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By Jonathan Balofsky On 14 Jul, 2017 At 06:58 PM | Categorized As Featured, Games You Slept On, Old School Otaku, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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I am a big fan of The Elder Scrolls series and have been for years. It is one of the premiere RPG series and one of the premiere open world game series. People rave about how amazing Oblivion and Morrowind were, and Skyrim is considered one of the best games of the last few years, but many don’t realize just how important the first games were.

I will concede that the first game, Arena, is rather generic. It came off as more of a Wizardry clone, as well as containing many basic fantasy elements that didn’t make it stand out. later games would take the ideas and make them great but Arena is not the best the series has to offer. That said, too many people write off the second game in the series, Daggerfall. I am of the opinion that Daggerfall was one of the most important games ever made, and was a turning point for the RPG genre and open world games.

To begin, Daggerfall was a true 3D game unlike Arena’s 2.5D engine, and took full advantage of that to create a explorable world. In fact, the world in Daggerfall is one of the biggest ever in a video game, albeit with the drawback of having a lot of dead space. Still, it is this open world 3D development that directly led to more innovation in open world games and also taught developers what the limits should be. Thanks to this, we have gotten great games including not only Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim, but also the Witcher games and Breath of the Wild.

Another point to mention is that Daggerfall allowed for true roleplaying rather than just getting experience. You had to mold your character and develop them by choices. Choices were a big part of the game, including the very ending, which had multiple possible outcomes. It had a lot more of a unique feeling than anything else at the time and part of the reason was that unlike Arena, the developers did not take many influences from other games.

Daggerfall had some very important lore aspects as well for the series, as it was this game that introduced the Daedra, as well as started several long running storylines such as the Dwemer, Mannimarco and so on. the events of this game’s story had a major impact on all the later games, yet that isn’t realized by many players who came late to the series. Yes, Daggerfall seems dates by today’s standards, but it is this game that laid the foundation for so many greats, including one can argue, Baldur’s Gate. Through both storytelling and game design, Daggerfall helped make RPG gaming what it is today, and we all owe a debt to it for that.

If you haven’t played the game, you really should. it is a true classic and indeed it is one of the most important games ever made. Even if many people simply do not realize that this is the case, it needed to be said.

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The above was the opinion solely of the author and does not necessarily reflect that of Real otaku Gamer or its staff.

By John Kinsella On 12 Jul, 2017 At 07:11 PM | Categorized As Games You Slept On, NINTENDO, Nintendo 3DS, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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I have always been a fan of RPG’s and have wanted to at least attempt to make an RPG for awhile. With RPG Maker FES for 3DS which came out on June 27th, I now have that chance. RPG Maker FES is actually quite the robust game. With this maker you can make any sort of RPG you can think of. Although you need to use in game assets it still is quite the treat. Playing this game, I cannot help but think of a myriad of games to make. I just want to delve deep into this maker and show off my worlds that appear in my mind. I feel like I could make countless games, and even honor some of my closest friends with games. This game could certainly take hours of time if played in earnest as it is really quite robust.

Even though you can’t upload your own images you can make any characters you want. Plus, you can really fiddle with the strength of the monsters and make them into whatever you want. You can even set them up into groups and unleash them on your unsuspecting heroes. Making weapons, armor and items is also part of the fun. You can make them godly or weak or anywhere in between. Plus, you can even make your own magic spells. Simply fiddling with these aspects certainly could take awhile as there is so much to twist to your will.

Now, you can always take it easy with samples but it really is the best working things out yourself. This game wants you to succeed and by showing you a sample you figure things out. There aren’t any tutorials so this game really just wants you to work to learn for yourself. Not only can you make maps of various sizes, but you can really do what you want. You really have free reign and that is what makes this game so appealing. You can make as many games as you want and really make them as you wish.

I might not be the biggest fan of maker type games, but there is something about making your own RPG. Having played so many RPG’s it feels good to have my own crack at it. This game is something I feel like I can play when I want and try things out. Just a fun diversion that could lead to fantastic things in the future. Plus, the greatest thing about it is that if you want you can share your games and let others play them. Plus, if they don’t own the game they can still play the games through a small download.

RPG Maker FES is a game that is certainly worth playing for anyone who likes RPG’s. While it might be tedious at times it is certainly something that when you finish it, you will feel good about it.

By Terrence T. Watson On 7 Jun, 2017 At 12:46 PM | Categorized As Games You Slept On | With 1 Comment

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[This is The Legend Of The Mystical Ninja Cover Art]

Introduction: Welcome back to the SNES Era of Gaming. Here, I’ll be talking about a hidden gem that not many people actually know about. This title is known as The Legend Of The Mystical Ninja or (Ganbare Goemon) in Japan. Whilst only one Mystical Ninja title came over to the United States, there has been a whole slew of these titles in Japan, whereas there was only this version, and GBA title and 2 N64 games released in the US.

The Story: The Legend Of The Mystical Ninja stars the adventures of Kid Ying (Goemon) and Dr. Yang (Ebisamaru) respectively. Their adventure starts with investigating the haunted Horo Shrine and it leads all the way across Japan in an effort to save Princess Yuki from The Forces of Evil. From what starts off as a small Journey, turns into being a rather massive epic adventure. Going from places such as towns to amusement parks, through actual bamboo forests literally leading to a final battle within a Japanese castle itself. Now for a SNES game, it is rather impressive just what this particular game is quite capable of. Regardless without giving too much away, you should definitely give this title a chance!

Gambling as in betting high and low is one of the many Mini games within This game. 

Why you should not sleep on it?: There is a lot of different things you can do within this game alone. From going through hidden mazes, hitting the sauna, playing a Whack A Mole-style game, getting your fortune told, gambling, actually playing the lottery, actually being on a quiz show, actually betting on horses and playing Gradius. The Legend of the Mystical Ninja has enough to satisfy even the most finicky gamer. With a hefty campaign and side areas, you can visit and that is excluding the games hidden areas, Legend Of The Mystical Ninja is a game that has enough for just about anyone. Literally, this alone justifies why you should not sleep on it.

Fun Factor: Honestly, the single player campaign of The Legend Of The Mystical Ninja” is a large enough endeavor in its own right. Even having beaten the actual game? I’d say that the entire game itself is fun due to the sheer amount of areas that you can explore. Almost every area has one town and one dungeon area. Most stages have a boss at the end of each level. I think the sole exception to this rule is the third level in which it only has a gigantic Octopus mini boss given that it’s a Konami themed amusement park. The developers more than likely threw this in as a way to break up the gameplay and keep it fresh.

Personal Likes:

 Any video game that actually has an actual amusement park has my vote.

The Sheer Amount Of Diversity This Game Has

Seriously this game offers a lot and the diverse gameplay element keep thing light and fun. Legend Of The Mystical Ninja still impresses me for the hardware they were using SNES.

The amount of Mini games it has.
Now to show you why you should not sleep on this game. I have played about 99.9% of the minigames that this game has. Each one of them brings more replay value to the game that already robust in gameplay options. It shows why this game is the total package.

It’s amazing Cast Of Characters
Literally, every character is memorable in its own way. From Kid Ying who is actually based after the actual Goemon Ishikawa. Even to the Fabled Doctor Yang who serves as this games. As player 2 there are also supporting characters who do appear. They include a ninja named Sasuke, to a girl named Yae, who is a part of the Iga Ninja clans so the game itself is filled to the brim with Japanese references overall.

The setting for the entire game overall.
I usually don’t like all areas of most games, but this game is different. The lore of the game is what I personally enjoy the most. You start in Edo and you wind up in Kyushu, how awesome is that? Extremely awesome if I do say so myself.

Personal Dislikes:

Sadly not every level has a boss. The third level only has a Mini-Boss but the fact that it’s an amusement park makes up for it.

The Length Of The Game
Personally, even though the game is satisfying, I wanted more. I personally feel that it should have been much longer. But then again, I like my games to be long and drawn out but at the same time have a lot to offer. For me, Stage 3 even though it is an amusement park, could have been bigger. For the gamer who is speed running the game, you can literally pass four screens and be done with the entire thing and that to me is saying something.

Some of The Boss Dungeons can get tedious
Namely Stage 4 and 5’s boss castles. Generally, The Legend Of The Mystical Ninja’s levels is easy going and smooth. Those castles turn the game into a platformer where the screen has you doing everything from jumping onto 3D platforms to turning the entire screen around in a puzzle-like environment in order to advance. So yeah, it does take some skill to get further ahead.

Some stages require you to buy a key item to advance.
Only two levels do this, but still, it is quite annoying. The first being a pass within the bamboo forest level and the second is in the form of a royal textbook that is needed to translate the language of the monarch so you can advance. That can honestly put a cramp in the gaming style of some players. This is mostly a slight oversight but still one that can get in the way if you are pressed for time. Let’s face it, if you’re the gamer on the go, (the game is also on New Nintendo 3DS) You’re more than likely going to be pressed for time.

The inability to go back to previous stages
So once you advance. that is it until you replay the game. Unless you save your progress at the diary stage, but this game also has the password system that most SNES titles used at the time, so this is kinda more of a drawback.

Personally, if you have not picked up The Legend Of The Mystical Ninja for the SNES. You are missing out.

Closing Statement: For this being a SNES era video game, The Legend Of The Mystical Ninja was one of Konami’s greatest titles on the SNES. The game for me is pretty much a godsend. This is because in an era of traditional American style titles. The Legend Of The Mystical Ninja broke the Japanese based game mold for me. Now granted, this was before the big Asian-based boom came in where every title was inspired by some form of Asian archetype. Basically, The Legend Of The Mystical Ninja” also introduced me to a whole new genre of gaming and personally, I’d like to pay it forward and tell the whole world about how amazing this title is. So if you fancy playing a hidden gem within the SNES library look no further than,”The Legend Of The Mystical Ninja” for Super Nintendo because it is a game most people definitely slept on. With that being said it’s time to wake up and smell the Coffee.

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One party that has really been talking up their relationship with Nintendo when it comes to Switch is surprisingly Bethesda. Obviously this relationship will depend on how well Skyrim sells on the Switch but I can see that game appealing to Switch owners and people who just want to buy it again. The thing is, when it comes to Bethesda, there is another game that can bring to the system. More specifically they can bring Doom 64 to the eShop as a retro game.

Doom 64 was  a game that was overlooked by many at the time of its release,. This was due to it being dismissed as another port of Doom, when in reality,  it was a brand new game with its own plot, layout, enemies and weapons and so on. It may not be as iconic an FPS for the system, especially compared to Goldeneye and Perfect Dark, but it definitely is a quality game.

This game had great music, of its own and had darker visuals which gave the game a creepy tone.  The controls were spot on for the N64 to an extent that is almost shocking.. More importantly,  this is the true Doom 3, with the official Doom 3 being the first reboot of the series. Doom 64 actually carried on the plot from the first two games, so it is very surprising that it hasn’t ever seen a re-release.

However, I have to say that should Bethesda do a  re-release and also bring it to PC as well, where it will quickly gain  modding scene, I would like them to make mods available for a potential Switch  port as well. It would help sales and also ensure the series would develop a true following on Nintendo systems. Additionally , given how creative some Doom mods are, this would help open Nintendo’s eyes to what fangames can do for sales.

This would be a great way to cement a relationship between Bethesda and Nintendo and would help develop a new fanbase for their games on Nintendo systems. I just feel this is a good idea for all involved.

 

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The above was the opinion solely of the author and does not necessarily reflect that of ROG or its staff.

 

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As of May 1 2017 ( or May 2nd if you live in EU), it has been 15 years since the release of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. In the time since, gaming has gotten even bigger and The Elder Scrolls series in particular has continued to grow, and it seems that many, while acknowledging Morrowind is a great game, don’t realize why it was.

The Elder Scrolls: Arena, the first game in the series, was a fairly average for the time CRPG. it was rooted in the D&D model and many things introduced in the game were changed in some way, or drastically expanded on to provide new explanations later on. The races were presented differently, The Daedra were not present and some key locations and didn’t have any real significance to them besides acting as shout outs to other works, such as the writings of Tolkien. The Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall saw the series go into a more fluid 3D form than before, introduced the Daedra and some concepts and characters that would become important later. But it still wasn’t  quite The Elder Scrolls we know today. Those games were very much based in the typical fantasy elements that were often used, and it wasn’t until Morrowind that the series really set itself apart.

It isn’t that Morrowind had a bigger open world than the previous games. Daggerfall was much bigger than Morrowind, which is only set in part of the fictional province. No, it was that Morrowind felt alive, like it was a unique land that was a breath of fresh air from the normal tropes of fantasy. We weren’t getting a European based fantasy story, we were getting weird fiction and it was awesome. This was the game that introduced so much to the series. The Daedra got their proper personalities, we got a true backstory for the games, there was a unique cast of characters, and every choice you made had consequences.  The game began the series tradition of starting out as a prisoner, and handled the protagonist in an interesting way, that to explain it now would be a spoiler as I want you to play this game and appreciate it.

This was the game where The Elder Scrolls set itself apart from the pack, and another way it did that was through its Xbox port. It wasn’t a good port, as the Xbox simply wasn’t meant to handle such a game, but it helped expose the series to a new audience. It was this game that brought us the mystery of the Dwemer, and it was this game that took those shout outs to Tolkien and actually made them distinct and different.  The different races all became unique in their own right, and we got to learn the mythological lore of the series that still goes on in the current games. The Elder Scrolls : Oblivion and The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim owe much to Morrowind, but so do games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age. This was the game that showed what could truly be done with Western RPGs. That they could rival and surpass the JRPGs.

So I say to you now, if you haven’t ever played Morrowind, give it a try. Yes it has dated graphics and a clunky control scheme, but mods can help with that. This game brought so much joy and so much innovation, that it deserves to continue to be appreciated today!

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Neo Geo games are now available on the Nintendo Switch worldwide and many are enthusiastic to play Metal Slug 3 and King of fighters 98 on the system. But there is another game that is far more noteworthy than those.

Also having come out on the Switch is Waku Waku 7. This is one of the most unusual and off beat fighting games ever made, The characters are parodies of other games, of anime, manga, comics and of movies, both Japanese and western made, such as shotoclones, sword fighters and anime action girls. It is hard to explain but this is one of the most awesome fighting games you can play. Easy to learn but difficult to master, this is just fun to play and enjoy.

The game had a western release in arcades….but not on the home console scene. It only received home console releases in Japan. That is why this release is so notable, this is one of the first times western players will get to play this. And to be honest, this is a game everyone needs to try.

The fighting is great as mentioned earlier, the visuals are excellent and while blurry on Switch, Hamster is patching the Arcade Archive series to fix that. It has that look that games like Street Fighter III and Darkstalkers had ( one character is a parody of a Darkstalkers character in fact), while still being in the SNK style, which still looks amazing today. And the music is absolutely fantastic. It is a great soundtrack for a fighting game and extremely energetic, and really gets you into the fight.

With great characters, a ridiculous yet decent plot that works, and fun gameplay, I cannot understand why this game languished in obscurity for so long. It has now received an arcade perfect port on the Switch and I have had a great time with it. I would love to see a modern sequel that continues the story and adds to the parodies.  As I mentioned earlier, this is a very significant release for the game, and I am hoping it sells well enough that there will be interest for a new game. That would be the best case scenario here. If you have a Nintendo Switch, I implore you to get this game.

See a trailer below to see what kind of game this is!

 

No GravatarI had been dreading playing Mass Effect 3 for years because I knew how bad the ending was.  In fact, I procrastinated for a couple of years by continuously playing Mass Effect 2 over and over again.  Well, after I finished ME2 four times through, I decided it was finally time to move onto Mass Effect 3.  I began the game with a bit of trepidation, but it didn’t take me too long to figure out that ninety-nine percent of ME3 is actually an amazing game.  It’s that pesky one percent that wrecks the whole thing.  But I’ll get to that later.  First, let’s concentrate on the good:

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Mass Effect 3 is a third person, action RPG developed by BioWare and published by EA in March of 2012 for PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and eventually Wii U.  The game uses the Unreal 3 Enginge and improved upon the graphics and game play of its predecessors.

For a moment, let’s pretend that the last five to ten minutes of the game does not exist and only concentrate on the good parts of the story.  And there are many.  Mass Effect 3 leaves off where ME2 left us: after years of warning, the Reapers finally come and invade Earth.  Commander Shepard is recruited to rally a force that will be able to stop them.  After finding a an ancient Prothean artifact on Mars that may be the key to the Reapers’ undoing, Shepard and his team must gather materials and help in order to build the device that will hopefully save Earth and the rest of the galaxy.

It’s a really fun story line, though it’s a bit desperate at times.  There is still a bit of humor thrown  in every once in awhile to keep it from being too dark (i.e. Joker’s The Hunt for Red October joke, which was quite a cute little Easter Egg).  Since the player accumulates resources throughout the game, every missions feels like it matters, even the side missions.

Again, just like the first two Mass Effect games, the space setting is done right.  ME3 has more of the amazingly rich settings that I have loved about the franchise, complete with a detailed set of back-story or “Codex.”  Although the game is Science fiction, the pseudo-science jargon feels like it could actually be real.  From the relays to the use of biotics to the Crucible, everything seems to be plausible and like it could actually happen.

For those players who had played through the first two games, there is an overlying tone of sadness as many of your previous team’s homes get wiped away by the Reapers.  There are also some set characters that will die on you, and depending on how you played the previous two games, others team members may go as well.  I actually cried several times during the game because I had gotten so attached to a few of the ones that died.

Yes, you read that correctly.  Mass Effect 3 moved me so much that I cried.  I cried more in ME3 than ME2, which I enjoyed much more.  The game would have been amazing without those last ten minutes, but I will leave aspect last.

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The game play was actually much improved from Mass Effect 2…once a player gets used to the controls.  I had some issues with the roll from cover to cover for a bit because I was so used to the mechanics of ME2.  After awhile, I got much better at it.  Though it still has standard duck and cover, third person shooting elements, I found that the game enemy AI was much sneakier than in the first two Mass Effect games.  Multiple bad guys would actually try to outflank me on many occasions, something that happened very rarely in the ME2.  The RPG elements felt pretty similar to Mass Effect 2.  In ME3, the missions take on a sense of desperation.  Even better, the planet mining that was the worst part of ME2 has been replaced with a scanning for resources in ME3.  I can be a pain because the more the player scans, the more the Reapers are attracted.  This could be an annoying feature.  However,  at this point, anyone can Google any sector and get the precise places of the resources.  Problem solved.

Just like Mass Effect 2, ME3 is not a typical open-world RPG because of the whole space thing.  However, just like with the previous games, the player does get free roam of the galaxy, as long as there are no Reapers actively looking for you.

Mass Effect 3 continues with the great choice-driven tradition of the series.  Unfortunately, that goes down the drain in the final few minutes, but the rest of the game gives you some amazing choices.  The ability to make decision that will affect how the game goes is one of the best parts of the game.  Also, players still have the option to player Shepard however they’d like.  Dialogue options are more paragon/renegade focused without as many neutral options.  One thing that I did not like about the dialogue options was that a player has to hit all of the right paragon options earlier on in the game to get the “good” Illusive Man response at the end.  I totally missed it, but I really didn’t want to mess with a walk-through on a game that really shouldn’t need one.

Mass Effect 3 is one of the few last-gen games that I can still play and not cringe a bit.  It still looks great.  The upgrades from ME2 were amazing.  The characters looks great and the environment looks even better.  The regular game play is great, but the cut-scenes are what really look amazing.  It is still a game that I would recommend to play graphics-wise even after a year and a half of the current gen of consoles.

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I cannot say enough of the amazing voice actors that have contributed to Mass Effect 3.  BioWare pulled an amazing team together, as always.  Honestly, nothing really disappoints in this game.  Well, except…

Everything goes downhill in the last ten minutes of the game.
I honestly felt like I wanted to hit my head through a wall when I finished the game, and I am not exaggerating.  How can you go from such a great story to such a disappointment?  The last ten minutes of the game are just absolutely awful.  I don’t even really care that Shepard dies no matter what.  He did go up against the Reapers, but the explanation about why the Reapers were destroying everything made no sense.  There was also no real ending choices.  The player basically gets to choose what filter color he or she wants over the end sequence.  I am not exactly sure what BioWare was trying to do there, but I’m assuming that it was a rush to get the game out for whatever reason.  Unfortunately, that rush led to one of the worst game endings in the history of video games.  It’s unfortunate too because the rest of the game is so good.

I still love Mass Effect 3, despite the ending.  To get around the ending, I recommend stopping after saying goodbye to all of your teammates and friends.  Then you can just make up a better ending in your head because what BioWare gave us is just awful.

No GravatarEvery once in a while, there is an awesome game that comes out, and it revolutionizes the way that a person views gaming.  For me, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of those games.  It has everything that I demand in a game: a cool story, fun game play, an expansive world, and the ability to customize my game experience as I see fit.  I love the game so much that it’s one of the top games that I’ve put the most hours into, and that’s saying something because I’ve spent a lot of time on many different games.  It’s one of my all-time favorites.  Here’s why:

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an open world action role-playing game that was developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks.  It is the fifth game in the Elder Scrolls franchise, following 2006’s Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.  Skyrim was released November 2011 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.  A remastered version is coming out for the game for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in October of this year.  The game uses the Creation Engine, which was specifically rebuilt for the game after some of the issues with Fallout 3.  Skyrim got critical acclaim and is consistently rates as one of the best video games of all time.

Set 200 years after its predecessor, Skyrim focuses on Tamriel’s Nordic area (Skyrim, hence the game’s name).  There are two warring factions at odds against each other.  The Stormcloaks consist of Skyrim’s native Nordic folk who wish to rule their own land (and are extremely racist).  The Imperial Legion represents the Empire and wishes to keep the region safe and at peace (but then the native people don’t have control of their own area).  After being almost killed by the Imperials and surviving a dragon attack, the player realizes that Skyrim is in deep trouble if dragons have come back.  Eventually, the player finds out that he or she is Dragonborn, a person born with the soul and power of a dragon.  In the main quest line, the player must find out what is going on with the reemerging dragons; however, there are tons of other side quests that jump into the rich history and politics of the region.  It’s absolutely amazing.

The main story is pretty involved, but it’s the expansive world that really shines with Skyrim.  It’s definitely got one of the best maps that I have seen (I still prefer it over The Witcher 3’s map, which is also quite expansive).  The scenery is gorgeous, especially since I play on PC with the graphics on the highest levels with a few texture mods as well.  Most of the items in the world are extremely interactive.  The people in Skyrim 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.

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However, 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 or even Fallout 4 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?

I love the ability to be able to do what I want, when I want.  I love that I can mix and match with the different combat styles and character niches because…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.  When I initially played it on Xbox 360, I was a bit limited with the amount of perks that I could get, so some specialization was required.  However, on PC I can do a bit of cheaty, cheat, cheating and add perks when I run out of levels.  It’s perfect for the OCD gamer.  In Skyrim, it’s totally okay to be a warrior/mage/thief all at the same time.

The graphics hold up very well, especially if you are playing on PC and can put on some texture mods.  On the consoles, it is starting to look dated.  Hopefully, it will look great again with the remaster.  However, when the game originally came out, the graphics were hand’s down awesome.  I love the textures of the scenery.  Even though some of the color palate can be very heavy on grays and browns, the game is still beautiful.

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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.

No GravatarEvery once in awhile, I get to play a game that is just plain fun.  Not that most video games aren’t fun, but some of them focus too much on grinding or the competitive aspect of gaming.  Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is one of those games that is just plain fun.  The length is about right, and it’s a lot of non-stop action and adventure.  Plus, it’s got a humorous side to it as well.  Uncharted 2 is just a blast to play with the right formula to be downright awesome.

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Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is an action-adventure third-person shooter that was developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony.  It was released for PlayStation 3 on October 13, 2009 with critical acclaim.  It was later released for PlayStation 4 as a part of the Uncharted: Nathan Drake Collection October 2015.  For the purposes of this review, I will only be concentrating on the PlayStation 3 version.

Uncharted 2 picks up with the fun and adventure that the original game started.  Nathan Drake is a world-traveled treasure hunter who is approached by some old associates, Harry Flynn and Chloe Frazer, to steal an oil lamp that belonged to Marco Polo from a Turkish museum.  This oil lamp holds the key to Marco Polo’s hidden treasure.  There’s a lot of fun and adventure, including some familiar faces like Victor Sullivan (“Sully”) and Elena Fisher.

I don’t want to spoil any of the awesomeness that is this game, but I will say that it is thoroughly enjoyable.  You get to go to cool places and do some downright cool things.  I love the fact that even though there are some dark tones to the game, the story overall has humorous overtones due to Drake’s snarky comments.  He’s just one of those cool characters in gaming that you just have to love.  It took me a long time to try this series because I thought that Uncharted was just a Tomb Raider rip-off.  That is far from the truth.  Uncharted stands on its own as one of my favorite genres: cheesy, action/adventure in the lines of Indiana Jones or The Librarian.  It’s just something that you just plan enjoy.

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The gameplay of Uncharted 2 has been much improved over the original game.  I had issues with Drake’s Fortune because of the odd save times, weird camera angles, and funky controls at some spots.  All of these issues were corrected in the second installment, making for an extremely fun game that I can just sit and enjoy.  The game is a third-person adventure game with jumps, climbing, and shooting.  Unlike the older Tomb Raider games, the jumping is significantly easier and the puzzles are more thinking puzzles than gaming skill puzzles (anyone who has played any of the retro TR games knows what I’m talking about).  The player must use Drake’s journal in order to solve these puzzles.  

There is also a significant amount of shooting, using a lot of duck and cover third-person shooting.  Drake switches between a two-handed weapon and a one-handed weapon in combat, and he also had limited access to grenades.  Drake is able to pick up different weapons depending on the situation and personal preference of the player.  There are also a few stealth enemy take-downs as well.  There are also secret treasures that are hidden along the way that allows the player to unlock certain rewards.

Besides the main portion of the game, there is also a multiplayer angle that involves both competitive and cooperative gameplay.  The cooperative is fairly straight-forward, team-based, objective-driven missions.  Teams can be up to three people (Nathan Drake and two other characters).  The competitive allows for ten people on a map (two teams of five) and has fairly standard Deathmatch, as well Plunder, Elimination, Turf War, King of the Hill, and Chain Reaction modes.  Players gain points, level up, and can purchase character skins and whatnot.  There are some hardcore players in the midst, though I’m not sure how active the servers are for PS3.

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he graphics looked pretty slick for the time frame that the game came out.  When it came out, it pushed the boundaries for realistic environment.  The amount of cut-scenes in the game were multiplied by seven as compared with the original game.  I am curious to see how it looked on PlayStation 4 whenever I finally get a chance to crack open the Nathan Drake Collection that I got for last Christmas (life got busy).  Naughty Dog also utilized motion capture with the voice actors for more realistic scenes and dialogue.  Obviously, we saw how this progressed with Naughty Dog in the masterpiece that is The Last of Us.

Overall, Uncharted 2 is just plain fun.  It’s one of those games that you can just jump into and not have to worry about.  There’s no grinding nor is there any stale points.  It’s jam-packed action and adventure with Nathan Drake’s wry, humor interjected throughout.  For me, that is one heck of a good time.

No GravatarWhen I first began playing BioShock Infinite, I had a tough time getting into it.  Not because the game isn’t interesting.  It pulls you in pretty quickly with its beautiful graphics and fascinating storyline.  I was just mad that the game was vastly different in setting and tone then the original BioShock, which is one of my favorite games of all time.  I wanted BioShock Infinite to be in Rapture or somewhere like Rapture.  I actually stopped playing the game and went back to play the original several times before I finally forced myself to play Infinite.  It was a good thing that I did too.  Infinite is an absolutely amazing game, and I shouldn’t have compared it to the original.  Trying to make a game too much like the original BioShock only ends in mediocre sequels (BioShock 2).  I think that Irrational HAD to pick a different setting in order to have an effective story.  So, after getting over that self-imposed hurdle, I found that Infinite is actually one of my favorite games ever.

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Overview

BioShock Infinite is a first-person shooter game developed by Irrational Games and published by 2K in 2013 for PS3, XBox360, and PC.  Is it is the second sequel of the much loved original BioShock.  It uses a modified version of Unreal Engine 3 and has also been praised for its graphics, setting, and story.  Despite being a BioShock game, it departs from the Rapture-setting and instead focuses on its own dystopia of Columbia. BioShock: The Collection comes out in September, which is a remastered version for the current generation of all three BioShock games.  For the purpose of this review, I will be concentrating on the PS3 version only.

Story

The original BioShock had an amazingly intricate story that made several play-throughs enjoyable because of all of the little details.  BioShock Infinite steps it up to a completely different level.  The story is absolutely amazing.  It follows Booker DeWitt, a former Pinkerton and Battle of Wounded Knee vet, who has acquired a massive amount of debt.  To repay this debt, he is hired to rescue, Elizabeth, a woman who has been imprisoned since childhood in a city called Columbia.

Columbia is not a normal city, though.  The place floats in the sky (don’t worry if it sounds ridiculous; it’s very well explained) and is run by the prophet Zachary Comstock, a religious fantastic.  Like the original BioShock, Columbia is a city that has gone wrong, but it also highlights issues such as: racism, religious extremism, socio-economic struggles, American exceptionalism, the corruption of power, and dealing with past mistakes.  As you can see, Infinite is not a one-trick pony when it comes to thematic elements.  I am not even sure what part is better: the story or the setting.  The story is amazing, don’t get me wrong.  Elizabeth is probably one of the best, well-thought out, well-developed female characters ever done in a video game.  However, I also find myself playing Infinite just to explore Columbia (it is really that cool).  I love the early 1900s/steampunk style to it as well.  It’s just overall very well done.  There aren’t many games like it, especially in the first-person shooter style.

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Game Play

If you have been following me for awhile, you know that I’m pretty picky about my first-person shooters.  I’m not really that into most multi-player games, and I hate fps campaign modes that are too short and without substance.  BioShock Infinite, first of all, is worth the price  (I think it may be on PlayStation Plus now, though) because of its length, which is perfect for a fps game.

The game play, however, is also amazingly well-done.  With Infinite, you get a fun, smooth-flowing fps game with a few added elements that push this game up to a 10.  First, there is the use of plasmas…um, I mean vigors, which gives the “BioShock” power.  Then there is also the use of infusions and gear, which give some added elements of game play, such as more health, shields, and salts as well as some special “perks” from the gear.  Second, there is the use of the sky-line hooks and open-environment that make this game incredibly fun to play.  The first time I got on a sky-line, it felt like I was on a freaking roller-coaster.  You can zip around and melee enemies from above, jump on floating air ships, and fire your weapon while swinging around.  Third, you get Elizabeth as a sidekick, who helps out Booker during battles.  The AI for her is absolutely brilliant.  It really is a new way to play an fps.

These added elements make the game so much fun.  The game never felt repetitive.  I never got bored with the game either, especially with all of the fun vigors I got to use.  Overall, I have not seen many single-player fps games out on the market quite like this.

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Graphics

This game highlights the pinnacle of what the PS3 can handle graphics-wise and was pretty much one of the best-looking games for the PS3 (if not the best).  When I got my first glimpse of Columbia, all I could do was go, “WOW!”  After I picked my jaw up off of the floor, I began really enjoy how amazing the setting really is.  Even if you don’t like first-person shooters, the game is worth seeing just for how truly beautiful it looks.

Voice Acting

As you might have known, Troy Baker is my favorite voice actor.  What you might not have known, is that I had no freaking clue who the man was before I played this game (*gasps can be heard from across the Internet*).  Yep, that’s right.  No clue.  But I enjoyed listening to Booker DeWitt so much that decided to look Troy up and the rest is pretty much history.  In seriousness, though, the voice acting is top notch.  From Troy who plays the quiet, soft-spoken but flawed Booker to the very-talented Courtnee Draper, who does Elizabeth’s voice, the actors make the game that much more enjoyable.  Even the Lutece twins are pretty awesome and give some added humor to the game.  By the way, this game is still my favorite Troy Baker game.

Music

I usually do not include a game’s musical score in my reviews, but I decided to add it to this one because the music in Infinite is so great.  Besides having a great score for battles and exploring, you have the added bonus of all sorts of popular songs being done in an early 20th-century style.  There are a lot of Easter-egg tunes to hear, but I don’t want to go into it because I don’t want to give anything away if you haven’t played the game yet (you should).

Overall

There really isn’t anything that I can knock this game on, and trust me, if I see something wrong, I will say something.  BioShock Infinite is just an amazing game.  I know this review is very glowing, and I can’t find anything to complain about.  For the most part, the complaints that I have seen about this game are a little unfounded.  Here are some and my response to them:

Complaint: The story is too complicated, especially the ending.

Response: Sorry, it’s not the game’s fault that you can’t figure it out.

Complaint: The game should have been third-person not first-person, since it has a lot of narration from Booker.  You are the character when you inhabit a first-person perspective, hence there should be no narration.

Response: That’s like saying if you read a book that is in first-person narration that YOU are the character.  Not so.  You are just getting it from the first-person perspective.  Even though you control Booker from the first person, you are not Booker. Sorry.

Complaint: It’s not enough like the original BioShock. (This was my original complaint.)

Response: If you want to play the original BioShock, play the original.  If the game was too much like the original, we’d get a mediocre re-hash like BioShock 2.  The game plays tribute enough to the original but is still it’s own game.

Complaint: I didn’t like the hordes of people coming at you in battle.  It felt like filler.

Response: Um, if you don’t like fighting in a first-person shooter game, then you probably shouldn’t be playing these types of games.  Just saying.

Complaint: It’s too gory.

Response: Uh, last time I checked, it was a BioShock game AND a first-person shooter.  Considering that the original had tinge of the horror-genre to it, Infinite holds up to the franchise.  If it’s too gory, may I suggest a game like Little Big Planet, instead?

Complaint: Elizabeth is too much like a damsel in distress.

Response: I think that she takes care of herself just fine, but apparently you must have missed those parts of the game.  Sure she’s trapped at the beginning, but there is a reason she can’t get out herself, and she also takes charge for a lot of the game.  May I suggest that you replay it and pay attention?

I think the biggest issue is that some of these critics want this game to not be a first-person shooter, BioShock game.  I think they are looking for something that they were never going to find and never should find in this game.  I don’t even know what to tell them there.  I enjoyed the heck out of it.  Infinite will be one of those games I will replay many, many times.  In my humble opinion, it is just that good.