The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Review (Xbox 360)

The Witcher 2 Xbox 360

It’s been a long time since a game has told me that I sucked. After playing through the opening tutorial, Witcher 2 recommended that I play on the easiest difficulty. And for the first few hours of playing, I couldn’t agree more; I really did not know what to make of Geralt the Witcher. The Witcher 2 is a tough game but, once you embrace the gameplay, explore the lore and invest in the character, you’ll experience a flawed, yet entertaining game.

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BREAKING NEWS: Battlefield 3 Caspian Border Map Returns, High-Res Texture on Xbox 360

So the title pretty much says it all, but to clarify: for PC gamers, you have one more chance to play Caspian Border on Battlefield 3 before the beta ends. In this final weekend, Caspian Border will be available to play, no password-hunting required. The servers are up now (I’ve checked) so get on it!

 

More info after the bump!

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Transformers War for Cybertron: Screw Voltron

Transformers War for Cyberton

The Transformers… more than meets the eye!

At its most basic, Transformers: War for Cybertron is a third-person shooter that outlines the events leading up to the Transformers’ exile from their home planet, Cybertron. Developed by High Moon Studios and published by the folks over at Activision, this game was released on June 22, 2010 for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Before the game’s release, a multiplayer demo was released on June 10th for the Xbox 360, and allowed the player to take control of the “scout” or “soldier” character classes. This is the game that old school Transformers fans (like myself) have been waiting for the last two decades to be made.

War for Cyberton

From here, things look peaceful. On the planet’s surface? Not so much.

Transformers: War for Cybertron’s story starts off from the perspective of the Decepticons, led by Megatron, who are hunting down fragments of dark energon in order to fulfill their quest of annihilating the Autobots. The dark energon is being guarded by Starscream in his research station, who ends up betraying the Autobots, which allows Megatron to easily lay claim to the planet’s source of the dark energy. Near the conclusion of the Decepticon campaign, Megatron forces Omega Surpeme to open the passage to Cybertron’s core and travels there with his squadmates. Upon their arrival in the planet’s core, Megatron decides to infect the core of Cybertron with his newly acquired dark energon.

War for Cyberton Megatron

All hail Lord Megatron, leader of the Decepticons!

The second half of this game focuses on the Autobot’s story, where the original Autobot leader, Zeta Prime, has been slain and Optimus eagerly takes up the role of their leader. He starts by recruiting Ratchet and Bumblebee for the good cause in order to fight Megatron and the rest of his Decepticons. The Autobot campaign essentially kicks off in their home capital of Iacon, where they have to defend their way of life by activating Cyberton’s armaments. Near the end of the Autobot campaign, newly minted leader Optimus Prime orders the evacuation of all Autobot cities. As Autobot escape crafts are fleeing the planet’s surface, they are attacked by a large Decepticon, known only as Trypticon. Optimus Prime and his squad stick around to defeat this menacing foe, and after they do, they elect to defend Cybertron from Megatron and his allies as long as the escape crafts are leaving. At the game’s conclusion, Optimus Prime commissions a large ship to shuttle all remaining Autobots into the safety of deep space.

Optimus Prime

Autobots! Transform and roll out!!

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N3GAT1VE_CR33P Reviews: Mafia 2 Demo

Mafia 2 PS3

I sure as hell don't want to be on their bad side

The sequel to 2002’s Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven, Mafia II was announced three years ago at the Leipzig Games Convention, and will be playable on the PlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows, and Xbox 360. A ten minute playable demo of Mafia II was released on August 10, 2010 for all platforms and features a playable mission that was scrapped from the retail version. The full version of the game was released on August 24, 2010 in the United States, and will be released on August 27, 2010 in PAL regions.

Mafia 2 gangster

Ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to be a gangster.

Mafia II is set in a fictitious take on a combination of New York City and San Francisco (with some architectural influences from Detroit and Chicago thrown in for good measure) called Empire Bay during the late 1940s to the late 1950s. Being an open world sandbox, Empire Bay is going to have nearly 10 square miles of area to explore, just about fifty era-specific vehicles to drive around in, and officially licensed music from the timeframe Mafia II is based upon. Also making a return from the original game are a good number of the weapons it featured – including the M1928 Thompson machine gun, the Colt 1911, and the pump action shotty. In addition to the returning list of weapons from the original Mafia game are a couple of WWII era-specific weapons – such as the M3 Grease gun, the MP28, the MG42, and the MP40.

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Limbo: ???

When it comes to side scrolling games, I tend to think of bright colors and extra lives. Limbo boasts neither of these. The game is almost too dark, featuring a world engulfed in shadow and almost completely devoid of color. As for the extra lives, you have an infinite supply. The game would be too brutally unforgiving otherwise. As you venture through the world, you will die quite a bit. There is no getting around it. Death happens.

If you expect to find any story in Limbo, you will be let down. As far as I can tell, there isn’t one. The only hints you have are the title of the game and a girl who briefly appears. We are left without a who, where, when or why and must imagine the reasons behind the what. This might be some artsy “looking glass” type of story, but that doesn’t quite cut it with me. At least Mario had a princess to save. F for story.

I love violence (just ask my ex-girlfriend) (kidding). Limbo gets an A+ for violence. The mysterious shadow boy that you play as will find himself getting impaled on spikes or ripped apart by bear traps, fairly often. Mind you, this is not gore. There is no blood. The visual effect of making everything a shadow allows for a certain brilliance in brutality. It just looks cool. The environments share this brilliance. They have a beautifully dark artistic feel that makes up for the failure for a story. I didn’t know where I was, but I enjoyed playing through it.

Limbo Xbox

All the levels are different and have certain themes. One makes you use water to change the world around you and another involves climbing up and around mechanical objects. Just when one level starts to get old, the next one begins with perfect timing. There aren’t really many enemies in the game, though. One level involves natives setting traps for you, but they don’t show up. The only real constant enemies are these little glowing worms that attach onto your head and control you, but there is always a specific way of getting them off. Every puzzle has a specific way for you to get passed it, too. These two facts leave very little replay value. I tried a second run-through, but just got bored.

In retrospect, I probably could have spent the $20 used to buy Limbo on something more useful like food. However, it was a fun game and definitely worth the couple of hours it gave me of playtime. B+ for entertaining me.

Limbo Xbox 360

The Good: Cool visual style, fun puzzles and gameplay, interesting world.

The Bad: No story and not very long. The game makes absolutely no sense.

The Verdict: If you have an extra 20 bucks lying around and some time to kill, buy and download.

Written by Not Judas

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Bayonetta: Devil May Boobs?

Bayonetta

Watch out boys, she'll chew you up

Released near the beginning of 2010, Bayonetta was created by Hideki Kamiya (with Platinum Games) and released with help from its publisher, Sega. For those that don’t already know, Kamiya is the creator of Devil May Cry and Viewtiful Joe, which are both very great games in their own right. It’s been documented that the game went into creation almost three years before it was released, and has been showered with positive feedback from a large majority of its playing audience… myself included. Long story short, this game completely blew me away and playing it constantly reminded me about everything that’s good about well-written and expertly crafted video games. Now that I have that off my chest, let me continue the review…

Bayonetta

There's Bayonetta. As deadly as she is sexy.

Bayonetta’s story mainly takes place in a providence called Vigrid, which is essentially a mythical spin on what we know as Europe. The heroine (Bayonetta) is a witch that’s tasked with dispatching Angels in order advance through the story, all while unraveling the mystery behind her five hundred year slumber spent in a casket at the bottom of some lake. Her informant, Ezio (who sounds like a Mafioso type) tells her that his intel has indicated that Vigrid is where most of her questions can be answered. We find out early in the game about another of her allies, Rodin, who happens to be the owner of the “Gates of Hell” bar – and his establishment can be visited anytime that a portal to it is located, and weapon/item/attack upgrades can be afforded. The other main characters in the story are a rival Umbra Witch named Jeanne (who wields a similar, four-gun dress ensemble), Luka (a young man that met Bayonetta as a child), a young girl named Cereza, as well as the character that claims to be Bayonetta’s father – Balder.

Bayonetta Ass

Yeah, I would follow that ass to the gates of hell. For sure!

The back story of the game relates to the age old traditional symmetry between the forces of light and dark. Several centuries ago, the groups known as the Lumen Sages and the Umbra Witches maintained a constant, symmetrical balance between these opposing forces. The Lumen (aligned with the god of Paradise), controlled the power of divine light, while the Umbra (utilizing power from the demons of Inferno) watched over the sinister power of darkness. Both of the clans had a deep rooted respect for one another, but a mysterious tragedy caused the two clans to enter into a bloody war. Right near the end of this bloody conflict, only one Umbran Witch remained – Bayonetta. What I found most odd about Bayonetta is the fact that I never, ever felt overly evil while playing through the game as Bayonetta. Much to the contrary, I felt more of a sense of playing an outright evil character during my play throughs of such games like Dante’s Inferno, God of War 3, or Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

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Batman Arkham Asylum: I Am The Darkness

Batman game review

The problem with making a superhero game is the same regardless of the figure. How do you 1) make the player feel super powerful, and 2) challenge the player? Every superhero video game represents a struggle to balance these too elements. As gamers, we don’t want to just press the A button over and over again—that’s what Final Fantasy 13 got wrong (ZING!). At the same time, we also don’t want to be playing as Batman and not feel like we’re playing as Batman.

Developer Rocksteady gets really close to the perfect balance between the two sides. Really, really close. There’s only a few problem that keeps this from being the perfect superhero game. As such, it is a fantastic game that offers some amazing fun, but don’t expect to be too challenged. See, maybe I was playing this game on too easy of a setting, but outside of the boss fights, I didn’t die. There’s a part of me that wants to think I didn’t die because I’m awesome, but I know that’s not completely the case. Arkham Asylum’s combat system is just too easy, I think. This doesn’t break the game, honestly, but it does make me feel not like Batman, but just someone controlling Batman.

Of course, I’m not Batman, but video games to me represent a way to become something you’re not. I want to feel like Batman because I’m not Batman in real life (or maybe I am, and I’m just trying to throw you off the trail of my secret identity). Arkham Asylum’s combat basically comes down to pressing the attack button and knowing when to counter attack. It’s a simple, streamlined system, but like most fighting games, the straightforwardness of the system made me neglect a lot of the things I could do. There’s no reason to get into the upgrade system when you’re basic punching attacks work well, and in fact, I didn’t; I invested all my upgrades into the health system, and once I maximized that, I went onto combat upgrades I rarely used.

Joker

It’s a problem inherent in any fighting game. Some games, like Too Human, reduce their combat system to nothing, while others try to make the enemy AI so punishing that you have to used advanced combos. In Batman, that latter option wasn’t available: Batman seldom fights just one grunt. Maybe one boss, but a game of just boss fights would be equally dumb. Regardless, I felt that the fights were just too easy. However, I do have to say, the fights themselves look awesome. Onlookers think you’re doing something amazing, even though you’re just pressing one button. I think that’s why more people don’t mention the easy combat system: it looks so damn cool, it’s easy to forgive.

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