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No GravatarBioShock is a first-person shooter released in 2007 for XBox 360 and PC. It was later ported for PS3 in 2008.  It was developed by Irrational Games (they were calling themselves 2K Boston back in the day) and published by 2K.  The game uses a modified version of the Unreal engine with Havok for the physics side.  It was highly praised for its story, setting, and thematic elements.  It later spawned two sequels: BioShock 2 and BioShock Infinite.

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As the player, you take on the character of Jack, a man who survives a plane crash into the middle of the ocean.  Upon swimming to safety, you find a lighthouse.  However, this is more than meets the eye.  After getting into a device called a bathysphere, a type of submersible, you are transported underneath the ocean and are introduced to Rapture, a huge underwater city.

However, there is something completely wrong with Rapture.  Upon arrival, you discover that the once utopian city is now in a state of disarray with roaming “splicers,” creepy little girls called “Little Sisters,” and huge robotic bosses called “Big Daddies.”  I don’t want to get into the story too much because I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but I will tell you that the story is top-notch.  To me, the best part of BioShock is the setting.  I could just walk around in Rapture all day and be as happy as can be.  I know it’s a really creepy place, but it’s also a really interesting place, especially since you have to dig around a bit to figure out what went wrong.  I loved that the game was kind of scary, but not so scary that I wanted to stop playing it.

One of the other great things about the story of BioShock was a lot of really good and really interesting thematic elements of the game.  Rapture’s creator, Andrew Ryan, designed the city to be free of government and free of religion (a nod to Ayn Rand’s Objectivism).  However, without some constraint of morality, the city quickly crumbles into chaos after some bio-engineering and experimentation gone really wrong.  It’s a really interesting and engrossing game.  It’s one of my favorite video game stories of all time.

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BioShock is first and foremost a first-person shooter.  It’s a rather good one at that, especially for the time that it came out.  As an FPS, it plays smoothly and adds some interesting game play elements.  It has a typical style of ever-increasingly fun weapons to play with, but it also adds the “bio” element to it by creating the use of plasmids (a type of genetic alteration involving needles–I told you the game is a bit creepy).  With your left hand, you control your plasmids, which can vary from shooting fire, ice, and even bees out of your fingertips.  With your right hand, you control your primary weapon.  This is a really, really fun combination, and it makes for  some interesting game play.  However, it gets annoying switching back and forth between shooting plasmids and shooting your weapon, since you can only have one or the other at a time.  This glaring issue was later fixed in BioShock 2.

Besides the use of plasmids, the game play also adds some role-playing and stealth elements as well.  The player has options for stealth around security, including cameras and auto-turrets.  Collecting money in the game gives the player options for upgrading weapons, buying new plasmids, or gaining additional ammo or health.  You may also collect gene tonics that give you special abilities.  One of the more annoying parts of the game was the ability to hack certain things like cameras and vending machines.  Although this sounds like a great idea, to hack something, you get pushed into this mini-game, similar to Pipe Dream.  The first ten or so times you do it isn’t bad, but it gets annoying after twenty, thirty, or forty times.

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One of the unique game play aspects of BioShock is fairly original concept of “roaming boss battles.”  In order to gain more power, the player must take on Big Daddies in order to get to the Little Sisters.  There are a set amount of Big Daddies in each level that will appear in various places (but sometimes can feel like at random).

The graphics were very good for the time that it came out.  It has still held up well for an older game.  In fact, it has held up much better than games like Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and even the original Infamous.  Even going back and playing it now, I don’t get headaches from playing a game with crazy old graphics.

One really enjoyable thing about the graphics (and the setting) is how it highlights the amazing Art Deco designs of Rapture.  This is one of the reasons why I will actually play the game just to wander around and explore (I can’t say that for many other games).

I don’t care if the game play is perfect.  I don’t care if the graphics are perfect.  BioShock will always be one of my most favorite games of all time.  It is probably my favorite first-person shooter.  This game is just plain fun.  It has been the most fun that I have had in a game in a long, long time.  It is the reason why I have been so backlogged on so many games: I keep wanting to play this game over and over again.  BioShock made me expect more out of my first-person shooters.  It is a complete must-play, trust me.

By Jessica Brister On 1 May, 2016 At 05:07 PM | Categorized As Best Game Ever, Editorials, Featured, PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4 | With 0 Comments
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Warning: This article is spoiler-city. If you have not finished playing The Last of Us, please do not read any further.

Spoilers!  Spoilers!  Spoilers!

Seriously…you were warned!

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It is rare that a video game has a story so beautifully told that it gains critical acclaim and a massive fan-base just based on the story alone.  The Last of Us is one of those exceptional gems that show the world that video games can be fun and intelligent.  One of the most interesting aspects of the game is its theme.  Many have been scratching their heads at the end of the game, wondering what the implications of Joel’s decision may actually be.  He chooses to save Ellie rather than save humanity.  Is he being selfish?  Was it a bad choice on his part?  Judging by how Naughty Dog presents the rest of the story, Joel actually became one of the few moral characters in the story.  The Last of Us demonstrates that traveling down the slippery slope of so-called “sacrifice” will only cause humanity to lose itself.

In the early parts of the game, the gamer witnesses a police-state with martial law.  There is no freedom; people are forced to live and work in a place where their every move is watched.  Checkpoints are everywhere.  The people who live in these areas are forced to comply in order to receive food and the illusion of safety.  Of course, the military is doing this in order to “protect” the citizens there.  However, in doing so, it has completely destroyed everyone’s freedoms.  Under this militaristic rule, all rights are taken away.  The military can kill anyone for any reason at any time.  Under the guise of “safety,” people have given up all of their freedoms.  As the player can see by watching Joel and Tess’s actions early on, people do not naturally want to live in this manner.  Even in the beginning segments, The Last of Us demonstrates that survival situations can bring out the worst in the way a government will treat its people.

As the player continues to follow Joel and Ellie, there are several factions that are introduced.  The first is the group of hunters that patrol down-town Pittsburgh.  This group will kill anyone they see in order to salvage clothes, shoes, weapons, food, and whatever else they can scrounge.   The group labels outsiders are “tourists” to perhaps make it seem like it’s okay to kill in non-defensive situations.  Besides, they are just doing it to survive, right?  Joel even mentions to Ellie that he was in a group like this in the earlier years because that was what he had to do to survive.  Another group that Joel and Ellie come across are the cannibals run by David, a charismatic but highly crazy guy.  When justifying what his group is doing, he uses the “we’re just surviving, like you are” argument to Ellie.  Of course, Ellie completely rejects that reasoning.  The player sees in these sections groups of people who have lost their humanity and their souls because they were “just surviving.”

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At the end, Joel is faced with a dilemma: save Ellie and give up a possible cure to the infection or sacrifice her in order to help humanity.  Some may argue that Joel’s decision to save Ellie was selfish and short-sighted, that he wanted to save her because she symbolizes the daughter that he lost twenty years earlier.  This is not the case, though.  Killing Ellie was no guarantee that they would have found a cure.  If Joel would have sacrificed Ellie, it would bring up the question: How many need to be sacrificed in order to “save” humanity?  The Fireflies wanted to practice altruism, but what is the tolerable number of little girls that need to be killed in order to help the rest of the human race?  One?  Ten?  A hundred?  A thousand?  It becomes a slippery slope when people start sacrificing others in the name of “saving the human race,” especially when Ellie didn’t even have a choice in the matter.  She was never asked.  That individual choice was taken away from her.

The Last of Us thematically looks at the question: Where exactly does it stop?  How many individual rights and freedoms need to be given up?  Self-defense aside, is surviving worth giving up your soul for extra clothing and food?  How many people need to be sacrificed in order to help the whole?  At the end of the game, Joel becomes a symbol for “enough is enough.”  His decision to take Ellie marks an end to the slippery slope that was highlighted again and again in the game.  Humanity does need a cure for the infection, but at what cost?  What it really needed was a cure from the thinking of “survival at any cost.”  Despite the infection, people wererebuilding.  The player can see that with Joel’s brother Tommy and his group.  This group was a beacon of hope.  They emphasized the re-establishment of the family and the focus on working together to achieve a goal, while still keeping everyone’s individual liberties.  Joel’s final decision to bring Ellie back to that group highlights the final message in The Last of Us: the end of the slippery slope of moral decay in world that had been decaying for decades.

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Resistance 2 may now seem like a small blip in the world of gaming after so many years, especially since Insomniac pretty much killed the Resistance franchise with the third installment.  However, for those who played Resistance 2, it was a game to be remembered.  It was a follow-up for Resistance: Fall of Man, and everything about it was just right.  Published in late 2008 by Sony, it became one of my favorite first person shooters ever.  Here is why Resistance 2 was one of the best games ever:

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Story Mode

The Resistance franchise is based off of the premise that before Hitler could begin taking over Europe in the 1930s and ’40s, a group of aliens known as the Chimera did instead.  So instead of sending American troops to fight Hitler, the United States sent troops to help the Europeans battled the Chimera.  An American soldier, Nathan Hale, accidentally is infected by the Chimera virus and becomes a complete bad ass.  That’s basically the plot of the original.  In R2, the Chimera have pretty much taken Europe, and it is a last-ditch effort to try to keep them from completely stomping all over the United States.  Nathan Hale is recruited again to help fight the Chimera in a squad called the The Sentinels, a group of other soldiers infected with the same virus.  The story follows Nathan as he tries to push back the Chimera in America.

Now doesn’t that sound like fun?

It really was, too.  Despite being a bit linear in game play, the game was enjoyable as a stand-alone.  I will admit that, like many first person shooter games, the story mode is not that long.  I would complain about that, except for the fact that it has BOTH cooperative and competitive (just read on to see what I’m talking about).

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Cooperative

A good cooperative mode on a first person shooter is like the holy grail of game elements to me.  Cooperative forces people to have FUN and work as a TEAM instead of being jerks.  R2 created a class-based system for the cooperative that had amazing balance.  Classes included: Solider, Spec-Op, and Medic.  Each one had its own purpose.  The tank had the heavy weaponry.  The Spec-Op did the long distance and sniping dirty work.  The Medic supported and healed the team.  That’s perfection right there.  The cooperative mode could range from two to eight people and allowed people to work as the Spectre Team, a group trying to flush out the Chimera.  There were multiple, large maps that rotated the starting point, which made the maps feel more new and interesting, even if you played them a ton (like I did).  Sadly, Insomniac never offered map upgrades (shame on them), but I still enjoyed the cooperative so much that I didn’t care.

To me, cooperative is the best way to do online.  Aren’t games supposed to be FUN?  Why do I need to get worked up over playing a game?   Yes, in R2 you did get a score with how many points you got during the match, and it WAS fun to see if you could beat out your teammates, but at the end of the day, everyone has to work together for a goal.  There were parts that even when you were high-level, if the team wasn’t gelling, it was over.  Plus, when you aren’t worried about shooting other players (as opposed to killing NPCs), you learn to relax and enjoy the game.  The amount of inside jokes and craziness that ensued makes me always think fondly of R2.

Sigh.  Those were the days!

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Competitive

Just when you think the awesomeness of R2 could go no further–just wait–there is more!  R2 also has a competitive mode for people who are, well, competitive.  This type of game play has never been my cup of tea, but I did enjoy it on R2.  It was basically Chimera versus humans, but the cool thing was that you could select the size of the match.  You could have a small deathmatch, or you could have up to sixty players in a match.  Let me tell you, that could get crazy quickly.  Crazy fun, I mean. Apparently, for the time that it came out, it was the most that the PS3 had every hosted.  The whole feel of it was much different from a Call of Duty game.  It was much faster paced with the extra people, and although it was my least favorite part of the game, I still played because it was kind of fun.

So that’s Resistance 2.  A perfect mix of story mode, cooperative, and competitive.  I’m not saying that was a perfect game.  It has its flaws, but I just can’t seem to understand why no one else has decided to use this type of gaming structure for their first person shooter.  Maybe one day it will happen…

***Caution: Just because I love RI and R2 does NOT mean I recommend Resistance 3.  That game was a complete mess, and I like to pretend it never happened.***

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No GravatarBorderlands 2 is one of those special games that only comes around every once in awhile.  It’s a blood and guts shooter with some humor (and a bit of satire as well).  It also is one of the best online co-op games to this day.

Although the game has aged a bit, it still holds up very well.  Borderlands 2 is considered an action RPG first person shooter.  It was developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K in 2012 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC/Mac (the game also had a late PlayStation Vita and Linux port).  It is also the sequel to the original Borderlands that came out in 2009.  The game was re-released in 2015 in the Handsome Collection for this current generation of consoles, but for the purposes of this review, I am referring to my play-through on PlayStation 3.

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Just like the original game, Borderlands 2 follows different Vault Hunters on the planet of Pandora.  Another large corporation has taken control of the planet, spear-headed by the charismatic Handsome Jack.  The Vault Hunters have come to seek an even larger Vault on the planet but also end up getting caught up in a lot of issues on Pandora, including tons of side-quests.  Although the plot itself is kind of bland, the dialogue, humor, and splash of satire keep the game interesting.  Overall, the feel and ton of the game is a kind of dark comedy/space western.  It’s an odd combination, but it somehow works.
Borderlands 2 is a game that CAN’T take itself too seriously because the game itself is absurd.  It’s filled with ridiculous characters in a ridiculous places doing ridiculous things.  When playing the game, you will laugh, and you will probably laugh a lot.  It’s just enjoyable wandering around the world of Pandora and meeting the crazy people who live there.  Whether it’s meeting the British-imperialist wannabe, Sir Hammerlock…Or the very much redneck, Scooter….Or Ellie, the very big, but very funny mechanic….Or Tiny Tina, the world’s deadliest 13-year-old (by the way, search for “Tiny Tina” on YouTube and see why she’s a freaking hilarious)….Or my favorite, Butt Stallion, the diamond pony.

One great thing about Borderlands 2 game play, is that the game allows you to play as much as you want offline and immediately join up online and not lose your place in the game, as long as you are hosting.  So I could play for a couple hours by myself, see my friends online, invite them into my game, and continue my adventure with my friends without missing a beat.  Another thing that I love is that you can have your game open and allow online people to pop in and out at their leisure to help you.  Or, you can jump into someone else’s game that is way ahead of yours and help you level-up.  Or, you can have someone help you get through a particularly tough time.  It’s an extremely social game.

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Online holds up to four people of whichever class you prefer.  The classes consist of: Commando, Siren, Gunserker, Assassin, Mechromancer (DLC), and Psycho (DLC).  Let me quickly go through each:

Commando: Turrets!

Siren: Phase-lock/Team Nurse!

Gunserker: Double-trouble guns!

Assassin: Stealth/Snipe!

Mechromancer: SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND! (You get a mech that helps you, and it’s awesome.)

Psycho: High risk, high reward play-style!

Each character is a blast to play.  And you will end up playing through the game, which is pretty long to begin with several times with each class.

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Another big thing about Borderlands in general is the fact that there are more weapons possibilities than a player knows what to do with.  I’ve heard at least 17.75 million combinations because weapons randomly generate based on: your level, how many people in your group, where you found it, what baddie you got it from, what rarity level it is, and so on.  This means that even if you have beaten Borderlands 2 several times on all of the difficulties with ever character, you are ALWAYS looking for the next best weapon.

Though the original Borderlands game was interesting, and I have played a good deal out of it.  But I really didn’t like it, mostly for the fact that the graphics were awful and the online play was hard to connect to.  Now for the graphics, please understand that Borderlands uses cell shading, which gives off a cartoony-look. In the original game, I had a hard time even playing it because it gave me a headache (I call this Final Fantasy VII syndrome–where the graphics are so weird that it hurts you eyeballs/head.).

In Borderlands 2, you still have cell-shading, but IT IS SO MUCH BETTER.  The lines are crisper.  The graphics are much improved, and I can play this game for hours without issue.  Plus, now cell-shading makes sense to me.  This game isn’t about the latest, greatest graphics, but about the humor, satire, and fun of it.  The graphics actually look pretty good, but I have come to understand why the developers choose to use this method.  Also, with the online play, it is pretty easy to connect with your friends or random people.  The original Borderlands was kind of a pain in the you-know-what, but now you can jump from game to game without issue.

So, as you can see, Borderlands 2 is nothing but fun.  I am currently patiently waiting on news for a 3rd.  But in the mean time, happy vault hunting for those who still play!

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No GravatarEvery once in awhile, a very special game comes along and confirms that there are still indeed wonderful games out there.  The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is one of those gems.  It is a definite “must have” for any RPG fan.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a third-person, action RPG with an expansive open world environment.  It was developed and published by Polish studio CD Projekt RED.  The game is based on the a set of fantasy novels by Polish author,  Andrzej Sapkowski (these books are available in an English translation).  The game came out in May of this year for PC, PlayStation 4, and XBox One.

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The story follows Geralt of Rivia, a witcher who takes care of people’s monster problems for coin.  Those who become witchers have been mutated and have special powers such as a special sensing ability and limited magic powers.  He is searching for his adopted daughter, Ciri, who is in danger from being captured by the Wild Hunt.  The main quest line is compelling and interesting.  It also has a bit of a Mass Effect quality to it, since Geralt’s choices do affect the outcome of the story.  The side quests are fun to play and range from playing gwent with certain people (more on this later), getting rid of monsters, and helping people out.  The sheer amount of side quests can be a bit daunting.  It feels like every time a quest is finished, five more are available.  This is not a bad thing, though.  A player could spend full price on the game, and it is definitely worth its price.

The game play is quite a lot of fun.  It’s a well-done third person perspective game.  The combat system is excellent.  Geralt uses swords and a bit of magic to keep the monsters at bay.  He has two swords: one for human foes and a silver one for monsters and such.  Witchers can cast magic by making signs, which vary from blasting things for flames to influencing people’s minds.  There is also an amazing crafting system for both weapons and potions.  Weapons and clothes can be upgraded by finding materials and schematics around the world.  Potions can be created in the same way.  Players may upgrade abilities by either leveling up Geralt’s character or finding places of power, which give extra allotment points.

The open world is expansive.  A player can spend hours and hours just exploring.  Geralt moves around throughout the land on his horse, Roach and by boat.  The world has its own weather system and goes through a day/night cycle.  Depending on the time of day can actually affect the powers of particular monsters (think: werewolves and such).  The world can range from quaint orchards, to buggy swamps, to massive cities.  It’s amazing to explore.

The mini game in The Witcher 3 is probably one of the best-done ones yet.  Gwent is a strategy card game that Geralt plays with the merchants and inn-keepers, and there’s a lot of strategy to it.  The game involves three rounds.  The person who wins two obviously wins the game.  Everyone brings their own deck, so finding and winning more cards is also a strategy.  This encourages the player to hunt for more cards either by buying or winning them in high-stakes games.

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An open world would not be decent unless it had amazing graphics, and the Witcher 3 delivers.  There are surprisingly great.  The best graphics in the games are the cut-scenes; they are absolutely gorgeous.  The in-game graphics are amazing as well, and actually focus on colors.  There are little bits and pieces of detail everywhere from the weather to Geralt’s growing beard.  A player actually needs to see a barber because the beard will start to grow after a certain amount of time.

The Witcher 3 is an absolutely must-have.  Hands-down.  Get it now if you don’t have it.  Obviously, it is an adult game (there are some really raunchy parts).  But overall, the game is just amazing.  It really should get game of the year for 2015.  However, with Fallout 4 coming out in the fall, The Witcher 3 may be dethroned as game of the year.

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No GravatarI always have to shake my head a bit when someone compares another game to Skyrim and says something like, “It’s just like Skyrim.”  Really?  It is “just like” Skyrim?  I’ll then start to question them to see what they really mean.  This is the line of questioning that I go through with them:

Is it open world? (Note that this is one of the only questions that they say yes to.)

Will it take you an hour or more to walk from one side of the map to the other?

Is it an action RPG?

Is it first-person point of view with the option of going to third person?

Do you level up an ability by using that ability?

Do you have to pick a certain character type (i.e. mage or warrior)?  Or can you have multiple talents?

Is the game set in a high-fantasy realm?

Can you choose between being a male of female character?

Do you have the choice of multiple races to play?

Does it have hundreds and hundreds of hours of quests?

Does it have a weapons and amour crafting system?

Is the open world interactive with both NPCs and items?

Do you get to have followers who help you?

Can you pick and choose who you’d like to be your follower?

Is the game background and setting intricate and in-depth?

Are there hundreds of areas to explore?

Is there a huge modding community for PC that puts out amazing mods all of the time?

Is the game so beloved that there are tons of memes and jokes of it all around the Internet?

Is the game the yard stick that other games are measured by?  (Because Skyrim is.)

There, of course, are games similar to Skyrim, but there is nothing “just like” it.  The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt gets some things close.  Far Cry 4 also does the same.  It was described as “Skyrim with guns.”  But is there really a true comparison?  Not really.  Not even the Fallout series is actually the same because of the way the leveling system works.   I don’t necessarily mind comparisons, but when people make statements that include “just like,” it gets me a little riled up because in the end, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of the most defining games of this decade.  And that is why it is so beloved.

 

 

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No GravatarI have a problem.  Well, let me rephrase that: I have a gaming problem.  In a way, it’s a good problem, but it still follows me whenever I try to play an RPG.  You see, ever since I played The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim a few years ago, I can’t play any other High-Fantasy RPG.  I’ve tried.  I really have, but I honestly think that Skyrim has ruined me for any other RPG.

And I am totally okay with that.

Because it’s the best modern RPG ever.

Now, when I say “modern RPG,” I am referring to games done for the PS3/XBox360 generation and newer.  I don’t think that you can compare games like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VII with more modern games.

However, I do feel that the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the best we have right now in terms of the combination of setting, game play, and story.  Let me explain:

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Most people who adore Skyrim will comment on its expansive open world.  I will admit, that it is probably the best open world map to date.  The scenery is gorgeous.  Most of the items in the world are very interactive.  The people in the world are interesting.  The places are fun to explore.  I’ve gone walking around the map just for fun.  I’ve even read about people who create characters and don’t even play the game; they just make up their own story and go hunting animals, collect things, and just have fun.  It’s so in-depth with lore and back-story that it’s hard not to fall in love with Skyrim.

Even though the open world is amazing, my favorite part of the game is actually the game play itself.  I have never quite come across anything quite like it.  For me, even another Bethesda heavy-hitter like Fallout 3 doesn’t compare.  Sure, Skyrim is a first-person, action RPG.  A lot of games are.  The thing that really makes Skyrim stand out is the leveling and experience system.  It’s very simple: you level up what you use.  Whatever angle you want to play with Skyrim, you just have to use it to level it.  In this way, players are not pigeon-holed into a certain class.  Do you want to be a mage who has thief tendencies?  Go for it.  Do you want you want to be a warrior who also can use magic when needed?  Yep!  You can do that.  Do you like being a thief who enjoys two-handed combat?  Why not?

For me, since I have a bit of gaming OCD, I love being able to play all three play-styles.  Why not?  I hate having to decide what class to play because two hours later, I want to change it.  Skyrim lets me do whatever I want, and I love that!  For console, I was a bit limited because there are only so many perks a player can add in Skyrim.  However, on PC…oh dear, on PC…it is GLORIOUS for OCD gamers like myself.  Okay, there is a bit of cheaty, cheat, cheating going on, but only to add the perks when I run out of levels.

Interestingly enough, there is more to love about Skyrim than the setting and the game play.  The story is also pretty darned good.  It’s not spectacular, but it’s not bad either.  I wouldn’t say that it’s BioShock or The Last of Us quality, but it will hold your attention for many, many hours.  The story of a person who discovers that they are Dragonborn and sets out to save the world from ending isn’t too shabby.  The fact that there are hundreds of hours of relevant side-quests make things pretty interesting as well.  I’ve heard of people complaining about the side-quests for Skyrim.  Sure, some of them are menial, but the big ones have their own story-lines.  It’s the reason why some people have literally spent more than a thousand hours in the game.

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Lastly, there is something special about Skyrim, and it may have to do with the fact that gamers can easily make fun of it without damaging the integrity of the game.  How many “arrow to the knee” memes have you seen?  How many times have people made fun of the fact that one can eat 99 raw potatoes in the middle of the battle to gain health?  What about trying to kill a chicken?  Or, my personal favorite happens to be: why are all of the lights on in a dungeon that hasn’t been visited by anyone in hundreds if not thousands of years?  It’s fun to make fun of Skyrim because it’s a game that no one has to defend as being good.  Some people might not like it, and that’s fine.  But it’s hard to argue that it’s a bad game.  Therefore, when there are some “silly” elements of the game, it’s enjoyable to point out the shortcomings because even though there definitely are some, no other game even comes close.

There are a lot of games that I have enjoyed over the years, but there are few that I truly love.  The Elders Scrolls V: Skyrim is one that I absolutely will love forever, even when newer and better games come out.  I have about an estimated 415 hours on the game right now between console and PC, and I have thoroughly loved every minute of it.  I actually cannot think of another game that I have spent so much time on.  That’s the power of Skyrim.

By Gehennakat On 25 Mar, 2014 At 06:12 PM | Categorized As Best Game Ever, Featured, PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4, Reviews, Reviews | With 0 Comments
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I hate inFAMOUS: Second Son. Not in a bad way, but in the way that I can’t seem to get anything done (that includes job, house, family, etc.). I’m not talking about bugs or glitches either. The problem is that publisher Sony Computer Entertainment and developer Sucker Punch Productions have created such a realistic sandbox that I spend most of my time running, leaping, and flying that I forget what mission I was on or what I was doing to begin with, but I digress.

Smoke1inFAMOUS: Second Son begins 7 years after the events of inFAMOUS 2 in New Marais after Cole MacGrath’s heroic sacrifice. The new protagonist is Delsin Rowe and he’s portrayed as an Akomish Native American. Now the tribe is actually fictional, but as a Native American I’m glad they’ve actually included someone with a heritage to base his personality and interactions off of. Delsin lives in Washington amongst his tribe and is also the resident trouble maker. Being a graffiti artist, Delsin has been in conflict with the local authorities on more than one occasion. Unfortunately for Delsin, the local constable is none other than his brother Reggie. I’m going to avoid story spoilers for the sake of those who haven’t been playing and just say after a confrontation Delsin learns he is what they call a conduit. All conduits have now been dubbed bio-terrorists by the Department of Unified Protection (DUP) and are being rounded up and stored away or tested on. After a few cut scenes and a short tutorial Delsin finds himself in Seattle on the hunt for those who have wronged his tribe.

Like inFAMOUS 2, there is a karmic scale that impacts what abilities and powers can be upgraded by the choices you make during the game. I focused on a “Good Boy” play through and maintained that, for the most part, through until the conclusion. Now karmic choices play out in certain levels, but even running through the street there are opportunities abound to be the daring do gooder or an all-around evil bastard. As an evil doer you can harass street musicians, break up activists who are against conduits, execute DUP soldiers, etc. As you come across other conduits you’re also given the opportunity to corrupt or redeem them to continue on whatever path you choose. As the good guy you can heal people caught in the cross fire, destroy drug stashes, and even take down DUP grunts with non-lethal means. Once you choose your focus, your powers will follow suit. Once I absorbed my neon powers and reached guardian level karma I was able to slow time and zoom in for accurate sniper shots. Target’s heads are highlighted red for an evil execution or blue on their feet and legs for an immobilization.

neon dashI think one of the more annoying problems with the original two inFAMOUS titles was the means of locomotion. Cole had some cool ways to get around, but it felt like it still took forever to get anywhere. This is why I hate the abilities in this new game (sarcasm). Delsin’s first two powers are a smoke ability and a neon charged ability, and both can get you around town in a matter of seconds. The smoke dash ability covers ground while leaving you unexposed to attacks until you form back together. This also plays into the myriad of vents now located on buildings that let you dash into the ducting only to materialize on the roof instead of manually scaling the side of 5 story building. The neon abilities answer to this a sprint that moves at light speed (think the Flash) and lets him run up the side of buildings to get to the top. So why do I hate this? Mainly because I’d start a level and begin making my way to the objective only to get sidetracked by the scenery, or a tall building I wanted to vault, DUP on the street, blast shards (yes, those are back), etc. The means of getting around Seattle vary and are a blast. I won’t spoil the last two abilities or how Delsin comes about acquiring them, but they also make for some fun ways to get around town. Not only that, but the ability to trade out your powers on the fly is fun too. Air dropping into a group of DUP from the rooftop, to disable them with smoke headshots, to then stealing some neon from a nearby sign to finish of the rest with a stasis grenade never gets old. You’re limited by your creativity… and your ability to finish an actual level without being distracted.

smoke chainThe devs at Sucker Punch deserve as much kudos as they can get because they’ve created a truly beautiful next gen console experience. I’ve heard people complaining that the characters are bland and uninteresting, but I disagree. I’d wager these are the people who played the game for 3 days straight without sleep or human interaction. Games like this are like a great meal and need to be savored. The cut scenes, facial expressions, and voice acting are all top notch and fit well within the story given to us. My only grievance (and it’s little) is the inclusion of a bad karmic side. Yes, I know it gives more options and a bit more depth, but it doesn’t flow with what we see of Delsin, those he cares about, or sense of community his tribe instills in him. The city of Seattle needs to be addressed as well because it seems like a living breathing organism. From the buildings, to the lighting, to the pedestrians on the streets Sucker Punch has crafted a very realistic city for us to play in. This is evident in the audio for the game as well. You can stop on the corner and just listen to everything that’s going around. The last big tip of the hat to Sucker Punch is the lighting, particles, and physics of the environments. Delsin’s smoke and neon abilities are absolutely gorgeous (so is one of his last ones) to behold, with lights dancing off the walls as you zip around, to the small particles of smoke and fire coming from Delsin as he teleports. Physics come into play even more since now you can actually destroy objects in the environments instead of trying to scale them all.

neon ground poundWith all the next gen titles coming out I’d be remiss not to encourage any PS4 owner to check out inFAMOUS: Second Son and experience everything it has to offer. In addition, there was a day one patch that added about 4-5 hours of extra gameplay and an online hunt dubbed “Paper Trails” (we will be doing a follow up on this DLC). This combined with fantastic acting, animation, gameplay, and story will make sure inFAMOUS: Second Son doesn’t disappear into a puff of smoke.

(9.0 out of 10)

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We are back with our “Ultimate Fan” series of contests here at Real Otaku Gamer. This time we are partnering with Nintendo of America to provide the prizes for the contest. These prizes are subject to change based on availability. We will be giving away some of these limited edition musical chests from The Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds.

Second prize will be a Nintendo 3DS prize pack with a Nintendo Bag, sticker books and some AR Card temporary tattoos.

Now, let’s get into the rules, just get all of your Legend of Zelda swag together. We mean gather everything from posters, games, toys, soundtracks and other Legend of Zelda related merchandise. Take a picture or two (if you need to) with you in the picture holding a sign with your name or username you want to use.

Once submitted, your pictures will be validated by our art team, then they will be judged my a team at Real Otaku Gamer. Once we pick the pictures we want to be considered, then they will be sent to Nintendo of America to be judged.

You can send all photos to contests@realotakugamer.com. This contest is limited to US residents only. Sorry to our International fans. You can send in your photos for consideration for the second prize. Make sure to “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.  The contest entries need to be in by January 20th 2014.

Good Luck to you all! Thanks to Nintendo of America for all of their support. Please leave a comment below.

 

By ericyo On 12 Sep, 2013 At 02:22 AM | Categorized As Best Game Ever, Featured, News, Nintendo Wii/Wii U, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments
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This game is so good I had to do a review of my own for it. The Wii U has finally received a worth while game. The Wii U has been getting slammed lately for it’s lack of 1st party games, or any good games for that matter, but games like Pikmin 3 certainly make the wait worth while. Hopefully this is the start of a very good out pour of games from Nintendo.

The Pikmin series has always been a very interesting series, the original game came in the form of a Mario tech demo idea. It started off with the tech demo at Space world 2000. The demo was to show the processing power of the Gamecube, The demo was called Mario 128. The demo had 128 Mario’s walking around and dismantling a Mario sprite made of blocks and carrying the individual pieces around. The demo was originally made to show that the Gamecube is powerful enough to support many AI sprites at once. Eventually, Miyamoto asked his team to create a game nothing like Mario and we got this series.

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The first thing to do is figure out if you’re going to play with the Gamepad, Pro controller or the Wii Remote. I gave all of them a try, even though the great feature about the Gamepad is that you have a complete map right in front of you and of course you can play directly of the Wii U Gamepad away from the TV screen, what it lacks though is flexibility. Example, with the Wii U Gamepad you must stand still and take aim and the launch a Pikmin. This can be a very helpful gesture for those intense moments. With the Wii remote you can shoot and run and have the Gamepad on the side for as your map, the stand that came with the Wii U comes in handy here.

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The game is similar to the predecessors with a small twist. Instead of collecting valuable items you are presented with a task of collecting food for a starving planet. 3 space pilots, Alph, Britanny and Charlie, set out to the planet to collect the food. when they arrive, the ship goes through some issues and the pilots are separated, thus we are tasked with getting everyone back together. We then are introduced with the different colored Pikmin one color at a time.

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Each colored Pikmin represents a different ability. example, the Red Pikmin are able ti withstand fire, Yellow are able to stand a electricity and one new Pikmin introduced is the Rock Pikmin, able to take down glass walls. There is many more different colored Pikmin not mentioned that you discover as you progress through the game. Aside from the different colors all Pikmin are able to attack other creatures that can then be taken back to their pod  or “Onion”. the Pikmin are “born” from the Onion as the other creatures or pellets that show a number are introduced to the Onion. Pikmin are all stored in the Onion when night tie falls in order to escape the night time predators.

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The game is created to present you with puzzles and give you a sense of accomplishment once you solve a puzzle within a certain time limit. You are free to visit the same stage various times to make sure you get all the food sources from the stage. The Pikmin are there to help you accomplish this. The stages all have some sort of  boss. The bosses all come with an extreme challenge. Previous players of the series will NOT be disappointed.

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The game does a great job of taking a new player through the controls, it makes the new and experienced player to the series feel welcomed. The game has a series of Data cards left over from the previous planets visitor, Captain Olimar. He leaves instructions for other visitors so that they know how to use the Pikmin.

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The scenery and the music in this great is outstanding! It really does a great job of catching the correct lights and colors in the correct and appropriate times and areas. The music from Pikmin has always been great and this new installment doesn’t disappoint.

I really wish this game was a launch game, i believe that the game and the system would have been very successful if this would have been a launch title. Alas, that never happened, but with time comes rewards and i feel that this game was a huge reward for my patience. Overall if you own a Wii U and haven’t played or purchased this game, I have one question for you… What’s wrong with you! Pick it up! Also, if you want to follow my adventure of Pikmin 3 please feel free to check out this Let’s Play! Also above is the first episode, segment hosted by yours truly!

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