Game Preview – Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning & Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown

 

Now I can’t say everything but VGA is based on the eastern sea board, and when the earthquake happened (although minor) it was definitely interesting. Still we’re not geologists, we’re gamers and we still got a job to do. About a week ago I received an email for an upcoming fantasy game called Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning. I’ve never heard of it before nor its developers (38 Studios, Big Huge Games), but the publisher is very well known, which is EA. Add to the fact the artistry is being done by Todd McFarlane (the Spawn creator) and the trailer was at least worth a look. Well as it turns out the game not only has more heavy hitters in it than I realized, but the game itself is just the beginning of a ‘trans-media entertainment’ franchise they’re trying to create with the end result is an MMO called Project Copernicus. Information is pretty scare right now and Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning sort of reminds me of Icarus (not the kid/ but the Greek with wax wings who flew to close to the sun) but hey the trailer looked good and if there’s one thing EA good at – its making money.

 

 

Anyway, Virtua Fighter, what the freak? Four years, seriously, you don’t write, you don’t call, and all of a sudden you show up yesterday with news of a new downloadable game coming out next summer. Well VF I’ve moved on, I play fighters that challenge me and love me for my skills – we do it all ~ night ~ long.

 

 

All heck! Who am I kidding, I love you, I always loved you, no one can work those polygons as good as you baby. I’ll wait for you, but promise me (and the gaming community) you’ll never leave us again *sob*

 

 

Watchout (and for)! – Deus Ex, BH Online, and Hutball

 

Ladies and gentlemen; the lil’ Jimmies are back in school, certain TV shows are getting new episodes, and the weather can’t seem to make up its mind so you know the ‘Fall of Games’ has arrive. Finally! Seriously Team Fortress 2 going free on the PC was the best thing to happen because without it I would have gone stir crazy this summer. The wait is over however and soon we’ll all have enough good titles to choke a pig – starting with Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Despite this game being a prequel and my all communing hatred for thing prequel I’m willing to ignore that fact because a) Square Enix had a hand making this title and b) because it looks cool (hopefully it plays cool too).  Now the game comes out in the states tomorrow so if you like this series and also like pre orders rocket launchers and secret missions I suggest you get your affairs in order before zero hour.

 

 

Hey remember a week ago when Armada reported that MMO report reported about a European MMO called Bounty Hounds Online was currently in Beta but North American people can’t participate because of legal issues, but G4TV said they has some beta keys and will give them out in the near future. Well that’s today people, so if you want a chance to play an interesting (albeit incomplete) game check your G4TV Twitter and Facebook feeds every so often and cross your fingers.

 

 

Finally (and on the topic of MMOs) Star Wars: The Old Republic released an video on a new player v player mode in their upcoming, world ending, bring people to the point riot game. Pvp on MMOs really never interested me that much (I’m more of a twitch killer actually), but this takes me back to Blitzball and Smash TV so it’s worth a play through once – or twice.

 

 

 

 

This just in (or not) – The Super Nintendo turns twenty today and the top ten SNES games of all time.

 

 

Ah, the true golden age of video games started with the release of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (or the Super Famicom to our brother in the land of the rising sun). Sure don’t get me wrong the original NES, the Atari, and heck even the ColecoVision, all saved video gaming from the refuse bin of history. But the 16 bit era was the one that not only showed that gaming can become than a little child’s play thing but it can grow into the massive culture juggernaut it is today. As a big, phat, thanks to everyone’s favorite gray console with the purple button Armada present’s to you the top ten SNES games that changed game – why only ten? Because I’m too lazy to you twenty so let’s get down with this:

 

 

10.  Clay Fighter

 

 

 

 

Now I’m as pleased as punch that we’re going through a fighting game revival right now; with the success of Mortal Kombat (2011), Super Street Fighter IV,  and the Vs. series we can look forward to more AAA fisticuffs titles in the near future. What I do miss is fighting games that moved from the beaten path; the most recent example of ‘funny fighters’ is SSB:B was but that was three years ago (I have high hopes for Skull Girls however). Fighting games that also humor you is an odd combo, but like peanut butter and chocolate, it works – and it all started with Clay Fighter. Developed by Visual Concepts this fighting was animated completely with clay. This Claymation gave the title a unique look, and made the wacky character even wackier. What I’ll always remember about the game however was its awesome ‘true’ title theme; its starts off generic but quickly blow your socks off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Mario Paint

 

 

 

 

Now this maybe a surprise to a lot of you, but back in the day computers didn’t do 1/64 of what they do now. You be lucky if you could afford one in 90’s, much less get it to do anything other than DOS and very simple math problems. So how you get your kids to enjoy the wonders of the 16-bit era without breaking the bank or your brand new IBM? Mario Paint to the rescue. This ‘game’s’ only real objective is imagination, using the mouse included with the game, ‘players’ can draw anything they want (results may vary), create their own brand of music, animate minor drawing and yes even play a few mini games. At first I was bored with it but after a little experimentation it was one of my favorite ‘games’ ever – and thanks to it I can use Adobe Photoshop just a little bit better (good boy undo dog).

 

 

 

 

 

8.  F – Zero

 

 

FALCON PUNCH!!!! Nuff said… Ok I’ll say a little more. Now it’s no secret I find racing games boring (with the exception of Daytona USA for the Sega Saturn – Daaaayeeetonnnaaaaa! Yeah.); what I don’t find boring is mode 7 graphics on hyper futuristic hover tracks, super boosts and jump plates into suicide gaps, and player vehicles that looked not only different from one another but were different from one another. Acceleration rates, top speed, strength of armor, all played a part in choosing your racer; I always picked the one with the best armor so I could bully my way to first place (some things never change).  The futuristic racer started here and if it had weapons and it would’ve been higher on the list, oh well.

 

 

 

 

7. Earthbound

 

 

 

Quite possible the most hardcore RPG I’ve ever played, don’t let the marshmallow looks and primary colors fool you: This. Game. Will. Get. You… There are too many good things to say about this game so I’ll sum it up like this – It is a very big game, whose level of technical detail is second to none. Combat, abilities, levels, items, weapons, enemies, convoluted story, humor, secrets, even some character customization were beyond anything at the time and many RPG now follow suit to some of what they done here.  So why isn’t higher or on the top of the list? Well simply put, it was too long and too hard for most casual players. After continually getting p0wned by the Sharks (or whatever too difficult obstruction) many just gave up and not gave this game’s its fair do. Which is unfortunate, because the states missed out on the sequels.

 

 

 

 

 6. Earthworm Jim

 

 

 

 

Ok, this is a tough one because this game was also on Sega Genesis as well (yes Clayfighter too, but the Sega version didn’t have the awesome true theme, so there.), but I always stand by the rule if one game is on both systems Nintendo wins (don’t argue with me, I didn’t make the rule (and if you believe that I got some prime swamp land to sell you)). Anyway follow this if you can: there was an Earthworm named Jim who was just an earthworm from earth until a “Ultra-high-tech-indestructible-super-space-cyber-suit” fell on him, and mutated him into Earthworm Jim a ultra-high-tech-indestructible-super-space-cyber-suit wearing super worm that’s fights an evil psy-crow (not a typo), military snot, and Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-filled, Malformed, Slug-for-a-Butt (and that’s her legal name). This game was its own game and follows no conventions in any way, shape, or form. It brought chaotic fun to the masses without going overboard; showing that video games can dare to be stupid and still succeed

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Final Fantasy VI (or FF3 in the State, back in the day)

 

 

Arguably the best final fantasy in the series, and I must admit there’s a lot here to prove that too be true. Epic story for one, you’ll rarely find a more griping tale of love, betrayal, friendship, all that good stuff. The characters for two, every main character has their own reasons for going on their campaign against the evil empire – they all won’t join your cause right away but that only adds to the realism of the game. Third, realism; now trust me they’re plenty of things to disbelieve in the game (you’ll know when you see them) but nothing is going the standard happily ever after either. You get the idea, it’s definitely a game that’s mature, well made, and challenging for players looking for the same. It was one of the first, but definitely wasn’t the last.

 

 

 

 4. Donkey Kong Country

 

 

 

 

The year, 1995 the time, end of an era. This was year and the time the Sony PlayStation was to come out. No one knew it at the time but they were going to do impossible; beat Nintendo at their game: video games. Never the less they didn’t go quietly into the night (they returned in force thanks to the Wii, but you knew that already), nearly one year before the PlayStation onslaught they performed an preemptive strike by bring back an old favorite in a new adventure. No longer abused by Mario, Donkey Kong was not only given his own game but his own story, sidekicks, island, and enemies to fight. Which is really not that special, IF the game didn’t play so freaking well and didn’t look so drop dead glorious. Seriously the look was so amazing it was almost unbelievable that it was coming out of SNES; never mind playing like a champ – it was a true achievement getting a perfect on that game. Despite being the second best-selling SNES game of all time it couldn’t stop what was fated to come, but it wasn’t for the lack of trying.

 

 

 

 

3. Kirby Super Star

 

 

Ah Kirby. A man’s man; so tough he’s overweight, wear’s pink, talks like a baby, and still can save universe like the hero he is. A true jack of all things he’s one of the few video game characters whose games are always different from one another. From B/W to color, magic lines to yarn, his own adventures or in a grand adventure with Nintendo all stars: Kirby is the king jack. Hands down however his greatest accomplishment is Kirby Super Star. Why? Forget that it’s an easy to learn/tough to master game, forget that Kirby come with some of his most epic transformations ever, forget that you can play with a friend whenever you like (drop in, drop out, no catches), forget memorable stages and tricky enemies, forget all that. What puts this game in the ‘elite’ category is that fact that it is eight games in one game. Not mini games, but actual game that could stand on their own titles. Kirby did it first, ran the gambit of old school gaming archetypes (action, adventure, racing, etc.) and did it well. To my knowledge, there is only one other game that came close and that’s the orange box, and even then only had half the number of games Kirby did, and most of them were shooters.  If anyone missed out on this the first time round that’s OK, they made a remake called Kirby Super Star Ultra – strongest suggest you pick it up.

 

2. Mario in anything (outside of paint)

 

 

Seriously an SNES list without Mario on it would be a Sega list; also at this point explaining Mario’s contribution to video games would be like a perfect figure on a anthropomorphic scorpion babe – pointless (not the scorpion babe, she’ll have a point, and it’s a killer). So I’m moving on my number one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Chrono Trigger

 

 

If someone asks why this game is the ultimate SNES game ever – that’s a person who never played this game before. It was perfect blend of action, role playing, storytelling, graphical power, inventive combat (mainly combination attacks), and characters all combined into one invincible title plus a feature  that even after beating the game players can starting over stronger than before. It’s been showered with praise from all directions and remade into oblivion for newer generations of consoles – but it all started with the SNES. A game like this comes once in a lifetime, it had a sequel, but like catching lightening in a bottle, the magic only happens once. Which is a shame; all the same, that’s life.

 

 

 

 

So that about covers it, the SNES and ten of its greats. Going over these games really took me back, but that’s in the past and in one week will begin the future: the Fall of Games! Til then, peace out.

Mini Game Review – War Metal: Tyrant

 

Summers’ nearly over so you know what that means, the Fall of Games is almost upon us. Fortunately Team Fortress 2 going F2P (and the console add on enabling the use of an xbox 360 controller in the game) really help me this year, but I’m still counting the days until Deus Ex: Human Revolution comes out (6  days, 5 hours, 34 minutes, 50 second  to be precise of the time of posting here). However as much as I like bring Saxton Hale down with a hail of bullets, sometimes a man needs more, enter War Metal: Tyrant. Now despite this game releasing on October ’10 in Facebook I didn’t know about this until GameStop promoted it for their Kongregate gaming site (along with a special deal for GameStop shoppers). I decided to try it, what the heck, I mean it was free and I could always kill an hour. As it turns out I’ve had some genuine fun here.

 

 

 

 

Tyrant is basically a Digital Collecting Card Game or DCCG similar to Magic the Gathering or (Miyamoto help you) Yu-Gi-Oh. Its structure is 10 cards plus your team’s commander, your commander hold your health bar so once it drops to zero, so do you. Your objective is to take down the enemy commander using soldiers, mutants, mechs, nukes, and alien tech, whatever you have in your arsenal. However your squad limit is ten so the cards you use must be assembled with a plan in mind otherwise your sorties will be shorties. Sure you start off with a standard deck but after victories (and/or buying booster packs with in game gold or real money) player’s will gain more cards to customize your squad. The genius (mad or otherwise) of this game is that it requires ‘energy’ to play the story missions and take part in raids. Once you run out you’ll have to wait until the energy refills itself, which takes a minute per energy unit and there is a 100 units in total. Now an element forcing gamers to ‘stop’ playing is usually bad, but this type of game is great to comeback to if you’re doing some else like working or dinner or in queue for another online game. Tyrant also allows players to form their own factions and compete against other player factions for rare cards and bragging rights. Of course faction players require its own special brand of energy called Stamina to fight against others with. In fact the only thing you don’t need power for in the game is Arena battles which are one on one, you get ranking points for winner but not much else. Speak of which:

 

 

 

Ranking

 

War Metal: Tyrant is not for everyone, would I recommend this for twitch shooter fanatics, probably not. But for the more cerebral player who doesn’t have two pennies to rub together and/or has some free time to kill and/or has played CCS before this might be right up your alley. Now if you’ll excuse me it’s been 15 minutes and I should have enough energy to take down Sidoze in the Red Sands.

This just in (or not) – Bethesda Softworks Forums gets hacked, the madness continues.

 

You know, when PlayStation Network was turned into daytime television (basically a useless waste of time) thanks to shadowy hacker types you would think the rest of the video game community would take notice and upgrade their security, right? Wrong… Today I got an email from Bethesda, not for my secret pre-alpha invite to test Dishonored, no because they ‘have identified a potential breach of our forum user database’. Yeah, just gueat. They rebooted my password and I need to make a new; which they ‘recommend you do not use your old password or a password you have used for other sites’. Duh. And you know what complete sucks, the fact this happened before in June. Sorry all; but if you post on the Bethesda Forums and haven’t got the email, you will, so get ahead of the game and start changing passwords – again.  And for the love of mike Bethesda, please, please, pls! Update. Your. Security. Because how can 12 year olds start flame wars without forums – wait a minute…

This just in (or not) – Google+ and Facebook make Bounty Hunting in the future easy to do!

 

Ah, the dominance of video games continues forward, so much so the two biggest names on the net are vying for your gamer time (or soon will be). Recently Google+, Google’s social network: ‘Faceoogle’ if that helps you, has enabled games to some of their users and more every day. Google+ games are small, colorful, mini games that will at least kill an hour if none of your friends are online at the moment. It’s a small selection now, but it is reported that they will add more games in time. Oh well, you already play Angry Birds on your iPhone, iTouch, Chrome browser, Android phone, and what have you, might as well play it on Google+ as well.

 

 

This story isn’t over yet because Facebook, the world’s largest social network, is upping the ante. Everyone knows Facebook is used to keep track of your friends and current events, but surprisingly it hosts quite a bit of mini games as well. Not just solitaire people but proven winners like Farmville or the upcoming ambitious f2p mmo Prime World. Facebook has the gamer market covered and is not letting go without a fight. So they made improvements to their gaming interface, made it easier to track player scores and achievements, and finally a booking marking feature to make getting back to their games that much easier. As for me, I was never a ‘Farmville’ kind of player (although I did dabble in the Harvest Moon series for a time / however the Prime World games has peaked my interests) on this tale of the tape Google+ has a long way to go before they can dethrone the champ.

 

 

 

 

Finally a new MMO was featured on the MMO Report, it called Bounty Hounds Online. It’s your standard post end of world war three scenario with the players playing as sci fi Bounty Hunters to take down alien and criminal scum. This games’ draw however is that each hunter gets their own Combat & Tactical Unit or CTU; think of them as your own personal transformer that can aid in attacking enemies, defending, or supporting your hunter – which is great, who wouldn’t want their own android girl Friday with rocket launchers attached. Now the good news is they’re in open beta now, the bad news is that it excludes North American for now (or so the website told me when I opened it up, I think I’m going to try to sign up anyway) as a result G4TV.com is holding a beta key give away. Just favorite them on Twitter and Facebook, keep an eye out around Aug. 22, and cross your fingers. Me, myself, I already got Star Wars: The Old Republic, Guild Wars 2, and Prime World to look forward to on the MMO front so if I don’t get into the beta here no sweat off my back. However if I do get in, play it, and like it; well I guess I got to kick more friends to the curb – I didn’t like them anyway.

This just in (Or not) – Borderlands 2 will make bullets fly via gun, Gamefly will make games fly via digital distribution.

 

That’s right people; the success of Gearbox’s open world carnage fest has earned the series an upcoming sequel. Now the first game wasn’t perfect; it had players keep doing the same ‘go kill’ quests, the character’s archetypes made customizing very limiting, and of course jerks with maxed out toons don’t make it easy for new (or casual)  players on Co-Op. But you couldn’t beat the frantic, devil may care, combat both in and out of vehicle. You know a game’s fun when you take down a giant electrified mutant ant queen – with your bare hands. Now details are little sacred right now, more info will be available in the September issue of Game Informer, but what we do know for certain is that one of the new characters in Borderland 2 is a heavy weapons dual wielding gnome. For the win people, for the win.

 

 

Ah Gamefly, for a few years you were a one, true, Omnigamer’s dreams come true. But then getting the new release became harder and harder and then impossible – and that my friends became unacceptable. Well it seems Gamefly wants to rectify that issue by going into the digital distribution business. Now this will help solve customers’ overwhelming need for titles that come out; however games that are handled by Gamefly are of the console variety. And since the digital goodness can only be transferred via PC, the question on how players will actually play all these different titles becomes apparent. PC controls suck, it’s a known fact I prove every time I play Team Fortress 2 with an Xbox 360 Controller; but how in the world do you play a Wii game on the PC, answer – you don’t. Also there is something to be said about having a physical copy of a game instead of a digital copy on the service. Let’s face it people, mess happens, if a customers’ internet was down or (heaven forbid) a hacker decides to do something malicious them your gamer plans will be shot. Again, not to say any of that will ever happen, but I’ve learn not to put all my games into one basket.