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By SarahTheRebel On 28 Jul, 2013 At 02:21 AM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarDuring Comic-Con International, 343 Studios’ Frank O’Connor announced that Dark Horse Comics would publish an all-new ongoing series later this year based on Halo – not to be confused with the upcoming miniseries Halo: Initiation.

haloescalation

While the first miniseries ties directly into Microsoft’s Halo: Spartan Assault video game, Halo: Escalation will spin directly out of the events of Halo 4. The series begins when the UNSC Infinity is assigned escort duty for a diplomatic mission between the Arbiter and the Brutes, but has to fend off an attack meant to thwart the negotiations. Featuring Captain Lasky, Spartan Palmer, and a cast of recognizable characters, this ongoing series is poised to be an essential read for fans in search of new story lines set within the canon of the Halo universe!

Much like other Dark Horse video game tie-in titles that are written by the games’ writers, Halo will be written by Halo 4 lead writer Chris Schlerf, with Omar Francia (Mass Effect, Star Wars: Legacy) handling art for the first three issues, and covers by Anthony Palumbo (Dragon Age).

The first issue of Halo: Escalation arrives in stores on December 11, 2013!

By SarahTheRebel On 28 Jan, 2013 At 07:41 AM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, PlayStation | With 1 Comment

No GravatarIf you’ve been keeping up with The Last of Us news and trailers, you know that the player will be accompanied by a girl named Ellie. But who is Ellie? Naughty Dog has been pretty close-lipped about her so far, but with the game far off in the future, it only makes sense to keep the level of mystery high. So what do we know?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W01L70IGBgE]

Well, a recent interview on VG24/7 has shed some light on the little girl in a terrifying world.

The Game

The Last of Us takes place on a post-apocalyptic earth, after civilization has mostly succumbed to a deadly fungus. Much like in I Am Legend, nature is reclaiming the city streets, creating a beautiful, but deadly, urban jungle.

The game is a survival/action/shooter with a stealth focus and features Joel, a jaded survivor, working with fourteen-year-old Ellie to survive escape the military and other threats.

http://noble-press.com/2012/12/the-last-of-us/

Despite the action-filled premise, the developers have stressed that this is more of a family-love story than a zombie game, influenced heavily by Nathan Drake and Victor Sullivan’s interaction in the Uncharted series. The game focuses on emotions and the father-daughter relationship of Joel and Ellie.

The Girl

Ellie, born after the cataclysm, was raised in a quarantine zone – a place fairly safe from the horrors of the post-apocalyptic world. Despite growing up in such a hopeless setting, she still maintains a relatively optimistic outlook on life. This will be important to her relationship with Joel, as her views may change his own outlook on the world.

Ellie is played by Ashley Johnson, who claims that the belief that Ellie will be a shallow kid who exists to cause trouble (a common trope in games and movies, and a reasonable expectation in escort games) is a misconception.

http://www.oddfuturetalk.com/forums/topic/20025-the-last-of-us/

“With Ellie, I know she’s fourteen, but this is the only world she’s ever known. Every day, you have to survive. It’s not like she thinks, “‘Oh, I wake up, what am I going to have for breakfast’ or ‘Who am I going to hang out with today?’” said Johnson in her VG24/7 interview. “She’s not a normal fourteen-year-old girl. When I first got the audition and saw the scenes, I could tell she was wise beyond her years and not your average teen. I didn’t think the whole time we were shooting it, ‘I’m fourteen, I’m fourteen.’ I honestly haven’t been thinking about age.”

Naughty Dog has become known for its portrayal of interesting and layered characters, characters that are deeper and more complicated than they first appear. For example, in a trailer that actually disturbed me during E3, Ellie is shown helping Joel as he brutally murders a group of people in front of her. She isn’t standing there looking squeamish as a guy gets his head bashed in, she is busy trying to see how she can help. And then she throws a brick at a man’s head.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9-I0CF1tsI]

According to Naughty Dog, Ellie’s character is heavily influenced by Mattie Ross from True Grit. She is coming-of-age, and Joel is both corrupting her and helping her gain her independence.

http://nymag.com/movies/features/69634/

What we don’t know

Naughty Dog is adamant that this isn’t a traditional escort mission kind of game. But if it isn’t, then what is it? Will we get to choose strategies for her? Is she a completely independent AI? It’s clear in the trailer that she can stay out of trouble, but is it possible for her to get caught or killed in combat?

http://www.gamespot.com/forums/topic/29327497/the-last-of-us-vga-2012-fapping-trailer

Also, is she always as hardened as she’s shown to be in the E3 gameplay trailer? Because I found it pretty hard to believe that a kid could watch men get beaten to pulp and not at least throw up in her mouth a little. Even grown men are shaken by their first kill or by watching someone get murdered in front of them, so I find it strange that this kid can be so jaded about violent death so young.

The Portrayal of Women in Games

The Last of Us creative director Neil Druckmann, who wrote the game’s script, said that he tried not to let stereotypes and industry standards effect how women were portrayed.

Both Ellie and Tess (a black market dealer played by Annie Wersching) are characters with layers, not static, walking, talking sex symbols.

http://blog.us.playstation.com/2012/12/14/the-last-of-us-new-survivor-tess-background-details/

Johnson, Wersching, and Druckmann all expressed their concern with gender portrayal in games, particularly the negative reputation the industry has.

“Typically they’re [women] either over-sexualized, or they’re the damsel in distress, or simply there to be a love interest. There may even be one female in a game who’s a badass, as opposed to, ‘Just another male character.’ It does bother me, which is another thing that attracted me to this game, and Naughty Dog games in general,” said Johnson.

She and Druckmann went on to talk about how many game companies won’t put women on the covers of games because they’re afraid they won’t sell.

“I know I’ve been in discussions where we’ve been asked to push Ellie to the back and everyone at Naughty Dog just flat-out refused,” said Druckmann.

http://www.fpsguru.com/article/2923/The-Last-of-Us-Box-Art-Pre-Order-Bonuses.html

And I actually know that to be a true story. A friend who works there told me about the focus group and what was said about the covers featuring Ellie long before this story came out. It is amazing that Naughty Dog is standing up for this character, and I really hope this can be the game that serves as an example to other developers.

Between this and the recent Twitter movement, I’m starting to see instances of the industry taking itself to task and trying to create a change in how women are viewed in games. It would be awesome if my nieces end up with strong heroines in their games.

http://www.anniewersching.com/home/index.php?location=home

I, for one, can’t wait to get to know Ellie.

The Last of Us comes out May 7, 2013, exclusively on PS3.

First appeared on Nerdy But Flirty.

By otakuman5000 On 8 Oct, 2012 At 08:33 PM | Categorized As PC Games, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarBust-N-Rush

Hey, remember when we reviewed Bust-N-Rush? Of course you do! Well we have good news for anyone that was intrigued by the game, but not quite sold on it: Bust-N-Rush can now be had for only $4.99. You’re basically losing money by not buying it.

Perhaps you were fine with the price, but only buy games through Steam? Well there’s more good news! Bust-N-Rush has joined Steam Greenlight. Head on over to their page now and give them a vote. Pretty please?

Originally posted on Nerdy But Flirty

By otakuman5000 On 14 Sep, 2012 At 08:53 PM | Categorized As PC Games | With 0 Comments
Bust-N-Rush Logo

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Bust-N-Rush Logo

Sarah The Rebel previewed it at PAX Prime, I reviewed it, and now you can purchase Bust-N-Rush to try it out yourself. To celebrate the launch, Techtonic Games also released this great live action trailer:

A fun infinite runner style game with old-school appeal, Bust-N-Rush is sold through the Origin download service at $9.99 for the standard edition or $14.99 for the Double Bust Bundle, which includes two copies of the game and bonus content, including wallpapers and videos.

And even more exciting, we have codes to give away! Be sure you’re following Real Otaku Gamer on Twitter for your chance to win. You’ll need the Origin client to redeem the code, so if you don’t have it you can grab it from here to be prepared.

By otakuman5000 On 14 Sep, 2012 At 08:18 PM | Categorized As PC Games, Reviews | With 1 Comment
Bust-N-Rush Box Art

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Bust-N-Rush Box Art

Bust-N-Rush, by Techtonic Games, is an infinite-runner style game played from the third-person perspective. Essentially, you’re sprinting endlessly forward through large corridors, smashing through gigantic boulders to build up combo chains. As is to be expected, you’ll be dodging various hazardous materials, collecting powerups and jumping, Incredible Hulk-like, across giant pits. Like any classic arcade game, the goal is simple: Get the highest score.

The backstory is that the antagonist, the Satellite of Wub, has killed your best friend. Or destroyed, in this case, as his the best friend was a pink plastic flamingo named Paco. It’s a cute story, but essentially meaningless in this type of game.

Here, gameplay reigns supreme, and Bust-N-Rush gets it mostly right.

Bust-N-Rush Screenshot

On the positive side, Bust-N-Rush is fast-paced and addictive in a way that hearkens back to the olden days of eight and sixteen-bit games, in the sense that it all comes down to your speed and reflexes. And it never feels unfair. If you die in this game, you can rest assured that it’s your fault. Adding to the challenge, the levels aren’t pre-made, but instead are procedurally generated, meaning you won’t be memorizing your way to fame and glory.

Bust-N-Rush also adds a more  modern flair with the addition of Quest Mode. In this game type, you’re still doing the basic corridor runs, but with the addition of tokens scattered throughout the course, just waiting to be picked up and activate a quest. All the quests seemed to be of the “smash x number of y item” variety, but they still add a little-spice to the otherwise-straightforward runs. And just picking up the tokens can actually be pretty challenging when you’re rocketing through at top speed, let alone recognizing specific objects in time to target them.

In addition to Quest Mode, there’s the more traditional Survival Mode (run until you’re killed in pursuit of the highest score) and the intriguing Bust-A-Friend Mode (challenge your buddies to beat your score). Of the three modes, Bust-A-Friend has the most potential to keep you coming back to the game. It’s hard to resist the idea of trying to beat a friend’s score or to show of your running prowess by sending a challenge. It’s part of the game’s old-school, arcade-y feel that we liked so much.

Bust-N-Rush Screenshot 2

Unfortunately, while the game would let us issue challenges to each other, they were never received, so Bust-A-Friend remains more of an interesting concept than an actual feature right now. Hopefully this was just due to the network being fully in place pre-launch. We’ll come back to this after release and update the status.

Finally, Bust-N-Rush also has achievements, as has become the standard. There are over 60 different goals to work toward and, if you’re like us, this will keep you coming back in an attempt to complete them all.

All of that is well and good, but where the gameplay succeeds,  the presentation falls a little flat.

Bust-N-Rush Wallpaper

The few different environments we played through were somewhat bland and repetitive. It’s hard to spot the differences between the levels. That being said, in a game that moves as fast as Bust-N-Rush does, you probably won’t even notice. It’s not like you’re going to stop and admire the decorating.

The music is enjoyably moody and atmospheric, when listened to on its own. But in context it feels a bit out of place. When you’re screaming down a dimly lit corridor, smashing through gigantic boulders and jumping across gigantic chasms, it helps to have a soundtrack that suits the mood.

The menus and presentation are functionalbut they do feel very dated. Dated enough that it reminded us of Frogger 2: Swampy’s Revenge.

Which is from 2000.

That being said, the graphics are actually very nice, although neither of us were able to run the game at the highest settings. But even at the lowest settings, we could still see far enough into the distance to plan your next set of moves and keep yourself in the race, which is vitally important in this game.

Bust-N-Rush is not a very unique idea, but the gameplay is super solid, challenging, and addictive. Walking away from the game, we felt like we’d just spend time with a beloved arcade game of yore, and that’s a pretty great achievement by itself. In the end, the flaws are insignificant since the drive to keep topping previous high scores and beat your friends will keep you coming back for a long time.

Bust-N-Rush was released today on Origin at $9.99 for the standard edition or $14.99 for the Double Bust Bundle, which includes two copies of the game and bonus content, including wallpapers and videos. Currently only available for Windows PCs, however a Mac version is promised.

Co-reviewed with AxlCalrissian of Nerdy But Flirty.

Download copies of the game were provided by Techtonic Games for this review.

By SarahTheRebel On 12 Sep, 2012 At 12:06 AM | Categorized As Conventions, Previews | With 0 Comments
RaiderZ Logo

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RaiderZ Logo

Along with the Neverwinter preview, I also snuck in the opportunity to check out the F2P MMORPG RaiderZ with Mark Hill, Senior Producer of the game.

Hill demonstrated a few of the key characteristics of the game, then handed it over to me to stumble around in. I do have to agree with a fellow journalist in the meeting: this game is a wee bit complicated.

On the other hand, not everyone is a wuss afraid of a little hard-earned fun. Although an entry-level gamer like me might struggle around for a bit, I think that most people familiar with the general setup of a MMORPG won’t have too much trouble.

Plot

The kingdom of Rendel has fallen and vicious beasts, awakened by the contamination of the Prime Stone, roam the lands with an insatiable thirst for blood and a desire to claim Rendel as their own. A team of champions with weapons and armor forged from the contaminated beasts has risen to slay the marauding monsters.

RaiderZ Battle

Gameplay

Fans of Dragon’s Dogma and Monster Hunter should also be excited: you can both hack away at giant beasts AND turn into monsters, gaining different skills and abilities in your other forms.

You can team up with as many as 15 other adventurers at a time. As they say in RaiderZ (and on my frikkin awesome Tee they gave me): Hunt together, or die alone.

(Side note: my first thought when watching this trailer was “OOOH! I wanna fight that monster!”)

Oh, and my favorite: when you beat up a monster, it may drop things like its horns or claws. These items can then be used to create weapons. How great would it be to slay something with it’s own horn that you hacked off and ran away with three days ago? This is awesome.

RaiderZ Monster

Other awesome things include the ability to play guitar, roast a pig, and serve a feast. Dude. You can then use the guitar or plates of food as weapons or consume the food for stats.

An interesting aspect of the character setup is the lack of set classes. You can really pick and choose among the weapons and skills and build out your skill tree the way you want it once you reach level 10. For example, you can choose to be a tank-healer.

Hill stated that his personal goal with this game was to completely change how people view F2P games.

RaiderZ City

“THIS is what you can get from a free game?” he said, enthusiastically showing off the crisp graphics. This game has both quantity and quality, which is pretty exciting based on my short time with it.

Lady Gamers 

As I snagged a wonderfully covered female character, I asked about their views on female players and the design of their female characters. Hill mentioned that a good perccentage of their target players are female.

“We try not to overtly sexualize ANY of the characters,” he said, pointing out that the male characters are given the same treatment. They aim to make the goal accessible to everyone and to not objectify anyone.

RaiderZ Female

“No girls have complained, which has been cool,” Hill said.

I must say I was immediately impressed and actually noticed right away, so kudos to MAIET for being Nerdy without being too Flirty!

Overall I think this is a game many MMORPG fans will be interested in, and one of my authors has already signed up for the Beta waiting list, so hopefully I will have a more in-depth review of that soon!

First appeared on NerdyButFlirty.com

Epic Mickey 2

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Epic Mickey 2

Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two is the upcoming sequel to Epic Mickey. Unlike its predecessor, the game will not just be available on the Wii, but also on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows.

At PAX Prime 2012, I decided to play it on the Wii to get a feel for the game on its native console. That turned out to be a bit of a mistake, as my lack of familiarity with the Wii made me look a little foolish as I struggled with simple tasks. Once I got over the awkwardness of holding two controllers instead of one, I started to have a lot of fun. Waving your paintbrush around while hanging out with Mickey and the gang is sure to delight any child. I think the control scheme will appeal less to older gamers, but if they’re fans of the Disney universe they’ll still be able to get into the game.

In the last game, Oswald was one of the characters that needed Mickey’s help against the Blot. This time, Oswald actually teams up with Mickey as a co-op player, and is voiced by Optimus Prime. . . I mean Frank Welker. Additionally, Oswald’s helper, Gus the Gremlin, is voiced by Westley. . . I mean Cary Elwes. The other characters are voiced by their actual voice actors ie: Mickey is voiced by the same actor he is voiced by in the cartoons, Goofy is Goofy, etc.

As I played, the booth hunk (He was a creative director or something I’m sure, but I was totally distracted by the dimples. I will strive to be a better journalist next time, I promise.) mentioned some interesting ideas for the new game. Although Mickey would visit many of the same places, the focus would be on the musical elements and on the story of Oswald and Mickey as brothers.

Oswald and Mickey

I asked him why they chose to go with Oswald, a relative unknown, for the co-op partner instead of a character like Minnie Mouse. He said that Epic Mickey 2 is really a redemption story for Oswald, an awesome character that many people in our generation are completely unaware of, since he debuted in the 20s. I will accept that answer, though I really would have liked the opportunity to play a female character in the game.

Another nice aspect of the game is the choice system. It was interesting to see such an RPG dynamic in what felt like an action game. Mickey can choose whether to use thinner or paint, and those choices will affect both the gameplay and the reactions of the NPCs around him.

As my demo came to a close, I asked him the question I know we’ve all been pondering (by “all” I mean AxlCalrissian): Where is Epic DuckTales?!!!

The answer was pretty awesome. They don’t have anything planned but the creators are excited about the thought of expanding into the other shows.  So maybe, one day, my little children will get to play Epic DuckTales. A-whoo ooh!

DuckTales

As a Disney fan and PS3 owner, I’m really looking forward to trying out  Epic Mickey 2 when it is released on November 18th. The game is priced at $49.99 on the Wii, $39.99 on the PC, $34.99 on 3DS and $59.99 on the PS3 or 360.

First appeared on NerdyButFlirty.com

By SarahTheRebel On 28 Aug, 2012 At 09:46 PM | Categorized As News, PlayStation, ROG News | With 2 Comments
Okami

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Okami

Capcom has a released an almost-five-minute video showing off the improved visuals in the upcoming HD re-release of Okami.

As a big fan of the Playstation 2 version, I am definitely excited to play Okami again on my PS3, but I’m also laughing a little at everyone getting so hype over how “exciting” the “HD visuals” are. Okami has ALWAYS been a gorgeous game and the “new” graphics look exactly the same to me as the classic! I also think it’s interesting that Capcom chose a dim and dark cave adventure to show off the updated appearance….

But this is just a YouTube video, maybe my untrained eye will be more impressed (than I already am with the original PS2 art) when I see it on my TV screen.

Regardless, I’ll still be checking Okami HD out when it releases through the Playstation Network later this year, and racking up some trophies!

First appeared on NerdyButFlirty.com

By SarahTheRebel On 10 Jun, 2012 At 01:03 AM | Categorized As Conventions, Featured | With 2 Comments

No GravatarMy first day at E3 started off a little overwhelming. There was simply too much to do in such a small amount of time! I don’t even know why these sections are called “booths” instead of rooms or arenas, the areas were so enormous!

I ended up wandering around with my friends Jon and Jonelle until we ended up at the Video Game History Museum booth, where another friend, Collin, found me.

Found this and played a ton of Nintendo while I was there

The next thing I know, we’re on a wild hunt to get to the Borderlands 2 demo. Along the way, we stopped at the Nyko booth to have a friendly match of Street Fighter X Tekken, because we were told that the winner would recieve a cape. Guess who now has a champion cape?

We finally made it to the Borderlands 2 demo line. After waiting for 30 minutes, I asked my friend to hold my spot and I went off exploring, checking out the Tekken Tag Tournament 2 demo, stealing lollipops from the Sega booth and taking pictures of awesome things like action figures and random passerby.

Cosplay Contest for the PlayStation All Stars

I returned to the demo line and waited for another hour. We were in the next group to go when we were informed by the booth folks that we would not make it. Considering that at least 30 people were in line behind me, this was a big bummer and seemed a little irresponsible on their end. I am happy to report that they learned from this experience, as I shall elaborate on in the next chapter.

Anyhoo we managed to convince the booth attendents that we should at least get shirts, and we all went and picked up our AWESOME shirts featuring a skag attack <3

and it's a small! <3

After that I ended up wandering for a bit before grabbing some noms and then heading to TwitchTV presents the Frag Dolls Far Cry 3 E3 Party, where I was promptly attacked by a monkey.

Yes, you heard that correctly. Everyone got to take their picture with the monkey, who ignored everyone in favor of some sort of snack he was being handed. Everyone except me. He decided that I would be the one whose face he would leap on. All I remember next was being told to stop running away so the handler could get the monkey off of me, and then having to act cool for my picture to be taken. I was traumatized for the rest of the night, and also itchy.

Besides the monkey, I had a good time. I danced the night away with the Max Level crew and my dear friend Ashphord, as well as running into a few of my tweeps. I also got to play the Far Cry 3 demo.

To be honest, I was not very impressed with the demo. It was easy to see why quite a few people left the demo and walked away at the same part (I checked a few TVs and noticed the same task). I COULD NOT find whatever I was supposed to find, even though there was a big symbol trying to lead me to it. The controls were fine but I found it a little hard to tell if I was shooting at people I was supposed to be shooting at, whether or not my bullets were connecting, or how to get out of the way of other people’s bullets. I would have liked to start the demo over from the beginning, but couldn’t figure out how to do it. Although the game looks beautiful, it is not really to my taste, so I will let another ROGer give that review when the time comes.

I ended the night with a hefty argument at Ihop about the rights of girl gamers and fell into a dazed sleep at 4 AM.

Overall, my first day at E3 left me very unimpressed and underwhelmed, but I assumed it was because of the fast-pace of it all. I decided to reserve judgement until the end of the Expo.

Stay tuned for the next chapter of my 2012 E3 diary!

 

By SarahTheRebel On 18 May, 2012 At 03:08 PM | Categorized As News, PC Games | With 0 Comments

No GravatarBioware is starting a monthly forum to find out what fans really want. Fans will have a week to reply to a given question in the Bioware forum.

The forum is called the Dragon Age: Question of the Month” series. Bioware will pose a question to the community and promises to consider taking them into account for future Dragon Age worlds, including novels, anime, pen and paper RPGs, video games and comics.

This month’s question is “What would you like to discover and learn about the Dragon Age world.” Although many are not following the format of the forum and are simply using it to complain about issues or game mechanics (which I also gripe about, but in the correct forum dontchyaknow!), others are going wild with hopes of exploring the rest of Thedas. Another person asked for more time in the Fade (but without the blurry bits). I would like that person to never speak again.

Anyway, if you’ve read the latest novel, Dragon Age: Asunder or heard the PAX hints then you can already guess where the next Dragon Age game will take place. I wonder if they are actually gathering data for the codex and random items you can pick up and interact with?

To participate in the forum and give your own answers, click here!