Month: September 2012

Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 (PS3) Review 1

Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 (PS3) Review

Right off the bat…

Let’s start with the big question right off the bat. When you’re looking to buy a football, or in North American terms a soccer game, the biggest contestants every year are Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer and EA’s FIFA series. While each game has its own set of flaws and perfections, I can easily say FIFA has always won out. The mechanics are generally a little smoother, the visuals carry themselves, and the licensed teams adds to the authenticity. While Pro Evolution Soccer, or PES, hasn’t received bad reviews, it’s just held up consistently beside EA’s monster. While the release of a PES inevitably alludes to the release of a new FIFA, the decision is simple. FIFA wins out once more this year, but not by much.

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What is it missing?

Before I delve into what the game has, I want to explain why this great game is a much better rental than it is a buy. For someone whose favourite league is the English Premier League, not having the teams proper names when scrolling through was an annoyance which could not have been avoided. This is due to the licensing issue Konami has encountered time and time again. Since EA and FIFA have partnered up to create soccer games, Konami has had to purchase the rights to certain teams. Not only is it an expensive facet to the game, it’s also an impossible feat to think FIFA would sell the rights to a competitor when they have teamed up with EA. That being said, it continues to play a big part in the game play experience. If I wanted to play as Liverpool, I would not be able too. In the English Premier League for example, only five teams are fully licensed. This means that although I could play as a team which encompasses all that is Liverpool, I could not actually play as the particular team. Quite frankly, it’s a shame, because this game has so much untapped potential.

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It’s also on a lower playing field when it comes to the graphics. By lower playing field, of course, I mean they are some of the worst sports graphics I’ve seen in a while. While it’s understandable to not put an extreme amount of emphasis on player detail when the game is in play, it’s inexcusable at all other times. When a player scores a particularly sweet goal, the replay you can shove in the face of your friends is just as fun as the game. I would play as AC Milan and watch in utter disappointment as Giampaolo Pazzinni would deliver a fantastic strike and the image of him looked nothing like the real player. With EA games, including FIFA but not limited too, the players in game had uncanny resemblances to their real life models. While this may seem trivial, when playing a sports game and controlling some of your favourite players, the closeups become a huge factor.

What has it got than?

This game has an abundance of excellent qualities which should not be overlooked. For one, the mechanics of the game alone are phenomenal. When I aim for the net and deliver a shot, the ball glides towards the exact destination I wanted it to go. This simple mechanic is a toss up in many games. How accurate is the aim going to be? How hard must I kick or pass this ball? Should I hit square or circle? With PES, the thinking which usually occurs in the back of my head disappeared. I could just play the game and trust the AI to understand what I was doing. This isn’t surprising though. Konami’s AI has always been impressive, from the Castlevania series to the Metal Gear franchise, the AI has always been receptive

It also has some interesting features which make the game flow incredibly well. One small aspect which I absolutely loved was the card system. When your player received a yellow card in the game, his name placed above his head would change from white to yellow. In a particularly difficult game, this can make a huge difference. The training section of the game has been drastically improved as well. While I find the FIFA training feature to be complicated at points, PES carries through easily and makes the mundane task interesting. One of my favourite aspects to the game is the save the replay option which appears after a goal is scored. Again, one of the biggest parts to sports games is the friendly banter and mocking. With the replay saving feature, not only can you mock your friends, you can also brag to the rest of the world. Your replays can be uploaded to both Xbox Live and the Playstation Network for viewing later, and of course, much needed bragging rights.

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How about the fun scale?

Often times in reviews, I find the most important aspect overlooked and replaced with technicalities. The most important question is of course how fun is the game to play? The answer to that is simple; this game is extremely fun. I sat down with both family and friends and played this game for hours without growing bored. As a true “football” fan, this game played well into what I expected and the only problems were technical ones based on finance, not development.

Is it worth the buy?

As much as I loved this game, FIFA 13 came out on top once more. The availability of all the teams is such an important factor, it can’t be overlooked. The graphics in this game were not up to the standards I expected them to be, and it ruined some pivotal moments in the game. For $60 dollars it may be wiser to go with FIFA, but when this game goes down in price, it may be worth while to add to your collection if you’re a huge soccer nut.

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The Curious Case of Seduce Me

When writing about Steam Greenlight a week or two back, I mentioned Seduce Me, a game that was pulled from the service due to its risqué content. Seduce Me, if the name doesn’t already kind of give it away, is a game about sex. In it, a faceless young man attempts to romance any of a group of different women; his success is marked by wooing his partner into having sex with him through apparently explicit scenes. The message received from Valve by Seduce Me‘s developer, No Reply Games, explained that the game had been removed from Greenlight because Steam does not sell “offensive” titles.

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CGPodcast September 28, 2012

This week on the C&G Podcast the full crew is now playing Borderlands 2 so they all weigh in on what they think makes this game so exciting and fun to sink hours into. They also talk about the latest in news and Brendan talks a bit about FTL and why it is the best game you are not playing. All this and more.

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Dishonored – The complete Tales from Dunwall series

If you have been paying attention to Dishonored and the press around the game you may have seen the web series ‘The Tales from Dunwall’. This series is a hand drawn set of shorts that show the history behind the world of Dishonored. They are truly beautiful to watch, and have a unique way of telling a store. If they made a full short movie of these I would not complain. But they did just release the latest in the 3 part story. We decided the best way to watch these would be back to back. Here you go all three videos in one post. Enjoy.

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Carrier Command: Gaea Mission (Xbox 360) Review 1

Carrier Command: Gaea Mission (Xbox 360) Review

The best place to start with Carrier Command: Gaea Mission is to look at the history of the Carrier Command title. The original Carrier Command was released back in 1988 and was available on some of the top computer models of the time such as the Commodore 64 and the original Apple Macintosh. The game was hailed as a critical success upon its release and continues to be a major feature in the landscape in video game history.

Carrier Command: Gaea Mission has been deemed as a modern day retelling of the original title, with a few added bonuses. While the first game was a simple real time strategy game, the newer version offers players not only the opportunity to control a variety of war related machines and strategise your way to a world wide victory, but also allows you to get some third person shooter action in.

Carrier Command: Gaea Mission (Xbox 360) Review

This game doesn’t come without its many faults. For the duration of the review keep in mind I was playing the game on an Xbox 360, and not on a PC. The controls are clunky and with the limited buttons available on an Xbox controller, programming the variety of battle ships and tanks can be frustrating and controller throwing worthy.

The game starts off with a ludicrously long cut scene; the kind of cut scene which makes the cut scenes in the Metal Gear Solid franchise seem short. It also has a very Mass Effect feel to it. You’re told to go visit your commander where she alerts you to your newest mission of saving Earth. Not just Earth either, but a variety of subsidiary islands surrounding Earth. Once you’re given your mission, you take off with your crew and begin to fly off before encountering enemy hostility and crashing. Luckily, you’ve crashed on an island you need to help anyways and none of your crew members have been injured. This is where your story begins.

Carrier Command: Gaea Mission (Xbox 360) Review

There are some positive factors to the game. The third person shooting is a nice touch which becomes the only driving force you’ll have for finishing the game. It’s a simple shooting technique, much like the one in the Mass Effect franchise but with a lot more technical problems. The auto-lock which is an option in the game, doesn’t actually fully lock onto your target. By the time you’ve landed your first shot on your enemy, which appears to be some form of artificial intelligent alien life force, they’ve already moved halfway across the map.

With that being said, the enemies are extremely easy to kill. Almost too easy. Even as you move up in the ranks and encounter a different variety of enemies, each one goes down without much of a fight. A couple of shots when you’re first starting out are all you need to clear a level and as you scrounge farther and farther into the game, with the backup of your team, it doesn’t take too much added concentration or button mashing.

The shooting aspect is still enjoyable, though. It’s an easy play through to achieve what seems to be the goal on every island and subsequent area your team moves too, overriding the control system they have and claiming it as your own. Once this has been accomplished, your team learns of a new vehicle on the island which you can capture as your own before you head back to your ship and head to the next piece of land that needs saving.

Carrier Command: Gaea Mission (Xbox 360) Review

This is where the problems truly begin. Once again, on the Xbox 360 the controls just did not work with what needed to be accomplished. Once aboard your ship, you can equip the weapons and tanks needed for the next mission before heading out. While the directions are simple for how to equip, drop, and attach items, the mechanics of the controller in correlation to the directions which appear on screen are not. You’ll find yourself fiddling around with it for a while before you either get it and begrudgingly move on, or in a fit of utter frustration, throw your controller across the room.

Once you’ve left -or rather escaped- the boat which has been docked just outside of the island, you take off and being your shooting escapade. They’re are some cool features players can utilize once they’ve begun the mission, but problems with the controls once again come into play and take away from the experience. For example, in a variety of missions, one of the playable features is to take control on two land tanks and use them together to shut down plants. It’s an interesting concept and for the first couple of minutes is entirely fun to mess around with, but after a couple of minutes it just becomes utterly frustrating to maneuver once more.

The maneuverability of the vehicles was one of the biggest concerns I had with the entire game. If you moved the vehicle even a fifth of the wrong way, it would not reverse nor drive forward and you spend countless minutes trying to fix the direction of your tank before just giving up. Even with the ship which doesn’t require much moving, the simple moving it does is clunky and rather annoying.

The actual campaign story isn’t necessarily horrible, it just reminds me much too much of Mass Effect. This game has a very Mass Effect feel without the astounding gameplay Mass Effect provides players. This is not a campaign story you will become deeply immersed in, and instead is a campaign you’ll be happy you’ve finished at the end of it.

This game, quite frankly, isn’t worth the time or money. It’s the type of game that if released as a downloadable game for $10 may be worth it, but for $60 I would recommend you save your money and put it towards another game being released within the week. It’s not that Carrier Command: Gaea Mission is an atrocious game, it’s just not a great one.

Ratchet & Clank Collection (PS3) Review 1

Ratchet & Clank Collection (PS3) Review

A Blast from the Past

If you’ve ever played the Ratchet & Clank series in the past, then picking up the four part collection will be nothing short of a nostalgic episode. Memories of being a child and sitting in front of my Playstation 2, endlessly playing, resurfaced as the first cutscene began to play. That particular feeling doesn’t disappear throughout the duration of the games either. The gameplay mechanics are the same as when the original game was released back in November of 2002. While the graphics have been heavily upgraded, the narrative and plot line have remained exactly the same. Not only is the revamp of the original games a great piece of the past for old fans, but new fans can also partake in the fun.

If There’s no Changes, Why Should I Buy it?

Crack In TimeWhile the nostalgia can be incentive on its own, the question remains is it worth $40? Right off the bat, there aren’t any new gameplay features. The remodelling of the series is exactly that. Sony and Insomniac have just taken the original games and given them an aesthetically pleasing make-over. While new fans to the series may appreciate the modernization of Ratchet, older fans may not. Don’t get me wrong, I loved seeing the always adorable Ratchet & Clank characters in HD. There is something to be said, however, about the original character design. It’s like looking at an 8-Bit Squirrtle and comparing it to a modern Squirttle. The original visuals of the character may have been changed for the better, but it feels lackluster.

With that being said, it would be foolish not to purchase the collection. Not only are you receiving all four games for the breakdown price of ten dollars a game, but you’re also getting the newest Sly Cooper demo. The Sly Cooper demo was added by Sony because the Ratchet & Clank HD Collection was released late in North America, an apology of sorts for a delayed release compared to Europe.

Is There Anything New?

There isn’t anything new, per se, but there are some features Insomniac removed from the previous Ratchet & Clank games which have made a miraculous comeback in this collection. For example, the online multi player originally available on Up Your Arsenal has been reinstated and players can play the co-operative mode with up to eleven players online. While the weaponry has remained the same, players can carry over certain weapons via their save file, or can purchase them at any vendor. Players can also choose to play the Ratchet & Clank HD Collection series in 3D if they have television sets which support the technology. I would strongly advise you not to venture off into the 3D realm with this particular game. While 3D technology has come a long way since first developed, for a game like Ratchet & Clank, it comes off clunky and becomes tedious for eyes after a while. The upgrade to HD is noticeable enough (especially when you’re playing through those winter levels), and the added 3D comes off as a gimmick from Sony.

What About the Weapons?

Ratchet

One of the more innovative features Insomnia always brought to the Ratchet & Clank series is the choice of weaponry the Lombax can carry and purchase. The weaponry is the exact same as the original games, but like the rest of the HD upgrade, they are much better to look at. In the beginning of the original Ratchet & Clank game, Ratchet finds the Suck Gun, one of my personal favourite weapons. While it may not be as strong as some of the weapons in the subsequent games, I’ve always loved the idea of sucking in enemies and using them as ammo on the next batch of enemies. It’s the friendly fire of the Ratchet & Clank world. In the HD version of the game, the wind tunnel created when in use looks much sharper. Although it’s a small upgrade it makes all the difference. With bigger weapons like the Lava Gun in Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, the shots look fiercer and less pixilated. While there are no new weapons in the series, the HD versions of your favourite weapons are a pretty close second.

What’s Missing?

While the HD collection is a superb buy, I couldn’t help but be disappointed with the new features, or lack thereof. For newcomers to the series, the HD Collection has it all. For older fans, however, it’s exactly like playing through the original series, but with more visually stimulating graphics. Since the ten year anniversary is right around the corner, it would have been that much better if Insomniac included hidden treasure for fans. One of the key elements to the Ratchet & Clank franchise is the videos players can playback throughout missions. A couple of extra videos, either in game or of the development team, would have made me happier. While the multiplayer is available, it’s not the greatest multi player around. Granted, Ratchet & Clank isn’t a game where the multiplayer becomes the main objective. I’ve always played it as a single player campaign and loved it. I just wish Insomniac and Sony would have put some extra effort into the multiplayer and co-op campaign for both fans and newcomers to the series. In this day and age of gaming, multiplayer is a necessity, no longer an add-on.

Verdict?

For $40 dollars, go out and buy it. The priceless flashbacks are worth it alone. For newcomers to the series, the price tag is an absolute bargain for the hours of fun you will have. Ratchet & Clank became a legendary series to Playstation users and this ten year anniversary package shows just how much Sony still cares about its fans.

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Epic Mass Effect character posters

Some truly amazing Mass Effect 2 character posters. I don’t know about you, but I want these hanging on my wall. They capture the characters beautifully.

These posters were created by a fan of Mass Effect Miri and show the characters in epics poses. These can all be seen in the gallery below. If you like what you see you should head over to her blog to see what other stuff she has done.

Source: Miristrahovski Tumblr

 



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