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a crooked mile

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a crooked mile

Have you ever wanted to see your favorite childhood fairytale characters as scumbags, liars, criminals, and prostitutes? The Wolf Among Us is a five part point and click game by Telltale Games letting you do just that. Based on the Fables comic book series, you play as Bigby – the human version of the Big Bad Wolf. You’re the sheriff in Fabletown – an underground community of fairytale characters who have lost their home world. For the past two episodes, Bigby has been investigating the murders of two prostitutes, with the help of Snow White.

In this episode, everything you thought to be true about the villains is wrong. By the end of episode three, you find out that there are bigger powers at play – not just Ichabod Crane acting out his sick and twisted fantasies. We find out about a new villain – The Crooked Man. He might be the real mastermind behind the crimes, but with the way the plot twists, you never know.

I think episode three has been the best so far because the plot is paced better than the other two episodes. I never felt like I was in a cut scene too long, or clicking on clues too long. There were just enough quick time events and dialogue woven throughout the game to keep it interesting. There was never a dull moment and I didn’t feel like the episode was too short, like I did with episode two. I never felt like the creators put all their eggs in one basket in one scene. Because of this, I say The Wolf Among Us – A Crooked Mile is a must buy.

The Wolf Among Us is available on PC, Mac, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.

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Have you ever watched a Bond film and thought “that’s what I want to do”? Well, you might change your mind after you play Alpha Protocol. Not because the game is specifically bad, but because you’ll get a feel of what being a spy in the field is actually like.

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Alpha Protocol is an action role-playing stealth game. What a mouthful, but accurate. It was released in 2010, and for a four year old game it feels…older. That’s not a bad thing, mind you.  Most gamers would say their favorites are from a generation of consoles that are no longer distributed, but those games are chosen quite often out of nostalgia. On the one hand those games were the best of their time, but on the other hand they fall short compared to some modern innovations. The point here is that Alpha Protocol feels like one of those games. Something you loved for what it was back when you played it the first time, but over the years it has lost its edge.

To start, Alpha Protocol is truly a spy story. You are Michael Thorton, a new recruit in the Alpha Protocol program, and your job is to serve your country and stop the bad guys. Sounds simple enough given this is the idea behind more than few games. However, you are a spy. Your job is to get things done with minimal exposure. Whether you kill everyone in your way or just leave them with a tortuous headache, no one should know you’re there. Stealth is a great game mechanic, and Alpha Protocol does a great job of using it. Except for the bugs.

Let me talk about those for a moment because most of the issues I had with this game stem from bugged stealth mechanics. There were times when I would be crouched behind a wall, completely out of sight and fully buffed in sound dampening, and taking a few steps alerted a guard more than ten feet away. This would then alert every guard on the map. And if I should come out of cover and actually be seen, one guard would be enough to expose my location to every guard who would then proceed to start shooting. It’s easy enough to rid yourself of guards and turn off an alarm, but in a minute I’ll tell you why this was such a problem.

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This game is good. It’s hard to call it great, and at times it isn’t all that fun, but it’s good. Agent Thorton is betrayed on his first assignment for Alpha Protocol and is set on a path to make things right. Here is where my favorite aspect of the game comes in. Choice. As Thorton you get to choose what happens. How you interact with others can determine how they respond to you and your actions. Gaining friendship has advantages, but so does rivalry. Who you get on your side can change the outcome; deciding who to ally with and who to piss off, that’s the trick. This game requires you to pay attention. Between gathered intelligence, dossier information, and other tidbits you collect along the way there is an abundance of knowledge. Knowing where you’re going, why you’re going there, and who you’re facing will make things far easier. The game doesn’t do all the thinking for you. The missions you choose to do, and the order you choose to do them in, also has impact.

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That’s all great, but how do you actually play? It’s simple enough. There is combat, stealth, hacking, and collecting. In combat you can put points into different weapons: shotguns, SMGs, assault rifles, pistols, and hands. There are also gadgets; from grenades, to flash bangs, to health kits, you can carry a minimal set into missions and use them for different situations. Stealth, while not a requirement in mission, is a good way to get all that you want. Hacking is dealt with in three ways: computers, keypads, and safes. Hacking a computer requires finding a series of non-moving letters and numbers amongst a stream of flashing figures. A keypad is simply hacked by matching numbers is ascending order to their circuit. A safe is a lock picking screen where you move pins into position and click them in place. Collecting is just what it sounds like. Make sure you explore every room because information, money, and security systems may be hiding anywhere (which is useful when you are lacking cash to buy that armor you want). You will spend the majority of the game working on these skills, getting used to being in cover and sneaking into position, only to reach “boss” fights and the final mission.

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Remember when I said how bugged the stealth system was? Here is where that becomes important. Boss fights, including most of the final mission, are tough. Add in the fact that stealth becomes useless and they get tougher. Here, fight a helicopter that can shoot you through cover, never loses target lock, and you have to fire one RPG at a time at it and those RPGs are scattered across the map. On top of that, here are five men who are going to shoot you, chase you, and know where you are because the helicopter never loses target lock. And if one enemy knows where you are, they all do. It’s infuriating.

I will say that I had fun with this game. The story pulls you in, and you feel like a true spy when things go right. The stealth is fantastic, when it works. The characters are ranging, and often have unexpected stories. I plan to try it again, make some different choices and see what happens, but I do like where my initial instincts lead. And that’s good. This isn’t a game that says “here, make a choice” and then gives you a cookie cutter ending. Who you decide to be will change the path, and that’s nice to see.

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There are other things I could cover. How bad targeting is, how wonky movement can be, how bad pathing is for NPCs, how many boss fights I won because of glitches…

If I were to recommend this game it would be lightly. If you like stealth games and spy stories try it out. If you don’t, skip it. Alpha Protocol requires dedication. It asks you to sit down, pay attention, and accept that things will not always go the way you want. You may do a bit of reloading, but know that the only save option is auto saves.

With all that said, you can always use brute force, and then stealth doesn’t matter so much. It will take more time, you’ll face more enemies, and you may lose out on some of the finer points, but at least you’ll know why all the guards are after you.

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Brothers: a Tale of Two Sons is a beautiful game perfectly offset by a dark and bloody story. In Brothers you set off from a nice peaceful town, where the biggest obstacle is a random bully, in order to save your ailing father to dark and bloody areas filled with despair and death. As you travel across the world with their unique controller setup you’ll have to navigate countless simple puzzles and save the occasional NPC who will in turn help you along your journey; which is only becoming more and more perilous as you go.

In between these moments, however, is where you’ll experience the bulk of the game’s brilliant storytelling. Brothers is a nonverbal game where the characters speak in a fantasy language and your only context are the characters heavy use of hand gestures and actions that do a wonderful job of making everything clear while also showcasing each brother’s personalities. While the older brother’s actions are far more focused on helping his father the little brother’s interactions with others and the environment are more carefree.

Simply going down the alternate paths will reward you with experiences you would have otherwise never knew existed. For instance I’m moving on to the next area and I look down to see a man standing on a chair. What I didn’t notice until I went down his path to look was that there was also a noose tied around his neck. Now you can either watch a man commit suicide or have the older brother hold him up while the little climbs the tree and unties the knot. Brothers is full of moments like that in each and every area and the controls really enhance the experience.

In Brothers you simultaneously control them maneuvering a series of puzzles working together through beautiful landscapes. Each brother is assigned a half of the controller and it works flawlessly. While you use the analogs to control each brother’s direction the triggers control their actions. The only problems I experienced with the controls were user based which at times can cause a little frustration. I would routinely have the little brother running into some random wall because I was paying attention to the other or use the wrong side of the controller and falling.

Puzzles or I guess obstacles are obviously the main challenge of the game and all of them use the teamwork component. Whether it’s the big brother using his strength or the little brother using his size each obstacle is easy to navigate for the most part. The challenge comes when you have to “quickly” traverse the area. You’ll be so focused on doing it right and finding your rhythm and it may take you a little longer than expected. The best part about this, however, is that there isn’t a task that will take you forever to figure out or even do. The “harder” ones will take you a few tries tops and you’ll be on your way. Once you learn the controls you’ll be able to fluidly move through every challenge.

Brothers is an extremely short game, but appropriately so. You won’t have this incomplete of rushed feeling by the end of it. Brothers is a must play for anyone who can appreciated a good story and in my opinion should be enjoyed by all. Gamers and non-gamers alike. It’s truly a beautiful game. 9/10.

You can find Brothers: A tale of two sons on Xbox live arcade or currently for free with a PlayStation plus membership.

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Saints Row began as a Grand Theft Auto clone back in 2006. If you played that game and compare it now, there would be nothing recognizable to the current franchise aside from the name; which is a good thing. What started as clone soon grew into a crazy, insane world all of it’s own, and Saints Row 4 continues that lunacy into epic proportions, for better or for worse.

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At the end of Saints Row: The Third, your custom character, who’ll we will from this point on refer to as the Player, has taken over the city of Steelport and are the biggest celebrities in the world. So where do you go from there? President of the United States obviously. Yes, the Player is now President and running the country, however that is short lived as an alien invasion begins led by Zinyak. The Player is then abducted and thrown into a simulation of Steelport where, like the matrix on crack, hacking the system grants you super human abilities. It is not long before cars become obsolete as you run faster than anything and jump across buildings and obstacles.  From here the player must perform crazy antics to disrupt the system, find your friends, and bring down Zinyak.

 

And here is where the double edge sword appears; while the powers are “super fun” (no more puns I promise), the quickly diminish the challenge of the game. This might turn some people off, yet this game isn’t about challenge. It’s about being thrown in increasingly ridiculous situations and having fun blasting your way through them. The tongue and cheek humor makes this game a gem, whether it be the dialogue, the crazy weapons, or the game’s villain trolling the Player and another character by ruining a song they wanted to sing, this game will keep you laughing.

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Most of the game takes place in the simulation, with missions taking you either into the real world or in other characters version of hell. Loyalty missions will, once completed, give your friends superpowers and a new outfit. These outfits range from racy to parody; of course someone would look like Morpheus. This game is also ripe with parody from movies to other games. My personal favorite was the Metal Gear solid mission. Side missions and collectables abound, this game will give you hours of play.

 

While a fun game, it has its problems. The graphics aren’t bad but not great either, looking more like an early generation game. I found that the sound would cut out briefly from time to time and the game was prone to crashes every now and again. While annoying, it wasn’t game breaking. In my 20 hour playthrough my game my have crashed a total of 5 times. And while not a glitch, until you beat the game the whole city is in perpetual night. It’s dim and gloomy and gets old very quickly.

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Aside from a few bugs and glitches, Saints Row 4 is a very good game. It’ll keep you laughing all the way through and scratch that destructive and insanity itch you have. Great voice acting, funny story, good gameplay, yes Saints Row is insane and charming. If you are a fan of the series or just want some insanity in your life this is a must buy.

CitC

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After the incredible explosion of Bioshock Infinite DLC news, the last twenty-four hours has also seen the release of the first DLC pack, Clash in the Clouds, right to our consoles. This pack is the first of three packs included in the Season Pass for Infinite and is a nice re-acquaintance with the game before the major story DLC, Burial at Sea, arrives in the near future.

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Clash in the Clouds puts Booker and Elizabeth on the frontlines of arena based combat, operating out of ‘The Columbian Archaeology Society’. From this hub the player has access to the four arenas, ‘The Ops Zeal’, ‘Duke and Dimwit Theatre’, ‘Raven’s Dome’ and ‘Emporia Arcade’ – four unique environments from the main campaign. The player also has access to a museum section of the Archaeology Society where you can spend the money earnt in the arenas to buy character models, concept art, behind the scenes video and some great music tracks to listen to whilst exploring.

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The real focus of this DLC is the combat arenas. Upon selecting an arena the player faces fifteen unique waves of enemies ranging from soldiers to Handymen and Motorized Patriots. Each arena has fifteen ‘Blue Ribbon Challenges’ which give you specific parameters to complete the wave – these give the player cash bonuses and unlock a trophy/achievement for completing all sixty. The Archaeology Society also features leaderboards to see how the player’s score stacks up against friends and the world.

Overall this DLC features the same smooth gameplay executed just as well in this as in Bioshock Infinite. The pack serves more as a vehicle for people to get back into the combat and exhilaration the game provides in anticipation for the upcoming ‘Burial at Sea’ packs. What the player gets in this pack however is more than just a fun re-

entry to infinite, it’s also a new game mode that will have you playing through the waves over and over to get a better score and complete some of the more challenging Blue Ribbons. In short the DLC is quite good and really fun, well worth the $4.99 while we wait for the intriguing “Burial at Sea” packs!

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Clash in the Clouds is available now on all platforms for $4.99 or 400 Microsoft points, or free for Season Pass holders. Check out the trailer below!

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1361226210-timed-exclusive-lizI can say for everyone who has finished the game that the ending was nothing but a series of mind-blowing, awe-striking, pure amazing-ness. I can also say that 99% of those who have finished the game, we wanted to play it again immediately.

Folks, I have some wonderful news for you. The new Bioshock Infinite DLC, Burial At Sea, is the first of a two part story featuring all
new environments, and all new interactions between Booker and – yes, a playable Elizabeth. This adventure will take us back to Rapture, where all the mindblowing originated from, however you will be  in a way that will fulfill all your hopes and dreams for the game. Booker and Elizabeth’s relationship will be on an entirely new level, and I can’t express how excited I truly am. I promised myself I wouldn’t insert any spoilers, so I can’t reveal much about the why’s and what’s. You can, however, safely watch the trailer with no spoilers. For the rest of us, we will squeal with utter excitement.

Although there is no release date, there is, however, a new DLC that was dropped today called Clash in the Clouds, featuring an arena type of fighting, priced at $5, there is a season pass priced at $20 which includes Clash in the Clouds, and episodes 1 and 2 of Burial at Sea. Yes, 3 DLCs for $20, whereas each episode is priced at $14.99 each.

If you purchase the season pass, you’ll also get the Early Bird Special Pack. Included in it is a machine gun and pistol damage upgrade, gold skins for both weapons, five infusion bottles, and four pieces of gear. Soooooo.. if I wasn’t stoked about it before, my interested is definitely piqued now.

As a special treat for you all, here is some input from our very beautiful, lovely, and talented Sofie Sheik:

I share Heather’s previous sentiments about being excited for the upcoming Bioshock Infinite Burial At Sea DLC. I have been staunchly anti-DLC since the introduction of the concept, making very few exceptions. I’m so anti-DLC that I am surprised that I even wanted to comment on its release, to be honest, but I believe that the Burial at Sea DLC is important. In the trailer for the DLC, we see Elizabeth, the Artificial Sidekick Intelligence of Bioshock Infinite, as a smouldering femme fatale type character, instead of the youthful, innocent Elizabeth we became acqainted with in Bioshock Infinite.

I find the transition between archetypes fascinating, mostly because it doesn’t happen often, especially when video games are involved. Most of the type, video game characters are static in their personalities, because it’s hard enough to establish the personality of multiple characters through a medium like a video game, especially early on in the game itself. The exception to the rule seems to be the innocent, naive hero/best friend turned dark, anti-social and brooding type (also known as paladins), but most of the time, the hero is a male. Perhaps I am showing my age, but the last major female character I can recall that changed so quickly (I say quickly because in this example, we do not have the information of the circumstance of Elizabeth’s purported change) is Olivia Newton John’s character in Grease, a change so memorable that to this day, I copied her “cigarette on the floor” signature move and still use it.

A lot of people had issues with the original Elizabeth because they felt that she was very wooden, so perhaps they will like playing as the femme fatale version of Elizabeth more – I know I (probably!) will. I’m just very excited to see the elements of Americana noir permeate pre-destroyed Rapture just in general. One of my qualms with Bioshock Infinite was that it was a complete departure stylistically from the original Bioshock (as Bioshock 2 doesn’t exist right? ) and that was incredibly disappointing. I also hope that this creates a flood of noir-inspired artworks and cosplays and all of the other things that people are so wonderfully inventive about.

Irrational Games has been quiet about the exact release date, so hopefully if we cross our fingers and wish on enough stars, the release date for Burial At Sea will be tomorrow.

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e3-2013

It has begun.

E3 2013 is all about Sony versus Microsoft, and I think I can say for everyone that this is going to be the most anticipated, fierce, and earth-shattering year for both consumers and developers alike. For the first time ever, both Microsoft and Sony will be releasing their consoles around the same time, whereas the XBox was released 20 months after the Playstation 2, and the Xbox 360 being released a year before the Playstation 3. Everything that we’ve all heard since the start is boiling down to what’s going to happen within the next few days. There are so many websites that provide different information on the Ps4 and XBoxOne that it’s really hard to get all the facts put together in one article from a reliable and non-biased source. Real Otaku Gamer to the rescue!

I stated on twitter earlier today, videogames are not about which kind of gamer is better; it’s about a family of outcasts who come together to share their passion, not war. Unfortunately, there’s no stopping the PC/Sony/Microsoft war that’s erupting, but as an avid gamer myself, keep videogames as a hobby, not a religion. I want to make it perfectly clear that while the staff here has their own opinions and the console they’re excited for, it is not war, and the gaming community should never feel like it.

With that being said…

We’ll start with the Playstation 4.

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The Dualshock 4, equipped with LED bar, touch pad, options and share buttons, and gamer sensor underneath to recognize the user.

For everyone who’s into the specs and the hardware, the console will feature 8GB GDDR graphics ram, a single chip custom processor, a low-power “Jaguar” CPU with 8 cores, and an AMD Radeon GPU. The controller itself will have a new design that will be easier to hold, featuring all the classic L and R bumpers and triggers, a touch pad, and a share button which will allow video streaming so you can prove that amazing KD ratio you tell everyone about. The controller will also have built in speakers (I’m sorry, that’s sooo cool!), rechargeable battery, LED lights so you can identify other gamers easily, see when your character is low on health, etc., and will also have the ability to sense if you’ve passed the controller onto someone else and will automatically adjust the split screen. The camera, called PS Eye, will not be required for all games, but will be fore some. That should not come as a shock to as since the available dancing and exercise games require the camera.

Let’s hop to Sony’s pros and cons with this console:

Pros:

- Because the camera will not be required in order to play this system, that will keep costs down for consumers. For more More About the Playstation Eye, click the link!

- It will use the same GPU, CPU, and hardware used in the best gaming PCs. Sony was smart in this area because they know that PC gaming is becoming the new standard. Built with a Solid State Drive, where the output will be able to have more cinematics, which is more than what many PCs can currently do. Check out the PS4 System Specs and the system specs in greater detail here.

- Sony designed this console to have a 10 year lifespan. We understand things are buggy at first release, but I think both Sony and Microsoft learned from their latest consoles what went wrong with their rings and lights of death.

- Controller can charge when the console is off. Can I get a ‘Hallelujah’?!

- Sony is keeping their focus with the “This is a game console” mentality. The KISS (keep it simple, stupid) method has always been good. When you focus on too many capabilities, you short-change on all of them, making each utility sub-par.

- Every game released for the PS4 will be available for PSN and will have a playable demo.

Cons:

- Not backwards compatible. Note: There will be an alternative BC service through Gaikai that will be offered through this console. We are also unsure on whether or not original Playstation games will be able to play.

- While the PS4 is dedicated to being a game console, it is still just that; a game console – a more powerful PS3

- There is no definitive answer as to how used games will work, whether there will be a fee, or it will work like Microsoft’s system. Thankfully, this question will be answered very soon.

- Probably the biggest problem is that we don’t know much of anything. Xbox One, at least, gave us a decent amount of information whereas Sony did not.

So in conclusion…

Playstation 4 is for gamers. It is designed to do just that, and aside from the familiar apps (like Netflix or other TV services) and capabilities (like bluray), there’s not much else. That’s not said in a drab way, but like I said, this console is designed to game. That’s it.

For more information on this beast, please visit the Sony PS4 Official Website.

Now, onto the XBox One!

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The console at the reveal last month, featuring the console, controller, and Kinect.

There’s no denying the uproar and outrage about the recent news and information Microsoft reveal. Some people just don’t care because they love Microsoft, they love all the utilities it’s capable of, and that’s great for someone who can and will use them all to the max. Microsoft will be providing over 300,000 servers as opposed to the 15,000 that the 360 currently has. This console also features the 8 core x86 processor like the PS4. It will have 8 GB of RAM and a 500BG HD.

Pros:

- The long awaited Blu Ray abilities will be available.

- You can download your games straight to the cloud. No more missing/scratched disks. You can access your movies and game saves anywhere, anytime. And no need to spend money on extra hard drive space because the games will be stored in the cloud. That also includes no more waiting for game updates.

- You can add up to 1000 Live friends as opposed to the original 100.

- It’s an all-in-one media center that will connect your gaming needs, music, cable, Skype, Netflix, and everything else into one place, all voice activated. No more switching inputs!

- A multi-useful Kinect that will sense your body and movements better than its predecessor. You will also be able to skype with your friends while watching TV or playing your games. If you play on a Fantasy league, your stats will be automatically updated for you.

-  Personalized console that knows what you like and what you don’t, and saves your preferences.

In all honesty, there is a lot to be said about the XBox One due to the fact that it does so much. This console is going to be great for those who love everything and don’t have enough screens to do them all with. Microsoft has put all control in your hands and your voice; your gaming, your way. For a full list of its functions, please visit the XBox One Official site.

Cons:

We all have heard, and given these cons, I agree that we’re really being screwed over. On the other hand, we don’t know much about the PS4 either, so it’s just a waiting game.

- The Kinect is required in order for the Xbox to do its functions. Because there is additional hardware that comes sold, the initial cost will be much higher. The Kinect also cannot be shut off, and if it does break, then you’re really out of luck with playing your console.

- You must connect to the internet on your console once every 24 hours. If not, you will not be able to play and the Xbox will be a pretty paperweight until you can connect.

- Only certain, pre-approved retailers will take your trades. Because less places take the trade, you will get less money for it. You cannot lend games, rent games, but you can sell games if the person has been a friend on Live for at least 30 days. Once they purchase it, it will be theirs forever and it cannot be sold.

-Not backwards compatible.

- If you’re sitting with your significant other while one wants to watch a game while the other wants to watch Teen Mom, at the sound of the voice, the TV will switch. “XBox, play Knicks Game.” Switch! “… XBox, play American Idol.” Switch! Very prone to trolling.

To sum it up…

I think the cons are tending to outweigh the pros in this area. But when looking at what it can do as a whole, it really gives the player ultimate control over all entertainment.

Putting PS4 and Xbox One Into Perspective

Understand that this is not a final list, but this is a good chunk of what all gamers should know going into Microsoft and Sony’s conferences. Us here at Real Otaku Gamer want you to be as informed as possible, without bias, straight from the source (or at least the credible ones). The pros and cons are great and concerning on both ends for this to be considered a very neck-and-neck competition.

So what do you all think about the story so far? Will PS4 win over the population, or Microsoft sway the audience with their all-in-one media center?

lightning

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Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. Ah, the end of the Final Fantasy 13 series, finally. It’s been a long time coming, and initially I felt that it should have ended a very long time ago. Playing the first one, I hated nearly every second of it. Despite my mind talking me out from repeatedly picking up the controller, it seemed that I just played it simply because it was in my console. And then FFXIII-2 came out, and I let out a soft sigh, mumbling here we go again. I do have to admit that the second installment was 10 times better than the first with a much more cohesive and comprehensible story line  enjoyable worlds to visit… very reminiscent of Kingdom Hearts in a way. After I beat it, I was left with 25% of my brain saying that I couldn’t wait to see what was next. Albeit a bit late, the game now takes a change in what seems to be for the better. Before we get into technicalities, we need to establish the background of this latest installment.

A screenshot during Toriyama's presentation in Tokyo, Jan 2013.

A screenshot during Toriyama’s presentation in Tokyo, Jan 2013.

Following the events in FFXIII-2, In 1000 AF, Valhalla and Gran Pulse have merged after Etro’s death. The result of the chaos is called the Nova Chrysalia – the four continents in the Sea of Chaos and Bhunivelze as the new Cocoon. Due to the merge of Valhalla and Gran Pulse, people have stopped aging. On one of the continents named Luxerion, the citizens start to form a closed religious city where those who do not believe are cast out. Lightning then awakes, and in 13 days, 13 hours, the world will be decimated. She is then called by the god Bhunivelze to save the world. She reunites with the old gang along the way and fights her way through those who oppose her mission in hopes of saving mankind.

I have to say, the idea sounds pretty frickin’ awesome and solid.

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Motomu Toriyama, the series director, stated that Lightning will face her final battle. Whether or not she will return or not in any future games outside of FFXIII is not clear, but what is clear is that this trilogy featuring Lightning’s story is over. Toriyama made it a point to the directors to bring the power and glory in her eyes, to make her fierce, persistent, and relentless towards her mission. I like it! That tells me that there will be even greater graphics to bring emotion onto the field, trying to close the chasm between player and character. Let’s move on as to what will make this game very different from what we’re used to.

When it comes to gameplay, think of the doomsday clock element of Majora’s Mask and the interactive abilities of Assassin’s Creed. She will be able to hang off ledges, duck around corners, jump, etc. The characters will also be able to freely move during combat, which is an element that didn’t really catch on much in the Final Fantasy series. In addition,  this game will feature a more realistic time setting where the day is split into morning, afternoon, and night and interactions with other NPCs (non-playable characters) will vary depending on the time of day (inspired by Skyrim). The monorail that takes you from continent to continent or between cities will run on a regular schedule as well, so yes, you might have to practice your patience when transferring to different places. Yet another familiar feature are the Schematas, where Lightning can change outfits that will change her abilities during combat (a la Final Fantasy X-2) instead of the Paradigm Shifts that we’ve been accustomed to. In one person’s review of the demo, the combat system is very easy to get accustomed to and requires less strategy that was required in the series’ predecessors. That’s not to say that the boss battles will be easy nor simple. It does make it convenient that we no longer have to worry about the different paradigms that are in the queue in order to survive.

The demo will make its debut at E3 next week, where we will have more information on whether or not the game is a yea or nay. Check out the E3 trailer below and tell us what you think!



The game is set to release Fall of 2013 for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.

 

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Today we are diving into an artistic dream world, in a fast paced arcade puzzle adventure! Echoes is playable on PS3, PSP and Vita. These are called Minis, simple yet very entertaining. The game is created by Indie game developer Halfbrick. Echoes is an old version of you, every time you collect a crystal in the game, you create an Echo that traces your path back and forth. The point of the game is to collect the selected amount of Crystals every round.

The game presents you with a more and more difficult challenge as you progress. Echoes also features different powers that help you thought the game, such as hourglasses that stop time. The game starts you with 3 life’s,  although you may lose a few life’s hitting your own Echoes, you eventually do get life’s in some of the stages.

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The game also comes with different modes to keep the game fresh. The game includes Arcade mode, Jackpot mode, Survival mode and clock work. These are modes are unlocked the further you progress in the game. Jackpot mode gives you about a minute to grab as many crystals as possible while avoiding your own Echoes. Survival mode, starts you off with 10 seconds,you then set off pulses ( crystals that eliminate echoes). The point in this mode is to get the highest score possible. Clockwork allows to move your Echoes forward and back with the trigger buttons.

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The game is really fun, especially for the price. At last check it was going for $2.99 and remember it is a PS Mini, meaning that this game be played on most of you Playstation handheld devices. Great game, HalfBrick did a great job to make such a simple artistic looking game very entertaining.

The Cast of Poker Night at the Inventory 2

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Poker Night at the Inventory 2 is TellTale’s latest Xbox Live Arcade, Steam and Playstation Network game and is, as the title suggests, a Poker game at it’s core. More than that, this downloadable title is an example of how great personalities and some clever writing can make a functional but not particularly exciting card game into an engaging and fun experience for the player.

After a short and cameo filled introduction the player, aptly named and referenced to as “Player”, is introduced to their adversaries for the night’s game; Brock from “The Venture Bros.”, Claptrap from “Borderlands”, Ash from “Army of Darkness” and Sam of “Sam and Max”. Other characters from these titles and other telltale titles drift in and out during the course of tournaments.

The Cast of Poker Night at the Inventory 2

The Cast of Poker Night at the Inventory 2

The writing in this game is superb, drawing from popular culture, developer-in jokes and character backstories, always keeping the player engaged and chuckling throughout. TellTale has made the focus of the game the characters and their interactions whilst playing, not the poker itself. This works well in this game as the mix of nostalgia and humour, brought to life by the characters and Glad0s, allow the player get wrapped up in the experience not the base gameplay, often hanging out for the cast’s quips and comments more than counting the chips on the table and watching for tells.

The poker in game feels a little drab itself, and without the writing would probably be just another basic poker game. The choice of Glad0s as dealer helps to liven up the gameplay as she regularly drops from the ceiling to provide ‘helpful’ comments to the player. The game also features character animations to give away when they are bluffing, but they are not common or very well executed. The Player may also buy drinks for the cast from the bartender Mad Moxxi of the  Borderlands games. They make the ‘tells’ from others more obvious, but they still didn’t play much of a role in the results of the tournaments. When you get to playing you get a choice between “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “Omaha”, both games play well and the tournaments serve as opportunities for bragging rights, and more importantly, unlocks. After completing challenges you are offered the chance to win a special item from each character’s title, such as Ash’s Necronomicon and Claptrap’s Video Game Award, each awarding the player with unlocks outside of the game.

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Borderlands 2 Unlocks

The game’s brilliant writing is added to by the ability to get heads and skins for Borderlands 2 on all platforms, and then platform specific unlocks including avatar items, Team Fortress 2 hats and exclusive themes. These unlocks keep the game playable well after the dialogue starts to repeat, but once you complete these there is little to keep you playing after the occasional game for nostalgia’s sake. There are also felt, deck and chip variants for each title to unlock, purchasable with ‘unlock tokens’ won in tournaments. These re-skin the bar and game aspects, but don’t affect gameplay.

Overall this game is quite fun and well worth the price tag, quite cheap on all platforms. The jokes, dialogue and unlocks make the game quite addictive and entertaining, but the replay value drops once the dialogue starts to loop and the unlocks are all collected. Some extra modes, multiplayer and more dialogue would help with the replay value, but the game is still great. For some laughs, free items and a good bit of poker fun this is well worth the download. A solid 8/10!

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