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No GravatarAs some of you might know, Mass Effect is one of my favorite gaming franchises.  Of course, when I say that, I am looking at the franchise as  a whole (I will not dwell on what happened to ME 3).  However, for those gamers who primarily play on PlayStation consoles, playing the original Mass Effect was not in the cards.  This changed once the game was finally released for PlayStation 3 at the end of 2012.  Finally, PlayStation fans were able to play the whole series through.  I  was one of those fans who got the original for digital download.  Here is what I thought:

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Mass Effect is a science fiction third-person RPG developed by Bioware and published by Microsoft originally, but is now being published by EA.  It originally was released for XBox 360 only, but eventually was released for PC and then Playstation 3.  It uses the Unreal 3 engine.  The game was applauded for its in-depth universe.  To me, the game is the Holy Grail of RPGs, since most do not have the Science fiction twist that Mass Effect does.

The setting puts the game far into the future where the human race discovers alien technology that allows them to travel faster than light (the “mass effect” field).  They have also found mass relays that allow them to travel significant distances in space in short amounts of time.  The human race expands throughout the galaxy, meeting other alien races.  They create the Human Systems Alliance that becomes a rising power among the other, older races.

The game follows Commander Shepard, an elite soldier who is picked to head a secret mission on a experimental ship, the SSV Normandy.  He is also in the running to become the first human Spectre, a black-ops division of the Citadel counsel, a governing body of the “civilized” parts of the galaxy.  As the story continues, the player begins to delve into the richly-designed universe that is Mass Effect and discovers that there are some very sinister things lurking in the galaxy.

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One of the fun things about this game is the ability of the player to go where they want to go in the galaxy.  Sure, there are some parts that you don’t get to decide, but there is a lot of freedom in traveling, allowing the player to go to some really cool planets.  Another interesting aspect (that I’m sure you may have heard about) is the ability to have Commander Shepard have a relationship with some of the characters.  You only get a few options in this game, but it still keeps things kind of interesting.

There’s a lot going on in Mass Effect.  It’s an RPG with XP, leveling up, and different skill-sets you can go through.  However, it is also a third-person action adventure shooter.  It employs a duck and cover system of fighting but also incorporates vehicle battle as well.  It SHOULD be a very diverse game play.  For the main missions, that is correct; the actual main quests are a ton of fun.  It’s the side quests that are a complete bear to play.  They are tedious and difficult in some spots, something that I wasn’t used to from playing Mass Effect 2 and 3 originally.  Because of this, I will have to knock the game play down quite a bit.

There are other aspects of the game play that I would like to cover, however.  The first being the class system.  Players get to choose at the beginning the type of class they want their character to be.  This also includes being able to fully customize the Shepard character: male or female, default or customize completely.  I recommend being on male default because Shepard is sexy.  Besides customizing the character in that way, there are six classes to choose from: Soldier, Engineer, Adept, Infiltrator, Sentinel, and Vanguard.  Each class has its own special perks.  I typically play as soldier.  Each of the classes also have their own special combat abilities.

Another interesting aspect of game play is dialogue and morality system.  As the story unfolds, the player is given options for dialogue.  One is typically the “good” option.  Another is the “neutral” option.  And the third is the “bad” option.  Depending on how good or bad you want Shepard to be will depend on how you answer.  However, sticking with one side opens up special dialogue conversations not available otherwise.

This particular Mass Effect game focuses very heavily on upgrading weapons.  The player can upgrade pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, sniper rifles, as well as grenades and armor.  Mods to weapons and armor can also be found as well.  Upgrades are collected while exploring and in battle when an enemy is killed, but it can be a pain keep track of all of them.  Many times, I would have to stop game play because I had accumulated too many upgrades and had to either apply them or convert them into omni-gel (an all-purpose tool that helps with everything for fixing damage on vehicles to hacking locks).  This did get a bit annoying at times.

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For the time that the game came out, the graphics were pretty darned slick.  And not only that, but the game has actually aged well.  It is still playable without the graphics seeming to be annoying.  They certainly do not cause me headaches like Final Fantasy VII, for instance.  The in-game graphics are great, but the cut-scenes are really were the money is.

Unfortunately, even though the main parts of the game are a lot of fun, all of the side quests are a pain.  They are such a pain that I almost stopped playing the game.  They are tedious and repetitive.  Technically, I would give the fun-factor of the main game a 10, but I would give the side quests a 1.  Also because of this, I will probably not be revisiting the game, despite the awesome storyline.

As a whole, this game is great.  It’s got some issues; however, if the player just focuses on the main mission, the game is a lot of fun to play.  I’m also a bit picky because I feel Mass Effect 2 is a much better game overall.  Then again, considering that you can get the whole trilogy pretty cheaply and just the original even more cheaply, it’s definitely worth your time.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spoilers!  Spoilers!  Spoilers!

Seriously…you were warned!

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

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

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

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

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

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No GravatarThe Final Fantasy franchise is beloved by many gamers.  They have fallen in love with the characters, the music, and the worlds of this popular series.  When Final Fantasy XIII came out, many were expecting something wonderful.  Instead, fans got the worst game of the series and possibly one of the worst AAA titles of the generation.  Here is what went wrong with FF XII:

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Final Fantasy XIII was released on December 17, 2009 in Japan and in 2010 worldwide as a straight-forward RPG.  It was developed and published by Square Enix for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 (the game was eventually released for PC as well).  It was widely criticized because of the game’s linear game play and storyline, while most western RPGs had gone toward open world.  However, there were other issues with the game as well.

The story itself was extremely hard to follow.  I actually still don’t quite understand it.  From what I gathered, a world called Cocoon and it’s government, Sanctum, is basically committing genocide of people who have come in contact with the world below Cocoon called Pulse.  The main character, Lightning, has a moral epiphany and decides to fight back with a bunch of others.  There really wasn’t anything to love about the story or even really like.  It was completely bland, and many times confusing.

Unfortunately, the characters were even worse than the story.  They were extremely cheesy, and the dialogue was cringe-worthy.  Here are some actual quotes from the game:

“Heroes don’t run from fights.”

“Mom’s are tough.”

“Hang on, baby.  Your hero’s on the way.”

Even the talents of Troy Baker were wasted on the character of Snow because everything that the character said was dumb (you know I think it’s a bad game when I tell you that Troy Baker couldn’t even salvage anything good in the game).

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The battle system is outdated in style and resembled more of a ’90s RPG where characters take turns fighting each other.  It was a system that actually made my jaw drop when I got into the first battle.  Though the game is a bit older, that sort of style has died off for AAA titles.  For a “modern” RPG, it felt like a blast from the past, and not in a good way.  When a player meets an enemy, he or she is entered into a “battle system” with change in music and everything.  Each character takes turns attacking the baddie, and if they aren’t attacking, then they sit and dance around in place.  It was very similar to many ’90s retro RPGS.  Though those old games were so much fun, it is quite bizarre for a game in the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 generation.

Also, the battle system is way too simplistic.  You don’t even have to pay attention while playing the game.  Just hit “X” (playing on PS3).  You’ll kill almost anything that way.  I could train my cats to play this game.  In fact, for the most part, I really wasn’t even playing it.  I was on Twitter, milling around.  The only part of me that was playing the game was my hand, which kept hitting X, X, X, X.  What’s the point of even playing if the game is that easy?  I didn’t really even seem like a true leveling system.

Unlike most modern RPGs, I was limited basically going in a straight line throughout the maps.  The whole thing felt claustrophobic.  And it never got any better!  I kept on thinking: Well maybe if I go along a little farther, the map will open up a bit, and I can actually do some exploring.  Nope!  It never happened.  For a game that came out to PS3 in late 2009, this is actually embarrassing.  I’ve played Call of Duty campaign modes that were more open than this game.  I can’t believe that Square Enix thought that this would be okay, considering FFXII (for the freaking PS2) gave you more freedom.  In fact, every Final Fantasy game I have every played gave you more freedom.  Heck, freaking Pac Man gives you more freedom (at least you don’t have to continuously go straight).

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Another annoying aspect of the game was the sheer amount of cutscenes in the game.  You could barely go five minutes without a cut-scene interrupting.  It was quite obnoxious.  Sure, the cut scenes were pretty, but most of them didn’t feel like they moved the plot.  I’m still scratching my head at what was going on in the game.  In fact, most of them felt like they were just thrown in there to show off the graphics.  Don’t get me wrong.  I enjoy a good cut-scene, but I expect the cut-scenes that I watch to have a point and move the plot.  It shouldn’t just be a graphics show-off.

Sadly, I think that Square Enix is losing touch with what many gamers are demanding from their games now.  At this point, I think that they are focusing on an audience that wants a true JRPG experience.  If that’s the case, go for it.  However, don’t expect any glowing reviews from me.  That’s just not my cup of tea anymore.

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No GravatarUncharted: Drake’s Fortune is the start to an amazing series.  I unfortunately played the games out of order (started with Uncharted 3).  I ended up buying the Uncharted/Uncharted 2 dual pack and really thought I got my money’s worth from both games.  Despite having some age, Uncharted is a blast to play.

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Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is a third-person shooter, action-adventure game that came out on the PlayStation 3 in 2007.  It was developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony.  Overall, it sold very well, and got critical acclaim, spawning two sequels.  Although when I originally heard about it, I thought it was going to be a Tomb Raider rip-off, so I ignored it completely until now.  This is not the case at all, and I wish I would have known that back in 2007.  This game is a ton of fun and does not play like a Tomb Raider game at all in game play, story, and tone.  If anything, it’s more Indiana Jones-like than Lara Croft.  The game was re-released as part of the Uncharted Collection in 2015 with slicker-looking graphics and more power.

In this game, we are introduced to Nathan Drake, treasure-hunter, Victor Sullivan, his mentor, and Elena Fisher, a journalist hired to record his adventures.  Nate is searching for Sir Francis Drake’s secret, which leads him on a quest for El Dorado.  Adventuring ensues with Elena provided as a love-interest for Drake.  Overall, it’s a fun story, but I felt the pacing was a little slower than Drake’s Deception.  I also was a little annoyed at the fact that the scenery was very similar: jungle/ruins.  That made the game feel a little dull, especially compared to Drake’s Deception, where you get to go to so many cool places.

The game is a typical third person shooter, duck and cover with the added elements of jumping and climbing.  Being the first of the series, it is definitely not as polished as the later games.  One thing that bugged me was the constant gun battles that lasted way too long and came up too often.  I felt like there wasn’t a very good balance between the adventuring portion and the action portion.  There were also some spots that drove me absolutely crazy and actually made me want to stop playing (I’ll get to that in a bit).  This is how I would classify each part of the game play:

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1.) Adventuring/Puzzles

To me, the fun part of the game is the adventuring, and even though I don’t particularly like puzzle games, I actually kind of enjoyed the ones in this game.  I could figure out most of the puzzles by myself, and the rest I easily found how to do on YouTube (what did we do before YouTube, right?).  The jumping, leaping, and climbing is pretty easy to get the hang of, although it was a lot more polished in the later games.  I actually wish there was more exploring and jumping puzzles.  I felt that it was a little lacking, especially for a Tomb Raider fan like myself.

2.) Fighting

This was the part that really annoyed me.  I thought there was way too many gun fights for an adventure game.  It felt like every time you turned the corner there was another gun fight.  It actually became very predictable after awhile and took away from the game a bit.  This aspect was much improved in later Uncharted games, but it still unfortunately took a little away from the game.

3.) Vehicles

Throughout the game, you will ride on different vehicles, including Jeeps and jet-skis.  To me, this was one of the more fun points of the game.  In the Jeep, Elena is driving and Nate is shooting.  With the jet ski, you are driving as Nate but also must shoot with Elena.  It was a fun change from the massive amounts of gun fights that consumed the game play.

For the time that the game came out, the graphics were pretty good.  Obviously now, they are a little dated.  However, I could stand the graphics, and they didn’t give me a headache from Final Fantasy VII syndrome.  By the way, Final Fantasy VII syndrome is a term my husband and I have coined to describe how older games with funky graphics give us headaches when we play because of the eye strain.

Here’s the problem with this game: It reminds me of how I felt about the original Mass Effect.  Now don’t get me wrong, except for the cover-shoot and third person game play, they are worlds different.  But because I had to wait to play the original Mass Effect since I typically play on PC or PlayStation, I had already played the second and third game.  Playing the original became tedious and unpleasant because I knew how much better the later games were.  I don’t see this as a complete knock to Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune.  With all gaming franchises, there are improvements that come along the way.  Luckily, this is a franchise that keeps on improving.

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

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

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

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

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

Commando: Turrets!

Siren: Phase-lock/Team Nurse!

Gunserker: Double-trouble guns!

Assassin: Stealth/Snipe!

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

Psycho: High risk, high reward play-style!

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

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

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

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

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

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No GravatarThe Uncharted series is all about fun and adventure.  Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception does not disappoint.  Whether you are playing it on a last-gen console or as a part of the Uncharted Collection for the current generation, the game delivers exactly what is expected of it.  Though it’s not quite a retro game yet, it’s getting to be a bit older now.  Here is my (Almost) Retro Review of it:

–For the purposes of this review, I played the game on the PlayStation 3.–

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Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is third person adventure game, developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony.  It is a PlayStation 3-only game, which came out in 2011, and has been pretty successful both in critical acclaim, awards, and copies sold.  The game was re-released in the Uncharted Collection for PlayStation 4 on October 7, 2015 with enhanced graphics and more power as it was rebuilt by Bluepoint Games for the current generation.

*Warning: Some Spoilers, but not many.*

I am going to admit that I have not played the first and second Uncharted games, so I’m not going to go into back-story, since I don’t know it.  However, I will say that the story is actually pretty easy to follow, even without knowing much about the first two.

If you didn’t know already, the Uncharted games are adventure games similar in feel to Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider.  Since I really like adventure-stuff, I am probably going to be biased on some of this (just letting you know).  If that genre is not your cup of tea, you can actually stop reading now.  But if you’re an arm-chair adventurer, like me, then you will probably love this game.

The particular plot of Uncharted 3 revolves around Nathan Drake and Victor Sullivan attempting to bring Katherine Marlowe, but they end up digging up more than they bargained for.  There are some flashbacks to a young Nate Drake and many locations to explore, including France and Syria, all in hopes of tracking down possible treasure/secrets Sir Francis Drake may have found in his journeys.

This game has a really fun story that definitely has some Tomb Raider/Indiana Jones qualities to it.  There are also some twists and turns.  The pacing was good as well, not too long or too short.  Many of the characters have been developed throughout the series, but I was able to follow along pretty well without playing the first or second.  Overall, it was a lot of fun to play, though the game is very cut-scene heavy.  I am not sure if that is a good thing or not.  Considering adventure games are supposed to be a bit cinematic, I suppose it’s a plus on Uncharted 3’s side.

*End spoilers.*

Uncharted-3

Like the other Uncharted games, 3 is also third person.  When I first saw the franchise being advertised, I thought the gameplay would be a rip-off of the Tomb Raider games.  BUT IT’S NOT.  The closest thing I could relate it to would be The Last of Us meets Assassin’s Creed, but even then I don’t know if that’s an apt description, so I’m going to go into the four aspects of gameplay I noticed the most:

1.) Exploring

Tomb Raider (at least the older ones I’ve played) forces the gamer to line up jumps pretty much perfectly to solve jump puzzles.  Uncharted seems to be more lax on this, though I’ve fallen off enough things in this game to say that you can’t push it too much.    Instead, I feel that it focuses more on the fun of exploring but not making the controls and jumps super hard.  This is a big plus.

2.) Puzzle-solving

I didn’t think that the puzzles were overly hard.  Most of them I could figure out by myself without a walkthrough (and I suck at puzzles).  They were fun, but not to the point of being stressful.  There was only one or two that stumped me for a moment, but YouTube quickly solved that problem.

3.) Battles

To me, the gun-battles felt a lot of the Mass Effect franchise, where you employ the use of cover and shoot from there in most cases.  I thought this game took it a step above by also using a really cool hand to hand fighting system that allows you to hit, block, and push in a battle with multiple people around.  I thought it was quite unique and enjoyed it immensely.

4.) Racing

That’s the best description that I could give it.  There are define times in the game where fighting isn’t the purpose; you must run.  And the running involves jumping and dodging and all sorts of fun.  I haven’t quite played a sequence like it, which is why I really liked playing.  It’s high intensity and really cool.

The multiplayer is pretty standard, though it is a bit weird because it is in third person.  It takes some getting used to.  However, it is fairly fun for those who enjoy that type of thing.  Unfortunately, I only had a chance to play it when it was free on PlayStation Plus, which excluded the co-op play.  I do have the game for PlayStation 4 in the Uncharted Collection.  When I get a chance to play it, I will update this review.

For 2011, the graphics were actually pretty darned good.  The overall game play looked good, but the cut scenes also looked really polished.  For a last-gen console game, I thought Naughty Dog did an amazing job.  Yes, I can say that games like The Last of Us (also Naughty Dog) and BioShock Infinite do look better, but those came out two years later.  Uncharted 3 still holds up very well and looks great in the process.  If you are playing it in the Uncharted Collection, the graphics will be a lot more polished.

In conclusion, I have completely fallen in love with this game and will probably be playing it again.  And again.  And again.  Once I get the time, I will be playing it on PS4 in the Uncharted Collection.

mortal kombat x

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Here’s the moment many of us have been waiting for! The release date for Mortal Kombat X was announced!

When will it be released?

Why, April 14, 2015 is the date we will finally see this game on the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PC!

Are you excited for this game? Let us know in the comments!

MGS5

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At 3 A.M. PDT Thursday, June 19, Konami released a 30 min. gameplay trailer of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. The gameplay trailer is the same demo that was on display at this years E3. The trailer will be in English and shown on Kojima Station.

The Phantom Pain technically takes place after the most recent release of Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, but if you’re familiar with the Metal Gear series you know the games were released in anything but a linear order.

If you’re thinking of playing the Metal Gear series to “catch up” to this release you have more than enough time as MGSV: The Phantom Pain does not yet have a release date and isn’t expected to come out this year.

Here’s a link for the live stream currently going on on YouTube.

wolfenstein

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May is yet another month to empty out your wallets – probably the biggest month for major titles. If you’re a Nintendo fan, be prepared to work some overtime. Not only is Mario Golf coming out in a couple days, but you’ve got Mario Kart 8 at the end of the month, too! There’s really something for everyone. You’ve got Bound By Flame next week for people who are into RPGs. There’s also major titles like Wolfenstein: New Order and Watch Dogs, finally getting released. You can also see that Sony is still churning out exclusives for the PlayStation 3.

My top picks for this month are Bound By Flame, Watch Dogs, and Mario Kart 8. What are you picking up this month?

May 2
Kirby Triple Deluxe (3DS)
Mario Golf: World Tour (3DS)

May 6
Borderlands 2 (Vita)
God of War Collection (Vita)
MLB 14 The Show (PS4)
Stick it to the Man (PS4, Wii U)

May 7
Peggle 2 (360)
Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure (PC)

bound

May 9
Bound By Flame (PS4, PS3, 360, PC)
Killer is Dead: Nightmare Edition (PC)

May 16
Minecraft (PS3 – Retail)

May 20
Drakengard 3 (PS3)
Mugen Souls Z (PS3)
Transistor (PS4)
Wolfenstein: The New Order (Xbox One, 360, PS4, PS3, PC)

May 21
Always Sometimes Monsters (PC)

May 22
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II (PC)

May 23
Tropico 5 (PC)

watchdogs

May 27
Mind Zero (Vita)
Watch Dogs (Xbox One, 360, PS4, PS3, PC)
Sly Cooper Collection (Vita)

May 30
Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)

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