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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Review

August 11th, 2011 Comments off

Your war correspondent Ben Sloboda here for another glimpse into the world at war.  Today, I wanted to talk about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.  It’s been out for over a year and a half now, but the online community is still alive and kicking.  Even with Black Ops out for about nine months and Modern Warfare 3 looming on the horizon, Modern Warfare 2 is worth your while.  If you’re a fan of First Person Shooters and haven’t played through this game, you’re missing out.  If you haven’t played the first Modern Warfare, you are truly missing TWO great gaming experiences.  The one-player campaign is fantastic, with very little to bog you down in terms of having to slog through long-winded storylines with multiple endings and a massive cast of characters.  There are some good plot twists, but only a handful of characters you need to keep track of, and some of the cutscenes are a little long, but keep you enthralled.  The amount of military specification, or mil-spec, weaponry and accessories is surprising.  Some of the military’s top secret stuff is just lying around for you to pick up and use.  I think piloting a few Predator UAVs armed with missiles is something the military really didn’t want to give out right away, but the realism is totally worth it.

New to the series is the Special Operations, or Spec-Ops.  You can play through most of these with one person, but the multiplayer Spec-Ops really shine.  One player pilots an AC-130, blasting the heck out of the bad guys, while trying to protect player number two wandering around on the ground.  If you can’t find any online buddies to play, you can attempt most of the Spec-Ops missions in split-screen with a couch buddy, but a big flat screen is needed to truly enjoy it.

Beyond a gripping storyline and audio track, the graphics are so vivid, you might begin worrying about the bullet holes in your couch cushions.  In fact, even the multiplayer graphics are head and shoulders above the previous Modern Warfare’s single player missions.  There are still a few of those “Where do I go?” moments that seemed to plague the series, but the gameplay itself doesn’t suffer too badly. 

Then we get into the online multiplayer, which encompasses all skill levels, from the total beginner, to an elite group of players who are pulling off 360 no-scopes.  The new multiplayer has added features as well.  If you can manage to string together a bunch of kills without dying, you are rewarded with a killstreak like sending in your own AC-130 and firing its three different types of guns via laptop.  If you’re new to FPS and the Modern Warfare series, you might benefit from the Deathstreaks.  Get killed a few times in a row without killing an enemy and you’re rewarded with extra life, or the ability to steal an enemy’s loadout (possibly accessing weapons you haven’t unlocked yet).  There are so many challenges and gun attachments to unlock, that the multiplayer is where your replay value really exists.  You also get “Perks”, like faster reloading, unlimited sprinting, and invisibility to UAV, which can all be upgraded to “Pro” versions and added bonuses.  If you like to run around and shoot at everybody, Team Deathmatch is where you belong.  If you want to try and sneak around everyone to plant a bomb on a specified target, Search and Destroy is your game of choice.  If neither of those interest you, there are more than ten different game modes in Multiplayer to try out.  You’ll definitely find one you like.

This has been another correspondence from Ben Sloboda, reporting on the world at war.  If you can pick up Modern Warfare 2 for $15 on craigslist or at a used game store, it’s a worthwhile investment in fun.

Categories: Reviews Tags: , ,

DmC: Devil May Cry – Rant # 1

July 28th, 2011 Comments off

Hello ya’ll, this is Cattimus. This will be the first of many RANTS to come and there is a subject I want to RANT about so we can just let the negative thoughts about a certain game off our chests. I’m of course talking about Devil May Cry 5, also being called DmC: Devil May Cry being developed by team ninja theory. And I’m here to basically say as much as I can about this entry in the series.

Just to let you know, this rant is not to talk about the positives (per say), this is to rip them limb from limb Mortal Kombat style and let them HAVE IT!!

So, let’s dive in.

What is the major problem with this game? Well #1 is the Development studio’s attitude towards the fans. By this I mean their seemingly utter disrespect towards the fans. Don’t believe me? Look at all the following links:

http://thesilentchief.com/2011/02/03/are-devil-may-cry-fans-partially-to-blame-for-poor-enslaved-sales/

http://www.computerandvideogames.com/292244/news/capcom-aiming-to-make-the-perfect-devil-may-cry/

http://thesilentchief.com/2011/03/06/capcom-we-were-surprised-at-the-reaction-dmc-received/

Now yeah I know SOME of it should be taken with a grain of salt…wait! This is a RANT!! There is NO grain of salt! This is a HEAPING MOUNTAIN OF SALT!! This whole mess cannot be forgiven. Changing Dante’s appearance is one thing, and shouldn’t entirely have an impact on the games itself, but changing cannon, making it a PREQUEL to Devil May Cry 3?? Which in and of itself was the prequel to the series?!?!? That…just breaks my spirit. And then to say that they want to make the “perfect” devil may cry? I’m sorry but ninja theory has not proven that they can make a game better than (let alone AS GOOD as) Devil May Cry 3 which was a “perfect” DMC as far as most are concerned. Look at this, their first game ever which few are aware exists:

http://www.gamespot.com/xbox/action/kungfuchaos/review.html

http://xbox.ign.com/articles/386/386666p1.html

http://www.gamingtarget.com/article.php?artid=1858

NOW, Take a look at this for instance which is the E3 2004 dmc3 “work in progress” trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4a1c74euB5w  Versus was revealed at E3 this year for Ninja Theory’s DmC “work in progress” trailer:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GixCzw9vjek.   Better yet, let’s compare it to the game play trailer of the original Devil May Cry back in 2001!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfMte3Q0pEM&feature=related.

Please understand I am more than aware that we all see things differently; that ultimately it comes down to opinion and personal taste. But anyone who has EYES and actually attempts to USE them can see a noticeable……difference (lag/crap/delay/waste of ram) between the trailers for DMC1 and DMC3., when compared to this new DMC reboot. The frame rates In this new game look….choppy. I mean looking at the trailer for a game made in 2001 I am able to accept how choppy it looks 10 years LATER, but this is 2011! So much lookd BAD; The flow of their game play, the slow speed of Dante firing guns at his enemies, the JANKY LOOKING ENEMIES, the lack of life to the way the church benches fall when the trailer is over, the shoddy looking minotaur dude he’s fighting! Everything looks…wrong! Ninja Theory really REALLY needs to improve how the speed of this plays before I will believe them. Which leads me  to my next point (# 2 for those keeping track): Their complete lack of understanding and foreknowledge of the game that they are working on.

I have to reiterate this as much as possible: Devil May Cry was released in stores in North America on October 17th 2001!!!! 2001!! If my math hasn’t failed me that is 10 years ago! Well here is what the producers of this upcoming failure had to say: http://www.g4tv.com/videos/48862/DMC-Devil-May-Cry-Producer-Interview/

Please tell me you heard that…….there is a big difference when it comes to video games 12 years ago (1999) versus 10 years ago. The gap between the PS1 and PS2? I don’t even need to hold your hand for this one.

The thing about this is (leading me to point #3) is Capcom is bringing in a game producer who has the arrogance to tell us they know what is best for the fans, they “know” that what they are doing will reinvigorate the series; to breathe new life into it. I’m all fine for the optimism but for a company who has not made a “perfect” game yet, or when this happens >> http://thesilentchief.com/2011/02/03/are-devil-may-cry-fans-partially-to-blame-for-poor-enslaved-sales/

<< I no longer have the confidence in a product and the people delivering it to me (just so you know Enslaved: Odyssey To The West did so poorly they don’t list it as being a part of their developed games on their website, the proof is here: http://ninjatheory.com/games.php).

Point #4 is this. Ninja Theory’s (and really this is more Capcom’s doing) is trying to “westernize” Devil May Cry to appeal to us “a-MUR-uh-cans” more than previous games past. My big problem with this is, Devil May Cry was IN THE FIRST PLACE designed to appeal to a western audience. It’s why Dante wears leather and talks smack. It’s why he’s modeled after the main protagonist of the Manga series “Cobra” (look that up), it’s why the double gun style was modeled after what Jon Woo does in his movies (to appeal specifically to westerners). And yet they feel it is too  “Japanesey” << first off this isn’t even a WORD! They should be kicked in the…oh wait almost lost my train of thought there. So they are basically trying to westernize a westernized game? I guess two negatives make a positive in this case??

Yeah I understand I’m being harsh but that is the point of this. If we keep allowing game companies to tell US what TO want, rather than tell THEM what WE want? If we just accept the schlock being force-fed to us? We are giving them an open door to pillaging and molesting our favorite franchises because we roll over and say “it doesn’t matter, it’s just a game”, “no need to take it too seriously”, “it’s not the end of the world”.

You know what? If I’m spending $60 PLUS on a GAME, it damn well IS the end of the world!!

-Cattimus

SNK PLAYMORE USA releases 8 pre-NEOGEO era Arcade Classics

July 20th, 2011 Comments off

Athena, Ikari Warriors, Guerrilla War, and others coming to PlayStation Store…

SNK PLAYMORE USA releases eight pre-NEOGEO era Arcade Classics

on the PlayStation®Store

PlayStation Plus Members Can Get Guerrilla War for Free!

 

Ikari Warriors
SNK’s Arcade Classic
“Guerrilla War”(1987).

LOS ANGELES – July 19, 2011 – SNK PLAYMORE USA CORPORATION (Corporate HQ: Suita-city, Osaka, Japan, Company President & CEO: Ryo Mizufune) is proud to announce the North American release of eight SNK Arcade Classics as PlayStation® minis titles for the PSP® (also compatible with PS3™) on the PlayStation®Store. These titles will be featured in both the “New Releases” category and the “SNK NEOGEO” Featured Publishers page.

 

The SNK minis titles are a commemorative “retro-arcade emulation” project that allows players to enjoy a outstanding collection of action, shooting, platform and puzzle titles. Many of these arcade classics from SNK’s Golden Age are now exclusively available on the Sony PSP® and compatible on the PlayStation®3.

 

The first set of eight titles includes SNK arcade masterpieces “ATHENA,” “IKARI WARRIORS,” and “GUERRILLA WAR,” along with a number of lesser known, yet revolutionary titles to be enjoyed by both retro gamers and younger generations alike.

As we continue to release more arcade classics via PS minis on the PlayStation®Network, stay updated by becoming a member of our frequently updated official Facebook Fan Page at NEOGEO STATION Facebook Page .

 

EDITORS NOTE: Screenshots and Art are available on the MMPR FTP Site in the SNK Folder:

SNK FOLDER – MMPR FTP SITE

 

List of the minis titles available to download via the PlayStation®Store from July 19th, 2011.

GAME TITLE

Price

OZMA WARS

$2.99

SASUKE vs COMMANDER

$2.99

VANGUARD

$2.99

MARVIN’S MAZE

$2.99

HAL 21

$2.99

ATHENA

$2.99

IKARI WARRIORS

$2.99

GUERRILLA WAR*

$2.99 (or Free on PS Plus)

 

 

* GUERRILLA WAR will be featured as a FREE GAME for Playstation®Plus members

for one month starting July 19th, 2011

** 2P gameplay / ad-hoc functionality is not available for this software

OZMA WARS
Fight against UFOs, meteors, comets, and dock with the mothership before your energy runs out in SNK’s first arcade game originally released in 1979. Ozma Wars stands out as the second released vertical shooting arcade game, but is also known as the first game with disparate levels!

 

SASUKE vs COMMANDER
Play as Sasuke, who must protect the Shogun from Ninja in this 1980 classic arcade “gallery shooter”, one of the first games to feature bosses!

 

VANGUARD
VANGUARD, famous for being one of the first scrolling shooters ever made, was originally released in 1981. Shoot your enemies in all four directions or get an energy pod and ram them in this classic arcade game!

 

MARVIN’S MAZE
Help Marvin defend his Maze from the terrible Robonoids in this cute and addictive arcade puzzle-action game, originally released in 1983.

 

HAL 21
As Captain Clain, attack enemies in the air and bomb ground targets on your way to the boss in this classic shooting title originally released in 1985.

 

ATHENA
Join Athena, Princess of the Kingdom of Victory as she opens the “Forbidden Door” and descends into a world of fantasy in this classic platform arcade game originally released in 1986.

 

IKARI WARRIORS

As colonel turned mercenary Ralf, use your machine gun, grenades, and jump in tanks to defeat countless foes. Infiltrate the enemy base and complete your mission in this ’80s run-and-gun mega-hit!

GUERRILLA WAR

Enter the jungle and ruined cities of a tropical island to overthrow its tyrannical dictator, and liberate the nation held in his grip. Don’t forget to rescue your captured comrades along the way! Hail the heroes of the Revolution!

About SNK PLAYMORE USA CORPORATION

Headquartered in Osaka, Japan, SNK PLAYMORE CORPORATION (SNK) develops, publishes and distributes interactive entertainment software in Japan, North America, Europe and Asia. Founded in 1978, SNK is one of the largest privately held interactive entertainment content providers in the world. Known for such franchises as THE KING OF FIGHTERS, METAL SLUG, and SAMURAI SHODOWN, SNK continues to be an industry leader by focusing on their rich arcade history. More information on SNK PLAYMORE CORPORATION can be found at www.snkplaymore.co.jp

SNK PLAYMORE USA is a wholly owned subsidiary of SNK PLAYMORE CORPORATION with offices in Los Angeles, CA. It handles operations in North America including publishing, marketing, development and localization. More information on SNK PLAYMORE USA can be found at www.snkplaymoreusa.com

 

 

COPYRIGHT: © SNK PLAYMORE

“PlayStation”, “PlayStation 3”, and “PlayStation Portable” are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

 

“ATHENA”, “IKARI WARRIORS”, and “GUERRILLA WAR” are registered trademarks of SNK PLAYMORE CORPORATION.

Categories: Press Releases Tags: , , ,

Uncharted 3: Multiplayer Beta

July 19th, 2011 Comments off

I’ll be honest.  I love Nathan Drake.  I know that in this day and age of “open” sexuality, it’s still odd for a man to say he loves another man, especially if that other man happens to be a fictional video game character.  However, I love Nathan Drake.  I played through the first Uncharted in a few days.  I’m not saying I took my time.  I’m saying I got my first platinum trophy in a few days, and I loved every minute of it.  Well, I did yell at the television a few (dozen) times, but in the end, it was possibly one of the most satisfying game experiences I’ve had since defeating Ruby and Emerald Weapons in Final Fantasy 7.  It was satisfying in more than just a gratification of platinum though.  I didn’t have to slog through hours of farming exp with the right leveling gear to do it.  It was just enjoyable.  Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was just as enjoyable as Uncharted, with the same unparalleled graphics and storyline, but it is important to mention the introduction of multiplayer.

            Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception looks to be another breathtaking game.  One of the most exhilarating aspect of Uncharted is the dizzying heights, and as someone who feels dizzy on the third floor of an apartment complex, I can tell you, I loved being able to rock climb the sheer face of an old Spanish fort from the safety of my living room.  I also liked hanging on for dear life while clinging with my fingernails to a train destined to lie at the bottom of some very high cliffs.  Drake’s Deception will have similar vistas, but it’s the multiplayer that I’m interested in reviewing now.  When first introduced in Uncharted 2, the multiplayer aspect was a poorly-implemented system of “run around, shoot some bullets into the air and hope your Internet connection is fast enough to register the kill first”.  I still enjoyed it, but the leveling up was long and drawn out, the ranked system didn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason to it, and you could choose your character, but not customize him or her (or it, if you know what I mean).  That’s where Uncharted 3 is beginning to shine.  You can choose what hat/sunglasses/Hawaiian shirt combo looks best on your good friend Sully, and then whip out your customized M9 and waste some noobz while knowing you look like a fashionable gentleman.  I also liked the cursing allowed to some of your actions.  If you happen to throw a grenade against a wall and it lands at your feet, your character yells, “Shit!” just like YOU just yelled (though I’ve heard the f-word a time or two as well…in both settings).  You also get to design your own emblem, which will be displayed around the map if you are the number one score in the game.  I designed a sideways hand with a ring around it to indicate a slap, but I’m not good enough to have spotted my emblem during gameplay…yet. 

There are no one-shot kills unless you manage to pick up a power weapon, which is a little discouraging.  If I take my sniper rifle and put a bullet center mass, that guy is going down, but in Uncharted 3, I have to hopefully pump another round into him before he gets to cover.  As an aside…make sure to use your cover!!  I think one of the best ‘fights’ I had with someone was when the two of us were far from our teams and utilizing the cover to its fullest advantage.  He jumped above me, so I swung out on a ledge, jumped down, fired some rounds, threw myself behind a box all while he was chasing me down.  We ended up back to back against the same box, so I threw myself over the top while he rolled away to the side.  We both came up shooting again, but I rushed in and smashed him with my gun.  For once, the melee actually worked.  When I say that, it appears to have some problems.  If I melee someone, he or she just turns around and melees me back, so I smack him or her again for the kill, but for some reason, they get one last melee as well.  I can’t tell you how many “Retaliation” medals I got simply for the lag melee kills.  I’m talking dozens of these things, which affects my play ability when I’m kicking some ass and taking some names.  However, if you think this is different than Uncharted 2’s similar “feature”, you’re dead wrong…it’s just one of those things I had hoped they were going to fix. 

At least they gave the sniper rifles a scope this time.  In the entirety of the Uncharted series, your sniper rifle has a tiny circle for its “trajectory”.  You put someone’s head in that circle and squeeze off a round…they’re dead.  In Uncharted 3, you now have what appears to be a fisheye scope that zooms in with crosshairs.  I like the graphic change, but the usefulness has decreased with this new style.  The scope jumps around a lot!  One of the first week ‘best performances’ was a guy who whips out his sniper rifle and blasts three (or was it four) enemies in about a second.  Bang, bang, bang, everybody’s dead, Dave.  Now, to do that from a moving vehicle shooting at another moving vehicle while the enemies are ducking behind cover is truly a feat to be revered.  I know my skill doesn’t extend that far, but for the average player, I think the new scope system might be a hindrance.

They also added a new feature of ‘treasure hunting’.  Every time you kill another player, there is a small chance they will drop a treasure.  You can collect groups of these treasures to unlock rare clothes and accessories for your character.  Be warned!  Running out of cover to collect a treasure is an easy way to get killed.  Make sure you are completely safe before picking up your newfound glory.  A second new feature is the ‘buddy’ group.  Before a match begins, you may be randomly assigned a buddy.  If the two of you are firing on the same enemy and manage to kill him, you can perform a group celebration.  It may be a fist bump or high five to share in the defeat of an enemy.  Be warned!  Just as running out to collect treasure can be fatal, running out to perform a high five with your buddy can be just as detrimental.  I can’t tell you how many times the buddy system was active, and the first thing my buddy or I did was run out to celebrate…just to get gunned down.  Having mentioned it, you can also taunt the enemy, which has a new flavor of customization to it.  You can choose whether your taunt is a ‘point and laugh’ or ‘kiss’ representation of your feelings for deafeating an enemy.  If you can manage to level up your taunting abilities, your rewards are greater.

Overall, the gameplay hasn’t changed since Uncharted 2’s foray into multiplayer.  The “shopping” has changed, as the levels to unlock new weapons and attachments are fairly steep.  In the first week, I think I made it to level 10, whereas I had reached level 10 in one day on Uncharted 2.  My second complaint has to do with the odd height characteristics.  If Nathan Drake can jump two feet in the air and his reach is eight feet, he can theoretically jump up and reach the top of a ten foot wall.  However, for some reason, he can’t seem to jump over a two-and-a-half foot barrier.  He just keeps running up and putting one foot up while falling backwards.  Since Drake is the basis for the physics, ALL characters have a ten foot reach and the same propensity for getting stuck on heights between two and three feet.  The biggest example of this is on the Chateau level as soon as the “Villains” spawn, you can run forward and try to climb the stairs…but if you manage to get right in the middle, there’s a two-and-a-half foot wall.  To the right is a little planter that requires you to jump, and to the left is some wall-climbing handholds, but hit that middle and you’re stuck.

In conclusion, the new multiplayer beta shows a ton of replayability and customization for your characters.  The gameplay mechanics haven’t changed much, but you shouldn’t fix what isn’t broken.  Unless you wanted to fix the stupid melee thing…that might be worthwhile.

-Ben

Categories: Previews Tags: , , ,