go through, a decision was quite tough, and with strict parents who forbade me from playing Mortal Kombat and any of the really cool MA-13 and MA-17 titles my choices were only those that fell into the GA rating.

That’s where I laid my eyes upon it: Last Action Hero. I loved the movie a year before, with Arnold Schwarzenegger spouting classic catchphrases and having clever nods to other big-budgeted films. It was $29.99, so at the time I had to borrow a few bucks from my parents in order to purchase it. (With only getting two dollars a week for allowance, it meant a lot of borrowing from the folks for games.) There I was with Last Action Hero in hand, with a nice big smile on my face.

That smile would soon quickly turn into a frown that would signify a dark moment in my life-long gaming experience…

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"Kinect Sports" Sequel Gets The Competition Going

Okay kiddies, Kinect Sports: Season Two is pretty sweet. It’s definitely a great game to be playing with the hellions, er, young kids in your family. It’s an awesome little set up where it puts you through the activities of the sports with multiple aspects between the sports.

From the video you can see we have baseball, football, golf, skiing, darts, and tennis. Each game has its own fun dynamic. You’re probably asking yourself, “Why Darts? How is that a sports?!” It’s sad to say that this back alley bar game has become a sport; not by Olympic standards, but a sport nonetheless. It is a challenging game they bring to the table, where you have to score 500 points before the other player/computer beats you to the punch. Sadly, I had bought a dart board for my game room recently and it seems almost pointless, but playing the real darts compared to the game is so different from one another. If some one plays the game of darts and they do really good at it they will think there a master, but if they go and play the real thing they will probably suck. (I would know this now due to the countless people who have come over and played darts, missed my dart board, and hit the wall.)

GAMEPLAY:

I’ll take a few moments to explain how to play, because you don’t got all day to really get into it! We will start with America’s past time sport: baseball! This game is interesting because it gives you the chance to both bat and pitch. When you’re at bat you put your arms up and stand at whatever side your comfortable with, and when the pitch is tossed at you take a swing. Easy enough, right? BUT if you don’t crack a home run every time, you have to run in place to get your character to first base. Believe me: if you have carpet then you’re lucky, but if you have tile floors like I do running in place is painful. Baseball will do a number on your body, so prepare to sweat and want to sit down. For the pitching its setup has you step forward into the pitch with your opposite leg (which kind of confused me) to get a fastball. Coming across with your arm a certain way will also get you a curveball. This part of the game it self is great, along with Home Run Derby.

One of my favorite sports that I have been playing since I was in diapers (as if you wanted to know this) is golf. Comparing this to Wii Sports Resort with the added Motion Plus to the controller, I feel that Kinect Sports has it beat for the maneuverability aspect of the game. With the Wii you have to hold the controller and hope the band on it doesn’t break as you swing it into your TV. With the Kinect you stand in front of it to the side you’re comfortable with, setting up your shot by moving side-to-side to where you want the character to shoot it. Then as easy as 1-2-3 you swing, and you basically put the ball where you want it. I’m not saying I don’t like a good challenge, but this game simplifies the movement and makes it a bit more fun than when I’ve had dealing with those trees in Wii Sports Resort.

The last one I’m going to explain is, of course, football. Not football as in soccer, but the weird looking pigskin American football. They designed the game in the sense that you are the quarterback, and you have to toss it to the receiver, and not only that when that receiver catches the ball you have to run in place and make movements to get past the other team. The kicker on this is that its setup has you trying to score a touchdown in four downs. There is no getting past the usual ten yards, which makes the game that much more challenging. For the other team what it does is represent what the other team would do if they got a touchdown, field goal, or stopped. When you play the game make sure you get a field goal or touchdown, because that will effect the outcome for the other team scoring. One problem that I had was my damn couch behind me, to kick a field goal it has to register when you bring your leg back then kick through. In my sense I had to go for it all the time, so no field goal kicking for me. All in all, though, it is very very fun.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

All together Kinect Sports: Season 2 is another great family-oriented game. It has great multiple applications from all the sports, along with the add-on now of basketball for about 400 XBL points. It seems that this game does have great competition against the Wii Sports series, and the reason for this is that the Kinect isn’t all up to spec yet of taking care of the motion capture, whereas the Wii remote has more of the sensitivity towards the game. The Kinect is still working its way up to the full movement, but it needs to also create a better setup with the distance you have to be at for the sensor to read you. That all aside, Kinect Sports: Season 2 in my book is a great.

PROS:

  • Great to play with the family
  • All the sports are very likable
  • Darts is always a good drinking game with friends

CONS:

  • Kinect still doesn’t read all the movements
  • Not happy on the price for the Basketball add-on

GAME: Kinect Sports: Season 2
DEVELOPER: Microsoft Studios, Rareware
PLATFORM: Xbox 360
FINAL GRADE: 8.8 (out of ten)

Challenging Puzzles Lead To An On-Par "Conundrum"

It must be tough for Kim Swift. She could not have even predicted the monster she helped design over at Valve would go on to be a gaming classic. After leaving Valve she went to join Airtight Games, whose last game Dark Void was met with mediocre reviews and some disappointment. With her puzzle-loving schemes she lead her new comrades onward to create a game that treaded familiar ground, while at the same time opened up new doors into the realm of imaginative mechanics. This game would be Square Enix’s Quantum Conundrum, a game that does all it can to step away from its Aperture Science brother’s shadow.

Quantum Conundrum has you take control of a young lad, whose uncle Professor Fitz Quadwrangle (voiced by John de Lancie, AKA Frank Simmons) has gotten himself trapped inside a pocket dimension due to a failed experiment. The Professor’s mansion has now been caught in a massive flux between multiple dimensions, and it is up to you to reverse the damage done by your uncle. To do that, you are given a glove that can switch through these multiple dimensions, as well has help solve puzzles and restart the power generators.

Click here for the full review!

"MotionSports" Gets "Adrenaline" Going…For The Most Part

This fat boy just got a Kinect, and I had to get my hands on MotionSports Adrenaline. These are the types of things that I want to do in real life, but never get to because I’m a bit on the big side. I can tell you one thing: this can give your fat arse a workout!

This game is adrenaline at its best, while standing in front of your TV and doing extreme sports. MotionSports is a very physical game, and does need adequate room for the Kinect to read you properly. So if you are a fat lazy bastard like myself, you may need to take a break due to the fact your arms and legs will get tired from movement. With that said, this game is freakin’ awesome! I have always wanted to know how it feels to jump off a cliff with a wing suit, besides watching all those extreme videos of cliff divers or other things within the realm of extreme.

The setup of MotionSports is pretty easy with movements, although the bloody Kinect doesn’t pick up all the movements that you need to do at the time. I am dealing with a room that’s 12′ by 12′, and I do have a 57″ Sony HD TV. However I also have a three-seater couch on the other side of the TV, and that seems to also hinder the movements of what I do in the game. Of course, this is what I call the second stage in motion capture technology. (I remember back in the day when I played Sega Genesis, where a special golf game that has the little platform and a laser connected to it so you could play golf on the TV.) Now you have multiple options between the systems to play different sports, which I have to say is a beautiful thing. Unfortunately they have yet to perfect everything, and I’m at the point where technology shouldn’t have us fighting to make the games work properly.

The gameplay for MotionSports Adrenaline gives you the capability of playing wing suit, downhill biking, kite surfing, extreme skiing, kayaking, and rock climbing. The order I put them in is from the most liked to most dislike. Wing suit cliff diving has been one of my dreams to go and actually do, but I would have to first jump out of a plane a few hundred times and be able to pull a shoot cord by myself until I can hop in a wing suit. This game skips all that, tosses you right into the wing suit, and pushes you right off a cliff. The issues I found with wing suit diving was when a certain pose came up to do, I did it exactly how it showed on the screen, and then it yelled at me saying I didn’t do it. Sometimes I could’ve gone faster at points, but the little mix up got me to go slower.

Downhill racing is another sport I have always wanted to do, but never had the money for the high-end bikes to hold my arse up. (Recently I got a bike that is a 29-incher, and can hold my fat ass for this kind of stuff.) With this style of movement all you had to do is put your hands near one another as if you’re riding a bicycle. It pedals for you, but your movement is what makes the character go faster. Be careful of the tight turns and other obstacles they put in the way, because crashing out isn’t so much fun.

Kite surfing has you being dragged around on a wakeboard and performing a couple jumps just by wind-power alone. It’s almost set up like biking, but you have to control the kite to get you where you need to go. I have to give it to them on the ramp configurations and the grinding they have set up here. I know you’re asking how is kite surfing extreme, so all you have to do is watch it on TV or YouTube to see how extreme it is. They have kites that are rated from 200-300+ pounds so when the wind takes it, it can lift that weight with ease. When you’re at the beach seeing someone getting dragged along on a wakeboard by one of those, then you’ll know why.

Myself being a snowboarder, I’ve never really been interested in extreme skiing. From the X Games I can see that there are more possibilities with the skiing aspect. The extreme skiing here deals with a hell of a downhill setup configured with coins and jumps to complete in order to go faster down the hill on the speed demon games. This is a tough game, and does a lot to get your body moving.

For the kayaking and rock climbing, these two didn’t seem to be easy to do. Rock climbing dealt with arm movements and jumping, which would be good for someone in physical therapy if their shoulder is messed up. Kayaking, on the other hand, just seemed useless, because the movements are for sitting down, but you have to stand up to kayak. I understand that there’s stand-up paddle boarding, but not on a raging river!!!

FINAL THOUGHTS:

If you get MotionSports Adrenaline you will be able to enjoy about 75% of this game. The game itself isn’t complete, as they have the add-on for 400 XBL points, which I’m not sure is worth it right now. I’m thinking of buying it for the aspect of the add-on wing suit and the downhill racing levels. The game it self is good, but the Kinect seems to be off on some of the game. It’s a shame that the technology hasn’t gotten to where it should be. I wish I could rate it higher, but this game doesn’t have the whole setup that could’ve brought it to it’s full potential.

PROS:

  • Wingsuit cliff diving is so much fun!
  • Music is a very good attribute, gets you amped up
  • May want you to give sports a try in real life

CONS:

  • Kinect doesn’t read all your movements
  • Game can do a number on your body, may cause sweating
  • Rock climbing and kayaking not so much fun.

FINAL GRADE: 7.8 (out of ten)

Check out the maniacs at the real sports!

"Wreckateer" Smashes Medieval Expectations

At the Microsoft Presser Event at E3 this year a little-known title called Wreckateer from Iron Galaxy Studios took me by surprise, and my experience with it on the floors of the convention had me singing nothing but praise. However with the full-game in my possession, does Wreckateer know how to entertain its players without seeming repetitive?

In a gameplay style similar to Angry Birds and Crush the Castle, Wreckateer has players take controller of a crossbow (known here as a Ballista) and attempt to destroy castles and the goblins that reside in them. Using the Kinect you will have to aim, launch, curve, fly, explode, and even leap your weapons towards the towering buildings and taunting green freaks. As the game levels rise, so does its difficulty.

Click here for the full review!

Co-Op "CrossCounter" Excessively Repetitive

Sollmo had an online hit on its hands when it brought its cutesy fighter RPG Buddy Rush onto smartphones, tablets, and Facebook last year. This year they nix the cuteness for badass animesque characters battling robots in Operation CrossCounter. Unfortunately it comes with its flaws. Operation CrossCounter has you and two online players/AI characters battle […]

Nvidia releases a new video card


Nvidia recently released a new video card to the masses. Does it measure up? Does it unseat the previous top dog the AMD Radeon 7970? Read on to find out.

Nvidia has been teasing their new Kepler architecture for a while now promising something amazing when it finally arrived. Well they delivered. It is priced less than the Radeon 7970, and delivers between 5 and 30 percent gains across the board. At a baseline price of $499, nothing in that price range comes close.

Some of the most interesting tech in this video card is the new GPU Boost system.  What this does is dynamically adjusts the clock speed of the card depending on the demands on it. So it could be clocked at 1GHz and then adjust itself to 1.2 GHz automatically.

AnandTech said GTX 680 gives 5 to 20 percent gains over the HD 7970 in most of the recent games, with “wholly unexpected and completely stunning” gains as high as 28 percent in games like Battlefield 3 and Portal 2. The card even hung with the Radeon HD 6990 and GTX 590, not bad when you consider that those dual-GPU cards sell for about $200 more. Overall, AnandTech says “this is by far the easiest recommendation we’ve been able to make for an NVIDIA flagship video card.”

HardOCP said “We were somewhat amazed at how this NVIDIA GPU does when it comes to gaming, pricing, efficiency, and features.”  “The GeForce GTX 680 is NVIDIA’s current flagship video card with a set MSRP of $499. This puts it in competition with AMD’s Radeon HD 7970 primarily, although you can find some customized and overclocked HD 7950 cards are close to $499 as well. The Radeon HD 7970 is more expensive at $549 but has often been found at even higher prices close to or over $600, again for customized and overclocked models. We have been complaining that AMD has been running roughshod over the consumer in term of pricing due to NVIDIA not providing any competition. Well, all that just ended today. Taking into consideration that NVIDIA’s GTX 680 is simply less expensive in terms of silicon and RAM the lower price may not be surprising. The fact that the GeForce GTX 680 is simply a better video card than the Radeon HD 7970 is bound to surprise many…of those of you that live under a rock considering all of the leaks NVIDIA has allowed in the past weeks.”  This pretty much sum everything up in a single paragraph.

Tom’s Hardware stated “Sometimes, when a new graphics card launches, we really have to put some effort into figuring out whether the performance and features justify the price. It’s not a science, and the right answer isn’t always crystal clear. This is not one of those times.

GeForce GTX 680 is now the fastest single-GPU graphics card, and not by a margin that leaves room to hem or haw. Making matters worse for AMD, the GTX 680 is priced right between its Radeon HD 7970 and 7950. Providing that Nvidia’s launch price sticks, both Radeon HD 7900s need to be significantly less expensive in order to compete. I’d expect to see the 7970 drop $100. The 7950 would have to slide $50 to leave some room between the 7870 and 7970.”

Overall if you’re in the market for a high end video card this is the one to get. Unless of course you have an AMD processor.

 

 

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