The ninth installment of Mortal Kombat is released, and it’s better than ever.
Simply titled, “Mortal Kombat,” the game has gone back to its roots. A 2d fighting plane, but now with 3d character models. The game is better looking than any Mortal Kombat game to date, and really helps get the bad taste of Mortal Kombat vs. DC out of my mouth.
The story is a reboot, and takes you back in time to the same time period as the original Mortal Kombat. Raiden has seen a vision sent from his future self, and he is determined to change the events that ultimately have led to his death. This is the best Mortal Kombat story yet, and while it’s still not going to win any awards for storytelling, it does keep you interested. It also allows new fans to the series to be filled in on what has happened so far. For old fans of the series, it’s a good recap. The only complaint is that the player is not able to skip cuts scenes. This isn’t too bad, since you ARE playing it for the story after all.
New to MK is the challenge tower. This is a list of 300 challenges varying from test your strength, to 3 on 1 battles, to fending off zombies with Johnny cage’s shadow ball. As you get higher in the tower, the challenges get harder, but the rewards get better too.
Online play has a great setup, but for one reason or another about 3 out of 5 games that I played lagged. It wasn’t unbearable, but I would still say it’s best to play multiplayer locally, that way there will be no excuses on why you didn’t win.
Fatalities are back as well as friendships, and they aren’t some ridiculous 10 button kombo (heh) that you need to memorize. For example, Scorpion’s first fatality is simply forward, down, forward, Y (or triangle for you ps3 users). This makes the game about 10 times more fun because it’s so easy to rip off your foe’s spine in a stylish finishing move.
Overall, Mortal Kombat is a pretty solid game, and deserves the recognition this time around. Ed Boon did something right for the first time since his debut in 1994.
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Torchlight is actually a game previously released on the PC back in 2009, and is just now making its way onto XBLA. Sometimes, the transfer frmo PC to console is a messy one, as the controls don’t feel right, but Torchlight got it right.
Torchlight is a dungeon crawler that was made by the same developers as the PC game Fayt, as well as the popular series Diablo, and it shows. The player chooses one of three classes at the beginning of the game. Nothing out of the ordinary here. You have your Destroyer which serves as the warrior function in the game, a vanquisher which serves as the rogue, using traps and ranged weapons, and the Alchemist which serves as the mage or magic user.
The game is pretty much a straight forward hack ‘n’ slash, and as you level up you gain different abilities that you are able to map to buttons on the controller.
Like in the game Fate, the player has a pet to assist him. Thet pet will assist you in battle by attacking enemies and collecting loot. He also is able to run back to town in the middle of a dungeon, and any items you give him will be sold for gold. This is extremely useful, as the deeper you get into dungeons the harder it is to get back to town.
The story is simple enough. In the mining town of Torchlight, a magical substance called ember holds all sorts of power. Many people go deep into the mines to obtain it, but they are just now discovering that ember has a corrupting power that consumes those around it. As a result, monsters begin appearing and attacking the town, and it’s up to you to save it.
Overall, Torchlight is very well done. The controls feel right, it’s simple enough to learn, and even though the story is a little lacking, it’s downright fun. Fans of the games Diablo or Fate will defiinitely want to pick this one up for 1200 microsoft points, and those new to dungeon crawlers may want to try the demo before purchasing.
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SquareEnix is at it again with the 13th game of it’s franchise, Final Fantasy XIII. This is the first Final Fantasty to appear on a next generation console, other than the MMORPG Final Fantasy 11, which is typically more popular on the PC.
The story in FFxiii is better than ever, but not without a few setbacks. While the cut scenes and dialog are extremely well done, the game play is extremely linear, and doesn’t offer much of a challenge. There is a new battle system, but the most thinking you’ll have to do is if you want a healer or not in the party.
There may only be three active members of the party in battle, and each has a role. They are as follows.
Commando – deals heavy damage and slows the stagger meters falling rate
Ravager – deals damage while rapidly increading stagger meter
Medic – healer
Synergist – buffer
Saboteur – debuffer
Sentinel – tank
Each enemy has a “stagger meter” which the player needs to max out by performing attacks on the enemy. Once the meter is full, the enemy will be “staggered’ and takes extra damage. Each party member knows three roles, and you can have up to five paradigms (combinations of player roles) and use them as you see fit. The battles are incredibly easy however, as there is an auto attack button that simply chooses the best move for you at the given point in time. Although you can choose not to use that feature, it’s bothersome that it’s there.
It feels more like a movie than a game, as you progress down the linear paths, and simply just run until there is a cut scene. The extra items are not hard to find, and again I will say this does not present much of a challenge.
Final Fantasy XIII will take the average gamer about 45 hours to complete the story, and much more if they choose to complete the side quests. The story is very gripping, but I’m afraid the linear aspect of this game is too much of a letdown to give this game a decent grade.
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I suppose I should rename this blog as I’m straying away from the XBLA games. Today I will be reviewing the newest game out of the Pokemon franchise:
Pokemon Black and White is the newest Pokemon RPG (role playing game) for the Nintendo DS handheld system. Like previous Pokemon games, Pokemon Black and White released simultaneously and are the same story, with little differences.
Graphics have been redefined in this version. The game has more perspective, and really tries to work in some 3d aspects in a couple of the towns. Everything looks great, and not like your traditional Pokemon game. While the battles do look pretty much identical, the towns and the environment have been completely redone, and look beautiful on the Nintendo DS.
One thing that is makes things so much more convenient is the fact that you can heal your Pokemon and do your shopping all in one place. That’s right. The Pokecenter and Pokemart are combined into one building this time, saving you a ton of time running between the two. The game doesn’t seem nearly as tedious as its predecessors.
The game is nearly flawless with over 150 new Pokemon, a gripping story and the ability to relocate pokemon that you’ve caught in other games over to this one. Infrared technology makes trading with friends easier than ever, and if that doesn’t tickle your fancy there is online trade capabilities as well as online battling capabilities.
The differences in Pokemon Black and White are simple. In Black, there is a town called Black City, and in White, there is a town called White Forest instead. Black city is very modern with the latest technology and shops, and the forest is nothing short of what its name suggests. But the main difference is the Legendary Pokemon that you get. In Pokemon Black, you will eventually end up with the legendary pokemon named Reshiram, a White Dragon/fire type pokemon. In Pokemon White, you get a black Dragon/Electric type named Zekrom. The only way to get these pokemon are by beating the specific version of the game that the pokemon appears in, or by trading with a friend.
New in this Pokemon game is Rotation Battles. Battles work the same as far as turns go, but this time you have 3 pokemon out, but only one can attack at a time. On your turn, you can choose to rotate the pokemon in a circular fashion to make another pokemon active. This adds some more strategy to battles, instead of the usual rock paper scissors format that previous games have taken.
Overall it’s a pretty solid game. Even after you beat the game, there is plenty to do to keep you playing for 100 hours plus. After completing the story, you have access to four new towns, and Pokemon from previous generations begin appearing. For the collectors out there, this gives tons of replay value. Almost all of the 659 Pokemon are catchable in this game, with the exception of the previous starters and of course their evolved forms.
As with all Pokemon games, this one is highly addicting and hard to put down.
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GLaDOS is at it again in the next installment of Portal, simply titled “Portal 2″.
The original Portal was a bit of a surprise for gamers. Packaged as an extra in Valve’s “The Orange Box,” gamers everywhere were introduced to a new style of puzzle game play. The player was given a portal gun, able to shoot a portal on a wall, and then an exit portal onto another. The player uses this tool to get around obstacles, and as with all puzzle games, it gets harder as you progress.
Part of what contributed to the huge success of Portal was possibly one of the most memorable villains of all time, GLaDOS, a computer doing science…at your expense of course. Her witty remarks along the way filled the game with laughs, and at the end of the game gave you a real sense of evil.
The game took about 4 hours to complete, as it was simply just an extra of another game.
This time around, Valve has made Portal 2 a full game, said to take far longer, and be far more complex than its predecessor. New obstacles have been added, and familiar friends (or enemies) return. GLaDOS has managed to rebuild herself, and is in the process of rebuilding Aperture Science as a whole, so the game is largely environmental, instead of just in a lab like in the last game.
There are many new obstacles in the game, one added is the slip stream. With this, anything in it will be propelled forward without falling. You’re portals can be used to direct them. The first time I saw this, my mind was blown. Puzzles using this seem far more complicated than in the original portal. You’ll use this slip stream to navigate boxes throughout the level, helping it float across without falling into the acid like liquid below. A portal can be shot on either end of the stream, allowing the stream to flow through the portals you create.
Another obstacle is a fatal laser beam. The player will have boxes with holes in them that can redirect the lasers in any direction you please, but be careful! One hit with the laser will kill you. You’ll use these lasers to kill robotic enemies or open doors, and surely a few more things that Valve hasn’t shown yet.
Oh, and don’t let me forget to mention the new cooperative mode.
I’m very excited about this. Valve has said the cooperative mode will be a separate story from the single player campaign, and 2 players will play as robots, simply known as Orange, and Blue. Since communication is a huge factor in the game, there is a feature in which a player can mark on the screen where he wants his or her online friend to place a portal. Players will rely heavily on one another to get each other from place to place, avoiding obstacles along the way. But beware, those who have played it already say it will make you loathe your partner when things go wrong, as two minds working completely differently to accomplish the same thing can be terribly frustrating.
Portal 2 will be releasing on April 19, 2011, on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
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The history of Mortal Kombat is a pretty lengthy one. Creator Ed Boon started the franchise back in October of 1992. It was highly controversial, being the first game to really show blood, guts and brutal ways to “finish” your opponents. While the series has a total of 9 games, (15 if you count all the psp/ds/gameboy/ knockoffs), Mortal Kombat II was the franchise’s best received game, allowing players to chain together combos in their own style, and just the right amount of blood. You can never have too much blood though, I suppose.
Mortal Kombat 4 released in 1997, and introduced the crossover to 3d fighting for the series. Now, you had to worry about side stepping, instead of just fighting on a 2d plane. This is when the series went downhill. The franchise struggled to stay alive, and Ed Boon eventually was fired and picked up by other companies, one being WB. This brings us to the worst Mortal Kombat game to date.
Someone thought it would be a brilliant idea to do a crossover fighting game featuring Mortal Kombat characters, and kid friendly DC super heroes. Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, the latest Mortal Kombat game…the only “T” rated game of the Mortal Kombat series. DC refused to allow their characters to be killed, and they also forced boon to remove the blood from the game, which is a huge reason Mortal Komabat players play the game. Naturally this was a let down. The game didn’t sell very well…at all.
Now however, Boon seems to be back on track. The series is going back to its roots, and embracing the Mortal Kombat II playstyle. The new game, titled simply “Mortal Kombat” is a series reboot according to Boon, and is set to release on April 19, 2011. While the character models will still be 3d, players will only fight on a 2d plane, just like in the golden days. Fatalities are said to be more gruesome than ever, and the story is receiving a brand new start, as there are so many holes and questions in the previous story.
When I say the game will be brutal, I mean it will be BRUTAL. Each player will have a special meter, and when it fills up, you can perform bone breaking moves, literally. Once performed, the camera will zoom in and show an x-ray type image of your opponent, and show the bones breaking before your eyes so you can see exactly the kind of impact your hit made.
Boon also promises great online features, including very thorough stat tracking, including how many fatalities one has performed, how many wins and losses, how many times they’ve beaten the arcade and on what difficulty, etc. There will most likely be a “lobby” mode as well, in which up to 8 players will be able to join a lobby, and take turns fighting the winner. Those not fighting will be able to watch the fight.
Another “kool” mode of the game includes something that Marvel Vs. Capcom fans should enjoy. A tag team mode. The player will be able to select two fighters, and match them up against another two fighters. You will be able to tag in and out, and like MvC3, call in for the assist. This opens up even more brutal possibilities. Tag team fatalities are a possibility, and I’m hoping they include it.
The roster hasn’t been officially released yet, but video previews have confirmed a few. As Boon puts it, all of “player’s favorites” will be included in the game, which suggests the core group of characters such as Johnny Cage, Reptile, Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Milena, Liu Kang, Shang Tsung, Quan Chi (maybe), Cyrax, and Kitana for sure, but I’m sure there will be a few surprises thrown in as well.
Still think that Mortal Kombat is a lost cause? Check out this gameplay footage, and then tell me what you think.
Sub Zero Game-play
Mortal Kombat has gone back to its roots, and if Boon knows what’s good for him, he’ll keep it there for a long, long time.
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Ok, so it’s not an XBLA game, but I’ve been playing the hell out of it and I figured it’s the best review I can scrounge up at the moment.
Marvel vs. Capcom is a popular series that got recognition during it’s second installment, which now is considered “rare” and goes for about $100. For those of you that don’t know, MVC is a tag team fighting game, in which you take your favorite Marvel super heroes and Capcom characters (ranging from Chris Redfield from Resident Evil to Dr. Doom from Fantastic 4) and duke it out.
It works as a 3v3 battle. You are able to call in your teammates to assist you, tag them in to fight, etc.
Now, compared to MvC2, MvC3 seems a little different. It’s quite a bit more user friendly, as Capcom has now integrated a command list in the game, so you’re not constantly guessing how to pull off your characters special moves. They have also put in a wonderful WONDERFUL “mission” mode, in which you choose a character to work with their potential combos. That’s not to say that they have a set combo list. This game really relies on user created combos. Players are able to chain almost any move together, and this brings an endless amount of possibilities to the fights.
When the game is booted up, it warns you about flashy images on the screen, I suppose for epileptic players. Man, they weren’t kidding. If I’m playing in the dark, it’s almost like a strobe light is on in the room.
The fights are fast paced, and if you aren’t quick you’ll soon be hearing the announcer say KO, signifying the loss of a fight. 100 hit combos are not unheard of. In fact, they are quite common, especially with experienced players.
One thing that was hyped up about the game (specifically for the nerdy players) was the character endings. They were said to be “epic” and that you would want to get them all. But after playing through the arcade about 7 times, everyone’s ending is extremely short, and ALWAYS corny. Not worth it in my opinion. The arcade play mode is a good place to perfect those combos your working on, but that’s about it.
- Fun, fast paced action with more user friendly controls than previous MvC games
- Mission mode, allowing you to practice character combos, and get a feel for what they are capable of
- Command lists, so you aren’t lost when trying to learn a special
- Looks GREAT
- This game may give you a seizure
- Online play is absurdly hard already, with the Japanese already clocking 400 wins on release day
- Steep learning curve
- Terrible Character Endings
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Ah yes. Limbo. This is my absolute favorite XBLA game of 2010. It’s hard to describe the world of Limbo. Newly founded game developing company Playdead’s game is a 2d puzzle platformer.You start off the game assuming the role of a young boy who has just woken up in a state of limbo, and have no explanation of the controls. Then again, the controls are simple, with the A button for jump, and the B button interacting, it isn’t an issue. With a film noir feel, everything is in black and white, and feels very dark and gloomy.
The puzzles start simple. You move boxes around to access different areas, or pull a boat into water to cross a pond, but as the game progresses, so does the difficulty of the puzzles. Eventually, you’ll be turning gravity on and off, using magnets to pull boxes to places you wouldn’t imagine, using animals to turn gears, and at one point even the whole world is turning.
The puzzles aren’t what makes this game so great, though it is a huge contributer. Limbo has a very dark feel, and when you die, you die hard. I like to call this type of game a “trial by death” game. You will die. You will die A LOT. You will die in the most gruesome ways ever thought possible, and even in some ways that you didn’t think were possible. As you advance through the world as a small boy, you will be killed by things such as bear traps, rivers (since you can’t swim), mysterious men with bows and arrows, or giant spikes impaling through your chest as you misjudge a puzzle and fall to your death. Want more? There is a giant spider who chases you through a good portion of the game, and if you slow down at all his enormous leg will impale you, wrap you up and eat you, electric signs will electrocute you with one misstep, and giant cinder blocks will crush every bone in your body.
The game is gruesome and frustrating, yet so satisfying once you figure it out. With only about 5-6 hours of game play (depending on your IQ level and ability to solve puzzles), you’ll be left starving for more, which is my only complaint about this game. Please let there be a sequel. It’s not often that a game of this quality comes along, and I encourage everyone to at least download the demo. It’ll get you away from the mindless shooters out there today, and actually get your mind working. It feels healthy for once to play a video game that stimulates the mind.
With Playdead being a newly formed company, the success of this game will determine their future.
Limbo receives a 10/10, one of the only perfect scores you’ll ever see from me.
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This blog will consist of reviews of various video games. I will primarily focus on Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) games, and will be including in-game footage, all of the latest hype about upcoming games, where certain gaming companies are headed for the future, among various other things.
Since I will primarily be dealing with Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) games, the first review will be for the cutest (and also most frustrating) slab of meat you’ll ever lay eyes on. You guessed it, the new XBLA game titled Super Meat Boy.
Super Meat Boy
Above is a link to game-play footage.
Super Meat Boy is an extremely well done platformer, which doesn’t have a problem reminding you that without pain there can be no pleasure, and without failure there can be no joy of success. It has a cartoony feel, but a violent and bloody one at that.
The game starts you out with a simple concept. You assume the role of Meat Boy, who is in love with bandage girl. Unfortunately, Dr. Fetus has kidnapped bandage girl, and like many other platformers, it’s up to you to save her. Each level is fairly short (on average 30 seconds) but have their fair share of obstacles to overcome such as spinning saw blades, high powered laser beams, strange creatures that chase you and spikes that impale you with the slightest misstep.
For you achievement hunters out there, some levels have collectible bandages to get. The bandages are placed strategically in the level and are sometimes extremely easy to obtain, but in the later levels you may need some Rogain to grow back all of the hair you pulled out during the pursuit. You do get rewards for collecting bandages, for those of you who don’t just want an achievement. If you collect enough bandages, you will unlock new characters with special abilities, making certain levels easier to get through.
Each level, if done correctly, is completed in 30 seconds or less. Sound simple? It may start off that way, but as the game escalates through its 300 + levels you will quickly realize this is no cake walk.
The game eases you into things, letting you play around with it’s precise controls that you will later need to master to advance to higher levels. When it comes down to it the game is all about trial and error. There are times when you must come to an abrupt stop or bounce off of a wall at just the right spot to avoid the strategically placed spikes that will cause Meat Boy to die a bloody death. While you will have many, and I repeat MANY failures, the successes you have will feel so so sweet, as you just barely make it between two spinning saw blades, or retrieve a bandage that at one time you thought was literally impossible to get. It’s times like these that keep you playing, and it’s also times like these that I’m proud to call myself a gamer.
Super Meat Boy has so much content that it really is a steal for 800 points on XBLA. With over 300 levels, and tons of replay value, it is completely worth it. The main story is completed in the “light world”, and if you receive an A+ rating on your performance of the level, the “dark world” version is unlocked. The Dark World is the same level, but with many more challenging obstacles included.
Achievements in the game are pretty challenging, as one of them is to complete an entire chapter (that’s 25 levels) without dying. In order to complete this you really need to have each move carefully planned, or have each level memorized.
There are no checkpoints in the levels of Super Meat Boy, but that’s OK. Levels are fairly short, and with the game restarting you literally immediately after your death (no loading time), you don’t really have time to be too upset. Once you finally do complete a level, a montage of all of your failures plays, providing plenty of laughs and a feeling of accomplishment.
The fast paced uplifting music keeps your mind off of your failures, gives you a positive attitude, and helps you persist. The music in Super Meat Boy is superb. The beautifully mastered 8-bit style really sets the mood for each level, and is a huge factor that keeps me playing.
Super Meat Boy is one of the top 3 XBLA games of 2010 (if not the best), and will forever remain one of my favorite games of all time.
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