Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Return

Good day, dearest readers, and welcome back to the O&E. We apologize for our prolonged absence; things have been rough on all fronts for all of us. Oh and we've been incredibly and negligently lazy. So that didn't help things. But, rest assured that we are back, and in full force! We do hope you don't hate us very much as a result of our little hiatus, as that would be bad. In any case, we'll soon have Game of the Year posts up to make up for it. So there! :D

From all of us here at the O&E, it's good to be back!

Game of the Year, According to El Jefe

And so another year draws to a close. As always, we take this time to reflect on the year bygone, set rather optimistic goals for the year to come, and drink lots of booze. I like to focus on the last of these three. Still, as a video game blogger, it's my duty (teehee) to look back on the games of 2011 to determine the best, the pretty cool, and the biggest letdowns this year. And drink lots of booze, of course. Can't forget about the booze.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mojang and LEGO bringing Minecraft to life.

Click this link, right now. Do it now! Click Support!
That link will take you to LEGO's public idea project known as Cuusoo. Users can pitch set ideas, and if they gain enough support, LEGO will produce the set. Mojang has started this process to get a Minecraft LEGO set in production.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Assassins Creed: Revelations Review

Guuuuuuuuuuuuys I am really tired of playing the same game!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Review

Two things, right off the bat:

1.) I have not beat the game yet, I wanted to get this out to y'all in case you were looking for something to do over the break, also it's pretty long.

2.) It's not OoT. Stop it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Skyrim 1.2 Update

Today, the latest patch for Skyrim has been released for PS3. It should be heading to the 360 and PC around Wednesday.Why does the PS3 get it early? Because it freaking needs it now. And I mean neeeeeeeeds it. After all, peoples' save files are essentially imploding upon themselves. The rest of us only have to wait a measly two days. So what updates can you expect? Here's a convenient list:

  • Improved occasional performance issues resulting from long term play (PlayStation 3)
  • Fixed issue where textures would not properly upgrade when installed to drive (Xbox 360)
  • Fixed crash on startup when audio is set to sample rate other than 44100Hz (PC)
  • Fixed issue where projectiles did not properly fade away
  • Fixed occasional issue where a guest would arrive to the player’s wedding dead
  • Dragon corpses now clean up properly
  • Fixed rare issue where dragons would not attack
  • Fixed rare NPC sleeping animation bug
  • Fixed rare issue with dead corpses being cleared up prematurely
  • Skeleton Key will now work properly if player has no lockpicks in their inventory
  • Fixed rare issue with renaming enchanted weapons and armor
  • Fixed rare issue with dragons not properly giving souls after death
  • ESC button can now be used to exit menus (PC)
  • Fixed occasional mouse sensitivity issues (PC)
  • General functionality fixes related to remapping buttons and controls (PC)
  I like how they specify that specific problems are "rare". I'm sure that doesn't matter to some people effected by these problems. Sure, some aren't a big deal, but if a dragon doesn't give you a soul you have every right to throw things out of an elevated area with utter disregard for innocents below. I think I've had the issue with dragons not attacking and dragon corpses not "clean[ing] up properly." I don't really know what the latter means, but after slaying my first dragon the corpse re-spawned in front of me while I was walking miles away from its resting place. That's just silly though and as long as the dragon that won't attack me decides I'm worth his time to incinerate (or freeze to death which is dumb because I'm a nord) after the patch I'm all set. To our fellow gamers who lost progress on the PS3, our hearts go out to you. Not literally, though. That would prove inconvenient.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Modern Warfare 3 Review


So, I did manage some time before Skyrim's release, and little ( I mean.. a little) afterwards to get some serious downtime with MW3. Honestly, here is the thought process you should go through if you are debating getting MW3.

Did you like MW? Did you like MW2? Rent it, at the very least. Do you play online, ideally with your friends? Did you enjoy playing online with your friends in MW and MW2? Buy it. You and your friends will probably have fun.

There. review done right? Okkkaaayyyyyy

So, really I don't have words for the campaign besides... more of the same. The story is fun, and there are definitely some reeeaaalllly intense moments. I love the surrealism of the events throughout the campaign, and it is definitely worth a quick play through if you have been invested into the plot thus far. Objectively, as a game. Bleh. It's boring and repetitive. It's keeps you on your toes by constantly sending enemies at you, no matter how many you kill, which is frustrating when the checkpoint is in a very much...well.... not safe place. blah blah blah, First Person Shooter campaign mode...

Multiplayer is fun. Again, I have little to say. The game stays the course of MW, removing the stupid things in CodBlOps like having to buy your guns/attachments/upgrades. The only real change, aside from obvious performance and graphical upgrades, resides in the killstreak system. The Killstreaks are divided into 3 types. Assault, Support, and Specialist Strike Packages. Assault killstreaks  work just like you remember. The Support killstreaks have a fun little twist. The kill count persist through death. For example, at 4 kills you can use a UAV, even if you die at some point during those kills you are still rewarded the killstreak. Makes you useful, even if you suck (I suck). These kill streaks do less killing, and require more kills to obtain. The Specialist package is way different. Instead of receiving equipment or what have you, you get perks as your kill streak increases. All the streaks and rewards are listed here.  

Very well made game, but more of the same. Very little innovation is introduced, and nothing really stood out to me like the first Modern Warfare did all those years ago.

Also, Skyrim sold 7million copies within it's first week. Modern Warfare 3, sold 12million, making the world record in launch day, and week long sales.

Two Mini Reviews: Uncharted 3 and Battlefield 3

Holy hell we have a lot on our plate this November. Sometimes we just can't keep up with it all. Luckily, we have a backup plan for when such an event occurs. It's called "half-assing". It's when we write a smaller, more compact review for a game that probably deserves a full-length one. I've delayed these long enough to let's get to gettin'


I used to be addicted to the older Battlefield games. When 1942 came out I spent unknown hours missing people with a sniper rifle. A couple of expansions later Battlefield 2 came out and my computer couldn't play it very well. It told me I needed better everything almost, and better internet too (I lived in the middle of nowhere at the time). So I said, "Okay..." And then I paused for a moment.

I was done with upgrading my system. Most of my games were on consoles anyway so I decided to leave PC gaming behind. And for a long time, it really didn't bother me. Well, with all the hype surrounding Battlefield 3, and with its existence on consoles, I decided to pick it up for the 360. Goddamn, was that ever a mistake. When it asked me to download the graphics all I could do was scoff. "This fucker is on two discs and you can't include the graphics?" I had enough room, and and an Elite model so I could actually do it, unlike those poor saps with a Slim, and it's a decent time. And, of course, I'm referring to the mutiplayer. The campaign is a practice in absolute boredom and frustration. You die almost instantly and your "allies" will straight up push you out of cover. I hated it. But, as I said, the mutliplayer was fun.            

Except for this fucking flashlight. It's so bad they're going to patch it.
 Not long after this purchase, a friend came over and told me my laptop would absolutely play Battlefield on the highest settings. So I took a chance and picked up a copy. I couldn't get enough. It was better-looking, there was teamwork, and, most importantly, there were 64 player games. It was beautifully controlled chaos and, until Skyrim came out, it was all I wanted to do. In fact, it solidified my decision to not buy Modern Warfare 3.  The experience was much deeper, and the upgrades felt a lot more important. Unlike picking one class and sticking with it, I needed to practice with everything, because different situations called for different responses. It was the experience I had been waiting for for some time.

Just don't fly this if you don't know how, dammit!
As I said before, though, the campaign is boring. I got excited when they gave me a jet, and then I realized that I would be sitting in the back merely shooting at people. Then we turned our sights to forces on the ground and I couldn't even shoot at them. I was just telling other planes where to bomb. I almost fell asleep. Sure, there are impressive set pieces, but all you do is watch them. If you absolutely need a single-player campaign, look elsewhere.

Way more boring than it might seem


I was a little worried about this one. After Uncharted 2, I was incredibly concerned about Naughty Dog's ability to top it. And that's not a slight against Naughty Dog either. It's just that Uncharted 2 was so action packed, so well-paced, so full of character development, and just so... perfect, that I didn't know how it could be topped. And, as it turns out, I had every right to think about it. Uncharted 3 is, in some ways, a step down from 2.

Don't get me wrong. Uncharted 3 is still amazing. The action is still there. The sense of adventure and discovery is still in tact. It just doesn't have the same impact.

It is pretty, though.
 The issue lies with several problems. For one, it never matches the same level of excitement as Uncharted 2. True, there are a couple of great moments, but I wasn't constantly on edge like I was in 2. In 2, I felt like anything could happen at any time. I was regularly taken by surprise. This wasn't completely absent in 3,  but I was easily able to suspect what would happen next. Yes, the plane chapter is breathtaking. I won't deny that. But that moment has been advertised regularly for a while. I've known about it for months and it's the most exciting moment of the game. I'm serious. I never felt like that scene was topped. Yes, the game had other great moments, but I never held my breath more than when I was slowly making my way back into the cargo hold, or what happens after.

Seriously. How could you top this?
I won't lie and say the game isn't cinematic. In true Uncharted form, it absolutely is. But nowadays I feel like I'm playing along with a script. No matter how well I do, I'll still fall into this trap, or I'll still get hit by this car.  This isn't necessarily a terrible thing. It's a very well written script. I just can't shake the feeling that I'm being dragged down a specific path, which I am. Even in a vast desert environment, I'm encouraged to go a set way.

Then there's how much damage the enemies take. One of the biggest problems with Uncharted 1 was how much damage the mercs you were fighting would soak up. A straight shot to the head was never guaranteed  to drop anyone. This was fixed in 2, but it seems to be back. No, it's not as bad, but it's still ridiculous. When I shoot someone in the head, they should die. Especially when I nail a sniper that has the ability to kill me in one hit. It's just not fair. Sure, a shotgun blast to the face will end most enemies, but getting that close is often dangerous. I'm not complaining that the game is too hard, I'm complaining about it being unfair. When I'm surrounded by several men with rocket launches, snipers, and assault rifles I want my shots to count.

"Don't worry, fellas'! He's only got a gun!"
 Another issue is the hand-to-hand combat. Seeing it done in 2009 was something special. It was fluid and impressive. However, fresh off of Arkham City it looks rather sloppy. I've seen way worse, but a bit of the magic seems gone. The Animation seems more broken up and the moves get really repetitive. I know Nathan isn't Batman, but I expected improvement. I didn't really see much.

I know I'm probably sounding a bit harsh. I just expected more. Don't get me wrong. The game is absolutely worth playing. The script is still amazing, the characters are still well-developed, and the history they delve into concerning Nathan and Sully's past is fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It just wasn't everything I wanted.

But like I said, it's fucking pretty
 That's all I have to say about that. Stay tuned for reviews of Rayman Origins and Saint's Row the Third! *Spoiler* They're fantastic.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Special Edition 3DS: Another reason you should have waited...

So Ambassador program, pretty cool.
Nintendo: "Hey guys... we know you bought the 3DS on launch... we really appreciate your support and we are totally sorry for screwing you out of nearly $100... so here are some free games..."

Special Edition 3DS' just a few short months later.
Nintendo: "Right, 3DS sales... bad. We need marketing fancies! I got it! Let's release a super awesome system, bundled with the only great game we are currently selling, and release it for $50 cheaper than when it released!"

uh huh... 'cause that isn't gonna piss me off...

Could have been mine...
So, let's back track the months since the 3DS came out... I bought it... played Rayman and Street fighter for about 2 weeks. Then what? I waited for Zelda. Played Zelda. Then What? Got kind of excited about the Ambassador downloads, the most exciting of which I do not have(yet). Then What? Well... Mario...?
What would I have lost if I had just waited till Black Friday when this beauty comes out? A few months of having Zelda. Would fifty extra bucks and an awesome console in exchange for having to wait a few extra months been worth it? Absolutely.

Anyway, for those of you who would like to cash in on this ridiculous deal, head to GameStop on Black Friday, and you could land yourself one of these, or the Flame Red 3DS bundled with Mario 3D Land(durp). Initially these bundles were EU only, but this leaked GameStop ad begs to differ. Nintendo has given no confirmation on the bundles coming to NA, but it's pretty damn likely.
I, personally, am going to go start disapprovingly at my not Zelda emblazoned 3DS with the hopes it will feel so much shame, it will change before my eyes.

Skyrim Review: Now Officially the Best Thing Since Jesus

Good day to those of you who could manage to pull yourselves away from the realm of Skyrim to read this review! I understand that it's difficult; why do you think it took me so long to write this for you? In any case, I do hope you find my review useful, and I promise to try to be fairly objective. But you must remember that this is the writer who has spent the better part of the year repeatedly and publicly proclaiming his excitement for a game he has compared to a certain religious figure. I said I'll try though.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sonic Generations Review

So, it seems we here at TheO&E are following a biased review pattern. To be fair, I was absolutely ready for this game to suck. After all, I have had so many good Sonic games in the last couple years. (durrrrr)

So gorgeous.
So with that being said, it in fact did not suck. I first played the game at Chris' deciding on whether or not I wanted to shell out the $50 for it. As soon as I fired up the first Act I was blown away. The environments look beautiful, and the game, in fundamentals, plays flawlessly. I immediately bought it.

The game follows two main styles of play. Each Stage (and each Challenge Stage) has two acts (duh). Act 1 follows Classic Sonic, the short pot-belly Sonic we love from the Genesis Era. He very much follows the style of the games from which he hails. Side scrolling, ring collecting, baddie smashing, old school beauty. Old Sonic can only charge up speed (spin dash), and of course jump. He finds his charm and uniqueness in the form of Power Ups. Like These.

Decisions, Decisions....

All the old favorites are reused (Speed, Invincibility, even the Bubble and Lightning Shield) of course, and a few new power ups are introduced (the Skateboard, primarily. Pretty fun).

Act 2 plays like the newer games, and follows new lanky Sonic. Sonic, in Act 2, has a running speed boost, and homing attack. The world is much more 3D and only switches to a 2D mode for brief moments during the stage. Much like Adventure and Adventure 2, but... you know... better. Act 2 Sonic doesn't collect power ups like Classic does, primarily because boost and the homing attack are a huge advantage.

Probable Quote: "WHOA! There goes the Neighborhood!"
The one primary change in gameplay is the ability to buy skills. You can go talk to the way annoying Omochao, and purchase skills for both New and Classic Sonic. There are general skills, that apply to both Sonics like stopping faster, or recovering from being hit faster, etc. and there are Sonic specific skills. For example, Classic Sonic can purchase and equip the Lightning Shield (which I chose to do, exclusively for the double jump) which can be activated during a stage until you lose it by getting hit.
New Sonic can equip skills like running faster, or a longer boost meter.

I mentioned earlier Challenge Stages. After you beat 3 Stages, you encounter a boss Stage. Right. Well, the boss stage is locked, and you need three keys to unlock it. The three keys are found in the area surrounding each stage, which is also where the Challenge Gates (entrance to challenge stages) are located. A kind of Banjo Kazooie style of free roaming that really only succeeding in annoying me. The "world" isn't big enough to require any kind of searching, but intricate enough that you can take wrong paths to get someplace, which only proves to be inconvenient. Anyway, you have to beat Challenge Stages to unlock the keys (o.O) and then you can go fight the bosses. I like the Challenge Stages for the most part, but some of the later ones made me really angry.

I will warn you. The phrase "Free Bee" will make you vomit at some point during this game...

It's not really a secret that we hate the new characters. So initially I was afraid I might have to play as them. Well no, you don't have to play as them but you do have to use them. Each new character is freed when a main stage is completed, and in one of the challenge stages for that level, you have to utilize that character. Pretty much all of them were stupid. (Tails' and Knuckles' were not too bad). The stages get progressively harder as the game goes on, and so do the Challenge Stages. I managed to get rank A on each stage, but some of them are really unfair. It's one thing to have difficult stages, but if I had a dollar for every time I thought "It's a trap!" because I unwittingly ran into instant death...  I'd probably have about 3 dollars. The joke got old pretty quick, eventually I just started yelling because I missed rank A by .5 seconds (true story).

Overall it's a good game with an "eh" storyline and shitty dialogue. Thankfully, god oh god thankfully, Classic Sonic never speaks, so he can never be ruined by anus style writing but new Sonic was not spared such an overt display of ignorance to humor, he still says stupid things when speaking to Eggman, like "You and what mustache?!" uuggghhhh......
It's fun. It truly is the culmination of the last 20 years of Sonic The Hedgehog, utilizing old Power Ups, to Color Powers (At least.. I think those were color powers.). The old and new style side by side creates a really fun juxtaposition, and I had a whole lot fun feeling like a child again.

8/10 Golden Rings!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Newsflash: PETA Whines About Battlefield 3

Oh, PETA. Your ridiculousness never ceases to amaze me. For those of you who don't know, and I don't know how you wouldn't, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) tends to get mad about every little thing that involves animals being hurt. Now, normally, I would champion this cause. The ASPCA have been doing this beautifully for years.  The difference between those two organizations is simple: PETA is insane. Seriously, just watch the Penn and Teller Bullshit episode about PETA. It'll tell you everything you need to know. But let us move on to the point of this article.

Now, the reason PETA, specifically the German branch, is miffed this time is a little moment in the Battlefield 3 campaign. While escaping from enemy troops, your character is forced to crawl through an exposed sewer pipe. While doing so, he is attacked by an animal and you are forced to perform a QTE to stab it and toss it aside. After all, if you don't, the enemy finds you and guns you down. So what is this poor creature? A dog? A cat? A goat with a bad attitude who lives on the edge?

A motherfucking rat.

In response to this, the German branch of PETA released a letter, the details of which can be viewed here. Keep in mind that this comes from the same organization that wants to rename fish "Sea Kittens". I'm not fucking kidding. To be honest, I think it's hilarious that  PETA is getting so worked up over a virtual rat. I mean, it's not like real animals should be their focus. You know, the ones that can actually be hurt and matter. It also goes to show that they are as ill-informed as ever on the subject of video games. If anyone remembers, they also got angry over the attack dog perk in Call of Duty: World at War. Why? because they thought the sole point was to send dogs to die. Not attack your enemies. Just die. Now they're using the old argument that video games and other media influence human behavior and cause violent tendencies. While any intelligent person knows this is only true for individuals that are already disturbed, PETA, of course, believes games can and will effect us all negatively. Especially the "young male target audience." I don't know what PETA's definition of a "young male" is, but I would like to remind them that the game is rated "mature". I, of course, am unfamiliar with German laws over the subject, but I do know they are much stricter over there than they are in America. But what do I know? After all, as Nadia Kutscher, the campaign manager for PETA, points out, "scientists" have proven the link between video games and increases in violent behavior. You know, THOSE scientists. The ones who are famous and everyone knows about. It's not like she has to cite any of them, because everyone knows!

Anyway, rant over. I just wonder how an organization as stupid as this one has managed to survive all these years. Anyway, I'll go back to playing Battlefield 3 and the vice president of PETA can go back to using insulin which only exists because it was tested on animals. I mean, even though PETA fights against animal testing it's okay for her to use it because, unlike the rest of us, she uses her life to "protect animals". The hypocrisy of some people knows no bounds.

BioWare teases new project.

From classic favorites, to most anticipated releases, BioWare knows how to treat us right, so so right.. with the sweet tender touch of brilliant video games........mmmm

Oh right, ummm this thing.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Devil May Cry HD Collection Trailer

Devil May Cry is still awesome. Now it's awesome and pretty.

Play DMC 1-3 and remember how good 1 and 3 were, and try to convice yourself that 2 was a good game. At least it looks good(er)!

Blah blah blah commentary. Too much write. I probably will buy this.

Rayman Origins, Demo

So. Much. News.
Rayman Origins, it looks really good. Play it on November 9th. Also, watch this silly video.

Excitement in me abounds.

Rainbow Six: Patriots. 'Target Gameplay' trailer

The announcement of R6 Patriots has been one surrounded by rumor and speculation. Apparently, even after announcing the game themselves, Ubisoft was still concerned about leaks in their ranks. So, instead of letting the leak speak for the game, they decided to take charge, and bring us their vision of R6 themselves.

I'm pretty stroked. It's a very good trailer, and makes for a very exciting concept. The idea is that the True Patriots are attacking Wallstreet, pissed at the richest Americans. The concept is frighteningly appropriate, and makes for a really appealing story. The trailer is obviously not direct gameplay, but it's what the game wants to look like. I have always been a fan of the R6 franchise, and this game looks like a brilliant addition to the lineup. See you in 2013, Patriots.

Mass Effect 3, big time Beta leak.

Due to what I can only assume was a ridiculously massive lack of foresight by BioWare and/or Microsoft, those who were participating in the testing for the Xbox360's new dashboard got a first look at the ME3 Beta. Commence internet leak.

The leak is posted here on NeoGAF, and consists of screenshots and some videos that were immediately taken off youtube.

BioWare made an announcement concerning the leak, making sure fans are very aware that the features and mechanics in the leak are way early in development. What you see in these screenshots is just a taste of the game we will see in March.
Here is what Jesse Houston (ME3 producer) had to say...

"Hello everyone!

As most of you know by now, this evening an accidental leak occurred of some early Mass Effect 3 beta code.  Microsoft has advised us that through human error at their end, content which was meant for internal beta testing was flagged incorrectly and released to individuals who had signed up for the beta of the Xbox Live dashboard update.  It has since been taken down and deactivated.

We’d like to stress that the leaked code is in a rough, unfinished state and was not meant for public release. The content is not final, and is not reflective of the quality of the finished, polished game due for release on March 6, 2012 (March 9 in Europe).

One feature that was present in this early build is a set of game play modes that are in development. In the beta code they are referred to as “action mode”, “story mode” and “RPG mode”. We want to stress that these features are still in the early stages of development and will receive considerable iteration and refinement. These modes are designed to give players an even finer degree of control over their game experience than ever before.  Whether it be someone who finds the combat difficult but wants to experience the amazing story, someone who wants to focus on the action and combat game play, or fans who want the rich, story-driven RPG Mass Effect experience they’ve come to love – Mass Effect 3 will support all of these options.  We’ll have more info in the days ahead!"

As far as I can tell from some minor research, the game modes Houston mentioned will fairly drastically effect your ME3 experience. The "Action Mode" sets up a more combat driven game style, with the dialogue options already chosen, and spoken automatically. The "Story Mode" is seemingly the opposite, giving less combat, and more dialog. "RPG Mode" will be the gaming experience we are all familiar with, I assume. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

What I Like This Week: Nuka Break

My very good friend David Hagan pointed me to this week's bit of awesomeness. It comes from the brilliant folks at Wayside Creations, a small, independent film making outfit from Los Angeles, California. They've created Fallout: Nuka Break, a YouTube series set in the Fallout universe that is, to say the least, freakin' great. Check out the beginning of the series here, and check out the rest of the series at their YouTube channel.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Batman: Arkham City Review

In respect to "journalistic" integrity, I probably shouldn't be the one to write this review. I've already outed myself as a Batman nerd on several occasions, and that might make me a tad biased. In my defense, I did my damnedest to not let my love for the character (no homo) influence my opinion. It is worth noting, though, that fans of the comics or the animated series WILL take more away from this. There's simply so much there for fans to appreciate. But worry not the rest of you. The gameplay is perfection.

The main problem here is that I really don't want to spoil anything. Not even the very beginning. All I will say is that it takes place about a year after the first game and that a whole section of Gotham has been fenced in, to say the least, and every major criminal and thug who was in custody (and a few who just didn't want to leave the area) are stuck in what has been dubbed Arkham City. Throw in a conspiracy or two and it's something Batman just has to get involved in. And he does. But duh

Besides, Strange just has the face of a man who needs a good wailing
 With all of that out of the way I will say this, Arkham City makes Arkham Asylum look like a good warm-up try. The map is bigger, the weapons more diverse, the combat has more choices, and major villains and cameo's are freaking everywhere. They don't even completely Samus you (take all the weapons you earned in the last game away near the start of the game). The only original weapon I think you're missing at the opening is the line launcher. There are a few upgrades you don't start out with either, but, of course, by the end you'll have access to everything from an electronic pulse gun to ice grenades. Throw in an ability to quickly use much of your arsenal during actual combat and you've added a whole new element to beating thugs to a pulp. Too many guys running your way? quick draw your pulse gun and stun a few. Or maybe you want to do a quick flip in between them and lay down some explosive gel that you can detonate almost instantly. Mix is up a little bit. Your enemies will only be too happy to oblige you once you really get good at it. AND THEN there's the new upgrades. There's literally too many to go into detail on. How does using your line launcher as a tightrope sound, though? That's one of many.

Noogie time
 Back on the subject of combat, it works the same way as it did in Arkham Asylum, but it has undergone a bit of fine tuning. I managed to pull off way bigger combos and make my victims seem all the more hopeless. It also feels a tad more visceral, as the enemies' limbs seemingly crack louder when twisted the wrong way. Oh, and then there's the double counter where you... well counter two people at once. Simple enough, but it's such a welcome addition. You can also catch thrown objects in mid-air to get rid of those pesky chairs to the back of the head. And that's just the tip of the iceberg (lounge duuuur). Once you unlock the multiple batarang ground finisher no group of baddies will last long. You know, if you manage to not get hit.The more open map also allows you to approach combat and stealth situations from so many new angles. Sure, there are situations like in Arkham Asylum where a room is solely for stealth or mass combat, but I'm talking about the city proper. The area where, once you master the dive and rise technique, you can soar to your heart's content. See a whole building covered in armed guards? You can approach however you want. Sneak in from below, dive down from the sky with a glide kick or ground pound, pick them off one-by-one by hanging off ledges, the choice is yours.

"I knew you were too chicken to fight me, Batma-HOLY SHIT NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! MY BONES!"

The amazing thing is how much time you can spend in this world. The map isn't huge compared to games like Oblivion or Grand Theft Auto IV, but it's incredibly detailed and immersive. A fan of Batman mythology will recognize so many buildings and locations. Ace Chemicals, the Gotham Police Department (where they even included Commissioner Gordon's old freaking parking spot); I think I even stumbled on Crime Ally. The amount of love and detail put into the game is absolutely mind-boggling. Of course, besides sight-seeing, something has to keep you exploring the world, and that something is side-missions. There aren't a huge amount, but there are enough and some of them will take the whole game (or beyond) to complete. I refuse to spoil any of them, because they usually involve an awesome character cameo. I won't be spoiling anything, however, by saying that the Riddler is back. As with the first game, he has placed trophies everywhere and written plenty of location specific riddles. Then there's also the "destroy all of x" or "perform y in combat." The big difference this time around is that picking up the trophies will take a bit more thinking this time around. You will have to use all of your weapons (and your ingenuity) to claim many of your prizes as they are often locked behind a puzzle mechanism. It's addicting and THERE ARE 400 OBJECTIVES (including trophies, riddles, and whatnot). There are 440 of them if you count Catwoman's trophy challenge. Along with the other sidequests you can spend around 50 hours scouring Gotham and you'll enjoy every damn minute of it. It's amazing how they made such a seemingly tedious activity so addicting.

This man has waaaaay too much time on his hands.
 As I said before, there are plenty of cameos, but the main cast is simply amazing. Mark Hamill provides an amazing performance for his last go as the Joker and Kevin Conroy it just as fantastic as ever. Once again, they have solidified their places as being the best Joker and Batman respectfully. On top of that, the Penguin is portrayed as being downright terrifying. Displaying dead bodies, torturing cops over the PA system; I was kind of caught off guard. My only issue is Two-Face, who seems to have one personality trait: calling Catwoman a bitch. As you probably know by now, there are segments where you do play as Catwoman. To be honest, I wasn't a fan of them. She was characterized fine, and I liked what she was doing, but her abilities are just to lacking in comparison to Batman's. If she had her own game that played the same way her chapters do, then it would be pretty fun. But making us go from Batman, who has way more stealth capabilities, weapons, and can get around much faster, to Catwoman, who has three weapons and mediocre stealth takedowns, ruins the flow. She's just not as fun to control, but her music is playfully appropriate. So there's that. All in all, the chapters aren't long so it's not really a huge deal.

I literally don't have much else to say. There's so much to love and there's so much going on that I don't have the words to encapsulate it all. Too be honest, and with my Batman bias aside, at this moment it is my top contender for game of the year. As cliche as this might sound, this is one game that absolutely must be on your shelf.

10 out of 10

So, are we back?

I don't know what pictures to post...
Hey guys n' gals, I thought I would give you guys a few random updates about the exploits of the OandE.

Grand Theft Auto V Teaser Trailer

Welcome back to San Andreas!
Once again Rockstar puts out a trailer that skyrockets to one of my most anticipated games. They know their audience well...

Monday, October 31, 2011

Some Clarification... Forgive and Forget

Hey kiddos, The Elitist here to clear some of the air.

You may (or may not... in which case... just ignore this) that The Outlaw's Gears review was reported to have been stolen based on the comment from xxadverbxx. Upon investigation we found that the report was true.
This was my face all day when this happened.
An article from Daily Gaming Network was quite

Resident Evil Chronicles HD to PS Move

Wii exclusive Resident Evil Chronicles HD remake has been announced to release for PS3 with Move support. No price or launch data has been announced

With the Move being so similar to Wii in mechanics, it seems third party developers who wanted to utilize the Wii's unique style are now deciding to use PS's similar product, taking advantage of Sony's more powerful console.

The game itself is composed of Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles and Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles. Between them each, the player will experience events based around Resident Evil 0 - 4 and Code Veronica, as well as play as the characters in each story: Rebecca Chambers, Billy Coen, Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Carlos Oliveira, Albert Wesker, Ada Wong, Hunk, Leon S. Kennedy, Claire Redfield, Jack Krauser, and Steve Burnside.

Friday, October 28, 2011

What I Like This Week: Minecraft Halloween

Good day, dear readers of the best blog in the galaxy! This week I've found a brilliant combination of video games and Halloween in the form of a contest being held by the people at Their Minecraft Halloween contest features nineteen spooky Minecraft creations which, in my opinion, are pretty dang impressive. Here are a few of my favourites:

Huh? I..Write... Things? (Random Castlevania DLC Opinion..thingy...)

What is this... why am I here? This place... these things... so familiar... yet so distant...

So yeah, hey guys, apologies. School.

Anyway, I recently re acquired Castlevania Lord of Shadows (courtesy of Gamefly) with the intent of finally playing through the DLC hoping it would shed some light on the rather controversial ending of the game itself. While it did, with brilliant story telling and dialogue, I might have been happier just watching videos of the DLC....

The story telling, the dialogue, the background and the overall plot were pretty interesting. I was awesome to see  Gabriel change from the noble warrior for good, to the Lord of Darkness. He has found that his path has been laden with blood and death this whole time, and though what he did, he did in the name of Light, he has found his  soul has been blackened. He has now become Shadow.

Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut, aside from that... I can't say I had much fun.
My first issue right off the bat was the strange cutscene style that as implemented. It was kinda cool, in a "I made this game for XBLA" sort of way. They used this paper cut-out-stop-motion style that, while it's pretty neat and artistic... I felt that after the full game (which had real cutscenes) this method seems... well... lazy.

Bastard bastard, fatherless bastard hard. Most of the puzzles were entirely legitimate, and I enjoyed solving them, but every fight throughout the whole thing felt almost unfair, and I wasn't even playing on the hardest difficulty. I will grant some lenience in that I had not played the game in a long time, and I had to work my way back into the combos, but that was a minor issue. Not to mention that there was only a handful of enemies in each level, the whole bloody thing was full of puzzles, with one boss fight at the end that made me feel like some developer was practicing overt displays of assholery. Stop. Break it down.

Super Pissy Puzzle Designers.
This... just... this....

Tutorial video, so he makes it look easy mode... but as you can probably tell there are a few factors that make this quite tricky. The blades (obviously) keep moving for some time after the power is off, this makes it a timing game, which is lame. Second, it isn't always explicitly obvious how close you can get to the blades before they hurt you, so at times, you think you will be safe, and you will instead be very much dead. What you might not be able to tell by watching the video, is that Laura doesn't react immediately. You push the slow down button (or speed up button) and it takes her a cool second or two before she starts to slow it, and then it takes another moment for her spell to complete. Can't say that I can blame her...

The steely determined eyes.....ooohhh yeeeaaaahhh... amirite?

So, it's pretty lame. I was very happy to be done with this, and the only side effects are that I now assume that all people are just slow when I tell them to do something, and I have now made it my sole goal in life to find the designer of this puzzle and make him play this game over and over and over and over and over and over.....................

Super Satan

So, in a nutshell [MINOR SPOILERS] the brotherhood created some super demon, and now it's free, or will he soon, and Gabriel must stop it. He is a super bitch.
I know, it's a hack n' slash boss, it is supposed to be hard, I understand that. It's more than just being a difficult boss, he is almost an impossible boss. The idea they tried to convey (a tactic on which Gabriel himself expands) is that you are fighting the most powerful being ever conceived, second to God. Created than any evil Satan himself could conjure. So the method is supposed to revolve around the idea that you must be patient, and strike only when the moment is right, which you must do. You cannot land any substantial combos, unless he does his taunting move, and then you can only land maybe one good combo. During his normal phase, he switches from attack to attack, giving visual cues that hardly allow enough time to escape if you have over committed to a combo. It's just sprinting, waiting for a time to strike, and ensuring you never get hit.

Of course, he has full health and mana. I was not granted that luxury, because I had been hurt previously, and all the checkpoints caught me with no mana at all, and half health, and I had no real intention of doing the whole chapter over, so I could maybe have full bars by the time I made it back. Not fun.

All in all I was not impressed. I really feel like this could have easily been implemented into the full length game, and been done in a much more impressive manner. It felt rushed, unloved, and incomplete. Gabriel's dialogue was awesome, just to feel the change in the man that used to be full of such Light, and now, he is Shadow.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Grand Theft Auto V Announced

And by announced I mean we got this logo with the promise of a trailer coming out next week. Nevertheless, this is still exciting as it means we might start seeing more come out about it slowly. Of course, knowing Rockstar it'll be a slow trickle. There's also the fun of watching all the internet speculation. That "V" and "FIVE" are indicative of United States currency! It'll be about... money! Here's hoping the trailer will reveal a lot more! Let the rumor mill start a' churnin'!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What I Like This Week: Bricks of War

This week's find comes from an outfit named Kooberz Studios. It's an awesome animation entitled "Bricks of War" in which Gears of War 3 is represented in LEGO form. Yeah. Freakin' awesome.

Of course, my favourite part is where Marcus chainsaws some hapless locust, cos, well, I bloody love chainsawing things. Anything. Anyway, this is an extremely well-made production including a Corpser, the Hammer of Dawn, grenades, and great sound effects from the game. I love it, and we here at the O&E commend Kooberz Studios for their work. We hope to see more from them, maybe a LEGO Skyrim or something along those lines. We can only hope.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Back from the Dead, it's El Jefe

Hello and good day to you, dearest reader of the greatest blog in the galaxy! I know it's been quite some time since I've had any contact with you, and for that, I apologise. Things have been rough lately on nearly all fronts (luckily the Eastern Front seems to be holding, though I fear a Cossack breakthrough at any moment), and I've been remiss in being able to sit in front of a computer and coherently do anything besides churn out history papers. It's a curse.

I'm serious. If you are an exorcist or some sort of person with any experience in the occult, I'd really like your help with this.

Anyway, a lot has happened since I disappeared completely from all perceivable planes of existence. One is by far most important and exciting: Skyrim stuff! As you may well know, Skyrim's map was leaked earlier today by some loony Russians, likely after a long night of swilling vodka and... well...swilling more vodka. Rampant speculation, yes, but one man's slightly offensive stereotypes are another man's attempt at humour. Or so the saying goes. What's important is that the map is now on the internet in full size and is, according to one of our most seasoned analysts, "freakin' huge."* The game manual for the Xbox 360 version was also leaked, the photos of which are available on imgur.

What does this mean? Well, to quote our illustrious Vice President Joe Biden, "This is a big fucking deal." Why? Cos we here at the O&E (especially myself) are bloody excited about this game. 10 November will likely be the last time I see the light of day, and it can't be over soon enough so that 11 November can be here and I can play Skyrim until dead. Death by Skyrim. A noble end.

Other things have happened (Forza 4, Dead Rising 2: Off the Record, and Sesame Street), but in my opinion these don't touch Skyrim news. Also I haven't played any of these games, so it'd be irresponsible of me to offer my thoughts on them. Go play them, I guess? If you want.

One last thing: I'm starting a weekly segment (if one can really call it that) called "What I Like This Week" which is just some gaming article or another from the week that I particularly enjoyed (whether funny, awesome, or simply THE BEST). Hopefully, you'll enjoy it, too.

This week's article comes from the good people at Game Informer, and suggests that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain may have been inspired by the default settings of SimCity 4 in developing his 999 tax plan (i.e. his plan to get your vote and give you a job, for the politically disinclined). I, for one, hope this is true, as it gives us the potential for hilarious reelection ads, should Mr. Cain be successful.

He's ready for the gotcha questions...
It's good to be back. Cheers.

*The analyst in question, is, in fact, myself.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Here is a picture for for you.

Whilst practicing drawing expressions with my new nib for my tablet, I happened to draw that dashing dwarven rogue, Varric Tethras. And then I spent two hours on it. Oops. Well at least I have something to post here now (for once)! Enjoy and whatnot.

Creepy Varric is creepy.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Is the Jak and Daxter Series Getting an HD Release?

I, for one, certainly hope this rumor is true. It is very rare that a series can go through a semi gritty reboot and still turn out fun as hell. Sure, I'm still a little freaked out by the fact that Jak's first words in the series, after a colorful and playful romp in Jak and Daxter, were "I'm gunna kill Praxis." But Jak II and III were just so... fun! The guns, the alternate forms; it made the transition worth it. I'm looking at you Prince of Persia: Warrior Within.

At present time this is just a rumor, albeit a promising one. In addition to the fact that we've seen several of these re-releases, South African retailer BT Games has listed a January 2012 release for "Jak & Daxter HD Collection." It has since taken the listing down, but it does remain in the retailer's database sans a date, price, or ordering info. In any event, I'm fully prepared to pay for games I already own again.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gears of War 3 Review

 The reason this is late is because this was supposed to be a joint review. Unfortunately, stuff. Yes, that is the official explanation. Anyway, I have taken it upon myself to do everything, because why the hell not. Let's start with the campaign, shall we?

Oh, the campaign. What an exciting romp through gore a drama. Before you begin this endeavor I would suggest you crank the difficulty up. Normal is, by and large, too easy. Your AI partners will do all the work for you while you sit back and sip iced tea, or whatever it is you do. I sip scotch because I have a problem. Anyway, once you take on the challenge of a higher difficulty you are mostly guaranteed to have fun. Lancers, gnashers; all the old amazing guns are there for you, along with new additions such as the sawn-off shotgun and retro lancer (among others). If you've played Gears before you know what to expect. It's messy, it's tight, and it's full of chest-high walls. The addition of 4-player co-op can only add to your experience and the lambent only add a new kind of challenge. In short, I enjoyed it immensely.


The story itself comes to a decent concision. It answered a question I never thought I had  to ask while ignoring one I have had since the beginning. Some characters meet an expected fate while others... well, actually it's kind of predictable. But I refuse to spoil anything. The script is fantastic and a particular moment where you assume control of Cole Train is kind of amazing. But I know you. You don't play Gears for the story alone. I merely suggesting that the actual plot tends to be entertaining from time to time.

But what of multiplayer? Admittedly, I didn't play a lot of Gears 2 online. In fact, I wouldn't have at all if it weren't for my blogmates. My experience in 2 was a practice in frustration. "What's the point of shooting if he can just roll away," I asked. Well, the retro lancer fixed that problem for me. The impressive thing, in my mind, is that this solution was one that suited me and others like me. Fans of the old weapons have stuck to their guns, so to speak, and are still highly effective. Epic has managed to add new weapons that are more conducive to other styles of play without destroying the effectiveness of people who are fans of the old weapons. I can respect that, even as a relative new-comer to online gears.

Just stay away from anyone who has one of these.

My true love, however, is Horde 2.0. I couldn't tell you how many hours I've already sunk into that mode of gameplay. The increasing difficulty, the raising of money to build fortifications, decoys, silverbacks,  and turrets, the adrenaline rush of boss fights; I simply cannot get enough, I have just purchased 4 Disney movies and I plan on getting the Team Ico Collection tonight and I still have every intention of getting a round of Horde in before I go to bed. It is the absolute test of teamwork, and it works. While a bad team will absolutely destroy your experience (I'm looking at you people who quit after the first boss wave) a good team will make you want to play until things are absolutely hopeless. It has become a drug of sorts, and I have actually no qualms about being addicted.

Warning: Results comparable to that of cocaine.

This brings us to Beast Mode. As much as I like it, it almost represents a lost potential. The objective is basically a reverse of Horde, in that you play as the locusts attacking a group of AI humans with increasing fortifications. It's fun, especially once you progress far enough and earn enough money to play as incredibly strong units (a freaking berserker). The issue for me is that it becomes too easy and a game will not last nearly as long as Horde. What I meant by "lost potential" is that they could have easily taken a page out of Valve's Left 4 Dead book and made Beast Mode, or at least another mode, a PvP sort of thing. Imagine one team of players having to hold off the locusts and keep them from earning new units while the locust do their best to break through the defenses. You know you want that. I mean, who wouldn't? Probably communists... or vegans. Or communist vegans! My word, this has devolved.

As long as we have bacon, we have hope.

All of this adds up to Gears 3 being (arguably) the best in the series. Yes, some things went unanswered and the lag online is kind of awful at times, but there are so many fun games modes built off such a solid foundation that it begs to be critically acclaimed. It's not worth missing.

10 out of 10

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