Dragon Age II Review

Dragon Age II: Review

            Fans of this series drooled vigorously in anticipation of the sequel to the vast, enormous, storytelling behemoth that was Dragon Age: Origins. Even a hoard of somewhat mediocre downloadable content couldn’t satiate the sheer lust of producer Bioware’s hit new franchise. Theory upon theory hit the internet for months as to possible returning characters, plot sequences, and gameplay as the congregation awaited the sequel. When it dropped on the 8th of March, a storm of mixed reactions began to pull the fan base into a maelstrom of which game was better, and why the sequel did/didn’t suck. Today we shall look at the game and its single downloadable content and try to come with an ultimatum to this raging quarrel.

            As a massive fan of Dragon Age: Origins, I absolutely could not wait to get my hands on Dragon Age II, knowing that I would devour the fantasy lore much like I did in the first game, which was full of mages, warriors, and demons. I beat Dragon Age II in two days upon getting it. Two. That is exactly how excited I was for this release, but I can’t say that I was utterly satisfied. In Dragon Age II, you take the role of Hawke, a male or female (your choice) character living in the small town of Lothering, which is subsequently set ablaze by Darksparn in the game’s opening moments. You and the remnants of your family fight your way to Kirkwall, a country away from Fereldan (the country Lothering is in) in order to seek out a home from past relatives. Becoming Hawke is one aspect of the game I very much enjoyed, as in the first game the player is allowed to create their own, unvoiced character. Hawke serves as a vessel for both creativity and connectivity, as while you may not have created him yourself, you may influence him to do your bidding as you please. The story of Dragon Age II takes place over the course of seven years, unlike Dragon Age: Origins which was only a few days/weeks, making it a slightly more epic experience. However, with the little amount of explanation/interaction in between the time skips, there is a lot that is left to be desired from the plot sequences. Throughout the course of the game, the player is brought to Kirkwall and its surrounding areas; Sundermount, The Wounded Coast, and The Bone Pit. Aside from that, you visit The Deep Roads from Dragon Age: Origins briefly. This presents quite a bit of despair in the player after the 30th hour spent roaming the streets of Kirkwall, its textures are only so good, Bioware. Not only is the player forced to endure the same relative environment for the majority of the game, but the developers instead of putting a more narrative feel to the sequel, decided to fill the game with seemingly countless random encounters with nameless, pointless enemies to stretch out the play time. This got tedious, frustrating, and boring for someone who played through the game an upwards of three separate times.       

            Taking a break from the game’s negatives briefly, we’ll touch on some of the improvements in this vastly anticipated sequel. The graphics, for one, have improved dramatically. Environments are lush (well, the THREE you get to see…) and character models are fairly elegant (aside from when their bodies go entirely grayscale or the cutscene decides to spasm uncontrollably). Even battle animations look stunning and more robust than its predecessor. Speaking of battle animations, they’ve been sped up to make fighting more dynamic and overall a more crisp experience. Some die-hard fans of the original game may tell you that they’re ruined the combat system and made it more like a hack-and-slash, but these individuals are lying to you. Dragon Age II’s combat system has not changed from Dragon Age: Origins, it has only had its animations sped up to make them look a tad bit more devastating. Don’t worry, fanboys, you still get to sit there and press “A” or “X” over and over again until your enemy falls into a sparkling heap on the ground like a tasered Edward Cullen. Speaking of vampires, why aren’t there any in the Dragon Age: Universe? Odd… Anyways, another place where Dragon Age II shows its physique off is in its narrative. When you’re not doing idiotic sidequests and pointless random encounters, you’ll be engaging in a very character driven story that has some interesting lore behind it and a whole boatload of sorrow and comedy to chase it down with. Fans of the original will be delighted to see returning characters such as Anders, and many others (no spoilers from me tehehehehe), and will probably be enthralled and engaged in their stories and sidequests. I was particularly fond of almost every single character in the game besides one exception (fuck off, Aveline). They each had their own hypnotizing story that intertwined in some manner with the other party members, sometimes in hostile fashions, and some in very comedic fashions.

            Alright, back to the negatives. Dragon Age II was short. You can most certainly clear the game in less than twenty hours if you see fit to do so. Another downside is the lack of variability in the game’s endgame sequence. Despite which side you choose at the end of the game, the outcome is pretty much exactly the same, unlike in the original game, and in other similar Bioware titles such as Mass Effect 2. Like its predecessor, Dragon Age II also supports a ton of in-game exploits, or glitches that can sometimes render the game unplayable. In one instance (this happened to me personally), I was entirely unable to start the Act One final quest because a cutscene refused to activate despite me completing every single one of the prerequisites. Of course, along with these kinds of glitches, there are also ones that can give you infinite experience and gold, ultimately making the game easier (albeit a little less fun) for willing undertakers. Even the day-of-release downloadable content The Exiled Prince was full of bugs that made the achievements unobtainable.

            All in all, Dragon Age II was not a bad game. However, it could use various improvements including some bug testing BEFORE the release of the game. It also could have used a longer plot line that doesn’t use cheap tricks to extend itself like random encounters that have no point whatsoever. It possesses a nice graphics engine (however doesn’t always utilize it to its capabilities…) and has a great Mass Effect 1-esque soundtrack throughout. The story is riveting and connectible, but in no way as sheer an epic force that its predecessor was. Dragon Age II’s plot focused more so upon the political spectrum of turmoil rather than the war side of it. Hopefully some patches go live to fix some of the glitches that render it useless, and hopefully we are provided with some good quality downloadable content in the future that doesn’t only entertain on a mediocre level (like Dragon Age: Origins’). Some new aspects to the game like dialogue wheels and the new crafting system were slightly refreshing; bring some new ideas to the table for the future games of this series to capitalize upon. Combat was slightly crisper this time around, with beautifully quick and brutal animations. The main part of the game that stood out was the characters and their interactions with other characters, and Hawke him/herself. Dragon Age II is a worthwhile game, but don’t expect to be blown away more than a couple times during certain plot events.

 

Presentation: 7.5/10

Dragon Age II is beautiful, and has a wonderful soundtrack, but the story sometimes gets fanned out due to unexplained time skips and random encounters. It plays nicely (for the most part) and ultimately ends with you wanting more.

 

Story: 8.5/10

Dragon Age II has an engaging, personal story that will build tension between rivaling factions throughout and eventually come to a shocking climax. However, its scale is not as grand as the first game, unfortunately.

 

Gameplay: 8.5/10

Fast and exciting, when not plagued by bugs and random encounters. Dragon Age II really improves over its predecessor in this category.

 

Overall Score: 24.5/30  (82%)

Pokemon Black/White Review

 

            Like any child of the nineties, or even late-eighties will tell you- Pokémon was, and still is, the shit. This franchise started almost two decades ago, and it is still one of the best-selling series of all time, selling millions upon millions of units with each new generation of little adorable critters. When the series started in 1996, there were 151 (yes, I’m counting Mew, goddamnit!) Pokémon that ranged from a gigantic, sleeping slob who could only be awoken by the melodies of a flute, to a devilishly cute mouse who shoots lightning bolts out of its cheeks. Fifteen years later, the critter-count is up to 649 and houses five different generations of Pokémon. The question is, has the “gotta catch ‘em all” formula gotten sour in the fifteen years of milking this Nintendo powerhouse for all it’s got? Many critics are skeptical after all these years that it is just the same old run-through with a generic villain story and a handful of new obnoxiously designed Pokémon. In all actuality, Pokémon Black and White beg to differ, showcasing vivid scenery effects, a quite enthralling storyline, and plenty of things to do once you finish the initial plot.

            Like any Pokémon game, you begin your journey with one of three Pokémon (of water, fire, or grass types) and venture through the region (the diamond-shaped Unova) in order to collect all eight badges from exceptionally talented Pokémon trainers entitled Gym Leaders. Once you acquire all eight of these badges you are able to progress to the Pokémon League to challenge the top four ranked trainers in the region, The Elite Four. Once you defeat them (and Jesus, they are difficult this time around at some points) you’ll be able to face the number one trainer in all of Unova; The Champion. After defeating the Champion, you gain access to all sorts of new features that you didn’t have before, including a wide array of new, powerful Pokémon, and all that jazz… Yes, yes, I know you avid fans are yawning by this point, thinking it’s the same-old, same-old for this series. However, where Pokémon’s fifth generation’s strong point lies is in its plot. Normally, as you progress through a new region, you encounter a criminal organization looking to use Pokémon as tools to accomplish their own means. Team Rocket in generations one and two sought out world domination, Team Aqua/Magma in generation three hoped to resurrect ancient deity Pokémon to invoke a colossal battle, in the fourth Team Galactic (weirdness aside…) ventured to call upon a legendary Pokémon to bring the entire region to their feet. Following suit, in the fifth generation you are met by the quirky Team Plasma, who are attempting to free all Pokémon from their oppression by Pokémon trainers. Wait, WHAT!? Yeah, that’s right. They don’t use Pokémon as tools. Their leader, or “King” (spoilers ahead) named N (for God-knows-what reason) loves Pokémon more than anything else in the world and only hopes the best for them, and notes you as a worthy rival, but doesn’t think you fully understand his motives. N is a chilling, yet down to earth pseudo-villain of the likes that the series has never seen before (even to the point of taking a Ferris wheel ride with you…), and has one of the most intense endgame sequences that the series has seen to date. Team Plasma and N possess a substance that no other organization to date in the franchise has had, and it’s invigorating to play against a villain that can actually be related to, providing for a fun and enthusiastic ride right up to the credits.

            The fun doesn’t stop with just the opposition in Pokémon Black and White, however, as the 153 new Pokémon provide quite the nostalgic experience. One of the number one aspects of this new series is that until you beat the Pokémon League, you will encounter no Pokémon of older generations. This means, you won’t see a blasted Pidgey or Bidoof in every single route of the entire game. This makes the experience much more of a blast from the past (a quite refreshing one at that), where the only encounters you make in the game are with the unknown inhabitants of the Unova region. With each new route you step into, it is common that one or two new additions to what you’ve already seen in your journey will pop up, sometimes even more. Even better is the fact that each route’s Pokémon generally scale to a level around the same as your own Pokémon, providing for an easier means of training and more value in capturing wild Pokémon. There are many new, and exotic Pokémon in the Unova region that sport intricate, artistic designs (I’m looking at you, Cryogonal), but on the downside some look like Wigglytuffs that have been given botox injections (Audino). The only significant problem I encountered with the new batch of Pokémon is the level/move ratio that many of the more-desirable critters in the game have. What I’m talking about is when a Pokémon has to use the same shitty move until its level 40 or 50, meaning constant annoyance or often unlucky TM searching. I was getting pretty pissy having to use Bulldoze and Mud-Slap with my Krookodile until he was a high enough level to FINALLY learn Earthquake and actually do a significant amount of damage. This can make battling the Elite Four (and even the 8th Gym Leader) a hassle in certain instances where there Pokémon sweep you before you have adequate time to set up a move that will even do a decent amount of damage.

            Upon finishing the Pokémon League, a new array of options is opened up to the player. First of which, is the new portion of the map which was previously inaccessible. Eastern Unova holds strong trainers, VERY strong trainers. These trainers holster Pokémon above level sixty for the most part, and are definitely a challenge for unseasoned trainers who haven’t trained very hard. On the upside, the wild Pokémon are also very high leveled, and include Pokémon from past generations as well as the Unova natives. New wild encounter mechanics show themselves quite fluently in this portion of the game more so than in the earlier parts. “Shaking Ground” areas are now truly a force to be reckoned with in the newly unlocked parts of the region. These areas are single tiles of a wild encounter area that shake or shimmer slightly, and upon stepping into these patches a high-leveled, sometimes fully-evolved Pokémon such as Dragonite, Tyranitar, or Metagross can appear. While this presents an avid opportunity for Pokémon hunters, it also provides a whole world of agony for someone walking through the Great Chasm with a team of level 50s only to stumble upon a level 70+ Metagross. I suppose it is up to the player to decide whether or not they would like to test the shark-filled waters. On top of this, remnants of the broken Team Plasma still remain for the players to find and imprison, a clique called The Seven Sages. Each one is hidden in a distinct part of Unova, and will give the player a TM upon finding them (along with slightly humorous cameos from Looker of HG/SS).

Now, for those players looking for long-term value and a competitive multiplayer experience, the next bit of information is for you in particular. The Battle Subway is a place reminiscent (if not exactly like) the Battle Tower from previous installations of the series. For those of you who don’t know what that is (Maker forbid), the Battle Tower is essentially a survival mode for seasoned trainers to test their strategies and teams against. Beware; you must have pretty decent Pokémon to survive very long in the Subway/Tower. Having multiple types to cover multiple enemies often helps, as does EV (effort value) training methods, but I won’t get into all of that in this article. The Battle Subway goes and goes, until you fight the Subway Boss, a particularly skilled trainer who will make or break you- awarding many prize points (BP) if you’re victorious, or making you start all over from the beginning of your streak if you lose. Upon beating the Boss once, a more challenging rendition of the Subway is unlocked. There is also a double battle Subway train and a multiplayer Wi-Fi train as well. The new games also offer an infrared sensor on the bottom screen so you can jump right into a trade or battle lobby with friends within a reasonable distance.

A new feature brought in by this new generation of critters is called the Dream World, and is supported by Pokémon Global Link. This feature has yet to launch in the United States (due to the earthquake trouble in Japan), but is still one of the most anticipated aspects of the game regardless. In this mode, players will be able to sync their DS to the internet in order to capture and transport exclusive Pokémon with exclusive moves and abilities to the Entralink Forest in their respective cartridge in order to catch them. This will add a particular swagger to the online multiplayer, making teams less predictable, and all around more competitive in the long run.

All in all, Pokémon Black and White do not differ much from the traditional formula of the series, but in many ways they do as well. With a well-defined narrative backing this blockbuster Nintendo product, and a long-lasting appeal (I’ve put in over 90 hours already!), Black and White will go down among the best Pokémon and handheld games of all time (possibly even rivaling the original Red and Blue). The graphics were the best we’ve seen in the series so far, the villains were actually inventive and creative. A rush of new Pokémon without the old faces (for a while) keeps you hooked like it’s the first time all over again. Nintendo has taken what made Diamond and Pearl a mess, and turned it into a prized gem to be cherished by the original players, the current players, and all future players to come.

 

Overall Score: 9/10

World War PS[3]60


For the last half-decade, two titans in the video game community have collided head to head on a daily basis; the two masthead next-generation gaming consoles, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Before the current era in gaming, Microsoft’s Xbox product was incapable of competing with Sony’s mastermind Playstation 2, which is one of the largest selling gaming products of all time. The lack of fan base and unfamiliarity in Microsoft’s product led some gamers astray, but many kept loyally to the system once they began playing it. In November of 2005, when Microsoft launched their next-generation console, the Xbox 360, the tables began to turn quite maliciously in their favor. A flood of new fans stormed the next-generation console and its premium online service, taking advantage of its beautiful graphics, and never-before seen games. Sony failed to launch a counterattack until the following November, while the Xbox 360 only gained more and more ground with each coming day. The exclusive Gears of War title dominated the sales chart in just one year, proving itself a worthy face for the Xbox 360’s first year running. Sony Computer Entertainment of America (SCEA) struck back, showcasing their Playstation 3 to the gaming community’s eyes, well-equipped with built-in Wi-Fi capability, internet accessibility, and a then-thought unimportant Blu-Ray player. Thus began one of the biggest debates in the history of gaming…

           

            In the beginning, Sony’s product was carefully treading their waters against the competition, taking note that the Xbox 360 was more affordable than their own console. This is because of the high prices of Blu-Ray technology, and gaming processing units at the time of release, making the production prices of the Playstation 3 unprofitable. While the system was being sold for $4-500 depending on the model, the costs for production were around $800, creating quite the trench for Sony to dig out of. With a lack of Playstation 3-exclusive games to boast in its catalog, many gamers simply chose the cheaper alternative in Microsoft’s product. With only Resistance: Fall of Man and MotorStorm to back it up in its first year, Sony lacked in sales considerably in comparison to its competitor, whose Gears of War product was now solidified as a main event player in this war. Just as things started looking up for Sony with the releases of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (a future award winning franchise, see later), Time Crisis 4, Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction, and Heavenly Sword on the way in the not-too-distant, Microsoft shot back in September of 2007, unleashing their ace in the hole; Halo 3. Microsoft’s Halo series, developed by Bungie Studios, is revered as one of the most influential and important first-person shooting series around. On the original Xbox, it set the par for online matchmaking where you could be easily paired with friends and matched against opponents that match your rank and skill. Microsoft’s servers boomed with activity within hours of Halo 3’s release, showing just how much of a powerhouse this particular intellectual property could and will be. Momentum for Microsoft continued growing and growing like a Gremlin who wouldn’t stop eating, only taking minimal blows from their competitor from multi-platform sellers like the Madden and Call of Duty series, on which traditional fans were used to playing on their older Playstation consoles. 2008 marked the returns of multiple game series, for both consoles, including the highly-revered Grand Theft Auto IV, Fallout 3, and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. However, Sony’s market slightly gained an edge this year with the releases of Littlebigplanet, and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots this year, while their adversary scored a proverbial touchdown with the releases of Fable 2, and Gears of War 2.

 

            2009 changed Sony’s predicament permanently with the aforementioned next installation of the Uncharted series, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. With a poor lineup supplied by Microsoft for 2009, Uncharted swept the market and won over a generous number of fans with its excellent storytelling and remarkable gameplay. The game event went as far as winning 2009’s Game of the Year award from numerous different and award assemblies. Thus began a revolution of Sony enthusiasts, which carried the brand and console into a heated battle with its competitor. With more exclusives on the horizon, the days grew bigger and brighter each day for SCEA. In 2010, Sony unveiled a couple more prized gems in the form of Heavy Rain and God of War III, two of their most anticipated titles in recent years. Each gained astonishing amounts of critical acclaim, especially the latter- noted as one of the most detailed, beautiful games in the history of the entire industry. Microsoft’s attempts to combat the surge of power from Sony were fickle, relying on a few core releases to be their trump cards; Halo: Reach, the latest addition in the critically acclaimed series, and the long-awaited Fable III. Making up for their early disadvantages, Sony released a brand new model of their console that was much smaller and less expensive than their first. The new model turned the production of the product into a profit, rather than the opposite like before. This new design also provided a price drop for all models, making the idea of owning the console slightly more appealing to naysayers, but this marketing plea was matched by a new model of the Xbox 360 not too long afterwards. The new model of the Microsoft product included built-in Wi-Fi capability, a smaller, sleeker design, and much more silent system.

 

            At the start of 2011, it was revealed that the Playstation 3 was only approximately 3 million units behind its number one competitor, and was gaining ground quickly with passing week. Hopes bolted upwards with the releases of Killzone 3, and Littlebigplanet 2, and rumors of an inbound Resistance 3, but nothing quite had the impact of the announcement made at the 2010 Spike TV Video Game Awards. Loud and clear, a cinematic began to play on the screen displaying a rough, ravaged Nathan Drake escaping a crashed airplane, signaling a rally call for all PS3 supporters with the announcement of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. Microsoft’s so-called “fanboys” didn’t seem to mind much, citing the upcoming Gears of War 3 and Halo: Combat Evolved remake as their main hold for attentiveness for the 2011 year. Microsoft began to harbor hope in Gears of War 3 early in the year, posting promotional material for it within the boxes of every copy of Epic Games’ Bulletstorm title, including access to an exclusive Gears of War 3 multiplayer beta demo set to launch in late April to provide a sneak peak at the blockbuster title.  

 

            In terms of hardware, it is often stated that the Playstation 3 is superior and each and every single way due to its number one gimmick; the Blu-Ray player. However, the graphical capabilities of the Sony console are showcased only on exclusive, blockbuster intellectual properties such as Uncharted, Killzone, and God of War. With third-party titles that are available across multiple platforms, the Xbox 360 has been shown to support higher graphical quality. The Blu-Ray disks used for every PS3 game have been seen to have obscene load times, even going as far as having a user install every disk they use to their built-in hard drive before being able to actually play them (a process that sometimes takes up to an hour or longer, and also a process the Xbox 360 does not require). Like the PS3, the Xbox 360 doesn’t always showcase its spectacular graphics quality, but when it does, masterpieces like Gears of War happen; a dark and gritty warzone filled with death, destruction, and just a sad glint of hope. A desolate wasteland stricken by war, on the brink of oblivion, and you’re the only one that can save it. Sound awesome? Yeah, I thought so too. Sometimes the Playstation 3’s graphic processor is so astonishingly sharp (as say, in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves) that it actually makes characters look more choppy and pixelated. The argument can go back and forth for ages about which console is more graphically superior, but the only clear-cut answer is that exclusive games look astounding on both of these consoles, no matter which one you’re loyal to.

 

            Last but not least, a comparison of the online capabilities of both of these gaming powerhouses. On Sony’s side of the spectrum, Playstation Network (Sony’s premier online service), is completely free (unless you want to buy the Premium membership that comes with access to exclusive content such as Facebook, Netflix, et cetera). Being free comes with a price however, as PS3 online servers are not as reliable as those provided by their Microsoft counterparts, and also do not hold the ability to support cross-game private chatting amongst subscribers (while Xbox Live does). On top of these shortcomings, Playstation Network also lacks a marketplace, substituting a difficult-to-navigate Playstation Home instead. Despite this, Playstation 3 has one ability that the Xbox 360 lacks entirely; the capability of browsing the internet using just the Playstation 3. Microsoft’s service, Xbox Live costs $60 for a year-long membership, which includes the same premium applications that the Playstation 3 does, but also premium servers for online gaming, and also promotes cross-game chat.

 

            All in all, it is hard to say which of these technological behemoths is the true victor of this age-old battle. However, it is easy to see that both provide a wide variety of games and experiences exclusive only to their native system. The only sure way that one can be assuredly satisfied with their overall experience as a gamer is to purchase both consoles and to experience their shining gems for themselves. Once you’ve done that, then you can make the judgment call on which is the better gaming system. They’re both spectacular milestones for the world of gamers that house plenty to keep any gamer interested for a long, long time.

Went AWOL for a bit

Sorry for my absence, I know there isn’t many of you in this universe that’ll read this, but I’ve been quite busy lately. School and my broken laptop keyboard have caught up to me, but those will both be solved soon. BrokeAssCollegeGamer will be live again in the next few weeks, and boy do I have material for you!

Look forward to a Dragon Age 2 review, a Pokemon Black review, and a summary of the PS3 vs. Xbox 360 war. Stay tuned tumblrs ;)

Jeff (BACG)

Bulletstorm Review - BURRRRRN, BABY BURN

DISCO INFERNO

Bulletstorm is a nonstop, crude, humorous, over the top, action-packed, blockbuster popcorn shooter. However, at times, it seems like that may be all that it is. Bulletstorm’s action is ridiculous; combining an energy leash that yanks opponents to you from several yards away, even sometimes from behind cover, with a fierce kicking melee attack, to a wide arrangements of weapons that ranges from a firework (flare) shooting pistol, to a drillbit-shooting rocket launcher. On top of the raunchy weaponry, is the skillshots system which rewards players for how creatively they increase their kill counts. These also have a wide variety, with over ten skillshots for each different weapon and some boss/level/general based shots as wel. The campaign follows Grayson Hunt, former special ops soldier turned drunken rogue pirate on his quest for revenge against tyrannical Confederate General Serrano, who has (thanks to Grayson’s kamikaze ship warfare) been marooned on planet Stygia. That’s unfortunately, about as deep as the narrative goes, for a long time in the story. It’s pretty much “we’re marooned, fuck it, let’s find Serrano and get the hell out of here” for the first half of the story, until you find out a couple plot twists that make your face distort in discomfort as you approach the conclusion. There’s essentially just numerous bouts of nonstop violence for the game’s first 4-5 hours, with little to no story interaction besides occasional bits of dilaogue (Ishi and Grayson’s “Wanna make out?” talk on the elevator was among the best). Enemies, drone and boss alike had very little backstory, except the occasional butt-in by Trishka, and it got fairly repetitive after a while. Sure, throwing in slightly more annoying (yes, I’m talking about you, Creeper) enemies made it a tad spicier for a short while, but in the long run held little significance. The game seemed to lack a quantity of “proper” boss fights (I think it amounted to… one?), and instead inserted a “fuckton” of mini-boss fights that were utterly unimportant and insignifcant to the narrative overall. Not even the final sequence of the game really amounted to anything at all (wouldn’t really call it a cliffhanger, more like a lack-thereof). I think that Bulletstorm spent too much time attempting to make itself a parody of other shooters, and too much time *SPOILER* trying to create a wide window for a sequel *END SPOILER*, instead of focusing on their current endeavor. By the way, Epic, People Can Fly- Where the fuck, is the co-op campaign?

Now that we’ve finished ripping and tearing the campaign (in good and bad ways), let’s move to the other modes of Bulletstorm. First comes Echoes, the “score attack” mode of Bulletstorm which essentially takes many different moments of the campaign and cuts out the ability to use certain weapons, adds in a three-star ranking system based on time of completion and skillshot use, and throws up an online leaderboard. Wow, good job guys, you pretty much just stole Spec Ops from Modern Warfare 2 and put your own template into it. Not impressed.

The second additional mode is Anarchy, perhaps the more enjoyable of the two. Obviously inspired by Gears of War’s Horde mode and Call of Duty’s Nazi Zombies, Bulletstorm utilizes it’s own skillshot system as a way to advance through wave after wave of enemy as a team. In between each round, you can “purchase” new upgrades to your weapons (huh.. Nazi Zombies), and continue to bash away at the waves of enemies. This mode holds a rank system, where you level up based on your performance every round of the match. Unlike most online multiplayers, this one actually possesses a story. You’re a Final Echo special ops soldier under command of General Serrano, undergoing a training program that teaches you about skillshots. Like the rest of the game though, repetition kicks in, as does a couple other critical elements. One is the fact that teamwork and coordination is absolutely necessary in later waves, meaning you need to have your microphone on, and need to be calling out challenge shots and other obstacles. Yes, this is a co-op mode, but not everyone has a microphone, nor does everyone like to talk (including myself, usually). The other major hindsight is that sometimes your team skillshots (hell, even regular ones too) will not recognize, often times completely costing you an entire wave, making you repeat the entire level due to a malfunction. I’ve had this happen numerous times in my progression from level 1-20, and it definitely needs to be fixed.

Synopsis:

Story - 6/10 Bulletstorm lacks a strong narrative, and simply falls to gunplay at many points during the course of the campaign. The bits of story that you actually do experience are fun, and well-drawn out (even if they usually are parodies of past shooters).

Gameplay - 8/10 Bulletstorm’s intricate array of weaponry and combo attacks leads to an ultimately satisfying experience at the end of the day, even if repetition dulls it after a while.

Difficulty - 7.5/10 In many points, I was stuck against a horde of enemies without no clear way of getting out. It’s expected that you master the skillshot system by the 4th or 5th act of the game, and it can honestly be quite frustrating after this curve at points.

Fun - 9/10 While it may lack in the story department, the over the top action and constant humor will keep you smiling through most of the story. Especially anything that comes out of Serrano’s mouth at anypoint (“WELL THAT’S SWEETER THAN TEENAGE POONTANG”).

Lasting Appeal - 8/10 Anarchy mode adds some exhilarating co-op action once you finish up grinding the campaign achievements, and with new Echoes and Anarchy maps already on the way in Spring, you can be sure that you’ll have something to do.

Thanks for reading.

~Jeff (BrokeAssCollegeGamer)

1 note

Day 01 Challenge

Sorry for the delay, guys, been loaded up on essays all week and my teachers did not agree with me that tumlbr posts were an acceptable alternative assignment -sigh-.

Time for the first day of our 30 Day Challenge, today’s challenge-

"Discuss your current relationship status, if single, tell how single life is"

Well this one is actually pretty simple for me. I’ve been in a relationship since January 4th, 2009. My significant other’s name is Jessica, and we’ve been through a ton of shit in the last two years. We originally met in 6th grade, and had crushes on one another. Of course, back in those days I was a complete and total manwhore and broke her heart. In 7th grade, we were pretty good friends, but I once again disappointed her. She then proceeded to move to South Carolina from Ohio, so needless to say, I didn’t see her for a very long time. Until around Christmas of 2008, to be exact. At this time, I was dating a controlling, manipulative little girl who had cheated on me multiple times. I was pretty desperate, I’m not going to lie. However, my time over Christmas break with Jessica was mindblowing, and opened up new worlds- especially when we had our first kiss on New Years Day <_<. Three days later, we were completely inseparable and officially dating. Unfortunately, she still lived in South Carolina. We battled the behemoth that is long distance, and secured a strong bond- despite multiple hardships and obstacles that could have very well have broken that bond due to our own carelessness. Though our moments together were scarce, our bond grew stronger because of it. On her birthday in April, I proposed to her on the beach in front of the Atlantic Ocean- right after her birthday breakfast. Of course she said yes, I mean come on, I’m a charmer (let’s face it ;) ). The following January, she moved back to Ohio and began staying with my best friend (whom is gay, don’t worry). We started working at the same place, and spending a lot more time together. A lot more time together = A lot more dealing with each other’s tempers. Which leads to fights. The following August, we packed our bags and made our ways two and a half hours north of Columbus, to a shit city called Akron (for me) and a beautiful city called Kent. Our college experiences began (and continue) there.

Thanks for reading. (yeah I know the picture is fucked up, I’m still learning- okay!? :P)

Bulletstorm review up in the next few days sometime, possibly even today if I can get some shit done.

~Jeff (BrokeAssCollegeGamer)

The Thirty Day Challenge?

I found this little image on a mate’s wall, and figured what the hell! It’s something to get me blogging, at least!

We’ll start either tonight or tomorrow… we’ll see :P

11 for ‘11

As my first gaming related post here on tumblr, I’d like to express my interests for this year in our wonderful industry. I’m very much excited for this year’s blockbuster line up, and I’m about to show you my top 11 picks for 2011, in order of how much I’m anticipating them. There will also be some honorable mentions at the end, but we won’t get into that quite yet ;) Enjoy!

11. JURASSIC PARK: THE GAME

Jurassic Park: The Game - The T-Rex

Telltale Games, infamous for their Back to the Future game not too long ago, has been revealed as the developer of the new episodic video game adaption of the astonishing sci-fi Jurassic Park series. We haven’t seen a Jurassic Park game on consoles since 2003, and it’s about time that they return- regardless of whether or not it’s to the Xbox Live Arcade, or not. The story here is going to follow a popular plot amongst fan fiction writers: what happens to the embryos that Dennis Nedry drops in the mud in the first film as he attempts to flee the island, but is instead massacred by the dinosaurs. Sent by Nedry’s employers, you will take the role of a mercenary tasked with retrieving the lost can of shaving cream- er, embryos. From the screens I’ve seen thus far, this is looking nothing short of pure nostalgic awesomeness. I absolutely cannot wait for this game, which comes out this April!

10. DUKE NUKEM: FOREVER

Duke Nukem: Forever -  Box Art Design

This legendary fable has been rumored to be in develop for the last 12 years, and last September, it was officially confirmed that the developers over at Gearbox Software (2009 Game of the Year, Borderlands, anybody?) have taken control of the product and that it will be released in 2011! For anyone who doesn’t know the prowess of the Duke series, it’s full of vulgar, obscene remarks, equipped with graphic violence, and partial nudity. The game has been in development for so long that Gearbox has included the hiatus as part of the story’s official canon, even! As a person who first toyed with Duke on the original Playstation, I absolutely cannot wait to experience Nukem in his Xbox 360 glory, blowing shit apart in vintage style! Duke Nukem: Forever is due out in May of this year.

9. BRINK

Brink - Art

Now we venture to the random terrain of Brink, a new parkour-style shooter by developer Splash Damage. The story takes place in a futuristic “perfect” Earth city called The Ark, built above a flooded Earth. Two factions- Security and Resistance, respectfully, battle for supremacy in The Ark. The game has been called “The game that Mirror’s Edge should have been”, and in all respects, I’d have to agree. The parkour system in the game is ridiculously innovative, with the ability to vault, slide, and jump over/across virtually anything in the entire environment in very fluid movements. The game will include both single and multiplayer modes, and has four different character classes (Soldier, Engineer, Operative, Medic). The multiplayer aspect of the game is quite interesting, with the story mode being playable with up to 8 people online, either against bots, or competitively or against one another in team format. Brink is also due out this May.

8. UNTITLED ASSASSIN’S CREED SEQUEL

Assassin's Creed - USSR

There has been a lot of speculation about this one recently, and with good reason given the fact that Ubisoft made a ton off of the last addition to their newest flagship series, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. There’s been numerous accounts of whether or not there would be an Assassin’s Creed sequel this year and earlier this year it was confirmed that another addition to this series would be added in the fiscal year (April 2011-March 2012). No specific details have been released to date, but you know the Internet and it’s tendency to speculate. There have been theories of exploring the comic world of Assassin’s Creed, such as in the Soviet Union and Caesar-era Rome. There’s also been talk of World War II, which has been subsequently shot out of the sky by Ubisoft representatives multiple times. Who knows what Ubisoft and Desmond Miles could have in store for us after last November’s astonishing cliffhanger?

7. RAGE

RAGE - Aint they purdy?

id Software returns to the first person shooter genre with a vengeance this year, in RAGE. The former developers of the critically acclaimed Doom and Quake series and grinding the gears of Fallout and Borderlands by introducing players to a wasteland environment. Set on post-apocalyptic Earth, the player finds that he is one of the only survivors of a vicious asteroid collision with Earth due to him being in a cryogenic freezing pod as part of a program named “Ark” (what’s with all this Noah symbolism in 2011?). There’s due to be some other intriguing elements in this game besides shooting, however, as both roleplaying and driving sequences have been rumored as well. Some of the core gameplay revolves around the combat-driven driving, actually, in a Borderlands fashion I suppose. According to recent reports, the player might only be battling the radiation-driven mutants for half of the game, whilst the villains of the second half of the game have yet to be determined. RAGE is due out this September, keep an eye on it ;)

6. HALO: COMBAT EVOLVED REMAKE

Halo: Combat Evolved - in HD!

Rumored to be helming this gargantuan project is former Timeshift developer, Saber Interactive (although no official reports from Microsoft have been issued as of yet). Halo: Combat Evolved revolutionized the way we view first person shooters on the console today, and nothing can every take that away from it. However, preparing for the ten year anniversary of this event, 343 Industries has plans to rock our world yet again by remaking this amazing title. No, this is not going to simply be a re-polishing of Bungie’s release, it’s going to be entirely redone. In a new art style, with a control scheme to match the recent Halo configurations of our time. It has not been announced yet which engine the game would be utilizing- but it’s been said that it will not be the Halo: Reach engine (WHY!????!!?). There hasn’t been any news on inclusion of a multiplayer mode as of yet, but co-op campaign is to be expected. Maybe the addition of Firefight, too? <3

5. BULLETSTORMBullestorm - That's one nasty weed

Bulletstorm is… well, Bulletstorm. I’m not sure there are any accurate descriptions for this gigantic clusterfuck of epic awesomeness (no pun intended, or is there?). Bulletstorm is full of killing creativity, vulgar language, and sexual innuendos galore. Bulletstorm is SO over the top that even Fox News has even gone out of it’s way to crucify the game on live television for it’s vulgarity, saying that it is inappropriate for minors, et cetera. I’m not sure if Fox News realizes that the ESRB system is in place for a reason, and minors should not be purchasing the game in the first place when it’s an artistic display of adult humor in a video game form. Who cares about Fox News, anyways? Bulletstorm is set to have an action-packed story, and a gritty online mode that rewards you based upon exactly how innovative your killing methods are. Kill with Skill this Tuesday!

4. THE ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIMSkyrim - 'nuff fuckin' said

Do I even need to explain what this game is? The massively-anticipated sequel to the 2006 Game of the Year, which was the sequel to the 2002 Game of the Year. The Elder Scrolls series has a massive following in which will be thrilled to see the beautiful new engine being utilized in the newest installment of the blockbuster series. For the first time in the history of the Elder Scrolls’ console games, we will be re-introduced to our favorite fantasy lore creature- Dragons. I mean, how epic is that? Bethesda is planning to blow our minds for the third time in a row with this astonishing sequel, which is sure to be supported post-release with tons of riveting downloadable content (much akin to Oblivion’s delicious Shivering Isles expansion). We, Elder Scrolls fans have been waiting pretty much since The Shivering Isles was released to see this game come into fruition, and it finally has. Our hopes and prayers have finally been met by Bethesda, rescuing us from the bland, brown color scheme of their other product… Skyrim is due out in November of this year.

3. DRAGON AGE II

Dragon Age II - the Lion or Orlais/Fadeshear

The sequel to 2009’s downloadable content-packed epic of fantasy lore is approaching rapidly. Dragon Age: Origins let us explore the world of Fereldan (in all it’s Baldur’s Gate nostalgia) and combat the infestation of maniacal, murderous creatures named the Darkspawn. The sequel is going to be a tad different than the original, with a more artistic approach to the graphics, and a faster paced combat system. This time (like in Mass Effect), you’ll take control of a distinct character named Hawke, whom lives during the same time period as the main character of the first game, but his adventure stretches over the course of an entire decade. With the Blight of Darkspawn quelled, what could be in store for the world of The Champion of Kirkwall. SPOILER ALERT, for you Dragon Age fanatics… It’s been announced that returning characters include (but are not limited to) Justice, Anders, Merril, and everyone’s favorite “simple” son, Sandal! (ENCHANTMENT!?). Dragon Age II is due out in early March of this year.

2. MASS EFFECT 3

Mass Effect 3 - Teaser Image

The epic sci-fi trilogy comes to it’s conclusion when the infamous Reapers invade the human homeworld of Earth in Mass Effect 3. Once again, it’s up to Commander (Goddamn, shouldn’t he be a fucking General by now?) Shepard to save the entire universe from impending doom. This blockbuster title will tie up the loose ends of it’s predecessors, and hopefully send us home happy with an astonishing story for the third time in a row. Players will, yet again be able to import their characters and choices from earlier games in order to personalize their experience with one of single most anticipated games of all time. This feature allows for over 1,000 different combinations of in-game events due to the complex web of decisions our Shepards have had to make since the first Mass Effect way back when. There is no doubt in my mind that Bioware will once more capture our attention (and 60 bucks <_<) with the third and final episode of their amazing series.

1. GEARS OF WAR 3

Gears of War 3 - Lambent Berserker

Yes, yes, the time is finally drawing near. We’ve been waiting for a God-awful long time, essentially since the release of Gears of War 2’s final map packs. After begrudgingly playing through hours and hours of Gears of War 2’s buggy-ass multiplayer, it’s finally time that us loyal Gears fans are rewarded for our hard work, determination, and high tempers in dealing with glitches and host advantage (P.S. Epic, please use your beta to learn that releasing a game with totally glitched multiplayer is not good to release to the public). In the campaign aspect of this overwhelming game, humanity is on it’s last leg in the war against the Locust horde. The stakes have escalated with the revelation of a civil war caused by a group of rebellious Locusts named The Lambent, who are infecting the entire planet of Sera with their plague. Marcus, Dom, Baird, Cole, and Anya are all back- despite the dissipation of the COG army, and they’re looking to “finish the fight” (sorry, Bungie) once and for all this time. Gears of War 3 will grace your television in all it’s gory glory this fall…

Thank you all for reading, leave me comments, and whatever else! :)

~Jeff (BrokeAssCollegeGamer)

2 notes

Greetings, tumblr!

Good morning my fellow internet users, or good afternoon and to those individuals in the future. I’ve been debating starting up a tumblr page for months now, and I’ve finally found the motivation to at last to start it. Primarily, this blog (as proposed by my URL) will be about gaming and the gaming industry. However, at times, there may be a bit of general news and what-not posted in my feed.

A little bit about myself, for you all to get to know me before I start geeking out my page:

  • I’m 18 years old, living and going to school at The University of Akron, Ohio as a History major.
  • I own a Xbox 360 Slim 250gig model. My Xbox Live Gamertag is Darth Ace 117, if anyone would like to play some games sometime. I also own a Nintendo DS (original model), but really only play the Pokemon games on it. The news and information I post on my feed will be generally focused towards this viewpoint, as I really don’t care much for the Playstation 3 or the Nintendo Wii. This may change as time goes on, however, as I have the intention of grabbing a PS3 over the course of the summer.
  • I work on campus at our library, and thus find myself bored and browsing the web quite often. Expect my tumblr activity to be relatively high, y’know, as long as I don’t have 3-4 essays to do (which I totally don’t have to do right now…)
  • I suck at math, hate spiders, can’t stand most vegetables, and have a low tolerance for overly-religious or political people.

Hope to see some followers trickling down into my feed soon!

~Jeff [BrokeAssCollegeGamer]