Tomb Raider (2013 Video Game Review)

TombRaider2013To all those curious, Tomb Raider is the origin story of the famous heroine Lara Croft. Instead the sort of one-dimensional, large chested woman, we meet a young, vulnerable girl who finds herself fighting for her life. This game is the evolution of the killer that we all know. First, I would like to mention how they really turned Lara into a perfect mix between sexy and brave. It’s really epic.

The story is also amazing. As the gamer, we fight wolves, hunt deer and defend ourselves against heartless men who want nothing more than to kill you and your friends. Armed with a bow, it’s your job to protect the ones you care about. The other characters are pretty good in this, they really offer support and make you want to save them. Sometimes supporting characters give you no reason to want to save them, but that really isn’t the case here.

The graphics are refreshing. They’re not the best in the world, but they are still very good. The character models and the environment are strong, but not perfect for a 2013 video game. There is a bit of clipping, but nothing that takes away from the game. As far as length is concerned, the game took about three days to beat, but I played a lot in those three days. It will probably take an even longer time if you want to 100% it. If I have time, I might 100% the game, but that depend on how bored I get and how many games/movies/books I need to play/watch/read. That’s a lot of options. Anyways, I’m rambling.

Overall, the game is great and might stand as one of the best games of the year.

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Dishonored (Video Game Review)

Dishonored-box-art-1-Want to read a review of the video game Dishonored? Then check out my review over at The Artifice. I’m hoping to have a review out here tomorrow, it might be of the film, Young Adult. It might not, though, I won’t say. 😉

 

Ah Hell, it probably is. 😛

 

Crusader Kings II (Video Game Review)

Crusader_Kings_II_box_artIn Crusader Kings II, you play as any old country during the Medieval times, you can start close to 1100 and the game ends right before the Renaissance. Also, by any country, I mean pretty much Catholic only. You can start the game as a count, a duke or even a King! But you better watch out and have a good spymaster because everyday a son, wife or enemy empire might be planning your early fall. The game doesn’t end when you die, though, it only really ends when you die…and you have no direct heir. Or obviously when you reach the year of the Renaissance.

I like the look of the game, it’s quite simplistic which helps when you find yourself playing for 7 hours straight. It is a big like a history lesson, but then again it isn’t because your basically changing history. In one of my playthroughs, France was wiped out and taken over by The Holy Roman Empire and Norway, also England. In one of my brother’s his Kingdom of Ireland swallowed up England, which would really change history, wouldn’t it? Those kind of scenarios are fun to think about when playing. It’s also nice to think like your character, you have to make decisions that benefit the kingdom, your sons and possibly your enemies if you want to stay in power. Continue reading

Sleeping Dogs: The Zodiac Tournament (Review)

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Plot

Undercover agent, Wei Shen, must travel to a mysterious island to take place in a dangerous fighting competition that ends when only one person remains. He must win if he wants to live and get tons and tons of prize money! But mostly so he can live.

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Pros

The story and execution are really well done and who wouldn’t want a DLC like this? It really relies on hand-to-hand combat, so you better be ready to kick some ass. If you don’t have too many cool moves, I’d recommend that you wait a while, though the combat isn’t too bad. The leader of the tournament looks like you typical movie bad guy which made me chuckle.

Cons

This is really, really short. I beat it in less than an hour, which was depressing because it costs around four bucks, I think. I didn’t necessarily feel robbed, but I would have preferred a longer game, especially since it feels like the put a lot of time into building the environment. Had it been longer, this would have been the perfect DLC, though the final boss is a bit too easy.

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Sleeping Dogs (Video Game Review)

Sleeping_Dogs_-_Square_Enix_video_game_coverSleeping Dogs, once known as True Crime: Hong Kong, is a 2012 video game from United Front Games. You play as Wei Shen, an undercover cop who must bring down the Triad. He builds relationships with both cops and criminals to the point where you, the player, become conflicted on how you want the game to end. As well as a main quest, there are also side missions, cop quests and mini-games. Some of the mini games include cock fights and karaoke bars.

The games fighting system is very similar to Arkham Asylum, the Batman game. You press Y (Xbox) to counter and X (Xbox) to hit people. It sounds simple, but it gets tougher with more and more enemies. As the game progresses, you learn more moves which helps you overcome different enemies. I don’t feel like the fighting brings anything new to the gaming world, but it doesn’t detract from the game and isn’t too complicated to pick up.

There is no ability to customize the biological nature of your character (sex, weight, features) but you can pick through dozens of different clothes. The styles of clothes are very diverse, there are “common” clothes, like T-Shirts and pants, and then they have suits and such. There are also some pretty fun costumes that you unlock, most of which make great pop culture references. The vehicles in the game are pretty cool too. You can buy all sorts of cool, fast cars but they will surely punch Wei Shen where it counts, his wallet. You can also drive motorcycles, which is what I preferred, only because I enjoyed flying through awesome jumps and weaving in and out of traffic. The driving mechanics are pretty good, though it does take some time getting used to driving on the left side of the road.

All the different side quests are pretty interesting, some being tougher to complete than others. The mini-games are also fun, though the cock fights are tough and mostly based on luck, same can be said for gambling. I like the street races, but the motorcycle races drove me crazy. The fight clubs were a bit tough, so it’s pretty rewarding when you win. As far as the main story is concerned, it was probably one of the best stories in video game history, or at least this current generation. The beginning and middle are amazing, to the point where you can’t wait to pick up the controller and play some more. The ending could have been better, but I still enjoyed it.

There were some minor glitches throughout the game, but you can easily look past those because the game is just that entertaining. Most of the glitches have to do with a funky camera that looks up or starts moving for no reason. I also found that the fact that I’ve been done with the main story for a while, yet I still just enjoy driving around the city, occasionally doing side quests. I’m the kind of gamer that never does that.

Overall

+ An amazing open-world game with a compelling story

+ Great side quests that keep you playing long after the story is over.

+ Good fighting mechanics

– Minor glitches that sometimes stop the flow of gaming.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Video Game Review)

Plot

The year is 2025 and war has not changed, though there are some pretty cool new gadgets. You play as David Mason, with a few missions as Alex Mason (BlOps Main Character). As David, you try to stop a terrorist leader whose anger towards America started back when Alex was still fighting.

Pros

The gameplay is great, though it’s basically just the last few Call of Duty games updated. The voice acting is also superb, with some real stars providing their voice, Sam Worthington, Michael Rooker and Michael Keaton to name a few. Probably the best thing, though, is the story. It was something that really hooked me in and didn’t let go until the credits had ceased.

Cons

Doesn’t meet all that it hyped up and promised. The online is basically the same, with some decent maps but nothing really epic.

 

Didn’t realize just how much we needed you…Halo 4 (Video Game Review)

Plot

Master Chief is back, and this time he not only battles elites and grunts, but an ancient evil now stands between him and saving the world. Also, Cortana is way past her expiration date and it is starting to show as she begins to get out of control.

Pros

The story is superb. It is interesting and fresh and you can tell 343 Industries really loves this series. The gameplay is great as usual, though I’m not going to lie, I was used to Call of Duty when I started playing. The online play is pretty good too, there’s a lot of people playing and some interesting game types.

Cons

While the story is great, it isn’t meant for newer players of the game series. Most won’t understand what is going on. The story might be too short for some.

 

Borderlands 2 (Review)

 

Plot 

You have returned to Pandora, though this time as new guys. It is now your job to stop Handsome Jack, an evil, evil dude who has already tried to kill you once and will keep on doing so until you’re dead. Also, there’s a lot of guns.

Pros

The gameplay is great. You shoot a lot of wild beasts and crazy murderers and get lots and lots of guns. I also feel that there is more character development, mostly with some of the characters from the first game. The story line is also very interesting.

Cons

I’m very bummed that you can’t store health vials in this game. I mean I can have full health, walk by one and then get shot and die. Just let me store one, at least one!

Score

4.5 out of 5

 

NBA 2k12 (Short Review)

NBA 2K12

NBA 2K12 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve never really wanted to review a sports game, mostly because I can’t find too much to talk about. Anyways, I’ve decided that little short reviews for sports games should be good and helpful. Now for the review…

Some positive aspects to NBA 2k12 are the gameplay mechanics and the graphics. Most, if not all, of the athlete’s faces look like the real player, which is great. The game is mostly smooth, though there is the occasional hiccup. One other thing that I love is the commentary. It might be some of the best I’ve heard. They are pretty accurate which enriches the experience.

The biggest problem I have is the difficulty. Even on rookie setting it is hard. I’m the kind of person that likes to pick up and play, not have to read instructions to do simple things. Many of the moves are tricky and require you to be a hand contortionist.

Overall, this is and enjoyable game. It is the kind you can play with friends and have an enjoyable night. It is sort of cheap right now, I saw it at one store for $30 used, which is well priced. With that, I give it an 8.5 out of 10.

Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut out June 26

It has been announced that the highly anticipated DLC to the video game Mass Effect 3 will be available on June 26. Apparently the DLC will clock in at 1.9GB, making it one huge download. It is supposed to expand on the ending, making it more personal to all the choices that you made.

Now let’s hope the creators give the fans what they ask for, and not add to their disappointment.

Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition (Review)

First, I’d like to say that I have played Minecraft since around the time it was first released. In that time, I’ve seen it change for better and for worse. There were issues with my computer that have prevented me from being able to play it, so when this version was finally released, I was excited and hopeful. Especially with all the things that this version promised.

For once, I’d actually like to start with pointing out the bad stuff, primarily the fact that there is no Kinect compatibility. Now I’m not so much a fan of the Kinect, I mean mine is currently gathering dust, but I would have like to see this promise come with the games release. Instead, we’ll have to wait.

As for the game’s controls, they are very nice. The simplicity of the controls add to the game, making you sometimes forget the this was originally a computer game. I also enjoy the games ability to save anywhere through the pause menu. Those are just two of the many exciting things from this game.

Now I have not actually played the game on a setting other than Peaceful, so I’m not quite sure how the combat feels, though I have shot my fair share of pigs with an arrow. Also, when buying the game, you must know that there will be several changes over the coming months, similar to what has happened to the PC version.

Overall, I have enjoy spending countless hours playing this game. It may not be perfect, but it still is Minecraft. I give this an 8 out of 10.

Alan Wake’s American Nightmare (Review)

I love Alan Wake, there I said it. The first game had an amazing story that I felt outshines the few negative things it had, such as graphics and repetitiveness. Now on to the next tale in the Alan Wake series…

Alan Wake’s American Nightmare is a play on the known term, the American Dream and this game is way closer to dream than nightmare. The game plays a lot nicer, with the same point and shoot aspect but with way more weapons. Now, Alan can find shotguns and assault rifles, which I can’t remember being too prominent in the previous game. The story itself is also really good, though the levels can be a bit frustrating but more on that later. The voice of Alan Wake has returned and gives an even more haunting performance as Mr. Scratch. When it comes to voice actors he is among the best.

Now, back to the game’s levels. First off, there are only three levels, which are all beautifully done and are fun to explore. The bad thing, however, it you visit each place three times a piece. That would be great if you weren’t doing the same thing over and over. One upside, however, is that you get to listen and watch some amazing things via radio shows and randomly place TV’s. Despite being annoying, it doesn’t make me hate the game.

While it isn’t Alan Wake, and I’m glad it’s not Alan Wake 2, this games serves as a wonderful prologue to (hopefully) the eventual Alan Wake 2. I give this an 8.5 out of 10. You can buy this game for $15 on Xbox Live Arcade.

Dead Island (Review)

If there is one genre that is gaining popularity, it is definitely the zombie genre. From the days where a zombie movie would be released every year or two to now where there are zombies in TV and video games, as well as movies and books. As a fan of the genre, I will take a look and observe one of the latest zombie video games, Dead Island.

The game starts out with a cool intro showing all of the playable characters. The game then allows you to choose from those four characters. Each one has their own specialty, either sharp objects, guns, thrown objects or blunt weapons. Along with that, each character has a unique back story. One of the four is a former football player whose career ended after a drunk driving accident while another is a rapper who is trying to get back on top and trying to escape from his one and only hit.

After selecting your character, the game becomes your typical First Person Shooters. You often find knives or crow bars early one which can be used to chop the limbs off the murderous corpses. While trying to survive, you can do side missions or quests that pertain to the main story line involving getting off the island resort that you are currently trapped on.

The game is kind of boring at points as some of the missions are run, fetch an object and then get paid in money or weapons. I nearly quit at one point due to the long stretches of avoiding the same zombies over and over again, but I also credit that to sleep deprivation. As the game continues, the story does get a tad more interesting.

While its voice work is not the game’s selling point, it did hire some known voice actors to do the voices, mainly Phil LaMarr from MadTV, who you will hear if you play as Sam B, the rapper. Other actor’s names you might not recognize, but their voices will most likely sound familiar.

The most exciting part of the game is when you have a friend co-op with you. It makes all those boring parts where running from point A to B more fun. Also, nothing beats running for your life while your friend hacks and slashes zombies while you search for an energy drink to revive yourself. And by that I mean the in-game energy drinks, though you may need some caffeine yourself if your game sessions stretch into the wee hours of the night like mine did.

Overall, this was a fun game and I enjoyed having a friend to talk to while playing because those long boring parts can feel like they drone on. I am positive, though, that any fan of zombie lore, especially games, will love this little adventure into the world of Dead Island. I give this game a 7.5 out of 10.

Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley review

Comic Jumper CoverThis is the kind of game that just sounds awesome. Who doesn’t want to play as a down and out superhero who has to jump from comic to comic to regain popularity? Also, with a developer like Twisted Pixel the game has to be great, right? Not so much. The game achieves its goal of  being one of the funniest games on XBLA and it also has some of the best graphics for a game on Arcade.

A major turn-off is its difficulty. Now I’m not saying hard games are bad, but when a game’s second level is exponentially harder than the first, you have a problem. A player needs to be eased into a game, usually the first two or three levels are easier than the middle and end of the game. Also, a casual gamer doesn’t want to replay the same level over and over again.

Overall

This game is good, but minor issues prevent it from being great. If difficulty is not a problem for you, you’ll probably love this game. But if you are a casual Xbox Live Arcade gamer, you should probably skip this and look for something better. I give this game a 6.5 out of 10.

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Review)

On November 11, 2011, the sequel to Elder Scrolls V: Oblivion was release in America and other areas. My day started with me driving to the store at 9:00 am praying silently that the game was still in stock. When I got to my local store, I rushed to the electronics section and looked to see two copies left. I quickly bought up on of the copies and drove home. The first hour flew by and in no time I had assured myself that I would probably not be leaving my house for the rest of the day. Skyrim Cover

PLOT

Dragons have returned to Skyrim…

I don’t want to spoil the game for you, so I’ll just give a basic plot for the main quest. If you fear my one sentence synopsis will spoil anything, then please skip the italics. Dragons have returned after lifetimes of extinction and only you, a Dragonborn, can save the world of Skyrim.

Along with the dragons, you can join some interesting guilds. The Dark Brotherhood returns, though they’re not quite the same. But having beat it, I can assure you that it is even better this time around. The Thieves Guild is back as well and their story is quite interesting. If you’re a fan of sneaking and lock picking, then join the guild and enjoy not killing your subjects.

New groups include the Companions, who are like the Fighter’s Guild but deadlier. My friends (yes, I have friends) enjoy the Companions but I haven’t gotten far enough into their story to say it is amazing. There is also the College of Winterhold, which is for the mages of Skyrim. You can learn great spells and such in the college and their missions are pretty cool, too.

Crafting

Alchemy in Skyrim is fun and easy to use. Just collect ingredients and mix ones with similar properties. In this game it is also easier to reenforce weapons and armor. Which is a definite plus.

 

Graphics

While I’m I firm believer that graphics shouldn’t harm a game in terms of review, I have to mention them. They aren’t the greatest thing in the world, but they definitely aren’t the worst. Environments are amazing and breathtaking, but some characters don’t look as epic as one would expect from a Game of the Year candidate. During loading screens, though, you can see high-resolution images of your favorite objects and opponents. There you can see every wrinkle, skin texture and the detail put in the clothing.

Future

This being an amazing game, I’m hoping there are lots and lots of DLC that allow for this game to be played for years. If the DLC will anything like Oblivion, you can expect interesting and an entertainingly long expansion that only adds to the game and leaves you feeling like it was OK to spend your hard-earned money on new content.

Gameplay

Swing a sword or shoot an arrow, the choice is yours. The game has amazing variety when it come to combat. You can cast spells, engage in a sword fight or even stay back and kill from a distance.

Pros

+ Amazing Main quest

+ Gripping Side quests that can last for hours

+ Beautiful environments

+ A great combat system

Cons

– Seriously, nothing other than decent character models.

Overall

Some reviewers may say the character models prevent the game from being perfect, but I think otherwise. It’s a great game no matter what the graphics look like. I give this game a 10 out of 10.