Review: UFC 2009 Undisputed

For the past few days at my house there has been a severe outbreak of Black-on-Black crime. I am not proud of this. I worry about my future, about everyone’s future. It is already getting worse. The violence once contained to just certain groups is already spreading. Asian-on-Black. White-on-Hispanic. Brazilian-on-Canadian. It is a rainbow of sadistic beatings spanning all ages and continents. The fights do not stop. The battles grow with each passing day.

I am more than a little ashamed to admit that my descent into an anarchic world of ultraviolence has brought me so much joy. All of these things, you see, are not happening in my head this time. Instead, they are happening on my television screen. They are happening inside of a game. A game clumsily titled UFC 2009 Undisputed. →  Welcome to read.

The Four Things I Would Like to See at E3 But Won’t

In the small world of my mind there are essentially three things that put my imagination into overdrive. First and foremost, any kind of holocaust involving zombies or nukes. Second, any kind of holocaust involving me winning stupid amounts of money. And third, video game conventions/trade shows. Twice a year I get to dream of what wondrous gaming splendors await me when E3 and TGS roll around and twice a year I get to be disappointed by 95% of what gets announced. I have already concluded that this year will be no different but I can still dream of what would make me extremely happy if it were announced.

1. EA Announces That The 2010 Series of Sports Games Will Be The Last and Any Future Updates Will Come in the Form of Downloadable Content

Like most people reading this, I am not the biggest sports fan in the world. →  The only thing we have to read is read itself.

Renaming video games – I propose “vidcon”

Video Games. What ideas or images flashed into your head when you read that phrase? Were they memories of yourself spending quarters at an arcade machine? Or maybe spending hours behind of a Guitar Hero drum set. Maybe you’re a typical parent who thinks of an evil device that erodes your children’s brains and turns them into head-shooting Nintendo-worshiping zombies. Or maybe you are one of those zombies and that phrase brought back all the great times you spent killing virtual people.

Okay let’s get serious, video games deserve the same respect any other entertainment medium has. They may have not had their Citizen Kane yet, but we’re all sure that point is not too far away, maybe in the year 2016 or so. If video games are one of mankind’s greatest creative and technological achievements, why does their very name carry so much negative baggage? →  I'd rather die than not read this article!

Review – Earth Defense Force 2017

Japanese firm Sandalot’s third person shooter, published in the West by D3 in 2007, Earth Defense Force 2017 is a 50s style sci-fi, seen through an 80s lens, set in 2017.

When they came to Earth in 2017 with their flying saucers and their spherical mother ship, we were not sure what to expect. We hoped they would be peaceful and friendly. We named them the Ravagers and then… hold on, hold on – we named them Ravagers before they attacked? Yes, yes we did. It’s almost like we were spoiling for a fight.

So the saucers dropped giant ants and spiders on our cities and the battle began in earnest. The Earth Defense Force is tasked with taking on the most ridiculous and inexplicable hordes of invaders imaginable. Along with the giant insects and the saucers and the mothership, there are small aerial fighters, a giant mechanical dinosaur and large robotic walkers. →  Sid Meier’s Alpha Centarticle

Review – Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars – The Director’s Cut

The Knights Templar were an order of Christian soldiers from western Europe who gathered substantial influence and wealth during the Crusades. Many were tortured and/or executed in France in the early 14th century, primarily because King Philip of France owed them money and felt it was more expedient to kill them and disband the order than it was to pay. Of course, he did this under the pretense that they were not in fact true Catholics but rather practitioners of any number of bizarre rituals. As a result of these probably false accusations, their previous military prowess and influence, and the massive fortune they acquired through donations and the early bank-like system they developed, the story of the Knights took on mythic proportions.

Just like in real life.

Unfortunately, they are also an overused trope in movies and pop literature, either as grand puppeteers that actually rule the world from behind the scenes, or as the source of some treasure beyond all of our wildest dreams. →  SNK Article Classics Vol. 1

The Greatest Story Ever Told

Books. They are good at stories right? But books are cheating because the imagination does half the work. The written word allows for a great number of freedoms that other media have yet to gain (parenthetical comments only work in writing). Films? Not so hot. In fact quite rubbish. Even the greatest films are totally inept at dealing with the big issues or telling good stories without the overuse of coincidence or predictability (take for example the new ‘Crash’, ohhhh I didd no dat racism was so complex them shits is deep).

Books and movies are over. Done. A new form of storytelling is here and it is a game. Not games in general, you understand, because games couldn’t tell a story if the whole industry depended on it. RPGs get over this by telling stories that are so long that your mind condenses all the bullshit bits – like talking to dogs or statues or boring cutscenes – into a story that seems to make sense. →  What is a post? A miserable little pile of secrets.

Review – Patapon

I bought Patapon at launch, played for a week straight, and got to the third boss, a giant sandworm. After countless failed attempts, I put the game away for over a year, until Patapon 2 was released in 2009. Naturally, I could have just skipped to the sequel, especially considering the attractiveness of its new difficulty settings, until I learned that you can import some materials from the original. I finally learned just how to “play” Patapon, and suffice to say that the game is not only original, but highly deceptive.

If you are to succeed at this game, and by succeed I mean “win at all costs” rather than “handily”, you will need the following:

– A sense of rhythm that doesn’t falter under pressure. This is necessary not only to execute any commands, but also to keep your troops in Fever mode, in which their effectiveness increases dramatically. →  NiGHTS into REaDS

If we all work together, we might just get out of this thing alive

Things have changed. Co-Op is now a big deal in the world of games, and, as ever, there is an exact moment at which a well-informed observer such as myself can point and say “this, this is where the trend started.” Imagine there’s a timeline projected on the wall, and I’m probably wearing a suit, and with a laser pointer I confidently direct your attention to Halo: Combat Evolved, way back in 2001.

That’s right, before Halo there was literally no such thing as Co-Operative campaign mode.

Okay, fine, so that’s not strictly true. Or true in any sense. But Halo arguably marks the start of Co-Op gaming moving into the mainstream so that today, as we stand here in 2009, you literally can’t walk over a pile of games without tripping over one that has a Co-Operative mode. →  The Adventures of Cookie and Read

Review – Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland

Tingle is a range of stylized sexual enhancements from Durex, defined by creating a tingling sensation during coitus. The tingling sensation is derived from mint extract. It comes in two distinct forms: condoms and an water-based lube. The sexual enhancer lube has received some criticism as the tingling sensation has received negative reviews when used internally.

You see what I did there? I made a joke. You see, I am reviewing a DS game called “Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland” which of course features the unwelcome addition to the Zelda series, Tingle. But, and this is the crux of the joke, Durex (www.durex.com) also have a brand called “Tingle”. Oh, the hilarity.

Right, so, this “game” starts with Tingle’s journey to becoming Tingle, and his quest to get into “Rupeeland” where, and get this, women will touch him. →  Rule of Read

Review – Rise of the Argonauts

I’m not really sure what I think of Rise of the Argonauts. On one hand, the game suffers from some poor design choices that can really slow the pace to an insufferable crawl and frustrate the player immensely … so I wouldn’t recommend it. On the other hand, the exciting combat sequences, engrossing story, fine voice acting and art direction made the game quite enjoyable … so I’d totally recommend it.

On another hand, the developer calls this game an RPG, which it totally isn’t. Yeah, you can choose new abilities and change your outfits, but both aspects are so limited that you can’t really call it a full-blown RPG … so we’re back to not recommending it again (for RPG players). And on the final hand, that limiting of options actually works in the game’s favor, because coupling intricate inventory management with sometimes slow story progression would kill this thing outright … so is that a plus? →  Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing memory cards.

Review – Killzone 2

When I was first thinking about how to approach my review of Killzone 2’s campaign, I thought I could write up a sizable spreadsheet detailing all the cliches and tropes stolen from other games and films. Thankfully, I realized the errors of such an idea. The problem with the game wasn’t that it was using cliches and silly names. Plenty of other shooters do the same and are forgiven. No, the problem was that Killzone 2 was breaking one of my primary sins of game design – it made me feel like I was wasting my time. I began thinking not of the action at hand, but what else I could be doing during my time after work. I soldiered on simply for the purpose of review, which in turn led to my putting a magnifying glass on every little piece of creative laziness, even if it technically got the job done. →  You think about everything.

Review – Avalon Code

Video games have made me weep for a variety reasons. Terrible voiceovers, crappy graphics, mind numbing gameplay, irritating music – if it is horrible I’ve probably suffered through it. But I’ve never experienced anything like Avalon Code before. Not for any of the above reasons – to the contrary, Avalon Code has superb presentation, surprisingly good voice acting (on a DS game, no less!), and an intriguing plot with an excellent premise. What makes me weep is that Avalon Code is a game that is so close to being one of the greatest action RPGs I’ve ever played, but falls short for the dumbest of reasons that indicate – yet again – a developer did a piss poor job of seeing if their game was actually fun to play.

The game begins with your happy go lucky hero (or heroine, you pick, just remember Jesus hates gender benders) being informed that the world is going to end in a horrific cataclysm in the rather near future. →  Jesus: Readful Bio Monster

Video Game Proficiency Test

 
 

Video Game Proficiency Test

Examination for Players

For the Following Qualifications:

Hardcore Player status, Bragging Rights.

Time Allowed: 13 minutes, 37 seconds

©1776Videolamer

 
 

TURN OVER PAPER TO BEGIN

 
 
 
 
 
 
ANSWER ALL FIVE QUESTIONS:
 
QUESTION 1.

Below is a table of character match ups for the popular fighting game Street Fighter IV.

1a). Assuming two players of equal skill are playing each other. Player 1 chooses Ken. Player 2 chooses Ryu. What are the chances of player 2 winning three fights in a row?

1b). Player 3 is a veteran of this game series and is the world’s number 4 player. Her proficiency is such that she wins fights with any character at twice the normal predicted chance. Player 3 fights as Akuma and Player 1 fights as Chun-Li. →  Read me now, believe me later.

Review – Baroque

Baroque has been wronged. There is no other way to put it.

I held off on getting this game until fairly recently, when I saw it for sale at $20. I wasn’t willing to buy it at $50 because I had heard all about how terrible the game was; crippling difficulty, a complete lack of story, no carjackings or Nazis, and so on.

A few months ago, RPGamer ranked it as the best Wii RPG of 2008. Granted, I don’t always agree with RPGamer – but then, I like Opoona, so my tastes are already pretty weird. Plus, look at the competition. Tales of Symphonia 2, Opoona, maybe a couple others. None would rank best RPG of the whatever on any other system. But my interest was piqued enough to consider Baroque. →  Garou: Mark of the Posts

Breaking News – Capcom haven’t announced another Resident Evil remake

Consoles have come and gone, hardware market leaders have become laughing stocks and whole game series have gone from groundbreaking innovation to tired old rehash. Yet one thing has always remained constant in modern gaming: Capcom will remake the original Resident Evil. However, today no reports have come from Capcom on any kind of planned remake causing some to speculate that there won’t be one for up to quite a while.

In 1996 Resident Evil was released on the Sony PlayStation to widespread acclaim and simultaneously gave birth to the survival horror genre (paradoxically, before the earlier released Alone In the Dark). The game then went from strength to strength: with a director’s cut for the PS and a port to the Saturn and the PC in 1997. The game then saw a remake on the Gamecube in 2002, which, at the time many gamers and industry top dogs saw as a risky move. →  It’s time to read and chew bubblegum… and I’m all outta gum.