Tyler Perry is known for two thing the movies he acts, directs, and produces in and the Mabel ‘Madea’ Simmons character he portrays in said movies. Now for many people those works (and the character) are hit & miss, but in this latest chapter simply titled ‘Madea’s Witness Protection‘ the very outspoken Madea must take in the family of a financial wizard because they’re being hunting by the Russian mob. This is interesting enough considering the usual focus of Madea movies, but add to the fact that the financial wizard is Eugene Levy of American Pie fame and all I got to say is WTF/FTW.
Well people I got to admit something, I’ve not been giving my 110% to Armada lately – I’ve been busy. With what? Video Games of course! It was a perfect storm of digital goodness that had me powerless against its will. Even now the call to play is wearing me down – but my duty as a Journalist outweighs my want to Omnigame. So to that effect I’m going to review the three games that entrapped me so, both as a testament to their fun and a warning about playing them: you will get sucked in. First up, Bejeweled Blitz.
Now the game series Bejeweled shouldn’t be a mystery to anyone who owns a computer and had some time on their hands, but just in case: Bejeweled, a game created by PopCap Games, is a colorful puzzle series that involves matching gems ala Dr.Mario. Like most puzzle games Bejeweled doesn’t have a story or purpose per se, but rather impressive visuals reactions to matching jewels together. You wouldn’t think that would be enough to keep this series afloat but over 10 years they had multiple versions and sequels on variously platforms: even spawned a few knock offs. So yeah Bejeweled is a good puzzler. However I think they struck gold with this rendition because Bejeweled Blitz is both fast paced and very addicting.
Bejeweled Blitz, like its predecessors, is a tile-matching puzzle games that disappear when you match three of a kind. If you match more, or two at the same time you get special gems that cause destruction on the board in one form or another (often causing very colorful explosions) when matched. Of course more gems come failing down to replace the ones destroyed so players can never clear the board. No – the goal is to get as many points as you can in 60 seconds, and that’s it. Now most veteran gamers may laugh at this simple mission statement at first, but then few rounds turns into fifty, then into a hundred, and before you know it you’ve spent hours playing this game at 60 second intervals – it happen to me. To add strategy (yes strategy) to the mix, players can choose to spend coin on various power ups before each game. They can add multipliers gems, detonators, board scramblers, and more. If your really lucky however, you can buy special comic animals (that’s not there official name but that’s what I’m calling them) when they appear. They’re expensive and one time use but they do rack up the points in very creative ways. Finally, and this is where the draw comes in, once you’re ready for prime time you can take your skills online and complete for the high score. Since Blitz is tied to Facebook, anyone of your with Facebook friends can see your score and tried to take you down. No joke people, my reign as number one in Blitz was destroyed by aunt. Weather by luck or skill, it was what it was and made me play harder to get the number one back.
Bejeweled Blitz is about as addicting as any downloadable game you can buy today (its even free via apple store). The effects of every match is pleasing, the tempo of the music going faster and faster as the timer gets closer to zero gets the juices pumping, and the online one upmanship between online friends just makes playing all the better. Seriously it would have been perfect if it had a bit more substance to it (all the Bejeweled games actually); but that’s just splitting hares – download this game now and join in the addiction.
World of Warcraft is one of the best online MMO’s for many a good reason – and its creator company, Blizzard, is not stupid ladies and gentleman. Over the years they have made patch updates that transformed WoW into the awesome juggernaut it is today. While it is debatable which patch was the best, in my personal opinion it was patch 3.3.0 that really changed it all. Why? Because that’s when Dungeon Finder was introduced. The viewtiful feature made the mind numbing task of LFG and thing of the past. If I wanted to run Gnomeregan real quick, for example, I would have to either ask everyone on the server if they wanted to help me or hover a meeting stone like a lost puppy. With the Dungeon Finder all I had to do is select Gnomeregan then select what role I’d play (mostly tank) and then let the game find me a group and send me to the instance-instantaneity. Brilliant! Now today I’m glad to say swtor will be getting its own Dungeon Finder equivalent in their 1.3 update. Oh sure they’re adding other stuff like character transfers, more legacy abilities and the like; but having the flashpoint finder is the meat and potatoes of the update. It’s not live yet but it’s being tested so sooner or later it will become available – and before you know it you’ll be up to your ears in custom gear.
Well not really, but might as well have because this man (and a few others at Nintendo) saved the video game industry from certain destruction back in the 80’s with the creation of the Super Mario Bros. and the Nintendo Entertainment System. Nearly 30 years later and people still haven’t forgotten it either; if there was a gaming version of Shakespeare – Shigeru Miyamoto would be it. This time around it’s the people of Spain as they are awarding him the Premios Príncipe de Asturias (Prince of Asturias Award) for his Communications and Humanities works (making games that everyone can play and not just ‘gamers’). Of course being as awesome as Mr. Miyamoto is; he credited most of his success to the people and staff that have helped him over the years. If we had it in the budget (or had a budget), I would make and give an award to Mr. Miyamoto and friends every day for the rest of my life. However since I can’t, I’ll have to settle with a vigorous and heartfelt congratulation to Mr. Miyamoto and friends – keep being awesome.
You know people, I have a soft spot in my heart of video games (natch) but also have a fondness of fictional villains as well. Think about it, what really makes a movie, book, show, and yes, video games great; the villain (or the antagonist) – of course. They’re the ones who make you stand on the edge of your seat, they’re the ones make you feel like the world’s coming to an end at the climax, and the best ones are the ones that you love and hate at the same time. In fact the popularity of certain villains are so great that they actually graduated to hero status (or at least become antiheroes) in their relative works. In this very interesting upcoming move from Disney (though not from Pixar), Wreck-It Ralph (the name for both the movie and the main character), stars a villain who’s tired of being the villain in the game he’s in. So like a boss, he breaks reality in half (he’s 9-foot-tall, 643-pound after all) and escapes into other games to find his destiny – maybe even become a hero himself. Now before you all poo-poo this, please take note that they’re making a concerted effort to make this as legit as possible. So much so that they’re including the legacy video game villains that helped paved the way including Doctor Ivo Robotnik (and if you think I’m going to call him ‘Eggman’ then you got another thing coming). Now there’s very little information about the film, not even a website yet, but once we find out more you can bet Video Game Armada will bring it to you.
Anchorman 2, Will Ferrell, that is all.
More than meets the eye indeed! I swear people I’ve checked the Transformers: Fall of Cybertron website every other day for anything other than static picture of Grimlock and the first trailer under it – to no success might I add. However recently not only has the site transformed into an awesome visual feast for the eyes but also produced a release date. A refresher – Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is a sequel to the surprisingly awesome Transformers: War for Cybertron game. It told the true origin story of the famed cybertronian civil war that led both Autobots and Decepticons to leave the planet and launch more stories and series than I can count. The first game was shown in the eyes of both groups and was well told, full of action and humanized the giant fighting death machines. Add to the fact that the multiplayer was actually a lot of fun and you got yourself a dark horse success story. Now Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is going to bring all that was good from the first game and give it an energon injection (that a good thing) making it one of must play games of the year. With the first game I foolishly traded it in for another less gamer (which I won’t tell you all what that game was in order to protect its feelings) but I won’t make that same mistake twice (barring review of course – but I got a feeling everything going to be alright).
Community is not just a group of people living together in one place; but also an excellent show on NBC that creates the most off the wall yet totally relatable episodes you’ll see on basic TV. Using youth culture plus original writing made each 30 minutes showing something to remember; especially the ‘special’ ones. From paintball to dungeons & dragons, Community has redefined cool. Well yesterday they reached its apex, in the first episode of three that day they entered in the awesomest reality of all time ever: video games. It was epic, to say the least (it also) made me nostalgic for Code Monkeys for some reason). So not only watch this episode, but the rest as well. And afterward follow the save community twitter feed, make this show last forever: the world needs Community (in more ways then one).
The Assassin’s Creed series is confusing but the third one in the series isn’t without its merits. For example the latest game play trailer today show a great deal of action and detail that the game can turn out to have once it was done. Now I’m not a fan but it is very impressive looking to the point of me trying this game out afterall… Nah! It’s too late for me, but I know you AC fans out there are as pleased as punch to see this game progressing smoothly.
Why, StarHawk, why? You were one of my top picks for ‘the’ games of the 2012; but after everything was said, done, and played I had enough content for a Mini Game Review (please note that Mini Game Reviews aren’t in themselves bad, but just smaller than my regular review – usually due to minimal content on the games themselves (and for StarHawk that’s not a good sign)). Well let’s get this over with.
Now for those who don’t know StarHawk is the spiritual successor to WarHawk a semi-large multiplayer first person shooter. So the story in this game has nothing to do with the first game (which had no story – more on that later). Players take on the role of Emmett Graves; and combination Wild West mercenary and outer space oil rigger. He drives off bandits and the like from trying to steal an omnipotent source of energy called Rift which people need to practically anything in the game. Of course it has the habit of turning people into glowing mutant freaks but I’m sure that will never be addressed in the game. Anyway, Graves’ next mission is on a planet called Dust where a town called White Sands needs protection from new form of raider call Outcasts. Organized and deadly they pose a direct threat to the town and strange enough, have a connection to Rift Energy. So it’s up to Graves to defeat the Outcasts, discover they’re secrets, and confront this own past on the planet called Dust.
StarHawk is a 3rd person shooter with an interesting concept: weapons, vehicles and even building on demand. Allow me to explain: whether in single or multiplayer – your objectives are killing enemies and gathering rift energy (by killing enemies and destroying stuff). With the rift energy players can summon building and installations that range from attacking, defense and support to even spawning weapons, vehicles and even other players. Dropping buildings on your enemies (mancaking they call it) is a very popular technique, but difficult one to master. With an arsenal at ones finger tips it’s easy for coordinated teams of players to litter the battlefield with war machines and provide interesting online matches. However…
I’ll be honest people, the single player was the best part of the game; it wasn’t an impressive story (as about as formulaic as you can get) but the action in the game was well balanced. The multiplayer however is either pure uncontrolled chaos or a lesson in spawn camp & spanking. Chances are new players will show up while a match is already going on: if they’re on a team that’s winning then they have nothing to do nor can they build anything because the ‘build limit’ had been reached – if they’re on a team that’s losing then no matter what they do it will only end up fragged because a well-organized team can keep you bottled up for the whole match especially when players can build spawn points anywhere on the map. There are different modes of course, but like I said before the two main things you have to do to make headway is killing enemies and gathering rift energy and without the ability to do one it’s very difficult to do the other. Not that the game is broken or unbalanced (well it’s a little unbalanced) to the point unplayability, but you’ll have a lot of frustrated nights trying to master this title and I, for one, simply don’t have the time. My recommendation? Rent it or wait for Dust 514 to do this whole massive multiplayer online first/third person shooter right (hopefully).