Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Curse You, Roundabouts! - My Adventures in Euro Truck Simulator 2

Onward to adventure!  Or at least to the chemical plant.
I'm very late to the party in playing Euro Truck Simulator 2. It's not as though I was unaware of the adulation being heaped on the game, or even that I wasn't curious about it. I was, but, for whatever reason, I just kept on procrastinating on giving it a shot. That's all changed now and like countless others have stated already, it's quite surprising how much this game can grow on a person. Never would I have thought I'd be having such a good time hauling nitrogen, furniture, and tractors across Europe. Yet here I am, blasting down the highway, slowing only because of the speed cameras, dead set on getting my load to its destination as fast as I can just so I can start the process all over again.

Review: How to Survive (PC)

How to Survive is an almost quirky mixtures of horrible thing/zombie titles you might already be familiar with. There are elements of Dead Rising, Dead Island, and the Hunter: Reckoning games; along with hints of isometric post-apocalyptic role-playing and possibly Monkey Island.

It's almost something I'd recommend to see what a small studio can do, especially if you're looking to pick-up games on the cheap -- $15 seems just about right -- but for me it whiffs on capitalizing on it's biggest asset: Kovac.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Review: King of Fighters XIII - Steam Edition (PC)

An aspect I've come to appreciate about fighting games is their ability to differentiate themselves in a packed genre. It's a missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to, let's just use this as an example, first-person shooters where being able to tell the difference between Call of Duty and Battlefield and Generic Shooter X is difficult. It's not even a Pepsi vs. Coke blind taste test. It's almost a Coke vs. Coke blind taste test. Fighting games manage to avoid this thanks to some very different art styles. Mortal Kombat and King of Fighters XIII are both fighting games, but it's extremely easy to tell them apart. It blurs a little with the likes of Virtua Fighter and Dead or Alive, but that's the only near-miss I can think of.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Review: Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate (PS3)

Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate (DOA5U) is an upgraded version of DOA 5 Plus for the Playstation Vita and DOA5 for the PS3, both of which were released within the past year.  Like the title suggests, DOA5U at its core, is a Game of the Year Edition featuring several DLC packs, some new features and gameplay tweaks to round out the package.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Review: Secret World (PC)

Secret societies?  Balderdash!  The idea that any sort of secret society can survive in this day and age is utter nonsense.  The purported power of so-called mystical sites like Stonehenge and [REDACTED] boggles the rational mind with yclept of fantasy that yclept yclept [REDACTED][REDACTED][REDACTED] filth [REDACTED][REDACTED].
Good, the text scrambler is in place and operating normally.  We can talk, if only for a short while.  It's important to pass along this information with a minimal amount of interference.  Maybe they're allowing it come out, just enough truth to salt the field of lies.  Or maybe they've slipped up this once.  After all, even in a secret society, people are only human.  Mostly.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Review: Legends of Aethereus (PC)

legends of aethereus Role-playing games (RPG) are not everyone's bread and butter. For me, I find a good smattering of JRPGs (Japanese role-playing games) and domestic RPGs are part of a balanced gaming diet (apparently I should not write while hungry). Legends of Aethereus reminds me greatly of North American style of RPGs – visually similar to Ultima Online: using a 3rd person perspective, you guide your character through a series of quests in the never ending pursuit of riches and construction materials.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Review: Skylanders - SWAP Force (PS3)

As a series, Skylanders has garnered a cult-like following over the past couple of years and has sold millions of copies worldwide and presumably multimillions in additional toy sales.

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.

Review: Shadow Warrior (PC)

shadow warrior

While playing Shadow Warrior, the notorious reputation of the original game weighed heavily in my mind, mostly around the portrayal of Asian culture and the fact that unless the game smacked me in the face with racism I probably wouldn't notice. Being a Canadian white guy in his mid-30's, I'm admittedly at a disadvantage when it comes to detecting subtle racism, especially in video games where hot-button issues are often washed away with my general feeling of, "It's a game. Whatever." That is, unless it stomps on my foot then stabs me in the eye with it. Metaphorically.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Legends of Eisenwald Early Access Impressions (PC)

Fans of turn-based strategy games such as Heroes of Might and Magic and King's Bounty may want to keep an eye on Legends of Eisenwald, as it appears to be heavily influenced by these classic series.  In the video below, Jeff gives some preliminary thoughts on the game as it recently entered Steam's Early Access program.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Review: Lost Planet 3 (360)

Nearly two months from its official launch and it's hard to find anyone talking about Lost Planet 3. Hell, even around launch there wasn't much, if any chatter, about the game. It's a darn shame too because Lost Planet 3 is part of the quickly dying breed of mid-tier games that offer good action in short bursts. In a broader perspective, there's an ever-widening chasm separating AAA-blockbuster and everything else, which usually amounts to indie projects.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Collectible: Naked Snake (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater)

Hot Toys has a reputation -- at least as much as I can put together -- of being the top tier action figure house when it comes to source material accuracy, accessories and the overall quality of construction for figures in the 12" (or 30cm) range). It's something that was pointed out to me when J'Tonello reviewed the The Joker (The Dark Knight).

Maybe a better way to describe Hot Toys overarching mandate is that they produce the Big Mac you see in the print ads. There are no camera tricks or sleight of hand here. What you see is what you get with offerings from Hot Toys. Of course, for a little more than $200 you should be expecting as much. You don't want to be opening that box to a bunch of loose lettuce, patties that have slid sideways from a squashed bun, the cheese congealed on side of the box.

Right from the box that Naked Snake (Sneaking Suite Version) comes in, there's an attention to detail that only Metal Gear Solid fans may notice. The large exclamation point under the top flap, for one, but it's the small details of Snake that really do make this a remarkable figure.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Review: Out of the Park 14 (PC)

The baseball season has started it playoff period, bringing a lot more eyes to the sport than it enjoys during a regular season that goes on for so long than non-fans could find it interminable.  This seems like a good time to spend some time with the latest iteration of the near-legendary sports sim Out of the Park Baseball 14.

For those who haven't played an OOTP game before, here is a quick rundown:  OOTP allows players to take the role of team owner, General Manager, and/or field manager of a professional baseball team (Major League, Minor League, current, historical).  The most important trait of the game is that players have near-total freedom to play the game as they choose.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Feature: Time Capsule - Grand Theft Auto

grand theft auto iii
With Grand Theft Auto V gripping the conciousness of the gaming world -- have you read the "14,633 Small Touches of GTA V That You May Have Missed" click-bait feature yet? -- I thought it might be a good time to jump on the bandwagon by beating open a time capsule then running it over to see what The Armchair Empire was saying about past Grand Theft Auto games.

Review: Grand Theft Auto III (PC)
More than a decade old at this point, GTA III was released on PC in 2002 to the kind of acclaim that greeted the Playstation 2 version in 2001. Nevermind that this game kickstarted the oft-repeated phrase, "Have sex with a prostitute then kill her to get your money back," GTA III may not have been the first open-world game but it did it with enough style and content to allow it to hold up today. The review is notable for this line: "[Online play] was never promised, and was likely always a pipe dream, but it would be infinitely cool to wonder around the world of GTA3 with, say, 32 real people scattered amongst the computer AI crowd."

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Review: Disney Infinity (PS3)

It's difficult to begin a review of Disney Infinity without providing an ample warning to parents about the real-world action figure economy that Disney has created in some respects (and takes a few cues from the popular Skylanders series).

Besides a video game, there are real-world figures to collect that can be plunked down on the "Infinity Base" which interact with each other, along with optional/additional "Power Discs." Setting these items on the base makes them "live" in the game. The base set comes packed with Mr. Incredible (The Incredibles), Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean), and Sulley (Monsters U) and one Power Disc. In practicality, this means three fair sized campaigns ("Play Sets") and plenty of options when it comes to Toy Box mode.