Mortal Kombat X Review

Mortal Kombat X Review

Genre: Fighter

Released for/Reviewed on: Released on PS4/XBO & reviewed on PS4

Publisher/Developer: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (every DC Comics game)/NetherRealm Studios (2011’s Mortal KombatInjustice)

Notable Voice Actors or Writers: Ed Boon, co-creator, remains the creative director

Alluring Element: Mortal Kombat on steroids, unleashing the tower of the PS4 with new characters and variable play

Check it out if you liked: Mortal Kombat series

Rated: M for Mature

 

SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):

Storyline – 9
Gameplay – 9
Animation – 8
Replay Value – 10
Entertainment Value – 10
Captivity – 8
Variety – 9
Originality/Creativity – 10
Soundtrack – 8
Overall awesomeness – 9

Any time a new Mortal Kombat game comes out, a sense of overwhelming nostalgia and excitement fills gamer’s faces. It’s safe to say that the majority of MK‘s fan-base has been down since the beginning, and similar to Smash Bros. or Street Fighter fans, they will go out of their way to learn and perfect each new iteration. All the developers have to do is give the next new thing enough depth and variation to satisfy hardcore and casual gamers alike. Unlike Street Fighter, which has put out multiple iterations of the same game (Super SF IVSuper SF IV 3DUltra SF IV), Mortal Kombat has taken the Season Pass approach to keep players engaged. You could throw around the SF vs. MK battle all day long, and nobody would win. What is undeniable, is that while CAPCOM’s target has been a more inclusive audience, something to hand down to the next generation of gamers, it’s quite clear that Netherrealm is going for an adults-only experience. It’s like they still want their now grown up fanbase hiding the game from their parents AND their children.

Mortal Kombat X is disturbingly realistic, perfect for this generation of desensitized knuckleheads. The game is beautifully rendered; there is a realistic approach to the graphics, as opposed to the cartoonish look that 2011 Mortal Kombat reboot had. There is a much higher level of detail put in to not only the character models, but the environments which they fight in. The interactable stage objects from Injustice are back in a big way, and can make a big difference when players’ backs are against the wall. Another noticeable improvement visually is the lack of fanboy fantasy characters. You may remember the hidden Mileena costume from MK9? This time around, all the female characters are highly-detailed works of art, and have some of the best move sets in the game.

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Technically, the game plays very well. There is a hierarchy for each skill level of player when it comes to playing the game, but the subtleties are what really set apart the good from the great. Before I started really diving into MKX, phrases like “punishable attacks,” “footsies game,” and “zoning” were completely foreign to me, but they became necessary to learn and master in order to beat any of the online bullies that troll the network, looking to embarrass their opponents. While players with limited fighting know-how can enjoy the game by button-mashing, the good times are short-lived once you level up to a certain point; this means that once you put in enough time, you will be forced to play against opponents much more adept at the game than you. You can try to get into a room with some less-experienced players – if they let you – or you can spend hours in Practice Mode to evolve your Squirtle-like skills into Blastoise-caliber play.

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Online play is the main focus of Mortal Kombat X, and it’s been very good at building a community of players, but there is so much else to do when your crappy lagging connection ruins the fun online. Factions, which group you belong to, will grant you perks and quick Faction Kills upon progress. Performing daily tasks (ie – Perform 5 Uppercuts in one round, etc) and battling against “Invading” AI will add to the overall progress of your Faction, and give you Koins to spend in the Krypt. This time around, the Krypt is a labyrinth of unlockable items and puzzles to complete – or you can be a pansy and just pay $20 to unlock items like: music, brutalities, fatalities, concept art, and match modifiers.

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Brutalities add a whole new dimension to finishing moves.

My favorite part of the game has to be the amount of modifiers included in it. Returning is the Test Your Luck, slot machine type matches, but there is also Kustom Kombat, where you and a friend can choose which modifiers to use in a match. It can lead to a very interesting match. Also returning to the franchise are Brutalities, a way to finish off your opponent in quick, sometimes unexpected ways that are even more satisfying to pull off than Fatalities. Living Towers, a spin on the classic arcade mode, add a bit of variety to the gameplay, as well – and are always changing. Mortal Kombat X has succeeded the most in making this a game that is constantly engaging players. Playing by yourself is fun, but there is always a reason to keep playing, keep progressing, and keep getting better. Even mastering a character isn’t as easy as it used to be.

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New to the game are the character variations; each character has three different “versions” that accentuate certain special abilities and combos for that character. It can be annoying to certain players that depend on a breadth of moves for characters, but it helps even up the match-ups a bit, adding a new level of strategy. Variations aside, the fresh faces in the character selection screen are not just there for novelty. Each of the eight new characters (not including the three new ones in the Kombat Pack) brings something new and unique to the table; they aren’t just there as novelty to fill up space. The game’s clever idea of progressing the storyline forward in time 25 years. The game becomes a more fluid addition to a franchise, and not simply an updated version of the same game. This allows the creators to create, evolve, kill off or completely change characters in the name of continuity.

Concept art for Takeda, unlocked in the Krypt.
Concept art for Takeda, unlocked in the Krypt.

Mortal Kombat X will immediately be recognizable to long-time fans of the franchise. There are so many new odds and ends to learn about both how the game plays and content to keep players engaged that the replayability on this is basically “until you break your controller in anger.” Sure, the game’s poor matching system online can make for some flat-out un-fun experiences, but you either learn to improve your skills or enjoy the game in other ways, killing your friends in new, grotesque ways that have become a benchmark in video game history. If MKX could find a way to become a more well-rounded game, not so geared towards elitist players (not to mention the gore porn), then it may have one of the longest lifespans of the entire franchise.

All media credited to Warner Bros. Entertainment and Netherrealm Studios

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Review

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Review

Genre: Open world exploration, Multi-player Co-op,

Released for/Reviewed on: Released on PS4/X-Box One, PS3/XB360, Vita/3DS, WiiU, iOS, Mac/PC & reviewed on PS4

Publisher/Developer: Warnes Bros Interactive Entertainment (Mortal Kombat franchise, Batman: Arkham series, Scribblenauts franchise)/Traveller’s Tales (LEGO… everything)

Notable Voice Actors or Writers: Troy Baker (The Joker in Arkham Origins, Delsin Rowe in inFamous: Second Son), Travis Willingham (Reggie Rowe in inFamous: Second Son), Nolan North (Deadpool in Deadpool, Cole McGrath in inFamous, Pagan Min in Far Cry 4), tons of celebrity guest spots like: Kevin Smith (Clerks), Adam West, Conan O’Brien, Gilbert Gottfried, Geoff Johns and Stephen Amell (DLC coming soon)

Alluring Element: The winning formula of a LEGO game, this time expanded to include the scope of the entire DCU

Check it out if you liked: LEGO BatmanLEGO anything

Rated: RP/E

 

SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):

Storyline – 7
Gameplay – 8
Animation – 9
Replay Value – 9
Entertainment Value – 9
Captivity – 7
Variety – 6
Originality/Creativity – 9
Soundtrack – 8
Overall awesomeness – 7

When it comes to games that the whole family can enjoy, there’s nothing quite on the level of LEGO games. From Star WarsHarry Potter and Lord of the Rings to the recently-released Marvel title, there isn’t any fandom that Telltate won’t touch. Where the franchise has succeeded is in its ability to bridge adults and children together. While the games and their mechanics are fairly simple – two attack buttons, a jump button and two character/costume changes, there is an undeniable level of complexity to the completion of the highly detailed levels. There are tons of characters to unlock, and with a ludicrous amount of goodies to uncover, you’ll find yourself smushing your child in the face to push them out of the way and complete the game 100%. Unlike traditional kids game, there is an added effort in trying to appease to the hardcore fan-base. If you are trying to brainwash your kid into getting into comic books, or you yourself enjoys a thorough Easter Egg hunt, this is the game for you. If you don’t git into either category, though, you might be hard-pressed to find a reason to drop cash on this game. It’s the type of game that really depends on who you play with, or the type of gamer you are altogether. LEGO games are ideal for the treasure-hunting, methodical players who take their time and enjoy unearthing all the well-thought secrets that go into the game. If replaying a game five times over doesn’t appeal to you, then the price of admission isn’t really justifiable. Luckily, as somebody who is still just levels into Diablo III with his loving wife, I am all about 100% completion on my games.

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All that in mind, I still want to enjoy the game as I endogenously play through it, and LEGO Batman 3 is noticeably less entertaining than the game that came before it. LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes was great in the sense that the story (stopping Lex and Joker from taking over the world) was so dynamic that WB actually re-purposed the cut scenes into a full-length animated movie that was released separately on DVD. LEGO Batman 3, however, did not impress me – and my standards are pretty low as far as LEGO-inspired entertainment goes. The plot, which was some kind of convoluted version of Geoff John’s Brainiac and Green Lantern: Blackest Night, took Batman and Co. around the galaxy to… actually, I have no idea what the purpose was, I just knew that early on, I figured out that I had to travel to each Lantern planet and do stuff before defeating Brainiac with feelings. Yes, the thing that Batman hates more than Robin’s Superman pajamas. It’s a large scope to tackle, and this being a next-gen game, it was expected that we would see an expanded DCU, but I can’t help but feel like time would have been better spent coming up with a more creative way to incorporate different characters into the game. Instead of just boasting a cast of over 150 characters (it will take a WHILE to unlock them all), it would have been nice to actually give each of them a little more attention instead of just skin swaps. Really, only the core cast of Batman, Robin, Cyborg, Lex Luthor and The Joker have multiple uses.

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That being said, the fine-tuned attention to detail is as impressive as it is heartwarming. The Danny Elfman-inspired Bat-tunes are still there, and the custom sound bytes add a bit of flavor to each character’s situation. For example, when entering the character selection screen, hovering over certain characters spawn their very own Batman theme song – Na na na na na na na na, CYBORG! Can you guess which hero this one belongs to: Na na na na na na na na, MEEE! Also, along with Superman’s John Williams theme during flight, Wonder Woman also has her classic Linda Carter theme play while she flies. All the way to down to the most obscure characters in the DC Universe , the sheer amount of geek packed into one game is extraordinary, and will keep dedicated fans combing through each level with increased vigor to unlock all their secrets. You can even mix and match parts and powers to create your own weird-looking LEGO superhero. On the other side of the coin, the allure of having Conan O’Brien, the friendly janitor, tour you around the Justice League Watchtower or saving a pleading Adam West is really fun the first time, but can get severely grating after they repeatedly chime in with the same monologue until you run away screaming or mute the television.

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With all the high performance games out there, expectations for a LEGO game can be a little skewed. Make no mistake, LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is just as much fun as Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed, but just like those games, need to be enjoyed by the right person. You can choose to spend hours teaching your kids about each hero’s powers (or learning them yourself), or you can go all Orange Lantern on this bad boy and reap all the buried treasure within the levels. The gameplay won’t blow you away, but it’s as complex as it needs to be, and makes the game accessible for all ages of gamers. The story isn’t all that spectacular, but at the very least, it is a love letter to DC fans; you can really tell that Traveller’s Tales put a lot of thought and research into this game, making it one of the most thoughtful Batman experiences I’ve had in a video game.

 

 

All media credited to Sony Entertainment and Sucker Punch Productions

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft Review

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft Review

Genre: CCG

Released for/Reviewed on: PC, iPad (just released April 16, 2014), coming to iPhone & Android this summer/ Reviewed on

Publisher/Developer: Blizzard Entertainment

Notable Voice Actors or Writers: N/A

Alluring Element: CCG based off World of Warcraft, FREE!

Check it out if you liked: World of Warcraft, Magic the Gathering, any CCG

Rated: T 

So earlier this year, Blizzard took an interesting and unexpected turn with their product line. We all know Blizzard as creator of some of the most popular online games ever: World of Warcraft, Diablo III and Defense of the Ancients 2. You probably know someone who actively plays any, if not all three of these games. They are juggernauts. So when Blizzard decided to release Hearthstone, a digital collectible card game – and it’s free to play on top of that – it was kind of shocking. This is like nothing they’ve ever done before.

Now if you haven’t ever played a CCG before, digital or physical, this will be a brand new experience for you. If you have played a CCG, then this game will come very naturally to you. Hearthstone is based off of the WoW universe. Blizzard took usual CCG mechanics and simplified them. There isn’t that much to keep track of and no really confusing rules. It’s an excellent jumping of point for anyone new to CCGs.

So, starting out a you can choose a class to start playing as. There is one set of cards for every class from WoW, and a popular character represents each class. If you choose mage you play as Jaina Proudmoor, if you prefer warlock you’ll be Gul’dan, and so forth. I like the idea of using classes because it allows a WoW player to represent him or herself in Hearthstone the same way they do in the MMO. The classes act in the same way as the color/elemental choices Magic the Gathering players are familiar with. Each class has their own set of cards that only that class can use, and you’ll gain more of these as you level up that class. There is also a large pool of generic cards, which every class can use. Each class also has their own special ability, the warrior, Hellscream, can add armor to defend against attacks, the shaman, Thrall, can summon totems to assist.

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The card types are primarily broken up into creatures, spells, and bonuses. Anyone who’s played an CCG before will feel at home with this. There is a cost to play any cards, from 0 to 10 mana per card. With this mechanic, Blizzard keeps an even pace through the game. Your character starts the game with one mana and gains one mana every turn, maxing at 10 mana even if you play for more than 10 turns. So games start out slowly, but when a player gets to the seven or higher mana portion players can start playing many cards at once and brining out extremely powerful creatures. This is all pretty standard but limiting the amount of mana a player can gain and setting a maximum is nice because it doesn’t allow problems that are common with other CCGs, such as mana overload with no creatures and visa versa.

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One feature that I’ve not seen in a CCG before is the ability to turn the player, or in this case the WoW character that represents them, into a weapon. Characters can be equipped with weapons, turning them into threats and not just targets. The hunter, Rexxar, actually just has the special ability to shoot arrows and do damage. So there is a chance that even if you don’t have creatures usable you can still potentially remove some of their 30 hit points.

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The creatures are well-varied and make the game more interesting. Making a deck of nothing but murlocs is a lot of fun, if you can handle the murloc battle cry every time you play one. Creatures come with their own special qualities, probably the most useful of which is Taunt. Taunt forces your opponents creatures to attack that creature before anything or anyone else. Loading up with creatures with Taunt creates a wall that protects your character while being able to attack back.

Probably the biggest draw for most is going to be the fact that it’s free to play. This is definitely not normal for Blizzard. Now you can pay them if you’d like. You can buy booster backs in order to bolster your ranks. There is a free way to get booster packs but it takes time and there are certain, extremely powerful cards, that only buying packs can get. It gives the game a little bit of that “pay to win” taste. If you are someone that plays for free and your opponent plays one of these exclusive cards in the middle of a game, especially if it’s one you’re currently winning, it can really suck the wind out of your sails.

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For me there is nothing really special about Hearthstone. They don’t really mix up or improve on much from the way most CCG are played. It is really helpful the way they help to keep pace in a game so none one can gain a large advantage right away. The classes are fun and each has something small that differentiates one from the next. Although, the majority of creatures are communal; there are a lot of repeated cards and this takes away from the variety a little. Nevertheless, Hearthstone is a well-rounded simple game that has a very shallow learning curve, which is good, and something we expect from Blizzard now. It’s certainly worth the time to try it out. I give it a B+.

 

inFamous: Second Son Review

inFamous: Second Son Review

Genre: TPS (Third-Person Shooter), Open world exploration, super-powers

Released for/Reviewed on: Released & reviewed on PS4

Publisher/Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment (all the Playstation exclusives)/Sucker Punch Productions (inFamous 1 & 2Sly Cooper)

Notable Voice Actors or Writers: Troy Baker (Joel in The Last of Us, The Joker in Arkham Origins, Ocelot in MGS5, Batman in LEGO Batman 2)

Alluring Element: Super powers in an open world with the freedom to choose how to use them

Check it out if you liked: inFamous series, Prototype

Rated: 16+

 

SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):

Storyline – 7
Gameplay – 10
Animation – 9
Replay Value – 8
Entertainment Value – 9
Captivity – 9
Variety – 8
Originality/Creativity – 10
Soundtrack – 9
Overall awesomeness – 9

inFamous has been slated as the PS4’s first killer game of this generation, and it did not disappoint. The visuals on this game are so far only rivaled by other big name games like Metal Gear Solid and maybe Titanfall. What is truly impressive is that they were able to keep this level of detail and graphics so high despite the large and intricate world they have created. The game is set in Seattle – and it is spot on. The dreary weather, Puget Sound, the ridiculous amount of seagulls and hipsters carrying coffee cups – it’s all there and gorgeously textured.

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The premise of the game itself is pretty standard if you have played either of the previous inFamous games – or any type of open world game that involves free-roaming with powers (such as the old Spider-Man or Prince of Persia titles). The game picks up seven years after the events of inFamous 2 and with a majority of the conduits wiped out; the remaining conduits have been labeled as bio-terrorists. This is where are story begins – with leading man, Delsin Rowe. During a prison transport gone wrong Delsin finds out that he is a conduit with the ability to absorb powers from other conduits. The government agency in charge of controlling conduits (D.U.P.)shows up and wreaks havoc on the town while endangering the lives of the town. Without giving too much away, Delsin is forced to go after the head of this government agency in order to steal powers that will help him save his town.

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After some introductory story and gaining a few new powers, the player is given the ability to roam through the city freely while dispensing justice or chaos. There is plenty to do throughout the city and some of the side missions take full advantage of the new capabilities of the DualShock 4 controller. The tagging side missions utilize the features the most as you have to manipulate the controller in many different ways to complete the artwork. The touch screen in the middle is used for absorbing more energy as well as some QTE’s. It is actually a nice inclusion since the system has mainly released ports of games that haven’t made any attempt to include these features. Note: If you’re really into the graffiti missions, there was a PS2 game released in the early 2000’s called Marc Ecko’s Getting Up. where you build your way up to becoming a world famous tagger.

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Free-roaming and combat are pretty standard fare and as are the upgrade trees to both. Throughout the game, the player absorbs new powers that give new combat and travel abilities. I won’t ruin what any of them are, but suffice it to say it is just as much fun acquiring these powers as it is using them. This game does an amazing job of continuously making you feel more and more powerful. Each power has its own strengths and weaknesses and although each upgrade tree is pretty standard, they offers plenty of room for early customization to fit the gaming style of the player (ie – stealth, power-house, run and gun, etc). The melee system is a bit weak, but I think I spent 99% of my time aiming for headshots, anyway, so it didn’t bother me one bit.

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As far as complaints go, I don’t have too many negative things to say – but my biggest gripe would have to be with the way they implemented the switching of powers. You are only able to use one power at a time and have to absorb the energy for the type of power you would like to use at one of the power stations around the city. Finding these power stations is very simple because the whole city is littered with them and they are labeled on the map as well. I personally would have preferred individual power bars that we were able to switch to on-the-fly. This may have made the character more powerful but they could have easily compensated with increased difficulty. My only other gripe with the powers was that the final power you spent the entire time trying to acquire felt like it wasn’t given the same amount of attention compared to the other ones. It isn’t completely developed and you are only given the opportunity to use it on the final boss and end game content. It’s a minor complaint, but I still think that with the lack of multiplayer content, this should have been give more attention. There is the possibility that future DLC can correct both of these complaints as well as add new powers for people to play with.

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The last complaint that I have would be with the length of the story. While it was a solid (albeit simple) and engaging story, I did feel that by just going through the story it was a bit on the short side. It’s not nearly as short as the previously reviewed MGS: Ground Zeroes, but it will only clock you in at around five hours to complete the story and grab all the collectibles, roughly half of what it took for the first two games. Granted, the game is intended to be played twice for both the good and evil choices; once you have done that and completed all the side quests, there is very little left to do until possible future content is released. This is where the compensation comes in: Paper Trail! Paper Trail is one of the most innovative additions to a game I’ve seen. After all is said and done, there are special missions that you actually have to go online and do some detective work to complete. Once you solve the clues online, you unlock missions in the game. I’m not sure how it will work going forward – there are only a couple missions currently unlocked – but I thoroughly enjoyed the ones that were there.

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inFamous: Second Son is not a perfect game, but it is a noticeable improvement of last-gen games – especially the previous two inFamous games, which set the bar very high for PS3. The addition of versatile conduit powers really let you customize the game in terms of how you play it. The side-quests, even though they are short and repetitive, add a new dimension to the game that made the older ones monotonous; coupled with Paper Trail make for some great fun after the story is complete. Most importantly, Delsin Rowe is a hero (or villain) gamers can really relate to. He’s just a normal kid with powers, not the prodigy that Cole McGrath was. His personality also makes players invest more in his cause. I get Delsin in a way I could never understand Cole. Minor complaints aside, this is an amazing game that everyone who owns a PS4 should consider picking up. For anyone wondering what the future console generation was going to look like need look no further than this game. This is but a starting point for what the future of this gaming generation is capable of and the future looks amazing.

All media credited to Sony Entertainment and Sucker Punch Productions

Dark Souls 2 Review

Dark Souls 2 Review

Genre: Action RPG, Open world exploration

Released for/Reviewed on: Released on Playstation 3, X-Box 360 and soon-to-be PC (April 25th), reviewed on PS3

Publisher/Developer: Namco Bandai Games (Tekken, lots of Japanese ported games)/From Software (Souls saga, Tenchu series)

Notable Voice Actors or Writers: Nobody that stood out to us

Alluring Element: True Next-Gen visuals combined with genre leading stealth and action gameplay

Check it out if you liked: MGS series, Splinter Cell series, having two thumbs connected to a brain

Rated: M

 

SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):

Storyline – 8
Gameplay – 10
Animation – 7
Replay Value – 10
Entertainment Value – 10
Captivity – 9
Variety – 9
Originality/Creativity – 8
Soundtrack – 8
Overall awesomeness – 9

The Souls video-game series have been known to cause the destruction of many a-controller since their release a few years back, and Dark Souls 2 is no different. Dark Souls 2 is set in the same universe as the first one but isn’t supposed to be directly related to it in any way. If you don’t really take the time to search it out, however, you won’t be finding much of a story anyways. There are plenty of websites and wikis dedicated to the collection and retelling of the Souls series lore. All you really need to know is that you are an undead who is afflicted with a curse that – only by killing tons of undead enemies and bosses – can you hope to cure it. Fortunately, the game focuses entirely on the gameplay so searching out the story can only help to enhance your experience.

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The real meat of the game is in the ridiculously hard enemies and even more grueling bosses. Add to that the ability to customize you characters stats to play any way you want and the game has almost infinite replayability. The basic builds are still present but this time around the finishing stat-cap will be higher this time around which will open up all sorts of interesting combinations. You can be a massive hammer-wielding mage or a katana-slashing monk with any type of variation in-between. The gameplay itself hasn’t changed too much since the first Dark Souls but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The controls have been more refined and a few things like an actual jump button and a power stance have been added. Tack on more equipment from the previous list and you have a pretty full game to play around with as you please. Once you have found the build that you like, you are able to put it to the test in one of the many co-op or PvP type game modes. There is nothing more fun in this game than the thrill of pitting your character against someone else.

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My main complaint with the game isn’t so much in the game itself as it is the hardware that From Software chose to run it on. This is a very ambitious project and, unfortunately, it has only proven to show the age of the previous-gen consoles. Even the PS3 has some frame rate dips in some of the busier places and the graphics can take a major dip in certain places. There are rumors that it will be ported to next gen but there hasn’t been anything to substantiate those rumors yet. The other main gripe I have with this game is that the difficulty compared to other games feels off. While it is noticeably more difficult, it feels like some of the bosses are only arbitrarily harder because they will put three on the screen instead of one. It does make it more strategic for co-op play-through, but I don’t feel like it takes away from the enjoyment of the single player experience.

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The good thing is there will always be someone to help you out due to the very dedicated community that plays this game – and while there are plenty of scumbags playing, I can attest to having met many friendly people that are more than willing to help people learn the game and enjoy it even more. While this game isn’t for everyone, I strongly urge that everyone at least give it a try once. If you don’t start with this one, the first Dark Souls and Demon Souls are both under $20 and give you a great idea of what to expect with Dark Souls 2.

 

All media credited to From Software and Namco Bandai Games

Deadpool Videogame Review

Genre – Run and Gun, Action/Adventure
Publisher/Developer – Activision/High Moon Studios (Transformers Cybertron series)
Voice Actors/Writers – Nolan North (Desmond Miles in Assassin’s Creed, Cole McGrath in inFamous, Nathan Drake in Uncharted, the list goes on…), Daniel Way (Deadpool, Wolverine Origins)
Alluring element – A hack and slash videogame featuring Deadpool in his true form
Check it out if you liked – Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Wolverine: X-Men Origins (the game)
**NOT FOR CHILDREN**

SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):

Storyline – 7
Gameplay –7
Animation – 8
Replay Value – 6
Entertainment Value – 10
Captivity – 9
Variety – 8
Originality/Creativity – 7
Soundtrack/Music – 8
Overall awesomeness – 7

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When the Deadpool videogame was announced last year at San Diego Comic-Con, I could hardly contain myself. My expectations weren’t too high. This is clearly an example of style of substance, and I was okay with that. Often himself being style over substance, The Merc With A Mouth originated in the early 90’s as a parody of DC’s Deathstroke, an assassin for hire that is. on many occasion, too badass for his own good. Deadpool’s known for breaking the fourth wall in the comics, which means that he blatantly speaks to the reader, or in this case the player. He’s also known to be bat-s*** crazy. Casual fans who really only know him from Wolverine: X-Men Origins will find this portrayal to be completely new, and hopefully lovable.

Deadpool crashes the SDCC 2012 Marvel Videogames panel to promote his own game. Typical.
Deadpool crashes the SDCC 2012 Marvel Videogames panel to promote his own game. Typical.

The premise of Deadpool is one that doesn’t quite make sense. Not only does he know that he’s a comic book character, but he also knows he’s a videogame character. After threatening a big-shot producer into approving his pitch for a videogame, they send him a script which he quickly throws out the window – a process that I can’t imagine was too different from the process they used in real life. They establish a “big bad” and the reason why they go from level to level, but that’s about as fleshed out as it gets. The first time through, I had no idea what was going on or where I was supposed to be headed for much of the game. I “just enjoyed the senseless slaughter.” To be fair, Deadpool rarely has any meaningful arcs in the comics and, excepting for X-Force titles, stories are really just centered around comic relief and violence. If you’re a fan who needs a deep, thoughtful storyline to enjoy the game, this is definitely not for you. However, in between all the plot-heavy games like The Last of Us, Metal Gear Solid, and The Walking Dead, it was really nice to just laugh at immature jokes and shoot things in the head.

Deadpool‘s gameplay is, by and large, the most disappointing part of the game; normally this is a deal-breaker, but there are still redeeming qualities about it. I will say that I am quite a bit more critical than warranted because I thought it would be a good idea to play Deadpool on the hardest difficulty level the first time through, making the errors much more apparent. The control scheme is laid out like a bastardization of your typical third-person shooter game and a Batman: Arkham game. I think the goal was to create a game you could melee with close-range weapons, but switch up on the fly to use guns when a fire-fight happens. High Moon actually does a fairly good job at this, as you can chain combos and switch weapons almost seamlessly. Combat would be a lot of fun if it weren’t for that damn camera. In a game that is a constant all-out brawl from all sides with all types of enemies, having a reliable in-game camera has become a staple of successful games. If you’ve played Metal Gear Rising, then you know an example of how a camera angle that won’t let you see further than three feet out can hinder a gaming experience. That being said, there were minimal glitches and loading times and the character models looked gorgeous. Deadpool’s first full videogame rendering looked just as good playing as he did in the non-gameplay videos.

The gaming experience is very linear. You spend most of your time going from Point A to Point B while eliminating a set amount of enemies. Even on the hardest difficulty, the story didn’t take that long and can take an afternoon to complete when on an easier difficulty level. Once the game is beaten, there are Challenge levels unlocked that you can play. Sadly, these levels are the same exact ones you play in the game. The only upside to these missions are the hilarious costumes that are unlocked (see below). Besides the generic weapons and character upgrades (almost all of which you can get by the end of your first play-through), there are no collectibles, no unlockables, nothing to make the game fun after you beat the story mode.

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I have a soft spot for French Maid Deadpool

What Deadpool lacks in depth, it makes up in personality with Nolan North. North has quite a long list of accolades in action game heroes, and portrays Deadpool with flare and enthusiasm. The developers spend a lot of time cramming Deadpool with as many sound bytes from North as possible. Deadpool just doesn’t shut up and I LOVE it. It’s dick and fart jokes combined with gratuitous violence, but it’s done with crass and originality.  It’s something that’s simply not done in gaming anymore. There were also mini-game segments strewn throughout the game that forces you to stop and smell the roses. I never knew how much fun repeatedly bitch-slapping Wolverine would be until I did it for five minutes straight. Okay, maybe not the best example, but there are tons of fun segments in Deadpool to keep you interested. The bread and butter of Deadpool is that it is, through and through, a Deadpool game. The story is forgettable and the gameplay is generic. Whether you will enjoy it or not really comes down to whether or not you like Deadpool as a character. With his resurgence warranting a cult following in pop culture, this was an admirable attempt to push him into the forefront in pure, unadulterated fashion. Deadpool plays more like an interactive movie than a fully enveloped game, and with low enough expectations, can be a gut-busting experience.


Wrap it up already! This is a review, not a biography, sheesh.
Wrap it up already! This is a review, not a memoir.

Written by Sherif Elkhatib