Friday, December 31, 2010

Johnny Fanboy's Game of the Year.

Introduction from the Outlaw:
Hello everyone. We just hired a new writer who wishes to be known as Johnny Fanboy. We haven't set up his account just yet, so he will be sending all his work to me. He wants to make damn sure you all know he wrote this and not me even though I posted it, because in his words I am "a faggy fagnub who faggingly gave a fag score to Halo: Reach because it wasn't fagging high enough... because [I] am a fag." So without further adieu, Johnny Fanboy.



Hey fags and faggettes, this is Johnny Fanboy telling you what the real game of the year is: Halo Reach. You can ignore the rest of the "guys'" posts because they are all wrong. They are total nerds and I sleep with their moms huhuhuhuh! Sure, that Morgan dude gave it runner up but that's not good enough! NOT FOR THE BEST GAME THAT HAS EVER EXISTED! And Stephen giving Reach a 10 for multiplayer; I don't care if that's the highest score... IT DESERVES HIGHER! I mean c'mon, the campaign is PERFECT! The multiplayer is BEYOND PERFECT! Don't believe me? I'll play you on xbox live and totally kick you're ass. Then I'll go to your house and kick your ass. Hahahahah. Stupid nerds. How much do you benchpress? I can lift more. Fags.



Who cares about other games when there's Halo, brah! That's all I fucking need! Just play it and you would understand. Oh wait... if you only have a PS3 or a Wii you can't... HA! Get a real console fags. Then I can kick your ass while I drink a bruskie. HALO! Seriously, I wish I could give this award to Halo 1, 2, 3, or all of them, but Chris says I can't because they didn't come out this year. Fag.



Seriously, all those other games suck. Why would you even play them when there's Halo. Man, none of those come even close. Red Dead Retarded would be sooo much better if it had space marines. And Master Chief could totally kick Shepard's ass. Then he'd meet that Bayonetta chick and make her his bitch. JUST LIKE I'LL MAKE YOU ALL MY BITCH IN HALO! Don't believe me? Play me. My Gamertag is AwesomeWeedSmokerWhosBetterThanYou69. Lol. I put the number 69 in there because it's totally funny. Also, I totally smoke weed and am better than you. I'm just kidding. That's not my gamertag. Like I'd ever want to play with you fags. And fuck off. Kick your ass later!

Ending message from the Outlaw:
Well everyone... Johnny Fanboy... yay...

The Outlaw's Game of the Year!

Well everyone, it's New Year's Eve which means it's time for me to look back on 2010's gaming catalog and choose my game of the year, my runner-up, and my biggest disappointment. It also means that I have to take time out from getting hammered to write this. So let's get on with it!


If this blog existed back when Mass Effect 2 came out, Stephen and I probably would have killed each other fighting over who got to review it. The thing is Mass Effect 2 was brilliant for a billion different reasons. For one, it took a really good game and improved everything about it. The shooting was better, the graphics were better, the dialogue was better, and we got to delve deeper into a bunch of characters we had already started to love. Beyond that, getting to upload your old profile from ME1 was amazing. Seeing all my old decisions effect the sequel made the universe feel all the more real and it gave you the impression that your decisions really did have long-lasting consequences. I even welcomed the large amount of new characters with open arms (seeing the point of view of a Geth, who is actually 1,000 geth is awesome).

Sure, some people hated mining. I honestly didn't care because I felt it was relaxing and anything was better than the Mako. Also, we no longer had cluttered menus to deal with. All of this came together to make a universe I think I might love more than Star Wars (and that's saying a lot). You can bet that Mass Effect 3 will probably take my GotY again when it comes out.


As much as I love Mass Effect, this decision was super difficult to make. As you can probably tell from my online handle, I am a huge fan of the Old West. For years I had been waiting for a game that I felt captured the feel of the time period. We had Red Dead Revolver, which was good but much too campy to be the game I was looking for.
Then there was Gun, which I loved but it didn't have the level of polish it needed. Then Rockstar worked with a clean slate (remember that Red Dead Revolver was originally being made by Capcom) and holy shit did they hit the ball out of the park.

First of all, the game looks even better than GTAIV. Seriously, go look at how everyone in GTA looks like their faces are covered in vaseline and how they are animated when not in a cutscene. Compare that to how much more real everyone in Red Dead looks and animates. Back? See, I told you so. On top of that, the world is incredibly gorgeous. I could honestly just ride to the top of a plateau and watch the sunset. There are also a vast number of animals that inhabit the land which you can hunt and skin to make money. I don't know how, but Rockstar manages to make their worlds feel more alive each and every time, and RDR is the apex of that.

But what is a landscape without characters? Well let me tell you, RDR has plenty of great ones. Not only does everyone in the cast have their own desires, motives, and personalities, but they are all memorable. Everyone is so well written and acted that I could probably recite the entire cast off the top of my head. Add to that great shooting and riding mechanics and you have a near perfect game.

Normally that would be enough to seal the deal, but the game goes even farther with one of the best stories I've seen in a long time. I won't spoil anything, but I rarely get as attached to game characters as I did to Marston. Seeing the game's events culminate into the ending is one of the best gaming experiences I've ever had. Also, if you haven't read my article about riding into Mexico while the original song "Far Away" plays do so. It might be the greatest gaming moment of the year.


I wrote a review for this back when it came out and my opinion still stands. It was in no way my least favorite game of the year, just the most disappointing , hence the category. The thing is, I am a huge Nintendo fanboy and I just expected more. There were just too many problems. While I liked the map layout and the powerups, the controls just weren't good enough. First of all, using a D-pad to move around in a 3D area just isn't precise enough. Oh, and have I mentioned how much I hated standing still to fire missiles? Cause I do. However, that wasn't my biggest problem.

My strongest complaint is the story and I direct most of the blame at Team Ninja. I expected them to turn Nintendo's classic heroin into an even bigger bad-ass, but, in a brilliant stroke of sexism, they turned her into an order-taking submissive who wouldn't do anything unless Adam told her she could. Not only was this insulting to the character, but it made the story look stupid as Samus would stand and watch someone in peril until Adam okay-ed the use of a new weapon. Combine that with a story arch about an under-cover assassin that never gets resolved or mentioned again and you can consider the ball officially dropped. Now that Retro Studios has finished the amazing Donkey Kong Country Returns, hopefully they'll be given back the reigns to the Metroid franchise.

Game of the Year from The Good Doctor

Well, 2010 is finally over. And personally I’m glad. My 21st birthday is ten days from now, more video games will be coming out soon, and most importantly, the first decade of the 21st century is over. Now people finally have no excuse to refer to the date as “two thousand-whatever.” It’s “twenty-eleven” now.


Anyway, this all in all was a pretty good year for gamers. We had games like Halo: Reach, Epic Mickey, Donkey Kong Returns, Sonic 4, and others. Like any year, there are some that don’t measure up though, but here, for me, at least, are the two games most deserving of the title “Game of the Year.”

Game of the Year:

Red Dead Redemption

This one was a bit of a shoe-in for me, as I, unbeknownst to many, am a huge fan of westerns. I loved Red Dead Revolver, this game’s vastly different predecessor, for all its ridiculous campy glory. Exploding Pig-Men, Circus-Midget-Banditos, and invisible bear men and all. When I heard there was to be a more serious toned sequel, I was overjoyed.

What I really enjoyed most about this game was that serious tone that Rockstar approached it with. Rockstar’s previous endeavors were all good, campy, over the top fun, but with Grand Theft Auto 4, they suddenly stopped having ridiculous excuse plots, and their humor became much more savagely directed at the flaws in our modern society. I bring this up because Red Dead Redemption does much of the same thing. Many people have in their minds, a sort of idea of “The Grand Old West,” where cowboys rode wild, and life was all about freedom. In reality, the very existence of the frontier western culture was being fought against tooth and nail by the powers of “advancement” from the very moment. The true old west as we know it only really existed roughly between the years of 1875-1895. Red Dead Redemption takes place in the year 1911, which most people don’t even think of as being part of the “Old West” era, and it’s this very discrepancy that the game bases itself around. The idea that the age of the frontiersman was dead. Also prominent is the idea of how, at the same time, the lack of civilization that allowed the lawlessness of the West to flourish was not to be idealized, but showed just how awful life could get for people. However, in spite of all this somberness, the game still manages to have Rockstar’s signature sense of humor, and there is a colorful assortment of characters to help John Marston in his journey, and the game certainly does manage to be a lot of fun. John Marston himself is a great character, who, I absolutely cannot stress enough, has the patience of a saint. He has to deal with thieving snake oil salesmen, lazy drunken assholes, idiotic lawmen, all while trying to track down a man who he has to chase practically across 4 states.

As far as the gameplay itself goes, the controls are very well done, utilizing a similar targeting system than that of GTAIV, but with a few tweaks so that the game isn’t doing all of your aiming for you, which I quite liked. The only issue I had with the controls was that I thought the weapon selection wheel was a bit awkward to use in combat.

Runner Up:


I love hack ‘n slash games. It’s a damn shame to me that there aren’t more good ones out there. You’ve pretty much got the Devil May Cry series, the God of War series, and then an assortment of games that are essentially just palette swaps of them. These games, such as Dante’s Inferno, or Darksiders, are by no means bad, but they’re just sort of playing “follow the leader,” and it was getting kind of annoying looking for a new hack ‘n slash game that was its own.

Enter Bayonetta.

Bayonetta is made by the same creative team that made the Devil May Cry franchise, and has been called a sort of spiritual successor to them by many. While this is not entirely inaccurate, it would be better to call it what I see it as: a deliberate, completely over the top parody of ridiculous action games like the Devil May Cry or God of War series. Now, this parody is by no means mean spirited, as if to say “here’s what you’re doing wrong.” It felt more like the creators simply said, “hey you know how we had ridiculous, physically impossible moves in Devil May Cry? Yeah, those were cool. Ridiculous, but cool. Well, let’s take those same kind of moves, and make them even more ridiculous and impossible. Bayonetta is so over the top, that anyone I’ve known who started a new save file on it would begin the opening action scene saying something to the effect of “HOLY SHIT I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON BUT IT’S FUCKING AWESOME!”

The moves, cutscenes, bosses, and pretty much everything about the game is every crazy action game stereotype turned way way up. “So action game heroes always use two guns? FUCK THAT SHE’S USING FOUR. WITH TWO ON HER FEET. I DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW THAT WORKS BUT I DON’T CARE.”


The characters are also ridiculous as well, from porn star/librarian/witch Bayonetta, her beleaguered Joe-Pesci like driver, to Ronin, the game’s answer to Mr. T, Mike Tyson, and Miceal Clarke Duncan (that big ass black guy from The Green Mile).

Also present in the game are about a million different shout outs and references to other games, from Bayonetta using Dante from Devil May Cry’s guns, to collecting what are called “halos” but in reality are the rings from Sonic games. There’s literally more here than I could list, and I haven’t even finished the game yet.

My one complaint about the game though, is that it’s very hard. Not so hard that I have trouble beating the levels, but hard enough that I can’t play through them with the grace and style that a character as kick ass as Bayonetta deserves. When you die, or get a low ranking on a mission, you feel bad because you’re saying to yourself “dammit, Bayonetta would do better than that. Not this sloppy-ass shit.” And any game that pushes you to perform with that in mind is alright in my book.

Alright, so those are my two favorite games of 2010. But unfortunately, not all the games out this year were great. And so, my award for biggest disappointment goes to:

Biggest Disappointment:

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

Let me start off with a bit of a disclaimer. This game originally came out in December of 2009, on the Wii. However, in late January of 2010, Konami released a port for the PS2, which, if you’re going to play this game at all, I would recommend playing it on the PS2, not the Wii. The controls for the Wii version are kind of awful.

Alright now with that aside, allow me to give a bit of backround on this game. It was originally billed as a remake of the first Silent Hill game, to which many rejoiced. It was then announced that it was not going to feature any combat whatsoever, which was actually greeted with more enthusiasm than you would think. Many realized that the best aspects of the Silent Hill series came not from fighting the monsters, but by being freaked out by the atmospheric environments.

Then the bad news started coming. It was said that rather than a straight up remake of the first game, it was to be a “reimagining” of the first game. This got quite a few groans, as that’s essentially what the Silent Hill movie was, and while not terrible, most agreed the movie would have been better if it had stuck to its roots more.

But, being the Silent Hill fanatic that I am, I decided to give this game a try when I found out it was available for the PS2. And much like the movie, there is nothing patently awful about this game, but overall, it just fails to scare like the previous games did, the levels have nowhere near the amount of horrific atmosphere they had in previous games, and the system implemented to avoid enemy encounters was just rather boring.

The story itself, which is usually what the chief focus of a Silent Hill game is anyway, again, while not being terrible, wasn’t overly well done, and while the twist at the end was rather well done, it was nothing that hasn’t been done before in the Sixth Sense or Fight Club. The setting itself didn’t really gel well with other Silent Hill games as well, where the town had genuine elements of the supernatural, whereas in this game, it’s much more cerebral, and, to my tastes, not in a terribly interesting way.

What makes it be on this list though, is not it being a truly bad game, per say, but rather, the feeling I get by looking at it and saying, in the words of John Whittier, “Of all the sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these: It might have been” This might have been a great way for the Silent Hill series to break away from its terrible camera system, and the clunky combat, but in the process, it seems to have broken away from what made the franchise great in the first place.

Game of the Year from The Elitist!

What? 2011? Riiight.. okay "sure" it is! *laughter*
Happy New Year lovely people, from your friend The Elitist!
Here is the deal, in the following letters that fill this page, you will read words, made up of said letters,  that create these categories, announces their topic, and will describe how such decisions were reached. The word will create Game of the Year, Runner up (because picking one game is too damn hard), and the biggest disappointment, from 2010!
So without further adieu, I bring you the Game of the Year article from yours truly, The Elitist!

Game of the Year: Mass Effect 2

Note: A few spoilers from ME 1 ahead. I try to be careful with ME2 but come on... go play it. 

So, this is a challenge for me, because I could talk about this game all day, and I'm going to try to not just gush over how much I love it (too much). So let us see. Why is Mass Effect 2 so awesome? I suppose a good place to start is at the center, with Commander Shepard. He is such a badass. Disagree? Well you are wrong, and I will explain to you why I am unquestionably wrong with no bias what so ever. He destroyed hundreds of Geth with only the help of his crew, who he gathered through his charisma. He destroyed a Reaper, a thinking machine as big as a space frigate. Yea he killed it. He killed Harbinger, the hive-mind of the Collectors (of whom he killed hundreds). Before that, he himself was killed by the very same Collectors and, quoting the game, all it did was piss him off. He is a man (or a woman..?) definitively being the smoothest talker out there, and being the center of desire for all the babes (studs?). He's the epitome of Hero and is cooler than that action hero you like.
Obama Shepard will fight. For Change.
(Also, he can be President Barak Obama. [This is supposed to be funny, okay internet?]) Although Shepard would be nothing without his crew. Who are the next jewel in the crown of this game. They are perfect characters. Whether you hate the character or love him/her you cannot deny the fact that they have a set, solid, and substantial personality. Each and every person in the game feels like someone you could meet. They are unique have quirks talents, likes and dislikes. The members of Shepard's crew all have personalities that are built and displayed in such a flawless fluidity as the relationship between Shepard and the character grows, the player gets a very real feeling of friendship, hate, or even love, from the members aboard the Normandy. That's not so say that this happens only on the Normandy. Every single person the Commander encounters is different. They are solid, real characters and they make the game feel so much more personal, and much more enjoyable. Finally, taking the broadest step we can, the game is all tied with a bow of the perfect setting. The universe in which Mass Effect takes place is so expansive. I don't mean the physical universe, but the atmosphere, the setting. The rules, the ideas, and characteristics of the world in which Shepard live. BioWare has created an enormous expansive canvas, on which only a portion has been painted. There is so much potential in the Mass Effect world, that I will not only be surprised to see the franchise end with ME3, I would also be deeply disappointed in the failed grab at the raw potential.

Game of the Year Runner-Up: StarCraft II

This was literally one of the hardest choices for the blog I have ever had to make. StarCraft 1 was the first video game I really got into, thanks to my father who was a huge RTS fan (Command and Conquer being his personal favorite). So I literally grew up playing StarCraft. I had been waiting for SCII for years. A majority of my life. It's release was what I had been wanting for a long time... a long time. The game was everything I wanted it be. Updated campaign modes, newer objective with game mechanics not seen in an RTS ever before. A story line that left you wanting more, anticipating the next installment, and most importantly; A near perfect multi-player. That is where the excitement is for me. Head to head with another human.
Protoss: "I think we are in trouble, sir."
Testing out strategy, trickery and skill with our race. Utilizing your units to their full potential to out maneuver your opponent. Controlling the map, or simply wiping them out early. Coming back from a major defeat to win.These are the reason I love this game so much. I have never ever had a game give me an adrenaline burst, but during the heat of an epic offensive, or during crucial scouting runs, or harassment campaigns, I get so into the game, it's almost like tunnel vision. I absolutely love every minute of it. So, why runner-up? Well, I realize while this game was my perfection, it does not meet the quality of ME2. It's close. Damn close. In some ways in reserves GotY over ME2, but I could not find enough wrong with either game to make a clear decision. So, my decision is based on core game creation quality. In which, the lack of repetitive styles of play give ME2 a slight boost, due to a quirk in how RTS' are played, to no real fault of their own. It's just the way it is. I must defer to the detail involved in ME, that is lacking to a small degree in SC.

Disappointment of the Year: Metroid: Other M

I am made sad just thinking about it. I was so very excited for this game. I have played (maybe not beaten) every Metroid game made. I love the franchise, it is a classic that will live in my heart with alien/pirate busting joy (Samus would someday be my wife, were she real). I wanted this game, so badly, to be excellent. It let me down, left me in the restaurant alone. Team Ninja... you stood me up. 

Now that I have made a humorous introduction, the game is not bad. The Ninja Gaiden style suites Samus quite well and added some new charm to the combat typical of a Metroid game, while still holding the side scrolling fascination. The first problem in game play come in when you start having to utilize the rockets. Uggghhhhhhhhh. For some reason, game designers for the Wii have this weird supernatural urge to utilize the Wii's ridiculous motion control nonsense and ruin an otherwise perfect control scheme. Shoot rockets.. you have to aim at the screen, and it moves into first person mode. This would be fine, except you can't freaking move.
Oh hai! Go ahead, I'll wait!
So if you ever want (need) to shoot rockets, you better hope that big mean boss who wants to rend you in half and eat your insides will sit patiently and wait for you the launch a volley of missiles at him. I bet you can guess how often that happens.  They try once again to use this aiming balderdash by creating moments in the game that require you to search for something. You scan it, and are allowed to move on. Stupid stupid stupid. Often you have literally NO EFFING IDEA what you are looking for, and end up just looking online because you think "This is absolutely ridiculous." Finally, the character development, story line, and voice acting are mediocre at best. I, from the beginning, supported Samus' voice actor giving her the benefit of the doubt, and creating theories as to why she sounded so uninterested in some of her narrations. As it turns out, she just is not very animated as a voice actor. Samus' character was shallow, her relationships with the other characters were superficial and without much substance, save for some flashbacks and past happening. It all seemed a little slapped together, lacking the care needed to create a truly alluring story. A decent game otherwise. Bastard hard at times, and like I mentioned above, barely skin deep. Worth a rent, but certainly a disappointing game. Although... Team ninja did do one thing right. (spoilers in that link, by the way) 

Game of the Year from ManusDei!

The Good, The Better, and The Unfortunate. 

Welcome to ManusDei's Game of the Year article. First of all, I would like to wish everyone a safe New Years and a fantastic 2011. Also, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, whatever it may have been. What follows is my personal snapshot of this year in gaming. But enough with pleasantries. You do not read our articles to find warm and cozy wishes or to feel better about yourself. No. You read them because you want to know our honest, somewhat broken, and always entertaining views of what is going on in the gaming world. If you do not fall into that category, pretend that you do. Then it will still be right. Thanks & Gig'em.

The Good (Runner Up to Game of the Year): Halo Reach

To be brutally honest, I'm a huge fan of Halo Reach. It is a near-perfect blend of the Halo and Call of Duty games. When I was playing the beta, I knew this was one game I would have to own. And thus I found myself at my first midnight release (all you intense gamers are probably crying because I have only been to one, and all you casual gamers are crying because I went to any at all....). Mind you, I am a very biased player of most games these days. I prefer online modes where you are pitted against other real-life players instead of trudging through campaign content (I'm probably signing my death warrant). I cannot tell you the last campaign I played for more than a few levels and maybe even completed. Unless you count *spoiler alert* WoW *end spoiler alert*. But back to the task at hand. Essentially what I'm saying is, all I have played is multiplayer matchmaking. But do not be fooled by my lack of breadth into the many wonders of Halo Reach. I have been told many first-hand accounts of the excellence and badassery that is the campaign, firefight, and co-op modes. And, dare I say, those accounts may have factored into my decision. But I believe the real pride and joy of Bungie's release is matchmaking.

I have played various matchmaking game types from previous Halo games, and my favorites still stand in Reach: Team Slayer, Team Swat, Arena Doubles (once Team Doubles), and Rumble Pit. Of these, my favorite depends on the day and how I am playing. Doubles tends to be my favorite, because even if my teammate sucks I can usually worry about the other team on my own. Slayer... depends on the rest of my team (teehee, Team Slayer relies on team, teehee). Suppressing fire, holding power weapons, lots of stuff you just cannot do on your own, no matter how hard you try. Swat is a very volatile game type. You can get 30 kills in one game, go plus 25 K/D, and then get DOMINATED in your next game. With headshots being a one hit kill, internet connectivity plays a bit of a role. But it really just depends on who is feeling it in that game. And finally we have Rumble Pit. The real way to get better at all Halo games. Some of you are probably whining about kill-stealing and always getting shot from everywhere. But guess what? That's how you get better! If you can kill someone one-on-one, have half or no shields, stay alive long enough to see who is shooting at you now, and manage to kill them, you have done something worthwhile. You learn how to survive, when to run, and what battles to fight. Sometimes you will get very frustrated. Deal with it. It happens to all of us. Get better.

So... Lunch later?
Before I go into why Reach did not get my number one spot, I want to talk about a few more features I enjoy about it. One is the new aiming system, which adjusts the size of your reticule based on how often you are firing. If you take a few moments between shots (depending on the gun), you will have an accurate shot. Fire too quickly, and you will find yourself missing what you swear to be headshots. This is a very Call of Duty-esque feature that adds an extra level of skill to the franchise. Timing between shots has become very important. Also, the new grenade mechanics are quite good. Frags are spinning when they are thrown, and bounce much more realistically than in previous games. Except for the odd lack of bounce that occurs depending on where exactly you throw it, but that is only on rare occasions. And stickies. Well. Stickies are God's gift to gaming. Wonderful, those little suckers. The new loadout system is another piece that reminds me of Call of Duty, but adds a whole new level of play to the Halo franchise. Usually, it is excellent, but I do have to say one thing... screw you dude who is using armor lock. I stuck you twice. Curse your children. Another new feature I praise heavily is the responsiveness to player opinion. This comes in two forms: voting for game types and levels, and regular updates based on voting and feedback from players. Bungie adds specific game types if they are chosen enough in the voting rounds, and throws in various other updates as needed. This is a fantastic adjustment to what used to be a more rigid take-what-you-bought system.

But every rose has its thorn(s). The biggest thorn for me is the change in player skill rating. Sure, you can play arena where you get a rating and eventually get placed in a “bracket” to play similar players. After that season is over, you can get rated again. And while this is a good way to overcome the obstacle in Halo 3 of having too much experience and not being able to increase your rating, or having your skill change (for better or worse) but your rating stay the same, I think this takes away from the skill-rated play which I loved about Halo 3. Sure, there was no way I would ever be rated a 50. But seeing someone with that rating always inspired a bit of awe in me. That person (or whoever they bought their account from) put some serious time into that game and was really good. That piece is missing from Reach. You have the experience rankings, game-by-game ratings, season ratings, and online stats. But that awe-inspiring piece that resulted from seeing a 50-rated player just is not there. Other than that, there is little I do not like about Reach. And any problems I do have will probably be ironed out by Bungie as the game evolves.

All-in-all, Halo Reach is one of the best games on the market. With all the new features, and the regular updates from Bungie, what is already a great game will continue to grow. Halo Reach is my runner up.

The Better (Game of the Year): World of Warcraft – Cataclysm

Now I am really asking for it. Wah. He picked an expansion for his game of the year. Wah. He is just a WoW-nerd. Wah. MMO's are not legitimate games. Wah. All I hear is “Wah,” not the stuff in between. So quit wasting your breath. I have been playing World of Warcraft since vanilla (that means I played it before any expansions). I was not a serious player by any stretch of the imagination. Well, at the time anyway. My pride and joy was my level 27 Dwarf paladin, from back in the day when pallies were absolutely ridiculous to play. It was not until the third expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, that I became a bit of a WoW-junkie. Within a few months, I took a squishy level 1 priest to level cap and was living the life of a healer. It helped that I was the luckiest SOB to ever walk the face of Azeroth, because I was consistently rolling the highest rolls for new gear. What I am trying to say is, I was pretty big into WoW pre-Cataclysm. And Cat boasted many changes and updates that intrigued me. Could Blizzard deliver a substantial increase in gameplay? Could they make WoW more casual and more serious? Could Blizzard outdo themselves and remake their franchise?


When it comes to Cat, I do not even know where to start. And before I say anything more, I want to warn you that I will probably miss a few things. Deal with it. There is too much awesome to put into one article.

The new talent trees are fantastic. I can make a half-decent tree without having to go look online because I actually understand what each talent does. The entire ability system has been redone. There are no longer levels of skills to buy, they just scale with your character level. And new skills are announced to you when you level, as well as being listed in your spellbook. Many class mechanics have been adjusted. I am personally familiar with changes to priests, and it appears we may actually be competitive healers again. Instead of just face-rolling the keyboard, groups must actually decide what enemies to crowd control, who to burn down first, and who to avoid even in basic instances. While some may complain that WoW has become harder, I would challenge them to say that WoW has just become more involved. Know what you are doing, and carry out your role.

It actually is pretty easy being green. When you are a badass
Instancing is not the only way to gear early on. Gaining reputation with the various factions can almost completely gear an entry-level 85. And by completely gear, I mean get you to the item-level requirement for heroic instances. Oh. My. God. Heroics hurt. But I can save that chat for later. Actually... never. You can find that out on your own. Forget what I said before. Heroics are loads of fun! Bring your friends!

The map changes and new leveling zones are well done. The first shock I had was riding the zeppelin from Northrend to Orgrimmar to start leveling from 80 to 85. When I got to Orgrimmar, I did not even know where I was. Having been redesigned for flight, many areas in the old world of Azeroth have changed. It takes a little getting used to. But damn flying there is nice. The new leveling zones are some of the best new features in WoW. All of the zones change based on where you are in the quest lines. And questing in those zones is very streamlined. Quests generally come in groups, and lead you on to new quest locations. Only once or twice in the entire leveling process did I have to wonder where to go to next. The zones themselves are very unique and help leveling seem less ridiculous. But there is only so much you can do to help assuage the experience requirements for higher levels. Blizzard... you devil you. But the process did not feel that bad. Hopefully leveling is relatively pain-free for any other characters I feel like capping...

Well...that kind of sucks.
Having not had the chance to raid any of the new dungeons in Cataclysm, I cannot personally vouch for how good any of the raids may be. However, simply comparing the number of raids should be enough. In their previous expansion, Blizzard released one dungeon at a time: Naxxramas, Vault of Archavon, Ulduar, Trial of the Champion, and Icecrown Citadel. At release, Cataclysm included Blackwing Descent, Bastion of Twilight, Throne of the Four Winds, and Baradin Hold. Baradin Hold is supposed to be similar to the Vault of Archavon, a PvP raid that players can go through when they have control over the surrounding area. But the other three raids are described to be entry-level raids like Naxxramas was in the previous expansion. This could mean that wings may be added to each raid, and those wings will be more difficult but we will not see any more dungeons. Or we may get both new wings and new dungeons. For the time being, there are four raids currently available to players, which is double the number the previous expansion shipped with. Hopefully this is a sign that raid content in Cataclysm will be grand in both depth and breadth.

As I said before, I could not hope to cover everything I would like to in one article about Cataclysm. But let it suffice to say that Blizzard has reforged WoW, making it something that new and old players alike can enjoy. Happy raiding!

The Unfortunate (Gaming Disappointment of the Year): Microsoft Kinect

As a forewarning, I do not own and therefore do not have extensive experience with Kinect. However, gathering information from reviews has proved one thing: Kinect has a lot of room to grow.

I have three potential reasons why Microsoft released Kinect when it did. One – Kinect was actually complete and this was the product they intended to be on shelves. Two – the holiday season was coming up, and Microsoft needed a big, new product to release to compete with Nintendo and Sony. Or three – with the Wii and PS3's technologies evolving beyond the standard controller, Microsoft needed to get something out there to gain a foothold and sate their waiting fans. Of these three reasons, two and three do not require an exemplary product at release. Just a product to release. And that is why Kinect is a disappointment. It has potential, but is far from a complete product.

I like where Microsoft took Kinect. With both voice and movement controls, there is a lot of opportunities for a multitude of new games on the market. But it feels like a partially finished product, rushed to meet a growing demand. I am very excited for software updates and potential hardware upgrades which could easily take Microsoft soaring over its two big competitors. But right now, there is only a mediocre foothold.

Better luck next year.

Happy New Year! BTHO 2011!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Outlaw's Favorite Game Moments: Armed and Dangerous

Please tell me someone else played this hidden gem! Armed a Dangerous came out last generation and it still stands as one of if not the funniest game I've ever played. It was the story of a hero, an old man, a robot, and a Scottish mole man and their quest to overthrow an evil ruler. The journey along the way involved zeppelins, overdoses of medication that led to hallucinations of penguins, a lady in a pond, lepers, etc etc.

However, while I only remember a few jokes and the basics of the plot, there is one thing I'll never forgot. The land shark gun. Yes, you read that right. The game had a land shark gun. It had other ridiculous weapons as well, such as a giant screw-like weapon the hero (Roman I think his name was) would pull out, screw into the ground, and hold on to it as the world turned upside down sending all of the on-screen enemies falling into the sky only to soon fall back to earth from a deadly height. But I digress. This is about land shark gun.

The overall premise is this. Inside the gun are land shark embryos just waiting to be born. The wielder sees enemies and decides it is time to call upon the vicious powers of nature to aid him. He launches the embryo, which in turn burrows into the ground and grows to full maturity in seconds (somehow). It then digs around snatching up enemies
left in right. I'm a little foggy on how many you can launch at a time, but I think it's two. Anyway... OBSERVE!

Sorry about the size. The HTML it gave me looks wonky.

You know what? Instead of parting words, I'll post a video of all the weapons. It's easier.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Elitist's Least Favorite Video Game Moments: Mass Effect 2

No! Wait! It's not what it looks like, I promise!
Seriously though, when I look back and gauge this game (I am also currently replaying it) I constantly tell myself how absolutely perfect this game is. (In my opinion) The universe, the characters, the gameplay (mostly) and the story all set up such a fantastic epic I find that I cannot identify anything wrong with the game, almost.
Despite all its glory, there is literally one thing about the jewel that is Mass Effect 2 that I just can NOT stand.

Planet Scanning.

Doesn't THAT look fun?!

Even this guy, who is wasting his time posting a video on YouTube on how to find the biggest deposits of Element Zero gets impatient! This guy has not only discovered this location, one way or another, he took the time to record it and post it on the Internet. If the guy who goes to that much trouble to bring the Internet information (at no benefit to himself, mind you) gets irritated and starts skipping around the scan to hurry up and get it done, then it must truly be boring. Well, luckily for logic, it really is that boring.

If you were thinking, whilst watching that grueling process "Man... I hope I don't have to do that more than a few times" I hate to be the one to break it to you.. but you do. A lot more than a few times. You see, planet scanning give you the resources you use for almost everything. Save for the few weapons and some random upgrades you can purchase with credit the big stuff, the stuff that will allow you to complete the final mission with all of your crew living to tell the tale, are purchased with minerals you obtain by planet scanning. So, technically you don't have to scan planets.. but don't expect to do very well in the end.

Anyway, the Mako sucked.. planet scanning sucks. I am really hoping for a planet based mini-game in ME3 that doesn't make we want to kill everyone within a half mile radius. Good luck BioWare! Make me proud (and less bloodthirsty)!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Outlaw and The Elitist Podcast: Episode 2

Whoohooo! Episode 2 is finally here! Sorry it took so very long, I had to actually edit this one, and it took a little bit longer than I intended. So!! Without further adieu! I bring to YOU! TheOandE podcast, episode TWO!

The podcast contains the following silliness:

-The Outlaw's Least Favorite Moment: CodBlOps
-The Good Doctor's Favorite Moment: Fighting The End
-Assassins Creed: Brotherhood Review
-Donkey Kong Country Returns Review
-Sound effects for the lawlz
-Falcon Punch's, violence, death, and censorship
-Epic Mickey Review
-The 100th Article!
-Stuff and Things

Episode 2

Merry Christmas!


Thank you all for the support over our first few months. We have taken a long vacation since our vanquishing of final exams and I have been without internet for most of the week. However, we will be back with the articles, news, and lols very very soon! In fact, we are putting the finishing touches on the second podcast as I type this! See you all very soon!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Elitist's Favorite Video Game Moments: Devil May Cry 4

Late Feature is Late!! 

Devil May Cry has always been well known for it's ridiculously well choreographed combos and fight sequences. Devil May Cry 4 was no different. In fact, one of the first scenes in the game is one of my personal favorite cut-scenes of all time.

Allot of people complained after the release of DMC4 that there was no need for Nero, that he was a little whiny bitch-face blah blah blah. Fan boys cried and fussed because their precious Dante wasn't center stage. (I guess they are really pissed off now eh?) Anyway, I thought Nero was an awesome character, worthy of being involved in the DMC universe. Take a gander.

You see? Don't get me wrong, Dante is still as bad-ass as they come, but Nero isn't someone I'd mess around with. The reloading your revolver in the air might have been a tad bit flashy there Nero, but then again, Dante was acting as cocky as Dante can be. Which is very cocky. My personal favorite is how a sword had gone straight through Dante, but his clothes were miraculously undamaged.  Magic demon powers....
Great cut-scene full of awesome, you should play this game. Or don't. I'm not really that concerned.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Outlaw's Least Favorite Game Moments: Paying Tingle in Windwaker

I remember when Wind Waker came out when I was in middle school and everyone I knew was complaining about how it looked. I, however, was not among them because I am not a little bitch. Anyway, the game was absolutely beautiful and I loved every minute of it... Well maybe not eveeerrrry minute. This is a least favorite article after all. "So what could this moment be," you ask stupidly as the answer is in the title. Well, dear reader, it is paying that obnoxious little "fairy" (hey, he says he wants to be one) Tingle for deciphering your maps.

You see, after you get the master sword you have to power it up using pieces of the Triforce. In order to find them, you have to pay Tingle a shit-ton of money to decipher a bunch of maps. If you walk up to him with over 2000 rupees, it won't be enough to interpret all of them. Basically, that means spending more money on treasure maps to get even more money to pay Tingle. And thus, the bastard perpetuates a vicious cycle. OBSERVE MORTAL!

You know what Tingle... burn in hell. Just... burn in hell... forever.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dead Space 2: The Sprawl Trailer.

News post!
So first off, I want to apologize for our minimalism as of late, we are currently in the throws of final exams for this semester, so we have been pretty busy with the studies and that school thing. That being said, as soon as school is done, we have many goodies to bring you, including podcast numero dos, and our game of the year picks!! So get pumped. Until then I bring you awesome

So, all it took for me was the phrase "Dead Space 2 releases January 28th, 2011" and I was immediately excited. I loooove me some Dead Space. Love it. However, most people probably require a bit more hype, and so I have taken in upon myself to bring you as much Dead Space 2 hype as I can. If you don't want the game by the time I am done, then I have failed. Luckily for me, this trailer should help.

This is definitely the biggest single player tease we have received from Visceral, and it just makes me more pumped. It literally gave me chills. Be excited for this game!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Outlaw's Favorite Game Moments: Aladdin Monkey Times!

Does anyone remember the Genesis version of the Aladdin game and how great it was? I do. And in honor of the Disney love that will soon be pouring out of your speakers when you listen to our yet to be posted second podcast, I decided to bring you a quick moment from this old gem. The game is full of fun little moments and references, two of them being in the second level. One is some Mickey ears hanging out to dry on a clothes-line. The second is a hilarious little moment that this article is actually about. And it is brought to you by Aladdin's mischievous monkey sidekick, Abu. Watch the video below. The moment I speak of is at about 3: 38.

Looks like Abu ambushed him outside of the little guards room. How'd that "We've all got swords" thing work out for everyone?

Man, Abu is just owning that guy! I mean, he couldn't weigh more than 8 pounds and he's just kicking that guards ass! How embarrassing. When I was but a lad, I would sit and watch that for like 10 minutes. I hope this adds a smile to your day!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Elitist's Least Favorite Video Game Moments: Golden Sun: Dark Dawn

Golden Sun Dark Dawn is here! If you have a DS and like Golden Sun go play it! It's fun I love it, and I shall have a review up for it within a week or so. I want to get some quality time on it. That being said, I have experienced one part of the game that sent me into blindingly beastly bouts of barbaric, burning, and baby beating rage. (too much?) that moment would be the games prologue.

So, the game starts off 30 years after the events of Golden Sun 2, Isaac, Garet and crew are old and have children! So the player controls, primarily, Isaac's son: Matthew. Well, at the beginning of the game, Garets son Tyrell is an idiot and ends up getting himself lost in a forest with some crazy magical wings he cannot utilize properly. Whatever, go play it. So, as a test, Isaac sends Matthew into the woods to find and rescue Tyrell. This is supposed the prologue/tutorial mission. Normally these parts of the game are fine, typically prologues are short, teach you the things unique to that game, and then move on. Well, this game does not. What it does, first, is make this mission actually quite long. The puzzles are not particularly easy, but the fights are.
Isaac and Garet are still awesome
What happens is Isaac and Garet decide that Matthew and Karis(another companion) might need help, so they join your party, kind of. You cannot control them in battle, but you can request their help if things get too dicey, which is fine. All these things are fine and appropriate and not contemptible. What really frustrated me was that the whole time you are moving along, every time you do anything Isaac and Garet step to tell you about what you did, why you did it, how you did it, and what you need to do to keep doing it correctly. Every. Damn. Time. They never just say "Hey cool, good job, you utilized game mechanics to move that block" they go into HUGE amounts of detail about why you were able to move that block and how they didn't think you would figure out how to do that on your own and GRRR!!! They just talk way too long, way too often interrupting the game at every turn.

I bet that flower is just nothing
Real game example. You reach an impasse in the forest, where Isaac is under the impression there is some supernatural force keeping the party "tangled" in the "Tangled Woods" (har har) and that there must a source to the sorcery(kills self) somewhere near by. So Garet, using his fireball Psynergy, is supposed to destroy something to make these crazy tangle-y roots go away. So first they explain the obviously simple method of launching fireballs, then instead of just allowing you to shoot the HUGE PULSING GLOWING FLOWER THAT IS OBVIOUSLY THE SOURCE OF THE ROOTS you are forced to shoot aimless fireballs until Garet faces the correct direction on his own, at which point you just press A, or tap the screen to launch the fireball (Which you had already done 2-3 times, just in the wrong directions.. well.. because stupid). You can skip to about 9:20 in the forth video "Golden Sun: Dark Dawn Walkthrough - Part 4: Tanglewood[1/2]" in the videos I posted at the end to witness this particular moment. It takes far too long, and it really feels like I was being guided through the mission like a child.

On that note, however, I do realize this game is supposed to target a younger audience, I was certainly a young pup when I played the first two. That, however has a counter arguement. First, its an RPG, a super young audience, an age group that would require the amount of explanation they gave in this prologue, are not going to be able to solve some of these puzzles no matter how much tutorial you give them. Golden Sun puzzles are notoriously difficult. Second, where this game might target a younger crowd, the fan base for these games has grown up. The main players of this game, I can guarantee you, will be gamers like me, who played these games on road trips with their family. So, I guess what I am trying to say is DO NOT MAKE THE PROLOGUE SO DAMN IRRITATING!!

You can watch it all here, and witness its irritating length. For instance.. you read for 20mins before you even get to sort of play.

Part 1: Intro

Part 2: Intro.....

Part 3: Now you start playing

Part 4: This one (at about 9min 20sec) has the example I used above.

Part 5

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Epic Mickey

Dear friends and readers, have you found yourself down in the dumps lately? Depressed? Saddened by the events in your life? Well, I have the perfect solution for you. The name of this wonderful miracle cure, you ask? Why, it is none other than Epic Mickey! The best Wii game of the year!

Alright, so I suppose it's time for some background. A long time ago in a land called Universal Studios, a man named Walt Disney created a character named Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. However, his bosses were cruel masters, and ripped Oswald away from him. So he left this kingdom and created his own. He then invented Mickey Mouse and the rest is history. However, in the game's canon, there is a world made specifically for Disney's forgotten characters, places, and things. Mickey gets sucked into this world, where Oswald is king, and he must set things right. Namely, because he was responsible for a giant thinner disaster that screwed up the world. Anyway, moving on.


So what makes this game so spectacular? Well sit back and I'll tell you. To be honest, I find it quite impossible to convey just how wonderful the Disney love in the game is. Everything from old Mickey game SNES and NES cartridges to the freaking Nautilus from 20,000 leagues under the sea; from Horace Horsecollar to several incantations of Pete inhabit this land. There are so many homages to wonderful Disney creations I honestly couldn't stop smiling. The amount of love and care put into this game is an achievement in and of itself.


Adding to this is the main game mechanic of using paint and thinner to interact with the world around you. You can use paint to rebuild, make friends with enemies, and overall become more liked, and you can use thinner to destroy and look for secrets. There are several choices in the game that ask you to choose between the two and they ultimately have an effect on how people react to you and what missions you can take on. I bet you weren't expecting such depth from a Mickey game, eh? Usually, there are a couple of ways you can deal with situations. You can sometimes take the easy way out, which usually effects another character negatively, or you can work to solve the problem for everyone. Hell, I've sometimes found objects that I could either give to someone who had emotional attachment to them, or I could sell them for E-tickets (money). Like I said, lots of depth, especially for a Mickey game.

Ughhh... Can I help you?

The cut-scenes are amazing and I was honestly always in a hurry to see the next one. The art is wonderful and the dialogue is really charming and funny. Some people have complained about the lack of voice acting, talking is reduced to grunts and noises, but something to take into account is that some of the best Disney cartoons have no talking. So there. On top of that, the animation is honestly some of the best I've ever seen. Mickey scampers and moves likes he should. When he jumps he stretches out, displaying that famous Disney elasticity. Did I mention the game was lovingly made? Even using the Wiimote isn't a pain. I'm serious. It's accurate and hitting your target comes with ease.

Paint time is fun time!

My only complaint (seriously, my only complaint) is the camera. It's not very responsive and sometimes it gives you awful angles that can result in your death. However, I found myself cursing at Assassin's Creed more than this. In fact, I haven't cursed at this game once. It's that charming and amazing. However, the camera is bad enough to keep it from being perfect. Sad face.

In a nutshell, the game is amazing. I hate to be that straightforward, but I can't help it. It's honestly one of the best games you're going to find on the Wii, and I don't mean that negatively at all. It's got something for Disney fans and regular gamers alike. Thank you Warren Spector, for being amazing yet again.

9 out of 10 amazing things!

Donkey Kong Country Returns Review

It's been forever since we've had a true Donkey Kong game. Hell Donkey Kong hasn't even been the main focus of a legit game since Donkey Kong Country 1. Well, now retro studios has finally given us a reason to care about the big ape again, but is it any good? Read on brave adventures, and discover the truth!

First off, the base of the game brings things back to their roots. It's just Donkey and Diddy in a sidescrolling adventure trying to get their bananas back. That's where things start to veer off, however, and not in a bad way. The first big difference is how Diddy is utilized. Instead of him trailing behind you, waiting for you to switch between characters, he rides on Donkey's back. This way you can use his jet-pack to hover for a short time. He also adds some extra hits to the life bar. In two player mode Diddy moves independently, but once he is on DK's back the second player relinquishes all control to the first one. All they can do at this point is shoot a peanut gun which stuns enemies. Basically, this doesn't help multiplayer's points, but who cares. This is Donkey Kong. The only real issue I had with this system is it sometimes made me overly dependent on Diddy. Get hitting twice, being able to take multiple hits this time is a plus by the way, saw my little monkey buddy off. This left me with a lesser ability to jump which I lamented. Other than that, the whole system is quite useful.

So... pretty...

Beyond this, I've never seen such a wonderful, living 2d environment. Animals sat in the backgorund, DK's ground pounds saw the plant-life shake, and launching into the background made things feel more dynamic. The silhouette levels are also a beautiful addition. There are also little touches like ants moving in the foreground and rocks in the background forming shapes that reward you with bananas when you stop to look at them. In fact, part of what makes the game so great is the little additions that Retro Studios lovingly and creatively added. "But Chris, you magnificent star in the night sky, are there in problems with the game," you ask. Unfortunately, yes, there are. The main one being the controls.

And for a brief moment in Chris' life, everything was as it should be.

Instead of just letting us use a classic controller, it was decided that motion controls would be the way to go. You know what that means. Shake the wiimote to pound the ground. Shake the wiimote in a different way to roll and make a long jump. Throw the wiimote across the room to express frustration. OK, it never gets that bad, but Donkey Kong is all about precision and motion controls aren't precise. That leads me to my other issue. The game can be too effing hard! I know DK games are hard. I would be pissed if it wasn't. Sometimes things just seem unfair at points. It's all doable, it can just be too frustrating. One time I found myself fighting a boss on a mine-cart. The main part of the fight involves jumping from yours to the train of carts the bosses sit on. However, this means all you have to do it fall and that's it. Fight over. Try again. Boss fights should not work that way!


Beyond all this, there's not much else to say. Besides not letting us use a classic control, it's an extremely well done and beautiful throwback that will remind you why the old ones were great. At the same time, it adds enough to make it feel new. For the most part, it's just what a sequel should be. Most likely, your Wii has been collected dust, so why don't you show it some lovin' and pick up one of DK's finest outings!

8 out of 10... wait for it... MONKEY LICE! Haha you thought I was going to say bananas!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Assassins Creed: Brotherhood: Vittoria Agli Assassini!!

Victory to the Assassins! (I think)

Let me take the typical "let me take a moment before I start to.." intro to take a moment before I start to ask you a few questions.
Did you like Assassins Creed?
Did you like Assassins Creed2?
Did you like Assassins Creed 2 a little more than the first one because it wasn't *quite* as repetitive?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions (and especially if you answered yes to all of them) let me save you some reading time by saying, just go get the game. If you are unsure still, continue on I shall, because I love you. D'aawww.

So I suppose I'll begin by hating it, so when I realize in the second part of my review how much I actually enjoyed it, the contrast will be truly artistic. My biggest issue with the game is the enormous feeling of repetition. It has always been a problem with the franchise, and still remains to some degree. AC:B has done the best at making you feel as though you are doing different things, there are just so many damnable quests, at times I reached points where I would just stare at the map in frustrated awe at how much I haven't finished. Admittedly I suppose this is a good problem for some. 99.9% of the side missions are not at all crucial to the completion of the story, but are often helpful to making you more powerful. So, it's give and take I suppose. My other major problem with AC:B is it felt as though UbiSoft watered down the difficulty of the combat in order to make Ezio look more awesome. It was successful, but I often walked away from piles and piles of Roman guards having only used 1 health potion thinking: "Wow... that was really easy..." While it looks bad-ass, the new kill-combo thingy-majig makes Ezio a god among men. The deal is, whenever you get a couple kills in succession on your own (counter, or combo) without taking damage you gain the ability to simply tap x(or square I guess.. for you ps3 kids), while holding the control stick towards and enemy and kill them instantly; and you can do this over and over and over ad infinitum (until you take damage). Now, don't get me wrong, it looks freaking awesome, simply because it is absolutely beautifully choreographed and the way Ezio utilizes his weapons (daggers, swords, hidden blade, pistol and cross-bow) is just stunningly awesome. My issue is that now, battles with a bajillion guards is just easy mode. Finally even if your ability to roflpwn everyone in one hit isn't enough you can always just tell your assassin recruits to just kill everyone around you. Instantly. Really really reeeaaaaaallllyyyyyyyyyy awesome. Just too easy in some ways, not always as fulfilling.
The last thing I wasn't so much a fan of, and it's mostly just me whining, is the full synchronization stuff. All of your missions had some condition that had to be met in order to beat the mission 100%. If you failed to meet that condition you would still complete the mission, just not 100%. A completionists nightmare. These conditions would be things like, only kill this certain guy, kill no one, only use this weapon, kill this guy this way, etc. etc. Not really a flaw, just annoying to me when I would have to start a mission over and over and over to get 100%. Finally, screw those damnable lute players.

Now, as I think more and more about what I don't like, I realize all the things about the game I absolutely loved. Despite my complaining about the combat, I cannot stress enough how FREAKING AWESOME it is. Assassins Creed will always have beautiful combos and kill-sequences, man its cool. Also, again despite by bitching, the missions (while too numerous sometimes) are allot more diverse. For instance, *minor spoiler? but if you watched the trailer you should know this.....*
You meet up with Da Vinci again, and he has you go out and destroy machines he was forced to build for Borgia. As you go and burn up the plans and attempt to destroy the war machines, you get to use the bloody things! Rolling around in a Da Vinci tank, running over Romans and shooting huge cannon balls at everything is nothing short of bad-ass. All of the Da Vinici missions are just really well.. awesome. All of the side missions are at least close to the as far as caliber of fun. Some are more difficult than others, some are pretty amusing, and some are just really cool. This game has so far done the best at making the huge amount of missions seem not so redundant and monotonous, and I really enjoyed the missions 90% of the time. There are just a f**kload of the freakin things. Another thing I really enjoyed is that where they removed some difficulty in combat, the amped it up in stealth. Allot of the missions are based on reaching your goal with out being detected at all. Even more missions are only completed with 100% synchronization in the same way. I have always been a fan of stealth type game-play (stuff like Splinter Cell) so this was pretty refreshing and fun for me. The story line? well.. it is so freaking great. I won't say anything, and it wouldn't matter if I did, you would not understand; I sure don't. I love it. I was always really impressed at how well the Assassin recruit thing was implemented. It didn't take all of your focus, but was still pressing enough to be exciting. And then getting to use are recruits was always fun/helpful.
watch at some videos. I can't pick just one...

Anyway, game-play? Awesome. Story line? Awesome. Combat? Pretty cool. Environment? You are in freakin Rome, it's awesome. Ezio? Awesome. Game? Awesome.

9/10 awesome ( I said awesome 13 times. lul)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Top Five Most Annoying Boss Fight Mechanics

So before I get into this article, you might want a bit of backstory on it. This was originally going to be a “Top 10 Best Boss Fights” list. However, when going over the vast number of games I’ve played, I’ve come to a rather depressing conclusion: a lot of boss fights suck hard. I then toyed with the idea of having a “top 10 worst boss fights,” but then came to the conclusion that this would cut into Chris and Steven’s favorite and least favorite moments, so I thought on it some more, and realized that a great many boss fights that suck tend to have certain factors in common, usually to hide laziness on the part of the developers. They construct a boss, and realize “hey, this guy is too easy. Let’s find a way to make him ridiculously hard without actually making the fight involve strategy.” This is what is called “fake difficulty.” This is where a fight is made very difficult without making it necessary or even possible to utilize some form of strategy. What this list is not about is very hard bosses in general. A boss fight can be loads of fun while still being very difficult, but this is where it just feels cheap, not hard. However, sometimes there’s just an irritating aspect about certain bosses in general, or sometimes it’s just lazy design in general. So here is a list showcasing these factors:

5. The Sudden Gameplay Change Boss

Okay, so you’re playing a game, the combat is good, or the stealth is good, or whatever the main appeal of the game does its job very well, and you’re in general having a lot of fun playing it. Then a boss comes along (usually the last boss of the game), and for whatever reason, the game designers thought it would be fun to take what the main appeal of the game is, and remove it for that fight, and suddenly drastically change the way you’re supposed to play it. The most prominent example to come to my mind is fighting a boss named Luxord in Kingdom Hearts II. The combat quality of the Kingdom Hearts series aside (don't worry, I liked it, but I know some didn't), this boss fight is just annoying as hell. First off, it's timed, which is something I already don't like unless there's a good reason for it, which there isn't. The point of the battle isn't to beat him until he has no health left, but to steal "time" from him by hitting him, or by playing real time little card based gambling games that seem to make up the rules as the fight goes along, and if you mess up, you get turned into a die or a card, and all it does is make the battle insanely frustrating.

4. The "Enemy Spam" Boss.

This is a very annoying type of boss, because in addition to often being extremely difficult, the reason they are difficult is essentially because the developers usually couldn’t be bothered to come up with a more creative way to make the boss fight memorable, or contain actual strategic difficulty, so instead, the boss’ primary strength is his ability to spawn tons of enemies at you while you fight him. Sometimes it’s just a shitload of weak enemies, or sometimes he spawns enemies that might as well be minibosses at you. Sometimes he runs off while you fight these enemies so he can heal or something, but other times he just fights you along with his hordes. Both are equally annoying, and it’s a really cheap mechanic. The worst offender for this type is probably Theseus, from God of War II. While when he actually fights you, he’s a fair fighting, difficult, yet fun boss, but halfway through, he jumps up to where he can’t be hit, and summons minotaurs to fight you while he spams ice spikes to come up through the floor to impale you. It’s cheap, it’s not fun, and just bugs me.

3. The "Get Back Here!" Boss

Hooooooooboy. I hate these bosses. I mean really really hate them. These guys aren’t the most difficult or cheap type of boss, which is why they don’t go in the number one slot, but they get this position because of just how god damn annoying they are. We’ve all fought one like this. He usually has fairly weak physical attacks, although not always, sometimes has poor physical defense, but again, not always, but what he always does do is either right before you hit him, right after you finally do land a hit on him, or before you can get to him, is either run away faster than you can catch him, or teleports out of the way. Bonus points if he mocks you while doing so. Again, it doesn’t really make for a cheap “fake difficult” boss, it’s just incredibly irritating to have to constantly chase him down over and over again, deal crap damage, and repeat the process. Note that this does not apply to any boss that happens to teleport. One of my all time favorite bosses, Nelo Angelo from Devil May Cry, teleports a lot. What makes this type of boss cheap is when he uses his teleporting to evade you for the sole reason that if he didn't, you'd mow him down in three seconds. Probably the worst example here is Professor Perry from Red Dead Revolver. He’s a sort of magician type who actually manages to combine both this aspect, as well as the “enemy spam type,” as he constantly gets his circus midgets to attack you while you’re trying to find him. No, I’m not making that part up.
Finding him is also very annoying, as the level is very dark, and he keeps teleporting all over the place while mocking you, and drinking some kind of weird potion to restore his health. Yes, Red Dead Revolver was a very strange game.

2. The “All Luck and No Skill” Boss

These bosses are just shit. Plain and simple. I love a good boss fight, especially when it’s got genuine difficultly to it, and involves the use of strategy and proper tactics to beat them. What the inversion of this is, then, is the implementation of a boss that is incredibly difficult, and there’s not really any effective strategy to beat them. By that I mean that when you finally do beat them, it doesn’t feel like “yeah! I bested you!” It feels more like “Jesus Christ, I finally killed you, you cheap asshole.” Chris has already covered this type of boss in one of his least favorite moments, the infamous Robot Spider boss from MegaMan X. It just scurries like mad all over the place, and if it touches you, you take an obscene amount of damage, and is invincible until it touches the floor, and then it’s only vulnerable for one hit, and the amount of time this vulnerability lasts for constantly diminishes, eventually only being about a fourth of a second. When he and I finally beat it, we were angry, frustrated, and it didn’t feel like a real accomplishment, because it just felt like we finally got lucky as opposed to actually beating it.

1. The Anti-Climax Boss

Alright, so you’ve slugged your way through the levels, you’re at the end of the final dungeon, you’re blood’s pumping for the fight of your life, and you’re ready to go. This shit is epic beyond belief. Anyone who comes here afterwards is just going to have to pull a Willem Dafoe from Boondock Saints because shit is going down here and now.

You you kick the doors of the final boss open, yell something awesome like “My name is Iningo Montoya! You killed my father! Prepare to die!” and then launch into it.
And then the bastard drops dead in one or two shots
No, there has to be some mistake, he’s gonna revive and have an amazing second form, right? He has some kind of giant robotic suit with missiles and shit that he’s gonna jump into, or he’ll mutate and grow angelic wings while hurling fire down upon you, or maybe there’s some kind of reveal showing who his true master was, right?
Nope. He’s dead, and that’s it. Good game, right?
NO. Fuck that shit, I wanted an epic boss battle to end them all! Instead I get something comparable to just a random enemy? This is some bullshit right here.
Note that this kind of a fight doesn't have to be quite as blatant as that. In fact, what's sometimes even worse is having a boss that's been built up this whole time as an unstoppable force of evil just being very easy. At least if he just drops dead from one hit, the game might be trying to send some kind of message about how he was actually powerless the whole time, but when this happens, you just feel cheated.

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