Friday, 30 August 2013

Hands-on Preview: Skylanders SWAP Force

The day after the Call of Duty reveal event, Activision invited us to see a preview of their upcoming platformer title, Skylanders: Swap Force. In addition to revealing several new Skylanders , the preview also offered a chance to get some brief hands-on time with the game.

Skylanders is a series that has garnered a cult like following over the past couple of years and has sold millions of copies worldwide, which is to say nothing of the number of toy sales that has generated. Skylanders can be best described as a toy-game crossover that at first glance seems like it's primarily aimed at children, However, if you dig a little deeper, you'll quickly learn that Skylanders offers something cool to players of all ages.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Nintendo Announces the 2DS

Nintendo is offering an alternative to the 3DS with a 2D screen instead.  It's getting a whole new case as well.  Jeff talks about it in the video below.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Feature: Second-Hand Ignorance of ESRB Ratings

night trap coverIt seems like every few years the media flocks to a story about how young adults were influenced by the violence in video games and turned that into a real world shooting or other act of violence. It seems like mainstream media picks up on the sensationalism around the topic and how video games are bad for us morally, mentally and physically.

As dedicated gamers, of course, it seems almost like our duty to defend gaming as a hobby. I often remind people that I grew up playing video games and I'm loathe to kill a fly. With early games, you would find less violence than a typical episode of Bugs Bunny. I do admit, however, that things have changed over the years.

History has taught us that games like Motal Kombat and Night Trap were responsible for changes to the game industry that initiated a move to the creation, locally, of the Entertainment Software Ratings Board or ESRB. In other countries the same concept has formed under different names (in Europe, for example there is PEGI). Although self-regulated, the system has worked very well for the new wave of games that have come out that feature violence in a more realistic fashion.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Hands-on Preview: Killzone Mercenary (PS Vita)

While Killzone: Mercenary has been in closed beta for a bit of time now, the game will soon allow anyone with a Vita and a PSN account to take the beta for a spin.

The Vita is no stranger to shooters; however, their quality had left something to be desired. Both Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Declasified and Resistance, two commercially successful franchises on the PlayStation 3 were both slammed by critics for being poorly made by nStigate Games.

Guerilla seeks to change that with Killzone: Mercenary.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Review: Sanctum 2 (XBLA)

With more and more tower defense games around, developers have had to come up with new ways to make their's stand out from the others. Coffee Stain Studios created its own new combination genre, meshing tower defense with first-person shooting for their Sanctum franchise, now in its second installment.

Gameplay is simple in Sanctum 2: the gamer must defend cores from incoming enemies by constructing weaponry towers to protect them. But like a lot of tower defense titles, gamers don't just sit idly by, viewing their towers' success or failure against incoming wave after wave of alien enemies in many bizarre forms (an overwhelming number of them resemble insects and bugs). While the towers are doing their part, gamers can go into first-person mode to jump directly into the war zone and unleash FPS fury.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Sir, You Are Being Hunted Impressions (PC)

Jeff takes a super early look at Sir, You Are Being Hunted, the PC survival game where you're the lone human on a group of islands, trying to find a way off while being hunted by a bunch of gentlemen robots.

Review: Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition (PC)

Mortal Kombat's 2011 reboot was warmly received so it's great to see it here, finally on PC, looking better than ever.

Because I was taking video of the game for a clip on The Armchair Empire's YouTube Channel, I know the game runs at a smooth 60-frames per second and the detail is phenomenal. Besides looking great, the small touches like head movement and where characters direct their attention during the course of fight and the little things going on in the background make it a game I could simply spend time watching rather than playing. Sadly, there's no option to just pit computer-controlled characters against one-another to just watch.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Preview: Call of Duty Ghosts Hands-On

On August 14, 2013, Activision held a press event in Los Angeles to unveil Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer to the world. Activision flew me out to LA along with dozens of other journalists to see the reveal in person and get some hands on time with the Xbox One version of the game.

We were able to play a couple of the game's new multiplayer modes including Cranked and Search and Rescue.

Cranked is loosely based on the Jason Statham movie of the same name. Cranked is a new take on team deathmatch whereby your players movement and reloading speed increase as you build up a kill streak. The only catch is that once you start a streak, you have thirty seconds to kill your next opponent otherwise you explode. Cranked is very fast-paced fun and as the timer ticks down the last few seconds it successfully pumps up the adrenaline.

Quick Notes: Call of Duty Ghosts Multiplayer Details

On August 14, 2013 Activision unveiled Call of Duty Ghosts (CODM) multiplayer to the world. A summary of the press conference is below:

Call of Duty Ghosts Multiplayer Reveal Trailer
The multiplayer premiere trailer was shown with an unreleased Eminem song called "Survival" playing in the background. A short clip of Eminem came on afterwards where he talked about his new song and his collaboration with the Franchise.

Monday, 19 August 2013

RGT: Racing Lagoon (PlayStation)

Remember the late 1990s when Squaresoft was pumping out hit after hit on the PlayStation?  Not all the games that they put out during that time were all that great, and in those cases the game usually never got released outside of Japan.  One such example of this would be Racing Lagoon, an RPG / racing game hybrid.  Join Jeff in the video below as he chats about the game.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Review: Saints Row IV (PC)

saints row iv

Saints Row IV is a long drive down the Pacific coast in a silver convertible. The top's down, an endless digital mix-tape is pumping out of the speakers. The sun has just started it's descent to the horizon.

Traffic is light, there's salty air swirling off the surf, and a friend you've known for 20 years (or more) is sitting beside you laughing about a shared memory that is 75% accurate and 25% exaggeration or outright bullshit. You're on a stretch of road you've driven many times, so the turns, inclines and declines are all familiar. There's some sad nostalgia, too. You last travelled this road with your now-deceased father when you were 15-years old.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Review: Dragon's Crown (PS3)

Dragon's Crown is a throw-back game that borrows heavily from side scrolling beat-'em-ups. The end result is a modernized interpretation of a classic genre.

Side-scrolling fighting games were a dime-a-dozen back in the stand-up arcade era and Dragon's Crown takes queues from the best of them. Beautifully rendered fantasy theme akin to Golden Axe, growth and development through looting and buying of upgrades (River City Ransom), elegant yet simple combat system (Final Fight), and most importantly the use of multiple players on screen (Double Dragon, Captain Commando).

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Editorial: Baker's Dozen Looking Forward

The original 2000 Armchair Empire banner.
It's August so that means my mind starts wandering back to the origins and development of The Armchair Empire.

The year was 2000, the month August, two 23-year old guys thought it would be cool to have a website devoted to writing about video games and action figures. Google wasn't a thing and Steam was associated with trains. Happy Puppy loomed large on the video game reviews landscape. Jeff Green wasn't the Editor-in-Chief of Computer Gaming World. Nintendo Power not only existed, it was going strong, running alongside the likes of (the original) EGM and GamePro. Argon fluorohydride was just discovered by Finnish scientists. Amazon was still "new fangled." The Playstation 2 had recently launched.