Gameroween 2015: Video Game Characters that make good costumes (Crackdown Run Orb)

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Since we’re almost to the big scare day it’s time to make this simple for people didn’t like (or waited to late on) our previous costume choices but need something right away, right now. Crackdown is one of my favorite games, an action oriented title with a killer twist ending. However to get to that ending I needed to chase down and capture a lot of these things. They increased my agility, tested my skills as I collected them and a good time was had by all. Now you can be this helpful icon and its easy to make. Just print out this pic, tape it to some cardboard or yourself and BAM your done. It won’t be the most impressive thing ever but it will be fine for a last minute thing. Just be careful about people dressing up as Crackdown Agents, they may try to run into you to collect you if your costume is conniving enough. Just saying.

 

 

 

Game Review – Crackdown 2

“You are the portent to a new world order agent; Pacific City was only the beginning.”

Anyone who’s played the original Crackdown knows full well what this statement means, and the impact it had on unsuspecting players – like me.

While at first just seen as an intermediary to give people early access to Halo 2, Crackdown gave players a truly awesome game with a killer ending.

Well guess what? Now it’s time for Crackdown 2 (developed by Ruffian Games) to take the fight back to Pacific City and bring the pain.

But the question is, will it?

Time for a little history children, the history of Crackdown: *ahem* Once upon there was a city named Pacific, Pacific City actually. Now this city was in turmoil because three nasty gangs, who were evil and did evil things. The people cry for help and the Agency answered the call. Now the Agency is a paramilitary corporation who uses their advance technology and super science to create superhuman solders known as ‘Agents’. These Agents are bigger, faster and stronger than anything else in the city; so they began to wage war against crime. After a fury of thrown flaming cars, gunfire, and rooftop orb grabs the Agents brought order to Pacific City. However that was not the end children, shortly after their victory a massive mutant virus hit the city and the citizens hard. This ‘Freak’ virus turns normal people into monsters that kill anything in sight, once you go freak there’s no cure but a bullet in the head. Scared, many citizens unaffected by the virus started to rebel against the Agency, blaming them for their current woes and not finding the cure quick enough. They formed a terrorist organization known as the Cell with the sole purpose to destroy the Agency one way or another. Their first strike was brutal as they eliminated the Agent laboratories; without them the Agency couldn’t fight both Freaks and Cell forces. Pacific City was thrown back into the dark ages for ten long years. Now beginning in Crackdown 2 the Agency’s back with the vengeance as they finally have new Agents ready to take back their city. Against numerous odds, unknown enemies, and starting back to square one with Agents only truly skilled players can find out how this story ends.

If you haven’t noticed from my little story players are the Agents in Crackdown; a nearly faceless, generic, but total awesome main character. You’re given a gun, superpowers (strength, speed, and leaping), and very low oversight (although killing citizens and cops is still a no-no). However guns and powers don’t come free; more advance weapons must be either earned or taken from enemies and then stored at drop points. Enhancing the Agent’s abilities is a little more difficult, each ability (as well as weapon’s usage and driving vehicles) is improved by ability orbs. Killing enemies with that ability gains that orb, for example beating down cell with your bare hands (or melee items) gets strength orbs, while running down freaks in a hatchback earns you driving orbs. Agility orbs can only be gathered on rooftops of building… All of them, yikes! As well as time trials and renegade orbs (orbs that move on their own) – driving orbs too. Collecting these orbs and get better weapons is essential for you survival, not to mention a hell of a lot of fun from the outcome. You become a force of nature, an unstoppable juggernaut, and a weapon’s armory all in one; once maxxed out your need five Pacific Cities full enemies to challenge you because nothing less will do!

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Of course get there from level 1 is a long way to go.

The two main forces this time around are established and heavily entrenched throughout the entire city. The Cell terrorists are armed and ready for war; they may look like a bum pride parade in their clothes and cars but they will take you out with a number of lethal weapons and guerrilla tactics. Their bases are extremely well-protected, not even the freaks can get in. Rocket launchers, sniper rifles, removable turrets used by piecemeal armored solders, and an overwhelming sense of doom await any Agent suicidal enough to try and take anyone of their bases. Then there are the Freaks, once the sun goes down it is their turn the play. Players will notice that the Freaks greatest strength is numbers; their numbers makes the Cell numbers look like your numbers (which is low). They will descent on you like a massive wave of corpses, getting more blood thirsty the more that join he fray. Advance Freaks can shoot acid, chase you down, throw vehicles, and can even become living bombs. Ruffian Games don’t take it easy on a super solider, so you better start collecting those orbs pronto.

Crackdown 2 is like a third person shooter crossed with the Hulk in a grand thief auto world. One moment you’re mowing down various enemies with semi-automatic weapons an explosives; the next you’re punching out thugs with cars and pieces of cement wall oddly shaped like a sledgehammer. It’s all fun and games here with very little story to get in the way. Sure, players do missions related to the story, but they also race (both rooftop and driving), collect (and collect, and collect…), complete stunts, complete crazy achievements (and I mean crazy – jump off the highest building in the game, land in a smokestack… And survive), raid bases, and of course commit random acts of violence. Single player is guilt-free experience – which only becomes a huge clusterfreak when you enter co-op mode. A little help with difficult missions can be just what the doctor ordered but… when super soldiers, armed to the teeth, come together in a playground of destruction (not Mercs 2) don’t be surprised when chaos (and hilarity) ensues. Multiplayer however is a little standard; deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the ‘X’, etc. Nothing new, and in fact, fighting a whole bunch of super powered players in tough without explosive weapons, so unless you can grab a launcher first thing out you might as well try a melee kill.

One of the unique things about the first game I liked was the cell shaded look; it was like a high action comic book. The visuals this time was a little subdued, it almost made the main character seem smaller than the reality around him. A guy shoulder checking cars should not look blasé; even the cut scenes look like they’ve been done in MS paint.

Except for the Crackdown 2 title theme, the game itself is pretty mute musically. The sound effects are better; gun shots are crisp, melee attacks are realistic and hearing explosions up close and in the distance are accurate. Other than that they only use music to indicate changes in time or completion of missions.

The control scheme is a little difference in the layout but nothing players can’t get use to. The target lock however is some thing that could’ve been streamlined. I can understand trying to insert some strategy into this shooter by choosing to target enemy’s limbs, but shooting arms or legs don’t really have a lasting effect. They won’t drop their weapons or hobble a bit – they just pause and then continue their attack. Still aiming for the head is the best way to take out enemies; if you can go for it – if not just aim for the chest or spray and pray.

Flaws for the game aren’t so bad, but it’s the little things that could have been easily fixed in development. Graphics aren’t very impressive; the story could’ve been grander especially for a ‘Xanatos gambit’ organization like the Agency. Speaking of which, the ending this time around was a little uninspired. The first game’s ending blew my mind, one of the best endings ever – this one was unworthy of the Crackdown name. Anyway, where was I…? Oh yeah, the multiplayer was tacked on, locking on is stiff and accident prone, and so on and so forth.

Now I hear the haters out there saying that Crackdown 2 is crap and doesn’t live up to the first game. Well… I can only agree with one of those comments, this game on the whole is only half the game the original was. However in no way is it unplayable, it’s still fun blowing things to high heaven, it’s still fun throwing a Mack truck at unexpecting enemies, and it’s still fun working for an authoritative police state that’s neither good or evil. Newbies to the series may find Crackdown a mindless enjoyment (think Star Wars Eps. I-III), but to vets like me it’s a 3 hour disappointment. Oh well, you can’t win them all I suppose; and hopefully Crackdown 3 will end the series with a bang – it worked out for ‘The Matrix’ (Oh wait…).

Ranking: Silver

Game Preview – Games to look for in 2010

Well ladies and gentlemen of the gaming universe it finally happened, we’ve officially entered into the future – its 2010 baby! I, for one, couldn’t be anymore excited but my only concern with it is what do I call this era now? The ten’s? Oh well, that’s another question for another time; you’re here for games after all, and games you will receive. This year we have the return of old favorites in sequel form and new interesting titles that will premiering as well. Sad to say, we as gamers won’t get much of a break in ot’10 (I’m still on Dragon Age like blood crazy fiend, never mind all its DLCs that came out of no where), but I’m not complaining – bring in on. Here are some of the games I (and by proxy you all) will be looking forward to:

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Mass Effect 2: [Releases 1/26/10]

BioWare’s science fiction masterpiece of 2007 is not only coming on strong with this high anticipated sequel but early in the year as well. The story picks up where the first one left off; Commander Shepard saving the galaxy from a horde of mechanized monsters. After that you would think he’s take a vacation, but ever the stoic hero he heads off to the stars for his next impossible mission; and boy did he find it. This time around there new weapons, new characters, new locals, new combat system, whole nine. Players of the first game also have the added bonus of importing their character as well as the choices they made to the second game, now who said you can’t take it with you. This spacey sojourn should be all that and then some.

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Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars [Releases 1/26/10]

I love my Wii, I really do. And it has some really impressive titles, but even I must admit that it doesn’t get all the premium titles it should. Well fellow Wii owners Wiijoice because now the shoe is on the other foot; meaning the latest in the Capcom VS fighting series, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars, is only going to be available on the Wii console. This time around it mixes the familiar of capcom (Zero, Viewtiful Joe, Ryu, etc) with the unfamiliar of Tatsunoko (Golden Lightan, Ken the Eagle, Dorombo Gang, etc) and they all fight each other in of-the-wall, impossible ways for no apparent reason. Just the way I likes’ it, and being a Wii exclusive only adds to the appeal for the title. The only drawback I can really see with the game right now is the fact it will be released on the same day as Mass Effect 2, and No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle.

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No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle [Releases 1/26/10]

We are Travis Touchdown, and he is us. Every one of us that could buy a beam sword on eBay and hunt down and destroy the world’s deadliest assassins with awesome wrestling moves and wild charisma – would. Well he’s back and so are his — (wait for it) ‘desperate struggles’; but feel bad for the opposition people because this time it’s personal for Travis.

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BioShock 2: [Releases 2/9/10]

And you thought it was over, didn’t you? Don’t worry, so did I. Not that I’m ungrateful mind you; I look forward to once again dive under the sea, infiltrate Rapture and mix it up with enemies that are a combination of X-Men mutants and meth addicts. However this time around players get to roll as one the most imposing forces in the game; a big daddy – actually the first big daddy. While he traverses what remains of the fallen utopia, players will discover the many mysteries that persist there that didn’t end with Ryan.

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Heavy Rain: [Releases 2/23/10]

There is a killer; cold and calculating, call Origami. The Origami Killer has killed many and will kill again unless someone steps forward. In Heavy Rain players take up four characters with the task of stopping the Origami Killer. What makes this game unique is that it is done in the style of a choose your own adventure flavor with an added twitch element. Players must think fast and choose their reactions well because a bad choice will get a character killed, permanently… So what will you choose?

– Be scared and run away.

– Be intimatdated because it’s not a FPS.

– Be excited and count the days until the game launches

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Battlefield Bad Company 2: [Releases 3/2/10]

Now I’m torn about this game, I loved the single player experience where it follows (through the eyes of the rookie of course) the misadventures of B(ad) Company taking down enemies in the name of Uncle Sam and a personal payday of gold bricks. What I didn’t like was the multiplayer which was clusterfreak ‘o failure; though I’m sure people will disagree with me. Regardless BBC:2 is coming out soon so that means a strong militaristic FPS in the vain of the Battlefield series. It boasts new maps, vehicle combat, building destruction, different play modes, and the like. Which is fine and all, but I hope B company return is just as detail oriented as the rest otherwise I’ll be really disappointed. But to its credit, it is really good looking.

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Final Fantasy XIII (That’s 13, if anyone’s wondering) [Releases 3/9/10]

In general I like the Final Fantasy series (FF 8, 11 and 12, not so much) but I’m not quite the rabid fanboy some are; so finding out this game was only a couple of months away from launch was a bit of a shock. Also I know next to nothing about the story, and the characters don’t quite interest me either to speak plainly. Despite all of this however, FFXIII still makes my list because I would be a fool to ignore it. I just hope it will have some substance under that hi-def style, we’ll see soon.

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Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening [Releases 3/16/10]

Dragon Age owns me. I love this game, so much so that I’ve filled up all my required characters slots – and people that’s never happened to me before. There’s just so much to see, do, and experience I can’t decide which record to stick with. It only got worst when I’ve obtained the DLCs (I’m still waiting for Return to Ostagar), now I’ve come to find out they’re releasing this expansion pack. BioWare – for all that’s good, please stop making dynamite content so rapidly. I’m already behind in my other games thanks to you (who got time for modern warfare when darkspawns’ about), now with Awakening I won’t be eating either – thanks a lot.

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God of War III: [Releases 3/16/10]

This is the 3rd in a rather blood and hedonistic series of games. Kratos, one ashy brotha, isn’t just satisfied with iceing the god of war but now he’s after the king baby – Zeus. Over his head, not with an army of PO’ed titans on his side (for now); and of course is Kratos armed with the most power weapons in the mythical grecian world. Sadly, a fully-powered Kratos doesn’t last very long in the sequels. Worry not, with Kratos’ luck something bigger and badder is always located in the nearest enemies’ skull.

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Just Cause 2: [Releases 3/23/10]

Rico Rodriguez is back; grappling hook, parachute and all. I’ll admit the first game was pretty corny; even for a video game, but fun, no question. I think this game will be more realistic (by video game standards at least) this time around, but don’t quote me on that. Even if it’s not however; I’ll still look forward to all the frantic ways I can sky jack a fighter plane and how best to turn it loose on the 3rd world country (mwa ha ha).

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Splinter Cell: Conviction [Releases 4/1/10]

Ah poor Sam Fisher, things seems to go bad to worse for the man; his daughter dies in a hit-n-run and since the last game (Double Agent) he becomes public enemy number one. However Fisher ain’t the kind of guy who goes quietly into the night, now that’s he out of a job he’s going to use all that military bad-asslery to find his daughter’s killer and have a little ‘chat’. But if you don’t think this too won’t tie into some secret conspiracy to take over through the government, you’re crazy.

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Super Street Fighter IV [Releases 4/27/2010]

One of the happiest resent memories I have is when Street Fighter IV came out and showed the world how a fighter is supposed to be. It had it all: awesome characters, impressive modes, passable story, and killer online play. I didn’t think it could get any better but I was wrong. With the coming of Super Street Fighter IV not only will players get all of classic IV’s excellence but added (and much appreciated) characters, new finishers, online modes and more. My fingers throb with anticipation, shinku hadoken!

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Alan Wake: [Releases 5/18/2010]

Writers, has this ever happen to you: You are one the best writers in the country, but have contracted massive writer’s block for over two years. So you and your wife decide to take trip into the country for some R&R and reconnect to riting –er writing. Well next thing you know wifee’ gone and weird shiza is going down at the town you were staying at. Now the strangest thing is that everything that’s happing now follows a book you wrote – only you don’t remember writing it. Never happened to you, you say? It will this April.

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Red Dead Redemption: [Releases 5/18/2010]

I love the future (2010, duh) but sometimes I long for a simpler time; where all a man needed to settle a disagreement was to shoot someone in the face. Ok, not in real life, but in games definitely. Well here comes Red Dead Redemption to help cure me of my modern life-itis is by taking me (other players with the same affliction) to the wildest of the west. Be a lone ranger righting wrongs, an outlaw causing chaos or something in between. Just bring a six-shooter, your trusty steed, and your best Clint Eastwood impression because you’ll need them partner.

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Crackdown 2: [Releases 7/6/2010]

Ok, so you play a nameless authoritarian peacekeeper that lays the smack on thugs, mutates and anything that looks at you cross-eyed. Using conventional weapons, vehicles and — of course SUPERPOWERS! Pick up MACK trucks and throw them at anyone you don’t like, chase down the fastest car – on foot, leap tall building – that’s sort da thing. It’s because of this that made the first Crackdown a breakout hit (well that, and the ending). I have no doubt that the sequel is going to be just as good, if not completely awesome.

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Alpha Protocol: [Releases 6/1/10]

James Bond (not the new one), Jack Bauer, Jason Bourne (a lot of JB’s here.) or whatever your spy/infiltrator of choice players can now put them all to shame and blaze your own trail of daring-do behind the scenes in Alpha Protocol the espionage rpg. Take up the mantle of Michael Thorton, an agent tasked with the job of finding out who downed an airliner with a U.S. missile and how to stop them from doing it again. From there it’s all up to you; be direct, be stealthy, be a user, be abuser, follow orders or don’t – just complete the mission.

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Dead Rising 2: [Releases 8/31/10]

This game should be called ‘Zombies – and how to kill them 2’. This time around you don’t play as a journalist in a mall, more rather a motocross champ in Las Ve—er, I mean ‘Fortune City’. Gambling and zombie murder? Sign me up.

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Halo Reach [Releases 9/1/10]

Ladies and Gentlemen: if there’s one thing I hate in the entire world its prequels. Hate it in movies and I hate it in games; they’re cop-outs to the fans and they don’t push the story forward – just stagnates them. However since in this case its Halo we’re talking about I’ll ignore it, for now (but they’re pushing it – see ODST). Fortunately every new full Halo game makes the series better in one way or another, especially in the multiplayer arena. So odds are we’re all in for a lot of long nights, shouting obscenities, to people we don’t even know this fall.

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Epic Mickey [Releases 11/1/10]

Mario and Mickey Mouse; the two icons people should know whether they’re 8 or 80. Mario keeps himself busy but Mickey not so much, that changes November. Epic Mickey, brought to you by Warren Spector, will destroy any and all preconceptions of the mouse you thought you knew. Somehow Mickey destroyed the cartoon world Yen Sid (the wizard from fantasia) created for retired Disney characters including Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, the ‘original’ Disney mascot. Well now it’s up to the mega mouse and his magical brush to set things right… Or not. This game’s going to be one for the ages.