God of War: Ascension review by DB

 

 

God of War: AscensionThe PlayStation years have given us some of the best “exclusive” game series, but few have managed to last through more than one console generation. The God of War series has now gone through PS2, PS3 and PSP versions and continues to grow. A hyper-violent, very adult oriented game that is usually a blast to play the series has blood, guts and naked breasts flying at the screen at an incredible rate. What should have been a fun, but throw away, game series has developed into a classic that shows of incredible animations as well as a well realized story.

kratosThe first game in the series is about Kratos, a once human warrior who comes to challenge the Gods of Mt. Olympus. His goal is to defeat Aries, the God of War, and be released from his binding with him. Each subsequent sequel has Kratos working his way through the Gods in order to reclaim his life. The latest chapter, Ascension, is a prequel to the first game and shows how the binding to Aries happens in the first place.

The story this time out is much less developed than the previous games. This is the most human Kratos has been since the games started, yet I cared about him the least. At times it feels that he is fighting for the sake of fighting, not for revenge. Of course, this shouldn’t matter as the real star of the game is its breathtaking visuals. Epic boss fights and landscapes make this one of the most visually stunning of the series.

Sadly, that may be the best thing I can say about the game. For a series known for its difficulty, this one seems a little too easy… except for one sequence near the end. The roughly ten minute segment is so annoyingly difficult, and so out of line with the rest of the game’s difficulty, that it could force you to quit all together. When it’s so bad that the developer has to release a patch to help, you may have a problem. Other than that, this is by far the weakest of the 6 games – at times it feels like a aborted PSP title that had its graphics souped up. It’s still worth a play if you’re a fan of the series, but it’s definitely not a good first step or the uninitiated.

3 out of 5 stars

 

 

 

 

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Tomb Raider review by DB

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Sixteen years ago, the Sony PlayStation introduced us to a video game different than any other at the time. It had a fully detailed environment, full 360 degree controls, and starring a female heroine unlike no other. The game was Tomb Raider, and it was amazing. With it’s challenging puzzles, difficult learning curve and reasonably long campaign (for the time) it was embraced by many.

However, nothing quite stood out like Lara Croft, the star of the game. The character was so popular that she quickly entered the pop culture mainstream and became the most famous digital creation since Mario and Donkey Kong in the 1980’s. This may have been due in part to her overdone physique – it wouldn’t be an understatement to say feminists were outraged – but there was no denying her popularity. Even non-gamers knew who she was.

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Of course, like all winning video game series, sequel after sequel started being made. Of course, they started getting progressively worse and worse. The company tried something different on the PS2, but the result was the horrid Angel of Darkness. Things improved after that debacle, but they never fully recovered. Finally, someone decided instead of another half-assed game, to start from scratch and reboot the whole property.

Bringing Lara back to her roots may have been one of the best decisions made in the video game industry. Taking place before Lara becomes the fearless treasure hunter we know, this game shows a VERY vulnerable girl. She is scared, she gets hurt and you genuinely care for her – she is a human, not a superhero.

After her and her friends are stranded on an island, she must fight the elements, natives and other strange goings-on in order to survive. Armed with only a bow and arrow to start, there isn’t a thing that doesn’t prove a challenge. As the game progresses, she slowly starts turning into the hero we’ve come to expect.

As for the game itself, it runs unbelievably smoothly. Cutscenes transition into gameplay nearly flawlessly. The controls, aside from a few aiming issues, are superb. Trophy/achievement hunters will find lots of stuff to do. Once the game is over, the island opens and becomes you’re own personal playground. The only real downside to the game is the multiplayer – it is completely unnecessary and shouldn’t have been included. I understand the need some people have to play it, but this has always been a single player experience, there was no need to change it.

So, after years of low quality sequels and two botched movie attempts, the Tomb Raider series is finally back on track. This may be, dare I say it, then best PS3 game yet released – and I’m a huge fan of many of their games. Buy it, rent it, borrow it, whatever… just play it!

5 out of 5 stars

DayZ, IRL, Short Film. Now I want a DayZ Full Movie.

DayZ, created by Dean “Rocket” Hall, is a zombie, survival video game mod built on the existing ArmaII war game.  Hall and his team of developers are working on a standalone version of DayZ which should be released sometime this year.

The guys over at Corridor Digital made this amazing short film based on the game DayZ.

Should DayZ be made into a feature length movie?  Why or why not?

JB

@back_after_this

Grand Theft Auto V Release Date: September 17, 2013

Grand Theft Auto V has finally been given an official release date of September 17, 2013, four months after the originally planned release window of spring ’13.

As expected, this comes with a mix of fan reactions.  Form posts are ranging from disappointed to completely understanding:

“R* u let alot [sic] and i mean ALOT [sic] of people down today”  — TNAECW

“All I’m saying is Rockstar “Take all the time you need” There’s obviously a good reason, what would you guys rather?They rush it and it turns into a bad games which we’ll all be disappointed in … or an epic game Rockstar has promised?” — NUMBER1FAN

On their website, Rockstar apologizes and promises that “the entire team here is working very hard to make the game all it can be”.  They also state that they are doing what they can to “ensure [GTAv] will meet if not exceed your expectations come September.”

Rockstar is asking that fans try to refrain from being abusive in the comment section and, if necessary, they will suspend forum privileges:

… this does not give you free reign to be abusive in comments. The general rules of common courtesy, decency and behavior as listed above the Comment Box still apply here, therefore anyone continuing to post abusive comments will have their privileges suspended.

Although this is posted on the official Rockstar website, I’ve seen so many rumored release dates and read so many headlines and “insider reports” about the release that I find myself wondering if this is even true.

I don’t mind this date.  Rockstar calls this game “massive and complex” and if this is true, four extra months to work out any issues and add a little extra polish should be appreciated by any true gamer.

JB

Nightmare Busters for SNES possibly slated for 2013 release

Nightmare Busters

Super Fighting Team, a development, production and publishing company based out of California has announced plans to release Nightmare Busters, for the Super Nintendo, possibly this year.

This will be the first game released for the SNES, in North America, in almost 15 years.  President Brandon Cobb, in an interview with Chaotic Games, revealed no firm release date

As soon as the official release date is confirmed, it will be announced on our website and company Facebook page, as well as via e-mail to all of our pre-order customers and mailing list subscribers.

If you still have a working SNES system and have a liking for older 16 bit graphics, this should be a nice surprise for you.

JB