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Mar. 4th, 2011

daria: daria: satisfied

bebopsamurai

Ridin' The Storm Out (Bulletstorm review)

Game: Bulletstorm
Platform: Xbox 360/ Playstation 3/ PC/ Steam
Rating: M
Developer: People Can Fly
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Released: February 2011

It's been about seven years since "Painkiller," Polish developer People Can Fly's last game debuted to critical acclaim but lackluster sales, and in that time the First-Person Shooter has undergone a considerable shift. 

Gone are the sweeping, open vistas and outlandish weapons of "Serious Sam," or even the colorful character designs of "Team Fortress 2"-- Military shooters have dominated the landscape, and even with the occasional piece of genuine excellence like "Bioshock," "Portal" or even "Modern Warfare 1," the genre's metaphorical landscape is cluttered with gritty, overly serious titles itching for a piece of "Call of Duty's" online-multiplayer supremacy.

But while the now-usual suspects are still rearing their ugly heads this year, the wacky FPS is finally making a comeback.  Most notably, this includes the actual release of the longest running joke in the industry in "Duke Nukem Forever," but the charge is led by PCF's second-ever title, "Bulletstorm."

And while it'd be unprofessional of me to call it my Game of the Year 2011 this early, I have to say I haven't been this utterly in love with everything a game has been in nearly every respect since "Bayonetta."

No, really.Collapse )


 


Jan. 19th, 2011

mlp:fim : rainbow dash : wwrdd?

bebopsamurai

The Life Technicolor (Sonic Colors review)

Game: Sonic Colors
Rating: E
Platform: Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS
Developer: Sonic Team
Publisher: Sega
Released: November 2010

With the possible exception of Leisure Suit Larry, few enduring mascots have had as contentious a gaming history as Sonic the Hedgehog, though the latter at least had a foundation in actual gameplay.  From fans who hate everything he's in to fans who like everything he's in to the handful of fans who look at individual games based on their own merits but are drowned out by the gaming community at large, each new game is for some a thing of beauty, and for many others a disappointment.  And with bickering still raging over the recent return-to-popular-2D-sidescrollers-but-with-modern-touches attempt "Sonic 4 Episode 1," many have been on the fence about "Sonic Colors."

And speaking personally as a 'conscientious objector' to the fandom at large, I can say with little exaggeration that "Colors" may just be the best Sonic game in years-- or at least, the best platformer.

 

I'm still suprised after all these years how no one could see the potential of a tie-in between Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Drive-In.Collapse )


 


Jan. 5th, 2011

powerpuff girls: bubbles buttercup: aw y

bebopsamurai

The Ten Best Games of 2010

Welcome back to The 24/7 Gamer for a brand new year!  So of course, let's talk about what happened in games of LAST year, shall we?

2010 brought us a ton of great games, to the point where I really don't feel comfortable placing my favorites on an arbitrary numerical scale.  Instead, I'm going to list ten that I feel stood out for specific reasons, plus my all-over favorite game from last year.

So, without further ado, here's The 24/7 Gamer's Ten Best of 2010!

 

Okay, so technically it's 11, but whatever rightCollapse )

 


Nov. 28th, 2010

mgs: sniper wolf: stoic

bebopsamurai

Let's Go To The Op (Black Ops Review)

Game: Call of Duty: Black Ops
Rating: M
Platform: Xbox 360/Playstation 3/Nintendo Wii/Nintendo DS/PC
Developer: Treyarch
Publisher: Activision
Released: October 2010

It seems that, especially in recent years, first-person shooters have become something of a convenient scapegoat for everything that's wrong with the games industry today.  Admittedly, I'd be remiss to pretend the genre hasn't been more than a little oversaturated, but I think the problem lies less in FPSes themselves as it does with everyone making the same kind of FPSes

First everyone was trying to be like Halo, and now everyone's trying to copy "Call of Duty," or more specifically, "Modern Warfare."  It's gotten to the point where-- even though I think the first one can be fairly considered a great game on pretty much all counts-- the look and feel of the 'gritty realistic military shooter' is honestly just getting tiring.

So after permanently getting handed the reins of the series after the Infinity Ward debacle earlier this year, developer Treyarch-- largely considered the 'other CoD developers' to put it charitably-- knew they had to do something different (at least as far as its general approach goes).  Which basically consists of taking it not into either of its regular eras like World War II and Current Events... into slightly-less recent events.

And really, they've done pretty well.

 

What is with Sam Worthington always getting cast as an American reallyCollapse )

 


Nov. 11th, 2010

fables: cinderella: confident

bebopsamurai

No Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Mark and Execute (Blood Stone Review)

Game: 007: Blood Stone
Rating: T
Platform: Xbox 360/Playstation 3
Developer: Bizarre Creations
Publisher: Activision
Released: November 2010

Sometimes all you need is one really good game to set off a mediocre franchise, and there's probably no better practical example of this than "James Bond" in the video-game world.

"Goldeneye," of course, was a solid FPS that endured largely for its frantic and fun multiplayer that helped establish a place for the genre on consoles and cemented Rare's already strong position as a great developer.  Since then though, the series has been decent at best ("Russia with Love," "Everything or Nothing" come to mind) and forgettable at worst ("Agent under Fire"). 

But now a real attempt has come at bringing the series back to its roots, much to the excitement of nostalgic fans and shooter junkies everywhere.  But "Goldeneye" was rented out at Blockbuster, so let's just talk about "Blood Stone."

I'm pretty sure that Craig's raw hotness was too hard to mocap, so that's probably why he looks so damn fake here.Collapse )

Nov. 2nd, 2010

mlp:fim : rainbow dash : wwrdd?

bebopsamurai

Hopped Up on Pixie Sticks (Costume Quest Review)

Game: Costume Quest
Rating: E
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade/Playstation Network
Developer: Double Fine Productions
Publisher: THQ
Released: October 2010

Overall, 2010 has turned out to be a pretty good year for RPGs.

Between "Mass Effect 2," "Sakura Wars," "Final Fantasy 13" and even "New Vegas," there've been alot of very strong entries in the genre, whether turn-based strategy or storytelling or action trappings have been your thing.

So when I say that a little 15-dollar downloadable game like "Costume Quest" is easily one of the best RPGs of the year, understand that I'm not making that claim lightly.

The Statue of Liberty's "Anthem" is the BEST. SUPPORT MOVE. EVER. Of this there is no debating.Collapse )

 


Oct. 28th, 2010

mlp:fim : rainbow dash : wwrdd?

bebopsamurai

Send Out the Clones (Force Unleashed 2 Review)

Game: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
Rating: T
Platform: Xbox 360/Playstation 3/Nintendo Wii/Nintendo DS/PC
Developer: Lucasarts
Publisher: Lucasarts
Released: October 2010

The term 'licensed game' is something of a dirty word in the industry, usually the equivalent of a patchwork red 'A' if you'll allow the extremely tortured high-school lit metaphor.  If one franchise has been able to beat the stigma and turn out a handful of decent to great games, it's definitely "Star Wars," though considering there's at least three "Star Wars" games any given year maybe that's not so hard to do.

"The Force Unleashed" was one of these; despite some weird bugs and a spotty camera it delivered a well-designed action game that encouraged and rewarded experimental sadism to a degree only later surpassed by "Prototype," and told a character-driven story so different from recent entries in the series canon (i.e. it was actually good) that it even won the Best Video Game Writing award from the Screen Writers Guild in 2007, even if that's not exactly a category full of heavy-hitters.  Naturally, it made tons and tons of money, surpassing even "Battlefront" as the best-selling Star Wars game ever made.

A sequel was inevitable, and while "Force Unleashed II" is already a step up from, say, "No More Heroes 2" for actually delivering on the whole 'you get two swords' thing right off the bat instead of remembering it all of a sudden after the 3/5s mark, is it a real improvement over the original?

No.  Not really, no.

More like "The Force REHASHED" *dodges rotten tomato*Collapse )

Oct. 23rd, 2010

zero punctuation: bayonetta: hai thar bb

bebopsamurai

If John Woo made "Iron Man" (Vanquish Review)

Game: Vanquish
Rating: M
Platform: Xbox 360/Playstation 3
Developer: Platinumgames
Publisher: Sega
Released: October 2010

If there's a two-word distillation of what I've determined Platinumgame's development philosophy to be, it would have to be 'player empowerment.'

Sure, the narratives are at least always fun and the characters are likeable (if not exactly unfamiliar) interpretations of time-tested archetypes, but every one of their works have been about making you feel like the coolest motherfucker on the planet no matter how you play it, combined with plenty of freedom as far as individual approaches/playstyles are concerned.  They're about you walking into a room and putting all the tools out there for you to make it your hyperstylized little bitch... if you're up to it. 

And so this trend continues with "Vanquish," the first-ever Third-Person-Real-Time-Strategy-Spectacle-Shooter.

 

Happiness is a warm gun. Preferably one that shoots giant energy bubbles that pass through walls and wipe out groups of Russkie-bots.Collapse )
Tags: , ,

Oct. 22nd, 2010

fables: cinderella: confident

bebopsamurai

Episode I: The Phantom Eggman (Sonic 4 Review)

Game: Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1
Rating: E
Platform: Wiiware/Xbox Live Arcade/Playstation Network/iPhone and iPad
Developer: Sonic Team
Publisher: Sega
Released: October 2010

I think this much can at least be said for the "Sonic" series-- you can't accuse it of ever playing it safe. 

Mario's basically been running in circles since '96, an unfortunate reality highlighted by the one-two-punch of "New Super Mario Bros. Wii" and "Galaxy 2," but even if the experiments with gameplay formula and design haven't always worked, Sonic Team has at least constantly made an effort to move Sonic forward in some way rather than simply banking on a proven safety net.

But now they've made a sequel to the original ultra-popular Genesis games to appease the fandom, so oh well.

THRILL! As Sonic struggles to settle a dispute regarding the taxation of intergalactic trade routes!Collapse )

Oct. 15th, 2010

mlp:fim : rainbow dash : wwrdd?

bebopsamurai

Halo, Halo, I don't know why you say Goodbye I say Halo (Reach Review)

Game: Halo Reach
Rating: M
Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: Bungie
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Released: September 2010

There's nothing more futile and utterly pointless than a nobody like myself standing up for a big boy like the multi-million dollar series "Halo," but I really don't get why so many are convinced that it's the metaphorical Anti-Christ of modern gaming.

For me, it's always at least had a well-designed, easy-to-grasp approach to console FPS controls, a universe that feels like a cohesive homage to sci-fi, and it stood among "Soulcalibur" and the "Smash Bros." games among the titles that were more effective bonding tools in our family than half the goddamn camping trips we ever took.  It's never really been revolutionary, but it's always at least been well-polished fun.

And so after a decade of it being among the defining series of video gaming in the double-ohs, developers Bungie have made their for-reals final farewell to the "Halo" universe.  At least until Microsoft finds someone else to keep that beautiful franchise money coming in.

SPOILER WARNING: EVERYONE DIES WHOOPSCollapse )

 


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