Mini Review - Dead Space 3: Awakened (DLC) - The Cherry on Top

Not long ago I reviewed the Dead Space 2 DLC, “Severed”. I complained about the short length, and the backtracking/copy-and-paste job on the level design. Oddly enough, Visceral didn’t learn the first time because, Awakened does the same thing. Except this time it’s much better.

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By “copy-and-paste job” I mean they use some of the exact same levels as in the main game, but you run through them backwards. While we could be exploring some new area in the Dead Space Universe, we’re instead treated to the same locations we just ran through. As with Severed, it comes off as very lazy on the development teams part.

Thankfully though, this time they redecorated the levels enough to actually give off their appearance that it’s somewhere new. Because of the redesign, I wasn’t so distraught about going through the same area again, though it was itching in the back of my head. It also makes sense in the story to actually back track like this, which Severed had no reason to be doing so within it’s story.

The story told in Awakened picks up right after the end of the main game. Isaac and Carver are now sharing hallucinations and are both quite confused. It’s odd that they see the exact same hallucinations, but the hallucinations were one of my favorite things about DS2, so I’m glad they’ve made a return. In fact, these hallucination moments are the best parts of possibly Dead Space 3 as a whole. It’s a shame they missed out in the main game (at least from the perspective of Isaac.)

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Awakened definitely has a creepier, more morbid feel to it, and jump scares are way more present here. The atmosphere in this DLC is amazing, which ultimately left me thinking “where was all this during the main game?”

A big downfall is the length. Like with Severed, I was able to beat Awakened in a single sitting of about an hour and fifteen minutes. Also you’re left with unanswered questions, particularly regarding the main games ending and how it transferred to the DLC, and Isaac and Carver seem to have no clue, as I do. It does end with an even bigger cliffhanger than before, and I’m hoping it will come to be Dead Space 4. 

Ultimately, I’d recommend this for serious Dead Space fans. It picks up on the games initial cliffhanger, and leaves you with a bigger one that those of you interested in the Dead Space story will want to see. Not to mention the DLC has some of the better moments in Dead Space 3. However, it’s price of $10 is a bit steep for an hour’s worth of play that offers little new. If you’re not a big fan, I’d just wait until it drops in price. I’m sure you’ll have plenty of time to play it before Dead Space 4 comes out. 

1 year ago

So bad ass.

(via elleskimo)

1 year ago 454 notes

dresdencodak:

Inspired by Anita Sarkeesian’s Video Game Tropes vs Women, I wanted to pitch a Zelda game where Zelda herself was the hero, rescuing a Prince Link. 

Clockwork Empire is set 2,000 years after Twilight Princess, and is not a reboot, but simply another iteration in the Zelda franchise. It just so happens that in this case, Zelda is the protagonist. I’m a very big Zelda fan, and worked hard to draw from key elements in the continuity and mythos.

This concept work is meant to show that Zelda as a game protagonist can be both compelling and true to the franchise, while bringing new and dynamic game elements that go farther than being a simple gender swap.

Hope you like it!

(via gamefreaksnz)

1 year ago 103,383 notes

Game Wars - Booker Dewitt VS. Jack

We can all agree that both Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite are great games. But who has the better protagonist? I don’t mean which one you favor, but which one can say “Hey, it was nice having ‘coffee’ with your mom last night” and get away with it?!? That’s right, we’re going to put both Jack and Booker into the ring and measure their strengths and weaknesses in one of the ultimate protagonist duels!

Let’s start with some bios!

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In the right corner stands Jack! We don’t know a whole lot about this fella, and quite frankly, I’m not sure he knows a lot about himself either! Throughout his life he’s been tasked with making the right or wrong decision! So Jack, was all the adam worth it?! Let’s find out! Would you kindly get ready to fight!

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Entering on the left, representing the flying city of Columbia: Booker Dewitt! Troubled with gambling issues, Booker hopes to win this fight in order to “wipe away the debt”! But in a match that can be as easily decided as heads or tails, will Booker fly free like a bird, or become trapped in a cage! Let’s hope he fights with Comstock’s favor!

Round 1 - Melee

DING! Round 1 begins and our contestants pull out their first weapon; Jack stands proudly with his trusty wrench, and what’s this? Booker has a Sky Hook? That will definitely prove useful with the sky lines we have randomly suspended everywhere there’s going to be a fight! 

The contestants continue to wail at each other menacingly, but they appear to be doing the same amount of physical damage to each other. However, Booker’s multiple use Sky Hook gives him an advantage. He escapes right when Jack has the upper hand, swings around and plummets like a comet right into Jack.

DING DING! Round 1 has come to an end. Jack’s looking pretty beat right now. Both contestants have retreated to their side of the ring and have begun eating various foods. Shockingly, this consumption of apples and chips has seemed to make them right as rain!

Round 2 - Plasmids/Vigors

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1 year ago 5 notes

Review - Dead Space 3 - On Ice!

The third time is a charm. Well, at least that’s what they say, but truth be told, by the third time around a series is at risk of growing stale. There’s a chance that fans will be satisfied with the same style game for a third time, but there’s as equal a chance they will want something more. The question the developers must ask is: “What changes can be made that will keep the series fresh, while still accommodating to our fans desires?”. So Visceral games made changes as you’d expect, but do these changes ultimately bring Dead Space to a new level, or do they bring about it’s downfall?

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PRESENTATION

Dead Space 3 looks pretty great. There has been a new attention to detail and it really shows. For example, I love that in dark lit areas the light from beyond Isaac’s visor will shine onto wall. It’s a small detail, but it looks really awesome. In addition Dead Space 3 has the most open and large areas of the series yet. The path forward is still quite linear and obvious, but areas like space for example really don’t feel like they have boundaries at all (they do; I tried).

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the Necromorphs look more alien and less human this time. Maybe it’s because I’ve gotten used to fighting them that they don’t look nearly as intimidating. I also don’t think they look nearly as gruesome either, even though a lot of old enemy variations return.

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1 year ago 3 notes

Mini Review - Dead Space 2: Severed (DLC) - Copy and Paste Away!

Dead Space 2 released with a good amount of hype, and the game satisfied many gamer’s desires, mine included. So what do you do when fans are begging for more? You give it to them, and that’s what Visceral did some 2 weeks after the games release.

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Severed puts you in the shoes of a new character: Gabe Weller, just before the events that start Dead Space 2. The Necromorph outbreak has just begun, and Weller is desperate to get back to is wife. Instantly, Weller seems to have more fueling him than Isaac does.His choices are self induced, where as Isaac seems to just do what he’s told (fix this Isaac, go here Isaac). The Downside is that Weller’s story is abruptly brought to an end, but even in the short Time I spent with Gabe, I was already found myself more interested in him than Isaac.

Good so far right? Well here’s where the disappointment kicks in. Not only is the DLC incredibly short (I was able to complete it in a single siting), but it recycles levels from the core game. It literally does. You start in the mine level, and you go through it backwards. The same exact level as with Isaac, just backwards this time. You also do this in the hospital level from the beginning of the core game. Given the size of the Sprawl (The giant space station city the game takes place on), I was expecting (and hoping) to see a new part of the city, but I guess that wasn’t the plan. The re-use of levels makes this feel more than ever like a money grab rather than an attempt to please fans.

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I still enjoyed playing it; it’s still Dead Space, Weller’s story is short but sweet, not to mention his RIG looks awesome, but my disappointment surpasses all of that. Luckily, it’s relatively cheap, but still, I wouldn’t recommend this DLC to anyone that isn’t a serious Dead Space fan.

1 year ago

Monthly Pickups - March ‘13

Quite the eventful month. With Bioshock Infinite entering towards the end, I was already expecting to throw down my wallet for that one. You can also expect quite a lot of Dead Space stuff. So here’s another look at what a fellow gamer added to his collection:

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1 year ago

Review - Dead Space 2 - A Proper Sequel

Dead Space set a high bar for itself. Though it could have easily ended with a single game, the demand for a sequel became immediately apparent. Sequels aren’t always guaranteed success though. Some sequels feel exactly the same, and some drift off in search for greatness, and end up leaving that very greatness they had behind. Dead Space 2 is not one of those games. 

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PRESENTATION

The original Dead Space took place on the Ishimura, a massive mining ship. Dead Space 2, on the other hand, takes place on the Sprawl, a massive space station-city, so if you thought the Ishimura had a lot of ground to cover, the Sprawl has even more. The variety of environments is much larger here, along with the color pallet in general. One paticular area will surely please those who have already played the first game. 

The graphical makeover does decrease the creepy feel you got when exploring the Ishimura however. There won’t be too much to make you hesitant going along your way. That’s not to say the scare factor isn’t there though. If anything, the less-creepy atmosphere set’s you up for such moments as you let your guard down. Enemies will pop out of vents and the ceiling when you least expect it, and Visceral has worked the environments into scaring you as well (such as pipes popping open loudly, ect.).

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1 year ago

RANT - Dead Space 3 AI

yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking: “Another Dead Space post”, but something has been bugging me about Dead Space 3 that hit a nerve today. I already posted my first thoughts on the game, and I did already mention that the AI is a lot more aggressive, and that I found myself pinned into corners a couple of times. I viewed it as neutral, but now my perspective has been changed, and I seriously feel the AI is flawed.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying my time playing Dead Space 3, and I actually think it’s a really fun game. However, time and time again I’ve had to battle a relentless foe. The days when the Necromorphs would slowly drag their feet in your direction until you shot them and they came running is over. Now they just charge. They don’t attack then retreat a step either.They are right in your face all the time.

This is really only a problem when indoors, but seeing as your in doors for maybe 60% percent of the game it becomes an issue. Now I’m playing on normal difficulty, it’s not that the enemies pose a huge threat at this level, but they’re a constant thorn in my side rather than a challenge.

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Take this guy pictured above. I hate these guys. They somehow have the knowledge to carry axes to to make up for the fact that there weren’t born with razor sharp limbs like some of their other brethren. These guys run up to you, attack you and then they don’t move at all, and proceed to attack.

Ok, so it’s requires a certain method. But that’s not even the case, when I aim down my sights, the default zoom of the weapon makes it very challenging to aim when the camera is pitted in a corner, and the enemy is practically humping my leg. Seeing as the only means to attack when not aiming down the sights is your very weak melee, you’re best shot is to use stasis on them, then hopefully while they’re frozen in time, there’s enough room for you to get out of the corner and get a good distance for a shot.

It’s even worse when they’re crawling because you have to shoot off their arms, but of course they run right up to you, and since Isaac can’t aim lower than 60 degrees form aiming straight, you are forced to run away. Even that is obstructed by the fact that you can’t simply step over them.

And what of Isaac’s mascot move, the death stomp? Nope, because enemies attacks interrupt Isaac’s stomp, it’ll be a good 2 or 3 attempts before the stomp connects, and later in the game, it could take more than 1 stomp to kill them, 

Perhaps I’m the only one who has a problem with this, but I find myself becoming frustrated (I hardly ever rage while gaming, I take a break once I become bothered) rather then enjoying the challenge. It’s not impossible, but later in the game when they send horde after horde of these guys…well, you better have a lot of stasis packs in your inventory.

1 year ago 2 notes

First Thoughts - Dead Space 3

If you haven’t been following along with my post, I’ve been literally Dead Space crazed for the past month. I beat the first game in a week, and shortly after made the purchase for the second, which I beat in another week. I followed up with the Severed DLC, which only took one sitting, and shortly after found myself at a cash register with Dead Space 3 in hand.

I’ve had the game for a couple days now and I’ve put in just under 4 hours of time into. So, as for most games I start up anew, it’s time to share some first impressions.

Relating back to my “First Thoughts - Dead Space 2” post, I remember commenting on my shock on the number of small changes. All of which turned out to be for the better. It would seem Dead Space 3 made even more changes in hopes of improving the gameplay. However some of these just don’t make sense, and I have stuff to say.

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1 year ago 2 notes

Review - Dead Space

It’s fairly obvious how late I’m touching on this game. With Dead Space 3 releasing just over a  month ago, I’ve finally found myself putting Dead Space into my PS3. I admit my first two experiences with Dead Space weren’t in my favor, which in turn, lead to the game sitting on my shelf collecting dust for over a year. However, after clearing my mind and playing the game through a new lens, I’ve come to have a deep appreciation and respect for it.

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PRESENTATION

When I first attempted to play Dead Space, the visuals appeared quite dull to me. Talking place on the Ishimura, a space ship that has been overrun by an alien-zombie-like life form, there are a lot of dark areas. This presents a lot of similar looking environments, but the lighting itself is remarkable. From flickering lights, or flashing orange sirens from the ships automatic quarantine  the lighting is quite extraordinary once you pay attention to it. It helps put things into scale, such as larger objects like a ship of the Ishimura’s massive engines.

As amazing as the lighting effects are, the darkness plays an essential piece in the design. You open a door that reveals a long, dark hallway, and the first thought that comes to mind is: “Is it really worth the risk to find out what is at the end of the hall?”, and “What exactly could be waiting in this hall to ambush me?”

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Sound is on par as well, Random noises such as a pipe dropping will set you on edge, and the screeches of the Necromorphs, the games alien race, will have your neck hairs on end before you even see them. Particularly one enemy that has an absolutely guttural scream, who charges at you and then explodes kamikaze style. 

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1 year ago 1 note

A Story of My Start as a Writer

If someone were to approach me 3 years ago when I graduated High School and told me I would be actively involved in writing, I would have had a good laugh. English was my least favorite subject, I didn’t care for reading or essays, and my attention span for literature was minimal.

My one connection to writing back then was a need to silently express myself. Which I did through writing poem like structured pieces. But the only purpose was to release inner tension. My writing was often unreadable and made little since to anyone but my self. Hardly the poet. 

Today, I blog casually and as often as able, I makes plan’s to follow writing in college, and I’ve acquired a new view of writing as a conversation. Looking back I’ve nearly forgotten how I’ve come to this point. This blog isn’t entirely related to gaming, but everything and everyone has a story. Here’s mine.

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1 year ago

First Thoughts - Dead Space 2

If you can recall a post I did a couple weeks back, I discussed how I was giving Dead Space another shot, and how my opinions of the game greatly changed. So after beating the game (review in progress!), I’m now onto Dead Space 2. Being highly impressed with the first game after years of neglecting it, I’m eager to see how Dead Space 2 will stack up.

I usually tend to post these first thoughts within the first 3 hours of gameplay, but with Dead Space 2, I’ve gone a bit beyond that. I’ve noticed that lately, I can play a game for about an hour, maybe 2 before taking a break or switching games, but with Dead Space 2 I actually feel like I have to tell myself to stop. Perhaps it’s how smoothly the chapters flow into another, unlike in DS1 where each tram ride signaled the end and begging of a chapter. Or maybe it’s just that much better.

The first thing I notice when playing a sequel is “what has changed?” and in this case, quite a lot actually. Immediately noticed, mainly do to me having just completed the first game and moving on instantly, is the control change. I actually like the old controls better. Yes, the controls now are better, but they’re more generic while DS1’s controls felt a bit more unique. But not a big deal seeing as I’ve already adjusted.

Isaac talks now! This is good because he can now express some emotion finally. In fact, I feel like I’m meeting him for the first time since we never really got to know who he is in DS1, only about him really.

The fear factor in DS2 is also a bit different. The atmosphere isn’t the same as in DS1. I don’t feel as in danger walking down a hall as I did before. That’s not to say the game isn’t scary though! The lack of the creepy atmosphere of the Ishimura actually had me let my guard down, only to be ambushed, out of no where. It actually works out very well because in the first game, looking down a dark hallway you’d know “ok, something is going to happen”, but now it’s a bit less predictable. Also, Isaac’s now seeing things, adding in a bit more creepiness here and there.

The action has been severely boosted, and it keeps the game going. It makes DS1’s gameplay feel slow and dull in comparison. Add in new weapons, armor, enemies, and I’m hooked. 

From what I’ve played so far, I’m loving every minute of DS2. The differences are plenty, and makes the 2 games feel very separate, but I’m viewing that as a good thing. It beats games giving you the same feeling every additional game. A tragedy currently being experienced by games like Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed. Fingers crossed for Black Flag!

1 year ago

Review - Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time (PS3)

Where has Sly and the gang been these past years? Their previous developer Sucker Punch has moved on with the Infamous series, and Sly seemed to be trapped on the previous generation of consoles. After years of absence, the gang made it’s way onto current gen consoles via an HD Trilogy. Exciting enough, but this wasn’t anything new. So when the announcement came that Sanzaru Games was taking the series and bringing it back, I was immediately intrigued. But there were a couple questions that plagued my mind until the disc was humming in my PS3: Has the Sly series aged well over the years? Can Sanzaru keep what Sucker Punch had going?

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PRESENTATION

Thieves in Time will be immediately recognizable as a Sly game from the start. The crisp, but not overdone cartoon graphics, the highly animated characters, and most impressive of all, is the same sounds remain. The clink of the coins, the randomized grunts of the guards, ect. 

Visually the graphics are impressive. It’s a lightly done cell shading art style that brings about a very strong cartoon effect. Detail in the characters movements are always taking place: Sly’s tail waves back and forth, Lanterns wobble when hit, and guards will occasionally stop to scratch their hind side. 

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1 year ago

Review - Atari Plug N’ Play TV Games by JakksPacific

I remember as a kid that one of the gifts that always gave the impression of “Sorry, I didn’t really know what to get you” was none other than the Plug N’ Play TV Games. I think the reason for this is that as a kid who didn’t grow up during the Golden Age of gaming, you don’t really have much appreciation for the older titles these plug n’ play games usually emulated. Needless to say, I’ve now acquired a certain respect for the old titles that started it all. I’ve gone out and purchased the Atari Plug N’ Play TV Games by Jakk’s Pacific, and I’m here to review it in full.

Let’s get a brief overview. The “system” is built to represent the classic Atari controller. Which, visually it does very well. It’s obviously a bit larger and heavier (due to the 4 AA batteries you’ll need to power this bad boy), and nor did the controller have the buttons on the base, but you get the picture. It’s easily identified, and looks pretty good sitting on the shelf, table, or where ever you plan to leave it when you’re done. 

In the package you get 10 games, some very popular, others, not as much. The games include: Pong, Breakout, Centipede, Adventure, Gravitar, Realsports Volleyball, Circus Atari, Missile Command, Asteroids, and Yar’s Revenge. These are obviously the Atari console versions of the games, so for Centipede for example, you’ll be getting the square mushroom graphics rather than the more detailed arcade graphics. It’s not too big a deal, but I don’t see why they couldn’t give you the superior graphics. For the most part, the games play very close to the originals, with probably the biggest difference lying in sound quality. Most games have a few different game modes to choose from as well.

My biggest problem with this system is the joystick is probably the most stiff joystick I’ve ever used. Like you can hardly move the thing. It almost feels like it’s stuck, and I nearly broke the thing trying to get it to move more. What’s even more surprising is that despite the incredibly tight joystick, the games are ridiculously sensitive! Especially in the case of Pong, Breakout and Circus Atari, it becomes quite difficult just to line up. 

Once you get used to contradicting tightness and looseness of the controller, there’s still fun to be had. I’ve enjoyed playing all the games. Ok, most of the games: I’ve accepted the fact that I suck at Gravitar and Breakout. Centipede is probably the best game on here in my opinion, and thankfully, the controls feel responsive in that one. And perhaps I’m mistaken, but did the original Asteroids have so much color?

Overall, it’s a pretty cool system for just $20. If you’re a gaming veteran and would like some good ol’ nostalgia, this is a great buy. If you’re new to some of the older titles, and want to get into them, I’d suggest looking for emulators online, or buying the Atari Flashback, a much more expensive model, but more functional  with several more games. If you do get this one, just expect to spend some time adjusting to the awkward joy stick.

1 year ago