Saturday, June 25, 2011


Darksiders Review


They really aren’t anything special, technically speaking, but they have a very strong artistic design that makes them fun to look at.  The game is set on Earth, after the apocalypse, and, as such, the ruined environments are interesting.  The enemies are also well designed, and have a lot of different looks to them.  The combat also looks very good, with huge sweeping strikes from War’s blade, and blood flying everywhere when you execute a finisher.  War animates very smoothly.  Overall, despite the fact that this isn’t the strongest game technically speaking, the graphics are well done and look good.

9/ 10


The sounds of battle permeate the air almost all the time, aside from in dungeons.  The enemies sound good, and have otherworldly battle cries.  The finishers also sound quite brutal, with ripping tearing and ripping happening quite often.  Many of the guns you get in the game also sound very good.  The voice acting is very well done, with a lot of emotion and talent put to work here.  One of the standouts is Vulgrim, the demon merchant.  He has a raspy nasally voice, and he has a lot of expression.  He sounds very creepy, as well, which is the original intentions.  However, the game is lacking somewhat in the music department.  It’s not bad, per se, but honestly, I didn’t even notice most of it.  This game has its own little Zelda Chime for when you complete a puzzle, but it’s not as catchy as Zelda’s.  This is a good sounding game, but the music leaves a lot to be desired.  

8/ 10


This is an apocalyptic game that starts at the end; Earth is being destroyed by a battle between Heaven and Hell.  No humans survive; yeah, when you think about it, this is a scary game.  They all become these easy to kill zombie creatures.  Anyways, the Horseman of the Apocalypse, War, is accused of starting the war.  Of course, he’s been framed by someone else.  After losing a fight to a huge demon named Straga, he is banished to Hell for 100 years.  Eventually, he is told by the Council that he must defeat a new enemy called the Destroyer in order to clear his name.  And just to make sure he doesn’t stray off the path, he is put under the watch of (you guessed it) the Watcher.  If he loses sight of his task or disobeys the Council’s commands, the Watcher has permission to kill him.  The story is pretty good, but a few of the plot devices aren’t explained very well, which makes it a bit confusing.  However, there is a good cast of characters, and there are also a lot of unresolved plot threads left, which promises a sequel. 

8/ 10


It’s kind of like Zelda, but more linear.  At the same time, it has a Hack n Slash combat system.  Sure, the game may be derivative (actually it is in a few cases) but the parts come together to make a game that is a hell of a lot of fun.

After an opening sequence detailing War’s fall from grace, (which is quite epic) you are put into a ruined world filled with supernatural threats.  After being tasked with finding the Destroyer’s Chosen and bringing their hearts to a character who will remain unnamed, you truly begin the quest.  The game’s structure is very much like Zelda; you explore an overworld, go to dungeons, fight monsters and solve puzzles.

The dungeons are well designed, and each one has a unique challenge.  For instance, in one of them, you must hunt down 5 huge spiders in order to reach the boss room.  In another, you have to realign laser beams to free someone.  There are well designed puzzles in each one, and the one about the lasers is particularly satisfying, because it spans the entire dungeon and requires a lot of thought and some careful planning.

Of course, no good Zelda clone would be complete without some awesome tools and upgrades to boost your character.  And this game definitely has some good ones.  For instance, in the first dungeon, you obtain a Crossblade, which is basically the boomerang from Zelda, complete with 5 target lock on.  The items are all very well implemented, and fun to use.  Near the end of the game, you will do a lot of weapon switching, so it’s a good thing that you can hotkey items.

And how is the combat?  Very, very fun.  Each weapon swing feels very powerful; the controller shakes with each impact, and each swing can hit multiple enemies.  War’s Sword, Chaoseater, is just one of the weapons you get access to.  You eventually become able to use Death’s Scythe, and a Power gauntlet that can sends enemies flying with a single punch.  You always have your sword equipped, and can switch out between the gauntlet and scythe.  You use X to swing your sword and Y to use the other weapon.  After purchasing a lot of moves, this allows for some seriously super combos.  Needless to say, the core combat is a lot of fun.  Other additions to it are Wrath moves, which are abilities that can be used in mid combat, at the expense of Wrath.  (think Magic Power from Zelda)  These are simple to pull off, and a lot of fun to use.  Also, after a certain point in the game, you gain access to War’s super form.  
After enough fighting, you can transform into this huge, invincible red beast.  Each sword swing does a ton of damage, and can make short work of even the toughest enemies in seconds flat.  However, it doesn’t last very long, so you must know the time to use it and the time to save it.

All of this fighting yields Souls.  These are the currency system of the game.  You trade souls with Vulgrim for upgrades, moves and items.  This has been done in other games, and works well.  In addition to that, scattered around the world are Artifacts, which can be traded to Vulgrim for a profit.  (Which is weird since you end up buying from him anyways.)

Speaking of hidden items, all around the world are upgrades to your health and wrath.  A late game item makes them much easier to find, but they are still satisfying to find.

And lastly, this game has some great bosses.  Each one has a terrific sense of scale, and makes great use of your arsenal.  I won’t go any further in order to prevent spoilers, but let me say that the huge enemies in this game are very awesome, and don’t go down without a fight.



9/ 10

Darksiders is a derivative game.  No doubt about that.  However, it’s also a very well made one, and is a ton of fun to play.  There are some great puzzles and bosses, the combat is very fun to do, the game has a good story and great visuals, and there is a promise of a sequel.  If some of the issues are fixed (the game was short, about 15- 20 hours, and the overworld is more linear than I like) then Darksiders 2 has the potential to be something very amazing.  I recommend this game to anyone who likes Zelda, hack n slash, both, or just a well-designed game.  You can also read the Zelda Ocarina of Time review since they are very similar types of games.

You can buy this game for $18 new on amazon or as low as $10 used. The cheap price is definitely worth buying.


Monday, June 13, 2011

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Review

This is a game that is considered one of the best, if not the best, game of all time. With the release of Zelda: OoT 3d coming soon I thought it would be a good idea to review the classic.

Primitive by today’s standards, but looked great for the time.  There is great use of color, and the game has a very strong artistic design.  The characters are surprisingly expressive at times, and everything animates pretty smoothly.  There is the occasional frame rate hitch, but it really isn’t a big deal.  It doesn’t look as good as Majora’s mask, but still looks great.

9/ 10


There are some great sound effects in the game.  From swinging your sword, to slaying an enemy, to galloping across Hyrule Field, this game hits all the right notes in the sound department.    However, the real reason you’ll want to play this game full blast is for the music.  This game easily has one of the best soundtracks ever featured in a game.  Everything just sounds like it belongs exactly where it is.  From the soothing, peaceful melodies of Zora’s Domain, to the absolutely epic and exciting Gerudo Valley, everything sounds amazing.  The composers really pulled out all of the stops for this game, and it shows.   Really, the only other games I’ve heard that come close to rivaling this game’s music is Majora’s Mask, Wind Waker and Super Smash Brothers Brawl.  

10/ 10


It starts off with a young boy named Link waking up from a bad dream about a dark figure taking over Hyrule.  It turns out, this boy is Link, and he’s supposedly a Kokiri, people who live in Kokiri forest under the watch of the Great Deku Tree and never age.  After performing some simple tasks and finding a sword and shield, he goes inside the Deku Tree to get rid of evil inside of it.  I won’t really go any farther, but I will say, at its core, this game is just another save the world story.  However, there are many interesting twists, such as discovering more about Link’s background, and the revelation of a certain character’s true identity.  There is also something about the game that makes it a deeply personal story, and gives it a lot of personality.  It’s definitely one of the better stories in games.

 9/ 10


  It starts out with you finding Rupees and a sword.  To find the sword, you must avoid a rolling boulder in a maze.  And you must buy the shield.  This eases you into the game nicely, and introduces you to the games mechanics.  After that, you go into the Great Deku Tree, and face your first dungeon.  The basic design of the game is explore overworld, find someone with a problem, solve their problem, go into the next dungeon.  Usually, the pre dungeon challenges are entertaining, and help flesh out the overworld. 

The overworld is fairly sizeable in this game.  There is Hyrule Field, the “hub”, and a few different locations for you to go to.  They are all entertaining and have a personality all their own.

The dungeons are well designed and many in this game.  There are 2 that actually take place inside a living creature, which is a nice change of pace.  Overall, I believe there are 9 dungeons, each of which takes a few hours to complete.  They all have a unique challenge, like finding a freeing imprisoned Gorons, or, probably the most famous one, raising and lowering water levels in order to progress.  There are some really tricky puzzles in this game, and it’s very satisfying to figure them all out.  There’s even one where you must go to it at 2 different time periods in order to complete it, which is a very nice twist.

Through methods I won’t say here(in case you’re one of the few people who don’t know anything about this game) Link can travel forward in time several years to adult age.  A lot changes in Hyrule in 7 years.  There are challenges and secrets to discover in each time period, which is pretty neat.  Although, the Links from both time periods control and play in pretty much the same way, but young Link generally has less damaging equipment.  However, the changing thing really fits well with the story, and adds to it a lot.

There are several minigames for you to partake in, and they are fun diversions.  There are things like shooting galleries, obstacle courses, a chance game and even an interesting take on bowling.  They drain money fast, but that’s good, because this game falls into the same trap as many other Zeldas:  lack of things to spend your money on. 

There is also a good amount of sidequests in this game, though not as many as in MM or Wind Waker.  Most involve the minigames, but there are a few that stand out.  For instance, in the future, you have to race a greedy man to win a horse, but also save a ranch from his grubby hands.  The horse, Epona is incredibly useful, especially for the extensive trading sequence that is available.  Also, this is the game that introduced future masks in the series (namely Majora’s Mask) like the Mask of Truth, Goron Mask, and a few that weren’t in MM.  There is also a few sidequests involving these.

The game should take you around 20- 25 hours to beat on your first runthrough.  However, it just screams minimalist three heart runthrough, and other interesting challenges that the designers probably didn’t intend.  For instance, you can go to some of the dungeons out of order, if you so choose.  I, myself, have replayed it 2 or 3 times, and it remains fun to this very day.

There are also many secret grottoes to discover.  While, most of the time, they just contain rupees or something similar, there is a certain satisfaction that comes from finding them, and if you are someone who likes to find every secret, this should keep you busy.

That’s not to say it’s flawless.  For one, it is fairly easy.  There are a few challenging bosses (the Forest Temple leaps to mind) but, if you’re careful, you should be able to make it through the game without too much trouble.  It is more challenging than, say, Twilight Princess, but it’s nowhere near as hard as I remember.  Also, the controls for jumping over a fence with your horse could be improved upon.  You have to approach the fence head on, otherwise the horse will balk and stop moving. 
However, these are minor complaints in what is, all in all, an excellent game.  

9.5/ 10



OoT is one of those rare games that feels like it has a certain sense of magic to it.  (I think the series stopped having that feeling after Wind Waker.)  The story is intensely emotional, the graphics are good, and the music is pretty much perfect.  The gameplay also holds up very well today.  If you are one of the few individuals who, by some strange twist of fate, has heard of the game, but never played it, I highly recommend doing so.  It’s definitely one of the top 10 greatest games.  It is a game that brings back a certain nostalgia that most games don't have, so even if you have played it many times its still fun to go back to.

You probably already own it, but if you don't you can buy it on amazon for $15 which is one older game that is definitely worth the price.(See link below)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat Review


The graphics are good. Not amazing, but they are solid. The character models are done well and and it still has the original MK flair to it, which is a huge positive. The little subtleties though are what make it  great. Look in just about every background of every level and you'll see something interesting.  These range from two other fighters on a ledge, random cars going by, or other bizarre additions. While the environments don't add to the gameplay itself, it does add a great deal to the game as a whole.

The gore is also top notch. Every fatality is unique and the way that is represented is wonderful. When a man is split in two, you can see everything from his intestines to his skeleton. The blood is also great, and just pours out of the victims.  Watch below for an example of one of the great fatalities, this one is specifically from Ermac.



The sound in this game is great. The voice acting gets the job done and is quite effective. However, the sound effects is where the sound shines. Whether your guy is doing an x-ray attack or is being grabbed you can hear exactly what you think you would hear. For every fatality there is a unique sound effect that makes doing it so satisfying.


Story Mode:

The story was entertaining, just not great. The Mortal Kombat junkies will love it, but the casual gamer will also like it. I don't want go into to much detail about the actual events in order to prevent spoilers but there were a few annoyances. The main annoyance is that I feel I had to almost resort to "gimmicks" in order to win. An example of this would be the final boss battle with Shao Kahn. Typical fighting techniques, combos, and specials just didn't work on him, so you have to resort to another fighting technique. The fighting technique that ended up working best, results in lots of teleportation and very little actual fighting. (one hit here, one hit there) Once you got the hang of it it wasn't very hard, however, it made a fun fighting game a little boring. I don't want to be teleporting every second just to give him an uppercut then run away, I want to be linking combos and specials.



Mortal Kombat plays just like the older games, which is great. They stuck with the 2d style for this fighting and it worked very well.  After the the "3d" Mortal Kombats I think this was a great decision. They went back to the roots of the game while keeping it fresh. The combos and specials are easy to use and are very responsive. The simplicity makes the game easy for the casual player to pick up and have fun with, but the added level of complexity with the timing of the combo's and specials against other good players also caters to the more intense players.


Re-playability :

             Online/Local Multiplayer: The online play is a little laggy once in a while, but not terrible. You'll find that sometimes the lag does interfere with your timing of your moves, which can get quite frustrating. You definitely get a more solid experience when playing locally with a friend. This is clearly the best part of the game. It is the part of the game that you will be playing for months and years to come. There are a variety of modes online which will be fun for a long time.


             Single Player: There is a lot to do without anyone else. Between the story, the ladder, and the challenges you'll have a lot of fun and will be able to play this game for a long time.




This is a solid game that is a great game to buy. Its a game you will definitely pick up month after month even if its just to play locally with your friends. If you like any type of fighting game then you will enjoy this game as well. I personally am not a huge fan of the "fighter" genre but this game is great. Anyone can pick this game up and have fun, whether your a fighting genre expert or a casual player.

You can buy it as low as $33.99 from amazon(see below).


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Are you a college student or a future college student? Get a free Xbox 360!

If your in college or a future college student a great new offer has come up to get a free Xbox 360. If you buy a windows 7 computer that is over $699 you are eligible for a free Xbox 360. This type of deal rivals that of its competitors from Apple where college students get a free Ipod which has worked for years.

If you plan on getting a laptop soon you should definitely check this deal out.

To learn more info go here.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dead Space 2

Dead Space 2 Review

Warning: Dead Space (the original) spoilers


     Not much has changed from the original Dead Space.  That is, it’s one of the best looking games on the console.  Everything is incredibly detailed.  The lighting is perfect and spot on, and there is a lot of gore.  Much more so than in the first DS.  If you couldn’t handle the first’s gore, do not play this game.  There are many, many more brutal ways to die.  The artistic side of things is improved from the first.  Even the returning Necromorphs have some variation in their designs, which aids in the mood that  people being infected with this scourge.  In the first, most of the monsters looked the same.  In this installment, the basic Slasher enemies will take on different forms; one might be wearing the guard’s security suit, while another is wearing a civilian’s clothes.  Also, the suits you get in this game actually look different from one another, which is nice.  It allows you to customize your appearance more.  In short, this has some of the best graphics on the 360 that I’ve seen.  Numerous small tweaks went a long way in this game, and it shows.  The one downside is that you may, on occasion, experience some slowdown.  However, this is very rare, and only lasts about a split second.  



     It is just as good as the first installment.  There is some outstanding ambient noise, and it really contributes to the atmosphere.  The weapons all sound the same, but that’s okay, because they sounded great in the first game.  As before, the voice acting is top notch.  EA really knows how to hire actors.  The necromorphs sound just as good as before, and the new ones have their own chilling sounds to them.  Also, Isaac has a voice in this one, which is well done.  



     I know many people will disagree with me, but I think this story is better than the first because of one reason:  The psychological factor.  It starts out with Isaac waking up in a space colony.  It is revealed that he has been here for 3 years, but he can barely remember  anything, aside from the fact that he is having horrific hallucinations of his girlfriend, who died aboard the Ishimura in the first Necromorph outbreak.  Of course, another outbreak occurs on this station, and Isaac makes his escape.  Throughout the course of the game, he is struggling with visions of his dead girlfriend, and a crazed patient telling him that he can help destroy the newly built Marker.  The whole government religious conspiracy thing is still there, but I really liked the psychological factor that this game has. 



      It is largely the same as the first one, but there some improvements and tweaks that help enhance the game as a whole.  I’ll break this part down into sections.

  • The Shooting:  The shooting is pretty much the same, but there are some new guns this time around.  For instance, there is the Javelin launcher, which has the ability to impale Necros to a wall and shock them.  You still have to aim for the limbs, and it remains satisfying and bloody as ever.  Additionally, a few old favorites have been given new alt fire modes.  The Assault Rifle, instead of shooting 360 degrees around you, shoots a grenade.  And the Flamethrower now shoots the entire can, where it explodes, setting fire to anything in the immediate vicinity.
  • The exploration:  This is still a fairly linear game, but there are still some side places for you to explore.  Of course, there are the ever present Power Node rooms, which hide some (very needed) health and ammo caches. 
  • The Upgrading:  It is still the same as in the first.  Hook up Power Nodes to a grid, and a gun or whatever it is you put them in will be enhanced.  However, a few guns have an exclusive power up, which is pretty neat. 
  • The Shop:  Again, largely unchanged.  You find money lying around to buy stuff with, and you find Schematics to unlock new items for purchase.  They say if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, and that applies here. 
  • The Kinesis Module:  It has been improved from the first tremendously.  It is now a viable option for combat (somewhat).    It is much faster in this one.  You can now stasis a guy, shoot off his limb, grab it with Kinesis, and impale him to a wall with it.  It is pretty fun to play around with, but it’s no match for the guns.
  • Stasis:  It, too, has been improved.  For one thing, it charges over time, which is good in-between skirmishes.  It’s still a good idea to keep a Stasis Pack handy, though, because it refills rather slowly.  Also, the enemies in this game become very tough, so, while it may not be necessary to use in the beginning of the game, it becomes essential later in the game. 
  • The puzzles:  There is the occasional puzzle, but they aren’t really anything special.  However, there is one puzzle near the end of the game that, if failed, will result in a brutal death for Isaac, and it is very memorable.
  • Zero- g:  The Zero gravity environments in this game have been completely reworked.  Instead of bouncing from wall to wall, you have the ability to float freely about in space.  This makes for some very good level design, and some intense encounters, as well.  I won’t say too much more, because these sequences are very fun and should be experienced. 
  • The Re-vamped Suit System:  Instead of just buying a new suit, you get different ones, with different abilities, and they all have a different design to them, which is a nice change of pace from the rather bland Mining Suit from the first.  The way it works is that each suit gives you a different upgrade:  For instance, one gives you 10% off at the store, while another adds +10% damage to the Assault Rifle.  You may be thinking “Well, what about the armor and inventory?  Shouldn’t you just wear the one that gives you the best armor?”  The developers thought of that, and made it so you can wear any suit you want, while still retaining the best armor and number of inventory slots.  (For instance, if you liked a suit that gives you a 10% defense bonus, but have a suit that gives you +20, you keep the plus 20.)  This is very convenient, because it allows you to wear your favorite suit, while still getting the best defenses possible.
  • The environments:  The environments in this game are very different from the ones of the first game.  Instead of the claustrophobic hallways of the Ishimura, the vast majority of the game takes place on a human colony, and, as such, you explore things like food courts, shops, apartments, and, in the creepiest part of the game, a preschool.  There is a lot of welcome variety in the places you go through, and the environments are generally more wide open.  (Don’t worry Ishimura junkies.  You eventually return to the doomed ship.)
  • Vacuum Windows:  I couldn’t think of any other name for them.  Anyways, there are certain windows in the game that can be shot out, where the vacuum of space proceeds to pull out everything in the room; furniture, Necromorphs, and you.  The way you survive this is that you have to shoot a panel above the window, otherwise you will meet a truly gruesome end.  This is an exciting way of taking out enemies.  However, there weren’t many places I found in the game that it could be used, which is slightly disappointing. 
  • Set pieces:  This mean prescripted, exciting events in the game.  Think things like the Minecart sequence from RE4.  There are many in this game, and they are all very well done and exciting.  One of the standouts is flying through a tunnel while a tram car speeds violently along, dodging Necros and obstacles, where it meets an abrupt stop, and Isaac falls to the ground.  Afterwards, a huge tentacle proceeds to grab him, and you must shoot your way free.  There are also a few free falling sections through space, which are just as fun and exciting.:
  • The "scariness":  I thought the first game had an excellent atmosphere, and was very creepy, but wasn’t truly scary.  This game, while still maintaining the excellent atmosphere, seems even less scary than the original.  Maybe it’s because you run into many more people.  Maybe it’s because we know what to expect from Dead Space (Which is the most probable answer).  Whatever it is, it makes this game less creepy than its predecessor.  It’s still fairly creepy, and made me jump a few times.


Overall- 9/10 

     In review, Dead Space 2 is a worthy sequel to Dead Space.   There are some improvements, and maybe a few steps back in this installment of Dead Space. It is better than the first in many regards, except for the creepiness factor.  However, little tweaks make this a very fun and satisfying game to play, whether you’re a horror fan, like me, or not.  I recommend this game whole heartedly, both to newcomers and veterans alike.  (The game includes a “Previously on Dead Space” clip for those who didn’t play the original which is something that should be added to all sequel games.)  Although, this game is definitely not for the faint of heart.  Some of the gore  makes the original look like an E rated game based on a cartoon.  I’m not exaggerating.  It is very brutal, and pulls no punches in the gore department.  However, if you can stomach it, Dead Space 2 is a journey into the dark depths of the unknown well worth taking.  Gamespot hit the nail on the head when they said this is the gaming equivalent of Alien and Aliens.  The first was much more deliberate, and suspenseful.  Dead space 2 is much more action packed.  So, if you’ve come this far, thank you for reading this long review, happy gaming, and keep on fighting the scourge!

This is a great game that everyone should pick up. It is currently $59.99 at Best Buy. It is currently also as low as $28 from amazon. (see below)


Other reviews can be read at GameSpotIGN, and Metacritic.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

NBA 2k11

NBA 2k11

I am going to start off by saying this is one of the best sports games I've ever played. While it is great it also has some major flaws that need to be corrected in the next iteration of the game.

Graphics- Great. I really can't ask for much better at this time on a console. Some of the character models need to be worked out(Kobe Bryant looks like an alien).  The graphics are top notch. They also improved the animations a lot. They are very fluid, whether your doing a step back jumper, or a euro-step layup. There really isn't much to complain about in the graphics department, but they still aren't mind blowing. 


Gameplay- This is where the game really excels. If your a beginner you can take simple jump shot with ease, or if your an advanced player you can drive to the hoop and finish with a spin dunk. The better you get the more advanced you can become with the moves. The isomotion is great and allows you to perform an array of different moves. The only complaint is that it sometimes doesn't do exactly what you want and it sometimes feels a little clunky. The players also feel like a little clunky at times and doesn't do want you want.


Modes-  The traditional association mode is great. It provides hours and hours of fun. The Jordan challenges add something too do as well but are definitely not a reason to buy the game. However, they do allow a nice change of pace. The my player is the only real mode that leaves a lot to be desired. There is a lot of potential especially with the online "crew" but as of now it is a mode that really is just not a very lasting mode. I played about half way through the season and by then the fun factor turned more into a grind. It didn't seem fun after the first year was over. This is something that needs to be improved greatly in the next games. There also needs an option to change the season length in My Player. 82 games is great for some people, but for others is just too long.


Online- The online modes are very fun and add a ton of replayability to this game. The most basic mode is just the online ranked match. This works well, but too many people quit. This isn't the games fault, but they should probably somehow address this issue by making quitting have more of a penalty. The crew games are also very fun. The problem is that it takes some people forever to get a match. I have had it be instantaneous and I've had it take 20 minutes to get a match. This is minor issue but is very annoying and needs to be fixed.


Replayability- Between the Association, My Player, online, and Jordan challenges this game will last you for a long, long time.


Overall- 9.5/10      

This is currently one of the best sports games available and if you haven't picked it up yet you need to.  Its only $39.99 at Best Buy and is worth every penny.

Other reviews can be read at IGNGamespotMetacritic.

It is given a 89/100 from the compiled reviews on Metacritic which is still very good.

In Depth Game Reviews and Other Video Game Related News

I will be going in depth with different games. I will focus on new games but also review some older games. Please comment and say any game you would like reviewed.

I will also write short articles based on other video game related topics.