Nintendo 3DS Coming Out Party – What’s in the box.

Well its finally here and it about time. Of course here at the Video Game Armada we got our pre-orders early and our review of this truly awesome product will be done soon. In the mean time here a small video showing what comes with your standard issue Nintendo 3DS (games not included). Enjoy!

Game Review – Crysis 2: In this case, the clothes do make the man.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, I like Iron Man. I always have, ever since I watched the old 90’s Iron Man cartoon on Saturdays (along with the Fantastic Four, they called it the Marvel Power Hour). He had it all: money, power, women, and to top it all off he was a genius that invented a butt kicking suit of flying, laser shooting, multipurpose, hyper-tech armor. Keep that boy scout Superman, or the moody downer Batman (although he does make a good video game); Iron Man was the perfect superhero. What does this have to do Crysis 2, not much really, except for a super suit that makes you faster, stronger, and invisible. The game behind the suit isn’t quite the charmer like Tony Stark, but it will get you through the day.

 

The hero of this story is Alcatraz (or Al to his friends of two minutes) the mute (and/or hung over) member of 1st recon marines sent in to aid New York City during a viral outbreak and to locate a person of interest, Dr. Gould. Well before you can say ‘alien invasion’ 1st recon and the horse you rode in on (which would be a sub in this case) was annihilated and poor Al was the only survivor. When he comes to he finds out he’s been outfitted with a full body black armor called the Nanosuit. See, its former user, Prophet, who also saved Al, needed the rest of 1st recon to save Gould and find out what happened in NYC. Them being dead, and he unable to continue his mission, gave the suit and the mission to Alcatraz (thanks buddy). So now Al (and the player) must figure out what’s going on, solve the mystery of the virus outbreak, complete Prophet unknown mission, and find out what the good doctor has to do with it all.

 

 

Now Alcatraz maybe the latest in the line of silent protagonists, but his actions definitely speaks louder than words, thanks to the Nanosuit. This suit I keep talking about makes anyone who wears it pretty hardcore: you can run at enhanced speeds, leap (up, to, and from) rooftops in single bounds, kick cars into enemies, become bulletproof (& near bomb proof), see infrared, scan enemies for potential weaknesses, and of course turning invisible on demand. These features alone are awesome; add to the fact you can still use different firearms, vehicles and explosives and players will have no trouble finding their way to fun and good times in war-torn NYC.

 

 

Sadly the game won’t just let you have fun with your suit; they try to harsh your mellow by killing you. The first thing is the C.e.l.l. narcs, I’m not quite sure who they are and that’s OK because: a) I didn’t play the first game (PC only and mine at the time couldn’t handle CoH/CoV all that well, so Crysis would have destroyed it) and b) they think the hero is still Prophet (seeing how I’m in his suit and all) so I’m KoS to them – and there’s a lot of them, armed troops, air support, and road blocks. As tough as they, are they don’t even hold a candle to the alien menace. They invaded the city that never sleeps for unknown purposes but they’re serious about wasting anything that gets in the way, namely you. But hey you have a suit of unknown, unstable, nanites, no backup, and more question than answers – You’ll be fine…

 

 

As I said before I never played the first Crysis, but from what I know of Crysis 2 is very different in structure. The original game put you on an island with your power suit and told you to get it done; in the sequel they put you in a battered city with your power suit and tell you to get it done – only in a straight line. The game’s very linear. There’s nothing wrong with that either I enjoy a game whether it’s choose your way or just following a script; now will this be a turn off for veterans of the series that’s another story. Crysis 2 is also a classic FPS (well classic Halo FPS); meaning players’ finds guns, shoot them, find ammo, get better guns, rinse, and repeat until end of game. The game’s real draw is, again, the powers and how players use them to complete objectives. The active powers all run off the same powerbar, the more you use the more  you lose until it recharges in a few seconds. The game maybe linear, but their stages have enough flexibly for players to achieve goals with your powers. Finally powers don’t end with active abilities, if you take down enough aliens players can use their tech to upgrade the nano suit with passive abilities like cloak detection, enhanced armor, faster firing for weapons and so on.

 

Of course this game also comes with a multiplayer option which is just like most multiplayer games on consoles today. Deathmatch, team deathmatch, king of the hill, capture the flag, etc. Its breaks the standard online stuff with the inclusion nano suit power for every player. Making the matches not about who can get the lucky spawn or the better weapon on the map, but what player can maximize their suits’ loadout in order to dominate the match. Player loadout are customized by main & sub weapons, explosives, and passive nano-abilities. Gain levels on multiplayer and you gain access to better gear and abilities, simple as that. Finally in a nod to killstreaks of Modern Warfare fame, every time a player takes down another player AND collects their dogtags from their body they will gain a support ability once they have enough.

 

 

The Goods:

Beautiful Game: Now in my Bulletstorm Review I said I like vibrant colors in my games, because too many games these days take the drab color route for the sake of realism. Well I’m glad to say Crysis 2 heard my cries and tried to do better. Sure it’s still very realistic looking, little boring, but it each and every shattered building, every downed alien vessels, every rather disturbing liquefied human slurry is so sharp you can almost touch it through the TV screen (note – I bought the PS3 version and used the HDMI hook up, so individual player’s mileage may vary here).

 

 

Multiplayer: Maybe it’s the fact I played the multiplayer first (via demo) or maybe it’s just the single player (more on that later), but I don’t care I like the multiplayer on this game. Anytime you take an FPS and add techie based super powers and you get (wait for it…) Duh! Winning! Each one of the stages on multiplayer is large and different enough to make 16 players matches true challenges for everyone involved. Some games can be won on blind luck, but most victories are gained to through teamwork, skill, and knowing when to use your powers and where (like turning on your armor for one). Even their version of killstreaks takes more talent to access than CoD because you need to collect a number of player dogtags to do so. By doing that it forces the camping sniper we all hate to come down and get the tags, and then get shot by someone in cloak : ). Of course you can equip a passive ability that collects the tags automatically, but if you do you won’t be able to use a possibly much better ability in that line. Crysis 2 is a thinking man’s multiplayer.

 

 

 

The Bad:

Single player: In a couple of words – It’s boring. Seriously you would think a story that involves the alien takeover of NYC, clandestine originations and humanity being reduced to juice would be more interesting – but it is not. Also the single player is a little broken when it deals with choices of dealing with situations get to point A to B. Meaning in order to get to the next check point in most stages it’s better to run than gun. Enemies spawn almost immediately after you kill them and usually right behind you. If you try to stand your ground you will run out of bullets and then get overwhelmed. Sheathing is not an option either because you cannot hold a charge long enough to get anywhere safe enough to recharge and get through. The Radar doesn’t tell you where the enemies are outside of combat, so when you drop your cloak behind a shady tree thinking it’s safe you’ll just end up busted by the soldier you didn’t see or your radar didn’t detect. Stealth kill? Nope, you might as well as use a shotgun because whether it’s a sliced weapon, or a knife, or a neck snap, they’ll hear it two rooms down. Cloak out of firefights? Nope, once combat starts you might as well wear an “I’m over here!” sign because cloak won’t fool anyone at that point, and at least the sign will make good cover. I can go on but I really don’t want to; this may not fit all the situations in the game but there’s a lot in here and I didn’t sign up for this tour of duty to run like non-super powered civil.

 

Control Scheme: I don’t care how difficult this makes programmers job (and I can’t stress this enough) the player should have the ability to adjust button settings at all times! I have the PS3 version of this game and it won’t allow me to change the trigger buttons from powers to aim and fire; that is ridiculous! When I’m shooting I want to use the trigger buttons and not the shoulder buttons – it just common sense people.

 

Multiplayer glitching: Now not as bad as the multiplayer demo back in February; the full game still has some latency issues now and again. No more than any other shooter but it’s still annoying.

 

 

Ranking:

 

The game’s totally righteous multiplayer cannels out the mundane single player; and despite my gripes about the controls and the rare glitching you do get use to them – or rather I did. Everything else about this game is ok, even if you liked the first game I still would recommend renting the sequel because of the straight forward nature of the campaign. All & all Crysis 2 is like Iron Man 2, not as good as I was expecting but still a lot of fun. OK people bag ‘n tag this one I’m done, and not a moment too soon. Til next time, take care.

 

Oh, by the by, my multiplayer tips for Crysis 2 (located here) are still good, (not the melee damage however – it takes two strikes now to put down an unarmored opponent) so study up with the basics and unleash terror on noobs today.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day – Now call a cab home.

D’oh!  I knew I forgot something!

*Ahem*

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day… For the next T-Minus 10 minutes of it anyway. This holiday is originally about Saint Patrick the patron saint of Ireland, the arrival of Christianity into said country, and a big holla-holla to Irish culture. However most people use this day just to wear all green and drink (beer or Shamrock Shakes), and I’m ok with that. As for me to celebrate the holiday I will be playing the Angry Birds St Patty’s Day DLC, available now. Though I won’t be reviewing this one because it’s still the Angry Birds I love but nothing else new, and again I’m ok with that. Since time’s running out I’ll leave you all with this amusing jig of our president Barack O’Bama. Enjoy!

Product Placement – Super Mario 3-DEES Gummy, ‘New’ Super Mario Bros Coin Candies, & Nintendo Cherry Sours

I got to tell you people, life keeps it interesting from the world’s stage to the supermarket you’ll never know what’s coming down the next corner. I was running errands for some loved ones at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and while I was waiting in the checkout line you’ll never guess what I saw at the Candy table:

That’s right, the good lord decided to reward my good deeds in candy form! So I quickly grabbed them up, made the purchases and left. Before I opened them up and ate them however I got the idea that these delicious treats (assumingly) can be used as a product placement review for Armada, killing two birds with one stone – what can go wrong?

 

The Look:

3-Dees Gummy:  First are the ‘Super Mario 3-DEES Gummy’ candies by Au’some Inc. and of course Nintendo. Box itself has pictures of Mario (not the legendary Penguin), DK (not the fast food joint), Diddy (not the rapper) and Yoshi (insert you own ‘not the blank’ here). It also shows the favors, nutrition facts, number of pieces, etc. All with a background color of  ‘blue’ that fades inward. Now I really don’t expect Picasso from my gummy treat box art, but what’s here can be easily done by anyone using Microsoft Paint. So it’s bland… Then again, it caught my eye that day, so meh.

New Super Mario Bros. Coin Candies: Now this is what I’m talking about, the container is in the shape of the iconic ‘Question Box (or Mystery Box)’ from the Super Mario games. Simple yet effective. The Box is small enough to fit into pants pockets so there is very little info on the bottom of it; just some ingredients, bar code, product branding, and what have you. This product is straight from Boston America Corp and the only thing bad about the packaging is that the box is sealed pretty tight. So either have strong finger nails, a flathead screwdriver, or a sledgehammer with you or you won’t be getting jack (I used the sledgehammer).

Nintendo Cherry Sours:  Like the Coin Candies the Cherry Sours are in the shape of another iconic Super Mario shape: The Mushroom. Again simple yet effective, again little info on the bottom (the print’s even smaller than the Coin Candies), and again distributed Boston America Corp. However the winkle here is that you have to twist turn the mushroom cap off to get to the candies. That was hard… They must of vacuumed sealed these shrooms for freshness ness or something because they won’t give up the sweetness easily (on my second try I used the sledgehammer again).

The Taste:

3-Dees Gummy:  It has very little smell, when I do smell something it does smell like fruit. On first chew, it is very – plasticy (good grief – I got poison control speed dial people). However after thoroughly chewed the fruit flavors were definitely there, exploding so in fact – so it was pretty good.

 

Coin Candies:  Small but strong smell coming from the Coin Candies; now what that smell is I couldn’t begin to tell you. The little yellow discs themselves are very similar to SweetTarts: hard, chalky and can either be sucked down (Archer: Hey! Phrasing!) or chewed (if you got a good denial plan). However unlike SweetTarts I can’t tell what flavor I’m eating here, no matter how many I put in my mouth (Archer: Hey! Phrasing!). Whatever the flavor I’m good with it.

Cherry Sours:  Like the Coin Candies the Cherry Sours are small, hard, and a near unidentifiable smell (although powerful) and taste. Only this time there is a hint of sour along with the cherry flavor (hence the name).

 

The Aftereffect:

 

3-Dees Gummy:  As good as the gummies were they did give me a little ingestion here. Nowhere near as bad as the ‘White Out’ Mountain Dew debacle, but still products giving me tummy troubles loses points in my book.

 

Coin Candies:  Tasty but small and unfulfilling, it’s a good thing they give you a sizeable amount.

 

Cherry Sours:  Next verse, same as the first (tasty but small and unfulfilling).

The Verdict:

Despite the Nintendo branding there’s nothing special about these candies, the 3-Dees made me sick to my stomach (just a little). So why pass’em, well because of the containers really – they’re cool. Sure you can buy your own mushroom or question box from anywhere online, but chances are they’ll cost you more to pay for them than I paid for mine (and mine came with candy). As a lifelong gamer I surprisingly have very few gamer trinkets and I wasn’t going to special order anything because that money could be put towards games. So having these awesome (and affordable) tokens of gaming on my various work surfaces does my heart good (of course not the Gummy box – I threw that out).

On a Serious Note…

Nintendo is my favorite video game company if you couldn’t tell; I have no doubt without them gaming would not exist as it is today. This company is only one of the many great things that came from Japan; as we well all know the country itself is in dire straits due to resent events. I don’t care you who are; if you get hit with an earthquake, a tsunami, and then a threat of nuclear meltdown right next door chances are you’ll need some help. Please donate to the Red Cross, support your fellow man – it’s the right thing to do.

Game Review: Bulletstorm

 

Ok seriously I’ve got this done more than a week ago but I’ve been playing Dragon Age 2 since Tuesday and it is awesome (review pending – though I’m not sure what I’ll be able to tell you all, that you don’t already know)! So I never put my review up on Armada till now, my bad, but if there’s anyone who not a fan of awesome, eye melting, jaw dropping, action-RPG goodness and is look at Bulletstorm for a suitable substitute: watch this first.

Armada TV – Clips of Conan & MAD

I love video games, I love TV; but nothing brings a smile to my face quicker than our current culture giving video games its proper due in funny and awesome ways. For this segment of Armada TV I showcase clips of Conan O’Brien and MAD (on Cartoon Network) doing just that this week. Enjoy!

Character Quote (Black History Edition) – Leo Cristophe

“Kefka! I can no longer stand by while you commit these atrocities!”

 

Well this is the end of the Character Quotes, Black History Edition, for the month because this is the end of the month. I hope you all learned something interesting from the profiles because I did enjoy writing them. The final character I’m highlighting is a character from Final Fantasy, 6 to be exact (predating Barret Wallace). General Leo Cristophe was the highest ranking officer in the oppressive Empire, the main bad guy force in the game. Yet Leo was a noble and honorable man who believed in fair play and justice. He earned the respect of not only his men but he’s enemies as well; and that was before he drew his sword. On the battlefield he was unstoppable striking hard and fast before enemies could react; and he could unleash massive waves of energy that can obliterate anything in his way. Despite his power he would always try to find a peaceful solution to conflicts before they get out of hand. Sadly players would only be able to use him only once before he was done in by Kefka. Still, to this day, he is the coolest final fantasy character I know – and it makes me doubly proud that he is a brother. Leo wherever you are man, is fan computation is for you.