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(Slightly) Old Video Game Review: Spec Ops: The Line

spec opsSpec Ops: The Line is one of the biggest sleeper hits for me. I never thought of picking up the game until a friend of mine heavily recommended the title. A true avid gamer himself, I couldn’t say no to his recommendations and decided to get the game and see what all the fuss was all about.

Released back in June 26, 2012, the game got a lot of praise for the story, but the negatives focused on the lack of a great multiplayer component (unfair, but they got to review everything right?) and the stale gameplay. I never had the chance to play the multiplayer components, so I’ll leave that out of my review, but everything else is fair game. Continue reading

tomb raider

(Slightly) Old Video Game Review: Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider brought a woman into a man’s world.  An adventurous and dangerous protagonist, who would shoot her way to victory.  The first Tomb Raider also brought one of the earliest forms of cosplay with Lara Croft.  A big-breasted woman, wearing a tank top and some short, shorts while duel-wielding pistols.  I don’t know exactly if specifically Tomb Raider started to ruffle the feathers of feminists, but it definitely helped bring the word sexy to video games.  Over the years however, the game became dull and Lara Croft getting hotter.  But that doesn’t mean Tomb Raider was doing something spectacular, actually it was worse than mundane.  Eidos was losing touch with their Tomb Raider fanbase.  You know what the worst part of that is?  It was potentially putting Lara Croft as an afterthought in the video game industry.  Eventually, Square Enix picked up the rights to Tomb Raider and put all the pressure in the world onto Crystal Dynamics to revive the Tomb Raider franchise.  Thankfully, Crystal Dynamics not only revitalized the Tomb Raider name, but boldly rebooted the series.  The result?  Welcome back, Lara Croft.  You are relevant in the gaming world once again.

lara croft

No time for rest.

Crystal Dynamics did something Eidos wouldn’t have thought of doing.  Changing the entire look and persona of Lara Croft.  No more sexy killer with an adrenaline for adventure. Nope, Lara Croft became a simple, reserved girl who was helping her friends track down mythical history.  A girl who gets dirty, injured, broken, battered, bruised, and scarred both emotionally and physically.  The story starts you off on a ship looking for the mysterious island called Yamatai.  An ancient island lost to the pages of history.  No one knew of the island, let alone its inhabitants.  The myth piqued the interest of Lara and her friends.  To find a discovery and make a whole TV series out of it.  However, they have to cross what is called the Dragon’s Triangle (something like the Bermuda’s Triangle, but near Japan) and survive the horrors that have plagued the sea.  And…from there you can pick up the game and play to see what adventures you get with the new Lara Croft.  The story reminds me of the Uncharted series, which is definitely not a bad thing at all. Continue reading

(Slightly) Old Video Game Review: Castle Crashers

SMASH ALL THE BUTTONS!  That’s how I felt when playing a beat-em-up side scroller.  Just keep tapping on the buttons and eventually, your enemies will fall.  An old-school formula that is still an awesome time waster.  Castle Crashers following the footsteps of Streets of Rage, Final Fight!, and River City Ransom.  The Behemoth, creators of Alien Hominid, brought this magical and wonderful game to the XBOX 360, Playstation 3, and Steam starting in 2008.

Boss fights are fun with some twisted humor.

Set in Medieval times, the story is set in a very fairy tale-like world with a twisted sense of reality.  The story just revolves around saving four princesses kidnapped by an evil wizard. The four main knights go after the wizard to save the princesses and fight all his minions head-on.  There are no twist ending (well…kinda), just go save the princess.  And not in a Super Mario Bros. type of way where the princess is “in another castle!”  The fantasy world is fascinating with all the cute, yet dangerous enemies.  You start off choosing four different fighters, each with a different magical ability.  Think of them as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but the medieval knights version (sort of). Continue reading

(Really, REALLY) Old Video Game Review: Mortal Kombat

FINISH HIM!  Who can ever forget those words, especially when you are about to pull off a fatality move on your opponent.  One of the most violent games that came out in the pixelated era.  A game to created to go heads up against Street Fighter.  NetherRealm Studios probably knew Street Fighter was one game that would be hard to knock off of the fighter’s podium, but it can heavily challenge its ways by putting in something extra; something a little different. NetherRealm decided to release this game with a little, flair.  And by flair, I mean blood.  Lots of it.  This is one of the main highlights that got this game noticed in the 90s.  Who can forget Sub-Zero ripping an opponent’s head off?  Or Sonya giving one of the characters a kiss of death?  So many violent, yet memorable moments.  As a kid in the 90s, violence in video games weren’t rare, but they weren’t shown off graphically like the way Mortal Kombat did. Mortal Kombat showed off violence and blood like how Playboy shows off women.  They meant to show as much violence as possible.

Showing up at arcades and video game retailers all across the world on August 8, 1992 (1993 for console ports), games would never be the same.  Ever.  Mortal Kombat heavily borrowed from Street Fighters’ great formula, but they decided to tweak the formula here and there.  The biggest change was the addition of the fatality move.  Usually Street Fighter just ended once one of the player’s health bars goes down all the way in a 2 out of 3 round match. But the developers added the fatality to humiliate your foe’s defeat, in an awesome way of course.  The game was crude compared to Street Fighter’s formula, but it still made the best of it.


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(Slightly) Old Video Game Review: Borderlands

What a surprise this game was.  Everything was great, from the storyline to the graphics to the gameplay.  It was an amazing experience everyone should try to experience.  A first-person, RPG isn’t unheard of, but a rare finding in video games of late.  And…it was a good thing Gearbox Software did a damn good job giving the gamer a damn good game to play.

First off, the story.  It is a simple science fiction story arc you can follow without being bored, yet somewhat get involved into it.  The story isn’t deep, but deep enough to keep you finding out what is going to happen next.  The story starts you off as a treasure hunter on a planet called Pandora.  You are involved in finding a mysterious vault that hold vast riches and fame, but you aren’t the only one looking for it.  There are mercenaries to raiders to corporate armies you have to fight to not only survive, but get inside the legendary vault.  Besides the humans, you have to compete with the natural wildlife that also hinder your way to the treasure.  A simple, yet engaging story to keep you interested enough to plow on through the game.  The characters you play are…voiceless really, never really saying anything but a few lines after blowing someones head off or the constant grunt the character makes while jumping.  The NPCs are what really shines in this game.  Claptrap is my favorite of all of them, the quick witty lines and the cute whimpers as it runs off scared.  The others are pretty fun to listen to, but in the end, they are out shined by Claptrap.

Claptrap has the best lines ever.

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