Nvidia Project Shield: The Good, The Sexy, & Salacious

C.E.S. 2013 began with a resounding thud heard not just around the gaming world, but technology, mobile, and console. Nvidia put the world on notice that it is going to put their technology, and gaming on a footing that will be noticed. Project Shield is an Android-based mobile games console that’s also capable of streaming PC games. The device is capable of playing both single, and multiplayer games, 4K Ultra-HD movies, and browse the web. The device described by CEO Jen-Hsun Huang can play games from the TegraZone and Google PLAY, or stream and play high-quality PC games delivered from Steam. Instantly offering up a true mobile console platform. Without being open source. Which in the youth of Android is a very good thing, because it’s structured. Is it time for Android gaming to compete with everyone?

Blood Bowl or Bust

I’ve never played the board game nor have I ever been a fan of football. Despite both of these things I still felt intrigued by the concept of Cyanide Studios, Blood Bowl. This title is a mix of American football and elements heralding from the Warhammer series. This blend of reality meeting fantasy is done really well and is shown through its gameplay and visuals. While I’m sure the developers’ main goal was to recreate a faithful PC adaption to the board game  they also did a wonderful job with the conception.

Assassin’s Creed III Review

Assassin’s Creed 3 peaks in areas I least expected, multiplayer, but hits new lows in the spots where it should have excelled, the story. All in all, AC3 is the weakest game in the series since the original game, deriving from what made the series so great with its rich, story-driven gameplay, in favor of exploration and side content that I had little to wish to take part in.

Moments of The Walking Dead

Just as a quick warning. This article will contain SPOILERS from any one of the five episodes. If you haven’t played through all of them I advise you not to read this!!! I love most things about The Walking Dead universe, maybe barring the second season of the tv show. So when I heard Telltale was making a game based on the comic book universe, I was cautiously optimistic. Telltale hadn’t had the best track record, and I certainly wasn’t an adventure game aficionado.  Despite this I bought the first episode of the game. It was cheap, and if I didn’t like it, no big deal. I loved it. I felt a very strong connection towards the game’s protagonist, Lee Everette. As for Clementine, finding her hiding in her tree house, then slowly unfolding her parents’ fate through phone recordings, I knew this character was going to be the players moral incentive, and it really worked. As for the rest of the cast, I immediately was running through in my head the people I thought I could trust, and the ones I should be weary about. Even though it was the first episode I immediately was invested in the characters and their fates, and the wait for episode two was excruciating. I downloaded episode two the day it was released and found myself loving the almost horror movie-esque vibe it gave off. It felt like its own self contained story and although it didn’t move the story along too much, it did set up for something much bigger than one would think. This episode also made me audibly gasp. Trying to revive an admittedly annoying member of the group, only for his head to be smashed in with a salt lick not only shocked, but gave me a genuine disdain for Kenny, the one who dropped the salt lick. This episode showed me how far Telltale was willing to go, and from there on out I knew that no one was safe. Episode three was depressing, lets just get that out of the way. The beginning started off with some light hearted detective time with Duck, another child in the group. After getting run out of the motel, some shit goes down. After pulling over, an argument breaks out. Out of nowhere, a character pulls out a gun and executes your potential love interest Carly, other that other dude Doug. It was at this moment a game, for the first time, has made me angry, panicked, and depressed all at the same time. Without thinking I immediately told Lily, the woman responsible, to hit the damn road. This was also the first time I actually wanted to restart an episode because of how distraught I was over what had just transpired. I didn’t want to play anymore, that’s never happened to me for a game I liked. But I drudged on, only to be hit in the heart again with the suicide of Katja, Kenny’s wife, and their son, Duck who, depending on your choice, could have been put out of his zombie induced misery by the player, or his own father. This was probably the highest low point of the series and I had to take a break from games for a week after playing it. Still, I was aptly looking forward to episode four. This is getting long so I will just say this about episode four. Episode four introduced a great character, again, depending on your choices, killed off a dumb one, an absolutely heartbreaking encounter with a walker child, and one HUGE moment at the end, your character Lee getting bitten by a zombie, and Clementine kidnapped by a mysterious man. Again, I felt panicky and was trying to make up all sorts of ways Lee could possibly survive and save Clementine, but it looked pretty hopeless. It was a great ending to this episode. Episode five started right where four left off, literally by taking whatever you said at the end of episode four, and be repeated by Lee at the beginning of this episode. I went alone on this one and trying to do anything I could for Lee to survive, had him cut his own arm off. The way Telltale made you move the cursor to Lee’s arm and click to slowly sawthe arm off, was absolutely brutal and, for me, actually hard to continue. After playing as an armless Lee for a little bit, you are reunited with your friends. Who have been locked up by a group of seemingly friendly people you meet in episode four. After a while you get into a situation in which a character who has been with you through it all, Kenny, is killed. Even though I didn’t think much of Kenny, I almost had a sense of loneliness now that one of the last familiar characters was gone. After a great zombie killing scene with Lee, you finally meet with the person behind thewalkie talkie. The man reveals that it was him and his family that owned the car you stole from all the way back in episode two. He proceeds the throw every big choice you had made in the game right in your face, forcing you to explain the actions you had taken to survive. All while talking to his wife’s head he had stuck in a bowling ball bag. After a short battle ending with either you, or Clementine killing him, you rub zombie guts on yourselves, and try to get out of town. Clem see’s her parents as zombies, and Lee passes out as a result of the bite. This was the moment for me. The moment that I shed tears in a video game, something I thought impossible. After Lee wakes up, and some stumbling to a chair in a police station, Lee finally directs Clementine one last time. After a scary scene with Clementine and a walker, Lee is finally ready to say his goodbyes. After a very emotional talk with Clem, the player is finally given the option to either have Clementine kill Lee, or leave him handcuffed (or not) to a radiator. I personally chose to be killed, as I felt it gave me more closure after everything Lee, and Clementine had been through. After the gunshot the credits immediately roll, signifying the end of Lee’s perspective. The song at the end of the credits couldn’t have been picked any more perfect and made me that much more emotional. At the end we see Clementine in a large field outside of town, where she spots two unknown people out in the distance, presumably setting up for season two. Well there you have, those were the moments that, in my opinion, defined why I loved The Walking Dead so much. I can only hope that season two can evoke these same emotions, good or bad. Thanks for reading.

My Journey through Journey: An interpretation of life and music

Apprehension is a word that best describes what I’m about to write and as I type this, the soundtrack for my game of the year plays in the background of my home office. This approach seemed the most appropriate for me as Journey is a game that I have a difficult time going back to. That doesn’t make much sense does it? Yet the deeper I’ve delved into player experiences, it’s a sentiment that is echoed. This game is something different to nearly everyone who has picked up a Sixaxis controller. How does a game with such an abstract approach to storytelling evoke so much insightful emotion? That isn’t a question I can answer for anyone else, only speculate. What I can answer is what that Journey was to me.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale Review

All-Stars is a very similar game to Smash Bros. but it has its own unique twist on the two game’s styled formula that makes for a much enjoyable experience with you and your friends. It is also the perfect game to kill a quick few minutes if you’re on the go with the Vita thanks to the integrated cross play system. If you’re looking for a fun, harmless game, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale should be a must buy for your Sony system.

Madden 13 Review

Madden 13 is a great football game and probably one of the most polished Madden games ever released. Granted that the Infinity engine isn’t always perfect, it’s still a lot better than it is bad. But the problem with Madden 13 is that EA Tiburon was too busy fixing its mistakes from last year’s installment, which left them little time to incorporate any exciting new changes to the game besides the new engine. All in all though, this is finally a Madden game worth getting.

Resistance: Burning Skies Review

Resistance: Burning Skies isn’t a failure, but the game isn’t really a big success either. The game seems lost in the middle, not sure what to make of itself. The visuals don’t seem as fine tuned as they could be like they’re in Uncharted, the multiplayer doesn’t feel finished, the controls take getting used to, and the single player campaign isn’t as robust as it could have been. But as long as you don’t have any high expectations besides fun going into the game, Burning Skies is the best on the go shooter available the Vita can offer right now.

Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation Review

Assassin’s Creed: Liberation sounded like a good idea on paper, but was hideously handled by the developer in the end. From forced Vita mechanics to some ugly, new gameplay systems such as the personas, the game felt like more of a test run to fumble around with some new ideas for future Assassin’s Creed games. In reality, a simple beta or demo could have saved this game from the disaster that it is.

Uncharted: Golden Abyss Review

Uncharted: Golden Abyss is the best handheld experience I’ve ever had. Though it does have its flaws, most notably the forced Vita mechanics, the ability to choose to avoid the majority of the those methods helped balance out the negatives. I enjoyed every second I had with the game and it was a thrill to once again get to step into Drake’s shoes and go off on another, mind-boggling treasure hunt that I know I won’t soon forget. This game is a must have for any Vita owner!

Chase Koeneke’s Top 10 of 2012

In January, I made a list of all the games I knew I wanted this year: The ones I was sure would be locks for the top spots in my Game of the Year list. This list was dominated by big-budget sequels like Borderlands 2, Assassin’s Creed 3, and Halo 4.
Now in December, I look at my GOTY list, and it looks nothing like the January one. Some early locks scraped by (Borderlands 2), some just barely missed the cut (Halo 4), and one in particular was gravely disappointing (Assassin’s Creed 3).
It was a surprising year, and I couldn’t be happier.

The Best of 2012

2012 was yet another fantastic year for video games. But a few titles managed to stand out above the rest that I feel deserve one final shout out before this year’s end and we move on to a fresh restart in 2013.

An Introduction to the Elder Scrolls Online

With a game the size of Elder Scrolls Online, it’s really hard to give one demo, one video, one presentation, to list everything about the game. So what you’ve read in this article are the basics. But I can tell you one thing for sure, all these elements mentioned are going to come together to potentially make the next great online RPG, and from what I’ve seen so far, Zenimax may not be far off.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Review

Right out of the gate, Hot Pursuit is a thrilling experience that delivers an amazing experience on both sides of the law, and an excellent take on control and handling of your car. And in a game that spans from the sandy coastline of the shore, to the arid desert out west, to the snowy mountain peaks to the north, there is no shortage in the variety of races to ever begin to bore you.
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit cruises past the checkered flag in record time even after being left to dust on store shelves for over two years, keeping competition in the rear-view mirror.

About industry professionals’ unwillingness to talk about violence in gaming

Yet again, in the wake of another tragedy, videogames find themselves receiving the brunt of the blame. Though, rather than provide reasonable responses, a lot of industry figureheads have resorted to mirroring the ignorant, uninformed statements they find themselves faced with. This is why that’s anything but constructive, and even proves detrimental to the understanding of videogames as an expressive artform.

Crysis 3 Web-Series Presents “Hell of a Town”

In preparation of Crysis 3′s February release, developer Crytek has put together a seven episode web-series highlighting the game world and engine (Cry Engine 3).  The aptly titled series, “The 7 Wonders of Crysis” kicks off with episode one, “Hell of a City.” Episode 1 shows series regular Prophet returning to New York City which is now part of the CELL Corporation’s Nanodome.  The nano-tech takeover has turned New York into a literal urban jungle complete with swamps, forests and rivers.