Red Dead Redemption: How The West Got Pwned

First of all Red Dead Redemption is awesome, a must play for any gamer.  This game is way more than “GTA in the west” as some have called it.  Rockstar has taken the Western to another level and created one of the deepest, most fun, and most gorgeous games around.

You play as John Marston, an outlaw looking to change his ways now that he has a family, but thankfully for us, old habits die hard and John has to take of a little business before his family is truly safe.  That’s just the setup.  There is a story and it is awesome, but the beauty of this game is that you can create your own tale.  Choose your side, good or bad.  Are you gonna wear a white hat or black hat?

Essentially the game starts with a few missions to get you acquainted with the world of New Austin, riding the horses, and gun control.  Once that has happened you’re free… and that is also when I lost my mind.  The instant I got my first rifle I went on a crime spree.  So apparently I’m getting a first hand look at the wanted and honor systems in the game.  There is a mission a little farther down the line that will take you through getting a bounty on your head and then paying it off, but I took the hard way.  I quickly took down 14 lawmen and ended up with a $520 bounty on my head.  That is a lot in the West! Upon completing your first missions you are rewarded with 5 bucks, maybe less, so to have a bounty that high was a big problem but that’s the path I chose.

Essentially, it works like this: break the law and a bounty goes on your head.  You can run from the law and eventually lose your wanted status but the bounty stays.  What that means is that every time you break the law again it adds to your bounty.  Also, bounty hunters, posses and lawmen will be looking for you until the bounty is paid or you spend time in jail.  This made some of the earlier missions extremely annoying because I knew if I hadn’t kidnapped that girl and left her for dead on the train tracks I would be able to ride across the plains in peace.  Yeah, I left her there.  So what?  Like I said before it was a crazy time in my life in the West.  Needless to say, some of the others playing the right and honorable way have far less stories but are dealing with way less bullshit.

Also, making money as a true outlaw jerk is really tough.  I hopped on a moving train with the intent to rob it but came to find out I had to individually rob each person on that train. I even had to shoot some in the leg to keep them from jumping off the train before I could get to them.  It took about 20 min and all I made was $80, not fully worth the hassle considering that raised the bounty on my head by about $300 and destroyed my honor points.  But, as pointed out to me when telling this tale, I’m sure it wasn’t easy to rob a train back then either.  Touche.

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Don’t Drink the Bungie or EA Kool-Aid (NSFW)

I’m sick and tired of us gamers allowing the big companies to push us around.  I’m looking at you, EA and Bungie.  Recently, both companies have made some questionable moves in my opinion, and everyone seems willing to just bend over and take it.  It’s time we realize we’re better than this and don’t have to sit in a circle and drink the red kool-aid in unison.

First of all, Bungie.  Do you really expect us to believe this is actually a beta and not a huge marketing machine?  Obviously you would never put out a buggy and possibly unworking version of anything having to do with your cash-cow that is Halo.  Of course not. This “beta” is as polished as the real thing.  “Oh no, the grenades are too strong, I must see this change before launch!”  Gimme a break, how is this beta any different than the retail version?  Just release a patch, or don’t–who even cares?  Halo has always been a more arcadey shooter than most others, so why complain now when the grenades are unrealistic?  Too late asshole.  And all you’re doing is making Bungie think it’s okay to call this a beta when it’s really just a demo.  Let’s call a spade a spade here.  This is the Halo Reach demo.  They can document changes on their site all they want. I’s just a front for what is clearly a demo.  This is way too polished to be called anything else.

Way back in the year 2002 I was a part of the Sims Online Beta, and you know why you probably didn’t know that? Because IT SUCKED!!!! The game was buggy as hell and it was work to test that piece of shit, and that should be the point. In a real beta, by the time the game has all the bugs worked out you should be so sick of seeing it you never want to see it again.  And that’s exactly what happened.  Clearly Sims Online didn’t do that well, but the point is, I steered completely clear of it on launch.

So then why should Bungie make such a mass production for a beta that could potentially turn away the market for your game?  Simple: it won’t because it’s a freakin demo that’s already been beta-tested!!!  Wake up and stop pretending you’re impacting the game development process, you sheep; you’re not.  Bungie knows exactly what they’re doing and you’re playing right into it.

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Left 4 Dead 2: The Passing DLC

Based on my review of Left 4 Dead 2, you would be right to assume that I was pretty geeked for the recently released DLC pack dubbed “The Passing.”  Now that the wait is over was my excitement justified?  Yes.

This DLC pack brings us the long-awaited passing(get it?) of the survivors from Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2.  Without giving anything away and to get it out-of-the-way, I’ll just say this is a bit of a let down.  The meeting occurs within the new campaign.  The actual campaign is a bit short, only 3 sections.  The sections are lengthy, but not long enough to make up for the lack of parts.  It’s nice that it can be played so quick, but I would have liked this new campaign to be a bit meatier.

Now that the negative is out-of-the-way, let’s talk about everything else the pack brings because it’s all awesome.  The new campaign is broken up into new maps for versus and survival.  Most people still playing L4D2 would agree new maps for versus mode is always a welcome addition.  These new maps function well within survival mode as well.  They are fairly wide open and provide a lot of interesting match-ups, especially the third one.

Alright, now to the meatiest part of the DLC, mutations.  Mutations are one-off custom game types created by Valve each week.  Every Thursday a different game type will be available to replace the current one.  The first week we were treated to realism versus which is basically just a match of versus with realism mode enabled.  This gave the infected a huge advantage, specifically the Jockey.  This forces the survivors to play the game in a different way than they would in normal versus where the two sides are balanced.

So basically mutations give an endless amount of modes and re-playability available to the players.  If you’re tired of versus, survival, or campaign, check back every Thursday to see what’s new.  At least you can never complain about a lack of new content in Left 4 Dead 2 from now on. However, you have to download the passing for mutations to be available on your game but once you do they’ll be available forever.

Mutations are a game changer folks.  That mode itself makes this pack worth it.  Download The Passing now, it’s only 560 points.  That’s a good damn deal sucka.

Written by Cool-C

Also check out Neutrally Chaotic’s review of Left 4 Dead 2

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Mobile Review: Zenonia 2

If the app store is lacking anything clearly it would be Legend of Zelda. That’s obviously not going to change, and so enters Zenonia 2. At first glance, fans of Super Nintendo era RPG fans will instantly be drawn to the visuals of Zenonia. They are definitely styled as an homage to the 16-bit era.

Zenonia also stays true to the “Zelda” form by being an action rpg. For the most part you attack by tapping like a mad man. You learn more attacks and spells as you progress but essentially you just strategically tap the attack button. However, all the comparisons to Zelda can stop there.

Zenonia is a full-on RPG experience disguised as a mobile game. You start the game by choosing from one of four character classes. I chose paladin, but there is also the shooter, magician and warrior each with their set of moves and abilities to be learned along the way. This game uses the ability tree mechanic as you level up and it’s a pretty huge tree which means tons of skills to learn. I can’t imagine anyone being able to reach all the skill and abilities in the tree in one play through. Just doesn’t seem possible and that’s a good thing; more reason to keep coming back.

Even though there are four classes, early on it’s essentially a choice between primary melee attacks or primary long-range attacks. Depending on your choice that can change and sort of even out later on, if you choose to level up that way.

The music in the game is pretty impressive. It’s all very sweeping and grand and very reminiscent of Final Fantasy from the 16-bit era. It’s pretty refreshing to hear such an emphasis on music on a platform where most music is just a throw away.

Read on to find out about the story, the controls and the multiplayer.

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Mobile Review: Baseball Superstars 2010

Baseball season is upon us once again and that means one thing, I need to pretend I like it for a while by finding the nearest baseball game.  But my search for said baseball game is always a rigorous one.  This game needs to be fairly simple, well because I’m a simpleton.  The game must also have a home run derby because chicks dig the long ball and by chicks I mean me and by long ball I mean long ball.  And really who cares about anything else in baseball besides home runs.  Baseball Superstars 2010 was my answer. It’s on the iPhone so I can hit home runs on the go.  Alright so mission accomplished there but is the game any good or did I waste that cash on a tired tradition that I pretend to enjoy.

Short answer, yes it’s good.  Long answer, it’s really good. This game is so feature packed you’ll think you just bought MLB 2k10.  There’s quick exhibition play, perfect for people like me who just want a quick baseball fix.  There’s also season mode and a create-a-player mode dubbed “my league.”  And if you want to get really crazy you just hit home runs or play missions.  Also, don’t forget the included wi-fi match play.  Yup, that’s a lot of ways to play one slightly boring past time.

My league mode is where this game really shines.  You can create a batter or pitcher and build them up from rookie to all-star increasing their stats along the way, essentially a baseball rpg.  Yeah, I said it.  This rpg character building is everywhere nowadays.  Anyway, you can create up to 4 batters and 2 pitchers all of which can then be assembled into a team and used in the season mode.  The great thing about playing in my league mode is that as a batter, that’s all you do.  The games are simulated until you’re up to bat.  Gotta love that.  All the satisfaction of hitting without all the bullcrap of playing baseball.

Read on to find out about the controls, the visuals and to see the game-play in action.

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Warioware D.I.Y.: For those about to create, I salute you

If you’re reading this hoping to hear about all the zany new microgames and crazy characters, you’re in the WRONG place.  If you’re here to read about a fantastically simple, new game design tool where (almost)anything is possible, you’re in the RIGHT place.

WarioWare D.I.Y’s focus is on game creation, not so much on playing.  Of course, you’ll be playing some zany games but that’s not what this game is all about.  This game is about creative release.  If you’re not into that and just want to play the microgames of yore, go back and play the previous WarioWare games. I have nothing to say to you.

Essentially WarioWare D.I.Y is the long-awaited sequel to Mario Paint for the Super Nintendo.  That doesn’t mean this is a Super Nintendo game; it’s not.  It’s an evolution of what was started back in Mario Paint.  Those of you that have played Mario Paint will instantly recognize all the tools.  But wait! There’s more.  This game includes even more tools to help your creations come to life.

Now at this point, I have to point out in WarioWare “game” is a relative term.  What you can create is literally anything…unless it’s under 10 secs and isn’t too complex.  If you can poke it, you can create it. No dragging or drawing triggers object, only poking. These constraints actually make it all more interesting and creative.  Trying to find your way around these constraints and still carrying out your original vision might be the best part.

Read on for more review and to see some examples.

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Mobile Review: Bit Pilot

Chalk it up to nostalgia, but Bit Pilot has everything I want in a mobile game.  A quick experience, addicting gameplay, great music and 8-bit graphics.  Bit Pilot is an intense bullet dodging game set in space for the iPhone.  You use the intuitive touch screen controls to control your ship and try to survive the never-ending meteor shower.  There is a real “one more game” throwback here.  You keep hitting restart and suddenly you’ve played for an hr trying to beat your high score. It’s those damn online leaderboards using OpenFeint.  Try and beat me!

While playing I could have sworn I was transported to an arcade in the 80s, then I realized I was in bed and it was 3 AM…….. truth.  There is even an original 8-bit soundtrack written by Sabrepulse.  Using your overall combined score you can unlock new tracks and wallpapers.  Seriously, there is a lot in this package for such a simple game.  And the best part, it’s only .99 cents! Check out the trailer below or visit their website and experience the awesome.

Written by Cool-C

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