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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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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Podcast +3!

Subscribe to the Podcast: MoralityPoints.com - Morality Plus One Podcast - Morality Plus One Podcast

This episode Not Judas makes his podcast debut and talks with Cool-C and Neutrally Chaotic talk about what he’s playing and his favorite games. We also talk about games that deserve a sequel as well as series that need to die. There is talk about Mass Effect 2, Gitaroo Man, Dragon Age: Origins, Earthbound, Morrowind, Oblivion, Modern Warfare 2, Final Fantasy X and DJ Hero with a few others mixed in.

We use a new method of recording so let us know how you like it. Thanks for listening!


Morality Points.com Podcast Episode Three (right click to download)

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DJ Hero: Return of the DJ

DJ Hero has everything a fan of rhythm games could want. The most important part of success for a rhythm game is the music and this game does not disappoint. In what other game can you find Queen, Bell Biv Devoe, Rick James, Gang Starr and Daft Punk? You simply can’t. But that is also one of the major problems with the game. The only people who truly know all the artists in the game are already DJs. They will be geeked to see some of their favorite break beats like Billy Squier’s “Big Beat” represented, but who else really knows that song or even knows who the flip Billy Squier is?

Basically, the soundtrack is so varied that at times the average gamer will wonder why they care about a particular song or playlist. But, for me that’s a reason to love the game, not hate it. People who otherwise wouldn’t hear this music now get to.

Also, all the tracks in the game are mash-ups. And believe it or not there is a huge portion of the population that still haven’t heard a mash-up. A mash-up is essentially the music or backing track from one song literally mashed together with the words from another song. DJs, at least good ones, do these all the time in their sets, thus the real appeal to this game. Anyone can feel like they’re creating mash-ups on the fly. All the 100 licensed songs on the game are mashed together to make mixes exclusive to DJ Hero.  Since some people may not like or know what mash-ups are, this could be a bad thing, but again I think that it’s what makes this game great.

This takes me to controls and gameplay. No matter how great the music is, if the controls give you diarrhea of the hands there’s no point. (Editors Note: What the super fudge?) No worries though, the controls are spot on. The plastic turntable is implemented really well.

Read more about the game play, the multiplayer as well as my verdict after the break.

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New Super Mario Bros Wii: If you give a plumber a mushroom…

Have you ever had an old friend come to visit and then after about the third day you remember why you haven’t talked as much lately? It’s not that the past three days weren’t a blast and you wanted to spend that time with someone else. It’s just that things are different now, and after you’ve had the first few days to walk down memory lane, you’re ready to get back to business as usual. You even found time to catch up and find out what’s new with each other, but still you haven’t found anything to keep the party going longer than a few days. You can invite friends over when things look dire but that only prolongs the inevitable goodbye. These visits essentially boil down to nostalgia with just a hint of newness. In a nutshell, that’s how I feel about New Super Mario Bros Wii.

You’ll put the game in and instantly be taken back to the glory days of side scrolling Mario. All the things you loved about Super Mario Bros., Super Mario 3 and Super Mario World are combined in a supreme Mario sandwich.

Of course the graphics are a bit updated from NES or SNES, but the real beauty is in the graphic restraint. This game was clearly made to look and feel like the classic Mario worlds we fell in love with in 80s and 90s. These are all new worlds; this is not a remake. Clearly every world had inspiration from previous worlds, but that’s not a bad thing. The individual levels within the worlds are fresh enough without straying from the formula to make the sampled worlds okay. More that later.

The music’s all there too. Thankfully, they knew that introducing all new music was a terrible mistake. Just when you start to wonder where the familiar melodies are, you’ll find you’ve been humming along with one this entire level. I’m telling you this game is dripping with nostalgia. It’s a Mario fan boys wet dream. All the classic sound effects make their obligatory appearance as well. 1-ups and mushroom all sound just as they should.

There are few additions to help Mario this time.  Maybe it’s not a huge surprise to some, but to me the new costumes and power ups really caught me by surprise. The only returning faves are the classic mushroom, fire flower and star. So I don’t spoil it, I’ll leave the rest for you to see.  I’ll get into the co-op action after the break…

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