GamingJAB
A jab at gaming – with love

Apr
07

By Josh

Like many people, I have jumped into the SOCOM 4 beta available now on the PSN. SOCOM 4 is a third-person shooter made by Zipper Interactive. They have previously made MAG for the PS3 as well as a bunch of other games in the SOCOM franchise on the PS2. I also want to acknowledge that I have never played a SOCOM game before.

When I first played the beta for about 20 mins, I did not enjoy it. The controls seemed clunky and I kept getting headshot killed. Also, the only available multiplayer mode was team death match, which I somewhat loath.

I decided that I had not given SOCOM 4 a fare shake and decided to try again once they had some objective based games. Somehow everything kind of clicked this time around. First thing I can recommend it that this is not a run-and-gun game. If you like run-and-gun gameplay, a la Call of Duty, you will not enjoy this game. SOCOM, with its cover system, definitely gives advantages to shooting people from a distance with a moderate tempo. The game also lends to using flanking tactics to gain advantage. If you have at least one other person with a mic that is willing to communicate, your team will do significantly better.

There are a couple of things that I would change, which have also been mentioned on the SOCOM forums.

1) Lobby system. I’m not sure if this is just the beta, but I have no idea how you group up with people on your friends list, short of joining a clan.

2) Shooting from third person. Sometimes when crouching in third person, it appears that you have a clean shot at someone. But when you go to fire, you end up shooting the top of the crate you are crouching behind. I know they sometimes they try to “gray-out” the crosshairs when you can’t make a shot, but I just wish it would also “gray-out” when you are crouching and can’t make a clear shot.

3) Camera. Sometimes when your character is in a tight space, the camera will squish up against your body. This makes the playing field very disorienting and often time you haven’t to move out of cover just to get your bearings. (SOCOM forums have indicated they they are planning to make adjustments to the camera as a day one patch)

Side Notes) A grenade throwing silhouette indicating how far you are intending to toss one. Also, it could just be me, but I get killed by headshots… a lot.

These are my three major issues. Other than these, I’m really digging the game. (PS, people in the SOCOM forums are really harsh on the game)

Mar
18

by Brian

Three strikes and you’re out.  It’s a simple enough concept for most to grasp.  From kids playing in little league, high school girls playing softball, all the way up to the performance enhanced playboys of summer like Alex Rodriguez; all understand this basic rule.  It’s probably the single most well known rule in baseball and its associated sports.  It’s even been applied to parts of our legal system and to TV game shows.  Should it be applied to game making as well?  Is not three separate opportunities to do something right enough to determine if you rock or if you suck?

Guerrilla Games would do well to pay attention to this rule.  Each console iteration of the Killzone franchise has typically received mostly positive reviews, with a light sprinkling of dissenting reviews mixed in.  The only Killzone game to receive almost entirely positive reviews is the 2006 release Killzone-Liberation for the PSP.  Killzone 3 falls in with the former group.  The most baffling part of the console specific releases of the Killzone games is the fact that they manage to get so many parts right, and yet manage to miss the ball almost completely in other sections.  It’s like Ferrari crafting an elegant sports car and throwing in faulty Toyota made brakes.  It looks great, but the lack luster brakes ensure you’ll not want to drive it for long.

Let’s get some of Killzone 3’s good points out of the way; it’s gorgeous for starters.  This is an area that Guerrilla Games has typically excelled in as a developer.  Despite being criticized as monotone, too grey, and too dark; even Killzone 2 had well crafted visuals.  Killzone 3 continues the tradition while at the same time also eliminating the “monotone” complaint that Killzone 2 received.  The levels in KZ3 are varied and colorful.  The jungle levels in particular will have you wondering if perhaps those mushrooms you ate earlier were the “bad” kind, with fluorescent colors and insane looking plants that seem to be stolen right from a hippie’s LSD nightmare.

The actual shooting of your weapons is done well enough.  There are multiple controls schemes and plenty of areas where they allow adjustment to feel comfortable for most fans of the more popular (and better made) Call of Duty franchise.  When a bullet actually reaches its destination and hits the bad guy is where the problems begin.  No matter the difficulty setting, the enemies in the games are absolute bullet sponges.  We’re talking 8 direct hits or more at times to take them down.  Even the ubiquitous “one shot kill” aka headshot at times takes 2 shots to work; once to remove the guys helmet and one more time to finish the deed.  By the third or fourth level, this flaw is so infuriating that it’s difficult to even want to keep playing.

The story is another major hurdle to maintaining actual interest in the game.  It’s boring, most of the characters are poorly voice acted, and it’s confusing.  First you’re 10 months in the past, then it shows you a scene from 10 months later, then it’s 10 months in the past again.  Eventually you’re 10 months past giving a crap about the story any longer.  Perhaps if they had managed to craft an actually interesting tale you’d be more inclined to keep track of everything…  but they didn’t so you won’t.

Multiplayer has the same blah factor that the story does.  It’s there, all the options and play-modes you’d expect are there, and with friends to play with there are even times where you’ll enjoy yourself.  One feature that was actually enjoyable was at the end of each match when a small cut-scene would play depicting the winning team and losing team along with the actual player names from the match.  The losing team members are usually shown being captured, or on the ground with their hands above their heads while the victors stand over them freely distributing kicks and taunts.  It’s a small piece of the game, but amusing nonetheless.  At the end of the day though you’ll be left wondering to yourself why you are playing Killzone 3 multiplayer over any other FPS multiplayer.  There really aren’t too many good answers to that question, and with games out already like Black Ops and it’s vastly superior multiplayer gameplay and armament you’ll soon discover your online time is better invested someplace else.

Guerrilla Games has a long way to go when it comes to developing the console versions of its Killzone series of games.  Killzone 3 does have a few highlights, like the epic/gigantic boss battle and points previously mentioned, but its myriad of shortcomings are sure to eventually wear out your enthusiasm for the game.  It’s hard to recommend such a game to anyone except those already familiar and enamored with the Killzone series.  For most other players, the best advice is probably to skip it.  Killzone 3 technically represents strike three for Guerrilla Games in my opinion, so the question now becomes are they out?  At heart, I’m an optimist.  Guerrilla Games has shown that they are willing to take criticism and use it to improve their games.  I’m hoping they are just as receptive this time around and that when the eventual Killzone 4 is released perhaps we’ll be willing to give it another “at bat”.

Mar
08

-by Brian

Tired of waiting for Sega to finally approve the long awaited Shenmue 3?  Is your life left near meaningless as you ache to know the ending to the epic tale of Ryo Hazuki?  With other vaporware juggernauts like Duke Nukem Forever FINALLY getting released, it’s almost cruel that other eagerly anticipated titles such as Shenmue 3 keep getting ignored.  Well friends, wait no longer!  Finally we have the ending to Ryo Hazuki’s saga as told by it’s director, Yu Suzuki.

Find the video here:  Shenmue 3.

Okay, okay.  So it’s a gag video.  But it is a pretty hysterical one for fans of the series.  I also find comfort in knowing I’m not the only fan waiting for Shenmue 3, and also that Yu Suzuki himself seems fully aware of how badly the title is wanted.   Until an actual release is announced, may this humorous video bring at least a glimmer of joy into your otherwise Shenmue 3-less lives.  Thanks to the guys at Mega64 for making such a great gag, and thanks to my friend nookie from VGN for bringing it to my attention.

Mar
04

By Josh

This week has been a good week for gaming. I ended up upgrading the hdd in my PS3 this week. I figured I might as well do it now before the backup procedure takes too long. The backup itself took 1:45 and the restore took about 2 hrs. That pretty much took an entire evening. But it was relatively painless, just time consuming.

I was able to finish Dead Space 2 last week, but failed to post it. Dead Space 2 really ramps up the action later on in the game. What I thought was a slow start was intentional and it really adds to the action that occurs later on. I don’t think I’ll be able to get the Hard Core trophy in this game as I’m still missing that trophy from the original Dead Space. If you are at all hesitant about playing this game, don’t be – go play it. I’m excited to start a “New Game Plus” but I’m not sure when I will be able to find the time. The multiplayer could have been good, but I don’t think I’ll revisit it any time soon. I’m also still working through Dead Space: Extraction, but it’s being placed on the back burner.

I’ve also started Killzone 3. I haven’t touched any of the multiplayer and I’m going through the single-player. My feelings about the game are lukewarm. I’ve probably put about 8 hours in the game and I still haven’t had that a-hah moment. The game looks beautiful, sounds great, but the shooting still doesn’t feel quite right to me. I had this problem with Killzone 2, but aiming down the sites does NOT increase accuracy in this game. Even though I feel it should, as in most shooters. Other people say the controls feel weighty, which they do, but this has never really bothered me as much as the shooting. Surprisingly, the story is somewhat better than I expected (so far) and there are some new gameplay features that spice up the variety. But I think with all spices, they should be used to enhance flavor not be the only flavor. Killzone 3 has plenty of spice, but the shooting doesn’t seem quite top choice. I’ve yet to play online or use the Move, so I’ll have more about Killzone 3 in the future.

I also played some Final Fantasy XIII, because I’m going to see the end damn it, and Mass Effect 2. I’m going through Mass Effect 2 as a male Shepard because I’ve got the hots for Miranda – going for the Paramour trophy!

Looking forward towards the next two months, I just downloaded PixelJunk Shooter 2 and will have more about it next week. I’m also planning to purchase Portal 2 (Apr. 19), Beyond Good & Evil HD (Spring?), Ico & Shadow of the Colossus HD (Spring?), and Journey (Hopefully Spring?). There are also games that I’m keeping my eye on: Dragon Age 2 (Mar. 8), Crysis 2 (Mar. 22), Motorstorm Apocalypse (Apr. 12), SOCOM 4 (Apr. 19), and Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Hopefully Spring?).

Oh and if you like trilogies, these are all coming Mar. 22: Splinter Cell Trilogy HD, Prince of Persia Trilogy HD, and Tomb Raider Trilogy HD. Enjoy.

Mar
01

Here at Gaming Jab, we appreciate the fact that games aren’t always intended to be solo-experiences and we enjoy the often rich and rewarding gameplay that can be found when playing with a few friends.  While it doesn’t happen nearly as often as we’d like, when the opportunity presents itself for all three of us contributors to play with one another online, we quickly jump at the chance.  Most recently we had the chance to spend some time plumbing the depths of Dead Space 2 and it’s freshly minted mulitplayer experience.  Below, we each share our impressions on the experience:

Dead Space 2 Multiplayer is Like Danny Devito-  by Allyn

For anyone who’s a Schwarzenegger fan and over the age of 25, you may be familiar with the movie “Twins” starring Arnold as the genetically engineered superior twin, and Danny Devito as the accidental pre-natal leftovers.  This is exactly how I feel about Dead Space 2 Multiplayer.  The original Dead Space was such an amazing atmospheric thriller that truly brought something new and exciting to the genre, and I had high hopes that Dead Space 2 would raise the bar yet again.  While the single player campaign of DS2 is as immersive of an experience as the original (and similarly as enjoyable), there really wasn’t that big new “Wow-factor” that I was hoping for.  It appears that the developers instead opted to spend their time assembling a digital catapult with which they intended to launch themselves onto the shooter-multiplayer bandwagon.  Big mistake.  Part of the beauty of the Dead Space concept is enwrapped in what makes it so different from all of the other generic shooters out there, however, many of these qualities do not lend themselves to a fluid, cohesive multiplayer experience.  Yet they persevered anyway.  I had the opportunity to participate in the DS2 Multiplayer Beta about 6 months ago, and I will say that the developers were very responsive to the critiques of the Beta gamers, but to fully address many of the issues, they would have had to take a lot of the “Dead Space” out of the Dead Space 2 multiplayer.  The developers even seem to secretly acknowledge the lackluster multiplayer by not including a single multiplayer Trophy for the game.  The long and short of my review is that playing the multiplayer without at least two other people that you know (with mics), is pointless and frustrating.  As a human, without team communication it is next to impossible to complete goals, and many times your teammates are too preoccupied killing random necromorphs to bother helping with the mission.  As a necro, you will find that your characters feel very underpowered and “throw-away” against even a barely decent human squad, and again, without team communication to swarm kill humans, it is incredibly frustrating.  Get ready for the 2/31 k/d ratios . . . .  But bottom line, I would have rather had the developers focus on adding an amazing new element to the game that fit in line with the Dead Space concept (within the campaign) than to waste their time trying to force a multiplayer that just doesn’t feel like a natural extension of the game.  Can anyone say Co-Op mode?

Dead Space 2 Multiplayer- by Josh

I never thought that Dead Space needed a multiplayer. After playing the Dead Space 2 multiplayer I can continue by saying that it still doesn’t need one. I find the multiplayer to be intriguing, but ultimately unsatisfying. I like the idea of a four-player co-op survival type game, but this one doesn’t have the feel of working together as a team, e.g. Left 4 Dead. I think if Visceral Games had taken things from Left 4 Dead, it would have been a much better multiplayer experience. When playing on the human side, there is very little benefit in sticking together. One cannot heal another player, nor give them items such as health, stasis, & ammo. Also, the human melee does nothing to knock back enemy players. If anything sticking together makes the group easier to be targeted and maul by necromorphs. Moreover, when playing as a necromorph, I never fully felt I had the grasp of the controls. Not for my lack of controller knowledge, but there are no instructions on how to control necromorphs.

Lastly, the multiplayer comes up short and makes me long for Left 4 Dead 2 on the PS3. I think the setting, sound, maps, and gameplay (stasis & weapons) are great ideas, but really need to be reworked to make it compelling as a multiplayer experience.

Dead Space 2 Multiplayer- by Brian

My thoughts on the inclusion of multiplayer can be summed up in two simple words (or one catchy song), “Why Bother“?  To me, there are some games that just don’t need the multiplayer experience tacked on.  Dead Space and Metal Gear Solid are two recent examples where multiplayer has been included and I couldn’t care less about it.  The gameplay style of some games just don’t lend themselves well to multiplayer setups, in  my opinion.  The Metal Gear Solid mainline is built around stealthy, thoughtful, and slower paced gameplay.  Dead Space is built around a somewhat similar style, except replacing the stealth aspect instead with scrutiny of inventory management.  The scares and thrills of the singleplayer Dead Space experience are completely gone in multiplayer.  Instead of inching your way down a hallway not knowing if there is a monster waiting to jump out of the vent at the end, you’re instead sprinting down the hallway knowing full well that there are multiple players spawning in as monsters with unlimited lives.  All the tense anticipation is gone, and the “fast paced” action and “teamwork” left in it’s place are nowhere near as satisfying.

Another piece of gameplay I consider core to the single player game, the strategic dismemberment of limbs on the monsters, is severely nerfed/completely broken in the multiplayer action.  Maybe it was intentional or due to something uncontrollable like lag, but I almost always attempted to cut the necromorphs off at the legs and only very rarely was I successful.

Playing as the necromorphs is even more mindless.  The human team is the only side with true objectives; as a necromorph your only objective is to stop the humans from completing their objectives.  My basic play style while on the necromorph team was to spawn in as fast as I could.  Then I faced the strategic dilemma (heavy sarcasm) of either attacking from a distance or running up and melee-ing them to death.

In the end, I left feeling like the time and resources spent on the online multiplayer was wasted in the case of Dead Space 2.  Like Josh and Allyn, I yearn instead for a multiplayer game type which wouldn’t have destroyed the scares and suspense that Dead Space has in it’s singleplayer game.  The Dead Space series has some unique attributes that make the single experience so great; why ignore those attributes and simply throw your characters into a new game type where they don’t belong?  I feel a game mode similar to Left 4 Dead, or even a cooperative game mode would have been much preferred to the multiplayer mode that was actually delivered.  If for some reason they were unable to include gameplay similar to either of those, my next suggestion to them would have been just to skip multiplayer altogether and focus those resources elsewhere.

Feb
23

By Brian

Ah, nostalgia.  I have to admit, I am a person who is completely enthralled with it.  It’s the reason I game, the reason I still read comics, and the reason I collect those delightful Transformers from the past.  I am the epitome of the Toys R Us kid who never wanted to grow up.  I thank my parents for giving me a wonderful childhood that is worth remembering, and also for not throwing away any of my toys or comics during the few short years I thought they were “uncool” and decided to chase girls instead.  However, while there are items and activities that can bring on a rush of nostalgic memories; occasionally nostalgia takes you on a bad trip.  Or in some cases a bad fall.  But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself.

In the 80’s, almost any novel idea, no matter how ludicrous, could be used to make a game.  Forget market studies; if it was a crazy idea, you had a game.  Robots playing baseball?  It’s a game!  Gorillas kidnapping girls only to have them rescued by construction workers/plumbers?  It’s a game! Maybe it was the simplicity of game design and it’s addictiveness, maybe it was the skill of the programmers, but more often than not these crazy games actually turned out to be… well, fun.  So when you hear about a game that has a soldier who has a prosthetic arm, and somehow that arm instead of being a liability is actually a ultra futuristic war machine, you have to give the game the benefit of the doubt that it’ll actually be good.  Throw in the fact that he’s in the middle of a war between the Federation and the Empire (totally not a ripoff), and you have the making of a great 80’s game. 

*Editor’s note: Capcom wishes to direct you to ignore the Han Solo handsome looking fellow depicted on the cover.  Again, this is totally not a ripoff or a simple color swap.

Bionic Commando for NES was in fact a good game.  You took on the role of Ladd Spencer, who used his bionic arm to swing around the 2D screen and battle Imperial Forces with ease.  Interestingly enough, the Empire in the original Japanese version was depicted as a Neo-Nazi group, complete with Swastikas.  When the game came to American shores, however, these references were changed.  The gameplay was fun, the swinging mechanic was innovative and new, and the series gained decent reviews and a lot of fans.

Knowing the following the original NES game had, Capcom decided to reintroduce the franchise to eager fans and newbies to the series alike.  Their first attempt, a downloadable game called Bionic Commando: Rearmed in 2008, actually received favorable reviews.  It was essentially the same gameplay from the NES version, with updated visuals.  Their next release for the IP would not be nearly as well done or received.

The Bionic Commando released in 2009 was a full-fledged game for PS3, 360 and PC which brought the game into the modern 3D environment.  While it achieved some positive reviews, most were more critical and the game currently has a score of 69 Metacritic.  The game was not a big seller in any sense of the term, and prices plummeted to the point where they eventually reached Bargain Bin Quickie review levels.

I bought the game knowing full well the criticisms of most of the reviews.  However, a part of me hoped that the reviewers were wrong and some of the original NES game’s charm and character were still present.  The first 20 minutes or so of the game actually fueled my optimism.  The graphics were decent.  The gameplay and shooting were fun.  I started to wonder why some people had such a problem with this game.  And then… it happened.  I finally got to the first area where the swinging mechanic was introduced.  For a series that was originally built almost entirely on the simple gimmick of swinging by your mechanical arm, you’d think a lot of attention and work would be put into ensuring this aspect of the game would remain fun in every iteration of the franchise.  Sadly, that isn’t the case.  The nostalgic rush and optimism that the first few moments of the game had instilled in me were quickly taken away. Unfortunately, with so much of the basis of the game resting on that sole swinging mechanic, it being broken pretty much means the entire game is broken.

At times, it’s difficult to see where your next place to swing to is located.  Sometimes it’s just extremely finicky to get to where you want even when you can see your correct path.  And most of the time, it’s just the frustration of not being able to lock on to structure you want to swing from because the game somehow imagines it to be JUST out of reach…  so you fall.  There is a lot of falling.

Perhaps the move of the franchise to full 3D was too much of a challenge.  Perhaps more development time or funding could have alleviated some of these problems.  Or perhaps the developers just did a crappy job.  It’s hard sometimes to pinpoint the exact reason why a game fails to deliver.  Thankfully for me,  it’s a lot easier of a task to let you know that even in the price range of $5 to $15 Bionic Commando currently goes for,  you need to skip it.  Trust me.  If nostalgia is getting the better of you and you feel the urge for some more bionic-limbed gaming, please instead download Bionic Commando: Rearmed or Bionic Commando: Rearmed 2 (just released Feb of 2011).  Both of which are immensely more satisfying.

Feb
18

By Josh

This week I tried my hardest to beat Mass Effect 2 without letting anyone die. I have failed. If you haven’t beaten Mass Effect 2 I will try to keep everything as spoiler free as possible. That being said, I had to go online to try to figure out how to keep everyone from dying. It doesn’t help that the end sequence (from the last possible save stop) takes a little more than an hour. Pretty much what I’ve learned is that you need to have everyone loyal to you (except the DLC add-ons) and who you pick as “team leaders” is important. I have one more combination to try and if this fails, I will just have to start over. I was planning to play the game again anyway, and you can continue your character when you start a new game.

Played some more Battlefield: Bad Company 2 over the weekend. Damn I love this game. I know Brian has said that the game is “awful,” but it’s still my online shooter of choice. Now if I could only find two more people to play regularly.

I’m about one-third of the way through Dead Space 2. I’m really digging how much better the gameplay is from the first Dead Space. I have some minor reservations about the pacing of the game, but I will wait until I’m more into the game to see if that changes.

The most exciting thing I want to talk about is the Killzone 3 demo. I know I said before that I wanted to remain naïve to the game, but in a moment of weakness, I ended up downloading the open beta as well as the single player demo. I played a little with the open beta, bots only, but the single player demo is… amazing. I’m not one who enjoys demos. I think the last demo I enjoyed was either the original Doom demo, or the Unreal Tournament 2004 demo. The Killzone 3 demo fixed a lot of the issues with Killzone 2. The guns move faster, the people move faster, everything looks gorgeous and everything works well. Even the Move works well, although I’ve only spent a little time with it. I’ve played through the demo twice and I’m even more excited about the game. I think the only “problem” is that I feel the guns don’t do that much damage even when changing difficulties. This was similar to Killzone 2, but the enemies are really bullet-sponges. I also kind of wish there were a map, or some objective indicator. Oh well, the game is so intense and just an audio-visual feast… and that’s just the demo.

I’ll be online on Monday. Have a great President’s Day weekend.

Feb
11

By Josh

I was gone last weekend so I didn’t get to play as much as I would have liked. That being said, I was able to finish Mass Effect 2 last night. It took me about 30-32 hours; hours well spent. I don’t really want to spoil anything, but this game is now sitting as one of my favorite games. I’m also very excited about Mass Effect 3 this fall/winter. I think BioWare did an excellent job with this game. There are a couple of things I would fix, but they are all so minor I don’t even know if they are worth mentioning. I really want BioWare to come out with T-shirts that say “I went thru the Omega 4 relay…” – and all I got was this lousy T-shirt or – and who wants to touch me. They have a couple of T-shirts at their store. I might get one.

As for Mass Effect 3, I read at Kotaku that Clint Mansell will be doing the soundtrack. Brian thinks it is a “dumb move,” but I’m optimistic. I agree with him that the music by Jack Wall (lead composer for Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2) was great, but I’m not against trying something new. Also, Clint Mansell’s music is ominous, foreboding, and dark. Perhaps these will be the themes of Mass Effect 3(?).

I also had some time to play Dead Space 2. I can’t really say much about it yet as I’m only in chapter 2. I will say that character control is much more fluid and with that fluidity, it almost seems easier than Dead Space. But I’m only at the beginning.

As for Dead Space Extraction I’m thinking of going through it with two Move controllers so I can “dual-wield” instead of co-op. I’ll be such a bad ass. And to add to my bad-ass-ery, I ended up pre-ordering the PS3 Move Sharpshooter. It will probably make me really lame, but I’m really excited about Killzone 3 to the extent that I don’t want to download the beta to lend me any hints of the game. Also, I ended up going to Best Buy to pick up a Navigation controller because they are becoming hard to find and I didn’t have one – they are backordered at most retailers (Amazon, Best Buy), but you can find them in stock at stores.

That is all for this week. I will be on tomorrow morning playing Battlefield: Bad Company 2 if anyone wants to join.

Feb
04

By Josh

What I’ve been playing.

I popped in Dead Space 2 the other night hoping to get at least started with the game before I go away for the weekend. I ended up deciding to play Dead Space Extraction (DSE) instead as my girlfriend wanted to do something instead of “watching me play videogames.”  DSE comes on the disc of the Dead Space 2, but it comes as a package install. Thus, we had to wait ~20 mins before we could start playing. I guess it’s not horrible, but I’d prefer if I could have just played it off the disc.

Getting to the game, it was actually kind of fun. The up-res-ed graphics look good and the move controls work well. That said the voice acting – so far – is really awkward if not bad in parts. I’m not too far into the game, but the voice acting stands out. Also, as much fun as light gun games are, I found this game a little dizzying due to the camera shake involved your character moving, but unable to control it.

As a corollary, when playing co-op, your partner’s reticule can be somewhat distracting. Especially, when she constantly puts it over on my side of the screen, and places it over peoples’ faces when they are speaking. L

I’ve also played a little LittleBigPlanet 2, as well as Sackboy’s Prehistoric Moves. I can’t stop smiling when I play this game. I let me be clear, I always play this game with my girlfriend, which I feel really makes the experience worthwhile. There is something to be said for when I’m trying to load the levels of the game and her sackgirl is busy thrusting her hips into my face.

I’m also playing Mass Effect 2 as well as Netflix streaming Battlestar Galaxtica. I’m getting an overload of FTLs and CICs and I love it! As for Mass Effect 2, so far this game grabs and doesn’t let go. I will have to say that I didn’t play the original Mass Effect and I didn’t download the “graphic novel/decision guide” until after I started playing so the beginning of the game was a little confusing (~ 1st hour). After that I think it is amazing. My one, and possible only, concern is the Paragon/Renegade system.  Most of the time the dialog tree is pretty uniformed and the Paragon decision is in one spot and the Renegade decision is in another spot. But sometimes you are displayed the option to select a “better” Paragon choice or a “better” Renegade choice, but if you aren’t of sufficient “level” to make that decision you cannot select it. So now in my future decisions I am changing my decisions because I’m trying to specifically increase my Renegade points, even though I generally play the Paragon role. I’m not sure how they would fix this as they want the player to know the option is there, but for me if affects how I make future decisions.

Oh, I’m still playing Battlefield: Bad Company 2 as well. I’m looking forward to hearing more about Battlefield 3 as well.

Jan
24

-By Josh

So it has been a while and we are all lazy. So to give an update I figured I would give you a quick rundown of my top six (yes, 6) games of 2010, what I’m currently playing, and my most anticipated games of 2011. As I mostly play games on my PS3, my top five games of 2010 will not have Starcraft II, Civilization V, or Mass Effect 2. This list is in no particular order.

My top 6 of 2010 for PS3.

Heavy Rain – Everyone’s experience with this game was different and that is why I found this game so unique and compelling. While there are certainly flaws with the game:  third-person movement controls, narrative inconsistencies, and ugly accents – “Jason!” – the game took risks that more or less paid off. Having an adult storyline, consequences for actions, and a great presentation is what made me remember Heavy Rain.

God of War III – A God of War game.  That in itself will describe why this is a great game:  tight controls, great set-pieces, epic boss battles. They didn’t do anything to mess up what they already established in God of War I and God of War II. Is there anything unique about this game from the previous titles? Not really. Is it still kick-ass fun? Hell yeah.

Bioshock 2 – I think a lot of people overlooked this game. The game fixed some of my personal gameplay issues of the first game, specifically the aiming seemed much tighter. This game also had some wonderful elements near the end of the game, specifically involving the little sisters, which stood out in my mind as a great segment of 2010.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 – I play this game every weekend. I think two major things stick out in my mind over why I prefer this shooter to the others on the market. One, tactics and teamwork are really needed to dominate in this game. Teams that don’t work together probably won’t win, even if they have a player that is stellar as an individual. Two, the game lends itself to a more methodical strategy (larger maps, destructible environments, squad spawns) as oppose to just frantic killing floors. Also, having continual updates (like Vietnam) doesn’t hurt.

Red Dead Redemption – GTA4 on horses. Actually, it’s so much more than GTA4. I enjoyed GTA4, but RDR is such a better game. I say better because of the shooting, the characters, and the story. This game came as a surprise to me because of how good the story was package in a game I wasn’t sure I was going to connect with (not a huge western fan, except perhaps the TV show Firefly). I also have to say that I play games for the stories, and this game really outshines the story in GTA4.

Final Fantasy XIII – What can I say about FF13 that hasn’t already been said. It’s beautiful and the battle system is fun. I’m very torn about this game because I go through periods where I really enjoy the game and other times I just have to put the game away for about 2-3 months (I put it away because I feel the leveling/grinding is non-linear). I’m currently in that 2-3 month window now, but I’m getting the itch to get back into it and finish it. I’m about 60 hours in so I have to be close right?

My personal 2011 watch list for PS3 (this may be long).

Beyond Good & Evil HD, Bulletstorm, Crysis 2, Dead Space 2, Deus Ex, Duke Nukem Forever, Infamous 2, Journey, Killzone 3, LA Noire, LittleBigPlanet 2, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3, Motorstorm 3, PixelJunk Shooter 2, Portal 2, Rage, Resistance 3, Shadow of the Colossus & Ico HD, Socom 4, The Last Guardian, Tomb Raider (Reboot), & Uncharted 3.